Authors: Lori Handeland, Leigh Morgan, Dale Mayer, Michelle Diener, Edie Ramer, Nancy Haddock, Liz Kreger, Mary Hughes, Elle J. Rossi
Publication: October 1st 2014
Genre: Paranormal Anthology
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Holiday Feast from NY Times, USA Today and bestselling, award-winning authors offers nine exciting stories of romance and mystery, paranormal and contemporary, magical and mystical, ranging in lengths from novellas to short page-turning stories.
Escape to worlds featuring a vampire in love with a human, a powerful telekinetic, a secret lover, a spirit seer, a master magician, a wizard prince, a paranormal ass-kicker, and more.
Breaking Out by Michelle Diener:
"I just want to tell you something."
While Breaking Out was a paranormal story and I'm more used to Michelle Diener's historical and fantasy books, I ended up really liking the story. I like both Kell's point of view as well as Nate's. The story revolved more about Kel who was one asskicking lady surrounded by some mystery. Nate was a great character as well. I loved how fiercely protective he was about Kel. To make the story complete there was also Giles and I loved him right away. He was pretty hilarious It was funny to see how even though they had to escape, he and Nate could still be annoyed with each other while vying for Kel's attention. Throw in some bad guys, wanting to capture Kel again made this story really good. I wished it was a full story. I would love to find out more about Kel and the others and what might could happen to them on their next adventure. I think fans of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress and Kelley Armstrong's The Darkest Powers series would love this story!
The Halloween Prince by Edie Ramer:
"It's entrancement. I'm entranced by you."
If you like cute and sweet, then The Halloween Prince is the right book for you. For me, unfortunately, it wasn't the best book. I do like cute and sweet books sometimes but with this one I wasn't feeling it. I wish I had liked it more but I wanted the characters to have a little more depth. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like I didn't like the main characters, Sarah and Ryan, because I did. But that was it, I only liked them. The story was like I said before sweet, very sweet with a little bit of danger. I'm too sure what I'm thinking about that dog. I mean, it wasn't a bad thing but yeah I guess it just wasn't my thing.
Medium Rare by Nancy Haddock:
"You may not like the term, Colleen, but you are a rare medium. One who is the real deal."
Medium Rare was a great story, that I thoroughly enjoyed. To me it seemed like a mix between the tv shows, Ghost Hunters and Ghost Whisperer, which I happen to both love, especially Ghost Hunters. But anyway, the story was really good, I also liked the writing a lot. It had a great flow and didn't get boring. Colleen was a fantastic main character. I love that she sees ghosts, had a business trying to help people who are having problems with hauntings. I also really liked Brick Frasier, a paranormal investigator. Him and Colleen definitely had some chemistry going and I liked reading about their budding romance in the end. I wish this story for a full novel so I could've read more about that. But, oh well, I enjoyed reading this story and will definitely check out Nancy Haddock's other books.
"As the words were said, they could not be undone. Blood, death, fear, and blinding betrayal had sealed them, and bound them to Faelynn and all her female heirs."
Midday Masquerade started out really good but I lost interest kind of quickly and it turned a little sappy. There's nothing wrong with a little sappy but too much is too much. I just don't like it. Like I said, it started out good with the faerie stuff and the curse and everything but when it went to the present day I slowly started disliking it. It does have a good concept but since it's a short story it was too quick and not much character building, sadly enough. Primrose and Lorcan (love their names!) were not bad characters or anything. I liked them well enough but I'm a reader who needs more depth with the characters I'm reading about and yeah I know in a short story that's hard to achieve but still... I can't help how I feel. I wish I had liked it more!
"It fought her. Enticed her. Threatened to scour her clean. Seduced her."
Feel the Magic was a likable story. I didn't entirely love it but it wasn't bad either. I liked the storyline, main character Jenna, writing and the magic but had a few issues with the names for different things like 'Practitioners', 'Nulls', etc... because I wasn't familiar with them. I could guess what they meant, of course but sometimes it was a bit confusing reading those things for the first time. But aside from that I enjoyed this story. I do love reading about things magical and as far as those stories goes, this was pretty entertaining and surprising.
"I'll be Lady Mystery. And you can me My Hero."
Masked Attraction was one of those stories that have a good beginning but start going slowly down as you read more. Short stories are obviously not agreeing with me much lately but I can't help how I feel. I liked the idea of the wizards and shifters in this book. I love reading about all beings magical but I have a soft spot for both wizards and werewolves. Although I liked this aspect of the book, it wasn't enough to totally like it. I did like one of the main characters, Daniel. I loved the way he was introduced into this book and his voice. I was less of a fan of Zoe, though. I'm not sure what it was that set me off about her. I wasn't just feeling her, I guess. The romance between them wasn't too bad but a bit quick. And I do get that with a short story or novella it can't be drawn out or anything but I'm sorry, I can't get on board with quick romances like that. So yes to the wizards, shifters and Daniel, and no to the romance and Zoe. The plot of the story was also something I liked, although I had guessed pretty early on who the actual thief of the key was. Still, pretty well written!
Sian's Solution by Dale Mayer:
"A doctor, a savior of human souls and a raving advocate for change and equality—now a captive on a blood farm. Ironic. And her fault."
Now this is what I'm talking about! Very well-written, exciting and with vampires, Sian's Solution was in one word awesome. I'm also really glad it's connected to a series, which I'm definitely gonna try out. I loved how this story counted down the hours and minutes to something unknown until you reached the 'one minute'. That was so good! Sian was a great main character. I don't know much about her but I definitely liked her. It was fun to read this story, trying to put the pieces together as to what was going on and who exactly Taz is, which eventually got revealed. I also really liked him when he came into the story. He clearly loves Sian, even after the mistake she made with leaving him, which got him captured in the first place. And like I said it was very well-written and I mean that. Some of the other stories hadn't been too great in that department so it was definitely surprising and just fab!
Midnight Masque by Elle J. Rossi:
"This love is wrapped in so many layers, I'll never find the last piece of it."
Midnight Masque was another story that I really enjoyed. I'm also very interested in the series. I do love me some vampire stories! The main character, Josie, was awesome! She was fierce, strong, yet seemed to have a vulnerable side. I also fell completely in love with Keller. I don't even know him all that well but he was amazing. Alpha male, vampire, sexy and not to mention IRISH. Yeah, I love him. I also really liked the other members of GATE. They all seemed really great. I would love to get to know more about them. The story, overall, was also good. I liked the idea of this powerful vampire trying to take revenge on Josie because of what she did to him and oh yeah the fades were pretty scary as well. The writing was yet again good. This is a big deal to me because if writing in a story is bad, then chances are that I won't like it. Good thing this was not the case with this story. Elle J. Rossi seems like a great writing! Can't wait to read more by her!
When Midnight Comes by Lori Handeland:
"They had been one person, one heart and one soul."
The characters, writing and setting were pretty good but storywise When Midnight Comes wasn't my favorite. I liked reading about main characters Jack and Lucia. The writing flowed nice and was well-written. I believe I have once read one story by Lori Handeland so I knew in that department there wouldn't be anything lacking. The setting was New York in the 1800's so that was really great for me. I just couldn't get into the story. I'm sure other people would like it more but it's how I feel. I did like that this story was based on the legend of the Jack O Lantern so that's another possitive point. And the end was pretty nice too, since it ends well.
This anthology was a bit of a challenge for me. I do love anthologies and have read my fair share of them but they weren't quite as long with this many stories. If I'm correct, this book is almost 600 pages long. I almost never read books that long but in one way it didn't seem that long exactly because it was divided in 9 different stories. But anyway... I liked the anthology for sure. I love everything about halloween, it's one of my favorite holidays and I'm glad I had to chance to read and review this box set. It definitely put me in the mood for halloween! Some series were better than others, of course but I did think many of them were excellent. I even found new authors that I'll definitely check out. A book like this is hard to read for sure but I'm settling on three stars in general. Also, I've added quotes from each story with my reviews.