Wednesday, March 9, 2016

REVIEW: A Mixed Bag of Blood

A Mixed Bag of Blood
David Bernstein

Genre: Horror, Short Stories
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication date: 3.1.2016
Pages: 86

Recommended by: Hook of a Book, Read 2 Review
Date read: 3.8.2016

I love when an author does an anthology of their short stories.  It's a great way to get to know an author you've never read before, and a lot of fun to see what authors you already know put together.

This one was really quite good.  The stories in it are very creative, and you never know, when the story begins, just how it's going to end.  In fact, several of them end abruptly, allowing my brain to continue wandering about how the story could go on.

The Trojan Plushy: Revenge is a wonderful thing, and what a way to get it!  This definitely had some ups and downs, some twists and turns, and the end was not what I expected.  A great beginning to this collection.

The Booglin: You ever have one of those boogers that you just can't get out of your nose, no matter what you do, one that leaves it stopped up and hard to breathe?  That's what Carl is going through.  But, as you might expect, that ends up being the beginning of his problems.  And, as with the last story, the rollercoaster of events left me completely shocked at the end... and wanting so much more.

Eaten Un-Alive: This one is one of my favorites in the book, and because of this one, I kept reading the rest of the book, trying to see if the other stories compared.  Vampires and Zombies?  That's what this story has.  When vampires need blood, but so many around have turned into zombies, finding "something to eat" isn't as easy as one would think.  In fact, it's downright hard, no matter what lie you tell to gain entrance.

It's Nice Not to Have to Share: This one is my other favorite story, even though they were all enjoyable.  This one gives you a hint of what is going on, but you don't find out until the end what exactly happened.  I am not usually a fan of stories written in first person, but this one was done well and really puts you in the mind of the character.

Invasion: This story, at least in part, reminds me of a story that I tell quite often at the bakery.  When I was younger, my older cousin loved raisins, and he never wanted me to eat his.  To stop me, he told me that they were little roaches, but because I thought he was "so cool," I ate the mess out of those.  The end of the story always goes, "Now that I'm older and I know the truth, they just aren't as good."  Well, after reading this story, I am SO glad that they weren't really roaches.  You never know WHAT could happen from eating those damn things.

Samurai Zombie Killer: This one had a bit of action, and definitely some drama.  There's a samurai, his now-evil brother, and their beloved teacher.  Lesson learned: Never doubt the honorability of a samurai, even when it comes to their own lives.

Small Town, Big Trouble: Could you kill a stranger if it meant saving your town?  What about one a month for many many years?  And what happens when you finally say enough is enough?  I'll give you a hint - things don't end well.  Did you expect any less from a horror novelist?

Bad Cutlery: I often joke that my kitchen knife speaks to me, telling me what to cook and when to cook it.  I've called it my best friend, and envisioned it as part of my soul doing it's work helping me to come up with some really great dishes.  After this story, though, I'm starting to rethink that relationship.

Potty Mouth: I was trying to describe this story to a friend of mine after I finished it.  The only word I could come up with was "Yuck."  Every parent has a different way of disciplining their children.  Sometimes, though, the child just does not care, and continues on with the bad behavior, no matter what the parent says or does.  In this story, eighteen year old Peter should have listened to his mother when he had the chance, because she doesn't punish like normal mothers.  And when he doesn't learn his lesson, the punishment gets even worse.  Definitely a must read.

STD: As you would expect from the name of the story, this one would make a GREAT commercial for condoms.  Brian meets flight attendant Jackie in a bar one night, and the next morning awakens in her apartment with an unexpected growth on the end of his... well... you get where this is going.  But, in all actuality, you have NO IDEA.  I sat there for a few minutes after the end of this one, mouth wide open, just staring at my Kindle.  Just... wow.

All-in-all, a damn good set of stories.  I can't wait to see what David has to offer us next.

About the book:
From a man seeking vengeance for a dead loved one, to a monster lodged in a person's nose, to starving vampires and samurai battling zombies, a bully meeting his gruesome demise, along with prostitutes being sacrificed, a boy who refuses to stop swearing and the consequences of one man's night of unprotected sex comes a dark and disturbing collection of sinister tales filled with dread, bloodshed, humor and the bizarre.

About the author:
David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills.  He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh.  He's grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there.  He is the author of Amongst the DeadDamaged SoulsThe Tree ManWitch IslandRelic of DeathApartment 7C, and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence.  David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror.  He loves hearing from his readers.  You can find him on FacebookHis Website, via Email, and on Twitter.

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