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Strange Brew by P. N. Elrod
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Strange Brew is a collection of macabre short stories. Unlike a lot of anthologies, I have no problem rating this collection: they are all good. I originally singled this out for a story from the world of Harry Dresden, but found the other offerings to be very worthy of standing next to Jim Butcher’s mainstay character. I’m just going to list some highlights of my more favorite stories:

Last Call, by Jim Butcher, is a side story from the Dresden Files. I don’t know about you, but I really want to find McAnally’s Pub and sample his beer. Purely in the interest of zymological research of course. If you’ve read any Dresden Files books, you know how particular Mac is about his brew and how fond Harry is of Mac’s beers, so you can imagine how upset Harry is when someone has tampered with a batch of the bubbly beverage. Of course, Harry sets everything right, but that does not diminish the enjoyment of the story.

Vegas Odds was a mixed bag for me. I liked Karen Chance’s style, but it took a while for the story to really get me. This is not to say the story was slow, it opens with a huge magical battle and carries in that way for more than half the story. That actually was part of my being slow to warm to this one: no time to consider the characters or get a grip on the plotline. Once the battle was over, the mental games began and I was hooked. I need to see if there is more from this author.

Charlaine Harris writes like a mash-up of H P Lovecraft and O Henry. Not that there is any reference to Cthulhu in her story Bacon, but she evokes the eerie tension that marked Lovecraft’s style and she has a wonderful, and well deserved, plot twist at the end of the story.

Because of Caitlin Kitteredge, I now have another supernatural series to explore, the world of Nocturne City, the setting for Ginger. What can I say, a witch with a werewolf cousin take on a fiendish attorney. Ok, so the last is a redundant descriptive. Ginger was well paced and left me wanting to know more of the stores in Nocturne City.

Taken together, the collection is a well-deserved four stars. ( )
  PghDragonMan | Mar 2, 2014 |
Only read "Bacon" & "Seeing Eye"

I always struggle with how to rate such short stories. Most of the time they leave me wanting more and too many times I feel unsatisfied - not in a positive way.

"Bacon" - pretty much a revenge story and I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I was. I wouldn't buy the anthology for just this story, but it was still a pretty interesting, quick read. - 3 stars

"Seeing Eye" - This is the reason I picked up this anthology and I loved this story. Now that could be because I love this series so much and I liked these characters when I read Hunting Ground (I think it was). Rare that a story this short can feel so complete, but it really worked for me and was glad to get Tom & Moira's story. - 5 stars ( )
  CupcakeMom | Feb 12, 2014 |
Witch/Vampire/Werewolf stories are not my overall favorite. I do enjoy some like Jim Butcher, but majority of them don't inspire me to keep reading more which sums up this collection. ( )
  capiam1234 | Aug 14, 2013 |
Witch/Vampire/Werewolf stories are not my overall favorite. I do enjoy some like Jim Butcher, but majority of them don't inspire me to keep reading more which sums up this collection. ( )
  smcamp1234 | Aug 14, 2013 |
Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs
Story of How Tom meets Moira. Tom was the 2nd of Angus' pack from Hunting ground. Not a romance but a UF story. Very good if you know Mercy and Anna and Charles's world.
  tivonut | Jul 25, 2013 |
Amazon preorder
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
Abigail reviewed many of these stories seperately, see her posts here:

Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs
Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine
Vegas Odds by Karen Chance
Hecate's Golden Eye by P. N. Elrod
Signature of the Dead by Faith Hunter
Ginger by Caitlin Kittridge
Dark Sin by Jenna Maclaine ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
Not bad. Some of the stories were, of course, better than others. I think I've decided that Charlaine Harris is much better at the full-length novel than short stories, but Jim Butcher always delivers the fun. I didn't discover any new authors to look for, but at least I didn't skip any of the stories; that's good, right? ( )
  Krumbs | Mar 31, 2013 |
Listened to Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs only. ( )
  Kaetrin | Aug 13, 2012 |
A fun, exciting collection of supernatural stories, all dealing with witches and/or potions and brews.

Recommended! ( )
  kayceel | Jun 18, 2011 |
collection of urban fantasy by popular writers, including Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Faith Hunter, and others. Faith Hunter - Jane Yellowrock character had some of the most interesting characters. Read the whole thing, but this reminded me that I'm not really interested in most of the vampire/werewolf genre.
  pascoejm | Jan 11, 2011 |
Fun stories to fill up some time with. This anthology is a nice combination of authors, similar characters in different situations.
Entertaining for sure. ( )
  Harrod | Oct 13, 2010 |
Anthologies are often uneven. This one is mostly very good to great, with a very few exceptions. I really liked the stories from Briggs, Cain, Chance, and Hunter. The stories from Butcher, Elrod, and Kittredge were good. I didn't care for Harris and Maclaine's stories. Seven good or very good stories out of nine is makes this a worthwhile purchase in my opinion, especially since many of these stories tie in to or introduce the authors' longer running series. I am particularly interested to see if Rachel Caine is going to do anything more with the characters in her story. ( )
  saltypepper | Aug 19, 2010 |
More romancy than I expected but still good. I'm partial to Jim Butcher, and his Dresden Files story was the highlight of this anthology for me. It was quite humorous and might be my favorite of all Buchter's shorts. The stories by Briggs, Caine, and Chance were all enjoyable, though very relationship-focused. P.N. Elrod's vampire P.I. mystery was campy, but in a good way (or maybe I'm just fond of detective stories). Faith Hunter's work was gory, but intriguing. Maclaine and Kittredge's stories left something to be desired; the former's chosen-one-of-unequaled-power plot line was too cliche and the latter was plagued with plot holes and unremarkable characters. Surprisingly, one of the worst stories in this anthology was the one by Charlaine Harris. Her characters were annoying, the plot predictable, the dialogue disjointed, and the writing mediocre at best. Despite its clunkers - all anthologies have them - Strange Brew was entertaining and will be appreciated by fans of the urban fantasy genre (but be warned that it definitely rides the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance). ( )
  les121 | May 23, 2010 |
Seeing Eye
By Patricia Briggs
38 pages

After reading just this short story, I can not believe I have not read any story by Patricia. I have her first story for Mercy Thompson on my shelf and I am going to have to get to it soon.

Moira Keller, a good witch in Seattle, gets a late night visit the day before Halloween (also called Samhain) from a man - or werewolf - in need of help against Them. Tom is looking for his kidnapped "gifted" brother, Jon. Everything Tom told Moira rang true with her as it matched her dreams. Moira believes Jon was kidnapped as a sacrifice on Halloween for Kouro Samhain and his coven.

I really enjoyed the unexpected turns and events of the story. This story has made purchasing the anthology worth it. And this was only the first story.
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Last Call
By Jim Butcher
36 pages

Harry Dresden decides he needs a beer after a hard day of work... wizarding, and walks into his favorite friendly bar to an ugly mess of unconscious or dead bodies. What caused these people to go violent at the same time? Was there something in the beer Mac brews? Harry Dresden and Sergent Karrin Murphy are on the case.

I believe this story is from Jim's Dresden Series. This story reads to me as an extention of the series. I didn't feel there was much world building or character growth in this short story, just a mystery under foot. In the end I liked the action of the mystery and the little secrets Harry and Murph are afraid to admit to each other, or even their selves. But not my favorite story in the book.
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Death Warmed Over
By Rachel Caine
44 pages

Holly Anne Caldwell, a witch whos the best at what she does - resurrection, hates doing ressurections on a work night, as they take all night and no sleep doesn't help the day job. But Sam asks her to do one on Thursday, it's Monday. A long-term resurrection for the Police Department can't be a good thing, and on such short notice. Will she take it? The person she is to resurrect has a long strong history himself, and a short history with Holly too.

I really enjoyed this short story. I Rachel has me wanting to read of the short time Holly and Andrew spent together taking down their bad guy from before. I loved the way the characters where developed in this short story and connected with each other. I really could feel a connection with them as well. I am definitely going to have to get a few more of her books after reading this short story. Great read!
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Vegas Odds
By Karen Chance
55 pages

Accalia de Croissets, Lia as she likes to be called, is waken by the constant banging at her front door. When she opens it, still half asleep and dazed from lack of sleep of over working with the mage war going on, to find a delivery man hidden behind several long stem roses. Thinking the roses were from her Were boyfriend, Cyrus, Lia was caught off gaurd by the attack. As the atack goes on her boyfriend shows up and the attackers are her mage students. Why are they attacking her? Who is behind this?

This read is of Lia and her powers along with history more than of Cyrus. You do learn more of them as a couple though. This read, I believe is to be read before the short story in Inked though. I have been enjoying Karen's reads on Lia and Cyrus.
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Hecate's Golden Eye
By P.N. Elrod
42 pages

Charles Escott, of Escott Agency doing Private Detective type work, and his partner Jack Fleming, who is a vampire, wait in a dark alley for a potential client - Chicago 1937. Miss Mabel Weaver shows up asking them to help her steal back the necklace pendant called the Hecate's Golden Eye, which is a valuable yellow diamond, that was stolen from her by her cousin and replaced with a glass fake. However, there is a curse on the Eye... any man who touches it dies.

This was another story for me that was slower and the clues given where strong giveaways to the plot. I had the mystery of what was going on figured out before the end of the story. The character of Jack Fleming is from the authors series of the Vampire Files.
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Bacon
By Charlaine Harris
32 pages

Dahlia, a vampire, waits at Seeley's Restaurant for Kathy Aelnides, The Circe witch, whom is late. Dahlia with the help of a few friends have worked very, very hard to get this appointment. Dahlia wanted to have Kathy help punish the people who killed her werewolf husband. Not sure if Kathy, an elementary teacher during the day, is really The Circe real deal and able to do as Dahlia is needing - Dahlia and her friends look into her more. And there is a little twist to go with the story here.

I smiled while reading this short story and enjoyed the lightness of the story. It was a fun read and had a plot that help through from the beginning. I liked the ability of the characters and the way they all connected.
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Signatures of the Dead
By Faith Hunter
33pages

A whole family is butchered and Brax wants to get the killers. Brax needs to know for sure if its vampires, if they are okay, and where they sleep to get justice. Molly is a unique Earth Witch and could help. But could it hurt her?

Being a short of thirty-three pages, I felt the suspense and couldn't wait to get to the end to see where they story went. As the story went the plot thickened for me. I really felt pulled in to this world with these characters. The characters abilities and limits amazed me. I really liked the way witches were broke down and made a bigger type of character with new rules (for me) along with limits.

This short story introduced me to a character I really liked the idea of, Jane Yellowrock. I am going to have to get into the series with this character: Skinwalker. I enjoyed the Native American heritage behind this character.
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Ginger
By Caitlin Kittredge
41 pages

Sunny Swann, the reliable of the two cousins and a witch, sat at the back of the courtroom while Luna, detective in Nocturne City PD and a werewolf, was on the stand. During the recess a male witch enters the courtroom and Sunny and Luna now protect the man they are trying to put behind bars along with everyone else in the courtroom. After Sunnys display of magick she gets offered, from an unknown source, to use her powers elsewhere. Why are they after this person whose to be going to jail and who wants Sunny for what reason?

I liked the all the characters, the main cousins mostly - Luna and Sunny. I got a glimpse of the Nocturne City series and enjoyed it. I will have to find a way to get this series in on the reading schedule. I like the sound of magick in this city and the action that takes place in this short story.
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Dark Sins
By Jenna Maclaine
33 pages

Cin a witch turned vampire three years ago by Michael, unusually retained her witch powers - yet she doesn't have control of them and has premonitions. Cin and Michael are on a holiday in Venice with their friends Devlin and Justine when they are attacked by a dark Wizard and his witches. When Cin wakes up she is on a stone floor surrounded by a ward and her friends are laying on alters. Why are they wanted in this town?

This story starts off with action of both sexual and physical battle. I enjoyed how the action kept moving through this story. This short story also had a start, climax, and an end to the story. There was a creation of a god and plans for the future with these characters. I look forward to other stories here in this world, whether in anthologies or full books. I am going to have to find this series of Cin Craven now. ( )
  MelHay | Apr 21, 2010 |
I bought this last year for Patricia Briggs' entry "Seeing Eye," but on found the majority of the stories to be fairly readable. On re-reading it recently (and discovering I hadn't actually entered it into LT!) I like a couple of the stories better having become more familiar with their characters in the meantime.

Standouts for me other than "Seeing Eye?" (Which, by the way, fills in some backstory on a couple of minor characters that show up in one of the full length books quite nicely.)

Rachel Caine's "Death Warmed Over" made me want to track down a full length book and read more about the escapades of the necromancer and her dead not-quite lover.

Karen Chance's "Vegas Odds" - it was nice to catch up with Cyrus and Accalia again now that I've encountered them elsewhere. The storyline is starting to make a bit more sense!

"Bacon" by Charlaine Harris was clever, but her characters seemed a bit stiffer and less sympathetic than others of her characters, and the reasoning behind the plot felt a bit muddled.

And "Dark Sins" by Jenna Maclaine begged for a bit more information - another author whose work I'll have to look for.

All things considered, I guess I'd say this anthology accomplished its purpose - LOL! ( )
  SunnySD | Apr 5, 2010 |
I enjoyed this anthology more than many I've read in the last year. My favorites include Jim Butcher's "Last Call" , Karen Chance's "Vegas Odds" and Patricia Briggs' "Seeing Eye." All three of these authors have never disappointed me in the short story (or novel writing) department. The stories are always well crafted with interesting characters, very good pacing and lots of action. P.N. Elrod and Caitlin Kittredge also delivered well written stories. Oddly enough, the worst of the bunch for me was Charlaine Harris' "Bacon." Unfortunately, I've never much cared for her short stories. I do love her novels, especially the Southern Vampire Mysteries. "Bacon" was not a Sookie story but it's characters and the feel of the whole thing felt like an episode of True Blood - a bit ridiculous. As a whole though, this was a good collection of stories. Recommended. ( )
  leahsimone | Feb 9, 2010 |
A decent set of werewolf and witch themed urban fantasy stories. Mostly fast-paced quick reads with an element of mystery and a touch of romance. ( )
  terriko | Feb 8, 2010 |
These were short stories by various authors 2 I’ve read a lot of books from 1 I’d read only another short story and the rest were all new to me.
Seeing Eye by, Patricia Briggs- I always enjoy Patricia Briggs writing and I hope to see Tom & Moira show up again in the World of the Marrok.
Last Call by, Jim Butcher- This was my first Jim Butcher/Harry Dresden and it piqued my interest enough to order the first book in that series.
Death Warmed Over by, Rachel Caine- This was an okay story although I felt like I was missing major parts of the plot. Don’t know if it made me want to read more of Rachel Caine
Vegas Odds by, Karen Chance- This one was definitely action packed this is the 2nd short story I’ve read by Karen Chance and I will be finding more by her.
Hecate’s Golden Eye by, P.N. Elrod- good story the writing made me interested enough to look for her Vampire Files books.
Bacon by, Charlaine Harris- This story was okay it’s not a Sookie story but they off-handedly mentioned a character from those books. But the last line of this was GREAT!!
Signature of the Dead by, Faith Hunter- Good action packed story. Will find the book Skinwalker which is about one of the characters in this story.
Ginger by, Caitlin Kittredge- This story intrigued me enough to look for more by this author.
Dark Sins by, Jenna Maclaine- Maybe if I’d read this author/character before I would have enjoyed it better it was just ok or less. ( )
  susiesharp | Feb 4, 2010 |
Overall this is a decent set of stories. The highlights for me were Karen Chance's super action packed "Vegas Odds" and Jenna Maclaine's beautifully written, action packed, and intricate "Dark Sins". I found Cin from "Dark Sins" to be a very interesting heroine and I would definitely like to read more about her. I also really liked meeting Jane Yellowrock in Faith Hunter's "Signatures of the Dead." Jane is a character I would also like to read more about.

My least favorites were Elrod's story (not surprising because I have read a couple of the books with Jack and don't enjoy her writing style all that much) and Harris's "Bacon". See a summary of each below. I liked the book in general and really liked that is gave me a look at some of the new authors and characters coming out in series.

- Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs
A witch named Moira and a werewolf named Tom go to save Tom's brother from an evil coven. Pretty good, I enjoyed it. 4/5

- Last Call by Jim Butcher
Entertaining story about Murphy and Harry tracking down the source of some tainted beer that Mac accidentally served in his bar. Tons of action, very entertaining! 4/5

- Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine
About witch named Holly who resurrects an old witch, Andy, to help the police find a witch killer. Unfortunately Holly and the resurrected witch have a history. Fast-paced and engaging story although I didn't like the main character all that much. 4/5

- Vegas Odds by Karen Chance
Lia is a War Mage stuck in the middle of a war between good and evil. When her house comes under attack she is left to figure out who the attackers are and hunt down their master. I really liked this story; it was packed with action and set in an interesting world that I want to learn more about. 5/5

- Hecate's Golden Eye by P. N. Elrod
Jack and Charles are hired to recover a stolen piece of jewelry. The crime turns out to be more than it first seems. This was a fast paced story featuring Elrod's well known Jack Flemming. Overall a decent story. 3/5

- Bacon by Charlaine Harris
This story is about a vampire, Dahlia, who hires a witch to help avenge her werewolf husband that has been murdered. Overall I thought this story was boring and the plot a bit hard to folllow at points. I didn't really like any of the characters much either. 2/5

- Signatures of the Dead by Faith Hunter
About a witch named Molly who works with a Skinwalker named Jane Yellowrock to bring down some rogue vampires. I really didn't find Molly to be all that fascinating of a character. I did really like Jane Yellowrock though. The story moved quickly, was very engaging, and had lots of good action scenes. I am eager to read more stories involving Jane Yellowrock. I know that Hunter's book "Skinwalker" featuring Jane came out earlier this summer and this short story really makes me want to check it out. 4/5

- Ginger: A Nocturne City Story by Caitlin Kittredge
A witch named "Sunny" gets kidnapped as part of a larger plot onvolving a witch coven. This was an okay story, although I didn't think it was great and didn't like any of the characters much. 3/5

- Dark Sins by Jenna Maclaine
I really liked this story. Cin Craven is a vampire who attained her witch powers. Her and her S.O. Michael are attacked and captured; and need to escape to save their lives and the lives of their friends. This story was set in the Victorian era. I really liked both Cin and Michael as characters. Just the glimpse this story give hints at a very interesting and intricate world with a lush history. Lots of action and a tad of romance. The entrance of the goddess Morrgan made things very interesting. One of my favorite stories of the bunch. 5/5 ( )
  krau0098 | Jan 27, 2010 |
Review courtesy of AllThingsUrbanFantasy.blogspot.com
Seeing Eye is a very short story. It clocks in at only 38 pages, and in the hands of a lesser author, it could have been a disaster trying to build a world, create compelling characters, and tell a satisfying story in so few pages. Fortunately for us, Patricia Briggs was more than equal to the task.The story is simple enough, Wendy Moira Keller (yep, named after the Peter Pan character), a blind witch, agrees to help a desperate werewolf, Tom Franklin, search for his abducted brother. If you’ve read Brigg’s Hunting Ground already, then these characters will be familiar to you. If you haven’t read it yet, start with Seeing Eye first as it explains how Moira and Tom met. Even though we spend such a brief time with Moira and Tom, Brigg’s writes them as fully fleshed out characters. Moira specifically is appealing as she provides us with a firsthand look at what Witches are like in the world of Mercy Thompson. Mercy deals with all kinds of paranormal creatures: vamps, fey, weres, but she only rarely interacts with witches. In Seeing Eye, Brigg’s gets to explore that world a little more. The result is that I, for one, have two more reason’s to look forward to Hunting Ground. Sexual Content: None

Jim Butcher’s story continues his popular Dresden Files Series. In Last Call, which occurs chronologically between Small Favor, book 10 and Turn Coat, book 11, wizard Harry Dresden is on the hunt for the mastermind behind some bewitched beer. I’ve only read the first book in Butcher’s Dresden Files, and despite the gap in my Harry knowledge, this was an easy story to slip into and I never felt disoriented like I had missed a lot in the interim. Harry and Murphy play off each other in just the way I remembered. Harry was, if anything, more enjoyable for me. He is a perfect anti-hero with his sarcasm and humorous non-alpha acts of self-preservation. I’m seriously going to have to pick up Full Moon after thoroughly enjoying this funny paranormal romp. Sexual Content: None

I’ve read several books in Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series (I’m looking forward to starting her Morganville Vampire series soon too), so I expected something good from this talented writer and that’s exactly what I got with Death Warmed Over. Witch Holly Caldwell is not that dissimilar to early Anita Blake: both occasionally work with the police to raise the dead. This time, the case intimately affects Holly in more ways than one because the dead man they want her to raise has been raised before, and when Holly lost Andrew last time, she lost her heart as well. My only disappointment with Death Warmed Over is that it appears to be the only Holly and Andrew story that Rachel has written (please let me know if I’m wrong). I thought for sure reading it that it was the second story featuring these characters. I hope Rachel does write more about Holly because she does have that early Anita vibe that I love so much. There is more of a romantic focus in this story but it doesn’t overshadow the paranormal elements. Death is easily one of the best in this anthology. Sexual Content: None

The longest story in Strange Brew is Karen Chance’s Vegas Odds coming in at 56 pages. The tale opens with a scene straight out of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Half-Were Lia and her boyfriend Were Cyrus destroy her house while under attack from a group of War Mages. From there, author Karen Chance does a wonderful job of creating a world full of magic and a strong instantly likeable heroine while never letting up on the non-stop action. This is probably my favorite story that Ms. Chance has written and I would love to spend more time in this world. Sexual Content: A woman performs oral sex on a man in a brief scene that in not overly graphic.

P. N. Elrod is a new author for me. This story continues her Vampire Files series with vampire P.I. Jack Fleming and his partner Escott in 1930’s Chicago. I would categorize this story as a noir mystery that just happens to have an undead lead. Not a lot of paranormal. Jack is described as a vampire much in the same way another character is described as being tall. Not a bad story, just not what I look for in urban fantasy. But if you like Raymond Charles with a dash of Tanya Huff…Sexual Content: None

Bacon takes place in the same Sookie Stackhouse world from the Southern Vampire series but minus Sookie. If you read Harris’ story Tacky in the anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding then these characters will already be familiar to you. If your planning on reading both, start with Tacky and STOP READING THIS REVIEW because it will spoil aspects of that story. In Bacon, newly widowed vampire Dahlia seeks out the aid of a witch descendent of Circe to get revenge on the werewolf pack that killed her were husband. So far, this is my least favorite story in this anthology: It’s predictable, feels small because it fails to take advantage of the Sookieverse, and lacks even one likable character. At only 32 pages, it went on way too long. Sexual Content: None

Faith Hunter kicked off her Jane Yellowrock series in July ‘09 with Skinwalker (book two, Blood Cross is due out in Jan ‘10) , but we get an earlier peak at this shapeshifting vampire hunter in Signature of the Dead. Earth witch Molly is the main character who Jane helps track down a feral pack of new vampires. I didn’t even realize that Jane was the main character in Skinwalker (which I’m now adding to the top of my wishlist), but I’m thrilled we’ll get to read more about her. She reminded me of a cross between Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels which means I may have just found a favorite new series. Sexual Content: The rape of a woman and her two little girls is referenced but not described.

Like Faith Hunter’s story, Caitlin Kittredge’s Ginger (41 pages) takes the main character from her Nocturne City series, werewolf detective Luna Wilder, and relegates her to the sidelines. Instead, Ginger focuses on Luna’s self-proclaimed wus witch cousin Sunny who agrees to go undercover investigating a blood magic coven. The world building was good here, but Sunny was a bit too prone to crying for my taste. The ‘villain’ in the story is pretty comic book evil too which added a level of corniness that I hope doesn’t extend to the whole Nocturne City series because for the world building alone I plan on picking up Night Life to see what Luna does in her own story. Sexual Content: None

Dark Sins picks up after Wages of Sins but before Grave Sins in Jenna Maclaine’s Cin Craven series. In 1818 Italy, witch turned vampire Cin and her lover Michael along with another vamp couple travel throughout Europe doling out justice on the criminal vampire population. When the four are abducted by an evil wizard and his followers in an attempt to add Cin to his coven, she must finally learn to use her magic before her friends are killed. If you are a fan of Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles, you’ll probably love this. Me not so much. There are no major faults in these 33 pages, but I like my fantasy urban, without gowns and carriages etc. The idea of a vampire who uniquely retained her human magical abilities make for an interesting character in Cin, and if she survives into the 21st century I’ll be sure to look her up. Sexual Content: A man performs oral sex on a woman without graphic description. ( )
1 vote pollywannabook | Dec 4, 2009 |
Elrod edits good anthologies. This one is a collection of stories about vampires and witches, or vampires who are witches, in several cases. Authors include Elrod, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, and more. Butcher's is a Harry Dresden story, and Harris' is in the Sookie Stackhouse universe but doesn't have Sookie as a character.

I enjoyed all the stories, though one or two were a little too melodramatic for me. ( )
  reannon | Nov 26, 2009 |
An anthology of witch- and wizard-based short stories.

This is my first attempt at reading self-styled Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Fiction, so mine is an outsider's perspective. If you're already a fan of these writers or the sub-genre, you may want to give more weight to other reviews.

Simply put, I don't think this sub-genre is for me. Two reasons:

Stylistically, there were a lot of smirky introductory moments. Things like, to make one up off the top of my head, "Her pendant was silver. I hate silver. You see, I'm a werewolf." These made my eyes roll and I couldn't sustain much interest in the story.

On a more philosophical level, I found there to be too much of an overlap between the mundane and the fantastic. There was no sense of awe at the otherworldly. Magic, vampires, werewolves... they're treated as ordinary as gym socks. ( )
  CKmtl | Oct 3, 2009 |
Nothing extraordinary, but a solid representation of the authors involved. I would consider it more for fans of the authors than an introduction to them. Many of the stories involve side characters of the author's main series, so a complete knowledge their work isn't necessary.

The three big names had decent contributions; nothing soul-shaking but skillful explorations of their world. Patricia Briggs looked into the back story of a character mentioned in her latest novel, with an interesting view of how her werewolves seem to an outsider. Charlaine Harris avoids her main characters but gives a story showing the darker sides of both vampires and werewolves. I liked the double crossing going on in the stories, as the characters underestimate each other's ruthlessness. Jim Butcher lets Harry get into big fights involving sexy villains and booze. Anything with Murphy comes out good. P.N. Elrod (the editor) included another Jack Fleming story, with lots of double-crossing and thirties style gangster action.

The other stories were a bit disappointing, with Rachael Caine and Karen Chance showing the traits that made me stop buying their books. Their protagonists make too many silly choices, or explain their actions in unlikely ways. The romance in Caine's story may set a new record in severe creepiness for me -- the heroine falls for the man she resurrects, but I never got over the fact that he was dead. The misunderstanding in Chance's effort deserves a spot in Silly Romance Hall of Fame, and clearing that up in the final paragraphs left me with a bad taste in my head. The final three authors were new to me, but I probably won't be seeking them out. Faith Hunter's story wasn't bad, but wasn't amazing, and Caitlin Kittredge and Jenna Maclain's offerings were weak. Maclain's story provides a textbook example of a deus ex machina, since the protagonist can't figure a way out of her situation. A goddess literally shows up, tells Our Heroine that she is silly, and grants her enormous powers. Heroine messes up again, but nice goddess fixes everything. Again. Nothing our character thought or did made any difference. If this is explaining something inside a larger story, that might be acceptable, but as an introduction to an author it doesn't make me look for more. ( )
1 vote ejmam | Sep 22, 2009 |
I think the stories were supposed to be linked via the use of a brew (usually a potion). Sometimes that works better than others.

I was amused by Jim Butcher interpreting "brew" to mean McAnally's prized beer. It was a nice story, no guest appearances aside from Murphy, and no major revelations about things from the novels.

Karen Chance had a story from a new series that might be interesting. Then again, her protagonist is dangerously close to spending a lot of time whining about how it's not safe for anyone to love her because she puts them all in danger... not quite accidentally burned down her entire village with uncontrolled powers, but not far from it, either. I might check out the first book.

A solid anthology with stories from a few different Urban Fantasy series. ( )
  schnaucl_read | Sep 21, 2009 |
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