Book: Anthology ‘Hex Appeal’ part 2 – “Although that very thought was more shuddersome than a pack of feral zombies invading a tea party”

I am finding the ‘Hex Appeal’ anthology hard going – the initial two stories were readable but I’m having to try increasingly hard.

This week I managed to get through another two short stories:

Rachel Caine’s ‘Holly’s Balm’
Carole Nelson Douglas’ ‘Snow Job’

Caine’s story featured characters that had previously appeared in another anthology (that I haven’t read). Holly is a witch who  can raise the dead and Andy is a witch she brought back from the dead and is now dating…

hex appeal

Basically ‘Holly’s Balm’ felt like a mashup between Caine’s Revivalist series and Kim Harrisons Rachel Morgan series. There is the zombie-loving ick from the former and the wet witch who can’t see the obvious even when it is hitting her in the face from the latter.

I really hope the story wasn’t meant to contain plot twists as every bit of plot was broadcaster loud & clear WAY in advance. I’d read worse stories (more on that in a minute), but I wouldn’t bother reading it again.

Having never heard of Carole Nelson Douglas I went into ‘Snow Job’ with a completely open mind and no preconceptions.


(Sugar – because people like you just fuel my fire.)

Apparently it is set in the world of Delilah Street – Paranormal Investigator series. There seemed to be lots of references and information dumps that I didn’t understand, probably as I haven’t read any of the series.

Lots of things happened and the writing felt as if it could have been generated by a pop-culture obsessed monkey posting on Twitter whilst on a sugar high. For example:

“Call me one weird sister, but I wasn’t too high on bailing on the Inferno, or its owner. I’ve never been into male sex symbols. I’m not talking about the planet Mars with the provocative little arrow. Blatant onstage booty calls for screaming female fans and profit insult my intelligence. Elvis would have squealed in vain. Justin Timberlake would have to get his screams and squees from some other chick.”

In a short story every word counts and that was a lot of words conveying nothing of value to the story or anything else for that matter

Apparently Douglas has written 60 novels and judging by the quality of this story I feel that she may have managed this feat in one long sugar-fuelled weekend.

So far ‘Hex Appeal’ is on a strong downwards spiral and I’ve got another five stories to get through, I’m praying that it gets easier!

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