27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Enthralled takes us a back to the familiar worlds of Lora Leigh's sensuous Breeds, Meljean Brook's steampunky Irons Seas, and to the medieval Highlands of Lucy Monroe's shapeshifting Children of the Moon, plus it introduces the brand new Bordertown world of Alyssa Day's Order of the Black Swan. Most of the stories are nice little carve out romances that will work for newbies and fans alike - though for Leigh's having at least a passing familiarity with the Breeds is probably a good idea - and the stories were for the most part long enough to flesh out the leads so that I cared about their HEAs, which meant that Enthralled was a real winner for me.
The stories (in the order that I read them)...
"SALVAGE" -from Meljean Brook's Iron Seas
Salvage starts off with a bang, or rather "four thunks", and it takes a bullet, a kidnapping, and a decision to throw away old promises to win this great starring pair the happily-ever-after-that-wasn't as Brook delivers another wonderful mix of romance and adventure from her Iron Seas world.
The characters in this series are always compelling, so it was no surprise that I loved the leads here: the clever, practical, determined, and self sufficient Georgie - and the strong, earnest, and vulnerable Thom. And I liked seeing Thom and Georgie work to salvage their marriage even as their lives are threatened, and that they are a good pair when it comes time to take the slimmest of chances to win their freedom -- her brains perfectly complement his brawn (and hidden gadgets).
So, Salvage was smart, sweetly romantic yet sexy, and fun - the door scene brought a smile to my face - and best of all everyone gets exactly what they deserve in the end.
"CURSE OF THE BLACK SWAN" - from Alyssa Day's new Order of the Black Swan series
Day did a good job of whetting my appetite for more of her Bordertown, which sits in a dimensional rift between the human, demon and fae worlds hidden in downtown Manhatten, while delivering a spicey-sweet romance set against a serial arsonist's magically fueled attack on Bordertown.
Brynn, who plans on being the last in the line of daughters cursed to turn into a swan and sing, soon finds herself breaking her own rules by agreeing to a date with firefighter Sean (who doesn't even blink an eye when witnessing her transformation) because she recognizes the loneliness behind Sean's sexy grin. And Brynn makes Sean want to break his own rules as well, because Sean also has a `curse' that he has decided not to pass on and is sure that no woman's love could survive the reveal of his secret. But pretty quickly Sean is convinced that a HEA may actually be within his reach - and Brynn may just be the one woman who can accept his hidden fiery nature.
I really liked both of the leads in this story. Brynn and Sean are both sweet and they are sweet together - their shared loneliness gives them common ground and allows them to make a deeper connection that makes this romance work in the short space. And I have to say it, fire demon firefighter -- Hot stuff. I also enjoyed the little glimpse at this new world, and I am looking forward to seeing more from Bordertown.
DEVIL'S DUE - from Lora Leigh's Breeds series
I am pretty sure that fan's of Leigh's Breeds aren't going to want to miss this one, because it looks like she is pulling some threads to use in future stories.
For a short story, it takes a bit for Devil's Due to get to the main pairing in the current day but I liked the prolog which recaps the series in prose and "introduces" Devil, "the Grim Reaper of the Breeds", and then moves on to touch quickly on the events surrounding the heroine Katie's rescue as a young child from a Breed facility and - I think, since I only read the Breed shorts in anthologies like this one - to lay some ground work for the future of the series with another kind of Breed. Also there seems to be some other things in play as well with Cassandra and with a Breed who's `passing' for Lion.
So there's a fair amount of story bits that are outside of the mating heat for Devil and the grown up Katie, strung in with the steamy stuff. The smexy times between Devil and Katie are as intense as you'd expect from Leigh, but for a Breed pairing they come together pretty easily, so I missed the usual build up of sensual tension from a Breed futilely trying to deny the pull of a mate and then explosively succumbing to the heat. And *in a small voice* I guess I watch too many nature shows because the description of "knotting" during the pair's coupling brought a really awkward picture to my mind - but hey, guess that means that Wolf Breeds >have< to be cuddlers.
"ECSTASY UNDER THE MOON" - Lucy Monroe's Children of the Moon
Monroe takes a step back to tell a story set before Dragon Moon.
Wolfshifter Byrant, is working to bridge the distance between the wolfshifting Faol and the birdshifting Elan, and trying to overcome the distrust caused by a few of his brethren hunting the birdshifters to the brink of existence. Eagle shifter Una, bears the emotional scars from her own encounter with the Faol, but walking with Byrant in the shared dreams of mates will help her to find the strength to trust in their connection.
This was a pleasant little romance that gives a glimpse of the Elan on their home turf and a chance to see prince Erik with his people before he made the trek to unite the wolves and birds.
Complementary copy courtesy of my favorite author - release date June 2nd
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Overall Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
I received this book as a gift.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In conclusion, Enthralled is an extremely enjoyable anthology, especially for those that read some or all of the series represented.