Thursday, July 16, 2015

Barb's Review... Into the Woods (Tales from the Hollows and Beyond)

Enter the Woods...If You Dare

For centuries, the woods have been a pivotal part of the wonder and danger of fairy tales, for once you enter anything can happen. Elves, druids, fairies - who knows what you will find once you dare step into the forest?

And now, New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison ventures into these mysterious, hidden lands of magic and mystery in her first short-story collection. Into the Woods brings together an enchanting mix of brand-new, never-before-published stories and tales from Harrison's beloved, bestselling Hollows series.

The tales her include an original Hollows novella, Million-Dollar Baby, about Trent Kalamack's secret elven quest in Pale Demon; two original short stories, "Pet Shop Boys" and "Temson Woods," that explore just what happens when humanity and the supernatural collide; and two novelettes, "Spider Silk" and "Grace," set in new worlds of imagination and adventure.Into the Woods also contains all of the previously published Hollows short stories - together in one volume for the very first time.

Step into the woods and discover the magic for yourself. Original.

Buy Links:
Amazon  US : AU : CA : UK
Audible US : AU : UK

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I enjoyed this book. The Hollows stories of course are just as awesome as the original series. And the others are also enjoyable. Overall it was a good read/listen to book.

Bespelled -
Well we finally get to see Al's beginning. His younger body. His wit and his evil. We also find out just what he and his familiar, Ceriwin. He had spent 7 years honing her, masterfully working her to his will and upon the night she was to be wed to her fiancé she allowed him to take her to the ever after. Only after he used her fears of growing old and such against her. She didn't love the man she was to marry. She didn't want to grow old and she was in love with Al. The dirty bastard had gotten to her in so many ways. Once he has her and she says he can take her Al decides to keep her for himself. Starting off a thousand year quest to break her in any and every way he can while he teachers her all he knows. She will be his familiar. And his alone.

Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel -
In this we get a look at a younger, determined and yet still sickly Rachel Morgan. In her late teens Rachel has set her mind to doing something she would be proud of. Working for the I.S. as her father had. Though the information was not received well by her older brother Robbie. Robbie blames the I.S. for their father's death, rightfully so but Rachel is determined to become a runner. Rachel is a strong witch, even at her age and Robbie wants her to come back to Oregon with him, study magic and put her true skills to a test. He doesn't think she is strong enough to be able to handle working for the I.S. Thanks to her childhood sickness that to this day still bothers her. After looking in one of the text books he brought her from school. When she finds a spell that lets you talk to a ghost she immediately thinks of her dad. If she can do a level 800 spell by herself that will allow them to talk to their dad then he will sign her I.S. application himself if their father agrees. If she fails she has to go back to Oregon with him and study her magic for four more years.

So with Robbie's help to gather ingredients and then to keep their mom distracted Rachel starts working on the spell. When it's all put together all that's left is to invoke it. And the invoking is done during the closing of the circle at Fountain Square, since it's the Solstice that's when the most emotion and power can be used to help with the spell. What they don't count on though is.... who they actually bring forth. As Rachel and Robbie stare at the naked man before them they realize quickly that is not their dad and that they need to move their asses fast. People have noticed him and this won't end well. The man, Pierce is just as shocked as they are to be standing there before them. They manage to dodge the I.S. officers that are coming their direction and get on a city bus. Safe for now.

It's on the bus that Peirce sees a flyer of a missing girl and immediately says he knows who has her and where they are. Robbie convinces them that they need to go to the I.S. for help with this. The man that has the girl is a vampire. And you /need/ a vampire to take down a vampire. Or so they say. Things go wrong at the I.S. and Rach alongside Pierce makes a run for it. People decides to go after the girl himself. He is sure the camp would still be in the same place... but things have changed over the last hundred years so Pierce will need Rachel's help. But he refuses to put her in danger. But she doesn't let a little thing like danger stop her. After Pearce leaves Rach leaves her mom a note as to where she went and goes after him. Once she catches up in her car they head to the Abe where he would be. Once they get there it's a race to get to the girl in time. And they do but they also put themselves into danger. Good thing they both work quick on their feet. Rachel uses a charm of her dads to imprison the master vampire. Ha. About the time Rachel's ready to rejoice her body starts to shut down on her. She's taxes it too much. Pierce keeps her awake until they hear the sirens. The cops are here. They managed to save the day.

When Rachel wakes she is at home. Her mom and Robbie worrying over her and her feeling bad about using her energy to the point where she collapses. The I.S. wouldn't want her now. Or she thinks that anyway. Her solstice gift from her mother is her signed I.S. application. Her mom believes in her, all she has to do is get herself back on track.

Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil -
Ivy Tamwood. Homicide officer for the I.S. has been busting her ass for the last 6 months to move up the ladder in the I.S. as her mother had done in her undead years. See Ivy is a living vampire. She was born into their position and now is fighting to prove she has what it takes. She has to also fight her desire and loathing for what Piscary, the master vampire who has her and her family in his 'family' and under his protection. He's warmed her, broken her in ways that even she knows she is broken but is hell bent on keeping it from happening. Her partner, Art, is a douche and an ass. He's trying to do anything and everything he can to get her to snap, to let him have her. He doesn't want just her blood her wants her body as well. But she fights him. It gets so bad that he almost gets her to break. And at all places at a crime scene. So her fear contaminates the air and of course that was one of Art’s plans. Seems he's a devious m'effer and was using her. But Ivy along with the help of Kisten get back at Art once Ivy figures out what has happened. And let's hit say, vampire payback is the bitch all paybacks.

In the end, even though Art was taken care of Ivy is still being 'demoted' to a runner for contaminating the crime scene. Her fort charge, working and helping to train a new recruit. A witch named, Rachel Morgan. (Laughs)

Dirty Magic -
Mia. The 300 year old resident banshee is struggling to keep herself from getting hungry. When she was attacked by a psycho named Remus, his anger and emotions had given her enough to make her become pregnant. (She is now married to said psycho...) Their daughter Holly was the first banshee child to be born in the area in 40 years. If Mia isn't able to keep her in an emotionally rich environment she fulfills Holly's needs. So she is becoming tired and in need of an extra fix herself. As with all Banshee's she feeds off the emotions of others. Her gentleman 'friend' Tom tries to help her with that hunger. ​But she is torn. He wants to give and her body soaks in the emotions he is giving her. Her daughter Holly is taking anything she needs from her so Mia has to stay strong. Tom, the only man in her life, a man that truly loves her despite the fact that she is a banshee being weakened by her visits. There is one way that she maybe able to keep him to herself. Mia has a wish. A coin she had gotten away from Ivy. She had been holding onto the coin until she found true love. But as with anything else she thought was going to go right, this doesn't. And Mia is forced to say goodbye to Tom... and go back to her life as it is.

The Bridges of Eden Park -
Kisten and Rachel... (sighs) I do love them together, though I had a feeling it was not going to last as long as I hoped. A lunch date at Eden Park. Kisten, Chinese and a good view. relaxing but then things go a little... topsy turvy when Kisten gets a call from his sister. Seems the past has come back to nip at their heals. A fling had lead Chrissie (Kisten's sister to become pregnant. When she found out Sean was married she called the relationship a bust. But now that Sean's wife is dead and he is left without an heir he want's Chissie's son Audrick. When Chrissie and her son get to the bridge where both Kisten and Rachel are things get more and more complicated. They come to be surrounded by 10 living vampires. Well Kisten is ready for a fight but there is a problem. Rachel is over water, there is no way she can draw on a ley line. Which meant, they were screwed. But they could still fight.

Chrissy moved off the bridge, alone, to talk to Sean. It was a way to kill time until the I.S. showed up. Kisten had already hit 911 on his cell, but who knew how long it would take for them to show up. By time a fight ensues it’s every vampire for themselves and they are all after Audrick. Rachel keeps him safe and finally a vampire makes a mistake and tosses her to the shore line. As soon as her foot hits the dirt, she pulls out all the stops. Rachel is able to save Audrick from the vampires and finally the I.S. is there to save the day. Even though all the work was done.

Ley Line Drifter -
​Seems Jenks is being sought out by a fairy that needs his help. Not Ivy's. Not Rachel's. Only his help. Fairy to fairy. The man’s daughter is having night terrors that are causing serious issues. He fears there is more to it than just nightmares. Something or someone is hurting her while she sleeps. So, Jenks agrees to check things out. Seems the family in question is living between two statues. One that is holding an essence of a demon. The other is guarding the demon. Usually this isn't something that you could just deal with but Jenks is left with no choice. If the family tries to move they will lose their 3 youngest children. Jenks being a father understands that loss and is willing to do whatever he can to get the daughter free of the invading essence and save their home. It takes the workings of Jenks, his son Jemoke, Biz and even help from Ivy in the end to be able to set the demon free to save the family.

Million-Dollar Baby -
We finally get to see what the secret Elfin mission Trent went on to get his daughter back from the witch (actually she is an elf, just a bitch) Ellasbeth. I knew the mission Trent and Jenks went on to get his daughter Lucy away from her cray cray mother. But to see it from the beginning with Trent and Jenks sneaking in, taking the baby and the fight before and right after brought it into the open more. Made it better for me. Now when I go back to the series and re-read it I will know exactly what happened and I think it will add to the enjoyment of the story.

~~ Beyond the Hallows ~~

Pet Shop Boys -
This is one of those stories that made me do a double take. It was actually the first story of Kim Harrison’s tht I ever read. It was bought as a short story and I loved it. The trickery, the mystery of what exactly was happening was well done. Cooper, store clerk, pet shop fella learns the hard way that not all fairy tales are fake and in all honesty his reality is flipped upside down and spun in a circle until he is ass over te3a kettle. But thanks to Kay, his boss and apparent slayer of evilness saving his ass he made it out and has another day to think about what he knows happen. But then, does he really know what happened?

Temson Estate & Spider Silk -
Both stories are about Dryads, really have to read them to get it.. hard to explain but it was a fun and exciting read. The Dyrads are a minxy little bunch. lol

Grace -
A character that Kim created that had a story to tell. She is before the Hallows and it’s an enjoyable story.


About the Author:

Kim Harrison, author of the New York Times #1 bestselling Hollows series, was born in Detroit and lived most her her life within an easy drive. She's currently working on the Peri Reed Chronicles, and when not at her desk, is most likely to be found landscaping her new/old Victorian home, in the garden, or on the links.

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