Sunday 4 January 2015

Review: Night Shift - Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin & Milla Vane

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 foundhis mate, he'll do anything to keep her.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews's novella, Magic Steals, when a woman goes missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.

It's seer Makenna Frazier's first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first bodyguarding assignment is more than she bargained for when a leprechaun prince's bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin's Lucky Charms.

From Milla Vane - a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. Soon she discovers that the beast isn't a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.

For more information about any of these authors you can visit their websites by clicking the links below:
Nalini Singh
Ilona Andrews
Lisa Shearin
Milla Vane

I'll admit that the main reason I wanted to read this anthology was for the stories by Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews, I'm a huge fan of both the Psy-Changeling and Kate Daniels series so of course I was eager to be able to dive back into both of those worlds. It was a great opportunity to try a couple of new series though and I have to say that I definitely want to read more from Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane in the future. I'm going to talk about each of these stories individually but I would just like to say that if, like me, you picked up the anthology for one or two authors it's definitely worth giving the other stories a chance too. All four novellas are great and I'd be happy to recommend any of them.

Secrets at Midnight by Nalini Singh

Psy-Changeling Series:
(Season One in the Psy-Changeling World)
Beat of Temptation (Novella included in Wild Invitation and the An Enchanted Season anthology)
Whisper of Sin (Novella included in the Burning Up anthology or as a separate ebook)
Slave to Sensation
Visions of Heat
Echo of Silence (Novella included in the Wild Embrace anthology)
Caressed by Ice
Stroke of Enticement (Novella included in Wild Invitation and The Magical Christmas Cat anthology)
Mine to Possess
Hostage to Pleasure
Dorian (Novella included in the Wild Embrace anthology)
Branded by Fire
Blaze of Memory
Bonds of Justice
Play of Passion
Declaration of Courtship (Novella included in Wild Invitation)
Kiss of Snow
Texture of Intimacy (Novella included in Wild Invitation)
Tangle of Need
Partners in Persuasion (Novella included in the Wild Embrace anthology)
Heart of Obsidian
Flirtation of Fate (Novella included in the Wild Embrace anthology)
Secrets at Midnight (Novella included in the Night Shift anthology)
Shield of Winter
Shards of Hope
Allegiance of Honour

Psy-Changeling Trinity Series:
(Season two in the Psy-Changeling World)
Silver Silence
Ocean Light
Wolf Rain

I have loved Bastien ever since we first met him so I just knew that his story would be fantastic. He's such a great guy, fun loving and sweet but also incredibly protective of the women in his life as we've seen from his interactions with his sister Mercy. Bastien is currently infuriated though, he has finally caught the scent of his mate only to lose it again almost immediately. As a cat he should be able to hunt his prey wherever they go but the one person he needs to find almost desperately is managing to stay hidden from him. He isn't one to give up though and when he finally manages to track Kirby down there is no way he's letting her out of his sight again.

I don't want to say too much more about the story because there was a fabulous twist when it came to Kirby and I really enjoyed watching Nalini Singh reveal it. What I will say is that I absolutely adored this couple and I hope we get to see more of them in the future. This novella takes place over a very short space of time but it's a testament to Nalini's writing that it never felt rushed, I always find her stories completely believable no matter how short the timeline is. Kirby is one lucky girl to end up with a guy like Bastien and I'm definitely looking forward to reading his brothers Sage and Grey's stories.

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews

The Kate Daniels Series:
A Questionable Client (Short Story included in the Magic Graves anthology)
Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
Magic Mourns (Novella included in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Bleeds
Magic Dreams (Novella included in the Hexed anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Slays
Magic Tests (Short Story included in the An Apple for the Creature anthology)
Magic Gifts (Novella available for a limited time as a free ebook from the authors and included in the print version of Gunmetal Magic)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniel's World book 1)
Retribution Clause (Short Story included in the Hex Appeal anthology)
Small Magics (Anthology containing previously published stories including A Questionable Client, Magic Tests and Retribution Clause as well as 2 other stories not set in the Kate Daniels world)
Magic Rises
Magic Steals (Novella included in the Night Shift anthology)
Magic Breaks
Magic Shifts
Magic Stars (Novella, Grey Wolf book 1)
Magic Binds
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant book 1)
Magic Triumphs

As a fan of the Kate Daniels series I have been rooting for Dali and Jim ever since I read their first novella Magic Dreams so I was excited to see more of them as a couple. This story fits into the timeline during events in Magic Rises while Kate and Curran are off in Europe leaving Jim in charge of the Pack while they're gone.

Dali is such a brilliant character, not only is she an incredibly rare white tiger shifter who has an unusual magical ability but she's also the only vegetarian tiger you're ever likely to meet, her eye sight is terrible and she faints at the sight of blood. Basically Dali is the complete opposite of Jim who is the Alpha of the cat clan and Curran's right hand man. I think one of the reasons I love this couple so much is because of their differences though, they compliment each other's characters so well and it's nice to see a lighter, more relaxed side to Jim because of the way he is comfortable enough to let his guard down around Dali.

Dali has a lot of insecurities about herself, she doesn't feel like she fits in around the other shapeshifters but Jim is brilliant at boosting her confidence. He is so incredibly sweet towards her and I love the way he doesn't let her keep hiding their relationship. As with the first novella there are some hilarious scenes with Dali and her mother but Jim makes the whole situation even more amusing. This novella has plenty of action, it introduces us to some more of the Indonesian mythology from Dali's ancestry and it has an incredibly sweet romance. I still hope we get to spend more time with this couple in the future but I'm very glad we got a second novella about them.

Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin

SPI Files:
Lucky Charms (Novella included in the Night Shift anthology)
The Grendel Affair
The Dragon Conspiracy
The Brimstone Deception
The Ghoul Vendetta

The first book in Lisa Shearin's SPI Files series (The Grendel Affair) has already been published but I've not read it yet and Lucky Charms is a prequel to the series so you're fine to start here. This story introduces us to Makenna, the new Seer who has just joined the SPI (Supernatural Protections and Investigations). Makenna's first job is to track down a missing leprechaun prince and the rest of his bachelor party after they escaped from their previous bodyguards. The leprechaun's have no intention of coming home quietly though - not when there is a whole city of trouble waiting for them to find it.

This story was very light hearted and a lot of fun to read, the world Lisa Shearin has created is full of a wide range of magical creatures (Makenna's boss is a vampire and the CEO is a dragon!) and it's one I'm looking forward to exploring further. There was plenty of humour and I loved the banter between Makenna and the rest of the team she was working with. I'm very curious about her partner Ian and definitely planning on reading the rest of this series - in fact I've already ordered my copy of The Grendel Affair and can't wait to start reading it.

The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane

A Gathering of Dragons Series:
(Chronological reading order as per the author's website)
The Beast of Blackmoor (Novella in the Night Shift anthology)
Silent Night (Free short story on the author's website)
A Heart of Blood and Ashes
A Touch of Stone and Snow (July 2020)

Mala is a warrior on a quest from her Goddess to tame the Beast of Blackmoor, she will do whatever it takes to achieve her goal because her people are depending upon her to protect them and she needs the Goddess's gifts to help them survive. What she doesn't realise is that the Beast is in fact a man and Kavik will do anything to avoid being enslaved again. Kavik angered Mala's Goddess so it's not too surprising that she has forsaken him but Mala believes that they can both earn redemption for themselves and their people if they only listen to the Goddess and follow her will.

I believe that The Beast of Blackkmoor is the first in a new series from Milla Vane (who you may already know under her other name Meljean Brook). This was very different to anything else I've read from this author and in a way it seemed like a bit of a strange fit for this anthology. The first three stories are UF and PNR where this is a straight fantasy and it's much, much darker than the others. I still enjoyed the story and would definitely read more if this does turn into a series but it just wasn't at all what I expected and I can see why some people haven't liked it as much. Milla Vane has created a dark world, one where you will see characters raped, beaten and tortured so its probably best to be prepared for that going in, but I really liked the main characters and enjoyed seeing them fight for their freedom and the lives of their people. This won't be the story for everyone but I'd recommend giving it a try because it might just surprise you.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

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