I am so excited to be part of the Darker Daze tour for A.L. Mabry! This is such an awesome collection of Dark stories. Full confession, this is published by my publishing house. OWS Ink LLC, and I am the project manager for this book, meaning I helped with editing and all that such. So I won't comment on that aspect of it, because I am probably biased ;)
But I absolutely love this book and A.L. Mabry, so let's get started with the honest review.
Genre: Dark short story collection.
Synopsis: Darker Daze: The Storms within is a collection of short stories that explore that darker side of the human condition. Each story pulsates with tragedy and a sense of desperate hope that only the suffering could understand. Ms. Mabry weaves personal experiences into fictional webs in a way that draws the reader in for a hug, then punches them in the gut. While these stories may be too emotionally charged for some readers, they give voices to the voiceless among us.Do not shrink away, the demons are not yours...or are they?
My Take: Y'all, these stories are... dark. Gripping. Kind of awful, and yet so good! There are 10 stories in total, and as with any collection, some are amazing, others are just ok or didn't grab me. So here are my favorites, in no particular order:
Sweet Release was a wicked punch, because it is about a woman living in an abusive relationship with a plan to escape. The end... I just... tears, y'all.
Belladona, wow. so dark. As one who has seen up close how pedophilia destroys lives, this story had me ROOTING for the antagonist!
Sibling Rivalry had my heart in my throat, as any parent in a blended family can relate to the fear of conflict.
Beneath Salem... I cried again. Seeing ignorance and hate so real and brought to life is just... it made me sick and sad, and was so real!
Rooftops and Teardrops- Again, with seeing first hand how sexual abuse destroys lives... the ending, it just... tears.
The Next Best Seller- I actually first read this story before I became business partners with A.L. Mabry. I
knew she was a practicing Wiccan and this story kind of gave me chills. I was like, nope! Lol. But even after knowing Amanda and how sweet and good she is, this story still gives me chills. As an author, I could relate to the jealousy of the MC, but when she goes dark... holy crap!
Now for the ones that didn't grip me. Again, this is just personal taste. They were well-written, I just didn't connect to them as well as the others.
Last Call- It's dark and I just couldn't feel anything but meh for the MC or the girl.
Bonita- I felt sorry for the MC, but couldn't really connect with her reasons or purpose. The ending was just a tragic Deus Ex. (Intended, not bad writing.)
The Last View: I was heartbroken for the MC, but his choice was just one I couldn't connect with, which is weird because I've written similar stories. But mine were left with a sense of hope. Did she or didn't she... This was quite final.
More than Stolen Hearts- Kid was an idiot and deserved what he got. (I've become the grumpy old man, "Get off my lawn!" Lol)
But all in all, a great read! I will warn readers, this is a very dark collection. There is violence, death, some pretty heavy topic matter including murder, child abuse, abuse, rape, and revenge. The only one that is graphically sexually explicit is Last Call. Definitely not one I would recommend to my mother or my children. But if you like exploring the darker side of the written word and thinking on whether they deserve what they get, this is definitely a thought-provoking collection.