As a huge Sherrilyn Kenyon fan, I couldn't wait to read "Tapestry" for her contribution. But I was surprised to find, I enjoyed all four novellas in t...moreAs a huge Sherrilyn Kenyon fan, I couldn't wait to read "Tapestry" for her contribution. But I was surprised to find, I enjoyed all four novellas in the anthology.
The first, "To Kiss in the Shadows," by Lynn Kurland, was a historical romance. Lianna was once beautiful, but her face was marred by pox. Her family is dead but she is living as a ward of the king. She holds great lands that will one day go to her husband.
The women of the court are not kind to her; they merely tolerate her and sometimes taunt her about her appearance. They are all clucking about the arrival of eligible bachelor Kendrick of Artane. But it's Lianne who catches his attention and they become fast friends. And when his brother, Jason de Piaget, arrives --there are definite sparks. The cruel women go so far as to poison Lianna in their jealousy. But they can't stand in the way of her happily ever after.
The second novella was "An Interrupted Tapestry," by Madeline Hunter. This is also historical. In this story, Lady Giselle goes to an old friend, Andreas, to ask for a loan. They have not seen each other in many years, but were close in their youth. Giselle's brother has put the family in poverty with his bad deals. And it isn't until he goes missing that she realizes just how bad things are. Giselle and Andreas are instantly attracted to each other, but think their life circumstances prevent them from being together. Andreas decides to help Giselle find her brother and in the course of the search, they find their feelings for each other too difficult to ignore.
The third novella is Kenyon's "Dragonswan." It is set in the Dark Hunter universe and features an Arcadian Dragon named Sebastian. He is in present day America to recover a tapestry made by his sister. He needs it as a ransom to free his kidnapped brother. He meets Channon, a historian, and they are instantly attracted to each other. They sleep together and become mated by the Fates. Sebastian brings her back to his time and their feelings for each other grow as she learns more about what he is and the problems he is facing with his own people and his enemies.
Finally, our last story is Karen Marie Moning's "Into the Dreaming." This was my favorite story in the book. We meet Jane, who has dreamed of her Highlander love Aeden for her entire life. What she doesn't know is that Aeden has been a prisoner of the Unseelie King for 500 years and has become the king's hand of Vengeance. Aeden has a month to fall in love in the mortal plane and be loved in return. If that happens, he can live a normal life again. Only, he has belonged to the king for so long, he doesn't even know who he is anymore, much less the terms of the deal. He doesn't remember Jane either. She goes back in time to try to save him. It sounds complicated, but it is an easy and very enjoyable read.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this anthologies. Most short story collections have at least one stinker, but I really liked them all. 4 stars.
I love Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series --and I'm on board to read just about anything she writes; which led me to the anthology Love at First Bi...moreI love Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series --and I'm on board to read just about anything she writes; which led me to the anthology Love at First Bite.
Kenyon's offering focuses on the Dark Hunter Velkan and his long estranged love Esperetta. Retta was the daughter of Vlad Tepesh (yes, Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula.) She fell in love with Velkan when he rescued her from a band of killers and rapists hundreds of years ago. They married, and Velkan tied their souls together for eternity with magic. Because of a longstanding feud between their houses, the realized they would have to fake their deaths to escape their families. (Think Romeo and Juliet.) Only thing is, Velkan didn't think the plan would work. So he helped Retta fake her death and then turned himself over to her father, planning to have Retta's body snuck away so she could get a chance at a new life. Obviously, that didn't work out. When Vlad came to claim Velkan, in his anger, he killed his daughter for real --then killed Velkan. Velkan's soul screamed out for vengeance and Artemis made him a Dark Hunter, so that he could kill Vlad. But because he had tied their souls together, when Velkan came back to life, so did Retta. She goes back to her home just in time to see Velkan kill her father --and she believes he betrayed her. And for the past several hundred years, she has hated him for it. This story shows how they get back together, overcoming the misunderstandings between them, and rekindling the passion that never really died. Not the best story in the Dark Hunter world, but it was good and I enjoyed it. (They can't all be Dance With The Devil.)
The second story came from L.A. Banks and is apparently an offshoot on her Vampire Huntress Series. This is the first thing I've ever read from LA Banks and I did not enjoy it. The story focused on a young man named Jose who meets his destined love Juanita. They are being hunted by demons and are both going to become instrumental in the fight against of evil. This is clearly a backstory to two people who are relevant in the current series. But it took me a long time to understand what was going on. The slang and grammar were frankly horrible. And the biggest sin for me: the ending was not happy. I finished this story feeling like I had been sucker punched and I wish I would have skipped it.
The third story is from the Companion series written by Susan Squires. I wasn't familiar with her either. And it took me a little while to get into this story, but I did, eventually. Our hero, Davie Ware, is a human called to help some good vampires defeat some bad vampires in Casablanca back in the 1800's. That would be hard enough on the guy, but it's made even worse by the fact that he had recently escaped a female vampire who had held him as a sex slave and tortured him... AND he had to leave on this mission the very day he had planned to propose to his love, Emma. Davie sacrifices himself and his future to do the right thing. But Emma doesn't give up on him and follows him, hoping for a future. I liked this one and may check out the Companion series after reading it.
The last story was from Ronda Thompson and I loved this one. It featured Anne, an 1800's lady who wants to shake up her staid life. Enter Merrick, the new stablemaster. There is an undeniable attraction between the two. But a relationship seems impossible because of the difference in their social station. Complicating matters further, it seems Merrick is also a werewolf. In a very short time, I came to care for both Anne and Merrick. I enjoyed the development of their relationship and I was excited to find out this, too is tied to a series. I will definitely be reading The Dark One.
If you've made it to the end of this review, I feel like you should have earned some kind of merit badge. But I will wrap it up, saying that it was a solid anthology and one I'd recommend. Just read the Banks story at your own risk. 4 stars. (less)
"Midnight Pleasures" isn't the best anthology I've ever read, but it has stories from two series I enjoy, so it was worth a read.
The first story is A...more"Midnight Pleasures" isn't the best anthology I've ever read, but it has stories from two series I enjoy, so it was worth a read.
The first story is Amanda Ashley's "Darkfest." I've never read anything from her before. The title character is a dark wizard who has never known love. He is very powerful and he is taken with Channa Leigh, a virginal blind village girl. He visits her village in the form of a wolf and somehow, when she touches him, she can see. But he knows he can't stay with her as a wolf. When Channa Leigh's mother becomes ill, her father begs Darkfest for help and he agrees to heal the woman in exchange for a year with Channa Leigh in his fortress. The story was sweet. Not terribly strong, but not bad. There were some things (like his taste for blood and problems with the sunlight) that were never really fleshed out. And speaking of flesh, despite the fact there was much talk about them both being virgins... their relationship was never consummated. Bummer.
The second story was Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Phantom Lover." This is part of her Dark/Dream Hunter universe. V'Aiden is a Greek God of sleep (for lack of a more complex explanation.) He falls in love with Erin in her dreams. She's been plagued by monsters in her sleep which are draining her for power. And he comes to her rescue. Can they make it work even though he is not human and they live in two different worlds? I'm a huge fan of the Dark/Dream Hunters, so I really enjoyed this one. As always, Kenyon's storytelling is sexy and enthralling. I can't say if someone unfamiliar with the series would enjoy it as much as I did. But I thought it was great.
Maggie Shayne's "Under Her Spell" is next. It features Melissa, a white witch who has been hired by a tv show about the supernatural, to consult on its accuracy. She is quickly drawn to her new boss, but she realizes he is surrounded by dark energy. It turns out his father was a dark wizard who is reaching out to him beyond the grave and only Melissa can save his soul. It was kind of... well, meh, for me. I didn't hate it, but I wouldn't have any interest in reading any more about these characters.
And the last novella is "A Wulf's Curse," part of Ronda Thompson's Wild Wulfs of London series. The story centers on Sterling, the youngest of the Wulf brothers. He ran away from his London home 10 years earlier when he father triggered the family curse. Dad turned into a wolf at the dinner table, then committed suicide. His mother killed herself shortly after. The curse is triggered by love, so Sterling has no interest in losing his heart. But when the beautiful Elise stows away in the carnival where he works, he can't help but fall for her innocent charms. It was sweet addition to the series. Steamy love scenes and a great happy ending. My only beef is, that unlike the resolutions that other Wulf stories had, we didn't get to see Sterling beat his curse. We just have to assume it all works out in the end.
Overall, the collection of stories was fair. I really enjoyed the Kenyon and Thompson offerings. The other two are just ok. 3 1/2 stars, but I'll round up on the merit of the two I liked. (less)
As a huge Sherrilyn Kenyon fan, I couldn’t wait to read “Tapestry” for her contribution. “Dragonswan” is set in the Dark Hunter universe and features...moreAs a huge Sherrilyn Kenyon fan, I couldn’t wait to read “Tapestry” for her contribution. “Dragonswan” is set in the Dark Hunter universe and features an Arcadian Dragon named Sebastian. He is in present day America to recover a tapestry made by his sister. He needs it as a ransom to free his kidnapped brother. He meets Channon, a historian, and they are instantly attracted to each other. They sleep together and become mated by the Fates. Sebastian brings her back to his time and their feelings for each other grow as she learns more about what he is and the problems he is facing with his own people and his enemies.
I'm not usually a YA reader. But I am a big fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon and her Dark Hunter world. So there was no way I was going to skip this one. The c...moreI'm not usually a YA reader. But I am a big fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon and her Dark Hunter world. So there was no way I was going to skip this one. The concept of the Chronicles of Nick is far from simple. Dark Hunters are humans who were greatly wronged. Upon their deaths, they call out to the goddess Artemis for justice. She grants each a chance to go back to their lives for vengeance. They become immortal and in return, they serve Artemis, fighting Daemons (vampires who feed on human souls.) In the adult version of the books, Nick was a squire, a human who served the Dark Hunters. But his mother was killed and he committed suicide to become a Dark Hunter himself, thus triggering the latent demon side that he never knew he had. In the Chronicles of Nick, the man Nick becomes is going back to guide a younger version of himself to change the course of his life.
In this book, Nick is 14 years-old. And he has just made the fateful decision that brought him into the Dark Hunter world. A group of hoodlum friends try to rob an elderly couple and Nick intercedes, nearly dying in the process and catching the eye of Dark Hunter, Kyrian. Nick is terribly poor, but he is smart and fiercely loyal to his mom. He wants to help make a better life for them both, so he accepts a job with Kyrian, to help pay his hospital bills and save money.
As that's all going on, something is turning the kids at Nick's school into zombies. Nick ends up teaming up with some local conspiracy theorists and members of the supernatural community to solve the mystery and save the day. Older-Nick is there, trying to guide younger-Nick and there is the mysterious Kody, who appears as a pretty teenage girl, who is also watching him, to stop him should he turn evil. This may all sound complicated and maybe it would be for someone unfamiliar with the series. But to me, it was actually all too simple. The Dark Hunter series rocks because it's complicated and very sexy. This is, well, neither. And no review of this book would be complete without acknowledging the vast potential of a drinking game surrounding use of the word "gah." If you were to take a drink every time someone says it or thinks it, you'd be 'faced by page 200.
It's great seeing DH favorites like Acheron, Kyrian and the Peltiers... especially before the events of the DH books. And as always, Simi is a treat. Kenyon has set this series up to somehow intersect with the DH world in the future... so whatever happens, I'm sure to keep reading. I'm just hoping these books get a little more sophisticated as Nick gets older. 3 1/2 stars.
Sherrilyn Kenyon continues her YA Dark-Hunter companion series, with this second installment of The Chronicles of Nick. Invincible picks up mere secon...moreSherrilyn Kenyon continues her YA Dark-Hunter companion series, with this second installment of The Chronicles of Nick. Invincible picks up mere seconds after the conclusion of Infinity, with Nick's revelation that his boss Kyrian is something other than human. I have to say that this was a little disappointing. I had hoped that Nick would age with each book as he grew closer to the timeline of the DH books where he first appeared. But alas, he is still 14.
Thankfully, though, this installment did not have any zombies. Instead, it focused more on Nick as he begins to realize more of his powers. The backdrop story is an evil football coach who is blackmailing Nick while (in a series of deaths which may or may not be unrelated) 14 year-old boys at Nick's school are showing up dead.
Ambrose, or future-Nick, is back, trying to guide his younger self into making better decisions. Also showing up to guide Nick are Caleb (a demon) and Kody (some kind of immortal there to make sure Nick doesn't go all evil.) Caleb seems to be developing a soft spot for the teen. And Kody seems to be getting romantic feelings for him. Which is creepy because he is 14... and while she looks like a teen, she is clearly much older.
Nick's mom starts the job at Sanctuary that we've heard so much about in Nick's future. And Savitar makes a squee-worthy appearance, though sadly it is short.
I don't really know how I feel about this series. And maybe that's because I am so clueless as to the endgame AND how it will eventually work itself into the DH universe. I definitely liked it better than Infinity. And I have my fingers crossed that as Nick grows into his later teen years, I'll enjoy them more. 4 stars? (less)
Any fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter books, can tell you that this is a series that requires you to pay attention. Sure, on the surface, each boo...moreAny fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter books, can tell you that this is a series that requires you to pay attention. Sure, on the surface, each book is a romance featuring a different couple with some preternatural connection. But from the very beginning, these books have had an ongoing story playing out in the background. First it was just the battle between the Dark-Hunters and the Daimons; Greek mythology played a big part. Then we had some Atlantean lore thrown in the mix. Beyond Acheron's book, demons began to play a bigger role and by the time we got to Bad Moon Rising, we had a new subplot that Kenyon is calling the Hellchasers, featuring Thorn and his bad-boy gang. I made a real effort to try to connect to that because I thought that's where the series was going next. I was wrong.
Sundown's story is, in some ways, a throwback to the old books. It features characters we haven't seen much of in a long time. Characters like Sundown, himself... Zarek, Sin, Sasha, and Talon. But in other ways, it's dramatically different. Kenyon put almost everything she's been building on pause for this one to introduce an entirely new Pantheon of Native American gods and mythology. There are Dark Hunters and Daimons in the books, but at times I felt like it was unrecognizable from the books preceding it. Ash is just a mention (other than a "bonus scene" at the end.) Artemis & Nick each have a cameo. No Savitar. No Stryker, Jaden or Jared. It just felt disconnected.
That's not to say it was bad. It wasn't. The romance features Sundown and Abigail. It begins with the heroine trying to kill the hero because she thinks he murdered her parents. After their deaths, she was raised by Apollites. When she was grown, they gave her demon blood to make her strong enough to kill Dark Hunters. In her quest to get to Sundown, she kills someone important in the Native American pantheon, which sets the stage for an apocalypse. As the book progresses, she must overcome her misconceptions about Sundown and work with him to try to avert the disaster she has set in motion. And they fall for each other in the process. Kenyon is at her best when she does romance. And while this relationship isn't my favorite of hers, I did enjoy it.
(I could have done with a couple less pop culture references, though. I enjoyed the first few, but after about the 10th one, I was ready for her to reign them in. )
It seems Kenyon plans to continue with the Native American storyline in the next book. It will feature Dark Hunter Ren, who was a major player in this story. I don't know how I feel about that. The bonus scene at the end, featuring Ash & Tory really brought home for me how much I missed the New Orleans gang and the mythology I know. But I have no doubt I'll be there next year, to follow where Kenyon leads. It's never a dull ride. 3 1/2 stars.
This book reminded me why I fell in love with Sherrilyn Kenyon. For me, the Dark-Hunter series has kind of lost its way a little bit lately. But The G...moreThis book reminded me why I fell in love with Sherrilyn Kenyon. For me, the Dark-Hunter series has kind of lost its way a little bit lately. But The Guardian felt a lot like some of the earlier books that I loved so much. It's technically a Dream Hunter novel, but it brings together many different threads from previous books. We've got many of the Dream Hunter characters we've met before, like Solin, Delphine & Jericho. But our heroine is half Dream Hunter, half Kattagarian... so we've got a healthy dose of Were-Hunter. AND our hero is a slave to Noir, which ties us into the whole Azmodea/ Hellchaser storyline. Plus we get a visit to Sanctuary and a Malachai connection.
If all that sounds intimidating, well, I'll be honest when I say there were times my memory was creaking, trying to remember all the threads from the previous books. But Kenyon does a good job filling in the blanks and bringing you up to speed. And besides, the real draw of this book wasn't all background stuff anyway. Our main couple stole the show.
Seth is part Egyptian God, but was cast out by his parents. He has been rejected and betrayed his whole life, and has spent thousands of years as a slave to the primordial god Noir. He has been tortured beyond any point I could convey to you. He's never known love. In short, he is a super-awesome- dreamboat of a tortured hero.
By the bidding of his master, Seth has been torturing the Dream Hunter Solin to get him to reveal the location of the key to Mt Olympus. But then, Solin's daughter Lydia comes to rescue her dad. She becomes Seth's prisoner, while Solin goes to get the key. As his captive, Lydia spends more time with Seth and gets to see the man behind the mask he wears as Noir's Guardian. And she wants to show him all the love he has never known.
He pulled her hand up and laid it against his chest before he finally explained, "I can perform a lot better for you if you wait until the end to hurt me there."
She didn't know what made her hurt the most, the sincere honesty in his voice or the expectation of pain she saw in his eyes. He spoke as if he were nothing more than a trained monkey with no other purpose than to service her and go.
Her hand trembling, she brushed his curls back from his forehead. "Has no one ever made love to you?"
Scowling, he cocked his head. "Made love? I don't know what that is."
Of course, he didn't. Because no one had ever touched him with a loving hand. They had used him, abused him, and then thrown him away his entire life.
But that was going to change.
I really enjoyed this book alot. Kenyon is sooo good at writing tortured heroes and this reminded me a lot of Dance With the Devil in tone. My only complaint, was that ending felt a little bit rushed. Maybe more than a little bit. But I can forgive it. I really think fans of the series are going to be happy with this one. I definitely was. 4 1/2 stars.