A review by woffordleejones
Under Her Black Wings : 2020 Women of Horror Anthology, by Jill Girardi


The place where it is the darkest is Under Her Black Wings. High praise to Kandisha Press and Jill Girardi (who compiled all these works—that must’ve been a massive feat) for an excellent collection of horror collaborating with the top names of women writing horror today. All the stories within this collection affected me in different ways (or a combination of the following), whether I was unnerved by the creepy (and many of them had a high creep factor), shocked into open-mouthed wonder by the surprising twists (or double-twists), grossed out by the disgusting or actually scared by the creatures that roamed between these pages. It was such an excellent variety of eclectic horror. Thank you to all the women in the collection for sharing your stories with me. Instead of stars, I’m giving five black feathers on this one pulled straight from her black wings.

WHAT YOU EAT by Alys Hobbs - such a creepy, disgusting, little story. If you could’ve seen my face as I read this one. Great descriptions; I squirmed a little on this one.

THE AZTEC by Carmen Baca - Living life by placing spells on items and people to get what you want can have grave repercussions in the end. Karma’s a bitch. This was such a great story.

THE RIDDLED PATH by Somer Canon This is the one story of the book that scared me the most. Great descriptions of the creature in this one.

DESERT KISSES by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason - High praise for this one. It had a twist (or was that two) that I didn’t see coming. Well-crafted. Very good writing/descriptions. Payback is hell! Always love it when the bad guy gets it in the worst way.

SOMEWHERE TO BELONG by Yolanda Sfetsos - Such a heartbreaking story but one with such a happy and feel-good ending. Enid is exactly where she belongs now.

HEART FOR THE HEARTLESS by Charlotte Monroe - A different take on the Frankenstein tale but oh, so damn great...with even an added twist on the end. Loved this one.

THE DARKNESS by Stevie Kopas - This story flipped me on my head. It made you think one thing but turned out to be something totally different. A very satisfying read. One of my favorites in this collection. Loved it!

SARAH SMILES by Christy Albridge - Obsession is a terrible thing; it can lead to doing terrible things. It can lead you into a bad situation. Wasn’t expecting that ending and neither was Chad. Like Sarah, I was smiling at the end of that story.

GODDESS OF THE LAKE by Malena Salazar Macia - When you least expect it, the tables can be turned on a situation. In this one; it happened extremely fast. So visceral.

ABAGAIL’S ARMY by Sharon Frame Gay, a twisted, little tale about two women and the way they were winning the Civil War.

ROAD RAGE by Sharon Frame Gay was an amazing story of Karma. You might think you know where this story is going, but you really won’t. That was a great piece of writing and oh so creepy.

COLD CALLING by Paula RC Readman - A creatively told story about playing a trick on someone and how the tables can turn on them. A very satisfying read.

UPON ACCEPTANCE by Copper Rose - Sometimes you have to do some dirty work to save the one you love. It was really great that she succeeded but really sucks that it wasn’t in the way she wanted. This had a heart-wrenching ending. I just hurt for the lead in this one.

THE FACELESS WOMAN by Marie Lanza - This one, by far, the creepiest story in this bunch. Sometimes the urban legends are real and can be possessive. This on holds on and won’t let go...literally.

UNPLUGGED by Dawn DeBraal - This was a dark a cleverly-told tale. Events in this story are not always as they seem. Ms. Dawn got me on this story. I approve. So good.

FIRSTBORN by Jill Girardi - A vicious, fast-paced story about a man’s fight against a legendary creature (The Penanggal) to protect his family and lineage. This one was a heavy-hitter.

SADIE by Lynda Prime - A tale where nothing is as it seems for Sadie and the reader...until the end. Couldn’t help but think of the phrase: “me, myself and I”, that Sadie was all three characters. Such a great little, bloody story.

PONTIANAK by Tina Isaacs - A man’s detailed account to his son about his encounter with the Pontianak years ago. Loved the detailed account of exactly what went down. Very unnerving when the true appearance came shining through. Great writing on this story.