Rae is known among the House Kringle to hold a successful record as the ghost of Christmas future in turning people to the light. Rae latest mission i...moreRae is known among the House Kringle to hold a successful record as the ghost of Christmas future in turning people to the light. Rae latest mission is to turn Zane Grehawick into the light by end of sunrise Christmas morning. There are some in the House Kringle that doubt and question where Rae’s loyalties lie. Could Rae be failing with Zane on purpose?
Yet to Come is a quick and to the point novella. I am a fan of Zenobia because she has a way about writing that gives you exactly what you need to immerse you in a world that she has created. She has a vivid imagination and does a good job of painting the scenes of her vision in her writing. Though the book takes place during Christmas, the author’s short story has a cast of hot characters and spicy love scenes that raise the winter temperature way above freezing.
I like the strength of Rae as a female, and then how she is helpless against the pull that Zane has on her. Zane being human has no way of contacting Rae but risk going to House Hel just to see her. This to me is such a heighten sense of connection between the two, and to add to it they do not even realize it. This also shows the talent of the author being able to build the intensity between the characters in such a short story.
If you have a few moments for a short mental get away, I suggest settling down with Yet to Come; it is one of Zenobia’s signature quick predictable happy ending read. (less)
Ivy is so tired of her parents trying to match make for her. She doesn’t want to marry for money; she wants to marry for love. After all, her sister f...moreIvy is so tired of her parents trying to match make for her. She doesn’t want to marry for money; she wants to marry for love. After all, her sister found love and enjoys her marriage. She’d rather be an old maid than marry a man she can’t stand, especially not one three times her age!
The author does a nice job of setting this story in the Christmas season. She has created independent, stubborn characters who are determined to make their own choices and she throws them together by chance. I found it amusing to watch Ivy and Phillip blush when they meet and then accidently meet several more times while helping needy children have a special Christmas. The interaction between the two is sweet and they act more like young teens than adults.
While activities and festivities abound that both must attend, they find themselves thinking about their chance acquaintance. My favorite part of the story is the fact that Ivy doesn’t want to even meet the Duke of Greenbriar. Why should she, she’s already met the man she loves. It’s unfortunate that he’s a toymaker. On the hand, Phillip, the toymaker is actually now the Dean of Greenbriar because his Uncle died. Since he hasn’t admitted that to Ivy, he’s in a real pickle.
Watching the two characters dance around each and make mistakes in courtship is fun. Ivy even insinuates more has happened between them has. When he admits he is a Duke, things go downhill from there. The author does a very nice job with development of the relationship and demonstrates how easily it is to mess one up if you don’t communicate well.
Mr. Springsteen’s novel reads well and she adds a nice little surprise at the end of the story. You feel like you’re living in that time period, and you certainly care about the characters. I really enjoyed this read. Why don’t you grab a copy and see what you think?
Greg had met his boyfriend Lane when a demon had threatened him. A demon-hunter, Lane had fixed that problem and the two men had been an item in the m...moreGreg had met his boyfriend Lane when a demon had threatened him. A demon-hunter, Lane had fixed that problem and the two men had been an item in the month since. It’s now Halloween and Greg’s restaurant is celebrating with a fun pumpkin theme. Friends are joining them for dinner and Greg’s looking forward to a relaxed, entertaining evening with his lover.
I really enjoyed the pace of this story, quick enough to keep moving but without feeling rushed. I enjoyed getting to know Greg and Lane, I thought their characters meshed really well together and the world Ms Halle painted was vivid and interesting. I’d enjoy reading more of these characters and the supernatural goings on and was pleased to see there seemed to be others by her in this world. This is a short story – so the plot isn’t overly complicated, but I found it a fun, snappy read. I also really appreciated the wit wound into a paranormal, dangerous world filled with all kinds of creatures and hunters. With excellent characterization and an interesting take on Halloween, this is sure to appeal to many readers.
Dominic and Rafael met twenty or so years ago and have been faithful ever since. Dominic is a demon hunter, and Rafael half angel, half demon. Typical...moreDominic and Rafael met twenty or so years ago and have been faithful ever since. Dominic is a demon hunter, and Rafael half angel, half demon. Typically they’d be hunter and then hunted, but their deep love for one another makes them the perfect match. Trying to have a fun Halloween out together, Dominic is bummed when an informant tells him of a sacrifice about to happen that evening. Thinking it a boring, potential waste of time, Dominic nevertheless follows through on what he feels will be a quick investigation. But there’s always a few tricks lurking around on Halloween, and Dominic is about to realize he’s bitten off a lot more than he bargained for.
Filled with angels, demons and all sorts of fun paranormal creatures, this is a delightful Halloween story. Told in the first person, it’s easy to get snared by Dominic’s casual style and I found myself quickly being drawn into the exciting antics as he tried to protect humans and hunt demons. Having a half demon incubus with angelic tendencies for a lover adds plenty of spice into the mix, and I found myself both breathless from their passion and intrigued by Dominic’s work. I thought the plot around Dominic and Rafael was fresh and exciting – I didn’t guess the twist half way through – and I found myself turning the pages faster to find out what happened next. The author has a vivid imagination and I greatly enjoyed the characters, plot and world. The quick pace of the story kept me on the edge of my seat and I felt a little disappointed when the ride was over. I’d love to read more stories both in this world and with Dominic and Rafael together. The Council and all the paranormal creatures were vibrant and kept my attention till the very last page.
A great read for M/M, paranormal and angel/demon story lovers I’d happily recommend this sexy, interesting tale and look forward to finding more.
Bad boys are popular, from rogues and rakes in historical romances, to tattooed musicians in contemporary romance novels. I have nothing against them, but too many is never good. There is another problem with bad boys especially in real life – most of them stay bad. But in novels it is very common to see them reformed under the magic spell of true love. Therefore, from time to time I discover a different approach to the transformation from bad boy to good and it’s more than welcome. This is exactly the main reason why I liked Debra St. John’s An Unexpected Blessing.
An Unexpected Blessing features Joe Mason who spent some time in prison and his past is not a rosy one. He is well aware of his transgressions, and now that he has served his time he wants to just lead a normal life. Joe Mason is a bad boy, but at the very beginning of the story he is also reformed one, but not by the love of the heroine – Katy Roth – or through his love for her, but because he learned his lesson in prison. What actually stands between him and his path to a happy life is the small-minded community into which he returned. Fortunately, with Katy’s help and love he realized that if love is a true one than it will conquer all; prejudices, gossips and fears.
As I already mentioned, I liked this story because there was a shift from the usual bad boy transformation. I also liked it because the author wrote a small town mentality so realistically and palpable, it felt genuine. Katy’s character is also great. I loved how she stood up for Joe, but also how she fought for their relationship and his stubbornness.
Usually stories that features a small town, a single mother and some kind of holiday tend to be too sweet and full of unnecessary drama and emotions. But not An Unexpected Blessing. This story is a pearl, a great shiny pearl. It is really worth reading. And, it comes with bonus features: lovely recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner.(less)
A murderer stalks the wild woods of Maine. He has set his sights on Mandy Brown, an innkeeper with secrets that may threaten the safety of all she holds dear.
Four months ago, Danny Sullivan thwarted a murder attempt on Mandy Brown and her best friend Jed. Nathan, the town mayor, had erected a Celtic human sacrifice deep in the woods. Nathan vanished, leaving Mandy to pick up the pieces, Jed to recover from a nearly fatal wound and Danny to track down the killer’s steps, even if they lead back to a place no one would ever suspect.
Mandy is a woman burdened with the responsibilities of caring for a special needs brother, an ailing mother and running an inn all by herself. She begins to receive threatening messages and photographs in the mail and begins to fear that Nathan has come back. She dare not let anyone get too close, lest Nathan rip what is left of her life to shreds. She holds a secret that could knock the murder case right on its head.
Danny Sullivan is a man on a mission. He is trying to solve the murder of his sister at the hands of Nathan. Not only has he fallen for the pretty innkeeper, he has a score to settle with the murderer of his sister. As strange accidents begin to happen, and he and Mandy are forced together he begins to wonder what dark secrets are hiding in the Maine woods and behind the eyes of the woman he is growing to love.
The mystery and intrigue in Midnight Sacrifice are a catalyst for a brilliant page turning experience. Add in the romance between Danny and Mandy and you have some pretty intense sparks ready to burst into flame. The murderer has someone helping him even as I devoured the pages in search of an answer, author Melinda Leigh didn’t give it away with anything obvious. She had me guessing until the last second and that is something in a mystery novel that I value immensely. Don’t hand it to me on a platter, make me work for it and that was exactly what she did.
Seeing Nathan growing up with the twisted circumstances of his family made him very real and all the more scary. Is there a kind of disease that warps the mind like that until you can’t sleep and it totally degrades the brain into a pile of mush? I don’t know, but wow that was a great story line. Using the Celtic mythology and the re-birth of spring with Beltane and the May Queen ideal was a brilliant use of symbolism.
The romance between Mandy and Danny was fraught with insecurities. Commitment issues, guilt over secrets and shame all played a part in how they reacted to each other. The tension between Jed wanting Mandy and her becoming infatuated with Danny was another element that added spice to the mix. The sexual tension and love scenes were well done. I love characters that aren’t perfect and have the scars to prove it, whether they are physical or have something lying just beneath the surface that they have to tame before they can really see the other person staring back at them in the mirror, let alone someone else. Danny had that big time, and so did Mandy. Each of them had their own demons to slay and that made it much more identifiable and realistic.
I enjoyed the building suspense of this novel. The mystery interwoven with romance and the sheer terror of experiencing what the victims were experiencing at Nathan’s crazed whims were enough to have me bringing this book everywhere I went until the last page was turned with a sigh. I wanted it to last forever and I will be watching for more books by this author.
When I am in the mood for mystery and alluring characters that tug at my heart strings, I will be reaching for another Melinda Leigh. I just hope she writes another one quick!(less)
Broke and needing new snow tires – along with the usual food and rent – Molly Bishop is contemplating donating a kidney for the much needed money. Overhearing her conversation with a co-worker, Aiden Ford leaves his business card, a C note and a reference to get her tires changed. Annoyed by being viewed as needing to be “fixed” Molly tries to return the money, but Aiden refuses. Deciding to interfere with his life as he’d done hers, she signs him up to temporarily home a shelter dog – a miniature Chihuahua named Layla. A fun, lighthearted “war of kindness” is what follows.
Brimming with laughter, Christmas spirit and a healthy dose of spicy romance, this book is fantastic fun. Both Molly and Aiden are quite attracted to each other, but equally frustrated and irritated. I loved how Aiden and Molly are both strong minded, independent people who don’t like giving an inch. As they each try to one-up the other by “fixing” each other’s life, the chemistry between them smolders and grows, guaranteed to explode with sexy consequences. I really enjoyed how this wasn’t a “regular” romance story. While yes, they do help each other neither is initially very accepting of the other’s help. They’re not pig headed about it, but each so strongly resists the sense of being “helped” or fixed the situations they both create made me laugh and really enjoy this different way they came together and realized their true feelings for one another.
With a bunch of interesting secondary characters, and strong ties between everyone, this light hearted romance really had me giggling and sighing happily. Perfect for a chilly evening or curling up and relaxing over the weekend, I’d think this would appeal to a broad range of readers.
What do you do if you fall in love with your two best friends and can’t choose between them? Set up a ménage, of course!
Andie has become desperate. She’s been in love with Rex and Paul for years but hasn’t had the courage to tell them. Now she’s ready to finally lose her virginity and can think of no better way than with the men she adores. Terrified of how they’d react, she contacts Madame Eve and asks her to set up her dream date. It’s just what she needs, and worth the cost-every last penny to her name!
Rex and Paul have a secret of their own. They’ve been involved in a sexual relationship behind Andie’s back. Despite being very close friends, they’ve been afraid to confess for fear of her reaction. After winning a 1Night Stand date with an unknown woman, they fly off to Alaska, but can’t escape the guilt they feel. They’d prefer the woman to be Andie, but can’t take the chance of ruining the friendship.
This was a nice tale of friendship turned love. The motivations of each are well-defined and the love they felt was unquestionable. The details, however, are lacking, which left me wanting a little more. This was Andie’s first time, yet neither man knew that until later. The men had a loving relationship, but we didn’t get to see much of that. The choreography, at times, became confusing. I’d be picturing the woman laying down, but then something was said about someone behind her-and then I’d think perhaps I was wrong and she was sitting up. It took me out of the scene, unfortunately, causing me to go back and re-read.
That said, it was enjoyable to watch these three connect. To know all of them wanted the same thing the others did made for an easy happily ever after. I’ll look into other works of Ms. Richards in the future. With a 1Night Stand, you can rarely go wrong!
Convinced by a friend to investigate her newly purchased home, Olivia sets out to find out if it is haunted. She is in for more than she bargained for when a favor for a friend turns into a very real Halloween encounter from beyond the grave.
Olivia was a ghost hunter on a mission. Determined to find out if her friend’s recent home purchase was haunted, she sets up a traditional Dumb Supper after a Halloween party. Not expecting a real manifestation, she is stunned when a sexy ghost appears and the heat between them combusts into an open flame. Thinking she is a doxy in her Halloween costume, the ghost alternatively insults and inflames her until she is ready to embrace him in both body and soul.
Set up over five Halloweens, Olivia meets with the ghost and falls for him. Calling him Master, she dresses up, fixes him dinner and they have bouts of rock-the-house sex that will have you turning the pages on your e-reader at lightning speed. While at first, I found the ghost to be a bit of a jerk calling Olivia a whore at every turn, you begin to understand more about his character as the story goes on.
One of the interesting things about this story in serial form is the journey with the two lovers over time and what happens when the already decaying house becomes unsafe to live in. Olivia lives in fear of not being able to meet with her Master if the house is torn down. She lives for their yearly interludes and after reading some of the spanking, tying up and otherwise naughty scenes, I have to agree. This ghost is a keeper!
The banter back and forth between the main characters, the sex scenes and overall presentation of the book was great. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author. Her ability to pique your interest in the story is considerable and as a serial, it let you see the growth of the characters and the fear that they may not be able to be together.
If you want a hot read that has some unexpected story twists, then this book is for you. Lovers of the paranormal will love it!(less)
When Dominant Leon Butters finds the sub of his dreams, Christmas gets a little more merry.
Leon has been watching Bernice Rowe since he first laid eyes on her. A local librarian with lush golden hair and a voluptuous figure, he knew she had to be his. When she entered Kink, the local BDSM club, he watched from afar until it was the right time to make his move. Bernie would be his for Christmas.
Bernice was enamored with the possibility that becoming a sub would help her with her issues with attracting the right kind of man. New to the lifestyle, the relationship between a sub and a Dom really appealed to her, especially if that Dom was going to be Leon.
Bound for Christmas had a fairy tale quality that you don’t often see in a BDSM novel. It had a sweetness and simplicity to the story and flow that was intriguing. Leon was a typical Dom character- overbearing and doing everything from cutting Bernie’s food to dressing her. Bernie was a quiet sub with very little going on. There were points in the story that frustrated me, the doormat syndrome being one of those. While the loving nature of the story was nice, the lack of character depth made me restless as I was reading. On the other hand, the sexy spanking scenes and other BDSM moments were a lot of fun and had me reaching for the iced tea.
The very real weight concerns that Bernie had were a strong pull as was the fear of being alone. Body image is a very real part of most women’s lives, and I identified with Bernie’s need to be accepted by Leon. To have someone care about you enough to correct you, feed you, dress you and the like is intoxicating, but in this instance it felt like Bernie had very little presence. There were a couple other issues that also popped up. Echoes. When the same word is used over and over again in the course of a paragraph, then it tends to stick in the reader’s mind and you notice. The other thing was that there was very little getting to know you time before things progressed to a level of commitment that felt unrealistic and I had a moment where my ability to suspend disbelief was having some issues.
Overall, I liked the storyline, characters and the idea that you can meet a Dom in a club and have a sexy three week Christmas vacation with as much kink as you can stand. That would frost anyone’s cupcake, especially mine. The holiday essence and sweetness of the story prevailed in the end.
If you want a story that has a little bit of kink under the tree, then give Bound for Christmas a try.
What do I like most in a good read? Story first, smokin’ hot romance second. By George, I think Ms. Elliott has got it correct!
It does seem almost trite, when, at the beginning, the “work is everything” Darcy goes off on her tenant, Ben, for decorating the entire house for the holidays. The “situation at work” provides her a convenient reason to have to interact with him. Personally, I don’t know any managers of a large retail establishment who wouldn’t have a crew ready to go, but, honestly, if this were written true-to-life, we wouldn’t have the forced interaction at work (that lead to a little work “pre-nookie”).
There are a LOT of love scenes in this story. Between the foreplay and the actual sex, each is nicely detailed and not lacking in the sense of urgency or desire between Darcy and Ben.
It’s kind of hard to swallow (no pun intended!) how quickly Darcy succumbs to Ben and his way of thinking, whether it be Christmas decorations, tattoos or sex with each other. However, this is a work of fiction, and if you can put that aside, you are golden to enjoy the fabulous romp that is Darcy and Ben.
The addition of Ben’s niece was a nice touch. At the risk of spoilers, it was a necessary addition, but handled in a unique and fun way. I especially enjoyed the shopping scene and feel that Ben’s wallet could have been significantly lighter if Darcy had really tried!
Family appears to be important to both of our main characters. In addition to shaping their reactions to one another, the actual family and interactions with them help to propel the story forward.
This may be a Christmas story. But it’s also a “retail” story. And a “romance”. And definitely a “sizzler”. Don’t let the time of year this story is set keep you from picking it up in January, or May, or even September. It’s a good read no matter WHAT time of year!
Is turkey day one of your favorite holidays? I bet you’ve never had one like any of these!
This is an anthology of stories about Thanksgiving by a variety of authors: Arthur C. Carey, John Weagly, Earl Staggs, Amanda Lundberg, Betsy Bitner, S. Furlong-Bolliger, Steve Shrott, Andrew MacRae, Zoe Burke, Arlen Blumhagen, Lesley A. Diehl, Gail Farrelly, Herschel Cozine, Linda S. Reilly, Stephen D. Rogers, Barb Goffman and Laura Hartman. The stories are short and each one has a weird quirk to it of some kind.
The authors give us poisonings, strange customs (ever been to a nude Thanksgiving before?) and there is even some argument over the traditional dinners dishes. Green bean casserole is mentioned more than once. There is also some argument over how the cranberries are presented. The fact that there are people dying all over the place doesn’t seem affect dinner. Some families don’t even take care of the body until after dinner.
The group of authors in this anthology made me laugh, made me roll my eyes, and kept me amused all the way through. They introduce odd characters with strange habits and it feels just like real family dinners do. Every family has that one odd family member that the rest of them try to ignore. It’s a nice homey environment with the spice of murder added to the Thanksgiving dinner. What more could you want?(less)
The title drew me to this story and it had a little of everything: humor, adventure and mystery. I thought it would be a sort of whodunit but it turned into quite the adventure for the characters, and it all starts with the need for pecans for a pie.
The setting was very exotic and I think the author did a great job describing both the boat the characters were on and the town where the adventure takes place. And I felt like I was thrown into the action.
The only thing I felt needed to be changed was the length of the story. The author did a wonderful job setting it up so I thought the whole mystery part could have been fleshed out more.
Besides that, if you like an exotic setting for your mystery read and one peppered with some quirky characters, this is probably a good pick for you.(less)
I love the idea of going back in time to find your one true love. Isn’t that a common theme in time-travel romances? I was thrown off a bit by the fact that this started off post WWII, not modern day, as I was expecting. That was an obstacle of my own making, and had nothing to do with the story itself, but did confuse me as I was trying to start reading!
What made it even more difficult to want to finish reading was the style in which the first portion of the book was written. It was a narrative–style and didn’t inlcude much dialogue. I found this intensely difficult to read and even more so, repetitive, trite, and a bit preachy. The only thing that kept me reading was the desire to see if anything changed once Laura and Alaric met.
Happily, that was the key! Once the hero and heroine met, there were more opportunities for dialogue, and the story became much easier to read, and the “flow” much better.
There are multiple sexual encounters between them. There is no reserved, coquettish play. In fact, it reads much as modern encounters might. That leads one to forget that the entire interaction at the house takes place over the span of mere days.
The switching between time periods is not a confusing as it could be. It is always nice when a reader is able to say for certain where and when their hero and heroine are existing!
I did find myself fixating on some of the issues surrounding time travel and what the resolution to the story would be. I will state now, that my thoughts were completely incorrect and each possibility was systematically eliminated as I continued to read. Having said that – I was not entirely satisfied by the ending as presented. It was a neat and tidy way to finish the story without too many “time issues”, and I applaud the author for her creativity in this respect. However, I found I was left wanting more.
It may sound as if I disliked the book. This is absolutely not this case. I still feel this is an interesting and intriguing story and am happy that it was told. The characters (once they find each other) blossom and are interesting and worthy of the dialogue bestowed upon them. The secondary characters have some lovely quirks that make them the “spice” in the story.
If you are a time-travel fan, get a hold of a copy. You will enjoy enjoy the relationship that occurs and hopefully be surprised by the ending, too!(less)
In Christmas Bequest, Ms. Miller offers laughter and tears, despair and hope, anger and joy and a burgeoning love in the middle of grief. In other words, the author offers up everything and still manages not to leave this reader feeling overwhelmed.
The story of Patience’s added burdens due to the loss of her brother, her mother’s inability to curb her expenses and her sister-in-law’s apparent indifference is skilfully crafted. In such a short story Miss Miller has created depth of character, intrigue and misdirection. They are irritating family members in abundance and the hero’s ability to turn a potentially explosive situation are all interwoven with balance and perception.
I soon become clear there are plenty of family conflicts, both above and below the surface of this grieving family, and yet there is so much more. Ms. Miller takes each member of her cast and changes them completely by the time the reader turns the final page.
The only character that did not seem to fit the disposition preset for him was Lucinda’s brother. He did not live up to the reputation prescribed to him, which slightly confused me.
This story is set in the few days before and after Christmas and deals with the way each member of the family deal with the revelations that are exposed. Not only does each character change significantly, but Ms. Miller offers plausible reason for how these changes take place and why. To manage this in less than sixty pages take skill, and Ms. Miller appears to do it with ease, which of course is all part of her skilful writing abilities.
This is first Miller book I’ve read, but I’ll but looking out for more in the future.
South Carolina and pine trees swaying in the wind.
Lark Chaikin’s plan (er, challenge) is a bit quirky, but reflects her late father’s desires. And, Sheriff Stone Rhodes is not unsympathetic, but the law is the law. The two are on opposite sides from the start. And lets face it: Stone Rhodes is about as unbending a lawman as one can imagine. However, both our main characters are complex and interesting people, and though they seem plainly at odds, both surprise us. Lark is sophisticated, but at heart, there’s a country girl, with a genuine feeling for a people. She is also determined to solve what starts as a minor mystery. Stone has that tough exterior you’d expect of a lawman; but there is a lot going on inside. His own grief makes him both less sociable but more understanding.
Almost by accident, they find they have a common goal in discovering the truth about a specific important event in town.
The community is thoroughly involved from the start. Folks take sides, doubt one another, question the facts. Gossip takes off … and though you want to believe in charming little southern communities, we find out pretty quickly that even at the holidays, you can’t count on the clichéd charming community to help out overall.
Ms. Ramsey’s writing style is straightforward and unobtrusive. Conversations are believable and move things right along. One or two changes in point-of-view were a tad abrupt, but (recognizing this is a personal bugaboo) I suspect this will not dismay most readers. The secondary characters also do certainly move things along – young David’s romance with Lizzie is a whole entertaining side, and past loves come into it too. There is also that touch of ‘magic’ any good Christmas story needs – an angel to oversee them all. Although Last Chance Christmas is a series, you don’t need to have read any of the previous novels to thoroughly enjoy this one.
Somehow, despite disagreements, expectations and whole-town angst, not to mention a troubling investigation, Ms. Ramsey will still make us feel the heartfelt charm of it all, and leave you happily in the spirit of Christmas. From the swaying pines through a myriad of decoration all the way to the pageant, this book has everything.
My recommendation: Curl up with this book and a nice batch of frosted cookies. On another note: Cover designer went over and above on this one: Colors and design are completely perfect; Last Chance Christmas will make a lovely gift — for Christmas or any time of the year.(less)
Percy and her family just might be as nutty as the pistachios she craves!
Percy is certainly not the stereotypical mother of the 1940s. She’s a tough woman with an attitude big enough to match her 5’11” frame. She possesses a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue. I love the way she handles people, men in particular, who doubt her abilities as a detective. Though she can be brash at times, Percy also knows how to turn on the charm when she needs to. I can just as easily picture her buttering up a potential witness with free food or roughing up a hostile one.
What I like most about Percy is that she is completely unapologetic about who she is. She knows she’s a good detective and simply goes about her business the best way she can and doesn’t let anyone stand in her way. She lets insulting comments about her height and weight roll right off her back. Even though Percy projects a tough attitude, she has a soft spot for her family, especially her young son. The moments she spent with him really softened her character and served to make her even more likable.
As much as I love Percy, she is the only truly rounded character in the book. I would really like to get to know some of the eclectic members of her family a bit more, especially Percy’s parents. Any couple who would name their three children Adjudication, Persephone, and Serendipity has to be worth getting to know better. Perhaps I’ll have that opportunity in future installments of the series?
The mystery Percy works on in this tale is intriguing. The list of suspects is very long. So many of them seem to be hiding something that it is very hard to sort out who was hiding what. Percy has great instincts and a knack for getting people to reveal their secrets, even if she has to fudge the truth a little. While it is very entertaining to watch Percy stare her suspects down, I don’t think it is entirely realistic that her suspects would always fall for her bluffs. Some failures mixed in with the successes would have made this mystery more believable.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse. Percy is a great character, and I found myself smiling and laughing at her antics throughout the story. Anyone looking for a fun, fast read should certainly give this book a try. I know I’ll be on the lookout for more about Percy and her adventures.
A Change of Address, by Kate Dolan, is a short, sweet Christmas Regency read. It may be short, it may be sweet, but it is fully formed, and peopled with believable characters, a few somewhat unbelievable plots that still work beautifully and a setting so vivid I could feel the damp chill of the new home.
It’s a home that Amanda, her younger sister and her mother, move to after her father’s death. A home so far removed from their accustomed luxury Amanda cannot help herself resenting her mother’s resolution not to accept their cousin’s offer to remain in their familiar surroundings. It doesn’t help when they discover their home is without furniture, let alone the most basic necessities to start their new life.
Enter Charles, son of their new landlord, in less than auspicious circumstances and you have the beginnings of a series of misunderstandings plots and subplots that Ms. Dolan weaves together with a gentle humour in keeping with her characters and her story.
While Amanda has strength of character, and her younger sister an equally strong sense of adventure, Amanda’s mother, and her motivations are not immediately clear. Once again, it is down to the author’s craftsmanship that the mother’s motives and personality are finally revealed.
Meanwhile Charles’ sister and father both play an integral part in the story and both come across strongly in their own personalities, as do the drunkard Plucket and his daughter, Mary.
Ms. Dolan packs a full-length story into a 77 page novella with her cleverly offered tools of suggestion, in the same way she crafts just enough description of her settings for the reader to fill them in to their own satisfaction.
I enjoyed that none of the characters were too perfect to be true. A Change of Address tugs at both laughter and tears and was a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas read.(less)
Emerald is a popular singer, but at home she’s just a nice Jewish girl called Amy. Home for Passover, Amy hides the truth of her relationship with Mic...moreEmerald is a popular singer, but at home she’s just a nice Jewish girl called Amy. Home for Passover, Amy hides the truth of her relationship with Michael, her lead guitarist who is also her song writer. This is not her darkest secret and she hopes her family never find out the truth. When word comes Michael is dead, Emerald hurries to the scene of his death and discovers many unusual facts to do with his world and death which confuse her even more.
This story may be short but it is packed with emotion, mystery and action. In Amy/Emerald’s world shifters are accepted as part of the Goyim (non Jews) but there will never be a Jewish shifter. It’s just not possible. Her parents have decided it’s time their daughter is married and invite a nice Jewish boy to the Passover meal. So what does Amy/Emerald do? Am I being mean when I say read the story to find out?
The interaction between the characters in this book is paranormal but in an unusual way. A great mystery with an unexpected twist, something that always adds a bit of spice to a story. Good read for lovers of paranormal. (less)
Lyons is a loup-garou and angry and hell, tracking down his best friend and ex-lover, Kipp. But Kipp is more than he seems, and has secrets he dares not share, so he ran out on the pack before their Alpha could have him killed. Scorching hot writing and highly erotic, this hunter/prey tracking style short story was full of animal passion and sizzling sex.
Foxtrot – Missouri Dalton
Remy has gone to a BDSM club’s masquerade party as a favour to a friend and as the entertainment – playing the saxophone. Interrupted during a hot piece of ass, Remy is called upon by the King of Elves to close out his party with his jazz playing. Filled with all sorts of paranormal creatures and plenty of sexy scenes, this is a fun short story.
Believe me, Beloved – Charlie Cochet
Robert Bradley is gobsmacked by the brilliance of Gabriel Chase’s luxurious masquerade. Feeling completely like a fish out of water – like a male Cinderella – Robert plans to enjoy this one night looking in on the lap of luxury. Gabriel has noticed him though, and soon they’re both ready to be honest and remove their masks. This is an old-style sexy story, set in the glitz and glamour of top hats and tails.
As You Wish – Rob Rosen
James is desperate for a job, and Charles needs a houseman he can trust. But there’s far more beneath the surface of a mere valet that Charles needs. A surprising paranormal/historical novel filled with mystery and steamy sex. This reminded me a little of the naughty Victorian tales and raunchy historicals.
Alpha Prime – Katherine Halle
Christian has no desire to attend Stephen Cane’s annual masquerade, but he has no choice. When he finds his online friend is going too, there seems to be a small silver lining to the whole deal. But the real action happens once their instincts kick in, they recognise each other’s costumes and the masks finally come off. A cool modern, werewolf tale full of hot sex and steamy mystery.
What You Are – Elizabeth L Brooks
Cory routinely bumps into Leon at the elevators of their building. Desperately in lust neither have acted until they unknowingly dance together at a masquerade. Sizzling tension explodes between them, but Cory is too scared to divulge his secrets and remove the mask. Leon is determined however, and soon it’s Cory seeking him out. A wonderful tale of hidden secrets, lust and a surprising tenderness. Reader warning – there’s wolf sex in this story.
Annual Full Moon Werewolf Ball – Sean Michael
Grammercy disliked the fakeness of the “werewolf” annual ball where humans pretended to be something extraordinary. Unsure why he’s bothering, Gramm decides to hang around when he scents the man who bit his thigh years ago – changing him forever. A steamy story of two very determined, strong minded men coming together in a clash of passion, sex and deep instinctual hunger.(less)
The holidays are an awkward time for anyone whose relatives hold onto rigid ideas about the definition of real adulthood or what constitutes a good life. This is even more true for those of us who are LGBT and have ever worried about what loved ones will say when they discover the truth. Will coming out change how you’re treated? Has anyone figured it out already?
Poor Noah is so deeply connected to his family, girlfriend and Jewish heritage that sometimes he can’t see where they end and he begins. Loyalty is a great character trait but the chasm between the man Noah pretends to be and who he actually is such a source of anxiety that I’d like nothing more than to give him a hug. Of course not everyone will be kind or understanding when they realize the truth about you but more often than not I’ve been pleasantly surprised by whole-hearted acceptance when I come out to new people. This doesn’t make Noah’s concerns any less valid, of course. There are families and communities out there that react quite negatively upon learning that their child, sibling, neighbor or coworker is queer but I still wish I could have stepped into this story and reassured Noah on his journey.
One of the most powerful gifts a young person can be given is the knowledge that they are not alone. One needs not identify as LGBT in order to know what it feels like to be out of step with the rest of humanity for any number of reasons. The strength of this story lies in Noah’s transformation and his realization that the world is a far bigger place than he ever could have imagined.
The Secret to a Perfect Latke is actually quite simple. The answer lies not the quality of the ingredients, the temperature of your oven, the strength of your frying pan or how quickly the results are gobbled up. It is simultaneously the simplest and most complex thing that exists. Are you wondering what the secret is yet? Why not pick up this book and find out!(less)
Life has made a renegade out of this hero and being a cop is a hard line to walk when rules, regs and a Captain who has it in for him all scheme to trip him up. Diego is tough, resourceful and is gritting his teeth at being roped in to toe the line. In a hick town no less. The hunky hero is about to find out that small towns can hide big things, like the key to his heart and a lust so huge it’ll make him goofy.
I get the biggest kick out of a story that takes a strong, take charge and goal oriented man and pairs him with a woman who doesn’t fit any mold of any female he’s ever come across. Watching a sexy guy turn into Pavlov’s dog whenever Jade turns her ‘green-eyed pixie’ gaze on him was very entertaining. Realizing that Diego had a horrid childhood and is emotionally starved ended up being a strong lure to keep on reading through to the end. He’s a person who has to control everything, is driven to succeed and will do anything to solve a case. As the hero falls in love for the first time in his life, he finds that solving the case isn’t as engrossing or the top priority as it once was. But is it a good thing or a bad thing? It takes a while for him to figure that out.
Jade is adorable. In the beginning she seems all Suzy Sunshine. As with the sun, the clouds have to come by eventually and dampen the mood. That’s a good way to describe getting to know the heroine. She’s genuine and sweet but she has a few regrets, some unmet dreams and feels smothered by responsibility. What I liked was the volatile chemistry between Jade and Diego. It is the catalyst that brings Jade to life and it inspires her willingness to let go, to explore and spread her wings. It was great to watch.
The cat, Persephone, is the key. Imagining the antics that Jade’s cat gets into around Christmastime and what it does to hapless decorations is one of the cutest and giggle-worthy elements in the whole book. It was a terrific touch and I thought the interactions between the kitty and Diego were wonderful. If there needed to be a little conflict and mayhem, Persephone was more than up to the task. What the cat did do was showcase the best points about both Diego and Jade in their reactions to caring for, chasing or rescuing said kitty.
There were wonderful human secondary characters too, like Mayor Applebaum. He sort of turned into the kind of father figure Diego probably wished he’d had but thought they really didn’t exist. Then again there was that nasty woman at the library that’s more in line with the city rat race that he was used to. Ms. Weber did an effective job in creating a character that I didn’t like. How? That woman didn’t like Persephone and one sentence she uttered was downright cruel. Boo Hiss.
Nice & Naughty has some quality hot-cha-cha going on between the sheets and anywhere else Diego can convince Jade to have a little fun. Because a lot of their coming together was spontaneous and combustible, I never knew when it was going to happen, but due to the strong writing skills that Ms. Weber employs, every scene was steamy, effective and fun.
Although the tug of war between his job/her job, his dreams/her dreams is a typical ploy, and the ‘how’ of the opportunity to fix it all was a bit anti-climactic and predictable, those techniques didn’t detract from this being an enjoyable read and worth spending time with. There were too many smiles and giggles and sweet and funny characters worth reading about to make me not mind.
Most of the story is internal conflict and personality issues between Diego and Jade. However, that’s not all that lurks in the shadows. The author added in a surprise villainy that I never suspected. I enjoy a bit of suspense and drama because it heightens the emotions of both the main characters, and if done right, the reader too. Ms. Weber succeeded and it made the story that much better.
Nice & Naughty is a fun, enthusiastic romance between two characters that brought out the best in each other. It’s not dark and dismal but bright, quirky and adorable except when the author wanted to shock a reader with the extent of the antagonist’s treachery and criminal actions. Ms. Weber dropped clues here and there and only after the big reveal did I remember what I read and put the pieces together. Part of the answer was there all along but the biggest surprise came at the end. That was an amazing round up.
I recommend Nice & Naughty to any reader who is looking for a story that can make them feel happy, a bit flustered in a good way, and who likes a book peppered with good humor and witty dialogue. This novel delivers it all.(less)
When an event planner is invited to host a series of events at the hospital where her sister breathed her last, Jennalyn is overcome by the tidal wave of grief that is her constant companion. Ryland is the hospital administrator who is suffering from his own scars. Will the two learn that there is more to the spirit of Christmas than the ghosts of Christmas past?
This book could not have fallen into my hands at a more opportune time. This year, the holidays were a blur that was often filled with tired and humbug ridden thoughts of the most surly in nature. Reading Her Miracle Man put a burr under my saddle to think about people with a lot more on their plate than I have and the happiness they found in helping others was truly a joy to behold.
Ryland is a hospital administrator looking to set up a month of miracles for the kids in his hospital that are the most vulnerable. Jennalyn is an event coordinator and the sister of one of Ryland’s patients that didn’t make it. Both are scarred by Sabrina’s passing and have vulnerabilities that run deep. The two dance around their mutual attraction and begin to work together to give the kids in the hospital a series of miracles that will bring tears to your eyes and a flutter of hope in a time of year when it is easy to forget that there are others out there that have challenges that are literally life or death.
The story was well laid out and took me on a journey of grief, life, hope and redemption. Honestly, it was more about the story than the sex in this one. While there were some BDSM elements when Ryland and Jennalyn get together, it was more about the holiday story and the selfless giving to the kids that really kept me reading. There is a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting that had to do with who the families were that received the month of miracles. The videos with Sabrina telling her sister to give Ryland a hand and to get involved with him were heartwarming and made me cry more than once.
If you enjoy a holiday story that will bring a tear or two to your eyes with a little bit of spicy BDSM to liven things up, then you have to try Her Miracle Man.(less)
How could she tell the man who she’s engaged to that she won’t be marrying him when she enjoys their sensual escapades so much?
Mary Ann Everdene has to work through her predicament when she comes to her decision after witnessing her fiancé in the arms of Polly Vance, her sometimes lover. Mary Ann still loves Colum, yet she also enjoys her time with other women. Both Colum and Mary Ann are sent to St. Austell with Virginia Windlesham who is now pregnant with an unknown man’s baby. Everyone has their suspicions and theories about who the father of the baby is, but only time will tell the truth unless the father would come forward. In the meantime, Virginia is being sent away to live with her aunt to save the family from the complications of her indiscretion. Mary Ann and Colum are expected to care for Miss Windlesham and in turn miss out on being with Polly. All three are essentially “banished” from Long Livery Hall for a while.
I enjoyed seeing both Mary Ann and Colum stand up to Virginia and seeing Virginia being put in her place. At one point I was a bit upset with Mary Ann for not explaining a situation fully to Colum, but the ending still satisfied me. New characters are introduced including surprising relations. Plot twists and turns add to the enjoyment of this newest installment of the Erotic Tales of Long Livery Hall, although this book mainly takes place outside of the Long Livery Hall estate, but involves characters from Long Livery Hall.
For readers new to the series, Banished could be read as a standalone book since Ms. Knightly is great at explaining the ongoing situations sufficiently without boring readers of the previous books. I highly recommend Banished for an enjoyable erotic historical tale which keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end with its surprising delights.(less)
Sometimes the drama you don’t think you want is really just what you need. Hank is determined not to make the same mistakes twice. His last serious boyfriend was an over the top twink, sleeping with many people at once. Hoping to avoid drama altogether, Hank is dismissive of the cute but obviously swishy child caretaker Justin at his local gym. Trying to give his niece Josie a Merry Christmas and stable home at the same time as keeping his sanity takes all of Hank’s energy. Justin may be just the kind of drama Hank wants to avoid, but his help proves essential.
Turkey in the Snow is a quick holiday story with a feel good ending. Hank is a stable guy working at a bank and exists between working and taking care of his niece. Hank’s sister (Josie’s mother) dropped the little girl off one day and disappeared. His sister is known for her wild ways, so Hank is determined to keep and take care of Josie. That includes staying far away from cute but dangerous twink types. Hank is a nice character. He’s not particularly exciting per se but he’s well rounded and realistic. His determination and care for his niece is heart warming.
On the flip side Justin is a cute ball of energy. Maybe a bit too much energy as his personality comes across way over the top and initially I couldn’t see why Hank was so attracted to the very type that burned him before. However the story does a nice job developing both men and their relationship so the nuances and differences emerge. The plot moves along very quickly and a happy ending takes place mere days from the start of the book so there is a lot packed into a short amount of time. It leaves some details to be desired but overall the quick pace, nice characters, and sweet message make for a delicious holiday offering.(less)
Cassie pays good money for the male escorts she hires and while she doesn’t ask for sex she does require total submission. This holiday’s male attraction doesn’t have a submissive bone in his body and tests Cassie’s limits with his male arrogance and looks that leave all the women trailing after him like stray cats. James may not be what she wants, but he is most certainly what she needs.
Cassie is what I would expect in a successful business woman, smart and determined. While these qualities make her the right hand woman in the family business it leaves her little room for a personal life. Top that with her no nonsense attitude and need for control and there are more than a few lonely nights for her. That is until she meets James, who seems to challenge her at every available moment which both irritates her and turns her on. I really enjoyed watching her grow as an individual and to realize how important a personal life is to accompany her business success.
James seems to have found the balance that Cassie is lacking to a certain extent. He knows that Cassie is a find and is willing to take the time out to focus on developing the relationship. I also appreciated that while he may have mislead Cassie he did it with good intentions. As many of us know however, sometimes the worst actions come out of the best of intentions. Let’s just hope that his good intentions don’t turn out to be the largest mistake in his life.
The author drew out some real emotions from me when reading this story. There are some parts when I felt frustrated with Cassie’s inability to accept what was in front of her. Then I may find myself laughing out loud at the antics of the characters while trying to fix the relationship or at Cassie’s families humor. I even got angry at other characters such as Cassie’s father. It made the story much more enjoyable and keep the pages turning. I would recommend this story to anyone during the holidays or any other time in the year.(less)
What could possibly be frightening about one year ending and another beginning? Everything.
All fourteen of these stories have truly creepy premises, from characters reluctantly participating in time-honoured traditions that usher in the new year to secret wishes that unfortunately come true. Some authors do a better job of introducing readers to the horrors of their worlds than did others but even the additions that I found less entertaining included scenes that surprised or scared me.
“Appointment in Time,” for example, built up the tension so slowly there was little relief to be found when I figured out what James S. Dorr was doing to the Englishman narrator who detailed his participation in an old New Year’s tradition. The clues were a little too easy to piece together but I still shivered when my prediction of how it would end came to pass. This tendency to reveal crucial information too early on was repeated in “Doll,” in which a businessman buys an antique doll for his ill sister, and “Deadly Secrets,” in which a man visits a mysterious business in order to gain the self control necessary to keep his New Year’s resolutions.
My favourite entries include “The Story of Myrtle Roadie,” in which an eccentric old woman living in a small town in the 1880s is accused of ritually murdering children every December 31, and “Trigger,” in which a fireworks display in a former wildlife sanctuary takes a wild turn. Year’s End is worth buying for the twists and turns in these two stories alone as both kept me guessing until the final sentences. For some reason the strongest entries were concentrated in the first half of the book with the exception of “Token Lesbians.” The idea of a teenage girl, her girlfriend and her sister experiencing the things Stefani runs into on the subway and at the club was a funny and unexpected way to end this collection.
Reading Year’s End: 14 Tales of Holiday Horror is a great way to say adieu to 2012 and kick off 2013 with a shudder. Remember, New Year’s Eve is only 11 months away and who knows what awaits us then!
Danyiah is head over heels in love with Adam, and this Christmas she wants to give him a special surprise gift and tell him about two secrets she’s been keeping from him. Danyiah is not sure how he will take the revelation but she knows that since they love one another all will be fine.
Adam is a laid back kind of guy and is trying to accept the fact that the woman he loves enjoys blogging about their personal lives. He just wants some things to be private but he loves Danyiah and does not want to crush her creative spirit.
This short story was a nice follow up to the original book, Wild Horses. The characters are still as engaging as ever however the story for this reader wasn’t as fulfilling or entertaining as the original. This book cannot be read as a standalone because it is a continuation; you have to read the original book in order to understand some of the references given in this one. The chemistry between the characters was lacking maybe because the author was trying to show the distance that had developed between them. However, the author still showed Danyiah lighthearted and humorous personality and Adam, Danyiah’s love interest was still as devoted to her as ever, even though you saw how frustrated he was with her.
Wild Horses: Cold, Cold Winter is a pleasant story, and it was nice to revisit these characters to catch up with them. I just thought that the story needed something more, maybe more pages to flesh it out. Asha King is an entertaining writer; I have read other books by her and have enjoyed them, and I look forward to reading more of her work. If you have already enjoyed the first Wild Horses, I would suggest that you pick up Wild Horses: Cold, Cold Winter and see for yourself, if anything you get to read about Adam and Danyiah again.(less)
When boudoir photographer Syria meets sexy Santa Tyson, sparks fly.
Syria runs a photography business, shooting women in lingerie and the occasional provocative shoot. It works and she is always able to keep her distance. When Tyson shows up on her door with his sexy Santa wear and talent for stripping and sexy holiday bondage, she finds herself responding to him both on and off the camera.
Naughty Santa is just what the title proposes. There are more things being unwrapped under the tree than just a present or two with this red hot Santa on the photo shoot. A tantalizing photography session turns into a full throttle sex fest, freeing Syria from her inhibitions.
The writing style is what I noticed right away. It is smooth, capturing the characters seamlessly. Syria is a young woman who knows her craft, but is just awakening the sensual world that awaits her in the arms of Tyson. She describes every action, Syria’s thoughts and emotions as she lives a truly sensual experience and the dialogue pops.
If you want a hot holiday read and the start of a wonderful new series that will have you on the edge of your e-reader, then you need to check out Starla Cole’s Naughty Santa.
Dirty Pirate Hooker
This second book in the Boudoir Sessions was a continuation right where Naughty Santa left off.
Tyson gets ready to leave for home and Syria is lonely just thinking about it. A robust round of sexual exploits warms up the book and gets you totally hooked to see where the story is going. The photo shoot Syria has next is with Mia and Sam, a pair that Tyson happens to know well, and he encourages Syria to go with it. Meeting the pirate themed entertainers, Syria finds them to be sexy and before she knows it, the session gets hot and Syria experience a ménage that will change her forever. Both in front of and behind the camera, Syria gets an education in lovemaking that will set your e-reader on fire.
This book was a hot continuation of the Boudoir Sessions and one that I found very enjoyable. Sam and Mia are vibrant and sexy characters that added a lusty pirate theme to the storyline. Syria learns about ménage and the photo shoot is a rousing success in more ways than one.
If you enjoy a series that will capture your imagination and hot characters to spend your nights with, then The Boudoir Sessions is for you.
When Syria decides she wants to learn some hot new skills to tempt her lover, will she be the one tied up in knots?
Syria and Tyson are hot and heavy, except for when he has to be away with his work. As a photographer, Syria has meet some very sexy clients and is now craving more. When Mia makes a surprise visit and things get a little hot and heavy, she invites her to meet a Shibari expert. Madam Takahashi is a severe woman but one that Syria can learn from. Her adventures in the art of the rope are about to begin.
Author Starla Cole has a great series with The Boudoir Sessions. If you missed the first two, I highly suggest getting them and reading them in order. You won’t be disappointed. A hot Santa and some smoking hot pirate models await. The depth of character in these books is spot on, down to the emotional response as Syria learns new skills. Whether it is ménage or rope work, these books are addictive. In Goddess of Bondage, Syria continues her journey by going to a bondage exhibition with Mia and a whole new adventure ensues. The other great thing about this book is the links at the back so you as a reader can see exactly what the author is writing about. Links to the Knotty Boys Coin Knot and Corselet ties are provided. The Knotty Boys are leading experts in the art of rope bondage and if you want to learn from some of the best, you owe it to yourself to check out their photography and tips. There is even a music link to get yourself into the right mindset. Perfect.
There was nothing I didn’t like about this book. The flow was amazing, the characters delicious and the right amount of peril and pleasure were balanced out. There was a hot scene with fisting, some really hot video phone sex, voyeurism and lots more surprises at the Shibari event. This book was like drinking a salted caramel mocha while you are wrapped in your favorite blanket. Wonderful!
If you want to find yourself a new author that you will fall in love with, then you have to read Starla Cole’s Boudoir Sessions.(less)