WOW! Just, wow. So I checked out this book from my local library for two main reasons: 1. Nalini Singh is IMO, one of the best paranormal romance writers out there, and her Psy-Changeling series is so awesomesauce that I must read everything she writes. And 2. Meljean Brook started her new steampunk series with a short novella that I was dying to read. Let me just say, she does not disappoint!
First off was Singh’s story Whisper of Sin, featuring Ria and Emmett. Those who follow the Psy-Changeling Series will recognize Ria as the executive assistant to Lucas, alpha of the DarkRiver pack. Ria’s family is being threatened by the new gang in San Francisco, and Ria has found herself not only their newest target, but also under the protection of Emmett.
The two immediately hit it off, and their romance is a slow building courtship that is both romantic and steam all in one. While not my favorite of Singh’s novella’s (because she really can’t top Nate & Tammy’s story), I did totally love it. Hot alpha shifter dealing with a crazy Chinese family, a threat to his woman, and an invasion on his turf? What’s not to love? (Whisper of Sin – 4 out of 5 stars)
Next Knight takes us into a new world with her story Blood and Roses. While I was really hoping for another short from her super popular Mageverse series, it wasn’t. Amaris is a Blood Rose, a woman able to bear vampire babies, and is being forced to do some horrific things against her will. Raniero is the vampire sent by the king to check out what exactly is going on in this far away realm. When he is taken prisoner, Amaris is sent to seduce him. The two must work together to stop their enemies from opening a shield that will bring death and destruction to their lands.
For me, this was too similar to the Mageverse Series, and didn’t really live up to everything Knight puts into her Mageverse books. While a good story for this anthology, it didn’t absolutely blow me away. (Blood and Roses 3 out of 5 stars)
Onto Kantra’s story Shifting Seas. Jack is just returning from war, and found that he is now a proud landowner. He meets the mysterious Morwenna at a beach side house, and their quick tryst takes them both by surprise. As both Jack and Morwenna work to fit into their new lives, secrets will unravel as to where Morwenna really comes from, and Jack has to decide if he can love her in spite of it.
Although I absolutely historical romance novels, I’ve never really been able to get into historical paranormal books. This story was good, and for those who like mershifters and the historical, I’m sure you will love it. (Shifting Seas, 2.5 out of 5 stars)
Finally, Brook wraps up the anthology with her new steampunk, Here There be Monsters. Ivy is a blacksmith, looking to get out of London as quickly as possible before the Horde returns. She turns to Captain Mad Machen to secure passage out of London. When all Ivy has to bargain with is her virginity, Machen jumps at the opportunity to be with Ivy day in and day out, so he can try and court her. When she get passage on another vessel, Machen does everything he can to search for her for five years before he finds her again. But will he still be able to win her over?
Brook packs so many awesome punches into her short story, when I got to the end, I almost wanted to cry. The Sci Fi elements totally rocked my world, I love the nanotechnology described, the advanced blacksmith abilities from high-tech prosthesis arms and legs, to the imaginative designs Ivy creates. The Regency atmosphere isn’t overdone in my opinion, and I felt like I was reading more of a Sci Fi alternate reality than a historical piece.
The romance was fabulously done as well, and Brook fans will not be disappointed. This was by far my favorite story in the anthology. (Here There be Monsters 5 out of 5 stars)
This one does not disappoint, and in my opinion, Brook and Singh really carry this anthology.
All in all, I give the entire Burning Up Anthology, 3.5 out of 5 stars.