Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just Plain Bad (Bad-Ass Faeries, Bk 2) by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Lee Hillman and Jeff Lyman

Posted by Simcha 11:49 AM, under | 5 comments

I've never been a real fan of short stories though I have to admit that I've also never given them much of a chance. Even after signing up last year for a short-story reading challenge I barely even cracked open the anthology I had chosen to read. So when Danielle Ackley-McPhail contacted me about reviewing her books I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to give short stories another try, with her Bad-Ass Faeries anthology. It's been a while since I read a book about faeries and Just Plain Bad intrigued me with its promise of dark and unusual stories about the fae.

Just Plain Bad is the second book in the Bad-Ass Faeries series and it contains twenty-four unique stories by various authors, none of whom I was previously familiar with. Like with most story collections, some of the stories were better than others, and a couple of them I skipped altogether, but I actually ended up really enjoying the majority of them.

While there are too many stories for me to summarize each one, I will describe a few of my favorite from the anthology.

Moonshine by Bernie Mojzes: A young woman comes into a bar with a sample of a special liquor that her family personally prepares. She offers the bartender a taste with the promise of providing him as much stock as he wants, if he likes it. While at first the bartender is skeptical, after tasting the liquor he quickly agrees to stock his bar with the drink and soon it becomes the most popular drink in the city. And as the popularity of the drink increases so do the violence and crime. Only Tom realizes who it is that is providing the liquor and what their dark purpose is in doing so, and only he may be able to stop them.

Whiskey Sour by Skyla Dawn Cameron: Juliette is a young woman with faerie blood who contracts lycanthropy after a one-night stand. Juliette is burning for revenge against the man who infected her and when he comes to her for help she just might have her chance to pay him back.

Do You Believe by C.J Henderson: A newsman looking for a juicy story stops by a bar where the supernatural are known to gather. After a round of drinks and some pleading he manages to wheedle out of Darby, the story-telling king, the story of the cockroach faeries. Though, as in all dealing with the fae, he will likely come to regret it.

Repostiltskin by James Daniel Ross: This modern retelling of Rumpelstiltskin was definitely my favorite of the stories. Samuel, a nerdy and unpopular boy, is celebrating his birthday at home alone when an unpleasantly smelly and very short man barges into his house and demands from his mother the sixteen red diamonds owed him. When Samuel's mother is unable to provide them, the man carries Samuel away. On the way to the Faery Queen's Court, where Samuel will be forever enslaved, the two of them make a few stops at other houses whose occupants have also signed contracts with the dwarf. And like Samuel's mother, those who can't fulfill their contracts will have to pay dearly.

And since I received the book from Ackley-McPhail I paid particular attention to her contribution to the book, Within The Guardian Bell. This story features Lance, a Halfling faery and the leader of a biker gang made up of rejects from the Faery Court. On the way home, Lance is attacked by a gremlin who has been sent by the Faery King to eliminate him. I liked the idea of biker faeries and was left wanting to know more about the story. But unlike most of the other stories in the book this one didn't feel fully-formed but more like it was part of a larger story, which it is. Luckily I was also sent the Ackley-McPhail's novella, The Halfling's Court, which has the full story about Lance and his gang and I look forward to reading that next.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Just Plain Bad and I now have a new appreciation for short stories. I liked being able to complete a whole story in the time that it took me to eat breakfast, or just during a short break from work. I liked knowing that within just a few pages I would receive a resolution to the plot, something I don't always have the patience for with regular books. I was particularly impressed, though, with how the authors managed to get me to care for their characters within the space of those few pages. That takes some real writing skill and almost all of the stories very much succeeded in this. And even though each of the stories dealt with faeries, in one form or another, I didn't feel that the stories were similar or repetitive, at all. Though, for some reason, quite a few of them did take place in bars.

If you enjoy reading about faeries and have a taste for tales that are a bit dark and twisted, then this would be a great book for you. As long as you remember that not all faery tales have a happy ending.


Same with me, not a big fan of short stories, but perhaps like you I have never given them a chance

So glad you enjoyed this one. :) I just might have to look into it later when I get this large pile that is triping me down some. :) Thanks!


Thanks for showing interest.

There are sample excerpts from all of the Bad-Ass Faeries stories, from all three anthologies, at www.badassfaeries.com/excerpts.htm.


Danielle Ackley-McPhail

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