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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Each story is unique in its telling but I did not love all of them.
"Sunshine" by Richelle Mead

I think it's important to begin by saying that I'm deeply in love with Richelle Mead. She is the woman who created one of my utmost favorite vampire series (Vampire Academy). So, of course, when I realized what her short story was going to be about, I *squeed* with unprecedented excitement and total fangirlish delight! "Sunshine" is...
Published on April 10, 2012 by Amarathon

versus
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking real bite despite the vampires
Kisses from Hell brings together five popular young adult paranormal authors with short stories about love and vampires. Similar to the companion anthologies that came before it (Love Is Hell, Prom Nights from Hell, and Vacations from Hell), this book is composed of five different tales, each centered loosely around the title's theme. Different from the other volumes,...
Published on August 30, 2010 by Neutron Lurver Reviews


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking real bite despite the vampires, August 30, 2010
This review is from: Kisses from Hell (Paperback)
Kisses from Hell brings together five popular young adult paranormal authors with short stories about love and vampires. Similar to the companion anthologies that came before it (Love Is Hell, Prom Nights from Hell, and Vacations from Hell), this book is composed of five different tales, each centered loosely around the title's theme. Different from the other volumes, however, this book focuses on vampires only, instead of a wider host of paranormal creatures.

"Sunshine" by Richelle Mead - Set in Mead's Vampire Academy universe, this story explores how Lissa's parents met and fell in love, and it succeeds in providing a great backstory for that series. "Sunshine" was cute and showed good character development, but it wasn't overwhelming. 3/5

"Bring Me to Life" by Alyson NoŽl - In this story, NoŽl presents a modern twist on the Dracula myth involving an eerie fog, an old English manor, and a cute artsy boy. Though okay, "Bring Me to Life" wasn't very engaging or original with its use of obvious and cliché plot clues throughout. 2/5

"Above" by Kristin Cast - In "Above," Cast attempts to create a complex new paranormal mythology about creatures who live below the surface of the earth and their enemies who live above. Even with its two sympathetic main characters, this story fell extremely short due to its confusing and unclear world building that seemed like an attempt to be avant garde or edgy. 1/5

"Hunting Kat" by Kelley Armstrong - Set in Armstrong's world that appears in her Darkest Powers series, "Hunting Kat" introduces a feisty young vampire named Kat who is being pursued by the Edison Group. In the process, she meets two boys, either of whom may be with her or against her. "Hunting Kat" was fast-paced and interesting with a strong, likeable female protagonist and a likeable male lead. I really enjoyed this story and would love to see a longer novella or book based on these characters. 4/5

"Lilith" by Francesca Lia Block - In this story, Block puts a vampiric twist on the original bad girl of the Bible, Lilith. This story had the potential to be very original, but it seemed out of place in this collection with its very dark tone and lack of any real romance. 2/5

While I enjoy short story anthologies and the opportunity they present to sample multiple authors, KISSES FROM HELL left me disappointed. Outside of those by Mead and Armstrong, the stories weren't very interesting or well-written. In addition, the huge font size and the chapter breaks used within individual stories felt like an attempt to hide the overall short length of the book. Despite its title and description, most of the stories also contained very little romance or kissing. If you're willing to branch out into other paranormal creatures in search of a good short story anthology, I would heartily recommend Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love or Love Is Hell instead.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Each story is unique in its telling but I did not love all of them., April 10, 2012
By 
Amarathon (Anywhere, The World) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kisses from Hell (Hardcover)
"Sunshine" by Richelle Mead

I think it's important to begin by saying that I'm deeply in love with Richelle Mead. She is the woman who created one of my utmost favorite vampire series (Vampire Academy). So, of course, when I realized what her short story was going to be about, I *squeed* with unprecedented excitement and total fangirlish delight! "Sunshine" is the love story of Eric Dragomir and Rhea Daniels, Vasilissa or Lissa's parents. And even though they are a presence in the VA series, they aren't major characters. Reading their love story was like crack-candy to a crazed Under The Age of Twelve-year-old. It made Lissa's loss that much more pungent and poignant to remember. Still, the story is sweet and heartwarming, full of sexy thrills and a touch of danger. "Sunshine" is just another reason to love Richelle Mead!

"Bring Me to Life" by Alyson Noel

I'm not entirely positive, but I may be destined to dislike anything written by Alyson Noel. While "Bring Me to Life" is a well-written story, I couldn't mesh with it. The story just felt so familiar, wasn't something new to add to the table, which made it a let-down following Mead's glorious work. There are no striking characteristics about the MC or the romantic lead (well, other than the fact that's he hot). It seemed as if she tried too hard to put a unique twist on a classic vampire story. "Bring Me to Life" is a decent take, but I wasn't moved by it.

"Above" by Kristin Cast

I would love to hate Kristin Cast for writing this story. But despite the bittersweet closing, I just can't drum up hatred toward her. The truth is, the writing style was so new to me and I was purely amazed by her words and the way she strung them together. I'd honestly never read anything like it! The story itself, I learned, is breathtakingly beautiful and so heartwarming, even as it sets the reader up for a wrenching curtain-close. Out of all the stories in this book, "Above" is the one I remember with the most clarity. Even if all the other stories sucked, I'd buy this book just for this particular mini tale. Probably my favorite in the whole thing.

"Hunting Kat" by Kelley Armstrong

So I just very recently discovered the awesomesauceness that is Kelley Armstrong. I'd been hearing up and down the blogosphere about how incredible her Darkest Powers trilogy is for some time now. I'm happy to report, that I'm now among those bloggers who can't stop squealing or sighing dreamily whenever contact is made with anyone of the books or mentions of the characters. DEREK. So, of course, I was eager to read more of the same variety from this magnificent author. And I would love to know, is Kat part of her new series? If someone could answer me this, you'd make me a very happy book blogger. As always, Armstrong has superb storytelling skills and impressed me the whole way, as she shot me in the face with the action and lurking danger. "Hunting Kat" is fast-paced, sweet in the romantic glimpses, and entertaining as hell (hehe).

"Lilith" by Francesca Lia Block

I admit, I was interested in "Lilith" even as it confused the sugar honey out of me. The strangeness of it piqued my curiosity, but once I was done I didn't know what to take away from the story. It starts out with a concept I could get into, but ultimately left me utterly bewildered. I enjoyed it for it's different-ness but it didn't strike me as a favorite.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Kisses from Hell, May 14, 2014
This review is from: Kisses from Hell (Paperback)
In order of my preference: -

No.1 Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong: -
This story kept me interested from the first word to the last. Excellently written and good action scenes.

No.2 Bring me to life by Alyson Noel: -
This was interesting and at one point I thought Bram was actually Bram Stoker and he was going to reveal that Dracula was an autobiography.

No.3 Sunshine by Richelle Mead: -
The story flowed nicely and I related well to the characters quickly. There was no blood lust and the usual frenzy of feeding, every vampire was civilised. I could however not understand how a drugged out feeder could knock her out and drag her all the way to the cave.

No.4 Above by Kristin Cast
There was a toss up between this one and the last one. Although I enjoyed the word play and I thought it was very clever, I am sorry I did not get the story .... was there even one?

No. 5 Lillith by Francesca Lia Block
I am sorry to say that there was no flow to the story, although the concept was interesting. I know it is only a short story, but should we not at least know why he had to take over from her. It is very short, but the other (my top 3) managed to build their characters. Besides, why does he not bath and why is his hair oily? Is this what teenagers do?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Average except for Kristin Cast--it bit (and not in a fun, vampire way), November 11, 2013
I won't go into a story-by-story review as others have done much better than I ever could. Overall, the book was an easy, sometimes fun, read. The true exception was the dreck "Above." OMG, how in the heck did that garbage get past an editor, much less a publisher? It was horrible writing attempting to pass itself off as "artsy." I don't know what KC was smoking, but it's clearly time for rehab. Still, there was enough variety for readers to find something to their own tastes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Quick read, May 26, 2013
It was ok. Not bad nor great. Short stories don't have enough of a plot or time to develops the characters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, kisses aren't the only thing in this book from Hell., May 9, 2013
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This review is from: Kisses from Hell (Paperback)
I will tell you right now, I am a sucker for a short story anthology. I bought Love Is Hell a few years ago for $4, loved it, and decided I would keep up with the ...Is Hell series from there on out. Each ...Is Hell book focuses on something specific (all supernatural, and so far, vacations, dates, prom, and young love.) This one focuses specifically on vampires.

"But Mena," you're probably saying, "Aren't vampires a totally overdone subject in fiction these days? If I read one more story about some dark brooding hunk, I'll faint!"

I disagree, friends. Yes, due to a certain famous creature of the night, I now find a vampire novel every three inches on the bookshelves at my local Barnes And Noble. However, this isn't a bad thing. Some authors still know how to hand their vamps.

HOWEVER.

I was looking forward to this book so, so much due the recent rekindling of my love for YA vampire romance. I was, unfortunately, let down.

Sunshine by Richelle Mead - A very dull tale about Lissa's (from Vampire Academy) parents meeting and falling for each other. I felt like it was set present day rather than a little over twenty years ago. The idea of it is great, but it just wasn't handled well. It played out like a vampiric episode of Saved By The Bell in my mind. Good for a diehard VA fan. 2.5/5

Bring Me To Life by Alyson Noel - The big redeeming moment for this drowning man of a book. I'm so very in love with Victorian clothing, so the descriptions had me smiling the whole time, and the vampire element weaved in perfectly. I wasn't thinking, "Okay, that's the vampire, when is she/he going to get with it?" If I say anymore, I will gush and give away everything. The only downside is we've obviously seen reincarnation in a certain series of yours before, Miss Noel. A simple little thing that bothered me, besides that, it's perfect. I think she should start a series about vampires. 5/5

Above by Kristin Cast - Oh, trust me, I didn't even bother, especially after reading the pathetic excuse for fiction in Immortal: Love Stories With Bite and wanting to scratch out my eyes. I glanced at the first page and just groaned. Whoever gave Kristin Cast a pen and told her she had talent needs to be stabbed in the knees with said pen. 0/5

Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong - Vampires! Drama! Being on the run! Wait, haven't we read this before? The intitial reason I bought this book seriously let me down. I fell in love with Kat's first story in The Eternal Kiss and was so pumped to get this book so I could read the new one. I was frowning most of the time I was reading it. Neil and Chad are immensely annoying, they ruin any sense of adventure. The redeeming bit (besides Kat, obviously)? Marguerite. If I was a "vampire in training", I would most definitely want her as my sassy guru.
2.5/5

Lilith by Francesca Lia Block - I couldn't even get into this one. Hell, I was kind of confused reading it, I couldn't totally tell you what it's about. Nerds in love with vampires? A Queen Lilith reference? Confusing writing? Yeah, let's go with that last one. 1/5

If you can find it on here for say, $.50 or so, maybe a dollar, it's worth it for Bring Me To Life. Other than that, I'd only recommend this for super fans of the authors, Darkest Powers, and/or Vampire Academy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A few good stories, April 8, 2013
This review is from: Kisses from Hell (Paperback)
There were a few good stories in the compilation. I mostly read this book because of Richelle Mead and her Vampire Academy world but was surprised by some of the othere stories.

Sunshine by Richelle Mead
I love Vampire Academy so it was nice to have a kind of prequel to the characters I already love. I like the progression of the story. The reader was not thrown in, not knowing what they were reading because she told you what was going on. I really liked this one.

Bring Me to Life by Alyson NoŽl
This one was alright, but I am glad it was a short story. This girl gets into an art school and when she arrives, nobody is there and there is a "fog" around the manor. She just came in and did not question everything, which I did not really like. The build-up was nice and slow but then when we finally do find out what is going on, it seemed so rushed that it did not really entertain me. So this one was decent but not a favorite.

Above by Kristin Cast
I got this on my kindle from the library and I read about two pages of this one. It was a poem, I think. I did not like the way it was written, although I do not like poetry. The story (of what I did read) was vague and uninteresting. Did not like this one at all.

Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong
I really liked this one. This girl Kat has just recently become a vampire and she is still learning what it means to be a vampire from her mentor. She gets kidnapped along with some other kids and she has to escape. I thought the plot was nice and I really liked Kat and now I look forward to reading more of her story.

Lilith by Francesca Lia Block
I read about two paragraphs of this one before I became so bored that I had to stop. All I know about the story is that this guy walks around school, getting attention because he is gross and smelly because he doesnt shower. Not a good way to start a story and get the reader hooked. Not interested in reading anymore of this story.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Multiple short stories 1-4 stars, January 20, 2013
The first few short stories were
good, 4 stars. Kristin Casts was disappointing, 1 star. The last, 3 stars. I hated that each ended right as they started to get interesting. I guess I didn't realize they were short stories.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A read from hell...proceed at your own risk, November 16, 2012
This review is from: Kisses from Hell (Paperback)
Fourth in the Hell anthology series with a theme of paranormal romance for young adults.

Series:
"Sunshine" (Vampire Academy, 0.5)
"Hunting Kat" (Darkest Powers, 3.5)

I would be remiss in not mentioning that "a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this collection will be donated to College Summit" to aid in college enrollment for all students, and especially those from low-income backgrounds. Proceed at your own risk.

My Take
Yeah, it was reading from hell as well! I'd suspect that part of the mandate was to write as poorly as possible and see how many suckers got taken.

The Stories
Richelle Mead's "Sunshine" was sweet and provides background on Vasilisa's parents. How they met and the inspiration for their daughter's name. The writing is okay, a bit dorky.

Alyson NoŽl's's "Bring Me to Life" was icky creepy and probably the best of the five in terms of originality. It's a deep-laid plot enticing a young, unhappy art student into its snare. And rather condescending in the writing.

Kristin Cast's "Above" was the worst. It's set as a long poem with the words offset to indicate the agony its protagonist is suffering. The best part was all this offsetting made the pages fly by. It rather reminded me of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine with its Morlocks and Eloi. I have only a vague idea of what happened. If anyone else can make any sense of it...please let me know.

Kelley Armstrong's "Hunting Kat" is a quick peek into the challenges of staying free of the clutches of the Edison Group when Katiana, a young vampire is captured and escapes. Can she trust the two young men with whom she was imprisoned?

It's a bit of background on Kat, the dramatic capture, and then the "young adult" interaction of two teens who have been hurt before. It's okay. It's best feature is rounding out the general theme of this series.

Francesca Lia Block's "Lilith" is a dorky teen's fantasy in which he saves and gets the girl, winning out against the bullies, er, evil forces. It seems as if there may be something to his fantasy after all until it all goes wrong (at least in my mind!). It's actually well written even if I did dislike it. The saddest of them all, Block portrayed the school misfit very well.

The Cover
The cover is pretty with its subdued black-on-purple brocaded background and the rich purplish pink flowers in varying stages of life. Very classy. If you want to retain that sense of class, don't open the book.

The title is a convenient catch-all---Kisses from Hell doesn't actually apply to Mead's or Armstrong's stories although it certainly does to the other three.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing; I'd expected better, June 13, 2012
This review is from: Kisses from Hell (Hardcover)
"SUNSHINE" BY RICHELLE MEAD (4.5 stars)

I'll admit, "Sunshine" disappointed me. I hold Richelle Mead in the highest standards -- she's on a platform with James Patterson and J.K. Rowling among all my favorite authors (I think I have author-worship of those three). So of course I expected action-packed, twists and turns, and surprises all along the way.

What I got was a cute romance.

It surprised me a bit, having this short story come from Richelle Mead. I mean, come on! Richelle Mead is like the queen of surprises in paranormal romance! But "Sunshine" was just ... clichéd. But cute, I admit.

"Sunshine" is a love story focusing on Lissa Dragomir's parents -- Eric Dragomir and Rhea Daniels. And although I was disappointed about not having those action-packed surprises, I was satisfied with the adorable romance between Eric and Rhea.

I mean, there's not that much you can do in a short story.

"BRING ME TO LIFE" BY ALYSON NOňL (3.5 stars)

"Bring Me to Life" was the epitome of a Gothic vampire story. I mean, it takes place in an "artistic camp" kind of place -- big castle. The kind in the cartoon movies where the main character's walking along on a sunny day, and suddenly the camera zooms in on the castle with stormy skies and lightning striking the tallest tower while creepy organ music plays in the background.

Okay, so maybe "Bring Me to Life" was a little corny.

Still. I loved the romance and the mystery in this short story. I loved the plotline and the characters. And I loved how Dani, the protagonist, finds who she truly is.

"ABOVE" BY KRISTIN CAST (0.5 star)

First things first. This has probably been the worst thing I've ever read in my entire life. That includes picture books with sentences like "The dog ran."

Why is it the worst? Because of the terrible "poetic"-like structure that Kristin Cast tried to exemplify. No offense, but that is so not working for you, girl. Practically everyone who's read the book said that they had no idea what you were talking about.

I, for one, got a glimpse. And what I saw I wasn't too happy about. There's mention of rape and "others" and murder and blood and goriness ... um. Hello? Sorry, but this is a short story. Something light, please?

"Above" was terrible. That's just putting it simply.

"HUNTING KAT" BY KELLEY ARMSTRONG (5 stars)

I just loved this short story. Still not completely sure why. Probably partially in relief after reading a poetic disaster (read my review of "Above"), partially because I loved that I could easily follow the plotline of the story, partially because I highly enjoyed the characters, and partially because I just love the romance.

Kat is a vampire, made this way because of a scientific group called the Edison Group, who experiment to create, well, vampires. And after they created these vampires, they killed them to see if they would actually become vamps that drank blood and all.

Kat was killed. So she now drinks blood.

Kat has escaped in the beginning of this story, but then she's kidnapped again and thrown into a room where she meets two other vamps -- though not yet "dead" -- named Neil and Chad. Whereas Chad is incredibly annoying and yet well-built, Neil is a nerdy braniac that might just have feelings for Kat ...

"Hunting Kat" was light, fun, and entertaining; with its intriguing plotline and its budding romance, I couldn't get enough of it. But I was left unsatisfied ... only because I was waiting for that kiss.

"LILITH" BY FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK (1.5 stars)

I did not enjoy "Lilith." The story, which focused on a boy -- Paul Michael -- who felt invisible in his school, was just too dark. When Paul Michael met Lilith, who was the new girl -- pretty and Goth -- in town, he had a feeling that she was different. (Cough! Corny! Cough!) But Lilith convinces him to do plenty of terrible things. Things like murder. And that's just too dark for an anthology that's supposed to focus on romance (hello? "Kisses"?) and has a story named "Sunshine."

I was not fond of the romance, either. Lilith and Paul have one of the strangest relationships I've ever seen. And they definitely don't seem to be well suited for one another.

All in all, I wasn't the biggest fan of "Lilith." The story, with its dark tones and odd romance, did not suit my tastes.

THE ANTHOLOGY

My thoughts on the book in total? Disappointing. I'd expected better from such good authors, but no, I was punished with terrible attempts at "poetic" writing and dark-toned stories. Also, I felt as if the title of the book wasn't suited well enough. What happened to the romance? There were only two that I felt were romantic in any way -- "Sunshine" and "Bring Me to Life."

Another thing I'd like to note is that the book was short in general. Several other reviewers commented on the large font and white spaces, and that just makes the book not worthwhile to buy if you're spending it on blank paper.

Source: copy borrowed from library
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Kisses from Hell
Kisses from Hell by Francesca Lia Block (Paperback - August 24, 2010)
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