Hacking IT by Kimberly Dean


Hacking IT by Kimberly Dean
The Hackers, Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (163 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Some secrets are never meant to be uncovered.

Independent software developer Kylie Grant is on top of her game in the world of IT. She has loyal clients, a good reputation, and a prestigious membership in technology giant Afire Industries’ small business accelerator. Things are going well until she stumbles across an innocuous issue with the lighting in the building where she rents space. When she digs into the problem, she discovers something unexpected–a hack.

The incursion doesn’t affect her, but Kylie leaves enough clues to fix the problem. That earns her a visit from Luke McAllister, Afire’s chief security officer. Luke is handsome and rugged and everything that Kylie likes in a man, but she soon finds that he is blaming her for the security breach. Before long, the two are on a collision course, but also secretly looking at more than each other’s digital footprints.

When a fluke accident sends Kylie to the emergency room, Luke fears that the beautiful developer is in danger beyond the online world. Little does he know that she is also hiding a secret that threatens to jeopardize their now sizzling relationship. Can Kylie fix Afire’s problems without falling victim to the hacker? And can Luke learn to trust her and keep her safe before their enemy strikes again?

If you are in need of brief escapism as I was when I read this, then I definitely recommend this book. This is a quick, fun and easy read. I don’t know anything about computer hackers therefore I was intrigued with the synopsis, especially with the mention of the heroine having a secret.

Hacking IT began with a prologue that set the stage as well as hooked me into the story. Sparks went off immediately when Kylie, the heroine, met Luke, the hero. Kylie was a lady with sass and brains. Luke was the hero every girl dreams of. Well, at least my dreams. I love a strong man who will do anything to protect and love me. Together Kylee and Luke make for the perfect diversion to my boring life.

The story was written well without any flaws and I loved the ending. I have to laugh because I thought the story was over and I was content. However, the author wasn’t quite done with me. I loved that surprise.

There is a small cast of characters that were well developed and I look forward to meeting them again in the next book in this series.

I will add that the suspense/mystery was well scripted and implemented throughout the love story but it turned out to be who I suspected, therefore I was a tad disappointed that it was that easy to figure out. I would have enjoyed more of a twist on that aspect.

I also need to mention to those who are sensitive to what happens in the bedroom. I typically don’t read books with swear words especially when they are making love. So this is that warning to those who may not like that style. I had no issue skimming over after the second love scene.

Over all, this is a book that I am comfortable suggesting to a friend to read. I am excited that book two, Love Hack, is already available to purchase.

Company Ink by Kat Colburn


Company Ink by Kat Colburn
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (245 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Office intrigue takes on a whole new meaning in this story of love, friendship, and the secrets hiding in plain sight…

The Company has a rule about falling in love on the job.

I’ve never been one for rules. But I need this one. I need this rule to remind me why I can’t be with Dani Wallace.

I need this smart little foul-mouthed fighter by my side more than I need her in my bed. I need her to close this massive deal. She thinks it holds the key to her escape from cubicle hell and another shot at the life she always wanted.

But there is more riding on our success than she can possibly ever know.

So I’ll keep my hands to myself and my secrets safe for one more day.

But now I can’t stop wondering what my best friend has on beneath her conservative suit. I can’t stop imagining the things that sharp mouth of hers could do to me if I leaned back in my chair and unzipped my pants. And I can’t stop pushing our flirting too far.

I’m trying to remember the rule. But some rules are made to be broken.

A love story! That is what sums up this story for me.

Dan and Dani have a workplace romance. Their relationship has instant chemistry that builds up to more. Company Ink is a great for readers who want a slow romance. I loved reading about them getting to know each other better. They are such different characters. The author did a wonderful job with her hero and heroine.

Almost more than half of the book had little to no kissing, and no extra-hot sex scenes which I love, so it made it a bit difficult for me to read, especially since I’m not used to that. It was also a little difficult to get over the fact that their names are Dan and Dani. They’re just too similar and it didn’t work for me.

Overall, the plot was simple with a climax that surprised me. Company Ink is a wonderful read for whenever you are in the mood for a slow-moving romantic romance.

Vic Boyo Doofus Detective by Milo James Fowler


Vic Boyo Doofus Detective by Milo James Fowler
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, HIstorical
Length: Full length (150 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Two murders. One detective. Half a brain.

1931, New York City: Detective Vic Boyo may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but that doesn’t stop him from solving cases as only he can. With a little luck and a whole lot of gumption, Boyo sets out to find the murderer of a local cop. Problem is, Boyo’s more interested in a gorgeous femme fatale accused of killing her husband. She’s destined for the electric chair, but Boyo’s got a hunch she might be innocent. And nobody gets in the way of Boyo’s hunches, not even Vic Boyo himself.

What can I say about a detective story that calls the detective a “doofus”?

This is set in the 1930’s and you have to love some of that terminology to enjoy it. You know, it was the era where a blower was a telephone and a heater was a gun. It is a classic mobster versus cop book. This book has to be read with a sense of fun in mind. That’s actually what it is…sort of a true spoof. Don’t get me wrong, it is a mystery and it does involve a cop and a beautiful lady that needs saving.

This is the type of book that begins with a list of characters, well actually pages of characters. Although I have read and enjoyed many books like this there are enough characters listed to scare you off. I actually had no problem keeping Fowler’s characters straight. They each seemed to have their own personality. It’s just not a wonderful beginning and I hope people don’t put it down because it seems overwhelming.

This book is not at all hard to read but it is different. To enjoy it, you need to step into a slightly different world, one of watching an old-time TV show. It’s not hard to imagine it in black and white. It is narrated by the detective, Victor Ignatius Boyo, and he is a detective that is actually in good standing with and works for the local police department. It’s really good for a few good laughs.

The Streets of Nottingham by Auckly Simwinga


The Streets of Nottingham by Auckly Simwinga
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Short Story (70 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A tragedy will echo through history and force the world into chaos once again…

Eons ago, a betrayal rocked the heavens. Grief overwhelmed the mother of creation, driving her to madness when the god-king banished Caelemon to the underworld. Leading to the sundering of the world which would come to be known as the Breaking. Only a tiny village, located at the edge of the world survived the breaking, and for hundreds of years it remained forgotten. The villagers now pray to the mother seeking her mercy and protection, but she’s as cold and merciless as the black stone statue which she was carved out of. Her supplicants haven’t realized it yet, but they are about to. In the worst possible way.
*****
The Streets of Nottingham by the talented author Auckly Simwinga is a page-turning work of spellbinding fantasy and myth, a magical and fascinating first-person tale narrated by an adventurous and mysterious character only identified by his first name, Adam. It is a story that fans of fantasy will enjoy reading, because Adam goes on a quest that everyone thinks is impossible. There are gods and goddesses, wraiths, and creatures called demauglers, which are sort of like werewolves, but with bones showing here and there, as if they were zombie werewolves with attitudes.
*****
While The Streets of Nottingham by Auckly Simwinga is a work of fiction that deals with tragic topics, it is also filled with joyous moments and hope, and readers will find themselves rooting for Adam, hoping that he succeeds in his noble quest. If you are a fan of the fantasy genre, I highly recommend that you check out The Streets of Nottingham today!

Sometimes the most important wisdom in the entire world can be found in scrolls so old that no one remembers precisely when they were written.

One of the things this tale excelled at was exploring the difference between the heroic myths that a society gradually creates about their gods or god-like figures and what those individuals may have really been like in the past. Even the most well-meaning society can create legends about their heroes that give distorted messages about what that person or entity stood for, and this effect only becomes stronger over long periods of time.

I found it difficult to follow the plot because of how little time the narrator spent explaining what was happening in it. This world’s physics, geography, and history were completely different from our own. The limited information that was provided about it was helpful, but I would have loved to have many more details about how it all worked so that I could better imagine what was happening when everything began to fall apart.

The ending was nicely written. It fit the themes that had been explored earlier on in the storyline, and it also gave the characters the closure they needed to move onto the next chapter of their lives. I liked the fact that it left plenty of room for a sequel while also working just as well if this is the only glimpse of this universe that is ever written. It isn’t easy to strike that balance, but Mr. Simwinga did well in this area.

The Streets of Nottingham should be read by anyone who likes the high fantasy genre.

Her Monster by Sam Crescent


Her Monster by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (108 Pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Caleb Carson is not a good man. All of his life he’s trained to be part of the family business. The Carsons kill, they hurt, and do whatever is necessary to stay in charge. Still, when he’s handed an eighteen-year-old girl as payment for a debt, he’s pissed. He takes the girl and keeps her protected. In return, he kills her father, as he doesn’t like loose ends.

Faith doesn’t get attached to anyone or anything, and she knew it was only a matter of time before her father’s gambling affected her. Now she belongs to Caleb, but … he’s different. She knows he’s a monster, but Caleb intrigues her. When she’s in his arms, it’s unlike anything she’s ever felt.

Caleb doesn’t do love, and he never will. Faith deserves so much better, but he can’t let her go. Why not have something for himself for a change?

Will Caleb keep Faith and learn to fall in love? Can Faith bring herself to love the man who owns her?

This book was absolutely fantastic!

Once again Sam Crescent has worked her magic and written an amazing story for Caleb and Faith. I loved watching these two cynical people fall in love. Neither one of them believed in love so it was that much sweeter to watch them slowly take the fall. Caleb was one of those dark heroes that Sam Crescent does so well, while Faith was a quite a surprise in her straight forwardness and strength. She was one of the curvy women that I’ve come to expect from this author but that was as about as alike as it went. I think she was one of Sam Crescent’s stronger heroines.

Her Monster was a short story but it was very well developed. It was a fast paced story so I read it straight through from start to finish in one evening. I loved the main couple, Caleb and Faith, and how Sam Crescent let me catch up with Beast and Hope from Her Beast, and also how much Dewayne seems to be growing up a little bit. I assume that his book will be next and can’t wait to read it.

Her Monster was a bit hit with this happy reader. I look forward to whatever Sam Crescent comes up with next.

The Hurt Handler by Linda Palmer


The Hurt Handler by Linda Palmer
Publisher: Uncial Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (91 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Shiloh Nilsen lives at one end of the street. Nathan Conti lives at the other. In all her eighteen years, they’ve never met in the middle. Why? Because he attends a special school for psychics in Wyoming while she goes to their neighborhood public school, Dillon High, right there in Montana.

Nothing changes until Shiloh loses a treasured family heirloom–a ring that dates back centuries. Desperate to find it before her mom figures out it’s missing, Shiloh crashes a birthday party just to meet Nate. If the local newspaper is right, he has psychic gifts. She hopes one of them will help her out of a mess she can only blame on herself.

Nate reluctantly agrees to accompany her to a local ghost town, the last place she wore the ring. With the weather getting worse by the minute, they search everywhere she hiked until the skies open up and they’re forced to take shelter in the ruins. Huddled there, they talk about his psychic abilities, a conversation that opens Shiloh’s mind to what’s really out there.

Unfortunately, Nate’s conclusion about the ring’s location isn’t at all what Shiloh was expecting. Instead of getting closure, she’s faced with a new dilemma. She can either confess everything to her mom, who will be crushed, or she can confront the person who has the ring, a guy who, according to Nate, gives off some very bad vibes.

Shiloh decides to crash a birthday party, determined to talk Nate into using his powers to help her out. Having lost her great-great-great grandmother’s ring, she needs to take Nate to Farlin – even with the ghosts there – and have him help her find the ring. Nate and Shiloh both find each other attractive, but their worlds couldn’t be further apart. Shiloh is from the wrong side of town, Nate’s family is rich and he’s just graduated from an expensive academy geared towards people with magical gifts. The more time they spend together, the more complicated their relationship gets. Can they each find their right path?

This is a fun and really interesting story. I’ve not read any of the previous ones in this series and was very happy to find none of the back-story was really needed. Both Nate and Shiloh are fairly young – nineteen and seventeen respectively – and so while there is some romance it’s all fairly sweet and teenager-ish – friends who are attracted to each other etc. Aside from some chaste (and just a few teen-steamy) kisses there’s no physical romance, but a delightful emotional connection that flourishes into an even better romantic relationship.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot in this story – finding the mystery of Shiloh’s lost ring as compelling as Shiloh and Nate both exploring their own powers and coming to terms with the magical world neither of them have much experience in. In a number of ways this felt very much to me like a coming-of-age story and I’d actually recommend it equally as a YA style of story as a sweet, emotional and slightly romantic read for grown ups as well. With strong and multi-layered characters, a few excellent plots and some fantastic pacing I eagerly drank up every page of this story and fully plan to look out for the others in this series. Shiloh and Nate were two wonderful characters and I loved watching them get to know each other, push each other’s magical boundaries and solve the puzzle together. The fact they ended up with a Happy Ever After and a beautiful relationship was just icing on the cake.

For a sweet, happy and well-paced story this is one I’d happily recommend.

Home Is Where You Are by Emjay Haze


Home Is Where You Are by Emjay Haze
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (95 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place…

Eric had only stepped out to go to the gym. When he came back it was to a stranger helping Eric’s year-long lover finish packing up his gear. Finding out that Drew had been cheating on him with the twink and saw their relationship only as being fuck-buddies was bad enough, but while wallowing Eric gets a call from his mom. Eric’s dad has had a minor stroke and so he reluctantly heads back to the family farm to help out while his dad recovers. Eric doesn’t know it, but his life is about to undergo an enormous change.

I found this to be an interesting and almost old-fashioned small-town, farming style of romance. Full of interesting, vibrant and different characters I found this to be a lovely, if character-driven, story. Eric had nothing but bad memories of his school-life – and the constant bullying over his sexuality – and had avoided as many visits home as he possibly could. When his father has a stroke, however, Eric’s hand is pushed and he reluctantly finds himself returning home to confront old memories. While Eric and Phil had known each other as teens they hadn’t really been friends – the two-year age gap enough for them to not run in the same social circles at school. Even though Phil’s parents worked on Eric’s farm the two men didn’t really interact much. I loved the slow buildup of their chemistry as they each got to know each other as men and not boys.

Readers looking for thrills and fast-paced action scenes might not find what they’re looking for here. But personally I really enjoyed the slower pace of the story, the gradual building of chemistry. It’s clear from the beginning to me that Eric and Phil had an amazing connection and even though they each avoid it in their own way they really do live in a small town and there just isn’t the sort of huge gay-scene like there is in a larger city. The conflict in the story mostly comes from both Eric’s bad memories of growing up, but also the fact that Phil in some ways has taken over working the farm in the way that Eric’s parents had always hoped Eric would.

While it was a fair wait for Eric and Phil to finally get together physically, the sex scene was well worth the wait in my opinion. With only the one full-on sex scene readers looking for something heavily erotic and very spicy might be a little disappointed. Personally though I felt with the slower pace, strong chemistry and more “small town” type feel to the story that the longer wait and single consummation scene fitted the story as a whole perfectly.

With a deliciously happy ending and plenty of happy moments this was a great story and left me feeling all warm and wonderful. A great story I can happily recommend.

Night Riders Book 2: Texas Bride by Leigh Greenwood


Night Riders Book 2: Texas Bride by Leigh Greenwood
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (445 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

She’s the one woman he could never have…

Handsome and devilishly charming Owen Wheeler has always had a way with women, but the war has left him a changed man. He’s no longer interested in breaking hearts. Now on the trail of a fellow Night Rider turned traitor, he will stop at nothing to ensure that justice is done.

There’s nothing about fiercely independent―and plain―Hetta Gwynne that should make Owen long to trade his vendetta for peace, but something about her makes him feel like the man he always wanted to be. Owen can see a chance for a real future at Hetta’s side…if only he could convince her to let down her guard and trust in the passion neither of them can deny.

The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?

A western romance is what started my love for romance stories. This book brought me back to that time when I first started reading romance books.

Hetta and Owen are completely different characters but they somehow worked well together. That being said, I did not like some of the repetitive words that I came upon because it put a damper on an otherwise wonderful plot and story.

Both of these characters were so stubborn, I did not think that they would get along, but they found their way. For example, Owen seriously came to like Hetta better and better each time he met her. This is definitely not a love at first sight book. It was slow going, from slowly learning to get along well to liking each other and then to falling in love.

The plot and the minor characters were what stood out to me more than anything else. They made me want to know more and come back for more every time. It did have multiple plots that engaged me. It was not too hectic with too much happening, however I do think that the love story was a little too stretched out.

I would like to mention this book was released before. Since I have not read the previous version, so I can not really say what the difference is. But I do like the cover of the new book more than the previous one.

Texas Bride is a great read for western romance lovers who adore slow developing satisfying love stories.

Shadows Of Our Past by Tanya Jean Russell


Shadows Of Our Past by Tanya Jean Russell
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (214 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Jackson Halland has spent ten years running from a mistake that cost him everything, including Amory Jackson, the woman he loved. With his gut wrenching response to her reappearance, he realizes that if she will forgive him, then maybe, just maybe, he can forgive himself.

After ten years of working undercover, Amory agrees to one final mission. Vowing to get justice for the woman she promised, and failed to protect, nothing will stand in her way, not the prolific criminal she’s determined to bring down and certainly not coming face to face with the man she fell in love with on her very first undercover assignment. Even if he has no idea who she really is, or the part she played in his past.

Amory is tired of undercover work and determined to move her life into a different direction. She agrees to do one more job, only this one seems like a catastrophe from the beginning. Jack Davis is her target’s brother and he could easily blow her cover – since Jack was part of Amory’s first operation and she was responsible for sending him to jail. But this job is worth the risk, but Amory doesn’t realise that her heart might be on the line too.

I really enjoyed this character-driven mystery. Amory is an interesting and quite complex character, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and watching her try to juggle all the various balls in her operation. This story had a bit of a feel of a spy-like thriller to me, Amory needing to keep a whole bunch of people, actions, reactions and counter-reactions all moving along smoothly while simultaneously trying to guess what would happen next and how best to achieve her mission. This alone meant the story was complex and rich – and to my mind made the plot interesting enough it retained my attention throughout the story. Add in the complexity of Jack turning up and being the estranged brother of the key player to Amory’s plan and that just added a delicious extra layer to this story as a whole.

I loved that the romance sub-plot was subtle. I truly feel the mystery – and complex mission – was front and centre, but having Jack around, and the memories he invoked in Amory just added that lovely simmering romantic tension that had me eagerly turning the pages, waiting to see how their reconnection (and hopefully their starting a romance up again properly as adults this time) would unfold. I was delighted to not be left disappointed. While not overly explicit, I did enjoy the steamy sex scenes which I found to be full of love and tension. Amory and Jack have chemistry in abundance – they both have their own reasons for thinking their relationship will go nowhere, but neither are able to resist the lure of love they feel for the other.

I was a little concerned that Amory’s deception to Jack for her work would either become a clichéd or over the top. I felt the author did an excellent job handling Jack finding out the truth. While he was understandably angry and felt betrayed I thought the pacing and level of drama attached to his sorting through his emotions and thoughts was handled really well. It wasn’t drawn out but neither skimmed over, and I was particularly pleased with how Amory acknowledged her part in Jack’s pain – but how she refused to take responsibility for his choices and actions.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this story, finding the plot complex and substantial and the characters vibrant, realistic and engrossing. The author has woven together a fantastic story with some sizzling chemistry and a lovely romantic sub-plot. A great read and one I shall absolutely enjoy again a number of times in the future.

The Eager Boy by Sean Michael


The Eager Boy by Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (193 pages)
Other: M/M, BDSM, Toys, Spanking/Flogging
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

An Iron Eagle Gym Novel

Eight months ago Robin Secoya left his lover and master, Stack Lobond, because he didn’t believe Stack really cared about him. He was sure that for Stack, any warm body would do, and Robin wasn’t willing to be just a warm body anymore.

A chance meeting at the Iron Eagle Gym brings them back together, and old feelings aren’t far from the surface. They decide they can’t pass up a second chance at romance. But this time, it isn’t just Stack’s demanding career as a big-cat vet putting strain on their relationship. Robin also has a new job that takes up a lot of his time.

Will their kinky love affair crash and burn a second time, or can they find the balance that will allow the passion between them to flourish?

Robin and Stack had broken up because Robin felt Stack simply wanted a warm person to fuck and he was tired of that being all their relationship was built around. But when Robin joins the Iron Eagle Gym – a gym geared towards the BDSM community – he and Stack find each other again. Can this time be different for them both?

I really enjoyed this character-driven BDSM story. Both Robin and Stack have a serious history together, but have been broken up for a while. Poor communication between them and Stack’s demanding job drove their relationship to the point where Robin was lonely and feeling truly neglected, and after trying to talk about it a few times he decided to leave. So there is baggage and complications between them in trying to mend their relationship and find their way forward together.

Usually I don’t enjoy the style of stories revolved around patching up a broken relationship – normally the reasons for the relationship failing are either too weak and leave me feeling like they were simply a plot device, or they are genuine and serious enough I don’t always feel the reconciliation is believable. I was really happy, therefore, when the author made this story both believable and serious enough that I found the story both gripping and realistic. Also, there wasn’t some “easy fix” where Robin and Stack just had a long, serious conversation and their relationship magically worked perfectly. They both had to continuously work at it and put in some serious effort – which made the whole plot even more believable to me.

Also, there was plenty of deliciously hot and kinky sex. Both men had a strong history together, and clearly still loved each other deeply – so the sex between them was both hot and intense. Neither of them had any issues in the bedroom and that wasn’t where their relationship problems lay, so the fact there was oodles of sex throughout the story didn’t feel like padding but more the easiest medium for Stack and Robin to connect together. I feel the author did a great job of balancing the “loads of sex” aspect of the story along with the trickier and more emotional “patching up the relationship” aspects of the plot. I appreciated that neither Robin nor Stack were 100% to blame for the break up, both had been somewhat at fault and both needed to learn certain things and work on their romance together. I was really pleased this wasn’t a case where one party was at fault and their issues were unbalanced, there were problems on both sides and they each had to keep up the effort and that kept things evenly balanced to my mind.

I really enjoyed this story and found it full of interesting sex, a strong romantic/relationship based plot and with two interesting and vibrant characters. There were a few familiar faces from previous stories – though this can absolutely be read as a stand-alone – and a few new faces that will hopefully be showcased in upcoming stories. A great read and one I will enjoy again in the future.