website statistics Cruel Works of Nature: 11 Illustrated Horror Novellas - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Cruel Works of Nature: 11 Illustrated Horror Novellas

Availability: Ready to download

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but supernatural curiosities brought it back. A Jack-in-the-Box made from skulls. A monster egg in the mail. A sketchbook bridging imagination with reality. What other wondrous and terrible secrets will these survivors tell? Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of 11 horror novellas about strange and exciting supernatural encounters. Reality Curiosity may have killed the cat, but supernatural curiosities brought it back. A Jack-in-the-Box made from skulls. A monster egg in the mail. A sketchbook bridging imagination with reality. What other wondrous and terrible secrets will these survivors tell? Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of 11 horror novellas about strange and exciting supernatural encounters. Reality and the fantastic are blended seamlessly in these immersive tales, with plenty of mystery to lead the reader on a thrilling journey. Some stories are dark and macabre while others whimsical and lighthearted, together ensuring constant surprises and terrifying twists to keep you reading until the very last page. Special edition with full page illustrations. Hand illustrated by the author herself, these images will bring the stories to life and give unique insights into the wild unknown.


Compare

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but supernatural curiosities brought it back. A Jack-in-the-Box made from skulls. A monster egg in the mail. A sketchbook bridging imagination with reality. What other wondrous and terrible secrets will these survivors tell? Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of 11 horror novellas about strange and exciting supernatural encounters. Reality Curiosity may have killed the cat, but supernatural curiosities brought it back. A Jack-in-the-Box made from skulls. A monster egg in the mail. A sketchbook bridging imagination with reality. What other wondrous and terrible secrets will these survivors tell? Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of 11 horror novellas about strange and exciting supernatural encounters. Reality and the fantastic are blended seamlessly in these immersive tales, with plenty of mystery to lead the reader on a thrilling journey. Some stories are dark and macabre while others whimsical and lighthearted, together ensuring constant surprises and terrifying twists to keep you reading until the very last page. Special edition with full page illustrations. Hand illustrated by the author herself, these images will bring the stories to life and give unique insights into the wild unknown.

30 review for Cruel Works of Nature: 11 Illustrated Horror Novellas

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    Title: Cruel Works of Nature Author: Gemma Amor Publisher: Haunted House Publishing Review originally published in SCREAM mag As a first step out of the gate, Gemma Amor brings a collection of eleven horror novellas titled CRUEL WORKS OF NATURE. I was immediately attracted to the gruesome cover and the potential for even more graphic imagery since the back of the book promised each story to have an illustrated cover page by the author. Gemma delivers! Each unique novella had the perfect sketch to int Title: Cruel Works of Nature Author: Gemma Amor Publisher: Haunted House Publishing Review originally published in SCREAM mag As a first step out of the gate, Gemma Amor brings a collection of eleven horror novellas titled CRUEL WORKS OF NATURE. I was immediately attracted to the gruesome cover and the potential for even more graphic imagery since the back of the book promised each story to have an illustrated cover page by the author. Gemma delivers! Each unique novella had the perfect sketch to introduce the story. My favorite was the one for, SCUTTLEBUG. I have an intense fear of spiders and Gemma’s drawing was so realistic, I almost couldn’t touch the page--but I did spend some time admiring her attention to detail. It was very lifelike and the story itself was terrifying. I definitely shouldn’t have read it before bed. It gave me the heebie-jeebies. The funny thing about the order of the stories is that at the end of each one, I’d think, “This one will probably be my favorite.” But then the next one would blow me away too! Gemma has a natural ability for storytelling. As soon as you read the first few lines of a novella, you get a great sense of the narrator’s voice and personality. Each tale is told in such a compelling way, they are almost impossible to put down. It would be easy to find yourself devouring the whole collection in one fell swoop. I really must highlight a few of my favorites: JACK IN THE BOX was fun because I loved the narrator. He was funny and likable. He tells the story of getting his wife the worst birthday present ever and there were things he said that made me smile. The ending was so unexpected, I read the last bit a few times out of shock. Really great story. BLACK SAND is so original! It starts off with this unsettling scene of some bodies washing up on shore in front of the narrator’s hotel room. She dismisses the whole thing rather easily but you, as the reader, hold that tension as some other strange things start unfolding. I enjoyed the sense of creeping dread and the ending was perfect! GIRL ON FIRE is probably my favorite in the whole collection. It was one of those stories that has the ability to make your heart race--even though you’re just sitting quietly in the comfort of your own home. The main character was someone I instantly fell in love with. I could have read a whole novel about her. I don’t want to spoil anything about it, but it’s a must read for fans who get excited about strong, female protagonists. THE PATH THROUGH LOWER FELL had a Stephen King vibe and the next story, HIS LIFE’S WORK felt Clive Barker inspired--which is always a treat for this horror fan. I’m not sure if the author was intentional about capturing the style of her horror influences but if she was--I applaud the homage to those two great writers! I loved both of those stories. As a big fan of short story collections, it is my recommendation to pick this one up. It’s always noteworthy when a new, female author makes an impressive splash jumping into the horror scene. And she draws her own macabre illustrations! It’s a win for me. 5/5 skulls Sadie Hartmann

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    Where has this creepy little collection of gems been hiding? Wow, did this one deliver. I wasn't familiar with Amor until the Night Worms reading group got this book for our group reads. I'm always excited but a little apprehensive when I get a book from a brand new author. I'm telling you now you need this collection. Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of 11 illustrated novellas that have a little bit of something for every fan of horror. Amor drew the illustrations herself, and each one per Where has this creepy little collection of gems been hiding? Wow, did this one deliver. I wasn't familiar with Amor until the Night Worms reading group got this book for our group reads. I'm always excited but a little apprehensive when I get a book from a brand new author. I'm telling you now you need this collection. Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of 11 illustrated novellas that have a little bit of something for every fan of horror. Amor drew the illustrations herself, and each one perfectly accompanies each story. There are some twisted stories in this collection, and I love that. It's just pure fun from start to finish. These are the stories that really stood out for me: The book starts of strong with a story called Foliage. It steadily gets weirder and creepier. I think there is a bit of a theme in this collection about not messing with the natural order of things. Two characters in this one definitely pay the price. Jack in the Box is so hardcore macabre! I will sincerely never be able to look at that toy the same way ever again. Black Sand is a story that starts off intriguing and leads the protagonist and reader to an enchanting nightmare. I like short stories that tease out the details about the protagonist as the story progresses, and this one does that perfectly. Girl on Fire is definitely one of my favorites and a seriously badass story. A young women is on the run and finally free from her terrible life. When she wrecks her car in the desert she becomes a new person. And she will never allow anyone to control her ever again. Scuttlebug is a dystopian creature feature that will give you the shivers. Arachnaphobes beware. The Path Through Lower Fell starts off as a pleasing hike through the countryside for a couple that quickly turns into an utter nightmare. However, the end of this story is so, so pleasing. Special Delivery makes me want to seriously inspect each package that shows up on my door. It's so unexpected and fun. I had no idea where this one was going, and Amor takes it to the craziest of places. Finally Sketchbook is a fantasy story about a special sketchbook and a child's imagination. It's also an unexpected reflection on death. This one will grab you by the feels. Sincerely, every single story in this collection is a winner. I didn't mention them all, but I truly enjoyed all of them. Definitely pick this one up. It's so worth your time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    "I am the fucking apocalypse." Cruel Works of Nature is Gemma Amor's debut collection of 11 short stories that each come with an illustration (drawn by the author). I read this book with the Nightworms review group, and I absolutely loved it! Gemma's stories are creepy, entertaining, and creative. The disturbing cover caught my attention, and it's probably going to be one of my favorite covers for this year. There is a good variety of plots in this set of stories - some are about family, some are "I am the fucking apocalypse." Cruel Works of Nature is Gemma Amor's debut collection of 11 short stories that each come with an illustration (drawn by the author). I read this book with the Nightworms review group, and I absolutely loved it! Gemma's stories are creepy, entertaining, and creative. The disturbing cover caught my attention, and it's probably going to be one of my favorite covers for this year. There is a good variety of plots in this set of stories - some are about family, some are about creatures, some are about (possibly) romantic relationships, and more. No matter what the stories are about, they are intriguing and often grotesque. It was so difficult to narrow down my favorites. I enjoyed all of the stories, and I rated everything with either 4⭐ or 5⭐. For today, my top three stories are Jack in the Box, It Sees You When You're Sleeping, and Sketchbook. But then Black Sand and Girl on Fire are also so damn good. And Path Through the Lower Fell. I'm a failure at choosing my favorites. This just proves how good the collection is. I really liked the illustrations introducing each story in Cruel Works of Nature! I would have loved to see more throughout the stories since I enjoyed the artwork & the stories were delightfully creepy, but I'm just pleased to have illustrations in a horror book. It adds a very fun and personal touch to the collection. Thank you so much to Gemma Amor for sending copies of Cruel Works of Nature to the Nightworms. I enjoyed this book so much, and I can't wait to read more from Gemma! I'm so glad that I was able to read this one for the Ladies of Horror Fiction Readathon during Women in Horror Month; it was the perfect choice. Pick this one up as soon as you can!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard Martin

    This review was initially written as part of my 'Ricks Read-Along' series for www.horroroasis.com and has not been edited from its initial format for Goodreads. Welcome to Rick’s Read-Along. A new series presented by Horror Oasis where I visit an author’s entire back catalogue and encourage you, the reader, to read along with me. I will publish my thoughts on each book every two weeks, while also announcing the next book I’ll be reading. Every author selected will be someone whose back catalogue This review was initially written as part of my 'Ricks Read-Along' series for www.horroroasis.com and has not been edited from its initial format for Goodreads. Welcome to Rick’s Read-Along. A new series presented by Horror Oasis where I visit an author’s entire back catalogue and encourage you, the reader, to read along with me. I will publish my thoughts on each book every two weeks, while also announcing the next book I’ll be reading. Every author selected will be someone whose back catalogue is readily available and is somebody we feel our readers will enjoy discovering along with us. I hope that you’ll all join me in sharing your thoughts. The first author in the series will be Gemma Amor. Gemma is a Bram Stoker Award-nominated writer whose books include Dear Laura, Cruel Works of Nature, White Pines, Girl on Fire and These Wounds We Make, all of which Gemma has self-published, as well as producing her own unique and beautiful cover art. Not content with conquering the world of indie horror, Gemma is also a successful podcast writer, contributing to the No Sleep and Shadows at the Door Podcast as well as co-creating the female-centric comedy-horror audio drama, Calling Darkness. Visit her website at gemmaamorauthor.com Next up on our readalong series is Gemma’s first short story collection, Cruel Works of Nature. I’ll be doing something a little different with this one and rather than one big write-up, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on each of the books eleven shot stories individually. As these articles are intended to encourage people to read these books along with me there will obviously be spoilers ahead, although I will strive to keep them minor and avoid spoiling major reveals or twists along the way for those who haven’t read it yet. Foliage This was a killer opening story and one of my favourites of the collection. What starts as a seemingly low-key exploration of grief and the loss of a loved one soon manifests as a horrific cautionary tale with one of the most vividly disturbing body-horror endings I have ever read. I really connected to Dan and empathised with what he was going through and it was a great hook to get you invested in the story. This short excels with the characters in general and even those with bit parts to play, such as the retired Sherriff, just add to the world-building that made this one such a stand-out for me. That, and it has one hell of a messed-up ending! Jack in the Box This lean, mean little short is one of the books shortest, but one of the most hard-hitting. It starts off as a pretty light, humorous little tale, but damn does it go to a dark place by the end! The fact that we know where the story is going by the midway point, only makes the inevitable all the more gut-wrenching because you hope against hope that the author isn’t going to go there. She sure did though, feelings be damned! Black Sand What really sold me on this short wasn’t the premise (which was a fun take on a familiar set-up) but the story’s lead character. The unnamed woman who stumbles upon a horribly mutilated body whilst holidaying in Italy is set up as an intriguing character from the start when her reaction to what she finds isn’t quite what you would expect. When the culprit is slowly revealed, it is how she deals with it, both in the moment and during the aftermath, and what we learn about her along the way, that makes this story more than the sum of its parts. Back Alley Sue While this didn’t end up being one of my favourites of the shorts collected here, it is by far one of the most creative, and that’s a bold statement for this collection because none of the shorts contained within lack creativity in the slightest, whether that be a new take on old tropes, or something wholly new and exciting. This surreal urban legend inspired short had great visuals and an interesting premise, and I enjoyed that it was told from the perspective of a homeless man, as it gave a new perspective on familiar things, which is one of the more interesting themes of this story. Girl on Fire This was probably my favourite short of the collection. This certainly bodes well for the final book of this readalong series, which appears to be a full-length expansion of this very story of the same name. You take to Ruby right from the start. She has such an infectiously upbeat, fun-loving attitude that it’s hard not to get swept away along with her. The good times obviously don’t last for poor Ruby, as tragedy strikes early on and things go even more downhill from there. I was really impressed how different she is by the story’s end, and what a journey she’s been on in such a short space of time, and I can’t wait to see that built upon in the novel. Scuttlebug Scuttlebug was my kind of short! This one was a good old fashioned creature feature apocalypse and I loved every word of it. Like a lot of stories in this collection, it starts off relatively small, building up tension, until things get dialled up to eleven at the halfway point. The creatures in this were frightening and suitably gross and just when you think that things have got about as gooey and disgusting as they are going to, ‘that’ scene happens! You know which one I’m talking about. You have a sick mind Gemma Amor, and I love it! The Path Through Lower Fell I really enjoyed the comedic tone of this one, especially as the humour is derived largely from 1. The ridiculous premise and 2. The two characters painfully slow realisation of what we, the reader, have been clued in on from the start. Why aren’t the cows eating the grass? Why are the cow pats pink? Is that a human skull? Why is that cow licking its lips at me? This story was hilarious, and a welcome addition to the woefully underrepresented man-eating cows’ subgenre. It was great to have a few fun and silly shorts, like this and Scuttlebug, in the middle of the book to provide some well-needed respite from some of the heavier themes of the earlier stories. His Life’s Work This short kept me guessing until the very last minute. I had no idea where it was going, but it was a fun journey getting there. What I thought really made this story work is how we’re fed just enough information at each point in the story to give you an idea of where things are going, keeping you intrigued and invested, but refusing to show its hand entirely until the end, at which point you feel like you’re prepared for the revelation, only for it to go down a much more cosmic, surreal path than you first thought. Like a mix between From Beyond and Flatliners, this was a continuously surprising story that works thanks to a tense build-up and all-out cosmic horror finale. Special Delivery Like Jack in the Box, this was one of the books shorter entries, but what makes this one stand out for me is the pure, unapologetic levels of weird. The premise is familiar (someone is sent a mysterious, sinister package in the mail) but I can’t say I was expecting anything else that came after this initial set-up. The juxtaposition of this larger than life, impossible creature that plagues our two protagonists, against the peaceful suburban surroundings was so wonderfully jarring and I kind of liked that we got precisely zero answers by the stories end. It Sees You When You’re Sleeping If I had to pick one short from this book that was going to haunt my nightmares, this would be the one! The story opens on Pete, mourning the loss of his long-term relationship with Mona and living with his eleven-year-old niece, Alice, who has tragically lost her parents. The opener is a heart-warming scene between the two on Christmas Eve that serves a much greater purpose in the story’s action-packed finale. I love Christmas and I especially love Christmas themed horror stories and this one has me very concerned at what might be coming down my chimney this December! Sketchbook The collection wraps up with something a little different to what came before it. This tale of a young boy who finds a notebook that brings to life anything he draws in it was a little more melancholy than a lot of what preceded it, but it also has a heart-warming undercurrent of feel-good positivity to it as well, a welcome note to end an excellent collection on. It had its scary moments and it makes the most of the concept, but the heart of the story is the mother-son relationship it presents which makes this a pitch-perfect mix of big supernatural themes and real, relatable family moments. Overall, I loved the versatility and mix of themes and tones in Cruel Works of Nature. The author wasn’t afraid to break your heart on one page before making you laugh on the next, right before scaring the pants of you by the end. Nothing is off-limits and the stories are all the more unpredictable for it. Please join me back here in 2 weeks, when we will be reading Gemma’s epic Folk Horror novel, White Pines. Hope to see you all then!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    I absolutely loved everything about this collection of short stories, from start to finish! I knew I had to read it after hearing so much praise for it and falling completely in love with Amor’s writing in Dear Laura. I loved her writing so much that I figured if the other stories in this collection were even only half as good that it would be a home run. EVERY story was on the same brilliant level with me constantly thinking “okay it can’t possibly get better than this one” and contrary to my b I absolutely loved everything about this collection of short stories, from start to finish! I knew I had to read it after hearing so much praise for it and falling completely in love with Amor’s writing in Dear Laura. I loved her writing so much that I figured if the other stories in this collection were even only half as good that it would be a home run. EVERY story was on the same brilliant level with me constantly thinking “okay it can’t possibly get better than this one” and contrary to my belief they did keep getting better and better with each new one topping the last. It’s difficult for me to pick a favourite story out of the bunch, each of them was unique and captivating and horrifying in its own way. And it’s even more impressive to me than the longer novella I read by her because each of these stories packs so much punch into so few pages, it’s just beyond amazing. I can’t stress enough how good this collection is, it is a must read for any horror fan!

  6. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    That was a pretty excellent collection. I loved almost every story in it, and found that Gemma's got an incredible unique and twisted way of storytelling. I went in with high expectations after loving some of her writing on the NoSleep podcast, and I wasn't disappointed at all. I gave 5 stars to almost every individual story (with the only exceptions belonging to a couple that were a little slow-paced compared to the rest), so it was hard to pick out my favorites. Here are a few that really stood That was a pretty excellent collection. I loved almost every story in it, and found that Gemma's got an incredible unique and twisted way of storytelling. I went in with high expectations after loving some of her writing on the NoSleep podcast, and I wasn't disappointed at all. I gave 5 stars to almost every individual story (with the only exceptions belonging to a couple that were a little slow-paced compared to the rest), so it was hard to pick out my favorites. Here are a few that really stood out to me, though: → Foliage: This story was what originally drew me to the collection; it was featured on a NoSleep episode and I thought it was brilliant. It followed a handyman who takes on a new job clearing out some overgrowth, and finds the most disgusting plants you could imagine. → Girl on Fire: When Ruby is in a terrible car incident, she should die, but instead, she finds herself rising anew with some interesting new powers. Finally the predator instead of the prey, she sets out on a journey to find a new beginning, and destroys anyone who gets in her way. Ruby's a total power-house and I loved her newfound rage. → The Path Through Lower Fell: This was my favorite of the entire book. A couple goes on their usual weekend hike, but they find an unsettling meadow and a herd of cattle that something has clearly gone wrong with. The twist went exactly in the direction I hoped it would and I loved it. → It Sees You When You're Sleeping: The next-to-last installment is a Christmas horror story that really made me look at Santa and chimneys in a whole new light. It's so bloody and twisted that I couldn't believe the direction it took at times (in a good way!), and I'm sure it will be one of those tales that really sticks out in my memory when I'm decorating for the holidays later this year... When you add in how great the creepy little illustrations at the beginning of each one were, it's no wonder I'm giving Cruel Works of Nature a resounding 5-star rating and will definitely be adding this to my list of favorite anthologies to recommend to other horror lovers. Content warnings for infant loss, assault, death, gore, infidelity, body horror

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex (The Bookubus)

    3.5 stars This was an enjoyable collection and I also liked the addition of the illustrations at the beginning of each story. The characters are well-written, the stories are varied and interesting , and there is a great mix of atmosphere, action, and creepiness. My favourite stories were: Jack in the Box, Black Sand, Scuttlebug, His Life's Work, and It Sees You When You're Sleeping. 3.5 stars This was an enjoyable collection and I also liked the addition of the illustrations at the beginning of each story. The characters are well-written, the stories are varied and interesting , and there is a great mix of atmosphere, action, and creepiness. My favourite stories were: Jack in the Box, Black Sand, Scuttlebug, His Life's Work, and It Sees You When You're Sleeping.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.reads)

    This collection sums up why I love reading short story collections: excellent writing and a wide range of creative storytelling that makes me want to seek out more from that author. I can’t even choose favorite stories because there is something in each of these stories that I loved. Amor has a wide range of narrators, themes, and horrors to offer. Each of the stories do dip into the supernatural, but how each gets there is different and pleasurably horrifying in its own unique way. There are quit This collection sums up why I love reading short story collections: excellent writing and a wide range of creative storytelling that makes me want to seek out more from that author. I can’t even choose favorite stories because there is something in each of these stories that I loved. Amor has a wide range of narrators, themes, and horrors to offer. Each of the stories do dip into the supernatural, but how each gets there is different and pleasurably horrifying in its own unique way. There are quite a few tales of monsters and monstrous things invading the everyday lives of normal people, like “Foliage,” “Black Sand,” “Scuttlebug,” “Special Delivery,” and It Sees You When You’re Sleeping.” These types of stories just straight-up freak me out. You don’t know when something that seems harmless might actually turn out to be something terrifying that is definitely going to kill you. How do you prepare for situations like that? I love reading about how characters respond when everything goes to hell in a hand basket. They also mix it up in style, from the moody noir-type of narration in “Black Sand” to the more balls-to-the-wall splatter-horror of “Scuttlebug.” There are also stories of people who wind up in supernaturally terrifying situations, like “Girl on Fire,” “The Path Through the Lower Fell,” and “Sketchbook,” but the characters take on that situation and turn it on its head in a surprising way. These are fierce and engaging stories that I was entirely engaged with. “Girl on Fire” has an impressive cinematic quality and a narrator that I really just want to be. “Sketchbook” reminded me of the movie The Babadook and was a brilliant rumination on the power of imagination. Amor isn’t just interested in writing interesting scenes of horror, she is also deeply invested in the characters she crafts. Most of the stories are written in first person, so you get an intimate look at who each narrator is. They all have a story to tell, a history beyond the horror in their immediate life, and that adds so much depth and resonance when the horror kicks in. I really felt for these characters, saw how the horror affected them and how they crumbled, or rose above it. That’s good writing. It doesn’t end there, either. There is just so much to enjoy and appreciate in this collection. Also included are great illustrations at the beginning of each tale that give you a little taste of what you are about to get into. I loved that extra touch! I can wholeheartedly recommend this collection to readers looking for some great short stories! My thanks to the author for sending copies of this one to the Night Worms to read and review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beverley Lee

    This creepy little collection has been on my radar for ages, so when I received a copy I dived right in and I wasn't disappointed. Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of eleven illustrated horror novellas. And there's such a variety of themes, ranging from relationships and family to a banquet of nasty, skin-crawling creatures. The author delivers a unique and fresh look at horror and each story is very different. We see how everyday life is darkened by these horrors and how the characters reac This creepy little collection has been on my radar for ages, so when I received a copy I dived right in and I wasn't disappointed. Cruel Works of Nature is a collection of eleven illustrated horror novellas. And there's such a variety of themes, ranging from relationships and family to a banquet of nasty, skin-crawling creatures. The author delivers a unique and fresh look at horror and each story is very different. We see how everyday life is darkened by these horrors and how the characters react is very *right*. There's no super hero antics, just raw emotional reaction. I enjoyed all of the stories but my favourites were Jack in the Box, the ending of which shocked me and made my toes curl, and which would make a brilliant short film, Black Sand because I loved the back story, and Sketchbook because of its exploration of love and growing old. But all of the tales are compelling in their own way and the addition of the beautiful illustrations done by the author add a really personal touch to an excellent collection. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next offering from Gemma Amor!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carla (Carla's Book Bits)

    It's just so easy to like Amor's stories, guys. So easy. I recently tried her novella, Dear Laura, and loved the hell out of it. It was a near-perfect work of horror for me, because it just hit all the right notes that I want to see in my horror lit. So if you've read that one and it left you with an itch for more, I guarantee Cruel Works of Nature is gonna scratch that itch, friends. This short story collection features horror stories filled with gore, creatures, ghosts.. and at the same time It's just so easy to like Amor's stories, guys. So easy. I recently tried her novella, Dear Laura, and loved the hell out of it. It was a near-perfect work of horror for me, because it just hit all the right notes that I want to see in my horror lit. So if you've read that one and it left you with an itch for more, I guarantee Cruel Works of Nature is gonna scratch that itch, friends. This short story collection features horror stories filled with gore, creatures, ghosts.. and at the same time it features very real characters. Deep characterizations, and such emotional resonance. Teamed with a delicious writing style, and you couldn't go wrong. Gemma Amor is quickly becoming one of my favorite horror authors, for good reason. Definitely don't pass up her work if you have the chance to get a hold of them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    C.J. Bow

    I have a hard time finding a collection of short stories from authors where each story is unique. Usually, I'll find tag-alongs to another story. Not an Easter egg, but more of a barnacle. A crutch to aid the author to the finish line. The same goes with the voices of the narrator of each story. What I want are narrators that are definitive and contained - separate - from each story. Even the greatest authors fall victim to this, and usually we forgive them because we love the style. We love the I have a hard time finding a collection of short stories from authors where each story is unique. Usually, I'll find tag-alongs to another story. Not an Easter egg, but more of a barnacle. A crutch to aid the author to the finish line. The same goes with the voices of the narrator of each story. What I want are narrators that are definitive and contained - separate - from each story. Even the greatest authors fall victim to this, and usually we forgive them because we love the style. We love the stories. But sometimes you crave separation. Originality. Also, I have a difficult time staying interested in first person narrative stories. Often the author will write themselves into a corner and describe their very own death - which for me is a very big pet peeve. How am I reading this story if the author of it is dead and/or gone? Gemma handles her business in all respects (with one exception). I was abundantly pleased At no time was I confused between the stories. Nothing bled together. Not the premises. Not the characters. Not the voice of the narrator. Let's briefly talk about each story. I have a hard time identifying what is a technical spoiler - so I'd proceed with caution if you are sensitive to spoilers. Foliage - Dan Burrows is a widower who takes up employment at Norfolk Manor, a place Dan and his deceased wife used to marvel at it's splendor. This story took some interesting turns, made some curious choices (Dan and his odd penchant for grieving), but ultimately was a fun read. Jack in the Box - Wow! Just wow! We run into Barry who tries to think outside the box for his wife's birthday present (tired of the mundane annual gift of perfume) and buys a - guess what - I think you know. Something is off with the present and sends this story into a jaw-dropping twist. As much as my innards squirmed, I loved it. Black Sand - Former American Army medic is on vacation in Italy and comes upon a series of strange deaths. She is then thrust into an uncomfortable situation with another American, who wind up on a beach that will be the end of you. The trip turns into a staycation. Good stuff here. Back Alley Sue - "Be wary of Back Alley Sue, the locals say." Homeless guy pan handles and finds his way into coming face-to-face with local legend. I had a great time shifting in and out of consciousness - seemingly warping from place to place. Fun fun! Girl on Fire - What a badass! Ruby - a bit on the nose for a red-head, but hey it's fun - is definitely the type of woman I would deem as un-fuck-withable. Scuttlebug - This one was one of my favorites. You know the writing is remarkable when the author deviates with a line like, "It was a goddamned, mother-fucking, fuck-nuggety SPIDER!" Despite that line, some of the best writing was in this story. The Path Through Lower Fell - This one. I live out in the country - so I pass by pastoral landscapes every day I go to work. I think I will always be skeptical of cows now. Thanks Gemma. His Life's Work - Great cosmic horror going on. I was pulled in and strapped to my seat! Special Delivery - UPS always delivers, but you don't want this package. It Sees You When You're Sleeping - This was terrifically bloody. Some of my favorite lines in the whole book are here - "In the brief interlude, the thing in the room lifted up Janice’s headless body and then, with incredible care and precision, neatly folded it in half at the waist, as if it were making a paper airplane. I heard the spine snap like a wet branch." A shiver rippled up and down my spine then, and now writing this. Fantastic! Sketchbook - I love the idea behind this story. Unnerving thinking about my very own adolescent child scribbling in the book and watching it come to life. This story holds the only exception. It's my pet peeve, and I own that, but the MC finds a way to share the story post-humous (if you will). It's my problem to deal with, so this impacted my rating none whatsoever. All in all, my favorite story in this is a split between Girl on Fire and Scuttlebug. One for the vivacity and fierceness of the MC, and the other because the MC was hilarious through a terrible situation. Never did I once roll my eyes at any of these cruel works of nature, regardless of their fantastical ways. Once I was dialed in on a story, I was hooked! Each one had their own separate voice, and never did they bleed together.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robert Vanneste

    3.0 - 3.5 . A entertaining read .

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Cruel Works of Nature, as the title suggests, there is a loose theme running throughout this short story collection about the, we'll call them oddities, that shouldn't exist in our natural world. Yet, these stories are so much more than that! These stories are sweet, hopeful. They are horror with heart. They show you that you can live through something so horrible, so bleak, so life-shattering but you can come out on the other side. People who don't usually read horror can't understand all the l Cruel Works of Nature, as the title suggests, there is a loose theme running throughout this short story collection about the, we'll call them oddities, that shouldn't exist in our natural world. Yet, these stories are so much more than that! These stories are sweet, hopeful. They are horror with heart. They show you that you can live through something so horrible, so bleak, so life-shattering but you can come out on the other side. People who don't usually read horror can't understand all the layers and emotions involved. I am frequently questioned, “Why do you want to read something that looks so scary?” Non-horror readers don't understand how multi-faceted the genre really is. It is so much more than just killer clowns and rabid dogs (not an insult to King, it's usually where non-horror readers go to describe scary books they've never read). Amor shows horror in all it's glorious dimensions. She infuses each story with just enough hope, just enough horror and a healthy dose of wit and humor. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on Amor's storytelling as I made my way through the short stories and then along comes the final story, Sketchbook. I honestly could barely read this story through my tears. They started almost immediately and didn't end until a good two minutes after the story was finished. This story was heartbreakingly sad and heartbreakingly sweet. Yes I am a huge softie when it comes to 1) little kids and 2) growing old, but I dare you to read this story and not feel at least a stirring of emotion. Sketchbook is a perfect example of how Amor seamlessly blends sweet with scary. It was the perfect ending to an already stellar collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Syeda Sumayya Tariq

    Omg, I loved it! I did the sin of judging this book by its cover and didn't think much of it. But these stories are awesome. The plots are not new but the way they are told is just great. Absolutely in love with the writing, never a dull moment in there. Very much recommended if you love short horror stories told in the manner of Stephen King :) Omg, I loved it! I did the sin of judging this book by its cover and didn't think much of it. But these stories are awesome. The plots are not new but the way they are told is just great. Absolutely in love with the writing, never a dull moment in there. Very much recommended if you love short horror stories told in the manner of Stephen King :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sjgomzi

    Original, gut wrenching character driven horror. Every single story in this collection was a horror triumph. If you’re new to Gemma Amor’s fiction, you can’t go wrong starting with this one, and I guarantee you will want her entire body of work. Flawlessly written. One of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. Her Christmas story, “It Sees You When You’re sleeping” is alone worth the price of the book. Loved this!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tam

    Creepy & Fantastic! The review title says it all! There's a little something here to please everyone. Full of chills and thrills galore! You REALLY don't want to turn out the lights while reading this one! I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. Creepy & Fantastic! The review title says it all! There's a little something here to please everyone. Full of chills and thrills galore! You REALLY don't want to turn out the lights while reading this one! I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    GD

    Where in the WORLD did this come from? In March of this year (2020) as the world descended into the maelstrom of pandemic, some authors were giving away books on Amazon for limited amounts of time. I picked up a few late at night and quickly forgot about them. Then one night, unable to sleep, I popped the Kindle open to see what I had, and decided to read this book, Cruel Works of Nature. The cover was gnarly and had a scary woman peeling her face off, and I said "Let's go!" I read the first sto Where in the WORLD did this come from? In March of this year (2020) as the world descended into the maelstrom of pandemic, some authors were giving away books on Amazon for limited amounts of time. I picked up a few late at night and quickly forgot about them. Then one night, unable to sleep, I popped the Kindle open to see what I had, and decided to read this book, Cruel Works of Nature. The cover was gnarly and had a scary woman peeling her face off, and I said "Let's go!" I read the first story and was really excited, then flew through the rest of the book. This is Gemma Amor's debut collection I think, and she seems to have fallen out of nowhere already a fully-formed horror writer. I loved this book! There were some odd choices she made (a few Britishisms that crept into the speech of American characters), but this collection was unbridled, old-school, fiery horror. The influence of Stephen King is probably most strongly obvious, but there is more than that; classic British fiction, feminism, and the new voice of the author herself. Killer plants, giant spiders, an abused woman wreaking revenge across the desert, lobster-monster Santa Claus, this book had it all. In a genre that I find increasingly filled with mopey, quiet stories about sad people haunted by the past, this book was like a hot-rod roaring through the graveyard, full of blood, monsters, and heart. Oh, the stories are all accompanied by illustrations, something I miss and really appreciated. "Foliage" opens up this collection and right out the gate we're hauling ass. There is a lot of backstory here for a short story but it never feels like it's looking backwards too long. A guy is hired to clear away the super thick foliage around this old house formerly occupied by an elderly couple who vanished one day years ago. What happened to the amateur botanist and his wife is the stuff of EC Comics nightmare, and I was jumping with joy after reading this. "Jack In the Box" is a shorter story about a husband who picks up a perfectly unsuitable gift for his wife, a jack in the box with a head that looks (and may be) the skull of baby. She leaves for awhile and the husband goes crazy, and when she gets back, the last pieces of the marriage are very quickly blown away. "Black Sand" is the story of an ex-soldier chilling out in coastal Italy in the off-season when the weather is pretty shitty. She is out running one morning and find a dead body (or half of one) on the beach. Cops are called in, doesn't seem like a big deal. A little later another body is found, again no big deal. The main character is mostly concerned with drinking in the hotel bar and being left alone, but this annoying dude shows up pestering her to visit the local-shunned black beach nearby. She goes. She shouldn't have. "Back Alley Sue" is a kind of urban legend story told from the point of view of a homeless man, about a kind of ghost woman haunting the maze of alleys in town. "Girl On Fire" is more of a badass revenge story than a typical horror story, about a woman who after a car accident in the middle of nowhere in the American west, wakes up physically transformed with pyromantic powers. "Scuttlebug" was a roaring fun story about the apocalypse coming in the form of man-sized spiders that might be alien. Some of the description in this story made me shudder. The description of spiders "boiling" out of a barn just turns my stomach haha. "The Path Through Lower Fell" is a short story about special cows. I really liked this one. "His Life's Work" was a crazy story about a travelling doctor and the mad scientist he visits. This one had a slightly different feel than most of the others, a more stately M.R. James style. "Special Delivery" is about this guy who out of nowhere receives a monster egg from UPS. "It Sees You When You're Sleeping" is a Christmas horror story. It started out reminding me of Ramsey Campbell for some reason but by the end the fire-hoses of blood and gore are turned on full blast. "Sketchbook" was the final and my favorite story in the book. This one felt more personal for some reason, and was more Amazing Stories than Tales From the Crypt. A mother is dying in a hospital with her adult son at her side, and the story drifts back and forth between the present and the nightmarish memories she has connected to a magical sketchbook she had given her son when he was five. This story was REALLY good, and I'll probably re-read it again soon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brittany (brittreads)

    4.5 This book was recommended to me to help me get out of a reading slump. Boy did it work. I read the second story first, and I immediately just had to keep going and read all the rest. It was like Amor was in my head, taking some of my own personal fears and writing stories about them. I felt myself feeling uncomfortable and cringing a lot, which is 100% the best thing a horror book can do for you. It’s beautifully written, I flew through the pages, and every.single.story was unique! I’ve not re 4.5 This book was recommended to me to help me get out of a reading slump. Boy did it work. I read the second story first, and I immediately just had to keep going and read all the rest. It was like Amor was in my head, taking some of my own personal fears and writing stories about them. I felt myself feeling uncomfortable and cringing a lot, which is 100% the best thing a horror book can do for you. It’s beautifully written, I flew through the pages, and every.single.story was unique! I’ve not read any stories like these before! It overall was a lot of fun and a lot of discomfort (again I mean that in the absolute best way possible) I will definitely be reading more for Gemma Amor.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Blanchard

    Cruel Works of Nature is a treasure of a book being a collection of (count them!) 11 novellas brought together under one title. The title is the theme itself with each story within itself with boundaries that don't touch any of the others. Within these you will find mad scientists, insane people, dangerous creatures, people pushed to their limits, and just plain strange situations where humans though scathed have a chance to survive them somehow. No matter how weird or grotesque the situation mi Cruel Works of Nature is a treasure of a book being a collection of (count them!) 11 novellas brought together under one title. The title is the theme itself with each story within itself with boundaries that don't touch any of the others. Within these you will find mad scientists, insane people, dangerous creatures, people pushed to their limits, and just plain strange situations where humans though scathed have a chance to survive them somehow. No matter how weird or grotesque the situation might be, underlying each story are...humans with our frights, courage, scared wits, our souls going through a kind of hell. Yes, many of the plots come across as totally insane but those connected with the story star in their own light, strong character identification for the reader. The stories in Cruel Works of Nature come off as mainstream writing with a whole lot of demonic monkey wrenches thrown in and the novellas carry on with a new normality. The writer is Gemma Amor (cool name). The illustrator is Mark Pelham. The publisher is Haunted House Publishing. This is a true gem of a book you will be pleased to own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    V. Castro

    You know you have read something brilliant when the story sticks with you, when you are reminded of their emotional or psychological pull at a random moment. Cruel Works of Nature is a fantastic collection of stories that range from heartbreaking to haunting. My favourites were Foliage (weird and imaaginative), The Path Through Lower Fell (unexpected- which I love), Girl on Fire (fuck yes!) and It Sees You When Your Sleeping (gruesome and twisted). Although, they are all great! I absolutely recc You know you have read something brilliant when the story sticks with you, when you are reminded of their emotional or psychological pull at a random moment. Cruel Works of Nature is a fantastic collection of stories that range from heartbreaking to haunting. My favourites were Foliage (weird and imaaginative), The Path Through Lower Fell (unexpected- which I love), Girl on Fire (fuck yes!) and It Sees You When Your Sleeping (gruesome and twisted). Although, they are all great! I absolutely reccomend this book for Women in Horror Month! Also check out the Author's Kickstarter.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Very rarely do I read a collection of short stories where I liked every single one! Looking forward to more from Amor!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kitty Marie

    Content Warnings – Violence, death, some gore, killer spider apocalypse in one particularly story. If you have arachnophobia, very much beware. When perusing the Kindle Unlimited selection for the first time during a 3-month trial I tried a couple of months ago, my first impression was that there are so many books to choose from- including many little known indie titles. Who knows what’s worth checking out and what isn’t? I could just sense that, as is the case with traditionally published books, Content Warnings – Violence, death, some gore, killer spider apocalypse in one particularly story. If you have arachnophobia, very much beware. When perusing the Kindle Unlimited selection for the first time during a 3-month trial I tried a couple of months ago, my first impression was that there are so many books to choose from- including many little known indie titles. Who knows what’s worth checking out and what isn’t? I could just sense that, as is the case with traditionally published books, there are so many great gems that just slip through the cracks. I go on this tangent because Cruel Works of Nature is one of those books I would have never found or thought to read. Turns out, it’s so good and worth the while. The writing style is very inviting and conversational, often making use of first or second person narrative. Very subjective, but I really love second person narration, draws me immediately into a story. When toying with giving this a four or five stars on Goodreads, I finally just went for five stars. Reason being that if you like short horror stories- think Fear Street/Goosebumps, but for adults- this is a collection well worth checking out. It also gives me some strong Tales From The Crypt-like vibes. The nostalgia factor from that made this one of the most fun reading experiences I’ve had in a long time. I’ll start with the most praise-worthy element. The variety among the stories and voices there-in is impressive and broad. Each of these 11 stories has a differing protagonist, setting, theme, tone, horror subject, and voice. I bring up voice because each protagonist really comes off uniquely. There were some I liked and some I disliked. They vary so much in age, personality, and of course the horror element of each story is wildly different. We have silly types of horror like killer cows and an apocalypse spurred by giant man-eating spiders. And there are more serious stories too, centering around the loss of a child or spouse, or the dissolution of a marriage. Some of the stories give off a sci-fi or dystopian vibe. I was constantly surprised by each new story. Even the prevailing moods of the characters caught me off guard several times. Most of the styles of horror present here vary from cheesy fun to thought-provoking, and a few of them are grisly and gory. The only downside I’ll mention is that the quality of the stories can be uneven in both appeal and writing. A few of the stories were in need of better proofreading. One of the earlier stories had a serious over-use of commas. However, this was only an issue in a few stories and the vast majority of them are solidly written with only minor issues. The last two stories had, by far, the best writing and characterization. They’re also two of the longest in the collection. It was at that point I realized that most of the stories- while fun and consistently enjoyable- were lacking in lovable characters. This is more of a personal preference, but the tension in a horror scenario is so much more impactful when I’m desperately worried if character(s) are going to die or not. Also of note are the illustrations. I wish there were more. There is so much horrifying imagery within these stories that could make for some fascinating artwork. What’s here is well drawn and I always thumbs up the presence of bonus artwork in books of this type, but the style is kind of subtle. In closing, this is a unique collection. A perfect read for October. Why You Should Try It – Eleven highly original and wildly varying short stories. Lots of different horror elements and a sense of unpredictability about what will be the next subject. The protagonists are very unique from one other and run a wide gamut. It’s great to see fun horror anthologies geared toward adults. Why You Might Not Like It – Some of the protagonists are unlikable. While I liked nearly all of the stories, the last two really outclass most of what comes before. Do heed the content warnings if needed.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Tanner

    I like horror, I like gore, I like monsters, I like tragedy. Taking all these into account I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this collection, I’d certainly heard great things about it. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. This collection of 11 stories incorporated all that I love in the genre of horror. Bite-sized, nasty bastards of fiction that bleed from the pages with pungent chunks of slimy innards. Mmmmmmm. The title, Cruel Works of Nature, summed the themes of these stories up well. No I like horror, I like gore, I like monsters, I like tragedy. Taking all these into account I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this collection, I’d certainly heard great things about it. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. This collection of 11 stories incorporated all that I love in the genre of horror. Bite-sized, nasty bastards of fiction that bleed from the pages with pungent chunks of slimy innards. Mmmmmmm. The title, Cruel Works of Nature, summed the themes of these stories up well. Not that any of the tales were connected, but they all kind of were, if you know what I mean. Things started off superbly with Foliage. The mystery of a married couple disappearing years ago is finally solved when strange vegetation is found growing around their old estate. The gore-fuelled descriptions of body horror had me nodding and smiling like a psycho as I read this one. Jack in the Box was up next and was the tale of a, well you can guess, but one made from a human skull. No, worse than that, a child’s skull. Pretty brutal, eh? This was one creepy story but the only issue I had was with the main character, Barry. He was a bit of dick, to be honest, and I was hoping for an untimely end to him. I won’t say whether I was satisfied, though. An evil beach with black sand was the star of Black Sand. While the concept was great, again the main character annoyed me a little. But I’m being picky here, the sand is what this story was really about and it did its job on the scares front perfectly. For me, things declined slightly with the next two stories, Back Alley Sue and Girl on Fire. These just didn’t slap me in the wow-spot like the previous stories. I wondered whether this collection had peaked early. But not to worry, because straight after was Scuttlebug, a story of giant man-eating spiders. It’s not a new concept, but it brought a fresh take on a fear-inducing favourite. These weren’t just your run-of-the-mill giant spiders, though, they were intelligent. Well, for arachnids anyway. The Path Through Lower Fall follows a couple on a picturesque and peaceful walk through lush fields of loveliness. That is, before everything turns sour, and quickly. My earlier doubts were being nullified by this point. And then came my absolute favourite, His Life’s Work. Mad scientists are creepy anyway, but when a doctor calls round to visit an eccentric patient with a fully furnished and modern science laboratory in the back of his house, things get weird. It seems the doctor has been chosen very carefully by his patient. Part The Wicker Man, part Lovecraftian horror; I bloody loved this one. I wasn’t a huge fan of the set-up to Special Delivery, but when the action starts it’s a high-octane gore-fest. A strange creature emerges from a mysterious egg that arrives in the post. And its hungry. It also wastes no time in satisfying this hunger. It Sees You When You’re Sleeping introduced another other-worldly killing machine beast-monster thing, hell-bent on devouring us poor humans. This one gripped me, too. The tension was cranked up throughout, ending in a terrifying meeting with this blood-thirsty creature. And so to the closing act, Sketchbook. A mother lying on her deathbed looks back on a significant and terrifying ordeal from her past, along with her now grown-up son. Since buying him this weird-looking sketchbook back when he was five, everything fell apart. I knew where this one was going, but this certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment. So although not every story here worked for me, the ones that did definitely outweighed the others. If you fancy a gore-hit of short stories, you should be giving this one a try. And one other thing to mention, each story is accompanied by a picture. Now I’m not someone who can’t enjoy a story without pictures, but the inclusion of these was a very nice touch. I assume these were drawn by the author (they were all signed G.A.), and they prove that it’s not just words she’s talented with. These illustrations were superb and helped to give a sense of what the next instalment of horror would involve. Horror fans, check this out!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul Preston

    Gemma Amor creates real characters. She knows how to make you care for someone after a paragraph of words. Then she puts that character through hell, twisting your heart, making you beg to jump in the story and try to help. These eleven unique stories leave you questioning her sanity and in awe of her imagination. Dark, macabre stories where nothing is untouchable but yet, there can be a light breezy humor just under the surface.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley (spookishmommy)

    What a delightful and creepy collection of stories. I love that each story had a picture to go with it. Perfect touch.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sonora Taylor

    This is a great horror collection. The horrors range from creatures to plants to mysterious objects, and all managed to get at least a small chill to course up my spine. My favorite story was “The Path Through Lower Fell.” I also enjoyed “Special Delivery” and “Sketchbook.” Definitely one to read if you enjoy horror stories.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anonyma'am

    I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. Two things you need to know: First, I really like short stories and flash fiction. Now I read them before going to sleep, so stories that require too much effort in thought tend to get paged through. These stories did not get paged through. Second, I like horror stories. However, I rarely get chilled, much less frightened, by horror stories. Governments scare me. The casual cruelty and lack of sympathy and cha I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. Two things you need to know: First, I really like short stories and flash fiction. Now I read them before going to sleep, so stories that require too much effort in thought tend to get paged through. These stories did not get paged through. Second, I like horror stories. However, I rarely get chilled, much less frightened, by horror stories. Governments scare me. The casual cruelty and lack of sympathy and charity among humankind scares me. Monsters on a page? Not so much. I found the stories flowed well, in general, and the subjects and characters were interesting. I could see them being real people and I cared what happened to them. By 88% I had found no typos or missing/additional words, but there were misused words ("solace" instead of "solitude", "redolent" instead of "resplendent"). Here's what broke my immersion: seeing British English terms and speech patterns, I'd begin reading the stories assuming the characters were English. Then halfway through the story I'd find out the characters were American. That jarred me right out of it for a moment. Something early on to set the story in the U.S. might have helped. Bottom line: I enjoyed the stories and the artwork and if I happen to see more from the author, I may pick it up. But I won't go looking and will not be reading from this collection again.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura Pop-Badiu

    I was incredibly surprised at how good this collection is. Every single story surpassed expectations. Normally, in every short stories collection, there are a few hits and misses, but with Cruel Work of Nature, I'd say even the "weakest" one was still great. The book is easy to read, keeps you entertained, the stories are very original and engaging. I read this one a couple of months ago and still think of it almost daily. I would highly recommend this one to anyone interested in horror and it's I was incredibly surprised at how good this collection is. Every single story surpassed expectations. Normally, in every short stories collection, there are a few hits and misses, but with Cruel Work of Nature, I'd say even the "weakest" one was still great. The book is easy to read, keeps you entertained, the stories are very original and engaging. I read this one a couple of months ago and still think of it almost daily. I would highly recommend this one to anyone interested in horror and it's hard to think that anyone would ever dislike it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    1. So good I bought it twice. 2. I broke a sacred personal rule and snuck-read while at work. 3. I’m torn between starting the next in my TBR pile or simply starting this collection of page-turners over again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Keeler

    Cruel Works of Nature by Amor Gemma is billed as a collection of 11 illustrated horror novellas. This is from Haunted House Publishing, an enterprise associated with Tobias Wade. His recommendations have always assured me a good read in the horror genre. The illustrations show up in Kindle as a series of attractive drawings that precede each chapter. This is a concern for me because Kindle books with illustrations are not always compatible with all devices. This collection worked, and the illust Cruel Works of Nature by Amor Gemma is billed as a collection of 11 illustrated horror novellas. This is from Haunted House Publishing, an enterprise associated with Tobias Wade. His recommendations have always assured me a good read in the horror genre. The illustrations show up in Kindle as a series of attractive drawings that precede each chapter. This is a concern for me because Kindle books with illustrations are not always compatible with all devices. This collection worked, and the illustrations were a nice touch. Foliage ***** “I wrote my first letter to Louise a few months after she died.” I feel this is a powerful first line for the first story. After Dan Burrows lost his wife, he made a life-changing decision. From office worker to odd-job man, he may have felt getting closer to the earth was getting closer to his wife. When Fay Lockwood offered a job clearing the massive plant growths that were overpowering the mansion, she had abandoned years before, Dan was eager to start. What he found was not the type of connection he anticipated. Jack in the Box ***** I won’t copy this story’s first line (vulgar word alert). Yes, this story is about a toy that many readers are familiar with. Barry just wanted to buy his wife a birthday present that was not the usual perfume. The present was unusual. He should have bought the perfume. Black Sand ***** She had been a combat medic in Iraq and served three years until an IED wounded her so much the military discharged her. Funded by disability payments, all she wanted was peace and quiet, something she found at an Italian resort not overly occupied. She enjoyed her time at the beach until the day she found the first body. At least she wasn’t the one to find the second body. Suddenly, the resort filled with hundreds of guests for an event. She would have to seek solitude at the beach for a few days. She would only have to put up with Thomas, a fellow guest who was turning into a stalker. It was Thomas who found the abandoned beach with the very attractive black sand. The bartender had warned her, but Thomas listened to no one. Back Alley Sue ***** Nobody believed in the stories or existence of “Back Alley Sue.” That was a story for kids. Dave was an adult homeless person. He hadn’t always been homeless. After his wife’s unfortunate death, Dave’s life had spiraled down to this; a life on the street 50% of the time conscious and 50% of the time in the bottle (still on the street). Every day conscious was spent in seeking safe places to sleep while drunk. Places Sue frequented were not safe. Even in a drunken sleep, Dave remembered his wife but some of the memories were unclear. Sue would appear to help Dave. Girl on Fire ***** Ruby Miller loved her 1989 Pontiac Bonneville. As readers will see in this story, it was a burning love. My favorite car was a 1957 Pontiac Bonneville. I have a lot of empathy for Ruby but, to offer an insufferable pun, I would be no match for her. Scuttlebug ***** Frank had given up. He was “broke, fat, single, unemployed, and on the edge of drug addiction.” (pg. 151). Gathering all the money he could, Frank changed course, quit his office job, went back to school to become a psychologist, and cleaned up his life. Now he had to clean up a problem in his house. There were noises in the wall and they sounded serious and threatening. Luckily for Frank, he had a neighbor, Ted, who was a retired super-handyman type. Frank would ask for Ted’s help. It turned out Ted had a similar problem. The problem consumed him. The Path Through Lower Fell ***** Jim and Amelie were on a country outing. After they trekked through woods, they discovered a large and very lush meadow. In this setting, witnessed by only a few cows, Jim popped the very important question. It was the wrong question. His Life’s Work ***** Doctor Robert Richardson specialized in house calls to care for geriatric patients. Today would be his last call to examine another doctor, the 97-year-old Doctor Richard Halo. The older doctor was involved in private, probably unsanctioned research. He was just completing his life-long project and he needed only one more part. Doctor Richardson was “it.” Special Delivery ***** Ben hated to be disturbed in the shower but was happy when he opened the door to an extremely attractive delivery person. The package was heavy and mysterious with special instructions. Melissa agreed to stay while Ben opened the package. You might say she egged him on. Ben found innovative ways to use gardening tools. It Sees You When You’re Sleeping ***** The title is appropriate for the season. What can be horrible about Christmas? Think fireplaces and Christmas tree decorations. Sketchbook ***** The Bogeyman is real. Readers will agree that words are powerful. Otherwise, where is the interest in reading? This story adds to that. There is also power in drawing and illustration. This is the last story of the collection and the one I liked best. In any collection, there are very good stories and some that are less good. For that reason, I give this collection four Amazon stars. There is much more positive than negative with this collection. It might not be the best Christmas read for some, but this is my favorite genre.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...