Dates From Hell by Kim Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started this one and put it down almost two years ago. I was distinctly disturbed by Ivy's backstory (from the Rachel Morgan books by Kim Harrison), featured in Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil. It was not at all what I'd call a romance. Her relationships with the men in this story were dark, tangled, and unsettling. It's good to have some perspective on Ivy, but I'm afraid I don't have a good opinion of her character right now. Maybe that was the point, and we will see her evolve as she spends more time around the more innocent and sweeter Rachel. This was a beautifully written, but dark, dark story. Kim Harrison is one heck of a writer and she pulls you into the stories that she spins. I'm not into dark and sexual so much, and this story has that edge to it, hence I was a bit turned off. I did love the banshee part. Very cool! Four stars for the quality of the story, even though this one disturbed me.
Attempt #2 Went much better as I finished the Lynsay Sands story. I actually enjoyed The Claire Switch Project, and I didn't expect to like it. I thought it was going to be way too light and fluffy and annoying as Claire used her power to deceive the man she was in love with. Thankfully I was wrong. It just goes to show that you need to be in the mood to read certain books. This reminded me of a screwball comedy from the 80s (which I love). Claire has a unique ability that her friend manipulates her into exploiting to get a little revenge against the jerk who dumped her. Her scientist colleague, Kyle, is the man she's been in love with for over ten years, but afraid to say anything. Well, he asks her out on a date the very night she has to pretend to be her friends famous date (Brad Cruise, get it?). Hilarity and confusion ensues. It was cute and fun, so I ended up giving this one 3.5 stars.
Kelley Armstrong's Chaotic was interesting. The heroine is Hope, a half-chaos demon/half-human. She gets a high from chaotic/violent events that she has tried to channel into helping people working for the Interracial Council. She's on a mundane date (but on the lookout for anything unusual) and she ends up catching jewel-thief and somewhat rogue werewolf, Karl. It turns out that the people that she works for are gunning for Karl in the worse way, although he's not on the wrong side. They are. This reminded me of those beloved 80s action movies I watched too many of, even though I was probably too young for them. I have to admit that the first person didn't really seem to fit the story that well. I think third person would have gone over better. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Heck, I'm an easy sell with the werewolf theme, and the on the run theme combined. I also liked Hope's unique ability (if you can call it that) I look forward to reading Private Demon to further explore Hope and Karl. Four stars.
My favorite, hands down, was Dead Man Dating. It was so interesting and unique. Kit is a woman who is being relentlessly hunted by a demon who's looking for a very particular type of woman. Not too many of them found in the modern world, especially in the big city. Thankfully there is a rogue demon hunter (sorry, not Wesley Wyndham-Price) here to save her. Chavez is one sexy demon hunter. I loved the aspect of good versus evil, and finding out how to kill this demon that is gunning for Kit. I firmly believe that Ms. Handeland was inspired by Constantine, and I'm not complaining, since I love that movie and the idea of the comic book it's inspired by (I haven't read them yet, but I will). Being the complete folklore/supernatural nerd that I am, I ate this story up like Mexican food (my favorite). This was such a great story, and it flowed very well, hence the five star rating. Here I am hoping that it ties into the Doomsday Chronicles series that Ms. Handeland has out (which is in the you know what). Sign me up to read about these warrior fighting against the apocalypse.
I am so glad I gave this anthology another chance. I have to thank Mel for inspiring me with her love of Karl Marsten. It really turned out to be a great read, and makes this girl who doesn't date that much pretty happy that she didn't go on any of these dates from hell (Sorry. I can't resist a bad pun).
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