Wednesday, November 28, 2018

[Book Review] Collected Christmas Horror Shorts 2 by Kevin J. Kennedy

Short Story Review of Collected Christmas Horror Shorts 2 by Kevin J. Kennedy

Collected Christmas Horror Shorts 2 was an awesomely dark collection of short stories.

When Kevin J. Kennedy sent me a copy of Collected Christmas Horror Shorts 2,  I was so antsy to dive in! I just couldn't wait for Thanksgiving to come and go so I could read this one.

On November 23rd (the day after the US Thanksgiving), I turned on my Kindle and started the first tale...

Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way. 

Let's dive in!

Collected Christmas Horror Shorts 2 by Kevin J. Kennedy

Some people love Christmas for religious reasons, others prefer it for the food, drink and parties, but for some other people, it’s just another time of year to get up to mischief. This anthology is filled with tales of not-so-happy Christmases, tales that they don’t want to tell you about in the movies or songs. 

It’s time to break out your new Christmas slippers, rip open a box of chocolates and pour yourself a drink. Lock your doors and get comfy. You’re in for one helluva ride. 

Merry Christmas from all of us! 

Contains stories by: 
Amy Cross, Michael A. Arnzen, Christina Bergling, Andrew Lennon, J.C. Michael, Lisa Morton, Mike Duke, C.S. Anderson, Mark Cassell, Peter Oliver Wonder, Suzanne Fox, Matthew Brockmeyer, James Matthew Buyers, Weston Kincade, Matt Hickman, P. Mattern, Mark Fleming, Veronica Smith, Steven Stacy, Chris Motz & Sara Tantlinger.

My thoughts: 

Per usual with these types of collections, here are my rating breakdowns for each story along with some immediate thoughts/reactions:

Christmas Lunch by Amy Cross- 5/5
The wording in this story was so clever! I had an inkling of what was going on, but it was still so interested to see what was going to happen next!

Frau Perchta by Suzanne Fox- 2/5
I enjoyed the gore toward the end in this one, but the dialogue and the sexual scene in the beginning wasn't for me.

Duende by Christina Bergling- 3/5
Oh siblings... I didn't love the first half of this story because of how rotten the older sister was. But I really enjoyed the second half of this one! 

A Noel in Black by Matthew Brockmeyer- n/a
Not a story for me.

The Mall Santa by Christopher Motz- 4/5
I loved the take on punishing those on the naughty list. And the little creatures that would one day be elves? Super creepy!

The Yuletide Butcher by Mike Duke- 5/5
Phew! So dark and gory! I really enjoyed this one!

The Ghost of Christmas Office Party Past by C.S. Anderson- 4/5
Terrifying in a very real world way. Stories like this give me the chills; just one person cracking up and having access to a gun...

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Matt Hickman- 5/5
So creepy! I loved the idea behind this one! And that ending!!

The Kringle by Peter Oliver Wonder- 5/5
What an interesting sci-fi twist!! This story mentioned that while Earth's population continued to grow, Santa’s job got easier and easier as more people moved to the naughty list, even kids who were being raised to be selfish. This was rather sad but how it came back around at the end was so awesome!

Ho Ho Hollow by Mark Cassell- 4/5
Terrifying! This poor family.

How the Witch Stole Yuletide by James Matthew Buyers- 3/5
A fast paced poem about the witch and Grendel causing some terror.

Sugar Vision by Sara Tantlinger- 4/5
So creepy! Parts of this were mouth-watering, others made my stomach turn a bit. Very well done!

The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy- 5/5
I loved the storyline of this one! It was very upsetting, but the revenge and the ending was so wonderful and gory.

Something in the Stocking by P. Mattern- 5/5
Brutal from the start and that ending!!

Black Eye Friday by J.C. Michael- 3/5
Interesting. I certainly didn’t see the ending coming.

Christmas in Hell by Kevin J Kennedy- 5/5
In this version of hell, no one answers questions. They just give bits and pieces of information in general conversation. That would drive me insane! And of course, who doesn’t love a Krampus story?!

Santa Claus Comes At Night by Andrew Lennon- 3/5
Eek! So terrifying! Poor Marcus.

Catching Santa by Michael A. Arnzen- 5/5
Yes! What an awesome paranormal tale!

Christmas Curse by Weston Kincade- 3/5
An action-packed, interesting twist on things.

Weihnachtstag by Mark Fleming- 4/5

Secret Santa by Veronica Smith- 5/5
So creepy and so sad! I really enjoyed reading this one! The dreams that acted as flashbacks were put together so wonderfully in order to give the reader just a bit more information as the story progressed.

The Joys of Christmas by Lisa Morton- 5/5
This was a great story to end up! Terrifyingly real-world and it makes a great point about how out of control gift giving has gotten!

My final thoughts:
Overall, a wonderful collection! This is definitely one that I would love to pick up each year to read through my favorites! I highly recommend this if you're looking for a darker holiday read!

Thanks for reading!
To check out my reviews for other works by Kevin J. Kennedy, feel free to click the links below:

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  1. For some reason, Christmas + horror would work for me, I think! Great review!

    1. I’m a total sucker for anything Christmas themed! I’m still rather new to the Christmas horror, but I’m loving it so far!