I will admit to writing this review because this book really, really irritated me. It was one of those books that you read and wish that: A. You hadn't spent actual money on it and B. You really, really wish you could get that hour and a half of your life back.
WARNING: If you are planning to read this book this review contains spoilers.
I like Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I often find the stories she turns into shorts are the ones I wish she'd "novelize," (and some of her novels I really could live with if they were just shorts). This short story was set in the distant outer space future and not part of any of her current series, so far as I know. ***Note: This series is now out, it is "The League" and is some of Kenyon's best work.*** It was short and sweet, emphasis on the way, way too short; it felt like huge chunks of the story were missing. The story is of the young princess Livia whose abusive father is forcing her to marry the really old disgusting guy to cement a trade agreement. Old smelly guy demands a virgin; so in order to escape from him and to escape from trading one kind of enslaved captive life for another (only involving icky groping this time), she sneaks out to a bar to find a cherry popper. There she finds Adron, who we later find out is the prince of the planet they happen to be on. Adron is damaged and frail thanks to an earlier encounter with a psychopath while saving an innocent kid (how disgustingly sweet). Princess has sex with Adron, Daddy tracks her down in the morning and barges into their bedroom. Daddy threatens her, and in a bid to protect her Adron claims he took her for wife and she agrees. Princess is a magic healer, ends up healing Adron at the cost of her own health, but her mommy the better healer shows up to save her, too. Happy ending is had. I don't like space operas. I don't like futuristic romances for the most part. This story is the exception. This story's biggest problem was that it was too short, I'd like to see a longer, better fleshed out version, and as much as I hate to say it (I really do have this strange aversion to space romance), I'd even read this if it turned into a series.
That said and moving on, the other three stories in this book were a waste of space that made my head hurt.
The Maggie Shayne short is the story of psychic girl who gets visions of the future who ends up with the detective cursed to die at 35 (like all the men of his family). Together they try to investigate a series of unconvincing rape/murders. It turns out the so-called "curse" on our hero is his (utterly mundane) fatherly boss, the chief of police, who is also conveniently the raping murderer. I'm not a big Shayne fan, even her vampire romances are formulaic and trite with few exceptions, and this story is in that same category. Her detective is a moron and a jacka--; apparently cops in Shayne's world have the crime solving IQ of cabbages (with a general IQ no higher...) and her psychic is a useless ninny.
Shocking Lucy by Suzanne Forster is as dumb as its title. Girl is engaged, girl's fiancé has friend seduce girl to see if it's really true love, Girl and dumb seducer fall in love, Girl decides not to be with either one of them because of the "deception", seducer makes grand gesture and wins girl back. Awful. Unpleasant. Nausea inducing. I can't even say I hated the characters in this story, because, while they were so offensively moronic as to inspire hatred, they were too shallow to even care about enough to hate. Before I review a book, especially if I'm going to give a negative review I re-read it in an attempt to be fair. I tried to re-read this story before reviewing it, but about 10 pages in I got so annoyed that I flipped to the end. I just couldn't bring myself to reread it. In fact, I'm concerned that the awful dullness of this story will cause me to block it from my memory and in a horrible moment of brain lapse I'll mistakenly re-read it and hate myself forever. I need to remind myself I should never visit this story again, I'm thinking of making a note of that in black permanent ink on the first page of it but can't bring myself to deface a book.
I wanted to like Virginia Kantra's Midsummer Night's Magic because I like fairytales. I wanted, I tried, and I failed miserably. This is a modern retelling of Tam Lin (girl's beau gets kidnapped by Queen of Fae and girl has to hold on to him all night to win him back, despite various and painful transformations on his part). In this version girl is a librarian and boy is the guy she was dating who disappeared 14 years earlier (they had a fight and he walked out and never came back, turns out he went to play with the fairies). She runs into him in the woods on Beltane thanks to a fan belt that snaps and strands the AAA-less twit (rant: if you have zero mechanical aptitude, it's okay, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Just, for crying out loud, own up to it and get roadside assistance, or have a mechanically inclined friend on speed dial, or at least have some vague, foggy notion of something you could possibly do in the event of vehicle failure beyond hoping a mysterious stranger will magically appear and fix your car and won't murder you for having brains made of porridge and being too stupid to live.)
(Back to the review) "Wow, he bears a remarkable resemblance to someone I knew many years ago," our brainiac opines when the handsome stranger comes wandering out of the woods, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, demanding she remove her pantyhose so he can fix her car (see, too stupid to live, brains that would envy porridge). Car fixed, girl drives away. Months later (maybe it was days, or weeks, who cares?) girl sees boy a second time driving in the same middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, has random sex with him in the woods, and gets herself knocked up. She is still too stupid to figure out who he is, even after he TELLS her what's going on. Finally, Puck visits her and spells it out for her in little teeny tiny words she can understand, sort of. She goes back to the woods on Halloween to Face Off with the Fae in an absurd (I don't know if it's the fact that the author found the description of the shirt necessary or the idea of the shirt itself I found so incredibly absurd, but it certainly stayed with me) Pumpkin shirt and a f(very bad word)ing SKIRT to play out the Tam Lin story and try to hold on to her man. First of all, I really hope my librarians are literate enough to have at least a vague recollection of classic fairytales, and second of all, WHAT LIBRARIAN, WITH AN ENTIRE LIBRARY AT HER DISPOSAL is too BLOODY STUPID to at least do SOME research into what is going on and not WEAR A SKIRT TO A SHOWDOWN??? Anywise, it's an utterly unimaginative slaughter of an old fairytale and so, of course, has an utterly inane oversimplified and predictable happy ever after that both main characters are too terminally stupid to deserve.