Loving a Ghost by Marisa Chenery


Loving a Ghost by Marisa Chenery
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (25 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Jordana’s dream of meeting hunky romance cover model, Grady Timmins, comes to an abrupt end when he dies in a tragic car accident in her city. She’d known she would never meet him in real life, but that didn’t stop her from mourning him, anyway.

Her sorrow all-too-soon changes after Grady appears to her in ghost form, unable to leave her apartment. As love springs between them, Jordana will do anything in her power to keep him at her side.

Sometimes celebrity crushes can be more than just a fun fantasy about someone you’ll never meet.

Including so much backstory about Jordana’s life was a good decision. My first impression of her was that she was a sweet and lonely woman. It was nice to have that gut feeling about her confirmed because it made it easier to understand why she made certain decisions later on in the plot. Loneliness can drive people to make all kinds of choices that they might not otherwise be brave enough to try.

The one thing I never understood about this story was why Grady ended up being drawn into Jordana’s life after he died. They’d never even met while he was alive, so it didn’t make sense to me that he would haunt her home instead of the home of one of his friends or relatives. I otherwise enjoyed the plot quite a bit. This was a big sticking point for me, though, and it’s something that I wished would have been explained better by the author.

With that being said, the chemistry between Jordana and Grady was undeniable. They were both great conversationalists, and their banter made me eager to see what would happen once they figured out that ghosts can’t touch people or objects the same way a living person can. The anticipation of wanting to see them together but not being sure how it would be possible made it hard for me to stop reading. I simply had to know what would happen to them next.

I’d recommend Loving a Ghost to anyone who is in the mood for a sweet paranormal romance tale.

Casting Bones by Don Bruns


Casting Bones by Don Bruns
Publisher: Severn House
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Introducing New Orleans homicide detective Quentin Archer in the first of a brand-new mystery series.

When a prominent New Orleans judge is brutally murdered, former Detroit cop Quentin Archer is handed the case. His enquiries will lead him into a world of darkness and mysticism which underpins the carefree atmosphere of the Big Easy. Interrogating crooked police officers, a pickpocket, a bartender with underground contacts and a swamp dweller, Archer uncovers some troubling facts about the late judge’s past. But it’s only when he encounters a beautiful young voodoo practitioner that he starts to make headway in the investigation.

Voodoo queen Solange Cordray volunteers at the dementia centre where her mother lives. When she starts reading the mind of one of her patients, she learns that a secretive organization known as Krewe Charbonerrie may be behind the murder of the judge. And the second murder. And the third . . .

Money–or maybe greed–is the root of all evil. Some people will do anything for their greed for money. Casting Bones examines some of the lengths that people will go to in order to gain wealth.

This is the first book I’ve read by Don Bruns. I don’t know what city he lives in but he surely painted a picture of New Orleans that is vivid and accurate. I didn’t know much about voodoo before but I feel like I do now. The author did his research on voodoo, along with knowing the city life of New Orleans. His observation in human behavior and details are amazing. This combination of details along with his talented writing, combined with a suspenseful plot made this a really great read. I enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end. The suspense started on the first page and kept me interested through out.

There is something about the writing style that made the story flow so smoothly. The details of the city, the men on the police force, maybe the realness of the main character, Quentin Archer. I felt I knew him; his story could be the average cop’s life. I empathized with him for the loss of his wife. He is a honest man trying to uphold the law, but struggles with his family while searching for answers for his wife’s death. Relocating from Detroit under dire circumstances, to the New Orleans police force Quentin finds himself investigating the case of murdered Judge Lerner. When it seems the suspect is caught and the case could be closed, Solange Cordray, a third generational voodoo practitioner contacts Detective Quentin with information that may show a lot of well known city officials in a bad light. When two more judges are murdered, this really is cause for alarm. What is the killer trying to cover up? Why is Quentin’s boss and partner so set against the information that Solange has revealed to Quentin?

This book has a lot of suspense. Finding out why the judges are being murdered and by who; was Quentin’s wife death an accident? Who on the police force is working on the side, selling information? But, don’t worry. There’s not so much going on that you get lost. Along with the suspense the author adds in the attraction between Solange and Quentin. I like the attraction between the two and that they didn’t act on the attractive impulse. The ending left me with hopefulness that there will be a future book about the two.

The story wraps up nicely and ties all ends but the last chapter leaves me to believe that there will be more of Solange and Quentin working together. This is a full story and I like that the author didn’t water it down making the book much longer than it was. It is just the right length.

This is a great story presented in a masterful style that I highly recommend. This will be a treat for those that enjoy good suspense, with lively characters set in a city that is just as lively.

Seduced by the CEO by Lexie Davis


Seduced by the CEO by Lexie Davis
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (158 Pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Multiple Partners, Anal Sex, Forced Seduction, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Kristin Marsh landed her dream job with Bosk Entertainment as a CPA. She had everything she could really ask for and then some. However, when her mysterious boss calls her into his office to sign a confidentiality agreement, she didn’t know what to expect.

Micah Bosk was know for his strict ways in the boardroom, but this dominant man dabbled in the kinky lifestyle associated with bondage. It lead him to purchasing The Black Rose, a hot spot fetish club in the heart of Denver. But when the smart businessman looks over the books, he discovers the numbers simply don’t add up.

Micah seeks Kristin’s help with his financials and slowly introduces the good girl into his kinky world. She’s sexy and strong, perfect for what he wants in a sub, but she has reservations about a no-strings affair with her boss. He can show her the naughty pleasures he enjoys but will her need for commitment be a deal breaker?

All the ingredients for a smoking hot kinky read: a contract, burn the cover off chemistry and a BDSM club.

While the plot of Seduced by the CEO wasn’t new, it was the characters that won me. They were different. “Draw me in and hold me captive to the story” different.

When Micah finds that the accounts for the BDSM club that he owns don’t add up, he calls on the one person who can surely find the cause. But can she handle his needs?

When Kristin gets a contract from her boss, demanding ultimate secrecy and discretion, she signs it without a second thought. What she comes to realize about her boss, and herself, is an eye-opening surprise.

The story flows well and the characters were well developed. The story kept me interested to the very end. This is a character driven story and the author kept them in the forefront with snappy dialogue and hot chemistry.

The ending indicated that there may be a second book. It wasn’t what I expected. While I’m not personally a fan of suspense and waiting, sometimes I find a series worth waiting for.

Excellent read with more than a few pleasant surprises.

Body in the Box by E R Fallon


Body in the Box by E R Fallon
Publisher: Joffe Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (227 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

THE FRAIL BODY OF A YOUNG BOY IS FOUND DISCARDED IN AN OLD CARDBOARD BOX. EVEN IN A HARD-EDGED TOWN USED TO DEADLY CRIMES, THIS TOUCHES A NERVE.

New York Times bestselling author Da Chen has said E.R. Fallon writes the kind of stories that “. . . we stay up all night to finish.”

Who dumped the boy’s body in this desolate part of the city and why? And why is he missing his spleen?

BODY IN THE BOX is the first book in a gripping new mystery series featuring three very different homicide detectives.

Detectives Dino Cooper and Terry Jackson have been partners and friends for years. Now a new detective is drafted in to join them: Rebecca Everhart. They must quickly learn to work together on the biggest case of their careers, the disturbing discovery of the ‘Body in the Box’, as it’s known by the captivated media and the city’s worried citizens.

The case takes the three detectives deep inside the lives of Newark’s insular Eastern European immigrant community and the world of unlawful medical practices. It also brings back an eerie childhood memory of Dino’s, where a boy from his neighborhood vanished and was never seen again.

What appears to be a straightforward, modern-day murder case has more to do with the past than the present, and the detectives come to a genuinely unnerving — and life-threatening — conclusion.

There’s a young boy in a big cardboard box in the end of town where the homeless live. He’s dead, he has nothing to identify him with except his teeth. He also happens to be missing his spleen…

This is a police procedural that leads the detectives into a worm hole of the poor and indigent and Russian illegals. The boy they found was not currently missing. The homeless didn’t see anything or won’t talk about it if they did. They begin looking for a child who could have been injured enough to lose his spleen. What they find takes them to the Russians. It’s a good thing the new female detective can speak some Russian or they’d have had to find a translator. Again, no one wants to talk to them. When they find out who the child is, he’s been missing for two years. Where has he been?

The pace is steady, the mystery keeps twisting around and you keep turning the pages to see what new clue will show up. This case relates to an old unsolved one but no one will know that until the end.

The description of the Russians and how they lived and the places the homeless lived was depressing. It’s especially sad how the boy ended up where he did. Sometimes life is not kind.

Watching the police work, wondering about the killer, and rooting for the team of detectives came naturally. There are romantic problems just to keep your interest. The story already had mine.

Here’s an unusual mystery with even more unusual motive. If you like mysteries, you need to read this one.

Gift Of A Lifetime by Ana Raine


Gift Of A Lifetime by Ana Raine
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short Story (35 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ryo’s job at the Crooked Paintbrush is a way to make some money doing what he loves while meeting new people. But when Logan walks into Ryo’s painting class, he realizes there are some things that can only be described as fate.

More than just a handsome face, Logan proves to be exactly the kind of Master Ryo has been waiting for. The kind of man who will test his limits while providing some much needed love and safety.

Ryo hosts painting classes for singles looking for like-minded people. Even though he’s looking for a Master of his own, he generally enjoys the classes and watching other people find happiness. Logan was the most handsome man Ryo had ever met, and when Logan asks him out for dinner, Ryo feels like all his Christmas’ have come at once. Can Logan be everything he needs?

I enjoyed this hot and sexy short story. I found Ryo and Logan to be super hot together, and both liking exactly the same thing – kinky sex. I didn’t mind that Ryo and Logan got quite intimate fairly quickly after meeting – in such a short story they needed to move fast – but I really enjoyed how the author let them actually talk and get to know each other a little bit first. I was a little uncertain why neither Ryo nor Logan had met someone into kink earlier – the author made it seem like they both wanted something very deep and dark and unheard of with other men, and I just didn’t find that too believable. While they certainly both enjoyed BDSM and playing with toys, I didn’t find their kink outrageous or particularly dark. So I never really bought into the fact neither man had met someone previously who could give them what they wanted. This small bit of unrealistic plotting didn’t lesson my enjoyment of the story, however.

I enjoyed both men’s characters – Ryo was an eager and curious submissive, Logan a strong and caring Dominant. While I liked how compatible the two men were, I did find it a little unusual toward the end, reading some of the play-talk between Ryo and Logan. Personally, I prefer it when a Master builds his pet up and strengthens them. While I liked Logan’s tenderness and attachment to Ryo, Ryo seemed to need someone to use him and take over completely, and while it was very well written and is sure to appeal to many readers, I discovered it just isn’t really my thing. The care and love between the two men though is a wonderful thing to watch as is their hot, spicy sex.

For slightly kinky, very short Christmas story this was a good read and one I enjoyed.

Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands


Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands
An Argeneau Novel
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (251 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Ever since Domitian Argenis recognized Sarita as his life mate, he’s been waiting for the perfect moment to claim her. Those fantasies did not include him being chained to a table in a secret lab or both of them being held hostage by a mad scientist. Somehow, they have to escape…

Sarita has seen some crazy things as a cop, but nothing to rival Domitian. A vampire? Seriously? But his healing ability, incredible powers, and their mind-blowing physical connection—none of it should be possible, yet her body knows differently. Now, not only do they have to save each other, but other innocent lives are at stake. Failure is not an option, for Sarita intends that Domitian show her exactly what an eternity of pleasure feels like…

I realize it’s a cliché when a reviewer says that the storyline grabbed them from the first page but that really happened to me. Right off the bat, the novel opens up with a dramatic prologue where Domitian is in a heated discussion with Lucian and it’s a shocking exchange. I had no idea so many Immortals had disappeared, especially people who I’ve ‘met’ in previous books; characters that I’ve come to adore and love it whenever they are on stage. To think that someone has the ability to overpower my favorite descendants from Atlantis boggled my mind. How? What powers do they have? Yes, those first few pages lay the groundwork for an amazing, mind blowing and stunning adventure that raises the bar in the Argeneau saga to new levels. Readers, buckle up. Immortal Unchained is a wild ride and is nothing you’ve seen before. Ms. Sands has a true winner on her hands and it’s stunning.

The first full chapter introduces Sarita, the heroine. It starts off so benign and innocuous. Don’t let it fool you. The heroine isn’t a helpless damsel; she is a cop and she has good instincts. Something doesn’t add up so being the good officer she is, she investigates. What follows propels the plot and story forward at a dizzying speed. Sarita is abruptly thrust into the world of the Immortals and their fight to survive in what turns out to be a hellish captivity. What the villain does to them is truly horrifying. Ms. Sands’ writing makes that very vivid and clear to a reader. The good news is that the disturbing, dark and insane goings on does not overwhelm a reader. Ms. Sands walks a fine line between horror and dramatic adventure while keeping the growing romance between Domitian and Sarita front and center. This novel has a hefty plot that is amazingly intense. The pace is furious and gripping; I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough because revelation after revelation left me astonished and dumbfounded. How could the villain do what he did for so long? The hero and heroine stumble upon their answer and once again the truth is jaw dropping. There is no way I could have guessed the true scope of what Domitian and Sarita are faced with. The big question, will they escape? How? There doesn’t seem to be any allies to help them and there’s no way to contact the outside world to send out a cry for help to Lucien and the rest of the Immortal Hunters. It looks so hopeless. Help comes but from a quarter that a reader can’t even guess or fathom. I remember sitting there, staring at the pages in astonishment. This book is awesome!!!

There are a lot of important new secondary characters, some of which I suspect will show up again in the future because they have a certain …edge which could really help the Immortals. They’re going to need all the help they can get because the final showdown closed this story arc but effectively opened up a new one. Yes, there is a solid and satisfying happy ever after that is as sexy and romantic as a reader could wish, and many loose ends are tied up but the biggest loose end is a new beginning. A new threat has emerged and I bet it’s going to be unpredictable, challenging and diabolical. Just you wait until you get to that part of the book then you’ll understand why the next book in the series can’t come fast enough. There are new characters to sympathize with and I want to know what happens to them. The world as they knew it is no more, so what’s going to happen now? Ms. Sands has made me care for these new characters and I expect them to be an asset to the series. Certainly these people help breathe new life into what is already an awesome and riveting succession of novels. I don’t know how Ms. Sands does it but she’s getting better and better and readers and fans reap the benefits.

Run, don’t walk, and grab your own copy of Immortal Unchained. This novel is going to find a welcome and permanent spot on my keeper shelf. It’s that marvelous.

Death Benefits by Sharon Saracino


Death Benefits by Sharon Saracino
Max Logan Series Book 1
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (205 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Max Logan’s insecurities have consumed her to the point she has allowed them to skew her perceptions of people and circumstances. She has grown progressively more bitter, sarcastic, and solitary since her divorce and feels as though she has spent a lifetime getting the short end of the stick through no fault of her own; still she trudges on.

Things can always get better, right? Of course, it’s hard to cultivate optimism when she finds herself dead, the victim of a D.I.E (Death in Error) caused by an overeager Grim Reaper in Training. She brokers a deal to be sent back to Earth as a temporary substitute for the Superintendent of Spiritual Impediment.

Can a girl who can’t recognize her own problems rectify the issues of the living impaired? Or will she discover that concentrating on their issues gives her a new perspective on her own?

What do you do when you slip in the shower and wake up dead? This is what happened to Max Logan. She wakes up in the foyer of the afterlife – which looks like a dirty bus depot – and finds her life has been cut short by accident. What to do? Bargain for another chance at life.

This book is hilarious. Max feels extremely sorry for herself, divorced, unemployed and living above the garage of her father and stepmother and now she’s dead through no fault of her own. Her ex interferes with her second chance at life and her outlook changes to consider others, rather than herself. She has to temp for the supervisor of the afterlife and her challenges come thick and fast. She doesn’t even have time to get over her accident.

Max is a very innovative heroine and the book is definitely one that can’t be put down until it’s been read from beginning to end. I was chuckling all the way through. This makes it sound as if there’s no mystery or conflict in the story, but there’s plenty on each page.

To sum up the book has reflection, confusion and lots of humor with a very likeable heroine.

Give Me More by Jenika Snow


Give Me More by Jenika Snow
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (87 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

After running from an abusive relationship, Zoey tries to regain control of her life in a new town. She begins to find reasons to move forward, but Zoey can’t ignore her arousal for a dark and mysterious man—one that is clearly dangerous.

The moment Sergei sees Zoey, he wants her. She’s vulnerable and timid, but she has a strength behind her eyes. Zoey’s a fighter, a warrior, and he wants her for more than just a night in his bed. But how will she react when she finds out he’s part of the Bratva—the Russian Mafia?

Zoey knows who and what Sergei is, and even though she should be terrified, she can’t help but be drawn to him. It isn’t until her past comes back to haunt her that she truly sees the type of man Sergei is, and the lengths he’ll go to protect her.

Surprisingly good, decidedly dark, refreshingly romantic.

The Russian mafia and violence go hand in hand. However, this book is not just about violence. There’s plenty, even gratuitously graphic, but that’s not the only story here.

Sergei is part of the Bratva. Mafia is a mild word for him. Violence isn’t just a part of him, it’s his life.

But this is a love story like no other. The chemistry between Zoey and Sergei is off the charts.

The writer has the perfect balance between these two aspects of the story. Romance offset the violence and vice versa. That said, this book does not have the lovey dovey kind of romance. It’s a darker romance.

Short read but well worth the time. I had no choice but to pulled into this story. I was a willing prisoner to witness Zoey and Sergei’s story. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to warn Zoey that this was likely a very bad mistake but I couldn’t, obviously, but at the same time, I had to see how the author played out their story. How could there be a happily ever after? It seemed impossible.

Something else I liked about this is that it has a little bit of a mystery/suspense aspect. It kept me one my toes. An easy recommend. A wonderful read.

Regifted by BJ McCall


Regifted by BJ McCall
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Fern has no idea the Christmas gift given to her on Christmas Eve is a regift. The perfume smells divine and unbeknownst to Fern it has an added benefit. The scent is packed with pheromones that attract werewolves.

Pace is spending the holiday weekend in the city, a lonely Christmas away from his pack. A major power outage plunges the city into darkness. Pace has a choice: spend Christmas alone or invite his new neighbor with the alluring scent for a candlelight drink…

Fern is the new girl at her work and so she’s left to close the office on Christmas Eve and then reopen it the following Monday. After Fern gives out small goodies to all her co-workers, her boss, Alison is the only one to reciprocate. Fern is thrilled, until she finds the bottle of perfume is a regift. What neither Alison nor Fern know is that the scent is actually a Mating Scent. When Fern bumps into a homesick werewolf, her Christmas plans are suddenly going to be a whole lot more intimate than she expected.

I found this to be a sweet and steamy Christmas short story. I loved how Fern and Pace got to know each other a little – chatting about their homes and upbringing, connecting emotionally – before jumping into bed with each other. I also loved the twist on the regifted pheromone perfume bottle capturing Pace’s attention and drawing him to Fern. It all just fit together so well and really appealed to me as a reader. I loved this story.

I was thrilled when – after having sex – the relationship continued to build between Fern and Pace. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them spend Christmas together, explore the city and really get to know each other. It made the romance feel so much stronger between them and also made the entire situation a lot more believable. I found the whole story realistic and fun, sexy and hot. I will happily read more stories both by this author and set in this paranormal world.

I found this to be an excellent short story, with interesting and fun characters and a solid, realistic plot. A great Christmas tale and one I will happily reread many times to come.

Dangerous Games by Tess Diamond


Dangerous Games by Tess Diamond
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (369 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Maggie Kincaid left the FBI two years ago and didn’t look back . . . until now. A senator’s daughter has been abducted, and the nightmare set in motion isn’t just familiar to Maggie, it’s personal. She’ll need all the help she can get to bring Kayla Thebes home alive—even if that help comes from a hot-as-hell ex-soldier who plays by his own rules. . .

For Jake O’Connor, negotiation equals weakness. But he’s immediately drawn to the sexy former agent who epitomizes strength. It isn’t long before he and Maggie are working together 24/7, learning to read each other’s signals and wanting much more.

But for Maggie and Jake, letting their guard down—even around each other—may be dangerous. Now, as they close in on a kidnapper with nothing to lose, their first mistake could shatter a young girl’s last chance…

“I-got-your-back” secret service story, Dangerous Games, is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. My anxiety level skyrocketed every whip stitch. The “bad guys” who have power, money, and connections in high places that the “good guys” have to outsmart is mind boggling.

Maggie Kincaid, ex-FBI and overloaded with emotional baggage, is coaxed back to the FBI to negotiate for the release of fourteen-year-old Kayla, Senator Thebes’ daughter. IF you happen to be a woman who has succeeded in a male-dominated profession, you can empathize with Maggie. Many of the male agents that are not as good at their jobs as she is at hers make her life miserable—adding to her load of grief, anger, and guilt that she has lived with for years.

Jake O’Connor, former Army Ranger, now best at his job of handling sensitive D. C. political issues, becomes part of the mass of people at Senator Thebes” house. He is to see to the senator’s interest. His self concept is in good shape, even though, he too has nightmarish past events in his career that haunt him. He is not threatened by Maggie’s abilities. He can see her expertise in negotiating and gravitates to her. What a team they make!

Tess Diamond does a superb job of outing the “bad guys” one by one. Cold chills made me shudder as she brought their values to light. The kidnapper really surprised me. How Ms. Diamond makes it all so believable is a masterful bit of writing. Even better is the way she reveals Maggie’s dedication and determination to save Kayla, even when the odds are sky high against her.

There are characters one loves to love and many others one loves to hate. Oh, yes, even a sex scene gets worked in amid all the chaos. A gripping story!