Good morning my lovelies,
I had a great time last month joining with Top 5 Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm and so I’m taking part again this month. Shanah comes up with the topics a month at a time so that we’ve got some thinking space.
If you’re interested in participating in Top 5 Tuesday, all you have do is write up your post and pingback to one of Shanah’s posts. Make sure you pingback to her posts and not just her blog so she can add you to the list.
This week, Shanah is taking a hiatus but I didn’t want to miss sharing a Top 5 with you, so I have decided to tell you about some amazing short stories and novellas that I’ve loved reading but that have, strangely, received precious little recognition. 😉
All of the books that I have listed this week have earned a place on my Goodreads 5 Star Review shelf but are under 100 pages long and have received less than 300 ratings according to the listing on Goodreads.
As usual clicking on the image will take you directly to my review in a new tab. So without further ado…
The Scent of Sunlight by Annie Bellet ~ 23 pages 103 ratings
Single mother Queenie Hayes struggles to support her two young children and tells them stories of a world filled with sunlight instead of concrete, a world called the Veldt where magical creatures abound and her family roams, free from the trials of the real world. As a social worker threatens to break apart her family, the Veldt offers her family a chance to escape if she can find the courage, and imagination, to reach for it.
I am already a fan of Annie Bellet and back in 2015 I loved this little short story; the characters, the paranormal twist and the ending. Here is a kick-ass heroine who will do whatever it takes to ensure her kids are safe and happy but not in the usual “urban fantasy” way! 😉
Mami Wata by Simon Kurt Unsworth ~ 22 pages 2 ratings
Taken from The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 21, edited by Stephen Jones
“When I was first asked to contribute to Exotic Gothic 3 (which was to feature Gothic-influenced stories in non-Gothic environments), I agreed without really thinking about it,” Unsworth explains, “and then spent a long time struggling, trying to work out how, precisely, I was going to manage it or quite how to make a start. “I knew what I wanted to do, sort of, but not exactly how to do it, so one day alarmingly close to the deadline I did a fun thing: I free-wheeled through Google. Using a small document about Zambian myths and cultures I found online (I set the story in Zambia for no reason other than an old family friend lives there and it seemed exotic in Gothic terms), I used one Zambian word from it as a search term and read what came up, took one intriguing Zambian term from the search results and searched for that, etc, and disappeared into Google’s merry depths. “I ended up with an academic paper about a particular myth, a travel blog about a sort of beer made from corn and a weird little ‘my God’s better than your God’ blog by a kid in Africa, and somewhere in the middle of that, the story appeared.
Wow! I read this back in 2015 and thought it was an amazing short story!! I loved it!
I hadn’t read anything by Simon Kurt Unsworth but I was impressed with his ability to spin his tale, completely engrossing me in his world in so few pages. The descriptions transported me directly to the mining town in Zambia; the heat, dirt and weariness of the miners, the social separation and lack of understanding of the expat managers and the local supervisors/miners. Our main character, Thorley was completely believable; just a very ordinary man thrown into an extremely extraordinary situation.
The Demon Series is a completed collection of seven novellas that follow Jassassah the Demon – once a demon of the fourth circle of Hell, demoted to the seventh circle and now working her way back up the Hellish Ladder – on her misadventures to corrupt, influence and misguide the humans she meets thus scoring her points in Hell and gaining her a desired promotion through the ranks.
The Demon of Paris by Ayse Hafiza ~ 100 pages 3 ratings
The Demon of Dhaka by Ayse Hafiza ~ 98 pages 3 ratings
The Demon of Vienna by Ayse Hafiza ~ 98 pages 2 ratings
The Demon of New York by Ayse Hafiza ~ 97 pages 3 ratings
The Demon of London by Ayse Hafiza ~ 97 pages 21 ratings
The Demon of Alexandria by Ayse Hafiza ~ 96 pages 4 ratings
The Demon of Istanbul by Ayse Hafiza ~ 95 pages 3 ratings
I like Ms Hafiza’s writing style; I enjoy how her tales make you look at the world with new eyes, re-evaluate your beliefs and entertain you all at the same time. It’s quite a skill for an author to involve a reader in their characters’ tales in so few pages.
I really loved these books. It’s a unique read that had everything that I look for in a great story; intelligent writing style that’s easy to follow, a main character with depth of personality, a great supporting cast and a believable background story and setting (even when there’s the supernatural involved).
Due to some of the more violent and harrowing scenes throughout this series, I’d recommend these books to adults who are not offended by content of this nature who enjoy paranormal fiction or urban fantasy adventures with some darker themes. The Demon Series has a unique perspective and is an unexpected find that I can’t recommend enough.
Ice Shadows by William Massa ~ 70 pages 140 ratings
Apocalyptic cults. Cursed relics. Paranormal terrorists. Only one man stands against the forces of darkness. After his fiancée is slain by a murderous cult, a professional soldier dedicates himself to a new mission–hunting down twisted occultists around the globe.
Mark Talon must head to Norway to stop a Black Metal musician who plans on using an ancient Norse ritual to trigger a frozen cataclysm.
Occult Assassin: Ice Shadows is a novella and tells a self-contained Mark Talon adventure set after Damnation Code and Apocalypse Soldier. The story works both as an introduction to the series and a continuation of the previous full-length volumes. No plot points or twists of the first book are given away.
This is another gem that I read in 2015. I thought it was a well written novella!
It laid down the back-story without ever slowing down the pace of this action filled thriller; giving us enough information to know what makes our hero, Mark Talon, tick and his extensive experience as a warrior. The plot moved smoothly with a good balance of tension and action, and a couple of surprise twists & turns too which I love – you don’t really want to know what’s going to happen next in stories of this genre, although we all love to guess. 😉
The Viscount’s Son by Aderyn Wood ~ 52 pages 129 ratings
Emma, book conservator and history buff, begins an anonymous online project – to translate an ancient diary on her blog. As the diary entries become darker and more mysterious, Emma meets a handsome stranger, and her personal life takes on uncanny parallels to her secret online translations. When her love life grows even stranger, Emma wonders if she should end the blog, but is it too late?
The Viscount’s Son Trilogy is perfect for fans of vampire and paranormal mysteries, psychic investigator thrillers, occult suspense, angels, demons, and lovers of a good twist.
I read this little treasure in 2014 and loved the unique way that Aderyn Wood told this story. I felt as though I not only got to know Emma through her blog but the mysterious diary writer “N.C.” too. Although I did guess the twist, I was still gripped, wanting to keep reading and the way the story ended gave me great pleasure.
If you like mystery stories with a bit of fantasy and romance without being gory or overtly erotic, you will love this.
So that’s it for this rather unusual Top 5 Tuesday thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I hope that you take the time to click on a few of the books I’ve mentioned – they are all very good. If you’ve created a Top 5 Tuesday post for this week, don’t forget to leave a link to it in the comments so I can visit.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your week and manage to read some outstandingly engaging stories.
Bye for now. x