Up and back at it!
Almost midway through Catching Fire (Hunger Games book 2) & I’m going to start reading a book of short stories, a compilation of “All-New Tales of Unnatural Education” called An Apple for the Creature which I’m going to update here after each tale.
Apple for the Creature
Playing Possum by Charlaine Harris– A Sookie Stackhouse story. Unfortunately, not a riveting one. And Sookie is such a twit. Somehow, some way, she has to gripe at any/nearly every woman around her. In this story, she goes to see her nephew, Hunter, at kindergarten. The secretary is having a fight with an ex-lover of sorts and Sookie immediately gripes about the woman (Sherri) being a size 2, and then regrets that she’d eaten a cupcake that morning. OMG, girl, you have to fight werewolves and vampires (and elves, maenads, weretigers, whatever) all the time, being smaller is not an advantage. And then Sookie calls her an idiot when this enraged person shows up to murder Sherri the secretary.
And this story leads me to believe that Charlaine Harris is in favor of arming teachers which makes me think she’s an asshole.
Spellcaster 2.0 by Jonathan Maberry- In the author blurb, it says Maberry is a multiple Bram Stoker award winner, Marvel Comics writer and author of a dozen novels on topics ranging from martial arts to supernatural folklore. Well, Jonathan Maberry, I have high expectations for this. And it lives up. A pack of grad students and a professor are creating a software program that tracks the commonalities between spells and religious incantations and rituals across all time and place in an attempt to prove that the spread of religion spread from religion from one source, and/or track the spread of humankind from Aftrica. A watershed moment for sociologists, anthropologists, folklorists and historians! And…. In the software demonstration, they’re going to recite an incantation to summon a demon. A bunch of nerds who say things like, “This is science, honey. The only magic here is the way you’re working that sweater and the supernatural way I’m working these jeans.”
It goes the way you’d think, but is still witty and interesting.
Academy Field Trip by Donald Harstad- Weird vampire rules, vampires cause death through an STD instead of blood sucking. And they can walk around during the day. I can accept most things, but vampires not drinking blood is stupid. No good.
Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu- A creepy little tale about a creepy little girl who is adopted by an old woman and taught how to do hoodoo. This one was very good, the tone was creepy and the details were spectacular.
Low School by Rhys Bowen- Hell is high school for attorney and congress woman Amy Weinstein. This was one of my favorites in this collection. Creepy imagery. The names, Sally Ann Tan (S.A. Tan) and Ms. Lucy Fer. It starts off as if it might be a dream. Something vague about there being an accident. Very clever.
Callie Me Happy by Amber Benson- Wracked my brain to figure out why Amber Benson’s name sounded familiar. Tara from Buffy. One and the same. Her story is about Calliope Reaper-Jones, daughter of the Grim Reaper himself who has just inherited Death, Inc and finds herself in a class of misfits because of her difficulty opening worm holes.
Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey- This one was very suspenseful. Children are kept in jail cells and have teachers that give them lessons and it takes a while to build up to why. There’s some random ancient Greek mythology and lots of swearing.
Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter- I was very interested going into this because people who read the same type of nonsense I typically read, also read Faith Hunter. What we have here is a story taking place in the world of her Skinwalker series. Umm.. it seems colorful and interesting. Obscure wereanimals, weird rules about witches, egregiously heightened senses. Umm.. weird werewolf rules, when women are werewolves if they survive they go into a constant state of heat? Ewww… That’s stupid. And one of the main characters in this story should be turning into a werepanther but he has a magic tattoo and some flute music that keeps him from shifting. And he’s angsty about losing his humanity (I hate that crap). Anyway, his name is Rick and he used to be a cop but now he’s at some training facility and his partners are a werewolf (stuck as a wolf, tamed by an angel) and a green cat thing. Oookay. Something about witches and demons. I don’t really know.
Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews- This was one of my favorites! Highschooler and magical-person Julie is being enrolled in boarding school by her adoptive mother against her will. Julie wants to work with her mother at Cutting Edge, which helps people clean up their magical hazmat issues. Julie can sense other people’s magic, but doesn’t have any “combative magic,”Seven Stars Academy is a nice school, and she doesn’t have the same privilege as the other students there, she used to live on the streets and she’s suspicious. Of the school she says, “Woo, a school of special snowflakes. Or monster children. Depending on how you look at it.” To her surprise, the principal asks her to find a missing student, Ashlyn. And Julie meets an interesting bunch of students. Bonus points for Epimeliads and other lesser used folklore nods. The characters (and their powers) were very interesting, and had a very high school hierarchy. Lots of fun to read.
An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism by Steve Hockensmith
VSI by Nancy Holder- This one is about FBI agents. FBI agents and vampires. I love both those things. And it’s set in Massachusetts. Hey! I LOVE Massachusetts! But, alas, the extent of what most people know about Mass 1) Boston accents, 2) Salem has witches and “spooky stuff”. I don’t know. Underwhelming. It reminds me of on the TV show Frnge when Walter got off at a T stop in Grafton to go to their beach house and I was like, “WTF, find a map”
Cop jokes are a favorite of mine, though: “I thought when you staked vampires they turned into dust,”
“There’s no evidence to support that,”
The Bad Hour by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost by Toni L.P. Kelner- Cuckoo crazy rules about who can become a supe. Some interesting “idea” about needing an arcane gene to be a witch, turn to a ghost or a werewolf. To become a werewolf, you would need another werewolf kin somewhere in your family history and be infected through a werewolf bite. That’s preposterous. I’m all for authors making up their own rules, but this idea is poorly developed. Genes all come from somewhere, so at one point need in the ancestral past there was… what, exactly? A separate werewolf colony? And Kelner throws in this “female werewolves have a hard time carrying children” thing which so many urban fantasy authors are attached to. And then she says that werewolves don’t have to shift at the full moon?? But, why? And then Kelner writes, “American society was still coming to terms with gays and lesbians- throwing werewolves into the mix would have been a bad idea.” This is another thing authors love to do. This comparison. No. Don’t do it. Werewolves and vampires are creatures that (unless you really stink at writing) will fucking eat and mangle you. Werewolves and vampires are dangerous. Gays and lesbians, not dangerous, human beings. The analogy must die.
Anyway, this story is about a werewolf woman, with a vampire-pirate husband who becomes BFFs with a ghost.
This story was particularly stupid.