Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions (A book review)

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying.

Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters.

But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

Enthralled reminded me of going on a mini-adventure with best friends, who also happened to bestselling YA paranormal authors, where you sit around a camp fire and tell your scariest story. While some stories were really captivating, others fell flat.

A lot of the stories in “Enthralled” were paranormal romances and since I am not a huge fan of romances, I found some of the short stories tedious to read. I mean, when you hear the word paranormal, you think ghosts, ghouls, witches, strange, and/or weird. You think ‘Supernatural’ (I love Supernatural!) not lovey- dovey stuff.

But, like I said, love story or not, some stories were really captivating while others fell flat. Here are the stories in order of appearances and what I rate them.

Giovanni’s Farewell by Claudia Gray; A short story about fraternal twins, a ghost in Rome and psychic powers. Sister, Ravenna, doesn’t quite understand when her twin brother, Cairo, can hear the thoughts of people around him. She calls him crazy and distance herself from him, that is until she developed a psychic ability of her own.

I’ve never read anything by Claudia Grey before, but after reading this short, I can safely say that her style of writing has peaked my interested. Giovanni’s Farewell was simple, yet strong. I wish it wasn’t just a short story. I give it 4/5

Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan; Sisters, Margie and Sally, trying to survive the zombie apocalypse by sticking to together, trusting no one and travelling around the country. But guards drop when and wills break when it’s you against the world.

Now, Carrie Ryan is an author that I am familiar with. I gathered that she has a love for zombies in a non-warm-bodies way. I liked this short, which is funny because earlier on I was complaining about her boring one of her books was. Maybe because it’s a short and not an entire novel. I especially liked the way Carrie portrayed Margie and show us how much the end of the world has changed this young girl. It’s sad and makes you wanna reach out and protect them. I suppose, that’s why it ended the way it did. I give it 4/5

Red Run by Kami Garcia: Red Run is a narrow stretch of dirt for a road haunted by a blonde hair, blue eyed killer ghost. When big sister, Edie, discovers her brother on the brink in a pool of his own blood and on the brink of death, she sets out to kill the killer ghost.

This was a short that started off well. It was dark, haunting and creepy. It had a nice twist to it, but I thought the ending of it lacked a bit. It was good but not great. I give it 3/5
Things About Love by Jackson Pearce: What is love? What makes us love? How does love feel? These are questions that a young jinn seeks the answers to. When one of her own falls in love with a mere mortal, Juliette becomes curious about love. She sets out to find out more about love from the mortal’s best friend, Lawrence.

This story was so cute and very unique. I’ve never read anything from Jackson Pearce until now. I enjoyed it a lot, makes me want to read more from Jackson. I give it 5/5

Niederwald [Soul Screamers] by Rachel Vincent: Nightmare –mara– Sabina takes a detour to the Niederwald with her not-so-close friend Emma and comes across something not of this world.

I’m not familiar with Rachel Vincent. I found this story confusing, like I was missing pieces to it. I don’t know if it was part of her series or an entire different story altogether. However, I quite liked it. I’ve been meaning to read ‘Soul Screamers’ by Rachel Vincent and after reading this short, I know I’ll definitely get to that. I give it 4/5

Merely Mortal [Wicked Lovely] by Melissa Marr: Winter Queen Donia and now mortal and former Summer King, Keenan, goes on vacation for the first time, but things don’t go as planed.

I’ve read ‘Graveminder’ by Melissa Mar and didn’t like it too much. Pretty much like this short. Plus, I didn’t read the ‘Wicked Lovely’ series, and I don’t think I will? Maybe? We’ll see. I give it 2/5

Facing Facts [Darkest Powers] by Kelley Armstrong: This short is related to the “Darkest Powers” Trilogy, which I didn’t read. So, this short didn’t impact on me much because I didn’t really know what was going… :/ Well, at least now I wanna read the trilogy to find out more about the story behind the short. I give it 3/5

Let’s Get this Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan: British boy band with a vampire as a bandmate? Easily one of the better shorts from this book. This short was a fun and quirky read. I enjoyed it a lot. First time reading something from Sarah Rees Brennan. Might consider looking at her other work. I give it a 5/5

Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready: Again, this short is related to the ‘Shade’ Series written by Jeri Smith-Ready. I didn’t know that until just now. It sort of all make sense… somewhat. Still, written in verse, it was a good short. I give it 4/5

Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting: By far my favorite short in the entire book. Even though it’s related to the ‘Body Finder’ series, (which I’ve read the first book to and loved it) it was fantastic. It had all the elements to a good paranormal story. I really like it. I give it a 5/5

Leaving by Ally Condie: A dystopian short about…bullying? With Sora’s father gone to search for the rumoured ‘Beautiful People’ , she is left behind to deal with the aftermath. Feeling alone and frustrated, Sora contemplates leaving her home as well to join her father in his search for the ‘Beautiful People’ who came before them. But sometimes plans change.

That’s basically what I gathered from this short… Not exactly sure how this counts as a paranormal, but it was okay. Not one of her best work. I mean, I own the ‘Matched’ Trilogy. I give it a 2/5

At The Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday: Cannibal girl scouts? Singing defanged vampires on their way to watch the “Rocky Horror Show”? Resurrectionstist? Nothing young hunter Jane can’t handle. Well, maybe not so much the singing vamps, but still a pretty good hunter.

This was a funny short. I mean, who comes up with singing defanged vampires, in costume and cannibal girl scouts? Jessica Verday, that’s who. It was very unique in a out-of-the-box-and-beyond-the-border sort of way. It was fun and interesting read. I’m totally gonna check out some of her other work. I give it a 5/5

IV League by Margaret Stohl: Wren Lola Lafayette is a vampire. Or a Drinker. She wants to get out of the hell hole she was born into and lives a semi-normal life at a university where she can better herself and have unlimited supply of blood. And she does.

Not much of a story here. I mean, she gets want she wants by forcibly taking it. What was the point? That a vamp in the slums can achieve her dreams by feeding on the principal at campus? I don’t think so, I give it 2/5

Gargouille by Mary E. Pearson: When a Gargouille loses its wings, it loses its memories of being a Gargouille and become human. This is what happens to Giselle when she is captured and her wings torn off. With her wings gone, she slowly begins to lose her memories of who she was and worst, of who she was in love with.

This was a romatic short about true love always finding a way. It was a cute story, I actually liked it a lot. And that’s saying something coming from someone who doesn’t like romance stories. So yeah, I give it a 4/5

The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: We’re not alone in this world. And no, I’m not talking about aliens, although that was my first guess when I was reading this short. (I just realized that no one wrote about aliens in book. Don’t aliens count as paranormal??)

It was an interesting idea, but the story left room for a lot of questions. It felt rushed and disconnected in the end. I didn’t understand why certain things happened the way it did. In the end, I give it 2/5

Automatic by Rachel Caine: Based on Caine’s Morganville Vampires series, which I didn’t know until now and haven’t read. Still it was a good story. I might even consider reading the Morganville series. I give it 3/5

 

And that brings us to the end of the book. A lot of the shorts within the book were follow ups to some of the authors previous work. So, if you know and have read most of the works by these authors, than by all means read away.

If not, you may be lost and confused by what’s going on in the short, like I was. Still, overall, “Enthralled” was a good read.

-Ellie  Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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Feeling guilty?

Have you ever come across a book that you just couldn’t get into? Maybe it’s not what you expected, maybe it’s not your cup of tea or maybe, dare I say, it’s boring?

And you try your best to get into it, you tell yourself that maybe it gets better the more you read, but something in your mind is begging you to stop reading because it’s just not captivating. There is no omph you usually get with other books. There is nothing grabbing your attention and keeping it there.

So you stop reading it for a while. A break from the book.

“It’s probably because I’m still in the last book I read.” You tell your. But hours turn into days, and days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months before you pick it up again!! And you still can’t get into it!!

Okay, I was being really dramatic there, but you get the idea.

See, I’m supposed to be reading “The Dead-Tossed Waves” by Carrie Ryan, but I just can’t seem to make it any further than fifty pages. I have to admit it’s a bit boring. But I made this promise to myself that no matter how terrible, or how boring, or how tedious the book may be, I will read it till the end.

And I’ve read worst books than this one, trust me. So why can’t I read this one?

And what bothers me the most is the guilt I feel for not making the effort to read it out. I know how silly and possibly insane it sounds but it’s the truth. I feel guilty if I don’t finish a book that I’ve started.

I swear, it taunts me! Like it knows the promise I’ve made to read any book from cover to cover!

Ridiculous, right?

So I pick up another book, “Enthralled” a collection of short paranormal stories by various authors, and I’m totally into it, but at the back of my mind I feel like I’m cheating on Carrie Ryan with another author!

Have I mentioned that I am possibly insane? No?
Well, now you know. (I’m not really. I just have an over active imagination…lol…)

So, yeah. Does anyone feel like that? Or am I the only one? (I’m probably the only one…. Oh well)

-Ellie Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

Currently Reading

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The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She’s content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast–home is all she’s ever known and all she needs for happiness.
But life after the Return is never safe.
Gabry’s mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don’t stay buried. And now, Gabry’s world is crumbling.
In one reckless moment, half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.
Now Gabry knows only one thing: if she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother’s past.

The Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann

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>>The Wake Trilogy<<

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can’t tell anybody about what she does they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant.

The Devouring by Simon Holt

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>>The Devouring Series<<

The Vours: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.

When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it’s clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman’s imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life.

To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her?

The Devouring is an engrossing tale of terror that will have you wondering: what if your worst fears became your living nightmare?

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What reading/books do for me.

I think too much. I think all the time. I don’t ever stop thinking. I think before I go to sleep, I think as soon as I wake up, I just don’t. Stop. Thinking. It drives me crazy because I try to connect everything and everyone to some action or event or the other and my head just keeps going and going like the energizer bunny!

But it’s different when I read. I get so lost among the pages of a good book that it gives me a break from my mind. I focus on what’s happening in the book. I mean, it’s not perfect because I still stop every now and then to think about what I just read, but it’s not as intense and that’s good enough for me. And that’s what reading does for me. It takes me away from me, from the mess that is my mind, from the never ending thought trains rushing around in my head.

I use to self harm and I was suicidal… Reading was, and still is, my lifesaver when I feel I’m drowning in my depression or when I feel like crumpling to the ground; reading and books help me get up. It lets me know that I’m not alone with my thoughts, that I can swim above all the negativity in my head and take a breath. I’ve been on antidepressants and in therapy for two years but there’s nothing like curling up in a warm bed with a good book and just losing yourself in a healthy way.

I just wanted to get this out there. Again, I’ve been thinking a lot lately. A question came to mind; what is there to live for? Besides family, I told myself that I would live to read. To experience the natural high and good feel of finding a good book and getting lost in it. To listen to authors talk about their works. I know there is much more to live for, but reading is at the top of my list. I love it. And I hope to one day to pass this love of reading to my children. Or to even people who feel the way I do.

Reading gives hope. What does it do for you?

-Ellie Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

The Chemical Gardens by Lauren DeStefano

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>> The Chemical Gardens by Lauren DeStefano<<

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

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