Habitat for Human Remains by Scott A. Lerner


Habitat for Human Remains by Scott A. Lerner
Publisher: Camel Press
Genre:Contemporary, Horror, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (258 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

For the forces of evil, Sam Roberts is catnip. Even during periods of calm, Sam knows that evil is just biding its time before challenging him again. So when he is asked to defend a wealthy shut-in charged with murder, he is suspicious. Why is the largest and wealthiest law firm in town hiring an outside attorney who is a sole practitioner to represent Mr. Blake May? Sam’s client resides in the sublimely creepy Frost Home, a “haunted” mansion given a wide berth by the residents of Champaign, Illinois. The house has been engulfed in rumors of death, missing children, and mystery since before the Civil War. Blake May is accused of not only murdering his girlfriend but decimating the remains until they look like marinara. But the agoraphobic middle-aged man rarely, if ever, left his rooms. If he indeed killed Heather, why can’t the police find a murder weapon? Everyone seems to want Blake declared insane rather than acquitted. Sam and his buddy Bob Sizemore know that Heather’s grizzly fate can’t be blamed on something as mundane as murder. There is a force at work in the house, and it seems to emanate from the mirror hung in the room where the remains of the body were found. Can Sam and Bob end the Frost Home’s eerie legacy of evil?

A funny horror story? Well, it really is.

Good grief, this was a creepy-crawly story with a mystery and even a love story all mixed in together. I will tell you in advance that this is not usually a genre I would read but this was so funny I couldn’t stop. The dialog that was created between Sam, the lawyer and Bob, his friend, had me giggling out loud half the time. One funny character and one relatively serious one were great creations by Scott Lerner. Lerner also pokes a little bit of fun at his own profession here but the legal world is not the focus of his story.

This story is about an attorney being offered a big case by a big firm. He can’t let it pass because of… money, of course. Even while picking up the check he is wondering why the firm would farm it out to him. It has a huge scary haunted house in it that you can just picture. It’s about the lives of two guys still looking for love and yes, it has a little bit of horrid scary scenes. How Scott Lerner managed to put all of this together and have me reading every page, I can’t tell you. However, I can tell you that this is well-written and Sam and Bob become your friends. I have said many times that any author that can make characters your friends and/or your enemies is a talented writer. Once you are caught right up in a story with your buddies, you will never miss a word.

This one is Book 5 in his series titled “A Samuel Roberts Thriller”. Looks like Books 1 through 4 are rated really high too so they must be just as good or better. Let’s read them too and hope he’s writing Book 6.

Grinders Corner by Ferris Craig and Charlene Keel


Grinders Corner by Ferris Craig and Charlene Keel
Publisher: Red Sky Presents
Genre: Historical (Vintage)
Length: Full (368 pgs)
Heat level: Sensual
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Grinders Corner explores the world of taxi dance halls in the 1960s in all its raw hilarity. Saucy, sassy and sexy, but not the least bit erotic, it follows the adventures of three young women trying to survive in the glitter palaces of Los Angeles.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, Uptown, a newly divorced English major with panic anxiety disorder and no job skills, Voluptua, an out of work actress, and Mouse, a former child star trying to make a comeback all struggle to make enough tickets to pay the bills. Things get complicated when Uptown falls in love with a customer who happens to be a priest.

In Grinders Corner it was a simpler time, long before gentlemen’s clubs and pole dancers, and it happened in a place where shy, lonely men could talk to women, even dance with them, with no fear of rejection—for about fifteen cents a minute.

This book is a hoot! This is not the standard rom/com… it’s a book where misfits come together and make for themselves a new reality!

I had no idea that “taxi dancers” still existed into the 60s. I thought it was exclusive to the 20s and 30s. It was interesting to get a glimpse of a different time and a different way of living.

The story is told from the point of view of Uptown; however, it is based on true events in the life of author Ferris H. Craig (Mouse, in the book).

The characters are wonderfully drawn and some of the experiences described in the book were truly “laugh out loud”-able. Uptown starts the job as a naïve woman but under the tutelage of her new friends, Mouse and Voluptua, soon gets an education like she never experienced before.

Kudos to the authors for such a fun, entertaining work!

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Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir by Lauri Robinson


Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Pages: Full length (288 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

To claim his heir…

…he must marry his enemy!

Gabe Callaway is outraged when feisty Janette Parker lands on his doorstep with her orphaned niece—though he soon realizes little Ruby is heir to his ranch! If Janette wants money, he’ll pay her off to keep the little girl in her rightful place. But all Janette wants is Ruby… Will Gabe do whatever it takes to claim his heir—even marry Janette?

If you have not read a Lauri Robinson book then I don’t know what you are waiting for. This is my fifth one and apparently she’s written thirty four. Why didn’t I discover her books sooner? Better late than never.

Sometimes when you read multiple books by the same author they become monotonous. This can’t be said about Ms. Robinson’s novels. I’m flabbergasted at how the author has once again delivered a flawless writing style that articulated an eloquent and fluent plot. Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir is another original work of art by Ms. Robinson filled with relatable characters and heartwarming drama that left me with unforgettable memories.

Gabe Callaway, the hero, was headstrong, handsome, and responsible with an endearing sensitive side that appeared on several occasions when he was around the heroine, Janet Parker.

Janet Parker was equally as headstrong, beautiful, and capable of taking care of herself. When Janet and Gabe were together it was fun to see who could outwit the other. I was thoroughly entertained when they were ultimately both outwitted by someone unexpected – a hilarious plot twist.

There’s so much more to this story than the synopsis alludes to. There is a tiny suspense story line involving Janet. I was riveted to the book well past my bed time. It was swoon worthy how Gabe became her protector.

I emphatically implore readers to read Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir. I fell in love with Gabe and Janet and the epilogue sealed the deal.

Grand Opening 2 by Carl Weber


Grand Opening 2 by Carl Weber
Publisher: Urban Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

The year is 1978, the Duncan brothers and their tough-as-nails women have vanquished their rivals and taken their place as the leaders of Waycross, Georgia’s criminal enterprises. However, their rise to power has not gone unnoticed, and the family is rocked when their mother, Ms. Bettie, is kidnapped and her body is found in a swamp.

No one knows who the killers are, but instead of drawing closer, the family is split when their grief-stricken leader, LC, is offered membership in the South’s most powerful black organization, the Council. Membership has its privileges, but they do not include his brothers. LC packs up his growing family and moves to Atlanta to open his first car dealership.

Unable to deal with his mother’s death, Lou Duncan searches for her killers with the help of an unlikely ally—LC’s ex-fiancée. Her presence may cost him his relationship with his brothers, but Lou is resigned to that fact because Donna’s help is instrumental in finding Ms. Bettie’s abductors. What he will soon learn is that his search for the truth will also lead him to discover a long-buried Duncan family secret.

I love the Duncan clan!

The characters are so real and each has their own personality and brings something interesting to the story. The writing is so well crafted that each individual’s personality makes the character seem so alive it’s as if they are interacting with the reader. The oldest Lou, Levi the big guy but a gentle teddy bear, unpredictable Larry and LC the brains of the brothers…I loved them all.

The author never disappoints and always delivers a plot that is entertaining and keeps me wanting more. This title was just as good as the previous titles. Reading about the beginning of the family helps the reader to understand and get to know the characters in depth for the stories that follow. The plot and the story line is consistent. There are a few typos in the beginning but to be honest after the kidnapping I didn’t notice if there were any typos because my focus was more on the actions in the book.

The plot is interesting all the way around. The suspense of who took the Duncan’s mom and what is the deal behind The Council made this an awesome read. The Duncans are family men and brothers that stick together through it all. They are strong men that marry and have strong women by their side. I look forward to reading more about the Duncan family.

I enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend for readers that enjoy interesting suspense reads.

The Dating Diet by Daralyse Lyons


The Dating Diet by Daralyse Lyons
Publisher: Books To Go Now Publications
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (288 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

What if you found yourself climbing out of a bedroom window, naked, in the middle of the afternoon, to avoid being caught in bed with your married lover? Would you have second thoughts about dating?

After Shayla Ross discovers that yet another potential “Mr. Right” is, in fact, incredibly wrong for her, she decides to go on a diet. No. She’s not going to forgo her much-loved, sinfully-delicious girl scout cookies or her (admittedly too frequent) trips to McDonalds. Shayla is going on a dating diet.

An incredibly hapless and infinitely loveable heroine, elementary school teacher Shayla Ross decides to take her summer vacation from teaching as a period of self-discovery. Much to the chagrin of her meddling mother, Shayla sets out to find herself and, in the process, bumbles into a series of successive funny and heartwarming interpersonal interactions that will have readers falling in love with her.

A dating diet sounds easy, right? In reality Shayla find it’s not easy at all. After several dead end dates and a relationship with a divorced man, who’s not really free, she decides to swear off men for the summer. Things go well until she meets Dunkin but thankfully they decide to remain friends.

I really enjoyed this book. It is lighthearted and goes from one hilarious episode to another. Dunkin and Shayla play off one another in a series of one upmanship where they try to embarrass each other. Shayla gets involved in various disastrous events and her gay friend Brice involves her in his on again – off again relationship and after the dust has cleared everyone is able to see the funny side of things.

There’s the usual ex girlfriend, ex boyfriend relationship interference which add a bit of spice to the story. There’s also an air of mystery in a will they – won’t they get together and this is not resolved until the end. Even then a disastrous decision by Shayla could make it go either way.

As I got involved with the characters and the story I couldn’t help thinking it reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s style of writing. Amusing story with a light hearted approach and an underlying serious thread.

Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren


Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin Western Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (224 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

FIRST LOVE, SECOND CHANCE

Maribel McCray knew moving back to Horseshoe, Texas, would mean facing Elias Rebel, the cowboy she was forbidden to love in high school. She just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. With her teenage son, Chase, in trouble, she needs Elias’s help. He may be a Rebel, sworn enemy of every McCray, but he’s also Chase’s father.

For the lone bachelor of the Rebel clan, there’s only one way to make up for lost years with his son—become a family for real. But Maribel’s distance runs deeper than the Rebel-McCray feud. Elias won’t settle for a marriage of convenience with the woman he’s falling for again. How can he convince Maribel some second chances are worth taking?

I really enjoyed this book. I’m disappointed that I didn’t find the Texas Rebels series by Linda Warren sooner. This is the seventh and last book in the series. I am going to have to go back and read the rest of the stories because I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy them based on how much I enjoyed reading this one.

I really need to point out that this story was a heartwarming romance about second chances. The heroine, Maribel, was written in a way that she could very possibly be me or someone I know. She has realistic issues that I can’t get into but I genuinely could understand from a personal perspective. In fact the advice she was given had a direct impact on me. Therefore I can consider this book to be inspirational. I quote, “You may not understand that kind of love, but sometimes people love the way they can”. That statement spoke to me and was powerful and meaningful to the plot. I admired Maribel for her courage and vulnerability as well as her ability to forgive.

I really connected with Elias, the hero, because he shared my values in a relationship. Elias and I both need vows of love to be shared at some point in the relationship. However, Maribel shared my values as far as needing to see love through actions not just with the words “I love you”. Together they demonstrated true love. I respected how Maribel and Elias were direct and honest with each other. No mind games.

When I read a romance book I want to be able to rave about it. I am so excited to be able to do just that. Everything was remarkable. The writing style, the plot, the characters, the pace, and the originality all had me captured from the start to the end. While this story was the ending in the series, fortunately for me it was my beginning. I will get to go back and meet all of the characters in the Rebel and McCray families that I briefly got to know and fall in love with in Texas Rebels: Elias.

I am quite thankful that I stumbled upon this book and I can definitely recommend it. Texas Rebels: Elias was an extremely enjoyable read for me. Just be prepared to “expect the unexpected”. This novel is more than meets the eye.

Playing by the Greek’s Rules by Sarah Morgan


Playing by the Greek’s Rules by Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (192 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

It’s time to throw away the rule book…

Idealistic archaeologist Lily Rose craves a fairy-tale love, but in her experience it always ends in heartbreak. So now Lily’s trying a different approach—a fling with her boss, infamous Greek playboy Nik Zervakis!

Anti-love and anti-family, Nik lives by his own set of rules. There’s no one better to teach Lily how to separate sizzling sex from deep emotions! But while Nik has the world at his feet, he also has dark shadows in his heart…

It starts as a sensual game, but can Lily stick to Nik’s rules? And what’s more, can he?

This is a romance story to hug close and re-read when I need a happy boost. The premise uses a typical trope but the delivery is pure magic and Lily Rose is so delightful and funny, I loved the heroine’s personality. Mr. Iceberg Nik didn’t stand a chance.

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Morgan for quite a number of years but I have no idea how in the world I missed reading this little gem. It’s practically perfect. I can say in all honesty that I disturbed my hubby’s concentration as he watched his favorite T.V. show because I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. First it was the power shower, and then there were two other scenes at which I was powerless to stop the giggles bursting forth. I talked out loud to my Nook and gasped when I figured out who Lily was talking to on the phone. Oh no! Oh, yes. That’s Lily for you. The heroine’s effect on Nik must have felt like a roller coaster to him; many times I’m sure he felt the sudden drop after the amazing highs only to feel dizzy from the loop-de-loop that is the heroine’s personality. She kept him on his toes. He never knew what she’d say next and that was half the fun.

Dialogue. I absolutely, totally, without doubt or hesitation, ADORED Lily’s dialogue. How Nik held out from falling in love with her as long as he did astounded me. She made me laugh with her turns of phrase. I cannot say enough good things about how Ms. Morgan presented her heroine and her quirky nature. Everyone should have someone in their life that is as imaginative with their dialogue, idioms and phraseology as Lily’s was. It worked because her character came across as sincere, caring, loving and supportive. The one element that I believe is her greatest strength was her capacity for forgiveness. That is a personality trait that would benefit everyone in real life and the author had her heroine live it, not just pay lip service to the sentiment. I was very impressed.

Any reader who is serious about reading quality romance stories needs to pick up their own copy of Playing by the Greek’s Rules to see what I’m waxing poetic about. If I can find this in a print book format somewhere, I’m buying it so I can literally put this on my ‘keeper shelf’. That’s how good this book made me feel after I read the final paragraph and why I give this novel a high rating. Ms. Morgan rocks!

Brynnde by M. Pepper Langlinais


Brynnde by M. Pepper Langlinais
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (212 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Brynnde Archambault needs to find someone to marry, else she’ll be stuck with dull Mr. Dallweather. The answer to her problem arrives in the form of handsome and witty Viscount Burbridge, but just when everything seems to be going smoothly, scandal strikes and the engagement ends.

Meanwhile, Brynnde has no trouble matchmaking her friends and even her own brother. But while she breezily finds suitors for everyone else, for her time is running out. Must she resign herself to becoming Mrs. Dallweather? Or will Brynnde yet succeed in making a match for herself?

An unexpected gem, Brynnde will restore Regency readers’ joy in reading–and rejoice in discovering author Pepper Langlinais!

Quite properly, if I may say so, this regency romance offers all the correct components: the marriage-mart, the slightly-stifled leading lady, unexpected scandal, ballrooms and tea rooms and gossip! What’s more, Proper Regency though it is, Brynnde (the story and the character) manages to be a bit unpredictable. Brynnde, who “will not be treated like a heifer,” has a good head on her shoulders and is quite the match for sparring in the drawing room. Her combative conversations are superb!

There are a plethora of characters, but they are distinct, and never confusing. The author’s style gives a bit of flavor to this historical. Is it subtle word choice? A particular care when offering a phrase? I cannot quite put my finger on it, but she can twist a bit of ‘funny’ into action, unexpectedly. This is the most enjoyable story I have read in quite a while.

Bryndde is a fun, uncomplicated, well-written read that any fan of the genre should pick up.

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde


The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: Full Length (362 pgs)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he’s suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden’s “wake up” has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm’s length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he’s buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.

Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.

I’ve never read a Catherine Ryan Hyde book I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, and this one was no exception.

What I like most about this author’s stories is she lets you connect with the characters from page one, you feel for them, you cheer them on, and the lead character, Aiden, made me feel that way. The other characters are just as well created but it’s Aiden that you feel yourself empathizing with the most as he struggles with his new found ‘gift’, that of feeling others pain. Well, not just humans but animals too which isn’t a good thing for a man who’s a cattle rancher.

This story is a page turner and not just because of its plot but it you feel the essential emotional pull that makes you want to read more and read on to see how Aiden’s new life evolves. Another interesting character in this story is Milo, the young son of Aiden’s new love interest. Milo’s got his own issues, his own pain from the past and it’s all brought out beautifully when he and Aiden start to interact and gradually begin the healing process.

The dialogue is wonderful and the pacing spot on for a book of this length. I don’t think I’ve ever read any book by Ms. Hyde that hasn’t left me a bit teary eyed. You might not have experienced the same thing as the characters, but you, like Aiden in this story, can feel what they’re going through which for me is the trademark of a book that lives on in your heart.

This is a story I highly recommend for your winter reading list.

Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen


Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (416 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy―but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion…

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard―until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done―fight for what he wants.

Amazing, this story is absolutely amazing. When I started it I wanted to read it in one sitting and on the other hand I did not want to end it.  Third Son’s Charm is a story about Ewan Mostyn and Lady Lorraine. Ewan is a son of a nobleman; but he is the third child and also because of his learning disabilities his father does not like him. Therefore he joined the army and became a decorated war hero. Ewan is a strong and silent type. He is perfect material for a bodyguard. So it comes at no surprised that Duke of Ridlington hired him to watch over his daughter Lady Lorraine. Lady Lorraine is Ewan’s complete opposite. Where he is silent, she is chatty, where he is big, she is petite. But as every romance novel reader knows: opposites attract. I absolutely adored the way Ewan and Lorraine’s attraction was described. Each scene containing the two of them was filled with electricity and high emotions.

Both characters are amazing and they both have their own issues. Ewan was bullied as a child because he was big and because of his learning disability. Due to that his self-esteem is low. But he is not full of pride and thus not afraid to ask for help. On the other hand he acts like nothing can break him and undo him… until Lorraine. Lorraine has her fair share of issues. Although she is a daughter of duke and high expectations are put on her, she bends rules and misbehaves all the time. She is stubborn, determined and bright and she has a kind heart.

Besides being very hot, this story is also funny and it contains some adventure. I highly recommend reading it. Third Son’s a Charm is definitely a wonderful beginning of the series about younger sons of nobility who were all members of an elite military group. I am anxiously looking forward to the next story in the series.