What can I say, I’m in a romance mood, so I started off my anthology binge with Four Dukes and a Devil, one of the new romance anthologies that recently came out. Now, I haven’t read a lot (or any) of Cathy Maxwell, Elaine Fox, Sophia Nash and Tracy Anne Warren, but when I saw that Jeaniene Frost had contributed a story, I was all over it.
Delicate young ladies must be protected from him.
First he steals her clothes, then he steals her heart.
Most would be terrified of this powerful vampire—but not him.
He’s “the catch of the century”. . . but she’s the only one he can’t have.
A young miss demands a kiss. But he won’t rest once she’s touched her lips to his.
With four dukes and one devil, there’s no limit on love.
The Irish Duke by Cathy Maxwell
At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of The Irish Duke by Cathy Maxwell. I know anthologies are a bunch of short stories, but the romance just seemed a little too quick for me. But then, I really started thinking about it and it gives us the perfect love at first sight type of romance. I mean, we’ve been given the idea of love at first sight, but the couples tend to fight it and this time around, they don’t. It was different and totally worked once I thought about it.
Although, I will say that there was some characters involved that I really didn’t need. Susan’s sisters show up one too many times and I really don’t get their presence. I think the story could have been done without them (or maybe with just one of them) and everything would have still been fine. Overall, good story and I may have to check out more of Cathy Maxwell’s work.
The Duke Who Came to Dinner by Elaine Fox
Yeah, I’m not feeling this one. I’m not sure if it was the story or just my frame of mind, but The Duke Who Came to Dinner really didn’t keep my attention. There really wasn’t all that much to the story and it kind of cut off abruptly. Honestly, it’s not sticking in my brain and there’s nothing really memorable about it. The events were kind of dull and for being a romance, there really wasn’t much. It’s almost as if this was the start to a full length novel and then Fox decided to cut it down to a novella. There was no development to the relationship or at least nothing exciting. Whereas The Irish Duke had more of a love-at-first-sight appeal that worked, The Duke Who Came to Dinner didn’t.
Devil to Pay by Jeaniene Frost
I’m a huge Jeaniene Frost fan, in fact that’s the reason I’m even reading this collection, but I have to say, I was iffy on her story. Don’t get me wrong, it was still fabulous, it just wasn’t Cat and Bones. I guess I just didn’t feel like the chemistry was there for Elise and Blake that Cat and Bones seem to have. Or even the chemistry Ian and Justina have (if you want to call it chemistry). Although, the more I think on it, it was a different kind of chemistry. Blake didn’t have a reason to hate vampires, so when he met Elise, there really was nothing standing in the way of their relationship other than the demon. I need to remember that not everything Frost writes is going to involve Cat and Bones, and without those two interfering, Devil to Pay was a good story.
Catch of the Century by Sophia Nash
It was okay, but I wouldn’t call it the greatest romance out there, which is the reason why it’s okay. I loved the characters and the what they put each other through, but I’m thinking Catch of the Century would probably been better as a full length novel. I just didn’t see the romance blooming. He really did nothing to court her and it was more of a love-at-first-sight type of thing and only one-sided throughout the whole thing and even then we find out it wasn’t (sorry if that’s a spoiler). I mean, the premise was really good, but it felt too much like they ended up together because they were suppose to, but that’s about it. I would have liked to seen more. I would definitely pick this up if it was a full length novel. As a short story, it’s not a keeper.
Charmed by Her Smile by Tracy Anne Warren
Ohhhh….Charmed by Her Smile is a fabulous ending to this collection. I have to say, I really enjoyed this story by Warren. It did what Catch of the Century had the potential to be and kept me completely fascinated with the characters. Of all the stories, this has got to be my favorite of the bunch and the reason I loved historical romances. This has totally put me in the mood for a really good historical romance. Warren really developed the characters of India (great unique name) and Quentin rather well and I had a really hard time putting this story down. I would definitely recommend this book on this story along.
Overall, Four Dukes and a Devil was good, but it’s one I probably won’t keep. It’s a toss up because Charmed by Her Smile was that good, and it does contain a Frost story, but I don’t know. Either way, if you’re in the mood for a good historical read, definitely pick this book up the next time you’re at the library.
Also reviewed by:
Genre Go Round Reviews
The Good The Bad and the Unread
I really like how you reviewed this anthology. I always feel overwhelmed when I have to review multiple stories in one book, since I haven’t reviewed that many of them. This was a nice way to do it.
Anthology binge? Do I need to hear more about this?
I love anthologies, what a great way to meet new authors.
Elie (Ellz Readz)
I bought this book because of Jeaniene Frost too. I didn’t know the other authors and I did enjoy the short stories and have since read stories by Cathy Maxwell and Tracy Ann Warren. Nice review.
Rachel – I do it this way, that way I can write the review for each story as I read it and not have to remember it after I’m finished with the collection. It took me two months to read this one and it would have been horrible to try and write one review all at once.
Nicola – yea…the anthology binge fizzled out before it even started. I was going to try and get through all the anthologies on my desk during August, but then reading just didn’t sound tempting for a bit there. I just finished this last night.
Elie – oh yeah, love anthologies for especially that reason. I had only read Frost in this collection so now I know a few other authors to check out later.
Patti – those were my two favorites as well.
I know the feeling. I’ve been trying to decide whether I want to do anything this year on anthologies or not. I don’t think I could manage the number of anthos that I did last year– or rather, I don’t think I want to.
How many anthos did you end up doing? I have the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance sitting on my desk. There’s no way I’m getting through that this year. We should do a mini challenge to get through them in February or something. :)
I read/reviewed 11 different anthologies last December. Thing is, I don’t love the novella format, but still end up wanting them because of the author. Kresley Cole’s released yesterday… in HARDBACK! I’d do almost anything for the KC love, but I won’t do that.
I’ve got a T-13 post percolating for 13 2009 anthologies, and I thought maybe I’d include a poll about doing another antholopalooza… but it might be more like one antho post a week instead of the whole month.
Maybe we could do a meme for 2010? Like, review a novella or SS on Saturday, or something? That would be easier than asking for a whole anthology review and people could cherry-pick their fave author out of a collection.
Short Story Saturday? That would be awesome and it would give me something to post on the weekends that I could do ahead of time. That’s a great idea Nicola. I would be up for that if you are. Do a new meme or something where others could join in and then leave links via a Mr. Linky somewhere. That would be cool.
I like it….