The Wicked Heir: The Spare Heirs by Elizabeth Michels


The Wicked Heir: The Spare Heirs by Elizabeth Michels
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (457 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

When the love of Lady Isabelle Fairlyn’s life is betrothed to her twin sister, Isabelle vows to find a suitable replacement before the end of the season. He must be a talented dancer, have a keen fashion sense, and be perfectly dashing in every way.

Fallon St. James is the farthest thing from perfectly anything. As head of the secretive Spare Heirs Society, he must stick to the shadows…even as Isabelle’s friendship pulls him reluctantly into the light. But when Isabelle gets involved with the one man who could destroy Spares, Fallon must decide between protecting his life’s work―or risking everything to save the woman whose warm smile leaves him breathless.

Isabelle Fairlyn, so naïve and yet so eager to have a marriage founded on love, makes one want to reach out and steer her away from faulty judgments she makes about men. Her maturing as she learns the outside appearance does not really show the true nature of a man makes for page-turning reading. Her innate joy and innocence come alive on the pages.

Fallon St. James, all business as he works tirelessly to save the Spare Heirs Society, sees her as a mystical beauty, innocent, a wood nymph who makes him smile; something he rarely does. How the two of them become friends is a delight to read. How they become more than friends is even better.

How Elizabeth Michels weaves in back story and the villain Reginald Gapling is masterful. Gapling’s elusiveness and threat create an edginess to the plot and a sense of unease for the well-being of Isabelle. In her naiveté, she finds him charming.

Elizabeth Michels uses all the usual trappings of early nineteenth century life in England, but with twists and unique main characters. The spare heirs, so often the misfits, become guardians of the seamier side of London while making a living in a society that often leaves spare heirs in limbo with no trade and no inheritance..

The Wicked Heir, extremely well crafted, is captivating and powerful with an elaborate plotline and intriguing characters, plus the innocence and joy for life woven into it all makes it extra special.

Sticky Sweet by JJ Lore


Sticky Sweet by JJ Lore
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (39 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

From a race known for their hedonistic delight in life and emphasis on pleasure and amusement, Artem is a frustrated chef serving prepackaged meals to bored customers on the space station. His one true pleasure comes in the form of an end-of-shift dinner-visit from Constable Driver, once every third day. For months, Artem’s been dreaming about serving the Constable a more physical dessert. When he thinks Driver’s been reassigned, Artem grabs what might be his only chance and woos Driver by palate. If he’s lucky, it might just end up sticky sweet.

Two lonely souls, a diner and a chance to open up. Who wouldn’t want to take the chance?

I wasn’t sure what I was getting when I picked up this short book. I mean, Sticky Sweet. It’s an interesting title, but will the story be overly cutesy or will there be something more? I’m glad to say there was a lot more.

JJ Lore has written a fun, yes fun, story in a few pages. The characters are complex and the plot, while it maybe isn’t so complex, it drew me right in. The writing was tight and I enjoyed myself. This is a quick read, but I had to pay attention. I didn’t want to miss a moment…or a morsel. I like stories with mismatches and Artem and Driver are such characters. But the way they’re written, I could see them being together before they screwed up the courage to try to make it so. I loved how Artem finally opened up and his skills in the kitchen are…yeah, out of this world. Then there’s Driver. He’s in law enforcement. Lore totally got the loneliness and the questioning of a man in Driver’s position, but wrote him with a rich balance of questioning and concern for Artem. I liked these characters and will be on the look out for more featuring them.

If you want a hot, sweet book for a lunch hour read, then this might be the book for you. Recommended.

Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain


Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (326 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Does love really heal all wounds?

After being widowed by a steeplechase accident in Ireland, Lady Kate Whelan abandons the turf. But once her mourning is complete, her late husband’s debts drive her to seek help in Newmarket amidst the whirl of a race meet. There she encounters antiquities expert Evan Rhys, her late husband’s roguish friend―whom she hasn’t seen since the day of his lordship’s mysterious death.

Now that fate has reunited them, Evan seizes the chance to win over the woman he’s always loved. But once back within the old stone walls of Whelan House, long-held secrets come to light that shake up everything Kate thought she knew about her marriage. Now she wonders who she can trust with her heart―and Evan must decide between love and a truth that will separate him from all his heart desires.

Friends who long to be lovers, but fear crossing the line, Kate and Evan tiptoe around their feelings, but crave each other’s company.

The death of Kate’s husband, who was Evan’s best friend, leaves each of them with a heavy load; hers is a load of debts left by her unfaithful husband and Evan’s is a load of guilt. How they work through the conflicts makes attention-keeping reading.

When Nora and Declan, Kate’s children, enter the picture, with their views about life before and after their father’s death, the story gains depth. Their actions and words show so much about how children see, the often complicated, ways that adults handle things.

Kate and Evan are in the company of both their families as they find their way. The contrast in their families’ life styles and the way they see themselves reveals much about how Kate and Evan came to be the way they are – interesting reading. It is easy to see how the world has been gray to Evan most of his life.

The secondary characters, like Janet Ahearn and Mary O’Dowd, along with the back stories and how they figure into the things Kate and Evan must sort out dovetail together in intriguing ways. They even fit in with some of the underhanded ways of the antagonist, Finnian Driscoll.

I particularly enjoyed the dialogue with the nuance, humor, and understatement. The author has an amazing way of writing so the reader feels as if she is right there in the experience with the characters.

The Prize by Ashe Barker


The Prize by Ashe Barker
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Menage, Double Penetration, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism, Anal Sex, BDSM
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

A night to remember…

When she shows up at the prestigious Vivant Club to claim her raffle prize of one month’s free membership, Jessie Barnett doesn’t know what to expect. She’s trembling as she enters, but her inner submissive is dancing for joy, and nothing is going to stop her from claiming what she has won.

Jessie is no stranger to the BDSM scene, but this is a new club, a new city, she knows no one and has no idea what to expect. That’s all right, though, as it turns out the two powerful Doms who are hers for the evening have no doubt at all what they require from her—complete surrender, on her knees.

Jessie is happy to comply. This is what she came here in search of. But will one evening’s pleasure, however intense, however delightfully tinged with exquisite pain, be enough? Once she has submitted to them totally, will Mark and Greg see their business with her as having been concluded? Or is there more to be won, a greater prize, hovering just beyond her reach?

She’s in for the night of her life…if she can handle it all.

I like the work of Ashe Barker. I know there will be a hot time and everyone will come away satisfied. This is certainly the case in The Prize. Jessie knows what she’s going to the club for–because she’s won a month membership. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance for a free month at an exclusive BDSM club? Certainly not her. Then there’s the doms, Mark and Greg. Wowie!! Talk about hot guys. And they know their stuff. No slouches with these doms. The sex scenes were hot and scored the pages of my kindle.

I did have a couple of quibbles, though. I hate to admit it felt like I’d been plunked in to the middle of a longer story. Don’t get me wrong. I liked what I read, but I wanted to know more about Jessie before the story and maybe some after. I didn’t want the story to end. But as it was, I felt like I got one snippet of time for these three characters. Just, boom…together and playing. I know the doms read up on Jessie, but I had problems with her just walking in and submitting to them. This made her night better, don’t get me wrong, but it seemed too quick. I don’t know. It made me a tad uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it will for everyone. I did enjoy how they pushed her and freed her. That was sexy and caring, the way they did it.

If you want a novella that pushes the boundaries, that will scorch the screen and will leave you breathless for more, then this might be the book for you. Grab a copy today.

Abbey’s Tale by Katherine McDermott


Abbey’s Tale by Katherine McDermott
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (202 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

An immigrant from Ireland, Jeremy McKetcheon took the place of a wealthy New Englander drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War. Jeremy, terribly scarred by a shell that set fire to his tent, is now a reclusive lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Maine. He is haunted by flashbacks of the war, and never expects to find love, understanding, or acceptance.

Beautiful but blind from birth, Abigail Morrison sees the world through the intricate carvings her father brings back from Lighthouse Island when he takes supplies there. She wonders about the artistic carver and why he hides from the world. But when the opportunity arises for her to visit the island, she and her father are tossed overboard in a raging storm. Having seen their distress from the lighthouse, Jeremy attempts a rescue in the frigid waters, and all their lives are changed forever.

Abbey’s Tale was a sweet, endearing love story between Jeremy and Abbey. Jeremy, whose face was scarred while fighting in the Civil War, and Abbey who was born blind, were given a chance at love. While together they learned about inner beauty. They both helped each other to overcome their insecurities. Jeremy felt his face was repulsive and would rather be a recluse. Abbey worried no one would fall in love with a blind woman because they’d think she was a burden. From the moment Jeremy and Abbey met their lives changed for the better. If you add an amazing dog named Bailey, meddling relatives, crashing ships, and a criminal who threatens, robs and lies, then you have a recipe for a 5 star book. Oh! Let’s not forget Jeremy’s Irish accent, it was completely irresistible.

In a world that is full of judgmental people it was nice to read how Jeremy and Abbey showed the community what true love is. The plot thread with the criminal added an interesting twist with a bit of suspense throughout the story. I’d like to point out the plot thread when Abbey’s aunt and uncle meddled in Jeremy and Abbey’s relationship. It was well intended meddling and as a parent I understood, but I understood how Abbey felt as a child. As a wife I understood how Jeremy felt. I was all emotionally mixed up but then realized that is what family is about. It all worked out for the good. It’s a perfect example and lesson of why the young should respect and listen to their elders.

This was a well written story that progressed nicely and held my interest from the beginning to the end. I’m glad I chose Abbey’s Tale to read by the pool on my weekend. It was a wonderful, heartwarming love story. There was so much more to this tale that you just have to read it for yourself.

It definitely was a quality read that I’d recommend to others, especially to a reading club because there are thought provoking discussion questions at the end. I could see this book being turned into a movie in the theaters with a young Mel Gibson playing the hero and Julia Roberts playing Abbey. I’d love to see the lighthouse scenery that Katherine McDermott described come to life. I do think this novel would make a beautiful historical romance movie. Abbey’s Tale is a must read!

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz


The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Time Travel)
Length: Full Length (380 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there’s something worth dying for in the past…

From Tiffany Reisz, the international bestselling storyteller behind The Bourbon Thief and The Original Sinners series, comes an enthralling new novel about a woman swept away by the tides who awakens to find herself in 1921, reunited with the husband she’s been mourning for four years. Fans of Kate Morton and Diana Gabaldon will fall in love with the mystery, romance and beauty of an isolated South Carolina lighthouse, where a power greater than love works its magic.

Love comes in peculiar ways, but if we’re willing to embrace it we’ll win.

Tiffany Reisz has a way with words. I can’t lie. The author is a true story teller. As soon as I read the blurb, I wanted to devour this book. Who doesn’t like a time travelling romance? Who doesn’t want a happy ending?

I’m glad to say I got what I wanted from this book. The characters are interesting and the landscape fascinating. The descriptions of the lighthouse and what Faye sees are breathtaking.

But…as much as I liked the book, there were a few quibbles. The writing is good, no doubt, but I put the book down a handful of times and getting back into it was difficult. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good book. It was. But it had a hard time occasionally holding my interest. I also had a bit of a time with the jumps in time back and forth to 1921. I had to go back and reread to make sure I knew what was going on. Still, it was good.

I liked Faye, the heroine, too. She’s been through hell and come back. I didn’t always agree with her decisions, but hey, that’s fine. She’s a very twenty-first century woman and seeing her with a very twentieth century man–Carrick, was good. The thing was, I had a hard time connecting with her. I kept expecting more from her. But that doesn’t mean she was a bad character or it was an unsatisfactory read. Far from it. The author deviated from what I thought would happen and that’s fantastic. I’d rather be surprised and I was. Carrick was my favorite character. Strong, quiet and very Irish, I could practically see him whenever he was on the page. He’s the best part of the book for me.

If you’re looking for a book that spans time frames, that’s written eloquently and is not the norm, then this might be the book for you.

Steele and Stone by Kay Phoenix


Steele and Stone by Kay Phoenix
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Elle Thompson was raised in Denver. She paints. She hikes. She knows how to avoid cougar attacks.

The only cougars Michael Williams usually worries about are the ones that wear leopard print leggings on 5th Avenue.

But, when his acquisition firm sets its sights on Elle’s family business, his tidy life goes awry. As things unravel, so do all his preconceived notions of love and what makes a perfect partner.

Steele and Stone was a short story that can be read in a small amount of time. It captured my interest from the first page and managed to keep me turning pages until I reached the end.

Michael, the hero, wasn’t quite my type of man so I had trouble relating to him but for the heroine, he was Elle’s type of man and together they were relatable. I prefer a strong and decisive hero. I had more respect for Elle for staying focused on her priorities. Together they had to get past previous emotional hurts before their love for one another could flourish. It was a bit slow and tedious, yet still an enjoyable process that was accomplished before the book ended.

The plot wasn’t original and was quite predictable yet I still enjoyed the journey. The writing style was average. I think the characters, such as Michael’s Uncle John, could have been more developed to add a bit more substance, suspense and drama to the plot. I just felt like this book didn’t meet its full potential. However, my curiosity was able to overlook those flaws. I was like a fly drawn into the trap. I couldn’t look away. I needed to see how it was going to end. Actually, the ending was wrapped up quickly. Perhaps even a bit too quickly but at that point I was ready to move on.

I would recommend Steele and Stone to someone who is looking to pass time with a quick, easy and uncomplicated short story. This would be a great book to read on a two hour plane ride. I look at it this way – if you are starving to read a romance story then this would be a great appetizer!

The Itching Scars by Mohy Omar


The Itching Scars by Mohy Omar
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (22 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

A collection of short stories dealing with different kinds of scars we keep. They never said being human could be this hard. they never told us about the scars we would carry. they only told us that this is what it means to be alive

Have you every truly looked into the darker side of your psyche?

The Itching Scars is a collection of three short stories that examine the thoughts, actions and reality of humanity that many of us choose to ignore in our daily lives. To Court Death is the first short story that you will encounter and just like the title implies, it is a look at the courtship of death. Keep in mind that this is not the courtship of the character Death, but a courtship or love of the idea and symbolism of death. This story is primarily narrative with very little dialogue; yet the story is very clear from this vantage point. The reader obtains a fantastic view of death and the hold it has on the individual psyche.

The second story in the three story collection is called The Space Above, The Space Within. This story is told from a third person point of view and includes quite a bit more dialogue. This story takes a deep difficult look at governmental and societal controls. Votum is the main character in this story and it follows his life from the point when his father begins taking a stand against the thought control that their society enforces. The author does a fantastic job at making this world a real, believable construct and in effect, works to cause the reader to question how a society could become so focused that humanity is lost in the daily lives.

The final story is called Under The Rust. The title deceived me at first, but the story was epic. I especially loved the twist at the end, which I did not foresee coming. Under the Rust has a great amount of dialogue and interaction, this comes from a first person narrative encounter. This story is great to be set as last, because it ties the other two stories up to give a total glimpse into the human mind. Out of the three stories, this by far was my favorite.

The author has a great knack for storytelling and understands the use of the various points of view to bring about the best story. Where there was less dialogue, this was certainly cleanly replaced with important description and narration. The length of the book overall was shorter, I feel that none of the stories felt rushed or that anything was left out. I had a great time and enjoyed all three stories.

If you would like to consider looking into your own dark humanity by examining another individual’s dark thoughts and perceptions, this is definitely the book for you!

Sins of the Father by Winter Austin


Sins of the Father by Winter Austin
Publisher: Crimson Romance/Adams Media
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (191 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Newly pinned deputy Jolie Murdoch’s first big job as a McIntire County deputy is to locate a missing girl. What Jolie doesn’t expect is to stumble upon a corpse—the girl’s father—with a prime suspect still hanging around. But why would local bartender Xavier Hartmann go off the deep end and bludgeon a man to death?

A former marine, Xavier is barely coping with a traumatic brain injury, and he has no memory of what happened at the crime scene. He came to Eider to confront his past, not get embroiled in a murder as the number one suspect. To make matters worse, as the mystery deepens, Xavier finds himself drawn to the reluctant deputy.

As Jolie fights against mounting pressure to get to the truth, she realizes there’s more to Xavier than meets the eye. But someone is lingering on the fringes, determined to put a stop to her investigation and Xavier’s freedom. Will Jolie do her sworn duty or buck the status quo to give her and Xavier’s newfound passion a chance?

OMG, I don’t think I’m going to sleep tonight. I need to sign up for another self-defense class since it’s been a few years. I own a gun but now I want a concealed-to-carry permit. If only my husband was a former marine like Xavier, the hero in this book. It’s amazing how I can get so wrapped up in a book and feel like everyone I know is a suspect.

Seriously, this was a great book! More suspense/mystery than romance but there was so much going on that there wasn’t much time for romance. Jolie, the heroine, had a lot on her plate as the newly pinned deputy. The moments Jolie and Xavier had together were spent on trying to prove his innocence. However, the couple of kisses they shared were breathtaking. I’d like me some Xavier kisses. 🙂

I had no idea that this was book three in a series until I had finished reading it. You don’t need to read the previous books however I am interested in doing so. Based on the well written plot in this story which blew my mind away, I’d like to read the other two. I loved the well-developed characters in Sins of the Father so much that I would like to get to know them a bit more by reading the two previous books. I enjoy reading strong leading heroines who stand up to their leading men. I think Winter Austin will have to be added my list of “favorite authors”.

I definitely recommend this book if you like suspense/mystery romance. It should keep you on the edge of your seat rapidly flipping pages like it did for me. The mystery kept me guessing until the very end and then everything is nicely wrapped up with no loose threads. While there isn’t an epilogue one wasn’t needed; Jolie and Xavier made their “decisive decision”. 🙂

Love in the Golden Years by Ellynore Seybold


Love in the Golden Years by Ellynore Seybold
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (28 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Harold, a widower and a retired government worker, misses his wife and decides to take up a hobby. Courageously stepping out of his shell, he joins a scuba diving class, where he meets a vivacious widow and discovers new adventures.

Attractive and fun-loving Aletha spices up Harold’s mostly routine life with one surprise after another. Neither of them expect any obstacles to a nice relationship, but everything—from sexual malfunction to legalese to Aletha’s new career—seems to interfere.

Will they ever find married bliss?

Love in the Golden Years is an enjoyable sweet read that gives proof that a second love is possible. The story is mostly told from widower Harold’s view. Harold misses his wife of 42 years but finds his interest is sparked when he meets adventurous Aletha. Aletha is a widow and in her golden years is looking for something interesting. She takes to Harold, even though I think she is a little bit too much for him.

This is a short read, that had my attention from the beginning. I would have liked to have read a little more from Aletha’s point of view. I enjoyed reading how Aletha and her husband Norman met and their love seemed so real and actually touched my heart. I classify them as an adventurous and daring couple that won my heart. I hated to see that their 30 years of marriage ended so abruptly. Even though the introduction of their meeting was short and their marriage was mentioned briefly I enjoyed reading about their bond and closeness. I am glad that Aletha kept living and kept her adventurous side active.

Harold tells most of the story of their relationship. I get the feeling that Harold felt left out often, but he didn’t voice this to Aletha, perhaps fearing he would run her off. Harold enjoyed Aletha’s liveliness and I think this is what kept him around even though they faced conflicts.

The plot is interesting and the writing is simple and to the point. The characters are likable and I can picture them dancing and enjoying the night. Even though I am not in my golden years, the story can be relatable to someone of age because it varies from losing someone, starting a new relationship and the events that come with new beginnings.

I would recommend this pleasurable read to readers that enjoy reading about love and happy endings.