Reviewed by Cass, Marlene, and Lou
Where did you get the book: e-ARC Netgalley
Release date: 25th November
Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark…
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.
From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn’t a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.
It’s seer Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms.
Thoughts on Secrets at Midnight by Nalini Singh
Cass: My overwhelming feeling throughout this story was irritation that it took Bastien so long to figure out what was obvious to the readers the second he mentioned the alleged “strangeness” about her scent.
Marlene: I think I enjoyed this story the most of any of the tales in this collection. That may be because Singh’s Psy/Changeling world is the one of the four that I am most familiar with.
The issue with Kirby’s scent at the beginning, well, I didn’t remember that her particular condition was possible. Initially, I wondered if she was pregnant with a shifter baby, and that was the confusion. I’m glad it wasn’t that, “secret baby” is not my favorite trope. However, the story as a whole felt a bit like Singh-lite – it didn’t have the depth that most of this series has had for me. I wish Kirby had been all one thing, and not so confused – it made her weak as a heroine.
Cass: I’m not a fan of the Psy/Changeling series, so perhaps I was assisted by not knowing it was not supposed to be possible. It is something you see a lot in urban fantasy, so it jumped out at me right away.
Lou: Nalini Singh never fails to deliver in her Psy/Changelling series and her novellas are no different. I did enjoy this one but its not my favourite. I’m also not a fan of the secret baby trope so I was glad it was a case of unknown identity (sorta. sorry, trying to avoid spoilers). I don’t know why but I wasn’t engrossed with Bastian and Kirby’s romance. Like Marlene mentions, I didn’t feel as if there was that much depth and I think it comes down to the instant love/lust which didn’t work as well for me in this couple. I did love the family dynamics and loved seeing Mercy, and Kirby grow into herself.
Thoughts on Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews
Cass: Yay! More Jim and Dali! Though I was a little put off that we spent so much time with Dali trying to keep their relationship secret.
Marlene: I wish this was not the second story in the set where the heroine saw herself as “less than”, especially considering that her changeling form was a siberian tiger! How is a tiger less than anything except maybe an elephant? That she had incorporated so many messages that she wasn’t good enough drove me bats. Especially because she was so very, very good at her magic. I liked Dali a lot, and I’m glad the story ends with her accepting her strengths instead of her weaknesses. And all the info about the source of her magic was very cool.
Lou: JIM AND DALI FOREVA
The smexing was also hawt. Very, very hawt.
Cass: I agree with you both. I’m equal parts YAY JIM AND DALI and “seriously Dali, you change into a fucking magic Siberian Tiger. You’re awesome.” If Ilona and Gordan are reading this, however, I demand more Barbaras. Barbaras! Barbaras! (Who was sadly absent in this outing).
Thoughts on The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane
Cass: Dumbest. Man. Alive.
Marlene: While I love the concept of the warrior woman heroine, I found this story to be deadly dull. Also deadly grim. In order for this one to have made more sense to me, I needed way more background on how things went this far to hell in the handbasket. And what that handbasket was made of. This story felt like a badly condensed version of a much bigger book. And while that bigger book has some really nasty stuff in it, I think I’d be interested in giving it a go, especially since Milla Vane is an alter-ego for Meljean Brook.
Cass: Wait, that was Meljean? Seriously? I never thought one of her stories would bore me.
Lou: Because my creaky self got sent into hospital, I’ve not yet read The Beast of Blackmoor.
Thoughts on Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin
Cass: Shall we play PNR tropes bingo?!
Virginal heroine? Check!
Unique power that is inherently fragile? Check!
Supernatural conspiracy surrounding ignorant heroine? Check!
Bad Boy hero who is suspiciously powerful? Check!
Bad Boy hero forced to protect heroine’s magic woo-woo against his will? Check!
Bad Boy takes virginal lady to sex club, using scary rep to “protect” her? Check!
Ancient probably evil supernatural guy randomly into boning fragile heroine for inexplicable reasons? Check!
BINGO! And I didn’t even have to use the free space.
Marlene: This is the one that left me totally cold. I haven’t read the SPI series, so I didn’t know who all these players are and I desperately needed a scorecard – and not Cass’ PNR tropes bingo card either. In the end, it felt like all setup and no delivery.
Grading a collection is always difficult. Some stories work, and some just don’t, and everyone’s mileage varies. Taking all the stories into consideration, and my reaction to them, here goes.
I give Night Shift a C+.
Lou: Again, because my creaky self got sent into hospital, I’ve not yet read Lucky Charms so I can only grade the anthology on the two stories I read and they alone make The Night Shift Anthology a solid B+
I shall read the other two stories ASAP and upgrade my review.
Cass: I’d give the respective stories a C-, B+, F, and D-. Which means that as a whole, Night Shift is a solid C-.