Spellbound by Candice Gilmer, H.S. Kinn, Sabrina Luna,
 Ivana Peters, AE Rought, Katrina Strauss
Aphrodite’s Apples
Erotic Romance / Paranormal / Anthology
Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

Past Midnight by AE Rought

As a little girl, the narrator has to spend each summer with her Grandmother, who always tells her never to go into the woods after midnight.  Then her family moves and she doesn’t spend summers with Grandmother anymore.  She’s curious about the woods, however, and wants to return.  What will happen if she goes into the woods after midnight?

Past Midnight featured a very creepy atmosphere and lots of detail.  Even so, the story didn’t really meet my expectations.  For one, there was absolutely no romance involved—this is strictly a horror tale, and the ending is negative.  Also, some details seemed unrealistic, especially regarding the narrator’s allergies.

 

Unholy Night by Candice Gilmer

On October 1st, Marissa Van Dyke has a bizarre experience.  She’s attacked by something and saved by what she believes to be a large dog.  Later that month, her friend drags her to a Halloween party despite her protests that she can’t celebrate on the third anniversary of the death of her family.  At the party she meets sexy Neil Drigan, and they’re both attracted.  Neil has a secret, though.  Can Marissa leave her sorrow and her prejudices aside in order to be happy again?

Unholy Night is an entertaining tale of “mythologicals” such as shapeshifters, vampires, and other creatures of the night.  Marissa’s sorrow and self-blame were understandable, and Neil was the perfect hero to bring her out of it.  The supernatural aspects were just the icing on the cake in this rather emotional tale.  I liked Candice Gilmer’s take on the supernatural world, and I would like to see it fleshed out a bit more—maybe in a novel. 

 

The Spirits of Squirrel Hollow by Ivana Peters

The old Fisher house is a place no one goes anymore.  Long ago, a young woman named Loralein Fisher was tricked into killing her love by a witch and later killed herself.  On this Halloween night, however, a group of teenagers plans to go to the old house…

The Spirits of Squirrel Hollow is another story that isn’t a romance.  It’s not really horror, either.  Instead, it is a mildly creepy, urban legend-esque tale of a haunted house and what happens to some teenagers who stay there overnight.  There isn’t any blood or gore, no one dies, and the ending is relatively happy.  While Ivana Peters had an interesting idea, overall I felt I’d heard this one before.

 

Aphrodesia by Sabrina Luna

Dawn is in a hurry to eat lunch when an old woman offers to sell her a vial of perfumed oil called Aphrodesia.  After quickly giving the woman some money, Dawn hurries to the restaurant.  She finds that the oil smells good and puts some on while she waits.  Is the oil really as special as the old woman promised?

Aphrodesia is a cute tale of how love—and perhaps a little bit of magic—can catch people by surprise.  Narrator Dawn is amusingly flustered as she meets sexy waiter Victor.  The love scene is very nicely done, and the ending leaves the possibility of magic.

 

Connacht the Immortal by HS Kinn

In Ireland, a woman hides her child from invaders who plan to kill the entire family.  The boy escapes unharmed, only to be claimed as a son by one of the invaders, who turn out to be shapeshifters.  He takes the name Connacht and lives among the shifters.  While there, he plots his revenge.

Connacht the Immortal read more like the prologue to a much longer story than a complete tale.  HS Kinn gives information about how Connacht came to live with the shifters and why he is angry, but there’s no resolution whatsoever.  There’s no romance here either, as the story ends right as Connacht sees a woman he believes is his destined mate.  This story seems like an interesting beginning, but as it is I can’t recommend it.

 

Grave Desire by Katrina Strauss

Anthony “Antoine” Smith is astonished when he awakens beside his own grave, nearly twenty years after he died.  He’s been awakened by a spell cast by a young girl, who faints on seeing him.  When he takes her home, he discovers that her mother is his old girlfriend, Kaitlyn.  What will happen when Kaitlyn realizes who he is?

Grave Desire was an interesting and bittersweet tale of revisiting the past and moving on to the future.  Watching Antoine attempt to relate to his ex even though she’s lived a whole lifetime without him is amusing, and Kaitlyn’s insecurity about her body is believable.  While this story ended on a sad note, I still enjoyed it.

 

Spellbound was definitely not what I expected.  I thought I would be reading tales of paranormal romance, but several of the stories weren’t romances at all.  The ones that were romances were enjoyable and sweet, but since most of them could not technically be called romances, I can’t recommend this book.

     

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