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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Alyssa Day introduces the League of the Black Swan and the dangerous game one woman plays when her family's curse dooms her to kill the man she loves.

New York Times best-selling author Meljean Brook delivers a new story in her steampunk world of the Iron Seas... as a man who's lost everything returns home to find that not only is his marriage in jeopardy, but he must now fight air pirates who intend to steal his one remaining treasure - his wife.

And Lucy Monroe, national bestselling author of the Children of the Moon novels unleashes the feral passions of a werewolf on the body, mind, and soul of his prey, his lover, his lifemate.

©2013 Alyssa Day, Meljean Brook, and Lucy Monroe (P)2013 Tantor

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent anthology

Genre: Paranormal, steampunk, shifter anthology

I got this book for two reasons. First, it's an anthology, which serves the purpose of both the occasional short-attention span entertainment, and finding new authors. The second reason is that one of the stories is a Meljean Brooke Iron Seas novella. I just adore that world!
The Curse of the Black Swan by Alyssa Day was interesting enough. I like the main characters and the general plot. The setting is Bordertown, a sort of contemporary New York where magic and mundane collide. Sean O'Malley is a firefighter who takes unimaginable risk in the course of his work - more risk than the regulations of the fire department allow. But he has a secret that allows him to survive such risk. He is half fire-demon. Fire-demons are feared and distrusted, so he, as well as the rest of the family, keep this background to themselves. Brynn is descended from a woman whose life was saved by the Moon Goddess. In exchange, that ancestress, as well as her eldest daughter, and her daughter's daughter, and on in perpetuity must, every three days, turn into a black swan and sing praise to the Moon Goddess all night. One early morning, Sean, after a fight against a fire set by a serial arsonist, is at the fountain where Brynn spends her Moon nights, and she changes back to human. Love and mild sex ensue. All this against the background of the arson mystery. While the plot and characters were compelling, I didn't find enough to interest me in their world to seek out other installments in the series.
Salvage: A Tale of the Iron Seas by Meljean Brooke is most interesting. Of course, the fact that it was in the book was a deciding factor in my purchase. Anyway... The Iron Seas world is Steampunk, which is sort of Victorian era sci-fi. Think H. G. Wells and Jules Verne and their ilk. At any rate, you should check out Meljean Brook specifically, or at least the genre if you haven't already. The Iron Seas world is somewhat detailed, so I won't go into the minutiae here. Georgie Thomas runs an import/export business in a port city while Big Thom, her husband, is off salvaging at sea. He's been gone for 4 years, and she's decided that a legal separation, then divorce is in order. One morning, on her walk, she finds him washed ashore, unconscious, and drags him home to nurse him back to health. Soon, the gentleman who stole his ship and shot him, along with a crew of mercenaries, shows up and they take Georgie and Thom to salvage Thom's ship they had managed to sink. There is a chest full of gold Thom had previously salvaged from a ship wrecked hundreds of years ago. During the course of this operation and making plans to escape, Georgie and Thom rediscover their love and clear up the misunderstandings leading Thom to spend so much time away at sea. There's NC-17 sex involved, and a few laughs. I enjoyed the references to characters from previous books and novellas. This story whetted my appetite for more of Brooke’s writing and this world.
Ecstasy Under the Moon: A Children of the Moon Novella by Lucy Monroe was a juicy bonus for me. Monroe is a new-to-me author, and I like this world she created. It is a medieval paranormal one, with a variety of shape-changing species. They are descendants of the Picts, though the call themselves Chrecht (sp?), and the species include wolves, birds, dragons, etc., but this story was about an eagle shape changer female and a wolf shape changer male (I use shape changer rather than shapeshifter as this is the terminology Monroe uses). In an effort to bring the Aian (sp?) tribe, who are a variety of flying animals, back among the Chrecht people, a delegation from a couple of lupine clans have come to the village of the Aian King in a sort of exchange. The Aian have been so secretive and insular that they have become myth among the clans. Oona is a young woman who, 5 years prior, had been captured, in her human form, by a group of men from one of the clans who tortured her. During the course of her rescue, her father, Finn, suffered an injury that prevents him from flying in his eagle form. He hates the lupine clans, and Oona has a fear of all men. Bryant is among the clan delegation sent to convince the Aian back among the rest of their world. His wolf recognizes Oona as his true mate, and the story concerns his getting through her fear, for her to accept the bond. There's more tell than show in the narrative than I usually tolerate, but the world interested me enough to put Monroe on my radar.
Justine Eyre narrated all three novellas. Her performances are generally good, but I must say that this has elevated her above her norm. Her differentiation of characters and genders is excellent, but this allowed me to hear how well she does with a variety of accents. Color me impressed.

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could of been better

I have read books by these authors before . I love Alyssa Day and the black swan story was great. Meljean first book was much better then this one. it was very disappointing and slow paced. I cloud not get into the story plot. I could not enjoy it like I did the first one she wrote. the narrator tired her best but I could not follow the third story due to the slow pace of the second. I will have to go back to this book once I can forget how horrible the second story was.

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