Publisher: Bella Books
The playful quartet that penned the acclaimed Once Upon A Dyke are dimming the lights for journeys into worlds of breathless seduction.
Haunted castles and lost ingenues, shadows hungry for life, immortal beings of power claiming their captive souls–everything is possible when the sun goes down.
Curl up for seductive, skin-tingling novellas, perfect for bed time. Don’t worry–the flutter at the window is only the curtain in the breeze…
Contains the novellas Running with Stone Ponies by Barbara Johnson, Castle Wrath by Karin Kallmaker, Elsewhen by Therese Szymanski and We Recruit by Julia Watts.
[Originally posted on Amazon 3/13/07]
I hate to say this, because I really like three of the authors in this anthology and I love vampires, but I was really disappointed by the stories in this collection. Maybe my expectations were too high given the above.
Castle Wrath by Karin Kallmaker started off really promising. I was chuckling out loud as the character narrated the start of her adventure and I was really enjoying the humorous writing in a style Ms. Kallmaker doesn’t normally use. But I dunno, somewhere things shifted and it almost became an entirely different style of story. I think it either should have started differently to fit the later portion, or the initial tone should have been maintained throughout. In the end, aside from that, the story itself just didn’t interest me at all. The idea of inheriting a castle in a vampire story had the potential to go in all sorts of wonderful directions, but the direction that Ms. Kallmaker chose wasn’t where I wanted to go. By the end I just wasn’t interested in what happened to the characters.
Running with Stone Ponies was another story with a lot of potential, but I feel it fell really flat. This time mostly due to what came across to me as amateurish writing. Which I suppose takes a lot of gall for me to say, but there it is all the same. I felt the relationship between the two main characters developed ridiculously. More that, there wasn’t really any development at all, it was just suddenly there. At various points while reading I was actually cringing at parts of the plot, or specific phrasing choices. If I’m cringing at the writing, I’m not being swept away into the fantasy.
Elsewhen by Therese Syzmanski was a solid story and one that I did enjoy. But the writing at times was disjointed in a way difficult for me to describe. I felt like characters were all over the place at various points in what they were thinking or feeling, making it difficult for me to follow along as well as I should. That’s not to say that characters shouldn’t be muddled or confused about what they think, but it needs to be written in a way so that as a reader I’m empathetic, not irritated and taken out of the story.
We Recruit by Julia Watts was okay. I can’t really think of anything negative to say about it. It just didn’t really grab me either, at least not the latter part. Maybe because they wimped out as vampires. Heh. While being a vastly morally superior stance to take, drinking bottled blood just ain’t sexy!
I gave the anthology 3 stars. To me that means it’s average, and if you’re strongly interested, probably still worth buying and reading. I didn’t feel it was a total waste of my time. But I’m still left with that disappointing feeling of being disappointed by an anthology that I had been anticipating with a great deal of excitment. (For context, I own almost all the published novels and anthologies by Karin Kallmaker, Therese Syzmanski, and Julia Watts, so normally I really am a fan!)