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Friday, September 07, 2007

Boundless

Yummy Cover!



I had been looking forward to the anthology Boundless, for awhile now. Long ago, when I read and loved Bone Deep, I of course then went to check out Bonnie Dee's website. I was intrigued by a story about a scarecrow. But when I got around to actually purchasing it, it was unavailable, due to Venus Press going belly up. So I was excited to see it coming out again. Plus the other two entries sounded intriguing and were by Dionne Galace (the artist formerly known as Bam) and Annie Dean, who I was familiar with from lurking about at It's Not Chick Porn. Hmmm...I guess it's time to officially move Bam to the writer blog section. Anyhoo, I bought this immediately, and am happy to say that it's the most satisfying anthology I've read in a rilly, rilly long time. I actually can't remember the last time I finished an anthology.

**Seven Days by Annie Dean--As I said I was familiar with Ms. Dean through her blog presence, but was not particularly compelled to read her prior works. Well, that will change because I loved this story. A lot. It was my favorite of the lot. "Seven Days" is about a young novitiate named Teresa, who is visited by temptation in the form of a gorgeous incubus shortly before she is to take her final vows. If she succumbs to the temptation that the charming, handsome and demonic Dev presents, she will take his place in Hell, and he will remain to enjoy the delights of Earth.

Ms. Dean has a smooth and witty writing style that assumes the reader is intelligent. I appreciated that, as well as the fact that the story dealt thoughtfully with matters of belief and faith. The characters were great. Teresa is a devout young woman, intelligent, curious and serious. Though she can't resist her curiosity about Dev, she deals with him thoughtfully and deliberately, trying to figure out how to best outwit him. I could see how Dev would be as intrigued by her as she was by him. Dev is charming, sexy, and witty, as befits an incubus. The romance worked really well for me, a rarity in a shorter story. There was great chemistry built up by the conversations and banter between them. I loved how, even as they were adversaries aiming for opposite goals, they grew to care about each other and wanted to help each other. I even got verklempt at the end. Always a good sign (for the author, that is. Makes me feel like I'm getting soft). I'm giving this one a A, for good characters, good writing and good love story. Wonderful!

**Straw Man by Bonnie Dee--As I said, this was why I bought the book, and I must confess that I read this one first. "Straw Man" is the story of Marie, a lonely woman feeling increasingly stifled by life on her pumpkin farm. Out of boredom, she's talking to her scarecrow, for chrissakes! On Halloween night she wishes for the lover of her dreams. A few hours later he appears. That's right, ya'll, it's the scarecrow come to life!

Sounds kind of silly right? And yes, it's pretty much a standard "dream lover" type erotic romance set-up, but Dee makes it work. She captures that atmosphere of a quiet October night, when the air is crispy, the wind is blowing and the leaves are rustling, and it seems quite possible that something bizarre might happen. Marie is another likeable Dee heroine, a bit unsure, but determined to go for what she wants. And Sam (the scarecrow) was pretty delicious. He was perfect, of course, because he's what she wished for, but damn if it wasn't sexy how he just wanted to please her. Not only with awesome sex, but by eating together, or talking or cuddling. Whatever she wanted. The ending seemed a bit abrupt, but overall it was a nice, romantic, escapist, 'woman gets her every fantasy magically fulfilled' type story. I'd give it a B.

**Waking Kitty by Dionne Galace--Has-been reporter Jack Ridley and pink-haired Kitty Jones meet when a ship appears in the bar that Kitty waitresses at. Jack leads a team that investigates and debunks weird and supernatural events, and Kitty...well, Kitty has had a number of weird and supernatural events happening in her vicinity lately. The two are immediately drawn to each other, and fall in love while Jack tries to find out what's going down in Chicago and Kitty tries to figure out what is wrong with her.

I enjoyed this one as well, but I felt it could have benefited from being longer. There's a lot going on, and it felt rushed. Jack was a bad boy who just needs some good lovin' hero, right up my alley, and Kitty was a fun, quirky but not annoying character as well. But there was a little too much mental lusting at first, and the leap from attraction to love felt a bit fast for me. I also felt like the resolution, and the mystery behind Kitty's past was too quick. I liked so many things about it, but I would've liked to get to know the characters more, would've liked to see the relationship develop a bit more and would've liked to hear more about Kitty's mysterious past. I do have a liking a for quirky characters and stories where weird stuff just starts happening, and I liked Kitty and Jack, so B-. I will keep an eye out for Ms. Galace's future work, because she's got a fun style.

I'm going to give Boundless a B+ overall. I don't know if that's mathematically correct, and I don't care. This was the strongest anthology I've read in recent memory, with three slightly offbeat, romantic and enjoyable stories.

4 comments:

Ann Aguirre said...

Wow, thank you, Devon. This made my day. What a wonderful review.

Devon said...

It was a great story and a great collection.

Shannon said...

I’ve never heard of this book but I must agree the cover looks rather yummy. I’m always a sucker for a good anthology; I just love finding other authors so I’m going to add this to my next book order.

Devon said...

Thanks for stopping by, Shannon. I hope you liked the book, I really enjoyed it.