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.

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!

Mating Heat by Jenika Snow


Mating Heat by Jenika Snow
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (46 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Menage, Spanking, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Every shifter female goes through their mating heat, a time when they are most fertile, irresistible to the opposite sex, and unable to control their desires. It is a twenty-four hour period of intense need, and uncontrollable sexual appetites.

And I was that wolf-shifting female that just came into her mating heat.

But the two males I wanted to help ease me from this arousal-induced delirium, had never given me a second glance. Chase and Xavier, bear shifters, and leaders of our community’s security detail, are powerful and influential, and the ones I want…servicing me.

When they offer to help me out in the way I desperately need, I don’t know if it’s because I’m irresistible during this time, or because they want me for the female I am…the one that’s been in love with them since before I knew what the emotion was.

When Ophelia wakes up in her mating heat, she knows she’s in for a very rough twenty-four hours. Although having non-stop, unprotected sex with any male shifter would satisfy the lust overwhelming her, Ophelia only wants two men – Xavier and Chase. While Xavier, Chase and Ophelia had known each other for years, Ophelia is a wolf and both Xavier and Chase were were-bears. Can the three of them make it through Ophelia’s mating heat with their friendship – and maybe a new relationship – intact?

This is a super short but very sexy read. Although the two men are bear-shifters and Ophelia a werewolf, they all live together in a multi-shifter community that’s quite open and accepting. Obviously, the main thrust of the plot surrounds Ophelia going through her first mating heat – a twenty four hour period where she’s completely irresistible to all shifter men and where her heat can only be eased by the seed of her lover(s). Although I didn’t personally find the plot-device of her heat itself very sexy (it felt a little too close to metaphysically forcing the sex into the plot and onto practically any shifter male) the characters of Ophelia, Chase and Xavier were interesting and well written, and as they became intimate their chemistry and connection helped make the situation feel a lot sexier to me.

Some of the conversation felt a little stilted to me, I think because of the shifter-style of speech. Like how the guys sometimes called Ophelia “female” (for example: “Come here, female”), this didn’t feel or read as sexy to me. While I can understand the different pattern of speech could very well just be their style when in lust – it felt a little dispassionate to me; as if it didn’t matter that it was Ophelia herself the boys were having sex with, but any “female” in heat would have been just as good. It also read a little weird to me just how much Xavier and Chase did together at the same time, in multiple places they’d speak in unison, or do the exact same thing simultaneously. It made me feel a little like they were the one person in two bodies and that there was a special link or bond between them (and if this was so – why wasn’t this story written as a M/M instead?). While none of these issues individually detracted from the story, all rolled together it meant that there were a number of times while I read that I had to pause, either to remind myself that the different speech could be seen as shifter-ish or just take a breath to get back into the story. These things made the read a bit jolting to my experience and I usually prefer simply inhaling a wonderful shifter story, not being taken out of the moment by small twinges like this.

I really enjoyed the ménage relationship that built between Ophelia, Xavier and Chase. After “the talk” and they were all on the same page the love and lust binding the three of them together was lovely to read about and it was a pleasure to see their relationship bloom and grow. A steamy double penetration sex scene just rounded the story out wonderfully.

A hot and sexy ménage story that was good fun to read.

Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby


Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (172 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Befriending Traci Calloway Cole is the best thing Simone Phillips has ever done. Traci is the kind of woman Simone wants to be-in every way possible. She begins copying her role model. Not because she wants to be Traci. She just wants to be exactly like Traci.

Traci doesn’t worry, though. She knows Simone doesn’t mean any harm and that her mimicry is only sincere admiration. Until she discovers how far Simone’s obsession has gone. It is then that Simone’s entire world begins unraveling, and dreadful secrets from her past are exposed with no warning. Secrets that she’ll do almost anything to protect.

Would you find it flattering if someone mimicked your style, taste and behavior? Once Simone Phillips met her role model, author Traci Calloway Cole, Simone has been doing all she can to be just like Traci.

This isn’t Traci’s first time having a woman to copy her style. Which is what left me puzzled as to why Traci was being so naive to Simone’s behavior. Traci has been through this, and even wrote a book about a lady being a copycat and still didn’t have a clue or insight to see what Simone was doing. Her husband warned her and even her sister who met Simone only once but she was able to see Simone’s fascination with Traci was questionable.

This is a quick read that for a short read had some parts that were too detailed in things that didn’t necessarily contribute to the plot. The dialogue was slow but the plot made it interesting. I was curious how long Simone was going to let this behavior continue before it all crumbled. I love reading about couples and their happiness but the relationship between Traci and her husband Timothy just seemed unrealistic and too perfect.

The author delivered an interesting plot without the use of profanity or erotic behavior. References to church, scriptural quotes are mentioned but weren’t overly preachy. Whether low self esteem and lack of self love or maybe Simone had mental issues… I am not sure which but the subject of losing oneself and thinking if they look like or act like someone else that this would bring about happiness is real. In her past, Simone filed for bankruptcy and lately was been responsible with her credit but then with her obsession with Traci she lost her self identity, her morals and ended up with unnecessary material possessions and building up debt that would take years to get out of. She did all this while losing herself and her fiance.

I enjoyed the pre-marriage counseling session between Simone and her fiancé, Chris. I questioned why Chris was even interested in Simone. Simone has a past that she isn’t proud of. Simone’s past gave some interest to the story because I definitely was wondering what she was ashamed of. Simone has some deep rooted issues and her story and her point of view was sad, but it’s even more sad that she didn’t realize how deep and bizarre her behavior was as she was so rapidly transforming herself into Traci.

Both bizarre and humorous, I’d recommend this story to readers who like stories a little outside the norm.

Tilly Loves Johnny by Marion L. Cornett


Tilly Loves Johnny by Marion L. Cornett
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (217 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Newlywed Tilly Miner turns a deaf ear to rumors and gossip her husband, Johnny, is running parties where “complimentary” hooch loosens lips as well as pocketbooks for those looking to gamble. Some nights he crawls into their bed, smelling of sour rye mash; others, not even making it home until early morning. But her loyalty remains unwavering.

And then, the unspeakable happens. A few days before Christmas, Tilly discovers a bloody atrocity dumped on their kitchen table. A warning from the Ku Klux Klan? Johnny laughs it off as a joke. But, when he goes missing one cold night in February, 1929, Tilly is convinced someone or something prevents his return.

Her undying faith in Johnny is tested by righteous attitudes from her best friend’s mother and a too cruel mother-in-law, while a recalcitrant sheriff is convinced the man merely ran off.

Tilly Miner’s love and dedication for her husband Johnny kept my attention. The plot is interesting but seemed to be delivered in away that truly didn’t give it full justice. The book opens at the beginning of a card game, then follows with Tilly’s story of Johnny’s long nights of not coming home. Rumor has it Johnny is into various unlawful acts and when he goes missing. Tilly is the only one that believes in his return.

Tilly’s life is depressing and sad. I wanted something good to happen for her but it never did. She had this dark cloud over her through out the entire book. Though Tilly’s life was sad I was drawn in to continue reading. Tilly didn’t have an exciting life nor many thrills. It seemed the only joy Tilly had was her friend Rita Mae and their shared enjoyment in going to the movies. I felt that Tilly was cheated. She didn’t have a husband who truly loved her like she loved him. Johnny didn’t spend time with her, nor did he really show Tilly that she was a priority. Tilly lived in her family home on the second floor while her father lived on the third floor. Tilly’s mother has been deceased for years. Tilly and her father didn’t have a close relationship. Her father seemed more concerned with Johnny’s behavior and repetition than he did in how unhappy his daughter was.

I thought maybe when Tilly got pregnant that that would bring about some happiness to Tilly’s life. This only made me feel sorry for her daughter, Tiz because she was basically motherless. This book is an example of someone focusing on the bad and not on the good in life. Tilly enjoyed reading the town paper and making accessories but eventually she lost interest in these things.

I did like the small town interaction. The various characters that helped give the story realness. I liked the relationship that Thad Andrews, the milkman, had with Tilly. It seemed that was the highlight of Tilly’s day when Thad and Brown Molly, Thad’s horse, brought milk.

Even after finishing this book, I am still trying to figure out how I feel about it. While reading, there is the question is Johnny really dead or did he just leave town to avoid those that were looking for him. The ending was unpredictable for me. I give the author high praise for a creative ending. I was glad that the story gave a full ending in disclosing what really happened to Johnny and how other characters fared.

Spell Caster by Leah Hamrick


Spell Caster by Leah Hamrick
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (165 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Three paranormal short stories. One sweet, one dark, one fun. Which one will be your favorite?

Love Caster: There is nothing greater than pure, sweet love, and that’s something Anna Bowden knows all about. While trying to get the courage to kiss her boyfriend Killian, she has to deal with her overbearing dad, who will stop at nothing to tear them apart.

In the Darkness: After Anna Bowden witnesses someone—or something—lurking in her backyard, it starts a chain of frightening events that leads to a gruesome discovery.

First Holiday: Featuring the characters from Frost On My Pillow—be prepared for a sweet, fun, wild ride. While Ethan gives Lyla—who has never celebrated Christmas before— the task of finding out the true meaning of the holiday, he surreptitiously tries to tell her how he really feels, but before that can occur, a lot of decorating and snowball fights has to happen!

Three stories can be better than one!

Spell Caster is a collection of three paranormal short stories. The first two stories focus on Anna and Killian and the special powers they possess. The two stories are interesting in that they look at the world from the eyes of youth with special powers. Anna has the genealogy of witchcraft which is shunned by her parents, so she must hide her own powers from all of those around her. Strange things and strange interactions do occur and there is often little that she can do about it.

The third story involves paranormal aspects, but is much heavier on the beliefs and customs of those who walk the world without special powers. This story has two completely different characters who are at two completely different points in their lives than Anna and Killian. Though this story is very engaging it felt very out of place after reading the first two stories.

I did enjoy the characters from the first two stories, I feel that the two stories taken as one longer-continuous story would have the greatest benefit. Although the third story was enjoyable, I feel that I was left out in the cold. The character development from the first two stories greatly surpassed the character development in the third story. The backstory and history of the characters and the involvement of the supportive characters in the first two stories led to a more dynamic and involving tone. The title of the book is even slipped into the first story and is played on in the second story. Unfortunately, with the exception of a couple of minor instances in the third story, it seems almost completely separate.

Some of the dialog felt forced and did not flow smoothly. Some of the storyline in all three stories felt rushed and I feel that much detail had been left out, which in turn hurt the overall flow of the stories. I feel that one longer more involved and continuous story would have benefitted the overall theme and focus that the author is working to convey. I do appreciate and support the direction that the author has positioned the book as a whole, but I feel that a stronger and more involved story line would have done these characters more justice.

If you are in the mood for three fun stories that will challenge how you look at the world around you, I recommend picking up a copy of Spell Caster!

And the Day Came by Phyllis H Moore


And the Day Came by Phyllis H Moore
Publisher: Del Corazon LLC
Genre: Historical, Holiday
Length: Full Length (219 pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Hints of a secret about her father surface when Doris Marie Linney’s mother dies when Doris is twelve. The only girl in a family of five boys, Doris has always longed for a sister. From an early age she has been comforted by her mother’s brothers, the Johnsons, and their extended family. Gatherings at the Lamar bay house always included Doris. She had her cousins, Ida Ross and Bernice to keep her company. However, she was aware of her Danish Johnson heritage and knew nothing of the Linneys.

Doris’s search for her parents’ identities delivers a family saga beginning in the 1700’s, but always leading back to the same breezy slope facing the Aransas Bay. Uncle Jamie’s bay house, set among the bent oaks on the Lamar Peninsula is where she can watch approaching storms and say goodbye to her brothers. It’s also where she can eavesdrop and discover the worries of her uncles.

In this work of historical fiction, Doris reveals the circumstances of the death of her father as told by the sons who witnessed it, but for some reason her uncles seemed to believe he deserved his dramatic demise.

“When they would consent to tell us the story, we’d sit in silence, staring around at each other as if it was a sacred time. I guess it was. It was the death of our father, witnessed by his sons. In a way, they wrote on our memories with their words. We watched their faces when they retold the story and knew they showed our father’s death a reverence because they had been there to witness it and lived to tell it. Doris wished her uncles could show her father the same respect. She wanted him to be the man Ernest and Harry revered.”

Will Doris’s search for the truth about her father confirm her ideals, or will the revelation of a secret lead to more mysteries? Meet the characters driving this saga, Doris Marie Linney, Uncle Bernard and Jamie, Anna Mae, and her lovable brother, Teddy. And what about the Farleys? Who are they and why the mystery with the uncles? The people define the story and they have always been capable of changing their futures.

This is the story of Doris Marie Linnley and her family. It begins just after Heart, mother of Doris and her many brothers, dies while giving birth to the next final addition to the family, a half sibling to the others who goes to heaven with his mother. Doris is then sent away to school and the book carries on through her teenage and adult years.

Unfortunately it moves from past to present with hints at the future then back to the past. Many of the scenes were out of phase with the previous chapters and to be told something would happen in the future made me want to skip the rest of the book and find the future bit. As I was going to review this book I did not do this, but persevered and found the individual scenes were good, although I did find it difficult when the point of view head hopped from Doris to her children. It wasn’t until I got to the end I realised what the main theme was, but this had slipped past me with all the other things going on.

The story could be great but I was left wondering what happened to several members of the family and who were some of the others. They had nicknames, but it wasn’t evident what name belonged to who.

This could be an extremely good book if it moved through the years instead of going from one decade to another.

The scenery and description was extremely well done, especially the parade of nuns. Parts were very enjoyable and the theme was good.