The Siren House by Andrew Post


The Siren House by Andrew Post
Publisher: Medallion Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (460 pgs)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Stargazer

Once upon a time, the world ended. Or maybe not. Cassetera Robuck, survivor of the apocalypse, must find a way to stop the Regolatore: a theocratic time-shifting cult bent on ridding hers, and every other parallel universe, from scratchers, those who use molecular reconstruction machines to “jazz” new, impossible life. Too bad her new friend Thadius Thumb, proprietor of the holo-vaudevillian theater the Siren House, happens to be the most famous—or is it infamous?—scratcher of them all.

As a kid, life for Cassetera Robuck was hard enough suffering from a nerve disorder that prevented use of her legs. Then, the apocalypse happened. To survive, Cassetera and her family made a new home on an abandoned oil rig on Lake Superior. There, she and her father discover a machine. One that can take things apart molecule-by-molecule and reassemble them. Ten years later and when her family is all but lost, Cassetera heads into an apocalypse-torn Duluth to seek out a man calling himself the Fabulous Thadius Thumb, the proprietor of a holo-cast variety show staged nightly at the Siren House. Thadius is not only a ringleader to the Thickskulled Thespians and their head writer, he is also a resistance leader. Against what? Those who caused the apocalypse, of course. The Regolatore, a universe-hopping terror cult that use machines all too similar to the one Cassetera and her dad found . . .

“You have to read this book!” A phrase I uttered even before finishing the book itself.

The Siren House is not what you might expect, it is a look at what could be, what was and what should be-all at the same time. Yet, the flow of the story is not nearly as confusing as it may sound. The whole premise of the story rests on the realization that there are multiple timelines, multiple variations of existence and multiple variations of ourselves across the infinite fields of time and space.

But, the plot does not get bogged down in the ridiculous complexity of the variables of time and space. In fact, the plot itself is told from the eyes and experiences of Cassetera Robuck. Well, one of the Cassetera Robucks, in one of the dimensions where the Regolatore have set up shop to keep the people of her dimension from advancing their technology and knowledge so much that they are a threat to other worlds and ultimately other dimensions in search of raw materials to create further enhanced technologies.

The story flows so well-from the deep descriptions to thorough and engrossing conversations that keep the reader directly involved with the story, so much that I had a hard time putting the book down because I felt almost as though I had left a part of myself in the story. Although I could not put the book down, I struggled because each page I completed reading would be one page closer to the end of the story. The story, with alternate dimensions, other realities and other timelines actually flowed together and did not become confusing. In fact, the author does an amazing job at creating such explanations that the reader will most likely come to wonder if this is truly a possibility to happen today.

The many different characters, from the workers at The Siren House to Cassetera and Thadius, histories and backstories were complete, full and made each character feel fully formed. The flow of conversations, the main plot and sub plots all flowed together. The entire story moved on its own time without being rushed or feeling like it was dragging. Overall, this was a fantastic and excellent jump at the reality that there are many more realities in an ever-present universe. Then, when the end did come, there was not the pain of separation-as the author did an amazing job of sorting out the details and not leaving the reader wanting more. The best part? It wasn’t set up for a series of sequels like so many stories are, although there are ways to make a spin off- this story is not set up as a pipe to any other story. Simply, this was just one amazing read.

Just like the beginning of the story where the chapter title is “The beginning is the end is the beginning” I reiterate, “You have to read this book!”

Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. Stewart


Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. Stewart
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (364 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

In this Honor Bound romance, a perilous change of heart looms for two former lovers…

Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because -The Avenging Angel- makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her–and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?

My first review that I ever wrote for LASR was More Than a Lawman which was the first book in Anna J. Stewart’s HONOR BOUND ministries. I can’t believe I was the fortunate reviewer who was picked to read the next book in the series, Reunited with the P.I..

More Than a Lawman ended with one case solved and one unresolved. The unresolved one continues to be threaded through out Reunited with the P.I. along with a new case. This new case gets resolved but leaves the unresolved still unresolved, thus the hook to read the third book in the series. You can read Reunited with the P.I. without reading the first book in the series. Anna did a nice job reviewing the past for the new reader and previous ones who might have forgotten some details, like me. However, it was nice to read both books in the series because it’s always nice to get reacquainted with old friends.

Aden, Simone and Allie are three best friends that share a childhood trauma that unites them in an unbreakable bond of friendship that has lasted into their adult lives. More Than a Lawman was Aden’s story. Reunited with the P.I.is Simone’s story. Simone is a strong leading heroine who rivals Vince, the hero, in leading capabilities. Together, Simone and Vince make a spicy suspense/mystery romance. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the leading man and leading lady being ex-wife/husband but the author made it work in a way that it was not only believable but unforgettable.

Anna J. Stewart definitely knows how to write a book that grabs the reader’s attention. I could not put the book down. Once again she wrote an unpredictable complex plot that is filled with twists and unexpected surprises. The suspense made me feel stressed out but I loved every minute since I knew there was a plan. Even if that plan didn’t work, I knew Simone and Vince would come up with another plan, sometimes with the help of their friends. I never gave up faith.

I really hope I get to read the third book in the series that is coming out in October 2017. I can’t wait to finally solve the mystery that has been threaded throughout the first two books. I typically don’t read series because I hate waiting for the next book. However, this series is the exception to my rule. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and the HONOR BOUND series.

Master of Seduction by Angela Knight


Master of Seduction by Angela Knight
Merlin’s Legacy 1
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (101 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

All her life, Rachel Kent has dreamed of becoming one of the immortal Magekind witches who protect humanity from itself. But first she must prove herself to the handsome vampire whose job is to decide whether she’ll become a danger to those she’s supposed to save.

Nathaniel Allard is a Court Seducer who has been sent to trigger Rachel’s witchy transformation by making love to her three times. The problem is, gaining such incredible powers may drive Rachel insane, forcing Nathaniel to kill her. Otherwise she may kill him – and anyone else who gets in her way.

Nate tells Rachel he’ll only agree to complete her transformation if she proves she can be trusted with the powers she’ll gain. But as he tests her – and makes love to her with every test she passes — mutual lust turns to love.

But is love enough to save Rachel’s sanity?

This novelette isn’t a love fest just for the main characters; it’s also about fans of Ms. Knight who have greatly missed visiting her famous Mageverse where the concept was original, sensual, fascinating and exciting. The Mageverse is back and Rachel and Nathan explore one of the roles of one of its residents. The title of this book isn’t just clever but exact. Anyone who has read the series from the beginning knows what is in store and it’s a hot one!

There is a nod to one of the earlier story arcs and I liked how Ms. Knight seamlessly wove it into the plot. Rachel has to go through a trial and she’s scared out of mind because she can so easily envision the worst. In the beginning I’m pretty sure Nathan felt the same way but as the story unfolds something happens to change his mind. I am not saying what but it’s exciting, gripping and I couldn’t put the book down.

Erotic romance readers are in for a treat as Ms. Knight knows her way around when it comes to writing sexy stuff. There’s a lot to enjoy throughout Master of Seduction so make sure something cold is by your side while reading.

Although the plot isn’t deep and there are no true villains to fight against, the dynamics between Rachel and Nathan are what hold this story together. I liked their bantering relationsip, their humor and their dialogue. It’s about life changes, the challenges to facing them head on and embracing the possibilities. Readers will have no problem in identifying the struggle Nathan faces – torn between what he knew his duty to be and what he was feeling. Can he trust it? Readers find out in a satisfying way.

I remember the richness and intricate plot development of the older Mageverse stories so this book is like dipping our toes back into Ms. Knight’s world. It’s a condensed taste of what made the others so sexy, seductive and fascinating. A taste is not enough and I hope to see more of what Ms. Knight does best – tells a story that flows, engages and titillates, with heroes and heroines who put the magic in romance.

Master of Seduction is a welcome little gem with a happy ever after as sexy, romantic and satisfying as one could wish. I might be biased because the Mageverse was one of my favorite series, so I had certain expectations. Well met, Ms. Knight.

Secured and Free by Z. Allora


Secured and Free by Z. Allora
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (219 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Fetish, Toys, spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

An abusive Dom robbed Orion Gordon of his love of BDSM, destroying his confidence and leaving him unsure he’ll ever find peace through submission to another. Still, deep inside, his longing continues.

Marcus Sadir loves Hunter Dixon, yet can’t be the one thing Hunter truly desires: a sub to control. And Hunter can’t find satisfaction in the sadistic aspects of the BDSM lifestyle, while Marcus thrives on inflicting and sharing pain. When Marcus convinces Hunter they should find a third on a permanent basis, they discover Orion might be the key to bridging their differences and joining them on a deeper level.

But they must help Orion move past his trauma enough for him to enjoy new facets of BDSM and kink again. Their journey toward becoming whole—together—won’t be without challenges. Can Orion trust enough to try again?

Orion loved to play in the lifestyle and play hard. That is until one careless excuse for a Dom took it all away from him. Believing that he could trust the man Orion played without a safe word and let the Dom continue to play harder and harder until the day came that he played too hard. Orion awoke to find himself robbed of not only his dignity but his safety as well. He has tried numerous times to trust other Doms and get back into the lifestyle but each attempt has failed. When Hunter and Marcus enter the picture, Orion is more than conflicted. He longs to belong to the two men but his fear is still a wall to get past and Orion doubts he will ever get past it.

This is a great story full of well-rounded characters who are full of emotions. I loved each and every character in it. Orion is a sweet guy who has gone through a rough time and suffered some trauma yet he is trying his best to overcome it all.

Marcus and Hunter are great men who love each other and even if they are both Dominant men they make it work. Adding Orion to the mix helps balance them all. I enjoyed watching their relationship take shape. Marcus and Hunter are both attracted to Orion and are open and honest with him no matter what. Giving Orion a safe place to try again. The love that the two men have together is beautiful and seeing them want to share that with Orion made for a wonderful read. The men are understanding and let the relationship move at its own pace allowing friendship turn into more. I liked that readers got to see a good balance of Orion and his men together and apart. Seeing into each other’s personal lives made for a far more interesting read and that much sweeter when they finally find their way. Plus, we get to see their personalities shine through out their story.

It was nice to see the camaraderie in this book. From the friendships to the relationships everyone stands by each other and is always ready to help. Not only did I enjoy Orion’s story but I also enjoyed getting a look at the other couples in this story and hope that we get their stories as well.

Hearts at Seaside by Addison Cole


Hearts at Seaside by Addison Cole
Publisher: World Literary Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (280 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers features a group of fun, flirty, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re sassy, flawed, and so easy to relate to, you’ll be begging to enter their circle of friends!

Hearts at Seaside by Addison Cole is the sweet edition of New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster’s steamy romance novel Seaside Hearts. The stories and characters remain the same and convey all of the passion you expect between two people in love, without any explicit scenes or harsh language.

In HEARTS at SEASIDE…

Jenna Ward is vivacious, spontaneous, and confident—except when she’s around the man who stole her heart years earlier, strikingly handsome, quiet, and reliable Pete Lacroux. After years of trying to get his attention and overwhelmed from dealing with her mother’s new cougar lifestyle, Jenna’s giving up on Peter—and is ready to explore other men.

As the eldest of five siblings, with an alcoholic father to care for, boat craftsman Pete Lacroux always does the right thing and has no time for a real relationship. He’s looking forward to seeing his friend Jenna, a welcome distraction who’s so sexy and painfully shy that she equally entertains and confuses him.

When Jenna picks up a hard-bodied construction worker, jealousy ignites Pete’s true feelings, and he’s unable to ignore the desires for Jenna he never realized he had. But Pete’s not the quiet guy he appears to be, and his life is anything but conducive to a relationship. Can Jenna handle the real Pete Lacroux—the most alpha male she’s ever seen—or will she crack under pressure? And can Pete reclaim the life he once had without tearing apart his family?

Hearts at Seaside is a light read with plenty of fun and sizzle. Don’t let the “sweet” tagline fool you…much.

I’ve never read a book by this author, but was glad I chose to this time. While clearly part of a series, it’s easily read as a standalone (though I imagine a reader would pick up on more “in” jokes, depth, etc., if they’ve read the previous books).

Jenna has spent her last six summers pining over hottie, Pete. But whenever she’s around him, she’s completely tongue-tied, leading him to believe she’s a shy mouse who’d not really interested. Lots of mixed messages between them at the start, but when Jenna starts dating another hottie, Charlie the construction guy, all bets are off. It wakes up Pete’s feral side and he’s determined to claim Jenna for his own.

My absolute favorite thing about this book was the friendship between the four ladies who spent their summers at Seaside. They’re very different, yet very devoted to one another. Their playful interactions kept a smile on my face the entire time.

I was surprised at how much the book revolved around sex and sexual talk and hot, hot, hot foreplay. Yes, the actual bedroom door might be closed, but this is not a typical “sweet” romance. So if you go into this (as I did) expecting that, you’ll be … surprised. Depending on your preferences regarding sex in romance will decide whether that’s a good or bad surprise for you! “Sweet with Heat” is definitely a good descriptor. There’s plenty of heat!

I think the one drawback to my not having read the first two books was that I felt Jenna and Pete got very hot, very fast without very many pages going by. I realize they have a past — years’ worth of past — but it was still surprising. And Pete is pretty forceful, something Jenna appreciates, but occasionally came across as bossy/pushy to me. However, the fact he rescued a puppy and also the care he takes with his father adds a lot of points. He might be a little pushy, but his heart is huge and loyal.

Also, despite this being a pretty light, fluffy read, there is some dark/depth to it when it comes to Pete’s father–an alcoholic who desperately misses his late wife. The parts with him about broke my heart, and it also creates the only actual conflict for our couple’s relationship. Jenna’s mom getting over her divorce was treated a little more lightly, but is still a heart-string tugger, at least for me.

All-in-all, the writing was solid, the editing clean, the characters interesting and well-created, the storyline fun and believable–a solidly good read I can recommend to lovers of romance.

Ascension: The Chosen by E. H. James


Ascension: The Chosen by E. H. James
The Demon Series Part 5
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (46 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Jesse returns from India, ten years later, in his arms a Katemara. But he is not returning to the world he left. Demons are possessing humans on a regular basis. Committing crimes and leaving the humans to suffer the consequences, the demons are amassing huge sums of money.

Left to wonder what the demons could be plotting, Jesse knows they are after more than just mischief, pain, and pleasure. But when Cole confesses to one of Starke’s murders, believing himself responsible for not having stopped Starke, Jesse and the gang have more than just demons to worry about. And when overwhelmed by demons bent on killing them, they must run.

Will Jesse take his rightful place as the chosen one, or will the demon occupation prevent the ascension?

In the battle between demons and humankind, only one group can be victorious.

One of my favorite parts of this tale was how many clever twists it had. I was surprised by a few of them, especially towards the end when the main character finally had the time to start putting things together. It was rewarding to see how he did this and what his response was once he realized that everything wasn’t necessarily the way he thought it was.

There was a little bit of an information dump at the end. While I enjoyed seeing how everything was connected to each other, it would have been nice to have some of these revelations earlier on in the plot so that I could concentrate on what was currently happening with the characters. With that being said, this was a minor criticism of a book I otherwise enjoyed quite a bit.

The dialogue was fantastic. Every character had such an unique voice that I was immediately able to tell who was speaking. I also appreciated seeing how relaxed their conversations were. They passed on all of the information that the audience needed, and they did it in such a casual way that I felt as though I were eavesdropping on real conversations.

This is the fifth story in this series. I would strongly suggest reading the first four instalments before moving onto this one because of how little time Jesse had to explain what was going on. Already being familiar with the characters and their mission will make it easier to understand what’s happening in the plot.

Ascension: The Chosen was a wild ride. If you’re in the mood to see what a war with demons could look like, look no further.

Sinner’s Possession by Sam Crescent


Sinner’s Possession by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (159 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

At Master’s hands, Lola went through hell. She was rescued, and she healed her body, but she never healed her mind. Everywhere she goes, Sinner is constantly concerned that something will trigger the darkness inside her. She can’t do that to the man she loves, and right now she can no longer be the woman for him. She has to find the woman that is strong enough to deal with what happened to her, so she can have a future with Sinner.

Sinner can feel Lola pulling away from him, and he doesn’t know what to do. He loves her more than anything, so when Lola tells him she’s going, it takes every ounce of strength he has not to keep her locked up. If he loves her enough, he has to let her go.

Being in Piston County without Lola kills a part of Sinner. He cannot sit around and wait, nor can he go and force her back to him. So, he leaves the club and heads out to the Chaos Bleeds: Nomad Chapter. It’s the only way.

Some relationships don’t follow the same paths. Not everything is easy. Can Lola and Sinner’s love survive the space that her mind clearly needs?

Sam Crescent strikes again! Sinner’s Possession is the ninth chapter in the fabulous Chaos Bleeds Series. I’ve read and loved them all but this one is definitely the best book yet. It’s incredibly captivating, emotionally raw, and a page turner all the way.

Sam Crescent is one author who never lets me down. This book was complex with a gripping plot and wonderfully rich characters who tugged at my heart. Sinner and Lola were a fantastic main couple who went through a lot of turmoil. Lola had been kept prisoner and raped by the evil Master/Andrew but she still hadn’t fully moved past the horrible experience. She needed to the freedom to face her fears on her own so she left Sinner and her Chaos Bleeds family. Sinner was a really impressive biker hero. He never tried to control the situation. He let Lola go because it was what she needed. He left his club family and rode Nomad with some old friends while waiting for his woman to come back to him.

This is where the story got even more intriguing for me because I am really hooked on the series. I remember in the first book that not all of the Chaos Bleeds MC was ready to settle down in Piston County. The Nomad crew were the wilder ones who rode out on their own. Well, now Sam Crescent brings them back in this special book. Let me tell you that these guys are a special breed who really need their own books. Especially Lucius who absolutely tore me up in this story. Sam Crescent left me crying and craving for a next chapter with Lucius.

This author is a perfect master at hooking readers with a vivid world, the absolute richest characters and fast moving exciting drama. I did not put this book down for anything, and I already want the next one now.

Assassin Next Door by Eve Langlais


Assassin Next Door by Eve Langlais
Bad Boy Inc., #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A killer with a white picket fence.

Suburbia, a great place for a man with secrets to hide–while investing in some solid real estate. The biggest drawback?

Neighbors.

In this case, a neighbor with sexy curves and a bright smile. Good thing she’s not his type. Single moms with annoying exes are on the do-not-date list.

Stay away.

Calvin wants to; it’s just not happening. He can’t help but find himself drawn to the chaos next door. And when danger threatens his suburban lifestyle, this assassin doesn’t hesitate to act.

Killing people is easy. Domestication, on the other hand, terrifies him.

Talk about romancing the gray area where the good guys are bad guys being good by being bad. This is a very interesting concept that Ms. Langlais is exploring in this first novel of her new series and I had a ball reading it. Some authors have a challenging time world-building in the first book of a series while telling a romance story and introducing a bunch of characters that are important or will become important in future books all at the same time. Not so for Ms. Langlais. This was one of the smoothest reveal and entry into a series I’ve read in a while. It felt so natural.

It’s told in third person POV from both Lily’s and Calvin’s perspectives. The author efficiently used the right descriptions of emotions, action, and environments to engage a reader. I could understand Lily’s terror and feelings of being trapped. Calvin is a different story as he’s a man without much feeling, or, at least he wasn’t until he clapped eyes on Lily’s daughter, Zoe. I think her innocence, her instant trust, her smiling nature and bubbly personality simply bowled Calvin over. In a word, Zoe is adorable, and the hero found her impossible to resist. He tried being gruff, grouchy and tough and he said things that initially convinced Lily that was not a nice neighbor, but a reader sees it from his POV – it’s bluster and smoke. I enjoyed watching the hero’s initial discomfort morph into a protective zeal.

Lily’s external conflict comes in the form of her ex-husband, Brock. The conflict for Calvin is mostly internal until Lily’s conflict twists and turns to bisect the hero’s external conflict and they’re both drawn into a situation that is bigger than either of them realize, until it was almost too late. There’s where the suspense and mystery come in to play. The action stems from all the daring-do that Calvin’s role demands of him. At first his involvement is duty, and then it becomes personal. That gradual switch made for some very intense reading.

My frown comes from the heroine doing something stupid, twice. Yes, the author made her own up to it because being in Lily’s head, so to speak, I could understand her choices. They were rash and necessary to stirring the plot pot but still stupid. My very big grin came from the author throwing in little digs and references to another series the author is famous for. I admit to giggling out loud in a very unladylike fashion because I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about.

The interesting thing about Calvin is his line of work – his view on what he does for a living, how he does it and why. It’s the how that is freaky. The author almost makes it causal, la-ti-da and normal when it’s anything but. After what Lily has gone through, her character is ripe for accepting a man like Calvin. The author alludes to it enough times to make that clear.

When Lily and Calvin get more than ‘neighborly’, it’s detailed, hot and sexy. There is no doubt that they are physically compatible.

The final conflict is a doozy. It has drama, suspense, action and the body count keeps going up. With the satisfactory resolving of the immediate mystery in Assassin Next Door Ms. Langlais left one little plot thread dangling which I believe is, or will be, the background story arc. One thing is for sure, the author has effectively garnered my commitment to reading the next book in the series. This is getting good.

Assassin Next Door is full of exciting chills and thrills, grins and gasps and is a delight through and through. This romantic suspense book is an easy recommend because it kept me guessing, entertained and engaged. I enjoyed watching Lily and Calvin come together as an unconventional couple and how the author handled having a young child in the mix. It’s a well written adventure and I can’t wait to visit the folks at Bad Boy Inc. to see what they get up to next.

The Picture of Leon Brittan by Daniel Raven


The Picture of Leon Brittan by Daniel Raven
Publisher: Wormdoom Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (98 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

‘The story I’m about to tell is true in every detail and you must try to believe it, no matter how hard that may seem, because it proves that my impotence was never anything to do with me not loving you, or not thinking you were gorgeous, or being a closet bender. It was to do with primal forces of inhuman evil.’

That’s how I put it to my ex-girlfriend. I’m not quite sure how to put it to you – let’s face it, you’re capricious – but that doesn’t alter the fact that you MUST read this book. Not only does it relate the full story of how I met and fell in love with the most extraordinary woman who ever lived, it also offers a genuinely plausible explanation for all the wickedness in this world AND exposes a monumentally revolting cosmic conspiracy that implicates the whole human race, as well as several others you’ve never even heard of.

But I wouldn’t want to alienate you, so please try also to keep in mind that it’s basically just a lovely light romantic comedy for much of the time, with lots of droll observations about university life in the 1990s blah blah rites of passage blah blah end of innocence blah blah beautifully evoked. It only really starts to go all H.P. Lovecraft about halfway through, and even then you’ll need your sense of humour as much as your strong stomach (it IS strong, isn’t it? Oh do please say that it’s strong!). Moreover, I can promise – in fact positively guarantee – that you will never, ever be able to forget it.

Sometimes falling in love is the scariest thing that can happen to a person.

This story was full of creativity. I loved the fact that it was written as a letter to the main character’s ex-girlfriend. The horror elements took quite a while to show up, but they sure did scare me once they were introduced. I also enjoyed seeing how the author combined so many different genres together. Horror and romance aren’t genres I’d ever think to mix together, but Mr. Raven’s take on both of them was so unique that they flowed together quite nicely.

There were some pacing problems due to how many extra details the main character included about what his life was like in the 1990s. As curious as I was to find out what was so frightening about falling in love with a college classmate, my interest did waver as the plot stretched out. It was sometimes hard to stay as interested in the conclusion as I would have liked to due to how long it took to get any kind of hint about what was going on.

Despite never learning the main character’s name, I felt like I got to know him very well. I was pleased with how much the author was able to show the audience about this character’s personality. He was a smart and gentle soul who never would have guessed what he was going to discover when he went off to college. While I don’t know of any sequels about him that are on their way, I’d sure like to know more about him if Mr. Raven ever decides to expand this universe.

The Picture of Leon Brittan made me shudder. I’d recommend it to anyone who would like to read something truly horrifying.

Possession: The Rise of Edward Starke by E.H. James


Possession: The Rise of Edward Starke by E.H. James
The Demon Series Part 4
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (69 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Thirteen years after the party at Starke house, Jesse Miller is now in New York, interviewing for a job.

Only this isn’t just any job interview. This interview is with Cole Pearson. The man everyone wants to work for. The man, who, in five short years, has taken the business world by storm and amassed not only billions, but the attention of everyone, who wants to be someone. Fumbling his way through a disastrous interview, Jesse believes the day can’t get any worse. That is, until Cole Pearson turns to Jesse, and he sees not Cole Pearson, but Edward Starke. Aware Starke has possessed Cole Pearson, Jesse gathers a menagerie of men to take him down.

Can a ghost, a reporter, an ex-priest, and a childhood friend come together to end Starke once and for all, or will the possession of Cole Pearson only be the beginning?

How do you fight someone who has already died?

The world building in this universe was well done. I especially liked the way the author tied the most frightening scenes in the previous instalments into what happened this time around. They were only more chilling now that I had even more information about what Edward Starke was truly capable of. This definitely isn’t something that should be read late at night. The places these characters live and the creatures they meet are far too creepy for that.

There were pacing issues. So much time was spent in the first several scenes setting up the conflict and explaining what had happened to these characters in previous instalments that the ending felt rushed to me. There simply wasn’t enough time in the last couple of scenes to cover everything that had been foreshadowed earlier on.

Jesse has changed a lot since I first met him in Beyond The Red Door. He was always a likeable guy, but I found myself feeling drawn even closer to him now that he was an adult and had a stronger sense of just how dangerous it is to mess around with demons. His cautious approach to such things made me respect him, and his determination to make things right is going to keep my attention focused on this universe until I know how everything ends.

This is the fourth story in this series. It can be read on its own or out of order.

Possession: The Rise of Edward Starke should be read by anyone who is in the mood to get scared.