Book Review: *Double Feature* The Sea Was a Fair Master & The Halloween Tree

“People had talked of the ocean having some evil mystic hold and powers when I’d mentioned joining the navy. That was nonsense. The sea was a fair master.”

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Calvin Demmer was nice enough to send me a free copy of his book in exchange for an honest review. The Sea was a Fair Master is a short collection of horror flash fiction stories. This was my first time reading flash fiction and it was a great experience. The stories are only a few pages long, sometimes only one or two pages. They surprisingly pack a punch in such a short amount of time. I have to give it to Demmer for being able to pull that off!

It’s admittedly a bit hard to review a book such as this. There’s not much to talk about without spoiling these quick thrills. All I’ll say is that it’s definitely worth reading and easy to pick up and devour a few stories at a time, or all in a sitting! A great palate cleanser between books. Here’s a list of some of my favorites; The Peeper, West, Not Suicide, Like a Spanish Guitar, and Hangman. But pick up a copy for yourself because with 23 stories there’s one in there for everyone!

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“Hold the dark holiday in your palms, Bite it, swallow it and survive, Come out the far black tunnel of el Día de Muerte And be glad, ah so glad you are… alive!”

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The Halloween Tree is such a fun Halloween read. I actually ended up finishing it in November and it helped me hold onto those Halloween vibes. We follow the adventures of 8 boys as they travel with Mr.Moundshroud back through time as they search for their friend Pipkin. They learn the history of Halloween through the ages and throughout different cultures all over the world. It’s a whimsical children story packed with Halloween history and a great lesson about friendship.

This was my first Bradbury book, and I know it was just a short children’s Halloween story but I loved it! I loved the imagery and thought the actual Halloween Tree he created was so awesome and I just love the symbolism of it all at the end of the book as the season passes. I actually learned some interesting facts about Halloween in other cultures and how it came to be what it is today. I really liked how Bradbury shed each child’s costume as we learn about the origin of each monster, the Mummy, the Skeleton, etc. If you haven’t read this one yet, order it before October next year and save it for the Halloween season, it’ll be worth it, I promise!! I can’t wait to read more by Bradbury.

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