Nov 28, 2014

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Night Shift Anthology by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane

nightshift4 star

Urban Fantasy
November 25 2014
Mass Market Paperback
384 pages
Berkley
Received from publisher

 

From Goodreads –
Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark…

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.

From Milla Vane—a warrior princess 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.

It’s seer Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, 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 in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms.

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I don’t usually read whole anthologies but I understand why they are written and released. They are created to introduce new authors or new series/stories, to tell the story of a beloved side-character that never has enough time in the spotlight, to continue a story from a main storyline (like an epilogue would do only longer) or just to appease anxious readers who have to wait for a next installment and uses anthologies as their ‘in between’ fix.

When it comes to novellas, I will read some but I usually pick and choose which ones very carefully. I don’t often read entire anthologies because there are either stories from a series that I have never read and find that, no matter how hard they try, an author never quite brings newbie readers completely up to speed leading me to feel a bit lost, or because, well, I don’t care to read a certain story. But Night Shift was an exception for me. Night Shift brings together stories from three series I have either read completely or are at least familiar with as I read a few books…and a ‘new’ author introducing a new story.

Let’s start with the story which takes place in a series that I know but am no way caught up with – Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling story, Secrets at Midnight.

This one tells the tale of Bastien and how he finds his mate, Kirby. I love how shifters in many stories become like Neanderthals when it comes to their mates. That absolute possession yet adoration and respect is one of my favorite aspects about paranormal beings written that way. Bastien showed those traits with Kirby.

I liked Bastien. He was sexy and strong and I enjoyed reading him. I liked Kirby too. I enjoyed the mystery of her family and reading how she learned what she truly was. What I didn’t love was the couple’s rapport. There was missing a spark. They did have chemistry but the magic that I look for between mated couples seemed to be missing.

Secrets at Midnight was a cute story though and one that made me remember how much I enjoyed the books from this series that I have read so far.

3.5 stars

Next in the book is a Jim and Dali story by Ilona Andrews titled Magic Steals. OMG I LOVE JIM AND DALI! We got a glimpse of their budding relationship in the novella Magic Dreams. I ADORED that story. And it holds one of the best last lines from a story Ever, in my opinion.

This time around, we see Dali trying to come to terms with her insecurities. She loves Jim but he’s the Cat Alpha and she’s…not. The Kate Daniels books are told from Kate’s perspective. That means we see Jim and Dali from Kate’s point of view. But these novellas are told from Dali’s perspective so it’s really interesting to witness her internal struggles and to see exactly how she sees Jim and how Jim is with her. It’s so lovely.

The story is interesting with black magic attacking merchants who share store space in a strip mall and Dali having to go use her magic to figure out what is going on – and Jim following along of course – but the story really isn’t what is most important here. What is is Jim and Dali and their relationship.

Oh, and this story has some spectacularly funny moments.

Overall, I adored Magic Steals. I really hope Ilona keeps thinking up novella ideas for Jim and Dali. Or even a full book! I would not be opposed to that.

5 stars

Story number three comes from Lisa Shearin. Lucky Charms (amazing title, as you will discover after you read this) is the prequel novella to her first full length book in her SPI Files series. I read the first book, The Grendel Affair, and enjoyed it. I found to really enjoy the main heroine’s voice, finding her hilarious in her awkwardness and snarkiness.

I really enjoyed this glimpse at Mackenna’s first day with the ‘supernatural police’. She’s a seer, someone who can see the paranormal creatures even through their glamors. Ian is her partner and yummy, Yasha is hilarious and both reminded me how much I enjoyed the first book back when I read it.

The story is completely messed up but that is something else that makes this series so entertaining. I mean, the story starts with Mackenna sitting in the back on a stolen bakery truck…well, I feel I mustquote it for you because I could could never capture the absurdness and awesomness of it.

“The beep from the tracking chip was continuous and the dot had stopped blinking.
Yasha pulled over where Ian indicated.
McDonald’s?
It was four in the morning. I was in a stolen bakery truck that’d been nearly totaled by three gargoyles. In the truck with me were two hung over elves, a pair of stoned leprechauns with the munchies, a naked Russian werewolf, and a hot partner, who was actually more of a bodyguard, in a race against a goblin dark mage to retrieve a leprechaun prince with a tracking chip embedded in his left ass cheek.
The trail ended at a McDonlad’s in the Bronx.
This had to be weird, even by SPI standards.”

How can you not be intrigued by this opening?!

Overall, I really enjoyed Lucky Charms. It is a wonderful introduction to the world Lisa’s created in her SPI books and it made me look even more forward to the upcoming second book in the series.

5 stars

Finally, we have The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane. I was all ready to talk about this novella by a new author…but then discovered that Milla Vane is actually Meljean Brook. Phew. Glad I found that out before embarrassing myself by sharing a bunch of false information lol.

The Beast of Blackmoor is more of a fantasy tale than an urban fantasy story. And unfortunately, it wasn’t for me. It was very serious and dark and dealt with situations I suppose I was not in the mood to read after having read a cute story followed by two funny and awesome stories. So it may just be an issue of ‘it’s me, not you’.

The story was told beautifully, as Meljean’s stories usually are. The world well built and the characters solid. I just didn’t click with it 🙁

3 stars

Overall, Night Shift was a solid anthology for me. Easily, Magic Steals and Lucky Charms were my most favorite stories and I would recommend any Kate Daniels or SPI Files fan pick this book up for those stories alone. Well worth it.

4 stars

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  1. I so loved this book. I loved seeing more of Jim and Dali. I had two new to me authors. I was like you and didn’t realize who Milla Vane was until I was putting my review together. But I also haven’t read Meljean Brook, yet, so still new to me.

  2. I’m working on this book myself right now. Read and loved Magic Steals, almost done with Secrets at Midnight.

    Planning to read Lucky Charms (and SPI #1 at some point), but I think you’ve solidified my existing decision to skip on The Beast of Blackmoor story for now.

    Haven’t read any Meljean Brook stories, either, and don’t know if and when I ever will.

  3. i do want this one mainly for the ilona andrews novella and the one by nalini singh ( i’m not that far in that series but still^^ she never disappointed me so far so i want!)
    i love that anthology give me the opportunity to get novella that without teh anthology would be available only in digital and thus not for everyone

  4. I haven’t tried any Meljean book but I have some, I need to read them. In any case I love all the others author and I confess that I’m really intrigued to try this one.

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