“’Til death do us part” takes on a whole new meaning in the wedding-themed anthology, With This Ring, I Bleed, Dead!, edited by Charlotte Emma Gledson and Lyle Perez-Tinics for Rainstorm Press.
In this short collection (just shy of 140 pages), ten authors share tales of love and loss, murder, lust, supernatural beings, and revenge. Like most men, marriage scares the hell out of me. The horrors within these stories definitely reinforce that fear.
As a reader, I have a love/hate relationship with new anthologies. They expose me to variety of authors and styles, but so many of the stories within tend to range from “I’d love to see more from this author” to “Can I have the last fifteen minutes of my life back?” Unfortunately, this collection is no different. After reading the first couple stories, I wanted to throw my Kindle through the drywall. It read like so many of the self-published works out there that have never crossed an editor’s desk. But I wanted to be fair to all of the authors and read through to the end.
I was glad I did. There are a few real gems in this book that gave it some redemption. While I’m not going to offer a review of each individual story, I will say that my favorites here include “Wendy,” by Bruce Turnbull; “The Axe Bride,” by The Nightmare Jane; and “The Bonds of Love,” by Danica Green.
As a whole, the concepts behind the stories were great. I really wanted to like every one of them; however, I must admit that some authors’ sub-par writing (point-of-view slips, plot holes, etc.) really made it difficult to do so. I wish I could endorse this one, I really do. Even at the $2.99 e-book price (the paperback sells on Amazon for almost $13), I don’t think the few well-told stories here are worth paying for—and sifting through—the rest.