Friday, September 17, 2010

HWA Presents an Anthology

Warning: This Anthology Contains Works of Fiction that are Gruesome, Disturbing, Horrifying, and Drop-Dead Hilarious! 
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 host a fund-raiser 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 “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”… 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.”

Title: Blood Lite
Editor: Kevin J. Anderson
Start & Finished: 6/9/10- 8/31/10
Published: October 21, 2008
Publisher: Pocket Books- Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Pages: 468
Genre: Horror

Blood Lite is a collection of stories written by members of the Horror Writers Association featuring tales from award-winning, bestselling authors and even a few that are mostly unknown and only publish in the short story medium. This anthology contains stories about zombies, vampires, demons and angels, even a descendent of Dr. Frankenstein, not to mention homage’s to author’s works such as Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft too. This book is edited together by Kevin J. Anderson, who is also a founding member of the Horror Writers Association, but he does not contribute to the collection.

With every anthology you get some good, some bad, and some that are just okay and in Blood Lite you get a diverse collection of all of these things. Out of the 21 stories I only liked ten of them but there were six that were really good and they were by Kelley Armstrong, Lucien Soulban, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Sharyn McCrumb, and Jim Butcher. I plan on picking up books by these author’s that I haven’t read very soon. Blood Lite II: Overbite comes out September 28, 2010.

Title: The Ungrateful Dead
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Pages: 30

Jaime Vegas first appeared in Canadian author Kelley Armstrong’s Industrial Magic, the fourth book in her Women of the Otherworld series but didn’t get her own story until No Humans Involved which was book seven. The first story in the anthology is called The Ungrateful Dead and for once, Jaime is not being kidnapped but instead she’s being heckled by a rich, spoiled brat of a ghost who seems to think she “serves the dead,” all while on her séance tour too!

She’s not my favorite necromancer (that’s still Anita Blake even if the novels aren’t quite the same now), but Jaime is still one of Armstrong’s best characters from the Women of the Otherworld series. Her partner in crime in this story in Savannah who is the ward of Paige from Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic but Savannah was probably my favorite character out of the entire piece. This was an extremely funny story whose ending I bemoaned because I still wanted to know what happened next.

First Sentence: I see dead people. Unfortunately, they also see me.

Links: Complete story

Title: Mr. Bear
Author: Joe R. Lansdale
Pages: 31

Joe R. Lansdale's contribution to this anthology was a story about Smokey the Bear, though he never comes right out and says that’s who it is. Mr. Bear is about a famous anthropomorphic bear that is described as being shirtless, “in dungarees and work boots, carrying a hat.” The main character is a man named Jim who this bear sits down next to on a plane and proceeds to brag about all the tail (though that isn’t quite the word he used) he gets and in general be disgusting. Then their plane gets stranded at their layover and then the “fun” begins. Mr. Bear and Jim have a night on the town, get in some trouble, and then make their way to Yellowstone Park. Oh, and Mr. Bear is slightly insane (“two to three berries short of a pie” he says) so poor Jim doesn’t have much choice in what happens after he gets off that plane.

This was truly a disturbing short story that I didn’t enjoy at all. Smokey the Bear is a classic iconic American figure (supposedly the author does this often in his stories, once with Elvis and JFK) and Mr. Bear is just… disturbing. Think what it would be like if you mixed Howard Stern with a real bear and I think I’m insulting Howard Stern here. I won’t say that Mr. Lansdale’s story is badly written, I just didn’t like the subject. In fact, I’ll never be able to think of Smokey the Bear again without thinking of this story so though I really, really disliked it, Mr. Bear is certainly memorable.

First Sentence: Jim watched as the plane filled up.

Title: Hell in a Handbasket
Author: Lucien Soulban
Pages: 27

A baby is left at the mouth of Hell in Lucien Soulban’s story Hell in a Handbasket and the only question is who is going to get to eat her?  This takes place in what is supposed to be Dante’s Hell among many other cultures and religions and includes several demons from history such as Mastema, Gressil, Harpy, Furfur, Vassago (he appeared in Dean Koontz’s book Hideaway), Mammon, and even ones from other cultures too (Heaven makes an appearance as well). Only Vassago knows what the child is and how to deal with her which the demons that want her for supper soon figure out themselves.

An author and video game writer, Lucian Soulban (whose full name means Light-Bringer Moses Thanks Holy Crosses, literally) wrote what is probably one of the best, if not the best story in this anthology. I loved Hell in a Handbasket with all its characters but especially Vasaggo and Eve. What an incredibly inventive and funny story! Here are two of my favorite parts: “Right,” Gaap said, ribbing his fellow demon with his elbow. “Following orders. I think there’s a few Nazis in the Seventh and Eighth Circles still singing that tune.” and ‘Hell was like a trailer-trash family reunion on Jerry Springer. If demons weren’t fornicating with each other like country siblings, they were feuding and squabbling… sometimes in the middle of intercourse.’ Though Hell in a Handbasket isn't quite as raunchy as that sounds, it does have its moments. I will definitely be looking this author up soon.

First Sentence: The basket sat at the foot of the Inferno’s red-hot, iron-wrought gates, below the steaming plate that read ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE!

Title: The Eldritch Pastiche from Beyond the Shadow of Horror
Author: Christopher Welch
Pages: 18

Addicted to writing what amounts to bad horror fanfiction of the Cthulu mythos, Chris seeks help in Christopher Welch's The Eldritch Pastiche from Beyond the Shadow of Horror but someone doesn’t want him to. The author says that his addition to Blood Lite “is more autobiographical than he likes to admit.”

‘I cannot think that way anymore. The night sky was simply the night sky, not some infinite brooding sentience with a conspiratorial agenda to reveal indescribable terrors to a timid dreamer. I will not believe in monsters.’ I can admit to getting so lost in a fictional world and fictional characters that I had trouble afterwards thinking of anything else but I have never had it as bad as the main character in this short story. Lovecraft is an author I’ve never managed to read so I didn’t have the slightest clue who the characters were that are discussed so all of that was Greek to me, but I did like the idea of the story.

First Sentence: I went through the motions, the ritualistic motions I had done hundreds of times.

Title: Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues
Author: Matt Vene
Pages: 32

Elvis as a vampire… well it’s certainly been done before but Matt Vene takes a slightly different approach than the norm with his story Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues. In it, Elvis becomes a vampire which is why he stopped making movies and started Viva Las Vegas as well as how he got fat, (instead of biting people he started having blood transfusions) and eventually, setting the record straight on how he died. Everyone but the press knows about it too: ‘Some of the fellas in the Memphis Mafia took to teasin’ me about getting’ myself turned into a damned vampire, thought it was a real hoot to call me “Velvis, the Vampire Elvis.” That might seem like a funny reaction to you, but David and Jerry and Red and Lamar and the rest of the boys- they were used to crazy shit happenin’ all the time. Vampirism was just one more once-in-a-lifetime thing to add to their big old list of once-in-a-lifetime things that happened while hangin’ out with yours truly.’

A vampire Elvis who just happens to be a vampire hunter is certainly a unique idea and the way Mr. Vene plays with the myths of Elvis and brings a lot of real life things to the story is what made it so interesting. I’ve always liked early Elvis, who doesn’t? However, I’ve never seen any of his movies or know all that much about him so I think this particular story would appeal to more Elvis fans than me. I actually did like the story but it wasn’t one of the very best in this anthology. Matt Vene was a writer for the film White Noise 2 and is currently at work on the screenplay for the adaptation of Stephen King's Bag of Bones.

And so the federal agent badge from the president… the weight gain from the blood transfusions… the superhuman improvement of my karate skills… even the addition of “…in a flash” to “Takin’ Care of Business…” (which became my code for “blast those vampires with sunlight, baby!”) It all makes a bit more sense now, don’t it?

First Sentence: Well, ain’t this just a kicker?

Title: No Problem
Author: Don D’Ammassa
Pages: 22

In Don D’Ammassa’s short story No Problem, a scientist studying biochemistry at Brown University discovers some old family journals and learns that he’s the great-great-great grandson of Viktor Frankenstein. After reading some of Frankenstein’s accounts, Herbert Franken throws out his research and begins his studies anew. He says, “Please don’t get the impression that I had suddenly turned into some kind of mad scientist. I had no intention of digging up dead bodies at midnight, erecting a lightening rod on my roof, or stealing brains from Brown University.” However, when he accidentally kills his nosy next door neighbor is when it starts to get hairy.

The story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster are almost as well known as Dracula and have been represented in fiction and film for years yet this author takes a softer approach to the reinterpretation of the story. Herbert isn’t a mad scientist but he is a scientist (the kind that experiments on animals), yet he reminded me of that guy that was in a CSI episode who didn’t mean to kill anyone and somehow wound up with all these dead bodies around him. I neither liked nor disliked this particular story, probably because it was over too fast for me to even figure out how I felt about the main character. The idea of the story interests me though as I could easily see this as an episode of Supernatural or something.

First Sentence: I swear I had good intentions.

Title: Old School
Author: Mark Onspaugh
Pages: 4

The seventh story in Blood Lite is called Old School and comes from fiction and film writer Mark Onspaugh. It’s only a little over 3 pages long but in it a group of teenagers get together to try to raise a corpse, mostly to impress the Goth girl one of them has a crush on. Of course their plans go awry…

Well done Mr. Onspaugh! You did in a very few pages what others in this anthology couldn’t in more than 20 and that’s write a small piece of a story and yet make it seem longer than it is. Zombies are one of the two horror monsters I can’t have anything to do with but I didn’t mind Old School. I’m not quite sure I understand the last sentence but overall this was an okay story done in the “old school” way of 80’s teen horror flicks.

First Sentence: “And arise!”

Title: The Sound of Blunder
Author: J.A. Konrath & F. Paul Wilson
Pages: 39

The only story to be written by two authors and the longest story in the anthology, The Sound of Blunder by J.A. Konrath & F. Paul Wilson features two small time crooks Mick and Willie. After (Mick the Mick’s partner in crime’s Nana bakes a pound cake using a key of cocaine that they were holding for a mobster, they need to figure out a way to come up with some money quick because after all, “no junkie is going to snort baked goods.” So they hit upon the idea of robbing the Pennsylvania Museum of Natural History and Baseball Cards where they hope to steal an artifact but end up getting sent through time. This story was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s The Sound of Thunder.

What I would like to know is which author did what in this story. The beginning was fine with the introduction of Mick the leader and Willie his ADHD and seemingly hypochondriac friend even if some of the humor seemed a little flat but once the supernatural element of The Sound of Blunder kicked in it was all down hill from there. It did remind me of something; a Simpson’s episode I believe, that was also based on the Ray Bradbury book (I think it may be mentioned vaguely in this story actually). This wasn’t a bad homage to Mr. Bradbury’s book and I did like it more than some of the others in this book but it doesn’t really stand out in this collection either. Konrath writes a series featuring Lt. Jack Daniels and Wilson is an award-winning author.

First 2 Sentences: “We’re dead! We’re freakin’ dead!”

Title: An Evening with Al Gore
Author: Charlaine Harris
Pages: 29

At first it may seem as if Charlaine Harris’ ecological short story An Evening with Al Gore may not be suitable for this collection and though it has an extremely slow start, the end (last four pages) are… something else. Ms. Harris said it, "was so much fun because it was completely different from anything I’d written before, I worked with the idea for a while before I got it all ironed out. And, I’d just watched Al Gore’s movie [An Inconvenient Truth], of course he’s absolutely right. He’s been proven right, he was right before anyone believed it, he’s right now that everyone believes it and they’re not doing anything about it. I just thought, what if people really acted on Al Gore’s suggestions? This is the supernatural reaction to Al Gore saying we should green up…"

The main reason I bought this book was for Ms. Harris’ contribution but I must confess I thought it was about either Sookie (like most of her short stories) or one of her other characters. Toddy and Mark were staid, laidback people which made the twist and the end even more of a surprise. I did like the end of this story a lot, though I’m not as environmentally aware as I would like to be. I couldn’t see the author turning this into a series but I really wouldn’t mind characters like them (even though not these in particular) if she decided to do something else. She usually has at least two series running simultaneously and she just ended her Harper Connelly books.

First Sentence: Toddy Makepeace had seen Al Gore speak the previous spring, and a year later she hadn’t quite gotten over it.

Title: Dear Prudence
Author: Steven Savile
Pages: 11

Steven Savile’s main character Miller is writing his lovely wife a quick note to let her know he’s going out and then proceeds to fantasize about what he’d really love to say to her in the story Dear Prudence. Each letter more disturbing than the previous though there is no real supernatural element involved in this one. Dear Prudence is the first one in this book that doesn’t have some kind of supernatural or paranormal event or creature in it.

‘Fed into a wood chipper. How much Pru would a wood chipper chip if a wood chipper could chip Pru? That’s today’s million-dollar question.’ Can you tell that the main character in this story really, really dislikes his wife? The author says that “he doesn’t fantasize about killing his wife. Honestly.” Yeah, if I were Ms. Savile I would start sleeping with one eye open… This was certainly a different turn in the anthology because none of the previous stories were about the evil humans can do, or in this case, fantasize about doing all by their selves without supernatural influence.

First Sentence: Miller held the pen poised over the scrap of paper, thinking about what he would write.

Title: A Good Psycho is Hard to Find
Author: Will Ludwigsen
Pages: 11

Chet and his girlfriend Misty find life dull in A Good Psycho is Hard to Find by Will Ludwigsen. After fighting off a psychopath with a chainsaw at a camp where they were counselors, the two seek to recapture that rush. However, ‘Bungee jumping and race-car school didn’t capture the same feeling. The risk was too arbitrary, accidental. [He] needed the personal touch of another human being going out of his or her way to kill [him], not the capricious hand of fate.” Just how are they going to get that feeling back?

A short story writer of mainly horror, Mr. Ludwigsen fits in fine in this anthology. This story follows on the heels of another that has nothing to do with the supernatural and more about the evil of human nature. A Good Psycho is Hard to Find actually wasn’t a bad story and I thought it was well-written too. The ending was a little gruesome but the story does make me curious if other real life survivors have had a similar reaction to violence that these two did.

First Sentence: At least with the Chainsaw Guy, you always knew where you stood.

Title: High Kicks and Misdemeanors
Author: Janet Berliner
Pages: 23

Legs Cleaveland is the main character in Janet Berliner’s High Kicks and Misdemeanors and he is a Las Vegas “self-styled talent scout with a penchant for long-legged chorines.” However after a couple of dead bodies show up near him and he needs some advice one what to do, he heads to his great-uncle Willie Downtown, the scariest loan shark in the city. He’s a great believer in his spirit guide, which happens to be an ostrich and there are some people using his and other ostriches to further their own political agenda.

What an extremely odd little story. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like it before. Well, I don’t make a practice of reading about ostriches in general anyway because they kind of creep me out. I can’t say I really liked this one because it was so far-fetched that it was over my head however, I still have to give props for originality. However, I really want to know the how and why of Willie’s story and while Legs seemed like a bit of a sleaze he was the only sane part of this story so I’d like to know what happened to him as well. The author has written another story with Legs as a character called Amazing Grace: A 'Legs' Cleveland Musical Production.

First Sentence: Most things that happen in Vegas stay in Vegas because no one outside the city would believe them.

Title: PR Problems
Author: Eric James Stone
Pages: 10

Mr. Ahsani the ghoul (which transforms into a hyena and is not undead in the slightest but does eat carrion) is sick of vampires and werewolves getting all the good press while he’s stuck at a custodian job in PR Problems by Eric James Stone. He soon discovers the serial killer that the press nicknamed the “Grove City Ghoul” actually is living in his building, what is he going to do?

PR Problems was one of the very best short stories in the Blood Lite collection. The main character of Mr. Ahsani constantly surprised me. He’s a ghoul but he’s not a killer, he’s genuinely relieved when one of his neighbors arrives home because it means she didn’t get snatched by the killer, and he tries to rescue someone when he probably could have gotten away first. Altogether not a bad guy… if you look past the eating dead flesh part.

First Sentence: What annoys me the most about vampires and werewolves is their good PR.

Title: Where Angels Fear to Tread
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Pages: 18

Where Angels Fear to Tread is the first of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Hellchasers which is a group featured in her Dream-Hunter novels (starting with Bad Moon Rising) and who are important to Nick (from the book Fear the Darkness). Working a dead-end job where he constantly gets screamed at by callers, Zeke is in for a bit of a shock once he inherits some things from his estranged granduncle. One of those things is a medallion with something special about it. See how Zeke got his powers!

Sherrilyn Kenyon is a fairly well-known name and yet I’ve never managed to read anything by her before so I did not have the slightest clue what to expect going in this story but if the rest of her books are anything like this, I’m definitely picking them up. I did feel like I was being plunked down in the middle of a bigger plot but I really did like this particular addition to the anthology. There’s a lot of great humor with somewhat modern reference in the book and that was my favorite part. This is an introduction of an already established character from what I can gather but I still enjoyed this story a lot.

First Sentence: “From humble beginnings come great things.”

Title: A Very Special Girl
Author: Mike Resnick
Pages: 21

The “all-time leading award winner for short fiction,” including five Hugo awards, author Mike Resnick writes about his character Harry the Book in his story A Very Special Girl. Harry has appeared in other stories by this author including A Very Formal Affair and The Blimp and the Sixpence but in this one, Harry’s employee Dead End Dugan falls in love and gives Harry’s three grand away. So of course he sets out to retrieve it.

A very awkwardly written story, that I felt like I was missing something vital. The author just drops us into this world where zombies and creatures like Anna exist and doesn’t explain anything, we’re just along for the ride. I did feel like I might have liked this story if I understood what was going on, what exactly is Harry, where exactly are they, and why it seemed like some of the dialogue was badly translated or something.

First Sentence: I am reading the Daily Racing Form in my temporary office, which is the third booth at Joey Chicago’s 3-Star Tavern, and coming to the conclusion that six trillion to one on Flyaway in the fifth at Saratoga is a bit of an underlay, as there is no way this horse gets within twenty lengths of the winner on a fast track, a slow track, or a muddy track, I have my doubts that even a rain of toads moves him up more than two lengths.

Title: Love Seat Solitaire
Author: D.L. Snell
Pages: 21

A bunch of bachelor guys are sitting around playing Street Fighter when the apartment’s poltergeist starts to act up in Love Seat Solitaire by D. L. Snell. At first it just little things but then soon as one of the characters puts it, “Casper’s gone Michael Myers on us.” Better do what he wants or else!

Mr. Snell’s story had some funny parts and an extremely odd ending but for the most part I thought Love Seat Solitaire was extremely crude. I’m guessing that Sam, Dave, and Jess are college kids since Sam owns his own apartment but they act more like high school students. I could easily see this as one of those slapstick comedy horror movies or something (which I really don‘t like).

First Sentence: “Dude,“ Jess said, pushing up his glasses, “the kitchen table’s floating again.”

Title: I Know Who You Ate Last Summer
Author: Nancy Holder
Pages: 17

Rock star cannibals are next in Nancy Holder’s story I Know Who You Ate Last Summer. Angelo and Dwight have been friends since they were kids and it was Angelo with his trust fund that got them to Hollywood and set up to be musicians. However, it was Dwight that helped them both discover the love of human flesh. Now someone is sending text messages saying they know who they ate last summer and their lives are never going to be the same.

This was another odd story that I didn’t particularly care for. No one was likeable in the least bit and Dwight was just seriously creepy… well, they both were actually. I have heard of this author before but I’ve never tried anything by her. She definitely made her main character seem crazy if that was what she was trying to go for. I’m still not quite sure where Ms. Holder was going with this story and it just kind of ends abruptly too.

First Sentence: “That should be ‘whom,’” Carla M. said, “and that’s part of the problem.”

Title: Bitches of the Night
Author: Nancy Kirkpatrick
Pages: 27

Nancy Kirkpatrick explores how Dracula (in this case a vampire named Istvan) would have felt if all his brides were modern women in Bitches of the Night. Poor Istvan is sick and tired of being henpecked by his brides when all he wants to do is relax, drink a little O Negative and watch re-runs on TV.

While some may find the idea of a henpecked, impotent vampire humorous I just thought it was depressing. The story wasn’t horrible and I liked the way the author described things but I just felt bad for Istvan. I also wasn’t impressed with the idea of all women vampires becoming air-headed harpies either. I can't find much about this author except a collection of her vampire stories where she is called "Canada's Queen of the Undead."

First 2 Sentences: “Dis night, you vill take two each, a male and a female. And dis time, no AB negative!”

Title: The Bell… FROM HELL!!!
Author: Jeff Strand
Pages: 11

In Jeff Strand’s story a guy named Howie buys The Bell… FROM HELL!!! However, none of his coworkers believe him so they constantly tease him about it. Finally fed up with their teasing, Howie decides to ring the bell the required six hundred and sixty-six times to prove once and for all that he has a bell to summon Satan.

Possibly the only story out of this anthology that doesn’t fit, Jeff Strand’s story can be taken two ways: either Howie really does have a bell that summons Satan or that he’s just nuts. I think this one was supposed to be cute but it came off as just strained to me. I do wish the ending had been a little different though! Supposedly there is a sequel to this story coming out in Blood Lite II.

First Sentence: I own a bell forged by Satan himself.

Title: Dead Hand
Author: Sharyn McCrumb
Pages: 23

The award-winning author of the book St. Dale (which is the story of ordinary people going on a pilgrimage in honor of Dale Earnhardt and finding a miracle), Sharyn McCrumb says, “Writing about NASCAR was a wonderful experience for me. After spending my adolescence writing term papers and avoiding proms, I am now jumping hills at one hundred mph with a race car driver on Virginia back roads, and it is glorious.” Perhaps it was the acclaim she had gotten from writing about NASCAR (it got her invited to the White House and in touch with several Fortune 500 winners) that inspired her to write another NASCAR story called Dead Hand. This time about a little failing team of drivers who do things the old way still and are losing badly until their Cherokee chief mechanic works up a bit of magic to bring back the ghost of driver known as The Champ who had died in a plane crash.

NASCAR and racing have always bored me to tears when my dad was watching (it’s his favorite “sport” and the only one he watches) or when my husband’s uncle would take us to see the guys he sponsors but reading and watching movies about racing is a whole different thing. I love those! Dead Hand was easily one of the best stories in this anthology though I wish it were a little longer and didn’t have such a sad ending. Rattler and the Champ were great though and I hope the author writes about their back stories one day.

First Sentence: I don’t hold with talking to dead people.

Title: Day Off
Author: Jim Butcher
Pages: 33

Harry Dresden, “Chicago’s only professional wizard, shamus of the supernatural, gumshoe of the ghostly, and wiseguy of the weird is looking forward to his Day Off in Jim Butcher’s short story however, someone up there is bound and determined that he doesn’t get to rest. First, some wizard-wannabes start harassing him, then his assistant proceeds to accidentally blow up his lab, and finally two of his friends that occasionally shift into wolves have a problem and need his help as well. Will Harry ever get to go one his date? Jim Butcher is a well-known, award-winning author of the Dresden Files series of which Day Off takes place.

While I’ve always liked Harry Dresden and his author Jim Butcher, I’ve never managed to read one of the actual books in the series. I have however, read a lot of short stories that feature the wizard and I’ve loved every one of them. Even if I always feel like I’m missing certain things that reading the books would answer for me, I always enjoy the stories anyway. That’s including Day Off! It was funny, interesting, and it has definitely made me want to go out and pick up the actual series.

First Sentence: The thief was examining another trapped doorway when I heard something-- the tromp of approaching feet.

Source: My personal collection, paperback

Related Reviews
Kelley Armstrong
Women of the Otherworld Series
1. Bitten (2001)
2. Stolen (2002)
3. Dime Store Magic (2003)
4. Industrial Magic (2004)
5. Haunted (2005)
6. Broken (2006)
7. No Humans Involved (2007)
8. Personal Demon (2008)
9. Living with the Dead (2008)
10. Frost Bitten (2009)
11. Waking the Witch (2010)
12. Spellbound (2011)

Darkest Powers Series
1. The Summoning (2008)
2. The Awakening (2009)
3. The Reckoning (2010)

Nadia Stafford Series
1. Exit Strategy (2007)
2. Made to Be Broken (2009)

Dates from Hell (2006)
My Big Fat Honeymoon (2007)
Many Bloody Returns (2007)

J.A. Konrath
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe anthology- S.A. by J.A. Konrath

Jim Butcher
Charlaine Harris
Sookie Stackhouse
1. Dead Until Dark (2001)
2. Living Dead in Dallas (2002)
3. Club Dead (2003)
4. Dead to the World (2004)
5. Dead as a Doornail (2005)
6. Definitely Dead (2006)
7. All Together Dead (2007)
8. From Dead to Worse (2008)
9. Dead and Gone (2009)
10. Dead in the Family (2010)
11. Dead Reckoning (2011)

Aurora Teagarden Series:

Harper Connelly Series
1. Grave Sight (2005)
2. Grave Surprise (2006)
4. Grave Secret (2009)



  1. Sounds like something I would enjoy and my hubby would love. I've read a few other Dresden short stoies and enjoyed them. Great comphensive review.

  2. I guess liking half of them's not too bad.

  3. Wow, good for you to talk about them all. I tend to skip things ;)
    But yeah that Mr Bear one..sounds, yeha

  4. Linda: Thank you! I really do need to get around to reading the actual Dresden books.

    Bermudaonion: Yeah, that's true.

    Blodeuedd: Meh, it helps me remember them later. Though I'd readily forget all about Mr. Bear if I could.

    Cleverly Inked: I am now! I'm going to be starting Wulf's story soon. SUCH good books.

  5. You've made me curious about Mr. Bear! LOL

  6. This sounds great! I admire the thoroughness of your review, too - I rarely have the patience to cover all the individual stories like that - great job!



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