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This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones—living and dead . . .There's no place like home for the horrordays—unless you'd prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard . . . or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here—and whether it's a solstice séance gone demonically This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones—living and dead . . .There's no place like home for the horrordays—unless you'd prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard . . . or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here—and whether it's a solstice séance gone demonically wrong with the incomparable Kim Harrison, a grossly misshapen Christmas with the remarkable Lynsay Sands, a blood-chilling-and-spilling New Year's with the wonderful Marjorie M. Liu, or a super-powered Thanksgiving with the phenomenal Vicki Pettersson, one thing is for certain: in the able hands of these exceptional dark side explorers, the holidays are going to be deliciously hellish!


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This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones—living and dead . . .There's no place like home for the horrordays—unless you'd prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard . . . or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here—and whether it's a solstice séance gone demonically This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones—living and dead . . .There's no place like home for the horrordays—unless you'd prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard . . . or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here—and whether it's a solstice séance gone demonically wrong with the incomparable Kim Harrison, a grossly misshapen Christmas with the remarkable Lynsay Sands, a blood-chilling-and-spilling New Year's with the wonderful Marjorie M. Liu, or a super-powered Thanksgiving with the phenomenal Vicki Pettersson, one thing is for certain: in the able hands of these exceptional dark side explorers, the holidays are going to be deliciously hellish!

30 review for Holidays Are Hell

  1. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    My favorite stories in this anthology were "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison and "Six" by Marjorie Liu. Ironically, they weren't Christmas stories. "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison This story looks into Rachel's past, when she was eighteen, fresh out of community college, and determined to recover from her childhood of severe illness and to get a job working for Inderlander Security. Her brother Robbie is in town for Solstice Night, and wants her to go back to west coas My favorite stories in this anthology were "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison and "Six" by Marjorie Liu. Ironically, they weren't Christmas stories. "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison This story looks into Rachel's past, when she was eighteen, fresh out of community college, and determined to recover from her childhood of severe illness and to get a job working for Inderlander Security. Her brother Robbie is in town for Solstice Night, and wants her to go back to west coast with him and go to a four year college to continue her Earth Witch studies. Rachel isn't interested. Her life is in Cincinatti. They make a deal that if Rachel can raise her father's ghost and he will agree to her going into the IS, and sign her permission slip, then Robbie will support her decision. In the process, Rachel raises the spirit of Pierce, a male witch who was working for the older version of IS, tracking a vampire who preys on young girls. This was a great story. I liked how Rachel got to strut her young stuff, showing the strong woman she would one day grow into. I liked the sweet chemistry between Rachel and Pierce. It was also nice to see Rachel's family. Her brother is kind of bossy, but Rachel holds her own against him and Pierce's inbred chauvinism very well. Kim Harrison's excellent writing skills are ably-demonstrated in this short story. 5 stars. "Run, Run Rudolph" by Lynsay Sands At first, I wasn't sure I'd like this story. It seemed too pedestrian. Heroine owns a clothing shop. Hero owns a shoe shop. At first I wasn't sure of the tone, and the Kim Harrison story gave it a hard act to follow. Forgive my non-paranormal contemporary snobbery. As always, it helps to keep reading. It was actually really funny. I was giggling and laughing out loud like crazy! Jill was a pretty sharp heroine. She figured out pretty soon how to use the abilities that had been forced on her by a crazy scientist who used to work with her brother. This story is related to "The Claire Switch Project", which is in Dates From Hell. In that story, Jill's brother creates a machine that can destabilize molecules to allow a person to change their form to whatever they visualize. This story has a little bit of the goofy vibe of the previous story, but I liked it much better. The humor found me at a good time, I guess. I thought that Nick, the guy that Jill had been sweet on for months, was a very nice guy. I liked that he accepted Jill for what she was, helped to protect her from her pursuer, and he had felt the same way about her for months, but was waiting for the right time to declare his feelings. This was a nice, fun Christmas short story. 4 stars. "Six" by Marjorie Liu Marjorie knows what us comic book/action-adventure movie/romance novel-reading fangirls want! In this story, the heroine is a police officer who was trained from a young age to be an invincible fighter. She has no life outside of her work, and suppresses her longing for anything more beneath cold, hard determination. Her whole body is a weapon, and she knows how to use it. The hero is a necromancer, and they are fighting vampires that are straight out of Chinese folklore. I felt like I was watching one of those awesome Hong Kong action movies, which I love! I loved the intense bond between Six and Joseph. I loved that this book was set in China, and that the heroine is Chinese and the hero is Chinese and Russian. This book takes place on New Years' Eve, and it was interesting to see how that holiday is celebrated in China. Boy, I wanted some dumplings after I read this story; since one of the characters makes them, making me drool in the process. I think Marjorie Liu is a highly talented author, and I am kicking myself for letting all her books accumulate on my tbr pile. I plan to rectify that in the New Year. 5 stars. "The Harvest" by Vicki Pettersson This story took so long for me to read. The idea is intriguing but the execution was fairly tedious. I think that it would have benefited from lots more dialogue and action instead of explanatory narrative. I did like the idea of a war between good and evil and how it's been told in comic books, which the forces call 'manuals'. Zoe was a strong, vivid character. I thought she showed a lot of mettle, striving to protect her daughters and granddaughter, even at the price of giving up her own legacy. The relationship between her and her ex-lover and comrade was bittersweet. It was interesting how Ms. Pettersson built this story around Thanksgiving, and how she integrated it into this story. The Buddhist spiritual aspects are underutilized in urban fantasy. I think I would have loved this story if had been more active, with more showing. As it was, it was kind of boring. I'm sad about that. 3 stars. Overall, this was a good collection and a nice holiday read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    AH

    Anthologies are always hit and miss for me. I'm usually happy if one story makes an impression. I picked up Holidays Are Hell because of the Kim Harrison story. Surprisingly, it was my favorite story in the book. Here is my breakdown: Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison - 4 stars This is the story of an 18 year old Rachel Morgan. It takes place before Dead Witch Walking, before Rachel joins the I.S. and before she meets Ivy. We learn more about Rachel's illness as a child, her talents as a Anthologies are always hit and miss for me. I'm usually happy if one story makes an impression. I picked up Holidays Are Hell because of the Kim Harrison story. Surprisingly, it was my favorite story in the book. Here is my breakdown: Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison - 4 stars This is the story of an 18 year old Rachel Morgan. It takes place before Dead Witch Walking, before Rachel joins the I.S. and before she meets Ivy. We learn more about Rachel's illness as a child, her talents as a witch, and her family. Some surprise character appearances as well. Great story. Run, Run, Rudolph by Lynsay Sands - 2.5 stars It's a cute story, really. This story is a continuation of a story The Claire Switch Project in the Dates From HellAnthology. Yes, they can be read on their own, however, they make way more sense when they are read in order. The story continues with the destabilizer now in Claire and Kyle's basement. The destabilizer turns people into shape shifters. Jill gets zapped and Jill spends the day getting chased by one of Kyle's old associates. It's a cute love story and probably the first time I've ever encountered a "make-out" break. Like, you are being chased by a scientist that wants to slice and dice you, you don't have time to make out! Cute story, not great. Six by Marjorie M. Liu - 2 stars This story starts with the longest sentence ever. Over 300 characters. I know this because I put it in one of my updates. It's a vampire story set in China. Very different. Quite original. I just could not get into this story. The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson -2.5 stars A story about Light and Shadows. Zoe Archer is trying to protect a premature baby. The baby disappears and Zoe must find her. Interesting concept. I thought that the resolution was just too simple. Again I could not get into this story. So there you have it. One good story and probably because I like Kim Harrison's Hollows series. Borrow from the library.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Armina

    Quite an interesting novella with great sense of humour and very inspiring. We are back in time when Rachel is eighteen and is still living at home with her great and crazy Mom. We meet her big brother Robbie who's coming home for the Solstice after being at the West Coast since their father died. Rachel goal is to start working for the I.S. despite the fact she is too young. She just wants to smear the pavement with bad guys and to win her independence. Robbie loves her but he doesn't think thi Quite an interesting novella with great sense of humour and very inspiring. We are back in time when Rachel is eighteen and is still living at home with her great and crazy Mom. We meet her big brother Robbie who's coming home for the Solstice after being at the West Coast since their father died. Rachel goal is to start working for the I.S. despite the fact she is too young. She just wants to smear the pavement with bad guys and to win her independence. Robbie loves her but he doesn't think this is a good idea. He wants to protect her in his own way. So they struck a deal. Rachel has to stir a spell which will summon their Dad's ghost and if she manages to do it right she'll ask for his permission to join the I.S. Of course everything goes wrong and instead of her Dad's ghost, Rachel summons Pierce's ghost. For me the main draw of this novella is Pierce's character and the interaction between him and Rachel. He is a real 19th century gentleman. So charming and funny with his manner of speaking. Smart, sensitive and caring. And as a bonus he shows up for the first time with absolutely nothing on him ;). He helps Rachel and Rachel helps him. They even share a passionate kiss! The story shows how strong was the relationship between Rachel and her Dad. We see the Rachel beyond the tough, capable witch she is now, the one who came from the fragile, weak, and death-row childhood. It's important for understanding her choices in the present. Totally worth the read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Louisa

    Loved this anthology, it was just so great, Rachel meeting Pierce, and seeing her interact with Robbie, a continuation of the short story from Dates from Hell, which was so hilarious, and yeah, 2 other great stories! Loved so much!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    RTC!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    My overall rating (3) is for the book as a concept and based on the two (of four) stories I've read. This is a theme collection for stories set in modern fantasy series and I don't read the other two series, so jumping in with these stories seems unwise. I'm not sure I'll ever get around to reading the other two stories, so here are comments on the two I did read, Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison (in the Hollows series) and The Harvest by Viki Pettersson (in the Signs of the Zodiac se My overall rating (3) is for the book as a concept and based on the two (of four) stories I've read. This is a theme collection for stories set in modern fantasy series and I don't read the other two series, so jumping in with these stories seems unwise. I'm not sure I'll ever get around to reading the other two stories, so here are comments on the two I did read, Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison (in the Hollows series) and The Harvest by Viki Pettersson (in the Signs of the Zodiac series, or whatever it's called). The Kim Harrison is why I was loaned this book (and why I'll buy my own copy). I love the series and I'm always happy to see more of it and a Halloween ghost story fits in well with the Hollows setting. Like the short in Dates from Hell, this takes us back before Dead Witch Walking and shows us how Rachel joined the I.S. Rachel and her brother Robbie wind up escorting a 140-years-dead ghost across town chasing a powerful vampire while Rachel tries to convince Robbie to sign papers for her to join the I.S. and do this kind of thing for a living. It's a fun story and the background it gives us on Rachel's family is especially interesting since the recent books are including more and more of Rachel's mother. I'd probably give this story alone a 4. I have a love/hate relationship with Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series. I think they have definite potential and the second book was so much better than the first that I'm glad to read more, but I didn't expect much from the short story. I was wrong. Maybe Pettersson is a better short writer than novelist or maybe this is another sign of the series and the author growing. This story also gives us a family-oriented flashback. We go to before the first book (Scent of Shadows) to see Joanne's mother, Zoe. Zoe is a fabulous character in abstentia in the books: she abandoned Joanne at the most vulnerable time in her life, she's considered a traitor by some of the "heroes," and she fascinates, repulses, and attracts the villains in equal parts. But since she's gone, we don't get to see her directly (making her all the more interesting). Fortunately, The Harvest doesn't ruin Zoe's mystique. We follow Zoe working to keep Joanne's daughter alive and safe from the Shadows. Along the way we get some good interaction between Zoe and Warren, showing once again how much the agents of Light are just as arrogant and evil as the Shadow agents, but also giving some context to his abuse of Joanne. It's a good story and it's well-told. I'd give it a solid 3, maybe a 3+. The theme of the anthology, setting the stories on various holidays, works well. It ensures that each story has some cultural backdrop to draw from. Pettersson uses tradition to set up the context (we get a discussion of the origins and meanings of the cornucopia, for example) while the meaning of Halloween in Harrison is idiosyncratic to the series, but both work well. These theme anthologies for this "group" of authors (probably inspired by the Legends series) is working out quite well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jai

    For the most part I liked this anthology better than the first one, Dates from Hell. I think most were on the "good!" side. "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison. In Dates from Hell we got a story about Ivy set before she meets Rachel, and in this story, we get a story about a young teen-aged Rachel before she ever joins Inderland Security. I thought this was well done because you don't have to have read the Rachel Morgan books to understand the world (much less confusing than the story For the most part I liked this anthology better than the first one, Dates from Hell. I think most were on the "good!" side. "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison. In Dates from Hell we got a story about Ivy set before she meets Rachel, and in this story, we get a story about a young teen-aged Rachel before she ever joins Inderland Security. I thought this was well done because you don't have to have read the Rachel Morgan books to understand the world (much less confusing than the story in Dates from Hell), plus there are a lot of new things to learn for those who read those series. We learn about Rachel's family dynamics, and about Rachel's reasons for joining IS. I was also surprised to see how different Rachel is physically in this short story than what I was used to seeing in the series, but her stubbornness and trying to do things seemingly beyond her abilities seems very familiar. "Run, Run, Rudolf" by Lynsay Sands. If you look at the link to the first anthology, and check out the "Claire Switch Project", this is a continuation of that short story. A couple of scientists gets zapped by a "destabilizer ray" that allows them to shapeshift if they concentrate really hard. I thought that story was goofy and I think this continuation is equally so. I have checked out reviews from this book and this was many people's favorite story so I don't know.. For me, this was my least favorite of the bunch and it did not fit in with the rest of them. "Six" by Marjorie M. Liu. I think this one is a stand alone, unconnected to an outside series, and it manages to have great world-building, action, characters, and plot in a short space. Six is a elite Chinese agent trying to track down terrorists when she stumbles upon the paranormal - vampires - not the western myth I'm used to reading about, but the Chinese version - Jiang Shi. This was a refreshing twist. Possibly my favorite of the bunch because I liked the setting - urban China. Liu has several romance novels out but I really like her urban fantasy. "The Harvest" by Vicki Pettersson - Another one based in the world where a series is set. This is the story of Zoe Archer - the mother of the protagonist in the Signs of the Zodiac series, Joanna Archer. I thought this was a great side story to go with the series which fills us in on the motivation of Zoe's mother as well as learning about her personality and how she was able to do what she did. But, if you haven't read this series, I'm not sure how lost you would be reading this story. It's possible the answer is - quite lost. Though there are several hints that explain the world, the Zodiac world is very complex so it's hard for me to say how confused someone would be. Definitely a must-read for a Zodiac series fan though. more detailed review at my book blog here - http://janicu.livejournal.com/22528.html

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shandra

    Rating only for Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison. I liked getting a peak into younger Rachel's life. She's so different now than she was back then, in a good way. Her talent is definitely noticeable. Rating only for Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison. I liked getting a peak into younger Rachel's life. She's so different now than she was back then, in a good way. Her talent is definitely noticeable.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁

    Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel - The Hollows, 5.5 I think I would've liked this more if I'd read it in order the first time. As it is, I already know all the things that went down with Pierce, so I can't fully appreciate the sweetness of his and Rachel's first meeting. ALSO--I didn't like Robbie (Rachel's brother) before, and I like him even less now. He's an arrogant, know-it-all, pompous ASS. He ditches Rachel with their crazy, not-handling-the-death-of-her-husband-well-at-ALL mother when she's FO Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel - The Hollows, 5.5 I think I would've liked this more if I'd read it in order the first time. As it is, I already know all the things that went down with Pierce, so I can't fully appreciate the sweetness of his and Rachel's first meeting. ALSO--I didn't like Robbie (Rachel's brother) before, and I like him even less now. He's an arrogant, know-it-all, pompous ASS. He ditches Rachel with their crazy, not-handling-the-death-of-her-husband-well-at-ALL mother when she's FOURTEEN years old, and then comes back 4.5 years later and tries to tell her what to do with her life. Not only that, but he tells her she's INCAPABLE of doing what's she wants to do. And all under the guise of "saving her from inevitable future disappointment. Like I said--ASS. Anyway, Rachel tries to summon her dead father's spirit on Solstice night, and ends up summoning Pierce instead. They work together to save a pre-teen girl from the clutches of the same evil vampire who had Pierce killed over 150 years ago. And that's pretty much it. Decent enough story, but not essential to the series (unless you're a hardcore fangirl like me *wink*).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This anthology features 4 short stories by some very talented women. Two Ghosts For Sister Rachel gives us an eighteen year old Rachel before she joined the IS and moves out into the world. We also get a look at her home life and her true start at earth magic. Run,Run,Rudolph is a fun story with a great romance and tense pursuit scenes. Jill and Nick make a great couple and I want more of them. It was funny,sexy, and very interesting. Six is set in China and is the name of our heroine. She finds he This anthology features 4 short stories by some very talented women. Two Ghosts For Sister Rachel gives us an eighteen year old Rachel before she joined the IS and moves out into the world. We also get a look at her home life and her true start at earth magic. Run,Run,Rudolph is a fun story with a great romance and tense pursuit scenes. Jill and Nick make a great couple and I want more of them. It was funny,sexy, and very interesting. Six is set in China and is the name of our heroine. She finds herself up against vampires and partners with a necromancer against her will (at first). She is very strong and makes things interesting. The Harvest is set in of all places Las Vegas and features a plot of good vs. Evil. Some Archer is an agent of the Light who has dropped out only to return when she needs help from the man she left behind. Their reunion is brief and she steps into danger to secure her legacy. All of the stories are well written and well worth your time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lorre

    I've only read Kim Harrison's short story. Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel (The Hollows 5.5) by Kim Harrison A novella that takes place when Rachel was 18. Her brother Robbie is home and she wants to convince him that she is healthy enough to join the I.S. It was amazing to read about Rachel before she became a Runner. And I loved the ghost Pierce! 5 stars I've only read Kim Harrison's short story. Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel (The Hollows 5.5) by Kim Harrison A novella that takes place when Rachel was 18. Her brother Robbie is home and she wants to convince him that she is healthy enough to join the I.S. It was amazing to read about Rachel before she became a Runner. And I loved the ghost Pierce! 5 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hebah

    2.5 stars This collection was, to my pleasant surprise, not limited to Christmas stories--the tales included Solstice, Christmas, New Year's, and Thanksgiving respectively. I wasn't familiar with the worlds of any of the authors in this collection, but afterwards, I'm adding Kim Harrison and Marjorie Liu to the list of authors I might check out eventually. Harrison's solstice story of a witch realizing the strength of her powers in spite of the weakness of her body hints at a stubborn, resourcefu 2.5 stars This collection was, to my pleasant surprise, not limited to Christmas stories--the tales included Solstice, Christmas, New Year's, and Thanksgiving respectively. I wasn't familiar with the worlds of any of the authors in this collection, but afterwards, I'm adding Kim Harrison and Marjorie Liu to the list of authors I might check out eventually. Harrison's solstice story of a witch realizing the strength of her powers in spite of the weakness of her body hints at a stubborn, resourceful heroine I wouldn't mind reading more of. Marjorie Liu's story of a woman trained to be little more than a weapon encountering her match in a necromancer was one that hinted at a unique world and interesting conflicts, plus the setting of Shanghai was an interesting difference from other paranormal fantasy romance I've read. The other two stories were pretty underwhelming. Sands' Christmas fare just felt silly and tonally out of step from the others, complete with a soliloquizing bad guy who just... spills all his plans, literally, all of them at multiple points in the story. And the use of shapeshifting abilities took turns for the frankly bizarre. The Thanksgiving entry by Vickie Petterson involved what is clearly some intricate Zodiac-based worldbuilding that was accessible enough for a new reader, but it just didn't grab me for whatever reason.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Simone Stoumbaugh

    I enjoyed "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel," as I have enjoyed all of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows books I've read so far. Kim Harrison is one of my favorite authors, and the reason I bought this book. "Run, Run, Rudolph" is a cute story, but I don't have much to say about it beyond that. I haven't read anything else by Lynsay Sands yet, but I like her writing enough to want to read one or two of her books and see how it goes from there. "Six" is the first story by Marjorie M. Liu that I've read, and I I enjoyed "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel," as I have enjoyed all of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows books I've read so far. Kim Harrison is one of my favorite authors, and the reason I bought this book. "Run, Run, Rudolph" is a cute story, but I don't have much to say about it beyond that. I haven't read anything else by Lynsay Sands yet, but I like her writing enough to want to read one or two of her books and see how it goes from there. "Six" is the first story by Marjorie M. Liu that I've read, and I really liked it. Sometimes the story is a little confusing, trying to figure out the rules of Six's world, but I like Marjorie's writing style, and I like the impression I get in my mind of her characters. "The Harvest" would probably make more sense and come across better if the reader is already familiar with Vicki Petterson's Zodiac series, but without that, I couldn't get into this story. I kept getting distracted by things the characters did that didn't make sense and in the end, I didn't care about the characters themselves.

  14. 4 out of 5

    alicat ♡➹♡

    Reading for Kim Harrison's short story, Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel. This story is set when Rachel is 18, still living with her mom, and getting ready to apply to the IS. She needs parent approval and is concerned her mom will turn her down. Her long absent brother is also visiting and they make a bet that if she can raise the spirit of their father, and he approves of her career choice then her brother will sign the form (as a legal guardian). Wow, this was great! I feel like it really helped me Reading for Kim Harrison's short story, Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel. This story is set when Rachel is 18, still living with her mom, and getting ready to apply to the IS. She needs parent approval and is concerned her mom will turn her down. Her long absent brother is also visiting and they make a bet that if she can raise the spirit of their father, and he approves of her career choice then her brother will sign the form (as a legal guardian). Wow, this was great! I feel like it really helped me understand Rachel a lot more - and to have patience with some of her crazy seeming decisions. I did not realize she was (view spoiler)[still quite sickly at 18. Listening to her family talk about her and how physically weak she was must have been hard (even though they did not know she was eavesdropping). It is obvious she constantly pushes the limits. Also, her brother taking off just after her father's death must have been doubly painful. I love hearing about her dad. Pierce was interesting... maybe too nice? (hide spoiler)] .

  15. 4 out of 5

    L.K. Latham

    So much fun! I loved all the short stories in this book, and the fact they take place during holidays (not all Christmas) make them that much more fun. There are just scary enough to keep the pages turning, but not so scary to fill any holiday with dread. Well worth the read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amethyst Shadow

    This was a fun read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I have written up a little review of each story. I did not realize it when I started the book, but I have books and/or series of books by each of these authors on my TBR shelf. But have not yet read any of them, with the exception of one Kim Harrison's 'Hollows' book that I don't remember being terribly impressed with. So here goes-- Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison-- I have read the first book about the Hollows by Harrison and while it was okay I was not blown away and have not read a I have written up a little review of each story. I did not realize it when I started the book, but I have books and/or series of books by each of these authors on my TBR shelf. But have not yet read any of them, with the exception of one Kim Harrison's 'Hollows' book that I don't remember being terribly impressed with. So here goes-- Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison-- I have read the first book about the Hollows by Harrison and while it was okay I was not blown away and have not read any of the others yet. But I have to say that I loved this story about a teenage Rachel. I have to go back and check my journal entry for the book that I have read, but I don't recall anything in it that relates to this story. In this story we have a young, sickly Rachel, who is fighting to overcome the remnants of a battle with an illness that no before her has ever survived. She wants to join the I.S. but her older brother wants her to move with him and study witchcraft. He makes a deal with her -- If she can perform a spell and bring back the ghost of their father to ask him what he thinks Rachel should do, and her father's ghost agrees that she should join the I.S., then he will sign the papers for her. Rachel performs the spell with success but the ghost that comes back is not her father. This leads to a race to find a young girl, who has been kidnapped by a vampire that the ghost Rachel brought back has battled before. All in all a very detailed and exciting story that makes me want to go dig out my Rachel Morgan books and read them now. Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands -- This was a fun, romantic read. When Jill is zapped by an experimental ray from a molecular destabilizer that her brother has created, she suddenly becomes a shape shifter, able to instantly change into anyone (or anything) that she sees. This leads to a bit of chaos when a crazy lab assistant tries to kidnap her to experiment on. With the help of a guy she has been 'friends' with for the past 6 months, she has to escape the madman and try to keep her secret from her potential new guy, all of this while play Mrs. Claus in the annual Christmas parade. lol A wonderful, fun story that was quite enjoyable to read. Six by Marjorie Liu -- This is a much darker urban fantasy than the first 2 stories in the book. The story takes place in Shanghai where we meet Six -- a young woman who has been raised by the government and trained to be a killer. She works for an elite team of female anti terrorists who are deadlier than any other weapon that the government has. While investigating a possible terrorist threat she encounters a man who is nothing like anyone she has ever met before. When he saves her from a vampire she decides to learn what she can from him about this new threat to her nation, even though it may mean she has to commit treason. Good read, good urban fantasy. The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson -- I really enjoyed this story of The Zodiac. I have not read any of her Zodiac series of books yet, but I really enjoyed this one and look forward to starting them soon. I can't wait to see how the stories tie into this one. I was amazed at how much the author managed to include in a short story. It was great!! Zoe is an agent of the Light, a member of the Zodiac team. She has given up her powers in order to protect her daughter, who is supposed to be a the fulfillment of a prophesy. When her granddaughter, who is also a supernatural, but being hidden in the mortal world for her own safety, is kidnapped by the Shadows, she must contact her old love and convince him and the other members of the Zodiac to help her rescue the child. I am very eager to read more of her books and learn more about the Zodiac. Great Read!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Doyle

    3.5 star overall (really wish we could give .5 star ratings on GoodReads.) Did not read the Lynsay Sands novella, but the other three were well done. First off, The Kim Harrison short. I'd heard of this short from others who'd read the Rachel Morgan series, but this was my first chance to read it. It was really, really well done and made me want to go back and read the whole series again (starting from book 6, because NOBODY in their right mind wants to have to read through what happened to Kist 3.5 star overall (really wish we could give .5 star ratings on GoodReads.) Did not read the Lynsay Sands novella, but the other three were well done. First off, The Kim Harrison short. I'd heard of this short from others who'd read the Rachel Morgan series, but this was my first chance to read it. It was really, really well done and made me want to go back and read the whole series again (starting from book 6, because NOBODY in their right mind wants to have to read through what happened to Kisten again.) When Pierce came into the series I had a gut reaction that he needed to be punched. Repeatedly. I'm interested to see if that's going to change since I read this version of Pierce from a younger Rachel point of view. We shall see. Next was the Marjorie M. Liu short. I've read one of her books before and like her writing style well enough. This short was fun to read and it'd be great to read more about Six and Joseph in the series Liu writes. Really enjoyed the non-traditional vampires that Liu works with here and it would be very interesting to see the entire world again. Lastly was the prequel for Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series. This was....a bit difficult because I have read ANY of the authors' books, so it was kind of like getting thrown into the Hobbit halfway through and just figuring the rest out. But. It was still a good read and I'm going to be getting more of the Zodiac books when the budget permits. My very favorite part of this was the collection name: because holidays ARE hell.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Schnaucl

    Honestly, I was a little disappointed by this anthology. I'd really been looking forward to Kim Harrison's story because I love her Rachel Morgan series and this story was supposed to explain why Rachel is the way she is. I'm not sure I buy that this story explains that, even if Kim Harrison thinks it does. It was nice to get a look at Rachel's brother and mother, but I think Ivy's back story in Dates from Hell was much more interesting and revealing. Lynsay Sand's story was straight up romance Honestly, I was a little disappointed by this anthology. I'd really been looking forward to Kim Harrison's story because I love her Rachel Morgan series and this story was supposed to explain why Rachel is the way she is. I'm not sure I buy that this story explains that, even if Kim Harrison thinks it does. It was nice to get a look at Rachel's brother and mother, but I think Ivy's back story in Dates from Hell was much more interesting and revealing. Lynsay Sand's story was straight up romance, and I'd argue a sci-fi rather than urban fantasy romance at that. I prefer my urban fantasy with a little romance rather than romance with a bit of fantasy so this wasn't really my thing. Majorie Liu's story was okay. I don't read many stories set in China, so that was a different setting for me. Vicki Pettersson's story is really what saved the anthology for me. It was a great look back at the mother of the main character in her Zodiac series. I liked her a lot and it gave me some new insights into some of the regular cast in her series. Jo's mom is smart, tough, and remarkably strong. I also like the description of the Tulpa's house and seeing the inner workings of his circle.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Basic Concept: supernatural plus holidays, specifically the winter ones. One covers the winter solstice, one Christmas, one Chinese New Year, and one Thanksgiving. It was cool that they weren't all about Christmas; that aspect really piqued my interest. I read this primarily for the Kim Harrison story in the Rachel Morgan series. This is the background story of Pierce, who becomes very much a part of the Hollows series in the most recent novels. Frankly, this impressed me. Harrison managed well e Basic Concept: supernatural plus holidays, specifically the winter ones. One covers the winter solstice, one Christmas, one Chinese New Year, and one Thanksgiving. It was cool that they weren't all about Christmas; that aspect really piqued my interest. I read this primarily for the Kim Harrison story in the Rachel Morgan series. This is the background story of Pierce, who becomes very much a part of the Hollows series in the most recent novels. Frankly, this impressed me. Harrison managed well enough to explain Pierce's background summary that I never realized it all had been revealed in a story until I actually read it. It was an excellent addition to what i knew of Pierce in the novels, more the better because I hadn't realized I was missing anything huge while reading them. The other stories were ok. The 2nd story in the book was kinda lame, but the rest were decent reads.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    3.5 stars This short story was a little glimpse into Rachel's past. We learn more about Rachel's family and meet her brother, Robbie, for the first time. There is plenty of action as Rachel tries to summon the ghost of her father on the eve of the Solstice. Of course, this goes wrong and she ends up summoning another ghost by mistake. She must then help this ghost track down those who killed him and bring them to justice. It was a very enjoyable read. It was nice to meet a younger and slightly 3.5 stars This short story was a little glimpse into Rachel's past. We learn more about Rachel's family and meet her brother, Robbie, for the first time. There is plenty of action as Rachel tries to summon the ghost of her father on the eve of the Solstice. Of course, this goes wrong and she ends up summoning another ghost by mistake. She must then help this ghost track down those who killed him and bring them to justice. It was a very enjoyable read. It was nice to meet a younger and slightly more innocent and hesitant Rachel. That said, there is still plenty of evidence of the Rachel that we know and love from the main series. The ghost, Pearce, was fantastic. He was a true 19 century gentleman who I found every bit as charming as Rachel did. It's just a shame that he was dead!. A short story but definitely one worth reading!.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heather G Gentle

    Kim Harrison-- decent-- I enjoyed seeing Rachel as a teen before she got into being a runner. I liked getting to know Rachel's brother a little since we don't get to know him in her Hollows series much at all. I don't know how much you'd get out of this if you don't read the series though. Lynsay Sands-- a little too much of a straight romance for me but good humor and at least mildly entertaining. Marjorie Liu- I found this to be the most interesting. Seems like this could be a stand alone and th Kim Harrison-- decent-- I enjoyed seeing Rachel as a teen before she got into being a runner. I liked getting to know Rachel's brother a little since we don't get to know him in her Hollows series much at all. I don't know how much you'd get out of this if you don't read the series though. Lynsay Sands-- a little too much of a straight romance for me but good humor and at least mildly entertaining. Marjorie Liu- I found this to be the most interesting. Seems like this could be a stand alone and the setting is great and it has some good twists. Vicki Pettersson-- I guess I should re-read after attempting the Zodiac series. I got the basic idea but really got lost in some spots and I believe it's because it referred to that series. Still not bad though

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hazel *Craves the Angst Reviews*

    I got this book mainly for the Kim Harrison story but I really liked all the other stories as well. Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel is the Kim Harrison story and is the introduction to Pierce. Its a great little story and because Im a fan of Pierce, it was nice to see in detail the story thats been referenced in the Hollows books about Rachel and Pierce's first meeting. I love the Hollows and this was a nice little side story! We get an early look at Rachel. At this point in her life, we get to see I got this book mainly for the Kim Harrison story but I really liked all the other stories as well. Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel is the Kim Harrison story and is the introduction to Pierce. Its a great little story and because Im a fan of Pierce, it was nice to see in detail the story thats been referenced in the Hollows books about Rachel and Pierce's first meeting. I love the Hollows and this was a nice little side story! We get an early look at Rachel. At this point in her life, we get to see how she's still recovering from Rosewood Syndrome and her desire to join the IS. We also get to read her very first adventure as the precursor to the Hollows series. It was a really great read!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Kim Harrison and Marjorie M Liu produced to well-written novellas that can be read and appreciated by any lover of urban fantasy, even if those unfamiliar with their works. Vicki Patterson's short is excellent, but might be a harder read for those not familiar with her freshman series - but is a must-read for anyone who reads her books (explains the mysterious disappearance of Zoe Archer). The only disappointment was the short by Lyndsey Sand - written at a level best suited for a intermediate r Kim Harrison and Marjorie M Liu produced to well-written novellas that can be read and appreciated by any lover of urban fantasy, even if those unfamiliar with their works. Vicki Patterson's short is excellent, but might be a harder read for those not familiar with her freshman series - but is a must-read for anyone who reads her books (explains the mysterious disappearance of Zoe Archer). The only disappointment was the short by Lyndsey Sand - written at a level best suited for a intermediate reader, with a plot to match.

  25. 4 out of 5

    ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ

    Anthology of four stories: Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison (Halloween); Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands (Christmas); Six by Marjorie M. Liu (New Year's); and The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson (Thanksgiving). So far, only read... Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands. Okay, so the girl is made into a shape shifter, but if you discount that little detail then it's a fairly traditional yet humourous romance set at christmas time. My rating is based on having read the one story above. It may c Anthology of four stories: Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison (Halloween); Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands (Christmas); Six by Marjorie M. Liu (New Year's); and The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson (Thanksgiving). So far, only read... Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands. Okay, so the girl is made into a shape shifter, but if you discount that little detail then it's a fairly traditional yet humourous romance set at christmas time. My rating is based on having read the one story above. It may change after I've read the others.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Barbara ★

    The only one of the four shorts that I enjoyed was Kim Harrison's Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel which is strange being as I didn't like the first two books in this series at all. Run Run Rudolph - Lynsay Sands was a ridiculous Christmas story. Six - Marjorie Liu was boring and must be part of a series since it made little sense. The Harvest - Vicki Pettersson was just awful and terribly boring. Ugh, just reinforces my belief that anthologies are crap and a waste of money. The only one of the four shorts that I enjoyed was Kim Harrison's Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel which is strange being as I didn't like the first two books in this series at all. Run Run Rudolph - Lynsay Sands was a ridiculous Christmas story. Six - Marjorie Liu was boring and must be part of a series since it made little sense. The Harvest - Vicki Pettersson was just awful and terribly boring. Ugh, just reinforces my belief that anthologies are crap and a waste of money.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This was a fantastic collection of very different but entirely amazing stories. I literally couldn't put it down til I was finished last night. I would've finished earlier if darn it, I didn't have to work. However, my nose found its way back between the pages come lunch time. If you haven't ever read these authors, I highly recommend picking it up and seeing if you like their styles. If you're already a fan, this is a read you simply won't want to miss. This was a fantastic collection of very different but entirely amazing stories. I literally couldn't put it down til I was finished last night. I would've finished earlier if darn it, I didn't have to work. However, my nose found its way back between the pages come lunch time. If you haven't ever read these authors, I highly recommend picking it up and seeing if you like their styles. If you're already a fan, this is a read you simply won't want to miss.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    This is a book that contains short intro stories. Probably a ploy put out by the publishing company to gain readers. The only one worth reading was the first by Kim Harrison. The short by Harrison is a pre-quil to her herione series. The rest were a complete waste of my time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    Read Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel. I really enjoyed finding out her hopes for joining the I.S. Very interesting adventure. Hopefully later on in the series, we will find out more about her brother Robbie.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lo9man88

    reread

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