Two Mini Reviews: Fiction Horror

An honest review of my very short horror story “The Subtlety of Terror”! I’m so thrilled to see this and so grateful for the lovely words from Debjani. ❤️ Grab my short story here:

Debjani's Thoughts

The Subtlety of Terror: A Short Horror Read by Christie Stratos

The Subtlety of Terror by Christie Stratos

Stratos pens an intense and scary tale in The Subtlety of Terror. It narrates the events that occur when the protagonist wants to sell her house.

Without giving away any spoiler, I will say only one thing: watch out for the house!

In a span of 1950 words, this short horror read packs a punch. Further, not a word goes waste. In such a short time, she narrates the backstory, the current predicament, and what the future has in store for the protagonist. Recommended.

The Wind by Edward Willett

The Wind by Edward Willett

Once happily married, the protagonist finds himself alone in his childhood home in The Wind by Edward Willett. Soon, the reader realizes why the house is closing in on him. The Wind is an excellent short horror story. It’s beautifully written, atmospheric, psychologically thrilling, and conjures vivid images…

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Happy New Year!

2019 hits TONIGHT! Are you ready?

As you have probably already figured out, I spend more time updating other sites than my blog. I’m more active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, plus my editing business Proof Positive’s site and social media. But as my author self, I’m particularly active on Patreon. If you’re deciding whether to join my Patreon ($1/month), start out by following me for free. You can even check out this free post (I have a number of them) that I put up for the end of the year. It’s got a little bit of each level!

What I’m going to attempt in 2019 is to keep this blog updated in a more manageable way. I’m going for just a few sentences per post that get to the point quickly instead of longer posts. These will be all types of posts—writing updates, quotes to inspire and uplift, books I’ve enjoyed, links to interviews, and anything else related. Of course, Patreon will remain my priority, so think about joining me over there!

So stick around—this will probably be the only blog that’ll take you 3 minutes or less to read! 


Christie Stratos – Locke and Keye Review

The Scary Reviews reviewed LOCKE AND KEYE today, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! What a wonderful and positive way to end the first day of NaNoWriMo. Thanks so much to The Scary Reviews!

The Scary Reviews

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Locke and Keye is an attention-grabbing story from the beginning with the description of the lock and key shop and potential employee list. Mr. Locke, the owner, has a list of potential employees, each with odd comments and observations next to their names. He has carefully and purposely chosen which men to be his employees. I was intrigued to find out why and his reasons weren’t apparent until well into the book. Mr. Locke’s odd and strange mannerisms also caught my attention. The story is set in mid 1800’s and I thought it had a very authentic feel from the descriptions of clothing to the dialogue between characters.

As Locke and Keye’s story unfolds we see some familiar characters, the Whitestone’s, from the first book. Their role in Locke and Keye was well integrated into this new story. As for Mr. Locke he is an odd, mysterious and a frightening man. His actions towards his employees feels like he is grooming them for something sinister. Mr. Locke always seems to have an ulterior motive and loves to collect secrets and use them when the time is right. This is one of the many layers I loved about Mr. Locke and his character arc was really well planned out.

Psychological pain and games are a theme continues to run through Locke and Keye, as it did in the first book in the collection. Elizabeth isn’t…

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Six Great 19th Century Novel Bakes

I just LOVE references to food, traditions, design, and other things from a particular time period. Here are six mentions of cakes from the 19th century. One is magical. 🙂

The Sea of Books

image-from-page-107-of-cassells-dictionary-of-cookery-containing-about-nine-thousand-recipes-1892 Image – page 107 of Cassell’s dictionary of cookery: containing about nine thousand receipes (1892)

There are 62 references to cake so far in our 19th- century corpus, ranging from Jane Eyre’s slightly depressing “oaten-cakes” (also found in Shelley’s Frankenstein) to the more lavish offerings of plum-cake, plum-pudding, tea-cake, sponge-cake, and cheese-cake that appear in works by Dickens, Le Fanu and others.

Here are a few of the most famous – although Mary Berry and co might not officially recognise them as cakes!  We’ve also included a few recipes, for those of our readers who enjoy adventuous baking…

6.  Jane Eyre’s thin Oaten Cakes – Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847)

On arrival at the forbidding Lowood institution, Jane Eyre discovers that the school’s catering is nothing to write home about.

“The tall girls went out and returned presently, each bearing a tray, with portions of something, I knew not what, arranged thereon, and…

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Review of “Anatomy of a Darkened Heart” by Christie Stratos

I’m so thrilled with the amazing review of ANATOMY OF A DARKENED HEART from Sunshine Somerville! My smile is stuck on my face! Her blog review is wonderful and her YouTube review is awesome too. They have different details, so be sure to check them both out:
Thank you, Sunshine!

Sunshine Somerville

26813854This felt like a book I would’ve had to read in an English Literature class in college – and I mean that in a good way.  Everything about the writing and the story felt legitimately true to the period, like this was an old, classic book I’d somehow missed all these years.

The writing is phenomenal.  It’s not a long book, and the author makes every word count.  Her descriptions are perfectly refined to give the reader exactly the amount of detail you need. The  plot certainly isn’t action-packed (that wouldn’t fit the genre at all), but the slow build works very well as you focus on the psychological aspects of the story.  I was never bored because the tension constantly increases as matters of the heart grow more and more complicated.

This book is, after all, about how these characters are “darkened.” I absolutely loved how I started thinking…

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Top 10 Victorian New Year’s Traditions & Superstitions

10 superstitions and traditions of the Victorians on New Years Eve and New Years Day. Fascinating!

Victorian Trading Co. | The Official Blog

Prince Albert may have contributed the Tannenbuam to Victorian Christmas. The queen did him one better with a holiday even more prominent: Hogmanay.

The Scottish new year celebration gifted England with hundreds of bizarre superstitions and cultural rituals.

Without further ado, VTC presents the Top 10 Victorian New Years’ Traditions:

1. Matchmaking


New Year’s Eve was no extraordinary affair among Victorian high society. But New Year’s Day was marked by a marathon of social traditions. Wealthy Victorians would hold open houses, inviting all the local eligible bachelors into their homes to meet their unmarried daughters. What ensued was not unlike modern-day “speed-dating.” A young man would likely receive invitations from a number of households and would spend 15 minutes or so chatting with the resident young woman (or women) therein before moving on to his next engagement.

Some gentlemen scholars only wish to partake in libations with no interest toward conversation…

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Review Time! Anatomy of a Darkened Heart

Fellow author Jeremy Croston posted a lovely review of ANATOMY OF A DARKENED HEART on his blog. I’m beyond thrilled!

5 Good Minutes

Hey everybody, welcome back to the blog.  I’m taking a break from old Negative Man today (don’t tell him, he’s already tried to hack my Facebook account) and going to do a book review instead.  I’ve read a lot of awesome books lately from Indie authors, but today’s selection is particularly intriguing.  Before I say anymore, on to the review:


Anatomy of a Darkened Heart

By Christie Stratos

“In a wonderfully twisted way, the dark imagery from this book comes to life like no other. The setting is in the 1900’s, during the Victorian era. It’s obvious the author has a love for the time period as it shows in her writing. She did a masterful job of creating an atmosphere that was just as chilling as the plot of the book itself.

From the first page when the mother shows disdain for her first child through all the twists…

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Review: Strange Luck

Strange Luck
Strange Luck by Amie Irene Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strange Luck is a fabulous, fantastical mix of magic and imagination, exploration and uncertainty. There are lots of great YA elements – first love, first time traveling, self-discovery – but what I loved the most was the seriously enjoyable visitation to childhood wonderment. What better way to get to a magical paradise than by digging through a pile of bigger and bigger toys? Through the main character, Daisy Daring, we get to meet a wizard, become a fairy, have a discussion with a talking duck, and far more. The book was told in first-person POV, and I felt like I got to experience all of these things first-hand.

The concept of a world where an evil entity only known as him steals happy memories so that he can find the perfect one is very original. The deeper reason behind this theft is even more of a fascinating concept. Imagine if you had to avoid thinking of good memories while trapped in a dangerous place that you’re told you cannot escape, and every time you do remember them, you forget and don’t even realize it. The effects of that are far reaching. Without knowing what made you who you are, how can you remain the same person? Your personality would start to erode along with everything that makes you you.

At first I thought the ending was going to be pat, but it took a sudden turn for something surprising and clever. I can’t wait to visit the antique store, Strange Luck, in the next book in this series and see what lies ahead.

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Review: Prince of Thorns

Prince of Thorns
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you want an anti-hero, this is the book for you. I’ve never read anything quite like this before – the setting is medieval, the language is modern, and the main character is completely unpredictable. I mean…you really can’t guess what this guy will do or when he might decide to relent in his killings, what direction he’ll go next.

From the beginning, Jorg is set up as a man (or really, boy) with no morals at all, and only in that way is he predictable – at first. Who he spares and who he doesn’t really is impossible to predict (except for one character, but even so, I couldn’t be 100% sure).

If you’re averse to violence, turn back now. Most of the book revolves around it. The pithy voice of Jorg is addictive, reflecting his brutality at every turn, and the pace keeps up throughout. There isn’t an unimportant moment except some setting descriptions, which I found very well done. The whole writing style and the way Jorg’s voice carries through, his harshness balanced with his humor, was infused in every turn of phrase, many very clever.

This is one of the very few books that has drawn me into putting the next in the series on my to-read list.

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