Synopsis from Goodreads:
1. Two Blondes - Charlaine Harris - A Sookie short - Sookie and Pam head off to the riverboat casinos to mix business with some fun
2. The Boys Go Fishing - Sarah Smith - A crotchety old superhero's lonely exile is invaded - he longs for death, but may yet discover how to truly live
3. One for the Money - Jeaniene Frost - Night Huntress short - Cat and Bones pull guard duty for a human heiress targeted by supernatural hit men
4. Meanwhile, Far Across the Caspian Sea- Daniel Stashower - An author takes his job as researcher to a new level.
5. The Innsmouth Nook - A. Lee Martinez - Owners of a bed and breakfast rewrite their business plan to accommodate an unexpected demographic in their clientile.
6. Safe and Sound - Jeff Abbott - An ambitious and less than scrupulous TV reporter milks the investigation into a young man's disappearance for ratings
7. Seeing is Believing - L A Banks - After 'seeing' that the cause of several local deaths is a supernatural predator, a young woman heads off to New Orleans to gather what she needs to fight the beasts and there she gains an ally in an unusual young man
8. The Perils of Eferjim - Katie MacAlister - A short starring Aisling Grey's demon newfie sidekick Jim - With Aisling on vacation, Jim's off to grab some R&R as well when he gets forced into human form and banished to Abaddon
9. Thin Walls - Christopher Golden - A man is on a memorial tour honoring his dead wife, but an eye opening encounter with a seductive woman is what it takes to help him move on
10. The Heart is Always Right - Lilith Saintcrow - A gargoyle's vacation in the sun is preempted when he discovers that the young woman he's been drawn to is the key to gaining his ultimate dreams if he's willing to pay the price
11. The Demon in the Dunes - Chris Grabenstein - A man remembers a long ago summer vacation from his youth and a ghostly encounter
12. Home from America - Sharan Newman - A man of Irish descent, has a chance to visit the old country when his family gets invited to a family reunion
13. Pirate Dave's Haunted Amusement Park - Toni L P Kelner - A recently turned werewolf returns to a childhood vacation spot to ponder her future. A visit to a favorite amusement park offers her the chance to pursue the pirate of her teenage fantasies and a chance to make use of her new abilities
Like the "Apple for the Creature" Anthology I did before, I'll go through and talk about each story individually, then rate the collection as whole at the end.
TWO BLONDES BY CHARLAINE HARRIS
I'll admit, I do not like the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but I really liked this short set in the Sookie world. Sookie and Pam head to the state border for some river-boat gambling, but end up in the middle of a vampire plot. In order to get free, Sookie must do something she never thought possible. I don't want to spoil it, but this story was just fun, fun, fun.
THE BOYS GO FISHING BY SARAH SMITH
I have mixed feelings about this one. While I really liked the idea behind it, and themes of the story, I felt that the (a popular Japanese anime by Rumiko Takahashi) fan-service detracted from the message. In fact, I would venture to guess this story started out as Ranma 1/2 fan-fiction and was repurposed for this collection. I would have enjoyed the story more without the anime references.
ONE FOR THE MONEY BY JEANIENE FROST
This story is from Jeaniene Frost's ongoing book series, although you don't have to know the characters to enjoy this story it does help to have a passing familiarity with them. While it drags a bit in the middle, but the ending is fun and satisfying.
MEANWHILE, FAR ACROSS THE CASPIAN SEA BY DANIEL STASHOWER
Honestly, I didn't like this story. Not much happened, and the twist ending, when it did finally come, didn't really grab me much at all.
THE INNSMOUTH NOOK BY A. LEE MARTINEZ
Even people who have never heard of HP Lovecraft will enjoy this humorous little tale. I laughed out loud several times during the course of this story, and the twist ending had me doubled over laughing.
SAFE AND SOUND BY JEFF ABBOTT
A bit long, I had a hard time enjoying the story because of the unlike ability of the main character. However, I did enjoy the twist ending.
SEEING IS BELIEVING BY L.A. BANKS
A strong female psychic heads off the big city to stop a werewolf menace - whats not to like? The ending felt a bit rushed, but other than that I highly recommend.
THE PERILS OF EFERJIM BY KATIE MACALISTER
I've never read any of the Aisling Grey series, and I didn't really understand the conversation that happens at the beginning, but luckily the thread of the story is easy to pick up. This story ended up being a bit too silly for me, which is really saying something.
THIN WALLS BY CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
I hope you are over 16, because this story is very R-rated. Loved the twist.
THE HEART IS ALWAYS RIGHT BY LILITH SAINTCROW
This is one of the most original stories I've read in a while. It is very heart-wrenching, tense, and moving.
THE DEMON IN THE DUNES BY CHRIS GRABENSTEIN
This one captured the spirit of youth. I have to admit I did not see the twist ending coming.
HOME FROM AMERICA BY SHARAN NEWMAN
I was really enjoying this tale about Patrick's first journey to his ancestral home of Ireland, until I got to the end and realized several of my most pressing questions remained unanswered. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this little treat.
PIRATE DAVE'S HAUNTED AMUSEMENT PARK BY TONI L.P. KELNER
Ok, I have to admit this story is the whole reason I bought this collection. I enjoyed Kelner's sequel story, found in so much that I wanted to read more about these characters. I was not disappointed. I love'd the scene in the workroom with the cage. I loved the whole story. I think these two deserve a whole novel.
Every story in this collection either hit it out of the park or whiffed very badly. There didn't seem to be any in-between. Looking back at my reviews, the liked vs didn't like is about half and half, so overall I give this collection three stars.
Links - Digital:
Links - Analog: