Enjoyed it... it has great variety of stories from different authors - this way I get to see other writing styles and pick other books by those authors instead of standing in the bookstore for hours trying to pick and choose ^_^. Wonder if there is a similar one but just all about vampires..hmm.... that would be interesting to read.....
All stories are christmas related as the cover shows - some gruesome some funny - it is a nice mix.
Was this review helpful to you?
As a fan of good werewolf fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of fun Christmas stories. One or two felt as if they didn't belong or were more making fun of the genre than actually being a part of it, but on the whole it was a great read, and it gave me a great opportunity to read work from some authors that I've never considered before.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
108 of 111 people found the following review helpful
Fifteen Twisted and Funny TailsOct. 25 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
My favourite urban fantasy anthology of 2007 was Many Bloody Returns featuring stories by a diversity of fabulous authors on a theme of `vampires and birthdays'. This year Harris and Kelner have followed it up with Wolfsbane and Mistletoe which includes stellar cast of writers on a theme of `werewolves and Christmas'. A surprisingly large number of dark tales are to be found (I know, I know--they're werewolves) considering the seasonal setting. Makes me rethink the pecking order of werewolves versus vampires.
Here is a brief look at the 15 howling Christmas tales.
"Gift Wrap" by Charlaine Harris A short Sookie Stackhouse story that occurs after the events of the most recent novel. Sookie is spending Christmas alone until she finds an injured werewolf in the woods near her home. Nuturing Sookie just has to take action. Contains spoilers if you aren't up to date on the series. A feel-good story although I must say Sookie's relative is a piece of work despite his good intentions.
"The Haire of the Beast" by Donna Andrews A humorous tale of revenge. A witch's brother wants to be a werewolf so she researches the spell but also concocts some magical Christmas brownies for her ex. A Lhasa Apso is involved. An amusing ending.
"Lucy, at Christmastime" by Simon R. Green Simon Green is known for his Nightside series and here we have a werewolf in a Nightside bar reminiscing about Christmas pasts and his lost love. You can see the ending coming from a mile away, but it still brings a smile to you face anyway when you get there.
"The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron This tidy little tale of a brother and sister team tracking down a serial killer. She's a vampire and he's a werewolf. In their world supernatural creatures are members of the Fangborn and are always the good guys until now when they learn the killer is one of them. Some nice ideas and suitable HEA.
"The Werewolf Before Christmas" by Kat Richardson Perhaps my favourite of all the stories in the collection, Kat Richardson who writes the Greywalker series, turns out a very twisted tale. Matthias the werewolf finds himself at the North Pole and having just finished off eating Rudolf the Reindeer is corralled by St. Nick into being his replacement. Most definitely an alternate take on our Christmas traditions. The clever Matthias ends up with more then he bargained for.
"Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon Turns out that dogs aren't only mans best friend but a werewolf's best friend too. A smart, fun story where the dog and the girl save the day and the bad guys get their just desserts. Another one of my favourites.
"II Est Né" by Carrie Vaughn A Kitty story set at Christmas just before Kitty Takes a Holiday. Kitty feeling alone and depressed meets a newly made werewolf in a Waffle House. The chance encounter leads them to catch a serial killer, brighten Kitty's outlook and save the sanity of the new werewolf. A nice `It's a Wonderful Life" style ending.
"The Perfect Gift" by Dana Stabenow A confusing tale of two cops in Alaska tracking down serial killers (what's with all the serial killers?). She's a werewolf and he isn't. Or is he? My least favourite of the collection as I just couldn't figure this one out.
"Christmas Past" by Keri Arthur The author of the Riley Jensen series brings us a Christmas romance story about two cops tracking a killer. He's a werewolf and she has psychic abilities. Ex lovers they find their new joint case brings them together again. Hottest story in the collection.
"SA" by Joe Konrath Perhaps the most twisted tale in the anthology and outrageously absurd and funny. Forget everything you thought you knew about Santa Claus and his elves. Here is the straight scoop. The SA of the title refers to Shapeshifters Anonymous. Manages to include were-turtles, were-coral and even furries (don't ask). Tied as my favourite. I guess I have a sick sense of humour.
"The Star of David" by Patricia Briggs A poignant story of Christmas reconciliation from the author of the Mercy Thompson stories. After many years, the estranged human daughter of a werewolf asks her father for assistance even though he killed her mother/his wife under tragic circumstances. Another favourite.
"You'd Better Not Pyout" by Nancy Pickard. Another amusing twisted tale of two ex-soviet vampires (hence the `pyout') in Florida who figure out that Santa is a vampire and that his Christmas scam gets him an open invitation to homes which he later visits for snacking on more then milk and cookies. Wanting in on the action, they ultimately end up in Africa thwarted by a werewolf. Don't worry it all makes sense once you've read it.
"Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance This is a fine police procedural mystery from the author of the Cassandra Palmer series. Set in the Las Vegas of the Palmer universe, it is a tale of werewolf pack politics and intrigue. Lia a member of the War Mage Corps is in denial about her were heritage.
"Milk and Cookies" by Rob Thurman Rob Thurman of the Cal Leandros series offers up a deliciously bent story of what werewolf children really want under their Christmas tree. Loved this one.
"Keeping Watch Over His Flock" by Toni L. P. Kelner Another poignant tale from editor Toni Kelner. Jake a young shapeshifter learns the true story of the nativity and the role of werewolves. He becomes a hero when he rescues a missing girl but needs to shapeshift into something unexpected to protect the secrets of the pack. Funny with a nice HEA.
There are more then enough great stories in this collection to recommend it, although it is not quite as strong as last years anthology.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Great treat for the Howl-idaysDec 25 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I was looking for a good book to curl up in bed with on Christmas Eve, to read by the light of my small Christmas tree, and what could be better for a fantasy fan than a holiday-themed werewolf anthology, especially when one factors in some of the lore surrounding weres and Christmas (ie. a person born on Christmas eve or Christmas day may become a werewolf). Like any good Christmas bag of goodies, this is a mix of all kinds of stories: heart-warming, clever, horrific, and amusing --
"Gift Wrap" -- Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse was expecting a blue Christmas, until an injured werewolf turns up on her land.
"The Haire of the Beast" -- A meddler in magic gets himself into a hairy situation despite his sister's warnings -- probably the first story I've ever seen featuring ...a were-lhasa apso (You read that right!)
"Lucy at Christmastime" -- As other denizens of Simon Green's Nightside gather in a local bar, an aging werewolf meets with a lost love.
"The Night Things Changed" -- A werewolf and a vampire have a hair-raising holiday taking down a werewolf gone bad that's now rampaging in spooky Salem, Massachusetts.
"The Werewolf Before Christmas" -- Just how can a naughty werewolf get back on St. Nick's good list after he's gobbled up Rudolf?
"Fresh Meat" -- A guardian dog trainer's unlikely pack rescues their Alpha when a werewolf hunter threatens to spoil their festivities.
"Il Est Ne" -- Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville helps a recently-turned werewolf find his way home for the holidays.
"The Perfect Gift" -- A detective, born the seventh son of a seventh son, discovers a whole new kind of family while investigating a string of savage murders.
"Christmas Past" -- A psychic rekindles the flames with her werewolf ex-boyfriend while they hunt a vampire bent on wrecking the holidays.
"SA" -- After finding out what's the real cause of his nocturnal blackouts, a young hotshot helps a band of shapeshifters fend off a psychotic gang of hunters in Santa suits.
"The Star of David" -- In this offering by Patricia Briggs, an older werewolf rebuilds bridges with his daughter and helps her protect the troubled young man in her care.
"You'd Better Not Pyout" -- Two gadabout vampires and a werewolf turned wildlife defender discover just why Santa wears a red suit...
"Rogue Elements" -- A mage with were ancestry hunts for a kidnapper targeting young female shapeshifters during the holidays.
"Milk and Cookies" -- This shivery gem by Rob Thurman, author of the Cal Leandros series, is so subtle, I don't dare give it away. Think "A Christmas Story" with fangs and fur...
"Keeping Watch over their Flock" -- A recently turned misfit were finds his place in his pack after helping protect the most important gift of Christmas...
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Very good anthologyOct. 11 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
My primary interest was in the Harris, Green, Vaughn, Briggs & Chance stories. All these stories are set in the authors' most famous universes (I consider that Nightside for Simon R. Green), the Harris story has Sookie in it, & the Vaughn story has Kitty in it. The Harris, Green, & Chance stories were minor, but fun. The Vaughn & Briggs ones are whole novellas, & really good. Special credit goes to Nancy Pickard for unusual idea (Santa as a vampire), but the true WTF award goes to the unknown J.A. Konrath, for a decently-written story involving evil Santas, gun-toting Satan-worshipping Salvation Army minions, the lost (biblical) book of Bob, a were-anon group, a hippo, & many other interesting characteristics. Trust me, go read it, it's the most interesting unusual story I've read this year.
Author list: Charlaine Harris Donna Andrews Simon R. Green Dana Cameron Kat Richardson Alan Gordon Carrie Vaughn Dana Stabenow Keri Arthur J.A. Konrath Patricia Briggs Nancy Pickard Karen Chance Rob Thurman Toni L.P. Kelner
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Good reading for the priceApril 30 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
"Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" gives a good bang for your buck, especially at the Amazon price. If you are a big fan of Urban Fantasy or an unpublished writer, it's worth buying. More than half of the stories are enjoyable, and all can help beginning writers by showing what works and what doesn't. I bought it for the Patti Briggs and Karen Chance stories, but knew I'd like at least a few of the others and was not dissapointed; in fact, I got more than expected. I'd have given it a 3 1/2 stars; but Amazon doesn't do half stars.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Happy Hair Raising Howl-idaysOct. 27 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
A collection of Christmas tales with werewolves as central characters? Count me in. I'm a self-proclaimed Halloween freak. I look forward to it all year. But there's just something appealing about the idea of werewolves and Christmas stirred together. What's next from the clever editors though? They've done vampires and birthdays and now werewolves and Christmas... maybe witches and Valentine's or ghosts and graduations? Whatever Harris and Kelner come up with let's hope they can find authors with contributions as good as most of these turned out to be!
But let me break each short story down for you individually:
[GIFT WRAP] by Charlaine Harris, A Sookie Stackhouse tie-in this short story must take place pretty deep into the series. On the outs with her brother and just having met her great-grandfather she's spending her holiday alone until a hunky injured werewolf pops up on her property. Though rather short and a little anticlimatic it has a cute twist very suitable to Christmas surprises. (I'd also like to note that if you've not read the series and are currently watching True Blood it is a bit spoilery). 4/5 stars
[THE HAIRE OF THE BEAST] by Donna Andrews, When a brother's Christmas wish to become a werewolf gets his sister to translate a magical werewolf spell things get a little hairy. This one surprised me. I didn't really like it at first but I couldn't help but appreciate the hilarious ending. 4/5 stars
[LUCY, AT CHRISTMAS TIME] by Simon R. Green, A Nightside tale of love lost. Most likely the shortest in the book and actually one of my favorites. Highly romantic but tragic. 5/5 stars
[THE NIGHT THINGS CHANGED] by Dana Cameron, Claudia and Gerry are Fangborn, a vampire sister and a werewolf brother. It's their job to protect the world from bad guys but what if one of them turns out to be a fellow Fangborn? This story was okay but didn't really feel like a Christmas tale. It felt like it belonged in a full length novel. 3/5 stars
[THE WEREWOLF BEFORE CHRISTMAS] by Kat Richardson, Matt's been a bad little werewolf and eaten a certain red-nosed member of Santa's team. Where will Santa find a new guide for his sleigh on such short notice? This story has every great element I could have asked for and was the PERFECT story for this anthology. I LOVED it! 5/5 stars
[FRESH MEAT] by Alan Gordan, Sam Lehrmann trains guard dogs but this Christmas Eve he may need some guarding himself. This one will definitely appeal to dog lovers! It was an enjoyable short story that could have happened any time of year but was better for being set at the holiday. 4/5 stars
[IL EST NÉ] by Carrie Vaughn, A Kitty Norville story set before Kitty Takes a Holiday. Spending her Christmas at a Waffle House, Kitty meets a newly turned werewolf with no pack of his own and no idea how to control what he has become. This one really dissappointed me as a Kitty fan. It felt kind of forced and no one questioned she and David's odd behavior considering there was a murderer on the loose. 3/5 stars
[THE PERFECT GIFT] by Dana Stabenow, A family of murderers are brought to justice and a Christmas Eve born man fulfills a prophecy. This story had nothing to do with Christmas and was an overall dissappointment. 1/5 stars
[CHRISTMAS PAST] by Keri Arthur, A Christmas-time murder investigation brings exes back together. Just the sort of story the PNR fans are looking for, hunky hero, sassy heroine, sexual tension and a happy ending. 3/5 stars
[SA] by J. A. Konrath, Robert Weston Smith has been having... tummy trouble. Could his bowel troubles be explained by lycanthropy? And what does the Salvation Army have to do with it all? I don't think I've laughed so hard reading a werewolf story... ever! This definitely isn't for everyone, bring a very irreverent sense of humor and enjoy. 5/5 stars
[THE STAR OF DAVID] by Patricia Briggs, Can a father and daughter divided by his werewolf mistakes be brought together to save a young man's life and for a Christmas celebration? Is it so terrible of me to say that I liked this one better than Cry Wolf? I also loved the fact that Stella and her father were noted as not being caucasian which we just don't see often enough in urban fantasy! 4/5 stars
[YOU'D BETTER NOT PYOUT] by Nancy Pickard, Another Santa Claus tale with a wicked paranormal twist. Pretty funny and entertaining but hard to love after Richardson's better contribution. 3/5 stars
[ROGUE ELEMENTS] by Karen Chance, Set in the same realm as her Cassie Palmer and Dorina Basarab series, this holiday story centers around the Silver Circle and the werewolf clans. There wasn't a Christmas element to this one either really which was, yet again, problematic for me. I normally very much like Chance's work but this one didn't win me. 2/5 stars
[MILK AND COOKIES] by Rob Thurman, A story somewhat akin to the classic holiday film A Christmas Story. A big brother had to not only protect his sister from the school bully, but give her the perfect Christmas too. So cleverly crafted and subtle it was delicious, like my grandma's traditional "Snowball" cookies (Russian Tea Cakes) I devoured this one with childish delight. 5/5 stars
[KEEPING WATCH OVER HIS FLOCK] by Tony L. P. Kelner, Bringing Christmas back to its Christian roots this is a tale of a young werewolf and the family that has adopted him. When he breaks the rules and goes running in the woods he proves that perhaps the wolf is the most noble animal of all. This was absolutely touching and next to the melancholy offering from Simon R. Green it ended up being my favorite. 5/5 stars
Overall there were a few duds as far as my taste goes. When I bought the anthology I expected strong Christmas themes in them and was admittedly not happy to find that some were set around the holiday and didn't have a lot to do with it. But to anyone looking for a great holiday gift for a werewolf fan this IS perfect. And as an aside... there wasn't really any sex that I recall so it would be an appropriate read for even some teens. Now someone tell the editors I want a volume two for next Christmas!!!