My Daring Duchess by Julie Johnstone


My Daring Duchess by Julie Johnstone
Publisher: DBA Darbyshire Publishing LLC
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (190 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When a lady bent on ruining rogues and a duke set on revenge attempt to derail each other’s plans, passion erupts into a love for the ages.

After being left brokenhearted by a duplicitous rake, Anne Adair no longer desires a husband—she wants justice. She’s traded in her foolish dream of happily-ever-after for the much more sensible one of thwarting the blackhearted lords who prey on innocent debutantes. But her first mission proves rather complicated when the dashing, devilish Duke of Kilmartin comes to the aid of her target.

Simon Sedgewick, the newly titled Duke of Kilmartin, never thought he would return to England, let alone attend a ball full of simpering lords. But when his oldest friend’s reputation is being smeared and Simon discovers that the perpetrator is none other than his enemy’s granddaughter, his long-festering desire for vengeance flares to life.

The moment Simon spies Miss Anne Adair across the glittering ballroom, he knows that the ravishing beauty is the perfect instrument for the retribution he thought lost to him. He does not know, however, that Anne has devised a scheme of her own. And soon, these two wary hearts will discover that the best laid plans are no match for love.

This is a lovely regency book with a daring heroine and a revengeful hero. Anne sets out to get revenge or reform a rogue who has ruined her friend. As she plans her attack she meets Simon who also has a reputation as a rogue. The plan falls into place, but she begins to have doubts. Is all as it seems or has someone been lying to get their revenge?

This is one of the better books that steps outside the bounds of Regency propriety. Well written, although there are a few typos, but these are easily overlooked in the flow of the story. Anne’s quest brings the past into the Regency present which will hopefully solve a lot of bitter heartache.

Although this book didn’t grab me and make me sorry to put it down, it was still a very pleasant read with lots of intrigue and excitement.

Lera’s Sorrow – Darkliete, Book One by Gail Gernat


Lera’s Sorrow – Darkliete, Book One by Gail Gernat
Publisher: Andrea James Publishing
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (58 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Lera and her cousin have completed their long childhood and their training as healers. Sent to their grandparents back in Madean, they must negotiate the strange new world, attain their werwinstans. Fate intervenes in the shape of handsome young Ian, very human and very poisonous to the elven. Trying out her independence for the first time in her life, what will Lera decide? Where will she discover her loyalty to lay, with love or with duty?

Elves, I love elves! This is a story with a difference as Lera has come to her grandparents to be officially accepted as a healer. During the celebrations she bonds with.a human prince and this causes untold problems which is not helped by the lies of a pooka.

For such a short book, this story is full of emotion and intrigue, plus there’s an evil queen and a handsome prince. What more could a reader want when opening a fantasy book? Lera’s healing helps her through bad times but also puts her in danger which adds a bit of spice to the story.

Well written, easy to read and gives satisfaction. Recommended.

Last Resort by Amber Malloy


Last Resort by Amber Malloy
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (173 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

African American socialite and bestselling crime writer Cayden Young returns to her high school stomping grounds to solve a cold case. Unfortunately, her hot business partner is in her way. In love since high school, they couldn’t work out their rich-girl, poor-boy differences. While she attempts to put the past to rest, she ends up unearthing a more than a decade-old secret that could get her killed.

Former Marine Levi Scott is ready to take over his family’s resort fulltime. The only problem is he needs to buy out his partner, who he happens to be in love with. Always on unsure footing with the wealthy beauty, he is determined to get her out of his life for once and all, and decides the best way to do so is offering to help her solve a thirteen-year-old cold case. Soon, they figure out the murderer may still reside in their posh resort town … and Cayden could be next on their list.

Intriguing mystery, amazing chemistry and awesome characters make this story a pleasure to read.

I like Cayden. Yes, she’s a rich girl, but she’s not snobby or annoying about it. She’s a strong, confident woman, and I liked her take charge attitude throughout the story. Levi was interesting, too. Yes, this is the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks and the rich girl, but despite the old trope, the author makes it interesting. They have some awesome scenes together and I love their snappy dialogue. They’re both well rounded and real. And, boy oh boy, do they have sparks! Hot, hot, hot! Be prepared for some smoking hot fun between the sheets in this one! I really liked them together, so while there’s plenty of sex, it’s meaningful and helps to advance their relationship and not just there for titillation.

The mystery is well written, too, and kept me guessing. I do have to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of the time jumps in here and honestly, they are the only reason this didn’t get a 5 star rating. They would jerk me out of where I was in the story and each time, it took me awhile to get back into it.

No complaints about the author’s overall skill. This is a good book and I can easily recommend it, especially to fans of the genre.

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Fire on the Mountain by Clabe Polk


Fire on the Mountain by Clabe Polk
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (265 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

The Havens, a family with roots growing deep in the muck of Southern mountain bootlegging have progressed from selling illicit corn whiskey through marijuana farming to (in the current generation) methamphetamine production. A set of triplets; Jack, a meth producer and wife of Susan, Jason, another meth producer, who hooks Susan to infuriate Jack, and Jake, a local handyman who creates unholy alliances against Jack and Jason…and a father playing each against the other for his own profit, combine to light a fuse destined to blow the Haven family apart. Two murder investigations; one by Detective Mike Eiser, and one by a detective in a neighboring county, coupled with a DEA clandestine drug lab investigation combine to pressure the Havens. Susan’s in the middle. Is she a victim? Is she a survivor? Or is Susan the flame that ignites the powder keg to blow the Haven family apart?

Bootleggers changing with the times, running drugs and keeping it in the family.

I really enjoyed this mystery. I liked the storyline starting with the history of the Haven family all the way back as bootleggers mixed in with the modern day cops. I really liked the cop Mike Eisner, the lead character in this series of books. This is true Crime Fiction in some ways. There is a lot of dialog; all interesting and easy to follow.

I did some research because you would think from the dialog that the author had experience in police work. He did not but he sure writers with a comfortable dialog that makes you feel as if you are right in the car with your partner or in the office with your boss. He also writes a lot of light and fun dialog between couples; lightning up or giving an additional hue to the story. His characters are all well-developed and there are quite a few in the story to be able to define to we readers. I think it is his excellent way of handling dialog. It gives us the flavor of each person therefore defining them in our minds.

In his book it lists this as the last of the series. It also lists 5 titles in this series, “Detective Mike Eisner Series”. It can easily be read out of order but don’t if you don’t have to, I bet they are all as good as this one.

Once Upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford


Once Upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short length (96 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Wayward Wolves: Book One

Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs—or four—and quiet evenings…. Until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough—right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf—loving Gibson with all his secrets—has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.

Zach had left the city and his previous life behind him. What he hadn’t expected in the country was to be chased by a wolf into the lake. Gibson’s life pretty much consisted of taking care of his brother, Ellis, who had remained locked in his wolf-form for years. Gibson rescued Zach from the lake, but all three men’s lives were changed that fateful day. Can Zach accept Gibson and what his life entails?

I really enjoyed this story. I found it to be an emotional and (in a bizarre kind of way) romantic book. The attraction between Zach and Gibson was intense and almost instant, but I loved watching the two men circle around each other first before both giving in to the desire they each felt. Ellis broke my heart and personally I feel the author actually made Ellis the best character of all – tortured, painfully hurting and my heart just bled for him. Predominantly in wolf-form the author did a fantastic job to my mind in making Ellis both a sympathetic character and extremely interesting pretty much without Ellis himself saying a single word. I was desperate enough to learn if there was a sequel to this story – featuring Ellis’ story – that I actually looked it up online and checked out the author’s webpage (something that I almost never do…). This book is too new a release for there to be any word (that I could find, at least) on Ellis’ story – but I would purchase it in a heartbeat, which clearly indicates just how much I loved this story and just how invested I became in Ellis, Gibson and Zach.

Readers wanting a deeply emotional story with complicated, multi-layered characters should find this as enjoyable as I did. While the plot is fairly straight forward – the men being snowed in together and then a small-town mentality about “big dogs” being aggressive killers etc – it’s the characters and their own situations which really make this story shine. I personally liked the balance of plot and romance – character-driven stories with loads of chemistry and romance are just delightful. While a part of me felt like Gibson and Zach waited just a little too long to consummate their relationship the author did an excellent job of explaining why and the logic was very sound, I was just impatient for it by the time they finally indulged in some sex.

Hotly written and thoroughly romantic I absolutely loved this story. Complex and interesting characters kept me eagerly turning the pages and I sincerely hope there are more books coming down the line. This is a brilliant author and I fully plan to check out more of her books. Highly recommended.

The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins by Aletta Thorne


The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins by Aletta Thorne
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Historical
Length: Full Length (151 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Halloween, 1982. MTV is new, poodle perms are the rage, and life just might be getting better for Alma Kobel. Her ugly divorce is final at last. Her new job as chef at Bright Day School’s gorgeous old estate is actually fun. But the place is haunted—and so is Alma’s apartment.

Bartholomew Addison Jenkins’ ghost has been invisibly watching Alma for months. When he materializes one night, Alma discovers Bart—as he likes to be called—has talents she couldn’t have imagined … and a horrifying past. Can you have a one-nighter with a ghost? And what happens if you decide one night is all you want—and end up ghosting him? Some spirits don’t like taking “no” for an answer.

First impressions definitely aren’t always accurate.

What a hilarious main character Alma was! She could find a funny spin to anything that happened to her, from surprise health inspections at work to her strange and complicated interactions with her ex-husband. Some of the things that happened to her would have seriously annoyed or even frightened a lot of people. I loved the fact that she was able to quickly shake so many of those memories off with her fabulous sense of humor.

The only criticism I have of this story has to do with how quickly the romantic relationship in it heated up. Both of the people involve in it were so cautious and meticulous in other areas of their lives that I never would have expected them to move as fast as they did. Yes, I definitely wanted to see them end up together, but it felt a little odd to me because it didn’t feel consistent with everything else I’d learned about them. With that being said, this is a minor complaint about something I enjoyed quite a lot.

The world building was really well done. I especially enjoyed figuring out what ghosts were and weren’t capable of in this universe. Since nobody was given any instructions after they died, Bartholomew had to learn what he could do and what the consequences of those actions would be on his own. Him slowly discovering his abilities and limitations as the plot moved forward made it difficult for me to stop reading. I always wanted to know more about what the afterlife was like for him.

The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins was as spooky as it was sexy. It should be read by fans of erotica and ghost stories alike.

City of Endless Night by Emma Holly


City of Endless Night by Emma Holly
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (184 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Masturbation, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When your boyfriend is a real live angel other men can’t compete. Amateur magician Georgie swears this is true . . . until she and Connor leave everything they know to save the genie world. That’s where she discovers angels don’t have a monopoly on sex appeal. Sultan Iksander would rather lose his smoke than fall for Georgie, no matter how smart and brave she is. The human race are rivals to genie kind—and angels are just traitors! Rescuing his people is what’s important, not getting tangled up in love triangles. Only Connor believes in their chances for happiness. This angel knows love is worth fighting for, whatever form it takes.

Fans of erotic romance and of Emma Holly are in for a royal treat. This novel follows the adventures of His Majesty, Iksander, Sultan of the Djinn, Georgie and Connor. My wait is over. This is the story that ties up almost all of the threads created in the first book in the Tales of the Djinn series and I enjoyed every exciting moment.

There is so much to choose from that I’m not sure what to talk about first. There’s the stolen magic, the realization that something big and dangerous is threatening Luna’s people and it has Georgie in its sights, there is are explorations with gruesome discoveries and more than one courageous escape attempt that kept me on the edge of my seat. When Ms. Holly focuses on creating an environment of suspense, and drama with nail-biting heart thumping action, it’s practically impossible to put down.

When the two heroes and heroine finally come to the realization that they have sexual feelings for each other, and get past the tentative exploration that seduces them with all the possibilities of a ménage à trois, Ms. Holly lets her imagination fly. I like how Iksander, Connor and Georgie took turns being unsure, cautious yet excited to explore how each of them tastes, feels and what each of them enjoys. I liked seeing their reactions while experimenting with things they had never done before. No holds barred. Erotic romance readers will find what they look for within the pages of City of Endless Night.

A heads up about Connor’s role for readers who might not be comfortable with angels having carnal relations, Connor’s not shy. Ms. Holly mixed things up with classic beliefs and there were quite a few times I cringed but mostly I kind of forgot what Connor was because the story, action and plot twists were incredible page turners. By keeping in mind this is fiction and utilizing willing suspension of disbelief, I enjoyed a really awesome read. The imaginative idea of split energies, both good and evil, and how light defeats dark, is incredibly appealing.

The last ditch effort to escape and return home was quite the thrill ride. The author painted the scene in vivid detail – the tunnel with the scales was a cool concept. What they discover inside was a colossal surprise and pretty weird. But, hey, this is the world of the Djinn – anything is possible.

When I said earlier that almost all the threads are tied up, that’s because there is the matter of Phillip. He’s still out there, somewhere and I hope he’s okay. Only Ms. Holly knows for sure and I look forward to finding out that the reason he can’t be found because he’s in the middle of his own HEA. One can only hope.

City of Endless Night is simply amazing. The HEA and wrap up was everything I could wish. All my favorite people were gathered together to celebrate and it made me feel good that Cade, Arcadius and Elyse are still living their happy ever after too. I guess a reader could read this book out of sequence but understanding how everyone came to be split in the first place would be much clearer if they started with The Guardian.Tales of the Djinn is a great series and if erotic readers haven’t discovered it yet, they’re missing out.

Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells


Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (97 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A friends-to-lovers novella that came from Out of the Shadows, because Nate and Dylan needed a story….

Nate and Dylan have been pals for a long time. So what if their friends think they’ve got a little bromance going? Doesn’t mean there’s anything more to it than that, right? And even if there is, Nate and Dylan are totally oblivious….

Until the night they share a drunken kiss—and everything changes.

Dylan and Nate have been friends for years and have quite the bromance going on. Two of their friends have started dating and one night both Dylan and Nate admit to each other they’re curious what the two men see in each other. A little bit of experimentation blows both Dylan and Nate’s minds and now they can’t think of anything except each other.

I found this to be a deliciously hot but still sweet friends-to-lovers style of story. I found both guys’ character to be pretty realistic and Dylan’s confusion in the beginning of their changing relationship struck me as particularly understandable. I should point out I hadn’t read the previous story (where Dylan and Nate’s friends Josh and Christian become an item) and while it was clear to me there was a previous story to this I had no problems catching up or knowing what was going on. Christian and Josh are an important part of this book but the focus is fully and completely on Dylan and Nate and the shift in their relationship.

Readers looking for an intricate plot or some heavy conflict might not get what they want in this story – but I personally loved how light and happy the book was. Dylan and Nate were both excellent friends, and there are some strong secondary characters with their other supportive friendship group there to give counsel and refuge when needed. I enjoyed watching Dylan and Nate both try to work their way carefully from friends to lovers without losing anything from their relationship and trying to both meet each other’s expectations and needs. I enjoyed the pacing – finding it smooth and sensible. All up this was just a lovely, happy and interesting read that left me feeling good, satisfied and pleased.

A strongly written, character based book that is happy and left me with a whole bunch of warm and fuzzy feelings. This would be a good story to start readers not used to M/M romances or to more traditional romance readers who don’t want much kink or envelope pushing in their stories. A hot and sexy read but with loads of romance and emotional connection I thought this was a delight to read.

Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day


Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day
Publisher: Kensington Publishers
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full length (292 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana—until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . .

As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans ‘N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes—and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur’s knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?

“I’m so hungry I could eat the north end of a south-bound mule.”

What a fun book full of colloquialisms like the one above. I can guarantee they are straight from Indiana because I grew up there myself. This was not taxing, just a truly enjoyable cozy. This series is set in Indiana, a great part of it in beautiful Brown County. A gorgeous place known for its charm, beautiful hills, Fall color, and artists on every corner. The tourism is very high and this makes the setting of a chef and restaurant owner fit into the story perfectly. Being familiar with Indiana does make this series fun to read but I think it would be enjoyable whether it was set on Cape Cod or in South Carolina. It’s just a really nice read.

Part of my reason for sounding so pleased with the book is that it is really well-written. It has a good plot; one that keeps you guessing. But it is her characters that make the book. Each one is not only well developed but is also an important part of the story. With all of their intertwining daily activity she creates a community we can see and one many of us can identify with.

This is Book #4 is this series called “Country Store Mystery” and Maddie has number 5 coming out at the end of July in 2018. While Book #4 could easily be read out of order, what I’d do is start on Book 1 now and get them all read up before Book 5 is out.

The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries


The Pleasures of Passion: The Sinful Suitors Series by Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (387 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with….But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

True love can withstand exile by choice, heartache born of misunderstandings, deception from necessity and a daring scheme meant draw out the bad guys as it draws two hearts back together forever.

Sound epic enough? This is classic Sabrina Jeffries and why this author draws me back time and again. Having said that, I’ve missed this delightful new series, The Sinful Suitors. With one book, she has me hooked and searching out the beginnings and anxiously waiting for the next installment.

Bree and Niall might be considered star crossed in the beginning but in truth, they wouldn’t have been ready to start a life together even had circumstances been different. The ups and downs, regrets and moments of joy in Bree’s life taught her to guard her heart. I loved that Niall was persistent to remind her that theirs was a soul deep connection that could heal her heart.

One of the reasons that I love a good Regency romance is all the social conventions of the time period, the absurd rules and class warfare. I know not the normal reasons but a good romance author knows how to work through or, when necessary, work around those issues and give the hero and his lady an opportunity to earn the love of lifetime. Ms. Jeffries does that very thing with Bree and Niall’s story.

Bree has learned that if she’s going to have a life for herself and her son, she’ll have to take control of their destiny and not depend of hapless, faithless men who constantly fail to see a woman’s strengths beyond her looks. She’s sometimes a little too stubborn but I was happy to see that Niall was patient and perceptive. He didn’t just tell her he thought she was smart and capable he demonstrated that he believed it, too. Smart man.

Readers who loved The School For Heiresses, The Duke’s Men, The Hellions of Hallstead Hall and all of Sabrina Jeffries other fantastic series will be thrilled to drawn into a new “family”. That’s one of the hallmarks of her series books. She creates families that aren’t always blood related but they have even deeper connections that matter and last long after the final page.

This is another fine example of the cleverness that is Sabrina Jeffries. Perfect read for any time of the year.