Wicked Winters: A Limited Edition Holiday Collection was a pick up in the holiday season and I am only just getting around to reading it. If I am honest it was free and through the powers of Amazon I got an email about it because of the number of books I have read by Melanie Karsak unfortunately it is no longer available but here is what I thought about it just in case it comes back next holiday season.
Since picking up Shadowed Souls whenever an anthology comes up with any authors I liked to read comes up I tend to consider reading them, while I don’t always like the fact these short stories are snippets into other worlds when I was expecting just one universe. What I do like is that generally they are similar and expand my reading adding more books to my to be read list on Goodreads. Even if while writing this review I haven’t picked up any for a while being stuck in some the Kindle Unlimited collection. This short story review I am going to comment about each story on its own and my thoughts on whether I want to pick up that universe or not rather than commenting on the collection of stories as a whole.
Hauntings and Humbugs by Melanie Karsak
Hauntings and Humbugs is a steampunk retelling of A Christmas Carol set in the universe that I have come to know and love created by Melanie Karsak. She has changed the main roles from male to female and while I wasn’t sure about this at first being the complete switch it didn’t hurt the story in any way. In some respects, this telling of the story is even more heart wrenching than the tale we all know even bringing back some characters from the Red Riding Hood Series. Melanie was the reason I picked up this collection and it didn’t disappoint.
Holiday Hopes by Erin Hayes
Holiday Hopes while an enjoyable story about a Mermaid that finds a book, that tells her the story The Night Before Christmas. That gives her hope that her missing sister is safe and loved. While enjoyable I found this one a little frustrating not because I didn’t like the plot or that it was badly written. I just find it written in such a way it was just opening the series for you rather than being a story in its own right. Having said that it has put Erin Hayes on my radar and with the first book of the series being expected to release this year I might just pick it up.
O Holy Hell by Margo Bond Collins
O Holy Hell focuses around a girl that has been kidnapped by demons and then rescued by her foster sister and 3 other demons. The sister has powers and the demons and she has an arrangement at least until the girl is safe and she has had the baby that she’s conceived while being kidnapped. It fits well into the collection with plenty of references to Christmas. While knowing how the baby is conceived it is said to be the savior. I find the story difficult to follow in the beginning but soon caught up like Holiday Hopes it isn’t so much of a stand-alone story just a set up to the start of a new series by Margo Bond Collins. Which does sound quite interesting.
Rose Red: As Red As Blood by SK Gregory
Rose Red: As Red As Blood follows a girl which is on the raw end of life who as a best friend that has everything. While it was an enjoyable story. I am struggling to work how it fitted into the Holiday Season with that said I am not disappointed that it was part of this collection and want to pick up the book in the series leading on from this. As it had some interesting twist and turns that I do want to see how they end.
Merry Alchemist Xmas by Mia Elli
Merry Alchemist had the potential to confuse a reader if they hadn’t read the series before with the type of characters it had at play. However, Mia does a really good job of telling people the character’s backstory or just enough into the characters traits that it doesn’t matter. It was a great read all be it simple and I will be picking up more from this series.
Don’t Let Go by JM Taylor
Don’t Let Go was an interesting read, although it started a little hard to follow in the beginning as the plot unfolded I did enjoy the short story. This has to be one of my favourite stories however alongside Haunting and Humbags because it wasn’t just introducing a new series it was a Horror based around Christmas with an ending.
The Weeping Woman by Brian Hocevar
The Weeping Woman is focused around Deputy Maggie Dell she has to work the graveyard shift when someone with a strange description is approaching children asking for their baby. This was another story in the collection that wasn’t a Christmas Story but an investigation that was around the holiday season. Even though this story was one of the longest in the collection not once did I wonder how much longer it was going to last. It was well-paced and well the story ended, I am now intrigued to pick up some more of Deputy Maggie Dell or Brain Hocevar.
A Dead Man’s Gift by David Barbur
A Dead Man’s Gift This was another one of the spookier stories in the collection while being enjoyable. It was centred around the festive season where a reality star had fallen on hard times and was living with his best friend that had recently got a girlfriend. While this wasn’t the main focus of the story, it was a slow burner in the respects of trying to work out what was going on. It also had me asking more questions when it ended not that the ending was bad. This story was standalone or felt like it even though I now wonder if there is a story before it regarding reality TV.
The Tracks in the Snow by Angelique Archer and J Mills
The Tracks in the Snow this was a surprise after all the stories moving away from the more classical stories and starting to slow down. This was a change of pace you see a brother and sister having to go away to their Grandparents for the holidays and the siblings dealing with issues as the age gap becomes a problem. That said the story of Krampus brings them together. Seeing the relationship change over the story was well done and this has to be one of my favourite stories in this collection.
Festival of Gaslights: Beginnings by Bokerah Brumley
Festival of Gasligihts: Beginnings This was a difficult read for me, while it had an interesting start I did find the language difficult along with the fact no sooner had it started it had finished. While it could be a start of something I would have liked a little bit more of a conclusion like other stories in this collection that had just been an appetizer for the next book or series.
Overall I enjoyed this short story collection I gave it 4/5 on Goodreads. I enjoyed all the stories except for the last one and I think if that had been given more time to develop I might have enjoyed it more. Part of my appeal of collections like this is you take an author you like and hope the collection is similar and for the most part it is and I have picked up some more authors and series I want to pick up because of this. The stand out stories for me were Hauntings and Humbugs, O Holy Hell, Rose Red and The Weeping Woman and The Tracks in the Snow. Not saying the other authors won’t make it on to my TBR in the future.