Guardian Extravaganza! Day 1 - Reviewette: Falling for Anthony

Today, Meljean Brook is offering HOT SPELL to One Lucky Commenter! In addition, comments will count towards a chance to win the Entire Guardian Series!!! See below for contest details.

Reviewette: Hot Spell Anthology "Falling for Anthony" by Meljean Brook
Venture into a world beyond the ordinary, where the dark passions and voracious appetites of vampires, werewolves, demons, and a few undaunted mortals combine to unleash a potent spell...

Here are lovers to tempt the imagination: Eyes that glitter with keenness born of ancient knowledge. Hands that move with a tenderness belying superhuman strength. Inviting smiles that reveal exquisitely lethal fangs. Rippling, leonine muscles. There's danger in the air...and heat.

Steam rises up off the pages of these four scorching novellas, sensuously crafted by four acclaimed authors who beckon you to slip into the shadows and experience the otherworldly pleasures of the night...

The Guardian Series Book One

While all of Meljean Brook's Guardian novels are set in contemporary times, the novella, "Falling for Anthony", is the one exception. Yet with this exception comes the introduction of a multitude of characters that will ultimately be revisited in the novels to come.

Although "Falling for Anthony" is Brook's only historical, the novella is written so well that one would think this was her subgenre of choice to write. I've found through my reading experiences with Brook that she can seamlessly move back and forth through time and realms. With nary a pause you're flying from the medieval times to the present, from Hell to Earth to Chaos. It's neither jerky nor sudden but rather a water-like flow that at times can be smooth or rapid, but either way it's always consistent.


Emily Ames-Beaumont is disillusioned by love. Her heart has just been broken by the one man that should have wanted - if not been obligated - to protect it: Her father. Angry, hurt and looking to strike back at all her youthful beliefs, Emily hides away in the library to protect any unsuspecting persons from her wrath. But when her lifelong friend, Anthony Ramsdale, walks in, Emily takes the first plunge into the deep end of ruination and obliterates all her former innocence in a fleeting moment of restrained passion.

Anthony is spending his last night with his best friend Colin, Emily's twin, before heading to Spain to repay his debt to their father, the Earl of Norbridge. As a member of the impoverished gentry, Anthony was encouraged by the Earl to pursue a life of trade work as a physician. Although it's frowned upon by both the peerage and the gentry, Anthony was compelled to better his financial status by his own disillusioned dreams of one day making Emily his wife. He's loved her forever despite their rather large age gap, but Emily's fanciful notions of princes and dukes soon found himself seeking more in the hopes that one day she'd look upon him the way he covertly looked upon her. Grateful to the Earl and his much needed help, Anthony knew that one day he'd have to return the favor but he never thought the Earl would request that he go to Spain where death and blood of war awaits.

Although he's shocked by Emily's cunning sexual advances, Anthony does little to stop her from her goal. In his mind, the thought of compromising her for his own gain is tempting but he soon dispels the thought for the Earl would surely crush him into oblivion if he even dared. But Anthony has yearned for Emily for so long that his resistance crumbles under her onslaught even as his confusion escalates over her strange words and bitter emotions. In the end he acknowledges that it was the single most unsatisfying sexual escapade of his life but he promises Emily that when he returns from the continent, he'll make right this horrible wrong. Anthony, still desperate to have her, pushes into the back of his mind her non-committal reply.

It's mere months before Anthony greets death but it's not from anything logical like a bullet but rather by a horrific creature that feeds off fear and blood. A nosferatu.
During the First Battle, the three new orders of beings were determined: the angels, who fought for those Above; the demons, who sided with Morningstar; and the nosferatu, who abstained from the battle until the victor became clear. The demons were thrown down from Heaven, and they made their corrupt mirror in Hell. The nosferatu were not welcomed Above or Below; they are forever denied rest, hunted by angels and demons alike - and now, Guardians.

-The Doyen Scrolls

Falling for Anthony © Meljean Brook

A Guardian, that's what Anthony willingly becomes upon his death. The role is offered by Michael due to the fact that Anthony successfully sacrificed himself to save another against the nosferatu.

Guardians came into existence after the Second Battle. The angels and their appearances on earth were causing humans to worship them as gods. The demons of Below were jealous and launched another attack with the help of a dragon that they brought from Chaos. One being was able to defeat the dragon: The then human Michael. The angels, feeling that it would be better if they remained absent from earth, granted Michael the ability to change courageous humans into Guardians to aid him in protecting mankind from the evils of Hell.

In the ten months since Anthony left and died on the continent, Emily's life has radically changed. She, her twin Colin and their young nephew are all that's left after a terrible fire claimed the lives of the rest their family. No sooner does this happen when she and Colin are attacked by a creature that even Emily can't fully believe is real. Now she sits beside her ailing brother as he battles an unknown disease that is slowly stealing his life. Crushed beneath despair, Emily lets the fight in her go when Colin, in his bizarre craving for blood, attacks her.

Although Guardians typically stay in Caelum - a realm accessed by Gates throughout the world - for a hundred years, Anthony is being sent to Earth to help destroy the nosfertau that has attacked Emily and her family. The reason for Michael's decision is extremely perplexing given that young Guardians can become enthralled on earth, but his reasons matter little to Anthony. All that he can think about is Emily and the danger she's in.

Emily is more than surprised to see Anthony back from the dead, with wings no less, but the fact that he saved her from near death at the hands of her brother and is there to help gives her a shining beacon of hope. Finally she can explain the truth of that night when the creature attacked and turned Colin into a blood thirsty monster. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that a nosferatu isn't the only danger that lurks. A demon is also in residence and Anthony, along with his mentor and fellow Guardian - Hugh, must find it and discover its reasons for being.

Meanwhile, Emily and Anthony find time to reconcile that bitter night so long ago. Emily reveals the sordid truth of the days after Anthony left for Spain and he's soon filled with anger and jealousy but there is also relief that her dalliances were never discovered. Anthony soon realizes that the woman before him isn't the same girl of ten months ago. Although the length of time is short, so much has happened to them both which has ultimately caused them each to re-evaluate their life. With these confessions, passion inevitably follows rekindling a bright and fiery blaze of love. But when the nosferatu is killed, Colin is saved, and the demon discovered, it's time for Anthony to depart. By the time his hundred years in Caelum is up and he can return to the human world, Emily will be long dead unless Anthony can discover a way to stay with his beloved.

"Falling for Anthony" was a great introduction to Meljean Brook's very complex Guardian Series. Heaven and Hell, imaginable differently in everyone's mind, and to break them down into words, much less their inhabitants, is amazing. Brook brings about very recognizable terms and places such as Free Will, Hell and angels but she also introduces new myths and rules that play integral roles in the series. To present these complexities in a hundred and fifty pages is no short of astonishing. The reader isn't ever overburdened and Brook delivers enough tantalizing details to have you picking up the next series installment.

As far as the romance is concerned, "Falling for Anthony" isn't my favorite in the series. And before your thoughts venture into this realm - no, I did not think that the worldbuiling interfered with the romance. Quite the contrary. So, why did the romance fall flat for me? It was Emily. I didn't like her or her behavior towards Anthony. While I do understand that her early motivations were that of a distraught and vengeful child, I couldn't forgive her. I think as romance readers, we're all inclined to be harsher on the heroine than the hero.

Anthony, on the other hand, was wonderful to read. His innocence was tangible and I thought it made learning about Brook's world that much easier. Anthony is a self-sacrificing person and it showed admirably with the choices he made. He's a man of loyalty and honor and Emily was more than lucky to have garnered his utter devotion and love.


B

Go Behind the Story!

Lost? Unable to Read the Series in Order? Check out The Guardian Series Primer!

QUESTION FOR MELJEAN: The Guardian world is admirably complex. How do you keep your timelines, facts, and the rules of your world organized and accessible?

It's all in my head. Now and then I will have to look something up (for example, the exact year that Hugh found Lilith in Wallachia), but otherwise, the world and the Rules live in my gray matter. I think this is necessary for worldbuilding -- everything has to work together and make sense down to the core, so if I have to look up something like, "Can vampires have children?" in my notes, then I'm in big, big trouble as a writer. I have to know my world inside and out. And that also isn't to say that I don't figure out some aspects of the world as I go along (for example, I always knew HOW the first vampire was created, and roughly when it happened -- but I didn't decide WHO had done it until I was working on my third book). But everything that pops up has to be consistent with what has gone before.


For the first several books, I didn't write it down at all, either. But, since my readers can't live in my head, I did create the Guardian primer, which offers a ton of information about the history of the Guardian world, the timeline, and the beings who populate the world.

*Contest Open to All*

**Contest Closes today, September 28th at Midnight U.S. Pacific Standard Time and a Winner will be Chosen Randomly and Announced Tuesday, September 29th**

***Additionally, Comments will Count towards a Chance to Win The Entire Guardian Series Novels and Novellas. Contest Closes Tuesday, October 6th at Midnight U.S. Pacific Standard Time and a Winner will be Chosen Randomly and Announced Wednesday, October 7th. Entrants are limited to One Comment Per Review (Nine Total Possible Entries) in the Guardian Extravaganza Prize of the The Entire Guardian Series Novels and Novellas. Contest is Open to All***

56 comments:

Patti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patti said...

Nice review! This series has just come across my radar and I was having trouble figuring out which books were which and what was anthologies - I'm glad to see you provided a link!!! I've heard only good things abour this series and can't wait to get started!

Count me in, thanks! (oops, sorry I deleted my first comment - it's a typical Monday!)

Cherry said...

Falling for Anthony sounds very similar to Karen Marie Moning's Into The Dreaming. Me, being a paranormal romance geek, is very keen about this series!

Cherry
mischivusfairy-spamme2@yahoo.com

Blodeuedd said...

Oh open to all, awesome :)
Sounds like a great story, I can't wait to see what the rest are all about so yes I am in

blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Cherry said...

Re-posted your contest at: http://contests-freebies.blogspot.com/2009/09/hot-spell-anthology.html

Cherry
mischivusfairy-spamme2@yahoo.com

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Cherry! Good luck!

;) VFG

Calila1988 said...

Count me in please! Sounds like a great read.

mverno said...

what a idea mverno@roadrunner.com

Eva S said...

This series sounds interesting, count me in!

elaing8 said...

This is a new series to me..It sounds very interesting
plesae count me in
elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

Pam said...

I need something hot & steamy to read and this sounds perfect! I agree with you too that we are much harder on heroines. We tend to not like bratty women but love those bad boys!! Thanks so much! pamelashockley(AT)netscape(DOT)net

Leontine said...

VFG, what an incredible reviewette and this sounds like such a series to sink your teeth in and I like 'em complex *wink* Both in world and characters :D

If there is one series that will scream at me after this week than it will be Meljean's Guardian series. I have to dig up Hot Spell from my pile of books!

Leontine said...

PS: VFG, Hon, you don't have me to enter in the giveaway since I already have all the books on my shelves, I just love being a part of this week end enjoy the post and conversations :)

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Review sounds great!

I would like to be counted for the whole series. I already have this book on my shelf already!

Thanks

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Sunnyvale said...

this sound like a book I would like to read

CrystalGB said...

Sounds like a great book.

Count me in.

Crystal816{at}hotmail{dot}com

FDP 4 Life said...

I really want to read this series.

linett said...

sound exciting, thanks

Kristine said...

This series sounds really interesting and the book sounds great.

Jenny N. said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I would like to enter, the book sounds very dark and steamy.

jen4777[at]hotmail.com

donnas said...

Great review.

I havent read the Guardian series but it sounds really good. Thanks for sharing.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Karin said...

That was a fantastic review. Though I've read a couple of the novels, I haven't read Anthony and Emily's story. I'm really looking forward to reading it now.

packerfantimmy said...

My mother is Romamnce novel ADDICT and I would love to give this to her as a gift because I love her and she really deserves it.
titletowntreasures(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Barbara said...

Wonderful review!!! I like the idea that there is a primer for the series, especially for someone like me who has a habit of starting books mid-way through the series.

Great giveaway!!!

Mandi said...

Very nice review - I have been seriously wanting to start this series every since I heard such wonderful things about Demon Forged! I am so excited that you are doing this week you have no idea!! Awesome idea :)

abfantom said...

This sounds like an interesting book that I'd like to read. Please enter me in the giveaway.

abfantom at yahoo dot com

jeanette8042 said...

Awesome review and I definitely know more about the book now! And this also means now i desperately want to read it haha!

Estella said...

This sounds like a great series. I don't know how I missed it.

kissinoak AT verizon Dot net

Anonymous said...

Happy End of September!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

Sarah Z said...

Love finding new authors!
Thanks
Sarah
believedreamcourage (at) gmail.com

Barbara said...

I enjoyed the interview. Hot Spell sounds like a great book, and I'd love to read Meljean's Guardian series.

Cecile said...

I would rather be late then never! So, here I am and I have already pimped you out at my place girl!! LOL!! These books sounds hot! Thanks for giving me a new author! I am looking forward to adding this to my TBB notebook... But my bday is coming up... Crossing fingers that family finally got it.. Just give me GC from Borders!!! LOL!
Still lovin up some romance here honey!!!
Hope you are having a great night and have a wonderful tomorrow!

sherri419 said...

Sounds like a really great read! I love reviews where you get to talk to the author and get an idea of their writing style and methods. Thanks for the chance!

sherri419 at gmail dot com

Chelsea B. said...

Wow, amazing contest! The books sound really good!:)

Mari said...

I'd love to read her first historical novella. I have really enjoyed her contemps in the past.

danosor said...

Looks like an interesting book.Please enter my name in the draw.

danosor said...

Looks like an interesting book.Please enter my name in the draw.

ann marie said...

Very nice review and loving the new site. Another new author to add to the ole pile, have a great week :)

sarabelle said...

excellent post. I would so love to read this one. Thank you so much for the chance to win it.

Leslie said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Great review.

Paige said...

I'd love to win a new book, my "to read" pile is getting small.

galeogirl at comcast dot net

dvice said...

This sounds great, thanks

purango said...

I love these books. Thanks for the giveaway. garrettsambo@aol.com

Llehn said...

I'd love to play please!

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

AnimeJune said...

Great review! I'd kill to read Hot Spell - the first book of Meljean Brook's I read was "Demon Angel" and it was great. I really fell for Colin and can't wait to learn more about his character!

Sign me up! animejuneATyahooDOTca

ZESTYWONDERLAND said...

Your review has me so eager to read the whole Series!
In fact I have Wild Things on my night stand To start reading tonight!!!!!!!!!!!
I would love to read Hot Spell!

zestywonderland@gmail.com

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
What an excellent post.
Thank you very much.
I love how Meljean can keep everything in mind!
All the best,
RKCharron
xoxo
PS - email's in my Blogger Profile.
:)

lilyk said...

Please enter me into the contest. Thanks!

etirv said...

How could I have missed this series? Great review, thanks!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lea said...

Hi there VFG!!

Wonderful thorough review as always. I'm very interested in Ms. Brooks series thanks to your past accolades with respect to her stories.

I actually have the first book here waiting to be read..

Thanks so much for sharing, and to Ms. Brooks for the generous Giveaway..

L

Deedles said...

I enjoyed the interview. The Guardian series sounds really interesting.

joder said...

This was a good anthology and Meljean's story was a great start to this series.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

flchen1 said...

Ooh, I take it back--I've read Hot Spell and enjoyed it very much! I didn't realize it was the start to a series--excellent news! Thanks!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

blackroze37yahoo.com said...

love all the covers

Bella said...

I think I have been living under a rock because I only learned about Meljean Brook about a month ago, and now I MUST READ these books!

Thank you for the awesome extravaganza!

~bella

b42bella(at)gmail(dot)com

Pissenlit said...

I quite enjoyed "Falling For Anthony"!

 
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