Thursday, October 2, 2014

Short stories: Lara Adrian / Meljean Brook

Determined to solve a string of brutal slayings in London, vampire warrior Mathias Rowan is forced to seek the help of Nova, a fiery tattoo artist who ignites an unexpected, yet undeniable, passion in the grim Order enforcer.
Nova’s shadowy connections and dark talents may be Mathias’s best hope of unmasking a treacherous enemy . . . but falling for a woman with her dangerous past will risk both their hearts and their lives.


For a year and a half, Olivia Martin has tried to forget Erik Gulbrandr, the glacial man who’d scorched her mouth with a single kiss. But when Olivia finds herself snowbound with Erik on the winter solstice, she discovers that the man who set her body aflame is cursed by abominable needs — and a desire that might destroy them both...

Comment: These two short stories were part of the final reads of September. I wanted small stories to wrap up my month before starting bigger books, leaving them for October.
Both stories are paranormal and have a HEA, both have a seriously too fast love development, but the similarities end there. Still, I enjoyed reading them, and I think both had what it would take to make them successful as bigger books.

Marked by Midnight is set on the vampire world of the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian. The story features a recurrent character, Matthias, and how, due to a mission, he meets Nova, a tattoo artist who might be the last person to have seen a dead someone with strange tattoos. 
The story is really short, only 90 pages, and the author took the time to set up, to create an aura around the characters and in particular, Nova's. Of course, some things are inferred, especially for those who have read other books from the series. The book can be read as a stand alone but it gains a lot from previous knowledge if the reader has done so.
The romance is the loser here, because not only does it happens fast, but it ends up too perfect. Personally I wouldn't have minded this to be more of a set up perhaps, and in the future a full length story. I think the author was clever in the whole environment feel but clearly, the romance was really lacking, so a just barely there grade.
Grade: 5/10

Frozen is a stand alone novella, written by Meljean Brooke, which I got thanks to Hilcia! Thank you again!
The story is written in a contemporary setting and features a pair of co workers who seemed to hit if off but after a kiss, Eric was rude and never treated Olivia well again. Time has passed and Olivia is asked to deliver papers to Eric at his house before Christmas holidays on her way home. However, Olivia isn't happy about it because she knows he will be rude and is even more appalled when he seems sick which makes her feel guilty to leave him. Apparently it's what he wants but when she tries to leave, her jeep is destroyed. That's when she learns about the curse Eric suffers and how she was the one who made it happen.
The story has a great world build and several suspense moments. The romance is slower to develop but it's noticed better because they have met before, so it doesn't have the feel of insta-love. Still, the way they solve things and finally admit their feelings just because of the happenings at the time seemed rather like an excuse and for plot purposes.
The plot itself is well recognized and seen in these types of stories and genre, I liked the steps taken to find a solution and I liked how the characters seemed to slowly got to know each other better and their reasons and pasts. The end wasn't completely perfect and it had the issues about fastness like I mentioned, but overall, it was entertaining and had its romantic moments; also the chemistry was a strong point too.
Grade: 7/10

-> All in all, two interesting novellas, workable tools which would have been well used if the stories were to be full length and captivating characters. I think the best part is to embrace and enjoy the authors' abilities to write well and in a way that is solid and structured and with a certain goal.
Sure, both could have been better, but together they work just fine for their purpose.

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