I'm a sucker for these UF anthologies. I always fish in and usually end up liking only a handful of the stories. Which was the case with this one. With some I'd never read the series they were based on, so when I got lost I gave up on the stories. Charlaine Harris' Dahlia story wasn't bad...probably a 2.5 to 3 star read. Simon Green's John Taylor Nightside story was very mediocre. However, Carrie Vaughn's story which gave us a look at Rick and his fairly recent past was VERY good. I'd give it 4.5 stars. Rick is one of my favorite characters in her Kitty universe. I liked Diana Gabaldon's Lord John story, though I'm not familiar with the character at all. I've tried to get into her books in the past with no luck. They just don't grab me. Patricia Briggs' story dealt with Warren, one of favorites in the Mercy Thompson books, and his partner, Kyle, who has had zombie assassin sicced on him. Great characters, good story. If you're looking for some short stories to while away some time with, you could do much worse than this collection.
Okay, so I love Joelle Charbonneau!! She writes 2 cozy mystery series for adults that I recommend to everyone I know who likes cozies even a little bit. I loved THE TESTING, but I didn't love this one. I liked it, but it didn't wow me like THE TESTING did. To be perfectly fair, the 2nd book of most trilogies is usually the weakest one. In the few trilogies I've read where the 2nd book was stellar, the final one has ended up being a dud, so I have every belief that Ms. Charbonneau is going to knock my socks off with GRADUATION DAY. So.....I'll be anxiously awaiting it's release!
This series is one of my top 5 favorites of any genre, and after 22 books it's STILL going strong. I look forward to my visit to Pecan Springs every spring. The characters are like old friends and they grow and change. The stories are always excellent and this one didn't disappoint. China gets involved in a cold case this time, so she's not in quite as much peril as in some books. Murder and art fraud are the happenings this time and it all makes for a page-turning delight! Brian & Caitie, as well as Blackie & Sheila have much going on for them in this one and changes coming on. I always hate to see these end...and wait impatiently for spring to come again so I can look in on my old friends again! RECOMMEND!