Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Step On
AUTHOR: Laura Baumbach
PUBLISHER: MLR Press
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 3, 2016
Step on…over to the dark, passionate side of life. Or is that death? Dark Side of the Moon – Recovering from a near fatal injury, vampire Harley Scott just wants some peace, quiet and a long night filled with darkness. The wilds of icy Canada sounds like the best place to make that happen– if he can make it past blizzards, werewolves, and — oh, yeah, a death squad of fellow vampires on his trail. Soul Desire – Can passion reach past the grave? Does the urge for love or justice live beyond the physical existence? Mason Everett gets the unfortunate chance to find out. Shadows in Time – Trying to avoid ruin and disgrace, young naive Neal Clifton, wealthy heir to a sizable Boston family fortune faces the illicit and dangerous complication of his first affair with man–a scheming, unscrupulous man with influence and power that reaches beyond the grave. Neal vows to never give into his own unnatural desires again but finds his only hope for escape in the hands (and arms) of stoic silversmith, Peter Wade.
This was an interesting collection; instead of many smaller stories, this anthology featured only three stories but all were novella length and, as such, felt complete and didn’t leave me with a lingering feeling of, ‘wait, that’s it?’ All three stories were interesting, and varied, and I liked them all to varying degrees. If you enjoy a good paranormal story but want something that’s either shorter than a full length novel or longer than your usual anthology offering, I’d give this one a look.
Dark Side of the Moon 4.5*
My absolute favorite of the book, this was a great read! I was drawn into the story quickly and found myself engrossed in the world building as well as the characters. Harley was one tough customer; he’d have to be to live through not only being turned into a vampire, but then hunted by others when he’s labeled ‘defective’. Matt seemed to be just the stabilizing force Harley needed and I liked his character a lot; I was a actually a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see him more. I found the concept interesting and the story engaging; this is also the only one of the stories in this anthology that I’d love to read more of.
Soul Desire 4*
Moving away from vampires, this is the first ghost story I think I’ve read by this author and I have to say that I really liked it. I felt bad for Mason and the grief he still struggles with but, at the same time, I admired his attempts to get his life back on track and finally move on. The ghostly elements added a nice bit of ‘spooky’ as well as light drama without being over the top ‘I think I need to sleep with the light on’ horror. I had part of the ghost issue figured out fairly early but was pleasantly surprised by what I’d gotten wrong. This is a good story with interesting characters; my only regret is that I didn’t get to see Eli and Mason interacting more one on one.
Shadows in Time 3.5*
The last story in the book, I liked this one but wasn’t in love with it. I liked the historical setting for the story and I loved the set up for the plot but I never really felt as though I connected with either of the main characters. Neal was painfully naïve before he had the reality of his situation crash down on him in a fairly abrupt manner; I liked him in general but didn’t get to know him in depth at all. Peter was a decent counterbalance to Neal, and I liked that he was there to show Neal how a relationship should be, but there was so little interaction between the two men that, aside from his willingness to stand by Neal, there wasn’t really any chance to know him either or judge his character. The story was good, the plot was excellent but the lack of character connection was a huge detriment to this one.