Star Quality
by Lori Foster, Lucy Monroe, and Diane Castell; paranormal (2005)
Brava, $14.00, ISBN 0-7582-1004-3


What happens at blue moon? The blue moon is the second full moon of the month, by the way. The stories in the anthology Star Quality share the common themes of the blue moon making the hero or the heroine do unusual things but the result is a very formulaic and typical anthology as well as the stories being set in the town of Delicious. What? At least the name isn't Beaver, I suppose.

Lori Foster takes the spotlight first with Once In A Blue Moon where our hero Stan Tucker has the ability to read minds. His gift intensifies during the blue moon. That doesn't stop him from having dirty thoughts about that woman who runs the bookstore. Jenna Rowan has dirty thoughts too about the newcomer to the town of Delicious. How lucky for her that Stan is able to read her thoughts and therefore make the first move because she won't, as she insists that she has two kids to care for, blah blah I-guess-we-need-a-conflict blah. Stan is nice, Jenna needs what he can give her, and all in all, a very typical Lori Foster short story that is present here in what could easily be its one hundredth incarnation. I know, if the formula ain't broken, why change it, right?

Lucy Monroe steps up next with Moon Magnetism. The heroine is named Ivy Kendall and she is like Magneto when it comes to having powers related to magnetism. Unfortunately, she can't control her powers, especially during a full moon, so she deliberately makes sure that her inn is kept devoid of modern gadgetry as much as possible. Lucy runs the inn but she doesn't own it - the stunningly originally named Blake Hawthorne owns it. He approaches her with the idea of upgrading the inn to a full-scale more modern business. She can't have that, can she? This story could have been interesting if the author isn't so trigger-happy when it comes to making sure that Ivy is more willing to give up than to find a way to overcome her problems with modern gadgetry. If Ivy is more in control of herself and less annoyingly inept, maybe the story will be more interesting. Instead, it's just another story of a heroine with powers who can't control herself until a man sweeps into her life and helps her see the light. And here I'm thinking that Ivy could have used her powers to save the world or something instead of hiding in an inn and waiting for a man to give her an orgasm!

Diane Castell presents Moonstruck, a tale with a heroine so infuriatingly keen on being a victim that she ruins the story for me. Julia Simon accidentally learns that she can get her wishes to come true during the blue moon when she tosses a coin into a fountain after wishing for some humiliation on her cheating no-good ex and voila! She then wishes for a date with the PI that helped her divorce her husband and later for sex with this PI, Marc Adams. But when Marc's affections seem to be genuine, as opposed to being the result of some magical compulsion catalyzed by the blue moon, watch as Julia starts wringing her hands and insists that he can't really want her because it's all about the blue moon, wah wah wah. No wonder the ex-husband fled for his life, I tell you. It doesn't help that Ms Castell tries to introduce some humor in the form of Julia making some wishes in her mind before she realizes that her wishes are coming true, and these scenes are often contrived rather than amusing. The romance is stilted, the conflicts contrived, and the heroine is annoying.

With three stories ranging from ordinary to okay to below average (in the order of appearance of the stories too, heh), Star Quality is another average anthology from Brava. Maybe if you already have the sixteen thousand volumes of Bad Boys anthologies and there is room for one or two more somewhere under the kitchen sink, you may want to add this to your collection. Maybe one day they will be worth a lot, I suppose. Anyone else not going on long trips may want to find something else to read that isn't so lacklustre.

Rating: 67


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