Tag Archives: Simon R. Green

Home Improvement: Undead Edition edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for home improvement undead edition book cover

Title: Home Improvement: Undead Edition
Author: Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner, Victor Gischler, Patricia Briggs, Rochelle Krich, Heather Graham, James Grady, Melissa Marr, E. E. Knight, Seanan McGuire, S. J. Rozan, Stacia Kane, Suzanne McLeod & Simon R. Green
In: Home Improvement (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 7th June – 24th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Two weeks after their first post they met in the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Larchmont.

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

Synopsis

There’s nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or otherworldly portals in the parlour… And when you add in a hefty dose of the supernatural, the normal, everyday challenges of home D-I-Y become even more hazardous!

International number 1 bestseller Charlaine Harris has joined forces once again with award-winning mystery writer Toni L.P. Kelner to construct a brilliant anthology of fourteen forays into the frightening world of home improvement.

Thoughts

This is a great and fun collection. It’s amusing and light. Filled with lots of gorgeous paranormal stories and just seriously fun. What I love most about it though is that each and everyone of these stories features the process of home renovations in some way, shape or form. And, as a home owner myself… I can attest to the fact that sometimes home improvements are literally hell…

I love that this collection brings the supernatural and paranormal into our everyday experiences. Everyone has a home and, in the case of these somewhat more magical lives… after all, even vampires and witches and the fae still need a home… but their complications are a lot worse than the ones that I have had to face…

This collection had some authors and series that I’m familiar with. And some that are new to me. As with many of the good anthologies that I read, my wish list has grown yet again. Which is really what I want when I read a good anthology.

<- In Brightest DayIf I Had a Hammer ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

It’s All in the Rendering by Simon R. Green

Overview
Image result for home improvement undead edition book cover

Title: It’s All in the Rendering
Author: Simon R. Green
In: Home Improvement (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 23rd October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: And now that’s being turned against us.

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

Synopsis

They live in the House. It’s a House that straddles two realities. So what happens when those realities collide?

Thoughts

Something about this short story made me think about the Innkeeper Chronicles. In the best way possible of course, since I loved that series. And I loved this short story. After all, a house that straddles two worlds and works to keep the peace, keep people safe… it’s definitely the kind of story that I get drawn into.

This was a seriously fun journey into a seriously interesting and intriguing house. It was really hard to put down and I was grinning throughout the whole story. Particularly the couple that runs the house. They are the exact kind of married couples that I love in a good story – obviously in love and filled with witty banter and light.

I’m really disappointed that this is just a short story. I would really, seriously love more stories about this House Between Worlds. There are just so many potential stories!

<- Full-Scale DemolitionIn Brightest Day ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

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

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

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

Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R. Green

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

Title: Lucy, at Christmastime
Author: Simon R. Green
Series: Nightside #8.4
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: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 18th November 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: She never does.

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

There’s the Ghost of Christmas Past and then there’s the Ghost of your First Time… after reading this, you tell me which is worse.

Thoughts

At the beginning of this story, I thought it would be quite a sweet, easy little read. It begins talking about the fact that you never forget your first. Which, of course, we don’t. What I didn’t quite realise was that the narrator really wasn’t talking about the first I was imagining. Or at least, that was not all that he was talking about. It turned out to be quite a tragic tale, and one that almost had me in tears.

Alright, this story is still about first loves, but, being that it is a werewolf story, there is a much darker twist on the glory of a first love. Something that I really wasn’t expecting, and was only revealed at the very end. Yet, there is also a bittersweetness to the story – he is able to constantly love and communicate with the spectre of the past, one that eerily reminds me of the ghosts in A Christmas Carol.

Most people dream of true love. And, in its dark, twisted way… this is a beautiful tale of that kind of love. That everlasting feeling that you’ll never get over, and always remember… kind of a nice Christmas tale, but not one that left me with all the warm fuzzies that I normally would like.

 <- The Haire of the Beast ReviewThe Night Things Changed Review ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

How Do You Feel? by Simon R. Green

Overview

hex-appealTitle: How Do You Feel?
Author: Simon R. Green
Series: Nightside Companion
In: Hex Appeal (P.N. Elrod)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Won’t that be nice?

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Synopsis

An interesting short story about Green’s Dead Boy and how he lives his life.

Thoughts

How Do You Feel? was a completely unexpected short story – it was quite dark, with a twisted and unexpected strain of humour throughout it. The completely unforeseeable love story that rounded it out just polished it off to make me want to read the rest of the Nightside series. The use of a main character whose name is Dead Boy should have given me a hint to what kind of story I was in for though.

There is always a question about what happens after death, after all, most people don’t want to believe that this life is all that there is. And the idea of what happens when a life is cut too short with little or no mercy is a far more tantalising theoretical question. In creating a character that exists almost solely for revenge, Green approaches this question from a unique angle. Not only in addressing what happens after death and the lingering of souls, but how a thirst for revenge and an unyielding anger can destroy a life (and afterlife).

<- Outside the Box Review There Will be Demons Review ->
Image source: Succubus

Hex Appeal edited by P.N. Elrod

Overview

hex-appeal

Title: Hex Appeal
Authors: Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Carole Nelson Douglas, P.N. Elrod, Simon R. Green, Lori Handeland, Erica Hayes & Carrie Vaughn
In: Hex Appeal (P.N. Elrod)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Books and clothing and bedclothes and typical dorm room décor had been scattered everywhere.

Synopsis

Fall under the intoxicating spell of their hex appeal…

In the magical world that lies hidden beneath our own, witches and conjurers play deadly games. They know just the right spell to kill a man with one kiss—or raise him back again. And they’re not afraid to exact sweet revenge on those who dare to cross them. But what if you’re the unlucky soul who falls victim to a conjurer’s curse? And if you had the power to cast a magic spell of your own, would you use it?

In this bewitching collection, nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors tell all-new, otherworldly tales.  Spellbinding stories featuring bigfoot, albino vampires, professional wizards, resurrected boyfriends and even a sex droid from the twenty-third century named Silicon Lily.  But as our conjurers are about to discover, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hexed.  And sometimes, even the best spun spells can lead to complete and utter mayhem.

Thoughts

This was a slightly dark and definitely morally questioning collection of short stories. In each tale there was no good or bad guy, but rather someone who was working at surviving with the cards that they have been dealt. The name hints beautifully at this though, Hex Appeal, both appealing and potentially damaging – like all of the leads in these nine very diverse stories.

Finishing this collection left me wanting more, more of these not-quite-good characters that thrived in worlds that ran beautifully parallel to our own. Each tale consisted of a multi-dimensional setting in which fighting to survive allowed for acts that would not necessarily be accepted in today’s society and reality. Drugging someone to rob just seems wrong, but make it a horny vampire and it is much more realistic. Think you’re husband may kill you in a dystopian reality? Take out a retribution clause to ensure that he follows you into death… these ideas are such exaggerated versions of our reality that they truly make you think about the world that we all live in today.

<- The Arcane Art of MisdirectionRetribution Clause ->

Image source: Succubus