Blood Moon (Lovespell) by Dawn Thompson is up first with her contribution to the already-glutted vampire market. Jon Hyde-White and his beloved fiancee Cassandra Thorpe have been attacked by a vampire, though not fully changed. Yet. In order to keep that from happening, they travel far from the English countryside to hunt down the creature that is still thirsting for their blood. I admit to giving up on this one before I reached the halfway point and skimming after that. Jon is very noble, almost too noble to be believed, and this one just didn't do anything for me. I much preferred her The Falcon's Bride from last year. I'm sure there are plenty of you who adore the vampires who will disagree with me.
Prince of Magic (Berkley) by Linda Winstead Jones is next, with the first of the children of her Fyne sisters. Ariana Kane Varden uses her healing powers to aid the dying emperor. Mage Sian Chamblyn has come to deliver his grandfather's last prophecy to her emperor, and finds that he must train her to battle a truly evil force. Watching Sian slowly come to care for Ariana will keep you turning pages, though you will have to wait till next month for the second installment in the continuing tale, and until the month after for the last of it. However, Ariana and Sian's portion of the story is quite good and left me disappointed when I reached the end. I wanted more of them. I hope the next two cousins' tales are equally engaging. This one has earned four of Cupid's five arrows.
Dragon Lovers (Signet) has stories from Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Karen Harbaugh, and Barbara Samuel. A number of years ago, these same authors banded together to write a quartet of very good faery stories, so I was excited when I saw this one. I wasn't disappointed. Beverley's "The Dragon and the Virgin Princess" has a princess set to do her royal duty when the ancient ritual is turned upside-down by a man bent on righting the wrong the last princess did to his people. Along the way, he falls in love with the rather quirky and modern princess, but that stands in the way of his own duty. Putney's "The Dragon and the Dark Knight" features Sir Kenrick, a noble knight who embodies everything a good knight should. But he finds that his quest isn't turning out quite as he'd expected when he's rescued by the dragon he set out to kill. And the dragon has a granddaughter, Ariane, who persuades him to chance his mission. "Anna and the King of Dragons" by Harbaugh has a unique setting with Anna left alone in Japan after her parents' deaths, and the dragon and samurai who save her more than once. And both could persuade her to stay rather than return home to the Netherlands. Samuel's "Dragon Feathers" has a modern setting, with Penny Freeman starting a new life in Santa Fe and finding that she may have gotten more than she bargained for. Her new teacher's son, Joaquin, attracts her, but he keeps his distance while guarding her against some odd occurrences and people. Of all these, my favorite s were the first two, and the fourth my least favorite: I wanted more romance between Penny and Joaquin there. Still, a very good collection. It's also earned four arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!