As an author in Novel Hearts, I will not be reviewing my own story, but those of the other authors. I’ll start in the order they come in the book and work my way through.
1 - The River Liffy - Rebecca Boucher ★★★★☆ Heart-warming
I enjoyed this story. I gave it four out of five stars for two reasons. One, is that it’s a bit confusing. Having not read Hunting the Moon, which is coming soon, I know nothing of the characters background, or their relationships to the people mentioned within this short story. It’s clearly an after Hunting the Moon, rather than a before. This made reading about emotional events and past characters awkward because I had no connection to them or the story yet. The second reason was probably a typo, but it was a little buggy. It uses ‘Irish borough’, to describe an Irish accent. This is more than likely an auto correct by the computer, but it jars a little in the smooth reading of the rest of the story. (It should be Irish brogue. A borough is a small town or village, while brogue is an Irish lilt, or accent)
However, these two small issues aside, I really enjoyed reading this story. Lilly and Daemon, the main characters are likeable and fun, intriguing and they’ve made me interested enough to go ahead and read Hunting the Moon as soon as it’s out, which is the whole point. If you can’t stomach the characters for a short story, you’re not going to enjoy the novel. Thankfully, I loved them both and I’m sure I’m going to love the novel too when it’s out.
I liked that the story was positive. Though it dealt with difficult, emotional and sad issues, the overall atmosphere was light and positive. Lilly was, essentially, saying goodbye to her old life and embracing the new. She was saying goodbye to an old friend and a first husband, while anticipating her new life with her new husband, and their pregnancy. It was sweet, romantic and yet real and emotionally charged. A great romantic read.
2 - The Twistedly True Nightmare of Ruby Hood - Stephanie Greenhalgh ★★★★★ Exciting
This was an interesting read. We’re introduced to Ruby Hood, with a mysterious past, a girl not afraid of making a statement or standing out from the crowd. With a secret tragedy in her past, a new school full of boys, and her father caught up in a conspiracy, there’s a lot for Ruby to contend with.
I really like Ruby. She’s spunky, fun and full of gumption. Nothing gets past her. I would definitely read the novel this story is based on. It’ll be an absolute blast if this story is anything to go by. I like Dylan and the interaction between him and Ruby was lovely. I also enjoyed the interaction between Ruby and Kent, it made things interesting. And there was no Peter, which I sort of expected, so love interest-wise, it left things so far wide open that there was no telling whether the good guy or the bad guy was going to get the attention. Knowing Ruby, as I feel I do after reading this story, I don’t think she’d care. In fact, I’m sure she’d find more fun in a bad boy. :D
I got halfway through this story and just did a total - HOLY COW! Literally. Out loud. Talk about dropping a bomb. There were a few moments in this story that really took me by surprise, but this halfway moment was the most shocking. I read it and then had to re-read that I hadn’t imaged anything. It was just so skilfully, craftily slipped in there. A complete surprise.
I really loved the relationships in this story. I already loved Ruby within minutes of reading, but I also developed a total crush on Kent, and a smaller one on Dylan. I much preferred Kent, but then I’ve always been a bad boy kind of girl. There’s nothing like instant hatred to make two people fall in love in a novel, I love it. What I really loved about this story, was that the nightmare part was brilliant and realistic and I never questioned a thing…and then I was disappointed when Ruby woke up and it was over. UNTIL I read that she was tutoring Kent and then, wink wink, I knew. I was going to get what I wanted anyway. J Totally in love with the whole thing.
3 - My Forever Love - Theresa Oliver ★★★★★ Touching
This was a really lovely story. The characters are from Star, Starland and Star makes a ‘guest’ appearance at the beginning and end. The whole story is based on her ‘father’ and friend vampire Rick, as she delves into what happened to his ‘Forever Love’ Lucia. Rick tells the story to her and we’re drawn into the yester-world of 1619.
This was lovely, as I said. It was touching and sad and sweet and very much a Valentine’s day kind of story. Lucia is a slightly naïve, lost young girl, who happens to be a witch, and Rick, or Frederick as he used to be known, is a hunter madly in love with her. After some unfortunate events, he’s turned into a vampire by her magic and the story moves into how he struggles to cope with the transition and how their secrets, Lucia’s being a witch, and his being a vampire, jeopardise their happiness and put their lives in risk time and time again.
It was a really unique take on the first vampire story. Although vampires had existed before 1619, you can really believe that in the world they lived in, in England, it was unlikely that foreign tales of vampires had reached them. So to them, Rick would be the first, which made the whole thing more realistic and uncertain. You never knew what was going to happen, because as each story every written about vampires deals with them differently, you had no idea what Rick would be capable of.
I really felt for Lucia, she was so lost and unsure of what she was, what she was doing. She was so desperate to be normal that she couldn’t see the danger for herself. I absolutely loved Rick. Both in the retelling of his Forever Love, and at the end, when that story had ended. I loved the relationship between Star and the two men in her life, Rick who is like a father to her, and her own Forever Love Zac. I loved that we saw the strength and bravery in Rick, who after losing someone he loved as much as Lucia, was able to move on and love Annie. Very touching.
4 - Be Mine - Jennifer Paquette ★★★★☆ Romantic
This story was short but sweet, a little taster of what is to come in the novel. It was fun and intriguing and I’d definitely read the novel based on this short story alone.
In this story, Aphrodite falls for a mortal man and tries everything to catch his attention. She finally settles on a plan that epitomises Valentine’s Day.
I can’t wait to read more on these Greek Gods, if Aphrodite is anything to go by. And I totally understand getting lost in a chocolate vault for two weeks. ;-)
5 - Hungry - Amber White ★★★★★ Unique
This was another short story that got straight to the point. My first reaction on finishing it was, WOW! It’s a great story that gives a great and unique take on the whole zombie genre. I like that even as zombies Link and Steph seek each other out and are united each and every time, even after death.
The story is about the end of the world, and a sickness that turns people to zombies. However, this is not the light and fussy Warm Bodies, it’s darker than that, but just as great.
6 - A Heart That Cannot Beat - Elaine White
This story is mine, so I won’t be rating it or reviewing it. However, I will give you a hint of what it’s about, as I’ve done with all the others.
This story covers multiple Valentine’s Days throughout the centuries. There is a story for each of the minor Runaway Girl characters, elders Wilhelm and Samuel, an introduction to the new characters Shiloh and Laurence, who are solely invented for this story. The rest of the short stories focus on Runaway Girl and the Secrets of Avelina Chronicles main character Damian. It shows Valentine’s Days that have shaped his past and his future.
There is a spoiler for Runaway Girl in the last story, set in present day. If you’ve not read Runaway Girl and don’t want to read the spoiler, skip the present day story and come back to it later.
7 - Far Chances My Love - J.S. Wilsoncroft ★★★★★ Sweet
I haven’t read Fat Chances yet, though it is on my list, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying and understanding this story. It’s fabulous. It’s full of suspense, love, romance, sisterly fights, danger and fall outs. Everything you want in a good romance. It’s a good ‘will she, won’t she’ and a ‘will it ever happen’ story.
This story is based on the characters Cory and Annie, who after dating for a year, end up having a disastrous Sunday afternoon. It starts badly and over the course of days, just continues to get worse, and a lot more complicated. In short, if it can go wrong, it does. It challenges Cory and Annie’s relationship and could risk ruining everything if they let it.
8 - Crazy Love - Molly Bryant ★★★★★ Funny
This story was lots of fun. There were little hints of a past all throughout that kept me intrigued and then we got to know what that was at the end, but otherwise this story was another one about mishaps and challenges. It’s a typical comedy of errors on Valentine’s Day. The romance is sweet and light hearted, and it’s nice to see the kids included in that.
The story is about husband Lance, and his wife Tatum as they head off for a romantic night away from the kids at the Inn. Only Lance is a little paranoid…or a lot. He’s worried about leaving their kids, twin boy and girl, with their aunt. All through their Valentine’s he fails to settle his nerves and does some crazy stuff to calm himself down. In the end, it ends up being a day-after-Valentine’s-Day Valentine’s Day as he finally realises that sometimes it’s the little things that count the most.
NOVEL HEARTS BOOK ★★★★★
As a whole, this book is great. There is a story for everyone. For those interested in paranormal, horror and light romance, for those who just don’t care as long as it’s sweet and romantic.