Between Venus and Mars by S.C. Mitchell


Between Venus and Mars by S.C. Mitchell
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: Short Story (141 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Once Upon a Galaxy . . .

Zana Starchild is on a mission to restore her tribe’s livestock and save herself from one more meal of kelp. Sure, it’s technically illegal to visit Old Earth, but to a rim rat like Zana, galactic laws are really just guidelines. Her wrecked starship just means she’ll need to use her backup plan to get off the abandoned world, an old Earth legend her uncle passed down to her.

Pulled from a relaxing shower, across the galaxy to Old Earth, Galactic Marshall Kyle Kepler finds himself naked and marooned with a quirky rim rat. Zana’s broken more laws than Kyle can count, and he plans to arrest her, just as soon as he can find transport off the planet and a pair of pants.

A junk heap of a starship, a magical tree, and a roving gang of mutant kangaroos are just the beginning of rollicking intergalactic journey filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

This is the kind of Science Fiction I adore!

I’m not a huge hardcore Sci-Fi fan…sometimes the explanations of how things work can get a bit dry, but this story doesn’t bore the reader in any way. More Space Opera than sci-fi, it’s a fun romp through the galaxy. From the moment Kyle is dropped in front of Zana, butt naked and confused, the laughs never stop.

This is my first Soul Mate Tree book and I enjoyed the magic behind the tree bringing together pairs of people who belonged together. Of course, in this book, Kyle isn’t so sure about the whole “belong together” part, at least not at first. After all, Zana is breaking laws, and he’s supposed to be enforcing them.

Zana is a smart-mouthed woman full of sass and determination. I liked her, though I could have used just a tad bit less cussing. It does get a little old after awhile. Kyle was smart, sexy and upright and it was fun to read about how he was able to justify things with Zana after some time.

I did feel a little like a missed some things because I hadn’t read the first books in the series, but not enough to stifle my enjoyment or confuse me in any way. Just enough to know that it would likely have been a richer read for me if I’d been involved in the series from the start.

The author’s writing style is fluid and enjoyable. I really enjoyed his voice and humor. I do love a book I smile through the entire way. Like romance, laughs and a little space opera? I can’t recommend another book more highly than this one to fit the bill.

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Betting on Cinderella by Petie McCarty


Betting on Cinderella by Petie McCarty
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (434 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather’s casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire’s shoes as the “Prince of Vegas.” His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.

Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.

A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.

Filled with interesting, colorful characters this most recent take on Cinderella certainly entertains.

Andi is a fun character, caring and loyal. Garrett is a picture perfect hero, except for that pesky detail he forgets to tell Andi as they become embroiled in a relationship. Flora, as the “fairy godmother” in this tale is just a hoot. And we have an evil stepmother and step-sister to seal the deal.

While not a suspense novel, this story does have some of the elements: an embezzler, crime, mystery…but it’s handled with a light touch and the emphasis is on the romance. The relationship is sweet (Andi has a few hang-ups about sex, so the couple keeps it pretty chaste outside of a few steamy kisses) and I admit to thinking Garrett was a little too good to be true. Perhaps the author painted him thus so it was even harder for Andi to accept his secret later on? I won’t say that the “surprises” surprised me much (well, maybe one), but they weren’t the point of the book.

At its heart, this is a romance. It covers all the right things to fit tidily into the romance genre and fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy the book. It’s not earth-shatteringly unique or a book I’ll likely remember years from now, but it was one that made me smile and kept me reading until the very end and, ultimately, isn’t that what romances are all about?

Can’t Stop the Music by C.D. Hersh


Can’t Stop the Music by C.D. Hersh
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (154 Pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Review by Rose

Jammed highways, food shortages, and rainstorms can’t stop the music when hippies Rose and Dakota hear the melody of love at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. Or can it? When a jealous wannabe girlfriend and misunderstandings drive them apart, the couple loses track of one another in the massive crowd. Will they find each other again, or live lives of missed opportunities?

This is a sweet second chance love story featuring two people, Rose and Dakota, as they meet too briefly at Woodstock. They each feel a connection, but circumstances prevented them from acting on that connection.

Fast forward several years and fate has once again stepped in to throw Rosemary and Anthony together. They each realize the connection is still there, but there are now other circumstances that try to get in the way.

The first part of the book features their time at Woodstock and the author does a wonderful job making you feel as if you were there. I could almost feel the rain and the mud, smell the pot, and hear the music. It was indeed a once in a lifetime experience.

All of the characters, even the secondary ones, were very well drawn. The author did a great job at showing both side of the “free love” issue from the sixties.

This was a quick and enjoyable read–I was surprised when I got to the end of it. I literally could not put it down once I started reading it. Kudos to the author.

Fire Born by Rayanne Haines


Fire Born by Rayanne Haines
Book 1 The Guardian Series
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (256 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Independent, tough as nails, and fierce to her core, Alex Taleisin can’t quite believe it when she has to fight for her life against something not-quite-human in the YMCA parking lot.

That’s when her aunt lets her in on the family secret. They’re immortal—Elementals to be precise, and Alex is the long-lost daughter of the strongest female warrior of their time.

Her guardian (a freaking Dragon!) and the sexiest man Alex has ever seen gives her a choice. Go with him, learn how to control her fire, and find her father’s people, or try to survive on her own. It’s an easy choice considering she’s only twenty-six. And the Elders may already be on her trail thanks to the fight with the nut job in the parking lot kick-starting her dormant DNA.

Enter an insane grandfather, a shifter with a hidden agenda, and a witch with a shoe addiction, and suddenly loner Alex is wishing for a quiet house in the hills with the dragon she’s falling for.

But a fight is coming and Alex knows the only way to find her answers is to trust her powers and become the warrior she was destined to be.

Despite being set in the present, this story also refers to the history of the guardians. Alex comes into her powers which include fire. Collum, her dragon guardian, must keep her safe until she is a full elemental, able to control her magical urges and make them obey her wishes.

This is a wonderful story of dragons, magic, and the solving of an ancient mystery which has bearing of Alex’s past, in particular who her parents were. Life for Alex is mixed up and becomes more so when the weird Elders of the Elementals interfere.

I loved the way this travelled all over the world, but would point out that the author should research her venues. The island off the south coast of England is called Isle of Wight (pronounced white, but not spelled that way). This error took me out of the flow of the story and it took a while to get back into it again as I kept looking for other mistakes.

I really enjoyed reading this book as it had a bit of everything fantasy and in the main was well written. Definitely worth 4.5 stars.

Reborn by Jane Ederlyn


Reborn by Jane Ederlyn
Princess of the Blood #1
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full length (354 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Marie Josette d’Orgemont, cousin to Louis XVI, watched in horror as a rogue creature took her husband’s life before turning on her. A powerful vampire swept in and spared her life, but she never suspected surviving meant immortality or the price she’d have to pay to protect her surviving son.

Centuries later, in Miami, with her family on the verge of extinction, Marie is preoccupied with the continuation of her human bloodline. When she meets sexy and persistent Odin Ulfsson, his icy-blue gaze and burning touch are hard to resist. Will a forbidden romance with the Nordic werewolf be the key to her happiness, or will it set in motion a wrath that endangers not only her last human heir but her entire existence?

Abby is the only family Marie has left.

Immortality has never been a blessing to Marie. The only thing that makes life as a vampire worth it is the ability to watch over her human descendants. Unfortunately, Abby is the only human relative she has left, and Marie is determined to protect her at any cost. Marie and Abby’s life has never been simple, but they have a routine that works for them. Nothing could have prepared them for Odin.

Marie and Odin have an intense relationship right from the start. Their attraction is instant, which puzzled me a bit since the circumstance under which they met was quite dangerous, and yet both were more focused on their sexual attraction to each other rather than the danger they were in. That being said, they have sizzling chemistry. Odin comes on a little strong for my taste at times, but it is clear he has a good heart and he never crosses any forbidden lines. Marie and Odin are both strong personalities, and they certainly have the potential to be a formidable couple.

Abby is probably my favorite character in this romance. She strikes me as a young, intelligent, down-to-earth woman. She’s very relatable, and I enjoyed watching her trying to find her way in a world full of supernatural beings. I never warmed to her relationship with John. I found him annoying and insecure. I’d really love to see Abby and Egon, a werewolf, explore the spark of attraction between them. A relationship between a human and a werewolf would be complicated enough, but by the end of the story, it is revealed that Abby is about to experience life altering changes. I sincerely hope that Abby and Egon don’t walk away from the possibility of a wonderful relationship.

Reborn is a thoroughly enjoyable paranormal romance. The pacing is excellent, and I’ve grown to care about several of the characters. I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.

Better Together by Annalisa Carr


Better Together by Annalisa Carr
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (198 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Juggling the demands of her troublesome family and a fledgling career means struggling artist Tallulah Becks has no room for romance in her life . . . at least until she bumps into sizzling CEO Aiden Marlowe.

Pressured by his father to return to the family business, Aiden encounters the beguiling Tallulah on his first day back in London.

As his family’s personal and financial problems threaten to overwhelm him, Tallulah is the distraction he needs—if only he can change her mind about where love fits into her schedule.

This book is like being on a diet and eating a healthy turkey burger with a few fixings and less calories when instead you are craving a huge juicy cheeseburger with all the fixings with even more calories. When I’m really hungry I enjoy eating a turkey burger and later, when I step on the scale, I’m sure glad I ate that turkey burger. However, in the back of my mind, I’m always dreaming of that Five Guys burger with all the fixings. Yum.

I enjoyed the story Better Together and I’m glad I read it but I’m reminded of that turkey burger with few fixings. I could see other more delicious fixings, but couldn’t reach them.

The hero, Aiden, was solid. He had a good head on his shoulders, knew what he wanted and didn’t back down. He was handsome and wealthy and smart. The heroine, Tallulah, was true to herself. She marched to the beat of her own drum. They agreed they weren’t each other’s type. Yet, just like the title says, they were better together. I wished though, that Aiden wasn’t so critical of Tallulah’s eclectic ways. She did state several times not to call her a certain nickname but he kept doing it. I think the nickname eventually grew on Tallulah but it distracted me from bonding to them as a couple.

The plot was good. It wasn’t unique but it was enjoyable and it flowed at a medium consistent pace. I consider the plot to be the fixings and I think there could have been more ‘fixings’ added. The synopsis says the “family’s personal and financial problems threaten to overwhelm Aiden.” That plot thread could have been thicker with more suspense or intensity, instead it felt flat. I don’t want to spoil anything but I was anticipating “more”. I understand Better Together wasn’t written for the suspense genre but there was a strong build up to one, and then it fizzled.

The writing style was quite good. It didn’t take long for me to get captured into the story and each page held my interest. I was intrigued to see how Aiden and Tallulah’s relationship developed. I wished the heroine lived in a bit more private or “uninterrupted” environment because certain things happened that took away a little bit of the chemistry for me.

Side characters existed but they weren’t very well developed. They had a thin layer to them. For a book that has two hundred and ninety eight pages they could have been a little bit more established and threaded throughout the book. There were plenty of opportunities to implement more emotion and drama and the author didn’t take advantage of that.

The book had a nice conclusion with all the threads tied up with a single knot instead of a double knot. Aiden and Tallulah did have their happy ever after ending. I’m not left with any unanswered questions. I was entertained for a few hours. I would recommend this book for others to read. It was a fun, quick and easy read.

Exit Signs by Patrice Locke


Exit Signs by Patrice Locke
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (332 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Researcher Tracy Price is trying to find a dead writer and forget a live musician.

Rock star Jesse Elliot is sure Tracy is demented, and she believes he wouldn’t recognize the truth in a lineup of Bibles. Their only hope is to stop trying to read each other’s minds and start speaking their own.

Anyone who has ever had a crush, felt betrayed, or been forgiven will appreciate Tracy’s struggle to claim the life she never knew she wanted.

Tracy’s carefully choreographed life did not include a romance with a musician.

Tracy is content with her quiet life as a researcher. She isn’t looking for love, and certainly never would have pictured herself in a relationship with a celebrity, but somehow that’s exactly what happens. What starts as an awkward, professional relationship slowly develops into a life altering romance neither Tracy nor Jesse could have anticipated.

Tracy is a really fun character. She’s a smart, funny, good-looking woman with a successful career, although I must say her penchant for strange snack combinations alternately intrigued and repulsed my taste buds. Even though Tracy has a lot going for her, she doesn’t seem to think much of herself. All her romantic relationships have been disappointing and she doesn’t anticipate that changing. At most, she imagines she might end up with someone who is just okay. I find that rather sad. Tracy is completely unprepared for Jesse. He is unlike anyone she’s ever met, and I like the way he challenges her to set higher goals for herself.

I really wanted to like Tracy and Jesse as a couple, but they never really gelled. I truly like them both as characters, but only separately. They never seem comfortable around each other. None of Tracy’s friends think her relationship is a good idea, but Tracy keeps insisting it is the right thing for her, at least at the time. However, I don’t believe she actually feels that way. She’s always waiting for the moment to escape and she’s determined to misunderstand everything Jesse says. Jesse is prone to be self-absorbed. In fact, I had absolutely no inkling that he likes Tracy until he called her up months after they had finished working together on his project. The chemistry just wasn’t there for me.

I really enjoy Ms. Locke’s writing style. “I hate it when eyebrows take it upon themselves to enter conversations.” Tracy’s inner dialogue is hilarious and lines like this had be laughing out loud throughout the story.

Despite my issues with the characters’ chemistry, I did enjoy reading Exit Signs. Tracy and Jesse are likable characters who have a bumpy road to a strange but ultimately happy ending. Fans of contemporary romance might want to give this book a try.

Realm of the Dragon by Cici Cordelia


Realm of the Dragon by Cici Cordelia
The Soul Mate Tree
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (162 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

For sheltered Lily Kiers, it’s all too real. Her escape from danger, straight into the arms of her destiny.

Thrust into a realm made of fantasy and unbridled passion, Lily faces violent resentment and jealousy from extremely powerful enemies. Amidst fierce creatures whose very existence defy all common sense, Lily pieces together a past she could never have imagined.

Claimed by Kord, Prince of Battle Draconian, their love will not be denied, even as malevolent forces plot to rip them apart.

Chased by a psychopath, Lily runs as hard as she can through the park, trying to outrun her pursuer. Next thing she knew she has fallen as if from a great height, and landed on a dragon!

Kord has his life mate literally drop into his arms.  Unfortunately she’s human and doesn’t know anything about dragons who can change to human shape.

This story is fascinating. It has the action and adventure of dragons who have a peaceful nature until roused. Unfortunately, a female dragon has marked Kord as her own and Lily’s abrupt arrival upsets her plans. With the help of another male she plans to dispose of Lily, take Kord as her own, and kill Kord’s parents to enable him to become King of Battle Draconian.

The plots that interweave in this story make it very exciting and alluring. I read it in one go as I couldn’t put it down, partly due to the fact I love dragon stories. This was not a straightforward “dragons are strong beasts so Lily was bound to fall for Kord” it was about the life of dragons, how they lived and the social mores which kept the three dragon kingdoms apart but in tune with each other. This is very well written and a joy to read.

Highland Hope by Madelyn Hill


Highland Hope by Madelyn Hill
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (241 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

“Remember, lasses. Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule,” were the last words Lady Hope MacAlister’s father spoke before dying. Those very words direct her every action and thought. Sword fighting and leading the men of her clan was second nature to Hope and she has little time for herself or any thoughts of love. Until Aidan MacKerry is captured spying on the clan.

She is beautiful, strong, and quick to pull a sword. But when he kisses her, all thoughts of the lairdship Aidan MacKerry seeks flee his mind. When the enemy continues to undermine Hope, Aidan is determined to aid her—only he didn’t think he’d lose his heart to the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep. When the enemy reveals Aidan’s secret, he must fight for his right to be laird and prove, despite their differences, he loves Hope.

The enemy refuses to back down and continues to threaten not only Hope, but the security of the entire clan. Only together will they be able to save the clan and save their love.

Aye, ’twas a splendid book, you ken? The hero, Aidan MacKerry was a brawn of a man. I found Highland Hope to be quite irresistible. Hope MacAlister, the heroine, didn’t stand a chance. At least I couldn’t resist the chemistry that flowed between these two characters. Unfortunately, their relationship was plagued with trials and tribulations as a result of Hope’s lairdship responsibilities to her clan and Aidan’s determination to keep his pledge to his father, mixed with secrets, and a lurking enemy.

Madelyn Hill wrote a wonderful romance book. The plot was not like one I’ve ever read before which was pleasing to me. Thumbs up for originality. I was thoroughly intrigued to keep reading to find out how it was going to end for everyone involved. The pace was a steady rhythm without any hiccups.

I want to assure readers that the ending of Highland Hope was perfect. I really loved the message, or at least the message I got out of it which was to compromise. It was a brilliant solution to ensure that Hope and Aidan could save the clan and their love.

I would definitely recommend this book for a fun, interesting and spicy romance.

Heather in the Mist by Madelyn Hill


Heather in the Mist by Madelyn Hill
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Forced to wed to save her clan, Lady Rogan Cameron agrees to wed without love. What her father doesn’t know is Lady Rogan has plans of her own-plans to keep her from a loveless marriage. Can she save the clan before she has to say “I do?” Ian Albright abolished all ties to Scotland after his family betrayed him and he is now nursing a wounded ego due to an unfaithful fiancée. He pledges never to return to his home until the fateful day he accepts an invitation to his dear cousin’s wedding. The minute he sees his cousin’s betrothed, his heart is captured. If only she didn’t belong to another . . . Lady Rogan and Ian have known each other since they were young and bent on vexing each other. Now, the only thing they find vexing is the fact Rogan is betrothed to another. Together they fight their growing attraction while investigating the forces bedeviling the clan. Yet at every turn their foe appears and wreaks havoc. When tragedy strikes, their hopes are dashed again. Can Lady Rogan and Ian’s love win when fate seems determined to keep them apart?

Unexpectedly intriguing, Ms. Hill’s Heather in the Mist sweeps readers directly to 16th century Scotland. The old castle walls and a certain splash of brogue team with a delicate touch for scenery, to give a real sense of place.

Young Miss Rogan’s problem is all about duty, an important alliance…and meeting parental expectations. An arranged marriage is hardly an exceptional problem for the time, but the story takes unexpected turns and is simply not predictable. Explanations and backstory do slow the pace early on, but the action quickly takes over.

Rogan is both quick-witted and very capable; she rides astride like a man and oversees her family’s clan as if she’d been the eldest son, not daughter. She’s by no means the ‘marriage victim’ her plight might at first suggest. She’s such a determined character, readers find themselves rooting for her from the very first chapter.

Yet, almost at once, the challenge is less about her than about her people. She rises to the occasion…for it will mean struggle and sacrifice. Given the beginning, that an unexpected relationship develops is (no spoilers here) also a surprise! There is more than one interested party in the picture, but Rogan has her people to consider, too. The attraction between the two builds suspense throughout almost the entire tale. Fans of the historical romance will find this delightful.