A to Z Challenge Book Reviews

My Languishing TBR: S #AtoZChallenge2023 #Books #BookReviews

S is for Sisters

Learn more about the challenge here.

I’m doing folklore and book review posts to reach and please a larger audience. Previous years have shown select interest in both and to minimise blogging throughout the year, I’m focusing my efforts on April.

Focusing on an A to Z of my TBR (to be read) list, each letter will have books starting with that letter on my list, a book I’ve read and reviewed (with the review!) and one of my books matching the letter with a link about more info about the book (I’ve published some new books, so take a look).

I chose the books this year quite randomly from my Goodreads Want to Read page. Some are quite creatively added to letters.

I know there were suggestions in last year’s Reflection post that I skip my TBR and just get on with the review, but I like knowing what I have left to read for each letter (and how far I’ve come with all the reading challenges I’ve done) so things are staying the same. Scroll down to the reviews if you’re not interested in what my TBR still contains. FYI, you might encounter issues with commenting if you don’t tick all the boxes marked as mandatory (especially the privacy one).

Let the fun begin!

If you’d rather check out my folklore post for today, go here.


About the Book I’ve Read

Blood Sisters by various authors

A tantalizing selection of stories from some of the best female authors who’ve helped define the modern vampire.

Bram Stoker was hardly the first author—male or female—to fictionalize the folkloric vampire, but he defined the modern iconic vampire when Dracula appeared in 1897. Since then, many have reinterpreted the ever-versatile vampire over and over again—and female writers have played vital roles in proving that the vampire, as well as our perpetual fascination with it, is truly immortal. These authors have devised some of the most fascinating, popular, and entertaining of our many vampiric variations: suavely sensual . . . fascinating but fatal . . . sexy and smart . . . undead but prone to detection . . . tormented or terrifying . . . amusing or amoral . . . doomed or deadly . . . badass and beautiful . . . cutting-edge or classic . . .

Blood Sisters collects a wide range of fantastical stories from New York Times bestsellers Holly Black, Nancy Holder, Catherynne M. Valente, and Carrie Vaughn, and critically acclaimed writers Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Tanith Lee, all of whom have left their indelible and unique stamps on the vampire genre. Whether they are undeniably heroes and heroines or bloodthirsty monsters (or something in between), the undead are a lively lot. This anthology offers some of the best short fiction ever written by the “blood sisters” who know them best: stories you can really sink your teeth into.

Introduction: “Welcome to My House! Enter Freely and of Your Own Free Will!” by Paula Guran
“A Princess of Spain” by Carrie Vaughn
“Shipwrecks Above” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
“The Fall of the House of Blackwater” by Freda Warrington
“In Memory of …” by Nancy Kilpatrick
“Where the Vampires Live” by Storm Constantine
“La Dame” by Tanith Lee
“Chicago 1927” by Jewelle Gomez
“Renewal” by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
“Blood Freak” by Nancy Holder
“The Power and the Passion” by Pat Cadigan
“The Unicorn Tapestry” by Suzy McKee Charnas
“This Town Ain’t Big Enough” by Tanya Huff
“Vampire King of the Goth Chicks” by Nancy A. Collins
“Learning Curve” by Kelley Armstrong
“The Better Half” by Melanie Tem
“Selling Houses” by Laurell K. Hamilton
“Greedy Choke Puppy” by Nalo Hopkinson
“Tacky” by Charlaine Harris
“Needles” by Elizabeth Bear
“From the Teeth of Strange Children” by Lisa L. Hannett
“Father Peña’s Last Dance” by Hannah Strom-Martin
“Sun Falls” by Angela Slatter
“Magdala Amygdala” by Lucy A. Snyder
“The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black
“In the Future When All’s Well” by Catherynne M. Valente

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

I enjoyed the introduction with its history of vampire fiction – I even added a series to my TBR. There are some good stories in this one, but a lot of cringe-worthy ones, too.

A Princess of Spain

An enjoyable tale featuring a young Catherine and Henry VIII at her wedding to Henry’s older brother Arthur – and the vampire who caused his untimely death. Full of atmosphere and hints of what would be Catherine’s lonely future with Henry.

Shipwrecks Above

‘The imagination of fish knows no bounds’ was cute, but the tone of the story didn’t draw me in. DNF.

The Fall of the House of Blackwater

Filled with the depravity and lust for power as all vampires – and the revenge when scorned. I liked the setting more than the characters, though.

In Memory of…

I enjoyed this fictionalised version of the relationship between Oscar Wilde and Florence, and Florence and Bram Stoker.

Where Vampires Live

Probably my favourite of all the stories in this anthology. The vivid descriptions pulled me in and this different kind of vampire was a lovely surprise. I’ll look up more of this author’s work.

La Dame

A ship as a vampire? Definitely a novel idea.

Chicago 1927

Not a bad story, but as it’s part of a bigger body of work, a lot feels incomplete.


I couldn’t get into this one. Perhaps the tedious description of what one of the men wore is at fault… DNF.

Blood Freak

I didn’t like the language or tone of this one. DNF.

The Power and the Passion

The colloquial spelling to show speech/education doesn’t appeal to me. DNF.

The Unicorn Tapestry

Not only does the story suffer from one character telling another what’s going on, it also has the misfortune of using the Lord’s name in vain. DNF.

This Town Ain’t Big Enough

POV jumping in a scene. Urgh. DNF.

Vampire King of the Goth Chicks

Not only is it part of a bigger story world, the language is unnecessarily crude. DNF.

Learning Curve

A fun story about a vampire and her stalker who turns out to be someone other than one would have thought. Good worldbuilding and nice twist. I’ll read more from this author.

The Better Half

Not intrigued. DNF.

Selling Houses

An intriguing story about a normal real estate agent dealing with the paranormal. Spooky house!

Greedy Choke Puppy

The dialect makes it difficult to read. DNF.


Something felt off as I read this… DNF.


Too much description. DNF.

From the Teeth of Strange Children

Daddy issues from the start… DNF.

Father Peña’s Last Dance

POV jumps. DNF.

Sun Falls

Too much swearing. DNF.

Magdala Amygdala

This hits too close to the Covid19 pandemic to be enjoyable. DNF.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Skipped this as I read and enjoyed the novel.

In the Future When All’s Well

Not a fan of the tone, especially concerning the implied bias against redheads, people with OCD, etc. DNF.

16 DNF out of 25 = 1 ½ stars

2 unicorn star rating

My Book

Small, Everyday Fae

I hope you enjoyed this. For more books I’ve read and reviewed, check out either my Pinterest board about reviews or my Goodreads profile. Alternatively, you can check out my reviews on BookBub. Have you read any of the books? Loved or hated any of them?

You can now support my time in producing book review posts (buying books, reading, writing reviews and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.

*FYI, my reviews are my honest opinion and if something bothers me, I tell it straight. How else will anything change? My opinions are based on being a voracious reader and book buyer, not an attack on the author.*

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9 thoughts on “My Languishing TBR: S #AtoZChallenge2023 #Books #BookReviews”

  1. And here we have it – the great S overlap – and mainly on speedy steeds! Do you think the Brumby books after the first six will be up to standard?
    A couple of your TBRs I have already read and reviewed – the Secret Horses of Briarley Hill for one. And I really must read Spiral of Hooves soon, if only to cheer the author up.
    The author of Magic at Midnight may be cheered up by knowing I read it on Friday and loved it 🙂

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