Devoted Alpha by DC Juris

ALPHA
Devoted Alpha by DC Juris
Publisher: Torquere Press LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (47 pgs)
Other: M/M, Fetish (Breastfeeding, Daddy Play)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Sokel and Sebastian from “Broken Alpha” are back. Sokel has long known his Human mate has harbored certain hidden fantasies and desires, but he’s not the kind of Alpha to demand anything of his omega. One night, a whispered word slips past Sebastian’s lips — daddy. Ever the devoted Alpha, Sokel sets out to help his mate understand that these cravings don’t make him a deviant. But when Sokel visits a fellow healer in an attempt to please his mate, has he gone too far? And will their best friends and housemates, Korden and Rennett, be able to accept this new twist to their lifestyle?

As a couple Sokel and Sebastian could not be more devoted to each other. Yet Sebastian hides a secret, a kink that he thinks will make others see him as dirty and no longer wish to be friends with him. What if it costs him Sokel’s love? Sometimes secrets cannot stay hidden especially from your Alpha mate. When Sokel figures out what may be the cause of Sebastian’s worries he decides to tackle them head on and give his mate what he truly wants and needs. Could he have gone to far? What will Sebastian’s reaction be? He loves him no matter what but is he pushing to hard? Should he just let it remain a fantasy?

This is a beautiful story that shows just how far someone will go for the person that they love. Sokel goes to lengths to fulfill Sebastian’s needs. Even going as far as figuring out how to breastfeed the man. As Sokel goes about finding a way to give Sebastian his needs we see the deep love and the connection that the two men have. The two begin to be connected even more as they indulge themselves. Sebastian learns that trusting and loving his Alpha is the right thing to do. Sokel goes above and beyond to help the man that he loves.

This new part of their adventure moves at a good pace and had me more than intrigued and cheering for the love that is between them. Readers are treated to a wonderful story that centers around Sebastian’s Daddy kink which does involve male breast feeding but gives you so much more. You never doubt the love and devotion from this couple and I am glad to see the bond and love grow deeper as the men explore.

Kaavl Conspiracy by Jennette Green

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Kaavl Conspiracy by Jennette Green
Publisher: Diamond Press
Genre: Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (470 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Review by Rose

Framed…

When eighteen-year-old Methusal Maahr is framed for the murder of her oldest friend, she will do anything to expose the true killer and clear her name, including team up with her arch rival in the Kaavl Games, Behran. But all clues point to her guilt…and appear to tie into a conspiracy regarding the new peace talks with their oldest enemies from Dehre.

While peace looms on the horizon, Methusal doesn’t trust it. Mentàll Solboshn, Chief of Dehre, is not what he appears to be. Her determination to discover the truth soon pits her against the formidable Chief. Not only is he the best kaavl player in the land, but he is determined that the peace plan will pass. Can Methusal’s rare kaavl skills possibly outmatch him, and stop him from succeeding with his devious plans?

Methusal is ready and willing to do anything to protect her community of Rolban–even put her own life on the line to expose and defeat a dangerous political foe. But little does she realize the true danger may lie within her own community…

I love fantasy, so was excited when I had the chance to review this book—and I was not disappointed!

It begins a little slow, which is not surprising in a new series as the author is building her world, but it quickly picks up pace once you get into the story itself. That’s not to say that the author drags out the action… from the first couple of chapters, the main character, Methusal, finds herself accused of a crime she didn’t commit and nobody seems interested in helping her prove her innocence.

The characters were well-written, and I really enjoyed getting to know them—even the not-so-nice ones! The relationships seemed very realistic, although in the beginning I had trouble understanding why her family members were so sure she was guilty.

This is my first book by Ms. Green, but it will not be my last—after all, this is only the first book of a planned four-book series, and I am already invested enough in the characters that I want to find out what happens! Good job!

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The Other Side: Trent’s Story by Starr Gardinier

OTHER
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.

A Covert Conquest by Ravenna Tate

CONQUEST
A Covert Conquest by Ravenna Tate
The Weathermen Book 7
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (124 Pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

When Rissa Kerry overhears harmful gossip about the CEO of the company she works for, she makes a phone call to Barclay Hampton. What follows is the adventure of a lifetime for Rissa as she becomes Barclay’s assistant in data recovery from a laptop that might reveal the hackers of The Madeline Project.

But she never counted on falling in love with the CEO along the way. Will she become his next flavor of the month, or this is the real thing for Rissa and Barclay?

Barclay is part of a group of friends financing the efforts to put a stop to The Madeline Project. The program now has a mind of its own, thanks to a virus called Tommy Twister. These men have power, resources, and money, but they’re as ruthless and possessive as the storms ravaging Earth.

“He’d cave one day, too, after the rest of them did.”

This is my first Ravenna Tate story and I loved it.

It has been some time since I read a science fiction story, and this was one that I couldn’t put down.

A Covert Conquest is the 7th book in the Weathermen Series, though it did not feel like this at all. It can definitely be read as a standalone.

This is not an over the top science fiction. The story is set in the future. Barclay is part of an elite group of men who wants to put a stop to the Madeline Project as soon as possible so they can go back to the life they had years ago.

When Rissa overhears a conversation that she thinks the CEO of her company, Barclay, should know about and will appreciate knowing about. It may at first seem that if she hadn’t informed Barclay about this conversation they would never have fallen in love. But I think if she had not informed about that conversation Barclay would have eventually found a way to meet her or be with her. They were meant to be together.

Rissa and Barclay have passionate chemistry, but that’s not only thing between them. Barclay understands her and how good her work is.

The only thing that I did not like was it was a little too short. It felt the beginning was a little rushed but at the end it did not matter at all. The story more than made up for it. This is a short story with a mystery and suspense that becomes a highlight at the climax. The Weathermen are closing in on the hackers. It’s a good time to join them on the hunt.

www.Cupid by Annette Miller

WWW
www.Cupid by Annette Miller
A Candy Hearts Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (80 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Allison McCall, supervisor in the Romance and Proposal Department of Cupid Corp., firmly believes rules are meant to be followed, yet her own love life is unfulfilling.

Preston Carlyle, Allison’s former boyfriend and one of her more creative agents, believes rules should be broken occasionally to give true love a chance. Only, he’s having a hard time convincing Allison and Cupid his techniques are working.

From the disastrous paperwork and the frequency of Allison’s visits to Cupid’s office on Preston’s behalf, she fears her position and his job are in jeopardy.
But when she finds out he’s requested a transfer to the Holiday Security Agency, Allison decides to prove she cares for him…even if it means breaking a few rules.

There are many times when you really should follow the rules in life, but falling in love might not be one of them.

Preston was a well-rounded and fascinating character. There were times when his stubborn antics made me shake my head, but even his biggest flaws were there for a reason. It was fun to see how he grew and changed as a result of the things that happened to him during the course of the plot. He stayed true to his original personality while also surprising me with how intelligently he responded to everything that challenged him.

The chemistry between Allison and Preston never felt quite right to me. I liked them both quite a bit as individuals, but their personalities clashed in so many different ways that it was hard to imagine them as a couple. She was straight-laced while he was impulsive, for example. There were times when I wondered why they were ever seriously interested in each other because of how deeply set into their ways they were. The fact that it didn’t work out between them the first time around only made me think about this even more.

This was one of the most original fantasy stories I’ve read recently. Ms. Miller spent a lot of time showing the audience exactly how the Romance and Proposal Department operated. I felt like I knew the entire department inside and out by the time she’d finished describing what it looked like, how its employees were expected to behave, and what happened when people broke the rules. It was nice to have such a clear understanding of it all, especially once Preston’s job was on the line because I knew exactly what he was risking.

I’d recommend www.Cupid to anyone who is in the mood for a creative Valentine’s Day tale.

Cat’s Cradle by Raven McAllan

CATS
Cat’s Cradle by Raven McAllan
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (38 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Cat McLean grew up with a strange family saying about a portal to the past, and when she returns for a visit to her Scottish ancestral home, strange takes on an entirely new meaning. She might feel an instant connection to the drop dead gorgeous Scot she encounters, but you’d think she’d remember sleeping with him.

Angus has waited for his one true love for nine long years. He is not about to let her go again, even if she has picked up some odd customs in her absence. Time travel is impossible…right? Then again, true love conquers all, or so they say.

Deja vu or something more?

This is the first book by Raven McAllan I’ve ever read and I’m glad I remedied that. Her writing is interesting and kept my attention. The characters are rich and defined. I felt like I was in Scotland with the pair.

Cat and Angus are unique characters. I’ve read time travel books and liked them. This book was no different. I really felt transported. Now there were a few times I had to go back and reread to make sure I understood what was happening, but it wasn’t a problem. I could see Angus in my mind and it was so worth the time. As much as Cat could be cantankerous, I liked her, too. She’s got pluck. Okay, so I don’t know if I would’ve believed some tale passed down in my family, either. I liked her apprehension and how she reacted to Angus. She had me in stitches. The romance swelters and the characters are great.

If you want a book that will make you laugh and heat up the screen, then this might be the book for you.

Marry Me by Heidi Wessman Kneale

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Marry Me by Heidi Wessman Kneale
A Candy Hearts Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (86 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

In 1905 New York City, affluent Millie Moore wants to be outspoken like the suffragettes she admires. She also wants to rid herself of an annoying and controlling suitor. For a well-brought up young lady whose mother fears her impending spinsterhood, speaking her mind is an uphill battle.

When Raymond Wilson sees Millie at a rally, it’s love at first sight. Not wanting his stutter to ruin his chances, he enchants a little candy heart to do his talking for him.

For Millie, Raymond is a breath of fresh air. And maybe, just maybe, someone she could love. But for her social-climbing suitor Guy Elliot, he’s a threat to his plans. And Raymond isn’t the only one who knows something about magic. Now the ante has been upped and Millie is the prize…

Don’t say it with words. Say it with candy.

Raymond was such a likable guy. I appreciated the fact that the plot spent as much time as it did showing how he spent his time when he wasn’t falling for a woman he’d just met. Seeing him dote on his nieces and nephews and struggle with his stutter only made me like him more than I already did. He felt like a real person to me because of how well I got to know him.

The fantasy elements of this story were faint. While I wouldn’t expect a romance to necessarily go into as much detail about how the magic in that universe works as I would from something that was purely fantasy, it would have been helpful to have more clues about Raymond’s abilities and how they worked. Mentioning them without explaining any of the rules about what magic can be used for made certain scenes confusing for me because I never knew what Raymond was and was not capable of. Had it all been clearer, I would have chosen a higher rating as I really liked the plot overall.

The chemistry between Raymond and Millie couldn’t have been better. Their personalities complemented each other beautifully. What was even better than that was how effortlessly they brought out the best parts of each other when they spent time together. Seeing them get along so nicely made me hope they’d have a happy ending.

Marry Me is a good choice for anyone who is in the mood for an old-fashioned romance with a hint of fantasy.

How Not to Summon Your True Love by Sasha L. Miller

SUMMON
How Not to Summon Your True Love by Sasha L. Miller
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (125 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet (MM Romance)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Though it doesn’t really come as a surprise, Cy is still crushed when he’s dumped. His relationship with Alex had lasted longer than all previous attempts, and started promising when Alex had proclaimed he was perfectly okay with Cy being asexual.

On impulse, convinced no one will ever really see him as worthy relationship material, Cy turns to a book that belonged to his late mother, a grimoire of magic spells that obviously won’t work. It’s a stupid idea, and even if magic was real there’s no way a true love summoning spell would work for him.

It was supposed to be a silly spell and nothing more than that.

The world building in this story was so complex that I actually briefly wondered if I’d accidentally stumbled into the middle of a series. While this didn’t turn out to be the case after all, I was still impressed with how many details about this universe Ms. Miller packed into the plot. She had thoughtful explanations for everything from how magic works to what happens when someone accidentally breaks the rules that usually govern how and when magic is used.

I would have liked to see more attention paid to the romantic elements of this book. The characters involved in it were both wonderful people, but the chemistry between them never quite felt right to me. It often seemed as though they were developing a friendship instead of falling in love. Friendship is definitely an important part of romantic relationships, but it would have been helpful to have some strong examples of them being attracted to each other so that this part of the storyline could have flowed more easily.

Cy was such an interesting guy. I enjoyed seeing how he changed after his sad and somewhat self-deprecating introduction. His evolution fit his personality perfectly. While he changed a lot from the first scene to the last one, the most important parts of his identity like his intelligence and his curiosity remained the same.

How Not to Summon Your True Love should be read by anyone who is in the mood for an urban fantasy tale that comes with a side of romance.

Drawing in the Dark by Jeremy Baker

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Drawing in the Dark by Jeremy Baker
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (148 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

On a lonely mountain, deep in the high desert country of the American Southwest, a rifle-toting nun faces an unexpected test. A scientist makes an incredible discovery at the heart of a melting European glacier, and nine years later finds himself inexorably drawn back to the site. During the Siege of Bastogne, while facing overwhelming odds in the frozen forests of Belgium, a pragmatic young medic encounters a war he never could have imagined. The Florida Everglades exert an irresistible, supernatural pull on a dying man, the last descendant of a great Seminole shaman. A young girl, trapped in a waking nightmare and seemingly without hope, devises her ultimate escape using the most unexpected tools. A group of desperate men, almost out of luck and on the run, find themselves in an eerie Badlands town. Jeremy Baker delivers these tales and more, in a collection of twelve haunting short stories and one novella.

Even the most ordinary day can be full of surprises.

“The Standing Cave” was a thrilling introduction to Mr. Baker’s writing style. I couldn’t imagine what a hunter-gatherer could have to do with the science fiction genre, much less how Mrukk’s quest to hunt down the deer he desperately needed to take down to feed his tribe would be so important later on. When he discovered something extremely unusual on his hunt, I was more fascinated than ever. While I can’t say anything else about the plot without giving away spoilers, I can say that this was my favorite story in the entire book.

Some of this tales in this collection could have used more details. “Bumps War at Bastogne” was a good example of this. It was about a platoon of soldiers who struggled to survive in a particularly bloody battle with the Nazis. The main character had such a matter of fact way of describing even the most harrowing scenes that I was mesmerized by his recollection of what happened that day. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to these soldiers, so it was disappointing to see how briefly the last few scenes were described. There were so many more explanations that could have been added to them about what was going on, especially when it came to the ending.

In “Drawing in the Dark,” a young girl named Kara had the ability to make anything she drew actually happen. The government discovered her talent, kidnapped her, and forced her to draw all kinds of terrible things. What I found most interesting about this character is how maturely she was able to process what had happened to her. She was a child being forced to experience stuff that no child should ever have to think about, much less actually live through. The author captured her loss of innocence so heartbreakingly that I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next to Kara.

I’d recommend Drawing in the Dark to anyone who is in the mood for something creative.

May Mystery/Suspense, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Eighth Day by Joseph John

DAY
The Eighth Day by Joseph John
Publisher: Obsidian Dawn
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (260 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

A warning from a stranger.

“Nothing you know is real. Your name isn’t Shawn Jaffe, you’re not an investment broker, and you’re not from Ohio.”

But the stranger is murdered before he can explain.

Now Shawn isn’t sure who he can trust.

Even his own memories are suspect.

Someone is watching him, controlling him, using him.

To survive, he’ll need to find out who and why.

But the stakes are much higher than one man.

Our humanity is on the line, and on the eighth day, it could be the beginning of the end.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!