It’s almost Halloween and now is the perfect time to share this review:
Authors: Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
Published: October 2, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a riveting novel of gothic suspense that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s — and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.
It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…
A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen — a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen — and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.
I was so excited when this review copy came in the mail! J.D. Barker seems to be one of our favorite authors at Jessica’s Reading Room and the praise is so well deserved. I am incredibly fascinated by Dracula, but unfortunately after multiple attempts, Dracula by Bram Stoker has been moved to my DNF shelf. For some reason I never managed to get into it or enjoy it. However, other books about Dracula, such as The Historian, have become some of my favorite books. Dracul joins those ranks easily.
I loved this book so much! It did get a little slow in the beginning, but once the mystery of Nanna Ellen started, it didn’t stop. I loved the jumps in the timeline and suspense was ridiculous. Bram and his siblings were relatable characters and they kept the tension tight throughout the entire book. Adding Nanna Ellen and her story was a unique twist. I got to see the physical aspects and abilities of vampires in much more detail. The authors didn’t let reality hold them back, but went all out with the fantastic. I would absolutely recommend this to any suspense or horror fans. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Today I am reviewing something a little different: Podcasts! The podcasts are Guildy Pleasures by the Rockford Writers’ Guild hosted by Connie Kuntz. I am reviewing the first five episodes which feature author Dan Klefstad and his ‘Fiona Stories’. I have previously reviewed two of these short stories, which I will share the links. This is the perfect time of year to review this podcast as Fiona is….(Spoiler alert)… A VAMPIRE!
‘The Fiona Stories’ is a novel in progress, tentatively titled The Guardian.
Now, these stories were written by an adult, for adults, and Guildy Pleasures is also for…Adults. Fiona is definitely not of the ‘sparkly vampire’ type….
Dan’s five stories that are featured in these podcasts are:
- The Caretaker (my review is here)
- The Interview
- Solstice (my review is here; Kim also reviews The Caretaker and Solstice)
- Wolf at Fiona’s Castle
- Hauptsturmführer Fillennius
These are very well written short stories and I love this world and want to know more of what happens! There is just something about vampires that is fascinating and Fiona definitely is. Every author has their own take on vampires in the world they write, and you will have to listen to these podcasts or read Dan’s short stories to know more.
Dan presents of his stories in these podcasts in his own voice. I always find this wonderful when an author narrates their own work, as they know what has the most importance in their work. Dan captures the characters personalities in these stories. I can’t wait to find out more about Daniel and what will happen with Wolf. And of course Fiona and Soren!
After Dan shares his story in the podcast, he is interviewed by host Connie Kuntz. Here we get to know Dan. I found the interviews as enjoyable as the stories. They speak back and forth with ease.
There are more than just the five ‘Fiona Stories’, but these are all that have been presented in a podcast thus far. In Dark Dossier Magazine’s Halloween issue we get eleven Fiona stories! I personally can not wait to read them and look forward to seeing the finished product whenever that may be.
Now….You just can’t help but wonder… Daniel is the first protagonist that we meet in The Caretaker. Our author is Dan Klefstad…. Are these actually stories or is this autobiographical???? I guess we won’t ever know!!!! 😉
You can search for Guildy Pleasure in the app you use for podcasts. I use Android, so the app I used to download was Google Podcasts. It is also available on iTunes. You can also download Guildy Pleasure through the website.
If you are curious about Dark Dossier’s Halloween issue:
**Dan will also be taking over the Bookies Facebook Page this afternoon!** This is a part of the annual Authorber Fest. Dan will be taking over the page from 2-4pm Central/ 3-5pm Eastern: Be sure to give Bookies and Dan a follow! Bookies is here.
Dan Klefstad is back with Solstice in another ‘Caretaker’ short story! I read The Caretaker earlier this year and loved it. I wanted more story immediately!! When Dan contacted me about his second short story, of course I said yes!! Solstice was published in The Creativity Webzine on November 26th. The link to Dan’s story is here and his is the second story.
Solstice is a short 1600 word story. It is just long enough to leaving you wanting more. This is the point with short stories. I enjoy this world and I hope Klefstad continues his writing of it. I want to know everything about Daniel, Fiona, and Soren’s journey. I want to know what will ultimately happen with all of them. I don’t know why but I am just fascinated with this world!
It is difficult to review something that is so short without spoilers. If you enjoy vampires then you MUST check out The Caretaker and Solstice!
Jessica’s rating of The Caretaker and Solstice: 5 stars
Jessica’s review of The Caretaker is here.
Kim also read and reviewed both The Caretaker and Solstice:
I liked these short stories. I can’t wait to read more as they are written. I like the mystery of the job offer in The Caretaker. It left a lot of questions; it makes you want to read more to find out more. The only real critique that I have is that the characters are just kind of thrown in and I ended up getting confused. Names just appeared without much introduction and I felt like I missed something. But I find the dynamic between Fiona and Soren and then Fiona and her caretaker fascinating. Again, it just wets your whistle and makes you question exactly what is going on. I very much look forward to more stories and learning more.
Kim’s Rating of The Caretaker and Solstice: 4 stars
Again, here is the link to Solstice in The Creativity Webzine.
Do check these stories out and let me know what you think! I hope you love them as much as I do. If you wish to read The Caretaker the link to my review includes a link to the story.