The last two stories in this anthology really made this book. Though I like Kim Harrison's writing, her first published short story included here was kind of dry, though Kelley Armstrong's story really rocked. I've included individual reviews for each story below.
Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil by Kim Harrison Read 08-Jun 09-Jun-2006
This is Ivy's story, before she meets Rachel and Jenks and starts Vampiric Charms. We learn a lot more about what makes Ivy tick, and how she comes to her decision to live blood-free as a living vampire. I don't think I enjoyed it quite as much as the full-length novels because I missed having Rachel and Jenks too, but still, I appreciate this story for what it is... a deeper look into Ivy's life pre-Rachel. :) Rating: 6 stars
The Claire Switch Project by Lynsay Sands Read 06-Feb-2007
Ugh, I should've known I wasn't going to like this one right from the first paragraph. The first sentence actually proclaimed, "A bunny," and I thought yay!! But then it turns out two of the main characters, Kyle and Claire, are running doing experiments and testing on the poor little bunny. And oh boy, I've got a wicked rant I can go on about animal testing, but since it's not really relevant to this review, sufficed to say that it's a wicked peeve of mine that hits a deep nerve.
From there, we just have more cutesy, stupid characters who think nothing of hiding the truth from their friends and people they care about. Another pet peeve, one I can usually live with, but when a huge premise of the story is based upon such deception and lying, it angers me even more!
I wonder why I kept on reading then... well, it was a short story and I was determined to finish it. And I did laugh at one or two parts. Had I not already read a full-length novel by this author, Single White Vampire, which I fairly enjoyed, I'd probably think twice about reading anything from this author if I were to base it only on this short story. I give it a few points not for the story, but because the author herself is a halfway decent writer, and that at least does come across here. Rating: 4 stars
Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong Read 18-Feb 19-Feb-2007
Hope is a tabloid reporter and "supposed agent" for the Interracial Council. As a Half-Demon, she's got skills that enable her detect chaotic events, past or present. While attending a museum gala, she meets up with charming werewolf and jewel thief, Karl Marsten, whom we've met in previous novels. And chaos rules!!
This was an excellent story! Kelley really knows how to write a short story and make it as action-packed and exciting as her full-length novels. In this novella, we're introduced to a new character, Hope, a half-demon journalist, whom I'm hoping will appear again in future books or novellas. Since Karl Marsten seems to be romantically interested in her, this may be a good possibility. Rating: 9 stars
Dead Man Dating by Lori Handeland Read 23-Feb-2007
Kit has been saving herself for marriage and true love, so what could be better than a dating agency named, remarkably, TrueLove.com. Little did she realize that her "date" would actually be a demon from hell, and that her "knight in shining armor" would appear to save her mortal soul?
Kit is startled when the rogue demon hunter Chavez manages to extinguish her date in the alley right before her very eyes. But it turns out he's not really deador is already dead, I should sayand the demon, part incubus and part Rakshasas, continues to stalk her and attempt to seduce her. For only her virginity can save him. And finding a virgin in this day and age is so rare!
With the help of Chavez, they're able to exploit the demon's weakness and bring about his destruction. But as they're told by Satan himself, the end of the world is near, and these new demons that he's made and unleased on the world are here to bring about Armageddon. The story leaves off here, as Kit and Chavez have decided to work together, brain and brawn so to speak, to defeat this evil before it's too late.
This story was actually quite good. I hadn't yet read anything else by Handeland, though I've got the first 6 books of her Nightcreature series here waiting for me to find the right time to start on them. So now that I've whet my appetite with this short story, I'm quite looking forward to them. Rating: 8 stars
So dissapointed in this book. The first story let me with a what? feeling and seriously wanting the ten minutes it took to read it back. The second story was not much better, I expected more from lynsay sands. Her story felt like she crammed for a final paper instead of developing a storyline and characters. The third story was a great improvement, so much that I plan on searching out more Kelley Armstrong books. The fourth story was the best but did not make the time I spent reading this book worthwhile.
If you have credits to burn I would order it for the last two stories,or if you want to say you read everything by Armstrong and Handeland. Otherwise look elsewhere.
carlamo - reviewed Dates From Hell: Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil / The Claire Switch Project / Chaotic / Dead Man Dating on + 269 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The other reviewers have written some good stuff about these stories, so I won't go into great detail here. But it can't hurt to add my two cents worth.
Probably the worst thing about this book is that it starts with the story by Kim Harrison about about her living vampire, Ivy Tamwood. I've read the first book in the series, so I thought I would really enjoy a little side story about one of the characters. Boy, was I wrong! While I can usually gobble up a short story fairly quickly, I literally had to force myself to finish this 100 pages of self-important, confusing, "deeper meaning" drivel over the course of six months. And do I feel any further enlightened about the tormented Ivy Tamwood (a character I never really felt connected to, anyway)? Okay, folks, that was a rhetorical question. Unless you absolutely must read everything by Harrison, do yourself a major favor and skip this story. Ivy is in inner tormoil, tormented by the way she connects sex and blood. Oops, I gave away the whole story. Sorry.
The Claire Switch Project was okay. Just okay. Nothing to write home about. Unless, of course, you want to write home about using animals for scientific experiments. Actually, the entire story is just a cute excuse for punch line. Unfortunately, the writer, Lynsay Sands, decided to add two extra pages to the story with a "Five Years Later" bit. It didn't really detract from the story, but didn't add much, in my opinion.
Read the book for Kelley Armstrong's Chaotic and Lori Handeland's Dead Man Dating, in that order. Finis.
I enjoyed the stories by Sands, Armstrong and Handeland, but I was confused and lost the entire time while reading the story by Harrison. I haven't read any of her books, so I don't know if that would clear up the confusion or not.
I thought this book was boring. I love all the authors, but this was not their best work. I didn't even finish it and that is saying alot. I usually don't give up on a book no matter how bad it is, but this was different. I am glad I didn't buy it new!!
The ONLY good one is the Kim Harrison - this is an early story of Ivy Tamwood, the Tamwood Vampire who keeps Rachel out of too much trouble...and wants to find a blood balance with her in the series. In this story, Ivy is less certain and powerful than we've ever seen her...she's just finding her feet and Rachel is barely mentioned as a "new partner" she's been assigned. I liked this and it was a nice background on the relationship between Ivy and Piscary that plays so large a part in the later novels...what did he do to her to make her so unbalanced...and cause her inability to feed without sex?
Stories from Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong were amazing, as always. The story by Lynsay Sands was refreshing...cute, short and unique. I found Lori Handeland's story to be a bit predictable but it was written well.
The first story by Kim Harrison completely lost me. It was not a romance at all. It was dark and cofusing and dragged. The second story felt rushed and relied a bit on "The Big Misunderstanding", which I absolutely hate. I enjoyed the last two stories. Even those two stories are worth ordering this book, I'm glad I didn't pay full price for it.
Overall I really enjoyed this anthology. All of the stories were entertaining. My two favorites were Kim Harrison's story about Ivy and Lori Handeland's "Dead Man Dating". My least favorite story was Kelley Armstrong's "Chaotic".
-Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil by Kim Harrison
This story was about Ivy when she was dating Kisten; Mia (the banshee from "White Witch, Black Curse" is involved as well). This story helped explain some of the back story between Ivy and Mia, as well as gave nice incite into Kisten and Ivy's history. It was an engaging story and I enjoyed it; overall (4/5 stars).
-The Claire Switch Project by Lynsay Sands
This was a cute story about a girl who gets zapped by a molecular destabilizer and finds she can change shape. I liked how it was written; it was cute and funny. I have found that I like Lynsay Sands writing style, it is usually pretty funny and makes for a fun, quick read. (4/5 stars)
-Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong
This story was about a half demon girl drawn to chaos who finds other paranormals breaking the law. It was an okay story, but my least favorite of the bunch. I didn't like the female lead that much and I thought that the male werewolf lead was also a weak character. The idea of being drawn to chaos was neat, but I just couldn't get into the story. (3/5 stars)
-Dead Man Dating by Lori Handeland
This one was a pretty darn good story. It is about a woman who is using an online dating service and accidentally hooks up with a demon. The heroine was a little flighty and weak for my taste, but there was a lot of action and it was an interesting premise. The story could be a nice set up for a series; maybe we will see more of the main characters as they take on demons all over the world in another book.
Dates From Hell is a great read! 4 short stories, 4 awesome authors.
#1: Undead in the Garden of Good & Evil
For all you Hollow's fans, this is Ivy Tamwood's story, before she joined ranks with Rachel Morgan. Here, she works at the I.S. as a homicide cop. She comes across a murder, and ends up in a bit of a chaotic sitation as she tries to solve it, ith her boyfriend Kisten at her side.
Awesome story. It's great to get a little background on Ivy, although if you've read the Hollows books, there isn't TOO much more you'll learn that you haven't already. Just another fabulous tale by the phenomenal Kim Harrison.
#2: The Claire Switch Project
This is the prequel short story to Run, Run, Rudolph, which appears in Holidays Are Hell. This introduces Kyle & Claire, scientist working on a project which deals with an animal's ability to camoflouge. When things take an ugly turn in the lab, the rest of the story (including hilarious antics from Kyle's twin sister, Jill) continues.
This story was great. For those of you insulted that they were about to experiment on a bunny -- GET OVER IT. It's fiction, and for the record, the bunny lives. I really enjoyed Run Run Rudolph, and this gave me the background on how Kyle & Claire came to be what they are.
This story follows Hope, a half-demon supernatural bounty hunter working for an elite council. On a seemingly innocent, if not boring blind date, she crosses paths with a warewolf, and soon realizes that her work hasn't been what it seemed.
This was a great story. It definitely kept my interest, the characters were likeable, there was plenty of action; all around, definitely a great read.
#4: Dead Man Dating
This story centers around Kit, a literary agent & self proclaimed "plain jane". On a date, she finds herself caught up in an ancient war between demons & a sexy rogue demon hunter. She soon realizes that the world she lives in was never as it seemed, & will never be the same again.
Definitely my favorite of the 4. It's smart, sexy, heartbreaking & enchanting all at the same time. I'm not sure if this is based off any book series (i intend to look very soon), but if it is, I assure you it will be on my wish list ASAP.
All around -- every story in here was great. Can't wait to read more, and I'm so glad I got introduced to a couple new fabulous authors.
I am a huge fan of both Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong but...these short stories just were not that good. Strictly for fans. I found the stories confusing, like they each were part of a full novel and just pulled out to comepte this book.
Nancy B. (eponineb) reviewed Dates From Hell: Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil / The Claire Switch Project / Chaotic / Dead Man Dating on
When I purchased this book, I thought it was the next in the Rachel Morgan series. It's not - it's a collection of short stories from four different authors. However, the Kim Harrison story does give some background on Ivy from the Rachel Morgan series that I found rather interesting. It's still a good read, just not what I was expecting.
Delicious tales by Lori Handeland, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, and Lyndsey Sands... Normally I am not a short story fan but since this was an anthology featuring some of my favorite paranormal series authors I gave it a whirl and was delightfully entertained!
liked the story 'Chaotic' by kelley Armstrong as it is a follow up of her werewolf series. The story of the rogue werewolf, Karl Marsten, a jewel thief, who was banished to Wyoming at the end of 'Bitten'.
I did not like the story by Kim Harrison.
Jennifer K. reviewed Dates From Hell: Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil / The Claire Switch Project / Chaotic / Dead Man Dating on + 9 more book reviews
We've all been on bad dates, nightmare dates, dreadful experiences that turned out to be uniquely memorable in the very wrost way. But at least our partners for these detestable evenings were more or less...human! Short stories from Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, and Lori Handeland
I bought Dates From Hell to read the story with Ivy and Kristen, (Undead In The Garden Of Good And Evil), pre Rachael and their partnership. Loved it! The book was worth it just for this story. Most of Harrison's books are from Rachael's viewpoint, so it was great to Ivy and Kristen acting so down to earth.
But the other stories didn't disappoint me. Kelley Armstrong, another favorite author of mine, has a story about how Hope, a half chaos demon reporter, and Karl Marsden, a gentleman thief and werewolf, get together. They have their own book, and also pop up regularly in Kelley's other books.
Lori Handeland, who has a great series of werewolf books, steps out of her zone with a story with demons, zombies, and a demon hunter. The story is good, but I had trouble with this one just because I dislike anything to do with zombies.
I wasn't familiar with Lynsay Sands before this, but she has a funny, funny story here involving a laboratory zapping and body control issues. I won't spoil it for anyone who might read the book. You have to read it!
Rebecca H. (Rebemdee) reviewed Dates From Hell: Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil / The Claire Switch Project / Chaotic / Dead Man Dating on
I liked learning more about Ivy, from the "Dead Witch Walking" series. That gave some context to the interactions with Ivy in the other books. The other stories are entertaining, although I didn't like, "The Claire Switch Project" as much, it seemed a bit forced. Overall this is a fun, quick read.