Saturday, November 28, 2009

Highland Beast (Anthology)

Highland Beast is a paranormal anthology featuring stories by Hannah Howell, Heather Grothaus and Victoria Dahl. It is similar in feel to last year's Nature of the Beast anthology which also featured a story by Hannah Howell. I reviewed that last October.

All three stories take place in Scotland in the past, all are in the 80-90 page range and all feature vampires. Given those similarities, it is surprising how different the stories felt. They all shared one important thing, though--they were all excellently written.

It's hard to pick out a favorite this time, which is rare in anthologies where the quality usually varies, but if I had to it would be the first one in the book. In "The Beast Within" by Howell, my one quibble is with the hero's name Gybbon. All I can think of is the ape, not really what I want to picture when I am thinking of a romantic hero. Other than that minor issue, the story is wonderful. Gybbon is searching for the Lost Ones who share his MacNachton bloodline when he comes across Alice Boyd who has been running from hunters for years. Both Gybbon and Alice are very strong characters and there was a lot of action and suspense. I'm rating this 8.5 out of 10.

The second story is "The Vampire Hunter" by Heather Grothaus. Beatrix Levenach is a witch who lives in the Scottish highlands where she runs an inn and protects the village from vampies. The villagers come to suspect her of the deaths the vampires are causing and Alder the White comes to her rescue. He's a vampire who can only regain his humanity if he kills Beatrix. This is a very exciting tale, full of non-stop action and a variety of paranormal activity. I'll rate this 8.0 out of 10.

The last story in the collection is "Laird of Midnight" by Dahl which is set in Scotland in 1595. Finlay Maclain is a vampire who has been hunting those vampires who killed his family and he only has one more to take care of. He finds the widow Kenna Graham working at a tavern and she is threatened by his nemesis, Jean. The sexual tension is delicious and the pace never lets up. I enjoyed watching their relationship develop and watching both of them change. I'll rate this one 8.0 out of 10.

Seducing an Angel by Mary Balogh

I've been having computer problems and have a backlog of books to review, so will try to keep these short and to the point.

Seducing an Angel is part of Balogh's Huxtable Family series and tells the story of the youngest Huxtable, Stephen, the Earl of Merton. It is a Regency that takes place in London. The heroine is Cassandra Belmont, an impoverished widow who decides to take a lover to survive and take care of those she loves.

I've read other books by Mary Balogh and thought this one wasn't up to her usual standard. I did enjoy parts of it, such as the brave heroine and the secondary love stories. The other characters such as Cassandra's maid and former governess were all interesting. Even the dog didn't annoy me like so many animals in romances do. I appreciated that the author took on the serious subjects of alcoholism and domestic abuse.

The weakness of the book for me was the hero. There was nothing offensive about Stephen, he was just boring. He seemed to be the perfect man and perfection is just not fascinating to read about. There was no sexual tension, not much action and little suspense. I think with a different hero it might have been a much better book. Seducing an Angel lacked the emotional punch that many of Balogh's books have.

I'll rate this book 6.0 out of 10.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Books Bought

Books bought:

Tempted By His Kiss--Tracy Anne Warren
Seduced By Your Spell--Lois Greiman
Windfall--Rachel Caine
Thirteen Chances--Cindy Miles
Immortal Sins--Amanda Ashley
Seduce Me in Shadow--Shayla Black
What a Dragon Should Know--G.A. Aiken
Unraveled--C.J. Barry
Lucan--Susan Kearney
Ashes of Midnight--Lara Adrian
My Wicked Vampire--Nina Bangs
Unleashed--C.J. Barry
Bewitched--Sandra Schwab
Never Marry a Stranger--Gayle Callen
How To Tame a Lady--Kasey Michaels

Ordered from

The Angel--Carla Neggers
A Wicked Liaison-Christine Merrill
Awakening the Beast (anthology)--Linda O. Johnston & more
Lord of Sin--Susan Krinard
Immortal Wolf--Bonnie Vanak
Moon Kissed--Michele Hauf
More Blazing Bedtime Stories--Leslie Kelly & Julie Leto
Staying Dead--Laura Anne Gilman

Books from library:

Highland Beast (anthology)--Hannah Howell, Heather Grothaus, Victoria Dahl
Seducing An Angel--Mary Balogh
The Memoirs of Mary, Queen of Scots--Carolly Erickson

I have five books I've finished and need to review, which I'll do as soon as I can. Happy Reading!