February Mystery/Suspense Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Adventures of Dixie Dandelion by R. H. Burkett


The Adventures of Dixie Dandelion by R. H. Burkett
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (226 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Alone on a wagon train and threatened by the man who murdered her mother, Dixie Dandelion steals a horse belonging to an undercover Pinkerton agent and escapes to the town of Six Shooter Siding.

Hired at first to cook in a railroad camp, she begins to make friends, even the town’s soiled doves assist her when she buys the abandoned ranch. Determined never to depend on others, especially men, Dixie is torn between trusting Pinkerton Jackson McCullough and standing on her own.

But will this new independence be enough to save Dixie when the past catches up with her?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Ugly by Sam Crescent


Ugly by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (122 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

In every element of her life, even before she was born, Blake Carson has failed. She isn’t a boy, she isn’t pretty, she doesn’t fit in—she is ugly. That is what she believes. All of her faults make her ugly.

Then he comes along. Logan Black has met ugly head on, and lived to tell the tale. Now he has moved to West County, to get away from both his father and the pain of the past. He never expected to meet his future, but there she sits in the cafeteria at school, accepting everyone’s judgment, and worse, believing them.

But Logan knows she isn’t ugly. She isn’t a failure, and he is about to show her another way. He is determined to be her friend—and more.

Then a fight brings his father to town, and Logan runs, taking Blake with him. But they can’t run forever, and when an accident leaves them no choice, they have to head home and face the consequences of what they did. Can their love survive the real ugly in the world?

I loved everything about this book !

I don’t usually like the new adult genre books or stand alone stories. However, I took a chance on this one since Sam Crescent is an author who always delivers great stories with a real substance to them. I’m so glad that I didn’t pass this one up because it was a truly beautiful story. I was hanging on every word.

Logan and Blake were so perfect together. The troubled couple genuinely connected and stuck together no matter what happened. It was so sweet the way Logan took care of Blake. He had his own demons too, but he was determined to keep anyone from hurting Blake. At first he simply wanted to be her friend but they slowly realized how much they cared about each other. This was one more way that the story was unique to this author. Sam Crescent is known for her steamy sex scenes but this book was decidedly more sweet and just as romantic and touching. I was already cheering for Logan to win the girl but he won my heart when he beat down Blake’s tormentors. I think my favorite part was how Blake told her parents off for their neglect. In a nutshell, this was Logan and Blake against everyone and that was all that they needed to be happy. Sam Crescent put a lot of feelings into this short story. Her writing was so lovely that the story simply flew by and then there was a beautiful epilogue that showed such a happy ending for this special couple. I really enjoyed every page.

I loved this story and look forward to the next Sam Crescent book.

Family Forever by Valerie J. Clarizio


Family Forever by Valerie J. Clarizio
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (187 Pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

The death of Dylan’s parents leave his five younger brothers and the family dairy farm in his care.

Neighbor Marissa, raised by an alcoholic father, seeks a way out. Desperate for help, Dylan offers her a live-in nanny/housekeeper position. She jumps at the opportunity. The chaotic household, full of love, feeds her maternal instincts. She falls for Dylan and the boys.

When Dylan finds himself desiring Marissa, he pulls back. His heart has been broken in the past by women resistant to a large, ready-made family. But if she walks away, she’d not only break his heart but those of his brothers, too.

Will Dylan ever believe in Marissa’s devotion to his family, risk his heart, and those of his brothers, for the woman he loves?

Family is so important in a person’s life. Family does not always have to be blood.

Dylan has always been a responsible, careful and meticulous person. Even more so since his parents passed away. He had no idea that when he first invited Marissa to his house be a housekeeper that his brothers would love her and that he would eventually fall in love with her, too.

Marissa never thought when she started working as a housekeeper in Dylan’s house that she would find the family she craved or that she would fall in love with someone who is so protective of his damaged heart that he might not be able to love her back.

I loved the pace of the story. Not too fast or slow. With Dylan’s brothers and the rest of the characters that came into play, I think the author did a great job of not only pulling me in but she made me feel. Overall a great book with a romance and a climax that will either make you smile or cry happy tears. An easy recommend.

January Mystery/Suspense Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ An Act of Murder by Mary Angela


An Act of Murder by Mary Angela
Publisher: Camel Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (228 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

In the sleepy college town of Copper Bluff, South Dakota, English professor Emmeline Prather is enjoying the start of a new semester. But when one of her students dies working on the fall musical, it disrupts life on the small, quiet campus. Although the police rule the death accidental, Prof. Prather has good reason to suspect foul play.

Unmasking the murderer proves much more challenging than finding dangling participles, so Em recruits fellow English professor Lenny Jenkins for assistance. Together, they comb the campus and vicinity for clues, risking their reputations and possibly their jobs. After an intruder breaks into Em’s house, Lenny advises caution—and perhaps a change of address. Em, on the other hand, is all the more determined to forge ahead, convinced they’re on the brink of an important breakthrough.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

January Non-Erotic Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Pedal by Louis K Lowy


Pedal by Louis K. Lowy
Publisher: Panoptic Books, an imprint of Assent Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (301 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Forty-nine and single. Fired from her lifelong passion: teaching music. Stripped of her self-worth. Can she reclaim her life through bicycle racing?

Joanne Brick’s thirty years as an elementary school music teacher evaporated into the rising sea of layoffs. A lifetime of dedication gone. At forty-nine, single with an ailing mom and bitter divorced sister, the future looked bleak. Family relationships soured as conversations moved to “the lettuce zone”-cold and crisp. Then one day, while cleaning out the garage for a yard sale, inspiration struck as she dusted off an old long-forgotten bicycle. And when she took her first ride she knew it was time to sink or pedal. “Onward! That was the answer that had eluded her earlier. There was dignity in that word. There was hope.” Never a sports fanatic and sorely out of shape, Joanne was barely able to ride straight, but she took up bicycle racing because it added purpose to her life. “Joanne increased her own speed. The wind whipped her face. The whirring of the spinning spokes and chains rose in pitch as she spun faster. She was flying again, beyond failed careers, spurned lovers, regrets, and mistakes. She spun even quicker. Her breath came in swift, hard grunts.” She pedaled past unemployment, failed relationships, family drama, and career loss. Her life began to fill with new friends, an inspirational Desert Storm vet turned cycling coach, and a sleek new physique from all the training. Then she ran into a brick wall in the form of Sheila Dominary, a women’s bike racing adversary. Will Joanne regain her confidence as she pedals toward redemption, romance, adventure, and life beyond unemployment? Pedal is an inspirational journey. It is a contemporary story that deals not only with family relationships, but also with life’s turning points and how ordinary people handle them.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

January Erotic Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ She’s Mine by Sam Crescent

mine
She’s Mine by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (107 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Drew Reynolds is a hard working man. He’s not rich, he’s not fancy, but when he finds the one, she’ll be the only one. For seven years he has only been existing—until Raven Howards finally returns to town. He’s going to own every part of her, and he’s sure to let everyone know she belongs to him.

Raven remembers Drew. He was the one guy that stood out from all of the others. However, he’s the bad boy that all the girls want…and have had. How can she even fall for a guy like that?

He’s not taking no for an answer. She’s back, and he’s taking her. There will be a happy ending, he won’t allow for anything less.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Pedal by Louis K. Lowy


Pedal by Louis K. Lowy
Publisher: Panoptic Books, an imprint of Assent Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (301 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Forty-nine and single. Fired from her lifelong passion: teaching music. Stripped of her self-worth. Can she reclaim her life through bicycle racing?

Joanne Brick’s thirty years as an elementary school music teacher evaporated into the rising sea of layoffs. A lifetime of dedication gone. At forty-nine, single with an ailing mom and bitter divorced sister, the future looked bleak. Family relationships soured as conversations moved to “the lettuce zone”-cold and crisp. Then one day, while cleaning out the garage for a yard sale, inspiration struck as she dusted off an old long-forgotten bicycle. And when she took her first ride she knew it was time to sink or pedal. “Onward! That was the answer that had eluded her earlier. There was dignity in that word. There was hope.” Never a sports fanatic and sorely out of shape, Joanne was barely able to ride straight, but she took up bicycle racing because it added purpose to her life. “Joanne increased her own speed. The wind whipped her face. The whirring of the spinning spokes and chains rose in pitch as she spun faster. She was flying again, beyond failed careers, spurned lovers, regrets, and mistakes. She spun even quicker. Her breath came in swift, hard grunts.” She pedaled past unemployment, failed relationships, family drama, and career loss. Her life began to fill with new friends, an inspirational Desert Storm vet turned cycling coach, and a sleek new physique from all the training. Then she ran into a brick wall in the form of Sheila Dominary, a women’s bike racing adversary. Will Joanne regain her confidence as she pedals toward redemption, romance, adventure, and life beyond unemployment? Pedal is an inspirational journey. It is a contemporary story that deals not only with family relationships, but also with life’s turning points and how ordinary people handle them.

When you lose everything you’ve ever worked for, what is there to push you forward again?

Joanne Brick loses her career as a music teacher after thirty years due to the district budget cuts. What is even worse is “music teacher” was her identity. Joanne finds herself out of a job, without money and at a loss as to who she is any longer. Joanne finds herself in a struggle that she never expected-to identify her inner passion and recollect her life.

Louis K. Lowy does an amazing job of showing how devastating life can be as well as intertwining how amazing life can be. Joanne is focused on the big picture, but like many of us, can miss out on what is happening in the right now. When life shakes her up, Joanne keeps pushing forward towards the goal. When the unthinkable happens and then the unimaginable happens shortly after that, Joanne proves that she is a fighter and refuses to give up.

Louis K. Lowy draws the reader in with a simple plot, to see Joanne put her life back together. Yet, what truly happens is that the reader becomes one in Joanne’s life, feeling her exuberance in training and then the crushing defeats that life hands her. The reader cheers for Joanne’s success and cries when she is down. All of this Louis K. Lowy draws in vivid detail, causing the reader to fully understand and see the life of Joanne Brick being shaped.

The ending of the book is one that many would not have imagined. Yet, when we look back at our own personal lives, we are often astonished to see where we are from where we began. This story is simply that, astonishing. I urge you to pick up a copy of Pedal and see if you have what it takes to make it to across the finish line!

She’s Mine by Sam Crescent

mine
She’s Mine by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (107 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Drew Reynolds is a hard working man. He’s not rich, he’s not fancy, but when he finds the one, she’ll be the only one. For seven years he has only been existing—until Raven Howards finally returns to town. He’s going to own every part of her, and he’s sure to let everyone know she belongs to him.

Raven remembers Drew. He was the one guy that stood out from all of the others. However, he’s the bad boy that all the girls want…and have had. How can she even fall for a guy like that?

He’s not taking no for an answer. She’s back, and he’s taking her. There will be a happy ending, he won’t allow for anything less.

She’s the one who got away and the one who gives him a reason to a better man.

I’m not sure if it’s physically possible to hate one Sam Crescent’s books. She writes the alpha male that many women love to read about and long to find.

This is a plot that I’ve read before, however in my experience, the character who usually leaves town is the hero, not the heroine. Cheers for changing it up a little.

Drew is the epitome of a Sam Crescent alpha male. He wastes no time in making it clear to everyone, literally the whole town, when Raven returned home that she was his and he wouldn’t stand for anyone to touch her. It was a good thing Raven was very, very receptive to both his touch and his bad boy personality. Even though she’s been gone for some time, should have gained some experience, it’s Drew who has the experience in spades. Raven’s reactions to some of his suggestions were humorous at times.

This short story made me laugh, smile and sigh. It’s a quick read that isn’t short on heat or heart.

An Act of Murder by Mary Angela


An Act of Murder by Mary Angela
Publisher: Camel Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (228 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

In the sleepy college town of Copper Bluff, South Dakota, English professor Emmeline Prather is enjoying the start of a new semester. But when one of her students dies working on the fall musical, it disrupts life on the small, quiet campus. Although the police rule the death accidental, Prof. Prather has good reason to suspect foul play.

Unmasking the murderer proves much more challenging than finding dangling participles, so Em recruits fellow English professor Lenny Jenkins for assistance. Together, they comb the campus and vicinity for clues, risking their reputations and possibly their jobs. After an intruder breaks into Em’s house, Lenny advises caution—and perhaps a change of address. Em, on the other hand, is all the more determined to forge ahead, convinced they’re on the brink of an important breakthrough.

The new semester brings more than just new classrooms full of students for Professor Emmeline Prather.

Professor Prather is an English professor at a small university who is still adjusting to the dynamics of the world of higher education. Although Professor Prather finds herself in some unique social conundrums, she often looks to her friend and colleague, Lenny Jenkins, to bail her out. When the unthinkable happens and one of her students is found dead, Professor Prather and Lenny both consider there may be foul play.

Mary Angela does a great job bringing Emmeline Prather to life. When readers often think of English professors, they often reflect back to their childhood or college years. Professor Prather is definitely one English professor that I may have had in the past. Interwoven into the main character’s personality is subtle traits and quirks that I have seen in many English professors that I have had in the past. Yet, as a reader, we get to see a unique glimpse into the world of Emmeline Prather and see how the English professor’s world works from the inside out.

The plot is believable and the supporting characters are fun and have quirky traits all their own. The mystery itself, which provides the core of the plot, constantly keeps the reader guessing. The fun relationship the Professor Prather and Lenny have keeps the reader coming back. The social dynamics between faculty and student are very much at work in the book just as they are at every university.

This was a fantastic read and a lot of fun! Since this is the first book of the Cozy Mystery Series, I look forward to reading many more and cannot wait to see what Professor Emmeline Prather gets herself into next time!

December Non-Erotic Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Three French Inns by Patricia Kiyono

inns
Three French Inns by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: esKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (73 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Peter Brown joined His Majesty’s Army in the fight against Napoleon, but when he was wounded, a lovely French woman tended him. She was a recent widow, and they were on opposing sides of the war, so they went their separate ways. But he never forgot his “bel ange” — his beautiful angel.

Caroline Bouchard Duval marched with her husband in Napoleon’s army, eager to leave her sleepy village and see the world. But after being widowed, she returned to her childhood home in the French Alps. When a bloody traveler enters her father’s inn, she recognizes him immediately. Could this man give her another chance to fulfill her dreams?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!