Publisher: Self Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from the author
The Whispers Collection is a series of erotic short stories, available singly or collected in one volume. I’ll start Collection No. 2 when all the stories on tap for Collection No. 1 are available. If you are offended by sexually explicit stories that play with consent, desire, shape-shifters, and safe boundaries, please do not read these. Seriously.
The stories that make up collection No. 1 are: Inigo the Magician Contemporary. A demon delivers on an ice-cold revenge after a magician uses him and a human woman to satisfy his sexual perversions. Six months later, she’s not even close to recovered, he’s free and their first meeting is a volatile combination of minds, bodies, and the consequences of a promise made.
Demon Lover Historical. New Orleans, 1859. At nearly twenty-eight, Zoe remains at home to support her widowed father. She longs for something more in her life. David Nataniel is a dangerous man for a woman to know. He’s a client of her father’s and is often at the house, but Zoe believes she’s safe from his wickedness. She’s not.
My Goblin Boyfriend Contemporary. Tolkien as a user manual? The title should say it all, but in case it doesn’t, Violet finds out first-hand why goblins have a rep for mastery in the bedroom after she finds an injured goblin passed out on her porch. She does the right thing for everyone involved and nurses him back to health. He’s big, strong, definitely not-human, and not shy at all. Features goblin sex. Doh.
Constance Historical. In Edwardian-era America, Nathan reluctantly agrees to seduce and impregnate his good friend’s cousin. As he comes to know and like the woman, her tragic past changes him forever.
The Wild Contemporary. An unrepentant werewolf finds the woman of his dreams. She needs the kind of pain only he can deliver—As long as she’s willing to get Wild with him. Not for the faint of heart. Includes werewolf sex. This blurb came from the author’s website.
I saw Jewel talking about this on twitter and responded to her request for reviewers. I have read several of her previous works in a variety of romance sub-genres and I tend to enjoy them. My favorites seem to have a hotter flavor than the others so I was extremely curious. I do recommend you read her introduction to the collection because these stories won’t be for everyone. These short stories are certainly darker and explore some concepts she has raised in other works but has taken to a new depth here.
“Inigo the Magician”: This story was about magic used to violate and harm instead of amaze, assumptions people make about others, what revenge really means, and the cost of making a promise. It was also about the importance of keeping your promises.
“Demon Lover”: An obsessed overprotective father, a woman who barely experienced life, and a man determined to have her. The narrator recounted her story but I felt it had potential for a HEA. Given that I wish I had a sense of how much time passed since the story started to really trust in my feelings.
“My Goblin Boyfriend”: My favorite of the collection. Jewel included a variety of stand out characters including a gossipy old woman who knew more than you thought, supernatural creatures, and an attraction that went beyond humanity…or did it define humanity.
“Constance”: This one about broke my heart. Extremely messed up family dynamics, a hope born out of love, the loyalty of friendship, and happiness for those who lived without hope of ever being happy.
“The Wild”: Probably the most brutal of all of the stories but it is about meeting needs and desires of everyone involved even if the end result might not have been completely expected.
This was an interesting mix of stories but certainly not for those who do not enjoy reading about rough sexual contact. My favorite was “My Goblin Boyfriend” and I would love to see Jewel expand into the world she created there. I think it has a lot of potential. The other stories ranged from intriguing to disturbing and all showcased exactly how much could be packed into a short story. I am curious to see what Jewel includes for her next collection.
For the first time in print, New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn presents a collection of “second epilogues” to her Bridgerton series, previously published as e-originals, plus a new bonus Bridgerton novella: Violet in Bloom,” a short story in which we finally meet Edmund Bridgerton.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
E: I thoroughly enjoyed reading Quinn’s Bridgerton series and successfully pushed them on a few people **cough**MinnChica**cough** but I had not read her Second Epilogues so when I saw they were being released in a single collection I leaped on the chance to review them.
MinnChica: I’m so grateful to E for pushing the Quinn books on me, I absolutely adore the Bridgerton family, and I was one of the people who gobbled up the 2nd Epilogues the moment I was done with the series. I’m just glad to finally have them all in one nice book, with an extra special short about Mama Bridgerton.
The Duke and I: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Simon and Daphne’s story was my introduction to this family. The estrangement between Simon and his father. Simon’s refusal to open and read the letters his father wrote him but never sent which might contain the answers, an apology, or an explanation. This epilogue is about what would make Simon decide to read them. In finding out we got to see some of the familiar interactions between some of the main characters of the series not to mention their various children. I enjoyed seeing the different aspects of their personalities combined in the children. Daphne’s inner monologue was also hilarious as she dealt with a surprise.
MinnChica: I was always curious about the letters from Simon’s father, and was both let down and excited to hear what exactly was in them. I thought the situation Quinn used to get Simon motivated to finally read the letters was a wonderful way to tie back to the original story. Of course, now I want to know how things worked out!! LOL
Lou: I was hoping that Simon’s father would have left something meaningful in the letters but the character stayed true to form. Daphne’s surprise was both charming and funny. I was so happy to see Quinn’s humour back in force, and I think Daphne and Simon were a great couple to start the anthology.
The Viscount Who Loved Me: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Pall Mall! This game epitomizes the competitive yet loving bond between the Bridgertons and their spouses. As the years have passed their plotting and scheming has grown exponentially. I found myself giggling the entire way through this epilogue.
MinnChica: I think that the Pall Mall tournament from the first book is one of my favorite scenes, and this 2nd Epilogue is the one that stayed with me the most since I originally read the few that were available. I love that everyone fights over the black mallet, and that Anthony and Kate still have a fierce competitive streak between the two of them. I loved that this story seemed to be a wonderful little glimpse into a day in the life of the Bridgertons.
Lou: I think Kate and Anthony are one of my favourite Bridgerton couples. This little short was hilarious and encompassed the entire deviousness and sibling rivalry of the Bridgertons. Kate and Anthony have wicked sense of humours and seeing them battle in the very serious game of Pall Mall was a true feat. The ending was perfect with them flirting.
An Offer From a Gentleman: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Posy gets her HEA finally. It was great to see her achieve happiness. Quinn changed her writing style for this particular epilogue which was slightly disconcerting at first but it fit Posy’s relationship and personality
MinnChica: I loved Posy from the original story. I thought she was such a wonderful character, and getting to see her finally get her HEA was so fun. I loved that she also got the chance to have a love at first sight moment, and that she fell hard and quick for the local Vicar. I also loved Ben and Sophie’s little play-by-play at the end. It was a fun little moment for them to look back on their love at first sight moment.
Lou: It was so nice seeing Posy getting her HEA after a miserable upbringing between her mother and sister. Whilst I was happy for Posy I wasn’t that engaged with the short. It was more of a telling rather than showing.
Romancing Mister Bridgerton: The 2nd Epilogue
E: And once again the family dynamics came to play. This one wasn’t my favorite. I think the combination of people trying to make Penelope feel guilty about her alternate identity made me feel bad for her and dread the reveal. I also thought the reveal was anti-climatic.
MinnChica: Colin and Penelope were by far my favorite couple in the series. I think I’ve re-read this book a million times. But unfortunately I didn’t like the 2nd Epilogue as much as I did the book. Maybe it was because the short takes place so close to the end of the book, maybe because it takes place during To Sir Phillip, With Love. Either way, I thought the whole scenario of Penelope telling Eloise her secret was a little, well just like E said: anti-climatic.
Lou: This definitely felt like a deleted scene rather than a return to Penelope and Colin’s life. I would think after what Eloise had just done, the secret Pen kept from her would be the furthest thing from her mind.
To Sir Phillip, With Love: The 2nd Epilogue
E: This was a fun one to read. I remember hoping that Sir Phillip’s children would be happy now that they had a mother so seeing the viewpoint of Amanda was lovely. It was also sweet to see Amanda’s conversation with her father the night she fell in love.
MinnChica: I enjoyed this story as well, mainly because I loved and adored Amanda and Oliver. I always hoped that Quinn would give them each a story, so the fact that we get to see Amanda all grown up was a treat for me! I also loved the moment that she had with Sir Phillip, because it showed just how much he loved and adored her, and how clueless he could really be!
Lou: I enjoyed this story the least and it was due to the first narration. I found that Amanda waffled on quite a bit, and the narration felt uneven in places. However, her meeting with Charles was cute and the last scene with Phillip, her father, was even sweeter.
When He Was Wicked: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Aw this one was extremely touching. Francesca had such a hard time during her life reading this and seeing all her wishes coming true made my heart melt. I enjoyed Francesca’s closeness with her mother Violet.
MinnChica: I never really connected with Francesca as much as I did her sisters and sisters-in-law. While I liked her book, it wasn’t one of my favorites. However, I think this 2nd Epilogue is another one of my favorites. I felt so deeply for her struggle to get pregnant, and wanted nothing more than for her to finally get all her hopes and dreams fulfilled. When she had the heart to heart with her mom, I was in tears. I was so glad to see her finally get her little bundle of joy.
Lou: Poor Francesca had such heartbreak in her life. After the deaths of her first husband and their unborn child, she deserved the children she desperately wanted. I’m not a huge fan of baby endings, but this short ended sweetly and so perfectly for Francesca and Michael.
It’s In His Kiss: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Hyacinth certainly gave her family fits so it was great seeing them return the favor. I really liked how Isabella proved that she loved her mother even when tormenting her.
MinnChica: Hyacinth was such a character throughout the entire series. I adored everything about her, and thought that her search for the jewels would never end. Knowing that her daughter, another wild child, found the jewels so young, and kept it hidden from her mother was so ironic. But then getting to see Isabella realize what her mom searched for and why, I loved that she went through the trouble of helping Hyacinth finally find her treasure.
Lou: I’ve always had a soft spot for Hyacinth. Being the youngest out of my brothers and second youngest out of all my immediate cousins, I know the tribulations that occur in being the youngest of them all. It was funny seeing Isabella be a carbon copy (perhaps more) of her mother, Hyacinth. Hyacinth would have looked for those diamonds forever more, and the scene Isabelle overhears was very sweet and it makes her do something for pure love for her mother.
On The Way to the Wedding: The 2nd Epilogue
E: This epilogue was probably the most serious of them all. The discussion about naming babies was cute and once again the sheer love in the Bridgertons was very evident.
MinnChica: I think that this book was probably my least favorite of all the Bridgerton series books, but I did enjoy this Epilogue. E is absolutely right in that the naming of the kids was so sweet and sentimental. And watching their family surround them with love and support is always a favorite aspect of the series as a whole, so that made this one extra special.
Lou: Despite the serious tone in this short, all I could think of was nine babies. Nine! Gregory’s fear and despair was clear to see, and the scene with him and his eldest daughter, Katheribe, was lovely. The whole family surrounding Lucy showed the love they all had for one another. It kinda reminded me of Sound of Music.
Violet in Bloom
E: I really liked how Quinn did Violet’s story. We got to catch glimpses of several important moments in Violet’s life along with an understanding of why she was so happy with her family. This was the perfect ending to the epilogues.
MinnChica: I loved the way Quinn wrote about Violet. I loved getting to catch a glimpse of the love of her life, but was glad that it wasn’t the entirety of her story, much like her life. Getting little snapshots of life when the children were all younger was so sweet, and really gave us a clear picture of why Violet is loved so much by her children. Like E said, it was a perfect end to the Bridgerton series, and the 2nd Epilogues.
Lou: This I almost couldn’t read because you know what happens. When she and Eloisa find Edmund…gah. I still wish that Violet would have found love again. The short showed her deep love for her family, but I wished she could have found that special love with another man. It breaks my heart a little to know she lost her true love so long. A bittersweet end to the anthology.
E: These are short quick satisfying reads. I want to go back and re-read the novels and then read the associated epilogue. As Quinn states in her introduction this is not the collection to start the series with because it presupposes a lot of knowledge on the reader’s part. While I liked some epilogues more than others just like I enjoyed some of the Bridgertons more than the others overall I enjoyed it.
I give The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After an A-/B+
MinnChica: These stories were all very short and sweet. I think I enjoyed them all, and getting the chance to peek back into the daily lives of these characters is such a treat. I think the Bridgerton family is still one of my all time favorite fictional families. For those who haven’t read any of the 2nd Epilogues, this is going to be a wonderful treat. For those who have, be on the lookout for Avon to put the non-published stories into their own bundle (per Quinn’s FB page).
I give The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After a B
Lou: I’m so happy this author made a return to this wonderful family. I now want to re-read the books all over again. These shorts are not very long but they are great reads for fans of the series. I didn’t dislike any of the shorts, and each story invokes a different feel and tone. I give this anthology a B+ ...more
Such a great book. Needed a re-read since I wasn't interested in any of my TBR ones.
Wilder and Satira are pure fire together. This was a great introduSuch a great book. Needed a re-read since I wasn't interested in any of my TBR ones.
Wilder and Satira are pure fire together. This was a great introduction to the Bloodhound world because we got a taste of just about everything. Hounds, Vampires, Ghouls, Whores, the requirements of the New Moon... I highly recommend that you pick and time and place without interruptions. I have also heard that significant others tend to enjoy the effect this book has on the reader....more
In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.
In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…
Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT
In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…
And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED
In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.
Has: The first story in the anthology really sets up the tone and feel – it expands the wider world of the Guild Hunter universe by focussing on the supporting and secondary characters that appeared in the series. In Angel’s Pawn, Ashwini, the guild huntress is on a mission to locate a missing vampire before an epic feud blows between opposing angel and vampire factions. She teams up reluctantly with the sexy and roguish cajun vampire Janvier who has offered to help her despite the fact she has hunted him in the past. This adds sexual frission between Ashwini and Janvier because there is a past history filled with friendly antagonism and unwelcome attraction which becomes full blown over the course of the story. I really loved how this played out, along with the twisty plot with the mystery which isn’t as clear cut as it seems. Although I wished there was more to the romance and even the story, because this felt more like a prequel short which hints of a full story in the future. But this was fun, sexy and sassy! I give it a B-
MinnChica: I have to say that this was my least favorite of the stories, and probably because with Singh, I am so used to there being more romance in the story. For me, this was more of foreplay – while it’s lots of fun to start, I like to get to the main event as well. There was a lot of cat and mouse being played between Ashwini and Janvier, and even though the sexual tension was off the charts, I wanted and expected to have a HEA, and that just wasn’t the case here. I have to say though Singh set up the series and world-building with this short novella with a bang! I give Angel’s Pawn a C
E: I really enjoyed the interaction between Ashwini and Janvier. Even though this novella focuses on the two of them it also serves to highlight just how cutthroat vampire and angelic politics are. This showed once again the differences between shorter lived humans and the extended lifetimes of the angels and the vampires they have created. Getting back to Ash and Janvier I loved how this novella continued their game of cat and mouse that we have caught glimpses of throughout the series. While this one does leave you with the idea that eventually the two of them will have a relationship it ends while they are still getting to know each other. I liked the slower pace and I can’t wait to find out what the two of them get into next. By no stretch of the imagination do I think that Janvier will stop doing things to make Ash’s life difficult but it is with the understanding that this is part of the courtship and keeping their “romance” alive. I give Angel’s Pawn a B+
Has: I think this was my second favourite story in the anthology. I loved how Sara and Deacon got together. The moment when they met, with Deacon in bad ass mode and seeing Sara on the hunt really showed different sides to their characters that I was accustomed to in the previous Guild Hunter books I read. The mystery plot-line was also tense and it left me guessing, but I think the romance albeit brief really helped to make this sparkle! I loved the ending and I hope we get more glimpses like this in the future because I do think Sara and Deacon are a great couple. I give Angel’s Judgement a B
MinnChica: This was also my second favorite story in the anthology. Ever since this was first released in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology, this has been one of my favorite stories in the entire Guild Hunters series. I absolutely LOVE and adored Sara and Deacon together. They kicked ass and took names and had super sexy times together. It was great to see Sara in a hunter role, especially since she’s normally seen as the Guild Director. I also liked seeing Deacon as the stole-cold killer he used to be. I thought their romance was absolutely incredible, and loved that he gave up something that he had been doing for years, so she could continue on the career path she wanted. The two of them melted my heart and continue to be one of my favorite couples in this world. I give Angels Judgement an A
E: Ooh Deacon and Sara….They are certainly a force to be reckoned with separately and together I felt sorry for anyone who came up against them. I loved how he was known as the person whose weapons all the Hunters wanted. Reading this I could understand why all the North American Hunters gave their loyalty to Sara. Watching her transform from one of the many hunters into the Guildmaster was very impressive. I loved how she decided to wear one of Deacon’s spinning saw-blades as her necklace pendant. Talk about sending a message. Deacon was also pretty impressive as he took care of what he needed to so that he could go to Sara knowing that he wasn’t leaving anything hanging that would make her job harder then necessary. I also loved how such a strong man willingly supported his love in her spotlight. I give Angel’s Judgement an A-
Has: In Angel’s Wolf, this was a more slower paced story with a more subtle tone, with a really sweet romance with its core. Noel is sent to the Angel’s court of New Orleans which is held by the angel Nimra. It was really refreshing to see an angel who felt more human although she was scary in her own way and Noel, who is very observant but recovering from a brutal attack that left him scarred deep down trying to find his place, connecting emotionally. The romance between them is very subtle and their attraction grows slowly but it was fitting especially on how their tragic pasts affected their characterisation. I did find the mystery plot wasn’t that tense or tense, but the real draw was the love story which was very sweet and tender. Although this wasn’t my overall favourite story in the anthology, I did enjoy the romance and the characters and wider ongoing subplots and how that tied in the series. I give Angel’s Wolf a C+
MinnChica: This was a slower paced novella and one that, like Has said, had a sweet romance to it. I loved the change of pace in this novella, how Singh was able to focus more on the romance, and the suspense portion of the plot. They were both done exceptionally well in my opinion, and I really enjoyed the interaction of these two. I liked the way that these two played off each other. Noel was able to come more to grips with his attack and torture with Nimra’s help and constant companionship. On the other hand, Nimra was able to cement her position in her court with him at her side, standing there to support her in any and every way possible. I liked having a look into other angel’s courts, and hope that we can see more of these characters in future books. I give Angel’s Wolf a B.
E: While sweeter and more innocent in some ways then Ms Singh’s other stories in this world Angel’s Wolf still packed quite a punch. I was really glad to see Noel who had been grievously tortured in Angel’s Blood regain his own. It was also refreshing to see Nimra, an angel, who held her court not through seduction, pain, fear but more through love and care yet she had the strength and will to hold and protect her court. The slow growth of trust on Noel’s part not just of Nimra but also of himself as a worthwhile man combined with Nimra’s realization that Raphael had sent her exactly who and what she needed in more ways then one was great to see. I think the ending of this novella was absolutely perfect. I give Angel’s Wolf an A.
Has: I think for me this was my favourite story in the anthology. I really loved this prequel story of Galen who is one of Raphael’s Cadre and Jessamy, the earthbound angel who is the historian and teacher of the angels. The romance between them certainly sizzled and I love how possessive and determined Galen was towards Jessamy which helped to crack the emotional walls around her. The romance was sweet, passionate and full of real depth.
MinnChica: I absolutely LOVED this story, it was by far my favorite of the anthology. The romance between Galen and Jessamy was smoking hot, full of wonderful tension and a beautiful romance to top it off. I thought Galen’s possessive ways and constant pushing at Jessamy to be better, not just accept life laying down and fighting for what she wanted was so endearing. While he came across as an alphahole to Jessamy, I thought it was all very sweet in Galen’s own way. absolutely LOVED it.
E: This was such a contrast in opposites! The much older, unable to fly, sweet, trusted, innocent Jessamy and the young, brutal, unknown, militant Galen were wonderful to watch together. Jessamy’s initial view of Galen in all his martial skill and Galen noticing her despite his focus on Dimitri was just WOW. The two of them did not have an easy meeting of the minds so to speak. Galen offended without meaning to because he never learned how to soften his words and so addressed things others left unsaid. Jessamy insulted without meaning to because she did not understand how ferociously Galen regarded his words and his actions. Galen refused to let Jessamy continue to go through life without living and Jessamy was able to give Galen all the softness he never experienced while growing up yet as a friend/lover not as a mother/teacher.
Has: I loved that aspect too! I think with angels especially, some vulnerability helps to ground them and we definitely got that with Jessamy and Galen whose strengths and weaknesses helped to balance each other out. I also loved the hints of backstory about Illium and his human lover and how he got his nickname and Raphael’s cementing his power base as an Archangel and Michaela’s rise to Archangel status. Despite this being a novella, it really felt like a full book, because so much happened but the romance was at the centre. I think my favourite is the ending when Jessamy and Galen who are separated, correspond to each other and their feelings become even stronger with the realisation that they truly want to be together. Angel’s Dance is a passionate love story filled with nuanced moments of tenderness and heart-felt emotions. How Galen outmanuvered Jessamy’s emotional resolve and how he realised he found his own place in Raphael’s new court was a true delight! I felt that I got caught up in an angel’s flight along with them! I give Angel’s Dance a B+
MinnChica: I agree that so many things happened, and it felt like a full length novel. I thought the backstory with Illium was wonderful as well, and loved getting a better glimpse into the history of Raphael’s Seven. I can’t wait until we get the stories from Illium, Jason and the others. The history from each man was wonderful to see, and I am anxiously awaiting more! I have a feeling that the story between Galen and Jessamy will be one that I will go back and read time and time again when I need a great story to act as a pick-me-up. I give Angel’s Dance an A.
E: I did love their long distance courtship and how Jessamy and Galen exchanged letters while Galen consolidated the role he would play in Raphael’s fledgeling court. I also enjoyed the glimpses of some of Raphael’s Seven and Raphael himself when they were younger and in some ways still retained some of their innocence. Even if it was only evident when they were around Jessamy and her memories of them as young children. I think Galen changed from the cold brute introduced in Angel’s Blood to yet another character I adored when not only did he take Jessamy flying but he made it possible for her to leave the Refuge for the first time ever! I continue to be in awe of Ms Singh’s knack at taking characters I initially disliked and fleshing them out into one that I can’t wait to see again. I think this novella contained everything I love about Ms Singh’s romances. I give Angel’s Dance an A
Has: If you didn’t get the chance to read the previous stories, this is a fantastic collection of stories which help to expand the focus of the Guild Hunter universe. I really enjoyed the variety of different toned romances which packed an emotional punch!
MinnChica: Even if you have read the three previous stories as separate novellas, this book is worth it for Angel’s Dance alone. I loved that the stories in this book were all so diverse, and there was a little something for everyone. Singh continues to create a dynamite world and stories within the Guild Hunter Universe.
E: There are times when I need a fix, not a long fix but a short intense fix from a particular author who has the ability to take me into such a completely different world that when I come back to mine I am back feeling refreshed. Ms Singh is one of those authors and the fact that I can not read her Guild Hunter novellas in a single collection is wonderful. I enjoyed re-reading the first three and loved the inclusion of Angel’s Dance. Like both Has and MinnChica said all four have a different tone to them so you can read them back to back and not feel like you are going back over worn territory. I can’t wait to see what comes next!