Mind Games by Carolyn Crane (see review here) was one of my favorite reads of 2010. I believe I only had 3 books in 2010 which hit my favorite reads that year. Well, when I saw this anthology, I snagged it. I feel like I’ve had it on my to-read list forever, but it’s only been out since August 2011. Before we get to the review, the blurbs from Goodreads:
The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook – An Iron Seas novella of 15,000 words: The search for a killer puts Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth’s life in danger and her assistant, Constable Newberry, in the line of fire. But Newberry faces a danger of another kind: to his heart, by the woman forced to marry him. What will it take for this prudish bounder to convince his wife to stay?
Vixen by Jill Myles – A shifter novella of 15,000 words: Miko’s denied her were-fox nature for far too long and turned her back on her vixen heritage. But when she meets two very sexy cat-shifters, she has to decide if she truly wants to give up on her frisky side, or embrace it. Because the were-fox in her doesn’t want to choose between both men…it wants them both.
Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane – A Disillusionists novella of 20,000 words: Sophia Sidway, Midcity’s most dangerous memory revisionist, seeks out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike, hoping for redemption…but it turns out that the Monk is not all that pious, and the turnpike is no turnpike at all.
This anthology was quick enough, I was able to knock it out in a day. Definitely what I needed at the end of 2011. I might make my Goodreads Challenge yet!
The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook ~ My first introduction to a Brook’s work was in the Burning Up anthology. Brook’s work was entitled Here There Be Monsters (see review here). I totally loved her writing style. Later I picked up The Iron Duke (see review here). Though I’m not a fan of detective stories, her writing was still A+.
Once again, Ms. Brooks does an excellent job with bringing her Iron Sea world to life in The Blushing Bounder. Brooks definitely has style when it comes to writing. My biggest gripe with this work was it seemed incomplete. The romance was cold then hot. It really lacked any sort of build up. One moment the heroine was standoffish and completely uninterested. Next thing I knew, she was in love. In my prior experience with Ms. Brook, she presented herself as a STRONG mystery writer. In this story, the mystery lacked substance and was only solved on a basic level. What was the motive?
Vixen by Jill Myles ~ If I’m not mistaken, this was my first encounter with a Jill Myles work. It wasn’t bad and I may or may not look for more of her works. One thing for certain, paranormal romances are a tough sell these days. It seems like everything’s been done. That’s the issue I faced with Ms. Myles’ story. Like I said, it wasn’t a bad read, and still entertaining, but the story lacked freshness and was quite predictable. Still, the sex scene was quite steamy.
One item which has me all twisted is the idea of wild cats with a fox… odd to say the least. I wonder if her other books mix and match like that.
Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane ~ Of the three stories, Ms. Crane’s work was the weakest. I was actually rather bummed, because she was the main reason I purchased this anthology. Majority of this story was backstory… I wouldn’t be surprised if 75% of it was backstory with the remaining working on the relationship between Kitten-Tiger and the Monk. Even the relationship portion was highly predictable.
One interesting item about this work is it’s in past tense. I remember Mind Games throwing me for a loop when I first started reading it. I don’t recall ever reading a book in present tense before Mind Games. It took some major adapting for me. After reading Kitten-Tiger and the Monk, I kind of wished Ms. Crane had stayed in the present tense. It might have discouraged her from loading the work with backstory.
I’m not sure if Wild & Steamy was a free read when I picked it up, but it might be now. I know it was last week.