Strange Brew

Strange Brew

by P. N. Elrod (Editor)

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Strange Brew 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
Melhay More than 1 year ago
~Seeing Eye After reading this story of Moira Keller, a good witch in Seattle who gets a late night visit from a man - or werewolf - in need of help against Them -- I cannot believe I have not read any stories by Patricia. Tom is looking for his kidnapped "gifted" brother, Jon. Everything Tom told Moira rang true with her as it matched her dreams. Moira believes Jon was kidnapped as a sacrifice on Halloween for Kouro Samhain and his coven. I really enjoyed the unexpected turns and events of the story. This story has made purchasing the anthology worth it. And this was only the first story. ~Death Warmed Over Holly Anne Caldwell, a witch who's the best at what she does - resurrection, hates doing ressurections on a work night, as they take all night and no sleep doesn't help the day job. But Sam asks her to do one on Thursday, it's Monday. A long-term resurrection for the Police Department can't be a good thing, and on such short notice. Will she take it? The person she is to resurrect has a long strong history himself, and a short history with Holly too. I really enjoyed this short story. I loved the way the characters where developed in this short story and connected with each other and find I want to read more of the short time Holly and Andrew spent together before. I am definitely going to have to get a few more of her books after reading this short story. Great read! ~Signatures of the Dead A whole family is butchered and Brax wants to get the killers. Brax needs to know for sure if its vampires, if they are okay, and where they sleep to get justice. Molly is a unique Earth Witch and could help. But could it hurt her? Being a short of thirty-three pages, I felt the suspense and couldn't wait to get to the end to see where they story went. As the story went the plot thickened for me. I really felt pulled in to this world with these characters. The characters abilities and limits amazed me. I really liked the way witches were broke down and made a bigger type of character with new rules (for me) along with limits. This short story introduced me to a character I really liked the idea of, Jane Yellow rock - from Skinwalker. ~Dark Sins Cin a witch turned vampire three years ago by Michael, unusually retained her witch powers - yet she doesn't have control of them and has premonitions. Cin and Michael are on a holiday in Venice with their friends Devlin and Justine when they are attacked by a dark Wizard and his witches. When Cin wakes up she is on a stone floor surrounded by a ward and her friends are laying on alters. Why are they wanted in this town? This story starts off with action of both sexual and physical battle. I enjoyed how the action kept moving through this story. This short story also had a start, climax, and an end to the story. There was a creation of a god and plans for the future with these characters. I look forward to other stories here in this world, whether in anthologies or full books. I am going to have to find this series of Cin Craven now.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
All in all I really enjoyed this urban fantasy anthology; it was a lot of fun. I gave this a 4-star rating because there were only a couple duds out of all the nine authors who contributed; and that in itself is really surprising to have so many good novellas in one anthology. Faith Hunter "Signatures of the Dead" Now this novella was spectacular! This was definitely my favorite out of all nine authors. We are introduced to Jane Yellowrock, the heroine in Faith Hunter's new series. This novella however, focuses on Molly Trueblood, an earth witch. Molly assist her friends, Jane and a detective in locating rogue vampires who are currently on a vicious killing spree. The story was exciting, mysterious and smoothly done. The whole story felt complete even though it was only 31 pages long. 5+/5 Caitlin Kittredge "Ginger" This one comes in at a close second. This novella takes place in Caitlin's Nocturne City world. The story focuses on Sunny who helps Luna in infiltrating a blood magic coven. The story was interesting, moved fluidly and was full of action and intrigue. 5/5 Rachel Caine "Death Warmed Over" I stop reading Rachel's Weather Warden series last year because it started to seem completely unbelievable and coincidental. This story however, was flawless! Holly, a Necromancer, is asked by the police to resurrect a tenacious Zombie War hero to assist them in a current case. This story really surprised me. It was dark, interesting, humorous and smooth. 5/5 Karen Chance "Vegas Odds" Lia a mage teacher and her werewolf boyfriend Cyrus are attached in her home by a few of her rogue students, hellbent on killing her. This story was invigorating, exciting and fast paced. 5/5 Patricia Briggs "Seeing Eye" Moira, a powerful witch aids a werewolf in the search for his brother. The story was interesting but the transitions weren't smooth and flowing; instead it felt choppy and hurried. Regardless of the rushed impression, I liked Moira. She's a blind witch with a lot of courage and a steel spine. She chose to walk into a lion's den in complete darkness, for a complete stranger. 4/5 Jim Butcher "Last Call" Harry Dresden gets more than he bargained for when he goes on a beer run. This was my least favorite. Now I loved the show The Dresden files from the Scifi network and was pissed off when it got canceled. Surprisingly though, this story just didn't hook me. I found it boring and tedious. 1/5 This anthology was a surprisingly fast read and I highly recommend it. Most of the stories had a nice spooky and comfy feel to them. Like when you snuggle up and crack open a good book on a cold and snowy night, and more importantly, with a day off from work the next day.lol
randime More than 1 year ago
I always find this collaboration of writers keep me interested. The stories are offbeat, sometimes commical, usually thrilling and definitely original.
Shallan More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read anything of each of the authors who provide a short story, "Strange Brew" will help you by giving you a taste of how they write and of the characters of their books. I have all the books of the series for Butcher (Harry Dresdan), Harris (Sookie Stackhouse), and Briggs (Mercy Thompson and the Omega Series). Read this then take the time to find out more of what these authors write. They are worth the time.
katydidit More than 1 year ago
I am a Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris fan already and I enjoyed the chance to read some other current SF/F writers without committing to a whole novel. I enjoyed the stories in this book and will probably end up checking out some of the authors' novels, which was, I am sure, the intent of this compilation. This is also good if you enjoy some reading before bedtime, but you're too busy to get engrossed in a long novel. I picked this up during my busy season and it was great to have something entertaining to read before bed and I didn't have to worry about staying up too late because I "just couldn't put it down".
AGDee More than 1 year ago
the book is done by several diffrent authors. thus you will have a nice variety to stories. there is a little of everything for everyone. the action, romance,humour,suspenes,saddness, and horror. i fully enjoyed the book personally. Introduced me to new authours and stories to look into futher for future reading. however, this is not a book i would recommend for younger teens or children. over all i gave it high marks.
Jonathan_Mowbray More than 1 year ago
I have read several of the short story collections edited by P.N. Elrod, and as with the others I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. The variety of stories from a number of different authors exposed me to writers that I haven't read before and resulted in my starting to read several other series.
I_grok More than 1 year ago
A fun quick read. A few of the stories are even touching.
Soberguy More than 1 year ago
For fans of the wizard, werewolf and night beastie gang, this is a great read. Butcher's Dresden stories are always a great mix of humor, magic and Sam Spade type detective story. All of these writers are at the top of their game for the genre. No eternal classics here but a lot of great fun reading. Highly recommended.
babsji on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The top two stories in my opinion would be Jim Butcher's 'Last Call' and Charlaine Harris' 'Bacon'. Bacon doesn't have Sookie in it, or any of the other major players, but it is set in that world. Most of the other stories I liked except for two., which were Rachel Caine's 'Death Warmed Over' and Jenna MacLaine's 'Dark Sins'. And that was more because of the stories, than the writing.
DragonLibrary8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful collection of stories. I couldn't put it down. As I finished each story, I wondered if the author had more stories with those characters. This book is a nice introduction to the styles of each of the authors.
dbhutch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
P.N. Elrod has made a set of excellent choices of authors shorts in this unique collection of magical and mythical tales. I have read Jim Butcher's work in the past, but none of the other authors until now, and will be doing some homework to add titles to my list. Works from Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine, Karen Chance, P.N. Elrod, Charlaine Harris, Faith Hunter, Caitlin Kittridge, and Jenna Maclaine, all make this book an excellent source of getting a feel for what out there that is good to read, and interesting. witches, werevolves, Vampires, all make their make here, and some in mixed company, and mixed races. I think this will actually have me out looking for other collections edited by Elrod as well.
SnowSnake on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this primarily for the stories by Patricia Briggs (author of the Mercy Thompson series), Karen Chance (author of the Cassandra Palmer series), and Charlaine Harris (author of the Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire series). Those three stories alone make the book a great buy! But I ended up enjoying all the other stories, too! I just consider the rest a bonus. If you like "paranormal" stories, then you will not go wrong with this book. I recommend it!
schnaucl_read on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think the stories were supposed to be linked via the use of a brew (usually a potion). Sometimes that works better than others.I was amused by Jim Butcher interpreting "brew" to mean McAnally's prized beer. It was a nice story, no guest appearances aside from Murphy, and no major revelations about things from the novels.Karen Chance had a story from a new series that might be interesting. Then again, her protagonist is dangerously close to spending a lot of time whining about how it's not safe for anyone to love her because she puts them all in danger... not quite accidentally burned down her entire village with uncontrolled powers, but not far from it, either. I might check out the first book.A solid anthology with stories from a few different Urban Fantasy series.
ejmam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nothing extraordinary, but a solid representation of the authors involved. I would consider it more for fans of the authors than an introduction to them. Many of the stories involve side characters of the author's main series, so a complete knowledge their work isn't necessary. The three big names had decent contributions; nothing soul-shaking but skillful explorations of their world. Patricia Briggs looked into the back story of a character mentioned in her latest novel, with an interesting view of how her werewolves seem to an outsider. Charlaine Harris avoids her main characters but gives a story showing the darker sides of both vampires and werewolves. I liked the double crossing going on in the stories, as the characters underestimate each other's ruthlessness. Jim Butcher lets Harry get into big fights involving sexy villains and booze. Anything with Murphy comes out good. P.N. Elrod (the editor) included another Jack Fleming story, with lots of double-crossing and thirties style gangster action.The other stories were a bit disappointing, with Rachael Caine and Karen Chance showing the traits that made me stop buying their books. Their protagonists make too many silly choices, or explain their actions in unlikely ways. The romance in Caine's story may set a new record in severe creepiness for me -- the heroine falls for the man she resurrects, but I never got over the fact that he was dead. The misunderstanding in Chance's effort deserves a spot in Silly Romance Hall of Fame, and clearing that up in the final paragraphs left me with a bad taste in my head. The final three authors were new to me, but I probably won't be seeking them out. Faith Hunter's story wasn't bad, but wasn't amazing, and Caitlin Kittredge and Jenna Maclain's offerings were weak. Maclain's story provides a textbook example of a deus ex machina, since the protagonist can't figure a way out of her situation. A goddess literally shows up, tells Our Heroine that she is silly, and grants her enormous powers. Heroine messes up again, but nice goddess fixes everything. Again. Nothing our character thought or did made any difference. If this is explaining something inside a larger story, that might be acceptable, but as an introduction to an author it doesn't make me look for more.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Overall this is a decent set of stories. The highlights for me were Karen Chance's super action packed "Vegas Odds" and Jenna Maclaine's beautifully written, action packed, and intricate "Dark Sins". I found Cin from "Dark Sins" to be a very interesting heroine and I would definitely like to read more about her. I also really liked meeting Jane Yellowrock in Faith Hunter's "Signatures of the Dead." Jane is a character I would also like to read more about.My least favorites were Elrod's story (not surprising because I have read a couple of the books with Jack and don't enjoy her writing style all that much) and Harris's "Bacon". See a summary of each below. I liked the book in general and really liked that is gave me a look at some of the new authors and characters coming out in series.- Seeing Eye by Patricia BriggsA witch named Moira and a werewolf named Tom go to save Tom's brother from an evil coven. Pretty good, I enjoyed it. 4/5- Last Call by Jim ButcherEntertaining story about Murphy and Harry tracking down the source of some tainted beer that Mac accidentally served in his bar. Tons of action, very entertaining! 4/5- Death Warmed Over by Rachel CaineAbout witch named Holly who resurrects an old witch, Andy, to help the police find a witch killer. Unfortunately Holly and the resurrected witch have a history. Fast-paced and engaging story although I didn't like the main character all that much. 4/5- Vegas Odds by Karen ChanceLia is a War Mage stuck in the middle of a war between good and evil. When her house comes under attack she is left to figure out who the attackers are and hunt down their master. I really liked this story; it was packed with action and set in an interesting world that I want to learn more about. 5/5- Hecate's Golden Eye by P. N. ElrodJack and Charles are hired to recover a stolen piece of jewelry. The crime turns out to be more than it first seems. This was a fast paced story featuring Elrod's well known Jack Flemming. Overall a decent story. 3/5- Bacon by Charlaine HarrisThis story is about a vampire, Dahlia, who hires a witch to help avenge her werewolf husband that has been murdered. Overall I thought this story was boring and the plot a bit hard to folllow at points. I didn't really like any of the characters much either. 2/5- Signatures of the Dead by Faith HunterAbout a witch named Molly who works with a Skinwalker named Jane Yellowrock to bring down some rogue vampires. I really didn't find Molly to be all that fascinating of a character. I did really like Jane Yellowrock though. The story moved quickly, was very engaging, and had lots of good action scenes. I am eager to read more stories involving Jane Yellowrock. I know that Hunter's book "Skinwalker" featuring Jane came out earlier this summer and this short story really makes me want to check it out. 4/5- Ginger: A Nocturne City Story by Caitlin KittredgeA witch named "Sunny" gets kidnapped as part of a larger plot onvolving a witch coven. This was an okay story, although I didn't think it was great and didn't like any of the characters much. 3/5- Dark Sins by Jenna MaclaineI really liked this story. Cin Craven is a vampire who attained her witch powers. Her and her S.O. Michael are attacked and captured; and need to escape to save their lives and the lives of their friends. This story was set in the Victorian era. I really liked both Cin and Michael as characters. Just the glimpse this story give hints at a very interesting and intricate world with a lush history. Lots of action and a tad of romance. The entrance of the goddess Morrgan made things very interesting. One of my favorite stories of the bunch. 5/5
CKmtl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An anthology of witch- and wizard-based short stories.This is my first attempt at reading self-styled Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Fiction, so mine is an outsider's perspective. If you're already a fan of these writers or the sub-genre, you may want to give more weight to other reviews.Simply put, I don't think this sub-genre is for me. Two reasons:Stylistically, there were a lot of smirky introductory moments. Things like, to make one up off the top of my head, "Her pendant was silver. I hate silver. You see, I'm a werewolf." These made my eyes roll and I couldn't sustain much interest in the story.On a more philosophical level, I found there to be too much of an overlap between the mundane and the fantastic. There was no sense of awe at the otherworldly. Magic, vampires, werewolves... they're treated as ordinary as gym socks.
les121 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More romancy than I expected but still good. I'm partial to Jim Butcher, and his Dresden Files story was the highlight of this anthology for me. It was quite humorous and might be my favorite of all Buchter's shorts. The stories by Briggs, Caine, and Chance were all enjoyable, though very relationship-focused. P.N. Elrod's vampire P.I. mystery was campy, but in a good way (or maybe I'm just fond of detective stories). Faith Hunter's work was gory, but intriguing. Maclaine and Kittredge's stories left something to be desired; the former's chosen-one-of-unequaled-power plot line was too cliche and the latter was plagued with plot holes and unremarkable characters. Surprisingly, one of the worst stories in this anthology was the one by Charlaine Harris. Her characters were annoying, the plot predictable, the dialogue disjointed, and the writing mediocre at best. Despite its clunkers - all anthologies have them - Strange Brew was entertaining and will be appreciated by fans of the urban fantasy genre (but be warned that it definitely rides the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance).
saltypepper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anthologies are often uneven. This one is mostly very good to great, with a very few exceptions. I really liked the stories from Briggs, Cain, Chance, and Hunter. The stories from Butcher, Elrod, and Kittredge were good. I didn't care for Harris and Maclaine's stories. Seven good or very good stories out of nine is makes this a worthwhile purchase in my opinion, especially since many of these stories tie in to or introduce the authors' longer running series. I am particularly interested to see if Rachel Caine is going to do anything more with the characters in her story.
terriko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A decent set of werewolf and witch themed urban fantasy stories. Mostly fast-paced quick reads with an element of mystery and a touch of romance.
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Elrod edits good anthologies. This one is a collection of stories about vampires and witches, or vampires who are witches, in several cases. Authors include Elrod, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, and more. Butcher's is a Harry Dresden story, and Harris' is in the Sookie Stackhouse universe but doesn't have Sookie as a character.I enjoyed all the stories, though one or two were a little too melodramatic for me.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this last year for Patricia Briggs' entry "Seeing Eye," but on found the majority of the stories to be fairly readable. On re-reading it recently (and discovering I hadn't actually entered it into LT!) I like a couple of the stories better having become more familiar with their characters in the meantime. Standouts for me other than "Seeing Eye?" (Which, by the way, fills in some backstory on a couple of minor characters that show up in one of the full length books quite nicely.)Rachel Caine's "Death Warmed Over" made me want to track down a full length book and read more about the escapades of the necromancer and her dead not-quite lover. Karen Chance's "Vegas Odds" - it was nice to catch up with Cyrus and Accalia again now that I've encountered them elsewhere. The storyline is starting to make a bit more sense!"Bacon" by Charlaine Harris was clever, but her characters seemed a bit stiffer and less sympathetic than others of her characters, and the reasoning behind the plot felt a bit muddled.And "Dark Sins" by Jenna Maclaine begged for a bit more information - another author whose work I'll have to look for.All things considered, I guess I'd say this anthology accomplished its purpose - LOL!
leahsimone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this anthology more than many I've read in the last year. My favorites include Jim Butcher's "Last Call" , Cassandra Palmer's "Vegas Odds" and Patricia Briggs' "Seeing Eye." All three of these authors have never disappointed me in the short story (or novel writing) department. The stories are always well crafted with interesting characters, very good pacing and lots of action. P.N. Elrod and Caitlin Kittredge also delivered well written stories. Oddly enough, the worst of the bunch for me was Charlaine Harris' "Bacon." Unfortunately, I've never much cared for her short stories. I do love her novels, especially the Southern Vampire Mysteries. "Bacon" was not a Sookie story but it's characters and the feel of the whole thing felt like an episode of True Blood - a bit ridiculous. As a whole though, this was a good collection of stories. Recommended.
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These were short stories by various authors 2 I¿ve read a lot of books from 1 I¿d read only another short story and the rest were all new to me.Seeing Eye by, Patricia Briggs- I always enjoy Patricia Briggs writing and I hope to see Tom & Moira show up again in the World of the Marrok.Last Call by, Jim Butcher- This was my first Jim Butcher/Harry Dresden and it piqued my interest enough to order the first book in that series.Death Warmed Over by, Rachel Caine- This was an okay story although I felt like I was missing major parts of the plot. Don¿t know if it made me want to read more of Rachel CaineVegas Odds by, Karen Chance- This one was definitely action packed this is the 2nd short story I¿ve read by Karen Chance and I will be finding more by her.Hecate¿s Golden Eye by, P.N. Elrod- good story the writing made me interested enough to look for her Vampire Files books.Bacon by, Charlaine Harris- This story was okay it¿s not a Sookie story but they off-handedly mentioned a character from those books. But the last line of this was GREAT!!Signature of the Dead by, Faith Hunter- Good action packed story. Will find the book Skinwalker which is about one of the characters in this story.Ginger by, Caitlin Kittredge- This story intrigued me enough to look for more by this author.Dark Sins by, Jenna Maclaine- Maybe if I¿d read this author/character before I would have enjoyed it better it was just ok or less.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun, exciting collection of supernatural stories, all dealing with witches and/or potions and brews. Recommended!