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Review: Enthralled Anthology

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Enthralled
Author: Lora Leigh, Alyssa Day, Meljean Brook, Lucy Monroe
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Trade
ISBN: #978-0425253311
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Steampunk, Fantasy, Anthology
Format(s): Paperback (464 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Received as a gift

About the book:

Lora Leigh – The Devil’s Due (Breeds #28)
Leigh’s stubborn Breed meets her match, and can deny neither him nor herself.
Alyssa Day – The Curse Of The Black Swan (League Of The Black Swan #1.5)
Day introduces the League of the Black Swan, and a woman cursed to kill the man she loves.
Meljean Brook – Salvage (Iron Seas #3.5)
In Brook’s steampunk Iron Seas world, a man bereft of everything finds his marriage in jeopardy, and sky pirates stealing his wife.
Lucy Monroe – Ecstasy Under The Moon (Children Of The Moon #3.5)
Monroe unleashes a werewolf’s passions on the body, mind, and soul of his prey, his lover, his lifemate.

What Im talking about:

The Devil’s Due by Lora Leigh (Breeds series)
      Katie is a unique woman whose Breed DNA did not manifest until she was in her twenties. Due to this, and the imposing testing requirements of her homeland in Europe, Katie seeks asylum in the US with Callan Lyons and the US Division of Breed Affairs. Here she is a protected guest, with the notorious Devil as her body guard.
      Although the opening prologue was confusing, these early events do not have a big impact on the entire novella (although for readers of the series, it will probably come into play down the road). The entire story flows smoothly after the group move to the US and settle in.
      Katie and Devil are SO HOT together! This is the Breeds I’ve been missing in the last few titles. The pair are overcome by the Breed’s mating hormone – and since both are Breeds, they both exhibit the signs, including insatiable lust and desire. What makes the story fun is that Devil realizes immediately that the mating hormone is being produced, even though he had thought it was just rumor prior to his own experiences. And poor Katie–she has no clue.
      The novella takes place within the timeline and plot of the larger Breeds series story arc. For fans of the series, there are a few clues for the overall story and some fun surprises. I feel someone new to the series could read this novella, but it would probably not be as enjoyable since there is a lot going on, and it does tie into the bigger story.
      Overall, The Devil’s Due is a hot and sweet story of two breeds coming together. They both enjoy their mating heat and don’t fight the coupling–in fact they want it, which is a refreshing change from most Breed books. There is little conflict within this story, but hints of a war brewing in the larger story arc. Things were left open ended with respect to the bigger picture.
4 stars. 

The Curse of the Black Swan by Alyssa Day (League of the Black Swan prequel)
      Sean, half human-half fire demon, is a firefighter in Bordertown. Although it is a paranormal friendly area, being part demon isn’t something accepted in town, and so Sean and his family hide their true natures.
      Brynn Carroll is a woman cursed to turn into a black swan and sing songs to the moon every third night. She is determined to break the curse by never falling in love. Then one night, Sean witnesses Brynn transform, and the pair hit it off immediately.
      The story is sweet and fun. I adore both Sean and Brynn – two lonely people who come to realize that they can be themselves and be accepted. The story follows their courtship while Sean attempts to solve the mystery as to who is starting magically enhanced fires.
      Without spoiling the story, my only negative is that I wish we’d been told how “things” transpired at the end to come to the conclusion it did. The Curse of the Black Swan is a wonderful little story, happy and sweet. I adored both the romance and mystery. Although it ties into the overall mythology of Ms. Day’s new series, it can be enjoyed as a stand alone.
4.5 stars

Salvage by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas)
      When Georgiana and Thom married years ago, she thought he understood her desire to have a husband who stayed home. Her expectations were shattered when Thom sailed off the morning after they were married. She may have been able to forgive that one time, but his last trip has kept him away for four years (and he abandoned her while they were copulating)!
      Georgiana discovers Thom (whom we met briefly in Heart of Steel) badly injured and washed-up on shore near their home. She drags him back home, and together with the doctor, she nurses Thom back to health. Before she can ask Thom to leave for good, the pair are kidnapped and forced to make a daring salvage expedition.
      Ah… I just love Ms. Brook’s world. Salvage is yet another marvelous stand alone story in her amazing Iron Seas series. Thom and Georgiana are wonderful characters, both strong as individuals, but not so much as a married pair. The reader learns so much of their situation through their individual POVs. Thom’s POV is so sad. He loves and craves Georgiana; he just never figured out how to give her what she needed. And Georgiana thought she was so clear in her coversations with Thom, but it’s not until the pair are held in captivity do they really talk it all out.
      Salvage reads with the details and descriptions usually found only in a full-length novel. The action is fairly intense and exciting; the plot is engrossing. All of the characters are well-developed and fun. It is a wonderful story about second chances. Being kidnapped and threatened with death allows Thom and Georgiana to share their feelings and passion uninhibited.
4 stars 

Ecstasy Under the Moon by Lucy Monroe (Children of the Moon)
      Ecstasy Under the Moon is the only title in the anthology that is a new-to-me author and series. Thankfully, Ms. Monroe includes a detailed prologue; however, even with the details, I was lost for a while.
      Ean are bird shifters that have stayed hidden for years. The Faol are wolf shifters. There is a bad history of the Faol hurting and killing the Ean. So it comes as a great shock that the high priestess of the Ean, tells of visions that the Faol and Ean will need to merge tribes.
      Una and her father are not pleased with the news that emissaries of the Faol shall come to live with the Ean. However, once Una meets one of the Faol warriors, Bryant, in the Chrechte spirit realm (in her dreams), her attitude begins to change. Even her long-held fear of the Faol begins to dissipate.
      Ecstasy Under the Moon has a traditional fantasy feel, more so than a paranormal romance. The world-building is extremely complex and intense. I enjoy fantasies, so this did not bother me; however, if you are looking for more of a light-hearted PNR, this one may not be for you. The highland/Scottish clan setting also gave it a historical feel.
      I liked the easy-going nature and flow of the story after I became grounded in the world. Bryant is a noble man/wolf, and I admire what he is trying to accomplish with his Faol brethren. I enjoyed the stories of his history, which piqued my interest and left me wanting to know more. The story had a strong message of good over bad and “never judge a book by its cover.” It never got deep, but had a solid message.
      There was also a bit of humor – subtle, but fun.
      Overall, Ecstasy Under the Moon was enjoyable. It was my first introduction to Ms. Monroe’s series. Even though it is obvious that there is much to Ms. Monroe’s world, and possibly several other books, I was able to enjoy this as a stand alone.
3.5 stars

      In conclusion, Enthralled is an extremely enjoyable anthology, especially for those that read some or all of the series represented.

Overall Rating:

 
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
 

Purchase Info:

Enthralled Anthology
Reviews in the Series:
Lora Leigh: Breeds
Alyssa Day: League of the Black Swan
Meljean Brook: Iron Seas
Lucy Monroe: Children of the Moon

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