Not All Monsters is a collection of short stories that each have some sort of monster within; whether that’s a creature or a choice made that tips a human over into the realm of monster.
I received a copy of this in the December 2020 Nightworms package. As February is Women In Horror month, what better way to kick off my reading this month?!
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Not All Monsters edited by Sara Tantlinger
To kick things off, the intro by Sara Tantlinger briefly discusses how this anthology came about before summarizing what stories readers will find within these pages.
My favorite stories from this anthology include:
- Inked by E. E. Florence
- The Good Will by Briana McGuckin
- Midnight in the Garden of Life and Death by Kayleigh Barber
- Pretty Little Vampires by Sam Fleming
- Antifreeze and Sweet Peas by Angela Sylvaine
- And Sweetest in the Gale is Heard by Christa Carmen
- The Sugar Cane Sea by Juliana Spink Mills
Per usual, here are my quick thoughts on each tale:
Portrait of a Girl in Red and Yellow by Joanna Roye – Three Stars
What a bizarre tale! How creepy is the thought of suddenly having rashes cover your body, then to have your aunts tell you it’s a family thing? I loved that you weren’t totally sure about what was going on until the very end.
The Miraculous Ones by G.G. Silverman – Three Stars
When conjoined twins start to grow up and take separate paths, it’s clear their interests are going to be troubling to do together. These poor girls. I loved their individuality and love for one another.
Parlor Tricks by Stacey Bell – Four Stars
Wow, this one took a heartbreaking turn that I didn’t see coming. If you could change your appearance at whim, what would you use that power for?
Wasted by Amy Easton – Three Stars
What in the world was happening here?! I have so many questions! Who are these girls? Was he drugged? What that all real or was some of it in her head?
Black Feathered Phlogiston by K. P. Kulski – Four Stars
When two sisters learn a flock of harpies have taken roost in their attic, they feed them deli meats. But soon, they want more than just deli bits… I loved the sisterly love in this one! The toxic family situation was horrible, but the revenge was great!
Leather by S. M. Ketcham – Three Stars
When a man that expects everything to go his way sets his sights on a woman, he assumes she will want to be with him. When he asks her out and things don’t go as he thought, he works on plan b. This guy made my blood boil. My god I hated him instantly. I couldn’t wait to see what these girls had planned for him!
Inked by E. E. Florence – Five Stars
When a woman goes to a tattoo convention, one artist’s work draws her in. But this isn’t just any tattoo. My goodness I loved this one! It was dark and twisted. I was totally captivated.
The Good Will by Briana McGuckin – Five Stars
I loved the lesson in this one!! When was the last time you said “I love me”?
The Problem with Being a Monster by Annie Neugebauer – Four Stars
When a monster just wants to prove he shouldn’t be feared by humans, his original plan goes poorly. But as a result, he meets Winona, a woman that doesn’t fear him. This story was filled with so much emotion! Poor Glug…
Midnight in the Garden of Life and Death by Kayleigh Barber – Five Stars
When working on a very unusual farm, our main character is given an offer that her curiosity wouldn’t let her refuse. I loved the writing style in this one! I need to look for more of this authors work ASAP!
Pretty Little Vampires by Sam Fleming – Five Stars
When a woman buys a kit to attract fairies, she’s so excited to see them when they begin to show up. But soon, she will learn why her coworker calls them pests. This one was so light and fun at first but then took a very dark turn! I loved it!
Without A Face by Hailey Piper – Four Stars
School reunions never seem to go well, do they? When this group from a school fencing team meet up, there’s a score that needs to be settled. This story was quite a trip!
Heart of the Lion by J.H. Moncrieff – Four Stars
When a hunter is given a chance to travel to go on a hunt for a prize, she can’t resist. Once at the location, it’s clear something is very wrong. This one was intense! I loved the suspense and the ending!
This Can Happen To You by Jessica McHugh – Four Stars
Propelled into the public eye by winning the lottery, our main character begins a nasty slide into a life filled with negativity all being carefully watched and discussed by the public. Goodness this one had me SO angry! But that ending was so eerie!
A Certain Age by Jennifer Loring – Three Stars
Phew, that ending! I had no idea where this one was going.
The Revenge of Madeline Usher by Joanna Koch – 3/5The scene in the coffin was terrifying!
Antifreeze and Sweet Peas by Angela Sylvaine – Five Stars
When a woman gifted with a special sight who works in a bakery hands out her special treats, the men that receive them seem to wind up dead… I loved this one! What a terrifying thought, but what awesome revenge for the victims.
Cake by J.C. Raye –
This one unfortunately didn’t work for me as it was split into varying sections and I couldn’t stay focused. I’ll have to try to return to this one another time.
And Sweetest in the Gale is Heard by Christa Carmen – Five Stars
Being kidnapped is one of my many fears. When this woman is taken, she has only one thing keeping her hopeful. What a terrifying and heartbreaking tale! This one is a must read.
The Sugar Cane Sea by Juliana Spink Mills – Five Stars
When a mother and her son are on the run, they find shelter in an unlikely place. As they try to move on, they learn this magical place isn’t quite ready to let them leave yet. I loved this one so much! I loved the characters, their love for one another, the bravery, and so much more.
Unfettered by Leslie Wibberley – Four Stars
What an awesome tale of escape and freedom to finish up this collection! I loved the exhilarating feeling the end of this one brings.
My Final Thoughts on Not All Monsters
Overall, I enjoyed this collection! Per usual, there were some stories I loved while others were less of a hit for me. For the tales that I rated five stars for me, I would LOVE to see these turned into horror shorts to see on the screen!
If you enjoy a wide range of horror all in one collection, I highly recommend this one to you!
Snag a copy through Bookshop to help support local indie bookshops:
Thanks for reading!
What book did you kick off #WiHM12 with?