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Includes a never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story!

What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s story, "Playing Possum," Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew's entire class but finds she's one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up.

When her guardian, Kate Daniels, sends her undercover to a school for exceptional children, teenaged Julie learns an all-new definition of "exceptional," in New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews's "Magic Tests."

For those who like fangs with their forensics, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder offers "VSI," in which FBI agent Claire is tested as never before in a school for Vampire Scene Investigation.

And in New York Times bestselling author Thomas Sniegoski's "The Bad Hour," Remy Chandler and his dog Marlowe find evil unleashed in an obedience school.

You'll need more than an apple to stave off the creatures in these and nine other stories. Remember your first lesson: resistance is fruitless!


336 pages, Hardcover

First published August 30, 2012

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About the author

Charlaine Harris

304 books35.2k followers
Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over thirty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Charlaine lives in Texas now, and all of her children and grandchildren are within easy driving distance.

Though her early output consisted largely of ghost stories, by the time she hit college (Rhodes, in Memphis) Charlaine was writing poetry and plays. After holding down some low-level jobs, her husband Hal gave her the opportunity to stay home and write. The resulting two stand-alones were published by Houghton Mifflin. After a child-producing sabbatical, Charlaine latched on to the trend of series, and soon had her own traditional mystery books about a Georgia librarian, Aurora Teagarden. Her first Teagarden, Real Murders, garnered an Agatha nomination.

Soon Charlaine was looking for another challenge, and the result was the much darker Lily Bard series. The books, set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, feature a heroine who has survived a terrible attack and is learning to live with its consequences.

When Charlaine began to realize that neither of those series was ever going to set the literary world on fire, she regrouped and decided to write the book she’d always wanted to write. Not a traditional mystery, nor yet pure science fiction or romance, Dead Until Dark broke genre boundaries to appeal to a wide audience of people who simply enjoy a good adventure. Each subsequent book about Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic Louisiana barmaid and friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, was very successful in many languages.

The Harper Connelly books were written concurrently with the Sookie novels.

Following the end of Sookie's recorded adventures, Charlaine wrote the "Midnight, Texas" books, which have become a television series, also. The Aurora Teagarden books have been adapted by Hallmark Movie & Mystery.

Charlaine is a member of many professional organizations, an Episcopalian, and currently the lucky houseparent to two rescue dogs. She lives on a cliff overlooking the Brazos River.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 768 reviews
March 8, 2018
The Grand IAA™ KD Buddy Rerererereread Extravaganza (GIAAKDBRE™), aka the yellow brick road to Magic Triumphs

Review for Magic Tests (Kate Daniels #5.3):

Actual rating: 3.7589784256 stars.

Since my original review went poof and stuff and since my grey cells are ancient and tired and clearly not functioning at their optimum capacity and stuff and since I am feeling lazy as fish and stuff, you are going to get a Super Crappy Super Downsized Crappy Non Review (SVSDCNR™) and stuff. So be glad and rejoice, my Little Barnacles!

You are quite welcome and stuff.

Some People of the Erroneously Wrong Opinion (PotEWO™) seem to think Julie is naught but an exasperating little brat who deserves to die. Ha. We'll see what they have to say about her after I unleash my murderous children on them. Maybe getting slightly chopped into tiny little pieces, barbecued, slathered with Sriracha sauce and enthusiastically chomped on by a bunch of ravenous malacrostacans will help them see the light and stuff. But I ever so slightly digress.

So. Julie Oslen-Daniels-Lennart. Or is it Oslen-Lennart-Daniels? Or Daniels-Olsen-Lennart, maybe? Could be Lennart-Daniels-Oslen, come to think of it. Or Daniels-Lennart-Olsen. Sorry, what? You get the idea? We can move on now? Oh, sure, okay, no problem. Moving on and stuff.

So. Ms. Julie Whatever Her Name Is is a Slightly Awesome Mini Kate Daniels in the Making (SAMKDitM™). She's cheeky, she's tough, she's got cool magic, she's stubborn as fish, she's clever as a seasoned crayfish and more mature than a herd of ancient barnacles. Also, she is my girlfriend Kate and my boyfriend His Furriness' ward, which kinda sorta automatically makes her my ward, which makes kinda sorta instantaneously makes her super stupendous, which kinda sorta spontaneously makes her mine. QED and stuff.

Also, apples and dragons and dryads, oh my!

The end.

Oopps, sorry, wrong book.

P.S. Kate Daniels has the best parenting style in the history of parenting style.
P.P.S. Little Julie, you may think some, um, people are idiotic dimwits right now, but there is a slight chance you might perhaps not always feel this way. I think.

[Pre-review nonsense]

I only read Magic Tests when this anthology features stories by 10+ authors. Because I'm most ungrateful like that. And also because, Charlaine Harris? Seriously? I think not. But anyway. I'd written quite a fascinating (albeit crappy) non-review for this short story decades ago, but it apparently went poof when I had my back exoskeleton turned, so thanks Goodreads for that. Now I have to regroup my Slightly Overexerted Ergo Uninspired Thinking Cells (SOEUTC™), and try to come up with more captivatingly compelling (albeit crappy) stuff, so thanks Goodreads for that.

Activating Shrimpy Thinking Cells #1 and #2...Ignition...Waiting for take off...

➽ Full Yeah Looks Like This Might Take a While Crappy Non Review (YLLTMTaWCNR™) to come.
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,520 followers
November 19, 2016
It is the first day for Julie at her new magic school. A girl has disappeared there.
While she is touring the school, she is also helping the director of the Seven Star Academy to solve the mystery and she is making new friends.

Yu Fong a puzzling young shifter dragon will help her. I wonder if he is the same dragon from “Magic Dreams”.

I liked the story. It was like a young adult version of Kate’s books.
Julie acts as a mini Kate
Profile Image for Armina.
176 reviews96 followers
October 24, 2014
Buddy read with Eilonwy , Evgeny , Asya , and Monty Cupcake

This goes only for Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews. I might come back to the other stories in this anthology sometime in the future.


“True strength isn’t in killing-or ignoring-your opponent, it’s in having the will to shield those who need your protection.”

Or how Kate tricked Julie in growing up a little and taking more responsibility.

I quite like Julie's character, though she can be a bit annoying at times but I think we could forgive her, being a teenager and all. It was nice to see things from her point of view. The story starts with Kate taking Julie to a new school where she has to test her magic(I love Julie's magic) while helping to find a classmate who happens to be a very cool creature. Julie's narration sounds a lot more mature than a 14 years old girl which made her a bit distant and not very true in attitude. On the plus side, I enjoyed all Kate & Curran references very much. Also, we were introduced to some great new characters, the one most exciting amongst them being Yu Fong who we first met in Dali & Jim's short story: Magic Dreams

Overall, nothing special but quick and enjoyable short story.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,910 reviews852 followers
January 3, 2016
I didn't realize Julie was such a badass! She is really learning from Kate and I can't wait to see how she grows up. I wonder who she'll end up with: Derek, Ascanio, or possibly the new "object of worship"?
Profile Image for Angela.
3,199 reviews371 followers
August 16, 2016
August 2016 re-read: I like Julie. I really do. Even more so now that I've read the first Grey Wolf book...

Plus it's always awesome to see Kate from someone else's point of view. LOL. The description of Kate's magic - how it looks? - awesome.

Parenting, kick-ass Kate Daniel's style. Do what I say. There wasn't even an or attached to it. Or didn't exist.

^^favorite quote

October 2015 re-read: I'll be honest, I don't love anthologies. Most of the time the stories aren't worth it, so I only usually grab them for favorite authors. I will say that I'm not sorry I grabbed this one. "Magic Tests" is awesome. I love Julie. I loved meeting Yu (don't mess with my shipping of Derek and Julie though). And I loved seeing Kate from Julie's point-of-view - even if only for a few moments.

Rating only for "Magic Tests" by Ilona Andrews at this time

Kate looked at me. It was her hard-ass stare. Kate could be really scary.
"That doesn't work on me," I told her. "I know you won't hurt me."

This short is from Julie's POV. Kate is taking her to a new school, and Julie soon finds it's not just to enroll her, but to help save another child.

Julie's pretty awesome, if you didn't already know that from the Kate Daniel's series. Growing up with Kate, and now Curran, has definitely given her a cockiness that wasn't there when we first met her in Magic Burns, but she's still got that quick mind. And there's also an instinctive desire to see right done, people protected.

Parenting, kick-ass Kate Daniel's style. Do what I say. There wasn't even an or attached to it. Or didn't exist.

It's also really nice to see a school where Julie can fit in. Where she won't feel cowed, or less than the other students. She's more comfortable in her skin, and it shows.

Quick little mystery, Julie is like Kate, too, in that she knows how to get things done, and right.

"True strength isn't in killing - or ignoring - your opponent, it's in having the will to shield those who need your protection."
He raised his eyebrows slightly. "Who said that?"
"I did."

Overall, quick, enjoyable story, with classic IA writing. I just wish it had been longer. Makes me yearn for more Kate Daniels.
Profile Image for edge of bubble.
248 reviews155 followers
November 22, 2016
Julie has the classic teenage girl syndrome going on for her. But for some reason I understand her and am not annoyed by her I know best attitude. Ilona Andrews is that good! This was a cute side story and even a short story like this had interesting side characters!
Profile Image for ALPHAreader.
1,155 reviews
September 4, 2012
 ‘Magic Tests’ by Ilona Andrews 

Julie Lennart-Olsen is princess of the Pack and ward to pack-master Curran and his mate, Kate Daniels. She knows her important place in the pack hierarchy, and what is expected of her as ward to two of the most powerful people in Atlanta. But what Julie cannot abide, what is far too awful for words, pomp and circumstance is . . . school. Julie once went so far as to mail herself back to Kate rather than remain at her hated boarding school. That’s why Julie can’t quite believe that Kate is insisting Julie start attending a new school, and the horrible cycle is going to begin all over again. Or is it?

Kate has ulterior motives for sending Julie to a particular Atlanta school, where a young girl called Ashlyn has gone missing – and nobody seems to be lifting a finger to find her. Luckily Julie is up for the task, but she may not be prepared for what she uncovers in her search for a missing schoolgirl . . .

‘Magic Tests’ is the new short story set in the ‘Kate Daniels’ universe, by Ilona Andrews and appearing in the paranormal anthology ‘An Apple for the Creature’.

I said it after reading ‘Gunmetal Magic’, and now I really, truly believe it. Kate Daniels’s young ward, Julie, is utterly deserving of her very own spin-off. If not a stand-alone book, then Julie could most assuredly carry her own young adult spin-off series. And to anyone who doesn’t think she’s up to the task, I would direct you to ‘Magic Tests’, which highlights Julie’s mettle and sprouts a cast of interesting secondary characters around her.

On her first day of school (and on the hunt for missing Ashlyn) Julie is paired with Brook, a straight-A student with blinkers on but who nevertheless agrees to help Julie in her investigations. Tagging along, if only to nag at Brook, is class clown Barka and keeping a weathered eye on Julie’s progress is class telekinetic, Lisa, who is adamant that Ashlyn is dead and Julie is wasting her time.

But the story takes a particularly interesting turn when Julie’s investigations lead her to the “odd Chinese guy” who everyone seems convinced is an ex-convict, and mafia-affiliated. Yu Fong certainly encourages the rumours swirling around him, even going so far as to appoint two student bodyguards to watch over him in the cafeteria. When Julie lays eyes on him, she’s amazed at his physical perfection and clear magic force – and speaking to him clears nothing up. He recognizes Julie’s ‘Lennart’ surname, and seems disturbingly knowledgeable about all things pack. But in the midst of her investigations, Yu Fong also becomes rather interested in Julie;

Thin tendrils of smoke escaped from his book. The table near him must have been much hotter than on my end. That had to be something because the metal was now hurting my fingers.
“If I find out that you hurt Ashlyn, I’ll hurt you back,” I said.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Do. Your book is smoking.”
He picked it up. I slowly raised my hand, blew on my skin, and got up to leave.
“Why do you care?” he asked.
“Because none of you do. Look around you – a girl is missing. A girl you saw in class every day got so scared by something, she had to hide from it. Nobody is looking for her. All of you are just going on with your business as usual. You have all this power and you didn’t lie a finger to help her. You just sit there, reading your book, comfy behind your bodyguards, and demonstrate how awesome your magic is by heating up your table. Somebody has to find her. I decided to be that somebody.”

There was nothing better than reading Julie turn gumshoe and finally get a chance to see how much of an influence Kate has had over her moral character. Julie absolutely shines in ‘Magic Tests’, and it was wonderful to read her own world (at once connected, and outside the Pack) take shape and expand.

The real highlight of this book is the mysterious Yu Fong. Not necessarily a romantic connection for Julie (she has more than enough on her hands, between Derek and Ascanio) but once we discover what Yu Fong is, and the potential power he wields, there’s no mistaking he could be a formidable force in Julie’s life . . . and this is Julie’s life now, we are left to assume. She makes connections and friends at this school, and finds that she can stand on her own two feet away from Kate and the Pack (much as she may love them both, respectively.) Of course what this short is missing is the aforementioned Derek and Ascanio – but like I said in the beginning, ‘Magic Tests’ reads like a delicious teaser of endless possibility. I dare think that if (or is that, when?) Derek and Ascanio move into Julie’s new orbit, Ilona Andrews will have yet another hit on their hands. . .
Profile Image for Mitticus.
1,011 reviews213 followers
November 30, 2017
Antologia de relatos cortos de lo sobrenatural y la educación en diversas formas que van desde Ilona Andrews a Charlaine Harris y Faith Hunter, pasando por Marjorie M. Liu (cuya historia buscaba al leer esto), la historia excepcional de Mike Carey y varios otros autores desconocidos para mi. Recibe el nombre por la historia corta de Faith Hunter.

1)“Playing Possum” by Charlaine Harris. 2.8 ★ ★ ★ (Sookie Stackhouse #17)
Sookie va a la escuela primaria de su sobrino Hunter con cupcakes, y luego se convierte en algo que seguramente es la pesadilla de muchos padres.

2)“Spellcaster 2.0” by Jonathan Maberry 2,5 ★ ★
Un proyecto de un grupo de estudiantes universitarios que intenta crear un programa con hechizos mágicos de todo el mundo pensando en hallar la raíz. Pero recibirán una sorpresa inesperada.

3)“Academy Field Trip” by Donald Harstad. 2.7 ★ ★
Agentes especiales conducen un curso acerca de crimenes inusuales, y llevan a un novato para una demostracion de una investigacion. Con un giro.

4)“Sympathy for the Bones” by Marjorie M. Liu. (Horror) 4 ★ ★ ★ ★
Haunted tale in the mountains with old witches and apprentices, hoodoo and dolls and sympathetic deadly magic.

5)“Low School” by Rhys Bowen. 1 ★
cliche and predictable. Pesadilla de secundaria...

6)“Callie Meet Happy” by Amber Benson. 1.5 ★ (Calliope Riper-Jones #1.5)
In a remedial class the more annoying Death ever has to learn how to open a wormwhole . She falls into another story with haunted house included.

Nunca habia leido nada de esta autora - y sí se trata de la actriz de Buffy- , me soprendió saber despues que la prota tiene 20 años , pues parece una adolescente de 13.

7)“Iphigenia in Aulis” 2012 by Mike Carey (10663 words) ...original tale that later become Melanie the Girl with all the Gifts of 2014 . More Novella than short story.
4.5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Was I a baby?” Melanie asks.
“A very tiny baby, Melanie.”
“How tiny?”
“Tiny enough to fall into a hole between two laws.”

Una escuela en una base militar con niños muy especiales. Aunque el género no es uno de mi preferencia, ya me habia enterado de la trama de la novela al leer comentarios, por lo que no fue una sorpresa como termina. Muy bien escrito y en menos de 40 páginas.

8)“Golden Delicious” by Faith Hunter. 3.5 ★ ★ ★ (Jane Yellowrock #4.2)
Rick in PsyLed boot camp plus Brutus and Pea. Sí, todos odiamos a Rick, pero Faith sabe como escribir y es interesante saber como funciona el campo para Spooks, a pesar de no sentir ninguna simpatía por el protagonista.

Witches and shapeshifters and policial training.

9)“Magic Tests” by Andrew Gordon and Ilona Gordon. 3 ★★★ (Kate Daniels #5.3)
Kate tricks Julie into going to school.
Yep, I hate Julie, so I'll go with nice Dragon, cool magic.
Ya la habia leido antes.

10)“An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism” by Steve Hockensmith. 2 ★ ★
Uf, profesores universitarios acosadores. Really boring.

11)“VSI” copyright by Nancy Holder. 2 ★ ★
Polices detectives recluted for an special unit about... vampires. The minor twist is really lame. Another cliche vampire prompt.

12)“The Bad Hour” by Thomas E. Sniegoski. 1.5 ★ (Remy Chandler #5,5)
Dogs and angels and doggie school. No conocia esta serie, pero la premisa no me atrae.

13)“Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost” by Toni L. P. Kelner. 2 ★ ★
Second part of the Pirate Dave and his girlfriend werewolf. Where she goes to a lecture about werewolves to know more and encounter not so nice supes.
Profile Image for Maria Dimitrova.
745 reviews142 followers
February 20, 2018
A short from Julie's POV. I was kind of hoping to see if the ritual in Magic Slays has had some strange effect on her but nothing was revealed. Still it was fun to spend some time in her head and see what she thinks of the world.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,015 followers
July 14, 2019
3 stars for the whole anthology but 4.5 stars if I was just rating Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews

An Apple for the Creature is an anthology containing 13 school related stories that would probably make great holiday reading around Halloween. As with most anthologies I found the quality of the stories was a bit hit and miss, there were several I enjoyed but I doubt I'll read the book again. In fact, I think the only story I would go out of my way to re-read is Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews which is the story I bought the anthology for in the first place. I'll talk more about that one in a minute but I just want to mention a couple of the other stories first.

Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu was a creepy tale about a girl who has been raised by a witch and is learning to curse people using voodoo, I enjoyed the story and if I hadn't already been a fan of the author it would have definitely made me check out some of her other books. The other story I really enjoyed was Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter. I've had the Jane Yellowrock series on my wish list for a while now and after reading that story I'll be bumping it up the list. I liked the humour of the story and I'm very interested to find out more about the world the author has created. I'm hoping that Rick and the characters who make up his detective team are major players in the series because I really liked them. Some of the other stories were OK reads but none of them particularly stand out enough for me to rave about them.

I already mentioned that I only really wanted to read this for the Ilona Andrews story Magic Tests and I have to say that was the best part of the book. It was worth buying just for this story alone and I'll definitely pick it up again when I do my next Kate Daniels re-read. I've always quite liked Julie's character, she can be a little annoying at times but I think she is a fairly typical teenager in that regard, and it was nice to see a story from her point of view. Although this story isn't essential reading as part of the series because it doesn't really effect the ongoing story arc it was nice to get to know Julie a bit better and I'd actually like to see more from her POV in the future. We've all seen how much Julie hates the boarding school that Kate sent her to and now she's home and living in the Keep she seems to think she can get away without going to school at all. Kate has other plans for her though and she has a very clever way of getting Julie to go along with them. We are introduced to some great new characters but the one I was most excited about seeing again was Yu Fong (you may remember him from Dali's short story Magic Dreams). I was already hoping he'd end up being a major character in the series and now I'm thinking he's more likely to re-appear thanks to his friendship with Julie. I loved getting to see Julie grow up a bit and actually work out a way to use her ability to help someone else and I'd definitely like to see her get her own book or spin off series in the future.

I'd say if you're a huge fan of the Kate Daniels series like I am then it's worth buying the anthology just for Magic Tests but otherwise you might want to consider borrowing it from the library and saving yourself the money.

I thought I'd include a list of all of the short stories included in this anthology for your information:
1. Playing Possum - Charlaine Harris (Part of the Sookie Stackhouse Series)
2. Spellcaster 2.0 - Jonathan Maberry
3. Academy Field Trip - Donald Harstad
4. Sympathy for the Bones - Marjorie M. Liu
5. Low School - Rhys Bowen
6. Callie Meet Happy - Amber Benson (Part of the Calliope Reaper-Jones Series)
7. Iphigenia in Aulis - Mike Carey
8. Golden Delicious - Faith Hunter (Part of the Jane Yellowrock Series)
9. Magic Tests - Ilona Andrews (Part of the Kate Daniels Series)
10. An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism - Steve Hockensmith
11. VIS - Nancy Holder
12. The Bad Hour - Thomas E. Sniegoski (Part of the Remy Chandler Series)
13. Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost - Toni L.P. Kelner


Rereads of Magic Gifts Only:

1st read - August 2013
2nd read - June 2015
3rd read - August 2016
4th read - February 2018
5th read - July 2019

Kate has mad parenting skills and I love the way she tricks Julie into attending school, sneaky Kate, very sneaky! Julie it great in this short, it's nice to see things from her POV for a change and it's fun to see how much she takes after Kate even though they're not blood related.

I also want to see a lot more of Yu Fong in the future please. His character has a LOT of potential :o)
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,671 reviews242 followers
February 8, 2017
Re-reading the series with the Ilona Andrews Addicts, before 'Magic Binds' comes out in September 2016. Hadn't planned to re-read all the shorts and novellas as well, but changed my mind. Will try to read parallel to the main series.

Read first on July 25, 2015.

Nice little short story, told from Julie's POV, at the end of Magic Breaks. Julie thinks that Kate tries to manipulate her into liking the school she picked for her.

“I’m older, wiser, and I know better. Deal with it.” 
Parenting, kick-ass Kate Daniels’s style.

I think Julie sounds a little too mature at times. Yu Fong is a nice addition.
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
651 reviews407 followers
March 17, 2016
I really like Julie and the bond she has with Kate. And I like their clash of wills.

In this short story, Kate gives Julie the assignment to find a missing student of a school for gifted youngsters. She accepts and gets to explore the grounds, make some new friends and indebt herself to a dragon. That last part is really interesting (). At the end, it is implied that Julie will start attending this school.

Moving on to Magic Gifts...
October 7, 2015
Only read Magic Tests.

I beyond loathe Julie, even more now from reading her POV. All she ever goes on about is how she doesn't need an education & can skip it all & instantly be Kate. Not happening, ever.

The story is getting 2-3 stars only in deference to its talk of the color of magics & use of Greek mythology. Julie gets negative stars. 5 stars for the dragon.
Profile Image for Christal.
936 reviews70 followers
October 29, 2012
See this review and others like it at BadassBookReviews.com!

The anthologies edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner combine top authors from many different genres with a specific paranormal theme. This time the theme was school and it produced some unique and interesting stories. I think these anthologies are some of the best in paranormal fiction, but this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me. There were some truly exceptional stories in this volume, but they were outnumbered by the less successful or mediocre entries. While none of the stories were complete failures, I expected the school theme to produce stories that were either much more fun or had a creepier vibe than the ones that were included. Below you will find a short description of each story and some of my thoughts concerning it.

Playing Possum CHARLAINE HARRIS | ✩✩✩
This is the story set in the world of the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie is visiting her “nephew” Hunter at school for a classroom party. When the party is interrupted by the secretary’s crazed boyfriend, it will take quick thinking from Sookie and Hunter’s teacher to get everyone out safely. I liked the interaction between Sookie and Hunter, but this story lacked tension and didn’t really add anything to the main Sookie storyline. Readers of the series can skip this one with no worries.

Spellcaster 2.0 JONATHAN MABERRY | ✩✩✩
Trey LaSalle and his fellow grad students create Spellcaster, a research project archiving all known magic spells with the secondary goal of creating the perfect generic spell. Perhaps the scientists shouldn’t be so sure that these incantations aren’t real. The story had a slow start but I actually enjoyed it until the ending. The way it concluded didn’t fit with the rest of the story.

Academy Field Trip DONALD HARSTAD | ✩✩✩
A group of law enforcement agents have been called together to learn advanced forensic techniques. Little does on recruit know that she will soon be exposed to the world of vampires. I liked the twist ending of this story, but the tone was very stark and I didn’t connect with any of the characters. This actually might have worked better in a longer format, at least novella length.

Sympathy for the Bones MARJORIE M. LIU | ✩✩✩✩✩
A young girl with very deadly powers must free her soul from the witch who raised her. I enjoy Ms. Lui’s Hunter Kiss series, but I always love seeing her short stories as she never writes about the same thing twice. I was a little apprehensive at the beginning of this one, but it soon captivated me just like her previous stories. It was creepy and slightly uncomfortable and I would love to learn more about this world.

Low School RHYS BOWEN | ✩✩
Amy Weinstein finds herself in a new school and completely unprepared for what the day brings. She has to figure out how to survive her new school and why exactly she is there in the first place. This story didn’t work for me because I hated the character of Amy. I didn’t feel any sympathy for her and saw the outcome coming from a mile away.

Callie Meet Happy AMBER BENSON | ✩✩
Features Callie, from author Amber Benson’s Calliope Reaper-Jones series. When a class demonstration of wormhole travel goes awry, Callie helps new friends thwart a foe in an alternate reality. As much as I liked watching Amber Benson on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I just didn’t connect with this story. I didn’t feel like Callie was integral to the outcome in the alternate reality and everything seemed to work out much too easily.

Iphigenia in Aulis MIKE CAREY | ✩✩✩✩✩
A captivating tale of children in a unique school situation in a post-apocalyptic world. I loved this story; it was amazing how Mr. Carey was able to create such a well-developed world in so few words. The characters were unique and little Melanie just pulls at your heart strings. I would absolutely love to know more about this world and Melanie.

Golden Delicious FAITH HUNTER | ✩✩✩✩
This story takes place in the Skinwalker series, after Raven Cursed, and between the short story in the e-compilation Cat Tales and Death’s Rival. Features PsyLed triumvirate trainees: Rick, a were-leopard; Brute, a werewolf stuck in his animal form; and Pea, a grindylow. I’ve only read the first book in the Skinwalker series and I really didn’t care much for Rick. This story made him interesting and sympathetic. I would like to learn more about his investigative trio and especially his mentor, Soul.

Magic Tests ILONA ANDREWS | ✩✩✩✩✩
This story is set in the Kate Daniels world and takes place after Magic Slays. The story is told from Julie’s point of view. Julie scopes out a new school by solving the mystery of a missing girl. Though this story had more of a YA tone than the parent series, I really enjoyed hearing Julie’s POV. The mystery was interesting, Julie knew her limits and handled herself well, and there was an interesting supporting cast around her. Do I smell a YA spin-off? It would be completely feasible if that were the outcome of this wonderful short.

An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism STEVE HOCKENSMITH | ✩✩
A tongue-in-cheek take on a love triangle involving an abusive boyfriend and ‘The Wandering Jew.’ This story was fairly humorous but I would have liked to learn more about the Wandering Jew. I came into this story knowing nothing about the legend and I still feel like I don’t have much of a grip on it.

This story was similar to the previous FBI-centered short. A group of FBI agents have been brought together to learn about vampire forensics, but things get way more personal for FBI agent Claire. I liked the twist at the end, but found I didn’t connect with the characters. Claire should have been easy to sympathize with, but I found her characterization flat.

The Bad Hour THOMAS E. SNIEGOSKI | ✩✩✩✩
This story was set in the world of Remy Chandler and his dog Marlowe. The two face an unknown evil at a canine obedience school. I haven’t read anything from this series, but Mr. Sniegoski’s story was interesting enough that I am eager to try out his novels. The character of Remy seems to have a very twisty past and his companion Marlowe adds a lightness to the story.

Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost TONI L.P. KELNER | ✩✩
This is the second short story featuring Joyce and her beau, Pirate Dave; “Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park” was published in the Harris/Kelner anthology Death’s Excellent Vacation. This one was a light PNR story and, while cute, it didn’t have much depth and the villain’s actions seemed to come out of nowhere.
Profile Image for Anali.
588 reviews98 followers
February 16, 2020
Kate usually dealt with things by talking, and when that didn’t work, chopping obstacles into tiny pieces and frying them with magic so they didn’t get back up.

Magic Tests es otra historia corta de Kate Daniels dentro de la antología An Apple for the Creature. Esta vez en lugar de Kate, tenemos a Julie como protagonista.

Julie Lennart-Daniels-Olsen.

En verdad, adoro a esta chica con todo mi corazón. Es como una versión pequeña e incontrolable de Kate. Julie es badass, tiene un sentido del humor peculiar y problemas con seguir las reglas, pero también es valiente, leal y siempre está dispuesta a ayudar a otros. Como decía, una mini Kate.

La historia tiene un argumento muy simple. Julie necesita una nueva escuela, hay una chica desaparecida en el lugar, Kate le da una misión, Julie utiliza sus habilidades de detective para descubrir la verdad, salva el día y todos se resuelve. A diferencia de las misiones de Kate, esta misión involucró considerablemente menos sangre. Como decía, es bastante simple pero entretenida. Julie es un voz narrativa bastante refrescante y divertida. Mi única queja es que tampoco he tenido mucho de Curran y nada de Derek, a quien (por obvias razones) también amo.

Seguiré con las novellas que me faltan antes de poder comenzar Magic Rises.
Profile Image for Maraya21 (The Reading Dragon).
1,634 reviews237 followers
March 10, 2018
🎀 Read for The Grand KD Buddy Read/Reread/Rererereread 2017-2018 with the Addicts (IAA™) 🎀

Stories Read: 1

Ilona Andrews - Magic Tests (Kate Daniels #5.3)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Date: March 9, 2018

When her guardian, Kate Daniels, sends her undercover to a school for exceptional children, teenaged Julie learns an all-new definition of "exceptional," in New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews's "Magic Tests."

This was quite the cute little story from Julies' perspective ✔
Profile Image for Martel.
225 reviews34 followers
October 11, 2017
Fast and fun read about Julie playing detective in her new school.
First time I wish for a YA series ;)
Perfect setting, characters and ambiance for a spin off... The young "hero" was amazing, I hope to see him again in the series.
December 4, 2012
i just read the first chapter from Magic Tests and now i really wanna get my hands on it.

here's the link


Playing Possum by Charlaine Harris. (1-24pgs) ★★
a Sookie Stackhouse novella

Sookie is visiting her nephew, Hunter to celebrate Labour Day with his kindergarten class mates.

the start of this book was beyond boring i actually skipped a few pages until it got to the "good" bit and even that wasnt great, i wasnt sure if i should rate this novella 1 or 2 stars but for now i decided to be nice and go with 2 stars.
have to say im kind of surprised that this series became a tv show if the rest of Charlaine's books are written like this.

Spellcaster 2.0 by Jonathan Maberry. (25-58pgs) ★★

This novella is about a bunch of college students and there professor collecting all the spells they can find to figure out how the first religion came about and what its beliefs where.

At first i thought this story was a bit of a snooze fest, luckily it had a pretty good ending. i loved how the demon wasnt painted in the usual bad light for the entire short story.

Academy Field Trip by Donald Harstad. (59-90pgs)

Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu. (91-108pgs)

Low School by Rhys Bowen. (109-132pgs)

Callie Meet Happy by Amber Benson. (133-160pgs)

Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey. (161-186pgs)

Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter. (187-214pgs) ★★
a novella from Rick's POV

Rick has beenb were-tainted and kicked out of the police force so now he's training to become a PsyLED Officer - a special non human police force.

i wasnt that taken with this story but thats not really a surprise being that i really dislike Rick because of what he did to Jane, in this book he didnt even really seem to care how much he hurt Jane just that he lost his humanity, though i have to say i was pretty interested in his new career choice, i cant wait to see more of his "team" in the future and i wonder what Jane will think of Soul?? also i wonder what she is?? im betting the next book in the Skinwalker series is going to be an interesting one.

Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews. (215-246pgs) ★★���★
a novella from Julies POV.

Kate sends Julie to a school filled with "special snowflakes" to find a missing girl before 24 hours is up.

great story, loved seeing the world from Julie's eyes and how she interacts with people. loved the "world", characters and story just as much as always, the Ilona Team are fantastic writers. hope to see another short story from julies POV sometime soon :)

An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism by Steve Hockensmith. (247-260pgs)

VSI by Nancy Holder. (261-284pgs)

The Bad Hour by Thomas E. Sniegoski. (285-308pgs)

Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost by Toni L. P. Kelner. (309-336pgs)

i didnt get around to finishing most of the stories in this book... oh well. maybe i'll pick it back up later on.
Profile Image for Carvanz.
2,102 reviews748 followers
July 18, 2019
Audiobook: Narrator – Angela Dawe

I’m not 100% sure Ms. Dawe is the narrator for this story as I listened to it in an anthology. Nevertheless, the narrator here did a wonderful job of not only Julie but the other students as well. I was more than pleased with her performance and would love to listen to more from her in the future.

This was a great story considering what we went through in Magic Slays. I loved seeing Julie becoming a mini Kate. Her thought processes were much the same but she also had her street smarts to fall back on as well. The introduction of a male character was very interesting and makes me curious as to what we may see in Julie’s future.

Heroine POV
Not a romance
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,124 followers
September 5, 2012
Rating only for Magic Tests - 3/5 stars, spoilers

I didn't read any of the contributions by the other authors, I just read Ilona Andrews short story. Magic Tests is from the perspective of Kate's ward Julie.
Julie is annoyed when Kate takes her to a new school to enroll, on their arrival the principle asks Julie to investigate a missing student.
I had mixed feelings about Julie. I didn't really like her at the beginning of the story when she was around Kate but once she was with people her own age she was actually pretty decent. Around Kate, Julie came across as ungrateful and bratty - Kate doesn't owe her anything yet she stomps and pouts at her when things don't go her way. Thankfully, her attitude does improve when she meets the other students — her interactions with Brook, Yu and Barka were pretty entertaining. I liked Julie's little investigation — she was clever and knew how to handle herself in a fight. She did remind me of Kate a little when she was trying to solve things but I suppose Kate would have rubbed off on her. I did think Julie blabbed a little too much in regard to what she was really doing at the school - I would have preferred it if Julie had tried to discreetly investigate things but I suppose since it was a short story there was no room to do things subtly.
Moving on, I hope Julie doesn't 'save herself' for Derek or worse Ascancio and she actually dates and has relationships like a normal teenager instead of mooning over some unattainable crush for years before he deigns to notice her. I'd like her to get some action with Yu in the future — he wasn't half bad.
On a different note, I wasn't happy that Julie first and foremost referred to Kate as the Beast Lord's mate, when she's so much more, she should have identified Kate as her guardian or as a badass mercenary before referring to her as a member of Curran's Pack.
I wouldn't mind reading more of Julie's adventures at her new school, as long as she's not around too many adults I think she could be a great little heroine.
Profile Image for Theresa .
1,426 reviews75 followers
July 3, 2017
4 Stars...This was an enjoyable read focusing on Julie's POV as she investigates the disappearance of a student at her potential new school....it was interesting to see the inner workings of Julie's mind as well as the extent of her magical abilities...this novella provided a bit of insight into this secondary character and her impact on the overall storyline:)
Profile Image for Fastidious.
46 reviews
May 31, 2015
All stories feature a student-teacher dynamic or some other education aspect. First anthology I've read that included author bios as a lead-in to each story. Something I'd like to see become a standard practice in the future because it's nice to know whether the story is from a series, & what other works to check out if you find that author interesting. Let review commence...

Playing Possum CHARLAINE HARRIS | ✩✩✩✩✩
Featuring Sookie & her nephew hunter from the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie & other supes team up to defend an elementary school from a crazed shooter.

Spellcaster 2.0 JONATHAN MABERRY | ✩✩✩ (3.5)
Trey LaSalle & his fellow grad students create Spellcaster, a research project archiving all known magic spells with the secondary goal of creating the perfect generic spell. Perhaps the scientists shouldn't so easily that these incantations may be real.

Academy Field Trip DONALD HARSTAD | ✩✩✩✩

Sympathy for the Bones MARJORIE M. LIU | ✩✩✩✩
Author synopsis: "about a young girl who must free her soul from the witch who raised her."

Low School RHYS BOWEN | ✩✩ (2.5)
In the words of the author: "If you have a teenager complaining how bad her school is this year buy this book and say, 'You think you've got it bad?"

Callie Meet Happy AMBER BENSON | ✩✩ (2.5)
Features Callie, from author (& former Buffy star) Amber Benson's Calliope Reaper-Jones series. When a class demonstration of wormhole travel goes awry, Callie helps new friends thwart a foe in an alternate reality.

Iphigenia in Aulis MIKE CAREY | ✩✩✩✩
Carey manages to create a captivating tale of children in a unique situation in a post-apocalyptic zombie world. A very dark take on the theme, I was a little disappointed in the ending. However solid overall.

Golden Delicious FAITH HUNTER | ✩✩✩✩✩
I think this entry may have been responsible for this anthology's namesake. Takes place in the Skinwalker series, after Raven Cursed, and between the short story in the e-compilation Cat Tales and Death's Rival. Features PsyLed triumvirate trainees: Rick, a were-leopard, Brute, a werewolf stuck in his animal form and Pea, a grindylow. In this world the were virus is strictly regulated and Rick's infection experience was awful. Loved the characters, including their mentor, Soul. I need to check out the series because if they are main characters I'd definitely want to read it.

Magic Tests ILONA ANDREWS | ✩✩✩✩✩
Kate Daniels #7.5: The events of Magic Tests take place after Magic Slays. The story is told from Julie’s point of view. Julie scopes out a new school by solving the mystery of a missing girl. Featuring a stellar cast of characters, including dragon shapeshifter Yu Fong. WARNING Magic Dreams spoiler ahead Sooo incredibly good. FYI According to the author, this short story will be eventually available by itself for online purchase in about a year.

An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism STEVE HOCKENSMITH | ✩✩✩
A tongue-in-cheek take on a love triangle involving an abusive boyfriend and ‘The Wandering Jew.’ While I’ve heard of Hockensmith’s infamous best-seller, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, this is the first experience of his work. It was amusing/entertaining enough to make me reconsider checking out his work.

FBI agent Claire learns there may be more problems with her marriage besides her husbands suspected adultery while attending school for Vampire Scene Investigation. Definitely a good little twist.

Featuring Remy Chandler from the eponymous series and his dog Marlowe. The two battle evil at a canine obedience school. This was the first I'd heard of the Remy Chandler series and while the characters may have potential, this story wasn't to my tastes. It also didn't appear to have anything unique about the world-building.

Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost TONI L.P. KELNER | ✩✩
This is the second short story featuring Joyce and her beau, Pirate Dave; "Pirate Dave's Haunted Amusement Park" was published in the the Harris/Kelner anthology Death's Excellent Vacation. Not a fan of PNR so this wasn't really for me...
Profile Image for Angie.
356 reviews922 followers
November 2, 2012
Anyways... I adore anthologies. I like to be able to just sit down sometimes and finish a story in one hour. (One of the reasons I love King, he writes short story books all the time). I also love to be introduced to new authors. This book had some amazing stories. One complaint I have this time around is a few of them 5 or 6 were stories that ended up in the air. So it was up to our imagination. While I don't mind these types of stories I prefer the short stories I read to end in a pretty bow.

I noticed on the goodreads reviews that most people it would seem didn't read the whole book and only read the short story called Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews. Apparently this is a popular series! For real... go looks at the reviews.. Magic Tests is the story everyone is talking about. While I did think the story was good I didn't think it was the best one in the book.

Personally I thought the best short story in this book was called Ifhigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey. OH WOW!!! This story was put together so well I still can't believe it was a short story. It is about some children who are put in a odd school guarded by military. Turns out that these are children born of woman who were pregnant when they turned into zombies. So they have both human and zombie traits. I wish this was a whole book!!!

I would recommend all the anthologies Harris edits. They are usually good and usually themed pretty fun too.

If you check out the comments on my blog post Kelner totally commented on this post!!! COOL!
Profile Image for Angela (Angel's Book Nook).
1,572 reviews876 followers
January 28, 2019
I only read Ilona Andrews story Magic Test.

5 Magic Test Stars

Magic Test is #5.3 in Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels sereis. I enjoyed a peak into Julie’s mind and life. What a fantastic read! Ilona knows how to pull her fans into the world of Atlanta and it's Magic/Technology.

Magic Test is done from Julie's POV. Ilona does a superb job of explaining how the world works with and without magic. Just like all kids they don’t want to attend school, but must to learn all the things they need to know to get them by in life. It starts with Julie and Kate waiting in the principles office. One of the students is missing and Julie is asked to help. Julie has a feeling that this is a test, but she still goes through with it to help a kid she has never meet. Julie’s magic is exceptional, invaluable and rare. She must keep it a secret. If people found out what she is they would use her. The end is fantastic!

I enjoyed everything about this short story. I love the world created by Ilona and all the characters. She infuses mythology, humor and action, creating a fun-filled short story that is sure to be enjoyed by all.

I highly recommend checking out the Kate Daniels series.

Profile Image for Teresa.
1,048 reviews27 followers
October 31, 2017
A very short, cute Julie POV novella. Not really anything overwhelming happened, but I do adore Julie and so it was worth it
Profile Image for Jennifer.
2,760 reviews6 followers
September 9, 2017
2.5 stars.

I wasn't so sure starting this one. Julie is a teenager and I avoid the YA scene like the plague these days. Why read about teen angst when I have it existing in my own house? Anyhoo, the short pages of this short really encapsulated the loveliness that is making new friends. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. And it fulfilled my need for which was lacking in Magic Steals.
Profile Image for Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson.
2,157 reviews59 followers
March 17, 2019
Donald Harstad "Academy Field Trip"
This story was just hilarious. I found the agent brilliant in his responses.

Amber Benson "Carrie Meet Happy"
Ok, now I have to find this series. I really liked this author's writing style.

Charlaine Harris "Playing Possum"
I'm so over Sookie Stackhouse, it's not even funny! I feel that anything after book 8 (From Dead to Worse), is just flogging a dead horse.

Marjorie M. Liu "Sympathy for the Bones"
 photo tumblr_m2aqnfY4Lq1r8v6gzo1_500.gif

Well look at that; this is where all the gold has been!

Jonathan Maberry "Spellcaster 2.0"
This story at first didn't make a lot of sense to me. It didn't seem that there was much of a real plot until a quarter of the way through. Then bang it just hits you. Compared to Maberry's novella in Four Summoner's Tales this was vastly different. So I'll be on the lookout for more of this author's work.

Toni L.P. Kelner "Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost"
I read this again on May 22, 2017, just because I need to read something lighthearted and both short stories came to mind.
It was like a little bit of happiness in my crummy week....
 photo fairytail_19_happyishappy_zps8029037a.gif

A good portion of the stories was full of awesomeness. Some characters I knew, and others well I look forward to meeting them soon.
Don't shy away from some of the older characters.
Have fun with this one guys!
Cheers Pretties!
Profile Image for Lisazj1.
2,072 reviews155 followers
December 14, 2015
I don't usually read the shorts that a lot of authors provide, stuff they write on the side or scenes that got cut from a book. But this was included in the back of Magic Breaks, so I already had it open. I'm really glad I took the time to read it, it was pretty damn awesome for so few pages.

Julie, Kate's ward, doesn't want to go to school but you know Kate & Curran are not going to be ok with that. On a visit to a possible school, suddenly Kate is interviewing the principal instead of the other way around, about a student who has apparently gone missing. Julie is invited by Kate to go undercover in the guise of a prospective student touring before deciding to enroll.

So this little short was all Julie and the other kids she meets at the school. LOL, you can definitely tell who's been raising Julie and it's the first time I've really gotten to see her that way, on her own in charge of a situation. I loved it!

I hope we see some of the kids here in future stories, in particular dragon-boy. He was super interesting, and I could see him playing off Julie. Great little story!
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