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Recently I've developed a habit of popping into the works once a week to take advantage of their three books for a fiver offer . I really quite enjoy it, as it's pretty much pot luck what they will have on their shelves. One of my most recent aquisitions is 'Prom Nights From Hell' a selection of stories from five different young adult authors, each worked around a prom theme .
The list of authors on the front didn't excite me too much . Of the five authors, only two of them were familiar names to me - Meg Cabot, whose only work I have read has been a couple of the Princess Diarie's series, and Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series . The other three authors are Kim Harrison, Michelle Jaffe, and Lauren Myracle .
Whilst prom night is the main theme of the short stories, there is a secondary theme going on - a sort of paranormal / spooky theme.
Meg Cabot kicks off the book with 'The Exterminators Daughter' , a story told from different view points. Mary is concerned when her best friend Lila suddenly ditches her long term boyfriend Ted, and starts raving about the hot new guy she's met - Sebastian Drake . The name is all too familiar to Mary, who sets out with a crossbow to nip this new relationship in the bud before any harm can come to her friend - and finds an unlikely ally in the form of Adam, and his ketchup filled water pistol .
This particularly tale is lightly funny, but lacks any real excitement. There were a couple of giggle worthy moments, but I never felt any tension or anticipation whilst reading, and the story was really all too predictable.
'The Corsage', written by Lauren Myracle , is the second tale in the book, and is begun by an acknowledgement that the author has heavily based this tale on another well known horror tale 'The Monkeys Paw'. Similarly to the original, it centres around an object, in this case a corsage , that grants wishes to the person holding it . Of course, nothing is ever that simple (as indeed the psychic with the yeast infection makes clear ) and things go badly wrong when Frankie wishes for her friend Will to ask her to the prom.
This story was pretty short, but managed to be interesting, I think partly because of the psychic from whom the corsage was obtained in the first place. Why on earth a chain smoking psychic, dressed like a hoochie with a yeast infection was quite neccessary, I have no idea, but she was a pretty comic character. The story itself is really a pretty simple reworking of an old classic, with not much new added beyond a witty sense of humour, but it was an easy enjoyable read.
One of the gripes I often have with short stories is that there isn't always a lot of room for the little details that make the story clear - something perfectly illustrated by ' Madison Avery and the Grim Reaper' by author Kim Harrison. This tale, with it's mention of white, black, and grim reapers had the potential to develop into something interesting after Madison, the bitchy main character, is killed by someone who claims that culling her soul will 'elevate him to a higher court'. Sadly though, this story offered no clear differentiation between the three kinds of reapers, and ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving me with a real sense of frustration.
'Kiss and Tell' by Michelle Jaffe is another that felt as if it didn't really give itself enough time to play out fully. Miranda Kiss has special powers - super hearing, extra strength, and an ability to tell is someone is lying, which she uses to fight crime in her spare time . However, when her work as a town car driver leads to her picking up the mysterious Sibby, who delights in kissing any boy she meets, she becomes stuck in the middle of an abduction attempt.
Whilst 'Kiss and Tell' was undoubtedly a fun little tale, so much seemed left unfinished - I didn't learn why Miranda had the powers she did, what had happened to leave her an orphan, or why she was so under confident. I was left feeling a little disappointed by the ending of the story, with a real desire to know more.
'Hell on Earth', by Stephanie Meyer, is the last tale in the book. Sheba, a demon, is on eath trying to make a high school prom as miserable as it can possibly be, using her powers of suggestion to cause a series of events that threaten to end the night is sadness and heartbreak. But there is one boy that just won't be corrupted, no matter how much she tries.
In terms of plot, this story is probably the most predictable in the book, with the way the tale is going to unfold being pretty clear in the first few pages. However, despite the predictability, it's actually a pretty sweet and enjoyable romantic tale, and I felt it ended the book on a good note ,
Overall, I quite enjoyed the book, though I found two of the stories a little too predictable in the way they unfolded, and that others lacked enough detail to really engage my interest. I think that may just be me - I really enjoy a lot of rich detail in a tale, and that is something I'm just not going to get from a short story, particularly one aimed at a teen market.
It was interesting to read work from writers I'd never read before - I particularly liked Michelle Jaffe's style of writing, and will certainly look out for more of her work in the future. I think that as a way of sussing out an authors writing style before reading a full book, these kinds of books can be ideal, and I do think IU may have found a new author to look out for .
Overall, I am giving this book three stars . I do feel that due to it being a collection of short stories, there really wasn't enough time to care about many of the characters, and some stories felt unresolved. However, it was an interesting enough read to while away an afternoon, and has given me some ideas of the talents of the various authors involved .
I really enjoyed this collection of captivating short stories from five different YA authors themed with the supernatural and paranormally twisted romance of Prom night! :)
The whole of the book kept me on edge as each story revealed these interesting, attractive characters being taken on a whole adventure of magic and passion. The atmosphere in each story was so intense and fast-paced, I was so disappointed when they ended, after all, they were only short stories, but with a really strong message.
The Exterminator's Daughter (by Meg Cabot) was very funny, and definitely hooked me in! Reading it from Adam's point of view was absolutely hilarious, especially the whole start with Ted, Lila, Mary, and Sebastian Drake, and the KETCHUP! LOL! ;D ;D
Wow, I loved that The Corsage (Lauren Myracle) was inspired by The Monkey's Paw by WW Jacobs - I read this last year when we studied it during English and the overall effect was totally disturbing. Honestly, it really creeped me out and as Lauren also says at the beginning of it: "Be careful what you wish for, indeed!"
I think this was my favourite story had to be the one by Kim Harrison: Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper. It was amazing! The whole it was a mistake, you weren't meant to die" thingy was very gripping and I really want to read more! Fortunately for me, this is actually now a full book by Kim, and has a sequel!I will have to go and find that! :) I also loved Kiss & Tell (Michele Jaffe) and I think Hell on earth (Stephenie Meyer!!!) was also one of my favourites! It was seriously..breathtaking!
So, this book is really appealing to the older teenage audience and will be highly enjoyed by the fans of vampires, ghosts, and other scary creatures, as well as the gothic romance :)
Right... Well I picked this book off from Amazon; it was exclusively on offer and at only £2.99, so I had to get it. Whether I'm glad I did or not, I don't really know, based on the fact that I bought this book because of the 2 famous names on the book: Meg Cabot and Stephenie Meyer who, inconsequently, happen to be in my top ten authors. However it surprised me, while going through this book that I enjoyed the stories written by the 3 other authors, and disliked Meg Cabot's and Stephenie Meyer's stories the most. So if you asked me if I was glad I bought this book for the same reason I bought it, I would honestly say that I shouldn't have bought it. However there was 3 more stories in that book, and I fully enjoyed them and I shall be looking out for their books to see if I'd enjoy them as well.
There is 5 paranormal stories in this book, so therefore I'm going to do as I usually do, which is write a little review of each story, so they you get a feel for each story, and know whether you would enjoy that story, and therefore it should help you to decide whether or not you want to read this book, after all.
The Exterminator's Daughter - Meg Cabot.
This story was pretty confusing to start off with, as each chapter didn't add up, and each chapter had a name at the top, which I couldn't understand. After about 3-4 chapter it clicked what I'd done wrong, which was that each chapter is voiced from a different person's perspective. So I started again making sure I didn't make the same mistake twice.
The story worked, but it was full on. Straight away you get introduced to a girl, who is best friends with Adam and Mary (our main characters), happens to be dating a vampire. Adam and Mary are here to kill it, only Adam's there because he fancies his best friend and wants to pull the vampire out of the picture, when Mary wants revenge for the vampire killing her mom (well as good as because her mom is a vampire). Her mom was the ultimate killer for supernatural beings, everybody called her the exterminator. But Mary wants to follow her footsteps and kill the vampire that made her who she is now, so that her mother will be back to normal. But there's a massive problem... Adam's lurking around her wanting to be of help, the problem is, is that his just going to make trouble and she'll have to look after herself and Adam, that's too many, or is it?
I enjoyed this one but it was too fore-frontal, as if we were missing the start and the end. It was like picking up a book from a shelf, sitting down to read it, when all of a sudden you notice the first few chapters at the start and the end have been ripped out. I hope that makes sense.
The Corsage - Lauren Myracle
This was interesting and magical...
This one was about a girl who had fallen in love with a guy called Will. And she wants him to ask her to the prom. So she decides on a trip to the local Fortune teller: Madame Z (I think you'd call it Zee), to try and make Will see that Frankie's the one he has to ask. Only Madame Z doesn't help and it was a waste of money, apart from the fact that Frankie got a free gift of a Corsage that supposedly makes wishes come true. So she asks it for somebody to ask her to prom in Will's presence. Only the next morning she gets a phone call of her best friend: Yun Sun, who tells her Will has fallen off the Water tower, while spray painting it with the words: "Frankie, will you go to prom with me?" Frankie now has 2 more wishes left will she use them wisely or not?
I fully enjoyed this one and I'd easily rate this story a 5/5 as it was brilliant! I really want to dip into her other books so that I could get a read for this book.
Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper - Kim Harrison
This one's a clever little story, but an easy one to forget.
Prom is in the first chapter, and it talks about her going with some boring person. So She is heading to leave, when she spots this person who she reckons is the hottest guy she's ever seen, only... He attempts to kill her and she only realises a little too late. But what happens after death?
It might seem like I've given the story away but I haven't as her death happens at the start of this story. I was shocked by this story and didn't know which way it was going to throw me; this is definitely an author whose works will be dipped into by me!
Kiss and Tell - Michele Jaffe
I loved this one and it was a brilliant twist at the end!
Miranda is a taxi driver. She picks this young girl who is getting everyone and anyone to kiss her, only then she stops off at every fast food restaurant as she'd never tried any of those things. But Miranda can't leave her in the place she was sent to, and is very confused with what she's doing there. She goes to investigates further and finds some up most shocking things
The plot outline was hard for me to type, this story isn't an easy one and I've only touched the surface with my plot-outline but If I told you more it will seem confusing which this one is surely not.
Hell On Earth - Stephenie Meyer
I was looking forward to reading this one, but maybe I was too excited.
Everyone's gone to the prom with the wrong person so there's fight blundering everywhere. there was contradictory along with Guy talks and girl talks, but in the middle of it all is a child in the girl's bathroom with voodoo dolls...
This one was confusing and felt the same way Meg Cabot's did, as if it was missing a start and an ending, maybe they were maybe they were supposed to be that way, but I can't possibly try to understand.
Overall this is a book to get (in my opinion) it works well and maybe you'd understand the stories I did not. I think most people would enjoy this book, but I should tell you not to read to or give to a child it might not suit them and possibly give them nightmares. This book is only £6.99 but you could easily find it cheaper, I put this book up on Bookcrossing.com if anyone's interested.