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Kiss and Spell
by Liz Schulte
Series: Abyss World 23.5, Althea Rose - xx.5, Blossom Bay Shorts 2, Broken Heart Worlds 2, Cupid Inc. 2.75, Deadwood 6.5, Deadwood Shorts 3, Halloween LaVeau 5.5, Jade Calhoun 7.5, Knead to Know 1.5, Nocturne Falls 5.5, Peculiar Mysteries 1.5, Stacy Justice 1.5, Stacy Justice 2.5, ToadWitch - 02.5
Genres: Paranormal Romance
“A magical taste of love and kisses in this anthology of eleven brand new paranormal short stories” revolving around Valentine’s Day.
On the whole, the writing appears aimed at young adult readers — no offense YAers. It’s easy to see the difference in quality and depth if you read Ann Charles’ “Cold Flame” and then the others. They also need a better proofreader.
“Psyche Souffle” (Abyss World, 23.5; Knead to Know, 1.5)
“A Bourbon Street Valentine” (Jade Calhoun, 7.5)
“Tequila Shots & Valentine Knots” (Althea Rose – xx.5)
“Vampire’s Valentine Surprise” (Nocturne Falls, 5.5)
“Deadly Diamonds” (Stacy Justice, 1.5)
“Kidnapping Cupid” (Stacy Justice, 2.5; ToadWitch – 02.5??)
“Forever Valentine” (Halloween LaVeau, 5.5)
“Romance by the Bay” (Blossom Bay Shorts, 2)
“My Furry Valentine” (Peculiar Mysteries, 1.5)
“Cupid’s Valentine” (Cupid, Inc., 2.75)
“Cold Flame” (Deadwood Shorts, 3)
Liz Schulte‘s “Psyche Souffle” finds Maggie, the half-vampire baker, consulting with her partner, Izzy, about a Valentine’s special they’re planning for Knead to Know. And it’s Cupid’s love life that needs fixing… Cute.
Deanna Chase‘s “A Bourbon Street Valentine” finds Kat Hart, a jewelry designer, doing box office business on Valentine’s Day. Turns out Eros has his own agenda for Valentine’s Day and hosts his very own reality show.
The idea was cute, but it was too hokey for me.
Tricia O’Malley‘s “Tequila Shots & Valentine’s Knots” is all about the Lonely Hearts party on Valentine’s Day in Tequila Key where it gets out of hand, turning into an orgy of love.
It had its cute moments, but there was too many bits and pieces of back history that didn’t really provide me with any meat.
Kristen Painter‘s “The Vampire’s Valentine Surprise” finds Delaney Bellingham, a vampire, worked up over a bake-off. This is a sweet — I know, I know, I’ve already said “sweet” — story about life in a small town as Painter introduces us to the townspeople and their interactions. It’s a dip into their lives, but at least it’s a complete story.
Barbra Annino‘s “Deadly Diamonds” takes a while to reveal each hint about the character. Turns out that Great-aunt Fiona is being held hostage by six knives and the ghost of an ex-love. Another cute story about family. And could use some growing up.
Christiana Miller‘s “Kidnapping Cupid” is definitely an oops. God knows, I’d like to kill Eros what with that mouth of his! Seems he comes in three flavors: young, teenaged, and adult. It also explains why we need a Cupid to find love. And that’s just one of the stories in this short. The Devil shows up here as well, and he reminds me of an Eve Langlais story.
Rose Pressey‘s “Forever Valentine” finds Halloween LaVeau throwing a party where some joker screws up the spell on the cookies. There’s a lot of tell in this and could also use some growing up.
Tonya Kappes‘s “Romance by the Bay” finds a tourist bringing his dog in for an emergency to the one vet who can talk to him. The dog, I mean. It’s another cozy story in a small town with the added benefit of talking pets. It’s sweet how the town jumps in and tries to help when the shelter is threatened, but again, it could use some growing up in this tale of true love.
“Not like my idiot human who thought it was smart to give me a chicken tender. Sure, I begged for it, but I’m a dog. Idiot.”
I gotta remember this when my cats are giving me the stinkeye. Whatever does Kappes mean when she says “he donated everything but this land”? Wouldn’t it make more sense that he hadn’t donated the land so they could stay?
Renee George‘s “My Furry Valentine” is a run-up to the Valentine Day’s wedding of Sunny Haddock and Babel Trimmel with all the issues and family problems. This is a sweet one, with yes, the small town of shifters that step up to help out. Only there is more to the Trimmel family history than anyone suspected.
Michele Bardsley‘s “Cupid’s Valentine” finds Aphrodite pushing for romance in the Mile-Hi Club between rival magazine editors. While it’s a cute story — I love the ending, Bardsley’s telling and the major lack of proofreading was distracting “too be honest”.
Ann Charles‘s “Cold Flame” is a back history into how Zoe Parker met Reid Martin of the glass jaw and shying nature. This one was a pip and the best of the bunch. I gotta put her on my TBR.
The Cover and Title
The cover is vivid in its gradation of sky blue down to the bright fuchsia at the bottom with a vertical curtain of rain giving a Matrix-like feel to the background. A sexy cartoon witch in trademark witch’s hat with its fuchsia ribbon and flower, a long ponytail of red hair curling around her ankles and her red-violet mini dress atop thigh-high zippered FM boots is waving her star-topped wand as a black cat lies at her feet.
The title is the theme for this anthology of short stories, the Kiss and Spell of Valentine’s Day.