Paranormal romance authors Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall, and Hannah Jayne present four original novellas in this exciting anthology. In "Out Of Control", by Alexandra Ivy, PhD student Angela Locke has a crush on her sexy professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev. When she learns he's actually a Sentinel with extraordinary powers, she joins forces with him to catch a psychopath. But soon, their hottest pursuit is of each other.
In "Ties That Bind", by Nina Bangs, Cassie Tyler agrees to sub for her friend at the funeral home where she works. But she gets more than she bargained for when a group of men attack her and a vampire comes to her rescue.
In "Still Darkness", by Dianne Duvall, immortal Richart d'Alençon can't forget the woman who rewarded him with a sensuous kiss after he saved her from a trio of vampires. While Richart knows that loving a human can only bring trouble, the taste of forbidden lust is too great to resist.
And in Hannah Jayne's "High Stakes", when vampire fashionista Nina LaShay's design contest rival is found dead, she's the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. He's the kind of man who makes Nina salivate. But will she have to reveal herself to have him - and to save them both? Or does Pike have a secret of his own?
©2013 Kensington Publishing Corporation (P)2013 Tantor
I love books and love to get lost in the fantasy. I'm always looking for a new good story to bury myself in. :)
Overall I really liked this book. My opinions of each story ranged so I've written out s review for each story.
Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy
This was a really good story. It’s my first story by Ms. Ivy and I was impressed with her writing. As this is the beginning of the Sentinals series (#.05) I’ll definitely be checking out the first book in the series.
Angela is a student in genetics. She’s very smart but also very shy. She’s been interested in one of the new professors but despairs when she thinks he has no interest in her. Of course he keeps showing up to see her but she’s always sure he has other reasons than interest in her.
Nikolo is a Sentinal and is hunting for another Sentinal that’s gone crazy. He’s convinced that she’ll come looking for Angela because of her abilities in genetics and has been shadowing Angela because of this, pretending he’s a visiting professor. Along the way, Nikolo finds himself falling for the sweet scientist.
When the psycho comes after Angela, Nikolo has to protect her and ends up revealing himself and what his mission is. Seeing that she was used as bait, Angela is hurt by this and isn’t very happy with Nikolo. Now he has to go all out to try to get her forgiveness while still keeping her safe. Obviously this is a short story so things go pretty quickly but it was well written so it didn’t feel stinted. It ends well and overall I really liked the story and the characters.
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
This was a good story. It’s the first story I’ve read by the author. Based on this I might try more buy the author in the future.
Cassie does a friend a favor and ends up regretting it. While covering for a few hours at a funeral parlor for a friend, Cassie finds herself involved in an undercover plot that is heading her towards getting killed. When she unexpectedly releases an imprisoned vampire, he helps her and they escape together.
Ethan is a vampire that was captured and held captive via mystical means by humans for unknown reasons. When he escapes he finds himself involved with Cassie and doesn’t want to let her go. He keeps her near to keep her safe while he and other vampires try to discover what the human hunters want and why they’re after the vampires.
During all the drama Cassie and Ethan find themselves drawn together. There’s an added part to the vampire mythos in this story that makes Ethan more dangerous to Cassie but she’s still drawn to him. Although they fight it, they both feel the pull to each other and obviously they end up giving in. Just as things are looking good between the 2 of them the action drama spikes and Cassie is captured by the enemy. They do something terrible to her before Ethan is able to save her but it works out to make for a good ending.
This was a good story. It has a HEA for the romance but the action plotline wasn’t fully resolved and I can’t find that it’s part of an existing series so the plot might not get resolved overall (let’s just say they won the battle but not the war). TBH, I wish the story had been a bit longer. I think I would have liked the story more with more character development. Overall I did enjoy the story and would be willing to try something more full-length by the author
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
This was a great story. I've read the rest of the Immortal Guardians series and loved it so I was really thrilled to see Richart get his story.
Jenna is 37 years old and has a son that just started college. She works as the night manager at a superstore. She hasn't had things easy but has made a good life for her and her son. One night at the end of work she is attacked by Vampires and is saved. In gratitude for saving her, she gives her savior a kiss that she doesn't remember later.
Richart is an Immortal Guardian (immortals that hunt Vampires and protect humans). He is hunting vampires one night when he hears a woman scream. He goes to her rescue and saves her, earning a kiss for his troubles. But afterwards, Richart can't forget her and finds himself visiting her, frequently.
Jenna and Richart start out with a light flirtation between them. Richart goes to her store often when she's working and they've chatted while sharing coffee on her breaks. After a bit he asks her out on a date and she's a bit unsure about their age differences, since she's sure she's older than him. He convinces her it doesn't matter to him and they start to date.
Things are going good between them, and Richart even meets her son and they get long well, when things heat up in the vamp world. During a fight with vampires, Richart gets drugged and as a result, ends up accidentally showing what he is to Jenna. He had intended to tell her anyways but it came out in a bad way. Fortunately, Jenna didn't freak and was willing to hear his explanations. Once she heard everything, she was willing to stay with him regardless of their differences. Things grow between Richart and Jenna but there is an issue that almost costs Jenna her life. Things turn out well though and Richart & Jenna get a very nice HEA.
I thought this story was great. I love the series and I'm glad Richart got his book and the girl. Jenna is cool and I look forward to seeing her character in the next book in the series.
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
This was a good story. It’s the first I’ve read by this author and while it was alright I’m not sure if I’ll try another book by this author.
Nina is a fashion designer that’s in New York for a competition. She’s also a vampire. She finds trouble before the competition even starts when one of the 3 designers in the competition is killed. When the second is killed, Nina becomes the prime suspect.
Pike is a photographer. We don’t get much background about him but he is assigned to take pictures of the 3 competitors and ends up getting drawn in to things when the first body shows up. When the second ends up being an ex of his and he becomes a possible suspect he tries to find the murderer.
Nina decides she should try finding out who the murderer is because she’s a suspect. Pike keeps showing up and alternately accusing her of the murders and helping her investigate. Nina’s attracted to Pike but since he runs hot and cold on her, he’s hard to figure out. TBH, I didn’t feel the heat between them. As I was reading, I wasn’t sure how they’d come together in the end. The murders do get solved and Nina and Pike end things on somewhat good terms but I really don’t have a clue if they ended up together at the end of the story or not. There was a comment about them making a good team but we’re not left with any idea if they’ll try a relationship or not (although I guess you’re supposed to assume they do…). Maybe it was just me not liking the writing style but I ended the story feeling a little disappointed that there wasn’t a more solid conclusion.
Its total run time is 12:07. The story start times are:
Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy – the first story
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs – starts at 3:11
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall – starts at 6:09
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne – Starts at 9:18
I very much enjoyed the first 3 stories, but was a little disappointed in the 4th one. I would like to see more on each of the first 3 stories. Ms. Ivy and Ms. Bangs are both new authors to me, but I have enjoyed all of Ms. Duvall's books very much and am eagerly awaiting her next one in the Immortal Guardians series.
Ms. Ivy and Ms. Bangs both have the beginnings of very good series and I hope they do write more about them. They both had some very interesting characters that I would like to know more about. With Ms. Duvall's story, I was glad to get Richart's story. I found him to be an interesting character from his first appearance in "Darkness Dawns." If you have listened to the first 3 books in this series, you will pick up on some of the references in this story.
Now for the down side, in Ms. Jayne's story, I found it to be more of a murder mystery and not a very good one. Nina's constant reminder that she was a vampire was over done, but Pike seems to be an interesting character. That is the reason I took 1 star away from this for story. Its a good thing this was the last story and the other 3 well make up for it and are what make this a book worth listening to.
If you're into short stories (as I am sometimes) then you can't go wrong with this selection of novellas which included A. Ivy's Sentinels 0.5 prequel and D.Duvall's Immortal Guardians 3.5.
They are each entertaining and enjoyable to any paranormal listener and it gives you a taste of authors you may not have listened to before. Some are more thrilling and some are more romantic and I liked them all but the last one - it was snappy and quick unfortunately there was no real romance until the end. They are filled with characters that will whisk you away to the supernatural world and show you their realms.
Worth a credit? Yes - but only if you like short stories that fly bye.
One story yes, In Darkness, By Dianne Duvall
I was not familiar with three of the Author's in this book, I felt a bit lost in them at times not having read the other books in their series.so from what I could tell the stories were well written and for the most part I enjoyed their stories. However, "Still Darkness" by Dianne Duvall The story of the immortal Richart d'Alençon was excellent and very much up to the usual Immortal Guardian books that Ms Duvall writes. I was worried that being a short story and not a full book that Richart might be cheated out of what he could be in a full story. I think those worries were not seen. Richart's short story was full from the beginning to the end and she did a wonderful job in letting us see the completely great love story of Richart and Jenna and I applaud her for that.
If I have any complaint it is with the narrator Arika Rapson. I wanted to like her reading however, I couldn't help but dislike how absolutely horrible Arika Rapson was at accents, which kept pulling me out of the story! I think someone who was able to actually do a good accent to read the stories.would have been so much better!
In Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Anything that has to do with accents! She definitely needs to have some sort of training in that area!
No way could you make a story on the entire book you would have to pick one of the stories.
So this is 4 books in one. Novella's. I picked it up for one specific one, but listened to all of them, well almost.
Book 1: "Out Of Control", by Alexandra Ivy - never read her books, and that is probably why I was slightly confused at the start, but as it picked up I became intrigued by her world and the supernaturals in it. Well worth the listen and I will be looking into more of her books
Book 2: "Ties That Bind", by Nina Bangs, Not Horrible. The Vampires of this world are unique to their blood line. A weird and unusable way of looking at Vamprism with a "2nd one". I did not dis like but I was not hooked on it.
Book 3: "Still Darkness", by Dianne Duvall the reason I picked this up. I love her immortal guardians, I have read/listened too (yes both) all of them, except this one. it comes into play kind of during the second book, almost a parallel to it, some over lap from a different view point. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it and all her other books as well.
Book 4: Hannah Jayne's "High Stakes: Ummm... yeah... NO. Sorry not even an hour into it. Done. Not going there, not even going to try. Maybe. MAYBE. if the setting was high school I could buy into it. But what self respecting 124 year old vampire, portraying and adult, not a teenager in New York City in High Fashion uses the phase "Totes Adorbs" even in their mind speech. Add to that the writing is atrocious. I really felt like I should be reading something from Jr High. Could not stomach it.
Narration: Decent. Good inflection and character separation, for the most part. I was annoyed by the fact that Reichart kept getting switched to Richard In Still Darkness. I think there is a better reader for this genre but she wasn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination, especially reading 4 separate books.
Better editing, maybe?
Yes, I usually like stories by these authors. But either writting novellas isn't their forte, or someone did some major hacking in the editing department.
She would actually be a decent narrator if she didnt make the characters sound like they were constantly whining. She sounded like she might have had some sinus issues going on.
Anger that I wasted a credit. I couldn't even finish. The narrator was whiney and there was hardly a distinction between charachters which made it difficult to follow at times. Not to mention the accents were pretty laughable.
I have to admit that the three stars are based on In Still Darkness because it was Richart and Jenna's story and I read ALL the Immortal Guardians books, which Richart and Jenna are in, and loved every one of them. I wish this book had been longer but at least I found out how they met.
Out Of Control was alright. I liked Nico and Angela and Arel well enough. Dylan was a trifle whacked!
Ties That Bind was just ok for me because I have a hard time picturing the hero completely naked except for a pair of sunglasses.
High Stakes I did not read because I simply can't read a book written in the first person.
The narrator was great.
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