Tag Archives: An Apple for the Creature

An Apple for the Creature edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: An Apple for the Creature
Author: Charlaine Harris, Toni L. P. Kelner, Jonathan Maberry, Donald Harstad, Marjorie M. Liu, Rhys Bowen, Amber Benson, Mike Carey, Faith Hunter, Ilona Andrews, Steve Hockensmith, Nancy Holder & Thomas E. Sniegoski
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 23rd May – 13th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d charged George, heading toward the cornfield behind the store, and George had shot him.

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Synopsis

Includes a never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story!

What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s story, “Playing Possum,” Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew’s entire class but finds she’s one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up.

When her guardian, Kate Daniels, sends her undercover to a school for exceptional children, teenaged Julie learns an all-new definition of “exceptional,” in New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Tests.”

For those who like fangs with their forensics, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder offers “VSI,” in which FBI agent Claire is tested as never before in a school for Vampire Scene Investigation.

And in New York Times bestselling author Thomas Sniegoski’s “The Bad Hour,” Remy Chandler and his dog Marlowe find evil unleashed in an obedience school.

You’ll need more than an apple to stave off the creatures in these and nine other stories. Remember your first lesson: resistance is fruitless!

Includes stories by: ILONA ANDREWS, AMBER BENSON, RHYS BOWEN, MIKE CAREY, CHARLAINE HARRIS, DONALD HARSTAD, STEVE HOCKENSMITH, NANCY HOLDER, FAITH HUNTER, TONI L.P. KELNER, MARJORIE LIU, JONATHAN MABERRY, THOMAS SNIEGOSKI

Thoughts

This book has been on my wishlist for ages. But, it’s one that’s out of print, so I had to get a second-hand copy, and I always seem to be a bit slower at getting these. Now I’m not sure why I waited so damn long! I loved every single one of these short stories. They managed to reflect not only your worst nightmares relived in high school, but it was also filled with stories of training and cops, the paranormal and the supernatural.

Sometimes short story collections are full of tales which fit into series. Some are just full of tales that stand beautifully alone. An Apple for the Creature has a nice balance of the two. Some of these stories are ones which make me want to pick up the rest of the series. Some just a nice appreciation for a new author. It was a great balance, meant that I didn’t break the bank wanting to buy new books, but also found some great new series to sink my teeth into.

This collection contains everything I love about urban fantasy tales. There are vampires and werewolves, dragons and nymphs. Some of these characters are only just starting at their first high school, and others are in training for a greater purpose, such as crime fighting. Regardless of the reason why they’re in school though, every single character in these stories learns something from their adventures and made each and every story a complete, total and utter pleasure.

 <- Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost ReviewPlaying Possum Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost by Toni L. P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost
Author: Toni L. P. Kelner
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Urban fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves
Dates read: 13th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “It’s his own hellish actions – “

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Synopsis

She’s on a werewolf retreat having a wow of a time. Until a ghost decides that he takes exception to her love life. And suddenly her retreat makes her want to go into retreat…

Thoughts

This story was nothing like what I expected from the title. I was expecting a pirate ghost story and had absolutely no idea how a schooling would tie into this. After all, it is the concluding story for a collection of urban fantasies which feature teachers and school. I was not expecting a story about a werewolf and vampire in a relationship. Who own a pirate-themed water park and who were getting haunted…

I seem to be finding more and more books / series with a vampire-werewolf mating. I don’t find many that really investigate the reactions to this interracial relationship. It’s something that people in real life have to go through, dealing with the prejudices against their other half. I like that this was the original driver for the conflict in the story. Everything was going fine until one person (ghost) with a prejudice against vampires manages to make everyone so awkward and uncomfortable that she is then left alone. Completely.

The interconnectedness of this story and the twist at the end were really fun. I finished this story with a huge grin on my face and the desire to see if this is part of a greater series. I also loved that it ended up with a ghost becoming friends with a werewolf and helping them create a haunted ship.

 <- The Bad Hour ReviewAn Apple for the Creature Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Bad Hour by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: The Bad Hour
Author: Thomas E. Sniegoski
Series: Remy Chandler #5.5
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AngelsParanormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 12th July 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Remy sat behind the desk in his Beacon Street office putting together an expense report for a client whose job he had finished the previous week.

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Synopsis

Remy always seems to get the more difficult cases, those that involve the supernatural. But when him and his loyal companion must attend doggy obedience school, he discovers that sometimes it’s not all bad.

Thoughts

I have two beautiful, annoying, slightly crazy and incredibly loyal dogs. Which means that any story that features “man’s best friend” is going to make me happy. Especially when the main character is able to communicate with his loyal hound. If only I could have the same slightly ridiculous, incredibly fun conversations with my two furry companions…

Although I really loved the storyline of this tale, what I loved most was the interactions between Remy and his hound. I frequently talk to my dogs, but, sadly, they never respond. However, if they did, I can imagine that they would talk much like they do in this story. Slightly stupid, slightly witty and incredibly amusing. His horror and disappointment at being a “bad dog” made me think of the look on my Staffy’s face whenever he’s in trouble. Equal parts devotion and devastation.

In a collection of urban fantasy stories about school and teaching, a puppy school has got to be my favourite kind. I love being surrounded by dogs and reading about a scene in which this is happening left me in my happy place. Even if the badness was caused by the tales of one such hound…

<- VSIPirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost ->
Image source: Goodreads

VSI by Nancy Holder

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: VSI
Author: Nancy Holder
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CopsUrban fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 11th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: FBI.

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Synopsis

Claire is in an uncomfortable marriage, but a two week training trip away with her partner (who she has a bit of a crush on) might help her find a way out of it. Even if it’s not quite the way she had planned to escape a loveless life.

Thoughts

From fairly in this story it seemed to be a tale about vampires. After all, the first, very naked perp that Claire and Jackson bring down is a woman with filed down teeth. What I didn’t expect was Holder’s unique take on a modern vampire and who the actual serial killing crazy person was going to be. That took me nicely and pleasantly by surprise.

Most urban fantasy stories which involve a cop tend to either have a completely platonic relationship or one full of romance. This was somewhere in between, it was obvious from the beginning that there was an extra level of feeling between Claire and Jackson, but then there’s a mention of her husband. This little spanner isn’t one that I normally come across. Most of the paranormal and urban fantasy stories I read involve the act of falling in love, but not what happens when that falls apart. I liked this change in relationship status, I wouldn’t want to read a huge amount of stories which deviate this far, but every now and again they’re fun.

I enjoy the idea of a vampire serial killer. Don’t get me wrong, it would be ten times more terrifying than a human one, but it gives a good reason to hunt down the culprit. That whole us versus them doesn’t sit overly well with me, so having a reason to hunt down a vampire and study him… it just added that extra shine and enjoyment to this story. A story which I’m quite disappointed is over.

 <- An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism ReviewThe Bad Hour Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism by Steve Hockensmith

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism
Author: Steve Hockensmith
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Tricksters
Dates read: 30th June 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: I’ve known it all along.

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Synopsis

This professor of Jewish myth and mysticism has a few secrets in his closet. And he’s about to use them to make the world a better place…

Thoughts

I know next to nothing about Jewish beliefs and practices. And by next to nothing, I mean nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. And that’s probably not going to change. But this short story made me seriously consider changing my outlook for about twenty minutes. It managed to bring to life an aspect of a belief system that (I’m assuming) is a slightly off kilter and different one to what is normally displayed on TV.

As soon as the little professor offered to “fix” the nice lady’s problem, I was kind of expecting a vampire story. I’ve been reading a lot of them lately and it seemed suitable that a vampire would lecture of Jewish myth and mysticism (I believe Judas is also tied up in vampires and Judaism and Christianity). Then I spent the rest of the story trying to figure out what the little man was… because he certainly wasn’t a vampire!

This was a fun, easy and enjoyable read. There was a great level of humour throughout. A nice departure from some of the more serious books I was reading at the time…

 <- Magic Tests ReviewVSI Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: Golden Delicious
Author: Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #4.2
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner) & Blood in Her Veins (Faith Hunter)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Animagus, Dark fantasyStrong women
Dates read: 27th June 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Pea launched herself across the two yards and landed on the wolf’s head with a catlike yowl.

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Synopsis

Rick is in the training academy after being viciously attacked. He’s still coping with the stressors of his past, but his new job might just give him a great reason to head forwards into the future.

Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed this short story. But I was kind of ticked that it gave away a fair bit about the future in the Jane Yellowrock world. Which was kind of annoying when I keep meaning to pick up this series all over again… but, hopefully by the time that I do, I won’t really remember where this story fits into the series, and I’ll be able to be surprised anyway.

If you look at my bookshelves, you’ll notice that there has begun to be a bit of an obsession about urban fantasy stories with the lead female in law enforcement. Alright, Rick isn’t a woman, but I did love the idea of a policeman transferring to the supernatural police. He may have to go through training all over again, but his talents jump to the surface as they race to find the evil witch before the full moon.

The use of a number of alternate supernatural beings that I haven’t so far seen in the first few Jane Yellowrock books, was incredibly fun. It also helped to give me a hint of how the world is going to expand as time goes by.

<- Iphigenia in AulisMagic Tests ->

Image source: Goodreads

Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: Iphigenia in Aulis
Author: Mike Carey
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Urban fantasy, Zombies
Dates read: 11th June 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Oh baby, I’m so sorry.

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Synopsis

Melanie doesn’t really understand why she is in this compound. What happened to her parents, and why the teachers aren’t allowed to touch them. Until she finally does understand. And then things start to get a little… hectic.

Thoughts

I really thought that this story was going to have a much, much happier ending. I thought that Melanie would be able to find a new family, a world beyond her restraints. It didn’t end like that. And it didn’t make me think that she had a happily ever after. But I still completely loved this story. In a way, the not-so-happy ending made me love the story even more than I would have if Melanie got her happily-ever-after.

The idea of zombies only slowly filtered through into the story as you turned the pages. It wasn’t something that I immediately picked up on, and really wasn’t until the final few pages that I realised that this short story firmly sits into this shelf. And, with many short stories that surprise me and make me ridiculously happy, I was incredibly disappointed that this story wasn’t part of a bigger series… so I’ll just have to find something else written by Mike Carey to add to my ever-growing collection.

For such a short story, this tale deals with a few issues. For starters, what do you do with the children of zombies? If they share the horrific bloodlust and insanity of their parents, we’re kind of screwed, but you know… they’re children. The issues surrounding abortions are also touched upon (a law is passed banning abortions, which leaves the apocalypse survivors with a SERIOUS issue). And, finally, how do you treat the different? Alright, these different kids have the potential to eat your face off. But, the way that they’re treated really isn’t okay either.

 <- Callie Meet Happy ReviewGolden Delicious Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Callie Meet Happy by Amber Benson

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: Callie Meet Happy
Author: Amber Benson
Series: Calliope Reaper-Jones #3.5
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Grim reapers, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 3rd June 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Not gonna happen,” Callie said, holding her ground in a pair of dirty Jimmy Choos.

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Synopsis

Callie is in a class learning how to create wormholes. But a crabby teacher and judgemental peers seem to keep getting in her way… until she figures out how to go to a Happy place.

Thoughts

This was an easy and enjoyable short story. The teacher kind of reminded me of Umbridge (Harry Potter for those of you who aren’t quite educated on her evilness). This teacher was judgemental, power hungry and kind of a pain. Something that we’ve all had experience with at some point in our lives. And the judging looks from her peers… well, that was a little bit too familiar. Which, in all lead to a completely relatable, and kind of funny storyline that I was sad to see end.

Stories which feature grim reapers and death are something that always fascinates me. Especially when there is a nice dose of black humour interwoven throughout. A level of sass from a female (pretty much any female) which makes such a serious topic (death) so much less… well, serious. Actually, in the case of Callie’s internal monologue, it just made this entire adventure quite funny. And very, very cute.

Many of the fantasy stories that I’ve read with a parallel world or time portals of any kind tend to be insanely complex. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy them. But I tend to find it quite hard to grasp certain aspects of the storyline and then I have to go back and read certain sections again and again until I have a firmer grasp on what is happening. This tale was nothing like that. There is travel to a parallel world, but the storyline and lead character doesn’t get caught up in all of the minutiae detail.

 <- Low School ReviewIphigenia in Aulis Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Low School by Rhys Bowen

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: Low School
Author: Rhys Bowen
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Demons, Easy reading
Dates read: 24th May 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: I shall have to report this to Ms. Fer.

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Synopsis

Miss Weinstein finds herself in a situation she just can’t get out of. Her worst nightmare. Repeating school when she cant make it to a test, is dressed in the worst clothes imaginable and is… well, fat. But things are about to get a whole lot worse…

Thoughts

I thought at the beginning of this story that it was nothing more than a nightmare. After all, we’ve all had that dream where we can’t make it to an exam, that everyone has turned on us and we just don’t quite fit in. Alright, I’ve never dreamed that I’m wearing some weirdly disgusting clothing… but I can imagine how that would fit into the whole school-nightmare theme that is obviously going on here.

This short story doesn’t just play on our fears that seem to come from high school… it also highlights the idea that your decisions affect you. Every decision effects your potential future. The dumb things that you do that are questionable… well, they can certainly come back to haunt you. And throw you into a reality that you didn’t want to face… every day until the end of eternity.

I wasn’t popular in high school. I also wasn’t unpopular. But I never really wanted to be the homecoming queen and centre of attention… it just seemed so boring. So I honestly can’t imagine signing away my soul for the right to be the popular girl. Even if it was just in joke. This is the only thing about this story that just doesn’t compute for me. Why would someone want to be popular? Do anything to be in the centre of the crowd? As the story unfolded and Miss Weinstein’s attitude became clearer and clearer, it was more and more difficult to feel any kind of connection to her. More and more difficult to feel like she was really worth saving at all…

 <- Sympathy for the Bones ReviewCallie Meet Happy Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: Sympathy for the Bones
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, Witches
Dates read: 7th May 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: All my teaching will be for naught if you keep up this way.

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Synopsis

Ruth thought she was raised by someone who loved her. But now she realises that that’s just not quite the case… and she’ll do anything to get out of this sticky situation.

Thoughts

I haven’t read many stories about voodoo or hoodoo (I know there’s a difference, I just don’t know what that difference is…). Yet, it’s something that fascinates me. Which of course immediately drew me into this short story. Especially when the lead female voice was so strong and obviously unhappy with her trainer. Unhappy with the atrocities that she is committing over and over again because the elderly woman is asking her to.

I knew that there would be a bit of blood and death in this story – after all, the title is Sympathy for the Bones. What I didn’t expect was the grave digging, the darkness and the ability of the lead female to turn this darkness to her own advantage. Though I’m not sure if she’s good and was going to walk of into the sunset and live happily ever after. Actually, it kind of felt like she was just following in her mentor’s footsteps and not really pursuing the freedom that she so dearly wished for.

 <- Academy Field Trip ReviewLow School Review ->
Image source: Goodreads