Saturday, August 6, 2011

104:67 Home Improvement Undead Edition edited by Harris & Kelner

An anthology featuring tales of haunted home repair and surreal estates.  As with all anthologies, this one had good, mediocre, and bad all in one.

The Good:
Gray by Patricia Briggs - A vampire story set in Mercy's world (but without Mercy).  New characters and a lot of fun.

Squatter's Rights by Rochelle Krich* - A couple is remodeling a house that turns out to have ghosts trapped in it which are poisoning the wife's mind.  Very creepy.

The Mansion of Imperatives by James Grady* - Some friends buy a house to flip but the house has other ideas.  Very creepy.

The Strength Inside by Melissa Marr* - 2 Bori's are trying to bring their siblings more mainstream but creating the right environment to raise them in is proving difficult due to the HOA.  I liked the different mythos and the characters were warm but in an off way.

Through This House by Seanan McGuire - A Toby Daye short that bridges Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea.  Toby is trying to take possession of Evening's knowe, Goldengreen, but Evening has been dead for almost 2yrs and others have moved in.  So glad to have a bit of Toby again and this didn't disappoint!

Full-Scale Demolition by Suzanne McLeod * - Genny is a pixie-catching, non-spell working, sidhe who gets called in for more than she bargained for.  Old world fae, lamia, and kelpies equals a lot of fun and an intense read.

It's All in the Rendering by Simon R. Green - A House set between reality and fantasy that guards the gateway between is suddenly garnering interest from both sides. Can it's keepers keep it safe?  Not sure if this is part of one of his other series but it was well-detailed and drew me in.

Blood on the Wall by Heather Graham* - A cult-leader is suspected of murdering his cult and the only one who believes him is the detective whose family tomb he's been defiling.  Interesting but not totally gripping.

Woolsley's Kitchen Nightmare by E.E. Knight - Woolsley is a translife Gordon Ramsey, helping out failing restaurants to win back their clientele.  I got the feeling that I might have liked this more if I had more background on the "world".  Some things got enough explanation through the story to make sense by the end but others didn't and had me scratching my head.

The Path by S. J. Rozan* - The ghost of a monk must get the head of the Buddha statue returned before he can move on to his next life.  I wanted to like this one more, especially with the Chinese mythos but it was a little too slow and plodding although a good premise.

Rick the Brave by Stacia Kane* - A world where ghosts are real and can cause real damage, Rick goes to earn some quick money in a house renovation where unfortunately the house has a portal to the ghosts' city.  Again, I think I would have liked this one a lot more if I had more experience with the "world".  The characters were fairly flat but I got the sense that there was a lot of history there that would have made this fun if I'd known it.

The Brightest Day by Toni P. Kelner* - What do you do when the revenant (pc term for zombie) keeps dying before he can finish his task and this gets the loas on your case?  I liked the voodoo aspect to this and there was enough background for me to not be in the dark but while it read quickly, it felt plodding.  I had things figured out very early on.

The Bad:
If I had a Hammer by Charlaine Harris - Sookie short story but really, you could have put any names on it and it wouldn't have mattered.  The characters had no life and it was a typical, lay the ghosts to rest type.  I feel sorry for people who bought the book for this story alone.

Wizard Home Security by Victor Gischler* - A wizard's house is broken into so he gets a wizarding security firm to upgrade his defenses which then trap him when he is broken into again.  Just didn't do much for me.

In all, I was happy with the McGuire and Briggs stories which were the reason I bought it.  I found some new authors to put on my wish-list.  But I'd still have to give the overall book a 3.5 stars because the meh and bad ones really brought it down.

* = new author

Page count: 225p/20,094p ytd

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