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Wednesday, 18 March 2020

DARK CELEBRATIONS by Calvin Demmer

Dark Celebrations

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky to get an ebook review copy of this collection from the author. Thanks Calvin! 😊

Here are my thoughts about each story...

HUNGRY GHOSTS: Lara and Ray go on a trip to China during the Hungry Ghost Festival and things don't go well...

While I loved the Ten Tips for Surviving the Hungry Ghost Festival, the story didn't captivate me as much. There was just something about Lara's story that failed to hook me in.

LABOR DAY HUNT: Jared's inherited business isn't doing well. And after his uncle passed away, all he wants is for his aunt to be taken care of. That's how he ends up in an abandoned warehouse...

This story was fast paced and totally brutal. It goes from quiet confusion to bloody violent insanity so fast I might've gotten whiplash. This is an awesome story that definitely delivers. Loved it.

TRICK OR DEATH: Barry has a plan for this Halloween. He's going to scare some of his neigbours with his cool Reaper costume so he can post their reactions on YouTube. But his friend Rose has other ideas...

I really enjoyed this story! It was well written, had great characters, was spooky, plus takes the reader down a deliciously dark and fun path.

THANKS SINNING: When DeShawn meets the alluring Lucy, he decides to throw caution to the wind and doesn't care if he's late for Thanksgiving. But Lucy isn't like other girls, and he's about to find out why...

Really enjoyed this one because although DeShawn disappoints by giving into his most basic of instincts, he's still a good guy. Also loved how this story roused the old cartoon images of devils in my mind. And that creepy ending was so cool.

THREE DEAD MEN: When Maiko goes to pick up her uncle for Christmas Eve dinner, she didn't expect to find herself in the fight of her life...

I liked the combination of Japanese and Egyptian mythology, but I couldn't connect with the main character.

HAPPY DARK YEAR: All Cody wants is to have some fun at a New Year's Eve party after spending months in college. But his girlfriend wants to go swimming and he doesn't, so he chooses to ignore her...

This was a creepy little tale about an annoying guy who thinks he can treat his 'clingy' girlfriend like crap without repercussions. Yeah, well, he was wrong and I was happy with how it all ends for him. 😈

DYING VALENTINE: Daniel can't wait to spend Valentine's Day with his girlfriend. But on his way to meet her parents, he realises he's forgotten his wallet and when he goes back, isn't watching the road...

Yikes! If you're looking for a romantic story, this isn't it. Or maybe it is, because Daniel is a real sweet guy who loves his girl and wants to do the right thing even after making a huge mistake. Wow. Great twist in this one, too.

SPRING OUTBREAK: After a breakup, Gwen goes to Mexico for spring break but things don't go well...

Unfortunately, this story didn't work for me. I didn't warm to Gwen or what happens to her. The endless thoughts about her brother and her ex just got tiring.

SHE WILL RISE: Selma goes home for Easter because her mother is ill, but she hates her mother's boyfriend and discovers an awful thing...

This was okay. Liked how everything turned out in the end, but getting there was an uncomfortable ride.

PROM SCREAMS: William is willing to pay for a prom date, but the price for his deception turns out higher than he expected...

I liked the locations and imagery in this one, as well as the intrigue. But I didn't care for any of the characters.

UNIDENTIFIED FATHERLY OBJECT: Fred can't let go and wants to find out what really happened to his father. Yet, following the clues might not lead him to the truth he seeks...

This turned out to be a curious story with alien conspiracy vibes and creepy beings with no clear agenda. I also liked how it tied into the previous stories.

INDEPENDENCE DENIED: Brad's not having a great day, and when he stumbles on an incredible image in the ocean, the whole world falls apart...

While I didn't find this story that great because Brad is an annoying idiot, it did tie everything that happened in the previous tales together and revealed a strange and unexpected conclusion.


I enjoyed reading this collection of dark and freaky short stories dealing with a bunch of holidays, diverse characters, varying customs, and unfortunate situations.

While each story is different, there was a clear connection.

These stories featured several characters that I adored and really cared about. And some I didn't care as much about. My reactions were varied, but one common thread throughout the whole thing was how well they were all written.

This is a great short story collection with an awesome cover.



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