Battle for Love by Valerie Bowes


Battle for Love by Valerie Bowes
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (189 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

It’s not easy, being an unmarried woman in the England of 1814. But Nancy Worth will not marry where there is no love, and every man in her small Sussex village is either too old, too young, or has a face like a fish. Except for the handsome Bartholomew Boult, and he has his own reasons for pursuing her.

When, against all the odds, Nancy does find love, both her family and his are determined to put a stop to it. He is gentry, and she a farmer’s daughter. With lies and gossip flying, as well as the unexpected resumption of war, it seems everyone is trying to separate her from Will Carlton.

Even Napoleon Bonaparte.

While Napoleon lingers in Elba the Regency period is in full swing in England. Nancy Worth is not one of the aristocracy, her father is a landowner and although they are well off they are not considered to be of the same social level as the Squire and his family. Nancy finds herself with two suitors. One she loves and the other who, unknown to her, wants her for his own selfish ends.

Regency books are a joy to read, but the main characters can often be a bit silly, acting in ways that seem unnatural. This book has a heroine and hero who are quite natural in their actions and the misunderstandings that always happen in romance, are believable and had me urging them to sort out the difficulties before they were overwhelmed by family members who felt they knew best.

Even the bad guy had a ring of truth to his actions and in the end I felt quite sorry for him. I have to admit I didn’t envisage the resolution to be quite so dramatic, but it was well handled and I felt a great satisfaction when I finished the book. Good story, good characters and lovely to read.

Peck Of Pickles by Lena Austin


Peck Of Pickles by Lena Austin
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (28 pgs)
Other: M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Linc Halberg needed to get his cucumbers preserved using the county extension office facilities. The agent Pol Backstrom and the new scientist Marc O’Neil have had their eye on Linc and his farm for some time. Suddenly, there’s more going on in the back room than making a peck of pickles, and Linc’s in a pickle of a different kind. Summer in their tiny town may never be the same.

In the tiny farming township of Epping, Linc has had a bumper crop of cucumbers this year – enough that he’s actually booked the County Extension office and hired the preservation room for a day. He needs to pickle a peck of his cucumbers and the small setup in his home just won’t cut it this time. Pol, the distractingly handsome county worker is being visited by a new Doctor doing research in the small town. Linc can tell Marc and Pol are cooking something up, but he’s not quite sure what it is.

I found this to be a really fun short story. I loved the old-school, country town feel of it and found it to be quite realistic. Linc is pretty cautious – knowing that in the small town being gay is not necessarily a good thing or welcome from the few other residents. His reticence in saying anything, even when Pol and Marc lay out quite a few clues was completely understandable to my mind. The three men, however, are smoking hot once they finally get all on the same page and I really loved watching them all come together.

For such a short story quite a large amount of the story is the lead-up to the romance and introduction to the characters. I actually didn’t mind this as it really helped set the scene for me and it gave me a really good feel for all three men before they jumped to the sexy action – but I could understand if some other readers might feel the sexy-action part of the story got a bit of a short shrift because of this lead-up. The plot itself was fairly brief, but I found it quite interesting and while short – intelligent and logical.

All in all, I felt this was a really great short story and one that was deeply satisfying to read.

Taming the Cyborg by Anne Kane


Taming the Cyborg by Anne Kane
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (67 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Although he doesn’t understand why his brother chose to bond with a human female, Noah agrees to be the official cyborg witness at the birth of the cyborg/human couple’s first son. When he arrives on the human space station, he finds himself face to face with a female pilot, an unheard of occupation for a female on the cyborg home world of Terras Five. Hailey’s cute, she’s sassy, she’s sexy and she doesn’t automatically defer to him just because he’s male. Noah finds that combination irresistible.

After a night of amazing sex, Hailey heads off on a reconnaissance mission with her squadron, and Noah arranges to spend a little more time in the human world to get the sassy redhead out of his system. But when her ship goes missing, it’s up to Noah to use all the tricks of his cyborg heritage to track her down and rescue her.

Anne Kane captured my attention with this sexy Sci-Fi/Fantasy story.

Taming the Cyborg was a fast paced book that had me completely immersed in the plot that flowed smoothly from beginning to end. It was exciting and romantic with characters that I adored. Noah was a Cyborg who fell boots over heart in love with a sassy red haired human fighter pilot. Hailey was a spitfire who knew exactly what she wanted. I loved her strength and independent spirit. There was a romantic vibe when Noah immediately rushed off to save his little warrior woman. Of course, they had a few bumps to make it over but by the end of the story the author had me craving my very own bossy Cyborg to sweep me off of me feet.

I really enjoyed this short story and absolutely recommend it to anyone.

Justice for Violet by Maia Dylan


Justice for Violet by Maia Dylan
Retribution, Book 1
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (113 Pages)
Other Content: M/F/M, M/F, Menage, Anal Play/Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

There’s a war being fought on the streets of Chicago between an organized crime syndicate and a feline shifter pride resolute to stop them. Mason and Jacob Williams are Leopard shifters in the Black Ridge pride, fighting to protect the city they call home and avenge the loss of two of their own.

The shifters are sent to look for a woman their Alpha believes can help them. Thinking she’s in danger, they rush in to rescue her only to discover that Violet Riccitelli is not a woman in need of any assistance. While she’s kicking the ass of three potential attackers, they recognize her as their mate, the one they must protect above all else.

Violet is known to the people of Chicago as someone they can rely on to help when things get bad. But Violet sees herself as a woman out for justice against the man who took everything from her twelve years ago.

Can Mason and Jacob convince their mate that a future with them is worth risking everything, or will Violet’s need to see justice served end their chance before it’s begun?

I was smiling by the end of the first chapter because of Violet.

Wow…. It has been a long time since I have read a novel where the female character was self sufficient in and out of violent situations. I will try not to go into much detail but the first chapter started with Violet beating the daylights of some gangsters and having fun doing it. 😀 I am all for female characters like this, but this was not the only reason for me falling in love with these characters. Mason and Jacob were understanding and patient with her. That, for me, was rare since in some of these shifter books, the passion and the chemistry outweighs everything else.

From the get go, I realized she is a tough woman with a past. She holds grudges easily and harbors a lot of guilt. I wasn’t sure if the bond between Mason, Violet & Jacob would be permanent. Will Violet trust her mates and let them in or push them aside?

Mason and Jacob highlight the importance of mates in various parts of the book quite often. So much so that I was kind of annoyed by the repetition. As the story progressed, I was able ot look beyond this quibble. I should mention there is a lot of violence in this book. Be prepared. For me, though, book was worth it. I could not put it down.

Little Girl Gone by Margaret Fenton


Little Girl Gone by Margaret Fenton
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (254 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Claire Conover is back in the sequel to Little Lamb Lost. She has taken a 13-year-old girl into custody after she is found sleeping behind a grocery store. The girl’s murdered mother is found at a construction site owned by a family friend, then the girl disappears. Her mother worked in an illegal gambling industry in Birmingham. Things only get more complicated from there. Is it possible the girl pulled the trigger? She doesn’t have a lot of street smarts, so where could she have run? Claire has to find the answers, and the girl, fast.

She works for the county child welfare division. It’s the beginning of a new school year and she knows her workload will pick up. Teachers see a lot more than they should on the line. They report injuries and she must intercede and get the child help. She gets a phone call about a young girl found sleeping in a box outside. The girl won’t tell them anything…

The first thing Claire does is try to get the girl to talk. All she gets is a name. She is lucky that the home she wants to place her in has an opening. This lady is sincere and helps the children get off to better start in life. The only problem is that as soon as she’s been fed and cleaned up, the girl skips. Then they find out her mother is dead. Did the girl kill her?

The social worker keeps trying to trace her. She meets a lot of volatile people, visits homes she wouldn’t want to live in, finds abuse in other places, and she keeps closing in on the girl. However, will she get there before the killer does?

This is a hard look at family dynamics and expectations. Children experiment, children rebel and children defy. Not all parents react the same way. Some hurt their children in their frustration. That’s inexcusable but it happens. You can tell the author has worked in social work because she’s very honest and believable as you read the story. It flows well and she keeps your mind going trying to figure out what happened before the end.

Free To Run by BA Tortuga


Free To Run by BA Tortuga
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (53 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When forest ranger Gil gets the call that a rabid wolf is roaming his territory, he figures it’s just another stray coyote. Instead, he finds Rafe, a skinny, worn wolf shifter who also happens to be Gil’s lost mate. Gil thought Rafe was dead, killed by hunters years ago, so finding Rafe alive, if not well, comes as quite a shock.

Rafe never thought he would escape the compound where the crazy bastards who were trying to reform shifters held him. With a little luck and a lot of help, he’s made his way back to Gil, who he never forgot, no matter what those men did to him. The problem is, he’s not sure Gil knows what to do with a beat up former lover.

Gil and Rafe have to work together to recapture what was lost, and maybe find something new.

Gil can hardly believe it when a “rabid wolf” was called in to him. He’d been expecting to find some poor coyote, lost and alone, not Rafe, his mate whom Gil had thought long-killed by a hunter. Clearly starved and half-dead, Gil has no idea what has happened to Rafe, but now he’s found his mate again, Gil is determined to make it right.

This is a very sweet, slightly sad story that I really enjoyed. Definitely full of hurt/comfort style of plotline I instantly fell in love with Rafe – almost broken but still strong and firm in his own way. My heart broke for how Rafe had needed to build certain aspects of himself up and hide others, but it was delightful to watch him and Gil reconnect and be able to enjoy their love once more.

This is the second story in this particular series that I’ve read and I’m deeply curious about one of the secondary characters, Abby, and the crazy cult that she is trying to rescue the captives from. It’s clear her story-arc is kind of the glue keeping all the other stories held together and I’m quite curious what happens next in the arc. I was very pleased, though, that Rafe and Gil’s storyline is complete and so there’s no real need to read the series in order – though I expect the small snippets of Abby and the weird cult torturing these poor wolves would make more sense when the books are read in sequence.

I enjoyed how Rafe and Gil’s storyline wasn’t simply recovering from his release – but also how some of the plot focused on their relationship and working out some of their problems. This made it feel far more realistic to me and not simply a “kidnap and release” story but one of their relationship as a whole. I found the sex both hot and also remarkably sweet – the love they shared was deep and strong and I really fell in love with these two characters.

A wonderful, romantic and sweet story that I greatly enjoyed.

Magic Spark by Sara Dobie Bauer, Em Shotwell, Wendy Sparrow


Magic Spark by Sara Dobie Bauer, Em Shotwell, Wendy Sparrow
Enchanted Book One

Publisher: Pen and Kink Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (215 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

The first of a trio of trilogies by three amazing romance writers. These stories all have two things in common: magic and romance!

“When Demigods Court Death” by Wendy Sparrow:
As the demigod of fertility, Aster Slone has a thriving doctor’s practice. In fact, the incidence of triplets has made it too thriving. He needs more time with his neighbor the demigoddess of death to dampen his powers. Chandra Linton being gorgeous and sweet makes his task less of a hardship. Hitting the zenith of heretofore-unknown powers without enough exposure to her match is killing Chandra. Accepting all that her crazy, but hot neighbor says is her destiny…well, it muddles her convictions, but her real concern is: does Aster want Chandra because she’s the woman he desires or because she’s Death?

“These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell:
Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book.
A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for.

“Destiny’s Dark Light” by Sara Dobie Bauer:
In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

This book is contains three books written by different authors.

When Demigods Court Death by Wendy Sparrow

Chandra always feels down and can’t understand why others always feel ill or afraid when around her. Her neighbor moves in and his balcony explodes with greenery, she immediately feels a lifting of her spirits.
Chandra and Aster are opposites. I became very engrossed when their story unfolded in a most intriguing way. Their personalities came across very well, allowing me to enjoy the story and at the same time wonder how they would resolve their difficulties.

These Roots Run Deep by Em Shotwell

Another unusual story. What to do when you’re a witch and the love of your life cheats on you? Set in New Orleans, the three witch sisters have taken over from their recently deceased grandmother, but when Cheyanne discovers her fiancé Brett is cheating, she talks her two siblings into casting a spell to make sure Brett remains with her. It’s a case of be careful what you wish for. Good story.

Destiny’s Dark Light – Part One by Sara Dobie Bauer

A family of witches where the youngest one has yet to come into her powers. When Cyan finds her soul mate her powers are supposed to evolve, but all is not as it seems. Her soul mate is with someone else. A catastrophe muddles the waters even further.

I loved this story, unusual plot with humor and tragedy. I was bit put out when I found the end finished with the words “to be continued”. Now I have to wait until the author writes the next bit. Good story and well worth reading.

Despite being by three different authors, this book enthralled me and I eagerly went from story to story. Excellent read.

Serial Intent by Steve Bradshaw


Serial Intent by Steve Bradshaw
Publisher: Griffyn Ink
Genre: Contemporary Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (306 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

When Lindsey Fetter opened her eyes, the man that killed her husband was standing at the end of her bed. When Charlie Dunn pocketed his cell phone, he could only stare at the empty ice on Lake Michigan; the man that killed his wife and son had been released. When Ellen Dumont visited her parent’s gravesite alone, it never occurred to her that would be her last moment on earth.

450 murders is a slow year for Chicago Homicide Detective Aaron Wolfe, but he carries them with him. Long ago he had to learn how to bury the pain and angst so he could navigate the carnage and hunt the killers. But years of a rising crimson tide and failing legal system were more than he could bear. There were too many innocent victims, and too many killers escaping through the legal cracks. On the eve of his resignation, Wolfe saw the man convicted on the Dunn murders would be released–another legal maneuver. When Wolfe took on the Fetter and Dumont cases, his sick world took another turn. Some were killed by sniper fire and others had their skulls crushed with bare hands. Wolfe knew two horrific factions had engaged in a dark war that would change everything.

Can Wolfe uncover the secret force on a reckless mission to remedy a failing legal system? Can he stop the skull-crushing beast terrorizing the city? Or will Wolfe succumb to his scars and allow a new justice to prevail in a city of predators?

The justice system can be manipulated and no one sees this more glaringly than the police that enforce the laws.

Aaron Wolfe is a veteran homicide detective that has seen his share of death. When it appears that a vigilante group is hunting down criminals that manipulate the system, Aaron must decide which side of the line he stands on. Aaron has a past and many scars from his years of service; this proves beneficial as he sizes up the crime scene in a matter of seconds but can be very detrimental in his interpersonal relationships.

Serial Intent is a startling look inside the American Legal System and the long standing impacts that various plea bargains and judgments have on those personally affected by the crimes. When the reader first opens the book, there is a neat listing of 16 main characters. While reading through the book, the reader gets to experience life from each of the 16 characters’ point of view. This can be both fascinating and daunting.

Steve Bradshaw has a unique story telling ability-essentially he is able to bring the reader into the moment of time that the character and story is focused on at that moment. From time to time this can be difficult to track and follow and I occasionally found myself confusing characters. Realistically, this story seems to be most effectively told in the fashion that the author writes it. There is a strong sense of mystery and suspense throughout the book and each character is fascinating and dynamic.

Each character brings a deep back story and a reason for existing in the story. The dialogue between characters is crisp and believable and the confrontation and conflict between the many primary characters is realistic. The description of forensics is strong and very in-depth throughout the entire story. The entire flow of the story is smooth from beginning to end.

If you love a good mystery that focuses on the legal aspects of modern crime, you won’t want to miss Serial Intent!

Reborn by Jane Ederlyn


Reborn by Jane Ederlyn
Princess of the Blood #1
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full length (354 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Marie Josette d’Orgemont, cousin to Louis XVI, watched in horror as a rogue creature took her husband’s life before turning on her. A powerful vampire swept in and spared her life, but she never suspected surviving meant immortality or the price she’d have to pay to protect her surviving son.

Centuries later, in Miami, with her family on the verge of extinction, Marie is preoccupied with the continuation of her human bloodline. When she meets sexy and persistent Odin Ulfsson, his icy-blue gaze and burning touch are hard to resist. Will a forbidden romance with the Nordic werewolf be the key to her happiness, or will it set in motion a wrath that endangers not only her last human heir but her entire existence?

Abby is the only family Marie has left.

Immortality has never been a blessing to Marie. The only thing that makes life as a vampire worth it is the ability to watch over her human descendants. Unfortunately, Abby is the only human relative she has left, and Marie is determined to protect her at any cost. Marie and Abby’s life has never been simple, but they have a routine that works for them. Nothing could have prepared them for Odin.

Marie and Odin have an intense relationship right from the start. Their attraction is instant, which puzzled me a bit since the circumstance under which they met was quite dangerous, and yet both were more focused on their sexual attraction to each other rather than the danger they were in. That being said, they have sizzling chemistry. Odin comes on a little strong for my taste at times, but it is clear he has a good heart and he never crosses any forbidden lines. Marie and Odin are both strong personalities, and they certainly have the potential to be a formidable couple.

Abby is probably my favorite character in this romance. She strikes me as a young, intelligent, down-to-earth woman. She’s very relatable, and I enjoyed watching her trying to find her way in a world full of supernatural beings. I never warmed to her relationship with John. I found him annoying and insecure. I’d really love to see Abby and Egon, a werewolf, explore the spark of attraction between them. A relationship between a human and a werewolf would be complicated enough, but by the end of the story, it is revealed that Abby is about to experience life altering changes. I sincerely hope that Abby and Egon don’t walk away from the possibility of a wonderful relationship.

Reborn is a thoroughly enjoyable paranormal romance. The pacing is excellent, and I’ve grown to care about several of the characters. I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.

Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas


Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (192 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Who Decides What is Human…The

Corporations, Clones or Chimera?

When Finder is hired to locate charismatic, green-haired Miraluna Rose, it seems like an easy job. Crack into corporate databases, brew up some biologics to enhance his thinking, and get the job done with the help of the Parrot, a bird/dog chimera with the finest traits of both species.

The search takes Finder and the Parrot to the sun-broiled streets of Laxangeles, the canals of Seattle and the weirdly mutated vegetation of the Area. It turns out that it’s not a simple missing-person case after all.

Finder discovers that ReMe, a corporation providing medical cloning services, is illegally breeding human/animal chimeras. ReMe is selling these exotically beautiful female creatures, branded as ArcoTypes, as playthings to the wealthy and ruthless.

Miraluna Rose is its finest creation, but she has other ideas. She’s holed up at Refuge, a haven for ArcoTypes, where she’s planning a future of freedom for her sisters. To help the ArcoTypes fight ReMe, Finder and the Parrot will need the help of a couple of sympathetic AIs, the CEO of the world’s largest advertising company and a posse of highly modded, celebrity-crazed media kids.

This exciting adventure is a must read for anyone concerned about where our world and humanity is possibly headed…

Sometimes science causes just as many problems as it solves.

The world building was wonderful. Ms. Kuchinskas’ vision of what life will be like in a few generations was as chilling as it was fascinating. I especially liked her descriptions of how climate change seriously affected the lives of everyone in this society no matter how wealthy or well-connected they were. They painted a very thorough picture of how a culture attempted to rebuild itself after nearly being completely destroyed. What impressed me even more was that this was only one of about a dozen examples of the author stretching her ideas out until they’d reached their logical conclusion. She made me feel like I’d really traveled to the future, and that made it impossible for me to stop reading.

I would have liked to see a little more time spent on character development. While Finder’s personality was described with plenty of detail, there wasn’t enough attention paid to how he changed over the course of the plot. The changes I noticed in him were pretty subtle even though he experienced some pretty exciting, frightening, and unimaginable things during his adventures. There were so many opportunities for him to grow as a person. Had he taken advantage of a few more of them, this book would have easily earned a much higher rating from me as I loved everything else about it.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about the mystery was how much effort it required from me to find any major clues at all. I hadn’t know that kind of storyline was waiting for me when I first began reading, so it was even more fun than usual to shift the way I interpreted certain scenes and start paying attention to anything that might give me a hint about who Miraluna Rose was or why Finder was being paid so handsomely to discover what happened to her.

Chimera Catalyst was the perfect blend of science fiction and mystery. I’d heartily recommend it to fans of either genre!