I got this book as part of the Iron Seas reading challenge I am doing with vvb32 reads (thanks for the awesome book!). Readers of my reviews know that I am more of an urban fantasy fan than a paranormal romance (PNR) fan, but I do enjoy the occasional PNR novel. I was eager to read stories by Nalini Signh and Meljean Brook since those were two authors I have been dying to check out. The collection of stories was pretty good and widely varied.
Angela Knight’s Blood and Roses was set in a fantasy setting with a creative world set-up; I enjoyed it and loved the special powers of the Blood Roses. It was a little romancy for me but the creative world definitely kept my attention.
The highlight of the book was Here There Be Monsters, a prelude story to Meljean Brook’s new Iron Duke series. This was a great story and made the whole book worth reading. The world Brook has created is incredible, the characters full of depth, and some of the scenes incredibly steamy. This story packed more story than any of the other stories in this novel and didn’t sacrifice creativity and action to provide romance. Overall it was a wonderful story that I really enjoyed.
Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh and Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra were more typical PNR. Both about tough men falling for beautiful women; the majority of the story focused on getting the two main characters in “bed” so to speak. Although I will say that Kantra’s finfolk are interesting and I have never read about anything like them before.
A highly varied collection of stories. All more with a romance bent to them than an urban fantasy bent. I would definitely recommend urban fantasy and steampunk fans check out Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook. See below for more detail on each story.
– Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh (3/5 stars)
Supposedly this is a prelude to Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. It was okay. The characters definitely have good chemistry. The story plot is just barely there and mainly used as a vehicle to provide steamy scenes. This was bit too much of your helpless female/alpha male set up for me. I am really not into that kind of thing. It was well-written though.
– Blood and Roses by Angela Knight (4/5 stars)
This was a well done fantasy story. The chemistry between the two main characters was excellent and Knight creates a story in a complex universe with complex politics. The main character is a Blood Rose whose lot in life is to fuel the desire and power of vampires. Both the Blood Rose, Amaris, and the vampire, Raniero, are very conflicted characters. There are some nice fight scenes and some very steamy scenes. I liked this story. Again it was a bit too much of a romance for me, but still well-balanced.
– Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra (3/5 stars)
Story about a soldier turned landowner who stumbles upon a beautiful woman, Morwenna, who is not quite human. Morwenna is one of the finfolk and wants to escape the ocean to try out life as a human. Basically the soldier sets out to woo Morwenna and there are complications because of her background. The story is well-written and the finfolk are unique. Not much humor or action.
– Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook (5/5 stars)
This was an absolutely wonderful story. I have never read any of Brook’s books before but I want too. This was a great opportunity to be introduced to her writing and her new Iron Duke series. This is a steampunk fantasy novella and featured an incredibly creative world with a bleak tone to it. Loved that the characters had clockwork limbs grafted on and that steampunk and nano technology helped to run so much of this world. There was action in here, a wonderful world, believable characters, and great descriptions of fantastical devices. The two main characters had excellent chemistry and really tugged at your heart. There were the prerequisite steamy scenes which were tastefully done and engaging. I just really loved this story and am eager to read the Iron Duke series now.