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Home Improvement: Undead Edition Hardcover – August 2, 2011
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Praise for Home Improvement: Undead Edition:
“The authors do a fine job of exploring the danger of the DIY movement. The tone ranges from silly (“It's All in the Rendering”) to classic horror (“The Mansion of Imperatives”)…there is no lack of imagination in this collection…This is definitely one of the most fun books you will read this summer.”—San Francisco Book Review
“These are delightful, entertaining and chilling stories. Some of them you'll be carrying around in your head for days. Do yourself a favor and spend a rainy afternoon with this book.”—Fresh Fiction
“Fun, different and often surprising compilation of short stories…This collection is a treat; the stories are strong and most reward the reader with a pleasing plot twist. The paranormal element added to the mundane yet trying experience of home or business renovation was an inspired theme certain to strike a cord with anyone who has lived the experience. Just the thing to enjoy on a languid summer day with a tall glass of cold lemonade.”—Monsters and Critics
About the Author
Charlaine Harris writes the #1 New York Times bestselling paranormal fantasy series featuring Sookie Stackhouse (the basis for the HBO(r) series True Blood) and the New York Times bestselling mystery series featuring sleuth Harper Connelly. She lives in a small town in southern Arkansas.
Toni L. P. Kelner is the award-winning author of the "Where Are They Now?" mystery series. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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<<<--------These were my favorites-------->>>>
"Through This House" by Seanan McGuire - a Toby Daye connected short. The first step in Toby's remodel of the Knowe she inherited, get the house to recognize her ownership - Liked this one, looks like a lot has happened to Toby since I read the first book, I really need to move the rest of the series to the top of the TBR pile
"Rick the Brave" by Stacia Kane - A Downside connected short. Electrician Rick is gonna earn his big paycheck during this Downside remodel - I enjoyed this one even though I've only read Kane's demons and not her Chess books. There's a bit of Chess and Terrible for Downside fans.
"Full-Scale Demolition" by Suzanne McLeod - A Spellcrackers connected short. A Pixie hunting gig, lands magical troubleshooter Genny in some scaly trouble - this one was really fun.
"The Brightest Day" by Tony Kelner - A woman contracted to raise the dead has to keep reanimating an architect's revenant or his final project will never be finished - The irreverent voudou practitioner and the funny ending made for a humorous wrap up to the anthology.
<<<----These were pretty good too -------->>>>
"Gray" by Patricia Briggs - Seems to be set in another part of Mercy's world - A woman returns to rebuild her home - There was a nice amount of pathos to the setup and I liked the resolution, so this one worked for me.
"Blood on the Wall" by Heather Graham - A cult leader must now seek help from the detective he'd enjoyed harassing.
"The Strength Inside" by Melissa Marr - This one is suitably creepy but anyone who's had run ins with an Architectural Review board will appreciate the ending - Ok, creepy horror with humor, that I can handle - guess I am just twisted.
"It's All in the Rendering" by Simon Green - The Custodians of a multidimensional safe house must cut through the red tape when bureaucrats from more than one dimension demand improvements - Less bizarre than his usual fare, Green's offering still has enough of the feel of his offbeat style to entertain.
<<<-----These were okay, but didn't really grab me ------>>>>
"If I Had a Hammer" by Charlaine Harris - A Sookie connected short. Even the easiest remodeling projects take on a life of their own as Sookie, Sam, Tara and JB are soon to discover - As much as I normally enjoy wandering through Sookieville, this one was just okay - now if Harris had Eric and Pam in on a remodel project that could have been really amusing.
"Wizard Home Security" by Victor Gischler - A wizard learns it's a mistake to skimp on a home security system, when magic is involved.
"The Path" by S J Rozan - A timid guardian spirit seeking to reclaim a lost artifact, will set another spirit free for its next turn on the 'wheel'.
"Woolsey's Kitchen Nightmare" by EE Knight - this one was really oddball, not sure where the house theme comes in though since basically there's a change in management to a restaurant that caters to clientele with very specific tastes - I was on the verge of being offended by the chef's 'special' which turned to be a made up character and not the real one who it was obviously based on.
<<<<----These 'house of horrors' themed stories just didn't do it for me at all----->>>>
"Squatter's Rights" by Rocelle Krich - A couple moves into their new home, a home in which the past owners died, and now the wife is hearing noises...
"Mansion of Imperatives" by James Grady - Two couples can gain squatter's rights by spending some time in an abandoned house.
1. If I Had a Hammer, Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #13.1). It's been awhile since I read a Sookie book so this was really nice to read about her now. Even though I thought I'd everything out there this story was new. I liked it, I just wish the Sookie wouldn't be hypocritical where other people are concerned. Sookie even acknowledges it but is more like, "Oh well, that's how I think." Very good story. 4 stars.
2. Wizard Home Security, Victor Gischler. A wizard is robbed, pays for security, is trapped by the security and then thwarts the robber. Super short. 3 stars.
3. Gray, Patricia Briggs: (Mercy Thompson universe). A very good story about a female vampire who moves back home hoping to find some peace. 4 stars.
4. Squatters' Rights, Rocelle Krich. A story about a house with a bad history and how that affects the new owners. I have no idea what was going on with the "squatters". 2 stars.
5. Blood on the Wall, Heather Graham. A mild mannered detective stops a killer that's targeting a fake demon cult. We never figure out why they were targeted in the first place. 2 stars.
6. The Mansion of Imperatives, James Grady. A strange story that I think the author was trying to make scary but didn't really suceed. 2 stars.
7. The Strength Inside, Melissa Marr. Sisters and the children they take care of are trying to improve their home and use unconventional (or should I say ancient) methods to do so. Strange story. 3 stars.
8. Woolsey's Kitchen Nightmare, EE Knight. Morbid and flippant don't usually go together and they don't in my opinion. 2 stars.
9. Through This House, Seanan McGuire (October Daye #4.5) A good story about Goldengreen and some of the horrors that took place there. 4 stars
10. The Path, S J Rozan. I really tried to read this story but it was soooo slooowww. I just gave up. No rating.
11. Rick the Brave, Stacia Kane (Downside #5.5) I miss Terrible and Chess! Please Stacia Kane, write another book in their series!!! This is a short story about a home improvement project that goes bad. 5 stars.
12. Full-Scale Demolition, Suzanne McLeod (Spellcrackers) Cute story about a Sidhe who's job is to round up fae that are causing a commotion. There's a kelpie that the heroine is attracted to if she can get beyond the kelpie tendencies to drown people. Throw in a couple of lamias and children to rescue - it should have been a lot of fighting but mostly it was getting hit, passing out and then waking up. (Another book I'm reading has the same passing out theme. A little frustrating.) 3-1/2 stars.
13. It's All in the Rendering, Simon Green. This couple lives and works in a sanctuary house for the normal and paranormal world. Both sides inspect the home and say all kinds of changes need to be done. The couple and the guests discuss different options, end up doing nothing and that's what works. What the frick!? 2 stars
14. In Brightest Day, Tony Kelner. The author was trying to write humor for the main character or at least make her humorous. To me, it didn't work. And bringing back the same guy over and over was really cruel. The reason didn't seem enough for me. 2 stars.
While I quite enjoyed the Patricia Briggs story, it wasn't an addition to the Mercy Thompson series, although it could have been in the same world. The Sookie story was very much a stand-alone story that didn't flesh out anything in the series. If you don't read it you won't miss anything of relevance.
I won't go through each story individually - I think they will be very much a matter of taste for people.
All in all there are much better books out there for the money. I waffled between 2 & 3 stars (2.5 would be perfect) but finally gave it 3 because I did actually finish it so it wasn't so bad that I gave up on it so I guess that qualifies it as "ok". If I had known in advance how irrelevant the Sookie story was I probably wouldn't have bought this.