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"As always, the men and women both have very distinct voices. I think [Angela's] speed and tone are great." ---Hot Listens
About the Author
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team who live in Georgia, where they are currently working on Kate Daniels's next adventure.
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I'm glad Nalini Singh toned down her sex scenes somewhat in "Secrets at Midnight". I enjoyed this one.
I purchased this anthology just because of the Ilona Andrews story "Magic Steals". I loved this one, and had a big grin
on my face at the end.
I hadn't read anything by Lisa Shearin before "Lucky Charms". I enjoyed this one; but found it a little hard to follow at the beginning.
"The Beast of Blackmoor" started out slowly and was fairly boring. When it got to scenes of disgusting sexual practices, I was done.
I usually make myself finish a book I've started; but I couldn't force myself to finish this one. I don't understand why it was even included in this anthology. The time period wasn't contemporary as the first 3 were; and the tone was dark and completely the opposite of the others. I won't read anything more by this author.
≺✿Magic Steals ★★★★ ✿≻
I’m a huge Ilona Andrews (IA) fan so this story is the reason I bought the anthology. I think for most people it will be a love it or hate it sort of story. Dali is not your typical IA heroine in that she isn’t really sure of herself, she lacks confidence, she isn’t a good physical fighter, blood makes her sick to her stomach and she has a tendency to forget what she is doing after shifting. But she does know how to do kick ass magic using calligraphy, she has ancient magic powers, a car named pookie and is trying to figure out how to date the alpha male of the Cat clan.
I understand Dali, while I would love to be like Kate or Andrea and just be a kickass heroine with some deadly skills Dali is far more human to me. She has some of the same flaws I had going into my mid 20s. I mean the last time I think I tried to be ‘sexy’ for my husband my heel caught on the lingerie and I tripped fell onto him in the least sexy and most painful way possible long fingernails falling on upper inner thighs you get the idea. I’m not ‘sexy’ in the traditional sense, I’m bubbly, fun, inventive and cute but it took me awhile to realize to him that made me beautiful and perfect to him so I get Dali’s lack of confidence and how she sometimes gets stuck in her head overthinking everything.
This is Dali and Jim’s story to figure out how to be a strong team together. It is clear at the beginning of this that they haven’t really figured out what is going on between them since their first novella. With Curran/Kate and crew away Jim has been running the Pack and Keep. But finally they will get to spend a bit of time together. Seeing a deeper side to Jim was really good. I always just thought of him as Security officer Jim but Magic Steals dives a bit into how multifaceted Jim really is and maybe what we have seen up until now is just the face he wants us to see.
“For the first three years with her all I did was covert work,” Jim said. “Pretend to be someone you’re not. Go to the right place at the right time, listen, talk to people, be likeable and be convincing. It wasn’t my favorite part of the job, but I’ve learned to be what people expect me to be.
Dali and Jim are spending a lovely day together tracking down whatever seems to be targeting the owners of a strip mall. I like the dynamic between them. Dali is so adorably clueless as to why he could like her so much so she is so standoffish about telling anyone they are dating sure that it isn’t going to last. Jim however is big alpha man and will not be kept a secret even if that means he has to make all the big moves and out them one Thud! at a time.
My mother stared at the ceiling. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” I asked, my eyes wide.
I would kill Jim. He could sit completely motionless for hours when on stakeouts. I’d seen him do it. He had to be dropping things on purpose. Thud!
All in all I liked the new magics introduced in the story. There are some new fighting styles blending the changeling fighting skills that Jim possesses with the magical mojo that Dali can throw down. I think it did a great job in showing that they could be a power couple in the rest of the series. Also I really appreciated how Dali explained to Jim all of the worries she had about what it would mean if they were a mated pair. I respected all the logic she threw in there but I adored Jim for having a counter to everything she said.
This isn’t the strongest story in the Kate Daniels World but still enough to just tide me over until something else by them comes out.
≺✾ Secrets At Midnight ★★½ ✾≻
I have found that Nalini Singh’s novellas are pure PNR fluff for the most part. There is nothing wrong with that sometimes I just want some fluff in 80 pages or less. But if you go in expecting world building or wanting some sort of plot besides a quick romance then you will be disappointed.
Secrets at Midnight follows one of Mercy’s brothers Bastian as he tries to help his mate discover the cat that has been suppressed inside her for years. Kirby has no idea that she is in anyway a changeling and it seems that being around more of them has triggered something deep inside of her.
Honestly out of all the stories in the anthology this was my least favorite Kirby and Bastian are likable enough but all and all it is a lot like any other PNR story with a quick bonding or insta-love thrown in.
≺❀ Lucky Charms ★★★★½ ❀≻
Lucky Charms was my favorite story in this anthology.
What didn’t this story have in it? On her first night of work Makenna Fraser has been chewed out by an Ogre, talked to a water sprite, been teamed up with a reluctant and deadly human babysitter, seen a werewolf naked and a few fae high on clover, gone searching for a leprechaun bachelor party run amuck and almost been snatched by a deadly yet oh so sexy Goblin all why trying not to upset her new dragon boss. Maybe it would have been easier to mention all the things not in this story.
Apparently this realm of earth has become a hot spot for all things mythical, magical and lorelike.
’And for them, our world and dimension now ranked at the top of their “Best Places to Live, Work, Play, and Eat” list. Unfortunately, the “eat” part often included humans. Why all the attention? From what I understand, it all started with two little words: indoor plumbing’ SPI is the agency tasked with keeping all things supernatural on the down low from the delicate humans and Makenna is their newest employee. If her first night on the job is any indication things will never be dull.
Makenna and new partner Ian are running around a bunch of strip clubs looking for a bachelor party consisting of five horney leprechauns one of whom is a prince who slipped their security detail.
“Obviously putting five male agents in a strip club and telling them they can’t look proves that there’s been a training oversight on the discipline side because the prince and his boys flew the coop before the first G-string dropped.”
I had so much fun on this little trip. The writing is hilarious and there was just enough sexy in it to make my eyes perk up, I do love a good sexual tension tease. I was not expecting such a fun story and this had just enough of everything to grab my hook line and sinker so I plan on continuing on with the series.
≺✽ The Beast of Blackmoor ★★★★ ✽≻
I’d never heard of Milla Vane before this anthology so I have no idea what any of her other work is like but I will be sure to look for her in the future.
Beast of Blackmoor is a high fantasy love story *gasp* I know there aren’t a lot of those out there. Kavik, desperate for revenge asked help of a goddess. When she refused he defiled her temple and was cursed to be forsaken and watch all those he cared for suffer until the Woman in Red ended him. Note to self: Do not anger goddesses, woman scorned and all that.
Mala is on a quest for a goddess to tame the Beast of Blackmoor in order to gain the warriors she needs to save her homeland. Both warriors are strong in both body and will so which one of these alphas will win and bring the other to heel.
Just a little warning the sexy times (I was not expecting them so big bonus) are a little harsh. It fits with the story line, these are warriors and not scribes but still very dominance alpha in nature and slightly crude. I never have issues with sex scenes like this but it might be rougher than some like.
Overall the plot and story line are pretty well flushed out for a novella and I wouldn’t mind learning more about the evil in the land the demons that seem to be infecting creatures or the big big bad that they haven’t encountered yet.
Milla Vane, I’ll be watching you as High Fantasy Romance could be my Achilles Heel.
Overall, it's a really solid collection, and some great storytelling. Well worth it!