Anyone who's ever read an anthology knows that there's almost always one problem with the book-- the stories are too short. And though that is the poi...moreAnyone who's ever read an anthology knows that there's almost always one problem with the book-- the stories are too short. And though that is the point of having an anthology, it's still hard to tell a story, develop it, and end it well. This one flaw is most of the reason behind my over all rating for this book.
The Healing Spell and Other Stories is a collection of Kiki Howell's short stories and novellas that have been published before in other anthologies. The nice thing about this anthology is you get to see what her writing it like (wonderful, but more on that later). The only down fall is that the romance story itself doesn't get to develop and pull through as strongly as in a full length novel. But, despite the page constraints, Howell does do a good job at telling a story... especially the sex, since this is an erotic novel!
Howell has a wonderful way of blending the words together, weaving them into a story, and really, she can easily 'paint a picture' in your mind, as they say. I had no problem with the writing style, the word choices, etc. In fact, I thought this was very well done, and it did grab my attention and help pull me into the stories....
...Only until the story was suddenly over, and it was time for the next one. But again, this is a problem you'll always find in an anthology. You want the story to keep going, but in reality, it's time for it to end and the next one to begin. Because of the shortness of the stories, I'm even more interesting in reading more from Howell-- I want to know if a full length novel from her will be just as amazing as I picture after reading this.
The story lines were interesting enough, and I wish we could have learned more about the characters, their stories and world-- especially the Wicca theme in the stories. I would have loved to hear more about the culture in the stories themselves.
3.5 STARS! Over all, a great introduction to a new to me author, and one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good erotica novel. The Healing Spell and Other Stories is quick, but fairly satisfying, and leaves you wanting to read more! Always a good thing in a book, right? Fantastic, flowing writing, Howell has a gift for describing the scene to viewers-- I only hope that we'll get to see more of the description in her future novels, hopefully a full length one? (less)
Usually, I don't rate anthologies very high-- average rating, about a 3.5 or so is common for me. But with Highlander Christmas, there was no doubt in...moreUsually, I don't rate anthologies very high-- average rating, about a 3.5 or so is common for me. But with Highlander Christmas, there was no doubt in my mind that it would receive a 5 Star rating when I finished the last page!
When you get three very talented, very popular authors together, and have their stories all published in one book, you're sure to get one spectacular novel out of the deal! And with Highlander Christmas, that's what happened!
I don't even know where to begin-- all three stories were great, and I so loved reading each and every one!
Dawn's story, the first in the novel, could quite possibly be my all-time favorite of the three, if I had to choose. I almost forgot that her story was supposed to be a novella, part of an anthology, and therefore shorter in pages than usual-- you can't even tell! Why? Because the characters came alive in the pages, flourished and developed, and the connection, the love, between hero and heroine was clearly there, and very well done. Something that, usually, can be a bit challenging to accomplish in a shortened novel.
But Dawn, well, I already knew from her previous work that she could do it, and once again she managed to grab me from page one, and wrap the magic of her story-telling around me until the very end. Touching, passionate, and witty, I loved her "Winter Heat", which will definitely help to keep a reader warm during the upcoming winter evenings, snuggled up by the fire with this book!
Next up was Sophie's "Yuletide Enchantment". Now, I've not yet read any of Sophie's contemporary romances, but I've been anxiously awaiting her upcoming paranormal series-- and this short novel is a bit of a prequel, I guess you could call it, for said series.
After reading this one, my mind was still a bit numb-- wow! I thought the plot/theme alone was very unique, not the usual ones filling the shelves today, and the story flowed nicely-- again, I almost couldn't tell it was a novella instead of a full length! The only problem, if you could call it that, is that the story teased me, leaving off at the end, and torturing me until the first novel, Velvet Haven, comes out this next year! *Cries* Otherwise, the characters were well done (and the hero, by the way, is very yummy!), there was plenty of romance, action, and a good dash of magic to captivate the reader!
The last story was Cindy's "A Christmas Spirit". I've read one of her books before, and I did enjoy it, so I had a fairly good idea of what to expect in this one-- and again, I wasn't disappointed. Although, to be honest, out of the three I would have to say this one would receive my lowest rating on it's own (but no lower than 4 stars, if that!), it was only because I didn't quiet feel the pull between the hero and heroine in her story. It was there, but it felt like it was a bit, well, rushed, like most novellas, and it only came in stronger at the very end. But I do enjoy her writing still, I always find a few witty areas and more than a few "Aw!" ones as well.
5 STARS! Over all, these three well-known authors worked their magic over the reader, pulling them in, and holding them in thrall until the very end. Wonderful, enchanting, and passionately written, these three paranormal Christmas novellas will leave you wanting only one thing: the hero to have as your own! Move over, fated heroines, you're going to have competition soon! (less)