This Blog Tour is so big, that I had to split my one stop into TWO stops. Please continue to read my review of Very Superstitious below and get to know the authors of the stories in this awesome anthology. Then click here to read my guest post with author Stephanie Kuehnert and enter to win a copy of Very Superstitious!
Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends, and Tales of Superstition (Anthology)
Genre: Young Adult Short Story Collection, Paranormal
Release date: October 17 2013
Source: e-ARC for Blog Tour
In a word: A timely collection for a good cause, with some delightful surprises, full of myths and superstitions, and a vast array of stories that will make you laugh, cry and think.
One of the best things about this anthology is that proceeds from the first 5,000 copies sold will be donated to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) International. Halloween is the perfect time to release this anthology into the world, and the fact that many of the authors use animals as core elements in their stories ties in well with the SPCA connection. Each tale features a superstition or legend, some better known that others, and although all the stories fall under one of the title’s subcategories, as a whole they were a very mixed bunch. I found myself pleasantly surprised to discover some new-to-me authors that are now on my radar: to those of you who “wowed” me, look out: I will not rest until I read more from you! Because this is a short anthology with only eight stories, I want to highlight each one. In alphabetical order by author, here are the stories of Very Superstitious:
The Rescue by Shannon Delany
This fairy tale-like story about a man and his faithful dog named Annie was one of my favorites. It fits perfectly in this collection, as it tells about a superstition that hounds born with red ears are fairy-born, and therefore dangerous. Andrew rescued Annie as a pup as she was about to be drowned because of her red ears, and ever since she’s been Andrew’s greatest love. The story delves into family, loyalty and trust, with an unexpected ending that will make you a Shannon Delany fan too!
Thirst by Jackie Morse Kessler
I loved this story about the legend of Noah’s Ark, which goes beyond the tale most of us know and delves into a lesser known character. Thirst tells the story of Sambethe, daughter of Noah, whose dreams foretell the flooding of the river, and how she tries to convince her father to prepare for the flood. This story had a dream-like and mesmerizing quality that sucked me in.
Chupacabra by Jennifer Knight
This story was very odd for me in the beginning, but by the end I was hooked. It uses the myth of the chupacabra, an urban legend about a killer beast that sucks the blood from its victims, to tell the story of a monster slayer named Eva who unexpectedly comes face to face with her past, while trying to help her sister. I loved the exotic locale of Chupacabra, which takes place in Puerto Rico, and the menacing feel as the story alternates between Eva’s point of view and the killer’s.
The Road Home by Stephanie Kuehnert
This odd ghost story was another of my favorites. Kuehnert writes like a seasoned professional, and her writing reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s. King takes small details and weaves them throughout his stories, details that take on lives of their own. This is not an easy thing to do, but Kuehnert does it brilliantly. Her story uses the (unfamiliar to me) superstition of making a wish on the last cigarette in the pack. The Road Home tells a sad but ultimately uplifting story of a ghost who is trying to find her way home, and the people who end up helping her. Oh, and there is a dog in the story, too.
The Gift of the Were-Magi by Mari Mancusi
Mancusi might be the best-known of this group of writers, since she just published Scorched, and her story in this collection doesn’t disappoint. Two werewolves named Orpheus and Luna are deeply in love, but unable to be mates because of pack rules. When Orpheus devises a dangerous plan that could allow them to be together, things don’t quite work out the way he envisions. One of my favorites of the bunch, this is probably the saddest werewolf story I’ve ever read!
Midhalla by Michelle E. Reed
The superstition in Midhalla is a familiar one: opening umbrellas indoors brings back luck. This story about a girl who works as an online psychic starts out normal enough, but eventually turns into a horror story of sorts. Reed ties in Egyptian superstitions with modern-day characters and offers up a cautionary tale about belief.
Bloody Mary by Dianne K. Salerni
I really enjoyed this story about the origins of the Bloody Mary myth. Salerni takes a very scary slumber party game and gives us a plausible explanation for it. Jealousy and witchcraft come together in this odd but terrifying tale of cousins who are in love with the same boy.
The Silverfoot Heretic by Pab Sungenis
This might be my favorite story! Sungenis uses the book The Wizard of Oz as the basis for a future society’s belief system, turning the familiar characters of that beloved story on their heads and creating a new reality that is both strange and comforting at the same time. Sungenis gives us a hopeful look at how stories are carried down from generation to generation, and how they shape our lives.
Very Superstitious was overall an enjoyable read. I loved the different ways the authors interpreted the theme, and I’m thrilled to have discovered some talented new authors. The only thing missing, in my opinion, is an afterward or explanation from each author about the origins of their stories and the myths, legends and superstitions they were based on. (Some are obvious but some are not.) But for an anthology that’s been written for a very good cause, you really can’t go wrong. Very Superstitious has something for every reader, and these stories will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them.
Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
Find Very Superstitious:
About the Authors:
SHANNON DELANY has written stories since she was a child. She began writing in earnest when her grandmother fell unexpectedly ill during a family vacation. In 2008 her greatly abbreviated version of 13 to Life (written in just five weeks) won the grand prize in the first-ever cell phone novel contest in the western world through Textnovel.com.
Shannon’s new series (a steampunk trilogy titled Weather Witch, St. Martin’s Press) launched June 25, 2013.
Previously a teacher and now a farmer raising heritage livestock, Shannon lives and writes in Upstate New York and enjoys traveling to talk to people about most anything.
JACKIE MORSE KESSLER grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.)
Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.
JENNIFER KNIGHT. Hi. I’m Jen. I am twenty-two years old and live in Miami, Florida with my family. I’m a lifelong lover of books, romance and anything even vaguely supernatural. Except zombies. Zombies scare me.
I wrote the first draft of Blood on the Moon in about two months, during which I locked myself in my room and thought about teeth and moons and kissing.
I must have done something right, because Running Press bought my book and now you’re here reading this. I guess that means you liked the book. Yay! If I had a cookie, I’d totally give it to you. You deserve it.
Anyway, now that Blood on the Moon is done, I’m writing the sequel. And also some other stuff that hopefully you’ll see one day.
STEPHANIE KUEHNERT got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several D.I.Y. feminist ‘zines. After short stints in Ohio and Wisconsin, Stephanie ultimately returned home and received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago. She currently resides in Forest Park, IL.
MARI MANCUSI used to wish she could become a vampire back in high school. But she ended up in another blood sucking profession –journalism — instead. Today she works as a freelance TV producer and author of books for teens and adults.
When not writing about creatures of the night, Mari enjoys traveling, cooking, goth clubbing, watching cheesy horror movies, and her favorite guilty pleasure–videogames. A graduate of Boston University and a two-time Emmy Award winner, she lives in Austin , Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon and their dog Mesquite. You can find Mari online at www.marimancusi.com or www.bloodcovenvampires.com.
MICHELLE E. REED. Michelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
DIANNE K. SALERNI is a fifth grade teacher by day and a writer by night. She’s the author of YA historical novels, We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks) and The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH), and a forthcoming MG fantasy series, The Eighth Day (HarperCollins 2014).
The Caged Graves is a Junior Library Guild Selection, and We Hear the Dead was the inspiration for a 10 minute short film, The Spirit Game, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. http://vimeo.com/64738099
In her spare time, Dianne is prone to hanging around creepy cemeteries and climbing 2000 year-old pyramids in the name of book research.
PAB SUNGENIS. Born in the swamps of Southern New Jersey, Pab Sungenis developed a childhood fascination with cartooning and drew a daily strip for his own amusement for two years before realizing he couldn’t draw. He wound up in broadcasting, worked for numerous stations including WSBU, WOND, WMGM, WSKR, WBNJ, WWBZ, and WKTU. He describes his drawing ability as like that of “a mentally challenged rhinoceros on a Ny-Quil bender”, but thanks to the wonders of photo-manipulation and computer image editing, on February 8, 2006 he found himself creating The New Adventures of Queen Victoria, which has appeared ever since, first on Comicssherpa.com., and now in online syndication with gocomics.com. Pab Sungenis is available for quotes, signings, video or podcast appearances, and all opportunities relative to SIDEKICK: THE MISADVENTURES OF THE NEW SCARLET KNIGHT.
**Don’t forget to stop by my guest post with author Stephanie Kuehnert (and read Stephanie’s Top Ten Writing Rituals!) and enter to win a copy of Very Superstitious!
Many thanks to Chapter by Chapter for hosting the Very Superstitious Blog Tour!