|Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
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The editors of Many Bloody Returns deliver the perfect howl-iday gift, with new tales from Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, and many more.
New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Carrie Vaughn?along with eleven other masters of the genre?offer all-new stories on werewolves and the holidays, a fresh variation on the concept that worked so well with birthdays and vampires in Many Bloody Returns.
The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone. They are particularly hard for lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest and saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand.
Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year?s morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.
- Not enough Sookie
I bought this book for the Sookie Stackhouse short story, but this redefines the definition of short. Total waste of money....more info
- Fun holiday reading
Even if you aren't a fan of werewolf tales, this collection is still an entertaining read for the holidays. The stories are action packed laced with humor. Readers do not need to know the backstories of the characters to follow the storylines. Compilations such as this are also a nice introduction to authors a reader may not have previously known. Personally, I found at least two authors who grabbed my interest. Definitely something readers of fantasy/science fiction will find worth the time....more info
- Great Christmas stories - with a twist
DSelightful collection of stories around Christmas celebrations and events. Some truly great stories. The Sookie Stackhouse story was cool, if a bit contrived. ...more info
- Typical anthology
Like all anthologies Wolfsbane and Mistletoe had good and not-so-good moments. The contributions were as follows:
Gift Wrap by Charlaine Harris - I love Ms. Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, but this short story was disappointing. Sookie finds a wounded man on Christmas Eve and takes him home with her. It just didn't sound like the Sookie I'm familiar with in all the novels.
The Haire of the Beast by Donna Andrews - A woman's brother wants her to use a grimoire from her ex to become a werewolf. After hemming and hawwing about it she agrees. It was an OK read. I realize in a short story it's difficult to develop truly three dimensional characters, but there was little if any depth to these characters.
Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R. Green - On Christmas Eve and man reflects on the events leading to the death of his loved one. This was well written. The twist at the end was telegraphed early on, but still managed to entertain.
The Night Things Changed by Dana Cameron - A brother and sister team of werewolf and vampire must stop one of there own from doing evil. It was an interesting take on both vampire and werewolf mythos. Unfortunately, the world building wasn't compelling.
The Werewolf Before Christmas by Kat Richardson - A werewolf must take Rudolphs place pulling Santa's sleigh after he makes a meal of the red-nosed reindeer. For a short story, this one could have been even shorter. The initial scenes are drawn out. The twist at the end was unexpected.
Fresh Meat by Alan Gordon - The werewolf owner of a watchdog training facility has to rely on his dogs to help save him. The villain wasn't very well developed, but the hero was well definied.
Il Est Ne by Carrie Vaughn - A newly turned werewolf tries to clear himself of murder with Kitty's help. There was a good portion of internal dialog that added life and conflict to the characters.
The Perfect Gift by Dana Stabenow - The motives in this story were somewhat obscure. There's some discussion of thinning the herd, and then the action moves to a police officer and his partner acting on an anonymous tip. The correlation of the two is obvious at the end. The author failed to engage me in the story.
Christmas Past by Keri Arthur - The story had the typical romance scenario. A jilted heroine is forced to work with her ex. He tries to win her back. It was well written.
SA by J.A. Konrath - A man starts seeing strange things in his bowl movements, and figures out he must be a werewolf. He goes to a shapeshifter's anonymous meeting and learns the true story behind were-creatures. It was a very imaginative piece I found to be very entertaining.
The Star of David by Patricia Briggs - A boy in foster care ends up in the hospital. His Social Worker calls upon her werewolf father for help in the case. This was a very interesting story with a unique twist on things.
You'd Better Not Pyout by Nancy Pickard - Two vampires decide that Santa Claus must be a vampire, and try to get an endless supply of blood from him. There were too many characters for much depth in a short story.
Rogue Elements by Karen Chance - A war mage is assigned the task of locating some missing werewolf girls. The auther did a good job of world building in such a short story. I wouldn't mind reading more about the characters and their world.
Mild and Cookies by Rob Thurman - An offbeat tale of a teenager dealing with bullying at school. It was a good story. The only thing I can find fault with is the fact the most bullies have their own entourage.
Keeping Watch Over His Flock by Toni L. Kelner - A teen werewolf begins to adjust to life in a pack. Jake wants to go out for a run, but a missing girl means he needs to stay home with his pack alpha's daughter and the alpha. Jake sneaks out for a run, and ends up a hero of sorts.
- Cute Holiday Collection
Given the challenge of writing a holiday werewolf story, all the authors wrote very great yet very different stories! I've enjoyed reading them all:)...more info
It was ok. Like any anthology, some of the stories were a waste of time, but overall, it was ok.
I was kinda disappointed by Sookie Stackhouse. Apparently, sex is a she needs for a present these days. I don't even remember Patricia Briggs contribution. I'd have to go look it up, which means, it's forgettable. ...more info
- Original werewolf world-building
JA Konrath's S.A. hooked me from the absolutely original opening premise. If you know dogs, it makes perfect sense to begin building a werewolf's world in the bathroom.
S.A. begins with a most unhappy --but healthy-- gentleman crossing a snowy parking lot, carrying a semi-see-through, blue plastic box containing a large stool sample. In fact, it's not a sample. It's the whole enchilada.
He's taking this vigorous specimen to his doctor because there's something unusual about it. There are buttons and coins embedded in it. Now, it's nothing like that health insurance advertisement where the patient has money coming out of the wazoo, as the ER surgeon explained when making one of those predetermination phone calls.
The coins are small change. The doctor's advice about unhealthy midnight snacks is... priceless.
After a thorough rectal exam which brings to light many strange things and leads to some unpalatable conclusions in the mind of our hero, he waddles off to search the internet for clues as to whom he's been eating when the moon is full.
Just when I thought I'd read every dragonish permutation of bad people tasting good (or bad), or good people tasting bad (or good), JA Konrath comes up with a fresh twist.
This story is a riot. I laughed out loud three times in the first three pages. Of course, there are certain bathroom words that will make me laugh out loud.
The would-be sci-fi writer in me appreciated the elegance of JA Konrath's solution as regards mass. The hero has a mind-boggling telephone conversation with a were-squirrel... who collects nuts... and he asks both questions that spring to mind, much to this reader's delight.
I'm not going to tell you what "S.A." means, because I enjoyed guessing.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg advises fantasy world-builders to start with the sun. But for a short story about a magical being, why not start where the sun don't shine? I'm not a gentle reader. I don't suspend disbelief easily. I'm not programmed to trust my author, no matter how outrageous. Not at first, anyway.
However, JA Konrath's premise was convincing and his humor is endearing. If there are bits of teeth, chips of bone, coins, buttons, a crucifix, a clump of dead man's beard... I get the picture. I don't worry about the force of a werewolf's bite, or his stomach capacity, or the inhuman speed of his digestive processes whereby the indigestible evidence of his midnight feast ends up in his morning toilet bowl.
This tale isn't for everyone. Not all the research was as convincing as the werewolf's exploration of the internet, which reminded me of Tom Clancy's writing. Possibly, a 50-page short story shouldn't try to straddle quite as many genres as S.A. does. This thoroughly entertaining romp covered humor, horror, heart-pounding action, violence, horror, satire, paranormal themes, fantasy, and some rather sweet romance.
I enjoyed it very much. Those who cherish their beliefs in Santa Claus and other saints may not. ...more info
A good variety of authors and Christmas short stories, many of them unique or twisted themes on the holidays. The stories are on the short side, but all well written. Romantic but very PG-13, they mostly end with a kiss and fade to black. A particular favorite was Rogue Elements by Karen Chance....more info
- Good reading for the price
"Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" gives a good bang for your buck, especially at the Amazon price. If you are a big fan of Urban Fantasy or an unpublished writer, it's worth buying. More than half of the stories are enjoyable, and all can help beginning writers by showing what works and what doesn't. I bought it for the Patti Briggs and Karen Chance stories, but knew I'd like at least a few of the others and was not dissapointed; in fact, I got more than expected. I'd have given it a 3 1/2 stars; but Amazon doesn't do half stars....more info
- Fun Stories
Anything that is connected to Charlaine Harris is entertaining. The stories are fun, some give you good belly laughs. Look forward to reading more short stories from most of these authors. Finding good authors is always a treat!...more info
- Something for all Supe fans
From sweetly supernatural to deliciously dark this book was an excellent read. I'll be happy to add it to my anthology collection....more info
- Might just have to keep this one around to re-read next Christmas
It's about time someone did an urban fantasy Christmas anthology and this crew did it right. We've got fifteen stories ranging from tense to side splitting funny that are primarily about werewolves at Christmas.
What I love about this fifteen-story anthology is that it's a mix of my old favorite authors: Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Kat Richardson, Carrie Vaughn with an addition of some folks new to me.
"Keeping Watch Over His Flock" by Toni Kelner -- this one explores werewolf mythology and follows a young werewolf doing his first search and rescue job of a lost little human girl. Very poignant with an unexpected twist.
"Milk and Cookies" by Rob Thurman is a totally twisted take on what werewolf kids want for Christmas.
"The Night Things Changed" introduced me to a new to me author, Dana Cameron, and a new world. Vampire and werewolf sibs must chase down a serial killer in this edge-of-your-seat short.
"SA" by Kornrath has a can't catch your breath for laughing funny story about a man turning into a werewolf at Christmastime and realizing just what the Salvation Army really does. This one, I had to read twice and I still laughed myself silly.
Rebecca Kyle, January 2009
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