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Holidays Are Hell (The Hollows #5.5 - Two Ghosts for Sister Rach)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  5,887 ratings  ·  250 reviews
This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones--living and dead . . .There's no place like home for the horrordays--unless you'd prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard . . . or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here--and whether it's a solstice seance gone demonica ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2007)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
My favorite stories in this anthology were "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison and "Six" by Marjorie Liu. Ironically, they weren't Christmas stories.

"Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison

This story looks into Rachel's past, when she was eighteen, fresh out of community college, and determined to recover from her childhood of severe illness and to get a job working for Inderlander Security. Her brother Robbie is in town for Solstice Night, and wants her to go back to west coas
Anthologies are always hit and miss for me. I'm usually happy if one story makes an impression. I picked up Holidays Are Hell because of the Kim Harrison story. Surprisingly, it was my favorite story in the book.

Here is my breakdown:
Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison - 4 stars
This is the story of an 18 year old Rachel Morgan. It takes place before Dead Witch Walking, before Rachel joins the I.S. and before she meets Ivy. We learn more about Rachel's illness as a child, her talents as a
Quite an interesting novella with great sense of humour and very inspiring. We are back in time when Rachel is eighteen and is still living at home with her great and crazy Mom. We meet her big brother Robbie who's coming home for the Solstice after being at the West Coast since their father died. Rachel goal is to start working for the I.S. despite the fact she is too young. She just wants to smear the pavement with bad guys and to win her independence. Robbie loves her but he doesn't think thi ...more
Loved this anthology, it was just so great, Rachel meeting Pierce, and seeing her interact with Robbie, a continuation of the short story from Dates from Hell, which was so hilarious, and yeah, 2 other great stories! Loved so much!
My overall rating (3) is for the book as a concept and based on the two (of four) stories I've read. This is a theme collection for stories set in modern fantasy series and I don't read the other two series, so jumping in with these stories seems unwise.

I'm not sure I'll ever get around to reading the other two stories, so here are comments on the two I did read, Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison (in the Hollows series) and The Harvest by Viki Pettersson (in the Signs of the Zodiac se
Janice (Janicu)
For the most part I liked this anthology better than the first one, Dates from Hell. I think most were on the "good!" side.

"Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison. In Dates from Hell we got a story about Ivy set before she meets Rachel, and in this story, we get a story about a young teen-aged Rachel before she ever joins Inderland Security. I thought this was well done because you don't have to have read the Rachel Morgan books to understand the world (much less confusing than the story
This anthology features 4 short stories by some very talented women.

Two Ghosts For Sister Rachel gives us an eighteen year old Rachel before she joined the IS and moves out into the world. We also get a look at her home life and her true start at earth magic.

Run,Run,Rudolph is a fun story with a great romance and tense pursuit scenes. Jill and Nick make a great couple and I want more of them. It was funny,sexy, and very interesting.

Six is set in China and is the name of our heroine. She finds he
Jenn Dattilo Watts
3.5 star overall (really wish we could give .5 star ratings on GoodReads.) Did not read the Lynsay Sands novella, but the other three were well done.

First off, The Kim Harrison short. I'd heard of this short from others who'd read the Rachel Morgan series, but this was my first chance to read it. It was really, really well done and made me want to go back and read the whole series again (starting from book 6, because NOBODY in their right mind wants to have to read through what happened to Kist
I have written up a little review of each story. I did not realize it when I started the book, but I have books and/or series of books by each of these authors on my TBR shelf. But have not yet read any of them, with the exception of one Kim Harrison's 'Hollows' book that I don't remember being terribly impressed with. So here goes--

Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison--
I have read the first book about the Hollows by Harrison and while it was okay I was not blown away and have not read a
Honestly, I was a little disappointed by this anthology. I'd really been looking forward to Kim Harrison's story because I love her Rachel Morgan series and this story was supposed to explain why Rachel is the way she is. I'm not sure I buy that this story explains that, even if Kim Harrison thinks it does. It was nice to get a look at Rachel's brother and mother, but I think Ivy's back story in Dates from Hell was much more interesting and revealing.

Lynsay Sand's story was straight up romance
Short story collection concept: supernatural plus holidays, specifically the winter ones. One covers the winter solstice, one Christmas, one Chinese New Year, and one Thanksgiving. It was cool that they weren't all about Christmas; that aspect really piqued my interest.

I read this primarily for the Kim Harrison story in the Rachel Morgan series. This is the background story of Pierce, who becomes very much a part of the Hollows series in the most recent novels. Frankly, this impressed me. Harris
3.5 stars

This short story was a little glimpse into Rachel's past. We learn more about Rachel's family and meet her brother, Robbie, for the first time. There is plenty of action as Rachel tries to summon the ghost of her father on the eve of the Solstice. Of course, this goes wrong and she ends up summoning another ghost by mistake. She must then help this ghost track down those who killed him and bring them to justice.

It was a very enjoyable read. It was nice to meet a younger and slightly m
Heather G Gentle
Kim Harrison-- decent-- I enjoyed seeing Rachel as a teen before she got into being a runner. I liked getting to know Rachel's brother a little since we don't get to know him in her Hollows series much at all. I don't know how much you'd get out of this if you don't read the series though.

Lynsay Sands-- a little too much of a straight romance for me but good humor and at least mildly entertaining.

Marjorie Liu- I found this to be the most interesting. Seems like this could be a stand alone and th
Hazel G. (I ♥ Mancandy) *Craves the Angst Reviews* .
I got this book mainly for the Kim Harrison story but I really liked all the other stories as well. Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel is the Kim Harrison story and is the introduction to Pierce. Its a great little story and because Im a fan of Pierce, it was nice to see in detail the story thats been referenced in the Hollows books about Rachel and Pierce's first meeting. I love the Hollows and this was a nice little side story! We get an early look at Rachel. At this point in her life, we get to see ...more
Read Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel. I really enjoyed finding out her hopes for joining the I.S. Very interesting adventure. Hopefully later on in the series, we will find out more about her brother Robbie.
ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ
Anthology of four stories: Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison (Halloween); Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands (Christmas); Six by Marjorie M. Liu (New Year's); and The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson (Thanksgiving).

So far, only read... Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands. Okay, so the girl is made into a shape shifter, but if you discount that little detail then it's a fairly traditional yet humourous romance set at christmas time.

My rating is based on having read the one story above. It may c
Kim Harrison and Marjorie M Liu produced to well-written novellas that can be read and appreciated by any lover of urban fantasy, even if those unfamiliar with their works. Vicki Patterson's short is excellent, but might be a harder read for those not familiar with her freshman series - but is a must-read for anyone who reads her books (explains the mysterious disappearance of Zoe Archer). The only disappointment was the short by Lyndsey Sand - written at a level best suited for a intermediate r ...more
Sharon Stevenson
This was a bit of a mixed bag for me; I've rounded up to 4 stars in total from 3.5 average because this is totally worth getting just for the Kim Harrison story.

'Two Ghosts For Sister Rachel' is the best of the bunch and gets 5 stars from me. Kim Harrison just knows how to write an awesome story; this novella manages effortlessly to be heart-warming, funny, action-packed and suspenseful.

'Run, Run, Rudolph' by Lyndsay Sands is a cute Christmas time story and I quite liked how it started. I didn'
This was a fantastic collection of very different but entirely amazing stories. I literally couldn't put it down til I was finished last night. I would've finished earlier if darn it, I didn't have to work. However, my nose found its way back between the pages come lunch time. If you haven't ever read these authors, I highly recommend picking it up and seeing if you like their styles. If you're already a fan, this is a read you simply won't want to miss.
The Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel story was incredibly cute. Slow at first, but I loved the ending. This one is part of the Rachel Morgan series, but being that it takes place before the series actually begins, it's still easy to understand. If you get a chance though, do read the rest of the series! She's one of my favorite authors.

Run Run Rudolph is alright... slightly annoying that the main girl is pretty dense (should I run away from a bad guy or keep my part in the parade?). Kinda wanted me
This is a book that contains short intro stories. Probably a ploy put out by the publishing company to gain readers. The only one worth reading was the first by Kim Harrison. The short by Harrison is a pre-quil to her herione series. The rest were a complete waste of my time.
This goes only for Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison.

Quite an interesting novella with great sense of humour and very inspiring. We are back in time when Rachel is eighteen and is still living at home with her great and crazy Mom. We meet her big brother Robbie who's coming home for the Solstice after being at the West Coast since their father died. Rachel goal is to start working for the I.S. despite the fact she is too young. She just wants to smear the pavement with bad guys and to
Jessica ❁ Elsecaller ❁ at Rabid Reads
Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel - The Hollows, 5.5

I think I would've liked this more if I'd read it in order the first time. As it is, I already know all the things that went down with Pierce, so I can't fully appreciate the sweetness of his and Rachel's first meeting.

ALSO--I didn't like Robbie (Rachel's brother) before, and I like him even less now. He's an arrogant, know-it-all, pompous ASS. He ditches Rachel with their crazy, not-handling-the-death-of-her-husband-well-at-ALL mother when she's FO
Kim Harrison's story was really the reason I bought this book. Love, love, loved reading about Rachel Morgan's first meeting with Pierce. The story was really well-written and showed Rachel's character so well. It also gave really good insight into her family, which was very welcome.

I was also pleasantly surprised that the other stories in the collection were very high quality too. Though I hadn't previously read Liu or Sands, I liked their contributions and will likely check out their other wor
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All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of

Kim Harrison - Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel - I had a bit of a falling out with Rachel Morgan's The Hollows series after book four. I've long maintained that Ivy is in need of some serious staking, and as her relationship with Rachel increasingly became more of the focus of the series my enjoyment decreased (if a guy pulled half the possessive, needy, territorial garbage that Ivy does Rachel would never have put up with it). Plus after what ha
☂ ℬrandi

I thought this book was going to be more romance and less action-adventure. I was wrong. I thought it was going to be about Christmas specifically, hence the Santa-esque dress on the cover, ok, with a graveyard and dagger, but still, I was wrong. It was about the Holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. That actually ended up being cool. I thought I'd hate it. I was wrong. While I didn't love it to pieces, it was good for what it was, even if it's not my cuppa . But if you lik
Carolyn F.
Anthology. Two stories were great, two weren't.

Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison. This story takes place when Rachel first met Pierce so actually should be read before the entire Hollows series. Rachel was to become an IS officer but is 18 and has to have a parent or guardian sign a permission slip until she turns 19. Her brother says if she does a complicated spell to bring her father back, he'll sign it. She does it but brings Pierce instead. They find out there's a criminal that w
I give this 3.5 just for the Vicki Pettersson story. Which is the only one I am going to talk about.

I HIGHLY suggest reading this short BEFORE moving on to book 3 of her Signs of the Zodiac series, even though it is technically a prequel.

It is pretty integral to the series. Gives us a huge amount of background information that I know I very much needed as a reader. And over all the story is very cool. ***SPOILERS BELOW****

The story is about Zoe Archer, right after her daughter Joanna's rape. Zoe
Kim Harrison's story was very good. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much before I read Black Magic Sanction. Although it is clearly intended to be read first, I think I was more intrigued because of the references to the story made in the book (and Pierce being a main character in both). Either way, I think it's a good story that should be enjoyable to Rachel Morgan fans and newbies alike. I enjoyed getting insight into Rachel's past.

Lynday Sands' story was awful. I was disappointed
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Kim Harrison, dark urban fantasy author of the New York Times bestselling Ever After, was born and raised in the upper Midwest. After gaining her bachelors in the sciences, she moved to South Carolina until the lure of snow pulled her back to Michigan When not at her desk, she is most likely to be found landscaping her yard or on the links with her mom.

Kim reaches out to her audience at Facebook h
More about Kim Harrison...

Other Books in the Series

The Hollows (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1)
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows, #2)
  • Every Which Way But Dead (The Hollows, #3)
  • A Fistful of Charms (The Hollows, #4)
  • For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, #5)
  • The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows, #6)
  • White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows, #7)
  • Black Magic Sanction (The Hollows, #8)
  • Pale Demon (The Hollows, #9)
  • A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)
Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) Every Which Way But Dead (The Hollows, #3) The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows, #2) For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, #5) The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows, #6)

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