Ilona Andrews (pseudonym for Ilona Gordon & Andrew Gordon)
Milla Vane (pseudonym for Meljean Brook)
Plot Type: Urban Fantasy (UF)
Publisher: Berkley (11/2014)
This anthology has apparently been cobbled together by Berkley to introduce/promote BARBARIANS, but, unfortunately, that series is completely unlike the other three that are represented in this volume: different in genre, different in sensuality level, different in tone, and different in quality. "The Beast of Blackmoor," a dark and violent medieval fantasy, is a misfit in this book, which is three-quarters romantic, urban fantasy.
This is a typical love story for this series but it is missing an action plot to counteract the oh-so-sweet romance. I admit, though, that I enjoyed watching Bastien find his mate—it's about time! Click HERE to read an excerpt from "Secrets at Midnight." Click HERE to read my reviews of Singh's PSY-CHANGELING series.
Ilona Andrews: "Magic Steals" (a KATE DANIELS novella)
The conflict begins when a woman asks Dali to find her missing grandmother. Dali has the power to banish evil, so many people come to her with their problems. Dali and Jim investigate the case and figure out who is causing problems for the tenants of a building housing five different businesses, each of which is having dangerous magic-based problems. They follow the clues to solve the case and resolve their personal relationship at the same time. Humor comes from Dali's mother and other relatives, all of whom interfere as much as they can in Dali's life.
This is another strong addition to a great series, with an interesting romance and a suspenseful mystery. For me, it's the best novella in the book. Click HERE and scroll down a bit to read an excerpt from "Magic Steals." Click HERE to read my reviews of the authors' KATE DANIELS series.
Here is Mac's description of her work attire on her first day on the job: "slacks, blouse, blazer, nice pumps,…small silver crucifix and a water pistol filled with holy water—supernatural business casual." Her first assignment is to track down a leprechaun prince and four of his friends as they take on a variety of glamours and enjoy the strip joints and sex clubs of Manhattan. Unfortunately, some evil supernaturals, including a goblin mage, want to capture the leprechauns before the SPI can find them. Mac meets sexy Ian Byrne for the first time when he is assigned as her partner and protector.
This has the makings of a solid, entertaining series, and this story gives a taste of Shearin's story-telling strength. My only quibble is that in this story and in the first book of the series, Mac comes across as rather ineffective and weak in comparison to the rest of the SPI team, always needing a man to rescue her. Let's hope that Shearin toughens Mac up as the series moves along. Click HERE to read my reviews of the books in the SPI FILES series.
Milla Vane: "The Beast of Blackmoor" (the first BARBARIANS novella)
This is my least favorite of the four stories, partly because medieval fantasy is not one of my favorite genres and partly because the supposedly intelligent and independent heroine constantly puts herself at the sexual mercy of the dour, churlish, cruel antihero. This one just didn't work for me, and I probably won't read or review the series.
To read an excerpt from "The Beast of Blackmoor," click HERE, then scroll down and click on the second Night Shift cover, and finally scroll down a bit more to click on the "Excerpt" icon. To read a free short story set in the BARBARIANS world, click HERE and scroll down just a bit.