Fate’s Roar by Jalpa Williby

Fate’s Roar by Jalpa Williby
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (222 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Alstroemeria

Meet Shane.
He’s sexy, arrogant, and ruthless.
He’s used to women falling at his feet.
Settling down has never been an option.
But, fate has her own plans…

For ten years, he has watched over her.
He has vowed to protect Samantha… from the likes of him.
He is not supposed to fall for the one girl he can never have.
The girl who is off limits.
The forbidden fruit.

When Samantha suddenly disappears, Shane’s fury is unleashed as he fights for her life with fierce vengeance.

This book surprised me in a few ways. From reading the description and the prologue it definitely seems like the reader is about to embark on a story about guardian angels and forbidden romance, which is almost true but with a very unexpected twist. It is also book two in Williby’s Fate series, but both novels are stand alone and the prologue gives enough information about the first book that the second was still readable without having read the series in order.

If I had read the first book, I might have known about the secret life of our main character Shane, but it does make a nice twist if you have not read the previous novel.

Shane, Samantha, Damien and many of the other characters were interesting, but I felt like there could have been more attention to the details of each character. I wanted to understand them more as a reader falling into this story, but they remained rather flat until the last few chapters. Some aspects about the characters came out of left field, especially with the character Jared in this novel.

A very crucial part of this character’s identity was hidden from the readers for almost the entire book which can work, but there needed to be more allusions to what that character was hiding about himself, otherwise it jars the audience away from the story and when the information is thrown in, it looks a bit more like a last resort.

While in my opinion the characters could have been given a bit more attention, I really enjoyed the plot. A dangerous romance, forbidden love, and sweet, sweet tension built up rather nicely within this novel. Most of the scenes were written vividly for the audience to lose themselves in the world of the novel, and the editing was pretty clean.

The flow of the book with short chapters worked rather nicely with this story and there was very minimal head hopping between characters who would lead the narrative.

The spicy scenes were written wonderfully, and they were most certainly not cheesy. It was just enough information to bring on the heat, without becoming fully erotic. I would recommend this book to anyone 16 or older.

The book was a fast read, and it easily held my attention. I would put it down but could not wait until I could pick it up again because the tension was thick and it pulled me in!

Overall, Fate’s Roar is a book that I enjoyed reading and I would definitely consider getting my hands on the first novel in the series to tie up any lose ends. This book was a quick, spicy, and exciting novel that will be the perfect fix for a long car ride or plane trip!

July Mystery/Suspense Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Uncle Neddy’s Funeral by L.M. Pampuro

Uncle Neddy’s Funeral by L.M. Pampuro
Publisher: Self
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full (450 pgs)
Rated: 4.5 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Giuseppe Vittorio Vaffanculo, a.k.a. Neddy, is an idiot. Not a bad person, he just holds himself in high praise. Neddy is the perfect target for Rayleigh O’Connor, member of the underworld organization The Shadow and soon to be Ms. Neddy number five. As part of the Vaffanculo-Cuzzuto clan, Neddy is the perfect mark Rayleigh needs to avenge the death of a comrade by killing Victor Cuzzuto.

All Victor Cuzzuto wants to do is finally retire to the beach, spend time with his family, and hand over the reins of his Federal Investigation branch office to his protégée.


Space Dog by Melissa Hosack

Space Dog by Melissa Hosack
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (45 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Orchid

Excited to be chosen for the journey of a lifetime, Natalie Inglewood is set for a trip to the moon. She’s been dreaming about this day since she was a little girl. Only once she gets into space, Rory, the other astronaut on board, exhibits a peculiar problem. Unbeknownst to him, it seems Rory has a latent werewolf gene. The closer they get to the moon, the more his beast tries to tear its way out of him. Natalie seems to be the only thing keeping it at bay.

How long can the pair go before things turn dangerous? As Natalie finds herself falling for Rory, she fears what reaching the moon might mean for him. If he shifts while on its surface, he’ll not be able to withstand the moon’s environment. The budding couple has to work together to complete their mission and attempt to somehow make it home safely.

In the future, the space race has been revived. Rory and Natalie are sent into space to repair a drone and the job should take about a week. Natalie is an avid reader and makes sure she has enough books to read on the journey.

The drone is near to the moon, but as their ship approaches, strange things happen to Rory. Hair grows on his hands, his face becomes long and his teeth grow and sharpen. Natalie realizes she is alone in a spacecraft with a werewolf.

This is a lovely story. Although it is mainly about the effect of the moon on Rory, it shows the emotional stress on both of them and how Natalie deals with the unexpected transformation. Their main worry is what happens when they return to earth. Will the wolf lie dormant in Rory or will this be a monthly event? I loved how ​the author dealt with their future concerns and worries about what will happen to them when they return to earth. ​​V​ery captivating and held my interest to the end.

Hell Holes: What Lurks Beneath by Donald Firesmith

Hell Holes: What Lurks Beneath by Donald Firesmith
Publisher: Magical Wand Imprint
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (156 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

There are some things that science still can’t explain.

One of my favorite parts of this story was how intelligently the characters behaved in a crisis. Every single one of them kept their cool and made rational decisions regardless of how surprised and horrified they were by what was going on around them. They worked together as a team, too, to figure out what to do next. These aren’t things that happen all that regularly in this genre, so it makes me pretty happy when I do see them.

The pacing was the only thing holding this book back from a much higher rating. Roughly the first 50 pages were spent introducing everyone and setting up the scene. It took even longer for the characters to finally realize that something was seriously wrong on their expedition. As beautiful as the writing itself was, I found myself growing restless as I waited for the horror, paranormal, and science fictions elements of the plot to reveal themselves.

Mr. Firesmith has an eye for detail. His descriptions of the tundra were deliciously spooky even before the characters or the audience had any idea what was happening in that remote corner of the world. I also liked seeing how much attention he paid to what his characters looked like and how their personalities would affect how they reacted to something frightening happening. That made it easy for me to grow attached to them before the plot picked up speed.

Hell Holes: What Lurks Beneath should be read by anyone who enjoys slow-burning horror.

Blood of Angels by Amber Morgan

Blood of Angels by Amber Morgan
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (39 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Thea Clayton knows her life isn’t normal. But even she wasn’t prepared for an angel to fall through her roof.

Turiel gave up his place in Heaven to experience true sensations for the first time in his immortal life. He didn’t realize that meant pain as well as pleasure.

Thea isn’t the only person who knows Turiel has fallen. The blood of angels is a precious thing. And some people will do anything to steal it.

A lonely woman, a bad storm and a fallen angel – all these things go to make a good story.

Folks in Milton thought Thea slightly strange. She lived all alone in her family’s house and a nasty storm sends her outside in time to watch a bolt of lightning crash through the roof of her bedroom.

I thought this an intriguing way for Turiel, the wingless angel to arrive. This also seems to give Thea a purpose in life. An interesting story of angels, a lonely woman and how their meeting changes life for both of them. I particularly liked the part where Thea has to fight for Turiel against those who would use him for profit.

An unusual story with emotional impact. I had no problem in wanting to read to the end.

Summer and the Alien Guard by Jessica Coulter Smith

Summer and the Alien Guard by Jessica Coulter Smith
Intergalactic Brides 11
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Urban Fantasy,
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Other: M/F, Masturbation
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When her family is evicted from their home, Summer knows things can’t get much worse. She blames herself. She should have done something sooner, but now it’s time for drastic measures. There’s only one thing left to do, even if it means tying her life to that of an alien. She drives straight to the Terran Station.

From the moment he first sees the young Human step out of her car, Vordro is mesmerized. He’s never seen anyone so vibrant, so beautiful… or so troubled. He wants to be the answer to her prayers, even if he knows he’s too old for her. The thought of her mating with anyone other than him leaves a sour taste in his mouth. But moving Summer into his home proves to be far more temptation than he’s able to withstand.

When things get off the charts hot between them and Summer ends up pregnant, Vordro knows he’ll do anything to protect her and their unborn child — even if it means defending her from her own family.

If an alien romance story can be mushy, romantic, and character based in a quasi-Sci-Fi setting enough to be a hit, then Summer and the Alien Guard is a must have. This story was so easy to read, it was a pleasure.

It might read as a little too perfect but I believe that it’s because the hero, Vordro, is from a different culture. How they treat women, especially those that are future mates, is every woman’s fantasy on Earth. Who wouldn’t want a rich guy to sweep them off of their feet, listen to everything they say, feed them anything they wanted and take them to the Smithsonian museums on a whim? Who wouldn’t want a man to stand up for their honor with the speed and ferocity of a warrior? I think that’s sexy! And Vordro is all that, plus purple. Yes, in this book, Earth has had alien contact and now has embassies, dating agencies matching up human women with the Zelthranite’s, and Hollywood and the Arts have new inspiration and talents. It’s a fascinating backdrop for a romance.

The novella is definitely character based with the bulk of the conflict stemming not so much from their specie difference as from the disparity in their ages. Summer has no such qualms, but Vordro does. I like how it was resolved. Seems alien men are just as susceptible as regular guys to acts of chivalry, and hormones.

The external conflict comes from Summer’s family and the possibility that the council might not approve of their mating. I honestly was shocked when it was revealed who was involved in threatening Summer. I mean, I did expect it to a degree, but never anticipated it would include a certain person. I was just as shocked as the heroine!

This was a very quick read for me and I was surprised when the book reached its happily ever after ending. I wasn’t ready for it to end. I liked Vordro’s personality. Sure Summer wasn’t as strong as a character, but she was growing, spreading her wings and the author made that quite clear. Under the unfailing support from the hero, Summer’s freedom to choose, to explore and to experience new things and people, and attempting things she never had a chance to before, all contribute to becoming the woman Summer was always meant to be. It’s a beautiful thing to see and the author made sure I knew it.

Summer and the Alien Guard was cute. It’s an easy read, had just the right amount of sexiness to get those juices flowing, and the pace was steady and solid. I just liked it. I hope other readers will give it a try too because there’s a lot to enjoy within its pages.

Equus by Rhonda Parrish (editor)

Equus by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (331 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

What it means to be a horse, unicorn, or other horse-like creature is about to be redefined.

In “A Complete Mare,” a girl named Vez discovered that she was part Norse deity after that part of her bloodline activated and her body began to change. What I liked the most about her transformation was her reaction to it. There was so much time spent developing Vez’s personality that her reaction to her previously unknown lineage made perfect sense. I wouldn’t have expected her to behave in any other way.

While I enjoyed all of the tales in this anthology, some of them could have used some more development. For example, the main character in “Different” travelled a long distance and spent a great deal of money to ask a unicorn to heal her disabled daughter. The unicorn’s response wasn’t anything like she had expected it to be. While I loved the premise, I couldn’t help but to wonder why the main character hadn’t spent more time researching how unicorn healings work. It’s one of the first things I would have done in that situation, so it struck me as odd that someone would go through all of that effort without figuring out in advance what to expect from such a journey.

One of my favorite stories was “Rue the Day.” Gaylene, the main character, was a unicorn trainer who regularly rode into battle with her unicorns. When something threatened to end her career forever, she had to decide how to respond to it. While I figured out what was going on in Gaylene’s life pretty quickly, but that only made me more curious to see how her dilemma would be resolved. This could have easily been expanded into a full-length novel. With that being said, I was satisfied with how it ended.

Equus should be read by anyone who loves everything equestrian.

After Burn: Big Sky Mail Order Brides by Elsa Jade

After Burn: Big Sky Mail Order Brides by Elsa Jade
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (144 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When Vaughn Quaye’s older sister goes missing in Big Sky Country, she’s willing to risk everything to hunt down the only man who seems to know anything about the mysterious mail order bride agency that closed under suspicious circumstances. Except Vaughn is risking more than her life—she’s discovering a universe of danger and desire she never knew existed.

Dejo Jinn, sole proprietor of Jinn Data Recovery, just wants to steal—no, sorry, not steal, recover—the data left behind at the abandoned Intergalactic Dating Agency when it was forced to close after mistakenly losing some brides. He has no interest in revealing his extraterrestrialness to a clueless if distractingly curvy Earther, but after they are attacked and she sees his green blood, his secret is outed.

Now reluctant partners, he’ll have the chance to steal—sorry, recover—the valuable data and she’ll get her sister back. Assuming they don’t end up dead.

Or worse yet, end up dating.

The Intergalactic Dating Agency might be closed here in Big Sky Country, but some hearts are still dreaming of the stars.

I really like the name Dejo Jinn; it sounds exotic and mysterious. It’s apt since the hero is a species of alien that I’ve never seen in books before. The whole concept of how his kind is born and their growing stages was truly imaginative and fascinating. Dejo is also a character easy to sympathize with the more I got to know him. His life is what he made of it and that’s a character strength that the heroine, Vaughn, will eventually come to not only appreciate but love.

What surprised me is that even though we were on Earth, which aliens call ‘Dirt’ and made me snort every time, things that are familiar were not all as they seem. The author surprised me with a curve ball. What should have been ordinary was anything but. I liked that twist because that led to some serious drama and suspense that had the capacity to destroy Dejo and Vaughn’s future forever.

Even though the main characters were different species, that didn’t stop sexy shenanigans from steaming up the pages and giving readers proof that Dejo and Vaughn are more than sexually compatible. What I found very telling was what the computer said. Something tells me that they won’t be 100% alien to each other by the time they finish falling in love. I wonder if anyone else will catch that.

Vaughn’s involvement in this story is personal and I could feel her determination and desperation to find her missing sister. She has a strong personality which meshed nicely with Dejo’s.

Language and alien terminology weren’t totally awkward in this story. I think the author did a nice job of inserting odd terms so smoothly that I didn’t get stuck or distracted by them. Many times they were perfect for the scene. There were a few instances that made me pause but on the whole, it worked.

The dramatic conclusion was more than satisfying and I liked the future that seems to be opening for Vaughn and Dejo. Based on what I know now about the hero, if anyone can make things work to their advantage, it’ll be Dejo Jinn. Vaughn couldn’t be in better hands.

After Burn is a wonderful romance story with an exciting exotic touch. I’m glad I read it and enjoyed myself immensely. I wonder; will the kidnapped brides be found in the next book? I can’t wait to find out!

The Vessel by Nancy Fraser

The Vessel by Nancy Fraser
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (85 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Major Liam McGregor is a career soldier. Chosen by the leader of the United Republic to transport a government protectee to safety, Liam takes on a task that has cost his predecessors their very lives.

Alora of Delawon is an alien princess who holds the key to the survival of mankind. With the women of the United Republic left barren by previous chemical warfare, Alora’s ability to bear humanoid children makes her the government’s most valuable commodity.

Together, Liam and Alora make the trek from the government’s safe house back toward the current capitol, fighting off raiders, survivalists, and an unexpected attraction to one another.

Will their desires put them in danger? Or, will their being together become more important than the mission?

Sometimes danger is the best aphrodisiac.

The chemistry between Liam and Alora was sizzling hot. Watching them take plenty of time to get to know each other before anything sexual happened between them only made me more interested in following their journey. I actually read this whole story in one sitting because I was so eager to see what would happen between these characters next and if the spark between them would ignite into something that would last longer than one night.

There was one part of the plot that I would have liked to see more time spent on. Liam went from being a soldier who followed every order he was given in the beginning to someone who was much more willing to break the rules by the end. While it was interesting to see this transformation, I was a little confused by why he changed so much. It would have been nice for him to have a conversation with himself or someone else about why he was suddenly so willing to disobey direct orders.

The dialogue was witty and fabulous. There were many parts of human society that Alora didn’t understand, from how sex worked to what words people used to describe certain things. I giggled every single time she misunderstood something, and I laughed even harder when Liam would get embarrassed and finally sputter out the right answer for her.

The Vessel is a must-read for fans of erotica and science fiction alike. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

June Sci-Fi/Fantasy or Mystery/Suspense Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Icarus by David

Icarus by David Hulegaard
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (271 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

It’s the winter of 1947 in Ashley Falls, West Virginia, and a teenage girl has gone missing. Local private detective Miller Brinkman takes the case, quickly uncovering a string of bizarre clues. A hidden diary, cryptic riddles, and buried secrets all pique Miller’s interest, but one key detail gives him pause: the girl’s parents haven’t reported her disappearance to the authorities.

As the case deepens, Miller’s investigation begins to poke holes in the idyllic picture of his beloved hometown. No longer certain whether anyone in his community can be trusted, Miller dives headfirst into a desperate search for the truth that extends far beyond the borders of Ashley Falls. He soon discovers that his missing persons case is not an isolated incident, but part of an otherworldly mystery—one that, if confronted, may threaten the very future of humanity.