Sunday, December 30, 2007

Anthology - Midnight Pleasures

My daughter has been discovering Kenyon's DarkHunter series so I have been pulling out the books for the series. I discovered how I had skipped many of the stories that are in the anthologies and decided it was time to bring up my anthology quota for the 2007 year. I had hoped to read at least one anthology a month (12 a year) but I truly despise short stories and so the reading of the anthologies tend to fall on the wayside. I find that most anthologies just rush through the story and I can never enjoy a well rounded story. I think I will limit my purchases of these types of books in the future, but for now, I have ALOT of these to read.

Darkfest - Amanda Ashley: (B) This one was hard to place since the language was old but there was no indication of it's time period. The story is about Darkfest, who is considered a wizard to the village he lives with. His presence is accepted but not feared and he doesn't understand why he has the power to heal or to command fire. He is attracted to a blind girl and when her father asks for his assistance in saving his wife from a fever he bargains to bring the girl to his dominion. She accepts his bargain to stay at his castle for a year if he saves her mother. Darkfest can turn into a wolf and in the form he is able to give Channa Leigh the gift of sight. He endeavors to find a spell that will return her sight permanently and while on his quest he earns her love. It was a cute story but I found that there was a few loose ends at the end of the tale. Darkfest is becoming sensitive to light and he is also craving blood but when we reach the of the tale we are left with no explanation of his changes or whether these changes will continue to affect him.

Phantom Lover - Sherrilyn Kenyon: (A) First of the Dream-Hunter stories we get the background of the evils that lie in dreams. Erin McDaniels has been having horrendous nightmares that are driving her insane. During one of those nightmares she encounters V'Aiden who battles the Skoti demons that have been invading her dreams. In his first encounter with Erin he makes love to her in her dreams (which appears to be a big No-No). What I found fascinating about this story is how much we empathize with V'Aiden and how well drawn out Kenyon made him in just a few pages. The ending has a twist that I never saw coming and just blew me away. It redefined the way I jump to conclusions as to who the characters in a story are defined.

Under Her Spell - Maggie Shayne: (C) Melissa St. Cloud has been hired as a consultant to a TV show about witches.She is a practicing Wicca and is ready to put to right the misconceptions the show had been based on. Alexander Quinn is the producer to the show and is very curious about Melissa's beliefs but not necessarily because of the show but because of a hidden secret in his past. Seems Alex's father dabbled with dark magic and, although dead for several months, his presence is palpable and still creating havoc on a son who never knew he existed. The story was interesting but I think Shayne focused too much on details I could care less about when she could have worked more on having these two fall in love.

A Wulf's Curse - Ronda Thompson: (B) Elise Collins is running away from an uncle willing to sell her off to the first bridegroom to pay for her and when that groom has already seen several wives to the grave she knows that life on the run is safer... until she runs into Stearling Wulf. Stearling has tried to keep his past to himself and his curse hidden. He travels with a band of society's misfits in a troupe and on the stop close to London he picks up a stowaway. Even though he tries to keep his heart frozen to emotion he finds himself falling in love with the girl that is determined to stand up for herself and brave life's perils. This was just plain simple and to the point. I think there was more to say about Stearling's past and I would have liked him to stop running from his heritage but go back and help his brother's with their lives.

In the end this anthology was more of a winner than most and earn it's grade with very good stories.

Grade: B
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