Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume I by Cindy Spencer Pape, Shannon Stacey, and Adreinne Giordano
Source: Review copy from publisher
There’s a time and a place for romance: any time, any place!
In honor of our second anniversary, Carina Press brings you a trio of amazing novellas by some of the freshest voices in romance today! A highland laird and an unconventional physician fight monsters and fall in love in Cindy Spencer Pape’s Kilts and Kraken. In Adrienne Giordano’s Negotiating Point, two security operatives try–and fail–to keep their professional distance while working a high-stakes case. And a driven career woman takes a detour to enjoy Slow Summer Kisses in a contemporary story by Shannon Stacey. Three very different tales, three very happy endings.
Edited by Angela James.
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There are three stories in this volume. I was only familiar with one author — Cindy Spencer Pape — when I started and her story was definitely my favourite but I did enjoy the others, too. Here’s what I thought of each one.
Magnus, Baron Findlay, longs to bring the wonders of the steam age to his remote island home, but his hands are full fighting the vicious kraken ravaging the coast. When he’s swept to sea during battle and washes up on the shore of an isle in the Hebrides, he is near death.
Struggling to establish herself as one of the first female physicians in Edinburgh, Dr. Geneva MacKay is annoyed when The Order of the Round Table sends her north to care for an injured highlander. To heal him, Geneva escorts the handsome warrior home, just in time to defend the villagers from another onslaught.
As the attacks escalate and they work together to fight off the threat, neither Geneva nor Magnus can resist the overwhelming attraction between them. But as their relationship deepens, a new threat arises–from within the village itself…
Clocking in at 37,000 words, this is the longest story in the volume, which works for me since it was the main reason I requested the title on NetGalley. I don’t think I’ve posted about this series yet (shame on me!) but I really enjoy Cindy Spencer Pape’s steampunk series. The stories are fun, the world and characters engaging, which makes for some delightful escapist reading, especially when you know the characters are going to get a Happily Ever After.
In Kilts and Kraken, we get to meet some new characters, though familiar faces do make an appearance. Geneva is not a member of the Order of the Round Table per se but she is closely tied to the organization since both her father and brother serve. She’s also a pioneer — a female doctor with her own practice in 1850s Edinburgh — but she is willing to travel at her father’s request, which is how she meets Magnus, one of several kilt wearers in the story. I really liked both of these characters but it was the secondary characters that warmed my heart. (You’ll see what I mean when you read the novella. I don’t want to spoil it.)
Plot-wise, Kilts and Kraken is very satisfying and the pages just fly by as you wait to see how the kraken problem will be solved and if Magnus and Geneva will be able to overcome the obstacles in their way. I read it rather quickly in a single sitting. 🙂
This story is a great entry in the Gaslight Chronicles and I can’t wait to see what this author has in store for us next. She’s created a marvellous world that I love visiting!
P.S. The asterisk next to the series number is there because Kilts and Kraken is the third Gaslights Chronicles story but only the first one was a full-length novel.
Anna Frazier is used to living life at 100 mph, but being downsized out of a job in the financial industry has her permanently stalled. With nowhere to go, go, go, Anna hails a cab to her grandparents’ neglected New Hampshire camp to plan her next move. It seems like a good idea–until she realizes there’s no takeout to be had and the boy next door has grown into a sexy but surly recluse.
Cameron Mayfield knows he can kiss his peace and quiet goodbye when Hurricane Anna blows in. She was loud and bossy as a ten-year-old–and besides developing some attractive curves, she hasn’t changed. Cam’s not looking for a relationship, especially not with a woman like Anna. He nearly broke down on that road once before. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?
It’s not long before their sizzling attraction leads to smoking-hot kisses. But as the days get shorter, Anna must decide if she’s found a new road to happiness, or just taken a detour.
This novella is a bit shorter than Kilts and Kraken, coming in at 25,000 words, but it’s the perfect length for this story. I don’t read contemporary romance all that often so this was a welcome departure for me. I’ve never read anything by Shannon Stacey but I did like Slow Summer Kisses enough to see if the library carries any of her other work.
Slow Summer Kisses is a solid novella. I liked Cam and Anna, I thought the set up was believable, and their romance lovely. Anna discovers what’s really important in life and learns a lot about herself along the way. Cam, well he doesn’t learn anything as significant, but he does make a handsome, surly foil for Anna, which I always like in a contemporary romance.
As a hostage negotiator for Taylor Security, Gavin Sheppard has just been given the toughest assignment of his career: securing the release of his boss’s pregnant wife. He’s uneasy negotiating a rescue without the involvement of the police, but with the life of a woman and her unborn child on the line there’s no time to play by the rules. He’ll have to work closely with the one woman who could prove to be a distraction…
Janet Fink, the agency’s tech geek, is conflicted about working alongside the man she’s irresistibly attracted to. Though she’s determined not to risk her career by getting involved with a coworker, especially a superior, she can’t forget the passionate kiss they once shared…
With the kidnappers’ deadline fast approaching, Gavin and Janet must combine their skills to bring the missing woman home alive. But their undeniable chemistry is making it difficult to keep their relationship purely professional…
This was probably my least favourite story in the anthology, not because it was poorly written or anything but because I didn’t love the situation in which Janet and Gavin fall in love. It seems incredibly inappropriate to be stealing kisses in the midst of a hostage situation where you are very connected to the victim (their boss’ wife).
That aside, I did like Janet and Gavin. I thought their reservations about having a relationship were realistic and I thought they had good chemistry. Would I buy a book from this series? Probably not, but I would borrow it from the library. I enjoy romantic suspense and the series seems like it might be fun.
This book was one of the many titles on my NetGalley Knockout list!
Thanks, as always, to Christen of Goldilox and the Three Weres for putting this together.