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Dates From Hell Cover Picture

Dates From Hell

Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong,
Lori Handeland

Published 2006          404 pages


This book contains four novellas based on the idea that everyone who has ever dated has been on a date from hell at sometime or other - but what if your date literally wasn’t human?

Undead in The Garden of Good and Evil by Kim Harrison is a prequel to The Hollows series of books.  It tells the tale of how Ivy, a living vampire, manages to investigate a murder, get rid of her nasty undead vampire boss at work and start to come to terms with her bloodlust.

The Claire Switch Project by Lynsay Sands is a story about a woman who is exposed to a shape shifting ray (it’s the best way I can describe it!) whilst working in a laboratory.  Claire then gets asked to the school reunion with the man she’s wanted to go out with since high school but she also promised her dateless best friend that she would go to the reunion with her.  With the ability to change her appearance by thought alone, she may be about to go on the double date from hell.

Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong is about Hope, a half demon reporter, who tracks down rogue supernatural Others.  Capturing Karl Marsten, jewel thief and werewolf, leads to an interesting first date at a museum gala function – most of it spent running for their lives. 

Dead Man Dating by Lori Handeland is the story of Kit, a literary agent in Manhattan, who has a blind date with a dead guy who had unfortunately been possessed by an incubus demon.  When her date is “killed” by a mysterious Mexican demon hunter named Chavez that should have been an end to it but this is one persistent demon that is very hard to kill.  Chavez needs to find out how to destroy the demon before it returns for another date with Kit.

The Review

The best stories by far in the collection are by Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong.  Undead in The Garden of Good and Evil by Kim Harrison, once you get past Ivy’s constant soul searching, is an entertaining story.  It provides a valuable insight into the character and motivations of Ivy that will not disappoint fans of The Hollows series of books.  If you haven’t read the previous works of this author you may be a little confused by everything that goes on in the story due to the huge amount of information that it is already assumed that the reader knows about Ivy’s world.  This is also the only story in the collection with vampires in it.  I would rate this story as 4 out of 5.

Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong was an exciting and thrilling story in the fantasy/ horror genre but I didn’t feel that Karl and Hope had much chemistry between them, certainly not for a story in a collection marketed as romance.  That said if you didn’t want romance this is probably the best story in the collection.  I’d rate it at 4.5 out of 5.

The Claire Switch Project by Lynsay Sands is pure romance.  Whilst the idea behind this story is a potentially entertaining one, it just falls flat.  I think the problem is that there is no paranormal influence in this story – which is odd in a collection of paranormal romance stories!  The shape shifting is achieved by science but unfortunately the science is not explained and it fails as sci-fi too. I’d rate it 2 out of 5.

Dead Man Dating by Lori Handeland is another romance and it actually started quite well.  It had a good idea behind it that was quite intriguing, the whole going on a blind date with a incubus and not being able to get rid if him because he wants to suck the life force out of you whilst having sex thing.  Add in a sexy demon hunter bound to protect the innocent victim and you have a recipe for a winning paranormal romance.  Some how the recipe went wrong and the story falls flat, I think it was the whole apocalypse thing (you think the story is about to get really exciting with demons popping up all over the place) but no - what happens is the story suddenly winds up in a couple of pages.  I’d rate it 2 out of 5.

Summing up - the dates from hell idea behind this collection of stories was an excellent idea to inspire the authors writing these novellas.  The authors are all talented writers with their own styles of writing and a solid history of good work behind them.  Although as a general rule I don’t like books that are a made up from a collection of novellas I really thought I was going to enjoy Dates From Hell, sadly I didn’t. 

I think the problem may have been that two of the stories are romances and two are horror/fantasy but the whole book is marketed as a romance.  As a whole, it is neither one thing nor the other.

For the collection as a whole:-

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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