Laurenston's story was about 50% of the book according to my kindle. It was good, classic stuff that you can expect from a Shelly Laurenston shifter b...moreLaurenston's story was about 50% of the book according to my kindle. It was good, classic stuff that you can expect from a Shelly Laurenston shifter book.
Sadly, Eden's story bored the hell out of me. I was entertained for the first bit, but then the story started to just drag on and on.
Loved this short story! I think this is now one of my favorites by Laurenston. Set in the 1970's and c...more*Rating is only for the Shelly Laurenston story*
Loved this short story! I think this is now one of my favorites by Laurenston. Set in the 1970's and centered around Dee-Ann's (Big Bad Beast) parents, Eggie and Darla, this was a really fun romp. It was great to see a different perspective of one of the most feared characters in the series. Eggie was really endearing in his awkwardness around Darla and I only wish that the story was longer so we could've spent more time with this couple. (less)
I don't know why I thought that these short stories would entertain me more than they did. O'Connor is surprisingly dark and while I enjoyed that aspe...moreI don't know why I thought that these short stories would entertain me more than they did. O'Connor is surprisingly dark and while I enjoyed that aspect, I just couldn't get into the religious themes. (less)
This was a so-so anthology for me. I skipped Angel's Wolf by Nalini Singh since I read it in Angels' Flight a couple of months ago.
Alphas: Origins by...moreThis was a so-so anthology for me. I skipped Angel's Wolf by Nalini Singh since I read it in Angels' Flight a couple of months ago.
Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews: 1.5 This was my least favorite in the anthology. Essentially, the heroine is kidnapped and held captive in an alternate dimension where she's expected to act as food for a vampire-like being. I freakin' hate captive heroine stories where the lead falls in love with her captor. HATE THEM. So this wasn't my cup of tea at all. However, I will say that I enjoyed the ending even if it was a little deus ex machina.
Nocturne by Sharon Shinn: 4.5 This was by far my favorite one in the anthology. Moriah has been in hiding from the Angels for years due to a crime she committed against a nobleman. However, Moriah has a healthy does of curiosity, so when she sees a chance to get close to an angel without the fear of being recognized she takes it. The angel she finds is Corban, who was blinded in a tragic accident and has been throwing himself a giant pity party for years. Their personalities immediately clash and an interesting friendship begins. I loved Moriah, she somehow managed to come across as both cynical and optimistic, which oddly worked for me. Also, Corban and the mythology surrounding angels was pretty intriguing. Some of those aspects reminded me a lot of Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. I would recommend this short story to anyone looking for a good angel romance.
Ascension by Meljean Brook: 4 This was a fairly mediocre one for me. Brook always manages to pack a lot of story into a short amount of pages. However, I feel the need to say that, if you haven't read Demon Forged, a discussion between the two main characters contains spoilers. Radha is worried about Marc, a fellow Guardian, after she notices his demeanor at a gathering. Concerned, she follows him to middle-of-no-where Illinois and tags along as he hunts down a demon terrorizing the local community. These two used to be really close until a misunderstanding caused them to not speak for over 100 years. This sheer stubbornness reminded me a lot of Irena and Alejandro. However, I think I enjoyed the relationship between Radha and Marc a lot more. As I said, there was a lot going on in this story. I enjoyed the mention of Guardians having some religious fanatics in their midst and the plot involving a group of teenaged girls was pretty amusing. I would recommend this to fans of Brook's series. (less)
Picked this one up because I wanted to read Shelly Laurenston's story which centered around Niles Van Holtz. I really enjoyed his story. His mate, Ire...morePicked this one up because I wanted to read Shelly Laurenston's story which centered around Niles Van Holtz. I really enjoyed his story. His mate, Irene Conridge, was a pretty fantastic heroine with her crazy intelligence and cold demeanor. It made seeing her warm up to Niles fun. My only problem was with the plot device that Laurenston used to get them to take each other seriously. I hate hate hate "forced" mating scenarios. As for Cynthia Eden's story, it was alright. Miranda Shaw is being targeted by a vampire serial killer. Lucky for Miranda, her neighbor happens to be a shifter who is hell bent on protecting her. Like I said, this was an okay story. Miranda was a little bland, but I did enjoy the hero.(less)
Love love loved this short story by Andrews. This is set in the Kate Daniel's world, but centered on the side ch...moreMagic Dreams by Ilona Andrews Rating: 5
Love love loved this short story by Andrews. This is set in the Kate Daniel's world, but centered on the side characters Dali and Jim. Dali is a really quirky character, she's a vegetarian white tiger shifter who can't stand the taste of blood. When Dali comes home one night she discovers Jim, jaguar shifter and chief of The Pack's security, asleep on her bedroom floor. Everything about Jim screams "mate" to her, but he seems to only notice her when she's done something wrong. So finding him napping in her bedroom means something is wrong. Soon Dali finds herself racing to figure out what is plaguing Jim before its too late.
I've re-read this story several times since I bought this book. For being only about 70 pages long this is a pretty well detailed story. Several shifters have turned up missing and everything about their disappearance screams magic is the cause. Since Dali is the only shifter who's well-versed in magic, Jim seeks out her help. Dali was a refreshing narrator primarily because she doesn't rely on her physical fighting skills. Instead, she's forced to use her intelligence and magic abilities which is a nice contrast to Kate. My only complaint is that this wasn't a full length novel, but I'm excited to see if the rumors about Jim and Dali getting their own book next year are true. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Ice Shards by Yasmine Galenorn Rating: 2
This one really wasn't my cup of tea. I ended up skimming a lot of it. I don't even remember much about the plot except that Iris was accused of murdering her ex-lover and was stripped of her powers. A few centuries later she goes on a quest to confront her ex-lover, so that she can marry her new lover. The world here was really vague to me. It had a couple of interesting elements, but I just couldn't bring myself to get attached to any of the characters. I probably won't be picking up any of Galenorn's novels in the future.
Double Hexed by Allyson James Rating: 3
This one is apart of James' Stormwalker series. Never read any of the books in this series, so this was a bit of an introduction. James' has a nice writing style, but the plot here was a little dull. It reminded me of the creative writing exercise where you trap a bunch of characters in a room and see how they react to each other. Its supposed to help you figure out relationship dynamics and such. In this story, James' traps her main characters in a hotel and puts them at each others throats. The heroine, Janet, struggles to figure out a way to break the curse detaining them amidst all the tension. I'll probably eventually pick up the first book in this series.
Blood Debt by Jeanne C. Stein Rating: 2
Another one that didn't really capture my attention. Again, I don't remember much of the plot in this one. Anna is a vampire/bounty hunter who was hired by some witches to kill someone. That kill has come back to bite her on the ass though. Anna accidentally broke sanctuary and is now facing trial for the crime. The trail was interesting, but the development of a relationship here seemed really rushed. Also, I couldn't really get a feel for any of the characters in the story. This may be because this story is a part of series. Stein's writing style was nice and the world seemed interesting. I might pick up the first book in the Anna Strong series eventually. (less)
The Brittingens Go to Hell by Charlaine Harris~ Didn't read this installment in the book. I've tried to read Harris in the past but could never really...moreThe Brittingens Go to Hell by Charlaine Harris~ Didn't read this installment in the book. I've tried to read Harris in the past but could never really get into her. So I decided to skip this one.
Angels' Judgment by Nalini Singh~ 4/5 This is a short prequel story to Singh's Guild Hunter series. It features Sara Haziz right before she decides to accept the Guild Hunter director job. Its basically a "how they met" story about how Sara and her husband, Deacon, got together. I pretty much loved this story.
Sara and Deacon are assigned the job of finding out who is behind a spurt of vampire slayings in the area. Signs point towards it being a hunter who has gone rogue. However, things begin to get complicated when one of the archangels decides to test the potential new guild director.
Like most of the things I've read from Singh, this was pretty fabulous. However, places felt a little rushed. Singh had several good plot threads going that could've easily carried a book length story. Great installment for fans of the series.
Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews~ 3/5 This story is the one I bought the book for. I've been wanting to get into Andrew's Kate Daniels series but I wanted to do a trail run first. So I decided to start with this short story which is set in the same world.
Andrea Nash works for the Knights of Merciful Aid and has been taking care of things while Kate recovers from an injury. After receiving a call about an enormous dog terrorizing a shifter, Andrea heads out to investigate. What she finds is Raphael, a hyena shifter, being chased by a three headed dog the size of a house. The Cerberus is there because someone stole the body of a person who worshiped Hades. Now Andrea and Raphael have to find out who, why, and how to get rid of the giant dog.
I was pretty pleased with this. The setting and characters were interesting. I enjoyed the dystopian-ish tone of the story. It was also nice to see that Andrews has crafted a world with strong female characters. The only reason why I'm giving it a 3 is because it lagged in some areas for me, but I'll definitely be checking out Magic Bites.
Blind Spot by Meljean Brook~ 3.5/5 I've only read one book so far in Brook's Guardians series, so I was excited to read a short story set in the same world. One thing I have to say about Brook is that she has a pretty dense writing style. She packs a lot of depth into her stories and I love that.
Blind Spot features Maggie "Winters" Wren as she tries to track down Colin's, her employer, kidnapped niece. First, however, she has to retrieve Geoff, Colin's nephew. Geoff is blind, but has the ability to see through other people's eyes. He had been using his talent in an attempt to find his sister until he was attacked and chained to a heat register. After being rescued by Maggie, Geoff makes a deal that has them working together to find his sister.
Great short story. Geoff was an interesting character and I enjoyed his ability. However, Maggie really stole the show for me in this one. She reminded me of Jeeves from P.G. Wodehouse's novels if he had been a trained assassin. Pretty kick-ass if you ask me. Can't wait to read more from this series(less)
Despite this short story being listed as a prequel to the World of the Lupi series, it isn't really true. In f...more*Review Only For the Eileen Wilks Story*
Despite this short story being listed as a prequel to the World of the Lupi series, it isn't really true. In fact, I would recommend not reading this story before reading the first book in the series, as it would just make things confusing. This is essentially a condensed version of Tempting Danger. However, there's a lot of differences in the mythology and in how Lily and Rule interact with each other that sets this clear outside of the series. (less)
Rating is only for the Kelley Armstrong and Marjorie M. Liu stories.
Kelley Armstrong's story is set in her Women of the Otherworld series and follows...moreRating is only for the Kelley Armstrong and Marjorie M. Liu stories.
Kelley Armstrong's story is set in her Women of the Otherworld series and follows werewolves Elena and Clay on their honeymoon. Its extremely short, only about 35 pages. It was fun to read about Clay and Elena again. My only problem is that in a few places I was confused about a few references. I've only read up to book 5 in the series and this is set between book 7 and 8. So I would recommend reading the entire series up to that point before delving into this one.
Marjorie M. Liu's story was alright, but again way too short to get a really good plot going. This one is quite a few years before the time period of her Dirk and Steele series but is set in the same world. It follows Lucy Steele's story and if you've read The Wild Road then you'll recognize the woods and cabin. It was a fun short story, but I'll admit I didn't get as into it as I usually do anything she writes. I would recommend this for hardcore fans of the series.(less)
Sex, sex, and more sex. Add a little sappiness and maybe a dash of murders between all the boinking and you basically have both of these stories in a...moreSex, sex, and more sex. Add a little sappiness and maybe a dash of murders between all the boinking and you basically have both of these stories in a nutshell. For some reason, I didn't expect these two stories to be almost erotica. If I had known I probably would've read these when I was in the mood for something like that. Since I wasn't I got pretty bored with these stories and their lack of drama or strong plot. (less)
This is a collection of three short stories. Overall, the only really good one was Gena Showalter’s.
The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter is up first....moreThis is a collection of three short stories. Overall, the only really good one was Gena Showalter’s.
The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter is up first. This story takes place in her Lords of the Underworld series. It doesn’t have much to do with the Lords though. They mostly just had some cameos with a bit of explanation of what has happened to them in previous books. In fact, eliminating their presence in the story probably would have made it flow together better.
The actual plot follows an angel, Lysander, who falls in love with a harpy named Bianka. Lysander feels an attraction to Bianka that he has never felt before. This leads him to believe that she is his temptation to fall. So he kidnaps her with the intention of turning her away from the dark side. However, Bianka has no intention of letting an overbearing angel change her. So she does everything in her power to annoy the crap out of him until he decides to release her.
One thing that I really disliked about this story was how the conflict of Lysander being ashamed of Bianka was resolved. It came out of nowhere. We never saw any evidence in the rest of the story to support the turning point that Showalter inserts near the end. It made the ending feel rushed and like a cop-out. All in all though, I really enjoyed this story. The best part is how seamlessly Showalter merges Greek and Angel mythology together. Her world building for her angels was interesting and I only wish we could’ve explored that more. Individual rating: 4/5
Love Me to Death by Maggie Shayne is up next and it was by far the worst out of the three. This one bored me to death. It started off like a Stephen King story where a group of grown men get back together in the small town where something traumatizing happened to them as teens. That traumatizing event is that in high school they accidently burnt down a building resulting in a girl their age being killed. But now they’ve all been visited by the dead girl who each believes is her ghost out for revenge. If this was a King story the ghost would really be after them and the rest of the story would read like It. However this is a romance, so really it’s the reincarnation of the girl the boys killed. She’s been having dreams about her past life and comes to the small town for answers. Through doing this, she scares the crap out of the men and accidents occur until the hero of the story chases her down and demands answers. This story just really did not hold my attention at all. The characters were dull and the plot was extremely rushed. I have the feeling this could have been a much better full length story. Where Shayne would have had time to flesh out the characters and take her time drawing out the suspense of the mystery and ghost story. Individual rating: 2
Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard is the last story in the series. It wasn’t bad, but it just felt out of place in this anthology. It’s a historical paranormal romance. Lady Tameri believes she’s the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess. Leo, an archeologist, is hell bent on saving her from her delusions. Leo’s reasoning for sticking his nose in Tameri’s business is that he had a relative who had similar delusions to Tameri who killed himself after being unable to convince anyone of his past life. Believing that he can save Tameri from that same fate, he sets out to help her under the guise of his willingness to be convinced that she really is an Egyptian Princess. This was a pretty smooth story. Krinard uses Egyptian mythology fairly well throughout and the characters are interesting. There’s also an interesting antagonist who keeps things from getting dull. Individual rating: 3/5 (less)
Half of this anthology was really great, while the other half was just meh.
Music Hath Charms by Tanya Huff was the first in this anthology and was oka...moreHalf of this anthology was really great, while the other half was just meh.
Music Hath Charms by Tanya Huff was the first in this anthology and was okay. Ali is trying to get a new band to sign with her company, but her rival company has their sights set on the same one. Problems arise and soon Ali finds herself also trying to save the band. This story had an interesting take on sirens, but other than that it was just okay. 3/5
Minotaur in Stone by Marjorie M. Liu was the story that I picked up this anthology for and I was not disappointed in it at all. A homeless girl who lives in a library starts having vivid dreams of the Minotaur who claims that she can save him. The mythology and writing of this story was just fantastic. 5/5
Demon Lover by Cheyenne McCray was another good one. An incubus falls in love with a human. This one reminded me a lot of Kenyon's dream-hunter series. 4/5
Equinox by L.A. Banks was okay. I honestly don't remember much about this one. I believe one of Artemis's preistesses comes to earth and starts turning CEO's who have damaged the environment into stags for punishment. 3/5
Ride a Dark Horse by Susan Krinard was great. It was a unique story that had a lot of fairytale aspects to it. After a messy divorce a woman takes a vacation on a Ranch and finds a mysterious stranger and dark horse popping up both in her real life and dreams. 4.5/5
To Die For by Keri Arthur was the last story in this anthology that I really enjoyed. This one follows a wolf shifter and her werewolf partner as they investigate two cases of missing teenagers. This story had an excellent well developed plot. I can't wait to pick up a full length novel by Arthur. 5/5
Curse of the Dragon's Tears by Heidi Betts was another okay story. General romance. A woman goes to a castle to find the man who her great-grandmother cursed a century ago. 3/5
Brother's Keeper by Lilith Saintcrow I hated. Characters were introduced as well as a mystery but that's it. The whole story just felt like a prologue to a book. And not just that but I also didn't like how helpless the heroine was the entire story. 1/5
Like a Virgin of the Spring by Susan Sizemore and Denise Little was interesting. A woman from the future gets lost in the past and is saved by a man from the future. I don't really get into time travel books. This one reminded me a bit of Angela Knight's short stories. 3/5
Life is a Teacher by Carrie Vaughn was okay. A freshly turned vampire struggles with adopting to her new life. 3/5
Moonlight Becomes You by Linda Winstead Jones follows a woman who is convinced that her neighbor is a vampire and sets out to prove it to herself. This was cute and fun story. Probably the most humorous one. 4/5
Dirty Magic by Kim Harrison I didn't read. I've tried reading Harrison's stuff before and could never get into it so I skipped this one.
So overall, this anthology was pretty good. Just a couple of stories that just were not all that great.(less)
If you like MJD’s books and humor I’m sure you’ll get into this anthology. The stories flow into each other quite nicely and they’re all good reads if...moreIf you like MJD’s books and humor I’m sure you’ll get into this anthology. The stories flow into each other quite nicely and they’re all good reads if you’re looking for something quick and fun to read.
The first story in this anthology is Santa Claws and it centers on Alec who is the pack alpha of Europe or something. Anyway, Alec is walking down a busy street when all of a sudden he gets a whiff of peaches and must find out from where that smell is coming. What he finds is a woman dressed in a Santa costume ringing a bell out in front of a store and decides he must have her. Some conversation and humor occur and then a romp in the sack. This was one of the “eh” stories in the anthology. I liked it, but I don’t really have much of an opinion on it. I liked Alec enough that I wouldn’t have minded reading a whole story on him. You’ll like this story if you’re looking for a quick and funny erotic story.
The next story is Monster Love and is probably my second favorite in this anthology. Janet Lupo isn’t a happy at seeing Alec, one of the most eligible werewolf bachelors, married off to a human. After paying her respect to the happy couple she runs into Richard Will and agrees to go out with him the next night. But when her pack alpha calls wanting her to come back home she grudgingly has to do it. Unfortunately, Richard comes early to pick her up for their date and when he sees Janet standing outside the hotel suitcase in hand, he flips and kidnaps her. Janet is great character; she’s cynical with a mouth on her that could make a sailor blush. Her and Richard’s interactions with each other are great to watch, despite the fact that Richard is your average “I’m a blood sucking monster and no one will ever accept and love me.” kind of vampire. I think this is probably the story that worked the best in the anthology.
Next up was, There’s No Such Thing as a Werewolf. Drake is a blind werewolf, but that doesn’t hold him back very much in life. After he gets off from work at the clinic one night a group of teens decides to try and rob him. After kicking the shit out of them, Drake happens along a young woman, Crescent. And finds that he can see her. This, of course, intrigues him and he ends up following her up on top of a building where she’s getting ready to jump off because she believes she can fly. Anyway, for some reason, that’s never explained, she faints and wakes up to find the good doctor hovering over her and offering to let her stay at his house. Since she has good intuition and doesn’t get creepy feelings from the guy she accepts.
This was my least favorite out of the four stories. The best thing about it for me was probably the cameo appearance Janet and Richard make. Otherwise, I just couldn’t get into Drake and Crescent’s relationship all that much. Crescent had the tendency to annoy me and I thought that Drake being able to only see Crescent was a little too convenient in the tale for me, even for a short story.
The last story is George the fiend’s story, A Fiend in Need. This was my favorite, probably because it was set in Betsy Taylor’s world and filled with familiar characters. Anyone who’s read Derik’s Bane will recognize Antonia who is the pack’s resident physic. Anyway, Antonia gets a vision that makes her itch to go help Betsy. When she arrives at Betsy’s door she’s let in mostly for the gang to have a good laugh, because no one really believes in werewolves. While Antonia is trying to explain to everyone why she can’t change into a werewolf George makes his entrance and promptly pounces on Antonia. After Antonia knocks him off everyone decides to let her stay at the house for a while and see where it goes.
I would’ve liked to have seen this story expanded into a book, but it wasn’t disappointing as a short story. The relationship that develops between Antonia and George is cute and everyone’s reactions to that relationship are pretty entertaining. Antonia is an interesting character and I’m curious to see just how she’s going to fit into the Undead series.(less)