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Includes an original Sookie Stackhouse story

New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, Carrie Vaughn, and Karen Chance-along with ten other masters of the genre-offer stories on werewolves and the holidays, a fresh variation on the concept of birthdays and vampires found in Many Bloody Returns.

The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone- particularly lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest, saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand.

Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year's morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.
Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781440639593
List price: $12.99
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I love to read Sookie Stackhouse stories...and this one definitely gives insight into her (creepy) grandfather. (I only read the Sookie story because it's the only one I care about. I'm sure the other stories are wonderful, especially if you like to read about werewolves.)more
This was a great quick read. Most of the stories were upbeat, a couple were creepy, only skipped through one that was dragging, and reading it outside of the holiday season wasn't much of a problem. Yes, each story dealt in some way with a warewolf and the holiday, but these writers were very creative with the guidelines. Actually, the only one I didn't really like was the Charlaine Harris story. Big spoiler, but how is it ok that Sookie's grandfather essentially bought her a one night stand for the holidays? The whole thing was kinda icky.more
some of the stories were good, some didn't really impress, overall not a bad set of stories. All of the stories were about werewolves, some also featured vampires too, some other supernatural creatures appeared and very few of them also featured romance.Gift wrap - Charlane Harris, not bad, some moral issues with it. Though it could be a good place to start with questioning the difference between fey concepts of forced sex and human equivalents.Haire of the Beast by Donna Andrews- interesting, fun solution to nasty ex. An old alchemical work has a woman helping her brother try out being a wolf, and lets her get her revenge on an ex in an interesting way.Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R Green, set in his Nightside setting but without any of the main characters, sad, touching, interestingThe Night things Changed - by Dana Cameron- dealing with evil where vampires and werewolves good, nice story, interesting twist on the Vampire and Werewolf genreWerewolf before christmas by Kat Richardson - werewolf eats rudolph, santa uses werewolf, darkFresh Meat by Alan Gordon - werewolf gets his own back on a hunter.Il est ne by Carrie Vaughn - Kitty helps a new werewolf discover if he was the killer of some people and to find out more about himself.Perfect gift by Dana Stabenow - werewolf serial killers, latent werewolf cop and werewolf partner. Meh, didn't really grasp me.Christmas Past by Keri Arthur - Hannah has to work with Brodie who dumped her last Christmas, and has been ignoring her phone calls and attempts to communicate, now he wants back in her life. Complicated, interesting.SA by J A Konrath, the were creatures battle santa and the salvation army (who are the bad guys) to stay alive and this one kept me chuckling and entertained.The Star of David by Patricia Biggs a mercenary werewolf is asked by his estranged daughter to help with a foster child with issues. The characters really did come alive in the story.You better not Pyout by Nancy Pickard was an interesting story of a vampire santa and a werewolf looking to protect some African wild dogs.Rogue Elements by Karen Chance - complicated werewolf politics and an attempt to assassinate a leader using girls. I really did like this one and want to read more by this author.Milk and Cookies by Rob Thurman is a story of dealing with a bully creatively, in a uniquely werewolf way. The twist caught me by surpriseKeeping Watch over his flock by Toni L P Kelner was a cool story about a boy finding his place in the pack and finding out more about himself.Almost a 4 star set of stories but some of them just didn't work for me, some really worked for me though so overall an interesting set of stories.more
This starts slowly, with a Charlayne Harris story I read in another anthology. But stick with, and you'll never look at Santa quite the same way again, or Rudolf for that matter. This is no treacly collection of feel-good holiday. It is a fun collection and introduced me to some authors I'm not familiar wth.more
**** Star of David by Patricia Briggs - read on 11/15/10After accidentally killing his wife and her lover in front of his own daughter (Stella), David Christiansen understood why she was scared of him especially in his werewolf form. Getting a call for help was something he would never ignore, he would do anything to be a part of her life again. The help she wanted wasn’t for herself as much as it was for one of the foster kids that she was responsible for. A werewolf might be the only way to help Devonte Parish with his particular problem. - What a sweet and tender story - from David’s point of view. A short story that shows exactly why Patricia Briggs is so good with her werewolf characters. I really enjoyed the vulnerability of all the characters, from the small child that had been beat up by a vampire to the werewolf that was there because he too is a monster in his own daughters eyes.more
Christmas and werewolves, what goes together better? Enjoyable collection with a little something for everyone. Alan Gordon's "Fresh Meat" is an interesting take on canine communication and what werewolves do for day jobs. Carrie Vaughn's "Il Est Ne'" finds Kitty spending the holidays in Waffle House.Simon R. Green's "Lucy at Christmastime" takes a look at first times. Not that kind, either - get your mind out of the gutter!Sookie Stackhouse is spending Christmas alone - that is until a thoughtful relative sends her a gift without price in Charlaine Harris' "Gift Wrap."Patricia Briggs fills in a bit more back story, this time for lone wolf mercenary David Christiansen and his family in "The Star of David." - One of my favorites! "Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance introduces Cyrus and Allacia. Can't wait to see these two get something full length!And Rob Thurman's "Milk and Cookies" has a seriously twisted ending. Enjoy!more
Through reading this book I've found a few writers I'll have to look up. Many of the writers seem better suited for long stories and I primarily read this book for the story from Charlain Harris. Her Sookie-verse story was wonderful of course and there were a few other notable authors. This book is a great way to find other similar authors you might enjoy.more
Review Courtesy of AllThingsUrbanFantasy.blogspot.comReview: "Gift Wrap" by Charlaine Harris occurs chronically after From Dead To Worse (book 8) in the Sookie Stackhouse Series and you might want to save this story for later if you plan on reading the Sookie series and aren’t caught up as there are a number of spoilers (but of course my reviews are always spoiler free). Sookie is an odd character. I remember wondering if she was mentally challenged when I started the first Sookie book because she is very forthright and in a way childlike in how she interacts with the world around her. And Sookie brings that same guilelessness to Gift Wrap when she stumbles across a wounded werewolf in her woods and brings him home on Christmas Eve. I'll admit I found the idea of the gift Sookie recieves in this story, considering the source, to be a bit creepy. But Sookie fans will enjoy this much too brief holiday tale.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "The Haire of the Beast" by Donna Andrews, who is best known for her Meg Langslow Mystery Series, contributes probably the shortest story in this book. The first of the brother and sister pairings in this anthology has a witch agreeing to decipher a spell for her brother to make him a werewolf and get even with her ex in the process. Not a lot to say about this story considering its brevity.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Lucy, at Christmastime" by Simon R. Green is a Nightshade short story and its bittersweet. A werewolf remembers his first love while sitting in a bar on Christmas. I enjoyed the somber tone here and even though the ending is predictable, the writing is very good. One of my favorites in this anthology.Sexual Content: None Review: "The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron Gerry Steuben is an average guy, a PI living in Salem, Massachusetts. He’s also one of the Fangborn, an ancient family of werewolves and vampires secretly dedicated to protecting humankind from evil. When a series of increasingly violent murders is committed, Gerry and his vampire sister Claudia must confront an unimaginable supernatural threat on Christmas Eve. -Dana Cameron“The Night Things Changed,” won the 2008 Agatha Award, the 2009 Macavity Award, and was nominated for the 2009 Anthony Award! "The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron offers the second brother and sister tale and one of the longer stories in this anthology. Don't let the innocuous title fool you, this is one of the best stories in this collection. The world building was very strong here and extremely compelling. Fangborn (werewolves and vampires) are the unsung heroes of this world seeking evil to cleanse it where possible, destroying it where not. There are some fun twists on vampire mythology here to. Vampires don't feed off of human blood, but rather bite bad people and suck evil out of them and then sun cleanses the evil from the vampire's systems. Sadly I couldn't find any evidence that this author plans to continue writing about the Fangborn.Sexual Content: None Review: "The Werewolf Before Christmas" by Kat Richardson is perhaps the most festive story in this anthology as it takes place at the north pole and Santa Clause is a main character, but its also arguably the most fractured tale as it describes what happens when a werewolf eats Rudolph and must then lead Santa's sleigh. Kat Richardson takes a break from her Greywalkers series to give us a whole new (and rather macabre) spin on the origin of Santa Clause and some of our most treasured Christmas traditions.Sexual Content: None Review: "Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon is a quiet unassuming tale about a dog trainer who has an uncanny gift for communication with the animals (one guess why). But being a werewolf causes more problems then it solves when his furry secret costs him the only woman he's ever loved and, on Christmas Eve, threatens to take his life as well. The author claims to be working on a book based on this character. I liked this story, but it probably isn't the kind I'd read more of.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon is a quiet unassuming tale about a dog trainer who has an uncanny gift for communication with the animals (one guess why). But being a werewolf causes more problems then it solves when his furry secret costs him the only woman he's ever loved and, on Christmas Eve, threatens to take his life as well. The author claims to be working on a book based on this character. I liked this story, but it probably isn't the kind I'd read more of.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "II Est Né" by Carrie Vaughn has us spending a lonely Christmas Eve with werewolf DJ Kitty at a local Waffle House when in walks a new werewolf who may inadvertently be responsible for a series of murders. You don't really have to worry about spoilers if you're new to this series or haven't read up through Kitty Takes a Holiday (this story occurs chronically just prior to the events in that book). Warm, fuzzy feelings abound by the end.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "The Perfect Gift" by Dana Stabenow presents a confusing story that starts out with a group discussing the idea of 'thinning the herd' of predators, then jumps to a police investigation of a family of murderers. A couple people turn out to be/become werewolves. The correlation between the two scenes was not clear. Suffice it to say this one made very little sense and was my least favorite story in this anthology.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Christmas Past" by Keri Arthur (best known for her Riley Jenson Guardian series(. Good characterizations here as Keri introduces us to a paranormal police partnership between a psychic and her ex boyfriend werewolf as they hunt down a vampire serial killer. This story definitely fits into the paranormal romance category as there is a scene of sensuality. Sexual Content: A scene of sensuality My entry is called Star of David, and centers on David Christiansen, who was briefly mentioned in Moon Called. It's a heartwarming story of how murder and deception can bring a family together. -Patricia BriggsReview: "The Star of David" by Patricia Briggs. Another story set in the wonderful world of Mercy Thompson reunites a werewolf with his estranged daughter to help an orphan on Christmas. Leave it to Briggs to go above and beyond the werewolf requirement for her story and throw in vampires and mages too. I expected Patricia's contribution to be my favorite as I’ve never read anything by her that I didn't enjoy, and Star is no exception, but my favorite entry is yet to come.Sexual Content: None Review: "You'd Better Not Pyout" by Nancy Pickard poses the question: Is Santa Clause a vampire? The story begins with two Russian vampires discussing the possibility and then follows them to the North Pole when they decide they want in on the all you can drink Christmas buffet. Of course Vampire Santa isn't as Jolly as tradition portrays him and the two end up guarding Rudolph from a werewolf. If you're a Futurama fan this fractured Santa will bring a merry smile to your cheeks.Sexual Content: None Someone is kidnapping werewolves, and not just any wolves at that: every one is the daughter of an important clan leader. Desperate to find his daughter, Sebastian Arnou does the unthinkable: he goes to the Silver Circle of light magic users for aid. Their version of a police force is known as the War Mage Corps, and although they agree to help, few have much experience with Weres. The exception is disgraced, on-the-edge-of-being-canned war mage Lia de Croissets, whose mother happened to be a high ranking member of the important Were clan Lobizon. Someone with a werewolf mother isn’t much trusted by the Corps, and a mage with a human father is equally suspect as far as the clans are concerned. But her knowledge of Were customs and her background in human magic make Lia unmistakably the best person for the job. Whether they will be enough to keep her alive is another matter.-Karen ChanceReview: "Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance (best known for her Cassandra Palmer series) invites us into a fully realized world of War Mages and werewolves. I'd already fallen in love with the characters of War Mage/were Lia and her on/off werewolf love Cyrus, but this is the first story featuring them as they struggle to find the kidnapped daughters of a bunch of high ranking werewolves. It's hard to believe this story only spans 40 pages or so because the characterizations and plotting are stronger than most full length novels. Of the fifteen stories in this anthology, this one delivers the biggest payoff for traditional urban fantasy lovers. Tied for my favorite.Sexual Content: A meeting takes place in a sex club, but there is no description of anything.Review: "Milk and Cookies" by Rob Thurman (best known for her Call Leandros series) feels almost like a Steven King story (and I don't mean horror). The voice of the adolescent boy is so strong and painfully/humorously real as he tries to fend off the increasingly homicidal attacks of a school bully and protect his little sister's Christmas in the process. I did not in anyway predict the ending of this one. While it doesn't feel exactly like urban fantasy, I loved this story. Tied for my favorite.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Keeping Watch Over His Flock" by Toni L. P. Kelner (nominated for a Macavity for Best Short Story) nicely ends things with a jaded orphan werewolf spending his first Christmas with a family, learning the biblical origins of werewolves and their special role in the birth of Christ. When he disobeys his Alpha and runs off to shift during the full moon, he gets the chance to live up to his noble heritage.Sexual Content: Discussions of pedophilia. A man intends to molest a child.more
Like all anthologies Wolfsbane and Mistletoe had good and not-so-good moments. The contributions were as follows:Gift Wrap by Charlaine Harris - I love Ms. Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, but this short story was disappointing. Sookie finds a wounded man on Christmas Eve and takes him home with her. It just didn't sound like the Sookie I'm familiar with in all the novels.The Haire of the Beast by Donna Andrews - A woman's brother wants her to use a grimoire from her ex to become a werewolf. After hemming and hawwing about it she agrees. It was an OK read. I realize in a short story it's difficult to develop truly three dimensional characters, but there was little if any depth to these characters.Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R. Green - On Christmas Eve and man reflects on the events leading to the death of his loved one. This was well written. The twist at the end was telegraphed early on, but still managed to entertain.The Night Things Changed by Dana Cameron - A brother and sister team of werewolf and vampire must stop one of there own from doing evil. It was an interesting take on both vampire and werewolf mythos. Unfortunately, the world building wasn't compelling.The Werewolf Before Christmas by Kat Richardson - A werewolf must take Rudolphs place pulling Santa's sleigh after he makes a meal of the red-nosed reindeer. For a short story, this one could have been even shorter. The initial scenes are drawn out. The twist at the end was unexpected.Fresh Meat by Alan Gordon - The werewolf owner of a watchdog training facility has to rely on his dogs to help save him. The villain wasn't very well developed, but the hero was well definied.Il Est Ne by Carrie Vaughn - A newly turned werewolf tries to clear himself of murder with Kitty's help. There was a good portion of internal dialog that added life and conflict to the characters.The Perfect Gift by Dana Stabenow - The motives in this story were somewhat obscure. There's some discussion of thinning the herd, and then the action moves to a police officer and his partner acting on an anonymous tip. The correlation of the two is obvious at the end. The author failed to engage me in the story. Christmas Past by Keri Arthur - The story had the typical romance scenario. A jilted heroine is forced to work with her ex. He tries to win her back. It was well written.SA by J.A. Konrath - A man starts seeing strange things in his bowl movements, and figures out he must be a werewolf. He goes to a shapeshifter's anonymous meeting and learns the true story behind were-creatures. It was a very imaginative piece I found to be very entertaining.The Star of David by Patricia Briggs - A boy in foster care ends up in the hospital. His Social Worker calls upon her werewolf father for help in the case. This was a very interesting story with a unique twist on things.You'd Better Not Pyout by Nancy Pickard - Two vampires decide that Santa Claus must be a vampire, and try to get an endless supply of blood from him. There were too many characters for much depth in a short story. Rogue Elements by Karen Chance - A war mage is assigned the task of locating some missing werewolf girls. The auther did a good job of world building in such a short story. I wouldn't mind reading more about the characters and their world.Mild and Cookies by Rob Thurman - An offbeat tale of a teenager dealing with bullying at school. It was a good story. The only thing I can find fault with is the fact the most bullies have their own entourage.Keeping Watch Over His Flock by Toni L. Kelner - A teen werewolf begins to adjust to life in a pack. Jake wants to go out for a run, but a missing girl means he needs to stay home with his pack alpha's daughter and the alpha. Jake sneaks out for a run, and ends up a hero of sorts.more
The book was ok, and there were really just a few stories that I enjoyed. The 1st holiday anthology was much better in my opinion.more
I typically find with anthologies like this that I like maybe 4 stories and could leave the rest. This time, however, I found I liked more than I didn't, which is a refreshing change! And a couple I really, really enjoyed (evil Santa!!!). This was really excellent, and I'm glad I bought it.more
One of the best Christmas themed anthologies I've read in a long time!more
Happy Hair Raising Howl-idays! (5 stars)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 starsOverall 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!!!more
"Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" is an anthology containing werewolf stories by 15 different authors including Keri Arthur, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, Simon R Green, Charlaine Harris, and Carrie Vaughn, among others. There's something for everyone here as the stories range from humorous to scary, a little spicy to plain vanilla. Each story is fairly short which makes the book easy to put down and pick back up without 'losing' anything. And finally, each story also centers around the holiday season, making this a great book to give as a gift for 'fur' fans.more
Read all 16 reviews

Reviews

I love to read Sookie Stackhouse stories...and this one definitely gives insight into her (creepy) grandfather. (I only read the Sookie story because it's the only one I care about. I'm sure the other stories are wonderful, especially if you like to read about werewolves.)more
This was a great quick read. Most of the stories were upbeat, a couple were creepy, only skipped through one that was dragging, and reading it outside of the holiday season wasn't much of a problem. Yes, each story dealt in some way with a warewolf and the holiday, but these writers were very creative with the guidelines. Actually, the only one I didn't really like was the Charlaine Harris story. Big spoiler, but how is it ok that Sookie's grandfather essentially bought her a one night stand for the holidays? The whole thing was kinda icky.more
some of the stories were good, some didn't really impress, overall not a bad set of stories. All of the stories were about werewolves, some also featured vampires too, some other supernatural creatures appeared and very few of them also featured romance.Gift wrap - Charlane Harris, not bad, some moral issues with it. Though it could be a good place to start with questioning the difference between fey concepts of forced sex and human equivalents.Haire of the Beast by Donna Andrews- interesting, fun solution to nasty ex. An old alchemical work has a woman helping her brother try out being a wolf, and lets her get her revenge on an ex in an interesting way.Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R Green, set in his Nightside setting but without any of the main characters, sad, touching, interestingThe Night things Changed - by Dana Cameron- dealing with evil where vampires and werewolves good, nice story, interesting twist on the Vampire and Werewolf genreWerewolf before christmas by Kat Richardson - werewolf eats rudolph, santa uses werewolf, darkFresh Meat by Alan Gordon - werewolf gets his own back on a hunter.Il est ne by Carrie Vaughn - Kitty helps a new werewolf discover if he was the killer of some people and to find out more about himself.Perfect gift by Dana Stabenow - werewolf serial killers, latent werewolf cop and werewolf partner. Meh, didn't really grasp me.Christmas Past by Keri Arthur - Hannah has to work with Brodie who dumped her last Christmas, and has been ignoring her phone calls and attempts to communicate, now he wants back in her life. Complicated, interesting.SA by J A Konrath, the were creatures battle santa and the salvation army (who are the bad guys) to stay alive and this one kept me chuckling and entertained.The Star of David by Patricia Biggs a mercenary werewolf is asked by his estranged daughter to help with a foster child with issues. The characters really did come alive in the story.You better not Pyout by Nancy Pickard was an interesting story of a vampire santa and a werewolf looking to protect some African wild dogs.Rogue Elements by Karen Chance - complicated werewolf politics and an attempt to assassinate a leader using girls. I really did like this one and want to read more by this author.Milk and Cookies by Rob Thurman is a story of dealing with a bully creatively, in a uniquely werewolf way. The twist caught me by surpriseKeeping Watch over his flock by Toni L P Kelner was a cool story about a boy finding his place in the pack and finding out more about himself.Almost a 4 star set of stories but some of them just didn't work for me, some really worked for me though so overall an interesting set of stories.more
This starts slowly, with a Charlayne Harris story I read in another anthology. But stick with, and you'll never look at Santa quite the same way again, or Rudolf for that matter. This is no treacly collection of feel-good holiday. It is a fun collection and introduced me to some authors I'm not familiar wth.more
**** Star of David by Patricia Briggs - read on 11/15/10After accidentally killing his wife and her lover in front of his own daughter (Stella), David Christiansen understood why she was scared of him especially in his werewolf form. Getting a call for help was something he would never ignore, he would do anything to be a part of her life again. The help she wanted wasn’t for herself as much as it was for one of the foster kids that she was responsible for. A werewolf might be the only way to help Devonte Parish with his particular problem. - What a sweet and tender story - from David’s point of view. A short story that shows exactly why Patricia Briggs is so good with her werewolf characters. I really enjoyed the vulnerability of all the characters, from the small child that had been beat up by a vampire to the werewolf that was there because he too is a monster in his own daughters eyes.more
Christmas and werewolves, what goes together better? Enjoyable collection with a little something for everyone. Alan Gordon's "Fresh Meat" is an interesting take on canine communication and what werewolves do for day jobs. Carrie Vaughn's "Il Est Ne'" finds Kitty spending the holidays in Waffle House.Simon R. Green's "Lucy at Christmastime" takes a look at first times. Not that kind, either - get your mind out of the gutter!Sookie Stackhouse is spending Christmas alone - that is until a thoughtful relative sends her a gift without price in Charlaine Harris' "Gift Wrap."Patricia Briggs fills in a bit more back story, this time for lone wolf mercenary David Christiansen and his family in "The Star of David." - One of my favorites! "Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance introduces Cyrus and Allacia. Can't wait to see these two get something full length!And Rob Thurman's "Milk and Cookies" has a seriously twisted ending. Enjoy!more
Through reading this book I've found a few writers I'll have to look up. Many of the writers seem better suited for long stories and I primarily read this book for the story from Charlain Harris. Her Sookie-verse story was wonderful of course and there were a few other notable authors. This book is a great way to find other similar authors you might enjoy.more
Review Courtesy of AllThingsUrbanFantasy.blogspot.comReview: "Gift Wrap" by Charlaine Harris occurs chronically after From Dead To Worse (book 8) in the Sookie Stackhouse Series and you might want to save this story for later if you plan on reading the Sookie series and aren’t caught up as there are a number of spoilers (but of course my reviews are always spoiler free). Sookie is an odd character. I remember wondering if she was mentally challenged when I started the first Sookie book because she is very forthright and in a way childlike in how she interacts with the world around her. And Sookie brings that same guilelessness to Gift Wrap when she stumbles across a wounded werewolf in her woods and brings him home on Christmas Eve. I'll admit I found the idea of the gift Sookie recieves in this story, considering the source, to be a bit creepy. But Sookie fans will enjoy this much too brief holiday tale.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "The Haire of the Beast" by Donna Andrews, who is best known for her Meg Langslow Mystery Series, contributes probably the shortest story in this book. The first of the brother and sister pairings in this anthology has a witch agreeing to decipher a spell for her brother to make him a werewolf and get even with her ex in the process. Not a lot to say about this story considering its brevity.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Lucy, at Christmastime" by Simon R. Green is a Nightshade short story and its bittersweet. A werewolf remembers his first love while sitting in a bar on Christmas. I enjoyed the somber tone here and even though the ending is predictable, the writing is very good. One of my favorites in this anthology.Sexual Content: None Review: "The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron Gerry Steuben is an average guy, a PI living in Salem, Massachusetts. He’s also one of the Fangborn, an ancient family of werewolves and vampires secretly dedicated to protecting humankind from evil. When a series of increasingly violent murders is committed, Gerry and his vampire sister Claudia must confront an unimaginable supernatural threat on Christmas Eve. -Dana Cameron“The Night Things Changed,” won the 2008 Agatha Award, the 2009 Macavity Award, and was nominated for the 2009 Anthony Award! "The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron offers the second brother and sister tale and one of the longer stories in this anthology. Don't let the innocuous title fool you, this is one of the best stories in this collection. The world building was very strong here and extremely compelling. Fangborn (werewolves and vampires) are the unsung heroes of this world seeking evil to cleanse it where possible, destroying it where not. There are some fun twists on vampire mythology here to. Vampires don't feed off of human blood, but rather bite bad people and suck evil out of them and then sun cleanses the evil from the vampire's systems. Sadly I couldn't find any evidence that this author plans to continue writing about the Fangborn.Sexual Content: None Review: "The Werewolf Before Christmas" by Kat Richardson is perhaps the most festive story in this anthology as it takes place at the north pole and Santa Clause is a main character, but its also arguably the most fractured tale as it describes what happens when a werewolf eats Rudolph and must then lead Santa's sleigh. Kat Richardson takes a break from her Greywalkers series to give us a whole new (and rather macabre) spin on the origin of Santa Clause and some of our most treasured Christmas traditions.Sexual Content: None Review: "Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon is a quiet unassuming tale about a dog trainer who has an uncanny gift for communication with the animals (one guess why). But being a werewolf causes more problems then it solves when his furry secret costs him the only woman he's ever loved and, on Christmas Eve, threatens to take his life as well. The author claims to be working on a book based on this character. I liked this story, but it probably isn't the kind I'd read more of.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon is a quiet unassuming tale about a dog trainer who has an uncanny gift for communication with the animals (one guess why). But being a werewolf causes more problems then it solves when his furry secret costs him the only woman he's ever loved and, on Christmas Eve, threatens to take his life as well. The author claims to be working on a book based on this character. I liked this story, but it probably isn't the kind I'd read more of.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "II Est Né" by Carrie Vaughn has us spending a lonely Christmas Eve with werewolf DJ Kitty at a local Waffle House when in walks a new werewolf who may inadvertently be responsible for a series of murders. You don't really have to worry about spoilers if you're new to this series or haven't read up through Kitty Takes a Holiday (this story occurs chronically just prior to the events in that book). Warm, fuzzy feelings abound by the end.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "The Perfect Gift" by Dana Stabenow presents a confusing story that starts out with a group discussing the idea of 'thinning the herd' of predators, then jumps to a police investigation of a family of murderers. A couple people turn out to be/become werewolves. The correlation between the two scenes was not clear. Suffice it to say this one made very little sense and was my least favorite story in this anthology.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Christmas Past" by Keri Arthur (best known for her Riley Jenson Guardian series(. Good characterizations here as Keri introduces us to a paranormal police partnership between a psychic and her ex boyfriend werewolf as they hunt down a vampire serial killer. This story definitely fits into the paranormal romance category as there is a scene of sensuality. Sexual Content: A scene of sensuality My entry is called Star of David, and centers on David Christiansen, who was briefly mentioned in Moon Called. It's a heartwarming story of how murder and deception can bring a family together. -Patricia BriggsReview: "The Star of David" by Patricia Briggs. Another story set in the wonderful world of Mercy Thompson reunites a werewolf with his estranged daughter to help an orphan on Christmas. Leave it to Briggs to go above and beyond the werewolf requirement for her story and throw in vampires and mages too. I expected Patricia's contribution to be my favorite as I’ve never read anything by her that I didn't enjoy, and Star is no exception, but my favorite entry is yet to come.Sexual Content: None Review: "You'd Better Not Pyout" by Nancy Pickard poses the question: Is Santa Clause a vampire? The story begins with two Russian vampires discussing the possibility and then follows them to the North Pole when they decide they want in on the all you can drink Christmas buffet. Of course Vampire Santa isn't as Jolly as tradition portrays him and the two end up guarding Rudolph from a werewolf. If you're a Futurama fan this fractured Santa will bring a merry smile to your cheeks.Sexual Content: None Someone is kidnapping werewolves, and not just any wolves at that: every one is the daughter of an important clan leader. Desperate to find his daughter, Sebastian Arnou does the unthinkable: he goes to the Silver Circle of light magic users for aid. Their version of a police force is known as the War Mage Corps, and although they agree to help, few have much experience with Weres. The exception is disgraced, on-the-edge-of-being-canned war mage Lia de Croissets, whose mother happened to be a high ranking member of the important Were clan Lobizon. Someone with a werewolf mother isn’t much trusted by the Corps, and a mage with a human father is equally suspect as far as the clans are concerned. But her knowledge of Were customs and her background in human magic make Lia unmistakably the best person for the job. Whether they will be enough to keep her alive is another matter.-Karen ChanceReview: "Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance (best known for her Cassandra Palmer series) invites us into a fully realized world of War Mages and werewolves. I'd already fallen in love with the characters of War Mage/were Lia and her on/off werewolf love Cyrus, but this is the first story featuring them as they struggle to find the kidnapped daughters of a bunch of high ranking werewolves. It's hard to believe this story only spans 40 pages or so because the characterizations and plotting are stronger than most full length novels. Of the fifteen stories in this anthology, this one delivers the biggest payoff for traditional urban fantasy lovers. Tied for my favorite.Sexual Content: A meeting takes place in a sex club, but there is no description of anything.Review: "Milk and Cookies" by Rob Thurman (best known for her Call Leandros series) feels almost like a Steven King story (and I don't mean horror). The voice of the adolescent boy is so strong and painfully/humorously real as he tries to fend off the increasingly homicidal attacks of a school bully and protect his little sister's Christmas in the process. I did not in anyway predict the ending of this one. While it doesn't feel exactly like urban fantasy, I loved this story. Tied for my favorite.Sexual Content: NoneReview: "Keeping Watch Over His Flock" by Toni L. P. Kelner (nominated for a Macavity for Best Short Story) nicely ends things with a jaded orphan werewolf spending his first Christmas with a family, learning the biblical origins of werewolves and their special role in the birth of Christ. When he disobeys his Alpha and runs off to shift during the full moon, he gets the chance to live up to his noble heritage.Sexual Content: Discussions of pedophilia. A man intends to molest a child.more
Like all anthologies Wolfsbane and Mistletoe had good and not-so-good moments. The contributions were as follows:Gift Wrap by Charlaine Harris - I love Ms. Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, but this short story was disappointing. Sookie finds a wounded man on Christmas Eve and takes him home with her. It just didn't sound like the Sookie I'm familiar with in all the novels.The Haire of the Beast by Donna Andrews - A woman's brother wants her to use a grimoire from her ex to become a werewolf. After hemming and hawwing about it she agrees. It was an OK read. I realize in a short story it's difficult to develop truly three dimensional characters, but there was little if any depth to these characters.Lucy, at Christmastime by Simon R. Green - On Christmas Eve and man reflects on the events leading to the death of his loved one. This was well written. The twist at the end was telegraphed early on, but still managed to entertain.The Night Things Changed by Dana Cameron - A brother and sister team of werewolf and vampire must stop one of there own from doing evil. It was an interesting take on both vampire and werewolf mythos. Unfortunately, the world building wasn't compelling.The Werewolf Before Christmas by Kat Richardson - A werewolf must take Rudolphs place pulling Santa's sleigh after he makes a meal of the red-nosed reindeer. For a short story, this one could have been even shorter. The initial scenes are drawn out. The twist at the end was unexpected.Fresh Meat by Alan Gordon - The werewolf owner of a watchdog training facility has to rely on his dogs to help save him. The villain wasn't very well developed, but the hero was well definied.Il Est Ne by Carrie Vaughn - A newly turned werewolf tries to clear himself of murder with Kitty's help. There was a good portion of internal dialog that added life and conflict to the characters.The Perfect Gift by Dana Stabenow - The motives in this story were somewhat obscure. There's some discussion of thinning the herd, and then the action moves to a police officer and his partner acting on an anonymous tip. The correlation of the two is obvious at the end. The author failed to engage me in the story. Christmas Past by Keri Arthur - The story had the typical romance scenario. A jilted heroine is forced to work with her ex. He tries to win her back. It was well written.SA by J.A. Konrath - A man starts seeing strange things in his bowl movements, and figures out he must be a werewolf. He goes to a shapeshifter's anonymous meeting and learns the true story behind were-creatures. It was a very imaginative piece I found to be very entertaining.The Star of David by Patricia Briggs - A boy in foster care ends up in the hospital. His Social Worker calls upon her werewolf father for help in the case. This was a very interesting story with a unique twist on things.You'd Better Not Pyout by Nancy Pickard - Two vampires decide that Santa Claus must be a vampire, and try to get an endless supply of blood from him. There were too many characters for much depth in a short story. Rogue Elements by Karen Chance - A war mage is assigned the task of locating some missing werewolf girls. The auther did a good job of world building in such a short story. I wouldn't mind reading more about the characters and their world.Mild and Cookies by Rob Thurman - An offbeat tale of a teenager dealing with bullying at school. It was a good story. The only thing I can find fault with is the fact the most bullies have their own entourage.Keeping Watch Over His Flock by Toni L. Kelner - A teen werewolf begins to adjust to life in a pack. Jake wants to go out for a run, but a missing girl means he needs to stay home with his pack alpha's daughter and the alpha. Jake sneaks out for a run, and ends up a hero of sorts.more
The book was ok, and there were really just a few stories that I enjoyed. The 1st holiday anthology was much better in my opinion.more
I typically find with anthologies like this that I like maybe 4 stories and could leave the rest. This time, however, I found I liked more than I didn't, which is a refreshing change! And a couple I really, really enjoyed (evil Santa!!!). This was really excellent, and I'm glad I bought it.more
One of the best Christmas themed anthologies I've read in a long time!more
Happy Hair Raising Howl-idays! (5 stars)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 starsOverall 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!!!more
"Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" is an anthology containing werewolf stories by 15 different authors including Keri Arthur, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, Simon R Green, Charlaine Harris, and Carrie Vaughn, among others. There's something for everyone here as the stories range from humorous to scary, a little spicy to plain vanilla. Each story is fairly short which makes the book easy to put down and pick back up without 'losing' anything. And finally, each story also centers around the holiday season, making this a great book to give as a gift for 'fur' fans.more
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