Six delish YA supernatural romance short stories with a cocoa twist.
Death by Chocolate is the paranormal young adult romance anthology. Six authors, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Cheryl J. Carvajal, Nikki Jefford, Lucy Swing, Kira Saito and Suz Korb, bring you supernatural adventure stories, each with a cocoa twist. The stories are: Back in Time by Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Sweet Witchery by Cheryl J. Carvajal, Spellbound by Nikki Jefford, Bloody Valentine by Lucy Swing, Sweet Torture by Kira Saito and The Girl with Three Heads by Suz Korb. Time travel, witchcraft, terror, agony and light hearted comedy too. Combined with more than just a hint of enchantment, these stories are the ingredients for the Death by Chocolate recipe of romance.
This is an excellent collection of short stories that all contain chocolate in some way and of course as its available on the 14th Februaury they all contain a reference to Valentines Day too! I have decided the best way to "review" this book is to review each individual short story. So here goes;
Back In Time by Stacey Wallace Benfield
In this short story a woman is returning to her home town wishing she had done things differently all those years ago. She meet a mysterious old tramp who gives her an old broken mobile phone to hold so people don't think she is mad when she talks to herself!
Then Wham she suddenly has a chance to change history and in doing so alter the future. Can she do it? Can she change just enough to gain the correct outcome? Does she even want to change things?.............
I really enjoyed this one and would say it was one of the best, if not the best in the anthology, so a great one to start it off. It is well written, it had the whole beginning, middle and definite end. Just the thing to read with a cup of cocoa or a glass of wine! I will definitely look for more books by this author.
Sweet Witchery by Cheryl J Carvajal
A mysterious witch turn up and opens a chocolate shop, her name is Ramnusia. People are slow to use the shop as they do not take so well to strangers.
One elderly blind old man who you could say is a tramp, is given some chocolates by Ramnusca and days later his sight begins to come back. Others hear of the "magic chocolates" and they too sample the chocolates and have their own miracles.
A father is anxious to find a husband for his only daughter decides to literally sell her to a wealthy landowner. The landowner is a mean and greedy man so naturally the girl has no wish to marry him in fact she has her sights set on a much younger though less well off man. When the landowner realises the girl does not wish to marry him he has the idea to eat the "magic chocolates" as everyone that eats them in his thinking gets exactly what they want. However things do not work out like that, ..... read to find out the true gift of what the chocolates do for people.
Again I loved this story, especially the lovely little twist and the happy endings the people that eat the magic chocolates end up having. This book has mystery, love, greed and betrayal. A real feel good book, would add this author to my "keep an eye out for" list.
Spellbound by Nikki Jefford
In short story three we have a tale of jealousy really. It features the witch twins Graylee & Charlene.
Its a tale of one witch twin, Charlene, wanting revenge on a girl that steals her boyfriend. She decides to bake some chocolates and puts in some mystery ingredients, unfortunately her unsuspecting twin, Graylee sample one of the chocolates ad ends up being the one that dies!
The twins mother is naturally devastated but really makes matters even worse by consulting a dark magic specialist. its a case of be careful what you ask for!
This one is quite funny and a little sinister I suppose. It shows what jealousy can cause. For twins these girls are not very ...er close, it seems like Charlene doesn't care who gets hurt as long as she gets her way. Again if I saw a book by this author I would certainly pick it up and check it out. This one could be aimed at the YA market too.
Bloody Valentine by Lucy Swing
The fourth in the anthology starts with us being in someone dream, or should we say nightmare!
Its a recurring dream she keeps having. What makes it more sinister is the girls she sees tied up in her dream/vision/nightmare are the girls that are mysteriously disappearing...Of course theres a a few guys thrown into the mix there's the rather overly confident one and the dark brooding one called Jude in this case who the girl secretly loves.....
Hmm, I did like this one just perhaps not as much as some of the other short stories, I think we needed longer to get attached the characters and to know more in the story and witness the other girls going missing, this one could have been fleshed out a lot more and I think been made into a full length novel...I felt like I wanted more from it.
Sweet Obsession by Kira Saito
This short story has the bitchy rich good looking size zero girl and the "sheep" that follow her. In this case the bitchy girl is called Beatrice. She leads the guys on and literally gives them tasks to complete before she will actually allow them to date her.
The gorgeous guy she wants to play with this time is called Dante. And the poor girl that gets caught in the middle is Claudia. Claudia and Dante end up accidentally bumping into each other in a coffee shop, they find they really like each other and hang out together, there relationship getting stronger.....or is it? Is Dante falling for Claudia? Or is Dante merely carrying out a task to gain a date with Beatrice? And where does a voodoo doll fit into this short tale?
This one was a light, funny, chick lit type tale. It makes you smile on more than one occasion, though you will shake your head and roll your eyes too! its well written and flows well as a short tale. Once again I think this would appeal to the YA market.
The Girl With Three Heads by Suz Korb
This is last in the anthology. One morning a girl wakes up after what she describes as a powerful dream,and she looks in the mirror and AARRRRGGHH! she sees she has three heads!!! The heads are Hera and Zeus. the girl goes about her daily life and no one looks at her twice so she presume she was imagining the heads. Only one person gives her a strange look and that is Jason, whom she thinks of as a bit of a hunk.
This is an Olympian Fantasy, as it features Hera, Zeus, Persephone and Hades. it is very "otherworld" This is a short story that could also have been made into a much longer tale too. Personally I have to say I wasn't as keen on this one, I felt things needed explaining more. it kind of started and was over before I knew what was going on. Perhaps as a spin off from a series it may work for some, but I don't know I just kind of thought "Oh" it didn't impress me as much as the other short stories in the anthology.
So did I like the anthology? Yes, would I recommend it? Yes to YA and adults too! Would I read more books/stories by these Authors? Yes I would certainly check out other titles by all the authors in this book. Which was my favourite short story in the Anthology? Hmm tricky...I need to pick two.....Back In Time by Stacey Wallace Benfield and Sweet Witchery by Cheryl J Carvajal.
Had I heard of the Author in this anthology before? Only Kira Saito though I hadn't read her books before.
This Anthology is released on 14th February 2012.
Available Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk £1.95 Great price for six chocolatey tales!