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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Death's Excellent Vacation (Anthology) edited by Charlaine Harris


Death's Excellent Vacation is another of those anthologies with only a few stories I was interested in. I'm tired of paying hardback novel prices when I only want to read a few short stories, so I confess that I spent 30 minutes hanging out at a local bookstore reading the stories I was interested in and skipping the rest.

I read three stories from this anthology:
  • Two Blondes by Charlaine Harris: A Pam and Sookie short. Reminded me more of True Blood than the normal Sookie books. I wasn't impressed. I expect more out of Charlaine Harris. But, the odds are that we'll need to know what happens in this short in order to understand the events of a future Sookie book. Still, this really felt like the Pam and Sookie of True Blood and not the Pam and Sookie that Charlaine Harris normally writes. It bugged me. This story would get a 4 of 10 from me.
  • One for the Money by Jeaniene Frost: A nice Cat and Bones Night Huntress short. Who knows whether it will be important for future books, but it's been a while since we've seen this couple as the focus of a book, and it was nice to spend some time with them again. Also, there is something I'd wondered about at the end of Destined for an Early Grave, something that gets mostly answered in this short. Without giving spoilers, I'll say that it has to do with Cat's mom. This story would get a 10 of 10.
  • The Heart is Always Right by Lilith Saintcrow: Not a bad little short. I have no idea if this is part of a series or not, and I should probably look to see. I like stories that involve gargoyles, so I had to check it out. World building was exceptionally well done, so while the story was just so-so, the descriptions of the gargoyle, and the details given to character building, was nice. This story would get an 8 of 10

The stories I did not read:
  • The Boys Go Fishing by Sarah Smith
  • Meanwhile, Far Across the Caspian Sea... by Daniel Stashower
  • The Innsmouth Nook by A. Lee Martinez
  • Safe and Sound by Jeff Abbott
  • Seeing is Believing by L A Banks
  • The Perils of Eferjim by Katie MacAlister
  • Thin Walls by Christopher Golden -
  • The Demon in the Dunes by Chris Grabenstein
  • Home from America by Sharan Newman
  • Pirate Dave's Haunted Amusement Park by Toni L P Kelner

I've lamented before about authors making their short stories an integral part of a series, so I won't climb up on that soap box again. I'm pleased that I was able to read a few of the stories from Death's Excellent Vacation without having to spend hardback price for less than 30 minutes of reading. In a few months, when the demand at the library is down, I may check it out and read more stories. Maybe.

I'm not going to give a rating for the entire book, since I only read three stories. Based on the three stories I read, the books rating would be pretty low, though.

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