Bits & Bites

Tales from a Twisted Mind

Fiction - Anthology
371 Pages
Reviewed on 05/25/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Michael S. Vassel joined the US Army after high school, and served as an Indirect Fire Infantryman at Fort Hood in Texas. After completing active duty, he joined the Ohio National Guard for an additional 3 years while he attended college.

Since 1989, Michael has worked as a mechanical engineer in the materials handling industry, designing conveyor systems for warehouses throughout the United States.

In 2018 Michael completed his first novel - a romance entitled "Fine Again". Since its publication, Michael has written several dark fantasy novels. Most notably, "Defiled" - book one in "The Castle Chronicles" series and the psychological thriller "The Haunting of Matthew Keys".

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

Do you believe that only what you can see exists? What if this isn't the case? Enter the mysterious world of the weird, wonderful and bizarre where nothing is as it seems in Bits & Bites by Michael S. Vassel. These eleven short stories will transport you to a place where anything is possible - from a dog and his friends taking their revenge on cruel humans, a love triangle that turns deadly, to an assassin couple on the run from their former crime family bosses and the bizarre relationship between Satan and his son. Some of the stories will take you on a journey through time and space, while others will show you there are consequences to every action and decision you make. From horror to fantasy, suspense, dark humor, and military fiction, there is a genre for everyone. But each story is connected with one common theme; nothing is ever how it seems. Prepare for the unexpected.

As you begin reading Bits & Bites by Michael S. Vassel, you will believe each of the eleven stories is a separate entity. It is only as you enter the world of the obscure with memorable storylines, will you realize that each story is cleverly linked with one another. The writing was magical, engaging, and ingenious. Each scenario was magnetic and thought-provoking, and could definitely be expanded to make great novels in their own right. The subject matter will catch you off guard. One moment the characters are dark, chilling, and unnerving; the next you are laughing out loud. This is an excellent example of human psychology, relationship dynamics, and the consequences of life choices. What I loved the most about these stories are the twists and turns in the plots and how each one delivered a powerful sting at the end. The author is so skilled at drawing the reader into the dark, mysterious world of the characters as they overcome situations that are not easily forgotten. I was left wondering about the characters and their predicaments long after the final page was turned. A superb collection of stories.

K.C. Finn

Bits & Bites: Tales From A Twisted Mind is a work of fiction in the form of a short story collection penned by author Michael S. Vassel. As the title suggests, the works are of a chilling and thriller nature, but each individual tale takes on its own genre specifics. From military mysteries to urban fantasy, supernatural surprises, and psychological shocks, the variety of tales all settle back towards some thought-provoking themes. What results is a darkly-themed set of eleven stories that can simultaneously have you shuddering with fear yet totally enthralled by their characters and plots.

It is clear from the opening pages that author Michael S. Vassel has a talent for narrative, and the voices of different characters in the different stories (as well as the varied style of storytelling itself) is sure to please readers who enjoy experiencing something distinctly unique with each part of an anthology that they encounter. One of my particular favorites from the collection was ‘I Ain't Missing You’, which uses an initial dialogue-heavy style in order to ramp up the tension between its central characters, and slow burns towards the dark reveal with a real sting in the tail that took me by surprise. There is a clear psychological and thought-provoking theme throughout every story, for the situations which the author creates mirror everyday dilemmas in our own lives, although they take a much darker twist in this fictional world. Overall, I would certainly recommend Bits & Bites to anthology fans who like multi-layered and multi-genre reading experiences.

Rabia Tanveer

Bits & Bites: Tales from a Twisted Mind by Michael S. Vassel is a collection of 11 short stories from different genres to offer readers a little of everything. Each story offers a perfect slice of life that readers will enjoy immensely. Out of these 11 stories, my favorites were What is Love, Mel’s Special Day and Hide and Seek, although I Ain’t Missing You and Sonja and James were pretty amazing too. From giving an insight into the mind of a pet dog to an old man “retelling” his army days to his grandson, each of these stories was unique and very absorbing. Each character has a story to tell and each story will take you on a journey where you will experience their sadness, their happiness, and their struggles to find the meaning behind their lives.

What I loved the most about Bits & Bites: Tales from a Twisted Mind by Michael S. Vassel was that each story was connected. You will find a character popping up in the middle of another story and it will give you such a pleasant surprise. I particularly liked Bob(s); you will find a character named Bob in quite a few stories and you will wonder if all of them are the same man or not. Castle and Bee were also among my favorite characters because there is something so comforting and real about them that called to me. Each story is special because it showed a different facet of life in all its grim, real, and raw glory. I enjoyed how the author made sure each story was unique yet felt like part of a single narrative. The pace was just perfect for each story and the characters thrived in the environment the author created. This is a wonderful collection that many readers would love to have on their bedside table!