Book Critique - Awaiting Moonrise / The Night Owl / Seduction's Gift

For review of all books in the anthology: Go here

Awaiting Moonrise is the second story in the anthology Hot Blooded written by Maggie Shayne and published in August of 2004. Maggie Shayne contributed to this along with three other writers - Christine Feehan, Emma Holly and Angela Knight. 

Stars: 2.5 / 5

Recommendation: A simple and straight-forward plot with no sudden surprises, very predictable.

Professor Jenny Rose - a cryptozoologist - comes to Louisiana bayous to research and find the truth behind the legends of loup-garou, a lycanthrope. In her research she comes across, Dr. Samuel La Roque - a local doctor of the small town's only clinic.  Sparks fly immediately between them, but she fears he is more than what he seems to be. 

A simple and straight-forward plot with no sudden surprises. Maggie Shayne pretty much keeps to the paranormal plot with the other world, but there is not a lot of meat for it to be a memorable plot. Very predictable and easy to guess what comes next. Of course the romantic angle is certainly there.

For a plot of 95 pages, it is marginally good one. Could have been a bit more meatier to make it not so easy read. 

The Night Owl is the third story in the anthology Hot Blooded written by Emma Holly and published in August of 2004. Emma Holly contributed to this along with three other writers - Christine Feehan, Maggie Shayne and Angela Knight. 

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: An easy steamy plot with paranormal erotic content and less surprising turn of events.

This is 4th book in her Midnight Desire Series that began with Luisa's Desire. I had read Emma Holly's story Luisa's Desire in the 2002 anthology Fantasy that she published along with three other writers -  Christine Feehan, Sabrina Jeffries and Elda Minger. However, I don’t believe I published my review then, I had only posted for Christine Feehan's story The Awakening then. Although I did think that her take on Vampires was different from what I read in Christine Feehan's Carpathian Series.

I do not remember if after reading Lusia's Desire did I want to read Emma Holly's books, but after reading The Night Owl, I am slightly inclined to read the rest of the books in this series at least, even if I pick them again. Though my focus would perhaps limit to this series of Emma's rather than other books since she is famous for writing erotica-romance with a focus on BDSM and sometimes has her male protagonist as a bisexual - both being not my cup of tea to sip.

Back to the story in question, it revolves around Mariann O'Faolin - owner of the baker O'Faolin's - and Bastien Luce - new co-owner of the inn, Night Owl, attached to the bakery. The plot is set in the fictional town of Maple North in Vermont. 

Bastien Luce finds his mate in Mariann O'Faolin. However having been sent away from home country, he tries to keep his instincts and cravings to himself, while Luce's settle themselves in the community. Mariann finds him charming and at the same time very unnerving. However, the chemistry between them is off the charts.

But Mariann has her own battles to fight, much less get involved with a person like Bastien. And who or what was Bastien - an immortal upyr, a vampire. How will they overcome their desires, fight their battles, find middle ground to live together forever is the rest of the plot spun by Emma Holly.

Bastien and Emile are the upyrs, the Vampires immortal. I remember reading about upyr in Luisa's Desire. These vampires resemble more of the ones we read in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. However the process that Emma Holly writes about to convert a human mortal to vampire, it is very closely similar to what Christine Feehan has in her Carpathian Series. Not only that, the lifestyle of Emma's Vampires resemble a lot of Carpathians life.

The difference I see is that Emma's vampires have skin like ice just as Stephanie's vampires. That’s a lot of similarities that Emma has with other authors. Who plagiarized who will be unknown to the reader though.

A very steamy plot with lots of inconsequential details hidden within. Not sure if all will become a sort of sequel of If they will remain as stand-alone books by the author for the series. However, this plot is purely around the relationship between Bastien and Mariann. I was hoping it would have more story than just erotic content. 

All in all an easy read about the world of vampires and humans.

Seduction's Gift is the last story in the anthology Hot Blooded written by Angela Knight and published in August of 2004. Emma Holly contributed to this along with three other writers - Christine Feehan, Maggie Shayne and Emma Holly. 

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Anyways, all in all an easy read about the world of vampires, witches and humans.

This is the second book released part of the anthology in her Mageverse Series. The plot revolves around Grace Morgan - a Deputy Sherriff in the Tayanita County - and Lancelot du Lac - the Assassin of Avalon and a vampire. The plot is set in South Carolina.

Angela Knight takes a spin on Arthurian world with vampires who can reproduce, where men are turned to vampires - Magi or Magus - while women to witches - Maja or Majae - by way of the process of Gift, and each one mated to the other. They live in a parallel world, Mageverse. She has many more complexities tied around the relationships between the vampires and witches, unique abilities and gifts surrounding them. 

In this plot the High Courts send Lancelot to give the Gift to Grace Morgan, for a higher purpose. Although Grace doesn't want it she succumbs to Lancelot's charms and his sexual attempts. But will she want the Gift? Or will Lancelot finally find his mate?

The concept is really good, so close to what I read of Carpathian series by Christine Feehan. But there were a few things that kind of didn’t get to me well - like if someone doesn’t want to get the Gift, the High Courts could force a gang rape to give that person the Gift so they can work for the High Court and spring forth their agenda. I do feel that sometimes in the Carpathian series, the women are left with little choice as to who they want their lifemate to be, but with this plot, I felt that women are treated as commodities and nothing more. 

Of course Lancelot and Grace were totally different, them being the Protagonists, but the works of High Courts and their schemes resembled so close to the social evils humans have. I am not sure how different can these people from Mageverse than any human being is something I couldn’t grasp at.

Yes, definitely a steamy erotic plot, and definitely has more meat than Emma Holly's vampires. Yet, a little hesitation at my end to pick this series again. Perhaps it might be like the Leopard Series, that I didn’t like at first but again picked it up later after a later book impressed me. May be I should read the latest book in the series before I write-off on this book.

Anyways, all in all an easy read about the world of vampires, witches and humans.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Awaiting Moonrise:

a. Although it didn’t register until the end of the book, looks like Jenny Rose also carries a wolf inside here whom she can call at will. 

2) The Night Owl:

a. Plot reveals:

i. Interestingly enough, Emma Holly dedicates this book to the Spanish author Suzanne Powell.

ii. Night Owl is co-owned by two friends - Bastien Luce and Emile Luce - who look more alike to be brothers. 

iii. Bastien Luce is forced to leave his country that he calls home, second time - first by a tyrant and now by a friend, his pack leader Ulric. This one statement leaves the readers with the hope that there is  a lot more where that came from by Emma Holly. Perhaps in the previous books or the following books we might read more about it. 

iv. Emma also mentions about a long ago time when Emile almost lost his legs and that Bastien went to great lengths to save him. Another elaborated plot perhaps in another book. 

3) Seduction's Gift:

a. Plot reveals:

i. How fitting that the license plate of the Jaguar X-Type drove by the protagonist is named KNIGHT1 - so close to the author's last name and also fitting that he is a Knight at Arthurian's court.

b. Geographical / Character / Grammatical / Historical Errors:

i. On Pg. 343, Line 26, there is a repeat of the words "unable to"


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