Aug 16, 2010

Review--Death's Excellent Vacation


It really can be an endless summer--if you're immortal. Though a vampire would be ill-advised to take a cruise to Bermuda, the possibilities for getting away from it all--and maybe snacking on some unsuspecting tourist--are many...

Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire friend Pam take a weekend getaway to Mississippi in #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris's "Two Blondes." And when they end up in a shady gentleman's club, to escape in one piece they need to do something involving a stage, a pole, and very little clothing.

New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister's "The Perils of Effrijim" follows a demon whose vacation in Paris is disrupted when he's banished to another plane, thus kicking off a crazy dimension hopping road trip across Europe.

Protecting an heiress from supernatural hit men isn't Cat and Bones's idea of a relaxing vacation in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost's "One for the Money", but it could get worse. And it does--when Cat's mother shows up.

With ten more original tales, editors Harris and Kelner bring together a stellar collection of tour guides who offer vacations frightening, funny, and touching--for the fanged, the furry, the demonic, and the grotesque.

The latest anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner, Death's Excellent Vacation, was a collection of 13 stories all about vacationing! And not all were happy endings either!

I bought this because I enjoyed Harris and Kelner's previous anthologies, plus 3 of my favorite authors were in there. Not a lot, but hey, there was a Cat and Bones story in there and I needed my Frost fix other than her last two amazing novels, I still wanted to see Cat and Bones as the lead! And boy did they have a good story!

Now for a break down of the stories included:

Harris's Two Blondes did in fact have Sookie and Pam going to a gentleman's club for what was supposed to be a "business meeting", but things take a wrong turn. And thus they end up in a situation with the stage, the pole, and little clothing.

Sarah Smith had a more complicated story, The Boys Go Fishing, in which there were superheroes and supernaturals together. Honestly this was one of the harder stories for me to get into. I didn't quite understand everything.

Frost's One for the Money had Cat and Bones spending their vacation protecting a spoiled rich brat from attacks on her life. And thus in the beginning of things she hits on Bones! Then to add the icing to the cake, they wind up sharing the house with Cat's mom! There were definitely a few chuckle moments and definitely some romantic ones too for a short story. Now we just need to begin the countdown to February 22 for more!

Daniel Stashower's Meanwhile Across the Caspian Sea, was another difficult one to get into. A man ends up working at a publishing house under a very difficult man who has secrets. Again, this was one of the harder stories for me to get into, there was a lot of detail to history since that MC was working to help publish a history book or I read this one early this morning so my mind is really fuzzy on the details.

A. Lee Martinez wrote The Innsmouth Nook, which was a rather interesting story with an ironic twist at the end. He and his "partner" (there's a joke there that you'll have to read the story to find out) run a B&B in a little town off the coast, that rarely sees visitors. The normal kind of visitors at least. There's an old legend about the town that no one really takes any merit to, until now.

Safe and Sound by Jeff Abbot involved a reporter trying to track down a missing young man who disappeared while on vacation. This was one of the stories that ended in an unexpected way. Although you can guess some of the facts along the way, but the ending was a real surprise. It was different, yet awesome!

Seeing is Believing by L.A. Banks was an interesting story as well. A different set of supernaturals and a dark past lead the two characters together and they realize they have more than just an attraction between them. Something else connects them together.

Katie MacAlister's The Perils of Effrijim follow the adventures of the demon who likes to be a dog (I haven't read this series so the characters were new to me) and while his "masters" were away, he was going to take his own vacation to see his girlfriend, but once again in the grand scheme of things, things take a dangerous wrong turn and the demon is waylaid by several days. Having to escape danger on a constant basis while on vacation and being in human form is not what he had in mind.

Thin Walls by Christopher Golden was another of those stories that didn't end exactly the way I thought it would. I didn't know how it should've ended either. It was different. A man is on a special vacation in honor of his wife's memory and his hotel neighbors spend their night with rather loud activity. But to be in this anthology, you know something supernatural is involved and it was a doozie! And if you are well-versed in urban fantasy, you can take a guess as to what's going on and likely be right!

Lilith Saintcrow's The Heart is Always Right was a very different tale involving gargoyles and a particular human. The concepts were a little strange to adjust to in such a short time, but given it's a short story I just rolled with it. Still it was rather interesting, much like all Saintcrow's work.

The Demon in the Dunes by Chris Grabenstein was another unexpected story about a man remembering one summer day when he was a kid in the 70s and how he saw his first demon. As to why he remembers it now nearly 30 years later is a mystery. Until the end! Another great surprising story!

Sharan Newman's Home from America was another surprising story. It took a little while for the story to take off but once it does, you easily figure out what's going on, just as the character discovers it. Of course, things go way, way wrong and it leads to the yet again surprising ending!

And lastly, Toni Kelner writes an amazing story called Pirate Dave's Haunted Amusement Park that involves a newly turned werewolf trying to take a little vacation away from making a HUGE decision and visit the park that was from her childhood. But something is definitely wrong with the park. Something hinky! Accidents keep happening and there are some surprises along the way as well. This ending was definitely something strange as well, but in a more lighthearted way. Hopefully that isn't spoiler-like. But after you read it you'll (hopefully) get what I mean!

A very nice anthology collection, overall I give it 4/5 stars! Hopefully you'll read this one too since summer is just winding down and fall returns. Although the weather here will definitely take a LONG time to turn fall worthy, but this was a great anthology and Frost's story alone makes this a worthy read!

1 comment:

  1. Im not a fan of anthologies in general, but great review hon!


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