Arjun’s Pup by H. C. Brown


Arjun’s Pups by H. C. Brown
Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (82 pgs)
Other: M/M, Ménage, BDSM, Toys, Anal Play, M/M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Big Brother is watching every kinky move they make.

After Deon’s Artificial Intelligence module breaks down, Arjun must travel back to the future to collect the alloy he needs for the repair.

To gain access to a probe due to land on Amun 2 in the next few days, he must volunteer as a Dom in an experiment in multiple partner male-on-male sex run by the Klebs.

Arjun discovers the Klebs are using the “experiment” as an excuse to run a live feed BDSM porno channel around their world and gives them a performance they will never forget.

I was excited to see a second book in the STARMEN series from H. C. Brown. In Arjun’s Pups, the series continues with Arjun having to travel through time and space in order to save his good friend Deon, who’s in the first story. I quickly found myself immersed in Arjun’s story. He goes to a place that is using humans as cattle in their so called sexual experiments. The humans do not know and Arjun must make a choice to help them or let them remain unaware and hurting. As Arjun goes about his mission he meets two men that pull at him more than any others ever have and he cannot let them go. Will Arjun find a balance and be able to stop the aliens from experimenting on the humans and save Deon?

Arjun’s story moves along quickly and brings together three good men. Each character is strong on his own and when the three men work together there is no stopping them. Mason and Rhy are good matches for Arjun, both men add something different and special to their relationship. Rhy and Mason must also figure out just where they fit in with Arjun. Will they make the choice for love or go their separate ways? I enjoyed watching the three men find their way to a happy ending.

Their story is a nice mix of emotion and adventure. The author brings their world to life nicely. This was a nice peek at how these three men come to be together and I hope that we get to see more from them and this world in the future.

Falling Star Valentine by E. D. Parr


Falling Star Valentine by E. D. Parr
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Fashion photographer Dale Walker takes a train to his hometown, relocating there after nursing a broken heart for six months in another city. His train makes an unscheduled stop to take on a mysterious passenger.

For a long time, Valentine Steel has hoped to meet a man who will love him. When he sees Dale on the train, he’s overjoyed to find a vacant seat beside him.

Dale’s immediate attraction to Valentine has him on edge. He doesn’t want another broken heart, and yet Valentine is so magnetic that Dale’s frozen heart begins to thaw.

Valentine sets out to charm and capture Dale in his sparkling aura. He can’t let the chance to have Dale’s love slip away.

After a nasty break up, Dale is alone for Valentine’s day and has had enough. Determined to quit his moping and refusing to spend the lover’s holiday pining for his ex, Dale decides to leave the city. On the train, he meets a handsome stranger, Valentine Steel. Can these two men be exactly what the other needs?

This is an interesting short story to my mind. I was a little confused until right at the end about the mystery surrounding Valentine – his back-story is where the paranormal element comes into the plotline. Despite the fact most of the plot remains mysterious until the end of the story, I found it refreshingly unique – Valentine’s character and his “quest”. My confusion didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the story, though I would have liked to have understood the subtleties a little earlier on so I could enjoy the growing relationship between Dale and Valentine.

I felt the characters were well written. Dale is a fairly typical man and hero, unlucky in love and wanting to find his soul mate. Valentine, despite some of the mystery surrounding him was also interesting and I enjoyed reading about him trying to woo Dale and fall in love with each other. While there is plenty of steamy sex I didn’t find any aspect of the M/M relationship too envelope pushing. Readers who like a bit of spice with their romance should find this a fun and sexy read.

With a different plotline and two very interesting characters I found this to be a great read. While I would have liked the paranormal aspect of the plot to be a little less mysterious this is a fun and deliciously short read that has plenty of spice and romance.

The Prize by Ashe Barker


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

A night to remember…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myth City by Anya Howard


Myth City: A Modern Retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Anya Howard
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (92 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A modern Dystopian retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Romance author Anya Howard.

After a nuclear battle, globalism has claimed power over every aspect of human life. A select group of survivors have been given refuge in the technological haven called the City. Here, every aspect of daily life is dictated by the laws of the governing Elders. One brave woman dares to risk the severest repercussions when an attractive stranger arrives from a place the Elders claim cannot possibly exist. When this man’s skills with a musical pipe are sought by the Elders, the dismal world they govern will be changed forever by the simple breaking of their word.

There’s more to life than following the rules.

The world building was handled well. I really enjoyed learning about the different roles that people could have in the City. It was such a strict society that I couldn’t stop wondering how folks managed to live in that kind of environment for a whole lifetime. The more I learned about it, the more curious I became about how it might change after Graham, the attractive stranger, came to visit. The odd way the City was set up became even more clear when I compared it to how Graham liked to live.

This story would have benefited from another round of editing. I noticed multiple typos in it, especially when it came to run-on sentences and the misuse of punctuation marks. There were also some sentences that didn’t make sense because they were either missing important words or had extra words added to them in ways that weren’t grammatically correct.

The chemistry between Apple and Graham was wonderful. I liked the fact that their relationship was given so much time to develop before anything sexual happened between them. It made a lot of sense due to the rigid culture Apple grew up in. By the time they decided to finally touch, I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next or if they’d end up together for good.

Myth City: A Modern Retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin should be read by anyone who enjoys modern twists on classic fairy tales.

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hoedown Showdown by Misty Simon


Hoedown Showdown by Misty Simon
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (194 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

With the Tasty Tomato Tournament just days away, the small town of Martha’s Point is all abuzz. This is the first year without a sure winner, and the competition is fierce to gain the judges’ approval, even before the tournament starts.

But when Ivy finds one of those judges dead in a shed across the street, things go from bad to worse. All she wanted was seven glorious, kid-free days of messing around with her husband. Instead, she’s going to be tracking down a killer, staying out of the way of a pickle-obsessed farmer, and dodging the new cop who seems out for her blood.

The Tasty Tomato Tournament is just a few days away and Ivy is very glad. Someone is destroying other contestant’s tomatoes and her husband has brought all his in the house in pots. He’s also brought in his gnomes. He says those make his tomatoes grow well. Maybe so, but they aren’t going to be in her house…

While she’s helping carry them back outside, her next door neighbor calls to her. She thinks she’s her husband and wants him to help her. When Ivy says he’s in the shower, she takes Ivy over to show her the problem. What she didn’t mention was that the problem was a dead body.

This is a cozy mystery that flows well, has plenty of action, romance between Ivy and her husband who are trying to vacation since their children are away for a week, cliques of town folk, tomato judges and more. The dead man was a tomato judge. It seems he got stung by wasps but there were no wasps around. He wasn’t all that stellar of a judge either. Then there’s the pickle man who’s handing out flyers and trying to get support for his festival.

With lots of suspects and bad behavior all around, you can’t guess who the killer is ahead of time. The rookie cop would like to blame in on Ivy and her husband. They spend a lot of time fending him off during their investigation. It makes for some amusing reading and a few laughs.

This was an overall good read and Ivy now has her own private investigator license. Life is going to get even more exciting in the future!

Steele and Stone by Kay Phoenix


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Recipient by Audrey J. Cole

The Recipient by Audrey J. Cole
Publisher: Gum Tree Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/suspense
Length: Full (301 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

A year after serial killer Michael Rhodes is executed and allowed to donate part of his brain as an organ transplant, Sergeant Wade McKinnon gets called to a murder scene that shares uncanny similarities to those of the late Michael Rhodes. Other similar killings happen around Seattle, and Wade seems to be the only person still alive who knows enough about Michael Rhodes’s murders to be able to replicate them. When evidence found at one of the crime scenes points to Wade as the killer, he races to find the real culprit before it’s too late to clear his own name.

Elle is overjoyed when her husband, Brian, gets a second chance at life when he receives a partial brain transplant after suffering a debilitating stroke at the age of thirty-seven. Their lives seem to return to normal, but Elle notices a disturbing change in Brian’s behavior. When Elle learns that her husband’s brain cell transplant came from Michael Rhodes, she fears that Brian now has the mind of a serial killer.

A psychological thriller — my favorite kind of story — with a twist.

The Recipient follows a couple of folks… one is Wade, a cop and a recovering alcoholic who, six years prior had arrested the person called the Seattle Slasher, who was subsequently put to death by the state. However, new murders start to occur, with details known only to those closest to the case and this puts Wade under the microscope. People in his own department begin to think he could be committing copy cat murders.

The other main character is Elle. Her husband receives an experimental brain cell transplant, which restores his former health after a stroke, but he starts behaving oddly and out of character. When Elle finds out the cells came from the Seattle Slasher, she wonders if personality characteristics can also be transferred with those cells.

I love that Wade is not perfect. He has problems and doubts. His best friend and partner was killed during the apprehension of the Seattle Slasher, and he’s never completely recovered from that. He’s been sober just over a year now, and is doing his best to stay that way, but the new murders test that resolve. Elle loves her husband, or at least loves the man he was. She grows to be afraid of this new man, and eventually she works with Wade in trying to discover just exactly what is going on. Wade needs to prove his innocence, and she wants to discover just exactly what is happening to her husband. Both of these characters really tugged at my heart. They’re good people; earnest, kind, caring. And stuck in a set of circumstances neither could have ever imagined.

I’m not a fan of infidelity, and have to admit I was worried originally as I read it, that this book might stray into that territory. It doesn’t, really, though both characters do grow to have some feelings for one another. This is, first and foremost, a mystery and a well written one at that. The story and the characters drive this book forward, and made me want to keep reading. It’s smoothly written, and the only time I had any issues with the writing was the use of “alright” instead of “all right”. It’s actually used quite a bit, especially near the end, and it’s one of my language pet peeves (blame an exuberant junior high teacher). Also, the way the ending panned out had a frequently used technique that I’m just not a fan of in mysteries (I can’t be more specific without spoilers — and I promise, you do NOT want this story spoiled for you). Those were the main reasons, both based on things that are personal to me and may not bother you, that this story didn’t get the full five stars.

I really liked Wade and Elle. I noted on the cover of this book that it’s “An Emerald City Thriller” and I’m hoping this means we’ll see more of these two in the future. I’d sure like to see how they move forward after all the trauma of this book.

I highly recommend The Recipient to fans of the genre and look forward to reading more from this talented author.

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The Itching Scars by Mohy Omar


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sins of the Father by Winter Austin


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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