Reviews In A Pinch

When You Just Need an honest review in a pinch.

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

*I promised everyone a Christmas themed week, so I thought Wolfsbane and Mistletoe was a perfect choice.  Every short story has to do with Christmas and werewolves.  Prepare yourselves.

edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview (from Goodreads):  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.

Contents:
Introduction by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner
Gift Wrap by Charlaine Harris
The Haire of the Beast by Donna Andrews
Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R. Green
The Night Things Changed by Dana Cameron
The Werewolf before Christmas by Kat Richardson
Fresh Meat by Alan Gordon
Il est né by Carrie Vaughn
The Perfect Gift by Dana Stabenow
Christmas Past by Keri Arthur
SA by J.A. Konrath
The Star of David by Patricia Briggs
You’d Better Not Pyout by Nancy Pickard
Rogue Elements by Karen Chance
Milk and Cookies by Rob Thurman
Keeping Watch over His Flock by Toni L.P. Kelner

My Thoughts:  Anthologies are some of the best books to read.  You get a bunch of short stories by various authors.  It’s the best way to try new authors.  Anthologies are the book world’s equivalent of a sampler platter.  You might not like everything, but you generally don’t regret ordering it.  Some of the authors here wrote short stories from whatever worlds they’ve created as part of a series and some are just short stories.

Gift Wrap by Charlaine Harris – A Sookie Stackhouse short story.  It was cute and an okay introduction to the popular series, if you haven’t already read it.  It’s really better if you’re already familiar with Sookie and her very southern world.  3 out of 5 Bookmarks

The Haire of the Beast by Donna Andrews – I liked it until the end of the story.  It suddenly became kind of dumb and revengey (I don’t even care if that’s a word or not).  I think it was supposed to be a quick resolution for a short story, but maybe an additional 2 or 3 pages would’ve helped.  3 out of 5 Bookmarks

Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R. Green – I’d never read anything by this author and this short story was a bit disappointing and kind of depressing.  I’ll also admit at the end I was utterly confused.  My thoughts circled around, “So was he in love with her or did he just kill her?”.  2 out of 5 Bookmarks

The Night Things Changed by Dana Cameron – This one was okay.  A little confusing if you’re a fairly regular reader of vampire and werewolf stories.  In this one they’re related, as in brother and sister.  The action toward the end saved it for me.  3 out of 5 Bookmarks

The Werewolf before Christmas by Kat Richardson – This story had a few characters that were essentially irredeemable.  I’m not a fan of that particular style.  It’s much harder to relate or even empathize with that.  I’d probably skip further writing from this author if I came across it.  3 out of 5 Bookmarks

Fresh Meat by Alan Gordon – I really enjoyed this one and would read more by Alan Gordon.  The characters were pretty lovable and there were rescue dogs!  You can’t go wrong with rescue dogs.  4 out of 5 Bookmarks

Il est né by Carrie Vaughn – This is from the Kitty Norville series and was a pretty decent short story.  It’s actually the short story that got me to read the series.  I think I’m only on book 7 or 8, but I think that says quite a bit about the story.  3.5 out of 5 Bookmarks

The Perfect Gift by Dana Stabenow – I wasn’t really sure how to even react to this story.  It started out with some promise.  It got even better with the introduction of the cops and then it went way weird.  I actually flipped back a page thinking I missed something.  I think the author skipped something or it was cut in editting.  2 out of 5 Bookmarks

Christmas Past by Keri Arthur – This was without a doubt my favorite story in this anthology.  The characters were awesome and their chemistry was fantastic.  I wanted the story to be much longer just so that I could learn more about them and their world.  I wouldn’t hesitate to read something else by Keri Arthur in the future (I’ve already looked at a few of her books for 2015.  5 out of 5 Bookmarks

SA by J.A. Konrath – Another story that was okay.  I wasn’t impressed with it, but it wasn’t terrible.  Parts of it read like an antisocial teen boy’s fantasy, but I kind of liked the spin on Santa and his helpers.  3 out of 5 Bookmarks

The Star of David by Patricia Briggs – Not a Hanukkah story.  That’s what I thought from the title, but it was definitely not.  It wasn’t bad.  A little sad, but still enjoyable overall.  3 out of 5 Bookmarks

You’d Better Not Pyout by Nancy Pickard – I really didn’t like this story and seriously contemplated leaving it as a DNF.  Not good when you’re already a short story.  I was bored and not a single character held any appeal.  1 out of 5 Bookmarks

Rogue Elements by Karen Chance – I liked it and actually found my heart racing during some of the action scenes, but I wasn’t thrilled with the ending.  I’d probably pick up a full novel from this author, especially if this story is from a series.  3.5 out of 5 Bookmarks

Milk and Cookies by Rob Thurman – I was kind of confused by how this story even made it into this particular anthology for most of it and then I had to roll my eyes.  It started as what I thought was an anti-bullying message, but then just became a bit disturbing at the end.  2 out of 5 Bookmarks

Keeping Watch over His Flock by Toni L.P. Kelner – This was yet another that was okay and the action at the end saved it for me.  The characters were hard to sympathize with and the main character, Jake, was pretty annoying.  Like I said, the action at the end saved it and redeemed Jake in my eyes.  3 out of 5 Bookmarks

I would highly recommend Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, especially for you supernatural/fantasy lovers out there.

4 out of 5 Bookmarks = I really enjoyed this anthology and am already thinking about re-reading it next year around this time.

Interested in buying this book?  Amazon or Barnes & Noble

wolfsbane-and-mistletoe

 

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