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A Spy in the House
Y.S. Lee
Pacific Rim: The Official Movie Novelization
Alex Irvine
Vacations from Hell - Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Claudia Gray, Cassandra Clare It's a set-up similar to Prom Nights from Hell, although this time it's one author I like, two I have read bits and pieces from, and two I haven't read before. The result was three hits, two misses, and while it didn't start off as strong as Prom Nights From Hell did, it contains some really enjoyable short stories making Vacations From Hell a worthwhile anthology to dip into.

Cruisin' by Sarah Mlynowski: Have you ever read a story and knew the plot twists before they happened - because they had happened in another work? Although it features different creatures and locations, the set-up and pay-off in Cruisin' was something I had seen many times before. Last time I saw it, it involved a werewolf Anna Paquin killing and eating some guy. A repetitive story could have been saved, just not with the shallow characters and heavy-handed foreshadowing used in Cruisin'. 40 pages. 2/5

I Don't Like Your Girlfriend by Claudia Gray: I swear, everything I read of Claudia Gray's gets better and better. This was very different from her full-length Evernight works, but was still very good. I thought I had the twist figured out, but Gray used it to pull a fast one over me. I love the world set-up here, and I would be very happy to see more stories set in it. 52 pages. 5/5

The Law of Suspects by Maureen Johnson: Well, this was a weirder entry, and while it started off awkwardly it very soon picked up and became very compelling indeed. There was some fantastic writing here, and it and the ending helped make up for the few weaker spots earlier on. 68 pages. 4/5

House of Mirrors by Cassandra Clare: This was a good idea to start with, but unfortunately the potential here was not lived up to. Clare's writing style, with its continual awkward descriptions/similes distracted from the story rather than added to it. The ending was interesting, but it also felt quite off in the way it was handled. 50 pages. 2/5

Nowhere Is Safe by Libba Bray: A disturbing but enjoyable read. Bray sets the scene and the pace well at the start and keeps it going right to the end. There are a few awkward moments, but overall it was a very good story. It definitely read like a horror movie - so was perhaps not the best thing to read just before midnight and bed. 69 pages. 4/5

Overall I'd give Vacations From Hell a rating of three and a half stars. There were a few misses in here, but the stronger stories more than made up for the weaker spots.