I received an ARC of this book from one of the authors, Angela Campbell, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
Here be eight wonderful stories of magic and the paranormal, brought to you by eight outstanding authors, headed by New York Times and USA Today best seller Rebecca York. You’ll thrill to high adventure, deep emotion, and that all-important happy ever after. Travel from the eastern shore of Maryland through magic realms that will stir your imagination and your senses. From sweet and sexy to high drama and heart-warming, the stories will leave you wanting more from these masters of the fantasy genre.
TERROR MANSION by Rebecca York
His psychic dream can save her life—if she’ll only trust him.
NIGHTGAZER by Joely Sue Burkhart:
A princess on the run. A grumpy wizard stripped of his power. Can she heal him in time to save her throne?
GORGOUS NIGHTMARE by Angela Campbell:
Can a reluctant psychic stop a deadly killer before the woman he loves is murdered?
SAVED BY THE TRICKSTER by Shona Husk:
Zander has one month to prove he deserves to be let back into heaven. Lysanna is a Trickster, a demi-god charged with making people believe in Light and hope. Now, Zander will have to choose between his duty to heaven and Lysanna.
TALL, TALL TREES by Linda Mooney:
If fighting the animosity between their two tribes isn’t enough, Oron and Pellera must battle monstrous creatures and the deadly growler to save their love.
DEVIL OF BOURBON STREET by Cindy Spencer Pape:
For a widowed cop and a street musician, magic, murder, and New Orleans might add up to love—if they survive.
RAVEN’S SONG by Shawna Reppert:
Set between the first and second books of Reppert’s award-winning Ravensblood series, can a reformed dark mage save an opera star from a deadly stalker?
HEALER OF THE NILE By Veronica Scott:
Can a village healer persuade the god of Fate to help her save a soldier trapped between Life and Death?
I haven’t reviewed one of these massive anthologies in a while, but it was time and I really like some of the authors. So I went for it. Bear with me through what will probably be a fairly massive review.
Here we have a psychic detective hero who tries to think alpha, but somehow mostly comes across as a flop. Our heroine is a silversmith who seems to have no friends or outside life, and everyone hates her.
While the premise is interesting and the multi-pronged mystery kept me engaged and reading, I struggled to like or empathize with the characters. He was a little too stereotypical alpha (in presentation) and she was a little too damsel in distress for my tastes. And the shorter format didn’t allow enough time to really dig into the characters or show real growth.
This one just wasn’t my favorite.
Wizards and Queens and a murderous ruling house. This one I enjoyed immensely right from the start. A heroine who isn’t afraid to turn her hands to hard work, a cackling mad and damaged hero, and a fairly novel fantasy world that manages to do quite a bit of world building in a fairly short time.
Be forewarned, there are some remarkably gory parts. But as a whole, this one is excellent.
This one has some catnip to it. A paranormal (in this case psychic) hero, the older brother’s best friend, a second chance at romance, a heroine who might be in danger but is no shrinking violet, and a plot pet. It just called to me, seriously, this one is wrapped up in so many things that I love. And it was tricksy and twisty, I never saw the curve ball coming. Good stuff, but I have one minor complain, I needed more of the cat.
Save by the Trickster
I’ll be honest, I didn’t even try this one. I am so burnt out on anything that remotely mentions religion right now that I didn’t even try. My apologies to the author.
Tall, Tall Trees
This one I found the plot to be a clever, meta sort of play. But I struggled to initially warm up to the two main characters. There were quite a number of clinches and they just didn’t work for me. But I think the ending mostly made up for it. Not my favorite out of the bunch, but not a bad read.
Devil of Bourbon Street
This is the one that I was anticipating, and I am pleased to report that I was not disappointed. There were a couple of negatives in that the police procedural side was played kind of fast and loose and one of the female characters was somewhat vilified for no real good reason that I can see. But overall I liked the two main characters, I enjoyed the themes, and the plot was satisfying. Plus, there was a plot pet, and I love those.
I almost didn’t read this one, as it is set between two existing books. But I peeked at the first page, and then I read another, and another. So then after taking a peek at the other books’ blurbs, I went ahead and dove right in. This short story about a dark mage, reformed, had me wanting to read the other books in the series. Very interesting Urban fantsy world and complex characters I wouldn’t mind getting to know better. I love me some ambivalent or even amoral heroes.
Healer of the Nile
So I didn’t get to this one until way too late. But I had to read it anyway. Set in ancient Egypt this was a sweet and cute little story. Charming might be the best word to describe it. So the whole book ended up on a nice high note.
It is really tough to rate anthologies like this when there are such a range of entries that varied so much in my enjoyment. I mean my favorites might rate a 5, but the book as a whole does’t. So I think I will go with a 4 on the basis of the stronger stories.