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3.7 out of 5 stars
Many Bloody Returns
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2007
This anthology features some of the superstars of the paranormal genre writing about their most popular characters - Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse), Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden), Kelley Armstrong (Cassandra du Charme from the women of the Otherworld universe), PN Elrod (Jack Fleming), Tanya Huff (Tony and Henry Fitzroy), and Rachel Caine (Eve Rosser from the Morganville Vampires books) - along with some other fairly recognizable authors such as Christopher Golden and Jeanne Stein. It was the superstars who made this anthology worth buying. Their stories were, with the exception of Ms. Harris' contribution (which seemed quickly thrown together and unsatisfying), well crafted and engrossing, providing deeper insight into the characters which will make reading future installments of their series even more enjoyable. Some of the other stories left me cold (such as The Mournful Cry of Owls) and others, like Jeanne Stein's "The Witch and the Wicked" were so interesting and original I will definitely be looking at the author's other works.

All anthologies have their weak moments but this one has less than usual due to the high caliber of the contributors, with a good 2/3 of the stories being excellent or better. It's a must read for devoted fans of any of the series included.
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75 of 84 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 14, 2007
This is an anthology of 13 stories, each containing some sort of supernatural element and birthday theme.

Dracula Night by Charlaine Harris
The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden
I Was a Teenage Vampire by Bill Crider
Twilight by Kelley Armstrong
It's My Birthday, Too by Jim Butcher
Grave-Robbed by P.N. Elrod
The First Day of the Rest of Your Life by Rachel Caine
The Witch and the Wicked by Jeanne C. Stein
Blood Wrapped by Tanya Huff
The Wish by Carolyn Haines
Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two by Tate Hallaway
Vampire Hours by Elaine Viets
How Stella got her Grave Back by Toni L.P. Kelner

I bought this collection of short stories for the tales told by Charlaine Harris and Tate Hallaway as each is part of a their series I read religiously. I had never heard of or read anything by the other 11 authors, but after reading these short stories I will be checking out many of their other books. None of the stories were horrible; in fact almost all were magnificent, leaving only one or two that were just OK. This past week I really didn't have time to read a 'normal' book; this was the perfect book to pick up when I had a few minutes. I found this book wonderfully imaginative and very enjoyable.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2007
I bought this simply because of the Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher and Tanya Huff stories that were in it. However, I ended up enjoying almost every other story in it. It caused me to go out and purchase Tate Hallaway's books as well. The Jim Butcher tale was awesome. The Tanya Huff story was cute. It also gave me a new appreciation for Kelley Armstrong, whom I'd previously read but disliked. In general, I don't tend to like short stories, but I absolutely loved this collection and would recommend it to anyone who likes Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Tate Hallway or Tanya Huff.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Usually books with a number of short stories in them have some big names with great stories and some unknown authors with either surprisingly good or surprisingly bad stories. This was not the case with this book. All of the stories were really good and there was a larger variety of writing styles than I expected given the genre. All of the stories have to deal with vampires and birthdays.

The main reason I read books like this is to get a sampling of some authors I haven't read and get a glimpse into the series that they are writing. This book was a good read and I found a couple new (to me at least) authors to check out from it. Because of this book I will read more of PN Elrod's work, check out the Morganville vampire series, see what else Hallaway and Kelner have written, and possibly check out some of Jeanne Stein's work too. Below is a quick comment/synopsis of each story.

Dracula Night by Charlaine Harris
This story is an addition to the Sookie Stackhouse series and addresses the celebration of Dracula Night by the vampire community. It's a fun read; although there's not a ton of content here.

The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden
The only other book I've read by Christopher Golden is "The Boys are Back in Town"; which I liked pretty well. This story follows a girl as she learns about her unique heritage. I enjoyed it and it was well written and mysterious.

I Was a Teenage Vampire by Bill Crider
This was probably my least favorite story of the anthology. The story was predictable, boring, and seemed quickly and lazily written.

Twilight by Kelley Armstrong
I liked Twilight okay. It was a little boring and moved slowly but it was well-written and dealt with the topic of vampires dying of boredom.

It's My Birthday, Too by Jim Butcher
Fun addition to the Dresden Files series. I enjoyed a story in which Thomas played a main role. I especially enjoyed the role-playing; being a DnD player I thought it was hilarious.

Grave-Robbed by P.N. Elrod
This was my first time reading anything by PN Elrod and I liked it. The main character, Jack Fleming, is a bit campy. Some of it reminded me of Harry Dresden a bit. I enjoyed it and will read more of Elrod's writing.

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life by Rachel Caine
This was a story that took place in the world of Rachel Caine's young adult vampire series "The Morganville Vampires". This was my favorite story in the book and now I am interested in reading this series. I've read some of Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series and that is also a good series.

The Witch and the Wicked by Jeanne C. Stein
This story creeped me out. I believe Stein is the writer of the Signs of the Zodiac series. The writing style wasn't my favorite since it was kind of plain and straight-forward; not as much flare to it as I had hoped. The premise is pretty darn creative and creepy though.

Blood Wrapped by Tanya Huff
This was a nice addition to Henry Fitzroy's world; it was a fun read. It really brought home the fact that I haven't read the last few books in this series yet. I was like, what do you mean Vicki is a vampire?

The Wish by Carolyn Haines
I've never read anything by Carolyn Haines but I did like this story. The story is very sad and yet it is beautifully written and really grabs a hold of you. It is a very beautiful and well-written story, if not as fun as the rest of the book.

Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two by Tate Hallaway
I've never read anything by Tate Hallaway before; this was a fun story. I was intrigued by the witch having a demon trapped in her and by the elemental evil forces at work. I could really sympathize with the characters and the cold weather, being from MN myself.

Vampire Hours by Elaine Viets
I really enjoyed this story. I liked that the main character was an older woman dealing with day-to-day issues a lot of women deal with (okay maybe not as extreme as these issues). I liked how the woman cleverly got back at everyone; it was funny and a quick read.

How Stella got her Grave Back by Toni L.P. Kelner
I've never read anything by Toni Kelner, I really liked this story. I liked the idea of vampire dams and I liked the mystery solving that went on in this story. The characters were fun and likable. I really want to know the history between them now.

[...]
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 21, 2009
MANY BLOODY RETURNS is an anthology of 13 short stories by written by the masters of the vampire genre. These 13 stories explore the concept of vampires and their birthdays - which in some cases refers to the actual day of their birth, but in most cases refers to the date of their transformation into vampires. MANY BLOODY RETURNS gives a "taste" of some of the best in the business and definitely leaves the reader wanting more.

"Dracula Night" by Charlaine Harris is a Sookie Stackhouse story that takes place during a vampiric celebration of Dracula's birthday.

"The Mournful Cry of Owls" by Christopher Golden is the story of a 16 year old girl's coming of age, and how she discovers what she really is.

"I Was a Teenage Vampire" by Bill Crider is the story of how a teenager, well, became a vampire.

"Twilight" by Kelley Armstrong is the story of a long-lived vampire who must take a human life once a year before the anniversary of her conversion, in order to remain immortal. But after so many years and so many lives, is it really worth the effort?

"It's My Birthday, Too" by Jim Butcher is a Harry Dresden story. It is Thomas's birthday, and Harry wants to celebrate it with him. But things never go well for our wizard and his vampire brother.

"Grave-Robbed" by P.N. Elrod is the story of detective Jack Fleming, a vampire P.I. who helps his client save her sister from a con man.

"The First Day of the Rest of Your Life" by Rachel Caine is the story of a young Morganville woman who turns 18 and must choose her vampire protector or dare to go it alone.

"The Witch and the Wicked" by Jeanne C. Stein begins at a birthday party for a vampire being catered by a witch. The guest of honor ends up immolated by the birthday cake...but is he really dead?

"Blood Wrapped" by Tanya Huff is an extended conversation between vampire Henry and wizard Tony about their friend Vicki's upcoming 40th birthday. And all while they attempt to locate and rescue a kidnapped child.

"The Wish" by Carolyn Haines is the story of a woman who cheats death by becoming a vampire.

"Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two" by Tate Hallaway ask the question "can a vampire with a cursed birthday and his girlfriend who shares a her body with a goddess thwart a Norwegian ice demon?"

"Vampire Hours" by Elaine Viets is the story of an older woman's vengeance on her creep of a cheating husband.

"How Stella got her Grave Back" by Toni L.P. Kelner is the story of a vampire who visits her grave on her birthday. But now someone else is buried there. What happened? Who is there? And why?

I had not previously read many of these paranormal authors, but plan to do so in the future. Most of these stories are outstanding and really appealed to me; however, some were just not that memorable. Perhaps it is best to say that not every story is for everybody, although I am sure each one has its own following. In any case, MANY BLOODY RETURNS is a fun, entertaining, and creepy read, especially for fans of the genre. It is a great volume to pick up when you only have a few minutes to spare.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2009
I'll admit it....I bought this book for the Sookie Stackhouse story. I'm a big Charlaine Harris fan and having read all of her books, I wanted to read her short stories (especially the ones relating to the Sookie series of books). The Sookie story was the first short story in the book...I enjoyed it! But I loved the book!! I honestly didn't think that I would even finish the rest of the book, didn't plan on it even. But the Sookie story was so short, I kept reading. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy every short story in the book. Most of them I LOVED and had me wishing the story could have continued or that I could have just known more about a character that so quickly I was caring about. At the end of each story, I would re-read the intro about the author and found that the story was very like the Sookie Stackhouse story because it included characters from that author's book series. Or the short story was written by talented authors from "this genre". So for me, this book was a little gem that has led me to new authors and books that I would have never read if I hadn't picked up "Many Bloody Returns".
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2007
Many Bloody Returns is an anthology dealing with vampirism and birthdays. It features some of the better known writers in the genre. I found it to be predominately good. There were a couple of stories that were rather so so.

Dracula Night by Charlaine Harris gives us a Sookie Stackhouse story. Sookie and Eric makes for an entertaining story. It was interesting to see another side of Eric.

The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden was different. I'm not sure how this story really ties into vampires. There was just a minor mention of drinking blood. He has a picturesque way with words however, which I appreciated. I love forests and the woods anyway.

I was A Teenage Vampire by Bill Crider was sort of like the B movie the title suggests. A girl turning 18 wants a real vampire at her Halloween party and her brother tries to help her out in exchange for having his homework done for him. The sibling quibbles sound true to life.

Twilight by Kelley Armstrong involves Casandra. I was happy to get a little more background on this character. She's appeared in several of Armstrong's books, but she's been a somewhat enigmatic character. This little short story fleshes her out a bit more. I enjoyed it.

It's My Birthday, Too by Jim Butcher always entertains. Harry tries to deliver a birthday present to his brother, Thomas. As usual for Harry, all hell breaks loose when he gets there. Butcher consistently delivers an entertaining story.

Grave-Robbed by P.N. Elrod involves her vampire character Jack Flemming. I've read a few of the books about him, but when they started going to his maker and the vampire that made her I stopped reading. I enjoyed this story of how Flemming deals with spiritualists in the early part of the last century.

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life by Rachel Caine deals with the world of her Morganville vampires. I haven't read anything in this series, so I don't have a lot of background. She hit the right notes though with her rebellious teenage character. I found I'd like to know more of what happens to her. I've read other series by Caine, so I guess it's time to pick up this series as well.

The Witch and the Wicked by Jeanne C. Stein is another sort of open ended story. I found I'd like to know where things went after the story ended. A witch caters a birthday party for a vampire. The cake she bakes ends up setting the guest of honor on fire, but is he really dead?

Blood Wrapped by Tanya Huff gives us another Tony and Henry story. I enjoyed the Smoke trilogy. Tony and Henry try to find a kidnapped child. The witness implies that it was a monster. Even as they search for the child they discuss what to get Vicki Nelson for her birthday.

The Wish by Carolyn Haines was a rather surealist story. I had to check back to refresh my memory of it. It seems to deal with a women's fight with death more than vampirism.

Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two by Tate Hallaway seems to be something that follows along with some of her books. I haven't read any of her books yet, so I really didn't have all that much background on the characters. The villian of the story was quite unique though. I like how that was handled.

Vampire Hours by Elaine Viets hit the nail on the head with the way older women are treated. I give her kuddos for that.

How Stella Got Her Grave Back by Toni L. Kelner followed along the vampire detective sort of theme. The ending was telegraphed way in the beginning, but it was an interesting journey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2008
A collection of short stories by 13 authors featuring vampires and birthdays. The collection is not for everyone, but provides well written stories for people who like this genre of fiction. I had bought the collection earlier, but saved it for my birthday, which just started at midnight.

Like most collections, you will find a variety, and will find some stories that you will like better than others. I particularly liked "It's my birthday, too," by Jim Butcher which had its lighter moments. White magic fights black vampires, with quite a bit of damage as things get in the way. However will you explain things to people? If you try to tell people the truth, they will lock you up in a funny farm.

"Grave Robbed," by P.N. Elrod, is about undead PI Jack Fleming dealing with a fake medium who is victimizing a widow. He has some special investigative skills, such as dematerializing to pass through walls. He does have to work at night.

Some stories are more on the dark side. In "The Wish," by Carolyn Haines, a woman tries to deal with Death, and then tries to thwart Death's plans. The stories are not for the faint at heart, but if you have an interest in tales of vampires, wizards, and goblins, by all means read on.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 29, 2007
I was really pleased with this collection - there was no truly bad story in it, as the stories range from mediocre to outstanding. In fact, I might seek out books by a couple of authors I have not read before, as I really liked their stories.

the great:
Jim Butcher's "It's My Birthday, Too" where Harry Dresden wants to give Thomas a birthday present; but in the Dresden Files nothing can ever be THAT simple and chaos errupts; this was a really good story, and I think even people not familiar with Butcher's series might like it

Toni L. P. Kelner's "How Stella Got her Grave Back" where two vampires hunt for a human murderer in a small southern town

really really good:
Jeanne C. Stein's "The Witch and the Wicked" where a witch gets the idea of using dead vampire in her face cream as a youth agent; things get even weirder and funnier from there

Kelley Armstrong's "Twilight" where a vampire must face the costs of her immortality

Carolyn Haines "The Wish" where a woman holds a grudge against death.

But as I said, there was not a truly bad story in the bunch. Some new (to me) authors whose books I would like to try as a result of reading their stories are Kelner, Stein, and Elrod.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2009
I picked up this book because I have read the Sookie Stackhouse series, by Charlaine Harris. I didn't realize there were Sookie short stories in different anthologies. This genre is new to me, and I haven't read any of the other authors previous works. This anthology collection was a good introduction to some authors that I hadn't considered before.

Dracula Night, by Charlaine Harris, was a great glimpse into the life of Sookie Stackhouse. Eric seemed a little feeble for my liking but it is a short story. In the rest of the book series he definitely has more of a manly, assertive presence.

The Mournful Cry of Owls, by Christopher Goldern, made me feel empty and cold but not sad. I don't think I would read others books by this author any time soon. I would rather discover some of the other authors first.

I Was a Teenage Vampire, by Bill Crider, was mediocre. It didn't feel overly imaginative but rather quickly thrown together.

I really enjoyed reading Twilight, by Kelley Armstrong. I enjoyed the two main characters.

It's My Birthday, Too, by Jim Butcher had lots of action and a great plot. It interested me enough that I may read one of his other novels.

Grave-Robbed, by P.N. Elrod, was well written. It had enough bite to it, and surprising depth for a short story.

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Rachel Caine, felt like a young adult series. Not something I would be interested in but it might attract other readers. The concept was different - having a vampire protector for the enslaved family.

The Witch and Wicked, by Jeanne C. Stein, left me wanting more to read. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the story I just wish I could read more of it. I am hoping that this might be a fill-in chapter for one of her other novels.

Blood Wrapped, by Tanya Huff, was well written. I am encouraged by this story to read some of her other novels. The story was tied up neatly.

The Wish, by Carolyn Haines, had a depressing undertone but not a bad selection.

Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two, by Tate Hallaway, had me chuckling out loud. I liked that the vampire had enough weaknesses that he didn't seem like a super power. Also, he had a personality to boot!

Vampire Hours, by Elaine Viets, was cute but didn't do much for me.

I enjoyed How Stella Got Her Grave Back, by Toni L.P. Kelner. It had an interesting story line and was a great read.

Normally I prefer novels but short stories are all I can fit in some days. I think it was a great introduction to other authors within this genre. I would have read this from the library but I didn't want to wait to read the Sookie story.
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