REVIEW: Love and Lore by Gia Dawn, Sela Carsen and Carolan Ivey
Ladies, I’d like to thank all three of you for the opportunity to review your newest novellas in the “Love and Lore” anthology at Samhain. The covers are gorgeous, the stories are hot and the Samhain content warning is, as always, fun in and of itself. Who comes up with those warnings? If I’m reading the site correctly, Samhain is offering all three books together in print or individually as ebooks and there’s a short video as well.
Ms Dawn, your story, “A Fairy Special Gift” starts us out with rowdy fairies, a lovelorn Celtic god, a banshee who needs a makeover and two special humans who can both see them all. Meara Magee hates the nasty little fairies who’ve pestered her since she was a child. I loved the image of her defending herself with flyswatters and putting out wasp traps. Jamison Murphy has come to terms with them and always carries his anti-fairy secret mix with him. But since the fairies brought them together, maybe Meara can finally admit that they have their uses. Her cat thinks otherwise.
Since your novella is the shortest of the three, you have to bring your leads together a bit faster than I usually like to see. That’s just my preference though. Things heat up quickly between them but you did build some time into the story for them to get to know each other. What brings my grade down is the almost Mary Sue quality to Meara. Everybody’s hot for her from the fairies who won’t leave her alone to Lugh, the seven foot god who pesters her constantly, to Banshee who can’t seem to figure out how to fix herself up without Meara’s help, to of course Jamison who has to constantly adjust his pants after he meets her. Then there’s a misunderstanding to almost end things. However I like the way the fairies come to their aid in the end and can just see the rainbow colored night light. Very nice image there. C
Ms Carsen, you’re next up with “Heart of the Sea.” After reading the first novella you sent me, I said I’d be interested in reading more of your work. This story works much better for me and I’m glad you sent it along. Merial Byrne had only dreamed of her handsome, rich boss Ronan Burbank until the day of his annual party at his family’s 100 year old Rhode Island mansion. That’s the day she tripped, fell backwards off the only damn cliff in the area and tumbled into the sea. It’s then that she discovered the ancient curse put on all the descendants of the woman with whom a selkie had fallen in love. Spurned by her, he cursed any Byrne who touched the sea into becoming a selkie for life.
Merial’s disappearance didn’t only ruin her day but started a downward slid for Ronan. Suspected of her murder, though cleared, his business and personal life were torn apart by the tabloids. It was then he discovered the financial misdoings which caused him to have to sell off his businesses piecemeal until now he’s hanging on with only a yacht building enterprise left. When the two meet again, Merial saves his life and is granted a 24 hour chance to reverse her curse. Can the two work out their differences, discover how to undo what was done and still have time to fall in love?
There’s lots of humor here from Meriel’s views on sushi to Ronan’s disbelief that a seal talked to him after saving his life. I was starting to write down some questions about how certain things were known by certain people (how’s that for a vague attempt to avoid a spoiler?) when you answered it a little later in the story. I was puzzled about why the villain didn’t make a move against Merial for seven years. And I assume that his intense interest in Merial is what caused Ronan to mess up his multiplication answer? I liked that the seals were ready to help Merial save her true love and the acknowledgment that Ronan and Merial were going to have some work on their hands to fit her back into society. After all, they can’t explain away her absence for that long by telling authorities she’s been a selkie for seven years! B
Ms Ivey you conclude the anthology with “Wildish Things” and indeed the story gets pretty strange at times. It took me awhile to wrap my mind around a goddess who’s actually the land of Ireland. Or part of Ireland. And a sexually insatiable goddess at that. The Hag wants a man and she senses that wildlife artist Beith Molloy can deliver one. Kellan O’Neill doesn’t realize he’s the chosen man. All he wants is a short, hot fling with the woman his brother was hired to guide to wildlife sites. A brief glance at the information faxed over about Beith and he’s off to the airport to pick her up and whisk her off on his Harley to the west of Ireland — and straight to the Hag.
Pretty soon they both sense a presence but Beith’s going to give the Hag a run for her money. And despite the year old extensive injuries she’s barely recovered from, they manage a night even the Hag would be proud of. But how can Beith believe in what she thought she’d found with Kellan when his lies are exposed and reality rears its ugly head?
I’m glad you had your characters raise some of the questions that I had about this story. When Kellan is amazed that Beith is willing to leave the airport with him without even asking for any id from him, I was nodding my head. I could understand that Beith wanted to conquer some demons by climbing on the Harley for what she thought was going to be a short ride. I was amazed at her stamina, given her severe injuries, for the night after she spent all day being jounced around on it. From your dedication, I can see that you do know what you’re talking about in regard to those injuries. I like that Beith and Kellan take time to sort out their feelings for each other and neither rushes things to a HEA. I also think I agree with Beith about spending any time under that dolman pictured on the cover. Even Hag spit has to wear down after a few millennium! I do have one question though. I never was quite sure if