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I Belong

Review: Inked Anthology


Authors: Karen Chance, Marjorie M. Liu, Yasmine Galenorn, Eileen Wilks

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: January 5, 2010

Format: Paperback, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425231976 (Penguin/Berkley)

ISBN-13: 978-0425231975 (Penguin/Berkley)

Reviewed by: Kiwi


Four tales of urban fantasy and paranormal romance explore body art that is more than it seems—in a world of magic and mayhem that always leaves it mark . . .

New York Times bestselling author Karen Chance’s “Skin Deep” tells the tale of a war mage in Las Vegas who stumbles across an ominous magical ward that appears as a dragon on her skin–and has a mind of its own…

When New York Times bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu‘s demon slayer Maxine Kiss investigates a grisly murder at a high-class soirée, she finds herself involved in a conspiracy dating back to World War II–and a secret mission that her grandmother may have carried out for the US Government, one that involves the mysterious “Armor of Roses.”

In USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn’s “Etched in Silver,” a supernatural agent is on the trail of a sadistic serial killer, when an unexpected ally comes to her aid, setting in motion a magical ritual that may end up binding them together, body and soul.

When the heavily tattooed body of a man is found in a Northern California town, FBI Agent Lily Yu is drawn into the case. Trouble is, the victim wasn’t human–and the killer isn’t finished in USA Today bestselling author Eileen Wilks’s “Human Nature.”

Quick & Dirty: Four novellas featuring love and ink.

ExcerptSkin Deep Human Nature

The Review:

This anthology contains four stories of love, loss, and tattoos that move, shift, kill, protect, empower and even turn into demons. If only my ink did any one of those things, well not kill, but still.

“Skin Deep” by Karen Chance

Skin Deep features a half-were-half-human heroine, who is also a mage and a member in the War Mage Corps, which is kind of like the magical police. Her mate is a full blooded wolf were, brother to the “Wartime Chief”, who has been banished from his clan, specifically giving him the ability to go undercover in the world of the clanless, and most often lawless, outcast weres. While technically off duty to heal from a shooting, she is specifically requested to look into the magical death of a fellow were, and in doing so, she also must investigate into the disappearance of her mate. When her journey takes her into Tartarus, the underground city in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas, she finds trouble in the form of some rather strange characters, and those weres I mentioned just a bit ago. With the help of some friends and fellow officers, she rescues her love, solves the case and manages to save her were chief from betrayal by his third in command. All in a days work.

Rating 5/5

“Armor of Roses” by Marjorie M. Liu (Hunters Kiss 3.5)

Armor of Roses stars a time traveling demon hunter who is sucked into a half-century-old case by her own personal demon helpers, a man from her “past,” and her very own grandmother. After attending a rather swanky yacht party with her rather rich and hot, even if damaged, lover, she finds a man dying in front of her car. When the man gives her clues that lead to a letter from her dead grandmother, she forces herself to check into things. After tracking down the final intended victim, she discovers that there may be more to this story, but those pesky demons of hers are being rather tight lipped. As she sits outside a hospital awaiting news on the victim, she is unwittingly transported back in time to World War II and where she must emulate a Jew in China during the reign of Hitler. Another surprise planned by these tattoos that come alive is her meeting with none other than her grandmother, who at this time is approximately the same age as she is. It seems that she has been dragged back in time to help rid the world of a specific terror whom preys on children, a zombie known only as The Black Cat. But, it also becomes known in the end, that she was sent to show her grandmother how to be all that she can be; I guess you could say. This is oddly paradoxical, because Maxine is strong and independent because of her grandmother, and her grandmother only becomes strong and independent because of her. Crazy if you think about it hard enough, which I don’t recommend.

Rating 5/5

“Etched in Silver” by Yasmine Galenorn (Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon 0.5)

Etched in Silver is about a half human Moon Witch who is also a member of the YIA, like the CIA but existing in a parallel plane to Earth, and solving crimes where the beings are all sorts of paranormal and magical. Though, I guess, in that plane, humans would be the “paranormal” ones. Our friendly witch is given a case by her boss, destined for failure. But what this guy doesn’t see coming is some help from low places in the form of Trillian, an apparent sex god…um, I mean Charming Fae. Well, despite everything, Trillian does help her get her man, after a strange trip to another realm. Best part, they find out that they are meant to be together, like actually fated. And the mating ceremony that follows is beautiful…painful, but beautiful.

Rating 4/5

“Human Nature” by Eileen Wilks (World of the Lupi 5.5)

Human Nature sees the world, after the presence of a separate race of not quite humans has been announced publicly. Our heroine in this novella has the best luck however, for she is in love with the prince of weres, who just happens to be pretty hot to boot. On the side of not so good luck is that she is in love with the prince of weres, who is used to getting his way when he wants it, and cons her into looking into the murder of a childhood friend. You see, she is a detective in the branch of the FBI that deals with magical crimes, and this murder is almost determined to be non-magical in nature. Good thing she loves him, I guess. What is uncovered in the course of this investigation is nothing short of an honest to goodness love triangle, featuring witchcraft, potions and some rather…well deadly tattoo art.

Rating 4/5

As usual, I am unfashionably late to this particular party, these being my first stories (from what I remember) by all of these authors.  So there is a bit of frustration with being thrust into these stories in the middle of all the action, one of them literally occurring in tandem to a previously published book in the series. Otherwise, I have to say that I enjoyed these four well written and interesting stories.

FTC Advisory: Penguin/Berkley provided me with a copy of the Inked Anthology. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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