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Hark! the Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology

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Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children--Want and Ignorance--beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts. Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.


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Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children--Want and Ignorance--beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts. Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.

30 review for Hark! the Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Char

    Christmas! I really can't stand it, but this anthology appealed to me for the following reasons. 1. The killer cover! (For which I got to host the exclusive cover reveal on my blog, Char's Horror Corner, and it was very exciting!) 2. It was edited by Christopher Golden and I've had good luck with anthologies he's edited in the past. I'm happy to report this one was no exception! This book was chock full of stories, nearly 400 pages worth, so I can't get into all of them here, but I will briefly t Christmas! I really can't stand it, but this anthology appealed to me for the following reasons. 1. The killer cover! (For which I got to host the exclusive cover reveal on my blog, Char's Horror Corner, and it was very exciting!) 2. It was edited by Christopher Golden and I've had good luck with anthologies he's edited in the past. I'm happy to report this one was no exception! This book was chock full of stories, nearly 400 pages worth, so I can't get into all of them here, but I will briefly talk about the tales that stood out for me: YANKEE SWAP by John McIlveen. Wow! We go from a woman trying to avoid her sexually aggressive boss at a Christmas party, to her getting knocked over the head and waking up tied to a chair. This tale had it all-violence, surprises and plot twists along with a satisfying conclusion. Bravo! 5* CHRISTMAS IN BARCELONA by Scott Smith. I love Scott's A SIMPLE PLAN, but this tale was completely different from his usual stuff. I was able to guess the end just before the story got there, but that didn't spoil the fun at all. 4.5* THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CHRISTMAS HOTEL by Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe Lansdale. This was a perfect "ghost gets revenge" type story and I loved it, as I do most anything he writes. 4.5* LOVE ME by Thomas Sniegoski. This twisted little tale reminded me of the Tribble episode from Star Trek. What fun! 4* GOOD DEEDS by Jeff Strand. I don't even know what to say about this one, but it's Jeff Strand. What else do I have to say, really? 4* IT'S A WONDERFUL KNIFE BY Christopher Golden. I figured out the conclusion early on, but that didn't spoil the fun getting there. 3.5* HOME by Tim Lebbon. This was a twisted little tale of the end of the world and Santa, albeit a Santa you would never recognize in a million years. 3.5* Lastly, THE HANGMAN'S BRIDE by Sarah Pinborough. Sarah's books have quickly become some of my favorites in recent history, (and I'm glad I have a good-sized backlog to catch up with), but this tale really took the cake. My second favorite in this anthology, with a distinct Dickensian feel, young William and his soot-filled lungs stole my heart. 5* Most anthologies are hit and miss with me-very rarely do all the stories hit their mark. In this case, though, it was pretty close to doing so, therefore I gave it a four star rating. Even if you hate Christmas, and you "Bah Humbug" with the best of them, this anthology has something for everyone-the variety is outstanding. So as the title suggests HARK people! Come and hear the angels scream! Highly recommended! *Thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this anthology in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  2. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus

    Content warnings include suicide, family violence, murder, sexual harassment and kidnapping. I’ll be completely upfront with you; I only wanted this book for the Seanan McGuire story. Well, that and the cover image that reminded me of one of the guys from Mars Attacks! playing dress up. I’ve never read Christmas horror before so didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping this book would contain a bunch of Christmas stories for people who prefer Halloween; serial killer Santas, blood soaked snowmen Content warnings include suicide, family violence, murder, sexual harassment and kidnapping. I’ll be completely upfront with you; I only wanted this book for the Seanan McGuire story. Well, that and the cover image that reminded me of one of the guys from Mars Attacks! playing dress up. I’ve never read Christmas horror before so didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping this book would contain a bunch of Christmas stories for people who prefer Halloween; serial killer Santas, blood soaked snowmen, Christmas trees that come to life and chase people through the house … What I found were some fun, creepy stories mixed in with a whole pile of stories that just so happened to take place on or around Christmas; Santa, Frosty and Rudolph not even peeking their heads around the corner of the page. Absinthe & Angels - Kelley Armstrong ⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s Christmas Eve and Ava’s childhood fear has just knocked on the front door. The concept was good but felt a bit disjointed for me. “Give us food. Give us wine. Then our song shall be thine.” Christmas in Barcelona - Scott Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Murphy’s Law tags along for a Christmas vacation to Barcelona with a couple and their baby. This one started slowly and didn’t feel like it belonged in this collection for most of the story but then it well and truly made up for lost time. You feel the same thought stirring - everything is going to be okay - but this time you have the wisdom to resist its lure. Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow - Seanan McGuire ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Seanan has proven, once again, why she’s one of my all time favourite authors! A babysitter tells the story of Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden to Andy, Chloe and Diane. I want to tell you more but don’t want to spoil it! “She looks for children who could be great, if only the snow that made them were melted down and given to someone else for safekeeping.” Love Me - Thomas E. Sniegoski ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 The Creeper gets more than he bargained for when he pulls his first job after being released from prison. I enjoyed the buildup but really wanted to know the history of what the Creeper finds in the apartment above the antique store. ”You came to steal from me, I know,” the woman called out. Not Just For Christmas - Sarah Lotz ⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you’ve ever thought your pet being able to talk would be adorable you’ll change your mind after reading this one. Technology and the family pet don’t exactly mix. Oodles of swearing in this one. “Do we really need any more surprises from you this year?” Tenets - Josh Malerman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Bringing a failed cult leader to your holiday party can really ruin the holiday spirit. I wasn’t sure where this one was going for a while but was getting into it when it abruptly ended. While I can imagine all sorts of things I wanted to see what really happened next. The last thing she wanted to be thinking about at a holiday party reunion was cults and cult leaders and what all that means and how sad it was if you really broke it down. Good Deeds - Jeff Strand ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 A man does a good deed and is so proud of himself that he writes a song about how awesome he is. His song changes peoples’ lives, although not for the better. Morbid and sort of amusing (but the type you feel guilty for being amused about), this was one of the weirdest Christmas stories I’ve ever read. I expect the insensitivity of the main character and the subject matter will be offensive to some readers. The world was a dark, ugly, selfish cesspool of misery, but I’d done my part to shine a ray of joy upon it. With only a credit card, I’d made the universe a better place. It’s a Wonderful Knife - Christopher Golden ⭐️⭐️⭐️ A sleazy Hollywood producer gets more than he bargained for when he takes an actress on a tour of his collection of rare movie memorabilia. A timely story but not really a Christmas story; just one that happened to be set around Christmas. “That’s half the fun for a collector. The macabre stuff always goes for top dollar.” Mistletoe and Holly - James A. Moore ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 A mother of three young boys grieves the loss of her husband as Christmas draws near, but just because she misses him doesn’t necessarily mean she wants him back. This one was predictable but creepy. It was the holidays. Best to be prepared for the emotional bloodshed. Snake’s Tail - Sarah Langan ⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s Christmas Eve and children are going missing in a little town on the bay. I still have no idea what this one had to do with Christmas other than the time of year it was set. Yes, the clock chimes, and by the time it stops resonating, the child is gone. Disappeared from her bed. The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel - Joe R. Lansdale ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Something awful happened in that room in the Christmas Hotel many years ago and now something wants justice. The room was fine the rest of the year, no complaints, but come Christmas Eve, no one could make it through a night. Farrow Street - Elizabeth Hand ⭐️⭐️⭐️ After her holiday plans fall through, Melanie decides to book accommodation in London and spend some time alone. On Christmas day she ventures out, trying to find an open restaurant, and finds herself in Farrow Street. I don’t think she ever gets her meal. I kept waiting for something to happen and when the action is about to start the story ends. She cast a final look behind her. A feather of candlelight touched the floor at the foot of the stairs and faded into darkness. Doctor Velocity - Jonathan Maberry ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Destroyer talks to Doctor Velocity about his desperation and fear of having lost the spark that made his artwork come to life. Doctor Velocity has a Christmas present for him. “Most often a person has survived because the monster did not want to destroy them all the way. To kill them would be to empty them of screams, of struggle, of fear and pain, and that’s what those monsters feed on.” Yankee Swap - John M. McIlveen ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 After avoiding her slimy boss at their work holiday party Kat finds herself in another nightmarish situation, and she’s not alone. That he had chosen her to go first was a terrible omen that seemed to validate her fear of not leaving there alive. Honor Thy Mother - Angela Slatter ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Agnes’ family are having Christmas at her home this year; she insisted. Her sons plan to talk her into moving out of her home and into an aged care facility. Agnes’ plan is better. She likes her privacy, knows it’s integral to her safety; her husband used to joke that if she could have got away with it, she’d have put a plaque on the front fence that read, “Nothing ever happened here.” Home - Tim Lebbon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The man and Old Bob make their way through an apocalyptic landscape. Is the man leading Old Bob or is Old Bob leading the man? And where are they going? It’s not until near the end of the story that its connection with Christmas becomes clear. Standing, stretching, the beauty and horror of what he saw struck home as it did every single morning. Hiking Through - Michael Koryta ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 While planning a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail a seasoned hiker hears a campfire story about a witch. I really enjoyed this one; I always love a good campfire story. We all laugh harder around a campfire, because we don’t want to acknowledge that some part of us is deeply concerned about what’s out there just beyond the reach of the firelight. The Hangman’s Bride - Sarah Pinborough ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The longest story in the collection and one of the best, the characters came to life for me and I want to read more by this author. Without giving away too much, Alexander’s grandfather tells him a story of a chimney sweep whose name is not Tom, a hangman, Miss Darkly, Mr and Mrs West, and the hangman’s bride. ‘People will do terrible things for love.’ Once I got over the gap between my expectation and reality I was able to enjoy most of these stories and have been inspired to attempt to write my own Christmas horror story, with plenty of tinsel, snowmen and blood. Wasn’t it Toni Morrison who said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it”? Thank you so much to NetGalley and Anchor, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book. My average rating was 3.86 so I’ve rounded up.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    How can you resist the title? Or the wonderful cover? It's an excellent collection of Christmas horror stories, just in time to get you in the mood for the season. Actually, the Christmas connection is a little tenuous in some of the tales, but that's okay. I particularly enjoyed the Golden (which revisits the Hollywood memorabilia collection from his earlier story The Hiss of Escaping Air (I think)), the Lotz (a good sf tale!), the Sniegoski (creepy!), the Malerman (we've all been to parties li How can you resist the title? Or the wonderful cover? It's an excellent collection of Christmas horror stories, just in time to get you in the mood for the season. Actually, the Christmas connection is a little tenuous in some of the tales, but that's okay. I particularly enjoyed the Golden (which revisits the Hollywood memorabilia collection from his earlier story The Hiss of Escaping Air (I think)), the Lotz (a good sf tale!), the Sniegoski (creepy!), the Malerman (we've all been to parties like this), the Strand (weird fun), the Moore (Yuletide Monkey's Paw), the Lansdale (yep), the Hand (just stay home for the holidays, right), the McIlveen (would make a great movie), the Slatter ('cause the season can make you sad, too), the Lebbon, and the Koryta (a good traditional horror). I was a little let down by the Maberry and didn't really get the McGuire, which is odd because they're two of my favorite writers. The best story in the book, by far, is the novella by Sarah Pinborough, a terrific Christmas tale even if Connie Willis or Charles Dickens didn't write it. So, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    Every year I say that Halloween doesn't get what it deserves... Thanksgiving is shortly behind and Christmas is frantically trying to cut the line. So when I received a horror anthology catering to a Christmas theme, well color me ecstatic! Now, I'm not usually big on short stories - sometimes they stick, but usually I just have this hankering for more... this one hit a few buttons for me. Equal parts thrilling, filling and just ok - I got what I expected... but THEN SOME. I recognized most of th Every year I say that Halloween doesn't get what it deserves... Thanksgiving is shortly behind and Christmas is frantically trying to cut the line. So when I received a horror anthology catering to a Christmas theme, well color me ecstatic! Now, I'm not usually big on short stories - sometimes they stick, but usually I just have this hankering for more... this one hit a few buttons for me. Equal parts thrilling, filling and just ok - I got what I expected... but THEN SOME. I recognized most of the names of those who contributed but found some new cats I can't wait to skin. While some stories dealt with actual Christmas type events, others just were set during Christmas time and didn't quite bring in a Christmas theme - personally, I was A-OK with that! The best part of the Halloween to Christmas time is that we get to take this time of ghoulishness to jolly celebration and make them all into something sinister if we want. Bring it on! As far as I'm concerned, it's Halloween October 1 - December 31st... oh who am I kidding, bring on the creepy ALL YEAR LONG! Stand outs for me are: Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith, Honor Thy Mother by Angela Slatter and Yankee Swap by John M. McIlvee. The reason why they're stand outs is that I haven't read these authors before. Other stories were also well done by authors I do like to read such as Sarah Pinborough and Josh Malerman. Ultimately I will say that this was one of my favorite short story collections to read. With the mix of good and not so good that comes with any anthology, this one was an easy one to fly through. Thank you to Anchor for this copy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Hark! the Herald Angels Scream is an anthology of eighteen Christmas themed short horror stories from a unique and talented writers of the genre. Some of my favorite authors of the group include Christopher Golden (also the editor here), Seanan McGuire, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and Jonathan Maberry. While some of the shorts just weren't quite my style, there were some truly fantastic gems that were exactly what I was looking for. For I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Hark! the Herald Angels Scream is an anthology of eighteen Christmas themed short horror stories from a unique and talented writers of the genre. Some of my favorite authors of the group include Christopher Golden (also the editor here), Seanan McGuire, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and Jonathan Maberry. While some of the shorts just weren't quite my style, there were some truly fantastic gems that were exactly what I was looking for. For me, the real standouts from the collection are "Absinthe & Angels" by Kelley Armstrong, "Christmas in Barcelona" by Scott Smith, "Love Me" by Thomas E. Sniegoski, "It's a Wonderful Knife" by Christopher Golden, and "The Hangman's Bride" by Sarah Pinborough. That's not to say that the other stories were bad, they just weren't what I has hoping for. Overall, I do recommend this collection, especially if you enjoy Tales From The Crypt or holiday centered horror.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tanya W

    I really enjoyed the stories in this book. My personal favorite was 'Love Me' by Thomas Sniegoski. The last half of the story had me hooked like no other. If you enjoy basic & just bizarre Christmas themed horror tales this book is for you. Highly recommend it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    Done! I feel like this anthology took me way longer than it should have, just because I wasn't really in the mood for an anthology until the last day or two, but it's honestly a phenomenal collection that I know I will be recommending for years to come. It's rare that I feel comfortable giving a short story collection 5 stars, but this decision was easy. RTC!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Cleveland

    When I see the name Christopher Golden, it is almost like the angels screaming! I've loved this author for a very, very long time. In this whole anthology, I seriously disliked 3 stories, thought 2 were crap, and the rest? Duh, they were Golden. "Cheesy, stupid grin." Anything that has Scott Smith as one single story out of many, will always get my attention. Add some J. Maberry, and Golden? Dude, it's on. There were quite a few tales here that kinda freaked me out. Other's, they were just reall When I see the name Christopher Golden, it is almost like the angels screaming! I've loved this author for a very, very long time. In this whole anthology, I seriously disliked 3 stories, thought 2 were crap, and the rest? Duh, they were Golden. "Cheesy, stupid grin." Anything that has Scott Smith as one single story out of many, will always get my attention. Add some J. Maberry, and Golden? Dude, it's on. There were quite a few tales here that kinda freaked me out. Other's, they were just really good. I can read anthologies til' the cows come home, but the ones I love are few and far between. This was the best I've read in years. Literally....years. By the way, why the hell hasn't Scott Smith's stories been brought together in its own anthology. Man, I'd pay money for that! As always, my thanks to the publishers and Netgalley. I'm not sure that I would have bought this. I'd have bought Goldens book, but probably not this. I would have missed out. Truly, one of the best anthologies in the past 20 years. No shit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.0 Stars This is a fun collection of horror short stories all set around the holiday season. I was fairly happy with the variety of the stories in the collection with each author taking a unique angle on the season with stories about everything from vacations to office parties. The stories were light-hearted and easy to read. There were some dark moments, but, overall, the stories didn't seem to take themselves too seriously. Unfortunately, I found most of the stories to be quite lackluster and 3.0 Stars This is a fun collection of horror short stories all set around the holiday season. I was fairly happy with the variety of the stories in the collection with each author taking a unique angle on the season with stories about everything from vacations to office parties. The stories were light-hearted and easy to read. There were some dark moments, but, overall, the stories didn't seem to take themselves too seriously. Unfortunately, I found most of the stories to be quite lackluster and forgettable. However, I did enjoy a few of the stories. Since I have a particular love for invasion/hostage related horror, my favourite stories in the collection were: Absinthe & Angels by Kelley Armstrong Yankee Swap by John M. Mcillveen I requested this anthology from Netgalley because I love holiday-themed horror and, honestly, I was pulled in by the amazing cover art!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elle's Book Blog

    Release Date: October 23, 2018 Genre: Horror Anthology with a Christmas Theme Actual Rating: 3.5 stars Okay. For the most part, this is a good book. It's a horror anthology centered around Christmas and features 18 short stories. Many of the stories are great. They are well written, interesting, somewhat creepy, and original. However, there were a few that didn't bode well with me and I had a hard time finishing them. Because of this, I am right in the middle in terms of my rating. I liked Release Date: October 23, 2018 Genre: Horror Anthology with a Christmas Theme Actual Rating: 3.5 stars Okay. For the most part, this is a good book. It's a horror anthology centered around Christmas and features 18 short stories. Many of the stories are great. They are well written, interesting, somewhat creepy, and original. However, there were a few that didn't bode well with me and I had a hard time finishing them. Because of this, I am right in the middle in terms of my rating. I liked the book, but I didn't love it. One of the best things that I personally got out of this anthology is a list of new authors whose books I will be checking out in the near future. Horror novels seem to be so few and far between these days and I never know which authors are going to thrill me or kill me (not in the literal sense). So this was really exciting! Ahead you will find my thoughts on each short story within this anthology. There aren't any spoilers ahead just a few thoughts about each one including my personal rating for each story. ********************************************** Absinthe & Angels by Kelley Armstrong: 3.5/5 stars My Thoughts: A very short read, but has a creepy urband legend attached (a Christmas one). If this was to be made into a full length horror/Christmas novel I think I would like it. Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith: 2/5 stars My Thoughts This didn’t feel like a horror tale and I skimmed the story. The writing style wasn’t in my taste either so the way it was told bothered me. Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow by Seanan McGuire 4/5 stars My Thoughts: This was a good one! Nothing truly felt creepy until the end, but it certainly ended with a bang I was looking for! I think many readers will enjoy this story. Additionally, I like the way the story was told. I felt as if I were a part of it. Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegosky 5/5 stars My Thoughts This was a good one! Very creepy. Something that will haunt your nightmares! I guess I won’t be looking at dolls and stuffed animals the same again! Not Just For Christmas by Sarah Lotz: 4/5 stars My Thoughts Wow. What an interesting read this one is! It’s original, funny, and creepy all in one. If this is what the future looks like. Eeek! Tenets by Josh Malerman: 2/5 stars My Thoughts: The writing style is something to be desired. I can’t stand sentences that go on, and on, and on…. And they did with this story. Had the writing been a bit more… Normal? I don’t know, maybe this is the authors thing. It would have been good. I liked the ending, that’s for sure. Good Deeds by Jeff Strand: 5/5 My Thoughts: Gruesome, somewhat hilarious, and an all-around Christmas tale of terror! So far, this has been my favorite of the bunch. I loved the narrator even though he was an egotistical tool! It’s a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden: 4/5 stars My Thoughts Interesting short story. I liked the idea of this one and seeing as I am a fan of psychological horror this one fit the bill. Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore: 4/5 stars My Thoughts: This is a creepy story! It’s like Pet Semetary but for humans! This is another favorite of the bunch and I think many readers will like it. Snake’s Tail by Sarah Langan: 2/5 stars My Thoughts: This one was weirdly religious and my feelings for it are… undetermined I guess you could say. I didn’t hate it but I can’t quite say that I liked it either. The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R. Lansdale: 3.5/5 stars My Thoughts: This is a good ghost story although my thoughts were left wondering why the narrator was taken to the hotel in the first place. Farrow Street by Elizabeth Hand: 1/5 stars My thoughts: Didn’t make much sense and it certainly wasn’t scary. Doctor Velocity by Jonathan Maberry: DNF My Thoughts: This short story simply wasn’t my cup of tea Yankee Swap by John M. McIlveen: 5/5 stars My Thoughts: WOW! I really enjoyed this one. I feel like I have seen a movie like this Honor Thy Mother by Angela Slatter: 4/5 stars My Thoughts : This was a lot of fun to read. I do think it could have been a bit creepier if the author TOLD us what the mother did in the end instead of making us guess. Home by Tim Lebbon: 1/5 My Thoughts: Unfortunately, this did not feel like a horror or Christmas tale to me. I didn’y enjoy it at all. Hiking Through by Michael Koryta: 4/5 stars My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It’s an interesting ghost story with a really cool concept. The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough: 2/5 stars My Thoughts: I normally love the authors books and have read a few that I really enjoyed. This one, not so much. I felt like skimming it even though it’s a short story. It just didn’t hold my interest.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Holly (The Grimdragon)

    “Snow is falling and Agnes is sure she can hear it whisper through the air and land with the softest of sighs on tree branches, cars, outdoor furniture, and on the layer of flakes already deposited on the ground. She loves how it looks, loves that there is a season that can be relied upon. Christmas in Salem will always be white.” Hark! The Herald Angels Scream is a collection of 18 stories centered around two of my absolute favorite things – Christmas and horror! Can we just take a moment to appr “Snow is falling and Agnes is sure she can hear it whisper through the air and land with the softest of sighs on tree branches, cars, outdoor furniture, and on the layer of flakes already deposited on the ground. She loves how it looks, loves that there is a season that can be relied upon. Christmas in Salem will always be white.” Hark! The Herald Angels Scream is a collection of 18 stories centered around two of my absolute favorite things – Christmas and horror! Can we just take a moment to appreciate that radical cover?! What a fucking throwback. I LOVE IT! There’s something about horror anthologies, y’know? This nostalgia that cocoons itself comfortably around me like a burrito blanket. Before Goodreads, Bookstagram, Twitter.. there were anthologies. I was never a big fan of short stories, with one exception. Horror. Horror anthologies were where I discovered new (and old) authors in the genre. Horror seems to suit the short story format better than any other. Unfortunately, this anthology was such a missed opportunity to not feature more diversity, especially within such a large collection. There isn’t any excuse not to ensure a diverse selection (with LGBTQIAP+, marginalized voices, POC, gender diversity) that reflects the world today. There are solid writers in this collection, including the elusive Scott Smith! I was already a big fan of Lansdale, McGuire and Armstrong so it was no surprise that their stories ended up being some of my favorites! However, the two standouts for me are from Angela Slatter and John McIlveen. Slatter’s writing reminded me of the glorious Margaret Atwood, which is a massive compliment. Her introduction in the Suspended in Dusk II anthology first drew me to her style and this only cements the fact that I need some more of her writing in my life! McIlveen’s story was along the same vein as a hostage slasher like Saw and Hostel. I dug the hell out of it! My favorites were: Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow – Seanan McGuire It’s a Wonderful Knife – Christopher Golden Mistletoe and Holly – James A. Moore The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel – Joe R. Lansdale Yankee Swap – John McIlveen Honor Thy Mother – Angela Slatter Ultimately, this was a mixed bag of good, bad and filler. (Thanks to Anchor Books for sending me a copy before the release date in exchange for an honest review!)

  12. 5 out of 5

    John J Questore

    As many who follow me know, I LOVE horror. What you may not know is that I also LOVE Christmas. Yes, I’m the one playing Christmas music right after Halloween (although, you should check out Midnight Syndicate’s CD “Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering” for a nice mix of both). Sadly, there are few authors willing to combine the two; I guess after Dickens, most thought they couldn’t compete. Because of that, any time I see a collection like “Hark! The Herald Angels Scream”, I immediately jump at the ch As many who follow me know, I LOVE horror. What you may not know is that I also LOVE Christmas. Yes, I’m the one playing Christmas music right after Halloween (although, you should check out Midnight Syndicate’s CD “Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering” for a nice mix of both). Sadly, there are few authors willing to combine the two; I guess after Dickens, most thought they couldn’t compete. Because of that, any time I see a collection like “Hark! The Herald Angels Scream”, I immediately jump at the chance to read it. However, when I found out that Josh Malerman wrote a story for this anthology, I immediately logged into NetGalley to request a review copy – and thankfully, my request was granted. Let me start by saying that this anthology is HUGE! While one or two may have missed the mark, for the most part, this was an extremely enjoyable read. ABSINTHE & ANGELS – Kelley Armstrong: This one will have you guessing until the very end. Mix caroling with trick or treating, along with some absinthe, and you’ll go crazy. 4/5 CHRISTMAS IN BARCELONA – Scott Smith: As a child, I was told an urban legend – at midnight on Christmas Eve, all your toys come to life. If you ever find yourself lost in Barcelona on Christmas, be careful of the old lady selling (what appear to be) animatronic toys. 4/5 FRESH AS THE NEW-FALLEN SNOW – Seanan McGuire: Be careful how you treat your kids, and be sure to check out your babysitter thoroughly. You never know who’s watching. 3/5 LOVE ME – Thomas E. Sniegoski: Reading this one, I got a GREMLINS vibe; but in a good way. 5/5 NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS – Sarah Lotz: This story was scary in that it may come to fruition. There’s these new pets, called Gens – extremely lifelike robots. What happens when their software gets hacked? You may not want to know. 5/5 TENETS – Josh Malerman: It’s no secret that this story was the sole reason for me requesting this anthology – and Josh didn’t let me down. There are some things that you just can’t escape – like the cult that Michael belonged to. Don’t answer the door if you have a stranger show up at your Christmas party. 5/5 GOOD DEEDS – Jeff Strand: This was my favorite of the group (sorry Josh). Jeff wrote an interesting take on the song “Christmas Shoes”. This story was hysterical in a very dark way. 5/5 IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE – Christopher Golden: seeing how the Capra film is my perennial go-to, this story struck a chord. Christopher writes a story about a stabbing on set, and the curse that the knife has. 5/5 MISTLETOE AND HOLLY – James A. Moore: I don’t even know how to describe this story. The twists and turns had me guessing all throughout. Just a word of caution, don’t steal your sister’s boyfriend, and especially don’t marry him! 5/5 SNAKE’S TAIL – Sarah Langan: I truly didn’t get this one. Children start disappearing, mysteriously. 2/5 THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CHRISTMAS HOTEL – Joe R. Lansdale: Joe wrote a classic ghost story. Creepy, atmospheric, and enjoyable. 5/5 FARROW STREET – Elizabeth Hand: This story started out to be a favorite. Elizabeth started writing a great Christmas story in London, almost like a modern Dickens tale. Her descriptive writing made you feel like you are actually there. However, the ending was just too bizarre; and didn’t match the beginning of the story. 3/5 (could have been 5/5) DOCTORY VELOCITY – Jonathan Maberry: The story was interesting, but the style was plain weird. I didn’t understand if the main characters where humans, or something else. It was very esoteric, and not my favorite. 2/5 YANKEE SWAP - John M. McIlveen: Take the movie SAW and revolve it around Christmas, but with a very interesting twist. 5/5 HONOR THY MOTHER – Angela Slatter: Wow! Didn’t see that coming. How well do you know the people in your family? Make sure you honor your Mother, or you’ll find out she’s not who you thought she was. 4/5 HOME – Tim Lebbon: A bizarre take on the Santa legend; or is it? Follow an old man in a red coat dragging what appears to be a dead body through a barren, snow covered, landscape. 3/5 HIKING THROUGH – Micheal Koryta: Take “The Blair Witch Project” and hiking the Appalacian Trail, and you have a weird, frightening tale. I have two friends that have hiked the AP, and will be sure to have them read this when the book is released. They may not want to finish the trail. THE HANGMAN’S BRIDE – Sarah Pinborough: This story truly was a gem. A perfect way to end a great anthology. I am a sucker for Japanese horror, they truly know how to create a frightening ghost story. Sarah builds a wonderful love story around the legend of a Japanese spirit. Greed, insanity, death, and legacy – it’s all here. I could actually see this developed into a movie. 5/5 All in all, this was one of the most enjoyable reads (combining horror and Christmas) that I have seen in a long time. Christopher Golden did an excellent job of gathering some great talent. Pick this one up when it’s released.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    A host of authors contribute to a book full of Christmas-themed horror (some tales submerge themselves within the holiday more than others). As one would expect, there's a spectrum of styles presented, ranging from tongue-in-cheek to full-stop thrillers, and all have no qualms about throwing on some gore and viscera should the need arise. Fans of anthologies such as Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and Creepshow are going to feel right at home here, and my money's on *you* feeling A host of authors contribute to a book full of Christmas-themed horror (some tales submerge themselves within the holiday more than others). As one would expect, there's a spectrum of styles presented, ranging from tongue-in-cheek to full-stop thrillers, and all have no qualms about throwing on some gore and viscera should the need arise. Fans of anthologies such as Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and Creepshow are going to feel right at home here, and my money's on *you* feeling as if you got your money's worth. Each story is a page-turner, of that I can assure you. When all is said and done, I'm making the declaration that this is a book that will inspire new writers to emerge, to grab the minds of readers young and old and cultivate greater love for the genre, to spotlight these authors and ultimately give them a grander venue through which to share their talents, and to serve as further proof that not everything (speaking to horror, in this instance) is a retread and, if it is, there are ways to inject new life into those stories and bring them about in a fresh and frightening new iteration. It's an emphatic recommend from me. If you're a fan of the horror genre, do not miss this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday for the advance read. Super grateful. I made notes on each story, which may contain light spoilers, and posted them onto my Tumblr page (link below). I highly suggest going in to the book without any preview, but I realize that some might want to know a little more, and I thoroughly respect that. http://nathanhelton.tumblr.com/post/1...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Christopher Golden did an excellent job editing this collection of Christmas horror short stories. This is exactly what I was craving and it filled me with festive holiday cheer. There was only one story that I felt was mediocre, and it was still readable to the end. The rest were all four or five star stories. Usually, short story collections are hit or miss for me, but I was pleasantly surprised that these were consistently good. The story styles reminded me a little of Tales from the Crypt. 10 Christopher Golden did an excellent job editing this collection of Christmas horror short stories. This is exactly what I was craving and it filled me with festive holiday cheer. There was only one story that I felt was mediocre, and it was still readable to the end. The rest were all four or five star stories. Usually, short story collections are hit or miss for me, but I was pleasantly surprised that these were consistently good. The story styles reminded me a little of Tales from the Crypt. 100% I am the audience for this book. If you like horror and Christmas then you might enjoy this one, too.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mommacat

    Review Copy 4.5 stars HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAMS was not your run of the mill Xmas anthology. Rather than a mixed bag of short stories by authors most of us love, what this anthology brought was an incredible treasure trove of enjoyment that I'll be reading again and again. I found two stories that rated better than five stars which offset the two that I hated. Combine those with the couple of four star tales and I decided my final rating was a 1/2 star deduction down to 4.5 stars. Extra kudo Review Copy 4.5 stars HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAMS was not your run of the mill Xmas anthology. Rather than a mixed bag of short stories by authors most of us love, what this anthology brought was an incredible treasure trove of enjoyment that I'll be reading again and again. I found two stories that rated better than five stars which offset the two that I hated. Combine those with the couple of four star tales and I decided my final rating was a 1/2 star deduction down to 4.5 stars. Extra kudos to author Christopher Golden for his excellent job editing this volume. His arrangement of the stories was perfection. Buy this for yourself and buy it for the gift swaps you attend this year. Highly recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    **Review coming soon!**

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert Vanneste

    As with all anthologies there is a mix of meh to loved . My favorite was The Hangman's Bride followed by Good Deeds and Christmas In Barcelona . Overall a good easy read .

  18. 5 out of 5

    David

    There were a few gems, most of the stories were lackluster and average. My review can be read here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1Hd

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Schnorrbusch

    Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this anthology! My rating on this is 3.5 stars. The story selection was hit or miss with me, and most of them lacking real holiday horrors. I was hoping for scary Santas, demonic toys, rude reindeer, and twisted trees. Don't get me wrong, most were good, but not great. Many followed a pattern of a seemingly innocuous event that takes a sinister turn at the end. My thoughts on a few of these: Yankee Swap by John M McIlveen was the stand out of this collection. S Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this anthology! My rating on this is 3.5 stars. The story selection was hit or miss with me, and most of them lacking real holiday horrors. I was hoping for scary Santas, demonic toys, rude reindeer, and twisted trees. Don't get me wrong, most were good, but not great. Many followed a pattern of a seemingly innocuous event that takes a sinister turn at the end. My thoughts on a few of these: Yankee Swap by John M McIlveen was the stand out of this collection. Starts creepy then gets to the horrific bits pretty quickly. The Hangman's Bride by Sarah Pinborough was a good, solid story and also, the longest. This one had the space to spread out with some exposition then getting into the horror. Snake's Tail by Sarah Langan wasn't my favorite (feels a bit preachy) but it gets props for at least getting us to the creep-factor pretty early on and keeping it there throughout the story. Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith ended with some gore, but started by giving me a laugh. It begins with a man, his wife, and a screaming baby on a plane. That's the true horror, right there! Finally, a shout out to story number 7, Good Deeds by Jeff Strand. It really felt like a parody and struck me as more comedic than worthy of a good frighten. This guy buys shoes for a random kid's mom, then basically writes The Christmas Shoes to proclaim how generous he is. Then is goes downhill from there. To me, that's some funny stuff! With 18 stories here, a horror fan is likely to find some good tales to bring on the goosebumps as they curl up next to the Christmas Tree, but be aware that many of these simply take place around Christmas, so the usual holiday characters are few & far between. The short stories allow for this to be read over various sittings, especially for when you want something a little spooky. This is probably really good for fans of A Nightmare Before Christmas.

  20. 4 out of 5

    andrea caro

    The rest of this anthology was 1-3, but the story "Christmas in Barcelona" made me gasp out loud. I wish this had been better. Seanan McGuire! Joshua Malerman! But unfortunately, 3 feels like a generous rating.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brandy Humphrey

    Review to come!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Christmas horror in time for Halloween? Yes please! count me in! What a great way to kick off the holiday season. Not only do the herald angels scream, they bring you tidings of discomfort and fear. I love short horror stories in any season, but I savor them even more this time of year when busy schedules, holiday baking, and decorating the house for hordes of trick or treaters infringe on my reading time. Oh Dear, I didn't mean to sound like scrooge. There is just something so satisfying to me Christmas horror in time for Halloween? Yes please! count me in! What a great way to kick off the holiday season. Not only do the herald angels scream, they bring you tidings of discomfort and fear. I love short horror stories in any season, but I savor them even more this time of year when busy schedules, holiday baking, and decorating the house for hordes of trick or treaters infringe on my reading time. Oh Dear, I didn't mean to sound like scrooge. There is just something so satisfying to me about being able to finish a long day of holiday chores and reward myself by sinking my teeth into a good story (instead of the Halloween candies or Christmas cookies) There are 18 tales in this goodie bag and I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. I enjoyed most of them very much. In fact the first treat I pulled from this bag "Absinthe and Angels" by Kelly Armstrong was deliciously creepy and set the bar rather high for those that followed. There are stories of down and out husbands in search of the perfect gift to get back in their family's good graces. There's a newly single mom trying to cope with her first Christmas without her husband. There are holiday parties you are better off not invited to attend, a couple's first trip to Barcelona with their new baby in time for Christmas is one I will bet they never forget. A haunted hotel room, a tongue in cheek version of my all time least favorite song The Christmas shoes titled "Good Deeds" by Jeff Strand was a perfect fit for my twisted humor. All in all this anthology was well worth a read. I received an advance copy for review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "If my selfless act could touch my heart, maybe it could touch the hearts of millions! Santa Claus is comin to town could bite my ass. I was going to write this song tonight!" Horror anthologies are usually hit and miss with a great story being far and few between but this was actually pretty fantastic. A few made me roll my eyes so hard that I was afraid that they would stick that way but there were others that spooked me to my core. My top three stories in order are: Yankee Swap, Absinthe & "If my selfless act could touch my heart, maybe it could touch the hearts of millions! Santa Claus is comin to town could bite my ass. I was going to write this song tonight!" Horror anthologies are usually hit and miss with a great story being far and few between but this was actually pretty fantastic. A few made me roll my eyes so hard that I was afraid that they would stick that way but there were others that spooked me to my core. My top three stories in order are: Yankee Swap, Absinthe & Angels, and Good Deeds. I will admit that there’s not much of anything that actually scares me but Absinthe & Angels spooked me. I felt a tad bit uneasy and every little noise in my house made me second guess what it was. If you love bizarre, off the wall, tales of horror during the holidays, then this is for you. I know these stories will make me enjoy the darkness that spreads upon me during December. I’m warning you! Beware of the Mummers!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erica Robyn

    Hark! the Herald Angels Scream was an interesting collection of holiday themed stories. There were a handful of tales that I really enjoyed, but others weren't such a hit for me. But that cover design... How awesome is the old school horror feel?! I'm obsessed with this cover. Many of the tales were wonderfully written! There are definitely some new-to-me authors that I discovered thanks to this book that I cannot wait to check out more work from soon! Per usual with short story collections, I will Hark! the Herald Angels Scream was an interesting collection of holiday themed stories. There were a handful of tales that I really enjoyed, but others weren't such a hit for me. But that cover design... How awesome is the old school horror feel?! I'm obsessed with this cover. Many of the tales were wonderfully written! There are definitely some new-to-me authors that I discovered thanks to this book that I cannot wait to check out more work from soon! Per usual with short story collections, I will break down my thoughts upon finishing each story along with my personal ratings. Absinthe & Angels by Kelly Armstrong- 2/5 A bit gory and the thought of people coming up to a window of a cabin the characters were staying in was certainly creepy! Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith- 3/5 Oh my goodness. This one had a bit of a slow start, but then the magic introduced was so interesting. And that ending... Oofh. Fresh As The New Fallen Snow by Seanan Maguire- 4/5 That was such a cool tale! I loved the take on the people that watch and the message of having a home filled with love. Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski- 3/5 Eek! How creepy! A little predictable, but still a fun tale. Not Just For Christmas by Sarah Lotz- 4/5 Such a powerful message in this one! I equally love and am totally terrified by storied with tech going bad! Tenets by Josh Malerman- 3/5 Argh! What happens next?! Good Deeds by Jeff Strand- 5/5 Oh my goodness! I hate that song so much! This story was very extreme, but a very understandable take on a story behind the Christmas song... It’s a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden- 4/5 A very timely story considering the news this year... Gross and blood boiling but a great idea! Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore- 2/5 The thought of losing a husband is so painful. This story was just too slow and dull for me. I think I would have liked it better if we learned more about the sisters girlfriend. Snake’s Tail by Sarah Langan- 2/5 Weird. The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R. Lansdale- 5/5 Yes! Now this was a great tale! I love the creepy tone and the paranormal twist was so fun! I couldn’t wait to see what happened next! Farrow Street by Elizabeth Hand- 2/5 Slow to start with an odd ending. Doctor Velocity - A Story is the Fire Zone by Johnathan Maberry 2/5 The poetic dialogue and all of the various metaphors in this one were very intriguing! The overall story for me was too slow and dull for me though. Yankee Swap by John McIlveen- 5/5 Now that was quite a tale!! By far my favorite of the collection! I loved how dark and suspenseful this one was! Honor Thy Mother by Angela Slatter-3/5 Phew! An interesting twist toward the end! Home by Tim Lebbon- 3/5 Hmm. I liked the overall abandoned world tone, but I left this story just wanting to know more... Hiking Through by Michael Koryta- 4/5 Oh no. The minute I read Geraldine Largay’s name, I got chills and got so sad (learn more about Geraldine here). What an upsetting true story. However, I’m a sucker for any story about Maine and the woods. I really enjoyed this one. The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough- 5/5 What a wonderful tale! I kind of wish this one was at the front of the book to kick-start the collection. My final thoughts: Overall, this was a let down for me. I think I was expecting it to be much more on the horror side of things than it ended up being, which threw me. But it was still a fun read for the holidays that I would still recommend! If you are looking for something with light horror, this would be a good pick.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I love reading horror. Slightly more than that I LOVE Christmas season! I was excited from the moment I heard about this anthology and over the moon when a library hold came in soon after it's release. I was not disappointed. What an all-star collection! Many of these authors I hadn't read before though they were on my radar and I am so excited to become acquainted with their other works! Anthologies can generally be a mixed bag. This was one of those gems where I actually didn't outright dislik I love reading horror. Slightly more than that I LOVE Christmas season! I was excited from the moment I heard about this anthology and over the moon when a library hold came in soon after it's release. I was not disappointed. What an all-star collection! Many of these authors I hadn't read before though they were on my radar and I am so excited to become acquainted with their other works! Anthologies can generally be a mixed bag. This was one of those gems where I actually didn't outright dislike any story at all and found the majority to be excellent and entertaining. I tend toward higher ratings for single author collections. This was high up there for me in favorite multi-author collections with Sisters of the Revolution, Dinosaur Fantastic, Press Start to Play, and many Datlow edited books. A can't miss book for horror affcinados or anyone looking for a little different of a seasonal read. This is packed full of all-star names and *delivers*.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tori (alwaysbookphoenix) Kisamore

    I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 'Tis the season! This was a fun, festive collection of short horror stories that centered around Christmas and the holiday season. This is a lot of fun for any horror lover who is just missing Halloween but also enjoys the December holidays. Most of the stories were well done, leaving the endings in a cliffhanger so the reader can use their own imagination to it's own creative horrors. There were a few spelling errors, but I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 'Tis the season! This was a fun, festive collection of short horror stories that centered around Christmas and the holiday season. This is a lot of fun for any horror lover who is just missing Halloween but also enjoys the December holidays. Most of the stories were well done, leaving the endings in a cliffhanger so the reader can use their own imagination to it's own creative horrors. There were a few spelling errors, but that is typical with any ARC. All in all, for this collection, I was impressed!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emmanuelle

    First off, I’d like to mention I got this ebook for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. And an HONEST review I will give. Probably won’t ever get books from them again, but here goes. I am not a professional reviewer and I do not have a major in English studies, nor do I feel entitled. But, I’ve read many books in my life, most of which I did not add on my Goodreads profile as I would still be here years down the road. Most of the stories in the book don’t really have Christm First off, I’d like to mention I got this ebook for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. And an HONEST review I will give. Probably won’t ever get books from them again, but here goes. I am not a professional reviewer and I do not have a major in English studies, nor do I feel entitled. But, I’ve read many books in my life, most of which I did not add on my Goodreads profile as I would still be here years down the road. Most of the stories in the book don’t really have Christmas as a solid ground for the story. By that I mean that most stories happen at Christmas, but was done so by setting the decor with Christmas lights, or music, or just around the holidays, but you could have easily placed them over Spring Break and it would not have changed anything in the stories. A few however, did do this job well. “Christmas in Barcelona” and “Farrow Street” are great examples of great Christmas stories from the book and they are by far my favorite. The book starts off strong with quite a few stories being really well written, narrated and concluded. Then it goes downhill from there. Stories like “Good Deeds” and “It’s a Wonderful Knife” should be deleted from the book as they are bad in all terms. Badly written, badly narrated, poor structure, poor characters, and do not respect the theme of the compilation. After that second one “It’s a Wonderful Knife”, I almost stopped reading right there and then, but pushed on, since I wanted to keep my end of the bargain. Then a few more good stories. So all in all, the stories are kind of like a roller coaster. Some are REALLY GOOD and some are really bad. Another thing I’d like to mention was that I did read the book from cover to cover, including the bios of each author at the end of the book. Pretty much every bio mentions that the authors are New York Times Bestsellers. That makes me rethink how this term should be used. If every author in there is a NYT Bestseller, I should get to writing books immediately as I feel that some of these stories would have been better written by 7 year-olds. To conclude, this is not a book I would have picked up had I been shopping for books in a bookstore or online, either in printed format or ebook. It’s not a book I would have picked up at the library either. Was it worth my time? Meh, I’m on the fence about that. As I mentioned some of the stories were really good, but the bad ones kind of left me bitter and almost made me give up the book a few times. Is it worth your money and time? Depends. If you’re willing to ignore the fact this is supposed to be a collection of Christmas horror stories and just a diversion, I’d pay about $3 tops for this as an ebook and read it from time to time. But paying more than that, I would be pissed. But there are way better story compilations out there. Below are personal notes I took as I read the stories. Absinthe & Angels Spooky and funny. Great story to start with. Great to read between Halloween and Christmas. Just don’t read it at night. I enjoyed this story very much and it gave me a good impression on how the book was going to be if all stories were like that. 5***** Christmas in Barcelona Another spooky and funny story. Another great impression. This is by far my favorite story of the book as I am writing this. It is magical kind of like in a Disney magic kind of way, and at the end… OH NO! Magic turns! Great story! 5 ***** Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow This story is kind of a weird one. It starts off on an aggressive tone, and then cools down for a while. Then it goes back to being eerie. The babysitter in the story tells a scary story to the children. And the story ends up being true. Good story 4**** Love Me Not really related to Christmas other than it happens at that time of the year. Story is a cheap horror story. I wouldn’t want to know who wrote it as I would never buy his books. 2** Not Just for Christmas Another weird and someone “random” story that made me think of Gremlins but technologically advanced. You see where this can go wrong right? And it does. 3,5*** Tenets Great story about how a Christmas party with lots of strangers can go awkwardly wrong when an ex-cult guru attends said party. Verbal abuse ensues, but Christmas Carolers save the day. Great description of ambiance and tension between the characters.4**** Good Deeds Oh this “story” is such a disaster. What you think will turn into a weird heartwarming Christmas story (as all stories in this book are ‘horrorish” in nature). This is just depressing. It’s not even dark/noire humour funny. It’s just plain bad taste. Should be removed from the book. Don’t waste your time on this story. It will make you bitter and angry like the characters in the book, maybe just not go as far as they end up. HORRIBLE. No stars deserved. It’s a Wonderful Knife Another bad taste story which left me with a bitter taste. After both these two horrible stories in a row, I almost qui reading the book right there and then. Should also be removed from the book. It will not leave you with a good feeling. Again, I understand the whole point of this book was short Christmas Horror stories, but the first few were great examples of Christmas Horror stories that are GREAT. This story is another example of how they SHOULDN’T be. No stars deserved. Mistletoe and Holly This one is a good example of a good balance of horror/spooky Christmas story. Great introduction, great punch delivery, not too many words, great character balance for a short story. 3.5*** Snake’s Tail Another great story. Well told, nothing complicated, easy read. Might be hard to hard for parents as this is about disappearing children on Christmas, but great story. 3.5*** The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel Loved the way this was narrated. Great horror story. I could have read a full book on this. Left me wanting more and hoping more stories in the book were like this. 5***** Farrow Street This one was fun. Started off totally not expecting the ending. There is no clue in the beginning as to what will happen. Character list is extremely short but fun. Great short story! 4.5**** Doctor Velocity Eh, where do I start with this one? Not a Christmas story. At all. The only thing related to Christmas is the Christmas lights described, and the “Christmas” gift given to one of the characters at the end. Narration is good though, but story is boring and typical. 1* Yankee Swap Nice little story à la Saw. Plot was a little ambiguous, but fun little story. Christmas theme fits perfectly. 4.5**** Honor Thy Mother Boring! About a death angel, but not really? Story happens at Christmas, but other than that, has nothing to do with it. Nothing really happens, characters amateurly introduced. Phasing is horrible. 2** Home What the heck was that? Just lost a half hour of my life on it. No introduction to the world other than perhaps an apocalypse? Maybe? And then the main character… no clue who he is. And his Old Bob character, I still don’t understand what he’s supposed to look like. And absolutely no references to Christmas and it’s not a scary story at all. What is this story doing in this book?!?! 1* Hiking Through Not a Christmas story for sure. Good humour, well narrated, and a witch story. Fun nonetheless. Easy read. 4**** The Hangman’s Bride Another story that uses “Christmas” as an excuse and has nothing to do with the story. Well narrated. 3***

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Thanks to NetGalley ad Knopf Doubleday Publishing for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review. I was first attracted to the book by the colourful, gruesome cover illustration, reminiscent of the art for the 10 cent horror comics of the late 1940’s until they were banned in the early 1950’s. This anthology contains 15 short stories by various authors, each story connected in some manner with the Christmas season. There is something here for everyone who enjoys stories of this Thanks to NetGalley ad Knopf Doubleday Publishing for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review. I was first attracted to the book by the colourful, gruesome cover illustration, reminiscent of the art for the 10 cent horror comics of the late 1940’s until they were banned in the early 1950’s. This anthology contains 15 short stories by various authors, each story connected in some manner with the Christmas season. There is something here for everyone who enjoys stories of this type. There are old fashioned ghost stories, ghastly horror stories, and several written with black humor. I thought there was a higher proportion of compelling stories here than in most anthologies. I considered seven excellent(5 stars), most of the others very good indeed, and three I felt didn’t reach the level of the rest and didn’t work for me. Recommended for fans of ghost stories and horror fiction.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angel Hench

    It is never too early to start reading Christmas books, and this Christmas/horror book of short stories is GREAT. There are the traditional short scary stories (ghosts, vengeful spirits) set on Christmas Eve but the real treat are the stories of horrible Christmas things - have you heard of mummers? Go ahead, google it, I'll wait. Yikes. I've also picked up a few new horror authors I have not read before - Angela Slatter, John McIlveen, Scott Smith, Kelley Armstrong (and Sarah Pinborough whom I It is never too early to start reading Christmas books, and this Christmas/horror book of short stories is GREAT. There are the traditional short scary stories (ghosts, vengeful spirits) set on Christmas Eve but the real treat are the stories of horrible Christmas things - have you heard of mummers? Go ahead, google it, I'll wait. Yikes. I've also picked up a few new horror authors I have not read before - Angela Slatter, John McIlveen, Scott Smith, Kelley Armstrong (and Sarah Pinborough whom I did not realize wrote scary books before her last thriller [that I was not particularly fond of] but who I'll revisit after reading her here). As soon as this is available, you should probably just read it. In fact, just pre-order it now - you are going to love it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I received an ARC of this book thanks to Net Galley and publisher Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Ooh boy, this was right up my street! I am one of those people who love to read seasonal books in December and so many seasonal books end up being contemporary romances. Finally I have found a book to satisfy my horror needs in the colder months. This is a wonderful collection of short winter/holiday-themed horror stories and most of them are pretty decent reads. As I received an ARC of this book thanks to Net Galley and publisher Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Ooh boy, this was right up my street! I am one of those people who love to read seasonal books in December and so many seasonal books end up being contemporary romances. Finally I have found a book to satisfy my horror needs in the colder months. This is a wonderful collection of short winter/holiday-themed horror stories and most of them are pretty decent reads. As per usual with an anthology, I had some favourites and some least favourites so I'll go through a couple of those now: Christmas in Barcelona-The second story and the one that let me know I was in for a good time. A man is on holiday with his wife and child when he encounters a woman selling something magical. A well-paced slow build that ends explosively. 4/5. Snake's Tail-The only story I truly hated. This is kind of rambly horror and I couldn't work out what it was actually about. My personal least favourite of the collection. 1/5. Doctor Velocity-This again had a really weird premise and the character names were too distracting for me. 2/5. Yankee Swap-A woman gets kidnapped by a crazy guy who has special presents planned for his hostages. Very straightforward horror but with a seasonal twist and written excellently. 5/5. Hiking Through-A wintery ghost story about a hiker who has recently been dumped that again, is written excellently and weaves a great atmosphere. Kind of easy to predict but that doesn't take away from its impact. 5/5. The Hangman's Bride-My absolute favourite without a doubt. An immersive tale about a chimney sweep child who finds more than he bargained for when he goes up the chimney of the local hangman. I was utterly gripped every second of this and the collection would be worth getting for this story alone, never mind the other excellent ones, 5/5. All of the others ranged from 2.5-3.5 ratings. My overall rating for the anthology mathematically was 3.75, which I rounded up to 4 stars for argument's sake. Overall, I was very impressed with this anthology. It has such a great range of themes horror-wise, and I like that the stories vary from very Chrismassy to just vaguely wintery. It is definitely worth checking out and fills a perfect niche in the market for non-romance holiday books.

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