Tag Archives: Carrie Vaughn

The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk edited by Sean Wallace

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dieselpunk book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk
Author: Sean Wallace, Jay Lake, Shannon Page, Carrie Vaughn, Anatoly Belilovsky, E. Catherine Tobler, Jeremiah Tolbert, Brian Trent, Rachel Nussbaum, Trent Hergenrader, Gwynne Garfinkle, Genevieve Valentine, Joseph Ng, A.C. Wise, Kim Lakin-Smith, Nick Mamatas, Costi Gurgu, Tony Pi, Cirilo S. Lemos, Erin M. Hartshorn, Dan Rabarts, Mark Robert Philips, Catherine Schaff-Stump & Laurie Tom
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dieselpunk, Science fiction, Short story collections
Dates read: 18th March 2019 – 25th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: The gremlins will be inside everything given long enough and they just want out.

Synopsis

21 tales of anarchic diesel mayhem. 88 From multiple Hugo Award-winning editor Sean Wallace, a new, cutting-edge anthology of twenty-one vibrant stories that explore the possibilities of history, while sweeping readers into high-powered, hydrocarbon-fuelled adventures that merge elements of noir, pulp, and the past with the technology of today… and sometimes a dash of the occult.

Journey into an era when engines were huge, fuel was plentiful and cheap, and steel and chrome overlaid the grit and grease of powerful machines!

Includes stories by Erin Hartshorn, Trent Hergenrader, Tony Pi, Catherine Schaff-Stump, E. Catherine Tobler, Jeremiah Tolbert, Laurie Tom, Genevieve Valentine, A. C. Wise and many more.

Thoughts

I’ve recently started to thoroughly enjoy steampunk. But this was my first excursion into Dieselpunk. And what an excellent introduction this proved to be! I was enthralled, mystified and totally sunk into some of the stories in this collection. And although it might not be my favourite collection of short stories… it certainly ranks up there.

I found this collection a lot darker than steampunk collections. There is just something about Dieselpunk that is a little more critical, and a little less optimistic than steampunk. Or at least, that’s how I’m finding it. Not that that was a bad thing, but this was certainly a darker collection than the steampunk collections and novels that have been filling my shelves lately.

As much as I loved these short stories, I did take a long time to read this collection. Mostly because I had to be in a pretty specific mindset to actually read them. There is something a little less approachable and more intense about this genre that I both loved and also found a little hard to factor into my daily reading schedules.

<- The Mammoth Book of Dickensian WhodunnitsRolling Steel: A Pre-Apocalyptic Love Story ->

Image source: Running Press

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance edited by Trisha Telep

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance
Author: Trisha Telep, Carrie Vaughn, Cheyenne McCray, Kelley Armstrong, Anna Windsor, Anya Bast, Jean Johnson, C. T. Adams, Cathy Clamp, Holly Lisle, Mary Jo Putney, Eve Silver, Ilona Andrews, Dina James, Maria V. Snyder, Catherine Mulvany, Jeaniene Frost, Lori Devoti, Sara Mackenzie, Lynda Hilburn, Alyssa Day, Michelle Rowen, Rachel Caine, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Meljean Brook & Allyson James
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Short story collections
Dates read: 3rd July – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: I also didn’t feel threatened, or that I should try to escape his firm but tender grip.

Synopsis

Fall in love with someone out of this world

If love transcends all boundaries then paranormal romance is its logical conclusion. From the biggest names around, here are 24 tales to take you to another time and place.

Let Alyssa Day, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Cheyenne McCray, Jeaniene Frost, Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong, Maria V. Snyder, Carrie Vaughn, Allyson James Marland and others show you powers beyond your wildest imaginings.

Within these pages mythical beasts, magical creatures of all shapes and sizes, heart-stoppingly handsome ghosts, angels, and mortals with extra-sensitive sensory perception play out the themes of extraordinary desires.

Thoughts

The thing that I love most about this collection is that it completely runs the gambit of supernatural and paranormal creatures. There are a number of standalone stories and tales that are part of series. But mostly, there’s just stories which feature vampires and werewolves; djinn and selkies. Some of the paranormal beings that feature in this are not ones that I normally come across. Which of course just made it all that much more exciting. You didn’t know what sort of paranormal creature would be next!

These stories were all sweet and incredibly easy to read. They’re tales which make you happy and kind of hopeful about true love. Something which I think everyone needs at some point in their lives. Having said that, there were a few unwieldy stories in this collection. They weren’t annoyingly so, but a few did need to be reread so that I could grasp what was really happening.

I recognised most of the authors in this collection. Which was good, because then I could turn to my shelves in some cases and grab down the books that will get me a further fix of their writing. There were a few that I need to add to my wish list. But mostly I got to enjoy the collection, without feeling the insane need to buy more, more, more books… which is probably a good thing for my bank account.

<- The Mammoth Book of On the RoadThe Temptation of Robin Green ->

Image source: Goodreads

Urban Enemies edited by Joseph Nassise

Overview
Image result for urban enemies book cover

Title: Urban Enemies
Author: Joseph Nassise, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Jeff Somers, Craig Schaefer, Lilith Saintcrow, Kevin Hearne, Caitlin Kittredge, Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, Jon F. Merz, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Steven Savile, Domino Finn, Seanan McGuire & Sam Witt
In: Urban Enemies (Joseph Nassise)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Short story collections, Urban fantasy, Villains
Dates read: 31st July – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gallery Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d sent her out of the morgue just long enough to make a quick phone call in private.

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Synopsis

Villains have all the fun

For every hero trying to save the world, there’s a villain trying to tear it all down – and in this star-studded urban fantasy anthology, the villains get their say. Told from antagonists’ points of view, this is a rare glimpse into the dark side of your favorite series.

John Marcone decides to battle a cantrev lord instead of going after Harry Dresden in Jim Butcher’s “Even Hand” (Dresden Files). Loki traverses Hell to ahve a sit-down with Lucifer in Kevin Hearn’es “The Naughtiest Cherub” (Iron Druid Chronicles). Kelley Armstrong’s “Hounded” (Cainsville) tells the tale of the Huntsman’s plot to replace his missing hound in a most surprising fashion. The cuckoos are powerful telepathic predators, but one finds herself with difficult decisions to make in Seanan McGuire’s “Balance” (InCryptid). In Jonathan Maberry’s “Altar Boy” (Joe Ledger), the man called Toys is no saint, and certainly isn’t playing around…

Includes other stories by Domino Finn (Black Magic Outlaw), Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Steven Savile (Glass Town), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jeff Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), and Sam Witt (Pitchfork County).

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this collection, but it was a little more difficult to get through. Unlike a lot of anthologies, every single one of these stories was placed in an already established world and series. However, unlike the few other books that I’ve read which have the same setup, these shorts didn’t stand by themselves very well. Actually, some were just downright confusing because I had no idea what was happening.

What I did love about this collection is that even though I wasn’t 100% about what was happening… there was a little introduction at the beginning of each story. It just explained the worlds and series in a brief manner. Not excellently because I still didn’t actually get what was happening in a number of stories, but enough that it helped me to place the stories a little.

I’d be keen to reread a number of these short stories. Particularly once I’ve actually read the series in which they are situated. At this point, they’re all on my wish list, so it’ll happen… eventually. I seriously need to stop starting a series and then starting a new one… should really finish a few before I get too hooked into a new series.

 <- Everywhere ReviewEven Hand Review ->
Image source: Simon & Schuster

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner

Overview
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Title: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Author: Charlaine Harris, Donna Andrews, Simon R. Green, Dana Cameron, Kat Richardson, Alan Gordon, Carrie Vaughn, Dana Stabenow, Keri Arthur, J.A. Konrath, Patricia Briggs, Nancy Pickard, Karen Chance, Rob Thurman & Toni L. P. Kelner
In: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Werewolves
Dates read: 16th November – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I’m big and I’m hairy!

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Synopsis

The holiday season can bring out the beast in anyone – literally! This collection features 15 werewolf tales by an all-star line up.

Thoughts

This is the second collection I’ve read by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. And it’s just as good, if not better than the first. Actually, it was probably better. Because I really wasn’t in the mood for the Holiday Season this year. Normally I read all sorts of nice holiday stories. I didn’t want those. But an anthology about werewolves and Christmas? That was perfect for my mood. Especially when some of the stories involve eating Rudolph and Santa.

Christmas seems to be all about the night and the season. Or something about the imagery of it is. And werewolves are almost always pictured with a full moon. The combination of the two actually makes perfect sense. Which was something I’d never thought of before, but now wonder why not. After all, it works so beautifully.

Not only were the themes in this story perfectly paired, but it was also a fantastic mix of series shorts and standalones. I love finding short stories based in established worlds. But it’s also great to sometimes find a standalone that you can really sink your teeth into. If anything, I think I actually preferred a lot of the standalones in this collection, they were the stories which were a little grittier.

Although there was a bit more darkness to this story than a traditional paranormal fantasy tale, it was still quite a light-hearted mix. Even the stories that involved disembowelling well-known Christmas characters were funny and light. Left me with a nice, big smile on my lips at the end of the collection.

 <- Keeping Watch Over His Flock ReviewGift Wrap Review ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Il Est Ne by Carrie Vaughn

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

Title: Il Est Ne
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #2.5
In: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner) & Kitty’s Greatest Hits (Carrie Vaughn)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Werewolves
Dates read: 16th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Who knew what he would do, an out-of-control werewolf roaming the countryside?

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Synopsis

Kitty is all alone on New Years Eve. That is, until David walks into the dinner. David is fed up with being a werewolf, the black outs, the violence, the departure from his normal life… but now he might have found a way to start living again. If only they can work together on Christmas Eve.

Thoughts

I vaguely remember from French that il est ne means something like it isn’t. I think… it’s been a while since I studied French. But, if that is the literal translation for this story… it kind of works well. It’s a tale of Kitty at Christmas time, alone and without family, friends or pack. And another werewolf who is also completely alone. There is always something perpetuated as quite sad about such an eventuality.

That I do love about this is that it’s actually all about Kitty helping someone else. Which, after all, isn’t helping the less fortunate what Christmas is all about? At least, that’s what I choose to focus on at this time of year. Which, seems to be losing it’s glossy, beautiful, happy shine a little more with each passing year. It’s also about loneliness. Although I might have family around at this time of year, my partner is often away and I feel that loneliness quite drastically. Which made me feel a little too in touch with some of the emotions in this story. I’m honestly not sure if that’s good or bad, but I certainly enjoyed the tale because of it!

There is a great sense of love, understanding and compassion in this story. Feelings and emotions that I think we should embrace year round, not just in the holiday season. It kind of made me happily wistful when the story ended and more than a little tempted to reach out and help somebody less fortunate…

 <- Fresh Meat ReviewThe Perfect Gift Review ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Winnowing the Herd by Carrie Vaughn

Overview
Image result for kittys' greatest hits book cover

Title: Winnowing the Herd
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #0.9
In: Kitty’s Greatest Hits (Carrie Vaughn)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Werewolves
Dates read: 18th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Not even a chunk of Brie in sight.

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Synopsis

Picking music for your midnight radio station can certainly be a difficult choice… especially when you have to deal with a fool of a manager.

Thoughts

This doesn’t really feel like much of a short story. More like a little segue, look into Kitty’s daily life, managing her station manager. It did help to crystalize some of the ways in which she views the world though and highlight that before or else, she is a werewolf first and sees things in terms of animal nature of instincts.

Kitty is so clearly an alpha figure in this story. It’ll be interesting how this works into an urban fantasy world. There’s not many stories which feature a strong, female werewolf without a whole slew of issues from her male contemporaries.

Since this really felt more like an anecdote than a story, I don’t really have all that much to say about this. It was fun, easy and makes me keen to sink my teeth into Kitty and the Midnight Hour.

 <- God’s Creatures ReviewKitty and the Midnight Hour Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Wild Ride by Carrie Vaughn

Overview
Image result for kittys' greatest hits book cover

Title: Wild Ride
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #0.7
In: Kitty’s Greatest Hits (Carrie Vaughn)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Werewolves
Dates read: 17th November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: The Dustbowl was part of a row of simple wooden buildings set up to look like an Old West street but without disguising the modern shingles, windows, and neon beer sings.

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Synopsis

He’s just discovered that he’s not as well as he wants to be. But a motorbike accident and a twist of fate might provide him with an out. Will he be brave enough to start a new life?

Thoughts

I’ve decided that I absolutely adore werewolf stories which feature gay werewolves. This is only my second. The other is the Mercedes Thompson series. There is just something that pulls me in… I’m not sure why. Probably something to do with the fact that werewolves are often used to indicate our animalistic side, which is very much associated with power and masculinity where the males are concerned… things that are not traditionally associated with gay men. Which is stupid, but that’s another soapbox for another day. The point is… I loved this.

This isn’t a greatly positive story. Although, it’s not entirely negative either. Unlike some of the other lead-up Kitty Norville short stories, the man isn’t turned against his will and there’s really not much trauma associated with his turning. Rather, he trades one “cage” for another and then finds a way to live with the decisions he’s made. A much nicer and more PG story of paranormal turnings and becoming a monster.

What I loved most about this story though is the fact that he actually walked away. Although it was scary, possibly dangerous and could potentially lead to his death. He manages to stand up for himself, walk away and be his own person. Something that not everyone can do. Especially when surrounded by such intense peer pressure and an alpha figure such as the one in this story. All in all, a fantastic read and one that I absolutely ripped through.

 <- Looking After Family ReviewGod’s Creatures Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Looking After Family by Carrie Vaughn

Overview
Image result for kittys' greatest hits book cover

Title: Looking After Family
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #0.6
In: Kitty’s Greatest Hits (Carrie Vaughn)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Werewolves
Dates read: 15th November 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: The moonlit world was bright, but a kind of filtered brightness.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Cormac managed to avenge his father’s death. But, he doesn’t think he’s quite done yet. When his younger cousin Bill follows him into the darkness, he realises that he may just have to readjust his priorities.

Thoughts

As a pre-story to a series about a woman who is a werewolf, I was kind of surprised to find a story about a young werewolf hunter. One that starts with the boy killing a werewolf in revenge for his father’s death and continues with his journey for revenge. Yet, I’m pretty sure that this is an origins story, one that will make a lot more sense when I meet Cormac and Bill in the full-length novels.

Bill and Cormac are a fantastic pair of cousins. Like two sides of the same coin – one is a tough, no nonsense, serious boy. The other is kind of needy, wants to impress his older cousin and show that he’s made of sterner stuff. Yet, it is ultimately this difference in personality and relationship that saves both boys – their differences and ability to accept each other that gives Cormac a chance to move on from his father’s death and live his life.

This story really asks – when is someone actually a monster? Is it just because they can kill you? Or because they do? I wonder how Cormac will answer this question as the series unfolds…

 <- The Temptation of Robin Green ReviewWild Ride Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Conquistador de la Noche by Carrie Vaughn

Overview
Image result for kittys' greatest hits book cover

Title: Conquistador de la Noche
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #0.4
In: Kitty’s Greatest Hits (Carrie Vaughn) & Vampires: The Recent Undead (Paula Guran)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Werewolves
Dates read: 8th November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 20
5th sentence, 74th page: When will Ruiz return?

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Synopsis

Ruiz has been made into something he never dreamt existed. Never wanted to be and would rather didn’t exist at all. But he might be able to find a new beginning for himself, and just a small spot of revenge.

Thoughts

I don’t know much about the Spanish settlement of the Americas. Actually, Zorro is my only exposure to such a time period and theme. Which of course meant that this short story fascinated me from the outset. Especially since Ricardo was a particularly noble and honourable lead. One who was thrown into the world of the paranormal incredibly unwillingly.

Most stories I read about vampires feature a character who is turned against their will. And this paranormal rape is frequently overlooked or glossed over. Yet, that doesn’t happen in this short story. Actually, the main focuses of this is on the horrors and atrociousness of being turned against your will. It makes you feel incredibly sympathetic towards Ricardo and make you question all of the vampires you’ve read about in books so far.

There is a bit of a Christian overture to this story. One which seriously begs the question – how do you live when your life is a sin? But suicide is also a sin? How can you balance your belief against such a horror and intensity?

 <- A Princess of Spain ReviewThe Temptation of Robin Green Review ->
Image source: Amazon

A Princess of Spain by Carrie Vaughn

Overview
Image result for kittys' greatest hits book cover

Title: A Princess of Spain
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #0.3
In: Kitty’s Greatest Hits (Carrie Vaughn)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Werewolves
Dates read: 1st November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 20
5th sentence, 74th page: Arthur did not look at her.

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Synopsis

Catherine is the princess of spain, and about to enter marriage with a sickly Englishman. But, when she realises that there are paranormal forces at work, she bands with his younger brother Henry to get rid of the evil.

Thoughts

I only recognised that this was about Henry the VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon because I read Falling Pomegranate Seeds. Which is amazing (read it). But, since I’m not all that well versed and, quite frankly, interested in Tudor History, I wouldn’t have really clicked as to what this story was actually about. Having said that, even if I hadn’t. I still would have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s obviously a story about a historical figure, and it has a beautiful dose of the paranormal. Both things which always draw me in. Actually, I’m finding that the short stories in the lead up to Kitty and the Midnight Hour are so far beautifully able to mention historical moments that are quite well known. But in a oh so subtle way.

The political intrigue in this story immediately draws you in. It makes it almost impossible to look away as you want to find out how the Spanish princess will fare in an English court. Luckily, this is just a short story. Otherwise I would have happily wasted an entire afternoon trying to figure out who was up to what in this political tale.

Most people when they imagine Henry VIII, it’s a pretty bad image. Someone who liked to behead his wives and eat a lot. But, this short story gives a view of him as a young child. Before he begins to run around beheading women and divorcing the ones he didn’t kill…

 <- Bellum Romanum ReviewConquistador de la Noche Review ->

Image source: Amazon