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review 2018-01-31 06:52
Games Creatures Play ed. by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner
Games Creatures Play - Charlaine Harris,Toni L.P. Kelner

Welcome to the wide world of paranormal pastimes, where striking out might strike you dead. Editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner are your announcers for this all-new story collection of the most peculiar plays ever made… Sports fans live and die by their teams’ successes and failures—though not literally. But these fourteen authors have written spirited—in more ways than one—new tales of killer competitions that would make even the most die-hard players ask to be benched. These supernatural sporting stories are guaranteed to have you rooting for the home team…or else…





Edited by Charlaine Harris of Sookie Stackhouse series fame, along with co-editor Toni L.P. Kelner (they've previously collaborated on similar anthologies), these short stories are crafted by some of the biggest names in the supernatural / fantasy / sci-fi genres. Oh, and speaking of Sookie Stackhouse by the way, Harris includes a story featuring her into this mix.


Here, the stories are given a sports-themed twist just to keep things interesting. That's the concept anyway. After my reading experience, I came away feeling more like these were kind of like campfire stories... fun and mildly spooky in the moment but quickly forgettable once you're distanced from them. I also found the sports connection in many of the stories pretty loosely done. 


Each author gets a (usually comedic) bio blurb at the start of their story. I suspect each author wrote their own, but who knows. I'd say my favorite is the one for Mercedes Lackey, which opens with: "Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 24, 1950. The very next day, the Korean War was declared. It is hoped that there is no connection between the two events."


Then there was the bio blurb of Adam-Troy Castro, the author of the Gustav Gloom series: "Adam-Troy Castro has historically brought the suck to any sport he has ever been coaxed into playing, but he has had a little bit more luck as a writer."


No surprise, my very favorite story in this collection was "Jammed" by Seanan McGuire, as she is one of my favorite authors and seeing her name on the cover was a primary reason for me purchasing the book in the first place. I can always count on her to come out with highly unique and wildly entertaining plots! I haven't yet gotten into the InCrytpid series, but I hear this story is supposed to fit into that world. 


In "Jammed", Antimony Price comes from a long line of monster hunters, but the Price family was supposed to be wiped out centuries ago. In this modern age she needs to keep a low profile, so she takes up the persona Annie Thompson, social worker / roller derby competitor (playing under the name Final Girl). At one of the roller derby meets, a girl from another team is murdered, her severed leg all that's left to identify. Looking at the leg, Antimony determines this was likely a non-human attacker. So, you can imagine that low-profile life is quickly eliminated as an option!


"I shove my phone into my pocket, shouting, 'Mom! I'm going to go fight a monster I can't identify yet!"


"Don't get decapitated, dear," she called back. 


I shook my head. "Parental oversight," I muttered, stepping outside. Sometimes it's hard to forget that I'm the youngest child in the family -- I came after the heir AND the spare, and my parents are happy if I make it through the day without setting anything on fire or dropping anyone who doesn't deserve it down a pit trap. Great for doing whatever I want without worrying about rules getting in my way, lousy if what I want is for my mother to realize that I'm running off to get myself killed and at least offer me an extra knife or something."


~ from "Jammed" by Seanan McGuire


The collection opens and closes with offerings from editors Harris & Kelner. It's a fun enough gathering of names in that you get to see them doing a little something different, creatively, with their craft, but most of these didn't leave me mindblown. I'd recommend solely off the Seanan McGuire story. 

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review 2018-01-22 15:01
Not sure about this series – quite good but ...
Rockstars Volume 1: Nativity in Blacklig... Rockstars Volume 1: Nativity in Blacklight - Charlaine Harris



This comic collection by Joe Harris, like Snowfall, is wordy as he obviously likes experimenting with language which is no bad thing but it makes reading the comics a bit more hard work. As I get older, I'm not always up to the task.


The series revolves around a rock fan looking into strange goings-on associated with rock bands, partnered up with an investigative journalist. Murder and satanic rituals become part of the plot as the supernatural plays a major part in the plot.


The artwork is reasonably clear and I look forward to the next volume to see how it develops but it's all a bit “clever-clever”


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review 2018-01-03 00:00
Dead Reckoning
Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris I have feelings, and I'm starting to think I should have taken notes about stuff while re-reading these books, so I could remember everything. This one was...a lot. Vamp drama was at an all-time high, emotions were high, stakes (hehe) were high, and a lot of ground was covered in this one. Sookie and Eric's relationship is possibly permanently altered thanks to Appius, the jerk, who basically gave Eric to the OK Queen, which outranks his vampire marriage to Sookie. Pam...poor Pam. This was the one when we see more of the softer side of Pam, and my heart broke for her and the situation with Miriam. I'm really, really glad Victor died for good, after blocking her from being able to turn Miriam before the woman died. Bill and Sookie had at least one interesting moment, and I probably liked him more in these last couple of books than I ever did in the beginning. (I'm just not a Bill fan. I always liked Sookie & Eric.) That whole bit with her ending up in his hiding place, naked, kinda on top of him, while hiding from the people trying to abduct her was just hilarious. Who knows what's going to happen to the LA vamps now that Victor and all his vamps are dead, at the hands of Eric and his vamps, plus a few humans, and I hate that I can't remember what happens next. Actually, that bit in Fangtasia, with Bubba, was just about all I remembered from this book at all before my re-read. And then there's Sookie's fae relatives, and the other fae stuck on this side of the portal. But, she finally learned probably as much truth as she'll ever learn about her family's history like how often Fintan was actually around, impersonating the human man she'd always though was her grandfather, creepy freaking fairies. Sandra Pelt showed up again and hurrah for Sookie, Sam, and...uh...Jannalynn? Whatever Sam's Were girlfriend's name is, for taking Sandra out of the picture for good. I can't remember what happens with Sookie and Amelia's friendship. I like Amelia a lot, but she really crossed a line blabbing about Sookie in the Were bar, then her and Claude letting Alcide into Sookie's house while she wasn't there, and inviting him into her bed? Seriously? I know Amelia doesn't think too much before acting, but that, on top of her kinda pushing Sookie to break her bond with Eric was just way too much. I think this was the first book I had real issues with Eric, which is sad. I mean, he wasn't exactly a great guy, but I adore him anyway. When he took blood from Sookie, after the big fight, I was really not happy about the way he did it. And before that, him keeping everything about the situation with Appius and the arrangement with the OK Queen? Not cool. Kudos to Pam for trying her damnedest to get Eric to tell Sookie what was going on, because he should have, much sooner.
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review 2018-01-01 00:00
Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 9 (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)
Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 9 (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood) - Charlaine Harris I think I liked this one more the second time around, but I'm not sure why. This one, in my opinion, made up for the less action-y previous two books, and I feel like my re-read was a nice way to ring in the new year. (I started and finished it before 10AM.) Sookie and Eric's relationship is getting interesting (yay!), the fae war was brewing, Sookie and Jason learned more about their parents' death, Bubba made another appearance, Sookie was abducted and tortured (not a pleasant thing, but it was a tense bit that kept my eyes glued to the book), Arlene was really and truly exposed for how awful she can be (so I'm hoping Sookie and Sam are done with her, because I can't remember), Bill threatened to make Quin into a rug (which I thought was hilarious and had to put the book down for a second to stop laughing), Crystal was murdered (also not good, but I guess it was a convenient way to get her out of the picture for future plot things), and more. There were parts I wasn't crazy about Crystal being kinda taken out by Mel because Mel was gay and loved Jason (I mean really?), Crystal's actual murderers/crucifiers being the two fae who'd abducted Sookie, Tray being killed (sad), Sookie having that weird flash of love/"maybe he wasn't so bad *heart eyes*" moment about Bill when Bill was possibly/probably dying after saving her (blech), Claudine dying (I know, it isn't reasonable to expect everyone to live, but I loved Claudine), probably more..., but overall, I really enjoyed it and I'm diving directly into the next one.
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review 2017-12-31 00:00
From Dead to Worse
From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris I just finished re-reading this and I already feel like I barely remember what happened. Part of that is because I was reading it while sleep deprived, but part of it is because this was another one that didn't really have a lot going on. I mean, a lot happened, I guess the Were "war" thing, Jason/Crystal's marriage disaster and Sookie having to break Calvin's fingers because Jason is a cowardly asshole and Crystal is an unfaithful garbage can, Sam turned into a lion for a change, Sookie spent more time with great-grandpa Niall the fairy prince, the Louisiana vamps got new leadership, Sookie ran over a vamp, Bob was turned back into a human, Sookie found Hadley's ex and her son and found out Hunter is a telepath like herself, I think this was the one in which Eric remembered his time spent with Sookie, etc., but so much of it just felt kind of...bland, or something. I feel like this one and the last one were just kind of "filler" books. Definitely not my favorite, but still perfectly enjoyable, overall.
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