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Publisher's Summary

Fall under the intoxicating spell of their hex appeal…. In the magical world that lies hidden beneath our own, witches and conjurers play deadly games. They know just the right spell to kill a man with one kiss—or raise him back again. And they’re not afraid to exact sweet revenge on those who dare to cross them. But what if you’re the unlucky soul who falls victim to a conjurer’s curse? And if you had the power to cast a magic spell of your own, would you use it?
In this bewitching collection, nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors tell all-new, otherworldly tales. Spellbinding stories featuring bigfoot, albino vampires, professional wizards, resurrected boyfriends, and even a sex droid from the 23rd century named Silicon Lily. But as our conjurers are about to discover, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hexed. And sometimes, even the best spun spells can lead to complete and utter mayhem.
©2012 Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Carole Nelson Douglas, P. N. Elrod, Simon R. Green, Lori Handeland, Erica Hayes, Carrie Vaughn (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Heavy hitters serve up sharp, dark, witty urban fantasy in this anthology of nine hex tales, each with a unique twist." (Publisher's Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Shay Bella on 01-17-13

Good Format, Good Stories

On the plus side, each short story was its own chapter so you can easily get between parts of the book. The index of stories is below, along with particular remarks.

On the overall, I enjoyed the writing, and found the narration to be professional, but disappointing. As I told my husband, the narration quality was like when you're used to working with a 20 year veteran contractor and then you start working with someone who only has maybe 2 or 3 years on the job – the rough patches that the 20 year man smooths over by instinct the younger pro is still learning how to sand. The male narrators went a little too far into the film noir style for my tastes, and Ms. Van Dyck spoke too quickly with a lack of dramatic sense. It was rather like listening on fast forward. Ms. Hendrix reminded me of Tavia Gilbert's irritating voice, but with a more refined sense of dramatic speech.


1) Retribution Clause, written by Ilona Andrews, read by Marc Vietor
Overall: 4 Performance: 3 Story: 4

I think I'm so used to Renee Raudman reading for the Andrews' stories that any other voice is starting at a disadvantage. However, of Mr. Vietor's two performances in the book, this is the better.

2) Bigfoot on Campus, written by Jim Butcher, read by Jonathan Davis
Overall: 4 Performance: 4 Story: 4

This was, in my opinion, the best performance of the book, and while I wasn't quite getting into the Harry Dresden character, that was more about the character's archetype than any fault in the reading or the writing.

3) Holly's Balm, written by Rachel Caine, read by Jennifer Van Dyck
Overall: 3 Performance: 3 Story: 4

Ms. Caine is now on my list of authors to check out. The story was good, and this was probably one of the better performances by Ms. Van Dyck.

4) Snow Job, written by Carole Nelson Douglas, read by Gayle Hendrix
Overall: 3 Performance: 3 Story: 3

I am not a film fan, so a lot of the points just didn't hit it for me.

5) Outside the Box, written by P. N. Elrod, read by Jennifer Van Dyck
Overall: 3 Performance: 2 Story: 4

The reading on this one was so fast forward all the way that the only drama came from the writing.

6) How Do You Feel?, written by Simon R. Green, read by Marc Vietor
Overall: 2 Performance: 3 Story: 2

I think Mr. Vietor did a decent job with a crummy story in this one. The writing was sooooo over the top terrible that I'm wondering if it ever went through a real edit or just got passed through proof readers and stamped "good to go" simply because of the author.

7) There Will be Demons, written by Lori Handeland, read by Gayle Hendrix
Overall: 3 Performance: 3 Story: 3

This was pretty much a "meh" story for me. It maybe needs a longer format to flesh out things like why the heroine is a fairy instead of a fallen angel, and other oddities shoe-horned in.

8) Cherry Kisses, written by Erica Hayes, read by Jennifer Van Dyck
Overall: 4 Performance: 3 Story: 4

Ms. Van Dyck managed to slow down enough for some drama to come into her reading for this story. While there were some troupe moments in the plot, the whole of it was fun.

9) The Arcane Art of Misdirection, written by Carrie Vaughn, read by Gayle Hendrix
Overall: 4 Performance: 3 Story: 4

Set in the Kitty Norville universe, this tales tells more about the day to day adventures of Odysseus Grant, and is up to Ms. Vaughn's usual standards of quality story crafting.

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful


By Ona on 01-25-15

Some excellent -- some not so great.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Most of the stories in this collection are excellent. Retribution Clause by Ilona Andrews and Big Foot on Campus were both excellent. The reader performing Big Foot did an amazingly good rendition of Dresden -- so good that I was halfway through the story before I realized that it was different from Marsden's interpretation. Holly's Balm was a nice little visit with resurectionist Holly and Andrew. But I found the forced, tongue in cheek style of Snow Job to be so poor a presentation that I skipped to the next story half way through it. Outside the Box by P.N. Elrod was up to her usual excellent standards. The rest of the stories were moderately good, but not memorable.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

No. the three best authors are writers whose work I already follow. I enjoyed the addition to their worlds.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It was a decent sampler.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

The narrators all did well. The reader for Big Foot gave an outstanding performance.

Any additional comments?

I've read similar collections and enjoyed learning of new authors. This one had some good storyes by authors whose works I already collect I always hope that a book of this nature will turn up someone new that I've not read before. Such was not the case with this collection.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Niall on 07-27-12

It was entertaining

I picked up this anthology because I'd heard about it from somewhere and thought it might be an interesting sampler for a collection of today's better urban fantasy authors. While I've heard of some of the authors, the only one I'd ever read anything of was Jim Butcher, so I came in here with no clue as to the nature of the worlds or the kind of storytelling I was expecting.

Unfortunately, many of these made poor short stories for the simple reason that they had to expound huge amounts of backstory for you to understand the world, or they didn't and you then didn't understand what was going on.

I kind of expected the best of the set to be Jim Butcher's, and I wasn't wrong. While there is a vast array of background in Harry Dresden's world, you didn't need to know much of it to get the story or the characters, and Butcher does not reveal it if you don't need to know. The story is pretty cool too.

I had heard good things about Simon R Green and I'm sorry to say that his story put me off his Darkside series entirely. I didn't like the characters or the storytelling.

Lori Handeland's "There Will be Demons" has the only decent sex scene in it. (If you're looking at that cover and title, and expecting something sexy, don't be fooled.) Beyond that, it appeared to make essentially no sense. Snow Job by Carole Nelson Douglas suffered badly from the author's desire to place the story within a series. If I heard "Post Millennium Revelation Vegas" one more time I might have shot something. Cherry Kisses by Erica Hayes and The Aracane Art of Misdirection by Carrie Vaughn were good enough, I enjoyed them, but they didn't make me want to hunt down more books, and the remaining tales were just basically filler, from my point of view.

Maybe, if you are enthused over the series these fall into, you would get more out of the stories. I would not say this was a complete loss, and it did keep me entertained to some degree, but it's nothing to write home about.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Tabatha on 08-14-15

Anthology

Book's overall rating ★★★½ Stars
Really enjoyed ‘'Bigfoot on Campus'' by Jim Butcher, definitely the best story by far & in a total league of it’s own. In my opinion this story & ''Holly’s Balm'' by Rachel Caine saved the book from a far lower overall rating

''Retribution Clause" – Book 5.6 (Kate Daniels) by Ilona Andrews - ★★★½ Stars
''Bigfoot on Campus" – Book 11.9 (The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher - ★★★★★
''Holly’s Balm'' – Part 2 (Holly & Andrew) by Rachel Caine - ★★★★
''Snow Job'"– Book 5.1 (Delilah Street) by Carole Nelson Douglas - ★ Star
''Outside the Box" – by P.N. Elrod - ★★★½ Stars
''How Do You Feel?"– Book 6.5 (Nightside) by Simon R. Green - ★★½ Stars
''There Will Be Demons"– Book 0.5 (Phoenix Chronicles) by Lori Handeland - ★ - Horrid ending
''Cherry Kisses"– Book 4.5 (The Shadowfae Chronicles) by Erica Hayes - ★★½ Stars

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden Files - The Bigfoot Trilogy
Part 1 - ''Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron" – ''B is for Bigfoot" (Dresden Files Bk 2.5)
Part 2 - ''Blood Lite III: Aftertaste" – ''I was a Teenage Bigfoot'' (Dresden Files Bk 6.5)
Part 3 - ''Hex Appeal" – ''Bigfoot on Campus" (Dresden Files Bk 11.9)
(This trilogy has now been released altogether in ''Working for Bigfoot’')

(Holly & Andrew) by Rachel Caine
(Holly & Andrew Part 1) found in- ‘Strange Brew’- "Death Warmed Over"
(Holly & Andrew Part 2) found in- ‘Hex Appeal’- "Holly’s Balm"
(Holly & Andrew Part 3) found in- ‘Kicking It’- " Forked Tongues"
I would recommend reading 'Death Warmed Over' first so able to fully enjoy this really good series of short stories :)

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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