Thursday, October 29, 2015

Release Day Review: Lead Me Into Darkness Anthology

Darkness36Title ~ Lead Me Into Darkness Anthology

Published ~ 29th October 2015

Genre ~ Paranormal/Horror M/M F/F Romance

Rating

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Synopsis

Lead Me Into Darkness: Five Halloween Tales of Paranormal Romance
All-Hallows-Eve brings out the wicked in even the most reserved among us… and the lure of romance is the keenest incentive to follow a beloved into the unknown. Lead Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer paranormal romance by five of the hottest authors of contemporary romance.
Take You Farther by Santino Hassell
Brian Watts' boyfriend is a newly turned vampire, and he's shouldering the blame. Watts would do anything--including offering up a vein, stripping for cash, and demanding answers from other creatures of the night--to redeem himself and save the man he loves.
Memory Hill by J.C. Lillis
Billy Hartigan's been dead for ten years, and it's really pissing him off. Stuck in Memory Hill Cemetery due to "unfinished business," he fritters away the long days playing monster movies in his head, reliving the glory days of his indie band, and mourning his missed chance at love with his best friend. Then one Halloween he gets a visit from troubled teen geek Todd Racklin, the last living fan of Billy's old band. Todd needs some beyond-the-grave help from his idol--and his visits might hold the key to Billy's release from Memory Hill.
Grave Circumstances by J.R. Gray
Secret agendas collide with guns, ghosts and confusing erections, on a tour through a haunted graveyard. Jesse's been carrying a secret and needs a night alone with George. But George has his own agenda, leading Jesse into darkness, the fright of his life, and a blinding release he won't soon forget.
Boyfriends in the Boneyard by Kris Ripper
In a perfect world, Truman Jennings would be spending Halloween with both his husband and his boyfriend; alas, in this one he's on a ghost tour with his husband, and his boyfriend is probably watching scary movies and eating pizza rolls.
The cemetery is appropriately creepy, their tour guide weaves a good yarn, and Hugh's in a very odd (but utterly delightful) mood. When Hugh leads him away from the group Truman doesn't know what to think, but considering his husband's filthy, kinky mind, he's more than willing to find out.
As usual, Hugh has both tricks and treats up his sleeve.
Mayfair by Roan Parrish
Jocelyn has been secretly in love with her best friend Bethany for a year. And it's hell. But there are other things—dark, creeping, illusory things—that are tormenting Jocelyn even more. They've been appearing more and more lately and Jocelyn is starting to doubt her sanity. But a Devil's Night ritual in a Detroit cemetery may reveal more than she ever imagined…

Freya’s Review

Overall, this is a well balanced book that has something many readers will enjoy. There’s fluff, something to pull at your heartstrings and a dose of Halloween spook.

The individual marks are based on the emotions a story invokes within me, which is also influenced by my preference in reading. You may find that, when you read these stories you completely agree or disagree. My absolute, favourite though is Memory Hill by J. C. Lillis. Anyone who is capable of reading this with a blank expression, hasn’t got a heart.

I would have no problem at all giving this well produced book space on my shelf at home.

Take You Farther by Santino Hassell 3.8/5

Brian Watts’ boyfriend is a newly turned vampire, and he’s shouldering the blame. Watts would do anything— including offering up a vein, stripping for cash, and demanding answers from other creatures of the night— to redeem himself and save the man he loves.

For a subject as chilling as vampires and Halloween, I experienced a range of emotions while reading this story – and that’s a good thing. The more I read, the more the story grew on me. The author easily made me picture the scenes of New Orleans and its atmosphere. That coupled with characters that I connected with made this an interesting Halloween tale that I could have read more of.

I understand this is an extra to another novel Stygian. As such, I believe reading that would be beneficial to appreciating this short story more. On its own, I’d have liked for it to be a little longer with an added scene or two.

New readers are becoming enlightened to the world of GLBT all the time, and may not be familiar with some of the awesome writers out there. I hope this story encourages readers old and new to look into other stories by this author.

Memory Hill by J.C. Lillis 5/5

Billy Hartigan’s been dead for ten years, and it’s really pissing him off. Stuck in Memory Hill Cemetery due to “unfinished business,” he fritters away the long days playing monster movies in his head, reliving the glory days of his indie band, and mourning his missed chance at love with his best friend. Then one Halloween he gets a visit from troubled teen geek Todd Racklin, the last living fan of Billy’s old band. Todd needs some beyond-the-grave help from his idol— and his visits might hold the key to Billy’s release from Memory Hill.

Within the first few paragraphs, I fell in love with this story. I loved the turn of phrase and imagery presented by this author. It made me immediately look forward to more. And what a story it turned out to be. In a short space of time, it gave me everything I look for in a tale. It gave me loveable characters and brilliant imagery. I experienced a whole raft of emotions that if anyone reading fails to succumb to, they aren’t human. As for the ending - I won’t spoil, but, it doesn’t disappoint.

This is the first time I’ve read a story by this author, and I’d gladly read more.

Grave Circumstances by J.R. Gray 4/5

Secret agendas collide with guns, ghosts and confusing erections, on a tour through a haunted graveyard. Jesse’s been carrying a secret and needs a night alone with George. But George has his own agenda, leading Jesse into darkness, the fright of his life, and a blinding release he won’t soon forget.

The dynamic between Jesse and George is delightful, and a pleasure to read. Though, I’ll admit to getting a little confused with some of the dialogue as it referred to what seemed to be areas of what could have been a bigger story. But, that could just be me being a numpty. All the events, point to a slow burn and an eventual heat rating that will leave you needing a cold shower.

Boyfriends in the Boneyard by Kris Ripper 3.75/5

In a perfect world, Truman Jennings would be spending Halloween with both his husband and his boyfriend; alas, in this one he’s on a ghost tour with his husband, and his boyfriend is probably watching scary movies and eating pizza rolls.

The cemetery is appropriately creepy, their tour guide weaves a good yarn, and Hugh’s in a very odd (but utterly delightful) mood. When Hugh leads him away from the group Truman doesn’t know what to think, but considering his husband’s filthy, kinky mind, he’s more than willing to find out.

As usual, Hugh has both tricks and treats up his sleeve.

This story made me smile. It’s full of fun fluff, innuendo and graveside romping – with a promis for the hard stuff to follow. If there had been a deeper story, then it would have scored higher. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading because it is. It is a light hearted sizzle in the graveyard and it added some nice balance to the anthology.

Mayfair by Roan Parrish 4/5

Jocelyn has been secretly in love with her best friend Bethany for a year. And it’s hell. But there are other things— dark, creeping, illusory things— that are tormenting Jocelyn even more. They’ve been appearing more and more lately and Jocelyn is starting to doubt her sanity. But a Devil’s Night ritual in a Detroit cemetery may reveal more than she ever imagined…

This story does a kind of circle. It starts off in one place, written in the third person. Then, it jumps to first person perspective before it returns to the original location of the story. At times I found it difficult to follow until the story angles started to come together. It is one of those tales that when you start it, you don’t take a tea break until you’ve finished it, else you lose the plot. Find a darkened room, or graveyard, and sink into the ambiance it creates.

There is no doubting, the author uses words to beautiful effect. So, I suspect that readers will consider this a little marmite. I judge many stories on the feelings and emotions they invoke within me. Whether I liked this story or not – I have no idea. But, I will remember it. This story definitely had the air of Halloween about it, and spooked me out accordingly.

 

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Meet the Authors

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J.R. Gray

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | TUMBLR (NSFW)

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Santino Hassell

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J.C. Lillis

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST

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Roan Parrish

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST

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Kris Ripper

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE | TWITTER

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