Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Many Bloody Returns, various authors (4/5 stars)

Usually books with a number of short stories in them have some big names with great stories and some unknown authors with either surprisingly good or surprisingly bad stories. This was not the case with this book. All of the stories were really good and there was a larger variety of writing styles than I expected given the genre. All of the stories have to deal with vampires and birthdays.

The main reason I read books like this is to get a sampling of some authors I haven’t read and get a glimpse into the series that they are writing. This book was a good read and I found a couple new (to me at least) authors to check out from it. Because of this book I will read more of PN Elrod’s work, check out the Morganville vampire series, see what else Hallaway and Kelner have written, and possibly check out some of Jeanne Stein’s work too. Below is a quick comment/synopsis of each story.

Dracula Night by Charlaine Harris
This story is an addition to the Sookie Stackhouse series and addresses the celebration of Dracula Night by the vampire community. It’s a fun read; although there’s not a ton of content here.

The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden
The only other book I’ve read by Christopher Golden is “The Boys are Back in Town”; which I liked pretty well. This story follows a girl as she learns about her unique heritage. I enjoyed it and it was well written and mysterious.

I Was a Teenage Vampire by Bill Crider
This was probably my least favorite story of the anthology. The story was predictable, boring, and seemed quickly and lazily written.

Twilight by Kelley Armstrong
I liked Twilight okay. It was a little boring and moved slowly but it was well-written and dealt with the topic of vampires dying of boredom.

It's My Birthday, Too by Jim Butcher
Fun addition to the Dresden Files series. I enjoyed a story in which Thomas played a main role. I especially enjoyed the role-playing; being a DnD player I thought it was hilarious.

Grave-Robbed by P.N. Elrod
This was my first time reading anything by PN Elrod and I liked it. The main character, Jack Fleming, is a bit campy. Some of it reminded me of Harry Dresden a bit. I enjoyed it and will read more of Elrod’s writing.

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life by Rachel Caine
This was a story that took place in the world of Rachel Caine’s young adult vampire series “The Morganville Vampires”. This was my favorite story in the book and now I am interested in reading this series. I’ve read some of Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series and that is also a good series.

The Witch and the Wicked by Jeanne C. Stein
This story creeped me out. I believe Stein is the writer of the Signs of the Zodiac series. The writing style wasn’t my favorite since it was kind of plain and straight-forward; not as much flare to it as I had hoped. The premise is pretty darn creative and creepy though.

Blood Wrapped by Tanya Huff
This was a nice addition to Henry Fitzroy’s world; it was a fun read. It really brought home the fact that I haven’t read the last few books in this series yet. I was like, what do you mean Vicki is a vampire?

The Wish by Carolyn Haines
I’ve never read anything by Carolyn Haines but I did like this story. The story is very sad and yet it is beautifully written and really grabs a hold of you. It is a very beautiful and well-written story, if not as fun as the rest of the book.

Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two by Tate Hallaway
I’ve never read anything by Tate Hallaway before; this was a fun story. I was intrigued by the witch having a demon trapped in her and by the elemental evil forces at work. I could really sympathize with the characters and the cold weather, being from MN myself.

Vampire Hours by Elaine Viets
I really enjoyed this story. I liked that the main character was an older woman dealing with day-to-day issues a lot of women deal with (okay maybe not as extreme as these issues). I liked how the woman cleverly got back at everyone; it was funny and a quick read.

How Stella got her Grave Back by Toni L.P. Kelner
I’ve never read anything by Toni Kelner, I really liked this story. I liked the idea of vampire dams and I liked the mystery solving that went on in this story. The characters were fun and likable. I really want to know the history between them now.

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