A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams – Reviews

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Stars Reviews Percent
5 Stars 24 63%
4 Stars 12 32%
3 Stars 2 5%
2 Stars 0 0%
1 Star 0 0%
4.6 Stars 38 Reviews 100%

5 Star Reviews

24) Ruth Wood’s Review ★★★★★

By Ruth Wood on 24 March 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I was given a copy of this book by Voracious Readers in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book. It is a collection of short stories that reminded me of the types of stories in Tales of the Unexpected or Inside Number 9. The stories were about a variety of creepy situations without being gory, so good for any fans of horror stories. I loved these stories, and I will read more by this writer.

23) Fantastic collection of stories ★★★★★

By Samantha Wood on 23 March 2021 (Amazon AU Review and Goodreads Review)

Loved this collection of short stories. They were just the perfect amount of creepy in the well written way that all the best stories are. Donald Firesmith uses twists, suspense and atmosphere expertly to give you

Loved this collection of short stories. They were just the perfect amount of creepy in the well written way that all the best stories are. Donald Firesmith uses twists, suspense and atmosphere expertly to give you chills. No cheap jump scares or excessive gore to shock here.

These are the kind of stories I imagine telling around a campfire to freak out my friends and family.
Thank you for letting me read this wonderful book.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book through Voracious Readers Only in exchange for a honest review.

22) Paige Smith’s Review ★★★★★

By Paige Smith on 7 March 2021 (Goodreads Review)

This book had a variety of different stories from arsonists to ghosts. I loved reading each one, the whole book only took me a couple of hours. Each story was written fantastically, I especially love how the author told you at the back of the book how he came up with each story, authors don’t normally do that.

21) Catherine Pratt’s Review ★★★★★

By Catherine Pratt on 6 March 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I LOVED this book!! A series of short stories that are actually weird. I loved at least 3 of the stories. I just wish these stories were actual novels or simply a longer story to put it in the novella category. Great read and a fun read.

I received a free copy of the book and is voluntarily leaving a review.

20) Tara’s Review ★★★★★

By Tara on 23 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I received a complimentary review copy of this book through voracious readers.

It was my first book through voracious readers, so I was a little unsure of what to expect. I was honestly really surprised by how good it was! I was literally hooked from the first page. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it even though I’m not a person who usually reads these types of books. The author’s writing style is really good and very easy to follow. I would definitely rather read these short stories in my English class rather than the ones we’ve been repeating every single year!

19) Priyanka’s Review ★★★★★

By Priyanka on 23 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

Hello readers,
I got this beautiful book from Voracious Readers. Its worth reading for those who do not like to read long novels and [are] interested in horror stories. All the stories in this book are good and scary. [One] climax part given is so scarily written, and once you start you cannot stop yourself from reading the whole. I personally suggest you to buy and read this awesome book.
Thank you.

18) Tom Marshall’s Review ★★★★★

By Tom Marshall on 23 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

Really excellent group of short stories. I personally really enjoyed “The Collector” the most, though each one was interesting and very well-written.

I would definitely read more work by this author.

17) A collection of spooky tales for a winter’s night ★★★★★

By Janet Leach on 17 February 2021 (Amazon UK Review and Goodreads Review)

Fans of Tales of the Unexpected or Inside Number 9 should definitely get themselves a copy of A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams. This collection of spooky, unsettling tales makes a perfect Halloween treat. I can imagine listening to “The Collector” being read aloud by a log fire on a dark Autumn night. Or hearing “The Farmers Daughter” on a snowy Christmas Eve. For readers that like to be spooked by things that go bump in the night, “The Haunting of Ederescu House” is the tale for you!
A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams is an entertaining, easy to read anthology. I enjoyed it.

16) Ruby Thompson’s Review ★★★★★

By Ruby Thompson on 5 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

This fantastic little collection of short stories had me hooked from the very beginning. Each story brings to life a whole new set of characters and has an unexpected ending that just leaves you wanting more!

15) Sue Watchorn’s Review ★★★★★

By Sue Watchorn on 4 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I was captivated from the first page. I love short stories, and this book follows along the lines of The Twilight Zone, with endings that will make you reread the story to try and work out the twist.
I loved all the characters, and the authors writing style flows easily and sets the scene with delicate descriptions.
I now want to read all his books, as I love this genre, couldn’t put it down.

14) Great Short Horror Stories ★★★★★

By Evilblackraven (Cassie) on 3 February 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)

Amazon Review:
I really enjoyed this compilation of short Horror stories. It is a well written book, and I flew though it, I was so interested! I would definitely suggest this for anyone looking for a book of short Horror stories.

Goodreads Review:
This is a great book of short scary stories. It’s well written, and I really enjoyed getting drawn in. Some of them, I even wish there was more to read!

13) Enjoyable read! ★★★★★

By Julie (BooksShelf reviewer) on 31 January 2021 (Amazon US Review [deleted] and Goodreads Review)

A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams is a great collection of short stories. I’m glad I had the chance to read them.
These short stories are thrilling and exciting – most are scary and violent at times but totally worth your time.

I enjoyed A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams, and I recommend it!

12) Interesting, stories that grab you! ★★★★★

By shezza1511 (Sheryl Paxton) on 26 January 2021 (Amazon UK Review)

I have just finished reading A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams, and I must say I really enjoyed it. The stories were just the right length, but also had plenty of depth, and weren’t your usual, predictable, scary stories. Definitely worth a read! 🙂

11) A fantastically written anthology ★★★★★

By Nova Thomson on 23 January 2021 (Amazon UK Review and Goodreads Review)

This is a fantastic read. I read it in a couple of hrs. If you have read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, then you will absolutely love this. The stories are fantastically written. This is the first thing I have read from this author, but I guarantee you it won’t be the last.
The only thing that disappointed me was that there were not more stories.

10) Great anthology ★★★★★

By Client d’Amazon (Ingrid Monteilhet) on 18 January 2021 (Amazon UK Review)

I received a complimentary copy from Voracious Readers Only.
Some of these stories will chill you to the bone!
I particularly enjoyed “The Haunting of the Ederescu House.” It felt like I was watching one of those ghost hunting TV shows.
“The Farmer’s Daughter” is quite touching, although eerie.
Because of “Her Mother’s Eyes,” I will never hear this saying the way it’s intended to now!

9) Clever, creepy short stories with twists. ★★★★★

By Karen Shield on 14 January 2021 (Amazon UK Review and Goodreads Review)

I absolutely loved this book and read it in one sitting! A collection of very clever short stories, each with an unexpected twist. The style of stories reminded me of the Tales of the Unexpected TV series. Each one made me smile. I can’t wait to see what else this talented author has produced.

I received this book free from “Voracious Readers Only” in exchange for an honest review.

8) Captivating ★★★★★

By Leslie Bradley on 9 January 2021 (Amazon US Review)

I was hooked from the start! Great stories and kept me wanting more! Loved it.

7) Great variety of short stories! ★★★★★

By Darla Mathews on 5 January 2021 (Amazon US Review)

I received a copy of this from the author through Voracious Readers Only, and this is my honest review. I really enjoyed all the stories but think my favorite is the second one about the collector. I thought it to be pretty original as it is not your average scary story. I could see this made into a Twilight Zone episode. The rest of the stories are very good, and I flew through the whole book in less than an hour. Thoroughly enjoyed!

6) Surprising, Clever and Uncanny! ★★★★★

By Margaret Bentley on 4 January 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)

A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams by Donald Firesmith is a sneaky clever collection of amazing little stories you won’t soon forget. Once I read the first little snippet, I just had to have more!

5) Barbara Parr’s Review ★★★★★

By Barbara Parr on 3 January 2021 (Goodreads Review)

Very much enjoyed this book from start to finish. Definitely recommend this book. Wording was easy to understand. Can’t wait to read the other volumes. I will be looking for other books by this author.

4) Brilliant book of fun short stories ★★★★★

By Kindle Customer on 27 December 2020 (Amazon UK Review)

I was very very lucky to have been asked to proof read this book, which I was of course very excited to do. This is a book of fun short stories, and many have very unexpected twists at the end. The stories are fun to read and well written, which of course I wouldn’t expect anything less from one of my favourite authors, and as always, this new book didn’t disappoint. If you enjoy reading fun short stories full of fun twists and turns, this is a book you will enjoy.

3) Great Read ★★★★★

By Brandon Cooper on 23 December 2020 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)

I loved this book. It was fun read, especially the short story of the farmer’s daughter. That story was the most heartwarming, and different from all the others, in that it wasn’t scary or violent, but just sad. I also liked the new addition of Billy the Arsonist, as that story seemed to be inspired by the Hell Holes series.

2) Good Scary Stories ★★★★★

By Raymond Quick on 14 December 2020 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)

This book takes me back to a TV program of the 1960s called The Twilight Zone. It had many stories that were of the same kind as in the book. Needless to say, I enjoyed the book. These are good stories and looking forward to more coming from this author.

1) It’s Good To Be Scared ★★★★★

By Ann Keeran on 7 December 2020 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)

An anthology of strange stories made for enjoyment late at night. An exciting and fun book to read.

Strange stories, scary stuff and fun for all. A great book to read late at night, maybe when there is a full moon or a thunderstorm with tons of lighting. You get the picture, now get the book!

4 Star Reviews

12) I Love A Good Story! ★★★★☆

By Jlynne on 26 March 2021 (Amazon US Review)

Original, quick to read stories! A few surprises mixed in. Overall, well worth reading. I definitely will be reading more from this author!

11) Julia’s Review ★★★★☆

By Julia on 13 March 2021 (Goodreads Review)

This is a review given in exchange for a free copy of the book. This is still an honest, unbiased review. The short stories in this book are very good; a few of them gripped me immediately and left me wishing the story had been longer. All the stories are well written with a good balance between descriptions and plot. Some of the twist are easy to figure out before the reveal, but I think that shows a credit to the author’s skill at leading a reader well. The only reason a star has been removed is due to a few of the themes being is the pacing of some of the stories felt off to me; they were a little too slow at first but overall a very good collection.

10) Good Collection of Short Horror Stories ★★★★☆

By Amazon Customer on 17 February 2021 (Amazon UK Review)

I really enjoyed this book. I received it free for an honest review.
There are some really good stories here, some endings I was able to predict but the book is well worth the read.

9) Great Collection of Short Stories ★★★★☆

By Jeanette H. (Jin) on 13 February 2021 (Amazon UK Review and Goodreads Review)

Good collection of short stores, really enjoyed reading them. I would say they are more eerie/creepy than scary, but they do make you think. If your looking for something to read while curled up with a cuppa, this is perfect!

8) Jacki Brayshaw’s review ★★★★☆

By Jacki Brayshaw on 10 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I received this anthology free in return for an honest review.

I’ve never heard of this author before.

I was pleasantly surprised by these short stories, nothing that chilled me to the bone the way Stephen King does, but a collection of good old fashioned horror tales that could be told around campfires to give everyone the creeps just before bed. Some had predictable endings, but I am genuinely pleased that I chose this book as it provided a pleasant way to spend an hour this evening.

I feel the author has the ability to write something truly chilling, and I’ll look out for his other books.

7) Tabetha Slade’s review ★★★★☆

By Tabetha Slade on 6 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from voracious readers, and I was a little on-the-fence about if it was really something I would like.

I’m glad I decided to give it a go, as I found it to be a lovely collection of short spooky stories. Probably not something you should read before bed, although that depends on how your mind works (for me watching/reading anything that could resemble the Horror genre can result in me ‘seeing things’ for days). I liked that those stories that could have gone further into the realms of horror stopped before then – almost on a cliff-hanger, but still enough for the story to be complete.

Some of the stories are more ‘spooky,’ Halloween themed, whilst others creep into the darker realms. All of them started as if they would finish one way and then took a turn to end in a different way.

6) Mary Palenque’s review ★★★★☆

By Mary Palenque on 3 February 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I love reading stories in the style of The Twilight Zone or Outer Limits and this book did not disappoint. Short stories that were easy to read with satisfying endings. I especially liked “Her Mother’s Eyes.” I just had to share it with my husband as soon as I finished it.

This book was given as a complimentary gift from the author through Voracious Readers Only.

5) Classic horror fans – REJOICE! ★★★★☆

By Melanie S. on 26 January 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)

If you are fond of shivery TV memories like The Alfred Hitchcock Hour or The Twilight Zone, Donald Firesmith is your writer. This creepy little tome will revive your chills, renew your thrills, and take you to a different dimension of suspense, horror, and amazement. A Cauldron of Uncanny Dreams will seed your dreams with the ghosts of Poe, Hitchcock, and Serling, then leave you in stunned gratitude that it’s only a story… you hope. This is a voluntary – if somewhat spooked – ARC review.

4) Short Thrills ★★★★☆

By Brittnie on 24 January 2021 (Amazon US Review, Goodreads Review, and B’S THOUGHT PAD AND BOOK SPACE Review)

Brittnie’s Website:
This compilation of short stories, written by Donald Firesmith, tracks to the edge of horror and thrill. For those ’90s kids such as myself, think Are You Afraid of the Dark. For those of you slightly before the original Nickelodeon channel, perhaps the Twilight Zone is a better reference. These stories were not ones to keep me up at night; rather, they are a window into an alternative state of being. I could almost hear the “What if …” that created the idea of each story for Firesmith. “What if that run down farmhouse is only a figment of a time past?” or “What if a woman obsessed were to become one with that in which she obsessed?” For some, such a peek will be enough to shudder and feel the goosebumps creep up their arms. For others, it will be a delightful thrill of contemplation into their own “What if …”. Definitely a collection for those that enjoy the questions of what lies in the dark corners or just beyond the reach of the headlights on a cold, dark night.

This compilation of short stories tracks to the edge of horror and thrill. In line with Are You Afraid of the Dark and Twilight Zone, for me, these stories were not ones to keep me up at night; rather, it was a window into an alternative state of being. I could almost hear the “What if …” that created the idea of each story for Firesmith. For some, such a peek will be enough to shudder and feel the goosebumps creep up their arms. For others, it will be a delightful thrill of contemplation into their own “What if …” Definitely a collection for those that enjoy the questions of what lies in the dark corners or just beyond the reach of the headlights on a cold, dark night.

3) Ye Olde Bookworm’s Review ★★★★☆

By Ye Old Bookworm on 14 January 2021 (Goodreads Review)

I received a copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

A Cauldron of Uncanny dreams by Donald Firesmith is your classic “shouldn’t read before bedtime” rush. The stories it contains are traditional spooks, with ghosts, demons and voodoo witches hiding behind every corner. A few of the stories I found perhaps a little lacklustre, as I predicted their ending, and they read like a creepy pasta. But, they weren’t unenjoyable, they were just things I had seen before. With that said, I greatly enjoyed the first, and last few stories in the book, as they truly did surprise me.

One thing I will say is that if you are already much acquainted with the horror genre and/or paranormal activity, these will likely be just a bit of fun for you rather than core-shakingly shocking. There isn’t anything obscene here, which makes it the perfect read if you’re beginning to get into horror, or if you’re an absolute scaredy-cat.


Now, do not think this a negative review in the slightest, I very much did enjoy the majority of stories, I just wasn’t gripped by them. I think this might have been to a lack of detail here and there. For instance: I couldn’t picture a few parts of each story, and in Madame Kaldunya’s Dolls I couldn’t tell you a single defining physical feature of any character. This may be me overlooking something, but I should have some sort of description in my mind, even if it strays from the original detailing.

The fluidity of writing was also sometimes an issue. I feel like in some areas there could have been much more building up for a more profound effect in the reader. I think the writing style is fantastically clear and concise, and it has the ghostly flare so many horror authors seem to lack, however sometimes the anticipation just fell short for me. For example: in Billy the Arsonist, I was so very ready to finally have some action! But all we got was some sinister slicing of the thigh and then he’s just chilling in hell? We should have been hooked, shocked at the gruesome detailing of his punishment, we should be right there as he’s screaming in pain and *then* dies. He shouldn’t just go peacefully- that isn’t satisfying enough for the reader. The build-up in conversation was fantastic, but that only meant the ending felt more anti-climatic, as we didn’t receive this justice we had been promised quite as we would have liked.

There’s also something to be said about the atmosphere with which Firesmith seems to write with ease. From the beginning of each story, there’s a certain uneasiness communicated. It’s the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night or coming across an abandoned fairground, there’s an inherent wrongness here, and I feel like he achieves this well. My favourite part of the entire book is In Madame Kaldunya’s Dolls where we finally find out about what on earth happened after Isabella’s oh-so-dramatic-fall (which was also just recounted in a few sentences, without any sort of meat on it. I wasn’t invested in it, it just happened). I adored the part with the Dr and the Detective, it was really lovely to finally be *shown* what they were thinking, and it not just be prattled off like the Edrescu House story. I LOVED that little snippet of conversation but again found it lacking at the end. I would have been ecstatic if Isabella had sat up and screamed, or if the Dr knew what had happened, anything other than “Yeah, you’ll get ’em.”

As someone with Romanian heritage and very invested in my traditions and culture, I was very, very pleasantly surprised at the level of research and consideration. I am constantly thinking that people just don’t engage with Romanian magickal and supernatural culture as much as they could, and that really saddens me. However I think Firesmith clearly saw the potential here, and ran with it, and that was absolutely fantastic to see.

In short, the book is worthy of 3, maybe 4 stars at a push in my most honest opinion. I don’t believe this is a bad piece. Neither is it my new favourite collection. It is a fun little eerie read, which has it’s low and high points. Firesmith is a fantastic dialogue writer, however, his anticipation techniques may benefit from a little polishing. I also think that he needs to think more outside the box. When reading a short story I feel like there needs to be something more. Short stories have such potential to be crafted in all sorts of weird and wonderfully creative ways, and I think this potential wasn’t used to it’s fullest. But again, a fun read and I look forward to reading more of Firesmith’s work in the future and seeing how he progresses in his writing adventures!!

2) Trinity Waddell’s Review ★★★★☆

By Trinity Waddell on 13 January 2021 (Goodreads Review)

Review through Voracious Readers

Quick thrilling wee read with this fun wee collection of scary short stories.

The highlights for me were “Her Mother’s Eyes” and “The Farmer’s Daughter.”

I read it at about 1am this morning and slept fine so not a really scary book if that’s your thing. But clever, well written and a bit of humour there too in places.

A solid 4 stars from me. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

1) A good read ★★★★☆

By Christie on 2 January 2021 (Amazon CA Review)

I was given an Arc from the author. The first one, Her Mother’s Eyes, is funny and creepy all at the same time. I loved it. The second one is The Collector and it is intriguing. Fun to read. Grandma Buford’s Birthday had a surprising twist. The Farmer’s Daughter was a great story. The Haunting of the Ederescu House was spooky and creepy to read. Madam Kaldunya’s Dolls was a good read but was kind of predictable. Billy the Arsonist had an ending that I didn’t expect. Overall, I enjoyed each story.

3 Star Reviews

2) Kylie’s Review ★★★★☆

By Kyle on 29 March 2021 (Goodreads Review)

With thanks to Voracious readers for my copy of this title.

Not my usual reading choice, however the short stories were well written and will surely entice horror buffs.

1) Ashley’s Review ★★★★☆

By Ashley on 12 March 2021 (Goodreads Review)

This is a quick and spooky read that I enjoyed. While I am not a big fan of the supernatural or science fiction, I found myself interested in almost all of the stories. I loved reading the afterward about how the author came about to write the specific stories. It really made me appreciate the writing more.

I would suggest this if you want a quick Halloween-esk short story novel that will keep you thinking.

2 Star Reviews


1 Star Reviews


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