Friday, June 22, 2007

Book review: Ellora's Cavemen: Seasons of Seduction I & II

First off, let me say that I read a lot of anthologies. My reading time is limited, it's almost impossible to find an uninterrupted chunk of several hours to plow through a whole book. But I can fit in novella-length stories. Plus, like many other readers, I've found this is a great way to discover new-to-me authors. I couldn't even count the number of times I've loved a story in an anthology and done an Amazon or Google search for that author and discovered their backlist. And bought them all!

I love the annual series from Ellora's Cave. Four books each year, six stories in each, a mix of genres, a mix of experienced and newbie authors. I don't, of course, love every story in every book, but these anthologies probably have the highest "success rate" with me for liking almost all the stories.

Plus, the books come out in print (trade paperback) the same day they are released as ebooks! I do indeed call my local Borders and rush to get the book. I'm feeling especially spoiled this time. I bought Seasons of Seduction I, but a friend gave me the ARC of volume II, which was available at BEA.

Ellora's Cavemen: Seasons of Seduction I (March 2007)

An historical, a contemporary, a vampire, an alien abduction (sorta), a paranormal (a banshee and a demon), and a fantasy paranormal! Something to please anyone. And contains one of my very favorite authors, Jory Strong; I'd pay the $15.99 for her alone.

1. Okay, I admit I'm not a fan of historicals, especially medievals. So I sort of skimmed Her Lance-Alot by Delilah Devlin. But who could resist that title!
2. The contemporary Dance of the Plain Jane by newbie Lillian Feisty is hot, hot!
3. Very interesting Club Vamp by Allyson James, plus I adore menage stories. I'd have loved to read this as a longer story with the world building expanded.
4. Another luscious menage in Choosing Madison by Sherrill Quinn (another newbie at the Cave). The aliens are a lot of fun.
5. Come Howling by Denise Rossetti is hysterical! Who knew a banshee could be so funny? Definitely not the half-breed demon who falls for her.
6. Lyrael's Sacrifice - Not the best by Jory Strong, in my opinion. But even on her off days she's incredible. Again, there's a lot of stuff packed into this short length, it might have benefited from more space to explain the world.

Ellora's Cavemen: Seasons of Seduction II (June 2007)
(Remember that I read the ARC - there could have been some changes between that and the final version released yesterday.)

1. Gillian's Island by Lani Aames is a contemporary with paranormal elements. It was good, but not great. It's a bit hard to cram two couples/relationships into a short story.
2. Devon's Vix by Rebecca Airies actually had a new twist on a vampire world. Something a little different in this overloaded genre is always welcome! I loved the relationship between h/h. Vix, BTW, is her term for a female vampire - I like it.
3. Wendy's Summer Job by Charlotte Boyett-Compo is pure spoof of all the cliches in romance novels. It is completely unlike the dark fantasies this author typically writes. The author's note at the beginning says, "Please read little Wendy's story with your tongue firmly tucked in your sweet little cheek and expect the words to be a pretty shade of purple." Enjoy!
4. I'd love to know more about the warprinces and the futuristic world introduced in Chasing the Dragon by Megan Kerans. Maybe she'll do future novels set there.
5. Viking's Pledge by Melany Logen is an historical. The h/h relationship is very touching, as he is determined to protect her and willing to give her up if that's what she wants.
6. Taking It All by Cheyenne McCray is hot BDSM. Ooh, I love the ice cube scene! One of my favorite fantasies.

e-book ($9.99) and print book (trade paperback) from Ellora's Cave Publishing

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