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Vices and Virtues: A Horror Anthology

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Discover some of the best up-and-coming horror writers today. These stories explore the best and worst aspects of human nature, each story based on vices or virtues from the cultures of human history. There is true horror throughout this anthology that will touch the center of your soul and leave it burning.


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Discover some of the best up-and-coming horror writers today. These stories explore the best and worst aspects of human nature, each story based on vices or virtues from the cultures of human history. There is true horror throughout this anthology that will touch the center of your soul and leave it burning.

30 review for Vices and Virtues: A Horror Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    It's time for another horror anthology review! I know that, when I wrote my last one, I said I was done with anthologies for a little while, but they always suck me back in, and this one had been calling out to me from my kindle for a while. It kicks off with a story from one of my favorite online horror authors of all time, but I also found some new writers to enjoy (as well as getting to read new work from some other old favorites). → The Girl Who Died by C. K. Walker ← If you've read my review It's time for another horror anthology review! I know that, when I wrote my last one, I said I was done with anthologies for a little while, but they always suck me back in, and this one had been calling out to me from my kindle for a while. It kicks off with a story from one of my favorite online horror authors of all time, but I also found some new writers to enjoy (as well as getting to read new work from some other old favorites). → The Girl Who Died by C. K. Walker ← If you've read my reviews of C. K. Walker's Cold, Thin Air books, you already know that I'm a big fan of her ideas. The anthology starts with her twist on a Patient Zero story, and was really enjoyable and unique. While I saw the ending coming, I was still totally pleased with the turns that it took. → I Loved You So Much by Christopher Bloodworth ← This story is a tale of a child who finds an alien-like egg, which hatches into a "pet" of sorts for him. I thought this piece was nearly flawless and oddly adorable; even though the critter is grotesque and frightening for sure, I loved the psychopathic adoration the child held for it. → In the Throes by Rona Vaselaar ← A first-person narrative of a girl who literally feels the pain of those around her, for better and for worse. This was actually an incredibly sad story in both theory and execution, and while I didn't think it fit the "horror" spectrum very well, I did really enjoy it. → The Compliant by J. L. Spencer ← A few teens get in a bit of gambling trouble and decide to fake a kidnapping in order to collect a ransom from one of the kids' wealthy family. I'm not a fan of the "fake kidnapping" trope, but the ending did hold a twist on the plot that I don't see much. That said, the characters were a little over-the-top unlikable - overall, I didn't care for this one. → Constance by Adam Gray ← This was the toughest story for me to review, because I still can't decide if I liked it or not. It switches perspectives between two women; one, Constance, is an elderly woman who's incredibly bizarre (to the point of being disgusting), and the other, Annie, is a young single mom who I wanted to like, but just... couldn't. The writing is fantastically disturbing, and overall, I appreciated it, but the ending left a bit to be desired. → The Lonely Man by Kristopher J. Patten ← This one tells the story of an astronaut who makes it to Mars, only to find that a former astronaut (presumed dead) has been living there in immortality for decades, and has some interesting explanations for why. I didn't find the pacing particularly exciting, but as someone who has a mild phobia of outer space and other planets, I did enjoy the plot quite a bit. → Marina by Rafael Marmol ← When a group of rich young men take a trip for "hunting season" at the Jersey Shore, the narrator falls for a beautiful woman who's not at all what she seems. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite. The writing was okay - a little over-worked at points, with more build-up than necessary - but the personality of the narrating character was unbearable. He even starts the story by talking smack about the famous Jersey Shore crew, but his attitude is the epitome of what you'd see on the show: if he's not talking about drinking and sex, he's obsessively degrading and fat-shaming every woman he meets. I will admit that I loved the very ending of the story, but it wasn't enough to redeem it from how incredibly hurtful most of the text was for me, as a female reader. → My Time is Very Valuable by J. D. Patrick ← A college student starts taking mysterious pills that make him excel at everything he touches, but they come at a serious cost. This was another story where I felt like it over-stayed its welcome and the build-up was a little too much to justify the ending. I also felt like the twist gave itself away really early on, but if this story had been several pages shorter, I probably would've enjoyed it more. → Birthmarked by J. L. Spencer ← A poor young girl, born with a terrible skin condition, is forced into hermitage by her mother, at all costs. This felt like a really short story, so there's not much I can say, other than the fact that I tremendously enjoyed the writing as well as the ending. It felt very open, and while I strongly suspected that a certain sort of foul play was happening, I enjoyed that I was left to form my own conclusions. → Given Form by S. M. Piper ← This was, by far, my favorite story in the collection: an artist is paid for an incredibly elite and expensive sculpting job with a mysterious piece of sea marble, pulled from the ocean floor. The writing was not only solid, it was also grotesque without being obvious, and really incredibly eerie. I loved the narrator's self-assured nature, and the ending left me wanting so much more from this author. → Dammit, Janet by Ashley Franz Holzmann ← It's always interesting, in an anthology, to reach the editor's contribution; in some cases, the editor is the finest author in the bunch, while in other cases, it feels like a case of "those who can't do, teach". Thankfully, the latter isn't the case here: Ashley has a bizarre but incredibly captivating writing voice, though the plot itself isn't as horrific as I expected it to be. While I wasn't frightened, I was pleasantly surprised by how captivating I could find a tale of a woman leaving her family in pursuit of the finer things in life. → Heart Full of Love by L. Chan ← I loved the idea behind this one, featuring a world in which people can swap out their organs for synthetic versions - it totally reminded me of Repo! The Genetic Opera (which happens to be my favorite musical of all time), but it also had major The Telltale Heart vibes. The writing was wonderful, the plot was sad but beautiful, and the psychological twist was totally haunting. → Sesshoseki by Kristopher J. Patten ← This was another of my favorites: an American CIA agent goes to Japan to help the PSIA investigate her former partner's apparent suicide, but it turns into a much more intricate plot involving a stone with unexplainable powers and the Aokigahara Forest. As someone who is not Japanese and has never visited, I obviously can't speak for any of the story's representation, but I thought it offered a really unique view into the world of law enforcement and the yakuza, as well as Aokigahara and how the people of the area view the forest. Most of all, it was just incredibly suspenseful and a really enjoyable story. (Content warnings for suicide and self-harm, by the way!) → The Sand Quarry by Manen Lyset ← The memories of a little girl offer a view into a day her life changed forever, when she and her cousins visited a haunted sand quarry and ran into some unspeakable horrors. This was such a sad story, with child abuse and death, but it was definitely enjoyably written and kept my interest to the end. → Chaucer's Horses by Christina Ferrari ← I wasn't a huge fan of this story about a writer who's accused of plagiarism by the family of a supposedly dead Venetian man, and then goes to Venice to visit them and seek leniency. The author was such a tremendously unlikable character, and while the plot was interesting, her attitude regarding other characters and the situation in general made it hard to connect with her or the events happening to her. It was pretty neat to see the inclusion of alchemy as a topic, though, which is something I don't see much (especially in horror!). → Biserka by Kristopher J. Patten ← The final story was one that managed to be both sad and creepy, though it unfortunately overstayed its welcome, too. The main tale is of a sailor who finds a bizarre bio-luminescent presence in the lower decks of the ship, and as someone who is personally freaked out by weird sea creatures, I loved the idea of it - however, the sub-plot totally lost me when it spent a substantial period of time discussing Javor's military past. While his former life was definitely sad, it felt very out of place, and its placement in the middle of the story effectively removed me from the actual horror aspects altogether. → FINAL THOUGHTS ← All in all, I thought this anthology was a major mixed bag: there were stories I loved, stories I disliked entirely, and several in between. While I didn't add star ratings to the individual stories, my average rating was about 3.3/5, and I feel comfortable rounding that down to a 3-star average. While that may not sound like a raving recommendation, I will state that, at the time I'm writing this review, this anthology is available for free on Kindle Unlimited or for $2.99 on the US Kindle store, and at that price, I definitely think it's worth picking up and giving these authors a try.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    Here's the thing; I'm one of the authors in this anthology. Maybe that impacts my judgment somewhat. I will say, though, that I have never written with a better group of authors than the people in this book. Vices and Virtues isn't one of those anthologies where someone - Ashley Holzmann in this case - has approached authors individually and asked them to write stories. Ashley created a forum on the internet for all of the authors he invited to the project to brainstorm, chat, post drafts, criti Here's the thing; I'm one of the authors in this anthology. Maybe that impacts my judgment somewhat. I will say, though, that I have never written with a better group of authors than the people in this book. Vices and Virtues isn't one of those anthologies where someone - Ashley Holzmann in this case - has approached authors individually and asked them to write stories. Ashley created a forum on the internet for all of the authors he invited to the project to brainstorm, chat, post drafts, critique each other, and work together to be the best possible storytellers we can. Perhaps you've heard about the protein that was unraveled perfectly by the internet in just a few days, the same protein that had biologists scratching their heads for years. It's a true tale about the group being more powerful than the individual. That was true in writing Vices and Virtues, too. When you read this book, each word is the hard work of a lot of people coming together to make something great. No story in this lineup is filler. Everything hits you with full force. I'm honored to have written alongside everyone in the book and I guarantee you'll enjoy it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jodie "Bookish" Cook

    Book Review Title: Vices and Virtues Author: Ashley Franz Holzmann Genre: Horror/ Anthology Rating: **** Review: As with my other anthology or collection reviews I will talk about these stories individually. There were many stories I liked in this anthology and many that would work well as full-length novels but there were a few that just didn’t deliver on the horror side of things. The Girl Who Died by C. K. Walker In the girl who died we are introduced to an ordinary very forgettable girl who just Book Review Title: Vices and Virtues Author: Ashley Franz Holzmann Genre: Horror/ Anthology Rating: **** Review: As with my other anthology or collection reviews I will talk about these stories individually. There were many stories I liked in this anthology and many that would work well as full-length novels but there were a few that just didn’t deliver on the horror side of things. The Girl Who Died by C. K. Walker In the girl who died we are introduced to an ordinary very forgettable girl who just wishes someone would remember her. She is very into nature, love animals and spends a lot of time in the forest behind her home with her Forest Family. One day she comes across a dead animal which she buries as she has done for so many others but when she returns home she is struck with a hungry that no amount of food can get rid of and a chill that she can’t shake despite the very warm weather. As the days pass she gets sicker and sicker until her rather horrible parents ask a neighbour who is a doctor to come and see her. The doctor realises he saw this infection in an animal a few days before and immediately contacts the CDC (centre for disease control) who tell him to quarantine the girl, but she dies before more help can arrive. After her death she becomes a passenger in her own body while she kills and eats several members of her own family. It turns out she has become a zombie; patient zero. I Loved You So Much by Christopher Bloodworth This story while short was very entertaining, it is about a young boy who finds an egg out which a monster hatches. The boy loves his pet, feeds it and watches it grows. Even when it eats his whole family he still loves it but decides to release it into the forest, so it won’t get killed or tested on. In the end it seems like the boy went to prison for the murder of his family, but he vows if he ever gets out he will find his friend in the forest and live there forever, very creepy. In The Throes by Rona Vaselaar In the Throes had a really interesting premise and would work amazingly as a full-length novel. We are introduced to a girl who can feel the pain of other and tries to help them any way she can. Things spiral out of control when her best commits suicide and she can’t function or cope with her power, when an old man takes pity on her and lets her stay at his house. However, one night she awakes in so much pain and barely has time to call the police before passing out. When she awakes in the hospital she learns that the man she had been staying with had been holding children hostage and killing them for possibly years with an undetermined number of bodies recovered but only six survivors. The Compliant by J.L Spencer This is one of my favourite stories so far. It is about 3 friends who are in a lot of gambling debt to some dangerous men, so they decide to stage a pseudo kidnapping for ransom which all goes fine until they learn the one boy Zach decided to bring along a gun. After they get 25,000 Zach gets greedy and wants to demand more but the other two resists however they back down because of the gun. After a few days the pseudo kidnapping morphs into a real one and when Corey tries to back out Zach accidently kills him and then himself. What I liked about this story was it is never clear with Treavor is found or if the truth is ever revealed or if the gangsters even found Treavor afterwards. Constance by Adam Gray In Constance we are introduced to two perspectives of Constance and Annie, living their normal lives until things start to go really wrong. All I am going to say about this story is it seems like both women having issues in the form of mental health problems and drug addiction, but it is completely up to the reader to decide who is right or wrong. The Lonely Man by Kristopher J. Patten This story was brilliant it is about a female astronaut travelling into space to scout on Mars. There was another astronaut called Bell sent decades before her, but he is assumed long dead. However, when she arrives on Mars he is still alive at over 100 years old and she wants to know why. Bell begins to talk about God and how God has sustained him for so long with the necessary food and water supplies. In an explosion she is injured and needs medical attention or infection will kill her, so Bell convinces her to let God help her, but it turns out God isn’t what she thought. It turns out God is an alien species intent of learning how humans think, using up all the solar systems resources and then moving on and at first, she resists but in the end, she can’t deny that if it can heal the sick and raise the dead then humans will follow it blindly. The take on faith being the wool over someone’s eyes here was very interesting yet it has a ring of truth that makes a story truly compelling. Marina by Rafael Marmol Marina is a relatively normal story of a group of college friends having a summer holiday with the aim of partying and bedding as many women as they can until one of the boys spots a beautiful woman in a bar one night. Despite not talking to her he can’t forget her and be chance he comes across her again and then end up drinking and partying for the rest of the night. She confesses that she wants to have sex on the beach which he readily agrees to but when they get down to it she begins to transform into a hideous sex creature similar to a siren. After the encounter he feels terrible and sick, but the doctors can’t find anything wrong with him. On one of his final nights at the beach house he expels what can only be discussed as eggs, hundreds of them. While this happens periodically it doesn’t matter until he gets married and his wife gets pregnant and he belly is full of eggs. This story was more of a psychological horror than body horror but still a great story. My Time Is Very Valuable by J.D. Patrick In this story we meet Daniel a straight A student until he starts university where he is just scraping a B, so he decides to get his roommate Mike to help him out. Mike ends up giving him a pill which not only keep him awake but improve his intelligence. As finishing university with the best degree possible Daniel moves onto bigger and better things with the warning from his supplier Gregory to spend his time wisely. As years of doing well his pill supply starts running out so he tracks down Gregory who tells him his time is almost up. Daniel is presented with a pill that counts down his remaining time and a choice. I really liked the idea in this story that someone ambition can be their undoing, who really like a full-length novel of this as it would make a great sci-fi thriller, maybe. Birthmarked by J.L Spencer Birthmarked was a great story that I would have devoured more of but was the perfect length. This story has many similarities to Carrie by Stephen King. We meet Lynne was has an unusual skin condition that isolated her from society but some days the condition disappears all together and she decides for one day she wants to feel normal, so she goes to the movies with a boy she really likes. Halfway through the movie Lynne’s condition reappears and she hurries to the bathroom taking all her medicines to try and make it disappear again and she kills herself in the process and while her cold mother isn’t moved by this news, her warning early in the story because very clear in that moment. Given Form by S.M. Piper Given form is the story of Ellen Fields an artist and sculptor employed to work on a piece of sea marble. As she is beginning working there is some tension between her and her employer over what the finished piece will look like but she continues on. However, as the piece gets closer and closer to beginning finished it comes alive in a sense. When Ellen makes a mistake, the statue screams until she fixes it with pieces of herself. She shows her employer how pieces of her own skin become marble when applied to the statue making a true masterpiece, but it doesn’t stop there even after the statue is deemed complete it demands more from Ellen until she gives in. A very creepy story and could work well as a novella. Dammit, Janet by Ashley Franz Holzmann This story like a previous one is a psychological horror. We are introduced to Janet, who in my opinion might be either a sociopath or a psychopath because she doesn’t have normal human emotional responses or attachments, but she is ambitious. Janet is living her life waiting for something to happen but not willing to work for it until she meets Dave, a Hollywood actor and she realises he holds the keys to everything he wants so she becomes his mistress of sorts leaving her husband and children behind without a second thought, but it turns out Dave might not be all he seems. Heart Full of Love by L Chan In this story we meet Dave in a future we prosthetic are created for every part of the human body, Dave himself has a prosthetic pancreas and is told he made need a prosthetic heart in the future. We learn that Dave was having an affair with a woman called Natalie but had to end it because his wife became pregnant, but he is haunted by weird sounds and phrases spoken and written by others. It turns out that Dave murdered his lover to end their affair and when he tries to kill himself and fails, he ends up with a prosthetic heart which might have been the one he cut from Natalie’s chest. This story gave me serious Edgar Allan Poe vibes and would highly recommend it. Sesshoseki by Kristopher J. Patten This story is by far one of my favourites purely because it is set in my favourite country; Japan. We meet Stevens a CIA agent working in Japan meeting her contact Yuto but Benkei turns up instead because Yuto has been murdered by a faction of a gang called the Sumiyosha. It turns out the gangsters are planning a terror attack, the reason Yuto was killed and they are searching for the stone which was apparently taken from Yuto but neither the agents or the gang have it, meaning Yuto hid it before he was killed and now they have to find it before the gang do. The stone itself is very strange as it interacts strangely with the human brain and can cause people to be extremely violent and commit suicide. Stevens is taken to Yuto’s apartment to search for it and she finds it in his safe room, she also learns Benkei isn’t with the PSIA but is part of a religious sect sworn to protect people from the stone and they have to take it to Ayokigahara or the forest of suicides to neutralize it. As they hike through the forest to a shire Stevens knows there is something wrong with Ayokigahara and the Sesshoseki and when the reach the shire she finally realises what is wrong. After a shocking twist and bloody battle Stevens while safe for now realises that there may be a second Sesshoseki somewhere in Japan. This would make an amazing full-length novel as you could really delve into Japanese folklore and mythology as well as the country’s history while maintain a modern paranormal/psychological body horror novel that in movies Japan is well known for. The Sand Quarry by Manen Lyset This is the story of Emily and her two cousins Joshua and Parker who are staying with Parker’s abusive mother. Despite the boys not really liking Emily they are forced to play together every day. One day the three children are playing, and Emily suggests they go to the quarry where she can explore and play without being picked on by the boy and the boys readily agree. They arrive at the quarry and play for several hours when Parker dares Emily to climb a vertical dune known as the devil’s drop and while she fails at first, she is determined and makes it the second time, clearly impressing the boys who agree she can play with them from now on. However, as night falls Joshua and Emily want to return home as they are scared by the rumours that the quarry is haunted, but Parker wants to stay so they all stay. Things take a deadly turn when skeletal parts rise from the sand and drag down Joshua despite Parker and Emily’s attempts to save him, they immediately run home and Emily’s aunt phones the police and the search through the night and the following day, but no sign of Joshua is found. After her cousin’s death Emily returns home to her parents and Parker is sent to his father after his mother is found to be unfit. Years pass, and Emily decides to return to the quarry once more where she finds Parker’s hat which Joshua had been wearing the night he died, and she realised all the trinkets they had collected there belonged to someone claimed by the quarry. Chaucer’s Horses by Christina Ferrari The premise of Chaucer’s horses is an author named Bee writes a book called Chaucer’s horse from a strange dream she had and happens to be the exact copy of an Italian novel of the same name written by Tornaquinci T. Tornaquinci who died 3 years prior but has never been translated into English. Bee travels to Italy to remedy the situation but the family is very strange however, she is given permission to roam the house as she pleases. During her exploration Bee comes across a door to a basement marking with the symbol of alchemy and there she finds Tornaquinci T. Tornaquinci himself alive and well despite his apparent suicide. It turns out he discovered the secret to eternal life but cannot allow his family to continue publishing his novel as people will ask question, so he needs a suitable vessel to continue his work. He sent the dream to Bee about Chaucer’s horses and lured her to Italy in order for him to “possess” her body. This again is a story that would work well as a full-length novel and one I would definitely buy. Biserka by Kristopher J. Patten Biserka is the finally story in this anthology, we are introduced to Javor Markovic who works on a cargo ship which in a huge storm loses power, the captain concerned about leaks sends men to check the ship over. While he finds several puddle of bioluminescent water Javor finds no leaks but there are threads connecting one of the puddles to the engine almost like the water is alive. When he tries to dislodge it a second thread attacks Javor burning him. We then jump to the Yugoslavian state during a time of war where Javor was a solider, after one successful mission he is given a girl called Biserka as a reward, but he can’t hurt her and when he tries to help her escape with him, his commander kills her. We then jump back to the present where Javor knows something is on the ship but can’t convince anyone else as they think it is a jellyfish sting which can cause hallucinations. However, he investigates and finds Biserka’s spirit wandering around and he follows her until he can’t anymore when the creature pounces.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Laude

    All of these authors are new to me, but I will be sure to find more works by at least some of them! The concept of having stories related to vices and virtues was interesting. Some of the stories were truly horrific, while others were more eerie and thought provoking. If you like reading horror, this is a good one to read. Most of the stories are not gory (unlike a lot of horror), but rather mentally bothersome. Some of them will definitely stay with you a while. All in all, a great book of well-w All of these authors are new to me, but I will be sure to find more works by at least some of them! The concept of having stories related to vices and virtues was interesting. Some of the stories were truly horrific, while others were more eerie and thought provoking. If you like reading horror, this is a good one to read. Most of the stories are not gory (unlike a lot of horror), but rather mentally bothersome. Some of them will definitely stay with you a while. All in all, a great book of well-written stories for the horror fan.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emma Lynn

    Wow! I absolutely loved this! I really wasn't expecting much, as I have read many modern horror anthologies that are just far too focused on gore and explicit violence and seem to have completely thrown the art of subtlety out of the window, but this I loved. Many of the stories were morbid and rather grotesque, without being over the top, and some quite literally had me on the edge of my seat. There really wasn't a weak story among them. I'm interested to see what some of these authors come up Wow! I absolutely loved this! I really wasn't expecting much, as I have read many modern horror anthologies that are just far too focused on gore and explicit violence and seem to have completely thrown the art of subtlety out of the window, but this I loved. Many of the stories were morbid and rather grotesque, without being over the top, and some quite literally had me on the edge of my seat. There really wasn't a weak story among them. I'm interested to see what some of these authors come up with in the future

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    ‘Janet’s body is rolled up in the red carpet and dumped in the woods.’ North Carolina author/artist Ashley Franz Holzmann was born in Okinawa, Japan and raised in a variety of countries while his parents served in the Air Force. He considered attending art school, but is instead a graduate of West Point, where he enjoyed intramural grappling and studying systems engineering and military history. He majored in sociology and is currently a captain in the Army. Ashley uses his skill at writing horror ‘Janet’s body is rolled up in the red carpet and dumped in the woods.’ North Carolina author/artist Ashley Franz Holzmann was born in Okinawa, Japan and raised in a variety of countries while his parents served in the Air Force. He considered attending art school, but is instead a graduate of West Point, where he enjoyed intramural grappling and studying systems engineering and military history. He majored in sociology and is currently a captain in the Army. Ashley uses his skill at writing horror stories he honed in his book THE LAWS OF NATURE: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES OF HORROR, ANXIETY, TRAGEDY AND LOSS to edit this anthology of horror stories by a collection of authors he respects – a task not unlike that he championed in THE -30- PRESS QUARTERLY: ISSUE ONE. He, thankfully, includes one of his own stories – ‘Dammit, Janet’ – which reminds us of just how fine Ashley writes: ‘Here Janet is, being alive. Waiting in a line. Chewing bubblegum. Being human— waiting to die, just like all the others around her. Some are probably waiting for Heaven. Others are waiting for nothing. The rest are waiting to go get stoned again— it’s that kind of rough neighborhood. She is bored. Human existence feels a lot like a long waiting game. Wait until school is over, wait for a child to come to term inside a belly, wait for a driver’s license, wait for a war to end or an election or a movie to be released. It’s all about waiting. She feels like her entire existence is defined by waiting. She lets her mind wander around the idea like a child in a forest. Janet feels like some kind of robot. Like the ones she used to watch in the cartoons her brother liked. He always tried to get her more involved in his boy stuff. She’s just standing here, inputting useless knowledge into herself from her phone. Every few minutes she takes a step. Oh, she also keeps breathing, but that’s a subsystem function. Blink the eyes, breathe, keep the oil flowing through the joints. Receive input…etc’ The authors included in this very fine collection are Adam Gray, C.K. Walker, Christina Ferrari, Christopher Bloodworth, J.D. Patrick, J.L. Spencer, Kristopher J. Patten, L Chan, Manen Lyset, Radael Marmol, Rona Vaselaar, S.M. Piper, and of course Ashley Franz Holzmann. The stories are strong, well selected for various forms of horror and bring to the reading public the names and words of some quite significant talents. Noting that a very promising young author will offer his talent to help other authors gain credibility is the sign of a generous man. Strongly recommended. But ‘keep the lights on and keep pace despite tachycardia and dyspnea, because there is another ambiguous monster when we turn the page.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matt Shuck

    I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this AMAZING book before the release day and managed to get 3 stories in before deciding I needed an official copy, so I preordered it for kindle. 3 stories after that and I was frothing at the bit to get a physical copy and ordered that as well. It’s that good! Every story is meticulously crafted from the minds of some of horrors best writers to leave you with your jaw dropped. I haven’t been unable to put a story down in a long time but this book i I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this AMAZING book before the release day and managed to get 3 stories in before deciding I needed an official copy, so I preordered it for kindle. 3 stories after that and I was frothing at the bit to get a physical copy and ordered that as well. It’s that good! Every story is meticulously crafted from the minds of some of horrors best writers to leave you with your jaw dropped. I haven’t been unable to put a story down in a long time but this book is full of them. My personal favorite was “The Lonely Man” by Kristopher J Patten. A cool and unique sci-fi story that enthralled me from beginning to end.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Silver Screen Videos

    NOTE: The editor graciously gave me a copy of this book and asked me to write a review. Unlike several other volumes available on Amazon with similar names, Vices and Virtues, a collection of 16 short stories edited (and one written) by Ashley Holzmann, is not a religious or philosophical collection, but, rather, a largely entertaining anthology of tales that are loosely at best tied to various character traits that are generally considered either vices or virtues, such as pride, lust, and, on th NOTE: The editor graciously gave me a copy of this book and asked me to write a review. Unlike several other volumes available on Amazon with similar names, Vices and Virtues, a collection of 16 short stories edited (and one written) by Ashley Holzmann, is not a religious or philosophical collection, but, rather, a largely entertaining anthology of tales that are loosely at best tied to various character traits that are generally considered either vices or virtues, such as pride, lust, and, on the other hand, love and empathy. At the end of each story, Holzmann lists the one-word trait the story is supposed to illustrate, and, to be frank, sometimes the connection is rather strained. But readers won't mind, because, regardless of topic, the stories are quite entertaining. The authors of the stories in Vices and Virtues are relatively unknown for the most part, with only a handful of published works among them (in fact, some of them list as their only writing experience, some online fiction), but you would never know that by reading these stories. They are quite polished works, with virtually none of the errors that often plague self-published fiction on Amazon. Although Holmann describes this book as a horror anthology, the subject matter of the stories varies greatly, from tales of the supernatural to speculative science fiction, to a couple that are pretty much straightforward action and suspense. What I found most surprising about these stories was the patience the authors displayed in telling their stories, avoiding the temptation to go for the jugular right away, so to speak, but, instead, taking their time with setup and character development that make the ultimate story much more interesting. Perhaps the best example of this is the best story in the collection, “Marina,” by Rafael Marmol. At first, it appears to be a variant of the Jersey Shore TV show, with four college guys spending the summer on the Boardwalk looking for good times and easy women, and, indeed, the first half of the story chronicles their various successes and failures in that regard. It’s only after quite a bit of bawdy and enjoyable setup that the protagonist describes a particular one-night stand that turns into something way beyond what he might have thought possible. The opening pages make the difference, turning what could have been an exercise in momentarily grossing readers out into a tale in which they will suffer right along with the protagonist. Vices and Virtues has a number of other very good to excellent stories as well. “The Lonely Man” by Kristopher J. Patten could have been a tale from The Twilight Zone. In it, the captain of the second manned mission to Mars, over a century after the first, finds the commander of the earlier mission still alive and hearty on the planet. Naturally, there’s a rather mindboggling explanation. If Rod Serling would have enjoyed “The Lonely Man,” then it’s a fair bet that Alfred Hitchcock would have liked “The Compliant” by J.L. Spencer, a story with few traditional horror elements but a good bit of genuine, old-fashioned suspense. Three young men, badly in debt to loan sharks, hatch a plan to stage a fake kidnapping of one of them. I’m not spoiling things too much to reveal that all doesn’t go according to plan, but the way things fall apart is fascinating. Another one of my favorites is “My Time Is Very Valuable,” a clever and innovative science fiction-themed updating of the very familiar trope of making a deal with the devil, in this case, a pharmaceutical company whose miracle drug ultimately proves to have some rather unpleasant side effects. Naturally, in any collection like Vices and Virtues, there are bound to be a couple of duds, such as “Sesshoseki,” by the aforementioned Patten, a story that manages to squander the seemingly surefire locale of Japan’s Suicide Forest in a meandering mess that combines tries to combine espionage and the supernatural. A couple of other stories get off to solid beginnings but manage to fumble away the endings, like “Constance,” by Adam Gray, which starts out as a powerful description of life among the impoverished but can’t quite manage the right ending. If you judge Vices and Virtues as a whole, I would say that about two-thirds of the stories rate from good to excellent, and there are only one or two total duds, with the others being somewhat middling. The main impression that readers will take away is how polished all the stories seem, even those written by authors with virtually no experience. Holzmann hasn’t just reached out to a bunch of pals to put the collection together, but, rather, gotten some very skilled authors to contribute these tales, regardless of their bibliographies to date. Picking up this collection is no vice; the stories themselves will provide ample virtues to readers.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David Watson

    Vices and Virtues is a horror anthology edited by Ashley Franz Holzman and includes 16 stories that all tie into vices and virtues we have in society. I wasn’t expecting much from this anthology because I didn’t know any of the authors but was pleasantly surprised by the quality of work in this book. All of the stories in this book are like an emotional roller coaster with normal characters you can relate to put into extraordinary circumstances. The first story did a great job of setting the tone Vices and Virtues is a horror anthology edited by Ashley Franz Holzman and includes 16 stories that all tie into vices and virtues we have in society. I wasn’t expecting much from this anthology because I didn’t know any of the authors but was pleasantly surprised by the quality of work in this book. All of the stories in this book are like an emotional roller coaster with normal characters you can relate to put into extraordinary circumstances. The first story did a great job of setting the tone for the whole book. The Girl Who Died by C.K. Walker is about a lonely girl who has no friends except the animals in the woods. One day she finds a dead animal in the woods that changes everything. We then see this girl go from never being noticed by anyone to being infamous all because she cared to much. The next story in the anthology is I Loved You So Much by Christopher Bloodworth which is in the same vein as the first one, a child who is a little lonely finds a new friend who ends up bringing destruction to the kid’s family. Both of these opening tales pack an emotional gory wallop and were a lot of fun to read. One of my favorites in this book was Constance by Adam Grey, this was an emotional story about a confused older woman, a single mother and an innocent young child. Constance is an old woman living in an apartment building and working in an abortion clinic when she gets let go by the clinic she goes off the deep end and a young mother in need of a baby sitter makes the bad decision of leaving her child with her. This story was disturbing and at the same time really made you feel for the characters involved in it. There is a great mix of stories here and one story that mixes Science Fiction and horror is The Lonely Man by Kristopher J. Patten. Set in the future we have a captain on a spaceship going to Mars on an exploratory mission. The last visitor to Mars was 120 years ago and since then on Earth there has been was, famine and several deaths. Much to the captain’s surprise when she reaches Mars she finds the last person to visit alive and well.What has kept this person alive so long and what plans does he have now that he has a way to get back to Earth. The plot of this story is very similar to the movie Space Vampires but has a much more personal feel to it and much scarier. This anthology felt like it was a labor of love for all the authors and there wasn’t a bad story in the book.. Each story had a personal feel to it with one character going through something emotional that no one else could understand. The authors in this book seem to know what it takes to write a good story and they have put together a great book that mixes literary fiction with horror and Science fiction.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Seraphia

    Vices and Virtues Anthology is a collection of horror stories by a variety of authors. Each story is unique in its own way. These authors have come together to create and give us a different story, with a different meaning for each and every one of them. Some are darker than others, but they all are sinister in their own way. In one story you will meet a young girl whose only desire was to be noticed by those around her, and though she gets her wish it comes at a high cost. At the end of the day Vices and Virtues Anthology is a collection of horror stories by a variety of authors. Each story is unique in its own way. These authors have come together to create and give us a different story, with a different meaning for each and every one of them. Some are darker than others, but they all are sinister in their own way. In one story you will meet a young girl whose only desire was to be noticed by those around her, and though she gets her wish it comes at a high cost. At the end of the day though, all will know who she is…or was. You will also tag along with some friends, who have gotten themselves into some serious trouble. They only see one way out, but what happens when greed drives one of them to go further than they were all prepared to go? Come step inside and find out. Vices and Virtues is a collection of mostly short stories by a variety of authors. For most of these authors this is the first time that I have read any of their works, but their stories kept me engaged throughout. I am an avid fan of horror and creepy stories. I love the twists and surprises that the author gives us. Some are subtle but most are very obvious and in your face. These stories are not for the faint of heart. Some have quite a few gruesome elements, and others aren’t for those who are sensitive to certain subjects. These stories are dark and twisted, but if you dare to venture inside the reward is well worth it. I have to say though that the only complaint I would have concerning this anthology is the endings of each of the stories themselves. They are open-ended endings. They give you an idea of what will probably happen next, but you get to infer the future ending as a whole. More often than not I was left wanting more, which are a good thing and a bad thing. I want more, so I will be checking out these various authors individually to see what else they have written, and bad because I know these stories will not be continued. Most of these stories are short stories, but there are a couple that are longer in length and can be classified as a short novel. They are all worth the read. I am rating this anthology, 5 out of 5 stars. I love how I was engaged throughout each of the stories, with the exception of maybe one or two. The storylines are well done and the characters pull you in. There is a good variety in these stories. Some have a supernatural/paranormal element to them, and others give us the twisted side of human nature. So if you are ready to meet a shy little girl, a group of friends trying to avoid deeper trouble, and a seductive mer-creature looking for something “special” then step this way, come inside and enjoy this series of stories.

  11. 4 out of 5

    B.P. Gregory

    What are we reading?: Ashley Franz Holzmann Presents Vice and Virtues, A Horror Anthology. Give me the short version: Clever fables with a sting in the tail, for helping you find where you went wrong in life. I was fortunate enough to be offered a free copy in exchange for an honest review, although I might have picked Vices and Virtues up anyway on random encounter: love that cover! Mr Holzmann curates and contributes to this assembly of short stories, all charmingly modeled around a particular v What are we reading?: Ashley Franz Holzmann Presents Vice and Virtues, A Horror Anthology. Give me the short version: Clever fables with a sting in the tail, for helping you find where you went wrong in life. I was fortunate enough to be offered a free copy in exchange for an honest review, although I might have picked Vices and Virtues up anyway on random encounter: love that cover! Mr Holzmann curates and contributes to this assembly of short stories, all charmingly modeled around a particular vice or virtue. Flying under the flag of a horror anthology, the tales actually run the gamut of sci-fi, horror, and urban fantasy, the scope both broadened and held together by the overarching theme. Before I go further I have to confess that my preference runs to densely layered metaphor – that said, not everyone wants their brain bent backward every time they crack a cover. The prevailing style of a lot of the Vices and Virtues stories is clean and straightforward with a moral twist, and I foresee the collection gathering a strong following. Some of my favourites: I particularly enjoyed L Chan’s futuristic medical riff on that classic old Poe with Heart Full of Love. Adam Gray’s deep-dive into an addled mind with Constance was fascinating; I was also drawn in and intrigued by the slow boil modern nihilism of editor Mr Holzmann’s Dammit, Janet. Manen Lyset offers a more classic, and very engaging coming of age spook story in The Sand Quarry. A standout treat was Kristopher J Patten’s Sesshoseki, Japanese crime noir oozing with strong characterisation and illuminated by socio-political context. Then he hits you harder with second story Biserka, staggering through a wild shipping container and the scorched memories of a war deserter. On a finishing note, even though I was sent a free copy I’ve put in my advance order anyhow to send another paid order this anthology’s way (release date 1 October 17). My favourite bit: “Even then, though, he couldn’t shake the image of the ship cleaving in two like the Titanic, leaving long, thin strands of jagged metal exposed on both ends like caramel inside a broken candy bar. The cold, blue death of seawater would flood into both halves and pull them down, sinking like anchors.” – Biserka, Kristopher J Patten.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eric Lahti

    Ash and his crew got together and put together an anthology of horror short stories. Like all anthologies, it can be a mixed bag with some stories that really resonate and others that are less interesting. But that's the beautiful thing about short story anthologies; there's a little bit of something for everyone in them. The stories I didn't enjoy as much might resonate with someone else. They're also a good way to get introduced to new authors you might not have come across. There are some deci Ash and his crew got together and put together an anthology of horror short stories. Like all anthologies, it can be a mixed bag with some stories that really resonate and others that are less interesting. But that's the beautiful thing about short story anthologies; there's a little bit of something for everyone in them. The stories I didn't enjoy as much might resonate with someone else. They're also a good way to get introduced to new authors you might not have come across. There are some decidedly creepy stories in here, ranging from the college kids on spring break who find more than they bargain for, to the government agents searching for missing stone, to a very classic horror story about a haunted pit. I won't play favorites and mention the stories I liked best by name because that's not how I roll and I don't want to influence anyone. Suffice it to say, there are some real gems in here. If you're into horror, go check it out.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cassie James

    I don't normally read horror because I am such a chicken but this came personally recommended so I just HAD to pick it up. First off, they're 16 different stories from amazing authors. These are not timid stories that'll have you cringing, nope. These are stories that gives you chills and goosebumps tingling over your body. After this, I am ashamed to say I am sleeping with the lights on for a while before I get over it. The authors just have a way of engrossing you into the story and you'll get I don't normally read horror because I am such a chicken but this came personally recommended so I just HAD to pick it up. First off, they're 16 different stories from amazing authors. These are not timid stories that'll have you cringing, nope. These are stories that gives you chills and goosebumps tingling over your body. After this, I am ashamed to say I am sleeping with the lights on for a while before I get over it. The authors just have a way of engrossing you into the story and you'll get totally immersed with the scenario. This is an Anthology that is not to be missed, get it cause you won't regret it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liliyana Shadowlyn

    A brilliant collection of horror shorts that any horror fan will love. I genuinely enjoyed each story in this anthology and found some to have brilliant twists, and others to be absolutely chill-inducing. I cannot recommend this book enough, it's perfect for dark stormy nights when you want to have a heart-racing thrill. received as a gift from the author all opinions are 100% voluntary and my own A brilliant collection of horror shorts that any horror fan will love. I genuinely enjoyed each story in this anthology and found some to have brilliant twists, and others to be absolutely chill-inducing. I cannot recommend this book enough, it's perfect for dark stormy nights when you want to have a heart-racing thrill. received as a gift from the author all opinions are 100% voluntary and my own

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roxy

    My favourite stories were 'In The Throes', 'Birthmarked' and 'Heart Full of Love', which were all individually four stars, but I wasn't moved much by the others. My favourite stories were 'In The Throes', 'Birthmarked' and 'Heart Full of Love', which were all individually four stars, but I wasn't moved much by the others.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zach

  19. 5 out of 5

    Li

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fernando Infanzon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Rios

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dara

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissatober

  26. 4 out of 5

    Danny Farham

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  29. 4 out of 5

    3.14Buscus

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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