Haunted by Your Touch—an Anthology by Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black and Sharie Kohler It has only been recently that I have been able to really apprecia...moreHaunted by Your Touch—an Anthology by Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black and Sharie Kohler It has only been recently that I have been able to really appreciate anthologies. In the past they have been an irksome expense endured to possess a missing story from a beloved author to fill-in gaps in an ongoing series. I did not truly appreciate them until I began to have crossovers; new series I found and loved that happened to have shorts in anthologies I already owned. It was like finding gold buried on my shelves. All new stories by authors I loved in series I was hooked on that I already had—just waiting to be read. It was a kind of a eureka moment. And I finally realized what I am sure both authors and publishers expect to be apparent at the start—indeed a partial reason behind anthologies—that if you like one author’s writing in them, odds are you might like some of the others. Stupid simple, but hey, I’m a simple kinda gal…sometimes it takes me a while to grasp seemingly obvious ideas. It is with this in mind that I read through Haunted by Your Touch, and while one of the stories did leave me flat I also found an author I’ve never read before and enjoyed their work. So, fair trade. “Night’s Darkest Embrace” by Jeaniene Frost When I bought this anthology I did so mainly for Ms. Frost’s contribution to it; tho I have to admit I was under the impression that this story was set in her Night Huntress series. When I read “Night’s Darkest Embrace” and discovered it was in a new and different world I was somewhat surprised, surprised but overjoyed because—just as most of Ms. Frost’s works that I have read thus far—it is a wonderful story. Set in a reality where Fallen Angels, Demons and Partials (those who only have a percent of demon blood) can travel to different dimensions this short novella had me love the characters from the moment I met them. The world building was immersive, and the plot moved so that you were never quite sure where it would take you next, but were eager for the ride. This story also had Ms. Frost’s scorch-marks very much in evidence; the passion was explosive and like in any good romance novel love made sure of a happy ending. I lapped up all 156 pages of this story and would be thrilled to pieces if Ms. Frost ever chose to return to this world and write another dose of wonderful. I give this story five stars.
“Mated” by Shayla Black This story was my first taste of Ms. Black’s writing, and I have to say that I would go back for seconds. Set in the “Doomsday Brethren” series, “Mated” was a fun mage-type story that despite being thrown into a universe that I was unfamiliar with managed to stand on its own. In this evocative tale Ms. Black let me feel the measure of the world she had created and care for not just the central characters but have a relationship with several more that I gather already had their own stories told. While this particular world may not be one I will seek out again, as I am not much for the evil-wizard-taking-over-the-world bit I was still impressed by the feel that was created. Ms. Black’s characterization was the redeeming factor for me, the intimacy and feeling she was able to induce with her characters, even when they were being obstinate in realizing it touched a chord with me. She managed to capture me in her 121 pages, and for that I will keep my eye out for other possible works she may create. I give this story three stars.
“Darkest Temptation” by Sharie Kohler In the hit and miss world of the anthology this story was a miss for me. I’ll admit it, I couldn’t even read it all the way through. I’m sure that Ms. Kohler is wonderful in her craft, but this story and writing just rubbed me the wrong way. Full of werewolves and hunters and an attacked heroine I just couldn’t hack it long enough to experience the story. Hopefully if you give it a try your mileage will vary. (less)
Angel’s Flight—A Guild Hunter Collection by Nalini Singh
Angel’s Flight is a unique type of omnibus composed of four, short-story to novella length, wo...moreAngel’s Flight—A Guild Hunter Collection by Nalini Singh
Angel’s Flight is a unique type of omnibus composed of four, short-story to novella length, works set in the Guild Hunter universe. Of the four, two I have already read, “Angel’s Judgment” originally published as part of Must Love Hellhounds, and “Angel’s Wolf” that was part of the Angels of Darkness anthology. “Angel’s Pawn,” originally e-published as a short story, and “Angel’s Dance,” the novella length never before published story in this collection, were both new reads for me, and I have to say that they both added to the richness of the world that Ms. Singh has already created in the Guild Hunter universe.
This collection earned a high four stars all the way around.
“Angel’s Pawn” In this story we get to know Ashwini— a secondary character so far in the main Guild Hunter storyline— a little better, along with her charming interest Janvier “the Cajun.” I loved getting to know some more about these two, and straightening out some of my earlier misconceptions, including my wrong assumption that for a hunter to be sent the vamp in question had to be under a hundred. Ashwini is a fascinating character, and Janvier is a perfect foil for her. We also were able to see Nezarach, a frightening yet enlightening excursion. I truly hope that we get to see more of these two in the future and would adore a whole novel devoted to their budding love story. This was a fun, if agonizingly short story. I give this one four stars.
“Angel’s Judgment” This story, I feel, is a must read for any Guild Hunter fan. Detailing how Sara became head of the Hunters Guild, and met Deacon, it is the ground work for the first few books, gives some insight into how the guild actually functions and is an all around good read. I give is one four stars.
“Angel’s Wolf” I feel that this story is only fully appreciated after having read through Archangel’s Blade, where we experience the trauma one of the main characters, Noel, goes though, and so can more fully understand the transformation he undergoes in this story. I really enjoyed this story, both the first time I read it in Angels of Darkness and in this volume. It is a complete departure from the main storyline in the Guild Hunter series, and as such has a freedom to be nothing more than it is. Even in so short a work, this story managed to feel complete to me, and encompass feeling of both tenderness and ferocity. It also showed and angel in this world with both power and compassion, a somewhat new concept to date in this series. I would be happy to see either of the characters in a secondary role again in future works, I am however content with where their story is now to feel they do not need further spotlight. I give this story a high four stars.
“Angel’s Dance” This new story surprised me by going back in time and letting us see some of the build-up that got us to where we open in the first Guild Hunter book. Seeing Raphael as a new archangel was an interesting sight, and the cobbling together of his seven was seminal to the series, if only peripheral to this story. I will admit that Galen has not been one of my favorite characters to date, however seeing this story from his perspective definitely had him grow on me. Also getting to know Jessamy more deeply was a pleasure, the only externally “flawed” angels in this series hers was a worthwhile journey to travel, and I felt honored to be able to tread some of it with her. The glimpses we get of Illium in this story are equally fun and sad; I enjoyed knowing the origins of “Bluebell” but knowing the future outcome of his relationship with a mortal that strings through this story was a bitter ache. All in all it was a good story that also added wonderful back-story and insight into the series on Raphael’s side. I give this story four stars.
When I heard about this anthology I was thrilled; not only because anything Ms. Singh writes is sure to...moreThis review also posted at A Bookish Compulsion
When I heard about this anthology I was thrilled; not only because anything Ms. Singh writes is sure to be fabulous or because I am pleasantly addicted to the Psy-Changling universe, but also because the first two stories put forth in this volume were already two I absolutely adored. So not only was I going to get two brand new stories in a series I love, but a more user-friendly (and portable) version of two stories already at home in my heart. A win in every way possible, Wild Invitation made me oh so happy as both a fan and a bibliophile with limited shelf space.
Beat of Temptation, which was originally published in the anthology An Enchanted Season, takes a step in to the past of the DarkRiver Pack, picking up just after the tragedy that scared Lucas and gives us a birds-eye view of the evolution of this dynamic group through the eyes of the then young healer Tasmsyn and her stubborn sentinel and future mate Nathan. I won’t lie, this story makes me cry every single time I read it. As much as it is fan service in giving a glimpse into the past of one of our beloved Packs and how it came to become the force it is, this is also a well written and poignantly told tale of love, growth and what it means to be together.
When I need a good cry this five-star story is one of my go-tos for the emotional release.
Stroke of Enticement, originally published in the anthology The Magic Christmas Cat, is pure fun in story format. This story takes the world of the Psy-Changeling and the DarkRiver Pack and explores the fringes, away from some of the heavier stresses and plot-points of the main story-line. Annie, a physically damaged school teacher who teaches many of the children from the DarkRiver Pack, and Zach a park ranger with a full complement of alpha-changeling traits who has finally met his mate, bring to life a relationship that sparkles while exploring the concepts of how the past can affect the future and in Ms. Singh’s genius also expands and deepens the knowledge and dynamics of this universe.
For a good time I highly suggest this five-star story.
Declaration of Courtship, one of the two new stories written for this anthology, gives us the tale of Cooper and Grace, a sentinel who takes alpha to the extreme and the submissive tech who finds the courage to tangle with the beast. I enjoyed this story for the dynamic it created, boldly painting the fact that sometimes courage and strength come in forms you would not expect. While reading about two strong leads is an enjoyable journey I felt that the trip taken by Cooper and Grace transcended mere personal strength and explored the concept of what it can mean to love and realize that it is both our strengths and our weaknesses that sometimes make us right for another.
I give this dynamic tale a fun five stars.
Texture of Intimacy expanded on Walker and Laura’s story, introduced in Kiss of Snow, and took it farther to better understand both their relationship and the overall history of the Lauren family and its integration into the SnowDancer Pack, both what they had experienced in the past and the difference from the future they fought for and gained among the wolves. I truly enjoyed reading more about Walker and Lauren, not to mention Marlee and Toby, and how they were able to take their happy ending and forge from it a strong family that knows the future may not always be easy, but that they will always be in it together. I am not sure how this story would hold-up without having read the Psy-Changeling series as it gains much of its depth from already knowing and appreciating the characters, however as an additive to the SnowDancer Pack story is did very well. I would also like to note that it is probably best read after Kiss of Snow but before Tangle of Need to gain the smoothest transition in story progression, even if it was published after ToN.