RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra


Title: Shifting Sea (Burning Up Anthology)
Author: Virginia Kantra
Publication Info: Berkley 2010
ISBN: 9780425235959
Genre: Paranormal

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.Cleo reviewed this novella for the RITA® Reader Challenge, and despite a rough start ended up enjoying it.

Book CoverFirst, ye plot summary: Virginia Kantra continues the haunting tales of the Children of the Sea in her story of a wounded soldier rescued by an enigmatic young woman.

And now, Cleo’s review:

In chapter one, Jack and Morwenna meet and fall into bed immediately, with little conversation or foreplay.  It’s initially from Jack’s POV and though it’s written in 3rd person, it reminds me of a regency era letter to Penthouse – “Imagine my surprise when a beautiful woman invited me into her cottage, took off her dress, and undid my breeches.” 

Then the narrative switches to Morwenna’s POV, and the reader learns she’s an immortal finfolk who likes seducing humans, because they don’t interfere with her independence (uh oh).  With that set up, plus the BIG SECRET of her being finfolk, and my general skepticism about a believable HEA between mortal human and immortal faerie, I was prepared to dislike this story.

But I was wrong.  The rest is touching and sweet.  After their initial romp, they get to know each other, and their romance becomes compelling and believable.  I enjoyed Morwenna’s surprised pleasure at being courted – used to men too distracted by sex to ask questions, she doesn’t know what to make of kind, decent Jack, who wants to know all about her AND make sweet love.  By the end, I was rooting for them to make it as a couple.  I completely believed the ending, HEA and all.

Burning Up, the anthology that contains this novella, is available from Amazon | Kindle | BN & nook | Book Depository | Powells | WORD Brooklyn

I almost didn’t finish Shifting Sea because I was put off by the first chapter.  I’m glad I stuck with it; it’s a beautiful, touching story and well worth reading.  But I have to warn you – the beginning isn’t promising.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Carin says:

    This anthology also contains Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook.  Awesome A+ story!  It was my first steampunk romance and had me impatient to get a copy of Iron Duke and annoying all my book friends with incessant nagging that they read it, too!

    I also liked Nalini Singh’s Psy-changeling story between a human woman (Ria) and a changeling man. 

    Angela Knight’s story was a little blah for me, though she’s usually a favorite.

    And I agree with the reviewer’s take on Kantra’s story.  I didn’t think of the Penthouse comparison, but it’s right on!  It was my first Chilren of the Sea story and it put the rest on my TBR list – a pleasant surprise.

    I just wanted to add my two cents about the rest of the story to say I think this is an anthology worth the money!  (Espeically for Here There Be Monsters!)

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    @Carin: were you surprised that Brooks wasn’t nominated? I so was.

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    Why can’t I edit my own comments? What the hell, website!

    Anyway – I hit send and thought better of my brevity above. I don’t mean to detract from Kantra’s nomination or achievement. I meant that this was a very solid anthology, and I’m surprised Brooks’ work was not also nominated. No dismissal or derision of Kantra meant.

  4. 4
    Carin says:

    @SB Sarah,
    I was surprised.  Not to take away from Kantra’s story, which I really liked.  But Here There Be Monsters was my top pick of the year.  The Ritas seem like the Oscars to me, though.  I’m never sure how the nominees are picked and I don’t always agree with the winners.  I’m happy for the people who are nominated, but it doesn’t match MY list.  (The one in my head.  The one I bug my friends about.  The one that matters to me.)

  5. 5
    Bri says:

    i really liked this one too!  (and also Here There be Monsters)  didnt realized it was nominated when I read the anthology – I picked up the antholgy specificaly for Monsters and then read the rest.  which also got me hooked on the psy changelings too!  :)  I dont remember the Knight story, so it must not have done much for me :)

  6. 6
    Tina C. says:

    I got this book from the library for the Brooks story.  I remember liking the Singh a lot, too.  However, I don’t remember the Kantra story from this review at all.  All I can think is that I must have not made it through the first chapter.

  7. 7
    Donna says:

    @Carin: were you surprised that Brooks wasn’t nominated?

    I’m always surprised when she isn’t nominated. She is a goddess of story telling.
    I have the next finfolk story book on top of the tbr. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the anthology entry, but we’ll see.

  8. 8
    Pamelia says:

    I also bought the book for the Meljean Brooks story and the Nalini Singh one as well.  I read the Kantra piece and liked it so much I immediately bought her novels about the Selkies and Finfolk.  I have to say I really love her writing.

  9. 9
    Krystal says:

    Yes and no, if its an author I always read, its an automatic buy regardless of whose on the cover. But if its someone I dont know I may buy the book if there’s a celebrity on it. Anyone read Enemy Lover? I cant remember if I read it or not, but I have the book ((forgive me, having allergies right now and my ‘meds’ are making me loopy, lol). Anyway, I was going through my books and I had to do a double take on the cover. At first I was like, is that Ian Somerhalder??? It looked so much like him! After that, I was like, hmmm…. I think I need to read this book if I haven’t already. So yeah, you could say I would read the book if there was a celebrity on the cover.

  10. 10
    SonomaLass says:

    Add me to the list of those shocked that “Here There Be Monsters” wasn’t nominated in this category. Virgina Kantra’s story was good, as was Nalini Singh’s, but Meljean Brook’s was amazing, one of the best things I read of any length in any genre last year.

  11. 11
    cleo says:

    Hey everyone – it’s great to see my review posted.  I’m on the road right now – we were camping when this was put up, so I’m just seeing it now.

    I agree with the comments about the rest of the anthology.  I thought it was an unusually strong collection (with the exception of the Knight story, which I also don’t remember).  In fact, when I first read all of it, I discounted the Kantra story because it wasn’t as memorable as the Singh, and especially the Brooks.  When I saw that only the Kantra story was nominated from the anthology, I was kind of shocked, so I decided to re-read it to see if I missed something the first time.  Then I decided to review it, so I re-read it AGAIN.  And that’s how I discovered that once you get past the first chapter, it’s lovely.  Not as showy as “Here There Be Monsters” but sweet and beautifully written.

  12. 12
    cleo says:

    Oh wait, I do remember the Angela Knight story – about Vampires and Roses and hot captive sex.  That was another one that improved on re-read and that I ended up really liking.  This is the rare anthology where I like ALL of the stories included, and I read a lot of short story anthologies, because I like them for commuting.  Usually a good anthology is one where I like all but one or two stories.

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