Hotter than Hell (Anthology)

Hotter than Hell is an anthology including some of today’s great paranormal authors. We’re introduced to everything from Greek sirens to demons to vampires. We get to meet some old friends as well as meet some new ones. Hotter Than Hell is a good anthology for anyone looking to try something new, especially if they don’t know what kind of supernatural sounds good to them.

Music Hath Charms by Tanya Huff
This is the first time I’ve read anything by Tanya Huff and I have to say that I liked what I saw. The story had it’s romantic elements, but it wasn’t the center of the story, the struggle was. The story was simple, and while not all that exciting, it had it’s moments. There was more romantic conflict between two adversarial colleagues than love interest, but that only added to the fight. I really enjoyed this story and I think I’m going to have to find some of Ms. Huff’s full length novels.

Minotaur in Stone by Marjorie Liu
For some reason, I have yet to try a full novel by Marjorie Liu and after reading yet another one of her short stories, I have to wonder why. Minotaur in Stone is such a twist on two classic stories that it’s beautiful. I’m familiar with the basic idea behind the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, and many are familiar with Beauty and the Beast, but this tale seems to take the essences from both and merge them together in such a way that it’s captivating. We’re never really told who the two characters are, but everything is given from the maiden’s point of view. It’s as if she is retelling the story, telling us how she met her love and everything outside of that is inconsequential. This story is such a good example of a classic story that if the rest of Liu’s novels are like this, then I really need to get my hands on her novel and I met just end up buying it instead of hunting for a copy at the library.

Demon Lover by Cheyenne McCray
Cheyenne McCray isn’t a new author for me; I actually enjoy her Magic series. However, there was just something about Demon Lover that screamed….unoriginal. An incubus is sent to capture the soul of an innocent only to fall in love with her instead. It just doesn’t seem original to me. Don’t get me wrong, the story was good and really quick, but I wouldn’t say it was anything special. It’s kind of disappointing to since I usually like McCray’s work.

Equinox by LA Banks
After reading this story, still not a fan of LA Banks. Equinox was good, if you like reading about board room negotiations. That kind of scenario is what comes to mind. Artemis is pissed that we’re destroying the environment so she turns a few CEOs into stags and hunts them. A mercenary squad is sent in and they discuss the CEOs release. That’s pretty much it. There’s really no excitement and a little sexual tension, but nothing really…um…exciting.

Ride a Dark Horse by Susan Krinard
This story was good, but I wouldn’t say it was fantastic. There was nothing about it that kept my attention and the story itself was kind of predictable and slow. Honestly, I can’t think of a synopsis that doesn’t give away the entire point of the story.

To Die For by Keri Arthur
Mmm…I love Keri Arthur. She knows how to write a mixture of violence and sex without it being tedious or “too much”. Her story, To Die For is set in the same world as her Riley series, but we’re introduced to two new characters – a werewolf and a wolf shifter – as they investigate the disappearance of two teenage boys. The story has a really good pace that instantly sucks us in from the very beginning. The romance is there as well as the sex we’ve come to love from the Riley series. Arthur blends the two well, but she doesn’t let it get in the way of solving the disappearance. This story alone is well worth a read and even if you don’t like the previous ones, this is one you won’t want to miss.

Curse of the Dragon’s Tears by Heidi Betts
I’m really not sure what I think about this story. Overall, it seems like it was a bit forced at Ms. Betts had a hard time coming up with a storyline. We have another take on the whole beauty and the beast mythology and we even have our beast living in isolation inside a 100 year old keep. The story was okay, but it came across as used and been done multiple times before. Again, the story just seemed forced and it was rushing you to get to the end. Not a bad story, but not a good one either.

Brother’s Keeper by Lilith Saintcrow
For some reason, Lilith Saintcrow is always a hit or miss with me. I was able to devour her first two Dante Valentine novels, but had a hard time getting into the third one. I’m starting to think that you have to be in a certain mood to read her novels and this time I was in the right mood. Brother’s Keeper is an interesting story. The story is set in the same world as Dante Valentine, and involves Selene and Nikolai, an odd couple we’ve seen before. There’s really no plot to the story, but that’s not what this one is all about. It’s almost as if Saintcrow is setting up a new series with this one novella and we’re going to get the real juice in a full length novel. If that’s the case, I can’t wait to read the novel especially if it’s as good as the short story. However, I’m thinking it’s just a glimpse into the strange life these two individuals lead. At least that is the impression I am getting from Saintcrow’s website. Either way, the story is good and hot. (Edited to Add: just found out that there is going to be more on Selena and Nikolai’s story. Lilith is doing Selene, the original novel, in free serial form, but it’s not up yet.)

(Like a) Virgin of the Spring by Susan Sizemore and Denise Little
This was actually a cute story. It kept my attention from the beginning and it was kind of a unique take on the whole knights of Camelot mythology. There was some good character development for a short story and the plot itself was good. We had all the elements of a full length novel – romantic, action, violence – and none of them were really out of proportion. I’ve read Susan Sizemore once before and I really can’t remember what I thought of The Hunt except that I didn’t go out and find any other novels in that series. However, after reading this story, I may have to go find some of her adult fiction and try that.

Life is the Teacher by Carrie Vaughn
I really liked this story. It’s not often you get to read a new vampires perspective, to see them going through the adjustments, the first hunt, and that’s exactly where Vaughn took us. In Kitty Goes to Washington, we’re introduced to Alette and her Family. During the final battle, a mortal member of her Family is turned and Life is the Teacher gives us her perspective on the first hunt. I’m not going to say who it is in case someone hasn’t read the novel yet, but it is someone who we have met and gotten to know. I don’t want to give too much away, but the story was really good and definitely kept with the Kitty Norville world. The story does not feature Kitty, however, so you won’t have to worry about reading the Norville series before this one.

Moonlight Becomes You by Linda Winstead Jones
I’m not sure what I think about this story. It seems very anticlimatic and kind of boring. It was too easy to skim through and get to the ending. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, but I’m not feeling anything for it either. The story is about a girl who thinks her neighbor is a vampire and she sets out to prove it. Yeah, I’m not really feeling this story and I just put it down and it’s already out of my head.

Dirty Magic by Kim Harrison
This story was actually kind of sad, but still great.  We’ve met Mia, the banshee, before (I know we have, I just can’t think of where) and we’re given a story in her perspective.  A banshee is an emotional vampire and it can be hard for them to love since they tend to suck all the emotion out of a room; so what happens when a banshee falls in love?  We get to see Mia struggle with this very concept.  I won’t say anything else, but I will say that this was kind of sad and depressing.  Although, I think it’s a teaser into Harrison’s new young adult series, which involves a teenage banshee.  Harrison did a really good job with Dirty Magic.

Overall, the anthology Hotter than Hell had it’s hits and misses, but I think it’s a really good novel for someone who wants a little variety and isn’t really sure what they want out of a paranormal book.  There were a ton of different magical creatures and all of the authors gave their own spin on all of them.  I’ve heard of some of these authors, but the vast majority of them were new to me and I did end up adding one or two of them to my TBR list, so the novel fulfilled it’s purpose for me.  For the authors I did know, I was so not disappointed with their contributions.

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About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.