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  • Writer's pictureChristina Pfeiffer

Christina Critiques - 2/4/24


This blog post should be titled, “Christina is long winded and is forcing you to read a whole ass novel”.

But I read so many great novellas and collections this week I had to share them all!

Let’s get into them.



By Brian Bowyer

Brian caught my attention when I read SCARLETT and after seeing he had a new book release, I decided I should go in blind to GRINDING ROAD… friends, I see clearly now and need a lobotomy.

Devonte likes women giving him the cold shoulder among other parts, Tina like the ladies, Jinx is Devonte’s brother, Roxanne is a writer, and Leo is Jinx’s business partner. Add in some political cannibalism, back stabbing, and days that go from bad to worse and you have a recipe for GRINDING ROAD.

Let me tell you, friends, this novella is 138 pages and my jaw was on the floor for at least 75 of them. GRINDING ROAD is not for the faint of heart. No. No. It’s offensive, bloody, upsetting, page turning, and exactly what I needed. Bowyer shows he is a powerhouse of insanity and I am here for it.





By J.E. Erickson

I don’t know what I expected with this novella but it wasn’t what I got. I am so glad I was wrong in thinking it was adorable little dust bunnies that had a bit of an attitude, it’s not innocent and I loved it!

Sadie and her sister, Krista, do not have the easiest lives. With an abusive mother who works all the time and an MIA father, of course the girls will get into shenanigans - be it Satanic demon possession or otherwise. But when a demon possession goes terrible wrong, the fur … I mean the dust bunnies will fly.

HOW IS THIS NOT MORE KNOW!?  It has so much going on in so few pages; familial loyalty, bloody carnage, LGBT representation, Critters/Gremlins with demon possession, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is YA but it doesn’t feel that way for those who may be a little hesitant to try it.

A SUPER surprise for this gal. I’m not only impressed by it but I will be re-reading it in the near future.





By William Simmons

Don’t do what I did and sleep on this collection. You will not be disappointed in this absolutely stellar collection. Let’s jump in.

Davy - Davy isn’t exactly like normal kids. He is a wee bit different and Paul can’t help notice and worry what will happen next.

Following the Stones - What happens when Ben foes a grotesque reverse parade of death stories of those he knows in the cemetery? (One of the most creative shorts I have ever read and my favorite.)

Strange Birth - Tera knows there is something different inside of her and when Andrew comes along, he sees it too. Happily Ever After, am I right?

Small Decisions - Mark is having a rotten time but things look up when he gets a new job in a preschool. What could go wrong? (Another creative story.)

Do the Dead…? - David has bad thoughts and when he does, bad things happen. Moral - don’t piss David off.

The Ritual - Mike is a grief eater but when one wake turns into an odd Tinder date type Freaky Friday, he may wish for loneliness again.

Skin - Trenton loves the feel of skin for its safety so much so it was a family affair until he meets Sandra and then everything changes. (This one made me gag.)

The Screaming Woman - Kelly and Doug bought the house of Kelly’s dream but something is in it with them and it’s isn’t vermin.

The Holes in His Face - Abe and Mark are having a heart too heart or well, a rerun of a heart to heart. (This is absolutely heartbreaking and a tale of too little, too late. Another favorite.)

When Darkness Answers - Jason and Sue are just not on the same page anymore in their marriage. When an intruder forces them to come together, will that solve everything?

WHEN THE DARKNESS ANSWERS is one of the most creative collections I have read in a long time. Every story is heavy and the darkness really does descend and answer your request for it. Superb. Every single one of them.





E.C. Hanson

WHAT THE HOLY SHIT WAS THIS NOVELLA?! (In a good way.) I was not prepared for the emotional stabbing that Mr. Hanson caused. I’m not OK after his and it’s his fault.

The Stepney Green Killer has something to say and by God, his town will listen. Dolores Waverly needs more out of life since her husband has retired and finding the killer is just the ticket. Benjamin has to learn all he can about the killer so he can finish his senior project. When all three lives crash suddenly into each other, the town nor the characters will ever be the same.

Hanson hooked me from the first sentence and still hasn’t let go (I finished the book days ago.) The way he made me love or hate these characters with my whole heart was so damn impressive. Don’t dilly dally with THE STEPNEY KILLER, friends, this is remarkable.





By Kevin J. Kennedy

Kennedy makes learning the alphabet a little more gory and unsettling in this collection of short stories, drabbles, and poems. There are more than 26 when you add in the others, so let’s jump in and look at some of my favorites.

D is for Drabble - all of them are great. A few funny, some insane all perfect. (Edible Panties was my favorite.)

E is for Elena - Elena gets a wee more than she bargains for with a threesome with her long term boyfriend, Martin, and new comer (ha) Isla. Sooooo much more.

G is for Gills - I don’t know why but this one was the saddest in the bunch. Just be prepared for the sads after reading it.

I is for It’s a Fairy Tale Out There - What happens to all the characters that gets shafted in fairy tales? I need this short story to be a full on novel. It was my favorite out of the collection.

O is for Outback Raccoon - a fun how to for those pesky wives.

and lastly -

Q is for Quitter - sometimes it’s OK to say Uncle.

This collection is HIGHLY underrated. And if you add the audiobook on top, it’s amazing. There are so many shorts that something should tickle your fancy.

Absolutely superb! A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 5/5.




By Derek Muk

Let’s just jump right into it because I have something feelings.

Albert and Claire are divorced but still have a solid, respected relationship. Sometimes things just don’t work out. They are both teachers and while Albert is a low profile kinda teacher, Claire likes to cause a ruckus. So much so that the leader of the Utopia Euro-West organization is looking to have a conversation or two with her. Her feminist views don’t exactly align with their… values? Someone has to pay the piper and there will be a lot of blood.

Holy Toledo, friends. This is not for the faint of heart either. Politically, it is rough. If you are not open minded, this may be a miss. For me, I loved it. I love reading different views and how characters handle different situations. The organization is ruthless and some of the language used may be offensive. But how Muk deals with it and the love between Albert and Claire is some of the best I have read. He forces the reader to go through the story as each character and that fascinated me.

Superbly written and definitely one to pick up ASAP 4.5/5.


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