Tag Archives: Toni L.P. Kelner

Death’s Excellent Vacation edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: Death’s Excellent Vacation
Author: Charlaine Harris, Sarah Smith, Jeaniene Frost, Daniel Stashower, A. Lee Martinez, Jeff Abott, L.A. Banks, Katie MacAlister, Christopher Golden, Lilith Saintcrow, Chris Grabenstein, Sharan Newman & Toni L.P. Kelner
In: Death’s Excellent Vacation (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: 4th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Still, appearances were deceiving.

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

Synopsis

An all-new anthology of vampire stories edited and with an introduction by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.

Thoughts

I absolutely loved this collection. I normally love anything to do with paranormal fantasy anyway. But this is a particularly good one. After all, it’s all paranormal fantasy and urban fantasy stories that feature vacations.

It’s coming to that kind of year that I wish I got vacation time in y job. That I wish I could just take some time off and do whatever it is that people do on vacation. Which meant that it was really lovely to read a collection of short stories that feature vacations. All of which made me a little more thankful that I haven’t been going on vacation.

This is a collection that has a little bit of romance, a lot of humour, and generally anything that could possibly go wrong when you have vacation time does. It had me smiling and laughing throughout. I will most definitely be reading this one again.

<- Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement ParkTwo Blondes ->

Image source: Amazon

Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park by Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park
Author: Toni L.P. Kelner
In: Death’s Excellent Vacation (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Isn’t there anything else I can do to help?’

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

Synopsis

Joyce is a recently turned werewolf who just wants a nice quiet vacation. To the amusement park that she remembers from her childhood. But things have changed a little…

Thoughts

This was such a fun and cute short story. I can’t say that I have an amusement park that I’m nostalgic for, or even a pirate that I had a teenage crush on. But this certainly made me wish that I did. After all, Joyce manages to not only save the park of her childhood, but also hook up with her crush. I mean, what more could you want?

Alright, you could also want to add into that mix vampires and werewolves. Then it is really a great short story. After all, a bit of supernatural banter and lust to round out a fun story… I finished this tale with a huge grin across my face.

Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park was a fantastic way to finish off the Death’s Excellent Vacation. For starters, Joyce repeatedly states that she’s actually on vacation. But it’s also just really pleasant and fun. What a light, humorous and wonderful way to round out a seriously fun collection.

<- Home from AmericaDeath’s Excellent Vacation ->

Image source: Amazon

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

In Brightest Day by Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for home improvement undead edition book cover

Title: In Brightest Day
Author: Toni L.P. Kelner
In: Home Improvement (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 24th October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “Yeah, right,” she said.

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

Synopsis

She’s a Houngan. But the body she keeps raising to Revenant just doesn’t seem to want to stay alive…

Thoughts

The use of Hoodoo / Houngan / Voodoo practices in this “home improvement” story was completely unexpected and seriously joyful. I also loved how it kept Kelner’s sense of humour and self alive throughout the pages. I was smiling and relaxed as I read this. Making it not only an amazing short story, but a fantastic way to end the Home Improvement collection.

I found the idea of raising an architect so that they can finish building a house to be kind of unique. It feels like a bit of a waste of power, but as the story unfolds, it also feels like something humorous and light. Completely unexpected and most definitely enjoyable.

The lead of this short story – Dodie was one of my favourite leads in this collection. I love that she’s constantly poking fun at the institution that she finds herself in and finding ways to maintain her own identity. Even if that identity does mean eschewing the long skirts and died hair of the rest of the houngans….

<- It’s All in the RenderingHome Improvement ->

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!

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

Keeping Watch Over His Flock by Toni L. P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

Title: Keeping Watch Over His Flock
Author: 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, Werewolves
Dates read: 30th December 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Brian just grinned.

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

Jack has never really found a place to fit in. It’s Christmas Eve and he thinks he might have finally found his own pack. But, an impulsive decision might just be the end of his happiness.

Thoughts

There were three storylines within this short story. And I actually loved all of them. For starters, there was the Christmas Origins story of werewolves. I’ve heard (well, read, but that doesn’t sound as good) a lot of different werewolf origin stories. This is the first that features Christmas and probably the most innocent and sweet of all such origin stories. I really loved it – probably because it was so differently innocent to the normal stories.

Then there was the tale of young Jake. The way in which he finally finds a place to call home. And finally gets an understanding of what it means to be part of a pack. It’s a great little coming of age story as he finally shucks off the pain of his past and finds joy in his new family and future.

Finally, there’s the story of how Jake risked his role in the pack and actually experienced the Christmas spirit. This not only ties in the other two stories, but it also really bought about the Christmas feeling. Not feeling very Christmassy this past season, it was nice to read a short story that actually made me reflect on such a feeling. Plus, then there’s the fact that Jake finds his other form… and that is just absolutely brilliantly!

 <- Milk and Cookies ReviewWolfsbane and Mistletoe Review ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

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

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 – “

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