Tag Archives: Nancy Holder

The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women edited by Marie O’Regan

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women
Author: Marie O’Regan, Kim Lakin-Smith, Sarah Pinborough, Kelley Armstrong, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, Sarah Langan, Elizabeth Massie, Alex Bell, Alison Littlewood, Nina Allan, Lisa Tuttle, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Mary Cholmondeley, Marion Arnott, Lilith Saintcrow, Nancy Kilpatrick, Muriel Gray, Cynthia Asquith, Amelia B. Edwards, Elizabeth Gaskell, Gail Z. Martin, Edith Wharton & Gaie Sebold
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 29th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She was a sickly child, prone to unaccountable fits and agues, and her parents were convinced on more than one night that she would not live to see the dawn.

Synopsis

25 chilling short stories by outstanding female writers

Women have always written exceptional stories of horror and the supernatural. This anthology aims to showcase the very best of these, from Amelia B. Edwards’s ‘The Phantom Coach’, published in 1864, through past luminaries such as Edith Wharton and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, to modern talents including Muriel Gray, Sarah Pinborough and Lilith Saintcrow.

From tales of ghostly children to visitations by departed loved ones, and from heart-rending stories to the profoundly unsettling depiction of extreme malevolence, what each of these stories has in common is the effect of a slight chilling of the skin, a feeling of something not quite present, but nevertheless there.

If anything, this showcase anthology proves that sometimes the female of the species can also be the most terrifying…

Thoughts

This is a fantastic collection. One which I thoroughly enjoyed but learnt fairly quickly that I shouldn’t be reading this late at night… after all, some of these ghost stories are actually kind of scary. And reading them late at night with the wind blowing through the house while you’re home alone… not the best decision making of my life. To be fair, it’s also not the worst…. But that’s a whole other story.

I love that all of these ghost stories are written by women. I definitely believe that we need a collection of women-only writers more often. Or at least, I need to buy more to put on my shelves… although not all of these stories had strong women as the voice, they still felt more relatable than many of the stories that I read by men. I suppose shared experience and all that nonsense.

As a kid, I was never into ghost stories or tales of things that go bump in the night. Although I’ve gotten more into the genre over the past few years, it’s still sometimes not the most powerful driver for me. This collection though is swaying me more and more towards those horror stories.

<- The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories 2Field of the Dead ->

Image source: Goodreads

Freeze Out by Nancy Holder

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: Freeze Out
Author: Nancy Holder
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror
Dates read: 12th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Cody found himself remembering walking into the Lazy Daisy Flower Shop on the night of the prom to pick up Tiffany’s corsage.

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

Synopsis

It’s their mother’s funeral and their father has dementia. But he might not be as clueless as he thought he was…

Thoughts

Freeze Out is filled with very many creepy twists and turns. It was hard to gain a grasp on who the bad guy and the culprit in this story was. And where the ghost aspect of the ghost story would com in. Every time I felt like I had a grasp on the story, something would change and I would be swept down another turn that I just wasn’t expecting.

The “bad guy” in this story really wasn’t who I expected. Rather, towards the end, when everything was revealed, and the darkness lifted from the family… I was kind of surprised and also content to finally turn that final page.

Freeze Out was very well written and a phenomenal short story. However, it was also difficult to read and experience. Difficult in the fact that it gave me the heebie jeebies right the way through. And, although I enjoyed this, it also left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

<- The Third PersonReturn ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 edited by Trisha Telep

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of vampire romance 2 book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2: Love Bites
Author: Trisha Telep, Jordan Summers, Deborah Cooke, Karen MacInerney, Caitlin Kittredge, Dina James, Camille Bacon-Smith, Rosemary Laurey, Patti O’Shea, Angie Fox, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jamie Leigh Hansen, Carole Nelson Douglas, Diane Whiteside, Jaye Wells, Stacia Kane, Jennifer Ashley, Justine Musk, Jennifer St Giles, Dawn Cook, Nancy Holder, Larissa Ione, Jeanne C. Stein, Tiffany Trent, Ann Aguirre & Devon Monk
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Short story collections, Vampires
Dates read: 22nd March – 9th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: Le Cirque de la Nuit.

Synopsis

From the biggest names in vampire romance, 25 tales of a hunger like no other.

Bloodthirsty new vampire romance, including thrilling new stories from bestselling and award-winning authors aush as Jordan Summers, Jaye Wells, Larissa Ione, Jeanne C. Stein and Deborah Cooke. You’ll encounter gothic romance and gritty contemporary tales of urban vampire love, from stand-alone short stories to well-loved (and feared) characters from established series.

Ruthless but tortured, gifted with paranormal sensitivity and sexually mesmerizing, vampires show they can be gentle and caring, too.

Forget the everyday world. Forget the rules. Succumb to a different kind of love.

Thoughts

I really think that Twilight kind of ruined the idea of vampires for me. And vampires with romance… it’s something that I’ve taken forever to truly get into. And even now, with this collection, I thoroughly enjoyed it in short bursts. Some of these stories were absolutely amazing. Many others weren’t. And some sat nicely in the middle. Which mostly just made this collection, fun, easy and a great break from reality late at night when I was no longer able to concentrate.

Having said that, the introduction sounds kind of pessimistic. That’s not the case with this book. It’s definitely an anthology that I would suggest to others. And one that I think people would thoroughly enjoy. I’ll probably even read it again in the future – just take my sweet time about it to space out the vampire overload.

As with all of the other Mammoth Books that I’ve read so far, I found this a great introduction to authors. Both new ones, and a reminder that I need to add some previously read authors to my wishlist too. I just need to magically find more money to actually purchase everything that has been added into my list.

<- Untitled 12Paris After Dark ->

Image source: Bookdepository

Blood Gothic by Nancy Holder

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of vampire romance 2 book cover

Title: Blood Gothic
Author: Nancy Holder
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 (Trisha Telep) & By Blood We Live (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Mental health, Vampires
Dates read: 18th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: She awoke from these dreams drenched in sweat and feeling exhausted.

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

She’s been dreaming of her vampire lover for years. Now she just has to wait until he finally comes to claim her. But, things may not be quite as they seem when she finally returns from her trip to Transylvania.

Thoughts

I really wouldn’t call this a romance. And I would not have expected to find such a story in a collection of vampire romance stories. There is just nothing romantic about this tale. Obsessive, yes. Vampiric, kind of. But romantic? Nope, nope, nope. And if someone reads this thinking that it’s romantic… they need to sort their brains out a little better…

Ever since Twilight came out, I didn’t really understand the vampire obsession. After all, vampires feed on humans. In the last few years, I’ve read some stories that are romantic and lustful, but that teenage, angsty attachment and obsession? Still really don’t get it. This short story kind of feels like it echoes that. This woman is completely fixated on the idea of a vampire lover that visits her in her dreams. But I’m not sure that he’s actually real. Her obsession turns to a sickness of some kind and I kind of like to believe that the end of the story is actually a gentle way to say that it is the end of her life. Completely due to a weird obsession and an inability to find the reality in the world.

In a book of romantic, lustful tales, this short story leaves you with a somewhat uncomfortable feeling. It’s a bit huh, a bit weird, and a complete reminder of the idea that sometimes we need to stop and look at our obsessions. Pause so that we can take a step back and fix our own mental health. Or at least, that’s what this story reminded me of.

 <- With Friends Like These ReviewEternity Embraced Review ->
Image source: Bookdepository

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.

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

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.

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

Blood Lite edited by Kevin J. Anderson

Overview
Blood Lite

Title: Blood Lite
Author: Kevin J. Anderson, Kelley Armstrong, Joe R. Lansdale, Lucien Soulban, Christopher Welch, Matt Venne, Don D’Amassa, Mark Onspaugh, J.A. Konrath, Paul Wilson, Charlaine Harris, Steven Savile, Will Ludwigsen, Janet Berliner, Eric James Stone, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mike Resnick, D.L. Snell, Nancy Holder, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jeff Strand, Sharyn McCrumb & Jim Butcher
In: Blood Lite (Kevin J. Anderson)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Horror, Short story collections
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Edge
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes, especially if I’ve been drinking, and I’m hungry, I revert to my basic nature.

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

The Horror Writers Association Presents Blood Lite…a collection of entertaining tales that puts the fun back into dark fiction, with ironic twists and tongue-in-cheek wit to temper the jagged edge.

Charlaine Harris reveals the dark side of going green, when a quartet of die-hard environmentalists hosts a fundraiser with a gory twist in An Evening with Al Gore…

In an all-new Dresden Files story from Jim Butcher, when it comes to tracking deadly paranormal doings, there’s no such thing as a Harry’s Day Off for the Chicago P.D.’s wizard detective, Harry Dresden…

Sherrilyn Kenyon turns a cubicle-dwelling MBA with no life into a demon-fighting seraph with one hell of an afterlife in Where Angels Fear to Tread. NOTE: This story has been re-released in the Dark Bites anthology.

Celebrity necromancer Jaime Vegas is headlining a sold-out séance tour, but behind the scenes, a disgruntled ghost has a bone to pick, in Kelley Armstrong’s The Ungrateful Dead.

So let the blood flow and laughter reign – because when it comes to facing our deepest, darkest fears, a little humor goes a long way!

Thoughts

I’m kind of on the fence about this collection. Some of the stories in this were brilliant. Some downright weird. But all were enjoyable. Just not memorable. This is the kind of collection you read for a good, light laugh and something that isn’t going to make you think and linger in your mind’s eye after you’ve finished the story.

Although this hasn’t been my favourite collection of short stories that I’ve digested in recent times, it also wasn’t one that I ever considered stopping. I know that a collection or novel is truly horrible when I just can’t seem to pick it up and get through it. Yet I didn’t feel that way with this. I just didn’t want to completely bury my nose in these stories either. The best description I can think of for this series is easy. Easy reading. Easy to forget. But easy to spend some humorous time with.

 <- The Four Horsemen Reunion Tour ReviewThe Ungrateful Dead Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance edited by Trisha Telep

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance

Title: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
Author: Trisha Telep, Sherri Erwin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jenna Black, Jenna Maclaine, Raven Hart, Delilah Devlin, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Raye, Alexis Morgan, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp, Susan Sizemore, Dina James, Colleen Gleason, Barbara Emrys, Savannah Russe, Shiloh Walker, Vicki Pettersson, Rebecca York, Rachel Vincent, Amanda Ashley, Karen Chance & Nancy Holder
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Short story collections, Vampires
Pace: Fast
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I have travelled the world in search of knowledge, studied with every important intellectual from da Vinci to Hawking.

Synopsis

Love is a weapon in the face of evil.

From the biggest names in paranormal romance, here are over 25 tales of a hunger like no other…

Let Karen Chance, Keri Arthur, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, Amanda Ashley, Vicki Pettersson and Susan Sizemore and others take you hot-blooded on the trail of the sexiest creatures of the night.

In the world of the Undead there are strange codes of conduct, dark rituals and dating games, as they seduce the locals and engage in the most sensual encounters you’ll sink your teeth into this side of the grave.

These ain’t your mother’s vampires!

Thoughts

I kind of loved this collection. It definitely isn’t one that you can read cover to cover in one sitting – there’s only so many vampire romances that I can happily read before they start to blend into one. But as a slow read that I just picked up every now and again… it was really, really good.

The short stories in this collection ranged from the classical and predictable vampire stories to ones that took a whole new spin on the ideal. Some were just sweet and some just downright disturbing. And although they all follow a similar theme, not one is the same. I now have a very long list of new authors and series that I want to sink my teeth into…

<- Red Letter DayFade to Black ->

Image source: Goodreads

Vampire Unchained by Nancy Holder

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance

Title: Vampire Unchained
Author: Nancy Holder
Series: Gifted #4.5
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Vampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Her auburn hair hung in sopping ringlets past the shoulders of her black raincoat.

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

Liam has betrayed his sire, and now his sire is going to get revenge in the only way he knows how – through Liam’s love. But, when Liam’s ancestry comes into play, they realise that all might not be as lost as they initially thought.

Thoughts

I like the idea of a witch-born vampire. And that this ancestry is enough to overcome the change of vampirism. Actually, it’s the first vampire story I’ve had the pleasure of reading in which the change is reversed. And since it is a short story, this change occurs quite quickly. But it doesn’t feel forced and overbearing as it can in some short stories.

I like the weaving together of a bit of Irish folklore and witchcraft with vampirism. I haven’t read a good story that incorporates the two in quite a while. And it’s made me kind of desperate to get my hands on the first book in this series… self-control is a losing battle.

 <- The Day of the Dead ReviewA Stand-up Dame Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

I Know Who You Ate Last Summer by Nancy Holder

Overview
Blood Lite

Title: I Know Who You Ate Last Summer
Author: Nancy Holder
In: Blood Lite (Kevin J. Anderson)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Horror
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Edge
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Because I thought you told Carla M.

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

Two cannibal rockstars are about to be found out… but will they turn on each other before they can escape the truth?

Thoughts

It’s obvious that this story will have something to do with the consumption of people in some way shape or form. I was honestly betting on vampire. And even after reading the first few pages – I still thought vampire. Until I got a little bit further along in the story and realised that no, these aren’t vampires, they’re just really weird and disturbed cannibals.

This is one of those sick and twisted stories that I love and keep thinking about it long after I have finished the tale. Two cannabilistic rock stars running free and wild. Two men who have been eating and killing their way across the country. Who have also joined AA and found a whole heap of new “friends” that were previously unexpected.

 <- Love Seat Solitaire ReviewBitches of the Night Review ->
Image source: Goodreads