Jack, Alec And Ben by Sean Michael


Jack, Alec And Ben by Sean Michael
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (114 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Three men risk it all to find the Master of their hearts at the Shibari Auction House.

Jack: When Jack’s gambling debts catch up to him he decides to sell his time for three years to the highest bidder, hoping someone is willing to pay him enough to clear his debts for good. Is he jumping from the frying pan into the fire? Only time will tell.

Alec: Experienced sub Alec is back at the Shibari Auction House to sell two more years of his time after his master of ten years turns him in for a “newer model.” Novice Top Benj can’t believe anyone would throw the lovely Alec away or complain that he’s too old and snaps Alec up for twice the asking price. Is it possible both men will find what they need together?

Ben: Three years ago, Ben let Master Lukas buy him over multiple evenings, only to cut and run when he felt himself beginning to fall for the perceptive and handsome Master. Now he’s returning to the Shibari Auction House stage, but is he ready to pick up where he and Master Lukas left off? Only time will tell.

Jack urgently needs the money auctioning himself off can give him, can it solve his problems or open up a whole new set for him? Alec is an experienced sub who is only recently out of a long-term contract. Can Alec and Benj find what they’re both looking for together? Finally, Ben had run when his feeling for Master Lukas grew deep. Can they reclaim what they’ve both left behind? Enjoy this three-story set all in the one volume.

In desperate need of money to pay off a gambling debt, Jack is literally out of options until a bartender friend tells him about the Shibairi Auction house. With nowhere else to raise the funds, Jack sells himself off for a three year contract and meets Master JF. I found myself chuckling at the opening scene where Jack is doing the paper-work side of the auction, going over a list of what will and won’t be allowable. Even though it’s clear he is in dire straits and has no other options, his almost casual agreeing to items (and checking that no one would want to cut his balls off) just struck a chord with me and I was caught, somewhere between sympathy, keen interest and laughter. It was a delicious balance and I must admit, hooked me from the very beginning.

Equal parts intense, romantic and hot this was a lovely read and while I initially felt that Master JF was a little clichéd as the wealthy, bored patron the chemistry between Jack and JF quickly sucked me back into the story. Ending with a “Happy For Now” style of conclusion this is a sexy short story that I really enjoyed.

I instantly felt empathy for Alec’s character – released from his contract when his Master felt that Alec, at twenty-nine, was “too old”. As a plot it was certainly something different to me, what happens to submissives when they’re no longer fresh and young? Even more interestingly, I was intrigued by Master Benj being a relative new Top – his first night being when Benj buys Alec. Watching these two very different men coming together and exploring the delicate, new and unusual relationship grow between them was a delight I utterly loved. I found the storyline refreshingly different and the characters charming. I really loved this short story.

The third short story centered around Ben and Master Lukas. Although they had spent a few nights together years ago, watching Ben and Lukas reconnect again was lovely. I loved the mix of teasing and hot sensuality that crackled between them. Reading about them getting their happy ending was just a delight.

Three deliciously hot short story compiled together into an amazing book that I thoroughly loved. Highly recommended.

This Old Cafe by Marci Boudreaux


This Old Cafe by Marci Boudreaux
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (135 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Jenna Reid purchased the Stonehill Café to prove to herself that her ex-husband was wrong…that she could make her dreams come true. Three years later, all she has is a crumbling building, no social life, and her bruised pride.

Pride is something Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Maguire lost long ago and isn’t likely to find living in the alley behind the café. He just needs a little time to get on his feet. In the interim, keeping an eye on the overworked café owner gives him a sense of purpose. He has no intentions of making his presence known until he hears the woman screaming late one night.

He rushes into the café, but instead of finding her in dire straits, he finds a broken pipe and Jenna—soaking wet and holding a wrench. With her last bit of hope fading, Jenna accepts Daniel’s help to fix up her building, but it doesn’t take long for them to start trying to fix each other.

Jenna had opened her small café to prove to herself (and her ex-husband) that she could indeed make her dreams come true. She hadn’t been prepared, however, for just how much hard work and expensive it would be. Desperately trying to fix a broken pipe in the café’s kitchen, screaming at the cold water sploshing everywhere and ruining her floors, she’s shocked when Daniel comes in to “rescue” her – assuming from her cries that she was being mugged. Both Daniel and Jenna are desperate in their own ways. Can they help each other?

I found this to be a lovely, slow-paced, small-town style of story. Both Daniel and Jenna have their own problems, Jenna is recovering from a nasty marriage and some emotional baggage resulting from that and Daniel is trying to fit back into a “normal” life after fighting in Afghanistan. Neither are looking for love – merely for a way to try and make the best of the life they want to have. While I found the plotline was nothing too new or unique – Jenna helping Daniel out in thanks for his handyman help around her café and the two fall in love – I really did enjoy the author’s tone of storytelling.

I found both Jenna and Daniel interesting and sympathetic characters, and the whole situation unfolded steadily enough that I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. I always enjoy a slower-paced romance, one where I can get to know each character, see how well they’ll fit together and then watch as they ease into something lovely together. Add in some strong secondary characters – Jenna’s brother and some of the other towns-folk – and there is plenty to keep my attention and have me eagerly turning the pages.

I was a little disappointed at how clichéd the conflict in the story was. While it didn’t drag the whole plot down too much, it made me frustrated with both Jenna and Daniel for different reasons. Personally I felt that their own issues (Daniel’s PTSD especially) were plenty of “conflict” for the plot and adding in the miscommunication and annoyance toward the latter end of the story merely made me frustrated as a reader – I truly feel it didn’t add anything to the romance, or to Jenna and Daniel’s storyline. I feel it could have been much better handled – though admittedly this is my only criticism of the entire story, I thoroughly enjoyed all other aspect and this didn’t annoy me enough to stop me continuing to read the story right to the last page.

The romance was spicy but also sweet – I loved how both Jenna and Daniel wanted to protect and support each other, in so many ways this really was a match of equality. I also enjoyed how modern the romance was, even though Daniel’s instincts were to be all alpha male and super-protective, he could enjoy Jenna’s spirit and fire and I loved how he accepted and understood her desperate need to help and protect him, too.

I really enjoyed the parts where Jenna and Daniel compromised and worked together – I found those parts particularly delightful to read. I loved how the physical intimacy grew slowly between them, first with chemistry, then with a solid and long “getting to know you period” and then finally with some actual consummation. Personally I found the sex to be tastefully written and while it was clear what happened, it was eluded to – not actually described intimately.

Apart from a few hiccups toward the end I found this generally to be a great book with vibrant characters, an interesting plotline and a deliciously slow, romantic love story. I genuinely enjoyed this story.

Immortally Yours by Lynsay Sands


Immortally Yours by Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (400 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

One hundred and twenty-five years is a long time to nurse a crush. That’s how long it’s been since Beth Argenis first met Cullen “Scotty” MacDonald and he instantly became the star of her most X-rated dreams. Back then, he was rescuing her from a Rogue Immortal. Now Beth’s a Rogue Hunter—a damn good one. She doesn’t need saving anymore, despite what Scotty thinks. What she does need is the fierce, wild desire that finally erupts between them.

Scotty has hesitated to claim Beth as his own. But one explosive kiss confirms what he’s long suspected: She’s his life mate. But Beth is tough, fearless, beautiful…and in immortal danger. Unless he wants to lose her forever, he’ll have to rethink everything he once believed about love and destiny as well as confront an enemy who’s terrifyingly close.

No matter how fantastical the paranormal aspect is in a novel, it’s the human factor that helps a reader relate to the characters and the overall story. One of the plot conflicts is a tale as old as time in Immortally Yours and yet Ms. Sands injects a refreshing wrinkle, Argeneau style, and makes it her own.

In the last book with the mad scientist, I thought for sure the next novel would pick up that thread and in a way it did, but not as I expected. This tale shifts to the ramifications and effects on the rest of the Argeneau clan that were left behind when the others went to rescue their kidnapped family members. Reinforcements are called in from other parts of the world which introduces new personalities that the Canadian Argeneaus need to not only work with but trust. One would think that was a safe bet, they’re sort of like family after all, right? Nope, because not all of them are Argeneaus and there are other prominent Immortal families out there that are also movers and shakers. I found out that there is a Russian faction that, from the sounds of it, are rather fierce, who play hardball and are feared by many. So, how does that play into this plot? It’s effective, clever, interesting and surprising.

The mystery involves the basic questions of figuring out who is a traitor, who is betraying them and why do all the attacks seem to target specific people and how in the world are the villains always one step ahead? I didn’t find out until the heroine, Beth, found out the hard way. Once I read the ‘great reveal’, I sat back and thought, “Why didn’t I figure that out earlier? It seems like it should have been so obvious!”, except it wasn’t. Not for me. I was wonderfully stunned.

As for the heroine, that poor girl! I mean, seriously, how many times can a person get toasted like a marshmallow, skewered like a shish kebab or dodge other surprising attacks? Beth had some near misses and some attacks were dead on. Was she continually in the right place at the wrong time? Was it a jinx of supreme bad luck? The thing is, in the middle of one of the most physically painful times between Beth and Scotty, a/k/a Cullen, the author slipped in a brief moment of hilarity.(Ms. Sands does that a lot) It was their reaction that made me snort and guffaw. It was like a Loony Toons moment; totally snicker-worthy.

In addition to the mystery conflict, there’s a huge internal conflict going on. It seems Scotty has this noble idea about what is best for Beth. He also thinks he’s magnanimous, forgiving and enlightened. Yes, he’s giving, but he’s not forgiving or enlightened as he’s deluded himself to be. The hero had a rude wakeup call, that’s for sure. I liked watching him not only come to terms with his own failings but grow as person to become better – which seems incongruous as he was already totally swoon-worthy and sexy and heroic.

As for the heroine, her own internal conflict was substantial and mind blowing. Her early life was a nightmare. And yet, the analogy of the sword that Ms. Sands used totally made sense, was believable and basically summed up Beth’s personality. The heroine is a strong, stubborn and highly opinionated woman. I loved it.

Of the new Immortals that were introduced, I like Kira the best. She has a future, I think. She has attitude, confidence and her own serious conflicts to deal with which makes her an ideal future heroine especially if she ‘hooks up’ with an Argeneau. The conflagration from that could be highly incendiary, dramatic, and a perfect venue for more snickers and snorts. After a reader experiences Kira in this novel, I think they’ll understand my opinion.

The shared sex dreams of new Life Mates, and the physical sexual encounters were of course, hot, but what intrigued me was how Ms. Sands used the sex for something practical and altruistic. It also proved to me without doubt that Scotty and Beth are perfect together.

Immortally Yours is more about people than the paranormal. It’s about healing, challenging perceptions and admitting when you’re wrong. It’s about imperfect people falling in love in the face of the dangers of assumptions. It’s about why it’s important to take the time really listen to the person you love, even if it hurts. And, it’s about fighting for what you believe in. There’s a lot of emotional depth to this novel that makes it more than just a fun, fluffy and entertaining read. Ms. Sands has another winner and is an easy recommend.

River City Dead by Nancy G. West


River City Dead by Nancy G. West
Publisher: Henery Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (224 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Advice columnist Aggie Mundeen and SAPD Detective Sam Vanderhoven plan their first rendezvous at a San Antonio River Walk hotel during Fiesta Week—sumptuous sights, sounds, and festivities in the middle of America’s Venice. A vacation from crime and a reset for their tumultuous relationship.

But murder descends on the Casa Prima Hotel. Disturbing revelations surface about the Fabulous Femmes, Aggie’s new friends holding a convention. Evil emerges at parties in La Villita. Calamity plagues Aggie’s debut dance performance at the Arneson River Theater, the celebration skewed by carousing, crazies, and corpses. Even in idyllic River City, crime complicates relationships.

All Aggie wants is a quiet vacation cozied up to her new boyfriend, Sam. With the relationship still fresh and new, she wants to spend some quiet time with Sam and get to know him better. But when you’re dating a cop, things don’t always work out the way you had planned. Case in point: when a woman is murdered in the hotel you’re staying in, your boyfriend tends to get really busy really quickly. Not that Aggie is about to let that stop her fun.

Aggie Mundeen is an advice columnist who takes her real life experiences and uses them to guide others. I was amused that the letters from her readers were included in the story, giving us a little insight into Aggie’s downtime rituals. Her boyfriend, Sam Vanderhoven, is also an interesting character. Although he’s a rather typical cop-like character, his frustration and affection for Aggie make him a more complete character. That he knows he wants to keep her safe and yet realizes at the same time that he’ll never get her to heel, is both sweet and reassuring.

I really enjoyed the setting in Austin, Texas. It’s a city I hear so many good things about and yet have never visited, despite having lived in Houston for a year. The characters are also very interesting and likable, despite Aggie’s penchant for getting herself into trouble, even though her boyfriend and cop, Sam, warn her to stay out of it. That said, if every lead in a cozy mystery took that advice, we’d never have any novels, right? At times I felt like the dialogue was a bit stilted and awkward, but the overall story was entertaining and engaging. I’m going to hunt down the prior three books in this series now and find out how it all began. A story with a few twists and turns and an unforgettable cast.

Sacrificial Lam by Gary Guinn


Sacrificial Lam by Gary Guinn
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (268 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off. A liberal activist at a small Southern conservative college, he’s used to stirring up controversy on campus. It’s just part of the give and take of life. Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it must be a mistake. He can’t imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs.

When his home is broken into and his wife’s business vandalized, Lam is forced to face the truth. His wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. The police can’t find a single lead. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan are forced to examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by his own set of beliefs.

What will it cost to survive?

Sometimes your job forces you to push on the limits of society.

Lambert Corso is an individual with just such a job. As an English professor with very liberal views teaching at a religious college, Lam has stepped on his fair share of toes. Suddenly unnerving written threats against his life and then physical attempts against both Lam and his family cause a deeper concern for what is happening at the university. Lam is suddenly forced to question everyone and everything in order to protect his own family.

Sacrificial Lam is an enveloping story told from the viewpoint of Lambert Corso and his wife Susan. The story highlights the various types of personalities that exist on a college campus as well as the frustrations that occur from being the voice for those oppressed when the majority of those on campus have very opposing views.

The threats and Lam’s reaction to the increased threats are understandable and realistic, given Lam’s history and views. The dialogue is smooth and concise and the descriptions of work, personality conflicts, student concerns and the main plot line of fear and mystery focused on Lam and his family weave together to form a great mystery!

I really enjoyed the various conflicts and frustrations that Lam encountered, both internally and externally. Lam’s marital concerns and even his stress impacting his parenting of his two sons speak volumes into the psychology of the storyline. The depth of human nature and our response to external stress is a great pivotal point in the story.

If you enjoy suspense and mystery stories, be sure not to miss Sacrificial Lam!

Gone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart


Gone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart
3rd book in the Honor bound series
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

A childhood terror rears its ugly head in USA TODAY bestselling author Anna J. Stewart’s latest Honor Bound romance. Psychologist Allie Hollister is still haunted by the unsolved death of her childhood best friend. She never expects her past to meet her present when a young patient is abducted and the cold case is reopened. Allie knows she shouldn’t get involved, but the child’s uncle, firefighter Max Kellan, needs her as much as she needs him. Once, Max simply wanted to put his past to rest; now he demands nothing short of justice. As he and secretive, sexy Allie track a lethal criminal, their chemistry is an undeniable adrenaline rush. Their attraction will be put to the test when they confront their most dangerous threat yet: the truth.

Aaaaaaaaah!! Thank you Anna J. Stewart for writing yet another spectacular book! I was combusting with excitement as I read Gone in the Night. It was so awesome!!

Gone in the Night is the third book in the Honor bound series written by Anna J. Stewart. The first was More than a Lawman and the second was Reunited with the P.I. All three can be read as standalones however it is much more fun to read them all in consecutive order. I was fortunate to be able to do just that.

Anna J. Stewart is a consistent writer. All three books are riveting! I’m talking about the kind of book that is impossible to put down once you start. Since I knew this I didn’t even start reading Gone in the Night until I had a rainy day so I could just sit and read it all in one sitting. I was not disappointed at all. Reading Gone in the Night was just as unpredictable and complex as the other books in the Honor bound series. Suspense that was thrilling! Romance that was passionate!

More Than a Lawman ended with one case solved and one unresolved. The unresolved one continues to be threaded through out Reunited with the P.I. along with a new case. The new case gets resolved but left the unresolved still unresolved. Gone in the Night finally resolves the unresolved case! Yahoo!! It was worth the wait!!

Aden, Simone and Allie are three best friends that share a childhood trauma that unites them in an unbreakable bond of friendship that has lasted into their adult lives. More Than a Lawman was Aden’s story. Reunited with the P.I. was Simone’s story and Gone in the Night is Allie’s story.

I couldn’t wait to read Allie’s story. All three leading ladies were relatable and I loved all three but Allie was my favorite. I was able to relate to her difficult childhood. I found Allie to be intelligent, strong and witty. She was perfect for Max, the hero. Oh my Gosh, Max. I loved the banter they had going with each other throughout the book. They had this ongoing guessing game that was so much fun to read. I loved Allie and Max! Max was my dream guy and I definitely have a book glow going on.

The final culmination of the unresolved case was epic! I did not see that ending coming. What a lovely final twist. I was left feeling completely satisfied. I am so happy for Allie that she found a happily ever after with Max. I loved how all the plot threads were tied this time. I would encourage anyone who loves suspense/mystery romance to pick up all three books in the Honor Bound series. Heck, I just might read them all again, they were that good!

The Shore Thing by A.R. Barley


The Shore Thing by A.R. Barley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (104 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sunburned Delaware native Dale Seward spends his summers wrangling lifeguards and cracking crabs. His winters are a whole lot colder.

Nico Travelli’s never even seen the ocean, but when his family’s plans for him get derailed, he realizes his future in their upscale Italian restaurants might be over, and it’s time for something new. He’s hypnotized by his first look at the Atlantic—until a wave takes him out. Luckily, Dale’s there to pull him to safety.

Dale knows better than to fall for a summer person, but that doesn’t mean he can’t show Nico a good time. Between the ice cream cones and the put-put golf, these two lonely hearts soon find themselves in over their heads.

But when Nico is tempted by a second chance at the life he always thought he wanted, will he be brave enough to give it up for the possibility of true love with Dale? And what does the sexy lifeguard do during the winter? In a state as small as Delaware, secrets are bound to come out.

In the middle of a heat wave, lifeguard Dale is incredibly busy – and feeling incredibly old as the new recruits appear younger and younger to him. Nico feels as though his comfortable, stable, utterly fake life is over after a spur-of-the-moment decision to up stakes and leave his native Chicago. When he decides to paddle in the Delaware ocean and is caught unawares by a rip, Dale rescues him and life as each man knows it changes irrevocably. Dale usually doesn’t connect more than a one night stand with the tourists, but there’s something different about Nico.

I enjoyed this light and summery romance. While Nico and Dale come from vastly different worlds, each of them are hiding and trying to cope with their own problems as best they can. They both also realize that they’re merely treading water – not actually moving on with their lives. Watching them come together in a slow, sweet romance was really enjoyable.

I was a little disappointed that the conflict was both predictable and only a very minor part of the storyline. Readers looking for a deep or complicated plot mightn’t find this aspect of the story very satisfying. I also felt like the ending wrapped up just a little too quickly. Considering how lovely and slow-paced the entire rest of the story came across, the fact everything wrapped up in a matter of pages, it felt jarring and sudden to me. I’d have loved if just a little more time and space had been dedicated to really round out the story and feel it would have given the entirety of the story a bit of better balance. I did, however, really love how much time was spent getting to know both Dale and Nico. I found the pacing of learning about them – and watching as they came to know each other – was deliciously slow and dealt with really well to my mind.

I was also pleased that the romance itself wasn’t rushed. I enjoyed how both Dale and Nico took their time and neither were in a hurry either to jump into a deep relationship or become intimate. While I can believe some readers might feel this progress is a little too slow for an erotic romance, I felt the story and timing was all the more believable for having it wait as long as they did.

This story really felt like a happy, light, summer romance read – something that would be perfect with a cool drink and could be a great way to enjoy a hot and lazy afternoon. With interesting and enjoyable characters and a lovely slow romance this story was a delight to read.

The Weekend by Alan Winnikoff


The Weekend by Alan Winnikoff
Publisher: Books To Go Now
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (127 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Over a single weekend two people try to figure out if they are right for each other. In the process, they learn more than they might want to know – about each other and themselves.

Sometimes you just need a break from life, The Weekend is designed to give you that break.

Carolyn and Jeff meet up for a weekend in a luxurious Manhattan apartment on Friday night. Although things don’t go initially as planned, the weekend moves forward and the two work out subtle differences and learn much about each other over the next few days. The story is a smooth look at how life outside of the concerns and confines of work progresses for two individuals who wish to disappear into the city.

Although the story only spans Friday evening, Saturday and part of Sunday; we get a deep glimpse into the lives and motivations of both Jeff and Carolyn. While work is discussed sparingly, we begin to see and understand their true passions and desires. Both individuals are in a time of transition in their lives, both professionally and personally and both individuals lean on each other in their quest to discover who they are as a person.

Deep reflective conversation flows smoothly, laying out the deeper plot. While there is some sex and more sexual tension, there is a stronger focus on the individuality of two people coming together as one in an undecided world. Not to give away any details, the story itself looks at more of the psychological understanding and fulfillment of two people taking time away from a world of deadlines, goals to be met and expectations. The Weekend ends as weekends often do, with a desire for more but still a satisfaction and sense of renewal. Again, just like weekends do, there is a longing for another weekend in the future but a sense that one must work and strive for that weekend if the weekend is to be enjoyed to the fullest.

I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of The Weekend for your own weekend reflection!

Invisible Love by Amanda Steiger


Invisible Love by Amanda Steiger
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (64 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Gregory, an ambitious sorcerer, tried to become immortal…but the spell went wrong and transformed him into a bodiless spirit. For five hundred years, he’s roamed the world trapped between life and death, cut off from all human contact. Then he meets Linda, a young psychic who can feel his presence.

Shy, lonely Linda hasn’t felt a man’s touch for a long time. Then one night, a gorgeous man appears to her in a vivid, erotic dream…and the next day, she hears his voice in her mind. At first, Linda thinks she’s going crazy, but she can’t ignore the man’s desperation, his hunger for human contact. When he asks her to open her mind to him, she can’t refuse.

By inhabiting Linda’s body, Gregory discovers, he is able to feel again. After five hundred years without pleasure, he is overwhelmed by the sensations. Linda, meanwhile, discovers that having Gregory’s spirit inside her is surprisingly erotic. Though she can’t see him, she can sense his essence moving through her, even feel his hands on her body. Before long, she finds herself falling in love with this strange, lonely, passionate man. As her feelings grow, Linda vows to help Gregory escape the empty half-life of a wandering soul and become human again…but to save him, she must make a terrible sacrifice.

How many centuries could you wait to meet your soulmate?

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this story were its vivid descriptions of Linda’s ordinary daily routines. She wasn’t at all happy with the way she was living when she first met Gregory, and her frustration shone through brightly in the beginning. Seeing those scenes in such detail made the rest of their adventures even more appealing than it would have otherwise been.

The chemistry between Gregory and Linda never felt quite right to me. Their relationship heated up so incredibly fast that I wasn’t quite sure what they saw in each other or why they were suddenly all over each other. While I liked both of these characters as individuals and thought they had real potential as a couple, I would have liked to see more examples of what they found attractive about each other in the beginning since they didn’t know each other at all when the sparks first began to fly.

With that being said, the sex scenes were nicely written. I was intrigued by what it might be like for someone to sleep with a spirit when I first read the blurb, and I couldn’t wait to see how everything from foreplay to afterplay and everything in-between would work when only one of the characters actually had a body. Ms. Steiger’s take on the topic was fresh and well done.

Invisible Love was a short, satisfying tale that I’d recommend to anyone who is in the mood for something steamy.

A Measure of Murder by Leslie Karst


A Measure of Murder by Leslie Karst
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (336 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Sally Solari is busy juggling work at her family’s Italian restaurant, Solari’s, and helping Javier plan the autumn menu for the restaurant she’s just inherited, Gauguin. Complicating this already hectic schedule, Sally joins her ex-boyfriend Eric’s chorus, which is performing a newly discovered version of her favorite composition: the Mozart Requiem. But then, at the first rehearsal, a tenor falls to his death on the church courtyard–and his soprano girlfriend is sure it wasn’t an accident.

Now Sally’s back on another murder case mixed in with a dash of revenge, a pinch of peril, and a suspicious stack of sheet music. And while tensions in the chorus heat up, so does the kitchen at Gauguin–set aflame right as Sally starts getting too close to the truth. Can Sally catch the killer before she’s burnt to a crisp, or will the case grow as cold as yesterday’s leftovers?

In a stew of suspects and restaurateurs, trouble boils over in the second in Leslie Karst’s tasty and tantalizing Sally Solari mystery series, A Measure of Murder.

I grew up reading cozy mysteries and jump at any chance to read one. A Measure of Murder has everything that’s fun to read about in this genre. It’s peppered with characters, any of which could have committed the crime, an easy to like sleuth, and clues that have you guessing about which one should I follow and which one’s a red herring.

This was a new to me author but I knew this is the second book in the Sally Solari mystery series which is centered around cooking and restaurants. And who doesn’t enjoy a good culinary mystery? This one also focuses on music, classical music to be exact. When a tenor falls to his death and no, it wasn’t by accident, it sets in motion a determined lead character to find out who did it and why.

This is a fast paced story with enjoyable characters and has me wanting to go and seek out the first book to learn more about sleuth Sally Solari. I don’t think you need to read the first one before this installment because I had no trouble figuring how who she was or what she did for a living.

If you like quick paced mysteries with some humor thrown in, and of course a recipe or two, then this might be one to add to your end of summer reading.