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on Sep. 15, 2011 :
I mainly bought this for the Iron Seas novella. I loved The Iron Duke and "Here There Be Monsters" and I'm looking forward to Heart of Steel quite a bit, so this little treat was a nice way to fill the gap (so to speak). I've read Jill Myles before--though her Succubus books and I've wanted to read Carolyn Crane, so it all was nice to come together for me.
"The Blushing Bounder" (Iron Seas 0.4)
As I said this was the primary reason I bought the anthology. Its not quite as dire as the synopsis up top makes it sound. Brook focuses more on the relationship between Newberry (Wentworth's taciturn partner) and his wife Temperance. The two had just arrived from the New World a few weeks before and it was Newberry's first week or so on the job as Wentworth's partner. At first, as Temperance is describing Newberry I was like 'Now wait. I must be thinking of a different guy here!', but as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that misunderstandings and ignorance is really what kept the two apart.
It was interesting to see things from a different angle then either 'Here There Be Monsters' (the novella in Burning Up) or The Iron Duke. Those both focused much more on the Horde and how it effected England, while this focused on how others--namely the New World--saw the Horde and the revolution. Also Newberry was a different sort of hero then either Rhys or Eben (Mad Machen). He didn't aspire to be anything more than a good husband and constable (and to make Inspector). He was kind of awkward and shy in his attempts to show Temperance how he felt, even more awkward in understanding her reactions.
All things considered this story lived up to its promise which pleased me greatly.
This is not, to the best of my knowledge, connected to any of Myles' other novels/series. I'm not entirely certain I enjoyed this story. Miko's characterization felt all over the place and the guys fell flat. They said the right things, did the right things, but I didn't get a real sense of depth from them.
The premise behind why the guys were there--a fox hunting club takes root in the middle of Texan countryside, putting the were-foxes in the area in danger--was more than a little contrived sounding. And its used more as a 'Hey look Miko is doing something dangerous boys go save her' then anything else.
The guys were basically a bunch of cliches stuck together. I can't even remember both their names just the descriptors that Miko uses for them--tall dark one and cocky blonde one. That pretty sums them up too--the tall dark one does a lot of 'smouldering' and saying things 'mildly' while the cocky blond one does a lot of innuendo and suggestiveness. Myles' one attempt at giving them some sort of history is little more than a paragraph and STILL doesn't tell us anything about the guys.
I'm pretty sure I knew more about Miko's mother, who only appears as a voice on the other end of the phone a couple of times, then about the guys.
I think this story suffered from not being original enough. Alpha guys, stubborn infuriating girl and a throwback plotline that gives them plenty of excuses to be cooped up in the house all alone together for days.
"Kitten-tiger and the Monk"
Connected to Crane's "Disillusionist" novels, which I have not read so I can't tell you very much about how this relates to them. What I can tell you is that though I was mightily interested in the background of our girl Sophia, her talents being rather interesting in a landscape of super-powered beings who all seem to be clones or someone or other, Crane tended to be more about Sophia's angst and issues. So she wants to be a good guy and wants to take the quick route by having herself purged (I guess?) of her evil intentions instead of doing the legwork and I don't know doing good deeds and proving herself a decent, if largely misguided by her family, person.
This was mainly interesting because of Sophia's powers. Basically she could 'reset' any interaction she ever had (within a day) and then choose to re-do it to find a favorable result. How cool is that? The story glossed over a lot of her 'wickedness' that she wanted to no longer have to be burdened with, partly because I'm guessing we see some of it in the novels themselves (of which I think she's a support character?) and partly because there wasn't space enough. Which is a shame because between her power and the 'Monks' power they were really interesting. Much more interesting then the sentimental backstory and infinitely more interesting then the extreme levels of angst everyone seems to live under in the story.
So in the end this anthology worked in that I really enjoyed Devon's story, was mildly entertained by Crane's and let down by Myles' unfortunately.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Sep. 06, 2011 :
There has been a buzz going around about his anthology for the better part of this year, so I was glad when it finally became available. Three short little stories that take place in three very different environments and all wild and steamy in their own way.
The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas #.4)
Yummy Man – Newberry
Kick Ass Chick – Temprance
From Goodreads -
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?
My Review –
This story was almost sweet in its steaminess. It takes place in Meljean’s Iron Seas steampunk world. We do get to see Mina a little bit, but this story is primarily about Newberry and his wife. And it happens to take place during his and Mina’s first case together.
I instantly loved Newberry when I met him in The Iron Duke. He is the perfect work partner for Mina. He’s a big teddy bear but with a no nonsense work ethic. When I first started this story, I didn’t like his wife much. She gained some sympathy points because she is ill, but that’s about it. She actually made me care for Newberry all the more since he had to put up with her! You see, she is from America and she really did not want to marry Newberry. She assumes he married her for her inheritance. Newberry pretty much did force her to marry him…and once you find out how he did that, you will giggle and giggle. Oh, those silly and uptight Bounders… I liked how eventually, everything comes to light and Newberry finally gets to admit why he wanted to marry Temperance.
Overall, I found this to be a really cute story that gave us a real insight into one of the most favorite characters from The Iron Duke. If you enjoyed Newberry in that story, then this is a short that you will want to read.
Vixen by Jill Myles
Yummy Man – Sam
Yummy Man – Jeremiah
Kick Ass Chick – Miko
From Goodreads -
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.
My Review –
Now this story one was flat out steamy. And wild. Holy whew! Miko is a Were-Fox and she lives far, far away from anyone else. Why? Because when in close proximity to people, Were-Foxes had a tendency to want to mate…many times…with many partners. This aspect of herself Miko could do without. So she moved far from a city and into the country in order to try to avoid it. That is until two very sexy weres show up at her door claiming to be there to keep her safe until a new danger came to pass.
What is it about polar opposite men that makes us all swoony and jello-y? Sam and Jeremiah. Blond and brunette. Works with his brawn and works with his brains. Woo-wee. I can’t say I felt a strong connection between Miko and the two men, but the chemistry was fantastic. And the lovin’ was whew! *wipes brow*
A quick super steamy read that will have you reaching for your glass of cold water. Um actually, better make it ice water.
Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane (Disillusionists #2.5)
Yummy Man – Robert
Kick Ass Chick – Sophia
From Goodreads -
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.
My Review –
Finally, this story I would say was more wild than steamy – wild in how it made me go “whoa…” This is Sophia’s story – the mind revisionist we meet in both Mind Games and Double Cross. Basically, Sophia can go into your head, erase and rework memories of your last 24 hours. Yeah…you don’t like her much in Carolyn’s books.
In this story, we find out about her past and we find out about Robert – her first and only real love. Yep. Carolyn actually managed to make me feel a little sorry for the woman who helped screw over our dear Packard. And who messed with Justine. Grrr… *shakes fist* Sophia is sickened by what she has become and seeks help from the Disillusionist The Monk. No one knows who he is or where to find him. Scratch that. Two people know. Packard…and Robert. And seeing how Packard isn’t exactly speaking to Sophia at the moment, Robert it is. Sophia believed that Robert doesn’t know what she can do…but he does. But he didn’t tell her that he knows. It really is less complicated that it seems. There were many moments in this story that made me *sigh*. But mostly it made me want the next book in Carolyn’s awesome Urban Fantasy series all the more.
The writing was phenomenal, the characters fully developed even though this was a short story and the crazy sleep-walking villains make an appearance. Fans of Carolyn’s Disillusionists series can’t miss this story.
Overall, a solid anthology. Fans of these authors will want to pick it up.
(reviewed long after purchase)