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Wolfsbane and Mistletoe Paperback – November 2, 2010
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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“Fresh interesting tales…[that] star some of the more famous series characters like Sookie Stackhouse.”—Alternative Worlds
“The expertise of fifteen wolfishly inspired authors is dished up into a combination of stories that run the gamut from funny to downright creepy. There’s a little something for every taste—literally!”—RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Charlaine Harris is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse and Midnight, Texas, fantasy/mystery series and the Aurora Teagarden, Harper Connelly, and Lily Bard mystery series. Her books have inspired HBO’s True Blood, NBC’s Midnight, Texas, and the Aurora Teagarden movies for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. She has lived in the South her entire life.
Toni L. P. Kelner writes the Family Skeleton Mysteries as Leigh Perry and, under her own name, is the author of the “Where Are They Now?” Mysteries and the Laura Fleming mystery series. She has won an Agatha Award and a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, and has been nominated multiple times for the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Derringer awards.
Top customer reviews
All in all, a really smart buy and I can read them all again in December! Sometimes, I have found, a collection of short stories is a good change from reading a novel over a period of a week because you don't have to wait for the ending. And these stories have some smashing endings! Hope you enjoy as I did.
Gift Wrap: A fine Sookie Stackhouse story. Takes place later in the series than where I am, so I skimmed it a bit to try to avoid remembering anything spoiler-y :)
The Haire of the Beast: This was a funny story, but the implications of turning people into wereanimals just because you don't like them kept me from loving it. It's hard to sympathize with a character that doesn't see a problem with that...
Lucy, at Christmastime: Not my favorite, but I thought the setting was really interesting.
The Night Things Changed: I didn't love the characters, and I thought the relationship between the siblings was kind of weird. But the world was interesting, and the plot twist set up something that I think would make a good full novel.
The Werewolf Before Christmas: A lot about this story was really interesting, but I didn't like it very much, I thought it was a bit too dark, and the characters could have been better developed. The overall premise was very creative though.
Fresh Meat: At first I didn't think I would like this story, but in the end I did. It was sort of predictable, but the characters were flawed yet likable, and the dogs were a nice touch :)
Il Est Né: The actual story was fine but nothing special. I liked the characters though and I think I might end up checking out the series it takes place in.
The Perfect Gift: This story felt rushed and not particularly well developed plot-wise or character-wise. I didn't dislike it, but it was forgettable.
Christmas Past: This felt like it should've been a novella from a series, but I'm not sure that it was, so that was a little weird for me. Overall it was fine, but I felt like I was missing background information on the characters that would have helped me to enjoy the story more.
SA: This was the one story I really didn't like. The beginning was gross, and a lot of it just read like a stereotypical male fantasy (he gets to be a special werewolf, he find a sexy girl who falls for him right away, etc.). Irena felt like the epitome of a character that doesn't pass Kelly Sue DeConnick's "sexy lamp" test (look it up). The story was also just so freaking corny. I did kind of love Phyllis though.
The Star of David: Definitely one of my favorites. I've been meaning to check out Briggs, and after reading this I definitely will. The characters and plot all felt fully developed, which is tough for a short story. This one also had great representation!
You'd Better Not Pyout: This story had one of the more interesting concepts. I didn't love the story, but the idea did intrigue me. Also I would totally read a series about Ingrid.
Rogue Elements: I didn't get into this one right away, but I ended up really enjoying it. The plot was alright; it was the characters and relationships that made the story. And Cyrus was the rare example of a bad boy done right!
Milk and Cookies: This story was really well done, but really disturbing. One of those stories that is good, but not necessarily likable.
Keeping Watch Over His Flock: Jake's alternate animal was funny, but I found the characters in this story pretty unlikable which kept me from enjoying it. Also there was a werewolf school called Dogwarts which prejudiced me against the story from the get go, because come on, you can do better than a lame Harry Potter joke.
But let me break each short story down for you individually:
[GIFT WRAP] by Charlaine Harris, A Sookie Stackhouse tie-in this short story must take place pretty deep into the series. On the outs with her brother and just having met her great-grandfather she's spending her holiday alone until a hunky injured werewolf pops up on her property. Though rather short and a little anticlimatic it has a cute twist very suitable to Christmas surprises. (I'd also like to note that if you've not read the series and are currently watching True Blood it is a bit spoilery). 4/5 stars
[THE HAIRE OF THE BEAST] by Donna Andrews, When a brother's Christmas wish to become a werewolf gets his sister to translate a magical werewolf spell things get a little hairy. This one surprised me. I didn't really like it at first but I couldn't help but appreciate the hilarious ending. 4/5 stars
[LUCY, AT CHRISTMAS TIME] by Simon R. Green, A Nightside tale of love lost. Most likely the shortest in the book and actually one of my favorites. Highly romantic but tragic. 5/5 stars
[THE NIGHT THINGS CHANGED] by Dana Cameron, Claudia and Gerry are Fangborn, a vampire sister and a werewolf brother. It's their job to protect the world from bad guys but what if one of them turns out to be a fellow Fangborn? This story was okay but didn't really feel like a Christmas tale. It felt like it belonged in a full length novel. 3/5 stars
[THE WEREWOLF BEFORE CHRISTMAS] by Kat Richardson, Matt's been a bad little werewolf and eaten a certain red-nosed member of Santa's team. Where will Santa find a new guide for his sleigh on such short notice? This story has every great element I could have asked for and was the PERFECT story for this anthology. I LOVED it! 5/5 stars
[FRESH MEAT] by Alan Gordan, Sam Lehrmann trains guard dogs but this Christmas Eve he may need some guarding himself. This one will definitely appeal to dog lovers! It was an enjoyable short story that could have happened any time of year but was better for being set at the holiday. 4/5 stars
[IL EST NÉ] by Carrie Vaughn, A Kitty Norville story set before Kitty Takes a Holiday. Spending her Christmas at a Waffle House, Kitty meets a newly turned werewolf with no pack of his own and no idea how to control what he has become. This one really dissappointed me as a Kitty fan. It felt kind of forced and no one questioned she and David's odd behavior considering there was a murderer on the loose. 3/5 stars
[THE PERFECT GIFT] by Dana Stabenow, A family of murderers are brought to justice and a Christmas Eve born man fulfills a prophecy. This story had nothing to do with Christmas and was an overall dissappointment. 1/5 stars
[CHRISTMAS PAST] by Keri Arthur, A Christmas-time murder investigation brings exes back together. Just the sort of story the PNR fans are looking for, hunky hero, sassy heroine, sexual tension and a happy ending. 3/5 stars
[SA] by J. A. Konrath, Robert Weston Smith has been having... tummy trouble. Could his bowel troubles be explained by lycanthropy? And what does the Salvation Army have to do with it all? I don't think I've laughed so hard reading a werewolf story... ever! This definitely isn't for everyone, bring a very irreverent sense of humor and enjoy. 5/5 stars
[THE STAR OF DAVID] by Patricia Briggs, Can a father and daughter divided by his werewolf mistakes be brought together to save a young man's life and for a Christmas celebration? Is it so terrible of me to say that I liked this one better than Cry Wolf? I also loved the fact that Stella and her father were noted as not being caucasian which we just don't see often enough in urban fantasy! 4/5 stars
[YOU'D BETTER NOT PYOUT] by Nancy Pickard, Another Santa Claus tale with a wicked paranormal twist. Pretty funny and entertaining but hard to love after Richardson's better contribution. 3/5 stars
[ROGUE ELEMENTS] by Karen Chance, Set in the same realm as her Cassie Palmer and Dorina Basarab series, this holiday story centers around the Silver Circle and the werewolf clans. There wasn't a Christmas element to this one either really which was, yet again, problematic for me. I normally very much like Chance's work but this one didn't win me. 2/5 stars
[MILK AND COOKIES] by Rob Thurman, A story somewhat akin to the classic holiday film A Christmas Story. A big brother had to not only protect his sister from the school bully, but give her the perfect Christmas too. So cleverly crafted and subtle it was delicious, like my grandma's traditional "Snowball" cookies (Russian Tea Cakes) I devoured this one with childish delight. 5/5 stars
[KEEPING WATCH OVER HIS FLOCK] by Tony L. P. Kelner, Bringing Christmas back to its Christian roots this is a tale of a young werewolf and the family that has adopted him. When he breaks the rules and goes running in the woods he proves that perhaps the wolf is the most noble animal of all. This was absolutely touching and next to the melancholy offering from Simon R. Green it ended up being my favorite. 5/5 stars
Overall there were a few duds as far as my taste goes. When I bought the anthology I expected strong Christmas themes in them and was admittedly not happy to find that some were set around the holiday and didn't have a lot to do with it. But to anyone looking for a great holiday gift for a werewolf fan this IS perfect. And as an aside... there wasn't really any sex that I recall so it would be an appropriate read for even some teens. Now someone tell the editors I want a volume two for next Christmas!!!
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