3 Short Stories, a Novella and a Novel by Awethors

I'm part of a wonderful group of authors on Facebook, collectively known as Awethors.  We support each other and get detailed, varied and prompt answers to questions you might spend hours looking for elsewhere.  Anyway, I've been reading some great books and discovering some brilliant Indie authors.  Here are a few of my recent reviews.

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Don't Turn Around

Don't Turn Around (Short story) by Rocky Rochford ★★★★★

Look Into the Mirror, Don't Turn Around...

A serial killer stalks you, enters your home, creeps up the stairs and watches you from the shadows. You think your life is perfect, that the horror in the streets outside can't reach for you with eager, murderous hands. Remain still, lie to yourself, shut your eyes tight and maybe he won't take you into his deathly embrace. Maybe. But the shards of the broken mirror where the phantom's reflection is fractured, may be the thing he uses to end your life.

This short story gave me nightmares.
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Mr Westcacott's Christmas

Mr Westacott's Christmas (Short story) by Michael J Elliott ★★★★★

A Touching and Tragic Christmas Tale...

This Christmas-themed short story about a man mourning the past, is a touching tale of loss and loneliness. Mr Westacott is a sympathetic, relatable character, and his journey into the past and his relationship with Mr Perkins, his budgie, is sad yet entirely understandable. Mr Westacott's Christmas is a well-written and thought-provoking tale about grief and regret, and the last few moments of the story are sure to stay with you.
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Dissimilar Shorts 4

Dissimilar Shorts 4 (Short stories) by J.B. Taylor ★★★★★

Hell Ran Out of Room...

Dissimilar Shorts 4 consists of two short stories, the first about a group of cynical filmmakers investigating a haunted house, the second about a woman who comes into contact with two super heroes.

Both stories were entertaining, although it was the first one about the haunted house that was the most enjoyable. The characters here were fun, the ghosts themselves original and sympathetic, and the dialogue often laugh-out-loud funny.

I'm giving the book five stars, based on the first story. The second one, although good, was probably not quite as strong (3 stars), but then again, that could just be me - I'm not a super hero fan.

Overall a fun, enjoyable read with amusing characters, scary situations and some really cool ghosts.
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Breaking Ground

Breaking Ground: A Tale of Mystery and Suspense Across Time (Novella) by Mikey Campling ★★★★★

A Brilliant Novella...

Two Neolithic, a mid-twentieth century and early twenty-first century timelines intersect in this brilliant sci-fi fantasy novella. This can be read as a prequel to the author's longer work or as a stand alone story in its own right - either way what Campling gives us is a mysterious, haunting, violent, intruiging and beautifully crafted work in which it is left up to the reader to piece the fragments of each story together. The writing is exceptional, the characters fantastic, the story gripping. Highly recommended.
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Gravitas

Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone (Novel) by Lynne Murray ★★★★★

The Prestige and Power of Female Corpulence...

Earthlings have a dangerous knack of mythologising any visitors who fall to the planet, an unpleasant trait which as caused alien races to declare Earth a Forbidden Zone. This is just one unique idea set forth in Lynne Murray's entertaining novel which had me hooked.

Val-Sybilla, a Valkyrian, has been charged with looking after a whole heap of a perfume called Gravitas, a substance which heightens the emotions of all who come into contact with it. Stranded on Earth, she needs to get back to her own planet before the perfume drives her mad. The mission is a deftly written and fast-moving adventure, which is also lots of fun.

One of the things I liked most about the book was the notion that the Valkyrians respect and desire the larger woman, a body shape Sybilla herself fits into. This makes a great change from the typical size zero heroines we have all become accustomed to. Indeed, this leads the way to social commentaries about how stupid Earthlings can be, and other often funny moments, for example, the moment when Sybilla spots an apparently starved size zero woman and speculates whether she may be an atrocity of war.

The author has a good sense of humour and an eye for unexpected detail about humans, which comes from the outsider perspective of Sybilla. The novel itself is a pacy, entertaining read with snappy and often funny dialogue.

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