When the ‘rona hit, I found it hard to concentrate on a book. If you’re in a slump, I highly recommend trying an anthology from your favorite genre. Kicking It was edited by Faith Hunter and Kalayna Price. I haven’t read any Jane Yellowrock books, but her story made me order the first book. I stumbled across the anthology more so for Price who wrote the Alex Craft books, which was my be favorite series from last year. I took a lot of breaks between the stories, but this collection reminded me how much I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance. It also gave me a chance to read stories from new to me authors like Chloe Neill. She is known for her very popular Chicagoland Vampire series. And the cover with the killer knee-high boots definitely drew me in. A perfect pick for the Violet CBR12 bingo square.
The stories all feature kick-ass women bestowed with some type of supernatural gift. We’ve got witches, monsters from other dimensions, and lots and lots of vampires. Some of the heroines like Lindsay in “High Stakes” and Briar in “Ruby Red” just like to wear boots and kick butt. But in many of the stories, the key to catching the baddie lies in magical footwear. Rachel Caine’s “Forked Tongues” features two witches who need to take down a villainous city councilman who wears snakeskin boots. He is stirring up hate crimes against out of the closet witches. That’s because he’s a demon who doesn’t want to said witches to put him down. There is a heist with a magical boot-wearing lady in Shannon K Butcher’s “Stolen Goods”. In “The Girl with No Name”, said girl wakes up in bed with no memory wearing boots she can’t take off. Faith Hunter’s Jane story has a missing woman with only a single shoe clue left behind while Christina Henry’s character needs to track down a pair of red shoes in “Red Isn’t Really My Color”. Rob Thurman’s “Snakeskin” was a fun story about a Trickster who grants wishes but not in the way you’d expect.
Most of these are novella bonus stories for many of these authors’ sprawling series. This amazing blog, Feeling Fictional, outlined where these stories fit with other books and novellas better than the publisher’s site. All the stories wrapped up fairly nicely, so you don’t need to be familiar with the characters. I was only familiar with Kalayna Price’s characters, Briar and Derrick. It was a treat to read a stand-alone story about them especially as Briar is introduced in such a mysterious way in the main series. If you’re new to the urban fantasy genre, these short stories are an excellent place to start. Grab this anthology if you love paranormal fantasy, no-nonsense heroines, and stories featuring sexy and/or magical shoes.
If you’re so inclined, read more of my writing on my blog, Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict.