I dream of the day when my publisher asks me to write something short and sweet to put into an anthology with some big name. I'm so there.
Title: Wild &Steamy
Authors: Meljean Brook, Jill Myles, Carolyn Crane
Publisher: I can't quite figure that out on this one. I think it's self-pubbed but all three of the authors are published by bigger publishers.
Length: approx 146 pages
The first story The Blushing Bounder - A Tale of the Iron Seas was the star of the book for me. This is Iron Seas book 1.5 and I haven't read either of the others, but didn't need to. Meljean Brook has her own very special brand of Steampunk and I have to say I was totally imagining her whole world in Sepias and sooty skies. She really painted the picture. A few pages in and I was totally buying the 'bugs' (nanotechnology) and the apparatus altered bodies (think sewing machine hands).
The heroine Temperance Newberry (don't you just love Victorian names?) loathes her husband who dragged her unwilling, sickly body to London. Although in a state of "I'm so wronged" she is less whiny than resigned, both to her unfortunate marital state and her wasting illness. Temperance really had me disliking her husband right up until I met him.
Hunky Edward Newberry the Constable stole my heart. He probably will grab yours too.
I liked the secondary characters too, and I hope that they are featured in the other books.
Can't wait to pull those books out of the TBR pile now.
"The needles in Miss Lockstich's left hand could have sprung from Temperance's fevered nightmares."
See, that first line pulls you right into this awesome steampunk world.
I totally would have paid for this, and will in fact be paying for more work from Meljean Brook.
I give this story 5 stars.
The second story Vixen by Jill Myles really heated things up. While the first story was rather sweet, this one is definitely spicy.
Miko is a were-fox, and I liked that. The author creates a mythology of her own with Japanese roots that made this paranormal a little out of the ordinary.
Miko's mom sends over two totally hot shifters (yeah, that's right, I wish my mom would send me two men) to protect her from the local hunt club, who is not so ironically starting up an old fashioned English fox hunt. The nature of these particular shifters is to be polyamorous, but Miko has denied that part of her nature most of her life. These two protective, understanding, friends (who also clean house) are going to help her get over that. Aww, isn't that nice of them.
Miko gives them, and the hunt club, a run for their money. Miko is a great independant, self-reliant (and lonely) kick-ass heroine. Just the type we need (especially in Romance) in our day and age.
"Miko hated it when people showed up on her doorstep."
Oh, but she'll like the two hotties that are standing there. I mean, come on. Yummmm.
I don't know that I'd have paid for this story, but I will probably look for more from her.
I give this one four stars.
The last story Kitten-Tiger & the Monk is like a Mafioso Romeo and Juliet all grown up meets the X-men. Carolyn Crane's series The Disillusionists wasn't on my TBR, but is now. This story is Disillusionists 2.5.
I do love when these series authors can give me a short like this and make me believe in their world, and their characters without having to be up to date on the rest of the series.
Sophia Sidway and her ex-boyfriend Robert are Highcaps (short for high capacity brain function). Sophia can erase your memories and replace them with new ones and Robert can control architectural structures. The two meet up after years of estrangement when Sophia loathing her life searches out a Disillusionist who can make her change her evil ways. She's convinced Robert knows where this mysterious Monk is. They rehash a whole lotta their sordid past and almost get eaten by zombies to get to their HEA.
This story had a bit too much backstory, that I wished Carolyn Crane has woven in a little differently. While I really wanted to know the details of their earlier romance, I got a little tired of learning it and waiting for the characters to get down to living through the conflict it caused. However once we got there, phew, the story really starts moving and grooving.
"Sophia Sidway, the most powerful memory revisionist in Midcity, always got what she wanted."
I might have paid for this and will be looking for more from this author.
I give this one four stars
Totally one-click this one.
Overall for the whole anthology I would have been happy paying for the three stories, they definitely kept me entertained.
I'd buy and anthology from these three author's again in a second (although them working together again is unlikely). But I'll be on the lookout for other titles from these authors.
I'd give the whole book 4.33333 stars.