Weddings From Hell by Maggie Shayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My favorites in this collection were the Maggie Shayne and Kathryn Smith stories. The Jeaniene Frost story wasn't bad, and the Terri Garey story was decent.
"Till Death" by Maggie Shayne
I didn't expect to like this story with the family curse due to a female witch ancestor embittered because her husband had cheated on her. She killed him and the woman he betrayed her with, cursed all her female ancestors to die by their husbands' hands if the husbands are unfaithful, because it was better to die than to know that their husbands had cheated on them. It just sounded...not to my taste. Well, it turned out to be a good story. I admit I really liked Ian (well he's a big, sexy Scot--so that's practically a given), and he was a sweetie. I liked Kira too. Although she was a bit skeptical at first, she showed real resourcefulness and bravery, confronting her ancestress to end the curse. I thought the accents were a little hokey. I'm thinking modern Scots don't talk like that. But, I guess that's a small thing. Four stars.
"Happily Never After" by Jeaniene Frost
This is my first story by Ms. Frost, and I'm not sure what I think about her. The humor was a bit on the cheesy and hokey side. Don't get me wrong, I like cheesy humor, but the tone of this story didn't always work for me. I thought Isabelle was a little hard for my tastes. She didn't trust, and didn't believe in much. I didn't really get to know her or come to like her. I hope that she learns to open up a little more in the future. I liked Chance, and I did get some good laughs. I mostly like Ms. Frost's concepts of vampires. I was offended at one comment about what modern women should have done regarding the lie that Isabelle told her unwanted fiance. It makes it seem as though a woman of a certain age who is chaste can't possibly be modern. It was a throwaway comment, but rather presumptuous. I guess I shouldn't take it personally, but I did. All in all, pretty decent. 3 stars.
"Ghouls Night Out" by Terri Garey
Overall, not a bad story. I liked the mystery and the unfolding of the dead bridesmaid haunting Nicki to solve her murder. I did not like the liberal throwing around of the offensive term 'redneck' and the low-brow offensive humor directed towards 'backwoods" people. Some of the jokes were funny, but some were mean spirited, making Nicki seem like a mean snob. Overall, she was likeable, but the judgmental attitude she had towards her country cousins made it hard to warm up to her at first. Her boyfriend, Joe, was scrumptious. It was an entertaining read, other than the offensive parts. Not enough to get me to read this series though. 3 stars.
"The Wedding Knight" by Kathryn Smith
This is part of the Brotherhood of the Blood series, about Payen, one of the knights who drinks from the Blood Grail chalice, becoming a vampire in the process. He seduced and left Violet five years later, but returns when he finds out she's marrying a member of The Silver Palm, a dastardly organization behind the betrayal and extermination of the Knights Templar, and worse. He refuses to let her marry such a dishonorable man, so he barges in on the engagement party, leading to Violet breaking the engagement. In truth, he never got over Violet, although he told himself he couldn't have her because she was human and he was a vampire. Violet realizes that she never stopped loving Payen, and is determined to make him realize their future belongs together. Ms. Smith managed to get three love scenes in this very short story. I liked that Violet was a larger-sized woman, and Payen liked her just fine that way. It was a passionate, well-written story for all its shortness. If a reader doesn't like her love stories earthy and sensual, she probably won't like it. I liked it a lot. Four stars.
This story collection does indeed touch on weddings with a supernatural edge to their distaster quotient. Thankfully weddings do occur in two out of four (with a botched wedding scene in another), so it qualified for my challenge read! So to recap: I received a pleasant surprise with Ms. Shayne's story (although she has proven herself to be a good writer when I've read her). As for Frost, I will one day start the Night Huntress series, and I hope that the humorous tone is more to my liking in those. I'm not stricken with a burning desire to read Nicki Styx's series, since my tbr pile is already massively large and I don't tend to like the more chick-lit-oriented urban fantasy. Of course, I appreciated the Brotherhood of the Blood Offering and look forward to reading the rest in the series. So, I'd say two out of four isn't bad.
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