Short story collections

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While reading my TBR Jar Draw from September I was reminded how much I enjoy reading short stories. Almost instant gratification that comes from finishing a short story is very motivating for me and helps with my reading goals. Reading short stories introduces me to new and exciting authors and helps me find new and enjoyable reading material.

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Sometimes short stories come from authors that have a longer book series and are a wonderful way to highlight some interesting character that would not get enough page time otherwise. There are some of my favorite book series that were based on a short story that evolved into a spin off and a full fledged book series on their own. Most notable example of this is the story Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs that came out in On the Prowl collection along with stories by three other authors. I immediately loved the story and characters. Later on Alpha and Omega became a favorite book series of mine. It has five books so far and is going along nicely.

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I have a few unread short story collections I want to read. After Many Bloody Returns I am extra motivated to read at least one of them by the end of the year. Most of the stories are urban fantasy and offer a wide choice of authors. Here are my choices for short story collections:

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Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy

edited by Ellen Datlow

This is a collection of twenty short stories from some really interesting authors. Some of the authors are already favorites and some are completely new. The most prominent author of this collection has to be Jim Butcher with his short story from the Dresden Files book series. I love the cover artwork by Dan Dos Santos – he makes covers for Patricia Briggs book series as well.  The number of stories and page count over 500 ensures me to have enough wonderful reading material for quite some time. Looks very inviting!

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Carniepunk

by Rachel Caine and various authors

Another urban fantasy collection with a twist. This short story collection offers fourteen stories by different authors. From all the authors I’ve read only Kevin Hearne and his Iron Druid Chronicles book series. This offers a great choice for October reading since the themes revolve around carnivals and macabre.

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The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire

edited by Trisha Telep

This story collection with vampire theme reminded me of the time when I started collection vampire themed books and stories in general. Of the authors I’ve read before there is Cassandra Clare. Most other authors I’ve heard nice things about and I’m interested to try them out.

Many Bloody Returns – Book Review

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Finished reading

Many Bloody Returns

edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

★★

Expectation

This is was my TBR Jar Draw for September. I was looking forward to it and reading some good short stories. I like reading short story collections because they introduce me to some new authors and ideas.

Summary

There were all together thirteen stories in this collection and what made me squeal was a dedication before the stories in the book. This gave me some extra enthusiasm for reading the stories. I went and wrote a few thoughts on each story.

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1. Dracula Night by Charlaine Harris ****

I very much enjoyed this story. It reminded me how much I loved reading Sookie Stackhouse book series. The funny and quirky dialogue was delightful. And offcourse Eric <3.

2. The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden ***

This story had a YA feel to it. The timeline placing, the cultural tidbits and the actual supernatural creature in question were different than expected. It was more baffling than anything else.The mystic and pensive feel to it just did not work for me. And the owls I just cant perceive as anything but cute nocturnal animals.

3. I was a Teenage Vampire by Bill Crider ****

This author was completely unfamiliar to me before. At first this felt like a story for much younger audience and since the true age of the narrator character is somewhere around middle school it kinda fit. I was nicely surprised by the vampire of the story. It was a truly intriguing portrayal and I loved its subtle creepiness.

4. Twilight by Kelley Armstrong ***

This was so far the heaviest story. It was interesting and thought provoking but also kinda depressing for a short story. I expected more from a well renown author.

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5. It’s My Birthday, Too by Jim Butcher *****

I never read The Dresden Files and have only watched a few episodes of the TV show that did not last long. I loved this story. It had meat to the plot and characters were quite lovable. Everything about this story made me want to learn more about the characters and had me wondering about them. I had reservations about starting yet another UF book series but this one sure is intriguing.

6. Grave-Robbed by P.N. Elrond ****

I have not read anything from this author before but I have few other books and collections edited by her. This was an unexpected surprise. While the vampire of the story made me wonder quite a bit the setting and the general feel to this story was overwhelmingly positive.

7. The First Day of The Rest of Your Life by Rachel Caine ****

I loved this teasing introduction to Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series. I enjoyed the dramatic background and intriguing hints on characters in the story. I will definitely give these a chance when I get some other books series to a close.

8. The Witch and the Wicked by Jeanne C. Stein ***

This story seemed quite silly. The main character is kinda depressing and the plot was kinda far fetched. I did not know should I laugh or pay more attention. The vampires in this story bugged me. It was just not my kind of story it seems. This author was completely new to me and I have no desire to read more from her.

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9. Blood Wrapped by Tanya Huff ****

I have not read this author but I am familiar to her characters Henry Fitzroy and Vicki Nellson from the TV adaptation. I kinda like the TV show. This story is very much different from what I remember. This short story was interesting to read but I was annoyed with „What would Vicki think?“ that the characters kept asking themselves. Other than that I really enjoyed the story.

10. The Wish by Carolyn Haines ***

This author was new to me. The story was probably the shortest one in the whole collection. It was kinda morbid and nostalgic. The descriptions were depressing and ominous. I had to start reading it twice and force myself to concentrate since this short story already had a slow start and it took a few pages for anything other than setting descriptions to actually start. I’m still not sure what the author was talking about. The only thing I like in this story except the ever present madness is the actual vampire of the story.

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11. Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two by Tate Hallaway ***

This story was rich in interesting new creatures and mythology. Author was new to me and some ideas were intriguing. There was something kinda off with the characters though and it made me not like them all that much. The characters were not compelling enough for me to be believable.

12. Vampire Hours by Elaine Viets ***

A new author and a bit different story. There was something intriguing in the main character. Vampire of the story seemed sappy and kinda off. I’m not sure how I feel about this story though. The vampire bit seemed almost fairytale in quality. There were some interesting points in this story but the vampire part seemed forced.

13. How Stella Got Her Grave Back by Toni L.P. Kelner ****

What I did not like from the start was a title of this story. It made me think it was going to be another „girl power“ story like the one that came before it. I’m so glad I was wrong. The characters were lovable and the story was interesting. Vampires of the story were somewhat different than expected but they fit in nicely with the story. Strangely I did not mind many of the „curtain down“ love scenes that normally annoy me. I enjoyed this story.

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Conclusion

I’ve had this short story collection for almost a decade now and I’m glad I’ve finally read it. I am happy with the stories I’ve read. Most of the stories were good and better with only a few that just did not sit well with me. When it comes to vampires I can be quite picky. In the end it was a few little things that made me not love the story. I’m happy with the different vampire types the different stories brought out. I liked the action packed and funny stories more.

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt – Part Twenty Four

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt – Part Twenty Four

Find a shiny book – Chicks Kick Butt by Rachel Caine and various authors

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Under the right light this book is unbelievably shiny! The title is shiny, the weapon the girl is holding is shiny and the starry background is shiny as well.

I’ve read it and I liked the stories.

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Some of the stories were very good and only 3 out of 13 were giving me trouble reading trough them. This collection gave me few new authors to explore and I really liked the general girl power kick it gave me.