How To Lose An Alien in 10 Days by Fiona Roarke

How To Lose An Alien in 10 Days by Fiona Roarke
Alienn, Arkansas 2

Publisher: Nickel Road Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (698 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Alexandria Latham Borne is supposed to marry into one of Alpha-Prime’s most prestigious families. Her unwanted future fiancé has wealth, breeding, social status … and that’s about it. She is less than wowed during their luxury get-to-know-you journey to Earth. Once the spaceship docks in Alienn, Arkansas, Ria jumps at the chance to jump ship and explore the colony of extraterrestrials hiding in plain sight. Cam Grey takes his job as chief of security at the galactic way station and the Big Bang Truck Stop operated by his family very seriously, but even he needs a break. No one suspects the by-the-book enforcer’s secret refuge is the karaoke bar just over the county line from Alienn, Arkansas. It starts out as just another night of uncomplicated amusement. But no one is more surprised than the jaded Alpha when the gorgeous woman with blue-streaked hair sings her way into his bed — and his heart. When he learns his sexy karaoke singer has defied colony rules, putting them all at risk of discovery by the unsuspecting earthlings, he knows his duty. What he should do is lock her in the brig. What he does do is ignore all the rules he’s spent his career upholding. Cam’s also been burned by love before, but his mischievous Ria is a rule-breaker he can’t resist. Is she a heartbreaker, too?

Alienn, Arkansas is an alien base hiding in plain sight. Cam and his family, including many, many brothers, run the Big Bang Truck Stop, but below is a way station for alien spacecraft. Now there is a passenger missing from a luxury liner and it’s Cam’s job to find her. He has a problem because he’s just found the love of his life and doesn’t want to leave her to some spoil​ed​ space brat.

This book has comical overtones, with the brothers sparking off one another, and Ria – the love interest – having a secret of her own. I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their antics and wondering how they ​could ​get round the problems that ar​o​se from being an alien on earth. To top up his problems his Aunt Dixie and her friend go missing and he’s tempted to walk away from his responsibilities and spend time with Ria instead of doing his job.

A really good book with love, humor and a very enjoyable plot to hold everything together.

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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Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full length (225 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones―one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

It’s time for Darcy to grow up, heal and find love. What’s it going to take? Quite a lot actually: a family emergency, familial expectations, a best friend’s advice, jumping to conclusions and clearing the air of what was really happening during those moments in high school when Luke seemed like such a beast to her – that’s quite the list, isn’t it?

Darcy is a self-made woman. She’s strong, ambitious and assertive and knows how to enjoy the benefits of all her hard work. She works harder than anyone around her because she doesn’t have much of a life. Why that is, is slowly revealed in the course of the heroine’s visit back home. Facing her feelings about her hometown and all the memories attached to the place ends in a present reality that is nothing like she expects. She has her highs and lows, her surprises and thrills, her mistakes and her confusing triumph. The whole novel is told through her point of view. I only got to know what was really going on in Luke’s mind when she finally gave him a chance to reveal it all. It was a huge ‘Ah-ha! moment’ for both reader and Darcy.

I didn’t get a feel for Luke, the person, in this novel. I think that’s why the rating was just shy of perfect. As a story about Darcy finding happiness and love, it’s perfect. The fact that she finds it with Luke, the boy from high school, now a hunky grown-up man, whom she thought despised her, was engaging, entertaining and yet, didn’t have quite the impact I’d expect for a hero. There’s no doubt in my mind that Luke was a responsible adult with a deep capacity for commitment; look at his family. Among the things I liked about Luke was his vulnerability. He’s a character with enough emotional depth that it was easy to see why he is confused about how to go about reaching his end goal – Darcy. I’d say they’re perfect for each other because she has the same problem! It was kind of cute. What he comes up with is a diabolical little plot made possible by being in cahoots with others that love Darcy as much as he does. It is truly romantic and adorable. A little over the top, but then again, once you get to know Darcy, it’s actually perfect.

If a reader is looking for fast paced thrills and chills, this isn’t the novel. This story is more for those who enjoy romances of the heart, of second chances, of finding out that the best thing in your life is right in front of you, and that feel good moment when a wonderful epilogue wraps up the story in a nice romantic book buzz of happiness.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe has a beautiful, poignant moment that takes place during Christmas. It brought a tear to my eye because it proved without a doubt that Darcy was truly loved. That moment when she believed, truly believed, was the most powerful of all. This is a heart-warmer – a book that makes me feel emotions down to my toes. Pemberley, Ohio is a special place to be indeed.

It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke by Maya Rodale

It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke by Maya Rodale
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (369 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Some Mistakes…

When American-born James Cavendish arrives in London tomorrow, he’ll become the Duke of Durham. Some might be ecstatic at the opportunity. Not James. He’s a simple man, fond of simple pleasures. And right now, nothing could be more pleasurable than spending his last night of freedom with a beautiful stranger.

Are Far Too Good…

One wild night, Meredith Green, companion to the dowager Duchess of Durham, said yes to a man she thought she’d never see again. Suddenly, they’re living under the same roof, where Meredith is expected to teach James how to be a duke—while trying not to surrender to temptation a second time.

To Be Forgotten

For a duke and a commoner, marriage would be pure scandal. Yet nothing has ever felt as right as having Meredith in his arms…and in his bed. Soon he must choose—between a duty he never desired, and a woman he longs for, body and soul…

One wild night and two lost souls can equal love—after a few bumps in the road.

This is the fourth book in this series, but I can tell you I wasn’t stuck or confused. Yes, I started in the middle of the series, but Ms. Rodale does a great job of not only keeping the reader up to speed on the characters, but keeping the story fresh. The nice thing about this book is if you’re not familiar with the others in the series, it reads like a standalone. That’s good since, yeah, I started this series at the end.

James, the hero, is rather bland. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to root for him or move on. I wanted to like him, but he’s almost so simple…I just didn’t connect. I didn’t feel a connection to either James or Meredith and wanted to so much. I wanted to be excited and feel some tension. I didn’t. That doesn’t mean the book was bad. Far from it. I could tell she longed for him, but I wanted more depth. I also wished she hadn’t been portrayed as quite as much of a martyr. She was a real person with real desires. If that desire had shone through a bit more…wowza.

But the longing glances and desire was there. I hoped there would be more witty dialogue and fun, but maybe that’s just because James isn’t a witty, silly kind of guy. That’s not horrible. It’s just him.

If you want a historical book that’s interesting and has characters you won’t forget, then this might be the book for you. Having read the blurbs for the other books, I’m intrigued.  I know I’ll be checking out the rest of the Cavendishes.

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.

Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch

Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (382 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

From New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch comes an honest, touching, and funny exploration of falling in and out of love, told from two perspectives—one rewinding history, one moving it forward—and each with bias and regret.

When their paths first cross, Ben Livingston is a fledgling scriptwriter on the brink of success; Tatum Connelly is a struggling actress tending bar in a New York City dive. They fall in love, they marry, they become parents, and they think only of the future. But as the years go by, Tatum’s stardom rises while Ben’s fades. In a marriage that bears the fallout of ambition and fame, Ben and Tatum are at a crossroads. Now all they can do is think back…

A life of passion, joy, tragedy, and loss—once shared—becomes one as shifting and unpredictable as a memory. As the pieces of their past come together, as they explore the ways love can bend and break, Ben and Tatum come to see how it all went wrong—and wonder what they can do now to make it all right.

Thought provoking.

When I opened this book, I had high hopes. An actress and a screenwriter meet at a bar…has the makings of a great film noir starting point. I’m normally a fool for those film noirs. I like those stories that are a little off-beat, too.

This book, however…I struggled with it. The dual perspectives were a tad jarring. Not because the book was told by both Tatum and Ben, but the timetables bothered me. The author is a skilled writer, but I almost wish she’d have allowed both characters to recount the story at the same time. I did get confused often and had to do a lot of rereading.

Ben seems almost…lyrical in his descriptions and actions. He has the flair of a writer. I actually liked him first, but I wanted him to be stronger. Tatum isn’t a bad character. I rooted for her to have a career. She’s got it all really. But I didn’t care for her. Honestly, I didn’t get the feels when I read this.

Don’t get me wrong. This style of writing isn’t bad. The format isn’t really bad, either. If you’re willing to invest the time and want a book that reads like a television show, then this might be the one for you. Had I gone into the book thinking it was like watching a tv show, I might have enjoyed it more. It’s an interesting book and made me think about my own relationships. If you’re interested in a book that’s a little different, then this might be the book you’re looking for.

Bitter Blues by Ursula Renee

Bitter Blues by Ursula Renee
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (188 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Despite their different backgrounds, Randy Jones agreed to take Cassie Ann Porter for better and for worse. He never considered how much worse things could get, but he finds out after he returns home from serving in the army during World War II. Unable to find a job, he has to depend on his wife to support the family, which includes their two daughters, who at first refuse to have anything to do with him.

Cass works at the shipyard, one of many women employed to fill in while the men were gone to war. Her employer doesn’t replace her and the others because he can pay them so much less than he would men, yet she would like nothing better than to be a stay-at-home wife and mother.

When a good intention goes wrong, Randy wonders if he and Cass have made a mistake in going against society’s rules. Can the “worse” ever get better?

Oh how a new relationship can start out like sweet jazz. The swaying of your heart, and the rhythm of the emotions but then the tapping of life’s reality may eventually reveal to you how easy it is for the rhythm change the tune to the bitter blues.

In this sequel to Sweet Jazz, Cassie Ann Porter and Randy Jones are now married with children. Will they allow society’s convention on their marriage to turn their music to bitter blues?

There are many risk when one is involved in a mixed race relationship. There is a risk in losing their relationship with their family and friends, and possibly even the relationship that they may have with their children. It is a sacrifice but also can bring about a stronger unity to the family.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, which includes small details that help the reader see and visualize the characters as well as the scenery. Cassie and Randy are likable character’s and they are also a lovable couple to read about.

Cassie and Randy’s marriage is believable. They are dealing with issues such as lack of communication, lack of finances and they also have a misplacement of love that bonding connection that comes after a couple has been apart.

I wanted Cassie to give Randy a break. He has a lot of adversities going against him. He served his country and now he’s home and isn’t able to be a provider to his family. Right now Randy’s focus is to find a job that will offer stability and support. His love for music and playing the saxophone seems to be what he holds on to but sadly in the beginning of the story he doesn’t even play. I am all for a man being a man, being that supporter but I also believe everyone should enjoy life and have something they enjoy that brings them happiness.

I wanted to see that closeness and bond of the two back on stage or even in their own home but with Cassie so scared to publicly acknowledge Randy as her spouse after all of the sacrifices that he has made to be with her. She has her family and loved ones but Randy doesn’t have anyone else. Not only does Randy feel less than a man in his own home, but to add to his worries his daughters do not have a closeness with him. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Randy. His love and protectiveness as a father hindered his thinking when he took his daughter to the nearest doctor. Randy’s eyes do not see color or racial barriers. He functions off of love and, though this is a good thing, Cassie doesn’t see the outcome as such. She is worried more about the repercussions or the outcome if their relationship is known publicly.

I don’t want to reveal too much of the story so I’ll say I did enjoy the book. I liked that the author did a sequel to Sweet Jazz so that the readers can follow Cassie and Randy to see where life lead them and how they faired. This is a realistic plot that a lot of people can relate too and even if they can’t relate to the characters and their position in the story they can learn a lesson of looking for the good in what people do, seeing their efforts and not just the outcome that couldn’t have been foreseen when they are doing something out of love, and not malice.

This is an enjoyable read that I do recommend.

#iHunt Mayhem in Movieland by David A Hill Jr.

#iHunt Mayhem in Movieland by David A Hill Jr.
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (74 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Lana hunts monsters for a living. She absolutely hates hunting ghosts. So, of course, a friend is calling in a favor and having her hunt a ghost. Not just any ghost, but Old Anne, an urban legend at Movieland, a theme park inspired by the golden age of Hollywood. Worse off, Lana used to work at Movieland, and was fired after she had a… little incident killing three vampires on park property. So in addition to hunting ghosts—which she doesn’t want to do—she has to sneak around and not get noticed by her former coworkers. This is Book 3 of #iHunt. But it’s a completely standalone story—you don’t need to have read the others to get this. Content Warning: Drug use, violence, minor gore, descriptions of anxiety attacks.

Monster hunting is never as easy as it looks in the movies.

There’s nothing quite like trying to catch a bad guy that doesn’t play by the rules. The more I learned about this creature, the more curious I became to discover what it really was and why Lana was having so much trouble figuring out how to fight it. It was one of the most creative parts of the plot, and it kept me guessing until the end.

The pacing would have worked well in a full-length novel, but it felt uneven for a short story because of how much time it took for Lana to discover any clues at all about who or what was killing people at the amusement park. As much as I enjoyed seeing what she was up to again, there was a lot of room here to include more conflict in the storyline.

The fight scenes were exciting. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about this series so far is how vulnerable Lana is when she’s fighting something that has supernatural strength. She’s not a superhero, and she has sustained serious injuries from her battles in the past. There is always the very real danger that one of her opponents will kill or severely injure her. While I never like the thought of her being hurt, the genuine tension of not knowing for sure that she’ll be okay keeps me coming back for more.

This is the sequel to iHunt: Killing Monsters in the Gig Economy. It should be read in order.

I’d recommend #iHunt Mayhem in Movieland to anyone who loves gritty books about killing monsters.

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.

Turning the Tides by Nell Castle

Turning the Tides by Nell Castle
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (258 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Ever the black sheep of her adoptive family, Lee Cooper has finally buckled down to a responsible job as a social worker in Southwest Florida. Defending her client against charges of child abuse awakens buried memories of her own abandonment in a Korean orphanage. Can she remain objective for the sake of a child?

Bricker Kilbourn, the court-appointed guardian, doubts Lee’s judgments–and his opinion might determine the little boy’s fate. He’s got his own family issues and haunting secrets to keep. Falling for a woman is not part of his plan.

He’s running from his past. She’s searching for answers. Will their resolution to protect a child bind them together or wrench them apart?

Sometimes our past comes back to haunt us in unexpected ways.

Lee Cooper works in Social Services assisting parents and children to build better lives after the concerns are raised by Child Protective Services. When one difficult case arises where Lee is convinced that the foster mother is being manipulative of the system, Lee must act. Yet, when she meets the Guardian Ad Litem for the child, she finds more than she bargained for. When Lee learns some hidden information about Bricker, the plot thickens, and Lee’s past comes bursting forth and impacts her future with the one man she feels truly comfortable with.

Nell Castle does an excellent job, telling the story from various points of view. Although Lee Cooper is the primary point of view, the story goes much more in depth and has a great dynamic that many readers would not have anticipated. Several different sub-plots all converge on Bricker and Lee’s relationship, which also entwines another dynamic completely.

The conversations are engrossing and fit right in with the various plots. The characters are strong and each character has an in-depth background which impacts their current character development. The plots are all relevant and the aspects of work and the legal ethics are well researched and strongly presented. I personally liked the interaction between Lee and her supervisor which led to some interesting dynamic between Lee and Bricker down the road.

If you want a strong romantic story that integrates how our past can come forth to impact our future, you won’t want to miss Turning the Tides!