Publisher: eXcessica Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Heat Rating: 4
Whether it’s werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, angels, ghosts or aliens—these are stories with all of those strange and wonderfully sexy creatures that fascinate the human psyche! Come on a spicy, paranormal journey that ventures into titillating realms bound only the imaginations of your favorite eXcessica authors!
Wonder is a paranormal anthology, consisting of twelve stories and authors, edited by Selena Kitt. Dealing with everything from vampires, vampyres, lycanthropes, werewolves, shifters, aliens, succubus, fae, fairies, angles, and ghosts. The writing is as varied as the subject matter, ranging from very good to mediocre. While not all of the stories end in happily ever after, or even happy for now, they all contain elements of physical, if not always romantic, relationships.
Sweet Revenge by Wynter O'Reilly is the story of a lycanthrope trying to track down and punish those responsible for the death of her brother and parents, while simultaneously dealing with the fact she is mated to a vampire. The plot while not entirely new, was interesting enough, however there were simply to many things going on for such a short story. The entire thing would have been better served in a full length novel.
Selena Kitt's On Cherry Hill is excellently written, but like many of her works this one delves into a dark and somewhat taboo area. On Cherry Hill deals with forced sex from an authority figure, in this case a police officer. While I didn't particularly care for the dark tone of the story, there is no denying it was very well written, with a twist at the end that I never saw coming.
D.B. Story takes us back to the roots of were wolf lore in his story Where I Am, adding his own little twist. All the basic elements are there a college boy gets bitten, searches for a cure, and meets a girl. In this story the bite is from a mosquito not a wolf, and instead of mauling and killing the girl of his dreams, our hero actually changes a she wolf into a werewolf like himself. What is an interesting take on the werewolf legends, unfortunately reads more like a bunch of scene ideas that have been thrown together. More of a plot outline than a story.
Marks by Sommer Marsden is the story of a woman dating a vampyre, with out knowing that he is a vampyre. Rather than being just another tale of vampyre and human romance, Marks focuses on the very intimate and erotic nature of the vampyre bite. Not your traditional love story, but instead looks at love and passions in a new and unique way. A story of gaining your ultimate desire and how that can either save or destroy you. Marks will forever change how you look at vampyre bites.
J.M. Snyder's One of Us, is a story that would never work out in real life, and that may be the thing I loved most about it. One of Us is a simple tale of boy meets boy, boy bites boy infecting him, boy helps boy thru his first shift, and boys run off into the woods and live happily ever after. There is an elegance about the simplicity of the story line, that makes is completely believable and unrealistic at the same time. In real life and love we overcomplicate things adding drama where there is no need for it. J.M. Snyder has taken people to their most basic elements and written a rich and wonderful story about them, that I absolutely loved. The plot the characters the writing it was all great, a true gem amidst so many others.
Claimed by Dakota Trace starts off like most shifter stories full of angst and aggression. The heroine is a jaguar/tiger hybrid and as such is shunned by her pack. The shifter elements of this story are the same one's that can be found in most shifter stories, where it differs, is when the heroine takes her human form. She is a veterinarian specializing in large cats, this puts her into a position to not only help the animals when needed but also to protect the shifter secret when they are the ones that get caught. Claimed is a decent story, there is nothing that stands out to make it great, but if your looking for a fun little shifter story it does the job credibly.
Medusa by Piers Anthony reads more like a adolescent male fantasy than the futuristic sci-fi story it was meant to be. In the not so distant future humans have found alien life, and are discovering other planets that will support our life forms. In great U.S. tradition there is a special interest group that looks after all the aliens we capture to ensure they are not being mistreated. Our hero is a member of said group and as such is tasked with looking after and documenting all things pertinent about an alien life form that was captured on a planet we are about to take over. During the course of the aliens incarceration our hero bonds with her, granted this happened after she morphs herself into a human form resembling a pin-up girl. In an attempt to escape the alien offers sex in exchange for help, and our hero very piously refuses all the while un-zipping his pants. I could go on, but suffice it to say the story proceeds as one would expect.
Overkill by Roxanne Rhoads is very aptly named. Our heroine is dating a vampire, who she frequently breaks up with and subsequently always takes back. Her favorite method to break up seems to be staking her boyfriend in one of his various body parts, of course never his heart. After being stabbed six times most people or vampires would get the hint, but this couple takes dysfunctional to a whole new level. I must say it was a truly different kind of love story but the level of drama was a bit much.
In Shifting Desire Elise Hepner combines the unlikely pair of fairies with BDSM, and makes it work. Of course any story that starts out with "I need an orgasm" is bound to catch attention. Shifting Desire caught mine and kept it to the very end. Fairies are always portrayed as so delicate, at least in body, that the idea of them practicing BDSM seems wrong somehow, and yet it worked very well. For those traditionalist out there, there was no leather and the bondage was done with magic rather than chains, but all in all it was a surprisingly good fit.
Darcy Sweet's The Choosing was perhaps the most erotic of all the stories. Since the beginning vampires have been portrayed as very sensual creatures, as well as blood sucking fiends. The premise being that vampires need not only blood to live but also the sensual and sexual energy of a special chosen one. What I really liked about this story is that instead of focusing on the vampires needs, we are focused on the kind of woman it takes to fulfill them. The Choosing was not at all what I thought it was going to be, and I was pleasantly surprised at it turned out to be.
I am still not entirely sure what Christable Roseau's Perchance to Dream is about. The heroine is a woman who has been severely abused by her ex-husband and is trying to get her life together. She seems to go from cowering in fear, to having erotic dreams about feathers at the drop of a hat. I believe that the author was trying to convey the importance of hope and eternal love, but don't hold me to that. The story, if I'm interpreting correctly, could have been very interesting but lacked the clarity to fully get the message across.
Last but not least is Butterfly Boy, by Erin O'Riordan. This is a completely unique story. A fairy that has been bit by a vampire bat and become something new and evil. Now I love all things paranormal, but this one was a little out there for me. The writing was good and the characters believable, but something about a vampire bat biting a fairy that I could not wrap my head around. So I leave it to you read the story and judge for yourselves.
The good the bad and the paranormal, this anthology contains it all. With so many stories and such a wide range of topics there is a little something for everyone here.
3 ½ Tea Cups!