Book Description: This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones—living and dead . . . There’s no place like home for the horrordays—unless you’d prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard . . . or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here—and whether it’s a solstice séance gone demonically wrong with the incomparable Kim Harrison, a grossly misshapen Christmas with the remarkable Lynsay Sands, a blood-chilling-and-spilling New Year’s with the wonderful Marjorie M. Liu, or a super-powered Thanksgiving with the phenomenal Vicki Pettersson, one thing is for certain: in the able hands of these exceptional dark side explorers, the holidays are going to be deliciously hellish!
Four stories ranging from Dark Fantasy (me and Vicki) to Paranormal Romance (Lynsay and Marjorie.) Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel concerns Rachel and her brother Robbie before she goes into the I.S., and if you’re a Hollows junky, it’s not one to be missed. –Kim Harrison
Review of Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison:
I had a bit of a falling out with Rachel Morgan’s The Hollows series after book four. I’ve long maintained that Ivy is in need of some serious staking, and as her relationship with Rachel increasingly became more of the focus of the series my enjoyment decreased (if a guy pulled half the possessive, needy, territorial garbage that Ivy does Rachel would never have put up with it). Plus after what happened with Kisten…
But after reading Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel, I remembered why I loved this series so much to begin with. Nobody, and I mean nobody does better world building than Kim Harrison. I loved getting to read about Rachel as a teenager brimming with excitement about following in her late father’s footsteps as a runner for Inderland Security (basically the paranormal police). But Rachel nearly died as a child, and at this point in her life she is still struggling with chronic fatigue and weakness from any type of physical activity, a fact her older brother uses to encourage her to pursue an alternative career as an earth witch. When the two strike a bargain to decide the issue, Rachel accidentally calls forth the ghost of a murdered witch (handsome Peirce) who has some unfinished business with the dead vampire who condemned him centuries before. Together he and Rachel hope to save not only Peirce’s soul, but the soul of the young girl the vampire is about to condemn as well.
This is a fun quick read sprinkled with holiday magic that will entertain both new and familiar readers, and might even re-hook those of us who had given up on this series for one reason or another. (plus no Ivy!)
Click HERE to read an excerpt of Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel
Review of Run, Run, Rudolph by Lynsay Sands:
I haven’t read anything by Lynsay Sands before, but I’m a little surprised that her story was included in this anthology because its basically a typical contemporary romance with an added sci-fi element. Jill gets struck with a destabilizing ray by an evil scientist and goes on the run through a parade and Christmas party with her longtime crush Nick. Jill new superpowers include being able to take on the appearance of anyone or thing (remember the title?) that she sees. Of course while on the run, Jill and Nick take a few breaks for a steamy make out session, and a near coupling in the parking lot. For a story that was only 90 pages long, the sexual content felt abruptly introduced and overly emphasized.
A scene of heavy petting, a graphic sex scene that isn’t quite consummated.
Click HERE to read an excerpt of “Run, Run, Rudolph”.
Review of Six by Marjorie M. Liu:
Marjorie M. Liu’s Six gives us in interesting eastern spin on vampires and necromancers during the Chinese New Year celebration. The story shifts back and forth from the perspective of Six, a Chinese government raised agent, and Joseph, a necromancer who helps Six when she is infected by a vampire. When Six meets Joseph she has difficulty accepting the existence of the paranormal world and initially thinks he’s a terrorist, but she can’t deny what she sees and eventually agrees to help Joseph track down the terrorist cell of vampires.
The world building was very strong here and the take on vampires as feeders of not blood but human souls was unique. The real problem I had with this story with the character of Six. She’s extremely distrustful and almost robotic in her behavior that I had difficulty accepting the life changing choices she made, specifically her romantic relationship with Joseph. I did not see them developing in that direction, and when they abruptly did, if felt false given Six’s detachment up until that point.
One or two (depending on how you look at it) graphic sex scenes
Click HERE to read an excerpt of “Six”.
Review of The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson:
Vicki’s story focuses on Zoe, the mother of the main character Joanna in her Signs of the Zodiac series as she tries to rescue her infant granddaughter from the evil Shadow agents during Thanksgiving. The Zodiac series has an extremely complex and unusual paranormal world involving an endless battle between good and evil personified in comic book-like heroes of the Light and Shadow. I wouldn’t recommend starting this series with this prequel novella as the paranormal elements will likely be confusing (and there are a few spoilers from the main series in here). But if you have at least read Scent of Shadows already, you should enjoy the back-story this provides and a deeper look at the inner workings of both sides of the Zodiac.
A reference to a rape. A non-graphic sex scene
Click HERE to read an excerpt of “The Harvest”.