"These chicks kick butt indeed."Kirkus Reviews
Chicks Kick Buttby Rachel Caine (Editor), Kerrie L. Hughes (Editor), Dina Pearlman, Joyce Bean
Chicks are awesome--and never more so than when they are kicking some serious vampire/werewolf/demon/monster butt.
Chicks Kick Butt is an anthology that features one of the best things about the urban fantasy genre: strong, independent, and intelligent heroines who are quite capable of solving their own problems and slaying their own dragons (or demons, as
Chicks are awesome--and never more so than when they are kicking some serious vampire/werewolf/demon/monster butt.
Chicks Kick Butt is an anthology that features one of the best things about the urban fantasy genre: strong, independent, and intelligent heroines who are quite capable of solving their own problems and slaying their own dragons (or demons, as the case may be).
Edited by Kerrie Hughes and Rachel Caine, Chicks Kick Butt features original stories from thirteen authors, eleven of whom are New York Times bestsellers:
- Rachel Caine (with a story from her bestselling Weather Wardens universe)
- L.A. Banks
- Rachel Vincent
- Karen Chance
- Lilith Saintcrow
- Cheyenne McCray
- Susan Krinard
- Jeanne Stein
- Jenna Black
- Susan Krinard
- Jeanne Stein
- Jenna Black
- Elizabeth Vaughan
- Carole Nelson Douglas
- P.N. Elrod
- Nancy Holder
"These chicks kick butt indeed."Kirkus Reviews
Chicks are awesome, declares editor Caine in her introduction to this anthology of 13 original stories in the supernatural/urban fantasy mode.
Some of the contributions read less like short stories and more like excerpts from longer works in progress: Susan Krinard's tale of a world where the Norse gods and villains, banished after Ragnarök, return to wreak havoc; Nancy Holder's promising but tantalizing tale of theGreat Hunt and the secret society that defends against it; and Elizabeth A. Vaughan's violent and rather abrupt sword and sorcery tale. Others are additions to previously established series: Rachel Caine's tale of a Weather Warden, her Djinn lover and a brash newcomer teaming up to foil terrorists; a Night Tracker yarn from Cheyenne McCray; and a Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator story from Carole Nelson Douglas. Also on the agenda: Karen Chance's half vampire, half human "dhampir" tackles Chinese gangsters; Rachel Vincent's inexperienced young werecat fights off some bigoted hunters; Lilith Saintcrow's vampire on a mission pausing to rescue a tortured werewolf; in 1937, P.N. Elrod's nightclub dancer with a vampire boyfriend outwits an ancient predatory vampire; in Jenna Black's unusual world, white-hat demons possess humans to their mutual fun and profit, while defeating religious-fanatic extremists intent on burning the possessed alive; Jeanne C. Stein's chief vampire must battle the creatures of her past; and L.A. Banks' vampire power struggle. These chicks kick butt indeed, though one could have wished for more subtlety, and only Black's yarn shows any signs of true originality.
Generally flat, possibly reflecting overly narrow editorial requirements.
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Chicks Kick Butt
By Rachel Caine, Kerrie L. Hughes
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2011 Roxanne Longstreet Conrad, Kerrie L. Hughes, and Tekno Books
All rights reserved.
A WEATHER WARDEN STORY
We were enjoying a rare day that did not include doom and apocalypse, and wonder of wonders, it was one of those balmy, beautiful early-summer days that reminded me why I lived in Florida.
It had been David's idea to do a beach picnic, which, given the lovely, mild weather, was a fantastic idea, but it had been mine to take a drive. A nice long one, on winding roads, for the sheer pleasure of putting tires to asphalt and seeing the world. So we had compromised on a long drive followed by a beach picnic, which was a perfect thing to do on such a lovely day.
Me, I loved to get behind the wheel even more than the prospect of the beach itself. I especially loved to drive really good cars, and this one, a Viper, was right up there in my ranking of awesome rides. Not as sweet as my long-lost Mustang Mona, who'd been a casualty of life in the Weather Warden ranks, but still: nice, and powerful.
David had never said one way or another whether he liked cars, but I suspected he did. Although not much impresses a Djinn. This is an unalterable fact of the world: Djinn — or genies — have been around since the dawn of time, although some are certainly newer than others, and one thing they all share is a sense of historical perspective. By the time you get to your first few hundred years, much less few thousand, I suspect, the "been there, done that" feeling is overwhelming.
Which is why it seemed so unusual to hear my Djinn lover David let out a low whistle as I powered through a turn, and say, "That's something you don't see every day."
I peeled my attention back from the curve and looked where he was looking. Just off the road, with the backdrop of the wetlands, was a mob of vehicles and people, and massive industrial video cameras — high-definition ones, I assumed. Everyone looked ridiculously casual in dress, and highly professional in what he or she was doing.
"Commercial shoot," I said. It wasn't that astonishing, in this part of the world. Everybody loved the colors and lifestyle here, and there were probably more still and video cameras clicking away here than anywhere else in the country, except Hollywood. And maybe New York City. "What's so special ..."
And then I saw it.
It was a silvery vision of a car, elegant as something designed by a classical sculptor. Michelangelo, maybe, if he'd worked in metal and sheer engine power. I instinctively took my foot off the gas, staring, because in all my extensive years of car fetishizing, I'd never actually seen anything that cool with my own eyes.
I pulled the Viper over to the side of the road, barely noticing the crunch of tires on gravel, and stared. My mouth was probably hanging open, too. Honestly, David was right — you just did not see that every day. Or, in fact, any day, unless you worked at an Italian car manufacturer, or had $1.7 million to throw around on a set of wheels. "That," I said, "is a freaking Bugatti Veyron. In the Everglades." It wasn't the fastest car in the world — maybe number two? — but it was, to my mind, the most elegantly designed. And, not coincidentally, the most expensive.
David let out a little snort of laughter. "I wasn't talking about the car," he said. Well, of course he wasn't, but I was still adjusting to the fact that there was a Bugatti Veyron sitting there, not twenty feet away from me. A couple of staffers for the shoot were polishing it with soft cloths, not that it needed the help to look its best. I blinked and tried to see what else was in the picture.
Ah. He was talking about the girl. The one in the bikini.
The one in the diamond bikini. Not a bikini with diamonds, not a blinged-out piece of spandex ... an actual bikini, made of diamonds. Now that I'd noticed her, it was hard to see how I'd missed her in the first place — the glitter of all those facets was blinding. The girl wearing the thing was getting herself powdered — last-minute primping, just like the car — and she looked almost as sleek and expensive as what she was wearing, and what her backdrop would be. I presumed she was a world-class model, or she wouldn't be here acting as the prop for all that loot. You didn't go cheap on the talent in a thing like this.
I blinked as a cloud blotted out the sun. No, not a cloud ... a shadow, and then a body, big enough to present a solid flesh barrier to me catching any more glimpses of car, girl, or diamonds. He was, unmistakably, security. I could cleverly discern this by reading the giant letters in white on his black T-shirt, which read SECURITY, but even had he been unlabeled, there would really have been no mistaking him for anything else. He was professional muscle; whether he took it to bodyguarding a star, bouncing a club, or donning an overdone belt as a pro wrestler, he'd made a career out of intimidation.
"Hi," I said brightly. He scowled down at me from way, way up high. Tall, not only broadly built. "Just wanted to see what was going on."
"Nothing, ma'am," he said. "Move on, please."
"I'm not in the way." I had no real reason not to immediately put the Viper in gear and drive on, but I didn't like being scowled at. Or ordered around. "That's a Bugatti Veyron, right?"
"No idea. Move on."
"Look — what's your name?"
"Steve, I promise, I'm just looking. Give me a second and I'll go."
Instead, Steve took a step back and waved a hand, and from somewhere behind me, two uniformed Florida state troopers sauntered over, one on my side of the car, one on David's. The saunter was deceptive, because I didn't for a moment believe they were being relaxed about it. "Miss," said the one who bent over on my side of the window. He had a thick Southern accent, a little too Southern for Florida. I was guessing he was a Georgia transplant. "You need to move along now, unless you've got a pass."
David reached into the glove box and brought out something in an envelope, which he handed over without a word to the officer on his side of the car. The trooper unfolded the paper, read it, and said to his partner, "They've got a pass, Joe."
"They do? Let me see that!"
The two passed the paper back and forth for a while, then huddled with the security guard, who came back and leaned in David's window this time. David was noticeably not bothered or intimidated; he even looked amused, from the light glittering in his brown-bronze eyes. (He was trying to keep his Djinn side from showing, at least. Thankfully.)
"Where'd you get this?" Mr. Security demanded, flourishing the paper.
David jerked his chin at the model. "From her," he said. "She's my sister."
"Your what?" As if no supermodel in the world had siblings, or parents, or any kind of family. Well, they did often look lab-grown, that was a true fact.
"Ask her," David said, raising his eyebrows. The security dude stalked off, as much as someone so muscle-bound could effectively stalk, and arrived next to the diamond model. He bent over and spoke to her. She leaned past him, looking at David, and then smiled.
"David?" I asked, in a voice that was probably way too confused. "Who is that?"
He smiled, but didn't answer. Annoying.
Security Steve was trudging his way back, and he looked ... apologetic. Not that he had a very mobile sort of face, but I got the subtlety from the hangdog set of his slumped shoulders. He leaned in and said, in a much different kind of voice, "Sorry, sir. Didn't know who you were. Miss, why don't you park right over there, next to the director's car? Miss Whitney wants to say hello."
"Miss Whitney," I repeated, and followed parking instructions as David continued with that Cheshire cat grin. "Do I even want to know how you've picked up a sudden sister named Miss Whitney?"
"The usual way," he said. "At least, for me."
"She's Djinn," I guessed. "New Djinn."
"Not just new. She's only a few years old. Generationally, she's no older than you."
Okay, that was bad news. Whitney was a Djinn — okay, fine, I'd stopped trying to figure out why David liked me better than hot immortal chicks that could move mountains and look any way he wanted them. But the fact was, she was actually my own age, and looked about ten years younger, and at least a dozen points hotter, which already sucked. She was also wearing a couple of million dollars of high-carat diamonds in a skimpy little outfit that left nothing at all to the imagination, not even how expert her bikini wax was.
And she had a cute, infectious smile. The bitch. Honestly, that was just taking it too far.
And she winked at me as we walked toward her; then she swigged some bottled water, and shooed away the two walking-shorts-wearing prettifiers who were hovering around her touching her up. "Well," she said, with a distinct, low-pitched Southern drawl that made the trooper's sound like he came from Nebraska. "If it isn't Mr. Boss himself. Excuse me if I don't kneel. I think this bikini might leave scars."
David snorted, but he looked amused. "Whitney, what the hell is this?"
"Fun." She shrugged a little, which woke a blinding flash of diamonds that must have been a menace to low-flying aircraft. "I get bored just being all-powerful. Can't a girl have a little fun sometimes?" She must have learned the accent, I decided, from Gone with the Wind. "You're just jealous 'cause you know this little thing wouldn't fit you."
She was saying it to David, but her eyes changed focus, shifting over to me on the last word. Ooooh. I felt the burn, and the shock of getting a Djinn stare at full strength. Whitney's eyes were brilliant lavender blue, Liz Taylor's eyes on crack, and there was a lazy mischief in them that reminded me of cats and mice and unfortunate endings for the rodent in the equation.
I put on my best shove-it smile and held out my hand. "Joanne Baldwin," I said. "I don't think we've met."
"Only by rumor," Whitney agreed languidly, without accepting my handshake. She held up her own and blew on the long, beautifully shaped nails. "Sorry. Polish is still wet."
That was so lame an excuse that even David lost his smile. "Whit," he said. "Play nice."
"Or what, big daddy? You'll spank me? Mmmmm." Her tongue glided over her lower lip. Pure suggestion.
His eyes kindled in a hot bronze glow, trapping hers. "Whitney."
She looked away, and for the first time, I saw a flicker of fear. "Sorry," she said. "Didn't mean to be rude."
"Let's try this again. What are you doing here?"
She trailed a fingertip over the diamond-set strap of her bikini top, and tapped one of the stones as she lifted her eyebrow. David let out an impatient breath and said, "You can make one. Don't be stupid!"
"I can't make one like this one. This one is perfect. You know how I feel about having something that's perfect." She licked her lips and glanced over at the car. "That's perfect, too."
David growled, low in his throat, in total frustration. "You will not steal anything, Whitney. I've told you before. You're attracting attention with all this, and I won't have it. Have your fun. Do your photos, and go quietly. I'm warning you."
Whitney's purple eyes narrowed, and she tossed her liquidly dark hair back over her shoulders. Its shine and bounce were perfection itself. She didn't have to battle frizzy hair and uncontrollable curling. "You may be the big dog, David, but don't you bite too hard. We both know I can give you a street fight if you want it."
I had never heard anybody — except maybe Ashan, the leader of the other, older half of the Djinn, a right cold bastard — speak to David that way. When he talked, the New Djinn generally listened, and certainly obeyed when push came to shove.
But not this one.
David, though, wasn't having any nonsense. He smiled. It wasn't a pretty smile, and it reminded me that as much as I adored him, as much as he was all the good things that a Djinn could be, he had a dark streak. They all did. And his wasn't small, just deeply buried and tightly leashed. "Don't push me," he said. "Or I'll break you. For good."
Whitney flipped him off, drained the rest of her bottled water, and tossed the empty to a distantly hovering staffer, who fielded it with long practice. "I'm bored," she announced. "Let's get this show on the road, folks!"
She was the talent, which would normally make her pretty low on the order-giving totem pole — but it seemed like Whitney had already established a brand-new paradigm here in the middle of nowhere. The director — a bulky young man who seemed to prefer wearing his baseball cap backward, which was an asinine thing to do in the Florida sun — straightened up from where he was huddled with a group of people, and clapped his hands. "All right, all right, let's get busy!" he yelled. "Somebody get Whitney in position! And you two, out of the way!"
He meant me and David, of course. Whitney winked at us, and blew David a mocking kiss as one of her makeup staff swooped in to swirl a brush over her face. David and I withdrew to a point outside of the cameras, behind the crew, and he stood there with his feet planted and arms crossed, looking stubborn and worried as he watched them pose Whitney like a life-sized doll, adjusting her for just the right sparkly angle against the Bugatti.
"Who the hell is she, David?" That probably sounded just a little insecure, but Whitney had rattled me. More than any other female (or female-appearing) Djinn I'd ever met, she seemed interested in direct, sexual competition for the attention of my lover, and I didn't like it. I didn't think he particularly did, either, which was a relief, but still.
"I told you, she's very young," he said. "She's — unusual."
"Yeah, I get that."
"No, you don't," he said. "She became Djinn in a way nobody else we've seen has been able to accomplish. Whitney died alone. Not with others, not in some mass disaster or slaughter. She died alone, and she became a Djinn."
That was not the way it worked for the New Djinn (or the Old Djinn, for that matter). Djinn could make the leap from human to superhuman only when there had been enough lives lost to trigger some kind of energy exchange ... people dying alone, or even in small groups, wouldn't do it. David had made me a Djinn once, but he'd cheated, using his own power to sustain me. That hadn't gone over well, and it hadn't been sustainable, for either of us.
"She didn't have another Djinn helping her?"
"Nothing. She just ... died, under traumatic circumstances, and then transformed. Jonathan was studying her to find out why, but she's difficult to control, and I don't think he got very far with it before —" He didn't need to continue. We both knew that Jonathan had given his life so that David could live, after our disastrous attempt to keep me Djinn. "She's extremely powerful. More than any other New Djinn, except me, and that's only because I'm the Conduit." David was the direct plug-in for the New Djinn to the powers of the Earth — the center of the spiral. Whatever his normal power level might be, he could draw on the strength of the Mother, and that trumped Whitney or any other New Djinn.
It didn't look to me like Whitney was the type to accept that without pushing the issue, though.
"She's — not like the other Djinn I've met."
"More human? She is that. In human life, she was savagely ambitious, and she's carried that over to life as a Djinn. Whitney's never seen a challenge she didn't want to take, or believed she couldn't win." He sounded as if he almost admired that — from a distance. "She was a thief and a con artist as a human. She's carried that over as well. No matter how many times I tell her being Djinn isn't a license to cause chaos ..."
The primping apparently had concluded, and now the still photographer was having his day, having Whitney pout, pose, and lounge with the backdrop of the sports car. She was, I had to admit, good at it. I wished my best friend, Cherise, was at my side; surely she would have had some good, snarky asides to make me feel better.
Especially since Whitney kept glancing at David between shots, as if all her pouting, sexy posing was personal.
If it affected him, he wasn't showing it. He watched her with a cool, intense stare, arms folded, clear warning in his body language.
The photos went on for a while, but they were finally done, and a round of applause sounded around the crew.
"Get her set for the video," the director ordered, and ran over to check focus on his two high-definition rigs, much to the bored chagrin of the camera operators. "Come on, people, the light's going to go soon!"
"Well, this is exciting," I said. "And our champagne is getting warm in the car, you know."
"I know," David said. "But she's not here for the chance to look pretty."
"Then why is she here?"
"She's a sociopath and a thief, and as far as I know it could be anything. The thing is, if I leave, there's nothing to stop her."
Whitney must have heard him, because she straightened from a casual lounging position against the shiny Bugatti, smiled with blinding intensity, and said, "Oh, honey, please. There's nothing to stop me now!"
In between one breath and the next, she opened the Bugatti's door, slipped inside, and fired up the engine, which caught with a full-throated, intimidating roar. The director jerked upright, staring, utterly astonished, and dug in his pockets. He came out with a set of keys — the car keys, presumably — and stared from that to Whitney, who was playfully gunning the engine. "How —"
Whitney held up a finger. Her middle one. White bolts of electricity sizzled around it and reflected in her purple eyes. "Greed is bad," she said. "I'm just helping save all those people who'd see this ad and feel all inadequate about the size of their cars, that's all."
And then she put the Bugatti in gear, and arrowed it straight for the cameras.
Excerpted from Chicks Kick Butt by Rachel Caine, Kerrie L. Hughes. Copyright © 2011 Roxanne Longstreet Conrad, Kerrie L. Hughes, and Tekno Books. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
RACHEL CAINE is the internationally bestselling author of thirty novels, including the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Morganville Vampires young adult series, and the bestselling Weather Warden series.
KERRIE L. HUGHES is an artist, writer, editor, and traveler, currently working towards a Master's degree in Community Counseling. She has been editing anthologies since 2005.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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With a nod to the Chicks Ahoy anthologies (edited by Esther Frieisner), Chicks Kick Butt is a fun urban fantasy collection starring strong feisty females. Many of the thirteen entries occur in the respective author's universe. Rachel Caine's "Shiny" stars a Weather Warden, her Djinn lover and a rookie fighting terrorists. Karen Chance's "In Vino Veritas" concentrates on the dhampir fighting Chinese gangsters. Rachel Vincent's "Hunt" focuses on rookie werecat battling predators. Lilith Saintcrow's vampire searches for "Monsters" but rescues a werewolf. In 1937 P.N. Elrod insists "Vampires Prefer Blondes" as a vamp and his nightclub dancing best gal battle an ancient bloodsucker. Morgan Kingsley knows what happens when the wrong type visit in "Nine Tenths of the Law" by Jenna Black. Cheyenne McCray's "Double Dead" is a Night Tracker contribution. Delilah Street investigates the "Monster Mash" in Carole Nelson Douglas' tale while L.A. Banks provides a vampire war in Wanted: Dead or Alive. Also Jeanne C. Stein provides an Anna Strong "Superman" short. Susan Krinard, Nancy Holder and Elizabeth A. Vaughan introduce their fans to new realms. Fans of the various series that populate most of the compilation will enjoy the latest actions of these Chicks Kick Butt though the format size and the limiting serious theme does not allow much plot development or satirical skewering. Still these are fun light frolics as the gender bending females kick the butt of their opponents including males. Harriet Klausner
If the cover illustration doesn't pull you into the book, let the reviews do that for you. A great anthology of short stories featuring female protagonists who can handle adversity and come out on top. I had not read any of the authors previously and generally don't read paranormal fiction, but I did enjoy this book. The short stories do make it easy for the reader to learn a bit about a character or a series without taking the leap into an entire book. A great read. My favorite was "Double Dead" by Cheyenne McCray. It's Nyx against the Metamorphs, those creepy creatures who assume the appearance of a person in order to relieve them of their power, their life, or to bring together some horrible scheme. Nyx is taken in her human form as a private investigator. I thought it was weird that she seemed to be captured so easily by the Metamorphs, being that Nyx is a kick-a__ woman but the story does come together nicely.
What type of title is this...btw i did a random rating
I had a stroke reading this book! It sucks!
Not entertaining like the Chicks anthologies, just depressing horror.
There were several good stories and some I struggled to get through. Stopped reading halfway through and waited for a couple of weeks before attempting it again. Did finish it, but it didn't live up to my expectations.
Lets see if this works