Released: October 5, 2011
E-book: 372 pages
Publisher: Swell Cat Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance
This collection of never-before-published novellas features paranormal pairings romance readers will pine for. Vampires, demons, werewolves, faeries and even a mermaid will satisfy the darkest of cravings.
Hidden by Sharon Ashwood -- 3/5
Lila and Rafe are a cute couple, but they don't hold a candle to Sharon's characters in her full length novels. This was not my favorite Ashwood piece of writing, which I am sad to say, since I've loved every book I've read in her series thus far. If this anthology is your first foray into her writing, I highly suggest you give her a second chance if you found HIDDEN to be anything less than amazing.
Having not read any of her books in a while, I felt like I was reentering the universe as a brand new reader. I recognized Darrak's name, but aside from him, I couldn't connect what I read in HIDDEN to anything in the PNR series. So, feeling like I was reading about a brand new world, I was left wanting more romance and worldbuilding. Lila and Rafe have an almost instant attraction, but Lila is the "bad" guy--albeit, a pitiful one. I was disappointed in the romance because it felt slightly rushed, but I understand how difficult it can be to flesh out characters, the romance, and a world in such a short word count.
Final verdict: a good piece, but nothing mindblowing like Sharon's PNR series is.
One Soul To Share by Lori Devoti -- 4/5
OSTS kept me interested the entire time while reading. The world was unique, and I found that, while I may have been weirded out about a mermaid having sex with a vampire (even if she had a human form, I just kept thinking about the tail and fin), I was able to ignore this knee jerk reaction and focus on the characters instead once the story picked up.
My only complaint: I was disappointed when it ended as abruptly as it did, and found myself wishing that Lori had a larger word count to include a final showdown with the Hag. As it currently is...well, I'm disappointed, and a bit agitated. The ending felt anticlimactic at best..
The romance between Nolan and Sarina was convincing, and I found the conflict to flow naturally--two qualities I notice most novellas lack in general. OSTS did not blow me away, but Lori's execution was impressive and I am interested in checking out other titles under her name. Novellas do not usually have that effect on me, so I think that is pretty spectacular.
Cruel Enchantment by Michele Hauf -- 3.5/5
I think this story had the most engaging intro out of the three so far. The big thing in CE was the idea of an Intended, but thankfully, there was no love at first sight. The romance felt a bit rushed, and I wasn't fully convinced that Bree and Rev fell in love as quickly as they did. Part of that was because Rev was an addict, and I felt that he spent a lot of time battling his addiction, and less focused on loving Bree.
This story didn't blow me away, but it was entertaining, albeit, a bit cliche.
Enemy Embrace by Patti O'Shea -- DNF
For whatever reason, I couldn't get into this one. I'm still not entirely sure why.
Overall this is a good anthology. I may not generally be the hugest fan of novellas, but I found at least one new author to check out. My primary reason for checking out CRAVE THE NIGHT was to read Sharon Ashwood's piece. It was not my absolute favorite, it did help make the wait for her next book release to become a bit more bearable.
I would say to definitely check CTN out if you're into anthologies. If, however, you're not a fan and prefer full-length books, you may be better off passing up this title if you're familiar with these authors already. And if you aren't? Well, it can't hurt to check it out, anyway.
1. Crave the Night