Dragon Fever by Elsa Jade


Dragon Fever by Elsa Jade
Masters of the Flame: Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (123 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

He must find the heart of his dragon treasure.
She will be the treasure of his dragon heart.

The Nox Incendi dragons are dying. In a mysterious faux castle on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Rave Dorado has been struggling for centuries to find a cure for the creeping cold that is slowly turning his dragonkin to stone. Until his fiery gaze falls on a curvy, plucky female whose purity of spirit lights a flame in his icy soul…

Piper Ramirez knew a girls’ night out with her two best friends at the world’s most exclusive casino would be beyond belief…but she had no idea just how far. Inexplicably drawn to the dark and sexy Rave, she’ll roll the dice and take a chance giving him her body, though he is too much of an enigma to truly trust.

But the Nox Incendi shifters aren’t the only one with secrets in Sin City. Piper will have to open her eyes to a strange new world and Rave will have to open his heart if they want to survive the dragon fever.

Oooh, I just discovered a new tortured dragon shifter hero with a story full of challenges, a race against time and some surprising twists to snare a reader’s interest and keep it. I also liked the heroine who not only proved everyone wrong by making something of herself, but cared enough for those she calls friends to go the extra mile when she suspects they’re in trouble. In fact, both Rave and Piper are willing to sacrifice themselves to a greater good out of love and loyalty. But what if they have to sacrifice each other to accomplish it? That’s one of the enticing lures that had me flipping the pages at a furious pace.

The romance between Rave and Piper starts off slow because the Ms. Jade has to world build in such a way as to engage a reader not only with the main characters but with the supporting cast that may or may not play pivotal roles in future books. Once the stage is set, then the sizzling attraction explodes, the romance begins and the mystery teases until it reaches a dramatic and suspenseful summit.

Esme and Anjali are Piper’s friends and although they do play pivotal roles in the tale, I didn’t feel empathy or a connection to them. It was surface only with enough to make a reader understand why perhaps the heroine loved them and would go to the lengths she does to find out what’s going on and to help if she could.

I enjoyed the dialogue and the descriptions of Rave’s lair. It sounded really romantic! I even enjoyed meeting the hero’s cousin, Torch. I liked his attitude. I even appreciated the conflict because it pushed the hero and heroine into making difficult choices. I suspect those choices will have a ripple effect. I say that because even though the main conflict that tried to tear Piper and Rave from each other is defeated, the overall villainous streak is still out there – it’s well funded, determined and, I believe based on some dialogue, truly evil. But who will be next in the crosshairs?

Dragon Fever is a full-bodied romance filled with love and, the best part, sexy, hunky dragons. It’s been a long time since I’ve found a paranormal dragon story that presented characters I enjoyed getting to know in a world I liked visiting. This book has it all including a fun and satisfying happy ever after for Piper and Rave.

Beast by Elsa Jade


Beast by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest: Book 10
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (113 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The wolves of Angels Rest destroyed the cruel Kingdom Guard’s secret outpost, but not all the victims were saved. Yet…

Tortured and drugged by a clandestine human organization seeking to turn shifters into supersoldier slaves, bear shifter Cianán was rescued by the Mesa Diablo pack. But he was left twisted and broken, some part of him left behind in that too-small cage. Now a quiet forest, alone with his honeybees, is the most he hopes for.

Undeterred by the harsh realities of her upbringing, Trudy’s artistic soul demands she capture all the wonders of the world in her camera lens. When a grumpy, reclusive mountain man saves her from an early-spring snowstorm, she realizes there’s more to his humped and hairy shyness than meets the eye.

He doesn’t believe she can see past his ugliness, but she won’t let him hide from a love that burns true in the heart of the beholder.

Beast starts off with a damsel in distress but Trudy is too determined and stubborn to give up even though the odds are alarmingly against her. Her inarticulate cry for help was heard by a loner, a man/bear who has been hurt mentally and physically to such an extreme he’s broken. Cianán isn’t so lost in his pain that he can’t recognize when someone else is in pain too. He’s compelled to seek out and deal with the hurt intruder as soon as possible and get them to a place where someone else will surely find them and help them out. All Cianán wants is to be left alone. He can’t hurt anyone and no one can hurt him ever again as long as he stays deep in the woods. A haunted man with his bees for company, all he wants is peace, is that too much to ask? It is when fate decides to step in with a different solution in mind. Bear and woman meet and what follows is a romance story unique to the world in which Angels Rest exists, where anything is possible and dreams come true. A reader is in store for some delightful surprises when they read Beast.

One of the things that impressed me about this story is the detail about Cianán while in the state of in between. While he was in stuck as a man/bear, the things he did, said, acted and felt were so solid, I never lost sight that he wasn’t fully a man; the effect of being part bear affected so many scenes they provided a special flavor to the storytelling environment.

The dialogue between Trudy and the hero was oftentimes hilarious, insightful or intriguing and always fascinating. I found the scene with Trudy’s first morning cup of coffee totally adorable. Their dialogue and special moments keep mounting up because their proximity ends up acting like a sensual and romantic courtship. The pressure builds until all that sexual tension finally gets released. Ice cubes may be needed for a few of them.

Romance can’t happen in a vacuum so eventually the reason that Trudy was alone in the wilderness comes to haunt her and Cianán. This is when the hero both proves his mettle and faces the risk of losing the heroine when he reveals who and what he really is. The suspense was just the right amount to keep the tension heightened and me rooting for the hero to win and save the day.

Beast is a treat. I adored Cianán’s character and am so happy for him. I really enjoyed the HEA wrap up and how the author tied up all the threads. This novella is a treat and one more that joins my other favorite stories in the Angels Rest series. I’m such a fan!

Ghost Wolf by Elsa Jade


Ghost Wolf by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest – Book 6
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The harvest moon is rising…

Corrine Ayres was a werewolf with a charmed life. Until her love was taken from her in a place called Mesa Diablo.

Javier Roque’s wolf never rose, so he left Angels Rest to make his own way. Until a deadly threat to his pack brought him home.

Can the widowed she-wolf and the tattooed bad boy missing his wild side find what they desire? Or will they lose everything before they can claim their fate?

A bad boy werewolf who isn’t a wolf sounds like it’s its own conflict. If that’s not intriguing enough, this story picks up with someone I met in the last book, Lost Wolf. Corrine has had the worst thing happen to her. The love of her life, her other half, for all intents and purposes now belongs to another woman and is mated to her courtesy of the hated Kingdom Guard. They destroyed the man she once knew and replaced him with a stranger. She had it all and lost it all. Both Javier and Corrine are tortured in different ways but they are both seeking something they believe is out of their reach – impossible dreams of happiness, love and fulfillment. At the point when I first watch them meet, they are both in a bad place in their lives and there’s no better hook than wanting to see them find their way to a happy ever after, together. But what is it going to take? That’s one of the questions that had me picking up this book, determined to find the answer. I already wanted peace for Corrine but how could Javier give it to her when he couldn’t find it for himself? Ghost Wolf has great hooks, awesome conflicts and a romance story that delivers a solid and well-earned HEA.

What I liked about this tale is that unlike the previous books, both the hero and heroine are part of the werewolf community. There are no secrets between them – they both understand werewolf culture. But Javier is an anomaly within that culture which is unique. Once again Ms. Jade has found a clever twist to make the paranormal genre her own. I enjoyed every minute.

The only thing that I felt was a disservice to Javier was his grandmother. Oh, there’s love, respect and a wonderful interaction between the two, but I just couldn’t understand why she didn’t want him in that little hut. Why didn’t she ever teach him anything? Why did she deny him? Why did she treat him that way when in every other aspect she proved she loved him unconditionally? How can he learn his way without being mentored? That was never explained so I was a bit bummed. There’s a story there that was never told and I felt the book suffered from the lack.

Except for that little dangle, I thought Ghost Wolf was a wonderful addition to the series and worth every minute of my time as I watched Corrine and Javier fall in love. Once again, the story celebrates what the power of love can do, even accomplishing the impossible. I continue to be impressed with this series and am enjoying myself tremendously. I wonder who is next?

Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade


Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest – Book 5
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The harvest moon is rising…

The black wolf lost everything when the Kingdom Guard werewolf hunters drugged him, tortured him, and tried to turn him into a weapon against his own kind. All that remains is Zane—a man with no memories, no future, and a bloodthirsty monster lurking under his skin.

But after a seemingly chance encounter with a curvy, black-haired beauty, Zane starts to remember things: glimpses of his past, his favorite book, the taste of desire…

Mahalia Booker needed to dig up the past — just a few petroglyphs from an archeological site on Mesa Diablo — to finish her master’s in history. She never expected to uncover a secret society of werewolves thousands of years old. She’s always stood on the outside, but now she’s become a part of the story — a story with a scary, strangely fascinating and sexy hero…

Zane is an unusual hero even within the paranormal world – he’s an anomaly because he has no memory of who he was before his capture. No one knows the level of trauma and depravity this man has suffered through and how it’s affected his mind and sanity. He’s more animal than human yet the man I come to know in Lost Wolf has depth, passion, drive and all the makings of a true leading man. Hallie, the heroine, gets more than she expects when she comes to Angels Rest to do some research. Research that nothing and no one is going to stop her from accomplishing, but she never counted on meeting Zane and stumbling onto a secret more fascinating than anything she could have envisioned. Fate has something in store for both of them they never expected and the romance that evolves despite the challenges they have to overcome make this novelette another must read from the talented Ms. Jade.

Zane is the unknown assailant from the previous story. Initially it was thought he was unreachable and not able to be saved and there was a good chance he’d have to be destroyed. If a reader is a fan of the tortured hero redeemed theme then Lost Wolf delivers in spades. The very short prologue hints at how badly he’s been treated. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a great hook and very effective. The visual imagery Ms. Jade uses about the water washing ashore is as beautiful as it is haunting because of what it means to Zane’s sanity. Another strong bit of writing is when Zane first claps eyes on Hallie. That whole scene just sucked me in and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the book. A romance is born.

Characters from the initial books in the series are on hand to bring context, continuity and support to Zane and Hallie. There are a couple of new characters that are introduced which amp up the complications between the hero and heroine and create a powerful emotional tangle. For a while there was a lot of uncertainty which contributed to some drama and suspense.

The part when the wolves of Angels Rest were looking for their lost wolf gave me goosebumps. The writing was at its most powerful during this whole scene and made an impact. My emotions were in a tight grip from that point all the way to the very beautiful, poignant and promising happy ever after.

I don’t know how Ms. Jade does it but she’s continued the high quality of writing and storytelling even into this fifth installment of the Angels Rest Mating Season series. Lost Wolf is another keeper along with the previous books. I’m a happy reader and I can’t wait to find out who gets their HEA next.

Half Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom


Half Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (304 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

His Secret…or Her Salvation?

When he stumbled upon a beautiful woman who’d been the victim of a vampire attack, Alpha wolf Michael Hunter faced an impossible choice. His honor dictated that he save her life. But the only way he knew to accomplish that was to make her one of his own. Now Kaitlin Davies was half Lycan and his responsibility as she underwent a dangerous transformation to full wolf.

Something within Kaitlin called to Michael’s inner wolf with an intensity he’d never felt. He wanted her. But as he witnessed the changes occurring in her body, he wasn’t sure what she was becoming. Had Michael created something that could destroy them both…or was her transformation as preordained as their passion?

Half Wolf has such a unique concept I couldn’t pass this book up. I thought for sure when I saw the title, and I read the first couple of chapters, that I knew what Kaitlin’s other ‘half’ was going to be. Wow, was I wrong! And, I was delighted with the author’s choice.

There is quite the cast of characters in this novel to support, guide, assist and complicate the growing relationship between Kaitlin and Michael. I get the sense that a few of them were from past books somewhere along the line and based upon how they’re described in this story, they must have been humdingers. I’ll be checking them out for sure. Anyway, back to this tale. At one point I felt two of the ‘visitors’ were more a distraction than a help. They acted like mavericks. Sure, one of their decisions garnered some extra help but it was how it was delivered that annoyed me. And when I envision the meaning of the word ‘pack’, I have a different picture in mind than what was delivered.

Then there are the mysterious visitors to Kaitlin. Who exactly are they? At one point I got the sense that she knew them, like really ‘knew’ them, and then, not. Then I got the impression that she was 100% something other than human, yet could come across as human and if she wasn’t human, I have to ask how in the world no tells or weirdness happened before in her life to clue her in that she was different? What was offered didn’t convince me. Especially since there was a reference to her parents, which then begs the question based upon how these people treated her, did her parents hide her because they were nicer people and didn’t want their daughter to develop a personality like those others? So many questions and too little time to explore fully the world that Thomas-Sundstrom created, that 304 pages just isn’t enough. It may sound like I had a negative reaction to all of this oddness but in actuality I want to learn more because the potential dynamics seem fascinating.

As for the villain of the piece, Kaitlin, Michael and their pack have their hands full dealing with the results of the evil guy’s dastardly machinations but he never battles the hero and heroine directly. At least not until the end, and even then it was fleeting. And, it’s not the end. Because there are two vile threads threatening their little sleepy hamlet and Half Wolf could only resolve one which must mean that there will be a second book. I’m good with that but it better get published soon because I want to read it. I hope a few of the ‘helper characters’ get to stay for that party as well.

Half Wolf left me with a lot of questions but the one thing it didn’t do was bore me. It was a fast, easy read because the concept intrigued me, the main characters were likable, the paranormal aspect had unique twists that delighted me and I enjoyed watching Kaitlin and Michael fall in love. There are a lot of positives to appreciate not the least of which are the love scenes between the hero and heroine.

I have no problem recommending Half Wolf to fellow paranormal romance readers but just be aware that it might whet your appetite for more of their story. And maybe like me, will want to continue reading about this engaging couple with their unusual paranormal challenges and their growing love. I get the strongest feeling that there is so much more left to discover and I’m vested enough in Michael and Kaitlin’s relationship, I hope to visit Clement again, soon.

Waking the Serpent by Jane Kindred


Waking the Serpent by Jane Kindred
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (304 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Millionaire’s Redemption…

When Sedona’s most eligible bachelor is accused of murdering a local psychic, medium Phoebe Carlisle finds herself drawn into the danger that surrounds him—by the meddling of the shades she channels and by his irresistible charms. A public defender and a gifted medium, Phoebe is devoted to justice—and not just for the living. Proving Rafe Diamante’s innocence means conjuring up two shades who were former lovers and now ignite the chemistry between their hosts.

Rafe can’t afford to lose control and act on his feelings for Phoebe. His unfulfilled sexual tension begins to stir something inside him—the legacy of Quetzalcoatl. But as these newfound abilities awaken a dormant power in Rafe, can he stop the real murderer in time to claim his true destiny?

The concept is intriguing, the characters are fascinating, the plot is your typical megalomaniac who has gone off the deep-end causing mayhem and death, and a strong hero and heroine needs to save the day. It’s a very busy novel.

The plot is what drew me to read this book. The story was original in many aspects and certainly Rafe and Phoebe were attention grabbing and engaging as a couple. The plot seems straightforward in the beginning but as the tale goes on, it’s much bigger, darker and devious than anything I’ve ever encountered or expected. The author gets high marks for originality in that area.

I liked how the author wrote Phoebe and the twin’s relationship and that includes their dialogue, their actions and the obvious love the siblings have for each other. That rapport and bond is very important in the story.

Rafe was an enigma. The author tackled an extremely difficult subject and used it to good effect in the book. It was deftly handled and prevented a reader from the full harsh ick factor.

There was much to like, respect and enjoy in Waking the Serpent but there were some parts that fell flat for me as well. The yo-yo seesaw sexual dance between Rafe and Phoebe was dizzying and not always in a good way. I understood what was really happening, and how integral it was to the plot, but I didn’t always enjoy it. In fact, there were three times that I had to close the book and walk away because the plot twist made me uncomfortable. The good news is that the overall story and basic dynamics between the hero and heroine drew me back every time. As much as I needed to take a break from what was going on in the book at that moment, I had to return to the story to find out what happened next, how they got past it, and where it led.

Another thing I believed that should have had great potential but fell flat was the power of Quetzalcoatl. I wasn’t as impressed as I felt I could have been because I wasn’t shown any power that left me in awe. It’s like the villain had all the FAQs making it too easy to manipulate everyone, and all my favorite people in the novel were reactive instead of proactive. Eventually the heroine and her allies get with the program, figure things out and save the day, but it didn’t have the oomph that a plot dealing with any aspect of Quetzalcoatl should have had.

Even with those not so great aspects of the novel, Waking the Serpent did have a romance worth reading about. Again, the author surprised me with another type of happy ever after that tied in perfectly with Rafe and Phoebe’s HEA. It was a nice touch and at one point was highly sentimental and sniffle-worthy. Well, one of them was…the other might inspire the need for a cold shower. Both were welcomed, well done and satisfied my need for a solid, positive ending.

Waking the Serpent is a good read on many fronts. It does have a strong paranormal element that is intriguing and likeable at times, and at other junctures it’s dramatic and suspenseful. There is definitely some strong writing within its pages that are worth taking a look at and the book has a satisfying happy ending. For some paranormal romance fans, this book might even be more appealing than it was for me. I guess you’ll have to read it for yourself and find out.

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas


Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Ravenels Series #3
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review ed by Xeranthemum

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

The one thing I can count on with books written by Ms. Kleypas is to be entertained to the point that time ceases to have meaning. The romance in Devil in Spring is wonderful, delightful and full of delicious pitfalls and challenges to make the love between Gabriel and Pandora more powerful and engaging. Once again, this author delivers a well-written, exciting and sigh-worthy novel that delivers satisfaction. The most adorable thing though is how Ms. Kleypas delivers her recipe after the HEA. I can’t recall ever giggling while reading a recipe in any cookbook I’ve ever owned.

Reading this novel was like a blast from the past. A hero and heroine from long before not only thrived, but their love and lust for each other is as wonderfully potent as it was when readers were first introduced. It stands to reason that any progeny of theirs would be just as unique, clever, well-rounded and as intriguing as their parents. Gabriel is a credit to his lineage.

The first part of the book concentrates on getting Gabriel and Pandora together. There are a lot of interesting personality issues to overcome or to learn about or reach an understanding about in order to move the plot forward. Pandora’s upbringing was unconventional to say the least. The next chunk of the novel explored the accidental discovery of a diabolical plot which thrusts Pandora into becoming a heroine in the truest sense of the word. Of course that means that Gabriel needs to out-hero her so he can save the day because he is, after all, Sebastien and Evie’s son, he can do no less. Personally, I prefer to believe Pandora and Gabriel saved each other, especially after getting to know them and their quirks of personality. The one thing they both didn’t count on was that one of them might be the target of an assassin. Talk about suspense!

Even though both protagonists have internal and external conflicts tripping them up, when it comes to their physical attraction they have no problems in steaming up the pages and delighting a reader with just how compatible they truly are.

My favorite secondary character is Drago. I adored what Pandora did to his name and was charmed when she introduced his whale as ‘Bubbles’. That started a short but highly endearing and adorable exchange that epitomizes just how special Pandora was as a leading lady. She has the ability to create a kind of magic that inspires other characters to rediscover their child within. Because they are powerless to resist, a reader is treated to some fantastical and delightful dialogue.

On the whole, Devil in Spring has what I look for in a romance and Ms. Kleypas delivered on all counts. Experience the whole emotional spectrum: excitement, shock, fear, lust, humor, whimsy, empathy, and most of all love, when you read your own copy of Devil in Spring. It’s a winner.

Dark Matter by Elsa Jade


Dark Matter by Elsa Jade
Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides #3 ~ Intergalactic Dating Agency
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (141 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Dating and mating are the irrational pursuits of mortal races while the rare vrykoly species watches dispassionately from afar. But after his captain and first officer find love with the extraordinary females of Earth, this vrykoly is forced to wonder if he was—dare he say it?—wrong. Piloting the deathly cold and vast distances of space is why he was meant to exist, all he’s ever known, and even his dreams have always been black and still. Can anyone ever love a soul-sucking space vampire?

The third and final finding their bride story is on Earth for only a little bit of time. Outer space calls and the adventure begins when the heroine accepts the invite to climb aboard a spaceship to map a solar system.

Most of Dark Matter takes place between Del and Ivan once they leave Earth for what is expected to be a quiet, scientific exploration of Sin’s (the hero of Alpha Star) new solar system that his grandmother gave him. It’s the perfect opportunity for Del to have the adventure of a lifetime by getting a chance to go into space and she thinks it’s going to be a piece of cake. Well, after she gets used to the blackness of space, being on a ship, a panic attack, eating a very strange food product and the realization that she’s got the hots for Ivan, the hero. Oops.

From the previous two books in the trilogy I got the impression that Ivan was a risky member of the team because he ‘ate’ people; based on something Honey alluded to in the first book. It was related to a reader that he was dangerous, cold and unfeeling. Well, along the way Del finds out that yes, Ivan is dangerous, he is cold but there’s a reason for that and he doesn’t stay unfeeling for long. And the reason he’s been dark and mesmerizing is because of the type of being he is. Honestly, I never saw that coming. I was impressed. Anyway, being in proximity to Del is stimulating something in Ivan’s psyche – perplexing elements of a past genetic history thought long gone. The poor hero was very confused but unwilling to stop exploring what Del is doing to him. He’s discovering that there’s something intriguing about male/female physical relations after all. It’s at that point a reader is assured that the relationship between Del and Ivan was making significant progress. This romance story sure has a different kind of courtship in store for readers.

The drawbacks for me in this novella were that the villain called Blackworm wasn’t a successfully developed plot conflict – sure he’s been a threat since the second book but I never got to meet the scoundrel; that even in this third book in the trilogy it was never resolved as to WHO the traitor was on Sin’s ship, Sinner’s Prayer that was left dangling in the first book, Alpha Star; and the biggest thing was, I was confused about Ivan himself. The descriptions of his species and his references to cold, the elements that consist of his very existence and his matrix and relationship to the universe, and the threat to his continued survival all left me perplexed and baffled. They were certainly unique and fascinating, but I couldn’t follow it enough to decide if it had the capacity to be super sexy, profound or I simply could not grasp the sci-fi aspect of it all. I did like his innocence with the subject of sex and how quickly he caught on, but once again the use of science fiction words for things threw me. How do I pronounce ‘exciton’ anyway?

One thing that the author excelled at was in describing the crash landing, the landscape of the alien environment, and my favorite, the eel. That was a strong and amazing bit of creativity. Even the idea and description of the space lily pads was cool. The one thing Ms. Jade has in spades is a great imagination and I did enjoy most of it.

On the whole, Dark Matter was a good read. Yes, it was a challenge at times but the dynamics and dialogue between Ivan and Del were what kept me flipping the pages. I did enjoy reading about the challenges they both faced as they tried to survive in a very unforgiving landscape. I totally enjoyed Ivan’s enthusiasm once he figured out that sex in action was a lot more fun than he thought, and I thought Del and Ivan were good together. So, as far as the romance goes in Dark Matter, it worked and I totally enjoyed the happy ever after at the end. For Ivan and Del, it was a perfect ending to a very unusual courtship.

Red Shift by Elsa Jade


Red Shift by Elsa Jade
Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides #2 ~ Intergalactic Dating Agency
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (137 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Banishing his own needs, he followed his prince into battle and—more terrifying yet—into courtship but got lost in the backwater wilds of Earth. Now this space-faring drakling dragon-shifter has forgotten everything, including his name, his beast, and the freedom of space. But even espresso-induced amnesia can’t erase the relentless urge to mate growing stronger with every night under the pale light of this one solitary moon. Who will help him find his ship…and himself?

If anyone read the first book Alpha Star they would have met Honey. I liked him then but I absolutely adored him in Red Shift. He was the perfect hero. I know I liked Sin in the first book but Honey has him beat by a mile in the second. It’s when Honey revealed himself in all his glory to Tisha that I found out just how special and delightful his character really was. Tisha is a lucky heroine.

There is quite a bit more action in this novella for a reader to enjoy than the last one. Turns out those mercenaries from the first book weren’t a one-off. Oh no, there are more devious and dire shenanigans going on that escalates the plot conflict to incendiary proportions in Red Shift. It’s all good. It’s effective and I enjoyed every moment.

Sin and Zoe from Alpha Star do appear in this book too but they are strictly supporting cast members for Honey and Tisha. Their presence also provides a bit of continuity to what is a trilogy of spacemen looking for brides on Earth. They don’t have it easy and the romance between Tisha and Honey proves it.

What I found completely hilarious is what Ms. Jade does with coffee in the story. What a fun and novel twist! Not only did it cause me to giggle, later on it provided the opportunity for a very yummy scene or two between Tisha and Honey. It entertained me no end.

The personal conflicts caused by what is happening to Honey and his determination to woo and win Tisha coupled with some serious action chasing down the bad guys, rescuing damsels in distress, space ships battling, and saving the world as they know it made Red Shift a gem of a read.

I hate to say it but this sequel is even better than the original story. I have a serious crush on Honey and I’m so glad he and Tisha ended up with a wonderful and romantic happy ever after. Red Shift is a definite recommended read.

Alpha Star by Elsa Jade


Alpha Star by Elsa Jade
Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides #1 ~Intergalactic Dating Agency
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (134 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

He will be lord of his own solar system, but he can’t claim the homeworld until he takes a bride. He needs the right mate to win his mating rings, but choosing one female from among the neighboring systems while slighting the others could start an interstellar incident—and this ex-mercenary starship captain has finally had enough of war. Where in the universe can a runaway cyborg prince find a naïve female willing to risk her life on the dangerous frontiers of space?

How about a little off-world world building on planet Dirt, no, Mud! Oh wait – Earth! That’s right, this is a romance about heroes from outer space that come to Earth to find brides and have a little trouble remembering what we call things around here. But that’s not the only trouble in store for the hapless hero looking to find a female to call his own. There’s a mix-up, there are secrets that must be kept, there’s an unexpected villain and a stubborn heroine. It’s a concept that has been done before, but Ms. Jade added her own unique spin making this quite the entertaining read.

I liked the hero, Sin. He possesses amazing willpower when it comes to respecting Zoe’s moratorium against her becoming his mate. A reader knows just how much he really would like her to change her mind but she’s adamant that it’s a no-go. What the heroine did not count on was their amazing sexual chemistry. What Sin didn’t expect was the effect that amazing chemistry had on his body. Something has to give and the outside conflict certainly played a role in shaking things up.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read a sci-fi romance and I think it’s because of the very thing I encountered in this book – the strange names given to objects and people. I realize that with sci-fi an author can really create their own worlds and rules within that world building however there is a challenge to keep a reader invested in the people of the story without getting lost in the ‘special effects’. For the most part Ms. Jade does a solid job at accomplishing that, but every now and again the unfamiliarity threw me out of the story. Good thing Zoe and Sin are so fascinating – their budding romance drew me right back in.

Another reason to like a sci-fi romance is the inventive and intriguing ways having sex with an alien can come about. They’re not like us and those differences pose all kinds of delicious opportunities. What happens to Sin truly made me grin.

Secondary characters are Zoe’s sister in law and a couple of Sin’s crew members, Honey and Ivan. I like Honey a lot because of his sassy dialogue. I think all of their personalities contributed to the robustness of the tale.

Alpha Star sure was interesting. The happy ever after was as romantic as I could wish and I was so happy when Zoe finally came to her senses. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll blame her reticence on that fateful brick. For fans of sci-fi romance, I’d say give Alpha Star a shot. I did and I enjoyed it.