February 24, 2003
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection by Ellen Datlow (Editor) and Terri Windling (Editor)

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection by Ellen Datlow (Editor) and Terri Windling (Editor): I’ve never reviewed one of these books before, but if you’re a horror or fantasy lover, all fifteen volumes of this collection is a must for you. One of my happiest days as a bibliophile is when I found the last volume I needed to complete the collection online at Alibris. I even sent the found of the company an e-mail because these books are so important to me as a reader.

These books are very large - around seven hundred pages. Not only do you get over 500 pages of the best stories of the year, you also get a summation of fantasy for the year (reviews of books, poetry, and music offerings, mostly. A great place to find books that you might have missed otherwise. I have found some excellent works that had slipped below my radar through these reviews), a summation of horror, Fantasy and Horror in the Media (an excellent way to find a good movie), comics for the year, and an obituary section.

You will never find anthologies as fine as these and this volume was no exception. They simply sparkle with magic, contain horror to chill you to the bone, and every other emotion in between. Most of the stories that I carry around with me in my heart always, have been read in these volumes.

My favorite stories included Incognit, Inc. (Harlan Ellison), Le Mooz (Louise Erdrich), Granny Weather (Charles de Lint), Greedy Choke Puppy (Nalo Hopkinson), Achilles' Grave (Ben Pastor), Down Here in the Garden (Tia V. Travis), Riding the Black Horse (Elizabeth Engstrom), Mr. Dark’s Carnival (Glen Hirschberg), The Cavemen in the Hedges (Stacey Richter), The Penny Drops (Ian Rodwell and Steve Duffy), Buttons (Claudia Adrizola), The Artificial Cloud (Justin Tussing), The Pottawatomie Ghost (Andy Duncan), George is All Right (Howard Wandrei), The Abortionist’s Horse (A Nightmare) (Tanith Lee), The Heidelberg Cylinder (Jonathan Carroll), Gone (Jack Ketchum), The Flaying Season (Jeffrey Thomas), Bone Orchards (Paul J. McAuley), and Hallowmass (Esther M. Friesner).

I simply cannot recommend these books enough to all readers, not just those of horror and fantasy.

February 10, 2003
4 Blondes by Candance Bushnell

4 Blondes by Candance Bushnell: four stories about rich women - a model, a writer, a journalist, and a princess - and their trials and tribulations.

I found this book bland at best and couldn’t really get into the characters. It’s by the same woman responsible for Sex and the City, but while I genuinely care about Carrie and her friends, I couldn’t be bothered to really worry or be concerned with these women’s problems. Carrie and her crew always seem like real people while these four ladies were so far removed from my plane of reality. If your biggest problem is trying to find the best house to stay in in The Hamptons for the summer, we have nothing in common.

I suppose this book was an okay way to spend a few hours. I’m just relieved I got it for free at Swappingtons instead of paying for it.