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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why don't you come over here and....Kiss Me Deadly

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Hi there fellas (and ladies).
Why don't you rustle up a stool and sit for a spell?
Today's bookish post is a doozy and I do mean a doozy with a captial "D".  Why am I talkin this way?  Just seemed appropriate given the title of the post.  What, you no like?
*ahem* *COUGH* *ahem*

Okay, I'm back!  No, it's not one of the new wave of 1920s based books we're focusing on today, although sooner or later we'll get there.  Today's post is featuring a paranormal smorgasbord of goodness kept short and sweet...making the spooktacular find today...LOVE on the PARANORMAL side.  The book of choice....

Kiss Me Deadly:
13 Tales of Paranormal Love
edited by
Trisha Telep

Witches and werewolves,
Unicorns, and ghosts;
These are the things we love the most.
A sprinkling of paranormal,
A dash of romance;
The short stories found here invite more than a glance.
Come find your favorites,
There’s no need to hide;
They’re all right here waiting for you decide.


From the cover….”Becca Fitzpatrick, Rachel Vincent, Maggie Stiefvater, and more….” Well, if you’re going to make mention of some of the big names in this collection, you might as well list the rest since they all hold their own in the YA literary genre. Sarah Rees Brennan, Caitlin Kittredge, Karen Mahoney, Daniel Marks, Justine Musk, Diana Peterfreund, Michelle Rowen, Carrie Ryan, Daniel Waters, Michelle Zink…’re bound to recognize at least a name or two amongst this group. If you don’t, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do because you sure are missing out on some great reads. What’s that? Whom have I read? Oh, well…all of them….at least if you count these short stories…hey, you didn’t specify that it had to be the original books when you telepathically asked that question.

Seriously though…I recognized almost all the names in this collection right off the bat, but my “books read by said authors” quota is standing at a stark TWO…and they were by the same author. Will I be correcting that any time soon? On several of these authors….YES! I mean, if they can get me involved with their stories in this shortened format, I can only imagine the marvel a full-length version of their work would be.

Now, whenever you read a collection of stories, there are bound to be those you love and those you less-than-love in the mix. As it would take an even longer post than I normally subject you guys too for me to go through each and every one(though I could and would do it if you asked really really nicely…hehe), I am going to highlight a few that fell into both ends of the spectrum. Let’s start with the less-than-likes…

This category is always a tad hard to point fingers at…especially in this case, since I didn’t have any issues with the writing style or underlying messages relayed, merely the actual stories themselves; case in point….Errant by Diana Peterfreund. I appreciated the way the story was introduced, the twists and turns within the plot, and the final outcome; they fit together quite well. It’s the whole “viscous unicorn” concept I have a problem with. Unicorns happened to be one of my favorites growing up. Their beautiful coats, magical presence….the whole nine yards. I loved it all. I even had a stuffed unicorn named Uni (…hey it was short for unicorn, and pretty good for a four year old…) with a pink mane, blue eyes, and a shiny silver horn. So for me, envisioning one stabbing someone through the heart or worse is a stretch I’m simply not ready to take, even now. There are those that swear by this author’s series and honestly, I can see why with the writing gift she’s shown in this short story, but for me, they will have to remain a mystery.

Second story to hit this category is Many Happy Returns by Daniel Waters. Okay, so perhaps this wasn’t the best story to get acquainted with zombies, after all, I haven’t read a book featuring them as of yet. Once again, it wasn’t the way the story was relayed to the reader so much as the actual content. Perhaps knowing more of the back story on how they so easily accepted (well, most anyway) that people just started not staying dead would have helped, but again the short story format doesn’t really allow for that to happen. Will I tackle another zombie book? Sure….why not. Just can’t say when exactly. Anywho, let’s move on….

Time to talk the talk about those stories that hit home and I bet you won’t guess which one I liked the most. No, not that one. No, not that one either. It was….Familiar by Michelle Rowen! This was my first encounter with her work and I must say…me likez! In a matter of pages, she had me involved in her character’s lives and wondering many a thing like just why is the cat not a cat? Why doesn’t the girl want to embrace her magical powers? Why are the cute ones always the snarky ones aiming to get you in trouble? Owen is certainly a man about, I mean a cat about…I mean….oh whatever….about his word, even if he is a bit shady in his dealings with his family. Brenda is a great mix of shyness and untapped courage making her both easy to relate to and likeable all at once. Definitely adding this author to a future read list.

Second in this category….oh, that’s a hard one! There were many others that I liked for one reason of another. Let’s see if I can summarize this part....
  • First one, good
  • Third one, better
  • Fourth one, really good
  • Fifth one, unusual
  • Sixth, rather vindictive
  • Seventh, haunting
  • Eighth, unusual also but in a good way
  • Tenth, very interesting
  • Eleventh, different but interesting
  • Twelfth, bad consequences

Now I know I skipped one or two there but those are the ones I’ve already mentioned in greater detail so no need to drive them into the ground.


There is one thing I discovered about my own reading habits when working my way through this book; I much prefer a full-fledged novel to a short story. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book…because I did, truly. It’s just something I recognized in myself while reading. The short story format limits the author to an approximate length for their work and having to focus on the main action scene or sequence in order to deliver a “full” story from start to finish, is plagued by the requirement to leave out a lot of the character and world building aspects. Once I got really into a story, it was time to say goodbye already and try to fit into another character’s frame of mind. It seems I much prefer the time to get to know the characters, their world, and the storyline itself in a more dramatic fashion than short stories allow. Is that a problem? No. Will I avoid short stories in the future? No. They may not be my first choice, but they certainly do well at introducing readers to new-to-them authors. You get a sampling of what they can do and are free to explore their full-length works on your own. Mission accomplished.

All in all, a rather enjoyable experience from some of the top names in the Young Adult genre today and reading time well spent. Would I recommend it? Certainly… I said it’s a great way to sample their writing before committing to a full-length novel with an author you’ve heard of but never read. Review copy courtesy of Nicole at Running Press. (THANKS!) For more information on this title and their full catalog, check out their website or follow along on Twitter.



Until next time…happy reading!







....Petty Witter said...

As I was just saying to another blogger buddy, how I wish I could enjoy these collections of stories but somehow I just can't. Like a child who is given a bar of chocolate and told they can only have a square, these short stories always leave me wanting more - perhaps I'm just too greedy!

GMR said...

Petty Witter: No, no....I understand! It seems I am similar in that sense. I can read them as an introduction to a new-to-me author's work or even an add on to a current favorite, but not constantly. To each their own. ^_^

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

thanks for the detailed review! i've been wondering about this book :)

Juju at Tales of said...

Oooo I really want this one now :)

Cleverly Inked said...

OO I need this one, I have seen it around just hadn't decided on it.

jewelknits said...

This book is already on my to-buy list! I love anthologies, especially horror/mystery/thriller anthologies and can't wait to sink my reading teeth into this one!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

The1stdaughter said...

Okay, you seriously crack me up! I love the intro, just have to say that. So hilarious!

This book sounds fantastic! I actually really enjoy short stories, especially if I find that there are other stories by the authors in the book that I can pick up later. May have to check this one out soon. Thanks!

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