5 Stars, Dark Hollows Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Shannon West, Victoria Sue

Review: Kiss of the Alpha by Shannon West and Victoria Sue

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Title: Kiss of the Alpha (Supremacy of Wolves: Book Two)

Authors: Shannon West and Victoria Sue

Publisher: Dark Hollows Press

Pages/Word Count: 154 Pages

At a Glance: Each of these books keeps getting better and better as this brave new world between wolves and humans evolves.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jay Tabor, rebel leader of Territory Three has done something he swore he would never do, and that’s work with Quinn, the Supreme Alpha of the Nine Territories, to save his brother Aaron’s life. Now on the run after his rebel hideout was discovered in Virginia, Jay has found a relatively safe haven for his insurgent group deep in the mountains of Tennessee. His peace is short-lived, however, when he gains a new captive—Devon, the Alpha of Territory Three.

Devon has been beaten, tortured and starved by the rebels in an effort to “tame” him, but when he’s transferred to a new camp, he discovers not only kindness but an unwanted attraction to his new captor—one that goes both ways. Devon has finally found his true mate in Jay, but the man is his sworn enemy, and a dominant, controlling lover, who insists on his independence.

When they’re both kidnapped by forces bent on harming them, Jay has only one chance to save his wolf. He has to prove that Devon is his submissive partner and he has to do it in front of their enemies in order to save their lives. With only one chance to make it good, he has to put on a show or risk losing his lover and his mate forever.

Dividers

Review: This is a brave new world, one in which the human population has been decimated by a virus and the wolves are now in power. But the two species don’t know that much about each other, and learning to live under the wolves is hard for some humans to take. This is a story of an evolving relationship between species and there are a lot of unknowns still out there. For instance, can Alphas be “made” not born, and what if the “made” Alpha’s true mate is the more dominant in the relationship – and human? How can that Alpha be an Alpha and still be submissive? After all, wolves are wolves, even if they look human every now and then.

Devon is the new Alpha of Territory Three. Usurping an Alpha who was brutal and malicious, especially to humans, is not an easy task, but Devon is making headway even though he is not a true born Alpha.  He is opening schools and providing healthcare, looking after his people and trying to make his territory a safe place to be for both humans and wolves. But, he is naïve and that costs him when he is captured by enemy human rebels, and tortured. He finds himself given to the rebel leader in charge of his territory, and is shocked to discover the man is his mate.

Jay has an uneasy relationship with the wolves in his world; he hates the wolves that persecute humans but knows that this alpha is not one of them. But Jay didn’t get to be a leader in the rebellion by being submissive, and just because he is the mate to an Alpha doesn’t mean he kneels for the man. There is still too much the wolves need to learn in dealing with humans. Jay and Devon have an interesting road to follow to their HEA, and the authors do a fantastic job of writing the interplay between these two men. Jay is a complicated character, and the domination he has over Devon is as intriguing to read about as the absolute submission that Devon brings to their relationship. Each of these books keeps getting better and better as this brave new world between wolves and humans evolves. This is a fantastic new series if you love Alpha wolves and alternate realities.

The series begins with Property of the Alpha, continues with Kiss of the Alpha, and then Strength of the Alpha is already out, so head to your favorite bookseller and read book three after you read the first two. The characters and the settings are introduced in the first two books, so reading them first would be nice but is not required – each book does stand alone – you just have better context if you read them in order. I have no hesitations in recommending these books. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one.

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3.5 Stars, Extasy Books, Kazy Reed, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Taz

Review: Remember Him by Kazy Reed

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Title: Remember Him (The Amsel Clan: Book One)

Author: Kazy Reed

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 162 Pages

At a Glance: As a first book, this was a commendable contribution to vampiric storylore.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: While sketching the Temple of Dendur, graduate student Carter Denwright meets—and is seduced by—a powerful vampire by the name of Alder. Though they were once kept secret from the human world, now everyone knows of their existence. Blinded by mistaken feelings for Alder, Carter allows himself to be drawn into his life. Too late, he realizes two things: one, Alder is vicious and cruel, and two, Carter’s true love is Alder’s brother, Freyr.

The attraction between Carter and Freyr is strong, but they must fight this feeling or face the wrath of Alder. Despite their best efforts, Alder discovers the truth, and punishes Carter, hiding him from Freyr in a cruel game of cat and mouse.

Freyr is not as strong as his brother, but he vows that he will find Carter again and will stop at nothing to get him back. Carter, caught in Alder’s cruel grip, commits an act of desperation that will change all their lives forever. The question is: can Freyr find Carter, and is the bond between him and Carter enough to break Alder’s hold and spoil his plans to ruin them both?

Dividers

Review: I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Kazy at two of the GRL Retreats. I remember several things about her, including her awesome hair, her friendliness, and later, her heartfelt posts on Facebook about her family. Her personality rings of coolness and good energy…which was evident in her book.

Carter and Freyr are wonderfully lovable characters. Their emotions and love for one another are strong and grip the reader, forcing us to root for their happy ending. Alder is a magnificent villain, made even more so when a small piece of his emotions are revealed towards the end of the book. His motivation for throwing the proverbial wrench into the beautiful lives of our protagonists were self-serving, yes, but also driven out of respect for Carter.

It did not take long for the story to fall into motion. With a prologue that begins to do some world-building, followed by a leap to the present where we see how the history of the two main characters bleeds into the lives of the support cast, I was drawn in. The sex scenes were vivid and plentiful, always an enjoyable aspect to reading.

As a first book, this was a commendable contribution to vampiric storylore. Told in the first person and shifting points of view from chapter to chapter, we are taken on not one but two emotional journeys. As the action revs up, those points of view draw closer and closer together until we reach the climatic finale.

A couple of things which would have helped me to enjoy the book without any distraction at all would be in the finer details of revision and editing. I’ve heard from many authors who look back at their first work and note how much they’ve grown since they began writing. The traps Ms. Reed skimmed are common and, given the strength of the story, minor distractions. There were a few times when Ms. Reed told the reader the characters’ feelings rather than showing us through description and actions. Also, the initial chapters required me to suspend my view of how things might naturally occur. For instance, the love interest sparked instantly with proclamations of love happening without a getting-to-know-you phase. If we’d had some time to explore Freyr and Carter’s attraction and love in the face of the threat of Alder finding out and retaliating, the tension would have been amplified on two levels. First, we would have rooted for the protagonists even more (although I was rooting for them the whole time). Also, the ugliness of Alder’s character could have been an even greater obstacle because we’d be able to really hate him on a personal level rather than seeing him as an abuser of power who needed to be taken down.

Other than these two elements, the story gripped me and kept my attention right to the very end. I’m now invested and am looking forward to reading the next installment when it releases.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church, M/M/M and More, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Trouble Comes in Threes by M.A. Church – Narrated by Ronald Ray Strickland

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Title: Trouble Comes in Threes

Author:  M.A. Church

Narrator: Ronald Ray Strickland

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  8 hours and 26 minutes

At a Glance: If you’re thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: A snowstorm in the South – on New Year’s Eve – is a perfect recipe for a catastrophe. After two soul-crushing bad breaks, Kirk’s waiting for disaster number three to strike when, naturally, two stray cats arrive on his doorstep during the storm and decide to make themselves at home. Tenderhearted Kirk lets them stay, even though there’s something decidedly odd about his overly friendly felines.

Out of the punishing weather and full of tuna, Dolf and Tal are happy to be snug in Kirk’s house. But then their human goes outside for firewood and suffers a nasty fall that leaves him unconscious. Now the two cats have no choice but to reveal themselves.

Kirk wakes up to find the two kitties are actually Dolf and Tal. They’re cat shifters – and his destined mates. Being part of a feline threesome is enough for Kirk to grapple with, but soon he learns they come from a clowder that doesn’t believe humans and shifters should mix. Kirk knew those two cats would be trouble. Little does he know the real trouble lies ahead.

Dividers

Review: I absolutely loved Trouble Comes in Threes when I read the book.  It’s sweet, funny and sexy, and I was so excited for the audiobook. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t even come close to doing this story justice.

Throughout the narration there’s no real difference in the character voicing. There were actually a couple of points where, in the middle of a sentence, it sounded as if the audio had been edited and although the same character was speaking, the voice changed, so it was hard to follow. Parts of the narration really were not enunciated very well at all, and then others parts were the exact opposite–way over-enunciated. During a lot of the narration, there were awkward pauses, as if Mr. Strickland was reading individual words instead of reading a story that flows. I did listen to the entire audiobook because I really do like the story that much, but honestly, at that point it was actually more amusing to listen to the narration than enjoy the story.

So, if you are thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

For a review of the e-book, see Janet’s full review HERE

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3 Stars, Ceci Thornton, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Saved by the Shifter by Ceci Thornton

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Title: Saved by the Shifter

Author: Ceci Thornton

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 212 Pages

At a Glance: In spite of some niggles here and there, the action sequences in Saved by the Shifter made for some suspenseful reading.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Nate Palmer is desperate enough to try anything to find his missing niece…

Nate has cared for his niece Beth since she was a baby, and now the sixteen-year old has disappeared without a word. The only clue he has is a letter she left behind from her birth mother. He’d do anything to find her, even if it means turning to a down-on-his-luck private investigator working out of a store front in a strip mall—one with the ability to sniff out more clues.

Dexter Armstrong is a lone wolf looking to use his tracking skills to do some good…

Dexter had a pack once, but left, disgusted by their lack of appreciation for their gift. But business is bad and his roof is leaking. He’s just about ready to throw in the towel on that lonely life when Nate walks in the door, looking helpless and smelling delectable.

Together they will travel to the seediest parts of LA

Even as he’s focused on finding his niece, Nate can’t help but be drawn to Dexter’s powerful dominance. And Dexter becomes more and more certain that Nate’s his fated mate. Can their attraction survive the reveal of Dexter’s true nature? And can they both survive the supernatural perils that they will face in their quest to find Beth—and to find the kind of love and family both have been dreaming of?

Dividers

Review: When Nate Palmer’s older brother, Craig, was busted for selling drugs to an off-duty cop and sent to prison, Nate became sole caretaker of his niece Beth. Beth’s mother isn’t in the picture any longer, having fled to parts unknown years before, so Nate truly is Beth’s only hope at a normal life—and they’d gotten along well, too, until Beth hit the terrible teens. Now Beth has gone missing, Nate is beside himself with worry and fear, and his one hope of finding his niece and getting her back home safely seems to be Private Investigator Dexter Armstrong.

That’s the quick setup for Ceci Thornton’s Saved by the Shifter, a novel that taps into the shifter bonding trope, albeit only shallowly, to bring Nate and Dexter together as partners in sex as well as in tracking down Nate’s niece. As I’ve said any number of times before, sometimes the device works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. A lot depends on how well the author convinces me, after that initial spark of lust has struck, that the two guys have what it takes to be a couple. I liked Dexter and Nate, and though I had some quibbles over their initial meeting and the lack of exploration in what they have in common other than lust, the fact they go through hell and back with each other did help to make the bond somewhat more believable. There’s something to be said for not only going into battle together but then surviving.

While Saved by the Shifter is categorized as a Mystery, I have to say I felt Dexter’s role as a PI was pretty well in title only, made so by the simple lack of a true mystery in this plot. We don’t have to wait long to discover what happened to Beth, and Dexter isn’t even the one who searched for the clues to track her down, so we don’t get to see him at work much in that role. The information on Beth’s whereabouts is effectively dumped in his lap, which I felt was a bit of a let-down as I’d prepped myself for a good missing person investigation, but once I understood the storyline was more Urban Fantasy than an all-out Mystery, the positive becomes the author’s ability to write a tense and suspenseful action scene. Of course, Dexter’s shifter half comes in handy along the way too, as he’s fairly certain of the danger Beth is in before it’s confirmed, so that added to the tension in the storyline and made for some excitement during the book’s climactic scene.

There are several things that, overall, I felt could have been explored in greater detail in this book, much of it revolving around Dexter as a character. I think the potential for him to be more interesting and layered was missed in the lack of background details about him—we get a few facts, but to make him more interesting, knowing where he came from, who he came from, what he came from, what shifter mythology inspired his character, would have gone a long way to building interest in him as a supernatural character for me. Essentially, we get no world-building to speak of (which left me with some distracting questions during Beth’s rescue), and even more confusing for me, was a group of shifters that materialized and disappeared from the story and left me scratching my head—one moment they appear threatening, the next, they were there to cover Dexter’s back. There’s a history there that most definitely was missing, and I’d have loved to know more of it—why they were antagonists one moment, saviors the next. And while I’m on the subject of characters, here, I will say I liked the sweet reunion between Nate and Beth, and felt the affection between them was genuine and well portrayed.

In the end, though I feel the book could have used some more exposition, I liked Saved by the Shifter for what it was—a vehicle to bring two likable men together to form their own little pack.

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5 Stars, AJ Rose, Genre Romance, Horror, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lynn, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Reaping Havoc by AJ Rose

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Title: Reaping Havoc

Author: AJ Rose

Publisher: The Grim Writer Press

Pages/Word Count: 282 Pages

At a Glance: The concept of this story is amazing. I loved the author’s take on the grim reaper mythology.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: No one asked Mitch Seeker if he wanted to be a grim reaper. He didn’t sign up for the rumors, the lack of friends, or the erratic schedule. He doesn’t want to go through life watching people die. Especially not a man he loves. Mitch’s solution is simple—don’t fall in love. He’ll never have to explain why he doesn’t age or why he’s around death so often. Most of all, he will never be a widower.

But when his head is turned by world-class skier Nate Koehn, Mitch believes he may have the answer. If the soul attached to Nate is any indication, Mitch has found himself another reaper, in which case, his undeniable feelings don’t have to be suppressed. However, the spectral tag-a-long is only the beginning of Nate’s burdens. After a catastrophic loss, Nate is no stranger to grief and the hole it leaves behind.

The question they both must answer is loud and clear: is the pain of losing love worse than the pain of never having loved at all?

Dividers

Review: After reading a couple books from this author, I realize they’re becoming an auto buy for me. As I’m always looking for new authors to read, I’m looking for fresh story ideas too. This one was everything I was searching for.

The concept of this story is amazing. Mitch is a grim reaper. He collects the souls of those who have just died, and makes sure they get to where they’re going in the afterlife. I loved the author’s take on the grim reaper mythology. Instead of just one, there are thousands all over the world, kind of like a police force for souls. They get their assignments via email, where and when it’ll happen, and off they go. And then we have Nate, the new guy in town looking to start fresh after a devastating tragedy that has turned his life upside down. Life and death are about to get very interesting for these two gentlemen.

I loved getting both Mitch and Nate’s perspectives throughout the entire story. We see Mitch struggling with his pre-ordained destiny, and the realization that he may have to live his long life alone because of what he is, which has him resenting everything about it. Nate, still reeling from the death of his twin sister, is trying to move on with his life and make it on his own. I adored both of these characters. Any story that involves grim reapers is bound to be a little gory—there’s a lot of death and sadness—but with these two, their comic relief and off color humor made it a little lighter.

I really liked getting the visual and insight of what happens after Mitch collects the souls of the recently departed. It was fascinating to me. I just have a picture in my head of human balloons trailing behind him—kinda funny and sad all at the same time. The author’s mad writing skills definitely shine through.

I’m really trying not to give away spoilers here. I’ve seen some reviews that just blurt out everything about the story. To me that’s just wrong. The only thing I’ll say here, without giving it all away, is this: souls linger when they have unfinished business to attend to. Mitch notices a tagalong soul with Nate. This leads Mitch into thinking Nate is a fellow reaper. When the truth comes to light, it’s at times funny and endearing, but also sad and heartbreaking. But like I said before, there is a lot of humor throughout the book. It definitely balances out the death and sadness, so kudos to the author for bringing some light to the darkness.

I can’t go any further without mentioning one particular secondary character. He really made the story and without him, something would have been missing—Mitch’s father Charles. I really enjoyed his conversations with his son. Without saying the words, the respect Mitch has for his father just oozed off the page. I loved seeing that. He was full of experience and enlightened us with the backstory of how his family and others came to be reapers. For me, he was truly a memorable character.

Have I mentioned that I read this book in one sitting? Well, I did. And yes, it was that good. But let me tell you something. I’ve never had so many emotions going in so many directions at the end of a book like I did with this one. During the course of reading, I watched these two characters struggle and overcome so many obstacles. At this point, I am so invested in what happens to them that I’m on the edge of my seat. Just when you think it’s going to end one way, it loops back around and ends totally different. I literally felt like I was beat up after I read the ending. For those who like a happily ever after—oh, you definitely get one. But be prepared to go on a heart flopping ride before you get there, and it’s oh-so worth it.

What I loved most about this book was the originality of the storyline. I really enjoyed the author’s take on heaven and hell, soul collecting, and what maybe happens after death. I hadn’t read anything like this before, so to me, it was fresh, new and exciting to read. The author’s writing, as always, is smooth and seamless.

I really can’t say enough about how much I loved this book. I consider it a must read. If not for the storyline, then for those two adorable characters. Highly recommended.

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4 Stars, Comedy, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Lex Chase, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Loving and Loathing Vegas by Lex Chase

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Title: Loving And Loathing Vegas (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Lex Chase

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 62 Pages

At a Glance: This little snippet is sure to delight and amuse you this holiday season.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Jackson has loved Vegas since God created Man—literally. As a demonic incubi hailing from the Seventh Circle of Hell, Jackson and Vegas have never been anything more than roommates. Now living among humans, they run Eaven, a TripAdvisor-recommended detour-worthy diner famous for its devilishly decadent pies. Business is dead on the holidays, and Jackson will gleefully stab himself with a spatula if he has to clean spotless pots and pans one more time.

For fun—or torture—Vegas makes him a bet that should Jackson win, they take a much-needed vacation. Should he lose, he’s doomed to clean out grease traps for all eternity. When the challenge is to fall in love with other people by Christmas, it proves Vegas isn’t the least bit interested. But when they find an abandoned baby in the trash, she could be the Christmas miracle to warm Jackson’s cynical heart.

Dividers

Review:   Author Lex Chase offers up a devilishly sweet story for the Sleigh Ride 2015 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar. Even demons, in this case incubi who feed off sex, deserve a holiday, and are determined to have it when they make a bet with each other to see who can fall in love by Christmas. The only hitch is Jackson is already in love—with his long time roommate and fellow demon, Vegas. The two have settled down and run a diner that is best known for its devilishly decadent pies, but Jackson is tired of cleaning the diner’s grease traps, and more than fed up with trying to hide his feelings for Vegas. To top off the whole crazy wager, a baby is left on their doorstep, and it is up to Jackson to make sure she is taken care of, especially since she can’t seem to stand the sight of poor Vegas.

Only Lex Chase could create such a crazy-hot and adorable Christmas story with a decidedly unique twist. The relationship and interchanges between Jackson and Vegas were sharp and humorous while also bordering on the frustrating—-all they had to do was admit how they felt, and yet the constant dance around those emotions made for a fun romp of a story. With more than a fair share of snark and sarcasm, the story flew along, fraught with sexual tension that you could cut with a knife. The resolution of that tension made for a very hot sex scene that left me breathless!

Loving and Loathing Vegas is an unusual and clever contribution to this year’s Advent calendar. While it would have been great to know a bit more about the baby’s origins and the backstory of the two incubi themselves, this little snippet is sure to delight and amuse you this holiday season.

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2 Stars, Amber Allure, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Sean Michael

Review: His Very Own Vampire by Sean Michael

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Title: His Very Own Vampire

Author: Sean Michael

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

At a Glance: This story had so much promise, but just didn’t deliver.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Vampire Truelock’s job for the last several hundred years has been protecting the President of Archer Industries, a family-run company that has done very well for itself. Since the current patriarch, Desmond Archer, is getting ready to officially retire from the company that more or less runs itself, he sends True on a mission to protect his estranged grandson Lane.

Lane’s mother stopped speaking to her father Desmond when Lane was only a few years old and has told her son that his grandparents are all dead. He has no idea that he’s even an heir to a fortune. So when a handsome stranger steps in and saves him from bodily harm just when he needs it, he’s both grateful and a little suspicious. That suspicion only grows when bad things continue to happen to him, all seeming to stem from True’s arrival and his claim that he’s been sent by Lane’s grandfather to protect him.

The fact that there’s insane chemistry between Lane and True doesn’t help either of them untangle the mystery regarding the danger’s source. Can they find the answers before Lane’s unknown enemies manage to do him permanent damage?

Dividers

Review: I am only going to give a short review of His Very Own Vampire because if I write much more, my review would be longer than the book.

This novella had so much promise, it could have been good, but the characters were stiff and poorly written.  Truelock is a vampire who has served the Archer family for over two-hundred-fifty years. Now, Desmond Archer is dying and wants True to find his estranged grandson and bring him home. Lane’s mother ran from her family at a young age and brought her son up thinking that he had no family but her.  When True arrives, claiming he is working for Lane’s grandfather, Lane is confused and wants nothing to do with him. Outside influences fling these two together, as True must protect Lane from family members who want him dead in order to claim Lane’s share of the Archer fortune.

See? So much promise. I wish that Sean Michael had spent more time on this story and really made a novel out of it, as the characters in and of themselves are rather interesting, and the plot is plausible. There are just too many unbelievable leaps and not enough development of characters or storyline for this to be a Sean Michael success.

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4.5 Stars, Amber Kell, Love Lane Books, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel, RJ Scott

Review: End Street: Volume One by Amber Kell and RJ Scott

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Title: The Case of the Cupid Curse/The Case of the Wicked Wolf (End Street: Vol. One)

Author: Amber Kell & RJ Scott

Publisher: Love Lane Books

Pages/Word Count: 201 Pages

At a GlanceA fun and often sweet twist on the paranormal genre.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Dragons, vampires, werewolves, fae, witches and one very confused human.

Sam, 100% human (no, really) inherits a crumbling building and a private detective agency from his Uncle.

Bob, a brooding stubborn and ancient vampire turns up at his door and refuses to leave.

Before Sam can say ‘I only want human cases’ he’s knee deep in werewolves, dragons, vampires and witches.

Book 1 – The Case of The Cupid Curse

Sam Enderson is a human detective who inherits a building from where his Uncle used to run a detective agency. He finds himself working for paranormal creatures despite his resolve to stick with humans only. To supplement his income as a new PI Sam rents out rooms in the large house.

Bob is a vampire and turns up on Sam’s doorstep to rent a room. Sparks fly and Sam is attracted to the vampire despite himself.

Sam is cursed by a witch, and has two cases landing on his desk. Werewolves, annoying ghosts and a grumpy gargoyle are enough to drive Sam mad. But somehow in amongst all of this he has to find a missing fae and a missing shifter child.

Book 2 – The Case of the Wicked Wolf

Naiads, humans, sirens and a challenge for Alpha make up the intricate story in the race to rescue the missing children.

Sam and Bob have more than just the case of one lost child to handle. Not only is Shelby Hartman missing, but other paranormal children have disappeared. The race to rescue the children is hampered by naiads, humans, sirens and a challenge for Alpha.

Hartman Hunter is desperate to find his daughter. He turns to the demon Danjal Naamah for help. The problem is that Danjal is the only person Hartman has ever loved—the man he let go for the sake of the pack…

Dividers

Review:  I really enjoy both Amber Kell’s and RJ Scott’s individual works, so finding this book, where both are involved, thrilled me. They have a similar writing style, and this joint project reads seamlessly. I almost don’t want to know who wrote which chapter, or how they did it, because I just loved the world they created.

The paranormal really isn’t out of the ordinary in this verse created by these two authors, and I loved how it meshed with the reality of the world. It was not a big deal to have a werewolf dance club as well a human one right in the same town. I also really enjoyed that the prejudices between the species weren’t glossed over. A few had made it past the boundaries to mix well with others, but there was still the stigma found in associating with other paranormals or even humans. There is also a message of tolerance and acceptance, too.

I almost felt really bad for Sam as he tried so hard not to get involved in the paranormal aspect of being a P.I., but he’s drawn in because his uncle was a bit unscrupulous. He handles it with panache, though, and doggedly pursues his cases to the end while adjusting to life with a cranky ghost assistant and a persistent vampire suitor.

Looking forward to the next cases, ladies, and thank you for an enjoyable read.

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4 Stars, Ariel Tachna, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: The Partnership in Blood Bundle by Ariel Tachna

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Title: Partnership in Blood Bundle: Volume One

Author: Ariel Tachna

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:  1285 Pages

At a GlanceA massive and interesting take on wizards and vampires.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Book One: Alliance in Blood. Can a desperate wizard and a bitter, disillusioned vampire find a way to build the partnership that could save their world? In a world rocked by magical war, vampires are seen by many as less than human, as the stereotypical creatures of the night who prey on others. But as the war intensifies, the wizards and the vampires forge an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Two: Covenant In Blood. The wizards and the vampires have forged an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. A few wizard-vampire bonds are as successful as Alain Magnier’s and Orlando St. Clair’s, but some are much less so, leading to arguments, resentment, and outright fights between the allies despite their mutual goals. Following his best friend Alain’s example, Thierry Dumont determinedly forms a partnership with vampire Sebastien Noyer, despite the wizard’s discomfort with being so close to a vampire a man so soon after his wife’s death. But they find that desperation may be the key to forming a covenant that works: Thierry and Sebastien are almost immediately devoted to one another’s safety. With new strength behind it, the Alliance’s leaders move to announce its existence to the whole world, hoping to rally support against the dark wizards who threaten to destroy life as they know it. Struggling to find its way in the expanding war, the Alliance discovers that despite its advantages, the partnerships are affecting the balance of magical power in the world, which may be an even bigger threat than the war itself.

Book Three: Conflict in Blood. As the Alliance wizard-vampire partnerships grow stronger, the dark wizards feel the effects and become increasingly desperate to find enough information to counter them, unaware of the growing strain of the blood-magic bonds on the wizards and vampires alike.

The conflict is spreading. The strife of uncomfortable relationships, both personal and professional, is threatening to tear up the Alliance from the inside, despite the efforts of Alain Magnier and Orlando St. Clair, Thierry Dumont and Sebastien Noyer, and even Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche, leader of the Paris vampires, who is fighting to establish a stable covenant with his own partner so he might lead by example.

As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Four: Reparation in Blood. The war is at a fever pitch with both sides stretched to the limit, when the dark wizards score a shocking victory and capture Orlando St. Clair. Haggard with worry and grief at the separation from his lover, Alain fears that even if they find Orlando, the vampire’s heart and mind may be far too broken to save.

Knowing the Alliance teeters on the brink, Christophe Lombard, the oldest, most powerful vampire in Paris leaves his self-imposed seclusion to join the fight. Alain’s lost friend Eric Simonet, who betrayed him to join the dark wizards, is faced with a choice between revenge and redemption. And Jean, enraged by Orlando’s capture, faces the most agonizing decision in his unlife as the final battle looms: Will their actions lead to the shattering of the Alliance or the salvation of the world?

Dividers

Review: Partnership in Blood is an omnibus edition of four novels: Alliance in Blood, Covenant in Blood, Conflict in Blood and Reparation in Blood. In it, Ariel Tachna has created a massive world involving magic and the paranormal. The books are each rich in detail, and the world building is vastly impressive. There is also a fair bit of angst involved, and tolerance, acceptance, prejudices, sexual consent, and romance are themes throughout the series as well.

I enjoyed this take on the paranormal, and I like Tachna’s writing; however, there were so many characters introduced that I nearly got lost trying to keep all the relationships straight. Then I had a difficult time trying to remember the details of the war going on, too. I think if the author would have focused on one or two pairing per book, I wouldn’t have been so confused much of the time.

There are many pairings in this verse, not just the M/M, but also M/F and F/F couples. Each story adds more and more characters as the war progresses—this is one long story broken into very large and long chapters. If you enjoy detailed stories with a huge number of central characters, and you don’t mind f/f and m/f storylines and a good cry, you’ll find this series highly satisfying.

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Kenzie Cade, Paranormal Romance, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Prickly by Nature By Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

Amazon

Amazon

TitlePrickly By Nature (Portland Pack Chronicles: Book Two)

Author:  Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  260 Pages

At a Glance:  I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

Dividers

Review: Dylan and Avery are a little more settled in Prickly By Nature, book two in the Portland Pack Chronicles, but there are definite differences that jump out between the two of them, especially when it comes to their mating and how they view things based on their animals. Dylan, being a wolf, is pack oriented, where family and pack are important; and then there’s Avery, who is more of a loner and doesn’t notice the distance he is putting between him and his mate.  Avery has an almost obsession with finding Lacey, and inadvertently fails to make time to spend with Dylan.  As dominant, growly and protective as Dylan is throughout this book, we also see a slightly sweet and vulnerable side to him as he struggles with worrying over and missing Avery.  In Prickly Business, it took me a while to warm up to Avery, and I found that in the follow up I had the same issue—it was frustrating to see his lack of awareness to what he was doing; although I get it, and once it was pointed out to him, he was more aware.

The mystery of what happened to Lacey, and the other side stories, at times was a little overwhelming to me. The story was good but I wanted more of the romance between the guys. In the end, though, I was happy with where things were left with Avery and Dylan and their relationship. I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. I’m looking forward to what comes next.

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4 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night by Josephine Myles and JL Merrow

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night (Mad About the Brit Boys: Book Two)

Author: Josephine Myles and JL Merrow

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 84 Pages

At a Glance: Short stories and the supernatural and this pair of authors combine to make for some really good reading.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: When boy meets (supernatural) boy

Buckle up as two queens of British gay romance take you on a whistlestop tour of all things paranormal. Vampires, genies, ghosts, magicians and shifters all get their chance for a bit of boy on boy action, in five erotic stories that span the range from the humorous to the sublime.

Will you seek to make your fortune with magic and ritual, or pin your hopes on a genie’s power to grant wishes? Discover a shifty young man on a Scottish shoreline, meet a hapless garlic farmer who’s been turned into one of the undead–and if you dare to venture into the cellar, gird your loins for a horny ghost!

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.

Dividers

Review: Some authors you read no matter what: don’t care about the blurb, don’t care about the sub-genre, you just read them. Josephine Myles and JL Merrow happen to be two such authors for me. Combine this with my love of short stories, and Boys Who Go Bump in the Night was pretty much a guaranteed win.

Several of the stories in this anthology are short enough I might even call them flash fiction, but the common theme (besides the fact they’re all previously published) is that they share a paranormal/fantasy element, and some of them are just purely erotic and don’t play at being otherwise. JL Merrow starts the collection with Leeches and Layabouts, and the first thing that stands out is that the story is told with the author’s trademark sense of humor and gift for taking a fairly mundane human woe and turning it into a clever boy-meets-vampire story. A vampire who grows garlic? Yep. A human who loves living off of government assistance just a little too well. Yep. It’s the perfect marriage of need and want when Art interviews for a job with Crispin, who loves his garlic but can no longer eat it because, well…vampire. But ingenuity abounds, and Crispin gets both his man and his garlic fix.

A horny incubus in Something Queer, blood magic and stone circles in Sacrifice add to the mix of supernatural offered in this anthology, leading to the final two tales. JL Merrow’s Et in Orcadia is my absolute favorite of the five in the collection. It’s a story that blends the tragedy of lost love, the romanticism of man’s call to the sea, and a mysterious stranger who knows that call better than any human. But he also knows the allure of the land and the desire to comfort a man in his grief. A grief they both share. I loved the emotional intimacy of Runi and David’s story, brief though it was. It did a fantastic job of plucking at my sentimental heartstrings.

Finally, bookending the lighthearted beginning of Boys Who Go Bump in the Night is Josephine Myles’ One Last Wish, a fun and sweet little story about a poor genie who’s just tired of being imprisoned in his lamp for the past two hundred years. Scott is the lucky human to rub Xavier’s lamp just the right way—three wishes are his—but Scott ends up surprising Xavier with the way he chooses to use them. And then, well, they end up rubbing each other just the right way.

If you love one of these authors, or both of them, and love a good short story, I don’t think you can go wrong with this collection.

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You can buy Boys Who Go Bump in the Night here:

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2 Stars, Abraham Steele, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Hidden Shifter by Abraham Steele

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Hidden Shifter (Fated Date Agency: Book Seven)

Author: Abraham Steele

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 249 Pages

At a Glance: Hidden Shifter is one of those books where I loved the premise but the follow-through suffered under a lack of backstory and knowledge of the -verse.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: “I’m sorry, Mr. Hillwell. Your fated mate is dead.”

Samuel Hillwell is in mourning for a man he’s never met. The handsome alpha waited too long to contact the Fated Date Agency. There was always a stock trade or a trip to Europe that seemed more important. His mate passed away just days before he reached out. As he goes into a downward spiral, questioning everything he’s based his life on, he can only wish he’d had one night with his deceased omega.

Caden Grey is on the run. After surgically altering his face and travelling across the country, the former kindergarten teacher still can’t stop looking over his shoulder for the people who want him dead. Now that he’s arrived in Clover Grove, he should finally be able to take a breath. But he’s just starting to get settled there when a dazzling man runs up to him. A man who knows Caden’s previous name.

Will Samuel figure out the truth about the tormented omega? And if he gets into Caden’s heart, will either of them be safe?

Hidden Shifter is Book 7 of the Fated Date Agency series. It also stands alone as a complete 200-page gay shifter romance novel with steamy content and male pregnancy.

Dividers

Review: Abraham Steele’s Hidden Shifter, book seven in the Fated Date Agency series, is billed as a standalone novel, and I accepted it to read/review under that assumption, so I’ll start by saying that even though this particular installment may feature a new couple in the series, I do feel like I must have missed out on some world-building by starting seven books in. Which, ultimately, was a real detriment to me as there were some things that just didn’t work because I didn’t have enough info going in.

The beginning of the story is great, filled with a lot of emotion and suspense, and I was completely invested in where the author was going with it—Samuel Hillwell finally carving out a niche of time in his otherwise work-aholic schedule to call the Fated Date Agency and find his true mate… Only to discover that the man who would have been his perfect other half had just died in a car crash. I empathized immediately with Samuel at being so close to opening a new chapter in his life, only to have it cruelly taken away, and I liked the emotional connection the author built there.

When we’re introduced to Caden Grey, a few things are obvious, not the least of which is that he’s not who we think he is, but that he’s also fleeing in terror from an unknown but credible threat. And I don’t think it’s revealing too much here, as the blurb does state that Caden Grey isn’t his real name, to say that fate is indeed playing a role in Caden’s life, as his cross-country exodus, with no fixed destination in mind, lands him practically on Samuel’s doorstep. And, even after plastic surgery, Caden can’t hide who he is from Samuel.

Unfortunately, this is also where the plot began to lose traction for me. The one true soul mate trope is a tried and true one, but sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. Where it didn’t work for me here, overall, isn’t in the speed with which Sam and Caden came together (I actually was dying for them to meet and then liked that the author kept us in a little bit of suspense once they did), but in that once they did get together, there wasn’t any significant amount of word count spent on making their relationship solid enough for me to invest in. There were some sexy moment, some sweet domestic moments, but overall there was so much outside angst going on in Caden’s life that him giving in to his and Samuel’s connection didn’t happen until circumstances forced him to commit to the idea of Sam as a full-fledged mate. Reading a romance and then not being able to invest in the romance part of it is a bit of a buzzkill, to say the least.

But where I felt my experience with this book suffered most, as I said at the outset, is in the world-building. There’s no background story here, so we don’t know anything at all about these shifters, their origins, their mythology, or why the gay omega shifters are the only males who can get pregnant and give birth. I honestly was at a loss here, and will say this—on a personal level, a dripping, self-lubricating anus didn’t conjure up any sort of appealing mental images for me. Juicy wet underwear calls to mind an inherently female eroticism, and while this anatomical detail may or may not be canon in the mpreg lexicon, readers do deserve some foundation to make this aspect of the story even slightly more palatable.

By the time the final deus ex machina is pulled out of the pocket of miracles in an effort to save Caden’s life, I was so distracted by all my unanswered questions that I think any resolution to the story would have been less than satisfying to me. The Alphas didn’t act all that alpha-like, and Caden, the Omega, wasn’t as submissive as one would expect an omega to be. In the end, the motivation for Caden’s flight wasn’t thoroughly fleshed out—we’re told why he ran but get no supporting details about why his wolf misbehaved; we’re told that humans are a factor, but there’s technically only one significant human in the entire storyline; and when the danger does arrive at Samuel’s doorstep, the motivation was not only a bit flimsy but the antagonist doesn’t come off as dangerous as much as he does spoiled and juvenile.

Hidden Shifter is one of those books where I loved the premise but the follow-through suffered under a lack of backstory and knowledge of the -verse. Your mileage, of course, may vary if you’re already familiar with the series.

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5 Stars, Anthology, B.G. Thomas, Dreamspinner Press, Eli Easton, Genre Romance, Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Spirit by Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, and B.G. Thomas

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Spirit (Gothika: Book Four)

Authors: Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, B. G. Thomas

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 260 Pages

At a Glance: Four top-notch authors have once again created an incredibly well written anthology with stories that are both entertaining and thoughtful.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Seeing dead people. Haunting and being haunted. Ghosts and those trying to deal with them add a supernatural flair to these four tales of romance. 

In Among the Dead, Neil Gaven sees dead people. A gentle ghost guides him to Trist, who needs his help. But Trist is tormented by spirits, so maybe together they can find a way to live among the dead.

Dei Ex Machina is the story of Sabbio, a Roman slave who was killed 1700 years ago. He’s been alone until he meets landscaper Mason. But because they’re separated by centuries, it will take a miracle to make love work.

The Mill brings a supernatural challenge to Frank Carter and his team of paranormal investigators. The owner’s personal psychic, Toby Reese, is supposed to help. Frank doesn’t have much respect for psychics, but when the dangers of the old mill threaten his team, he realizes he and Toby will have to work together to survive.

Mike Ellsworth finds himself suddenly deceased. Now he’s a ghost with lots left undone in Unfinished Business. He’s never been able to be honest with his wife. He’s never been able to tell the man he loves how he feels. He’s barely been able to admit he’s gay. If only there were a way he could make up for all he’s failed to do….

Dividers

Review:   There is a new Gothika anthology out, Spirit: Volume Four, and this time it has a supernatural and ghostly bent. Four top-notch authors have once again created an incredibly well written anthology with stories that are both entertaining and thoughtful.

The Mill by Jamie Fessenden:

Our first story is an incredibly well-crafted tale about paranormal investigators and psychics. Drawing from historical fact about the many horrific warehouse fires that took place in the early 1900s, the story focuses on an old sewing factory that burned to the ground with over one-hundred souls locked inside. Since then, Hawley Textile mill has attempted to house other industry, but most recently, plans were made to demolish the old building and turn the land into a shopping mall. However, several unexplained injuries and setbacks caused any renovation or demolition to come to a screeching halt.

The current owner, elderly Mrs. Hawley, has hired a paranormal investigative team to come in and debunk or verify the idea that the building is haunted. While visiting her favorite psychic, she also enlists his help to check out the site. When Frank Carter and his team begin to investigate, his little brother sees something on an upper floor of the building. Before any of the team can move to help him, Louis runs screaming from the large hall and falls down a flight of stairs. While he only suffers a concussion and a broken leg, for some inexplicable reason Louis slips into a coma-like state, and nothing the doctors can do seem to wake him up. Around this time, Frank and his team meet up with Toby Reese, and the general reaction is a lot of skepticism and even a bit of hostility. However, Frank slowly begins to understand that Toby is the genuine article. Not only that, but feelings long dormant are stirring in both Toby and Frank, and now they must team up to confront whatever is haunting the factory–and hope they come out unscathed.

What an incredible story. The pacing, the charged atmosphere that permeated every scene in the abandoned factory, and the growing attraction between Toby and Frank made for an exciting tale all around. Ghost stories are tricky things, and to make them raise that tingly feeling along your spine takes some real dedication to making the story as believable as possible. I really enjoyed how Jamie Fessenden used the distrust between the science of paranormal investigation as opposed to the “feelings” of the psychic. Setting up this foil between Frank and Toby made each supernatural moment in the story just that much scarier and more realistic. This was one of those types of short stories that I would love to see in serial form with many more adventures for this paranormal team. Rating: 5 stars

Dei Ex Machina by Kim Fielding:

In her story, Dei Ex Machina, Kim Fielding offers up a story of second chances. Focusing on two men–one corporeal, who has recently lost his husband, and the other one, who has lived in limbo for hundreds of years–this author brings the two together in a lovely story that focuses on the healing and redemptive power of love.

Once upon a time, centuries before Mason ever walked the earth, a young slave named Sabbio was taken from his home and forced to work on building a majestic palace in a small coastal town called Split.  When he died, he did so without ever understanding what real love is, without ever feeling the touch of a lover’s hand, and without ever fully realizing how love transforms a person. Because of that, Sabbio was destined to live a life in darkness, in a terrible form of limbo where he would often forget who he was and what he had once been. When he is able to pull himself from the dark pit, he walks the small town of Split to which his spirit is forever chained.  One day he sees a young American man, Mason. Mason is still grieving several months after his own husband was shot down on campus grounds where he worked. Having the one man he loved ripped from his life has left Mason empty and hurting.

As the days progress on this vacation Mason has agreed to take with his brother and friends, he will become increasingly aware of the feeling that someone is watching him. Little does he know that a chance encounter with one of the locals will lead to his dreams of being able to love again becoming a reality.

More than a ghost story, Dei Ex Machina, speaks of an instant connection, a spark that only one person can provide for another. That spark leads to recognition and, in Mason’s case, to a second chance at love. When two wounded hearts come together there is often healing, but Kim Fielding goes one step further in the story. Not only are Mason and Sabbio destined to be together, they discover they are the one thing that completes the other, they are soul mates.

This delightful story is complete and total fantasy, and I dare you not to fall in love with its two main characters. Rating: 4 stars

Among The Dead by Eli Easton:

In the third offering of this wonderful anthology, author Eli Easton gives us Among the Dead.

After a near fatal accident while windsailing, Neil finds himself with a brand new ability: that of being able to see dead people–spirits who are not yet at rest. At first he thought he was crazy, and after some intensive therapy, he realizes that the knock on his head has actually left him with this very real and horrifying ability. In an attempt to save his sanity, slowly but surely Neil becomes a recluse, only leaving the house every first Tuesday of the month for a check in with his boss at his IT job. Other than that, he has little interaction with the world around him.

On one such Tuesday jaunt, Neil sees a man in a bowler hat. Unlike other spirits, this man seems calm, slightly sad, and desiring to somehow communicate with Neil. At first Neil is terrified, for right after his accident he did try to help the spirits that he saw, sometimes with disastrous results. So, when this gentleman appears in Neil’s apartment, he decides to engage him in conversation. After many attempts, Neil is finally able to understand what the man wants. There is someone who needs Neil’s help; someone who Neil had seen before the accident, at the local park. When he agrees to help the man, the comfortable, quiet life he has been enduring will change forever.

This story had quite the shocker of an ending, but the ride getting there was really sublime. Neil was so cut off from everything and everyone after his accident. Alternating between the thought that he was insane, and grappling with the reality that he could see dead spirits, Neil coped by simply choosing to shut out life as much as possible. When he finally decides to help Trist, at the prodding of the ghost in the bowler hat, he is overjoyed to finally find someone like him–someone who also interacts with the spirit world. The instant attraction, the need to cling to one another, and the reality that neither of them is alone anymore is so incredibly beautiful. While the transition into lovers is rapid, it is also utterly believable. This was such a sweet story about finding your soul mate and defying all odds to hang on to him forever. Rating: 4.5 stars

Text by B.G. Thomas:

The last thing Mike remembers is that stupid text, the one that now has him walking the earth as a dead man–or nearly so. Prior to the accident, Mike had lead a double life. For years he has denied that he is gay; instead, he runs a successful business alongside his trophy wife. And for the last year, has been meeting the one person he really loves, Joel. Having met at one of Mike’s seminars, Joel and he have been meeting clandestinely every time Mike can get into the city. In fact, it is Joel who Mike is texting when he accidentally runs that red light and loses his life…sort of…

You see Mike is now seemingly brain dead, on life support and running out of time. He must somehow reach out to both Joel and his wife to let them know how he feels. He must set things straight before he passes on. But will there be time?

B.G. Thomas writes the most compelling story about what is most important in our lives, and the foolish way we have of taking it all for granted. By writing the character of Mike, the author hits the reader hard with the idea that any second may be our last, and we must live life to the fullest, be honest with those we love and never, ever take our eyes off the prize–love.

One should not look at this short story as just an advert against texting and driving—although it is a very strong reminder of just that idea. No, there is a bigger message here. While we watch those who Mike loved, and who loved him in return, agonize over things that were left undone and words of love that were left unspoken, we are forcibly reminded that every second of our lives counts. Now the question remains, what will you do with that very important message? Rating: 5 stars

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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel, Tempeste O'Riley

Review: Whiskers of a Chance by Tempeste O’Riley

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Whiskers of a Chance

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

PublisherDreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages

At a Glance: Overall, this book was really sweet and kept my interest.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Jason Grant runs his own IT business from home, owns his own home, and has the best friend he could imagine. What he doesn’t have, or believe he will ever have, is love. When Jason catches a glimpse of his new neighbor on moving day, his libido ignites and his fascination in piqued. He even manages to concoct an excuse to go over and meet the man who makes him hope and want for more than he has in years.

Keith Skyler is a shifter in a world where his kind is known to only a few, but they don’t often mix and they never mate. Keith has been hoping for a mate since before he can remember, but gay lynx don’t have true mates. As far as he knows, they don’t have mates at all. However, while moving his little family across Seattle—and away from their tribe—his reality tips and spins more than he thought possible.

When these two men meet over a dish of five-cheese broccoli-noodle casserole, sparks fly. Who knew a welcome to the neighborhood gift could give both of them their chance at love?

Dividers

Review:  Tempeste O’Riley is a new-to-me author, and I enjoyed her writing style. However, the story itself was a bit disjointed for me.

There was some excellent world building and a unique take on the world of shifters, which I really enjoyed. Keith and Jason were utterly adorable, and I really liked Keith’s nephew and sister. There was some telling that glossed over issues I would have rather seen, and a repeating of various happenings from different points of view, which slowed the story for me.

Overall, this book was really sweet and kept my interest with some of the other characters in addition to the MCs. It wraps up neatly with an HEA for all.

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4 Stars, April Kelley, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Self-Published

Review: Leave it All by April Kelley

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Leave it All (Saint Lakes: Book One)

Author: April Kelley

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 177 Pages

At a Glance: Leave it All is a quirky paranormal story.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Lucas just wanted to be a normal human being, but normal is highly over-rated.

Lucas Speck had been just some guy who worked at an office supply store and house-sat for his snowbird parents. He was nobody special. Or that’s what he thought before the headaches start and weird things start to happen to him. When people start chasing him his whole life gets turned upside down.

Bennett Somerset is a dragon shifter, who likes his quiet life in his quiet town. He isn’t looking for complications. He already has a family that defines the words, weird and crazy, to perfection. Good thing they live in a small town where nothing ever happens. That is until he smells the most delicious thing in the world and realizes it’s his mate. His little witch of a mate just made things way more complicated.

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Review: Lucas just wants to be normal, unobtrusive and circumspect.  Plain, he wants to be plain—he’s good with that. But then he starts having headaches, and these weird balls of white light keep shooting from his chest and reanimating his mother’s dead plants. What’s up with that? Then his (ex?) best friend lures him to a bar full of vampires, and frankly, life goes downhill from there. Come to find out he is the first male witch to be born in centuries, and to say he is all of a sudden popular with the wrong side of the paranormal spectrum is an understatement. On the run from vamps, he rents a cabin in the tiny town of Saint Lakes, where he meets Bennett Somerset, a dragon shifter and his true mate. Bennett is a large, fire breathing black dragon shifter, and has a personality to match. Some would call him moody, others, openly antagonistic, but Bennett would call him perfect. As beta to his brother Ramsey, it is his job to make sure that the clan is safe both from without and from within. A mate being chased by an entire coven of vampires is a challenge he is more than willing to conquer.

I truly liked these characters. April Kelley does a good job of creating her world of paranormals, and I can already see some of the future books from the characters she has created. You probably recognize her name from her Pickleville or Lakehouse Security series—an extensive number of books. The Saint Lakes Series is her newest and promises to be a fun one. Do I wish that she would give her characters a little more depth? Yes. But if you are looking for a fun and easy read, then this is for you.

Dragons and Mistletoe is a bonus Saint Lakes short story included in Leave it All, for the All Romance eBook, Smashword, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble users.

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3 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Retrograde by Bailey Bradford

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TitleRetrograde (Southwestern Shifters: Book Eleven)

Author:  Bailey Bradford

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Page/Word Count:  242 Pages

At a Glance:  I found myself skimming through some of the pages of Retrograde, and just couldn’t get into it for most of the story.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Letting go of the past to embrace the future…

Things are changing for Marcus and Nathan, in more ways than one. Nathan is still trying to deal with the action he took in order to save Marcus’ life. It isn’t easy to do, and sometimes he fears he’ll give in to all the doubts and fears plaguing him.

What they need is some time alone, without guards shadowing their every move, no one to interrupt. Because soon, they’ll be busier than ever.

A short vacation before the annual gathering of Alpha Anaxes at the compound, that’s what they decide to do. But their vacation isn’t so private when they discover a wild pack of young shifters barely surviving.

Changes are coming.

A strange young shifter with abilities neither Marcus nor Nathan have ever seen before. Alpha Anaxes and attitudes. An intruder in their midst. And with the help of Shania, the pack doctor, the most important event of Marcus and Nathan’s shared life is about to happen.

Changes are coming, and they’re coming fast.

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Review:  When I first found the Southwestern Shifters series (not that long ago), I read all eleven books back to back. I couldn’t get enough and was looking so forward to this one, but was somewhat disappointed. I love Marcus and Nathan, but as I was reading, I actually kept hoping for a little less of them. Retrograde isn’t my favorite book in this series. Actually, it’s probably my least favorite.

Things seemed so repetitive in this story, with a lot of details included from the previous book, and I found myself skimming through some of the pages and had a hard time getting into it.  Once we meet Asher and the other younger shifters, though, it got more interesting. But, then I found myself wishing they had been more of the focus instead of Marcus and Nathan.

Now, let me say that I enjoy sex in the books I read, and I have no issues, the majority of the time, if there is an abundance of sex, but as good as Bailey Bradford is at writing those scenes (each was awesome), there was a lot of Marcus and Nathan going at it. It was hot but there were just so many and I found myself wanting to skip them.

With it being close to the end of the series, there were some loose ends being tied up to set things up for what is coming in the final book, which I’m anxiously awaiting, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance

Review: Behind the Eight Ball by M.A. Church

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Title: Behind the Eight Ball (Fur, Fangs & Felines: Book Two)

Author: M. A. Church

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages

At a Glance: Behind the Eight Ball had much more depth to it than the first in this series, and was much richer in terms of character development and interpersonal conflict.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate—a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want—a human: business owner Lawson Dupre.

Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, and then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exists. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.

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Review: Heller is a bigot. Admittedly, when it comes down to it, there is a hard reason he hates humans but nonetheless, he paints all of them with the same wide brush—including the one he has just discovered is fated to be his mate. Lawson is a unique human in that he is fully aware of the paranormal world, and that of shifters, for he is best friend and roommate to two of them. And, they are some scary shifters to boot.

However, nothing Lawson has gone through has prepared him for the extreme pull he feels towards Heller, who is more than likely to be running from his mate than embracing him. Then a mysterious threat appears on the horizon—seemingly aimed right at Lawson–and Heller not only changes his tune, he fervently hopes that it is not too late for Lawson to forgive him and consider being mated to him for good.

I must admit I was so pleasantly surprised when author M. A. Church opted to focus on the disgruntled and fairly nasty beta Heller Wirth for her second installment in the Fur, Fangs & Felines series. I was so certain that Remi would be her next choice, and by choosing Heller, I felt there was so much more to explore in terms of his background and obvious distrust of humans. I also felt it was quite a smooth move to introduce other shifters in the form of the snake duo, Marshell and Janelle. What I found most fascinating about this next chapter in the series was the depth to which we plumbed Heller’s character. I was so impressed by how all of his history was unpacked, and along with it, all his insecurities and fears that no one would ever really see him—beneath the beta exterior—the real him.

I felt there were such lovely poignant moments between Lawson and Heller—particularly when Heller really broke down and discussed his past experiences with humans and how deeply one in particular had hurt him. This may see an odd comment, but once you read the book you will understand. I was so relieved that the conflict that formed Heller’s mistrust and hate was not a physical one—a rape or torture driven memory. Instead, the additional characters from the past were sadly realistic, and how they affected and interacted with Heller was so very sad to read.

I was also quite taken with Marshell and Janelle and the idea that they survived off human blood and yet did not kill the host. Rather they paralyzed them, fed and released them. I look forward to book three in this series in hopes of reading more about this race of shifters. Perhaps the only drawback for me in this novel was some of the repetition of storyline from the first novel. I understood that the author was attempting to bring new readers up to speed, but I felt that the near verbatim explanations from book one were a bit annoying and could have possibly been addressed either in a forward or a more cleverly disguised format within the body of the novel. Quite a few times I found myself distracted by having to read about clowder events and rules that were nearly identical to the initial introductions to those same rites in book one.

However, in the end, Behind the Eight Ball had much more depth to it than the first in this series, and was much richer in terms of character development and interpersonal conflict. It’s a worthy and entertaining addition to the series.

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3.5 Stars, Kari Gregg, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: Sightings by Kari Gregg

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Title: Sightings

Author: Kari Gregg

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 42 Pages

At a Glance: Sightings is a sweet romance with a nice little twist.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Quinn Laramie moved to Mill Valley to care for his sick Aunt Betsy. After her recovery, he invested hours once spent in hospitals hiking and exploring the surrounding hills rather than returning to an empty apartment in the city.

Patrick, a photographer and self-proclaimed paranormal expert, saved Quinn from tumbling into a flooded creek where a bridge had washed away years ago, taking a pair of doomed lovers with it. Quinn and Patrick meet for other creepy jaunts thereafter: a derelict one-room schoolhouse, an abandoned cemetery, the burned-out shell of a home… Quinn hasn’t seen any ghosts yet, but Patrick’s shy kisses haunt him after each paranormal adventure ends.

Quinn wants more, and with their next spooky tour set to begin, Patrick is finally ready to give in. But what surprises wait them in the eerie manse atop Warner Hill?

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Review: Kari Gregg’s Sightings is a romantic and sexy paranormal story, with a bit of a twist to keep things interesting. The story is so short that summarizing the plot even a bit would risk giving away too much, the blurb serves just fine for that, so I’ll just say that I really liked the way Gregg brought Quinn and Patrick together. Patrick’s shy hesitance and Quinn’s longing for something more with the man who’d become a friend, and who’d even saved his life once, kept me wondering what the conflict was.

I also liked the role Margaret Warner plays in the story. She was a bit mysterious and I couldn’t help but be curious about what her significance was in helping Quinn to understand Patrick, which then plays right into the nice plot twist. While it’s no big secret something supernatural is at play in this story, I still liked the “what” of it, and once all was revealed, I thought it was a sweet resolution to the romance between these two men.

If you’re looking for a quick little ghost story that will tug at your heartstrings a bit too, Sightings will fill that need.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Cardeno C., Giveaways, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, Self-Published

Audio Review and Giveaway: Until Forever Comes by Cardeno C. – Narrated by Charlie David

Until FOrever Comes - Audio Banner copy

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Audible US

Title: Until Forever Comes (Mates Collection)

Author: Cardeno C.

Narrator: Charlie David

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 5 hours and 54 minutes

At a Glance: This audiobook is a topnotch production.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: A sensitive wolf shifter and a vicious vampire challenge history, greed, and the very fabric of their beings in order to stay together until forever comes.

Plagued by pain and weakness all his life, Ethan Abbatt is a wolf shifter who can’t shift. Hoping to find an honorable death by joining his packmates in a vampire attack, Ethan instead learns two things: Draining his blood releases his pain and his wolf, and he has a true mate: a vampire named Miguel.

More than four centuries old, strong, powerful, and vicious, Miguel Rodriguez walks through life as a shadow, without happiness or affection. When a young shifter tells Miguel they’re true mates, destined to be together, Miguel sends him away. But Ethan is persistent, and being together comes so naturally that Miguel can’t resist for long. The challenge is keeping themselves alive so they can stay by each other’s side until forever comes.

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Review: WOW! Audiobooks have come a long way.

I started listening to audios about two years ago, as a way to listen to a book in the car, but the narrators then just read the books with very little expression.  Sometimes the narrator’s voice fit the characters, but not that often.

Charlie David’s gift to Until Forever Comes is his uncanny ability to develop and portray all the human and non-human personalities. The sinister aspects of Miguel Rodriguez’s voice, and the naïve outlook that guides Ethan to Miguel with no fear, is so spot on.

Charlie David has an amazing talent, and this audiobook is a topnotch production. Combine that with the writing of Cardeno C., and you just can’t miss Until Forever Comes.

Or, at least you shouldn’t.

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Cardeno C.Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Cafe Risqué ~ SharedBlog | Pintrest | Google+ | Youtube

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Click here for the chance to win an Audible copy of Cardeno C.’s Until Forever Comes!

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5 Stars, Eli Easton, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review: How to Walk Like a Man by Eli Easton

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Amazon

TitleHow to Walk Like a Man (Howl at the Moon: Book Two)

Author:  Eli Easton

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count: 267 Pages

At a Glance: These are the books I turn to when I am looking for a book to make me smile and swoon.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.

Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If the town doesn’t kill him, sexual frustration just might.

The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?

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Review: Although parts of How to Walk Like a Man will completely break your heart, Roman’s happily-ever-after is worth it. So sweet!

Roman is innocent and loyal, and the way that Matt interacts with him just warms your heart. All of the books that I have read by Eli Easton, this one included, fall into the happy book category for me. These are the books I turn to when I am looking for a book to make me smile and swoon, the kind of book that when you get to the end you feel like letting out a contented sigh…warm and fuzzy, comfy-cozy-type books.

Roman questioning Lance when things came up that he didn’t understand had me cracking up. Seeing Lance stutter and stumble through trying to help his friend, but being so embarrassed he had trouble getting the words out, and having to either hand the phone to Tim or find his pen fascinating, were some of my favorite scenes.

This was definitely a slow burning romance between Roman and Matt, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed…dare I say, even more than How to Howl at the Moon?

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4 Stars, Amber Kell, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kim, Self-Published

Review: His Beautiful Beast by Amber Kell

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Amazon

Title: His Beautiful Beast

Author: Amber Kell

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 92 Pages

At a Glance: His Beautiful Beast kept me interested throughout, and I thought the two MCs were cute and sexy together.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Sammy Dunn had always dreamed of being a musician. When his mother’s employer offers to pay for his music school in exchange for Sammy to return he agrees.

Jonah Croft had longed for someone like his boyfriend Sammy his entire life. When Sammy disappears Jonah refuses to let his vanishing go unremarked but what he discovers when he finds him changes his entire world view.

Will love prevail or will evil tear the lovers apart?

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Review: As a child, Sammy made a promise to return and visit Mr. Strassford (his mother’s employer) on his twenty-first birthday, in exchange for an education in music. Eight years later, leaving his boyfriend behind, Sammy makes the trip to fulfill his promise. Just as he’s about to get to his destination, though, his rental car breaks down on a lonely road. He tries his cell phone to call for help, but finds out there’s no signal, and then along comes a mysterious stranger who gives him a ride…and warns Sammy to stay away from the mansion and its occupant. But, Sammy is on a mission to keep his promise to Mr. Strassford.

Once Sammy finally arrives at the mansion and is greeted by Mr. Strassford, he quickly discovers that the man’s not well intentioned—Mr. Strassford has a curse of the furry kind that he’d like to pass on to Sammy. Meanwhile, Jonah is freaking out that his boyfriend, Sammy, seems to have disappeared…

For me, His Beautiful Beast made for a fun Halloween read, mainly because of the curses, witches, brownies, a big hairy beast, and a boyfriend who’s determined to save his man. I liked that just when I thought I had things figured out towards the end, Amber Kell managed to surprise me with the ending. I also enjoyed her quirky sense of humor.

His Beautiful Beast kept me interested throughout, and I thought the two MCs were cute and sexy together. I definitely would read more by this author.

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3 Stars, Charlie Richards, Extasy Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Not a Line of Bull by Charlie Richards

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Title: Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip: Book Six)

Author: Charlie Richards

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 89 Pages

At a Glance: An interesting tale of a shifter that has been sequestered by an alpha who has very strange ideas about how to lead – and his rescue by his beloved.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Just a little love bite: The instinct to please your peers should never be stronger than your conscience.

Cassium Jones is closing in on his fourth century mark and over the years has held many roles, from farmer to soldier to vampire enforcer. Now, he’s ready to settle down in moderate relaxation…if working a cattle ranch can be considered relaxing. He loves the wide open spaces, the fresh clean air, and even tending the animals. Handling the maintenance and care for the Angus cows in the northern pastures offers plenty of solitude, and he should have been left pretty much alone. Instead, Cassium stumbles upon an injured Angus bull amongst the livestock, and realizes the bull is not only a shifter, but his beloved, his soul mate. Cassium learns Garth has been driven from his herd for disobeying a controlling alpha, leaving behind two young children. While Cassium is happy to help reunite the bull shifter with his kids, is he ready to take on the role of parent when all he wanted was to retire?

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Review: Note: Not a Line of Bull is book six in the A Loving Nip series, and while it’s helpful to have read the other stories in the series, this novella can easily be read as a standalone.

We met Cassium Jones in a previous installment of this series, when he becomes the unlikely hero in A Rose for Paul’s Protector and rescues the beloved of his cover master as he is going into “retirement” so that the humans don’t notice how he doesn’t seem to age.

As he’s repairing the fences in the pasture near his cabin, he sees and smells blood and recognizes it as not fully animal. He’s convinced it’s a shifter, and he locates the seriously wounded animal hiding in the herd. But, he knows he’s not a bull only, and he convinces the guy to shift, though he’s so injured that he can’t even remain conscious for the short trip back to Cassium’s cabin.

Cassium is somewhat adept at first aid, so he bandages up his guest as best he can. During bouts of consciousness, Cassium manages to get out of the bull shifter that his name is Garth, and he’s from a herd that is close by, but he’s obviously not in any shape to do much more than talk. It’s pretty apparent, really quickly, that Garth has been injured by his own herd’s enforcers, on orders from the alpha. Also, as Cassium gets to know Garth, he determines that he’s been very isolated from his herd and has some pretty farfetched ideas about not only shifters but other paranormals as well. He’s also very, very young compared to Cassium.

But the real surprise is that Garth has children, and he is extremely worried for them. Cassium explains to Garth a good deal about paranormals and the mate bond, and also confesses that he’s much older that Garth. Cassium decides he definitely needs backup, and contacts the head enforcer for his coven, and also their doctor since he’s still concerned about Garth’s injuries.

Of course, Garth’s herd is not content to just let him go, and once Cassium and his coven know children are involved, there is a concerted effort to make things right for Cassium and Garth.

These two are very sweet, and it was nice to see Cassium change as he realized what his life could be after all his years without his beloved. Garth is a sweet and naïve character who is a good man and a good father, and who knows a good thing when he sees it. :) Another enjoyable addition to this series.

 

 

 

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4.5 Stars, Dark Hollows Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Victoria Sue

Review: Broken Circle by Victoria Sue

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TitleBroken Circle (Sirius Wolves: Book Two)

Author:  Victoria Sue

Publisher: Dark Hollows Press

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: So, is this book good? Yeah. Any book that can make me care that much about characters and cry so hard is awesome.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Blaze, the most powerful werewolf on the planet has found his omega, Aden. Together with Conner and Darric they finally become true mates, fulfilling an ancient prophecy by the goddess Sirius and forming Orion’s Circle. The battle against the terrorist group, the Winter Circle, has begun.

Blaze, however, is fighting his own battle. Aden is due to birth a child, and despite Blaze’s six hundred years of being an Alpha, nothing has prepared him for his hardest challenge yet — how to become a father. His struggles are hurting the people he loves the most and threatening their bond.

The madman who kidnapped and tortured Aden still hasn’t been caught, and when the worst happens and their circle is broken, Blaze has to fight his biggest threat yet – his own inner weakness – an enemy against which his Alpha strength will be useless. Blaze has to learn that true strength is only found in forgiveness, and sometimes the most powerful weapon is love.

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Review: A few months ago I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, and I was absolutely delighted by the world Victoria Sue set up. The mythology, the characters, the storyline…all of it was so fresh in a shifter-saturated market. This second book continues the story started in the first, and follows Aden, Blaze, Conner, and Darric as they discover the joys of fatherhood and navigate an increasingly dangerous world.

Seven months have passed since the first book, and Aden is ready to give birth to a baby. Yes, he is male, for readers just tuning in, so this book does have mpreg. The logistics are explained in the first book, and I found it fascinating as Aden and his alphas dote on their child. But there’s a lot at stake. Orion’s Circle is getting more powerful, but Aden and Blaze have not finished their bonding ceremony, and there are new threats to contend with. The villain, Madden (from the first book has disappeared), and a terrorist group that seems to be made of wolves is threatening wolf/human relations.

I can’t say much without giving too much away, but I will say a few things. First, you absolutely must read the first book to get the full story. The author does a decent job of catching readers up, but not everything is explained. Second, this book is devastating. There is a major character death and I sobbed in bed, reading to the end through wet lashes. That’s how much I was affected. I honestly didn’t think it would bother me as much as it did, and I had to eventually take my glasses off because they were so blurred with tears.

So, is this book good? Yeah. Any book that can make me care that much about characters and cry so hard is awesome. That’s not to say there aren’t issues, however. Like the first book, there are some inconsistencies. The baby’s name is mentioned before Aden and Blaze decide on it, which is frustrating. There are also instances of repetition that could have been cut. I started skimming at one point because it got to be just too much, but in the end, the author’s character building really brought me in and kept me engrossed in the story. I just really wish more attention had been payed to the editing.

Now, there is a third book, and I currently hold it in my hands. I’m afraid to read it, though. Why? I don’t think my heart can handle another blow like it did with this one. And I’m all out of tissues. Any more tears and I might need to start using the towels in my bathroom to sop up the mess.

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, SJD Peterson

Review: Innocence to the Max by SJD Peterson

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Title: Innocence to the Max

Author: SJD Peterson

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

At a Glance: Do you love vampires?  I love vampires, and I loved Innocence to the Max!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: On his sixteenth birthday, Francisco “Cisco” Aguilar first sets eyes on Maximilian De Ferrari, owner of Wicked Grounds, an exclusive BDSM club. Cisco has been lost, unsure of what is missing in his life. Over a century old, Max leads a vampire clan, and Cisco is drawn to him in a way he can’t explain. The moment he sees Max he knows his quest isn’t about what he’s been missing, but who.

Five years’ wait seems more than Cisco can bear, but he perseveres and on his twenty-first birthday he walks into Wicked Ground. He’s unafraid to meet the vampire he’s sure is his destiny. Max has been waiting for him, too.

What Max has known all these years, and what Cisco soon discovers, is that more than fate is drawing them together. Iunctio Copula is a powerful binding link capable of restoring cold, dead hearts. With Max and Cisco bound, Cisco will be Max’s greatest weakness. Unable to let Max go, Cisco is thrust into a dark world, where he’s nearly powerless, left to fight for his life and his future with Max. Worse, he’s at the mercy of those who will use him—and hurt him—just to get to the powerful vampire.

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Review: SJD Peterson is one of my go-to writers whenever I need a really well written book, and Innocence to the Max falls right in line. Is this a new series?  Gosh, I hope so. There are so many incredible characters in this book that deserve their own story.

Max is a centuries old vampire, and the head of his clan, searching for something he doesn’t even believe exists, not really. And then one night, he is taking a quiet break from his club. Cisco is in a car, driving down the street in front of him, and his path is forever changed. Cisco is celebrating his sixteenth birthday, looks down an alley, and his body lights up with recognition of a man he cannot see for the shadows, and cannot pursue because of his age. Five years later, and Cisco is out to claim the man from the shadows, knowing he is a vampire and his Master—Cisco wants nothing more than to serve the man who stole his heart from a street corner.

This book does have some disturbing scenes of violence and rape, so be warned, but it is not the point of the story, merely an aspect of it. This is a story about two men struggling hard to be the men they need to be for themselves as well as for each other. It is a happy-for-now tale, with the promise for more. As well written as the main characters are, the secondary characters carry the story forward with wit and fortitude, and I really want a book for Benny!

I highly recommend this story. If you are into hot vampires, with some light BDSM and soul mates, then this is a book you will definitely enjoy.

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