Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Anthologies on the brain!

Hi and welcome to you Wednesday fix of Shapeshifter Seduction! Sorry I’m posting so late- I rewrote this in honor of a possible Shapeshifter flash fiction anthology that’s been running in the comments for the last few weeks. This week I’ll be reviewing “Vegas Bites,” a werewolf anthology by L.A. Banks, J.M. Jeffries, Seressia Glass and Natalie Dunbar!

This is a series of four short stories written by four different authors with one central theme- all four stories are set in the same casino in Las Vegas, run congruent to each other, actually tie into each other, and still manage to have the flavor each individual author has in her writing. Copy write date is 2006, so you should still be able to find it pretty easily.

Heat by L.A. Banks

There’s a high-roller Texas Hold’em tournament running at the casino that weekend and Butch, a lone wolf working as a detective, has a tip about someone planning to poison the old-money vamps that are going to be there. The last time Butch ran a job in the casino, though, he stired up the kind of trouble that starts wars and left the mess for Laurel, head of security and an old flame he’d abandoned years ago, to clean up. Will she help him stop the rogue faction from ambushing the vamps and destabilize the pack or will they find a way to work around their red hot lust and burning distrust?

This was actually my least favorite of the four, but not because it wasn’t good- it was. But out of four fantastic stories, one of them had to be my least favorite, right? L.A. Banks creates an awesome gumshoe story with the fem wolf, Laurel, showing Butch who’s boss, saving the day, and getting her man to sit up and beg. She did go more than a tad over-board with the slang, though. I get that this is an African-American themed book. She didn’t need to beat me over the head with that fact.

The Hunger Within by J.M. Jeffries

In the world of Big Bad and Dangerous, there’s not much room for run-of-the-mill human criminals. One nasty human comes up with an idea he thinks will put him back on top: knock over a were casino right in the middle of a major “other” tournament. It’s FBI special agent Jarred Mailand’s job to try and stop him. He recruit’s the help of the pack’s alpha pair and their personal assistant, sexy she-wolf Solange. Can this human find a way to stop the crook without damaging the pack that Solange holds so dear?

This one is, hands down, my favorite of the anthology. Solange is an incredibly complex and compelling character and you just can’t help but root for her. This story picks up the day after “Heat.”

Double Down by Seressia Glass

The pack’s founders and alpha pair, Esther and Julius Temple are retiring to Alaska and turning over the reins of both the pack and the casino to their children. Simone, their only daughter, is determined to prove she is her brother’s equal and deserving of pack leadership by ensuring the casino stays a force to be reckoned with in the Vegas ‘Other” scene. But after an assassination attempt two nights ago and an attempted vault robbery just last night, all her cards are resting in the hands of the house magician, Kadim. When Kadim flat-out refuses to do a Mystery Cannel special, Simone won’t take no for an answer.

This story is fun, intense, and filled with more twists and turns than one would expect from only sixty-seven pages. Simone is quirky and easy to identify with and Kadim is probably the sexiest leading male in the anthology. Since Ms Glass doesn’t usually do gumshoe mystery type stories, this one has a different feel to it than the first two. This is more of a classic romance. Boy loves girl from afar until one day she confronts him and they figure out what to do about their burning but forbidden love.

Out of the Dark by Natalie Dunbar

Kellie goes home to her grandmother’s house to burry her. But first the body, found ravaged by feral werewolves, disappears from the morgue, then Kelly herself gets attacked. Nearly killed by the EMTs who responded when they tried to administer the werewolf inoculation mandated by law, Kellie finds herself with yet more questions and no answers in site. Why did the feral weres come after her? Why did an inoculation that was safe for every other human almost kill her? And why was the sexy werewolf assigned to baby-sit her becoming almost irresistible?

This story is very different from the first three but still closely related. Where as the first three were pure werewolf paranormal, this one is werewolf fantasy. It starts off really good but starts to have some flow problems by the end, as if the author was struggling to convince her characters that they were only getting a short story where they clearly wanted to be a feature story.

This anthology, as a whole, is a must read for werewolf lovers. It’s zany and keeps you on the edge of your seat page after page. I found it particularly interesting in that none of these authors write the same way. It gives you four different takes on the exact same group of characters. Each story was good in it’s own right; all of them together made it fantastic.

Until next week!



Savanna Kougar said...

Rebecca, what incredible reviews. Dang, I wish I could get one of my wolfie shifter WIPs finished. Though, it wouldn't follow in the traditional werewolf shoes, or gumshoes... but I do love gumshoe stories.

Rebecca Murray said...

Eh. So it may not fit "traditional" lines. The joy of e-bublishing is if the story is good and well writen, you have a shot at getting it published because its easier to get the quirky, fun stories out to the target audiences.

Pat C. said...

The one with the magician sounds good. Is this print or e-book? Who's the publisher?

"Quirky" and "fun." Two of my favorite words, along with "chocolate."

Savanna Kougar said...

Rebecca, so true. That is one of the joys of e-publishing.

Savanna Kougar said...

That sure is dynamic cover art, especially the wolf... did someone say "chocolate"?

Rebecca Murray said...

It's a trade paperback.Publisher is Parker Publishing. I found it on the werewolves only forum on, but you should be able to find it at Boarders or B&N, too. Might want to check to see if it needs to be ordered in.

You did notice how petty my reason for "least favorite" was, right? Every one of them was worth a second read.