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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review: Under Her Skin

Under Her SkinTitle: Under Her Skin
Authors: Jeaniene Frost, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook
Page Count: 3 short stories
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: These three stories were previously published in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance and are available in this separate collection from Amazon.  Shifter stories from three awesome PNR authors? Sign me up please!

First off, to reiterate- these stories were initally published in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, so if you've read that anthology then you've read these stories already.  These stories are short, sweet, and to the point and aren't, to the best of my knowledge, connected to any other series by any of these authors, so if you're looking for something to hold you over until something new comes out, these will do the trick nicely (and since I'm currently playing the waiting game for new releases from all three authors in question, I can testify to that firsthand.)

Up first is Pack by Jeaniene Frost, and its the story of a camping trip gone horribly wrong...or horribly right, depending on your perspective.  Marlee is on the trip of a lifetime when sudden bad luck means the friends she's traveling with have to turn back.  Level-headed, responsible Marlee isn't ready to put her big adventure on hold, so she presses on, and is the victim of a vicious attack by a werewolf gone looney after the murder of his wife.  Since they don't know if she's been infected or will turn, Marlee has to stay quarantined with the pack of the guy who mauled her, and that means spending a lot of time in close quarters with Daniel, the pack's enforcer.

Pack is a tasty morsel that ended way too soon for me.  Marlee runs the gauntlet of emotions in a really short period of time, and as a result we don't get to see too much of the relationship between her and Daniel develop.  We know they're both interested, and the ending is nothing if not a huge tease.  I really enjoyed the setting of this story and would love to read more.  Maybe someday...

The middle child of this collection is Meljean Brook's In Sheep's Clothing, which includes, among other things, childhood sweethearts, emotional reunions, a serial killer on the loose, and the need for a werewolf's supernatural tracking ability all packed up in one really short story.  Emma and Nathan are a super cute couple, and it was nice to see each of them receive the other one's issues and concerns with understanding instead of drama.  I've only read a little bit by this author (The Iron Duke is the first title that comes to mind) but I'm always reminding myself to do something about that.  This story was very fun.

Last and certainly not least is Grace of Small Magics by Ilona Andrews, in which Grace, a member of a family bound in eternal servitude to Clan Dreoch, one of many magical families in a sort of overlapping magical world, has to answer Dreoch's call to perform a duty.  That duty is serving as the other half of a combat team in a battle royale style game to aide Clan Dreoch in answering a challenge from a rival clan.  Her partner is none other than Nassar, leader of Clan Dreoch, revenant, and the current holder of her family's debt.  Nassar's current body allows him to take the shape of a flying type beast for relatively short periods of time but his shapeshifting abilities are actually a relatively small part of this story; most of the story centers around the relationship between Nassar and Grace, and the admittedly uneven power dynamic between them.  Grace is super sensible and recognizes a bum deal when she sees one, but she also is a woman of honor and is going to do right by the bargain.  Nassar is, after you get through the issue of the blood debt, an honorable leader who wants what's best for his family; he also wants Grace to become a member of that family, and preferably as soon as possible.  The ending was too cute for words.

I think collections of stories like these are an excellent idea- for $2.99 I got a really great trio of stories that didn't take long to read and definitely kept me excited for future installments by authors I already enjoy.  If that sounds like an idea that you can get behind then definitely check this collection out.

Overall Grade: A
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