Title: #StrangeLit: Fateful Turns
By: Various Authors
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Book Bundle Description:
Maybe once upon a time we all were ordinary, until the day life took a fateful turn. Do we accept this, or run from it? Explore the path of extraordinary choices in these stories.
Available on Buqo app!
Rating: 4/5 stars
Individual Story Descriptions And Its Respective Authors:
“The Mermaid From Siquijor” by Justine Camacho-Tajorena
Lorie Cenas gets invited to go on a diving trip to Siquijor, an island famed for its connection to the supernatural, to heal from a broken heart. She accepts but her friend doesn’t know that Lorie has a secret: she already has a deep connection to the island, the place where her mother died a long time ago.
There, she meets Marceau Egasse, a French diver and marine ecologist, who is passionate about the ocean but skeptical about the island’s mystic powers; and Elena, a mysterious island woman, who has secrets of her own.
Elena wants something from Lorie that she is not willing to give up. Will Lorie heal wounds from her past in Siquijor? Will she find love and a kindred spirit? Or is the island a maelstrom that will consume her, just like it did her mother?
“Spirit” by Nina Tuballes
Fifty years ago on the 21st of December 2012, the world as we knew it, ended.
The earth was divided into two territories: Babylon and Necropolis. Babylonians believe that it was God’s wrath that caused the cataclysmic event that led to whatever the world has become. Some believed it to be a scientific phenomenon, but only those who wields the power of Spirit knows the truth.
Prophesied Savior of Humankind, that’s what Serenity is for the wielders. The strongest among them. But is her strength enough to deal with her brother’s lie, her altered memories, the cult that rapes and kills women, the Risen who devours the living, and the truth about everything?
Will Dime, her broken and clueless soul mate, be able to save her from herself? And will she on the other hand, have the power to save Dime from himself?
With the immense power in her hands, saving the world seem as easy as one, two, three, but as seduction and the pleasure of it tingling at her fingertips, the chance of being consumed and destroyed by it increases.
“The Lady In Pink” by Carla de Guzman
Martha Ford can see ghosts. She always has, and when she moved to Paris, she’s found that ghosts are much better company than real people can ever be. She takes a job cleaning up an apartment in the Ninth Arrondisement where she and Henri Beaugiron stumble across the portrait of his great-great Grandmother, Marthe de Florian. But Marthe’s ghost is determined to take over Martha’s body, and unless Martha can find out why, she could lose everything to the city of Lights.
“The Eternal Harmony Funeral Home” by JM Agustin
Peter “Pit” Rosario is your typical under achiever. Never the good student, nor the athlete — nor anything, really. Pit is the epitome of unmotivated. While normal college students study for tests, go out with friends, and go to class; you can find Pit in front of a computer, playing his horror games.
But when death visits the family of one Pit’s closest friends, he finds himself away from his computer chair and at the wake of someone he barely knows. In a strange place and out of his element, Pit has never felt as uncomfortable as he is now and he just wishes he could go home and play his horror games.
To make matters worse, there’s a weird janitress following him around; smelling him with her long crooked nose as he walks by; staring at him with her dark sunken eyes from a distance. Looking at the strange old lady, Pit knows there’s something seriously wrong with her.
Did she just lick me!?
“Fate” by Sue Donymko
All he ever wanted…
All Daniel Santiago ever wanted was to get laid, like any other normal guy. But with his powers come a strange curse that cannot be broken, unless he meets The One.
…was what she cannot give.
All her life, Felicity simply followed what her family told her she was fated to become. But a chance encounter with Daniel makes her rethink that maybe her life can be something other than entirely black…
“Glimmer” by Ren Mayari
Hiraya was a theater group run by people whose beauty Amber calls ‘otherworldly’(exhibit A: her boss, Amarissa with her pale skin and grey eyes). There are other things at Hiraya that she found strange as well. The first time she went there, the people she met started upon seeing her as though she was someone else. Amber also thinks there were times that she thought Amarissa’s eyes would turn blue, but that could just be a trick of the light.
And since she started working as an intern at Hiraya, the dreams came almost every night – the dream with the lady with the brown wavy hair she’s been having ever since she was little. There’s also the headaches accompanied by some hallucinations. Or were they visions?
“The Warrior’s Dilemma” by Sette Luis
Nicolla is out to prove that she does not need a man. Tristan does not want to fall in love with a woman. Fate brought them together. Can Tristan allow himself to fall in love when it will cause him his death? Will Nicolla allow herself to love when it will mean admitting that she needs a man?
“Harvesting Nightblooms” by Will J. Sarm
Prom is supposedly the most memorable night of a teenage girl’s life. But when Alexis Briar wakes up in a coffin, in an entirely different world, her prom experience is about to go on a whole other level of unforgettable. Summoned to the plague-ridden world of Endor by Ash, a mysterious boy with powers over the dead, he tells her that her only way back is if she helps him save his world from a rabid disease. Not exactly the easiest thing to do. Can Alexis do the impossible and make it back home, or will she end up marooned in Endor with the necromancer with whom she has never felt more alive?
“Enduring Attachments” by Johann Farson
In the not-so-distant future, one man finds that there are some things he just can’t get over.
“Sparks Of Circumstance” by Chi Rodriguez
At eighteen, Jana Cross begins to dream.
Sometimes, her dreams are of a cafe that sells a different kind of coffee. Here, espresso shots are focus and discipline, sugars and syrups are encouragement, tea and milk are calm, and whipped cream is joy.
Sometimes, she dreams of another realm, an enchanted forest with different creatures doing her bidding and her subjects calling her by a different name. She dreams of power, of striking fear. She dreams of things that aren’t real.
Or are they?
When danger finds Jana, she begins to follow her dreams. Will they lead her to her death? Or will they finally lead her to the truth?
This is the beginning of her story.
“The Rite Of Passage” by Rose Gallardo
As the town prepares for the the Big One and an eclipse that would put everything into darkness, an ancient beast is about to stir and create havoc on Earth. An unlikely hero will rise to save the the town from carnage and ultimate destruction. A young girl named Karla and her feeble grandfather Tomas is the town’s only hope for salvation. Will she accept her fate and face the mighty Bakunawa or perish like her parents?
So this is my stop for the blog tour of #StrangeLit: Fateful Turns.
Reading this kind of book is a first for me, to be honest. Probably because I really don’t feel comfortable reading stories that has eerie atmosphere in it. And by “eerie atmosphere”, I mean stories that has supernatural or paranormal as its genre. I’m a scaredy-cat, that’s why. I could handle fantasy genre stories, since I like them. In any case, I’m glad I was given a chance to read something like this through this blog tour hosted by The Bookish Diaries. To think various authors wrote this, not to mention they were all Filipinos…
This review will be a little different from the others that I’ve previously written as I decided to write out my thoughts about some of the stories contained in this book bundle that got my interests from the story title itself. I focused on the short stories first, so I’ll write a review about those stories. That also means this blog post would be updated from time to time until I managed to read all of the stories in this bundle.
The Lady In Pink (Rating: 4/5)
Now this story really took me to France. So thank you. There were terms that really threw me off guard sometimes since I have to look it up to the internet to know what it means or what could it be talking about. But aside from that, I really liked this story. It isn’t as scary as I initially thought it would be. I never thought I would enjoy reading this. Well, what really fascinated me was the way the settings were described. I could really picture it in my head as I read it.
Although there were parts that made me frown in some instances, probably because of the changing perceptions of Martha, Henri, and Marthe (the ghost) and not the usual focus-on-one-character-per-scene-or-chapter style of writing, it didn’t take me long to settle to it. There was one story that I wrote the character perception the same way, so I got a hang of it sooner than I thought.
I definitely liked how it ended. For Auguste and Marthe, and even for Henri and Martha. And when I read the acknowledgement, I never thought the story of Marthe de Florian and the apartment has a real-life basis. Of course, learning that, I might do some research about it one of these days. 🙂
The Eternal Harmony Funeral Home (Rating: 3/5)
Now this is a kind of a paranormal story that I would never be fond of, seriously speaking. Probably because I don’t like watching or even reading this kind of story ever since. And this only made me decided not to go to a funeral home. Only because I’ve never been into any. The story was told in Pit’s POV and the pace is just okay for me. The narration was understandable and picturing the scenes in my mind made it easy for me because of the narration. I sort of laughed at Pit’s predicament and the way his friends would tease him about that old lady.
For a man who stayed inside his room playing horror games, Pit somehow has his humor intact. I think…
The Warrior’s Dilemma (Rating: 3.5/5)
This story actually came a little too fast paced for me. But somehow, I got the point of the story. There are women who are out there trying to prove that they could do things a man can. And I guess Nicolla managed to prove it. There are things that got me confused, though. Like the Other Realm and the Willings. They weren’t fully explained here, so I couldn’t help but frown when these terms came up in the story. This story somewhat explores the Filipino mythology (or at least resembling it since I wasn’t all that familiar to Filipino myths and cultures). But even so, I still enjoyed reading it.
Although the ending truly left me in a cliffhanger. Is there a continuation to this story? This time, probably focusing about Tristan’s journey to finally put an end to the curse?
Enduring Attachments (Rating: 3.5/5)
Now, why does this story felt like Hunger Games somehow? Although I haven’t read the book or watched that particular movie yet, I got the idea of the story. And that was the first thought I had when I already reached the middle of the story. Well, at least on the part after the killing. It also reminded me of a scene from Naked Weapon where the girls will find each other to the death. But this story was different in some ways. It wasn’t that scary enough. So thankfully, I managed to handle it. But seriously, this one would actually make someone fear for the future.
And John… he was seriously attached to Jaina, huh? I mean, why would he risk hiding her and keeping her alive through an experimental process if he wasn’t? And this one also left me in a cliffhanger. At least just a little bit.
Sparks Of Circumstance (Rating: 4/5)
Why does it have to leave a cliffhanger like that? It seems like this story turns out to be a prologue of a novel or something with the way it was written. But I like the premise of the plot here. Of course, I still need to get used to the terms placed here. Thankfully, there was a glossary placed at the end of the chapters (despite only having two or three) so I was able to come in terms with the words that confused me somehow.
Literally, this was the beginning of Jana’s story. But I never thought the author would leave it like that. Does she have plans on turning it to a novel? Perhaps, still a part of #StrangeLit? I’ll wait for it if there is.
The Rite Of Passage (Rating: 4.5/5)
Now this one story is perhaps something I can relate to an RPG game or even a fantasy anime that I usually watch. But for this, the author used a Filipino mythology-themed premise to write this. It’s really cool and it really made me excited as I read it. Thankfully, this wasn’t left with a cliffhanger like the other short stories in this bundle. I really liked Karla’s journey here as she was trained to become the new hero of the town. Even the back story was explained nicely. The story only focused on two perceptions, mainly Karla and that of her grandfathers (who was perhaps the first warrior to defend the town from the Bakunawa’s wrath). And I really like the way it was written.
About The Authors:
Justine Camacho-Tajonera was born and grew up in Cebu City, Philippines. Despite starting a corporate career in telecommunications, she pursued her masters in Literary and Cultural Studies to keep her close to her first love of writing.
She has had her poetry published in several anthologies and local publications and she has published three books: Artemis Lets Go (novella), A Portrait of Jade (novella) and Gift: Poems, her first collection of poetry. She maintains a blog, Claiming Alexandria.
She works full time at a corporate job in the Philippines, is married, and has two children whom she homeschools with her husband.
Follow her on Twitter: @justine_tajo
I’m Nina Tuballes. I studied Journalism at The Manila Times College and The Lyceum of the Philippines University, but I haven’t graduated yet because I had to work. I’ve been working in the BPO industry for almost three years.
I’ve always loved paranormal stories and anything out of this world, and Spirit is the first paranormal story that I’ve completed so far.
Carla de Guzman
Carla de Guzman never thought she would fall in love so fast with Paris, but after visiting the city, she knew she had to write a story about it. She loves writing about the places she’s visited, and this is her fourth novella. Her other works include Cities, Marry Me, Charlotte B! and Sigh no More.
JM Agustin is in his mid 20’s. He graduated from a business school and took Game Development in UP afterwards. In between playing MMORPG’s and watching TV, he somehow wandered into writing.
Sue Donymko works, eats, and laughs. When she’s not busy daydreaming about love, she writes about it instead.
Fate is not her first work.
Ren Mayari has always loved books ever since she could remember and has always seen libraries as sanctuaries which is one of the reasons why she became a librarian. Anything about the supernatural is interesting to her. She writes poetry, tries to draw, reads books whenever she can squeeze it into her schedule of daily living.
Sette Luis reviews technical papers and writes poems.
Will J. Sarm is an introvert who pretends to be an extrovert. He has been writing ever since he was strong enough to lift a pencil. He primarily writes YA novels, usually with fantasy elements, and he occasionally dabbles in spoken word poetry. Make sure to show him some love and follow him over at twitter.com/wilj. If he finally decides to reopen the can of worms that is blogging, you’ll hear about it there.
Johann Farson is a an aspiring writer who wants to one day make a great science fiction book. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chi Rodriguez has many feelings. Sometimes these feelings find their way to paper in the form of short stories and fiction online. Sometimes they don’t come out at all and end up as unresolved sexual tension or terrible internal angst. She prefers making imaginary people go through these feelings for her pleasure. Her muses hate her for it, and they repay her by being forever fickle. She wrestles with them in her head everyday.
I am poet, novelist, blogger and a full-time educator. I like to write about the strange, the obscure, coupled with the famous creatures and deities of Philippine mythology. My stories shows the strong side of my feminine characters as they deal heroically with every adventure. My blog site is https://roserobertsgallardo.wordpress.com
This blog tour is hosted by: Bookish Diaries