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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Childhood Fears Anthology [4 stars]



From the Description:

Four original novellas to make you hide under the covers! Ah, the carefree, sunny days of childhood. And oh, the terrifying, dark nights. Nights when you closed your eyes tight, afraid to open them and see the painted, eternally leering face of a clown mere inches from your own. Nights when you could look out your bedroom window and watch the scarecrows walk across the lonely cornfields. When every story or fairytale your parents told you seemed to include monsters. And when even the teddy bear by your side had fangs and plans of his own. Travel back to those nights of horror now with four original novellas by four wonderfully macabre authors. And...sleep tight!

I received an ARC of this anthology in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.

Childhood Fears is a collection of novellas from some really great authors. I decided since I had already read and reviewed two of the stories in this anthology to review each separately. So let's get started,,,

1. Nightmares In Greasepaint by L.L. Soares & G. Daniel Gunn [4 stars]

I hated this story!! Why, you ask, especially since I rated it four stars. I can answer that with one word,,, Clowns. I am absolutely terrified of them and the clown in this novella is a doozy. The story is really well written and the characters are easy to care about. This story is filled with a sense of foreboding and terror that ultimately leads to a horrific conclusion. I may need to sleep with a light on after this terrifying 4 star read.

2. The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave by J.H. Moncrieff [4 stars]

The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave covers two childhood fears very well. The evil step-father and the evil toy, in this case a horrid teddy bear named Edgar. The main character Josh is very believable and his friend Sean is a lot of fun. My heart went out to Josh as he struggled to deal with things that would be hard for anyone let alone a ten year old boy, and I cheered for Sean as he tried to help his friend escape both Edgar and his step-father, who are far more evil than they appear. The storyline is fast paced and very well written. It was delightfully scary and really captured the uncertainty and magic that childhood is full of. Reminiscent of something you would have found in Creepshow or Tales From The Crypt. A really good 4 star read.

3. Scarecrows by Christine Hayton [2.5]

Scarecrows can be very frightening so I was really looking forward to reading this. Especially since the other novella's in the Childhood Fears series have been fantastic. This one not so much. I enjoyed the premise more than the actual execution of this story. The story jumped around through different years which made it very disjointed to me. Some of the elements in this story were well written which made the parts that weren't more noticeable. The ghosts and the scarecrows could have been so scary! My biggest problem with this story was with Cathy, one of the main characters. She's supposed to be a traumatized seven or eight year old girl. She spoke like an adult, and the other characters spoke to her like an adult. Even precocious children are still child-like, more so when frightened or upset. I really wanted to like this novella, unfortunately it just didn't live up to it's promise. I can only give this one 2.5 stars.

4. Winterwood by JG Faherty  [4.5 stars]

Winterwood is a dark fairy tale reminiscent of some of my favorites from the Brothers Grimm. The imagery and story are both whimsical and frightening at the same time. The characters were fantastic. I really liked Anders, Paul and Ulaf. Krampus and his minions were perfect fairy tale villains. The only exception was Anne, who needed to be slapped several times. She REALLY annoyed me but was unfortunately very realistic. A great story from a great author. Curl up some place warm while you enjoy this delightfully scary 4.5 star Christmas tale.

Childhood Fears is a great anthology. I highly recommend this 4 star collection.