Sunday, October 26, 2008

Anthology - Hot Spell

The great thing about going paperless is that you can take a book and break it into small books. Like an Anthology. Essentially an Anthology is just a book that is divided into several smaller tales. For some reason I can attack four short stories better than one big one.
Yes, it’s the same thing but just like a 200 question test is overwhelming when you break up that test into 4 - 50 question tests it becomes do-able. This has been my plan of attack for those Anthologies I challenged myself to read in the Triple 8 Challenge.

Since we are in the month of October and I am all about paranormals this month I thought it appropriate to tackle a title that has been sitting in my TBR pile forever. Now that I got it in ebook I chopped and split it up into 4 really great stories. There really was no loser in this one, but that should not have surprised me since all but one were well loved authors.

Let’s start with the one author that was new to me:

Falling for Anthony by Meljean Brook: (A) This is the first in Brook’s Guardian series. Anthony Ramsdell would prefer to do anything than to serve as the personal physician to a Major General in the peninsula but the Earl of Norbridge had paid for his studies and he now owed him his livelihood. This was a small price to pay for the future the Earl had put in his hands. Two days before departing Anthony has a strange encounter with Emily, the Earl’s daughter, who he has secretly loved for many years. She is furious with her father and in a rebellious act, seduces Anthony in the library. He promise to return from the war and put thing right, if she will have him. But that was not meant to be.
On the battlefield in Spain he and a friend are attacked by a vampire and he sacrifices himself to save his friend. His sacrifice is not in vain since a Guardian give him the option to either die or serve in protecting humanity. Either way he is not to return to the life he knew. When Michael (head Guardian) pulls Anthony from his training months later, it is because a Nosferatu (a rouge vamp) has attacked the Ames-Beaumont searching for a sword. His friend Colin is about to turn and his sister, Emily is in danger. Michael goes against Guardian law and asks Anthony to return to earth to resolve the matter. This one was the best of all the tales. It was a strong story that did not feel like a short. It was so well written it makes me want to pick up the rest of this series immediately.

The Breed Next Door by Lora Leigh: (B+) Another story that did not feel like a short. There were villains, love, character conflicts, even some in-laws and yet I didn’t feel rushed at all! I am a big breeds fan and this title was a treat. Tarek Jordan is a breed in hiding and acclimating to normal life has been a difficult transition.
His current assignment is to search for a trainer from the Breeds lab that had murdered many of his brethren. His current problem is his neighbor, Lyra Mason. She has gotten under his skin and he would do anything to get some of her coffee and fresh baked bread in his belly and if he can get a piece of her as well, more the merrier. Lyra has a few big brothers that are trained Seal soldiers that might not appreciate his intent but if the lady ain’t complaining? In just a few pages I was feeling Tarek’s isolation, his need for more than just a romp. Lyra was feisty and having grown up with overprotective brother, strong willed. She could handle anything thrown at her and more and when she made up her mind to have Tarek, breed and all, she never backed down. Loved her!

The Blood Kiss by Shiloh Walker: (B+) Roman Montgomery is the An Ri Mac Tire, Wolf king of Wolf Clan Montgomery and his brother has been abducted, well not really but almost the same. Seems his little brother Steve ventured into Vamp territory and the House of Capiet has taken him as a prisoner for trespassing. In reality they are testing the new king and Roman rises to the challenge.
When Roman arrives (in secret) to rescue his brother he finds out that there is a celebration that is taking place as Lord Eduard presents his blood child to society, what surprises him most is that the daughter in question is the same young woman he has seen earlier in the plaza painting tourists in a street stand. She had attracted him at that time and now she is revealed to be the daughter of his mortal enemy. Well, he won’t let such a little thing as a long standing feud stand in his way.
This one had so much story in so few pages you could have blinked and you might have missed something but Roman and Julianna (a play on Romeo and Juliet) held their own. Loved the character of Mikhail, a truly old soul that needs a story of his own. Maybe he already has one and I just have not read it. I need to search for it since this book was published several years ago.

The Countess Pleasure by Emma Holly: (B) And last but never least, Emma Holly’s contribution. This one was the most difficult to read just because it takes place in an alternate universe where there are demons and alternate life forces.
Georgiana DuBarry, The Countess of Ware is a widow with the exceptional quality that she is still a virgin (although honestly, if you read enough romance you will ultimately agree that this is not such an exceptional quality). She goes to Bhamjran (the equivalent to Vegas) with the hopes she will discover passion and not regret having put that off for the sake of her husband. She has heard great things about the striptease preformed by Lyan and wanted to see for herself.
Lyan was trapped into the degrading profession after his mother was framed for a crime she didn’t commit. He is force into indentured service until the crime is paid in full. When he finally believes that his debt is about to be paid, further charges are pressed and he looks to a future with no freedom. He has never prostituted himself but when the woman that stirred his blood during his performance approaches him with a proposal he cannot deny himself.
Even though the whole – I slept with you and you turned my world around enough to make me love you- is a line I hate to accept, this story had other things going for it. Yes, Ms. Holly is queen of eroticism, but not just was the sensuality of the story red hot, the world building was very interesting since it paralleled our own world back when the Irish were seen as less, the black were unworthy. The prejudice against the demon race was a great twist to your typical short.

This anthology was definitely worth picking up. If you haven’t had your serving of the paranormal variety this month reach out for this one. Every tale was a success!

Grade: B+
Format: eBook


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