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review 2018-10-12 05:02
Halloween Is Murder
Halloween is Murder - Josh Lanyon

Another half-baked short story by JL. Sometimes her short stories are really beautiful, spectacular displays of prose. But most of the time they're this: not fully-formed, more of an outline than a story, with characters you barely have time to get to know before the story is over. Add on the paranormal elements of actual real vampires and vampire hunters  and this just becomes a head-scratcher. There is also zero romance here. A hint of a love story, but that's it. The action is non-existent too, despite this being about vampires and vampire hunters. And there's a really big issue left unresolved at the end too.

Barry seriously didn't think it necessary to tell his client that her brother is out for her fortune? Um...he'll probably try to kill her next. Geez.

(spoiler show)

 

I was also really thrown by the fact this takes place in the world of Adrien English (and therefore Holmes & Moriarity, All's Fair, Art of Murder and just about every other series she's done her little crossover/tie-ins with). Um...what? That makes no sense. And just makes The Hell You Say look like a missed opportunity. Not the best tie-in she's come up with, in my opinion.

 

Still, it's JL, so the writing is still good and has a mild, throwback sort of humor (this is based in the 50s/60s) one expects from a Lanyon story. Just wish it had been longer, like the world and characters really deserved. 

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review 2018-10-08 18:45
HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAM edited by Christopher Golden
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden

Christmas! I really can't stand it, but this anthology appealed to me for the following reasons. 1. The killer cover! (For which I got to host the exclusive cover reveal on my blog, Char's Horror Corner, and it was very exciting!) 2. It was edited by Christopher Golden and I've had good luck with anthologies he's edited in the past. I'm happy to report this one was no exception!

 

This book was chock full of stories, nearly 400 pages worth, so I can't get into all of them here, but I will briefly talk about the tales that stood out for me:

 

YANKEE SWAP by John McIlveen. Wow! We go from a woman trying to avoid her sexually aggressive boss at a Christmas party, to her getting knocked over the head and waking up tied to a chair. This tale had it all-violence, surprises and plot twists along with a satisfying conclusion. Bravo! 5*

 

CHRISTMAS IN BARCELONA by Scott Smith. I loved Scott's A SIMPLE PLAN, but this tale was completely different from his usual stuff. I was able to guess the end just before the story got there, but that didn't spoil the fun at all. 4.5*

 

THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CHRISTMAS HOTEL by Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe Lansdale. This was a perfect "ghost gets revenge" type story and I loved it, as I do most anything he writes.4.5*

 

 

LOVE ME by Thomas Sniegoski. This twisted little tale reminded me of the Tribble episode from Star Trek. What fun! 4*

 

GOOD DEEDS by Jeff Strand. I don't even know what to say about this one, but it's Jeff Strand. What else do I have to say, really? 4*

 

IT'S A WONDERFUL KNIFE BY Christopher Golden. I figured out the conclusion early on, but that didn't spoil the fun getting there. 3.5*

 

HOME by Tim Lebbon. This was a twisted little tale of the end of the world and Santa, albeit a Santa you would never recognize in a million years. 3.5*

 

Lastly, THE HANGMAN'S BRIDE by Sarah Pinborough. Sarah's books have quickly become some of my favorites in recent history, (and I'm glad I have a good-sized backlog to catch up with), but this tale really took the cake. My second favorite in this anthology, with a distinct Dickensian feel, young William and his soot-filled lungs stole my heart. 5*

 

Most anthologies are hit and miss with me-very rarely do all the stories hit their mark. In this case, though, it was pretty close to doing so, therefore I gave it a four star rating overall . Even if you hate Christmas, and you "Bah Humbug" with the best of them, this anthology has something for everyone-the variety is outstanding. So as the title suggests HARK people! Come and hear the angels scream!

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this anthology in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2018-10-05 17:40
To All the Rakes I've Loved Before by Anne Barton
To All the Rakes I've Loved Before (Honeycote, #1.5) - Anne Barton

Miss Amelia Wimple is a recluse, refusing to leave the house she lives in with her mother and go out into the ton again after the humiliating incident that happened two years ago on the eve of her would-be engagement. The man who was supposed to propose eloped with another and she and her overbearing mother became laughingstocks. But there's one bright memory from that dreadful night; Lord Stephen Brookes and his kindness toward her.

Now, her mother is off to Bath and Amelia has the house all to herself, but her short life of bliss is rudely interrupted by the man who jilted her bringing the unconscious, severely beaten Lord Stephen Brookes to her doorstep seeking refuge. Amelia, God bless her, decides to hide Stephen until his wounds heal enough that he doesn't scare people...But she might get more in return that she's bargained for.


Another cute and slightly humorous story in this series. Pity it suffered from its lack of length.

I liked the two protagonists; they were both hiding their true selves and only the other could see it. I liked the camaraderie between them, the strange friendship and the blossoming romance. But the latter was so quick and rushed, it failed to be believable. I could see the potential, but it certainly needed a few more chapters to be developed properly...Or, it could've been presented as the blurb insinuated; that Stephen has always had a tendre for Amelia and used the golden opportunity of his stay with her to his advantage.
Alas, the way it was written, it felt like it happened in the blink of an eye, when they barely knew each other. Not a good foundation for lasting love that.

Still, it was an enjoyable read.

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review 2018-10-03 12:05
The First and the Last by Zara_Zee
The First and the Last - Zara_Zee

An excellent short fic in which Dean is an omega posing as a beta posing as an alpha. Sam saves the day when Dean is forced off his suppressants by ill health and must go through his first heat.

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/15708225
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review 2018-09-30 19:50
The Governess Affair (The Brothers Sinister #0.5)
The Governess Affair - Courtney Milan

Oh, what fun!

 

It was a joy to see how Hugh and Serena first met and fell in love. Knowing already from The Duchess War that they'd end up HEA did help me when reading some of the things Hugh did to try to thwart Serena's attempts to disgrace Duke Clermont. If I had read this first, I might not have been so quickly forgiving. But then Hugh's such a giant goober and a softie that I might have forgiven him just as quickly anyway, lol.

 

Their interactions had a very Beatrice/Benedict vibe to them, and for once I didn't mind the insta-love at all. They were both evenly matched (well, Hugh might have been a little outmatched) and they both needed something from the other that they didn't even know they needed. 

 

There's also a short little scene of Robert and Marshall meeting at Eton at the very end. It doesn't really add anything that we don't already know, but it was nice to see "live" as it were.

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