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Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Dates from Hell, Unbound, Aftertaste, Visions, Deceptions, The Masked Truth, City of the Lost, Empire of Night, Forest of Ruin, Betrayals, A Darkness Absolute.
An anthology of 16 short stories with a theme of journey whether it was a trip, a diversion, or a path.
“Scenic Route” (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, 0.5)
“Things About Love” (Genies, 1.5 )
“Niederwald” (Soul Screamers, 4.5)
“Merely Mortal” (Wicked Lovely, 5.5)
“Facing Facts” (Darkest Powers, 3.6)
“Bridge” (Shade, 2.5)
“Skin Contact” (The Body Finder, 2.5)
“Automatic” (Morganville Vampires, 10.6)
Claudia Gray’s “Giovanni’s Farewell” built a wealth of background for these two in a short time with this sweet story with its promise of adventures to come for these psychic twins: Cairo and Ravenna! I must find more of Gray’s (a.k.a., Amy Vincent’s) writing!
Carrie Ryan’s “Scenic Route” is a dystopian horror! Ryan made me feel this one! She’s taken the usual tropes and woven them together with emotions and details that will raise your heart rate as Maggie and Sally cope with betrayal in their isolated mountain cabin.
Kami Garcia’s “Red Run” was horrific, and I found myself wishing she had spent a bit more time on building the emotional terror and the panic of decision. It seemed as though we had just gotten started when it ended. Still, I enjoyed the story. Well, as much as you can “enjoy” being torn in two, mentally, and I’m hoping we’ll learn more about Edie and Tommy’s adventures!
Jackson Pearce’s “Things About Love” is a metaphysical journey in which Juliet learns about kisses and love and that genies and humans are not that far apart.
Rachel Vincent’s “Niederwald” felt like a blip of insight into Sabine with some hard choices to make about saving Emma in her rush to learn more about her future with Nash. Vincent made me wonder what led up to this point and what happens after this short story. Guess I’ll be adding her to my TBR mountain, lol.
Melissa Marr’s “Merely Mortal” makes me wonder why I haven’t read Melissa Marr. I loved this story of the mortal Keenan and Donia’s first honeymoon and what they come to realize about their relationship. I’ll have to pick up that first one in the series, Wicked Lovely.
Kelley Armstrong’s “Facing Facts” is a pivotal short from Chloe’s perspective as she comes to terms with her actions in The Reckoning, 3, and Tori learns an unwanted truth about Simon. As ever, a good read from Armstrong, although I’m not sure how much my familiarity with the series is playing into my comprehension in this short story.
Sarah Rees Brennan’s “Let’s Get This Undead Show on the Road” is a funny look at bigotry using the lone vampire in a boy band that’s riding the vampire waves of popularity. Combined with Faye’s PR instincts, it’s cynical as well. Sad, humorous, and headshakingly good, it is also somewhat confusing to read as it took a long while before I figured out that Faye is not part of the band. The concluding scene was rather dorky as well, as if Brennan was too close to the limit on how many pages she was allowed and didn’t want to spend the time to tighten things up.
Jeri Smith-Ready’s “Bridge” was hauntingly sad and a bit odd. The odd came in the layout, a poem sort of format that seemed to reinforce comprehension. It’s a look back and regret by Logan as he tries to save his brother’s life. Smith-Ready is vague in this, and I’m not sure if this is the intention, to keep us on our toes and wondering. I do wish I knew how the original death occurred.
Kimberly Derting’s “Skin Contact” made me cry and ache in my heart. Derting did this beautifully, providing a background, a world, and a desperate hope that things would work out. I have got to add her to my TBR.
Ally Condie’s “Leaving” is a quirky journey of self-discovery in this short blip about fear and shunning in high school. A bit annoying really as Condie gives not quite enough to understand this world.
Jessica Verday’s “At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show” combined hysterically funny with horror as Jane’s plans to prove her value to her family almost collapsed under the weight of cannibal Girl Scouts and Jason-like resurrectionists, all in the company of Rocky Horror Show-lovin’ vamps.
Margaret Stohl’s “Ivy League” was one of the most confusing and left me uninterested, although the ending was good. She dropped us into a world that came with little explanation and proceeded to give us little information which did not help the story of a group of high school kids touring Breather colleges. I’d definitely classify it as a horror story.
Mary E. Pearson’s “Gargouille” left me in tears in this tragic love story. Nicely done.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ “The Third Kind” is another that drops you into the story without providing much background information. But hers works if only because it provides just enough information to go on with AND puts us in the same position as Jess who also doesn’t know what’s going on around her. A fascinating twist on angels and demons (?) that makes me hope she’ll do more with this storyline.
Rachel Caine’s “Automatic” finds Michael learning more about his vampiric nature than he wants as he is Morganville’s guinea pig with the new “Coke” machine.
The Cover and Title
The cover is soft corals and deep brown from the sunrise to the glow of the road in the distance to the swirl of vapor around the lone girl standing by the side of the road. You couldn’t get a better combination to reflect the theme of this anthology of stories.
Enthralled is what you’ll be with the various interpretations these authors come up with in these Paranormal Diversions.