Blood Moon by Marilyn Todd

Blood Moon by Marilyn Todd
High Priestess Iliona #2
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (166 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

In a cave in the hills, seven candles burned, and tonight, when the moon was at its full, it would be time to light another. Oh, the Blood Moon was so aptly named…

Three ritual killings on the same night can’t be coincidence. More an attempt to sabotage the peace between Sparta and her new allies from across the Black Sea.

High Priestess Iliona has no wish to become embroiled in politics. Especially now. The son she gave up at birth has discovered her identity, and emotions she’d worked so hard to lock away have surfaced, raw and painful. But Lysander, commander of Sparta’s hated Secret Police, gives her no choice. And because she hopes that uncovering conspiracy, murder, kidnapping and adultery will help dull her pain, she fails to notice a killer on the loose with a pathological hatred of women.

Who’s picked Iliona as his next victim.

If only Iliona wasn’t such a good spy…

All Iliona wants is to serve in the temple of Eurotas and take care of the people who come to her for help. Unfortunately, she’s done an excellent job of spying for Lysander in the past, and now he has another job for her. Iliona would refuse if she could, but Lysander knows too many of her secrets. One word from him and her life could be forfeit. Iliona knows she has no choice, so she grudgingly agrees to help, but solving this mystery brings more pain that Iliona ever could have imagined.

I enjoyed getting to know Iliona better in this book. I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, but I felt that I didn’t know Iliona as well as I would have liked when I finished reading. I’m pleased to report Ms. Todd fleshes out Iliona’s character a bit more in this installment. After learning more about Iliona’s past and what she has survived, I like her even more.

While this book could possibly stand on its own, I do recommend reading the first book, Blind Eye, before attempting this tale in order to have a better feel for Iliona, Lysander, their history, and the world they live in. Also, Ms. Todd switched between a lot of viewpoints in Blind Eye, and she continues that pattern in Blood Moon. I feel I was better prepared for this having read Blind Eye first. I do think that the number of viewpoints could be whittled down a little. While the differing perspectives are interesting, I found myself wishing I could spend more time with Iliona and Lysander.

Lysander and Iliona’s partnership continues to be interesting. Iliona barely tolerated Lysander in Blind Eye, and her feelings for him haven’t changed. She definitely resents his presence in her life. That being said, I do think they worked together better this time around. Iliona seems to be developing a grudging respect for Lysander, and I daresay he is starting to like her. However, Lysander is a very secretive character, and I can never be sure what his true motivations are. I look forward to seeing what will happen to them in the next mystery.

Ms. Todd did an excellent job of weaving mysteries together. As I read, I enjoyed trying to figure out if various characters were connected or acting on their own and who the murderer was. I must admit that when the culprit was revealed, I was a little shocked with how Iliona chose to deal with the murderer. It was certainly a side of her I’ve never seen.

I truly enjoyed reading Blood Moon. It is an intriguing mystery sure to keep readers engaged. I’ll certainly be picking up the next book in this series.

The Accidental Cowboy by Heidi Hormel

The Accidental Cowboy by Heidi Hormel
Publisher: Harlequin American Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (158 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When former bronc rider Lavonda Leigh is asked to guide a Scottish archaeologist through the Arizona desert, she’s expecting a fussy egghead. But then she discovers tall, strong Jones Kincaid competing at the local Highland games. She can’t help her interest in him—and that’s before he puts on his cowboy hat and hits the trail like a pro.

Jones is after more than he’s letting on. His quest could clear a past scandal and let him live his dream—studying the old West. But as he spends time with Lavonda in this rugged landscape, he realizes that what he wants isn’t just academic—he yearns for a life with her on the ranch. If she discovers his deception, this professor-turned-cowboy will lose his reputation…and Lavonda, too.

This is a really sweet romance story that is character driven and whose cast includes an opinionated cat and a donkey who thinks the cat is his BFF.

The Accidental Cowboy has plenty of adorable, charming and special moments sprinkled throughout. The romance that grows between Lavonda and Jones occurs in spits and spurts. There are mistaken assumptions, untruths or partial truths and marriage proposals for all the wrong reasons that create conflicts between them. Most are rectified and the main characters make up, and then there are the ones that cause some serious emotional plot twists that make a reader wonder if they’ll ever be honest with each other and come clean on all levels.

The one thing that annoyed me was Lavonda forcing Jones to admit what he was really doing. I simply could not understand the complete disregard for the possibility that Jones might be onto something. I didn’t like how the revelation was handled, how the university responded or how the people involved acted. Then, Lavonda finally lets her starch out, regrets her prudish demands and does an about face to then support Jones. All this at a time when his departure and lack of funding have finally become a reality does she finally decide to make the fateful journey to see what there was to see. I suppose better late than never, but this was the only area in the entire book where I did not think Lavonda a good heroine. I thought she was a ninny.

If not for that implausible conflict, the book is a good read. I thought the man/woman differences, the Scottish and the American differences, were well done, entertaining and put to good use. I’m a sucker for a rolling Scottish accent and Lavonda is no different except she actually gets her own Scotsman to romance her and I thought she was one heck of a lucky lady.

I’d classify this novel as a gentle romance with some light spicy loving to illustrate that both Lavonda and Jones are highly compatible. There are even some moments of effective self-sacrifice which showcases that they are worthy of the titles hero and heroine. The Accidental Cowboy ends with a confusing (because Lavonda comes from a loving but zany sounding family) but effective and humorous happy ever after that made the whole journey worth it. If you have time for a sweet read, then this is a good book to choose.

Santa Wore Leathers by Vonnie Davis

Santa Wore Leathers by Vonnie Davis
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (111 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Take one man-shy reporter, a gorgeous ex-Navy SEAL turned firefighter, add in a thong-stealing dog… and Christmas will never be the same again!

There’s only one thing on Becca Sinclair’s Christmas list this holiday season – her very own column in the local paper. And if she can build a huge blog following, her wish just might come true.

Enter Dan ‘Wolf’ Wolford aka the man-whore next door and the new star of Becca’s popular, post-divorce blog about men. A Navy SEAL turned commander of the Florida Marine Rescue Unit, Wolf’s the very definition of the word alpha – and with an endless rotation of women on his doorstep, this hunk on a Harley has Becca and her female followers all hot and bothered!

All Becca wants for Christmas is her newspaper column, right? But when she finds herself the target of Wolf’s irresistible attentions, her snarky comebacks become less and less convincing and, suddenly, she’s not so sure anymore…

Looking for a warm, lighthearted romance with a bit of an edge? Then Santa Wore Leathers is worth checking out. Becca and Wolf are a great couple, once they figure each other out. It’s the getting there that makes this novella so engaging.

In Wolf’s point of view I get to see his reaction to Becca. It’s satisfyingly entertaining because he loses the capacity for speech and logical thought. He truly becomes a horn-dog but the only woman he’s panting after is Becca. I thought the love advice he received and whom it received it from made for some of the most endearing scenes in the whole book.

No, wait – I think Becca’s canine companion, Einstein, was the most endearing, and hysterical. I strongly believe Einstein knew something about the two humans long before they did. Personally, I think the beloved dog was the true matchmaker of the story. His many ‘gifts’ to Wolf provided no end of chuckles and giggles.

As for Becca, she had to overcome some serious distrust. Unfortunately Wolf provided reasons himself that fed her fear. The poor guy seemed to suffer from ‘open mouth, insert foot’ syndrome and when he messes up, it’s a whopper. What was frustrating was that he was so super close! This is where the light BSDM came in, with the blindfold and restraints. It wasn’t a lifestyle he was introducing her to but a means to teach her to trust. Because of that, I didn’t list BSDM in the list of tags but as some of the other things he did certainly falls into that category, I’m mentioning it here. He was almost to an emotional home run and then, he opened his mouth before he thought it through, and the plot conflict twisted again. Bad Wolf.

When it was Becca’s point of view, it was pleasant enough but when I have to compare whose POV I prefer, Wolf gets my vote. His was much more fun.

There is actually a lot more I could say about this story because it was chock-full of interesting characters and action but the romance was its strongest point and the happy ever after was perfect. I definitely recommend this little nugget to romance readers who want a quick happy ever after that jostles the emotions but delivers a cheerful and fun ending. Santa Wore Leathers is worth every second reading.

Sweet Texas Charm by Robyn Neeley

Sweet Texas Charm by Robyn Neeley
Sweet Texas Secrets, Book 3
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (138 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Small town. Big secrets. Welcome to Sweet Ridge.

Grayson Cooper is livid when he learns his father left him a keychain with a strawberry charm rather than ownership of the successful Guac Olé company. He’s been groomed for this position since he escaped the factory floor as a teen and joined Jack in the corporate offices. But what good is the CEO title without the stock shares?

College dropout Becca Nash is dumbfounded to learn that she now owns fifty percent voting stock in the company where she’s just a line supervisor. The pay bump will help her take care of her mother’s nursing home care, but the corporate halls intimidate her—and who wants to hobnob with those snobs anyhow?
Stymied at every turn by her attitude, Grayson goes undercover boss to find out how he can steal back those shares, but surprisingly loses his heart to Becca instead. What he does discover is a secret that could blow apart not only Becca’s world but his whole family. With so much hanging in the balance, Grayson must decide whether it’s better to follow his head or his heart.

Robyn Neeley creates a tension that sweeps the reader into the conflict immediately in Sweet Texas Charm, the last book of the trilogy Sweet Texas Secrets. This book rounds out the Cooper men’s story beautifully. While it is part of the trilogy, it can be enjoyed as a standalone book.

Grayson Cooper has no intentions of falling into the same predicament (in his estimation) as his brothers. He is CEO of the family business, Guac Olé. He is furious about his father leaving fifty percent of the company stock to Becca Nash, a line supervisor in the guacamole factory. He set in to buy, beg, or whatever to regain the company shares that he feels are rightfully his. His actions set him on a collision course with Becca who is efficient and fair, with unquestionable integrity. However, she does have a hot temper when pushed too far.

The secondary characters, extremely important to the unfolding of the story, come alive with the author’s smooth, flowing writing style. She weaves details in so subtly the reader gets an abundance of information while the plot unfolds at an attention-keeping pace. An undercurrent of emotions bubbles throughout the story—emotions that come to a boil from time to time, in more than one way.

The author’s use of foreshadowing, symbolism, play on words, and subtle humor adds more depth and pleasure to the story.

When the tapestry of the trilogy is complete, the intertwined stories reveal a romantic history of two generations of Cooper men.

Dark Season by Joanna Lowell

Dark Season by Joanna Lowell

Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (189 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Haunted by her Future.

Tainted. Degraded. Doomed. Doctors told Ella Arlington that her epilepsy would prevent her from living a normal life. When her cousin tries to put her in an institution, she flees to London, determined to control her own destiny. But while at a séance, Ella’s epileptic fit is mistaken for spiritual possession. Loath to reveal her scandalous condition, she goes along with the misperception, and soon finds herself attracting the attention of a devilishly handsome viscount determined to keep the past buried.

Tortured by his Past Viscount Isidore Blackwood’s fiancée died with secrets he’s vowed to keep, but nothing could have prepared him for the arrival of a mysterious woman who’s rumored to have contacted her ghost. He doesn’t believe for a moment that Ella possesses supernatural powers. Her presence, however, shakes him to his core and when he accuses Ella of being a con artist, sparks unexpectedly ignite between them.

When some surprising truths come to light about Phillipa’s death, Isidore concocts a plan to stage a spectacle of a séance for the ton with Ella’s help. Their devil’s pact might just flush out a killer, but will Isidore let his fury and guilt consume his own soul in the process? And can Ella trust him enough to gamble on a future she never thought she could have?

Dark secrets and dark emotions!

Dark Season begins in an eerie, scary, dark place with flickering candles, sickly, sweet smells, and haunting music—an atmosphere for a “Spiriting-rapping.” This setting stirs up a tumult in Ella’s brain that brings on one of her epileptic seizures.

She regains consciousness in the gentle care of Mrs. Trombly, who believes the spirit of her dead daughter Phillipa is trying to speak through Ella.  Ella tells everyone she is Eleanor Reed. She wants no word to get back to her despicable cousin Alford where she is.

When Isidore Blackwood, the man who was affianced to Phillipa, hears of Ella, he is determined she will not take advantage of the sweet, grieving Mrs. Trombly that he loves like a mother.

The conflicts and undercurrent of dark secrets tug the reader into a tangled web that keeps one turning pages. What a mess these people have made!

Isidore, Viscount Blackwood, surely doesn’t come across as “hero” material when the reader first meets him. He did indeed have a tough row to hoe to wiggle his way into this reader’s good graces. However, what he overcomes and how he overcomes it makes for tension-filled, stay-up-late reading. His struggles give him a depth of understanding that eventually make him ideal for Ella who struggles to make a life for herself without family support while all the while coping with her little-understood epilepsy.

Joanne Lowell named the novel well. The title foreshadows the dark, dreadful issues that plague not only Ella and Isidore, but also many of the secondary characters, especially Clements, Isidore’s longtime friend and Daphne Bennington, who had been Phillipa’s best friend.

This author does a wonderful job of creating a sense of place as she lets the reader feel the distressing emotional undercurrent tied to the death of Phillipa and immerses the reader into the doings of the characters.

Isidore has to dig deep to redeem himself, but he does. Moreover, he affirms Ella and lets her know, without a doubt, she is worthy. He is a true “hero.” Dark Season has a unique, special happy-ever-after.


The Dragon In the Stone by Doris O’Connor

The Dragon In the Stone by Doris O’Connor
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (152 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Sex, Spanking,
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Penance needs to be paid come what may…

Several Centuries ago Drorgan was cursed into stone. Every twenty five years he is given one night and one day to find the woman willing to accept him in both forms.

It’s the price to pay for his past behavior.

As a lost, lonely little girl Rhonda Butterbaugh was rescued by the dragon in the stone and she has never forgotten her fierce protector. It sparked her fascination with all things dragon. If only they were real. There are no such things as fairytales, however.

When she is attacked on her way home, and wakes up in a cursed magic castle, complete with a fierce dragon shifting lord, her life takes a turn for the surreal.

Determined to break the curse and rescue Drorgan and his kin, she hasn’t counted on Drorgan’s resistance.

Dragons aren’t supposed to be noble.

It’s a fairy tale comes to life. You could say that this is a twist in the beauty and the beast story except the beast is a dragon and the beauty is a librarian.

I loved the beginning. It starts out with the curse and then time changes and you see a child and how she fell in love with anything dragon.

The Dragon in the Stone is smoothly written, never letting me getting lost or asking myself ‘which time period am I in now?’ which is often the case with books that move back and forth between the past and present. I don’t enjoy having to go backwards in a book to reorient myself or keep myself on track.

Drorgan is a dragon shifter, the only one for centuries. He’s been stuck in limbo thanks to a curse for too long because of his past behavior. He’s changed a lot over the years, and seen the changes that the humans have taken. He also knows that if the humans knew about the existence of his species there is a high possibility of he would be killed.

The Dragon in The Stone is a full on erotic story with a lot of hot, spicy moments, bondage, sex, and spanking.

Rhonda is a woman who grew up in a foster home. While Drorgan was cursed to stone until he finds the love of his life that’s willing to not only deal with his human side but also with the dragon side.

My first thought when I read about how Rhonda and Drorgan met was ‘Now, that’s gonna leave a lasting impression on him’. The author put me right in the scene. I was able to see and feel what they felt.

Rhonda is persistent and determined. She has to be to deal with the Dragon who almost always got what he came for or wanted. I liked reading about their spats/talks/conversation. It brought a smile to my face.

Dragons, curses, witches, and magic castles…oh my! Growing up I read a lot of fairy tales and before I started reading erotic I never thought a fairy tale story could be like this. This is essentially a fairy tale BUT a fairy tale for adults, not children or teenagers. It is for readers who enjoy a full body story with more heat than dragon’s breath. Really good read!

Pretend You’re Mine by Lucy Score

Pretend You’re Mine by Lucy Score
A Small Town Love Story
Publisher: Pub Yourself Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (451 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

I only wanted to protect you…

Luke Garrison is a hometown hero, a member of the National Guard ready to deploy again. Strong, sweet, and sexy, he doesn’t have a girlfriend and doesn’t want one. When the wildly beautiful Harper stumbles into his life, though, he realizes that she’s the perfect decoy. A fake girlfriend to keep his family off his back until he’s out on another mission.

So what if a single bite of her lip sends his mind to wicked places? He can control himself. Can’t he?

Harper was on her way to starting a new life… again. But something about Luke makes her want to settle down in this small town and make Luke’s house a home. When his arms wrap around her like steel, she finally knows what it’s like to feel safe. Protected.

One night of sleeping in the same bed turns into something much, much more… and soon Luke can’t keep his mind off Harper’s wide gray eyes, or his hands off of her luscious curves. He never thought he’d feel this way about a woman again. But he knows that he can’t tell her the truth about his dark past, and she can’t reveal to him what she’s running from.

Anyway, this isn’t a real relationship. It’s only for a month. Only pretend. Until it isn’t…

He needs a temporary girlfriend and she needs a temporary place to stay. What they both get is so much more.

I love a good small town romance when I get to meet and feel like I’m part of the community along with the characters. Ms. Score did a good job of expanding the story beyond the lives of Luke and Harper. It was a nice start to what I hope becomes at least a trilogy since I NEED to see both Linc and James’ stories. Linc may be Luke’s nemesis but he’s a hot fireman who never really does anything bad in this story and therefore he needs his own HEA.

Speaking of Luke, bless him, the tragic back story that slowly unfolds broke my heart. He has a real personal issue with not having control over situations and his own emotions and I think it took a free spirit like Harper to show him that it’s okay to not always be in control. Life is going to happen one day at time, full of surprises good and bad, regardless of how we try to control the outcomes. I liked that the author didn’t minimize his past and how she brought pieces of the past and present together to heal both Luke and others involved.

I like Harper a lot. Like Luke, she had a not great history but her outlook, and her decision to not let it rule her life made her a stronger person than she first appears. Luke thinks she’s flighty and needs a keeper but Harper proves that push come to shove, she might get knocked down but that doesn’t mean she’s out. She mourns temporarily for what was and she keeps moving. In the end, she teaches Luke how to live again, love again, and accept being loved. Along the way she builds the life she always dreamed of and finds the family she never had. There’s two different foster care elements to this story that totally won me over for the realistic way they were handled.

I’ve seen some reviews that hated Luke’s grand gesture towards the end saying that it made Harper look like a weak damsel. I disagree. What Luke did was as much for himself as it was for Harper. It was his first step towards the future he finally realized he could have if he could reconcile the past. He was pretty harsh when he pushed Harper away but I chalk that up to being scared because he didn’t think he deserved to be happy. If I had one crit about the story it was how vocally as well as internally adamant he was that he could never and would never love again. It was practically a mantra by the end of the book and I was like “okay, I get it, you’re scared” because that was honestly the bottom line.

While Luke’s words say no, his actions towards Harper say yes loud and clear. Their sexual chemistry, once he stops fighting it, was on an explosive level! I had to laugh at one review that complained that they don’t even have sex until about a third of the way in. That’s good, the author wisely used that time to build up the tension. They tease each other with looks, words and touches. When Luke goes all caveman on her after seeing her in Linc’s arms, I cheered because I knew, there was no way he could hold out now. It was awesome!

I did something with this story that I rarely do. When I finished reading it, I started reading it again. I loved this story that much. I truly hope Ms. Score decides to expand this book into a series, even a short one so I can revisit with Harper and Luke but mainly so I can see how Linc and James find love in Benevolence. Ms. Score has another small town series that’s calling my name and if it’s as good as Pretend You’re Mine, I know I’ll be hooked. This book is for readers who love a hot romance with a dash of intrigue.

The Other Side: Trent’s Story by Starr Gardinier

The Other Side: Trent’s Story by Starr Gardinier
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (322 Pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Melinda James is finally out of Skyview Haven—an asylum where she was confined for years—and is living her life, free at last. However, things are not going as planned; harassed by unexplained paranormal experiences, she doesn’t feel safe in her own home. And when she turns to her best friend Trent for help and support, she is surprised to find her feelings for him have grown far beyond a simple friendship.

Trent Miller isn’t prepared to fight evil, but he will do whatever it takes to save Melinda from an evil entity that is seeking revenge for past events. Armed with knowledge gleaned from television shows, a team of paranormal investigators, and the prayers of family and friends, he is ready to face anything.

The question is, does he tell her about his feelings for her before or after he fights a battle with evil for Melinda’s very soul?

Love is Strong.

Nothing worth having is ever easy. This story shows that love can be strong and worth all of the bad we go through to find it.

Melinda has been out of the asylum, where she has been wrongfully admitted, for two years. She has her own house, a roommate and goes to university for her classes. However, her new life with Trent, who may or may not be the love of her life, comes with a couple of hiccups.

Trent and Melinda start experiencing events and accidents that are not only improbable but down right paranormal. They know that what they are experiencing is a paranormal event, they are being haunted or the house is haunted. When Melinda disappears, Trent knows that he has to get her back from where ever she is and he will do anything to bring her back alive.

Trent and Melinda are first shown as just friends. I just think it would have been nice to read about how they become friends and then how Trent fell in love with Melinda. This book did show their attraction towards each other and their concern or love for each other with a couple of almost kisses and a whole lot of heat between each other, perfect for readers who aren’t interested in being in the bedroom with the main characters.

The Other Side is a ghost story. The first half of the book was pure ghost story and slowly the story starts evolving and the other elements of the plot began to appear. Then it starts becoming more fantasy than ghost story. I think what surprised me was how much of fantasy elements I saw in this books because it is not what I expected.

My expectation was of a typical paranormal. The main characters are being haunted, threatened by unseen forces who want their death for some reason and they find a way to eventually save themselves. This book showed the other side to the haunting that I don’t normally get to experience in a book. I liked it. It was different. Readers who enjoy a good paranormal experience but want something new should give this one a try.

Shifting Focus by Cassidy McKay

Shifting Focus by Cassidy McKay
Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

As a lion-shifter, EMT Sophia Lorello has spent her entire life suppressing her wild side. The animal inside her is not only deadly, she’s worse than a horny politician with an unlimited supply of Viagra. And once her lioness gets out, she doesn’t like to let Sophia — or her rules — back in. That’s not a risk Sophia’s willing to take again.

Sophia’s control flies out the window when Special Agent Griff Monroe is assigned to investigate a series of local murders. The fact that he’s dead-sexy, “erases” people for a living, and shifts into a big, scary gryphon could be a problem. Her lioness wants a new toy, and the battle-hardened agent is even harder to resist than catnip. It’s a pity that darned serial killer keeps getting in the way…

When the race to catch the killer rivals their race to the nearest bedroom, shifting focus could be their only hope of survival… if she doesn’t kill him first.

I like Ms. McKay’s stories because there’s always a real story with depth, characters with substance and a plot that keeps the pages flipping. The icing on the cake is the hot romance. The bedroom door is nonexistent insuring that readers feel the heat from the passion and sparks whenever Griff kisses Sophia into oblivion. The author delivers what erotic romance readers seek while giving readers who like more developed plots something to sink their teeth into. Everyone can be happy while reading Shifting Focus.

I liked how Sophia tried to restrain herself. She was an expert at corralling her inner lion but was helpless about resisting Griff. There’s a reason for that, a paranormal one, and it’s a reason she had no clue about. The why of that comes from reading about her history. It really is amazing that she has the job that she does especially when her family history is revealed to the hero and readers.

Griff is a great hero; very take charge, alpha and head over heels in lust with Sophia. I enjoyed watching it morph into something more. His buddy, Hunter, was a fun character. He’s a great side kick yet is just as alpha in his own way. I cracked up when I discovered the reason Sophia seemed to have a bad reaction anytime he was around.

I was most impressed by the humanity of the main characters in the novella. Sure, they’re shifters and can heal fast but Ms. McKay imbued her characters with relatable restrictions on their strength and power that made them seem more realistic, approachable and believable. It was a nice touch and it made their fighting the villain that much more suspenseful, exciting and engaging. I could not stop reading.

Although Sophia reveals a snippet about her family, I found it hard to believe that she knew absolutely nothing about anything with regards to her being a shifter, especially at the age she was when she made the choice she did. Most teenagers not only have a clue but think they know it all at that age. I didn’t feel I was given enough to believe in her self-induced phobia even though it clearly worked as a plot conflict.

The point of view is first person but the author took turns with Sophie and Griff so readers really do get an inside look as to their motivations, fears and the process of their falling in love. I liked that.

Shifting Focus might be short on pages but it delivers a full story, a wonderful romance, the solving of a murder mystery and plenty of sex to blow off steam. It’s a fast read that is perfect for a before bedtime Apéritif of words or a nice way to spend an hour or so in the afternoon. Enjoy!

Shine by Red L. Jameson

Shine by Red L. Jameson
Wild Love Series Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (185 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M/M, Multiple Partners, Anal Sex, Voyeurism, Menage
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

The fireman is hot—able to burn me. But still, I crave the singe.
The professor is cold—brooding with intrigue, making me yearn for more.
The police officer easily unlocks my laugh—something I thought was caged for life.

Two years ago, before my cheating husband died, he promised he’d right his wrongs–and there were so many wrongs. On his deathbed, he swore he’d send a slew of men to worship me and treat me like a goddess.

I don’t know how, but my husband kept that one promise. Unbelievably, I get to choose between three men—one’s perhaps too hot, another too cold, while the other might be just right. And faintly, I can hear my husband chuckling and whispering that I don’t have to choose.

Maybe—just maybe, they could all be mine…

Sometimes love isn’t all rolled up into one person. For Jane it was rolled up into three men. Each very different and yet exactly what she needed.

I have read a lot of ménage and erotic stories with multiple partners. One thing stood out to me as different in Shine. Typically a ménage or multiple partner relationship starts out with guys who have known each other for a long time not guys who just met. In this story, they started out with “I will have her” and it ended with “we love her and we want to be with her forever”. It was refreshing and added a new level of tension to the story.

Mind you their first meeting was fun to read. It was instant contest to see who is better. It was nice to read how the guy’s relationship with each other changed. Not saying that they fall in love with each other. Their relationship changed from strangers to friends. There is no intimate touching whatsoever between the guys.

This was a book about a widow who’s been grieving her cheating, dead husband for over a year. About how she learns to love all of who she is. About how she learns to let go of her past and her insecurities that have been ingrained in her because of her past. Told in the first person POV of Jane, this book delved into mind of a person whose past has formed who she is at present, both good and bad.

I saw this non-traditional relationship between three guys who loved her immensely blossom and strengthen. Yes, the passion and chemistry she has with each of them is different but in the best way possible. They don’t seem like carbon copy characters with different names. This was one of those erotic books that I will definitely remember.