Mind Games by AJ Graham


Mind Games by AJ Graham
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Rafael has been called many things throughout time — demon, fairy, monster — but even he has no idea what he truly is. The only thing he knows for sure is that he’s not human… and that he can influence the minds of those around him without even trying.

He hides in plain sight, making a living as a magician and stage hypnotist, allowing his audiences to assume that his feats of mind-reading are mere illusion. Most humans succumb easily to his powers of persuasion, but when his very presence robs people of free will, it’s hard to truly get close to anyone.

When he meets Carrie, a strong-willed and wounded woman uniquely resistant to his abilities, Rafael is intrigued. But Carrie fears his powers. She won’t easily open up to him, but he’s determined to get into her head.

A hardheaded woman and a mystery man…

I’ve read other books by AJ Graham and liked them, so when I saw this one, I had to pick it up. I’m glad I did. Carrie and Rafael are great together. I liked that she didn’t just give in to him. He had to work for her. It was relatable and fun.

This is a short story, so it got wrapped up a bit fast, but it was perfect for an afternoon read. I liked the heat, too. Rafael and Carrie really scorch the page. I liked that he had to work for her affection and that she wasn’t really interested in him right away.

If you’re looking for something hot and short, then this might be the book for you. I recommend it.

Stolen Bride by Samantha Cayto


Stolen Bride by Samantha Cayto
Treaty Brides, Book 3
Publisher: Pride Publishing, Totally Entwined
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Being a bride is a state of mind, not of body.

Prince Ronan of Moorcondia knows he is one of the luckiest boys alive. As the king’s second son, he has status and wealth without the heavy weight of the crown. Every man admires his hedonistic ways, but his behavior masks a shame that he feels. What he really desires is a quiet life with a man whom he can love.

Jarl Tarben is on a mission to save his people from starvation. Efforts to forge a treaty with Moorcondia have come to naught. In a desperate bid, Tarben has been tasked with abducting Ronan and forcing him into marriage. As distasteful and dishonorable as the scheme is, duty demands that he obey. He refuses to bed the prince by force, however, leaving it Ronan’s choice.

Ronan vows not to succumb to the temptation that Tarben presents. Pride alone dictates that he remain chaste, even as he grows closer to the barbarian. Tarben is everything Ronan ever dreamed of, and the lure of him grows stronger with each day that politics keeps them together.

When unseen forces threaten to consume them both, they must put aside pride and join forces to protect both their peoples.

Two men, one problem and a sexy solution.

I haven’t read a book like this in a while and I’m glad. This one was a breath of fresh air. The fantasy was well done and kept my interest throughout. I liked the setting and felt like I was there. This isn’t the first book by Samantha Cayto that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last.

Ronan and Jarl are great together. The beginning and the circumstances where they’re supposed to get together are a bit sketchy, in a good way. I liked how the author wrote them and the way they handled the various situations. Jarl and Ronan are great together and I wanted more of them. I liked the push-pull and couldn’t get enough of them.

If you’re looking for a book that’s hot and fun while being fantastical, then this is the one for you. Check it out!

The Devil’s Lover by Alexa Piper


The Devil’s Lover by Alexa Piper
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Lionel and Lucifer are drawn deeper into a murder case, but they are set on solving it together.

Just when Lionel’s love life has gone back to normal — normal meaning the kinky Devil making his ownership known — Lionel’s murder case gets stranger. Lionel’s birth father seems to have his hands in the mystery, and Lionel finds himself in the sights of Eris, goddess of discord.

Lucifer used to be a prime example of a powerful underworld deity with all the knowledge and skill to take care of a lover in the bedroom. But that was before Lucifer fell properly in love and won over his necromantic boyfriend, who also happens to be a demigod. Lionel’s innate magic, magical skill, and stubborn nature make it exceedingly difficult for Lucifer to be the alpha god he wants to be for Lionel.

Lucifer is set on finding a way to provide for the man he loves and to fulfill Lionel’s every desire. But before he can focus entirely on his necromancer, the two of them must solve the case, prevent primordial deities from being raised and destroying the world, and learn to communicate better. It’s what relationships and crime solving are all about.

The devil and a necromancer meet…they fall in love and solve mysteries. What a series.

I did like the show Lucifer, but I rather wondered what it would’ve been like had the lead character been gay. Now, through this series, I get to find out how it would play out. I do like it a lot.

Lucifer and Lionel make a good pair. They’re kind to each other, considerate and complement each other well. Their love story is cute, too. It’s also pretty hot. Can’t knock that.

This is a mystery and I liked that I wasn’t able to figure out the mystery right away. That kept me in my seat needing to know what would happen next. It felt like there were a few loose ends in this book, but it’s also part of a series and I haven’t read all of the others yet. I wasn’t lost, but there did seem to be a bit that wasn’t rectified at the end.

Still, it’s a hot book and great for an afternoon that’s chilly. If you’re looking for a book featuring the devil and a necromancer, filled with love and sweetness, plus a mystery, then this might be the one for you.

A Lovely Paradox by Mahiraj Jadeja


A Lovely Paradox by Mahiraj Jadeja
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

When Raj, a common Indian man whose background was traditional and religious falls in love with Bella living in USA through Facebook, being innocent and crazy in love, he went for an American job visa against his parents wishes selling his ancestral land to meet her love and propose her for marriage but there was to lot to prove that whether his love for her was real or was it just plain lust?

This is a quick read novella and would be suitable for readers who enjoy whirlwind romances that are unpredictable. Erotic, highly emotional and sensitive, A Lovely Paradox is a novella which will surprise you, and will make you deeply move with a twist that no one expected in the end!

Facebook brought them together, but will it keep them that way?

I liked that this book has hints of Hindi culture in it. I liked being exposed to that culture and practices. It opened my eyes in a good way. The storyline is cute–they meet on Facebook, and he leaves his homeland to meet her and fall in love with her in person. It’s cute. I liked the characters. Raj and Bella have good chemistry and I did root for them.

But I had some quibbles with the story, too. This read like English wasn’t the author’s first language. There were spots where the story didn’t flow well, and a bit of editing could go a long way. There’s promise in the story, but it reads a bit choppy. This might not bother some readers, but it took away from the overall enjoyment for me. It’s a short story and cute but could use just a bit of help to make it a fantastic story.

If you’re looking for a short romance that’s something a little different, then by all means, give this one a try. It’s got lots of love and promise.

Courting Christmas by J Hali Steele


Courting Christmas by J Hali Steele
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Tomasina Parks is responsible for making sure her boss’s first holiday event goes off smoothly. Chasing a gate crasher who swipes the party’s money tree is not in her plan. Neither does she expect a guest to follow her home and discover her most guarded secret.

Court Germaine shares DNA with a cunning creature, and it craves freedom as he stands in an apartment lobby eyeing a dog — who turns into a woman. Christmas lights from a miniature tree flash multicolor ribbons on a beautiful, petite body — the body of another genetic anomaly — one smelling like heaven!

Two shifters, one holiday and a lot of heat.

I love the books of J Hali Steele and this one was no exception. It’s funny, the writing flows well and it’s hot. That’s a plus. I wanted a hot, short holiday read and this one ticked all the boxes.

Tomi and Court are both at the same holiday party and not as attendees, but to work. I liked their interactions. I also liked that in this animal world, the women run things. That’s a great change. At least it was for me. I liked how these two had to work out their issues and the way the holiday spirit played into it. Tomi is a good foil for Court and he’s just as good of one for her.

If you’re looking for something hot, short and fun for a holiday read or to heat up a snowy evening, then this is the one for you. Check it out. I recommend it.

River Hag by Pelaam


River Hag by Pelaam
Book five in The Devil’s in the Details series
Publisher: Pride Publishing, Totally Entwined
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Erotic Romance, Paranormal, LGBTQ
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Sometimes, a friend in need can be deadly in deed.

Keegan has an abusive stepfather, Frank, and is bullied at college. He dodges bullies, led by Owen, by hiding close to the river. He tells his friend about the attacks and his narrow escape. The next day in college, pondweed is found in Owen’s locker, and he blames Keegan. The pondweed is sent to John Bull, and on examination is found to have a paranormal resonance, so he sends Emery, Alex and Kadin to investigate.

When Owen is found drowned in a bathtub, secured with pondweed, the team believe they’re dealing with a grindylow—a river hag. They need to establish whether the creature is acting for its own ends or at someone’s direction. Circumstances point to Keegan, but the team can’t find the connection and feel time is running out.

The next victim is Keegan’s stepfather, and with Keegan missing, Kadin decides to try to communicate with his spirit. He learns that the grindylow is protecting Keegan, but the team know that its nature means that Bo, now Keegan’s lover, will be the next victim.

But first, they need to find Keegan.

A protector that might not be so protecting after all.

I love the books of Pelaam and this was no exception. The story clips along well and got me right into the action. I didn’t feel confused because it’s book 5 and I wasn’t caught up. Instead, it reads as a nice little standalone. It’s creepy in spots, tender and romantic in others and gripping.

Keegan hasn’t had the best time in life. He’s been abused and bullied. His character is someone many can relate to. I liked how the grindylow came into the picture and how it interacted with Keegan. He needed a protector. Enter his friend.

Then there’s Bo, Keegan’s boyfriend. He’s sweet and everything Keegan needs in a lover. I liked him right away. I wanted to see them have a happy ending, too.

I liked the twists and turns in this story and can’t wait to read the others. It’s a complicated story and takes a bit of unraveling to keep it straight, but I had to know what would happen next.

If you’re looking for something that’s off the beaten path, sweet and original, then this is the book for you. Check it out.

Warlock by Marteeka Karland


Warlock by Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Warlock: Love didn’t stop me from killing my ex when I had to — wasn’t a choice I made lightly, but more lives than hers were on the line. Black Reign gave me the second chance I didn’t deserve, and never again would I put a woman above my club.

Then along comes this little vagabond who claims my mother left me to her in her will. Is that even possible? And to top it off, it looks like my mother pulled some strings and got us married. Without my consent. Still, I think I’d rather be married to the crazy woman my mother foisted off on me than play Santa at the club’s annual Christmas party. Yeah. Not a role I’m made for.

Hope: Christmas magic being what it is, maybe I can get my fondest wish this year. To say Warlock isn’t happy to find out he’s married to me is the biggest understatement in the history of understatements. Still doesn’t make me want my fantasy lover any less.

Warlock represents everything I’ve ever wanted in life. But the fact that I achieved my dreams through more manipulation — even if it wasn’t of my doing — means I have to give him up. But first, Warlock has to see beyond his past and embrace a future he never wanted.

Mother knows best.

Or at least she thinks she does, in Marteeka Karland’s Warlock, the ninth book in the Black Reign motorcycle club romance series. Maximilian ‘Warlock’ Wagner’s life has been shitty as of late, and Black Reign has offered him the second chance he so desperately needs. When Hope comes along stating that Warlock’s mother gave him to her in marriage through her will, both of their lives become infinitely more complicated, and they must decide what they want their future to look like (and whether they want the other person in it).

I’ve been a fan of motorcycle club romances for a while now, but what drew me to this book was the premise. The idea of someone’s mother willing their adult child to another person in their will sounded too outrageous not to check out. In theory, one of the lawyers or officials involved in the process should have noticed that Warlock was not there to consent to the union. However, I was very shocked to learn that no one did and that their union is legal (still not sure how that would hold up in real life though).

Hope and Warlock are both very damaged souls. Warlock spent a good chunk of his life loving someone who didn’t love him back, and after making an unthinkable choice to exact justice he’s spent the time since filled with regret and anger. Hope, on the other hand, has never had a family and was naively optimistic that everything with Warlock would end up in an immediate happily ever after. Thankfully for both of them, motorcycle clubs are a very welcoming and tight-knit environment full of people willing to help them work their issues out.

Motorcycle club romance fans looking for a short holiday romance will enjoy this book. As a note, this book is part of a series, but I didn’t have any issues understanding what was going on without having read any of the previous installments (this is the first book I’ve read in the series).

Storm Warning by Alex Winters


Storm Warning by Alex Winters
Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: LGBTQ, Erotic Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The only force stronger than the approaching hurricane was their hidden desire for one another…

Beck Carlson is prepping for the approaching storm when a random voice offers to help. Beck is more than surprised. After all, he thought he was alone in the Purple Pelican condos, everyone else having evacuated in the advance of Hurricane Ellen. Instead, a handsome ginger waif, Ford Wilson, pokes his head out of his front door, limping along in a big plastic boot after a recent skateboard accident. Bruised and battered, he’s been unable to prep for the hurricane.

A native Floridian who’s seen his share of storms, Beck takes pity on the sexy skater boy, sharing his own hurricane supplies and showing him the ropes as Ford hunkers down for his first Category 3 storm. After the two part ways for the duration, Beck feels bad, returning with fresh supplies and offering to weather the storm in Ford’s condo. A nervous Ford gratefully accepts, locking them both inside for a whirlwind romance as intense as the approaching storm, and just as dangerous…

A storm? Nothing outruns a storm, except maybe love.

I’ve never read anything by Alex Winters and I’m glad I rectified that. This was a cute story with plenty of sizzle. I got right into the story and couldn’t put it down. I felt like I was right there with the characters while they dealt with the storm and the oncoming desire.

This is told from the first-person perspective, via Ford and Beck. It was nice to be in their POVs and know what they were thinking as they got to know each other. I’m not wild about first person, but in this story, it worked. They’re relatable characters–Ford being a bit of a klutz on his skateboard and green at riding out storms and Beck being the epitome of don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover. They’re book likable and fun. Plus, the steam between them is great.

I did have a few quibbles beyond this being in first person. With a little more editing, this could be a great story. There were a couple editing issues that took me out of the story but might not bother other readers.

All in all, this is a hot short story about two unlikely characters finding each other in the midst of a crazy situation and realizing they have a lot more in common than every believed. If you’re in the mood for something hot and short, then this is the book you’re looking for.

The Surprise by Treva Harte


The Surprise by Treva Harte
Soliciting a Lady, Book 4
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Holiday, Historical, Erotic Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The present Earl of Northernly and his wife are waiting for Christmas and their new baby. But then the previous Earl’s wife returns with a child who may be the real heir. Can Cousin Sarah and William be in time to unravel this mystery?

Christmas time should be joyous for Kit Aldean, the new Earl of Northernly, and his wife, Emily. They will have a new child arriving for the new year. But to their surprise, they first get a Yuletide visitor — the previous Earl’s wife, who had vanished years ago. She presents them with a child who may be the real heir. Fortunately, their next visitors are Cousin Sarah and her husband, William. They’ve solved mysteries before, but can they manage this one in time?

Christmas time is the time for coming together and surprises?

This is a quick read, but if you’re a fan of Treva Harte – who isn’t? – then you need to read it. If you haven’t read it, then what are you waiting for? This short story packs a wallop. There’s mystery, romance and holiday festivities. I loved it.

Kit and Emily are ready to be the heads of the household and can’t wait to welcome their first child. I love this kind of Christmas story because it’s full of hope. Then there’s the mystery of the wife of the former head. She’s thought to have disappeared.

I loved how this story had twists and turns which kept me on my feet. The writing plugged along well, and I couldn’t put this down. This isn’t a complicated story, but it’s one where you must pay attention. Those are my favorites. There’s heat, heart and holiday magic.

How can you go wrong? Give this story a try and check out the others in the series. I know I will be.

The Lady of the Mirrored Lake by Jennifer Ivy Walker


The Lady of the Mirrored Lake by Jennifer Ivy Walker
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Hunted by the Black Widow Queen, Issylte–a healer with the verdant magic of the forest–must flee Avalon with the two finest knights in the Celtic realm, both wrongly accused of treason. The trio travels to Bretagne, where Issylte heals a critically injured wolf and obtains fiercely loyal, shapeshifting allies.

In mystical Brocéliande, Issylte becomes a warrior priestess of the Tribe of Dana and otherworldly mate of the Blue Knight of Cornwall, discovering with Tristan a passion that transcends all bounds. When she becomes the Lady of the Mirrored Lake, sworn to defend the sacred waters of the Goddess, Issylte must undertake a perilous quest to discover what priceless object lies hidden in its murky depths.

As a nascent evil emerges in a fetid cave, Issylte and Tristan must face a diabolical trio that threatens their lives, their love, and their kingdoms.

Enchanted. Enflamed. Entwined. Can their passion and power prevail?

A breath-taking adventure set in a world of chivalry.

The Lady of the Mirrored Lake continues where book one left off and I absolutely recommend you read this as a series rather than a set of standalones. There is a big character list and if you don’t start at the beginning, there is a chance you will get lost.

The story moves on brilliantly, taking the reader along on a breath-taking adventure when chivalry was still a code to live by. Issylte gains more strength every time something is thrown at her. Tristan also has his own trials to contend with, but they always return to each other. I am loving the way the story is taking me to places unknown and yet still recognizable from old tales.

However, I do have to mention a couple of things. Firstly, it can get repetitive in places with repeated words and phrases. The second thing is random words are italicized, which is fine when it’s a French word, but not so good when it’s a regular word and for no apparent reason.

Anyway, if you ignore those couple of things – which really don’t have that much of an impact on the overall story – this is a great addition to the series. I can’t wait for the story to continue and have no hesitation in recommending it.