Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark…
This collection of four urban fantasy and paranormal romance stories works for me. I really liked Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals, and Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms. I also enjoyed Nalini Singh‘s Secrets at Midnight.
I’m an Ilona Andrews fan and much more so of her Kate Daniel universe. I dived into the story of shapeshifting Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire with glee. For those living under a rock, Dali and Jim are Kate Daniel’s friends. They fought with her in the Midnight Games, an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament back in Magic Strike, book 3 of the Kate Daniels series. Jim is now the Beast Lord’s security and intelligence officer. In this story, which takes place before Curran makes the big announcement in Magic Breaks (book 7) we see a sweeter side of Jim as he courts the Balinese and half-blind Dali. He helps her investigate the case of the missing grandmother, a case brought to Dali’s attention by her Indonesian neighbors and relatives. Apparently, Dali is a sort of guardian to her community. Dali is so funny! She hates fighting and feels sick at the sight and smell of blood, even though she is an almost one-ton white tiger that only has to sit on something to defeat it. So Jim teaches her to do exactly that, when monsters start to come out of the woodwork. I guess opposites do attract, and in this novella written with Andrews’ trademark sharpness and wit, I got a fun story that fed my hunger for more of my favorite characters.
In the Lisa Shearin story, it’s seer Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations (SPI), and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right. This is my first time reading Shearin, and I am asking myself, have I been living under a rock? She is just my kind of author, just as Makenna is just my kind of heroine. She’s perky but not snarky. She’ still quite innocent and idealistic, determined to make her mark in the big city. She’s what jaded city folks would call a hick, but she tries not to let this put her down. Paired with an experienced investigator, Ian Byrne, she later finds out that seers are being murdered and that Ian is tasked to keep her alive. Lucky Charms is just a prequel to the series, but already I see so much promise.
Nalini Singh delivers a sweet paranormal romance set in the Psy-Changeling universe. Shapeshifter Bastien pursues the scent of an elusive lover, who later turns out to be his mate, an unassuming human teacher. It gives little hint of the complex universe characterized by cutting-edge intrigue and lethal politics. But for those who wants more of the world, this might serve. I myself have just discovered Singh (or, rather, rediscovered) and I was blown away.
Milla Vane tells a story about a warrior princess who must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn’t a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself. The blurb sounded promising but I did not enjoy the story, which is set in a barbarian-type universe. I did not like the extremely direct way the characters had with each other. I didn’t like the characters. I’m not saying this is a bad story, it just that the story is not a match for me.