on March 7, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Danger. Evil. Death. Heroes can face it all, but they cannot do it alone.
Throughout history, creatures both big and small have stood alongside heroes and helped them through trying times, whether on the battlefield or in their laps. In these brand-new stories, sixteen bestselling authors regale us with adventures of animal companions and how they often are the ones rescuing the rescuer.
Purchasing this book saves a puppy’s life! Book sale profits are donated to: Lifeline Puppy Rescue.
I really enjoy an anthology like Instinct Anthology. It provides stories from known authors with more depth on supporting characters or further development of characters or the world. I also get to try authors / series I haven’t before. While some shorts feel underdeveloped or unfinished, a well-written short story is a delight.
On the other hand, it took me a loooooong time to read this because each story was grasping a different world and characters. Luckily, I am familiar with some already. But since I read before bedtime, some nights I just didn’t have the energy to put into a new world.
I’m going to provide a rating and a few sentences on each story, in the order they appear in the book. I love how all of these feature animals. I will note where I have read the author or series previously.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – The Gold Standard by A. J. Hartley – from The Hawthorne Saga
This story is set in what feels like a fantasy world, perhaps historical or future, with a group of sort of street thieves. An accountant with the Empire has been stealing gold from them for years. Now he is ready to take a big load and set up a clerk for the thefts. He wants the group to handle removing the big haul for a small cut. The whole thing is very clever and with the help of a dog, the group comes out well. I’d like to read this series now.
2.5 ♥♥+ – Howl-O-Ween by Alex Erickson – from Furever Pets
Liz who runs a rescue shelter along with her family goes to a Halloween event put on by a wealthy donor at his farm. The event raises money for the shelters and also promotes those most needing furever homes. Liz wants to talk to Jon about becoming more involved in the event so she looks for him and then follows him into the corn maze. There’s ghosts and a murder mystery which I didn’t find engaging other than the dog.
3.5 ♥♥♥+ – Dog by D. J. Butler – from Abbott in Darkness
I really enjoyed this futuristic story. John is working to become an accountant with some Traders out of the Sol system. As he and a school friend are headed home they find an injured dog, who runs to John. His friend helps get some supplies for John to take it home. He has two daughters and one is very ill. He takes the dog home, along with medicine for his daughter. John washes the dog while his wife give the daughter the medicine. He plans to take the dog to the shelter in the morning. John has a restless, dream-filled night with visions of his daughter.
3 ♥♥♥ – Safe Place by Eliza Eveland – from Talons and Tethers series
A story about a boy and his dog, from the dog’s point of view. The dog is getting old and so is the boy. The boy is a prince and set to marry, but he has a male love. The boy is supposed to have guards all the time, but he sneaks away often to see his love.
3.5 ♥♥♥+ – George and KitKit Save the Witches by Faith Hunter – from Jane Yellowrock series
I’ve read everything in the Jane Yellowrock series, now including this short. There is everything I love here but it was weird. The story is told from the point of view of George the dog, and KitKit the familiar. It’s an Angie baby story where she puts her parents to sleep, and then there is trouble and she calls Edmund. Edmund brings in more Everhart sisters. I love this world and especially Angie baby stories but somehow not this viewpoint.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – Keeting it Real by Hailey Edwards – from The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series
I love this series and its characters, especially Greer and Linus. The focus of this story is some supporting characters who I didn’t know well before. Eva is the daughter of the gwilgi pack leaders. Keet is Greer’s first project. Eva does pet sitting and today is taking Keet to the aquarium. I loved learning more about them. The story is set out at the end of the series so I liked that a lot also.
2.5 ♥♥+ – Helpful by Jennifer Blackstrom – in the universe of Blood Trails
We get the point of view of a cat with some paranormal elements. There is also a dog. The cat is connected to a witch and tries to help the witch. Now it tries to help the dog. I think I might have appreciated this one more if I knew the world.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – Fugitive by Jim Butcher – from The Dresden Files
I enjoyed this a lot because I do read this whole series including novellas. I’ve read all the shorts which follow Battle Ground including Little Things (in Heoric Hearts anthology), Christmas Eve, Good People, The Law and now Fugitive. I continue to appreciate these shorts until the next main novel.
Something bad comes for Harry but he’s having a rough time. Mouse is usually busy protecting Maggie but joins Cerebus to try to save Mister for Harry. It’s interesting to get a Mouse point of view. Michael and Will are trying to figure out what is happening, not believing Mister would cause trouble. I am not sure how the story would work for anyone who doesn’t know all the characters and the world. It’s a treat if one does.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – The Unlikeliest Places by John Hartness – from Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter
I have not read the main books from this author but I want to read them! I read another short story from the anthology Fantastic Hope from this same series and really liked it also.
Quincy Harker is a vampire hunter. This is a hunt with a tag-along helper, a cat. I really enjoyed this one and how the cat helps him. I really must read this series.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – Forever and a Day by Kelley Armstrong – from Cainsville
I love this author and I decided awhile ago I wanted to read the Cainsville series. I’ve collected some of them on audio. Forever and a Day is related to the series. There’s a married couple, Gabriel and Olivia, who also have a cat. The world is full of fae and they are part fae with memories from being previous people. I enjoyed this and look forward to reading the series.
3.5 ♥♥♥+ – The Unexpected Dachshund by L. E. Modesitt, Junior – from Archform: Beauty and Flash
I’ve read another short by this author but it was too religious for me. The Unexpected Dachshund is about a dystopian world where people from Earth escape to have clean air. They can’t have children and have limited options in return for getting to live on a new planet. However, with careful saving they manage a dog. I liked this one. The dog, Rudy, is more than entertainment for them in the end.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – The Kitcoon by L. J. Hachmeister – from the Triorion Universe/Laws of Attraction
I haven’t read this author before and I really enjoyed this dystopian / scifi story with people who have various modifications or natural psychic abilities. One of the psychics is trying to escape because the Dominion military enslaves them to learn about their abilities and use them. She meets some others on the run, including a kitcoon which is a rodent of sorts. The kitcoon helps her learn more about other aspects of her ability and they make a new friend. I’d love to read more in this world.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – A Cry in the Night by Lucienne Diver – from The Latter-Day Olympians
I have not read anything by this author previously. This story is about a women who runs a wolf, coyote and a few other animals rescue. There’s some history about how that started. There’s a character from the series who makes a brief appearance. I really liked it, the characters and the animals.
3.5 ♥♥♥+ -The Kindness of Cats by R.R. Virdi – from Tales of Tremaine
I’ve only read another short from this author from another series which was in Heroic Hearts anthology. I want to read that series. Here we have the point of view of a cat. I really enjoyed this story of compassion and community.
3 ♥♥♥ – Junkyard Rex by Sam Knight – from The Abandoned Lands
I liked this with it’s dystopian feel and the rough odds of survival. There are dinosaurs here and bounty hunters out to get some of them. We have a man, born and raised here in a junkyard, with his father. Everyone else is gone now. He gets into trouble and nearly dies. Help comes in a surprising way.
2 ♥♥ -Nine by Seanan McGuire – standalone
A story of the cats nine lives and the difference in those lives. There’s also a change in how they relate to humans. It felt like an older cat, sharing thoughts and information with a kitten. I don’t know. This one was just okay – it really just didn’t work for me. Someone else may love it.
4 ♥♥♥♥ – A Memory of Witches by Patricia Briggs – from Mercy Thompson
We are just after Storm Cursed. Adam brings Mercy and Sherwood to Elizaveta’s house to check what he suspects – that she is a black witch. Sherwood is along to protect Mercy since he seems to have some skill with it. He doesn’t quite know how but his wolf does. Sherwood gives us his point of view here and it’s weird. He doesn’t have his memories. And I’m used to Mercy’s thoughts. It’s a great peek into his character though.
If I average these up, it’s 3.5 hearts but I am rounding up to 4 hearts because there are such a great collection of authors and stories. There are also several series new to me that I want to read, so that’s a success.
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