Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Review: Strange Brew

Strange Brew

By:  Anthology; Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Karen Chance, P. N. Elrod, Charlaine Harris, Faith Hunter, Caitlin Kittredge, Jenna Maclaine

Publisher:  St. Martin's Briffin

Publish Date:  July 2009

Genre:  Fiction (I am thinking Urban Fantasy)

Format:  Paperback, 371 pages (5 1/2" x 8 1/4")

Series:  I think Stand alone Anthology

Recommendation:  Do you need your fix of urban fantasy reads?  These short stories will give you your fill of magic, vampires, witches, mixed with love and action.

Book Synopsis:
Today's hottest urban fantasy authors come together in this delicious brew that crackles and boils over with tales of powerful witches and dark magic...

In Charlaine Harris's "Bacon," a beautiful vampire joins forces with a witch from an ancient line to find out who killed her beloved husband.  In "Seeing Eye" by Patricia Briggs, a blind witch helps sexy werewolf Tom Franklin find his missing brother - and ends up helping him in more ways than either of them ever expected.  And in Jim Butcher's "Last Call," wizard Harry Dresden takes on the darkest of dark powers - the ones who dare to mess with his favorite beer.

Anyone who's ever wondered what lies beyond the limits of reality, who's imagined the secret spaces where witches wield fearsome magic, come and drink deep.  Let yourself fall under the spell of this bewitching collection!

My Review and Summary: (With this being an anthology, I will do a short review on each story.)

Seeing Eye
By Patricia Briggs
38 pages

After reading just this short story, I can not believe I have not read any story by Patricia.  I have her first story for Mercy Thompson on my shelf and I am going to have to get to it soon.

Moira Keller, a good witch in Seattle, gets a late night visit the day before Halloween (also called Samhain) from a man - or werewolf - in need of help against Them.  Tom is looking for his kidnapped "gifted" brother, Jon.  Everything Tom told Moira rang true with her as it matched her dreams.  Moira believes Jon was kidnapped as a sacrifice on Halloween for Kouro Samhain and his coven.

I really enjoyed the unexpected turns and events of the story.  This story has made purchasing the anthology worth it.  And this was only the first story.
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Last Call
By Jim Butcher
36 pages

Harry Dresden decides he needs a beer after a hard day of work... wizarding, and walks into his favorite friendly bar to an ugly mess of unconscious or dead bodies.  What caused these people to go violent at the same time?  Was there something in the beer Mac brews?  Harry Dresden and Sergent Karrin Murphy are on the case.

I believe this story is from Jim's Dresden Series.  This story reads to me as an extention of the series.  I didn't feel there was much world building or character growth in this short story, just a mystery under foot.  In the end I liked the action of the mystery and the little secrets Harry and Murph are afraid to admit to each other, or even their selves.  But not my favorite story in the book.
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Death Warmed Over
By Rachel Caine
44 pages

Holly Anne Caldwell, a witch whos the best at what she does - resurrection, hates doing ressurections on a work night, as they take all night and no sleep doesn't help the day job.  But Sam asks her to do one on Thursday, it's Monday.  A long-term resurrection for the Police Department can't be a good thing, and on such short notice.  Will she take it?  The person she is to resurrect has a long strong history himself, and a short history with Holly too.

I really enjoyed this short story.  I Rachel has me wanting to read of the short time Holly and Andrew spent together taking down their bad guy from before.  I loved the way the characters where developed in this short story and connected with each other.  I really could feel a connection with them as well.  I am definitely going to have to get a few more of her books after reading this short story.  Great read!
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Vegas Odds
By Karen Chance
55 pages

Accalia de Croissets, Lia as she likes to be called, is waken by the constant banging at her front door.  When she opens it, still half asleep and dazed from lack of sleep of over working with the mage war going on, to find a delivery man hidden behind several long stem roses.  Thinking the roses were from her Were boyfriend, Cyrus, Lia was caught off gaurd by the attack.  As the atack goes on her boyfriend shows up and the attackers are her mage students.  Why are they attacking her?  Who is behind this?

This read is of Lia and her powers along with history more than of Cyrus.  You do learn more of them as a couple though.  This read, I believe is to be read before the short story in Inked though.  I have been enjoying Karen's reads on Lia and Cyrus.
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Hecate's Golden Eye
By P.N. Elrod
42 pages

Charles Escott, of Escott Agency doing Private Detective type work, and his partner Jack Fleming, who is a vampire, wait in a dark alley for a potential client - Chicago 1937.  Miss Mabel Weaver shows up asking them to help her steal back the necklace pendant called the Hecate's Golden Eye, which is a valuable yellow diamond, that was stolen from her by her cousin and replaced with a glass fake.  However, there is a curse on the Eye... any man who touches it dies.

This was another story for me that was slower and the clues given where strong giveaways to the plot.  I had the mystery of what was going on figured out before the end of the story.  The character of Jack Fleming is from the authors series of the Vampire Files.
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Bacon
By Charlaine Harris
32 pages

Dahlia, a vampire, waits at Seeley's Restaurant for Kathy Aelnides, The Circe witch, whom is late.  Dahlia with the help of a few friends have worked very, very hard to get this appointment.  Dahlia wanted to have Kathy help punish the people who killed her werewolf husband.  Not sure if Kathy, an elementary teacher during the day, is really The Circe real deal and able to do as Dahlia is needing - Dahlia and her friends look into her more.  And there is a little twist to go with the story here.

I smiled while reading this short story and enjoyed the lightness of the story.  It was a fun read and had a plot that help through from the beginning.  I liked the ability of the characters and the way they all connected.
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Signatures of the Dead
By Faith Hunter
33pages

A whole family is butchered and Brax wants to get the killers.  Brax needs to know for sure if its vampires, if they are okay, and where they sleep to get justice.  Molly is a unique Earth Witch and could help.  But could it hurt her?

Being a short of thirty-three pages, I felt the suspense and couldn't wait to get to the end to see where they story went.  As the story went the plot thickened for me.  I really felt pulled in to this world with these characters.  The characters abilities and limits amazed me.  I really liked the way witches were broke down and made a bigger type of character with new rules (for me) along with limits.

This short story introduced me to a character I really liked the idea of, Jane Yellowrock.  I am going to have to get into the series with this character: Skinwalker.  I enjoyed the Native American heritage behind this character.
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Ginger
By Caitlin Kittredge
41 pages

Sunny Swann, the reliable of the two cousins and a witch, sat at the back of the courtroom while Luna, detective in Nocturne City PD and a werewolf, was on the stand.  During the recess a male witch enters the courtroom and Sunny and Luna now protect the man they are trying to put behind bars along with everyone else in the courtroom.  After Sunnys display of magick she gets offered, from an unknown source, to use her powers elsewhere.  Why are they after this person whose to be going to jail and who wants Sunny for what reason?

I liked the all the characters, the main cousins mostly - Luna and Sunny.  I got a glimpse of the Nocturne City series and enjoyed it.  I will have to find a way to get this series in on the reading schedule.  I like the sound of magick in this city and the action that takes place in this short story.
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Dark Sins
By Jenna Maclaine
33 pages

Cin a witch turned vampire three years ago by Michael, unusually retained her witch powers - yet she doesn't have control of them and has premonitions.  Cin and Michael are on a holiday in Venice with their friends Devlin and Justine when they are attacked by a dark Wizard and his witches.  When Cin wakes up she is on a stone floor surrounded by a ward and her friends are laying on alters.  Why are they wanted in this town?

This story starts off with action of both sexual and physical battle.  I enjoyed how the action kept moving through this story.  This short story also had a start, climax, and an end to the story.  There was a creation of a god and plans for the future with these characters.  I look forward to other stories here in this world, whether in anthologies or full books.  I am going to have to find this series of Cin Craven now.
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This book qualifies for the Speculated Fiction Challenge @ Book Chick City.
CymLowell

11 comments:

  1. I think you'll love Jane Yellowrock. I know I did. I still have to get the second one in the series.

    Great way to do an anthology! Lots of work, but worth reading it. Thanks for the reviews!

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  2. I plan on reading this sometime. I've read many of the books by the author so it will be interesting to see short stories of theirs. I really liked the books by Faith Hunter (with Jane Yellowrock, I haven't read her others). I ended up enjoying the second Caitlin Kittredge book but struggled with the first. PN Elrod has more noir feeling vampire stories which are a nice change, and they are super short so you can finish a book in an evening. And I've read many others...although I think I am the only person who doesn't care for Charlaine Harris' writing. It just hasn't appealed to me in the two books I've read.

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  3. Sounds like a fun anthology. Thanks for the great review on it.

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  4. Melissa - Thank you! I'm glad you liked the setup. I had to do a short review as I got done with each short story or two. I tried to give a short summary from the first few pages then my brief thoughts on the writing and characters. Thank you. I added Jane Yellowrock's series to my wish list. She sounds like an amazing character. :)

    WonderBunny - I think you may enjoy this book. There was a story or two that were not as good as the others, but I did overall enjoy the read. Some great quick stories. I am really going to have to get to Jane Yellowrock. That is the only problem with the anthologies, or good ones... I start adding to many books to my list to get. Now I have to find more time to read. :)

    Zia - Thank you for stopping by! :) I did end up enjoying the book as a whole. :)

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  5. I thought this post had to do with the movie Strange Brew (about beer and Canada) when I saw it on another site. Great movie, I may have to pick this up too. :)

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  6. I'm not familiar with these others but this books seems like a good way to sample their work. Good job on the review. Reviewing anthologies can be tricky :)
    I'm glad to hear the Briggs story was good. You really should try her books, I'm sure you'll like them.

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  7. Love anthologies and have this one on my shelf, but haven't gotten to it yet. Enjoyed your review, and it made me want to go read my copy right now! Thanks! :)

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  8. Seak - When I was looking for a picture to put in here I saw that movie. It looks wild. :) I may have to check it out. Glad you read the review though.

    Simcha - You may enjoy sampling this reads in the anthology. Thank you, I always wonder about doing the reviews for anthologies so glad you liked the set up. :) I am going to have to get to the Briggs book.

    Alexia - I think you will definitely like this book. :) Glad you enjoyed the review. Looking forward to your review on the book when you get to it.

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  9. I'm in the mood for a good anthology and I'm going to have to get ahold of this one. Thanks for the review.

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  10. Not a fan of anthologies, I'm tempted to see if our library has a copy just to read the Charlaine Harris story.

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  11. Ryan - I hope you enjoy this book. I really enjoyed all the authors and their stories in this one. Thank you!

    Petty Witter - These were great for getting a quick glimpse and they were all fast reads with being shorter stories. I hope you enjoy them. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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