I'm very fond of anthologies: variety and brevity in a nice bundle with little commitment and instant gratification. It was Brigss name that caught my eye, but it was Wilks that convinced me to buy it. Like most Urban Fantasy anthologies, this one is pretty well rounded in content with something for everyone - a characters and action, romance, comedy, and pure smut.
ALPHA and OMEGA
An offshoot of her Mercy Thompson series involving Charles, Sam's brother. If you haven't read any Mercy Thompson, that's ok, you won't be too lost. This is actually the beginning of her newer Alpha and Omega series. I always liked Brigg's pacing, quick and to the point but always giving you time to appreciate the atmosphere she so ably sets up. Her characters are no paper cutouts, and while the plot may not have (m)any surprises for me, the characters did.
Wilks had really impressed me in a previous anthology, so I was really looking forward to this one. She's more on the borders of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. I was just as impressed with her craftsmanship as a writer with Inhuman, even if it was't as good as "Originally Human", the first short story of hers I read. The plot had some nice deft turns and her dialogue is really engaging and idiosyncratic. Her characters have some interesting ways of expressing and looking at things. I'm more of a ST (Sexual Tension) lover than a graphic ero-fetishist, so I like that Wilk's sex scenes are more artistic than graphic, but I had to laugh @ what I now call the "3 stroke wonder" scene. With this story she has set up the possibility of quite the series. Based on this story I'm happy to go looking for it if it exists.
The humorous story in the anthology. I enjoyed this one more than I expected to. It may not have the most original ideas, but its put together so well that it charmed me into enjoying it. The only turn off for me was the neat-as-bow ending that's supposed to leave you with a smile on your face, but always makes me roll my eyes instead. There's action right from the get go and there really is no true down-time for you to get intimate with the characters. You get to know them mostly through the dialogue, which can be pretty entertaining.
MONA LISA BETWEENING
This is from a series and if you haven't begun reading it yet, you will be somewhat lost and there are some major spoilers to at least the first book in this short story. That being said, I tried reading the 1st Mona Lisa book but only got past chapter 2 - which is about the same length of this story. Also, this is definitely the smut component in the anthology - just under half of the entire story involves graphic erotic scenes, which are not bad at all, but that's just my very subjective opinion. Sunny is very talented at creating this archaic and sultry tone with all kinds of poetic and magical phrases, but that's about all the good I can say about this story. The big problem I have with Sunny might seem petty, but I really can't get past it - The cover of her books say that fans of Laurell K. Hamilton will love Sunny, and the reason for this is that she's practically a clone of LKH. There's an overwhelming similarity to the Anitha Blake series - both heroines share multiple hungers + lovers, and some of the phrases and dialogue Mona Lisa uses feel like echoes of things I remember from Anita Blake. This is bad for two reasons:
1) It's a little too copycat for my comfort; I can't enjoy a story if I'm constantly wondering where I heard it before.
2) If you're going to copy LKH, the later Anita Blake novels are not the models I think should be perpetuated. Unfortunately, I'm one of those LKH fans who prefer her earlier work.