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Strange Brew (Jane Yellowrock) Kindle Edition
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' "Bacon," set in the same world as Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, a beautiful vampire joins forces with a witch from an ancient line to find out who killed her beloved husband. In the Alpha & Omega series short story "Seeing Eye" by Patricia Briggs, a blind witch helps sexy werewolf Tom Franklin find his missing brother—and helps him in more ways than either of them ever suspected. And in Jim Butcher's "Last Call," wizard Harry Dresden takes on the darkest of dark powers—the ones who dare to mess with this favorite beer.
For 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 of short stories!
“These tales will easily keep paranormal mystery fans entertained.” ―Publishers Weekly
“This uniformly excellent anthology starts off strong and proceeds to weave in plenty of action and dark magic.... There's something here for every supernatural taste.” ―Romantic Times
“Readers will pick this one up for the popular authors and be pleasantly surprised by the tyros. Highly recommended.” ―Library Journal
- ASIN : B002LA0AAW
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; Original edition (July 7, 2009)
- Publication date : July 7, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 491 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 386 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #94,942 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #95 in Fantasy Anthologies & Short Stories (Kindle Store)
- #179 in Fantasy Anthologies
- #792 in Short Stories Anthologies
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
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Jim Butcher's story continues his popular Dresden Files Series. In Last Call, which occurs chronologically between Small Favor, book 10 and Turn Coat, book 11, wizard Harry Dresden is on the hunt for the mastermind behind some bewitched beer. I've only read the first book in Butcher's Dresden Files, and despite the gap in my Harry knowledge, this was an easy story to slip into and I never felt disoriented like I had missed a lot in the interim. Harry and Murphy play off each other in just the way I remembered. Harry was, if anything, more enjoyable for me. He is a perfect anti-hero with his sarcasm and humorous non-alpha acts of self-preservation. I'm seriously going to have to pick up Full Moon after thoroughly enjoying this funny paranormal romp. Sexual Content: None
I've read several books in Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series (I'm looking forward to starting her Morganville Vampire series soon too), so I expected something good from this talented writer and that's exactly what I got with Death Warmed Over. Witch Holly Caldwell is not that dissimilar to early Anita Blake: both occasionally work with the police to raise the dead. This time, the case intimately affects Holly in more ways than one because the dead man they want her to raise has been raised before, and when Holly lost Andrew last time, she lost her heart as well. My only disappointment with Death Warmed Over is that it appears to be the only Holly and Andrew story that Rachel has written (please let me know if I'm wrong). I thought for sure reading it that it was the second story featuring these characters. I hope Rachel does write more about Holly because she does have that early Anita vibe that I love so much. There is more of a romantic focus in this story but it doesn't overshadow the paranormal elements. Death is easily one of the best in this anthology. Sexual Content: None
The longest story in Strange Brew is Karen Chance's Vegas Odds coming in at 56 pages. The tale opens with a scene straight out of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Half-Were Lia and her boyfriend Were Cyrus destroy her house while under attack from a group of War Mages. From there, author Karen Chance does a wonderful job of creating a world full of magic and a strong instantly likeable heroine while never letting up on the non-stop action. This is probably my favorite story that Ms. Chance has written and I would love to spend more time in this world. Sexual Content: A woman performs oral sex on a man in a brief scene that in not overly graphic.
P. N. Elrod is a new author for me. This story continues her Vampire Files series with vampire P.I. Jack Fleming and his partner Escott in 1930's Chicago. I would categorize this story as a noir mystery that just happens to have an undead lead. Not a lot of paranormal. Jack is described as a vampire much in the same way another character is described as being tall. Not a bad story, just not what I look for in urban fantasy. But if you like Raymond Charles with a dash of Tanya Huff...Sexual Content: None
Bacon takes place in the same Sookie Stackhouse world from the Southern Vampire series but minus Sookie. If you read Harris' story Tacky in the anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding then these characters will already be familiar to you. If your planning on reading both, start with Tacky and STOP READING THIS REVIEW because it will spoil aspects of that story. In Bacon, newly widowed vampire Dahlia seeks out the aid of a witch descendent of Circe to get revenge on the werewolf pack that killed her were husband. So far, this is my least favorite story in this anthology: It's predictable, feels small because it fails to take advantage of the Sookieverse, and lacks even one likable character. At only 32 pages, it went on way too long. Sexual Content: None
Faith Hunter kicked off her Jane Yellowrock series in July `09 with Skinwalker (book two, Blood Cross is due out in Jan `10) , but we get an earlier peak at this shapeshifting vampire hunter in Signature of the Dead. Earth witch Molly is the main character who Jane helps track down a feral pack of new vampires. I didn't even realize that Jane was the main character in Skinwalker (which I'm now adding to the top of my wishlist), but I'm thrilled we'll get to read more about her. She reminded me of a cross between Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels which means I may have just found a favorite new series. Sexual Content: The rape of a woman and her two little girls is referenced but not described.
Like Faith Hunter's story, Caitlin Kittredge's Ginger (41 pages) takes the main character from her Nocturne City series, werewolf detective Luna Wilder, and relegates her to the sidelines. Instead, Ginger focuses on Luna's self-proclaimed wus witch cousin Sunny who agrees to go undercover investigating a blood magic coven. The world building was good here, but Sunny was a bit too prone to crying for my taste. The `villain' in the story is pretty comic book evil too which added a level of corniness that I hope doesn't extend to the whole Nocturne City series because for the world building alone I plan on picking up Night Life to see what Luna does in her own story. Sexual Content: None
Dark Sins picks up after Wages of Sins but before Grave Sins in Jenna Maclaine's Cin Craven series. In 1818 Italy, witch turned vampire Cin and her lover Michael along with another vamp couple travel throughout Europe doling out justice on the criminal vampire population. When the four are abducted by an evil wizard and his followers in an attempt to add Cin to his coven, she must finally learn to use her magic before her friends are killed. If you are a fan of Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles, you'll probably love this. Me not so much. There are no major faults in these 33 pages, but I like my fantasy urban, without gowns and carriages etc. The idea of a vampire who uniquely retained her human magical abilities make for an interesting character in Cin, and if she survives into the 21st century I'll be sure to look her up. Sexual Content: sex scene
Briggs gives us a story of a witch, a werewolf, and the ties that bind: family & love. It may be set in the Mercy Thompson/Alpha & Omega universe, but this is the first time we've seen these characters up close. (I hope to see more of them.)
Harris also sets her story in her well-established Universe (Southern Vampire Chronicles) but using less established characters. Her story of revenge, Bacon, is made all the more delicious and satisfying if you're already familiar with the unlikely interspecies love story, Tacky, found in My Big Supernatural Wedding that precedes this one.
As far as I know, Caine's tale of love resurrected and Chance's action-packed account of espionage among the War Mage Corps are wholly original pieces. I could, of course, be wrong. Regardless, both stories were unique and hard to put down.
The rest of the authors give us stories within there respective series:
Butcher gives us a story involving Harry Dresden, tainted beer, and the Chicago Bulls. Elrod gives us a classic tale of double cross from her Jack Fleming/Vampire Files series.
Hunter's story introduces us to her new butt-kicking, vampire-slaying, heroine - Jane Yellowrock - whose very own book Skinwalker is available this month (7/09).
Kittredge gives us a story of a "glamour-ous" power play from her Nocturne City series that delivers my favorite line in the whole anthology. (I'll let you guess what it is!) And Maclaine's story left me wanting to read more of her Cin Craven series.
Whether new and original or borrowing from established settings or series, all the stories are easy to follow --- even if you are completely unfamiliar with the authors' works. Overall, this may be the best money I ever spent on an anthology. It delivers a fine sampling for anyone who is interested in reading some anecdotes in the realm of urban fantasy. Who knows, you may find some authors from whom you'd like to read more. I know I did.
Top reviews from other countries
My reason for picking up this book is that I'm a big fan of the author Jim Butcher, especially of his Dresden Files series (the books & the short-lived TV series). Strange Brew contains one of his short stories, "Last Call", featuring Chicago's first (and only) Wizard P.I. Harry Dresden. I thought that buying this book would not only enable me to read this short story, but also discover authors whose stories I'd never read before.
There are 9 stories in this book and these are:
"Seeing Eye" by Patricia Briggs is about a witch called Moira who is visited by a werewolf called Tom who needs her help finding his brother who he believes has been kidnapped. With Moira being a witch and blind, it's not going to be your average investigation!
"Last Call" by Jim Butcher finds investigating wizard Harry Dresden walking into his favourite bar in Chicago only to find Chaos... He only wanted a beer but ends up with a lot more than that!
"Death Warmed Over" by Rachel Caine is about a resurrectionist called Holly who is asked to take on a case that will stretch her to her limits and one she'd rather not take, but when she finds out who she has to resurrect, she has no choice but to take it... She fell in love with him the last time, can she take it this time?
"Vegas Odds" by Karen Chance finds Lia opening the door to a delivery guy, only to find he's actually an assassin and not the only one trying to kill her! All hell breaks loose in her home and Lia has to use her skills to keep herself alive.
"Hegate's Golden Eye" by P.N. Elrod is about Charles Escott and his undead associate Jack Fleming. They are asked to help Mabel get back a pendant that rightfully belonged to her - not just any pendant but one that's been in the family for generations and it is cursed... any man who touches the Eye dies!
"Bacon" by Charlaine Harris finds vampire Dahlia Lynley-Chivers hiring a witch to seek revenge for the death of her werewolf husband.
"Signatures of the Dead" by Faith Hunter sees Molly (an Earth witch) and her shapeshifter friend help a detective track down the vampires who have killed a whole family.
"Ginger" by Caitlin Kitterridge - Luna is confident & brave but her cousin Sunny (a witch) is quite the opposite, however Sunny is drawn into an investigation that isn't all as it seems.
"Dark Sins" by Jenna Maclaine - Cin Craven, her partner Michael and their friends find themselves ambushed and kidnapped. Can Cin save them without succumbing to evil dark magic?
Having only previously read work by Jim Butcher, I immediately flicked through to "Last Call" and read that first. It was typical `Dresden" and I loved it - You always get a bit of humour with the Dresden Files stories, whether they're long or short.
I then went back to the beginning of the book, reading each story in turn. Having never read stories by the other authors before, I found the stories refreshing and interesting. Some would be all action while others reelled you in. With most of the stories I found myself thinking that I should look up the author's books as I would enjoy them too. I've definitely found some new authors to follow!
My favourites of the stories (apart from the obvious "Last Call") are probably "Seeing Eye", "Death Warmed Over" and "Hegate's Golden Eye", but they're all good.
Some of the authors are more famous than the others... I'm sure most readers will have heard of the HBO series "True Blood", you have Charlaine Harris to thank for that!
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and it was nice to be able to pick it up and delve into one short story at a time.
If you're a fan of any of the authors mentioned or simply like books about witches, wizards, werewolves and the like, then I would highly recommend this book to you.