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.

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.

Pebble by Jane McKay


Pebble by Jane McKay
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The small drone sped away from its dying star.

It did not look back at the doomed orb as it traveled through black space. It had a single mission – find a new viable planet and report. Many years of travel later it saw a possible candidate for its mission. The drone spied the blue-washed planet ahead. Would it find a world for its people or be doomed to a lonely existence on a faraway world?

Read the exciting story of Pebble as it helps to battle for its new family on its new home world, Earth. Can it help protect them from a menace from outer space?

Kindness is essential.

It’s always nice to meet characters who think logically and plan ahead. Some of the dangers they faced could be predicted far in advance, and they did a good job of predicting what might happen and figuring out the best ways to respond if their first few attempts to deflect the antagonists or escape didn’t work out so well. This kind of common sense is a breath of fresh air, especially in the young adult genre.

I had trouble keeping track of the large cast of characters in general. Not only were there a lot of them, their character descriptions and development weren’t always strong enough for me to read a familiar name and immediately know who the narrator was referring to. If only this had been easier to figure out.

With that being said, I enjoyed the many exciting plot twists in this book. There were multiple subplots that wove themselves together in all sorts of attention-grabbing and also surprisingly kind ways. This was especially true when it came to Pebble’s backstory and how its programming tipped the scales into surviving dangerous circumstances over and over again.

Pebble was an adventurous read.

White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (Author), David Colacci (Narrator), Kathy Garver (Narrator)


White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (Author), David Colacci (Narrator), Kathy Garver (Narrator)
Arcane Society, Book 2
Publisher: JOVE Books (Print), Brilliance Audio (Audiobook Publisher)
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Relationships are challenging enough for most single, over-30 women. For level-10 parasensitive Clare Lancaster, they’re a minefield. The elite few who know her secret call her a human lie detector, and any falsehood, no matter how subtle or well hidden, sets her blood racing.
Over the years, Clare has come to accept that someone with her extraordinary talents is unlikely to find a suitable mate. And she’s even resigned herself to the fact that everyone, to one degree or another, hides behind a façade – including her recently deceased brother-in-law.

When Clare finds the body of Brad McAllister, the golden child of Stone Canyon, Arizona, the posh residents turn a suspicious eye in her direction. As Archer Glazebrook’s daughter, Clare is shielded from the law, but not the gossip. It seems that meeting the half sister and family she did not know until seven months ago was a mistake. Now her father summons her from California to play a role in his business empire, and Clare doesn’t intend on making the same mistake twice.

But after meeting Jake Salter, Archer’s “business consultant”, she is convinced that things aren’t what they seem. Salter’s careful conversation walks a delicate line between truth and deception, revealing and resisting. Something sparks and sizzles between them – something more than the usual electricity between a man and a woman.

Caught in a dizzying storm of secrets, lies, and half-truths, Jake and Clare will plunge into an investigation that demands every bit of their special gifts. Together, they must overcome their mutual distrust in order to unravel a web of conspiracy and murder.

This fast-paced story has it all. For starters, it has action, murder, narrow escapes, conspiracies, mad scientists creating designer drugs, psychical talents and powers, and best of all, a romance that thrills the senses and engaged my emotions. My most favorite term is what Clare calls Fallon Jones throughout the novel. If anyone has read the series, even out of order, Fallon’s personality is pretty much the same – abrasive. So, every time Clare says her pet-name for Fallon, I cracked up, giggled, grinned and thought it hilarious.

But Fallon isn’t the hero in this novel, Jake is. He makes for an interesting and fascinating hero. He’s not over the top in his actions, but the author uses words that kind of builds him up bigger than what he does and is. That’s okay because I’m glad Jake doesn’t do super-hero stunts; it made him more relatable and acceptable as an alpha-type hero. The good thing about Jake is that he likes a strong woman. Sure, he admits that he wished Clare didn’t do some of the things she did because it scares him spitless, but he doesn’t stop her or belittle her. He supports the heroine and backs her up whenever he can. He uses his brain, and yes, some of his psychical powers, but they aren’t infallible.

Seriously, I found the writing tight, the mystery well thought out, the dialogue great and the romance delightful with a few moments of spicy fun for those readers that prefer those scenes in a book. The story can stand on its own without them though – it’s that complete.

The above is my review of the print version. Now I want to mention the audio version that I listened to, twice. David Colacci does Jake’s voice and all the other male characters in the story, and Kathy Garver does Clare and all the rest of the female secondary characters. They are AWESOME! They both had emotion and clear differences between their characters. When a female villain breaks down and cries – it’s realistic and effective. When Jake is growly, or boldly laughs out loud or talks sultry to Clare, my heart goes pitter-patter. His voice for Archer cracked me up because it is brash, distinctive and LOUD, and David Colacci voiced the perfect Fallon Jones – crack me up!

I think the audio version was a real hoot. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and even when I listened to it a second time, I picked up things I missed on the first go-round, which helped me enjoy it just as much in the second reading/listening. It was a splendid experience and fans of the Arcane Society series really need to take the audio version of White Lies for a spin after reading the print version. Both are awesome because the writing and story are what makes it work. Romantic suspense has never been so fun!

Bloodstone by Rebecca Henry


Bloodstone by Rebecca Henry
Publisher: Finch Books
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Paranormal, LGBTQ, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

There’s something wicked in the wind on Ambrosia Hill and strength is held within a stone.

Zinnia knows nothing is as it seems in the witching world, and she realizes the aunts calling her back to the Fern House was not without consequences. Zinnia must embrace her witch abilities and undergo her biggest test yet. Can she learn to rely on her personal magic, the strength in others, and trust that what she sees isn’ t always reality? There’ s something wicked in the wind this Halloween on Ambrosia Hill and Zinnia must fight for those she loves most.

What might you find if you peeled back the stereotypes and looked at who someone really was?

The romantic subplot made me smile. I’ve enjoyed seeing it gradually develop from a friendship into a heartwarming romance since first meeting these characters in Amethyst. Not only was the slow burn approach perfect for them, it also gave me plenty of time to notice all sorts of similarities between them that make me think they’d be a great match. I can only hope that any sequels in the works will include more of this storyline as it’s such a nice contrast to the sometimes-scary work a witch must do.

Once again, I would have liked to see more character development. Yes, it is happening slowly, but I found myself wishing that Zinnia especially would be given more opportunities to show the audience how she’s changed as a result of coming out of the closet as a member of the LGBTQ community as well as accepting her identity as a witch. This was the only thing holding me back from choosing a five-star rating.

I know I’ve mentioned the beautiful world building in both of my previous reviews of the first two books in this series, but it continued to impress me this time around. Ms. Henry has been doing a wonderful job so far of feeding the audience exactly enough information about witchcraft and witch culture in this universe to keep my interest levels high. Just when I think I have it all more or less figured out, she adds yet another layer to it that deepens my previous understanding of how it all worked and makes me eager to see what might happen next. As far as this reader is concerned, there’s still a ton of ground to cover for these characters, and I hope for many more updates to come in the future.

While the plot itself could technically function as a standalone work, this is the third instalment of a series that should be read in order to best understand the complex and memorable world the author is building here.

Bloodstone made me yearn for more.

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.

The ’86 Fix: A 1980s Time Travel Novel by Keith A. Pearson


The ’86 Fix: A 1980s Time Travel Novel by Keith A. Pearson
Publisher: Inchgate Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Imagine if you could travel back in time and relive one weekend as your teenage self — would you change anything?

On the way home from school in 1986, Craig Pelling decided to buy a can of Coke. He wasn’t to know a seemingly innocuous visit to the local newsagent would dramatically change the course of his life.

Fast forward to his forties, Craig finds himself trapped in a loveless marriage, earning a living in a dead-end job as the manager of an electrical store. He could have been so much more, achieved so much more.

However, fate hasn’t finished with Craig Pelling yet.

A school reunion proves to be the catalyst for chaos, and decades on from his visit to that newsagent, Craig’s mundane life is turned upside down as his past comes back to haunt him.

As he plummets towards rock-bottom, all seems lost for Craig until he’s thrown a lifeline — the miraculous lifeline of a brief trip back in time to 1986.

Will he be able to fix his life? Is it as simple as just reverting one decision he made over thirty years ago?

Craig is about to find out.

Imagine making an important decision in your teens that left your life a wreck by the time you were in your forties. Now imagine that you could go back to that particular day in your youth and reverse what you did. Craig Pelling did that in this sci-fi time-travel novel.

Craig returns to his present, and things are different. There are some positive changes, but some things went really wrong. Craig searches for a way to set things back to his original difficult life. Why would he do this, and if he succeeds, but then?

This is an interesting take on the genre and somewhat unpredictable. The protagonist is well-developed, and the secondary characters enough to fill out the storyline. Parts of it are funny, and parts make a reader think about humans and their situations.

The story comes in two installments, where the second book picks up where the first one ends. For an entertaining vintage eighties sci-fi, time-travel story, why not give this one a try?

Dark Surrender by Morgan Welsh


Dark Surrender by Morgan Welsh
Book 1 in the Vampire’s Call Series
Publisher: Totally Entwined
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Olivia Hargreaves had often fantasized about the man of her dreams. Little did she know he actually existed—and that he was a vampire.

Following a bad break-up and the need for a fresh start in her life, Olivia Hargreaves has moved from London to the US East Coast to be with her best friend. Now she has finally met the man of her dreams—literally.

Gabriel Langston, a vampire with the ability to get into the minds of humans has been entering her head and showing her the time of her life. When he turns up at the local bar she frequents, she is sure she must be losing it. Wealthy, powerful, commanding and impossibly handsome, Gabriel is different to any man she has ever known and there is no way she can resist the attraction.

And there is no way he will let her.

Dark, full of desire and wonderful.

I like a story I can, er…sink my teeth into. This is one of those stories. It’s long enough that it’s well developed, but short enough for a chilly night. The writing zipped along well, and I couldn’t get enough.

I liked Olivia because she’s every woman. She’s been through a rough time and wants things to level off. Then there are her dreams. Wooo doggie. Hot stuff. I loved when she’d see him that way. It made her relatable, in an odd way, because who hasn’t had dreams about a hot guy?

Gabriel is interesting because he’s a vampire and he’s devoted to her, but he’s also the dark, desirable package that’s rather standard in romance. It works and I like how the author used him.

If you’re looking for a hot read for a chilly night, then I suggest this one.

The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker


The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.

Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks.
Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?

Tristan and Iseult/Issylte has always been a favourite of mine.

When I read the blurb for this book, I knew I had to give it a go. What I got was so much more than I expected! It is a mixture of a well-known Arthurian story with Snow White, sprinkled with some Marian Zimmer Bradley feelings.

You definitely get both sides of the story with Tristan and Issylte having their own chapters. What I loved is that they have their own lives before they meet each other. In fact, part of Issylte’s life may impact the future stories, so I can’t wait to see if it does. It isn’t all sweetness and light either. The author describes the hardship of war, of those who pay the cost even if they’ve never lifted a sword. I loved the fantasy aspect with the Tribe and Avalon.

You have so much information given to you in this story and yet I was definitely left wanting more when I had finished. An excellent start to the series and I look forward to reading more. Absolutely recommended by me.