Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Review: "Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" by Various Authors

Wolfsbane and MistletoeWolfsbane and Mistletoe by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow - this book took me by surprise! I expected good stories, but not the depth, variety, and sheer creativity in this collection of short stories.

Let me do a quick summary of the stories:

"Gift Wrap" by Charlaine Harris - Sookie Stackhouse finds a naked man in her woods on Christmas eve. It's a nice, short story with little drama and a lot of cheesiness.

"The Haire of the Beast" by Donna Andrews - A brother asks his sister to help him make a werewolf potion. Things go a little awry. I actually laughed out loud reading this one.

"Lucy, At Christmastime" by Simon R. Green - A sad story about a vampire in a supernatural bar on Christmas Eve. I liked this one, even though it seemed more thoughtful and less action-oriented than the other stories.

"The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron - Imagine that vampires and werewolves are the world's supernatural police. That's the underlying concept behind this particular story. I must admit, I thought about that concept a few times, and I like how the author does it.

"The Werewolf Before Christmas"  by Kat Richardson- A werewolf eats Rudolph, and has to do penance for Santa Claus.  The story adds several twists to the Santa Claus legend, giving it more power and more depth.

"Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon - A man who runs a dog-training kennel has an assassin after him. I really cannot say more without giving away too much. Again, a winning story that relies on creativity and brains, as well as doggie power!

"Il Est Ne" by Carrie Vaughn - A story about a man who is turned into a werewolf and runs away from his life meets a lady werewolf and learns how to live life again.

"The Perfect Gift" by Dana Stabenow - This is the only story that I didn't immediately love. The characters in the beginning of the story discuss a situation that needs to be resolved, but the author doesn't give enough information about it. I felt like I needed to draw way too many conclusions.

"Christmas Past" by Keri Arthur - Nominally, this story is about two people going after vampires who are killing charity workers. But the story really revolves around Hannah and Brodie's broken relationship. I love how the author weaves both stories together to create a believable tale.

"SA" by Joe Konrath - A man starts to poo out strange objects - coins, earrings, and other assorted stuff. I know that sounds like a crazy way to start a story, but the entire thing works, and works well. It also has Santa Claus as the bad guy - a neat twist.

"The Star of David" by Patricia Briggs - Okay, this is the story I wanted to read badly enough to buy this book. David Christiansen shows up in "Moon Called" as a secondary character, but he struck me in that book as an interesting man, someone I wish I knew more about. Well, here it is, more about David and his family. I love how the author creates her characters - three dimensional and full of emotion. I just wish she wrote more about David and his life.

"You'd Better Not Pyout" by Nancy Pickard - Two Russian vampires decide that Santa Claus must be a vampire, and they travel to the North Pole to find out. I must admit, I have never before thought of Saint Nick as a vampire, but the story provides to think about on that speculation.

"Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance - I love this story! Actually, I read another short story by Karen Chance in another anthology with the same characters. In fact, the other story references this one - a fact that completely made my day! Lia is a war mage given the impossible task of finding a lost werewolf in Las Vegas. Need I say more?

"Milk and Cookies" by Robin Thurman - Told from the point of view of a nice thirteen year old brother, this story relays how the brother, Nicky, must deal with a bully and the Christmas holidays at the same time. Oh, and finding the perfect gift for his little sister.

"Keeping Watch Over His Flock" by Toni L. P. Kelner - A young werewolf breaks most of the pack rules and now must face the pack. It's a cute story with a happy ending.

View all my reviews

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