Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Awakening & Other Stories blog tour: excerpt & review

Hope you're enjoying this Sunday. We are today's stop on The Awakening & Other Stories blog tour hosted by Enchanted Book Promotions. There's an excerpt from one of the short stories in this paranormal collection to enjoy and our review.
The Awakening & Other Stories by Emma Meade
Paranormal anthology*ebook, 69 pages
Published November 15th 2012

Put on the kettle, close the curtains and curl up by the fire. Dive into 8 short tales, each with a slice of the paranormal.

Ghost Story – Who is the shadow in the window of the abandoned house, and what or who is he waiting for?
The Awakening – It’s time for Sabrina to wake up and face the light.
End of the Line – Cassie wants to die. When midnight rolls around, she stands on the tracks waiting for the train to come.
Milsa Loris – The once magnificent kingdom of Milsa Loris comes alive one night each winter. The King’s witch is brewing up a little magic, sure to make the soup all the tastier.
The Old Vampire – Hailey spent her life dreaming of a dark prince falling in love with her. He never showed up, until now.
The Knocking – Alison’s grandfather has one eye on the next life. After all, he’s heard a lot of rapping at his door lately.
The Boy on the Beach – Kate’s grandmother warns her about the boy with the green eyes. Will she pay heed?
Snowglobes - It’s busy at Calvin’s Cabins this Christmas. Eddie and Maggie are a young couple in trouble. Not to fear, Calvin is always ready to lend a hand.

End of the Line

In the distance, the familiar, white light appeared, cutting through the dark of midnight. She'd watched it come before, but always from the sidelines, imagining what it would be like to face such a beast.

Cassie drew in a shaky breath and steeled herself. Legs splayed, arms by her sides, fists tightly clenched, she waited on the tracks as the train approached. Her legs shook, and strands of hair licked her cheeks in the gentle night's breeze. 

She swallowed the fear threatening to overcome her. Hang in there, she told herself. Another sixty seconds, and it will all be over. No more drowning, murky thoughts, heavy dreams or stilted breathing. She lifted her head and stared straight ahead, willing her body to freeze.

Closer now, but not coming fast enough. She was scared. As much as she desired to have it all over with, the fear gained ground. Could the driver see her yet? No, still too far away. Why had time slowed down? An ache began in her ankles, spreading up her legs and winding its way around her thighs and into her clenched hands.

The feel of her fingernails scraping the soft flesh of her palms roused her, just as she became aware of the vibrations on the tracks.

Cassie stumbled into the grass growing beside the tracks and ran, tears running down her cheeks. She stopped as she reached the first line of trees and leaned over, resting her hands on her thighs, trying to get her breath back.

Damn it! She wanted to die. Why couldn't she have stuck it out?

The train thundered by, unaware of the woman hunched over in the darkness, sobbing. She raised her head to watch the carriages pass, slithering alongside Wilkins Woods like a dark snake. In thirty seconds, the night was once again silent.

She'd try tomorrow night. Maybe pick up a bottle of Jack Daniel's after work. Might help with the nerves. 

Slowly, her breathing returned to normal, and she wiped the tears away. Cassie followed the edge of the woods the mile back to her squalid flat. She let herself in and headed straight to bed. One more day. She could make it that far.

About the author:
Emma Meade

Emma Meade lives in rainy Ireland. She loves vampires, slayers, witches, ghosts, aliens & shadow men (or at least the youngest of the Shadow Men), and regular people who live extraordinary lives (think Slayerettes and you’re on the right track).

Books, DVDS & TV show boxsets take up lots of space in her home, and she collects all the Point Horror books she can get her hands on.

Writing supernatural stories and watching marathon re-runs of Buffy are some of her favourite ways of escaping reality.

Short stories are a welcome respite from always reading longer length novels. Emma Meade's The Awakening and Other Stories was just the break I needed. As a whole, the book itself was under eighty pages and the stories varied in length. Each was entertaining and let me escape into a dark and different world each time. Of course, some stories really grabbed me and became instant favorites. 

The opening, Ghost Story, starts off with two friends, Jessica and Michelle, as they walk Jessica's grandmother home. As they walk the trio chats and the discussion soon turns to a local haunted house. Is the abandoned building truly inhabited by some ghostly presence? After her grandma is safely home, the girls head off to see a friend and along the way is a certain building. Will their curiosity lead them inside that spooky home? I liked how the story began as something common and quickly turned into something else. An instant favorite.

The Awakening is almost dream-like as we meet a young girl named Sabrina. Is she stuck inside a dream again? Or is this surreal experience reality? Read on to find out. I did and my lips are sealed. This story reads like a dream with wisps of imagery and Sabrina's wonderment. You may have to read it twice to truly get the gist of what's going on.

End of the Line was my favorite out of all eight stories. The set-up with Cassie was spot-on as the depressed young woman decides to take her life on a train track. As she waits, the track's vibration increasing, the tension mounts again and again. I read this longer story out loud for an added treat and it really came alive. Loved the twists and the characters. The author handled this topic in a respectful manner and I could envision this as a novel.

Milsa Loris is also a longer story and takes place in a fantasy world. There's a witch, a kingdom and a celebration. What exactly is in the brew this witch is creating? Hmm, I can't reveal anything but I will say readers are in a for a treat with this fairy tale.

The Old Vampire was quite humorous and readers of paranormal tales will certainly chuckle at Hailey as she spends her life reading and longing for a dark vampiric prince to come and take her away. Sometimes our dreams do come true but will we still want them to years later? Interesting ideas were posed in this story and I especially liked the skeleton light. I will not be putting one of those on my front step next Halloween.

The Knocking was creepy in its realistic portrayal of how some of the elderly know when their time to leave this earthly plane has come. Alison is spending time with her grandfather one day and not really enjoying herself with the loud television and his lack of communicating. When some mysterious person begins knocking on the front door, only her grandfather seems to know who it is.

The Boy on the Beach was one of my favorites and I imagined this being made into a longer length YA novel. The foundation for something more is there. Kate visits her father's summer home on the beach. She shares a fondness for the supernatural along with her beloved grandmother who reads tea leaves. When she reads Kate's cup, she doesn't reveal everything and it's only years later when the mystery is revealed to Kate. She listens to the warning but everyone makes mistakes. I wanted to know more about Kate, her grandmother and a certain setting. 

Snowglobes closes the anthology and it was an interesting and surprising read. Again, this could easily be lengthened so I could better understand Calvin's history. How many people have visited his mountainside cabins for a quick getaway?

Each story offers the reader a different trip, a different insight into someone else's world. I thoroughly enjoyed each story.

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
This picture is of Cassie from End of the Line and is a perfect choice to be featured on the cover. I'm not crazy about the fonts.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.

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