Tag Archives: Anthology

Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

17 May

There really is no rhyme or reason why books languish in my physical and digital TBR Cordilleras of Doom.

Case in point: it had been a long while since I read anything by Jules Jones, though what I have read, I have liked, and there are a number of her works in my digital TBR pile.

So why I haven’t read more of her stuff? (I got nothing¹)

At any rate, back in August 2017, Ms Jones very kindly sent me a copy of this anthology for review. And while my reading has been iffy at best for a long time now, I read all nine stories in the book in one sitting just a few days after that.

Sadly, then the “can’t write to save my life” curse struck, fueled by current events, and here we are now, nine months later. ::guilty wince::

Warning: there is explicit sex and some light kink in all of these. If that’s not your thing, stop here. None of these are genre romance stories, with HEA/HFN, though all are full of hope and joy. Also, Jules Jones and Storm Duffy are two writing facets of the same author.

Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

This is a collection of nine short stories of varying lengths and genres; some are very romantic, some are more short erotic vignettes than stories, and one is an incredibly poignant fantasy with very strong romantic elements. There are merpeople, and fae, and just plain contemporaries.

In competition for the shortest blurb EVER:

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.

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Wild Embrace, by Nalini Singh

5 Jul

Wild Embrace, by Nalini Singh

This is the second all Psy/Changeling anthology, and the first with all new stories. (I reviewed Wild Invitation, the first anthology, here.)

Wild Embrace was released last year, after Allegiance of Honor came out; despite my utter disenchantment with that novel, I had already decided I would read the anthology, so I did at some point later in the year. I wasn’t awed by it, but I remembered enjoying it well enough.

After reading Silver Silence, I decided to re-read and review it, to satisfy my ‘completist’ tendencies.

I probably shouldn’t have done it so soon after, though, because I was hyper aware of all the worst of Ms Singh’s writing tics; none of these stories have aged well for me.

Reader warning: This anthology is part of a long series, so the review by necessity spoils some of the stories that came before. As with the rest of the series, there’s some adult language and explicit sex. Finally, I rant–a hell of a lot–about one of the novellas in this book. Continue reading

Wild Invitation, by Nalini Singh

2 Mar

Wild InvitationIt is not a secret for regular readers of my humble blog, that I am a fan of the Psy/Changeling series. Early last year I made a push to finish reviewing all the full length novels in the series, on time for the release this summer of Shards of Hope, the fourteenth title.

However, and despite having won an ARC copy of this all Psy/Changeling novellas anthology back in February 2013 *wince*, I have only reviewed one of the novellas in the series: “Whisper of Sin,” from Burning up.

Operating on the principle that late is better than never, and because a second Psy/Changeling anthology (this one is all new stories, yay!) is in the works for release some time in 2016, here is my review.

Warning: there’s some graphic sex and cursing, and newcomers to the series may be lost–particularly on the last two stories–because of the world building. Read at your own risk. For readers who are behind in the series, the last two stories are spoilerish for Kiss of Snow and Tangle of Need, respectively.

Wild Invitation, by Nalini Singh

This one-author anthology was originally released in March 2013. It contains four stories, though only two were written for it. I’m reviewing them as they appear in the book, though the blurbs for the first novella is from the original release.

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“Woo Me” by Karina Bliss

29 Feb

woomeThe delightful Miss Bates is directly responsible for this one.

Even though I like everything I have read by Ms Bliss, I am not what you would call a ‘devoted fan,’ and so, I was unaware that she wrote this story as part of a three author anthology/book, until I read Miss Bates’ mini-review.

After reading that, what can a reader do?

Go to amazon and one-click it, of course (it was on sale too, so that helped).

Warning: despite the recommendation, the blurb cutesy style almost put me off the story entirely. YMMV, of course.

“Woo Me” by Karina Bliss

This is one of three novellas tied by the friendship/sisterhood of the soul of the three female protagonists, as well as by the venue. The three friends are attending a Outback Bachelor and Spinster Ball, which (seems to me, sitting here almost directly on the other side of the globe), is a very Aussie thing to do. This event provides fertile ground for romance of the HEA variety for them.

Here, have the punny blurb:

Disillusioned in love, Jen Tremaine is done with men. So when her best friends dare her to wear a cow costume to their reunion at an Outback Bachelor and Spinster Ball, she’s all over it. Who would have thought dressing as a heifer would make her irresistible to a bunch of lasso-twirling, drunken cowboys?

Maybe you should have thought this through, says the sexy security guard who keeps finding her at the center of trouble. Even though Jen’s always dismissed soul mates as a load of bull, the sizzle between them is making her wonder: What if you met The One while wandering lonely as a cow? Would you find the courage to become a believer?

When ex-Special Forces soldier Logan Turner is roped into helping out with security at the B&S ball, he isn’t expecting to find love – but after months in all-male company he sure is hoping for lust. He certainly isn’t expecting to fall for a feisty, funny, trouble-making Cowderella. Only problem is, she’s leaving Australia tomorrow. Convincing Jen they can still have a future together may wind up being the toughest mission of his life.

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Boots & Badges, by Rachel Lee

22 May

I am late for this month’s TBR Challenge, but the lovely SLWendy is very forgiving, so here’s my contribution, such as it is.

Boots and BadgesBoots & Badges, by Rachel Lee

I grabbed this one from my TBR shelves pretty much on the way out the door and with very little forethought–all I checked was that it fit with this month’s theme (old school: ten years or older).

It does, in spades; Boots & Badges is a one-author anthology published in 1999 by Silhouette. All four of the short stories are part of Ms Lee’s successful Conard County series.

Here’s the (melodramatic and inaccurate) blurb from my print copy:
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Burning Up (Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, Meljean Brook)

30 Dec

Burning UpAs much as I talk about Meljean Brook’s amazing Iron Seas series, it came as a surprise that I had never reviewed the story that forever hooked me on it. I hereby hasten to correct that egregious oversight.

It will be brief, but it will be done!

Burning Up by Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra and Meljean Brook

Not too long ago, in one of the Smart Bitches podcasts, there was a conversation on how effective are novellas as a way to introduce new series to readers.

My knee-jerk reaction is to say that they don’t work for me, but the truth is that they don’t when:

  1. the world building doesn’t hold up in the novella,
  2. events that are essential to the longer stories happen in the novellas (I like the shorts as extras, not compulsory reading, myself), and
  3. when the novella is actually the first few chapters of a novel (yes, this has happened–ask Nora Roberts about Laurell K Hamilton and the Out Of This World anthology)

Three out of the four stories in Burning Up are part, or the starting point, of series of different lengths and success. I will review them as they appear in my print copy. Please do be aware the there’s explicit sex, and in some quite a bit of it, in all four stories.

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Christmas in the Duke’s Arms (Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville and Shana Galen)

18 Dec

Christmas  in the Duke's Arms anthologyNot-so-incredibly, it’s TBR Challenge time again. The older I get, the quicker the third Wednesday of each month arrives.¹

The theme for this month is a holiday book. While our fearless leader, the lovely SuperLibrarian Wendy, doesn’t restrict the theme to end of the year holidays, I m weak and tend to buy way too many Christmas-themed books.

Also, this is my year for cheating on the TBR Challenge—I’ve only had this book a couple of weeks. Ah well, at least it got read, instead of languishing forever more in the infamous TBR that can be seen from space. And hey, I think this is also the year of the anthologies—I missed four months, and three of the eight I managed to write and post are for anthologies.

(Note to self: do better next year!)

With that out of the way, here’s the review.

Christmas in the Duke’s Arms, by Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville and Shana Galen

The Duke’s Arms is an undistinguished little inn in the tiny village of Hopewell-on-Lyft. But one Christmas season sees both inn and village seething with adventure, intrigue, rabbits, and, above all, love as four couples find Yuletide happiness.

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