Dark Rainbow

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  
Thanks NetGalley!

This was a mix of gay, horror, and erotica stories.   Some were not great to be honest, but others definitely held my interest.      Honestly, i didn't read many that really fit the horror theme.
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I was given an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was an interesting mix of stories. Some, better than others, but nothing was 'bad', in my opinion.  I look forward to reading more like this, and appreciate the opportunity to read and review.
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I got an ARC of this book.

I love horror. I love erotica. I love queer. I was ready. I was let down. 

There were a few stories that were on the brink of interesting, but then fell short for me. One of the few stories that were interesting was the werewolf one, but I am not even sure that they were really werewolves and not something more monstrous. That one was on the brink, so close to being one I would recommend. It just didn't go quite far enough for me. That was one of maybe three stories that I was almost happy with. 

Most of the stories were ones I was counting down the time until they were done. They were not scary. They were not sexy. Some were barely even queer. I was left wondering why they were included in this anthology. There was one were the main bad guy was angry about being called gay, but then it ended with him having the worst example of bisexual representation I have ever seen sex. I really could have done without the need to have a potentially bisexual character be in the middle of a forced sex scene between his straight best friend and a girl, so he is with a man and woman at the same time. It was just a really bad time.

There were just more and more examples of things I just didn't need in my life. A lesbian version of Great Expectations, but with mummification? Never really needed that, thank you. I was interested to see where things would go, but it was just a let down. Though this was one of the more interesting stories in the collection. I am just sad. 

There really weren't any remarkable stories or word choices or really anything for me to cling to when it came to this collection. I am really disappointed. I was going to buy it for my partner, who is even bigger into horror than I am. I can't imagine him reading this book. It isn't any of the three things the title promised me.
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Wow. Wow. Wow. I never thought such a combination could give so good results. There were stories that didn't surprise me at first, but things improve story after story. Each one has its own macabre charm.
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Dark Rainbow is a collection of short stories featuring  a mix of queer horror and erotica. Honestly, it wasn’t as queer as I thought it would be. There’s a lot of LGBT themes in this one, with most of them about males on males. If that’s supposed to be the queer part of the book, then it is not the kind of queer I’m looking for. 
In fact, there’s another book by the same publisher: “Borderlands” which in my opinion contains more queer than this one
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Dark Rainbow: Anthology of Queer Erotic Horror 
by Andrew Robertson & Sephera Giron 
2018 
Riverdale Avenue Books
3.4 /5

What a perfect pairing. Horror and queer erotica. It works!!
Everyone of the 15 stories have an element of fear or suspense and alot of sex. Sex more than horror drive these  stories, each about 10-15 pages. I wish there were more horror centered, but this was still a wild, and scary collection. Some new authors, to me....Valerie Alexander, Lindsay King-Miller, Sephera Giron, and Jeff C. Sherman. 
Thanks to Riverdale Ave. Books and net galley for the e-book ARC for a fair and honest review.
#DarkRainbow    #Netgalley
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I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This collection of short stories combines erotic content and horror, something that goes well together, in my opinion. The stories itself are very diverse in plot and protagonists, which I appreciate. Some stories are gory, some are haunting, and all are frightening in one way or another. There is quite some explicit subject matter but it doesn't feel cheap. 

My main criticism is that most of the stories felt too short and lacked that something special to make them stand out. For a few of them, I didn't connect with the writing style at all, and for others, I felt that the characters needed more work to make me care about them.

There was however one story that I just loved. Think of Me grabbed me right from the beginning. Lindsay King-Miller's words create an eerie but somehow beautiful and nostalgic atmosphere. Her plot, however, makes the reader feel regret, fears, and sadness. These two carry the main theme of suicide and its aftermath perfectly. Adding a paranormal twist to it is new and different. I am looking forward to reading more of her work.
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Thank you Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review. As an LGBT+ person and a horror reviewer this book caught my attention. You don’t see a lot of LGBT people in the horror genre so I found this book very refreshing. I will say that it is not for those with prudish tastes as the erotic side of the collection was very graphic and prominent throughout. I didn’t find it an issue personally, but some people might. Overall this was an enjoyable read, some stories missed the mark but all of them left an impression.
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Dear editors: It is simply not enough to offer an anthology based on a single gimmick alone (in this case queer authors/protagonists). You gotta deliver. And if the stories contained within your collection have no other noticeable qualities to offer besides their protagonists being gay, transgender or what the heck so ever, you have not done your job. In fact you just screwed someone out of their hard-earned money.

I know we live in a time where everything allegedly „inclusive“ is mindlessly applauded just for the sake of being so but to be honest I do not really give a flying f*ck. Just being „woke“ might be enough to win you a Hugo these days but thankfully the horror genre has so far been mostly spared the kind of ridiculous shenanigans the sci-fi and fantasy community is going through at the moment.

I probably read more than a dozen horror anthologies per year ranging from the usual suspects like Ellen Datlow‘s "The Best Horror of the Year" to more niche and theme-centered compilations like "Hardboiled Horror" or "World War Cthulhu". They are always a mixed bag due to their very nature but even the worst ones maintain a certain level of quality. This however is one of the weakest collections I have read in ages. Maybe even the worst one I have ever laid my hands on.

The majority of this collection is at the level of fan fiction or creepy pasta at best. The writing is clumsy, the plots predictable and self-serving while the characters (*cough*) stumble through cringeworthy and pretentious dialogue. The horror element feels tacked on in most cases (if it is there at all) and the authors show little to no knowledge of the genre‘s tropes and workings, simply rehashing stuff that has been done to death (and much better) already. Everything seems to act as cheap device to set things up for some form of sex scene or the likes for an audience of „Twilight“ readers looking for something more beefy after „50 Shades Of Grey“.

And talking about sex: Declaring this as „erotic horror“ is downright laughable as most of the included authors lack any form of prosaic skill to evoke anything feeling remotely erotic and obviously seem to mistake blunt descriptions of sexual intercourse with the beauty of the flesh. And those who know me, know this has nothing to do with me being a prude but everything to do with asthetics. If the carnal delights found in a Clive Barker story for example are painted with a wonderfully lush brush this here is the doodling of a kindergarten child. You can make out what is is supposed to be but it also ends right there. Heck even good old pulpy Ray Garton shows more skill at erotica in horror than 95% of the authors presented here and I guess this says something.

To be honest: This came very close to being a one star review but I felt bad for the very few halfway decent authors in this collection that at least show some minor talent for being thrown into this pile of garbage with the rest of the lot.

Edit: Nah, it is just too bad. One star it is. Sorry, gotta be honest.

*** Piece by Piece Ratings ****

2/5 - Pip and Estella by Valerie Alexander
The gothic setting of this story with a femme fatale living in a run-down mansion with her man-eating, murdering mother in a southern swamp full of alligators and an old witch could have been the perfect backdrop for an excellent horror story. Unfortunately Alexander uses the paper-thin and rather predictable plot she develops as a cheap vehicle for setting up a generic sex scene that takes up half the story that is littered with annoyingly pretentious dialogue that finally leads to an ending that is maybe unexpected but only due to it being all out of character for the main protagonist given her previous arc. Sloppy.

1/5 - Goldilocks And Her Undead Bear by Julianne Snow
Generic zombie fare with clumsy writing. If this would not have a drag queen as the main protagonist and henceforth fit this collection obviously desperate for content, this story would probably never seen print. Writing-wise this is a train wreck: The hobnailed fellatio scene at the beginning feels utterly lost and tacked on simply for garnering attention, the info-dump via the TV-speaker in the middle is as dowdy as it was unnecessary since everyone who has not been living under a rock since „The Night of the Living Dead“ already knows at that point that we are dealing with zombies. The characters lack any form of characterization and therefore simply feel like the author‘s sock puppets existing only to drive the plot instead of coming alive. Waste of time.

3/5 - Think Of Me by Lindsay King-Miller
This was actually quite decent with an interesting premise. Lindsay King-Miller‘s prose is sometimes lacking the punch needed to really bring the story home but she definitely leaves a lasting impression with me and I will keep an eye out for more material from her. Maybe we were just off to a rough start with this.

2/5 - Odd Man Out by Derek Clendening
Simplistic little story full of poor dialogue the usual sex scenes and an ending you will have seen coming from miles away. One extra star because I like me my cannibalism. ;o)

2/5 - Affliction by Spinster Eskie
The story is off to an intriguing start and then literally goes nowhere. The conclusion is banal and the morality projected on the lawyer is annoying. Well, at least we are spared the seemingly obligatory pointless sex scene which is a bonus.

1/5 His Type by Sèphera Girón
Same old, same old right here: Simple, generic and foreseeable with bland prose and basically non existing characters. Irrelevant and amateurish stuff that probably would not have seen the light of day if it wasn‘t for digital publishing.

1/5 The Life Model by Jim Towns
Oh my god, this is pretty much like a third-rate erotic story you would find in a cheap adult magazine and there is literally not a SINGLE horror element until the last page. Said ending is so embarrassingly generic that it physically hurts and was probably just tacked on to make the story fit the collection. Avoid at all cost.

2/5 The God Modulation by Kimberly Gondrella
Good idea, flawed execution. Especially the amateurish shifts in POV and tense are annoying. Whether or not the initial sex scene does anything for the story needs to be questioned as well. Oh, and any story that uses the word „mansplaining“ automatically gets a rating penalty.

1/5 Monday by Benjamin Johnson
This is basically nothing. Really. There is no suspense, no drama, no prose - in fact: there is nothing here that so much as faintly reminds of serious writing. It is so boring, so blunt it almost hurts and is probably taken from a Twilight-Fan-Fiction collection. Seriously, there are so many great authors out there and you print trash like this? Not to mention the virtual assault on your readers.

2/5 The Dark Gem by Lisa Damette
Another generic story with non-existing characters, a plot so paper thin you need a frickin' microscope to find anything at all. A little bit of effort here, guys? Come on. And why set the whole in thing in the wild west when literally nothing is done with the scenario at all? This felt as if was written in 2 hours max. It basically deserves a one star rating but in comparison to some of the other toxic waste presented in this collection the writing is at least not totally amateurish. Hence the two stars. And because I am feeling generous today.

1/5 The Christ of St. Jozef Church by Angel Leigh McCoy
Well, let‘s start with the positives first: McCoy has a decent eye for catching the interesting details of a moment in order to set the scene. However the story is utterly pointless and its over before it really begins without having offered anything in the departments of suspense or erotica. Completely forgettable is probably the right term for this joke of a short story.

1/5 Eye Contact by Jeff C. Stevenson
This is your story? This really is your story?! Disjointed, no suspense curve, no real relevance of the stories premise. This is not even up to par with a lot of the fan fiction out there. Seriously. And this is supposedly an established author with several novels out (if you believe the blurb in the back of the book)?

1/5 - Broken Lines of Salt and Flesh by Robert E. Furey
Good title but the story doesn‘t deliver. This is creepy pasta level at max. I know I am repeating myself but this is again amateurish, pointless and blessed with non-existent characters, dull prose as well as a self-serving plot (if you can even call it that). Flat out boring.

1/5 The Grave of Lilith by Harry F. Rey
Oh, the cringe is strong with this one. The first part is the usual crude writing, bad dialogue and fan fiction erotica found all over this collection. However in the final act this turns into some kind of a megalomaniac vision where the protagonist all over sudden becomes a super powerful demon in service of Lilith punishing all those heterosexual or bisexual guys who screw another man and then won‘t admit they are gay so the protagonists rips them apart. This feels like the daydream of an angry and frustrated teen that just hit puberty. What the fuck is this and how are we supposed to take it seriously?

1/5 The God of Small Favors by H.P. Medina
Utterly useless. Set in a fantasy world (of which the author dumps way to many names for a short story) the story deals with a petty thief that finds the owner of the house he is robbing to be a horny incubus that gives our little burglar the romp of his live. And there you have the entire story with the act itself taking up the complete second half. Not only is the story utter rubbish but it completely lacks any real horror elements (in a fantasy world I pretty much expect some weird creatures so this is not enough). So what the heck is it doing in this collection?

Phew, it's over. I can hardly believe I survived this with all of my brain cells intact. I can however only suggest to not do this at home and let trained and professional garbage-selectors deal with toxic waste like this.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and are neither influenced by the publisher nor the author (which I guess should be obvious).
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Thank you NetGalley and the author(s) & publisher for allowing me to read this book containing their stories for my honest opinion.
I am giving it three stars only because a few of the stories just seemed to drag on and became confusing to me. I lost sight of the plot as well as the characters. 
But for the most part I absolutely loved the compilation of erotica /horror stories. It has been such a long time since I have read anything from this genre. Some of my favorite authors were listed in the beginning of the book. I will be reading more from this publisher as well as from some of the authors.
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This collection was a bit of fresh air in the sea of doorstop fantasy books I've been reading lately. It was a quick read and entertaining. A guilty pleasure, for sure, but a lot of fun and a nice treat in between longer reads. I really liked the queer take on Great Expectations. I thought that was a good way to start off, and each story was fun in its own way. I'd definitely recommend if you enjoy erotica of the queer variety, and bonus points that all of the stories are withing the realm of horror. It's definitely different, and even if you think it's not for you, it's just different enough that you may enjoy it. I'm glad I picked this one up.
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This is my first time reading a book from Riverdale Avenue Books, and I'll definitely be back for more. While there were some minor typos and basic editing errors in the second half of the book, this is definitely worth your time if the description catches your interest.
Andrew Robertson has put together quite a compelling collection of queer, erotic horror stories. I was pleased that not all of the stories had tragic endings, and also pleased that the horror element was pretty prominent thoroughout. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone feeling prudish, because there are definitely some pretty graphic sex scenes. If you're looking for queer flavor in your paranormal erotica, this is definitely the book for you.
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This is an anthology of erotic horror stories, each with a LGBTQIA angle. Although, having said that, most of them are either lesbian or gay and not all of them are erotic but that didn’t necessarily detract from the story. As it the case with any anthology, there will be stories that blow you away and others that leave you indifferent. I enjoyed most of these and there were more stand-outs than fall-flats. 

Pip and Estella by Valerie Alexander
Wonderfully dark and twisted retake of Great Expectations. Estella is looking for a wealthy husband at her mother's constant urging. Love doesn't matter, only money and power. Mrs Havisham doesn't want the same fate to befall her daughter as it did her. Reclusive and bitter, she only comes out at night and is the worst nightmare for any of the suitors who fall in love with Estella. Great story and I loved the black humour in this. 

Goldilocks and Her undead Bear by Julianne Snow
Goldy is a drag queen and her backup singers are Dave, Abe and Gavin. Goldilocks and Her Three Bears play sold out shows in all the downtown drag clubs nearly every night. One night she hears the screams from the audience before she sees the zombies. This one grossed me out a little, but that's the point, isn't it? 

Think of Me by Lindsay King-Miller
Written from the point of view of Jess, Sasha's dead wife. Sasha is now with Taylor who loves her and wants to marry but also recognizes Sasha's love and loss of Jess. This is very beautifully written albeit incredibly sad. 

Odd Man Out by Derek Clendening
Ben and Patrick are looking for a third in their relationship. Patrick thinks he's found the perfect guy in Mack. But Ben and Patrick are hiding a secret desire. This felt a little flat to me and was missing a sinister undertone which would have made it much darker and tense. 

Affliction by Spinster Eskie
Perfectly horrible! This is written from the point of view of an escort who is talking directly to the reader. She's a highly paid prostitute but not for her looks or her sexual prowess, but for her affliction. I love the way this made me wince and my skin crawl. 

His Type by Sèphera Girón
Tommy is out with his mates lamenting his poor choices in partners. He seems to choose men who take for a ride and fleece him. Later at a club he sees someone who is his type. This was a little slow to start but picks up pace and interest from about midway. 

The Life Model by Jim Towns
Shy, wallflower Tara applies for a position as an artist's model at the local college. She finds being naked in front of strangers oddly freeing and not nearly as frightening as she'd thought. I quite enjoyed reading this one. It's higher on the erotic scale and lower on the horror than most of the other stories so far. 

The God Modulation by Kimberly Gondrella
Cassidy and her boyfriend are in a band with Maverick. Cassidy doesn't like Maverick much but Lucien has been his protector since childhood and isn't prepared to ditch him. Maverick wants Lucien, he just needs Lucien to see that. There is no shying away from the horror of this one. Maverick's malevolence is palpable. 

Monday by Benjamin Johnson
Stephen, in his last year of high school, warns classmate, Elias, that the other boys are out to get him. Elias offers him something in return. I loved the way this was written and the wonderful descriptions but I felt a little disappointed by the story. 

The Dark Gem by Lisi Damette
Jolene Harris limps into the general store having to put up with the 'walked into a door again?' comments from the store keeper. Later, she waits for the return of her husband Barnaby. And waits.
This is a western setting with saloons and brothels. Weirdly, this has been the easiest read so far, and by that I mean that it didn't freak me out. 

The Christ of St Jozef Church by Angel Leigh McCoy
Michael, a doctor of economics, is in Tilburg, Netherlands, on the pretense of a conference. He's there for a holy transformation which will require a sacrifice from him. Then he meets Nicholaas.
I was really uncomfortable reading this but also blown away by the unraveling of the story. 

Eye Contact by Jeff C Stevenson
Steven was born without a pupil and iris in one eye. It was accepted by his peers when he was younger but high school was a different story. This is a good story but I'm not sure I'd class it as horror. 

Broken Lines of Salt and Flesh by Robert E Furey
Dani goes over to her friend, Samantha's, house after she dumps her boyfriend having caught him cheating. Sam is a Wiccan and promises Dani she has some things that will help her. I'm not entirely sure what happened in this story even having read it twice. 

The Grave of Lilith by Harry F Rey
Jonathan meets up with Richard in Jerusalem thanks to the introduction of a mutual friend. It's 1982 and Jonathan is there studying biblical archaeology and Richard is an archaeologist. Richard convinces him to go to a dig site which is normally closed to all. I didn't connect with this story or the characters. It took too long to get to the climax with information that didn't seem germane and didn't enhance my involvement in the story. 

The God of Small Favours by H P Medina
Jin, Avocet and Jackdaw have made their way by boat to a house they intend to rob. Jin is not happy when he sees the windows open fearing the job will be too easy. In what seems like an abandoned house, the three split up. I thought this was quite a sweet story which is probably not the best reaction for a story in a horror anthology.

Book received from Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books for an honest review.
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This is probably more of a 2.5 but I found myself skimming a lot after the halfway point so I had to round down. It's really not a bad collection so don't let my low rating turn you off, it just wasn't for me. I know it's entirely my fault because the word erotic is right there in the title, but I found myself getting really annoyed with all the sex in this anthology. Normally it wouldn't really be a problem but there are 15 stories in here and it's only about 160 pages which means every story is only ten pages long [most are probably less since the last two seemed a bit longer]. After you take away 2 or 3 pages to account for the mandatory sex scene, there's really not a ton of time left to fully develop the characters or plot. I absolutely love the idea of a queer horror collection and I'm not even against it being erotica, I just wish the book was longer to allow me more time to get into the stories.
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A pretty good collection of stories ranging from great to okay. 

Definitely enjoyed the smut since there's not enough erotic horror out there. And no, I'm not talking about anthologies filled with vegetarian vampires who nibble on the necks of special humans while vowing never to kill again. blech. Anyway, the book had very enjoyable sex.

My personal favorite was Monday and some honorable mentions are Odd Man Out, The Life Model, and The God of Small Favours.

If you've got a taste for story or sex or both, this anthology has you covered.
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DARK RAINBOW: QUEER EROTIC HORROR is what a short story anthology should be.  Each story nails the theme of combining erotic and horror themes.  Each story is distinct from the other.  The stories have plots, themes, and originality.  

 Some like “Goldilocks and her Undead Bear” are bizarre and stomach churning; others like “The Grave of Lilith” are more conceptual. Most are somewhere on the fantastic spectrum from magical realism, to paranormal, to high fantasy.  

 The emphasis is on G and L, but there is also B, T, and a few other letters from the queer spectrum incorporated as aspects of the stories and their characters. The only thing that strikes me as at all overly predictable is the cover mashup of two arguable genre cliched—the skull and rainbow-- but I have no complaints about what is within.

Review copy courtesy of Netgalley, 5/5
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