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All in Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales by [Charles, KJ, Parrish, Roan, Rock, J.A., Ripper, Kris, Berman, Steve, Gale, Avon]
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Length: 286 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 723 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Open Ink Press LLC (1 Dec. 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N06ZK2T
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A super solid collection. Don't miss it! 2 Dec. 2016
By Barks Book Nonsense - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
6 romance authors unleash their dark side and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. These stories all focus on things darker than most romances and all have well fleshed out characters and even a few steamy moments going on between all of the scares. I could read stories like these all day, every day. Too bad I have bills and a job and there aren’t enough of these sorts of tales to feed that kind of need anyway . . .

On to the stories.

Company by Roan Parrish
A lonely teen spends his summer obsessively reading a vampire comic. It seems he’s a fallen a little in love with the fictional vampire character named Michel. One early morning he just so happens to bump into his obsession in the flesh! I think I would’ve passed out dead but Nick is made of stronger stuff and the two strike up an awkward sort of friendship that brings Nick comfort. When Nick returns to school, he begins a real relationship with a genuine boy who seems to like him quite a bit but Michel is always there lurking about in the corners with menace in his eyes . . . That’ll put a damper on any romantic interludes.

Is Michel real? Will Michel and/or Nick sabotage Nick’s chance for happiness and first love?

I’m not telling. This was a great way to start off the collection. It’s a creepy little story and I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to ruin it. 4 Stars

Love Me True by Kris Ripper

Palmer spends his days in a job he loathes and most of his nights at the black jack table and/or screwing his true love Jon. You can’t have everything but at least Palmer has Jon. The two are deeply in love but Jon has some devastatingly dark passions. Passions he wants to share with Palmer . . .

I watch far too much true crime tv, more probably than any sane person should, and because of this I forecasted this one very early on and it didn’t surprise me. The relationship, the lust, the love, and the devastation were all nice and juicy though, just like my favorite true crime shows. 3 ½ Stars

The Price of Meat by KJ Charles

I think this story is my favorite. It is so horrific and yet so dignified and proper all at the same time, possibly due to the setting, the language and the spunky, fearless protagonist. Whatever it was, it all worked for me. It was nuts and I loved it. The story is complete in and of itself but I would love to see this character and this twisted world made into a full length book.

Much to Johanna’s dismay, Arabella, the love of her life, has been committed to Mr Fogg’s Asylum for the Weak-Minded by her dastardly relatives. Arabella is not certifiable; her relatives are just greedy and want her inheritance. As you can imagine, Mr. Fogg’s Asylum is not a nice place. People die under their care after they’ve been horribly abused. Johanna cannot wait another day and takes action after learning a secret that she can use as leverage to free Arabella before something completely dreadful happens to her.

This secret leads Johanna into a lawless land of horrors where violence, disfigurement, murder and worse terrors await all who step through a hidden door . . .

This story is fantastic and you must read it! It is disturbing, it has moments of dark humor, many twisty turns, and a brave “I’ll do it all my own self” type of heroine and my eyeballs were glued to all of its words. Five stars.

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman

Steve is one of a few pledges for a frat house. He’s really not into the whole frat-life thing but endures the pain and humiliation because it’s what his father demands – or he’ll cut off funds.

"New Orleans lured me then lied to me. My father spoke as if the city had been a sweetheart of his. He loved his alma mater more than my mother. I find the entire state stifling like the shacks at summer camp, when I discovered, surrounded by other boys, how much I wanted to push one into a dark room, form a knot with our limbs, take kisses. "

Before leaving for university, Steve’s dad gave him a flask and promised it would help him make friends but he must NEVER drink from it himself. It has some magical quality that fills it with whatever the drinker wishes. This is college. You can imagine just how popular this thing could make a guy! But all but one of his new frat “friends” are jerks who use and abuse him. His self-esteem is low and he’s sickened by the things he’s done, especially when a sweet boy starts showing interest in him. So armed with his magical flask, he’s forced to take his life back . . .

This is angsty, awful, lusty and sweet all rolled into one short little story definitely worth your time. 4 ½ Stars

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale

This is one weird little tale.

Staff Sergeant Jason Essex of the United States Marine Corps is assigned a strange mission. He is given very strict instructions to monitor an enclosure for eight weeks. The enclosure holds an “entity” that must not ever be spoken to. Jason is told that it looks like a human being but it isn’t and that it lies.

There's a man in there dark and pale and something is wrong with his eyes.

At first, he follows directions but as time goes by loneliness and curiosity set in and he begins to bend the rules. That’s when the freaky dreams begin . . .

The story is told in letters, reports, recordings, journal entries and Reddit and Google searches that get increasingly stranger as he spends more time with the “entity” that starts looking like his former crush. This story is unique, eerie, and a little sexy too. 4 Stars

Beauties by J.A. Rock

In this here world, Beauties are Artificial Beings (AB’s) created for pleasure and abuse. Sick people pay good money for those things but Lester isn’t a sick person. He programs and raises AB infants and is at the ceremony for work and quite sickened by what he’s shown. It’s here he first meets Ira, an AB so dangerous, so violent that he cannot be sold to the public. He is covered in bruises and Lester makes a brash decision to take him home, keep him safe and study him.

Poor misguided Lester. He truly has no idea what he has just brought home.

This story was disturbing on so many levels. It isn’t sexually explicit, despite the opening sentence, but it bothered me deeply as only the best horror tales can. 4 Stars
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes disturbing, sickening but always thrilling. Containing 6 marvelous stories with different themes and kind of styles. 10 Dec. 2016
By Jan-Hendrik Blank - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
All worth a read.
Some stories were more mind-play and the fear they created captured you, then other were disturbing in the description and you were horrified.

The first story
Company by Roan Parrish was a “classical” vampire story but in its shortness not boring. Quite the contrary, it capured from the first page to the last and it was so hard to read how Nick is influenced by Michael… The simple horror is great developed, the character where good displayed… the story ends… I won’t say anything, read it by yourself.😉

Love Me True by Kris Ripper is one of the more realistic stories, maybe the most realistic story. The disturbing fact was the assumption you had as a reader and you aren’t wrong… It is also a bit… disturbing you are faszinated by the described things or at least you are captured by the way it is described in the book. With the first person narration it is also really “near”.

The best story in the whole book, because it had all I needed was The Price of Meat by KJ Charles. I don’t know how but KJ Charles is able to create a whole world in a short story and it was from the first to the last page intimidating, faszinating and thrilling. Also really, really disgusting, though I really loved the fierce heroine. It is the only story with contains a F/F couple, but if I not mistake also a M/M one.😉 This should get a sequel, even if it would be a novella… So awesome in its completeness. I never had this vivid imagination of one story than of this.

I admit His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman was the story which I found was the weakest. It had great parts but a few things were – and still are – unclear, the whole setting isn’t also my total cup of tea, also I wasn’t touched by the character like in the other stories. This is though a good story and I would say this is kind of one-voice because the author bio is saying that Steve Berman was also a student at Zeta Psi… Also the titles wasn’t making sence until the middle of the book… it was okay but not my favorite one.

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale was really disturbing but also interesting. You are totally capured by the way it is presented, the way of narration. The whole story is written in transcripts, email conversations though these are one sided and personal notes, written and recoreded (of course the recorded ones are written down ;)). The one sided narration leads you to accept the issues, the happenings. The ending was also very scary but I really loved it. It is a pity the story was only this short. My second favorite story after KJ Charles’ one.🙂

Beauties by J.A. Rock was the story with a sci-fi content, with having AIs (artificial intelligence) which art used as “sex toys”, so for the psysical needs and pleasures… It went from a kind of normal sci-fi story to something disturbing but I was really faszinated by it. It had a great twist in the storyline, nothing I expected… I can’t decide wether I like this or the first story most so they share the 4rd place.🙂

After all the stories were totally different yet all sum one up: they are disturbing. Some of them can be called “classical”, some of them are really unique. For the hardcore gore/splatter lover this isn’t really an anthology I would recommend, because in parts it’s “too soft”, for horror beginners I would say: grab it, and of course for those who want to read about the authors and want to see a somekind “new site”. A few of the authors were new for me, so I have a good insight, other were known and I will continue reading further books.

The whole anthology though it contains a few weaker stories get 5 out of 5 stars from me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Wanted in a Horror Anthology 2 Dec. 2016
By B. A. Brock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Review (story blurb–then review):

Company by Roan Parrish

NICK LEVY’S family is falling apart and he has no friends, but at least he can escape into the world of his favorite comic book series, "The Face of the Vampire". Naturally, when the vampire in question shows up one day, Nick is enthralled. After all, what could be better than his own personal fantasy made real? Except that Nick isn’t exactly sure whether Michel is real or not. And when the arrival of a new boy in school promises romance, Nick sees a side of Michel he never could have imagined. This Michel is cruel, jealous… and he’ll do anything to keep Nick for himself.

I HATE to pick favorites in anthologies, but this story exceeded my wildest expectations. Wow. It was achingly beautiful and terrible, and everything I wanted in a horror anthology. I literally put the book down immediately after finishing and told everyone I had just read the best queer science fiction horror anthology in my life, and they’d better read it. Considering this is the first story, that’s saying how confident I was in the quality of this anthology.

The characters were exceptional. The scenery added to the misery of the protagonist perfectly. The plot was knuckled-whitening good. Probably my favorite part of this story was how the author completely screwed with my head. By the end of the story I couldn’t tell you what was real and what wasn’t. And I like it like that.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper

PALMER’S LIFE is as good as it gets. Well, okay, so he hates his mind-numbing office job. But he’s found a hot, smart, incredibly kinky guy. The sex is explosive. The power play is off the hook. And if he gets his way, Jon will soon be his husband.

When Palmer asks, Jon says yes. For the first time ever, Palmer thinks things might be really good. Sure, bad things happen in the world—to other people. But this is all he needs: Jon at the end of the day, in their bed, arms around him.

How could he have possibly been so stupid?

I LOVED this story too. Sure, I kinda saw where this was going, a mile away, but it still entertained me. I think what probably threw me for the biggest loop was how much I identified with Jon’s side of the story. Palmer was clearly the protagonist, but Jon just seemed… so happy with Palmer and their relationship. He was clearly selfish, and they were both not quite right in the head, but I was impressed with how I was sucked in–even knowing what was going to happen–that was the true genius of this piece and I’m afraid to say more because I’d ruin it.

The Price of Meat by KJ Charles

JOHANNA OAKLEY will do anything to save her beloved Arabella from the cruelty of Mr Fogg’s madhouse—but ‘anything’ turns out to be more than she bargained for when she finds herself working for a man suspected of worse than murder. As Johanna is plunged from the horror of Sawney Reynard’s barber shop into the foul, lawless labyrinth at the heart of London, can she or anyone get out alive?

THIS WAS one of the most unsettling pieces in the anthology, for me. Possibly because the practice of locking women away in an institution, to punish them for not being ideal wives for men, was something done not too long ago. ‘Frigidity’ is an idea that makes me shudder with it’s insidious connotations. The gall of those who are given the privilege of power boggles my mind and terrifies me more than fiction ever good. Be wary of this one….

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman

JOINING ZETA Psi isn’t Steve’s dream, it’s his dad’s. Nevertheless his dad’s gift of the mysterious Bailey flask gets Steve an in to the frat house, and maybe his best shot at being accepted on campus. But the flask’s silver sheen may only be lighting his way into the darkness at the heart of the frat—and the darkness he’s learning is within himself. Steve wants to choose who he is, but choices are dropping like flies as he learns the true mystery of the Bailey flask. How does he give back a gift that’s also a curse?

THIS WAS another story where I sort of knew where it was headed, but I completely respected how it got me there. There wasn’t anything lovable about Steve, which made him sort of an antihero, and I think the ending was more a try-fail than anything, but it was still poignant, still relevant to this day and age, and still horrifically good. For some odd reason "Lord of the Flies" came to mind–chilling–and perfect for this anthology.

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale

STAFF SERGEANT JASON ESSEX, YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING ORDERS FROM THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS:

REPORT TO: CAIN INSTITUTE [ADDRESS REDACTED]

ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENT: GUARD AN ENTITY CURRENTLY HELD IN AN ENCLOSURE AT THE CAIN INSTITUTE. RECORD DAILY MEASUREMENTS. KEEP ANY AND ALL PERSONS FROM ENTERING OR LEAVING THE FACILITY. ENSURE THE ENTITY REMAINS COMPLETELY INCARCERATED. OBSERVE THE ENTITY WITHOUT ENGAGING.

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS: THIS ASSIGNMENT WILL BE CARRIED OUT IN FULL ISOLATION. PLEASE BE ADVISED.

Holy cow I loved this story. And I have to admit, the ending sort of surprised me, thanks to the epilogue. Without the epilogue this would have been an entirely different piece.

What really worked for me was the suspense. Holy cow. The entire story (except the epilogue) is told in letters Jason writes to various people: himself, his friends, and to his superiors in the military. It was impressive how effective that method of storytelling was, and I give Gale five glorious stars for that alone. The plot was brilliant.

As I said, the epilogue changed the entire message of the story for me. I can’t go into details, obviously, but I urge you to read this story. It was amazing. Holy cow. (I keep saying that, but seriously, read this story.)

Beauties by J.A. Rock

WHEN DR. Lester Usole attends an event at AI developer Carnificiality, he’s introduced to Beauties: artificial beings designed to provide tailored sexual experiences for their human owners. Lester isn’t interested in sex—but he is fascinated by Ira, a Beauty too violent to be sold.

Lester convinces Carnificiality to give Ira to him. Lester has always wanted the chance to work with an adult AI, and around Lester, Ira isn’t violent. He’s strangely innocent, uncannily perceptive, and his company does much to ease Lester’s loneliness. Except something’s not quite right: Ira roams at night, even when Lester’s sure he’s locked Ira’s door.

Soon Lester is certain of only one thing: Ira has a secret. Something that will link their pasts and change the course of their future—if Lester is willing to face what’s on the inside.

THIS WAS another story where the ending sort of surprised me, and not because it ended up somewhere where I thought it wouldn’t, but more how the epilogue kinda pushed the boundaries of my palate, if you will. Because of how terrifying and horrible the gruesome details were, my brain may have blanked out the ultimate message of the piece, and I’m uncertain I want to take the deep breath necessary to analyze it further… which of course means it was a perfect addition to this anthology. *shivers*
5.0 out of 5 stars Company by Roan Parrish This was really nice, I really loved Nick 3 Dec. 2016
By Ana - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Company by Roan Parrish
This was really nice, I really loved Nick, he was so sweet, it was hard not to love him. Michel was also nice, but just for the different reasons than Nick. He was so scary. I loved this character very much because I keep guessing all the time about what was on his mind. The plot is really good, is different, it had some nice romantic moments. I liked how Nick was very ambivalent about his feelings for Michel, I was great to see the doubt in him and how the relationship change.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper
One of the things I loved the most of this story was the BDSM, It kind of feel like those were the best moments in Palmer and Jon’s relationship. For most of the story everything seemed pretty normal, I loved the way how some perfectly normal life can suddenly became some horror story. It was a very realistic turn of events. The characters were nice, and their relationship was so lovely, they were percent together.

The Price of Meat by KJ Charles
This story had some of the elements that, generally, might make me not read it. Most importantly of them all, I don’t like reading historical that much. But it was a good example, to me, of how pushing boundaries is important sometimes. I loved it. I was so amazing, It was so strong on the mystery part. The plot was so good, It start a little slow but there was a moments when I just couldn’t stop reading, so exciting. The characters were very nice. I do feel like I didn’t get to know them as much as I would like. The only issue I had with it is that I want more, I wish I could get to know more of Johanna and Arabella’s relationship and there is a character near the end that I would really love to know his story. It’s my first book from the author, but judging by the way I felt reading this, It surely won’t be the last.

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman
I really liked Carl, he was such a sweet character, but I wasn’t sure about Steve. I just couldn’t care so much for him, but one thing I really liked of him, was his internal struggle of not become something he didn’t want. The secondary characters were interesting. I was a little confused at the beginning of the story, but after a while it was nice to guess the mystery behind the flask.

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale
This was so awful, but in the right kind of way. It was terrifying. I was so scared I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep after finished reading this one. One of my usual reactions when I’m scared, which doesn’t happen often, is laughing, I don’t know why but that’s what I do. While reading this, I was laughing uncontrollably. There were times when I had to put the book down to pull myself together. And I even was afraid of being alone. The entity was an awful thing, something I would never read about. I know my limits and what scares me, and I think, if know what that thing was, I probably wouldn’t read it, but as I was blind to what it was I read it anyway. I don’t regret it because the story was amazing and I probably would have missed it. I’m speechless about it, I just was so frightened, but even then I think this was the story I liked the most. Is the first time I read something from this author, but someone who can create such strong emotion on a reader, it surely needs to be read. I will be looking for more books her.

Beauties by J.A. Rock
I really loved this story, but most of it I loved Ira, he was such a beautiful character, I liked everything about him, his apparent inability the feel emotions, the monotonous way he speak, how a non-human character can seemed more human than actual humans. The way he thinks, is also very interesting, especially in the last moments of the book. I liked Lester too, but I guess not as much as Ira. Some of the events, even though awfully sad, made such a great story. It was very unexpected, I really enjoyed it.

Overall I think it was an amazing group of stories. There is a little bit of everything here. I think a lot of reader can enjoy it. It is important before reading it to know that it might not be happy endings in all of the stories, but regardless that fact, there are some really amazing stories told here.

• ARC Provided by publisher
4.0 out of 5 stars More creepy and surreal than terrifying, but well-told 2 Dec. 2016
By Bob Milne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The introduction of All In Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales promises a "compilation of chilling horror stories from six of the top names in queer romance." While I felt it missed the mark on the terrifying side, and wasn't quite as titillating as I expected, there were still some exceptionally strong stories here that make it a worthy read.

'Company' by Roan Parrish was a creepy little tale, featuring a lonely teenager, his first real love, and a comic book obsession. While you never know whether Michel is a real threat or just a figment of Nick's imagination, Nathaniel's accidents do seems to suggest the former.

'Love Me True' by Kris Ripper was one of those stories where I saw the big twist coming very early on, but it does deliver on the titillation, and it had a very kinky Hitchcock type feel to it.

'The Price of Meat' by KJ Charles was probably the best written story in the collection, and the most engaging. It's period setting captured me from the start, with some great set pieces and a few fantastic characters. It also has the best payoff of all the stories.

'His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl' by Steve Berman was an interesting story with some Twilight Zone style promise, but it just felt too . . . well, thin for my tastes. The whole frat hazing didn't help (I've never understood that culture of bullying and torment), but I really expected more of a payoff from that mysterious flask.

'Legion: A Love Story' by Avon Gale was definitely the weirdest story here, told through journal entries, emails, browser histories, and voice recordings of a lone Marine, charged with observing a strange prisoner. The slow, gradual seduction of evil was very well done, and the ending was nicely creepy.

'Beauties' by J.A. Rock was a fascinating study of human behaviour, of nature versus nurture, and of the potential in artificial intelligence. It's a dark, sci-fi mystery, with a lot of tension, questions, and suggestions throughout. This one had twists aplenty, including a final scene that tops everything else in the collection.

More creepy and surreal than terrifying, and more suggestive than titillating, All In Fear was still a strong collection of well-told stories.
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