I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLOOD-SOAKED by Christa Carmen
Published by Unnerving on August 21, 2018
Genres: Bizarro, Crime, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Noir, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller
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A young woman’s fears regarding the gruesome photos appearing on her cell phone prove justified in a ghastly and unexpected way. A chainsaw-wielding Evil Dead fan defends herself against a trio of undead intruders. A bride-to-be comes to wish that the door between the physical and spiritual worlds had stayed shut on All Hallows’ Eve. A lone passenger on a midnight train finds that the engineer has rerouted them toward a past she’d prefer to forget. A mother abandons a life she no longer recognizes as her own to walk up a mysterious staircase in the woods.
In her debut collection, Christa Carmen combines horror, charm, humor, and social critique to shape thirteen haunting, harrowing narratives of women struggling with both otherworldly and real-world problems. From grief, substance abuse, and mental health disorders, to a post-apocalyptic exodus, a seemingly sinister babysitter with unusual motivations, and a group of pesky ex-boyfriends who won’t stay dead, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked is a compelling exploration of horrors both supernatural and psychological, and an undeniable affirmation of Carmen’s flair for short fiction.
SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLOOD-SOAKED is a collection of thirteen stories by author Christa Carmen. This is the first I have read from this author, and I was very impressed with both her writing style and unique ideas.
“. . . All things sounded the same when they fell into death.”
As with most collections, certain stories will appeal more strongly to each individual reader. I found that within the various themes presented, there were quite a few that I felt were full five-star tales.
Personal favorites of mine included:
–“Souls Dark and Deep”: Parents on a mysterious evening out, hire an equally mysterious babysitter for their daughters. This was one I couldn’t predict ANY part of–unique and exciting story. “. . . They prayed their secrets I would keep . . . “
–“All Souls of Eve”: A novel take on Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” set for Halloween.
–“Lady of the Flies”: Fantastic tale of both psychological and visceral horror! A misfit/misunderstood woman dreams of finally fitting in with people. “. . . Pris-killa is coming to slay us all.”
–“The Girl Who Loved Bruce Campbell”: In the wake of all “The Girl” books that have been published lately, this story is a great dark comedy that pays homage to screen “zombie killer”, Bruce Campbell. “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down . . . “
–“A Fairy Plant in Grief”: This story was much more intense than the previous, but extremely gripping in terms of content. Excellent conclusion!
–“The One Who Answers the Door”: This was possibly my favorite of the collection. A shorter tale, but one that I didn’t anticipate in any way. “The dwelling was designed to keep in what shouldn’t be allowed out . . . “
Overall, a remarkable collection from a new-to-me author. There’s something for all kinds of horror enthusiasts in here. I’m looking forward to seeing what Christa Carmen comes out with in the future.
About Christa Carmen
Christa Carmen is a writer of dark fiction, and her short stories have appeared in places like Fireside Fiction Company, Unnerving Magazine, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Outpost 28, DarkFuse
Magazine, and Tales to Terrify, to name a few. She has additional work forthcoming from Lycan Valley Press Publications’ all-female horror anthology, Dark Voices, and her debut fiction collection, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked, will be released in August 2018 by Unnerving.
Christa lives in Westerly, Rhode Island with her husband and their ten-year-old bluetick beagle, Maya. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in English and psychology, and a master’s degree from Boston College in counseling psychology, and she’s currently pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in Creative Writing & Literature from Harvard Extension School. Christa works at a pharmaceutical company as a Research & Development Packaging Coordinator, and at a local hospital as a mental health clinician. When she’s not writing, she is volunteering with one of several organizations that aim to maximize public awareness and seek solutions to the ever-growing opioid crisis in southern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut.