Series: Lia and Cyrus #1
Published by Ace on October 7, 2014
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Sexual Content: A meeting takes place in a sex club, but there is no description of anything; Discussions of pedophilia. A man intends to molest a child.
Reviewed by: Julia
The editors of Many Bloody Returns deliver the perfect howl-iday gift, with new tales from Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, and many more. New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Carrie Vaughn—along with eleven other masters of the genre—offer all-new stories on werewolves and the holidays, a fresh variation on the concept that worked so well with birthdays and vampires in Many Bloody Returns. The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone. They are particularly hard for lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest and saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand. Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year’s morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.
Review: "The Star of David" by Patricia Briggs. Another story set in the wonderful world of Mercy Thompson reunites a werewolf with his estranged daughter to help an orphan on Christmas. Leave it to Briggs to go above and beyond the werewolf requirement for her story and throw in vampires and mages too. I expected Patricia's contribution to be my favorite as I’ve never read anything by her that I didn't enjoy, and Star is no exception, but my favorite entry is yet to come.
Sexual Content: None
Review: "You'd Better Not Pyout" by Nancy Pickard poses the question: Is Santa Clause a vampire? The story begins with two Russian vampires discussing the possibility and then follows them to the North Pole when they decide they want in on the all you can drink Christmas buffet. Of course Vampire Santa isn't as Jolly as tradition portrays him and the two end up guarding Rudolph from a werewolf. If you're a Futurama fan this fractured Santa will bring a merry smile to your cheeks.
Sexual Content: None
Someone is kidnapping werewolves, and not just any wolves at that: every one is the daughter of an important clan leader. Desperate to find his daughter, Sebastian Arnou does the unthinkable: he goes to the Silver Circle of light magic users for aid. Their version of a police force is known as the War Mage Corps, and although they agree to help, few have much experience with Weres. The exception is disgraced, on-the-edge-of-being-canned war mage Lia de Croissets, whose mother happened to be a high ranking member of the important Were clan Lobizon. Someone with a werewolf mother isn’t much trusted by the Corps, and a mage with a human father is equally suspect as far as the clans are concerned. But her knowledge of Were customs and her background in human magic make Lia unmistakably the best person for the job. Whether they will be enough to keep her alive is another matter.-Karen Chance
Review: "Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance (best known for her Cassandra Palmer series) invites us into a fully realized world of War Mages and werewolves. I'd already fallen in love with the characters of War Mage/were Lia and her on/off werewolf love Cyrus, but this is the first story featuring them as they struggle to find the kidnapped daughters of a bunch of high ranking werewolves. It's hard to believe this story only spans 40 pages or so because the characterizations and plotting are stronger than most full length novels. Of the fifteen stories in this anthology, this one delivers the biggest payoff for traditional urban fantasy lovers. Tied for my favorite.
Sexual Content: A meeting takes place in a sex club, but there is no description of anything.
Review: "Milk and Cookies" by Rob Thurman (best known for her Call Leandros series) feels almost like a Steven King story (and I don't mean horror). The voice of the adolescent boy is so strong and painfully/humorously real as he tries to fend off the increasingly homicidal attacks of a school bully and protect his little sister's Christmas in the process. I did not in anyway predict the ending of this one. While it doesn't feel exactly like urban fantasy, I loved this story. Tied for my favorite.
Sexual Content: None
Review: "Keeping Watch Over His Flock" by Toni L. P. Kelner (nominated for a Macavity for Best Short Story) nicely ends things with a jaded orphan werewolf spending his first Christmas with a family, learning the biblical origins of werewolves and their special role in the birth of Christ. When he disobeys his Alpha and runs off to shift during the full moon, he gets the chance to live up to his noble heritage.
Sexual Content: Discussions of pedophilia. A man intends to molest a child.