Dates From Hell

Dates From Hell - Kelley Armstrong, Lynsay Sands, Lori Handeland The last two stories in this anthology really made this book. Though I like Kim Harrison's writing, her first published short story included here was kind of dry, though Kelley Armstrong's story really rocked. I've included individual reviews for each story below.

Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil by Kim Harrison
Read 08-Jun – 09-Jun-2006
This is Ivy's story, before she meets Rachel and Jenks and starts Vampiric Charms. We learn a lot more about what makes Ivy tick, and how she comes to her decision to live blood-free as a living vampire. I don't think I enjoyed it quite as much as the full-length novels because I missed having Rachel and Jenks too, but still, I appreciate this story for what it is... a deeper look into Ivy's life pre-Rachel. :)
Rating: 6 stars

The Claire Switch Project by Lynsay Sands
Read 06-Feb-2007
Ugh, I should've known I wasn't going to like this one right from the first paragraph. The first sentence actually proclaimed, "A bunny," and I thought yay!! But then it turns out two of the main characters, Kyle and Claire, are running doing experiments and testing on the poor little bunny. And oh boy, I've got a wicked rant I can go on about animal testing, but since it's not really relevant to this review, sufficed to say that it's a wicked peeve of mine that hits a deep nerve.

From there, we just have more cutesy, stupid characters who think nothing of hiding the truth from their friends and people they care about. Another pet peeve, one I can usually live with, but when a huge premise of the story is based upon such deception and lying, it angers me even more!

I wonder why I kept on reading then... well, it was a short story and I was determined to finish it. And I did laugh at one or two parts. Had I not already read a full-length novel by this author, Single White Vampire, which I fairly enjoyed, I'd probably think twice about reading anything from this author if I were to base it only on this short story. I give it a few points not for the story, but because the author herself is a halfway decent writer, and that at least does come across here.
Rating: 4 stars

Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong
Read 18-Feb – 19-Feb-2007
Hope is a tabloid reporter and "supposed agent" for the Interracial Council. As a Half-Demon, she's got skills that enable her detect chaotic events, past or present. While attending a museum gala, she meets up with charming werewolf and jewel thief, Karl Marsten, whom we've met in previous novels. And chaos rules!!

This was an excellent story! Kelley really knows how to write a short story and make it as action-packed and exciting as her full-length novels. In this novella, we're introduced to a new character, Hope, a half-demon journalist, whom I'm hoping will appear again in future books or novellas. Since Karl Marsten seems to be romantically interested in her, this may be a good possibility.
Rating: 9 stars

Dead Man Dating by Lori Handeland
Read 23-Feb-2007
Kit has been saving herself for marriage and true love, so what could be better than a dating agency named, remarkably, TrueLove.com. Little did she realize that her "date" would actually be a demon from hell, and that her "knight in shining armor" would appear to save her mortal soul?

Kit is startled when the rogue demon hunter Chavez manages to extinguish her date in the alley right before her very eyes. But it turns out he's not really dead—or is already dead, I should say—and the demon, part incubus and part Rakshasas, continues to stalk her and attempt to seduce her. For only her virginity can save him. And finding a virgin in this day and age is so rare!

With the help of Chavez, they're able to exploit the demon's weakness and bring about his destruction. But as they're told by Satan himself, the end of the world is near, and these new demons that he's made and unleased on the world are here to bring about Armageddon. The story leaves off here, as Kit and Chavez have decided to work together, brain and brawn so to speak, to defeat this evil before it's too late.

This story was actually quite good. I hadn't yet read anything else by Handeland, though I've got the first 6 books of her Nightcreature series here waiting for me to find the right time to start on them. So now that I've whet my appetite with this short story, I'm quite looking forward to them.
Rating: 8 stars