Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Over the Moon" Has a Few Weak Spots, but Still Manages to Come out On Top...

Three bestselling superstars and one exciting new voice in paranormal romance in a hot new anthology.

When it comes to sexy werewolves, fairies, and magic, there's only one place for readers to go this winter: Over the Moon.

Angela Knight ventures to the borders of Mageverse, a land ruled by vampire knights.

MaryJanice Davidson returns to the wicked lair of the Wyndham werewolves.

Virginia Kantra finds magic and wonder in a strange fairy kingdom.

And Sunny discovers a Mixed Blood Queen in command of a new realm.

Okay, I have to start out and say that, unfortunately, the only reason I labeled Over the Moon as 'One of my Favorite' is because of Angela Knight's short story, Moon Dance. The other three stories, I felt, were a little weak and not exactly what I expected. I will give the whole book a
rating, and then I will proceed to break it up, reviewing each of the four stories and giving them their own rating.

Although the book was full of paranormal and romance, I found more of the first than the second-- and that kind of put me off, because when I pick up a book from the genre of 'paranormal romance', I kind of expect an equal amoung of both the fantasy, aka paranomal, and the connection and love, aka the romance. If I wanted straight out fantasy *I have heard some people refer to the genre as 'Urban Fantasy'* I would go to that section in the bookstore. No, I want an equal combination of both, and I felt that for the most part, Over the Moon failed in that area.

For a book total, I am giving Over the Moon 4/5 STARS, but I most, once again, point out that most of those stars come from the brillant work of Angela Knight. Her story in thie book, Moon Dance, continues her sexy Mageverse series that I fell in love with about a year ago. The other three authors, I am sorry to say, did not really impress me, at least in this book. This does not mean that I do not like their work, because I do not believe that I have read any of their other books before. I am willingly to give them another chance, and who knows, maybe they can impress me more when they are writing a full length novel by themselves-- I don't really know yet, but I will definitely give them another chance, some day, and read one of their own books.

Moon Dance
By Angela Knight
If you have read Angela Knight before, you already know how she deftly combines paranormal romance with both erotic sex scenes and even some tender love connections between the hero and heroine, providing, in my opinion, a perfect example of a paranormal romance book. I have devoured and loved each and every book in her Mageverse series, and in Over the Moon, her short story is a continuation of the series, following the sexy tale of Lucas and Elena, both of whom are Dierkind (Or werewolf for those of you unfamiliar with Angela's Mageverse series.)
The only thing I don't like about anthologies is that usually the author's individual stories cannot be properly spun out and resolved in only a hundred or so pages. True, some of them do it nicely and leave you satisfied in the end, but a lot of them, usually the great ones, seem like they've been cut short *Which I guess they have, in order to fit into the anthology.* and even though you love the story and the author's writting, you still finish the story and find yourself asking "But what about..." or "Wait, I don't want it to end- what's going to happen next?".
Moon Dance was by far my favorite book in the whole anthology, and probably the only one that I really felt was cut short and I would have loved to have seen Lucas and Elena's story in a full length novel.
So, for Angela Knight's story, Moon Dance, I felt it deserved a 4.5/5 STARS easily, because, once again, Angela has proven that she can write a great romance with fantasy and wild sex and yet still keep that true romantic feel to it in the end. Great story, can't wait for her next books, especially in her Mageverse Series.
Between the Mountain and the Moon
By Virginia Kantra
I have never read any books by Virginia Kantra before, so forgive me if may judge her a little harshly.
When the story started, the setting sounded like a promising one: the heroine is out in the mountains hiking, and she comes across a handsome man, whom she nicknames Tall, Dark and Mysterious for obvious reasons. I settled in, thinking I was going to be reading a great story that I would love and want to return to every now and then and rush out to look for previous novels by the author. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
I found the 'sex' scenes to be kind of bland and, well, not very hot or wild, lacking 'details', if you will. I prefer my romance books to USUALLY lean more towards the 'X' rated, as some call it, or even 'erotic', and I felt that this one was very gentle, not the more 'mature' content that I am use to, that I have come to enjoy. Virginia had ample opportunity, considering that the hero and heroine were alone in the woods, he's a total rough and sexy alpha man type, but when the two of them finally had sex, it seemed quick and meaningless, with only vague refrences as to what was going on-- for a moment, I wasn't even sure if they had actually proceeded to the 'third base', because one moment Rhys was teasing her and the next thing you know it's two or more paragraphs of how good this felt to him and how he'd never felt like that before, etc *Which isn't a bad thing, but I would have prefered to hear more details inbetween his thoughts of 'could this be love'.*
Though it is not my first choice in romance novels, or any books, for that matter, I did find the sidhe 'plot' of the book very interesting, and I would have loved to have heard more about the race, especially Rhys and his chidlhood, and instead the story felt rushed and choppy. I may still give this author another chance, but for now, I'm going to simply move on and stick with my review of her work.
Between the Mountain and the Moon gets 3.5/5 STARS, because the ending was sweet and the story itself wasn't completely horrible.
By MaryJanice Davidson
Yet another author that I have yet to read any other books from, but I am pretty sure that this is one that I might just completely cross off my 'potential future reading list'-- sorry MaryJanice!
At first, I was happy to find that her story in the anthology would be about vampires-- one of my favorite fantasy characters. And then I started to read it... and I was quickly let down.
The starting was kind of flat, the heroine was a little bit annoying, and the hero wasn't very vocal, nor was he very strong in personality. In fact, he almost seemed like he should have been cast as the sidekick or best friend, because he just didn't seem to fit the role of a hero.
Just like I said about Virginia Kantra's story, MaryJanice's was a little bit bland and boring as far as the sex. I'm not asking for outright erotica from my romance authors, but I would prefer just a tad bit more orginality, personality, and, oh yeah, details!. Also, I thought that even for a short story, the plot was kind of weak and not the most interesting, and I was, I'm sorry to say and I hope I do not offend MaryJanice fans out there, but this is my honest opinion, happy to see the end of the story. Unlike the other books in this anthology, I worked through Driftwood much slower, forcing myself to stick with it to the end, hoping it would get better... Unfortunately, it didn't, at least not for me. However, if you have not read any MaryJanice Davidson before, please don't completely cross her off your list just because of my review. This is my opinion, nothing more, and who knows, you might love her work. I am only saying that her books aren't really my thing, and I doubt I'd pick up another one, unless I could be assured that it would be a complete 180 degrees from what I just critiqued.
Driftwood receives one of my lowest ratings, with only 2.5/5 STARS. I found it lacking details, plot, character development, sex.. pretty much everything that I look for in any book, especially a romance novel. If the plot cannot hold up the whole book, then it should fall to the characters interactions, conversations, connections and for me, Driftwood failed on all accounts.
Mona Lisa Three
By Sunny
Though I am not a huge fan of the heros and heroines of my romance novels being in 'Open Relationships' or polygamy, I was surprised to find that Mona Lisa Three wasn't half bad, all things considered. I wouldn't call it a 'romance' book, not in the classical sense of the word, since Mona Lisa, the heroine, has two loves from the very beginning of the story, both of whom are willingly to share because they both love her so deeply. I will give the book some 'romance' credit, because it does show how deep of a connection all of them have with one another, which is a plus in any book, but it's not a plot line that I would usually want to read, and especially not one that I would usually label as 'I really enjoyed it!'. However, I think that both apply to Sunny's work, though this is the first one I have read by her (so far). I may actually go on to read her full length novels about Mona Lisa and her life, just to see if she can continue the story without overduing it or making it seem repeatitive.
Be warned, if you do not like the idea of threesomes and hot and wild sex, all very detailed, I might add, then you might want to skip Sunny's book. However, if you are willingly to try those things or you already have a liking for them, then I think you will like it. The plot line is fairly interesting, with a few unique twists and turns to it, and the fantasy world she's created does add to the amazing sex that the characters have together (After all, a truly great book has to have more than just great sex in order to make it in the industry, at least in my view.) The story is very erotic and yet the characters have their tender moments.
The only thing I would have liked better is if the author has better explained Mona Lisa and her two lovers', Amber and Gryphon, lifes before the point in which she starts the book at. I'm hoping that her future books do a flash back type thing, in order to give us the full story, which sounds interesting, from what little bit Sunny tells us in this book.
Mona Lisa Three gets 3.5/5 STARS for having interesting characters, plot, and, of course, sex scenes, while still playing a bit on the romance that the series belongs to.


Jenine said...

I know what you mean about MaryJanice Davidson. I have read a couple of her novels, both a Betsy the Vampire one and one (or maybe two) of her werewolf ones. They were okay, just not really my cup of tea.

I did make a little comment over on the LT board about the Mona Lisa books, but thought I'd mention it here too. In the first and the third book (I think this short is the "2nd" story) they only have one and one couplings so you might like it better.

I'd honestly have to look back at my own review to really remember how I felt about the other short stories. Is it horrible that I can't remember them at all?


The_Book_Queen said...

Thank you for reading my review and commenting-- it's nice to know that a few people are out there reading my blog.

:) Yes, I am glad that you agree with me. I'm not saying that she's a bad author, I'm just saying that she's not my cup of tea, as you put it. Others I have talked to like her books,and that's fine, since everyone gets their own opinion, but for me, she's just not that great.

I'll have to check out the other books then, since I'd like to see how the characters and story evolve. All in all, I found Mona Lisa Three to be a pretty good book, especially after reading Driftwood.

Oh, don't worry about it too much--I have my moments like that too, when I can't remember what my thoughts were on a certain book that I read long ago, or, Heaven forbid!, I forget key parts of a book. I especially hate when the latter happens, but thankfully that only happened once or twice, and that's usually only after I've had a very busy week. :)