Dearly Stalked by Allison Cassatta

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dearly Stalked: by Allison Cassatta
Release Date: January 23, 2017
Pages: 266 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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Writing crime novels catapulted Memphis native Silas Cooper to fame and fortune, but when his words backfire and he becomes trapped in what could be one of his books, he needs a hero of his own.

Silas’s publicist insists he hire a personal assistant, and Silas chooses Scott Kramer. But before Scott starts, he already has a round of steamy phone sex to hold over Silas’s head, and his interest in his boss isn’t decreasing.

Benjamin Logan joined the Army to see the world, and while deployed he read every one of Silas’s books. With his military career over, Ben is back in Memphis working for the police department—and attempting a deeply closeted relationship with fellow cop Morgan Brown.

Over coffee, Silas and Ben become friends who support each other as relationships fall apart, and the attraction between them slowly emerges. When a dangerous stalker threatens Silas, it’s up to Ben to stop him.

If Ben fails, Silas might not live to tell this story… and Ben might not be able to live with himself.

 

DNF @ 54%

 

That face up above is my confused face. Call it disbelief, disdain, speechless. Call it whatever you would like, but I’m outta here on this book.

I knew way before 54% that it wasn’t going to end well for me and this book. None of the characters connected with me. I literally am in disbelief by Silas’s behavior and stupidity so early in the book. I get almost hulk rage mad when Ben seems to open his mouth to disregard Morgan’s feelings or his own. I get hulk rage mad when Ben has all these accusations against Morgan in his mind, but never puts forth any effort to be a better “boyfriend”. I use that term loosely since he’s in the closet and afraid to come out. He is scared of what people are going to say and a past experience left him scared. I’m all for coming out on your own terms. Big believer in a person’s space and acceptance of their own sexuality. What I have a problem with is Ben’s almost disregard for any kind of a relationship, words, but instead almost shaming Morgan to stay and be quiet. I know, I can’t put all the blame on Ben. Silas and and Scott is just a big disaster waiting to happen. It doesn’t take long for that dumb situation to implode on itself. I mean, Silas is suppose to be this super smart person, and write mystery stories, but he’s blind to the situation right in front of him? Does not make any freaking sense.

I feel like up to the point that I’ve read that I missed certain things. Was I suppose to read between the lines? I’m not sure, but I couldn’t take this story any longer, and I had to bow out. I didn’t like the guys, or story line. The potential for Silas and Ben to get together took to long and was pointless. I wish, I could have liked it, but I was happy to close the book on this for good.

About Allison Cassatta

I am a married, 33 year old, female, with no children. By trade I am a network engineer with far too many years under my belt. My first book was published in 2010 by Kerlak Publishing, followed by a short story in 2011 through Dreamspinner Press. I don’t have any formal training, I simply write what I feel. I have a vivid imagination and love building dream worlds for my readers to escape to.

I recently discovered that I am a hopeless romantic and that usually makes for some very turbulent stories. As most know, love is a mountain and at its peak there’s infinite beauty, but it’s best appreciated after a difficult climb… that’s how I write. The world would be a boring place if we didn’t have to fight a little for what we wanted, now wouldn’t it.

Cemeteries By Moonlight by Hunter Frost

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cemeteries by Moonlight: by Hunter Frost
Series: States of Love
Release Date:
Pages: 108 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.

A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

two-stars

For a book that is only 108 pages it took me close to 4 days to finish it. I like giving new authors to me a try. I’ve never read anything by Hunter Frost and I really loved the cover. I’m usually all for books set in New Orleans. I think books set in this place give the story an extra swagger, and the city has so much history and knowledge involved that I was expecting it to wow me.

It did not move me at all. In fact, it took everything in me to not DNF this book. Besides the copious amounts of details that took away from the story, Drew & Finn were both dull. It didn’t mesh well for me. Everything happened to easy for liking. Come on, they do not know each other and they are going to go off and solve a potential murder together. The whole Drew having Tourette’s syndrome didn’t seem authentic enough for me. I feel like if you are going to give your mc a condition of any kind, then him galvanizing to solve murders without a single tic seems weird. I’m not the know all or be all when it concerns Tourette’s syndrome, but I like my books to kinda feel realistic about it and since it wasn’t a fantasy book then I expected it to be real.

Finn came off sketchy to me. The nice guy routine is what serial killers do to befriend people into trusting the them. He sometimes seemed genuine and others super aloof. I never got a good read on him. I didn’t even bat an eye to him and Drew. Drew blew me with his misguided assumptions. I just never warmed up to the story. I did think the writing was good, and yeah as many damn details that was in it at least some parts of the story I seemed to take to.

This book wasn’t for me. Hopefully in the future Frost and I will work out.

About Hunter Frost

Hunter’s early addiction to the smell of printed books led her to spend most of her childhood in libraries and bookstores. There she fell in love with stories featuring medieval castles, ghosts, and handsome heroes. Though writing has always been a part of her life, after college she went on to explore careers in graphic design, the culinary arts, and dog grooming before returning to graduate school to get her MA in British history. To pay the bills she spends her days working for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but to appease her overactive muse, she writes the kind of fiction that keeps her sane. She adores romance in all forms, but prefers her stories with two heroes that find their happily-ever-after with each other.

Hunter would rather watch Spaceballs (or any Mel Brooks movies really), despite being born in the same year as Star Wars. She loves Monty Python, MST3K, and cheesy rom-coms from the ’80s and ’90s. Her wacky sense of humor is only paralleled by her hopeless romanticism. She’s a goth at heart and a sucker for men with long hair. She adores everything British, but insists tea be drunk without milk. She’s a pescetarian with vegan tendencies and has two fat little cats named after her favorite beverage – Latte and Java. She dreams of coastal living, marshmallows, and Matt Bomer.

Feel free to connect with her through any of her social media accounts, or send her an email. She welcomes messages from readers and/or Brits looking to adopt.

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire Book Cover A Promise of Fire
Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Amanda Bouchet
Fantasy; Romance
Sourcebooks Casablanca
August 2nd, 2016
e-book; audiobook
448
Edelweiss

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

This was a breath of fresh air in a sea of young adult assassin stories. I loved that the heroine relied more cunning than magic and sword. Catalia “Cat” Fisa was a mysterious girl with special powers. She is hiding from someone and is constantly on the run. She found refuge blending into a crowd of circus but was discovered by soldiers sent by the ruling class, the Sinta. Cat immediately clashes with Griffin, the Beta of the Sinta.

From her capture, Cat and Griffin matched wits trying to outmaneuver the other. In the course of their constant bickering, the tension turns into fierce attraction.
In the beginning, it felt like the author was a setting a foundation for an awesome fantasy. Cat had this secretive background which was unveiled little by little. First, we saw she can absorb the powers of others. WE also saw the gods sent her messages or visions. Then it was revealed that she can tell when someone is telling a lie. Cat seemed to have a real assortment of gifts.

But her background and what she was running from started to take a back seat to the romance with the Beta Sinta, and that’s when I felt the story started running out of steam. While I love romance, the plot between the ruling classes and the usurpers was interesting enough. I would like have liked the romance to be a subplot and not used to distract from the drop off in the development of the story.
I will still read book 2 to find out more about Cat’s family and the ruling family, but I hope the author is more attentive to the world building.

Hanging The Stars by Rhys Ford

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

hanging-the-starsHanging The Stars: by Rhys Ford
Series:Half Moon Bay #2
Release Date: December 5th, 2016
Pages: 206 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.

Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.

When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.

But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.

four-stars

I might be a teeny tiny tad biased. I love Rhys Ford, so I’m always going to fangirl over her writing and books. Hanging the Stars is book 2 in the Half Moon Bay series. This book started off with a bang, and definitely ended with one. I sometimes tell myself that I wish Rhys could write a straight contemporary story with no mystery heavy plot. Well, I do believe she did that with Fish Stick Fridays which I love. But to me Hanging the Stars is so much more contemporary then anything she’s every written in my opinion. I mean, I feel all gooey inside with these two. It was like BAM with the love, romance, and feelings. I’m not complaining, because it’s what I want constantly from her, but I’m shocked. West and Daniels start a relationships after not seeing each other for 10 years. They are each in different places in their lives, but past grievances seems to put them right back where they left off.

“What makes you think I’m not already in love, Just?” Angel whispered. “Because I’ve been in love with him before I even knew his damned name.”

Do you see what I’m saying? That quote was so romantic to me. Angel surprised me the most. I swear, when I started reading this that I didn’t expect him to be so warm & loving. I expected plenty of angst from these two based on how it ended. I mean of course West was a hard ass and didn’t disappoint. My opinion of his has definitely changed from book 1. He’s had years now to form some sort of relationship with Lang, Deacon and Zig. He seems to be a less bitter man. Angel is taking care of his younger brother and trying to show Rome that nothing or no one can come between them or take him away from him either.

It wouldn’t be a Rhys book without an explosion, shooting, or action packed car crash. This one didn’t disappoint. I kinda guessed who the bad guy was after a while. It was a pretty easy process of elimination. I mean, they both went through blood, sweat, and tears in this book. I did have a minor issue with after not seeing, or hearing from one another for so long that as soon as they are in direct contact with one another the passion ignites. I’m not bad at it, but it didn’t seem real. If I didn’t see my first love after ten years, or talk to them but seen them again. I think anger, tears and frustration would be my first reaction. Everyone is different so I digress on this point.

Ford is still able to produce the best side characters as well. Frank, Marzo, and Justin were amazing. I truly loved them, and liked what they were able to do for their respected counterparts. Justin definitely needs a novella or a book soon. I was crushing on him by the end of the story.

West and Angel decide to give this a relationship a go. It’s not the best of times, but waiting seems dumb when someone is trying to kill them obviously. Sure some of these events were a tad bit over the top. But it didn’t stop Angel & West from being together. There relationship moved fast on the page to me, but I do like how Angel & Rome made West a better person. They actually gave him a heart, or something similar that he’s never got. Also liked Lang & West brotherhood progressing. These two are different as night and day, but the love is still there. All in all, I thought this was a pretty enjoyable book. I find myself having super grabby hands when it comes to a Rhys Ford novel. I can never say no, she’s a favorite author of mine for a reason. It can be read as a standalone, but why would you? Fish Stick Fridays is awesome, and everything is better in pairs!

“The truth is, Lang,” Angel whispered, ” your brother hangs the stars in my goddamn sky. It sounds stupid and maybe corny, but when he’s around me, it’s like the night’s full of light. So yeah, I love him. I love him pretty hard.”

About Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

All in Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

allinfear-finalAll In Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales: by Steve Berman, K.J. Charles, Avon Gale, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper, J.A. Rock
Release Date: December 1st, 2016
Pages: 245 • Format: eARC
Published By: Open Ink Press
Purchase Links:
Open Ink PressAReKoboAmazon

All in Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales

Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.

Company by Roan Parrish
Nick Levy’s family is falling apart and he has no friends, but at least he can escape into the world of his favorite comic book series, The Face of the Vampire. Naturally, when the vampire in question shows up one day, Nick is enthralled. After all, what could be better than his own personal fantasy made real? Except that Nick isn’t exactly sure whether Michel is real or not. And when the arrival of a new boy in school promises romance, Nick sees a side of Michel he never could have imagined. This Michel is cruel, jealous . . . and he’ll do anything to keep Nick for himself.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper
Palmer’s life is as good as it gets. Well, okay, so he hates his mind-numbing office job. But he’s found a hot, smart, incredibly kinky guy. The sex is explosive. The power play is off the hook. And if he gets his way, Jon will soon be his husband.

When Palmer asks, Jon says yes. For the first time ever, Palmer thinks things might be really good. Sure, bad things happen in the world—to other people. But this is all he needs: Jon at the end of the day, in their bed, arms around him.

How could he have possibly been so stupid?

The Price of Meat by KJ Charles
Johanna Oakley will do anything to save her beloved Arabella from the cruelty of Mr Fogg’s madhouse—but ‘anything’ turns out to be more than she bargained for when she finds herself working for a man suspected of worse than murder. As Johanna is plunged from the horror of Sawney Reynard’s barber shop into the foul, lawless labyrinth at the heart of London, can she or anyone get out alive?

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman
Joining Zeta Psi isn’t Steve’s dream, it’s his dad’s. Nevertheless his dad’s gift of the mysterious Bailey flask gets Steve an in to the frat house, and maybe his best shot at being accepted on campus. But the flask’s silver sheen may only be lighting his way into the darkness at the heart of the frat—and the darkness he’s learning is within himself. Steve wants to choose who he is, but choices are dropping like flies as he learns the true mystery of the Bailey flask. How does he give back a gift that’s also a curse?

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale
STAFF SERGEANT JASON ESSEX, YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING ORDERS FROM THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS:

REPORT TO: CAIN INSTITUTE [ADDRESS REDACTED]

ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENT: GUARD AN ENTITY CURRENTLY HELD IN AN ENCLOSURE AT THE CAIN INSTITUTE. RECORD DAILY MEASUREMENTS. KEEP ANY AND ALL PERSONS FROM ENTERING OR LEAVING THE FACILITY. ENSURE THE ENTITY REMAINS COMPLETELY INCARCERATED. OBSERVE THE ENTITY WITHOUT ENGAGING.

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS: THIS ASSIGNMENT WILL BE CARRIED OUT IN FULL ISOLATION. PLEASE BE ADVISED.

Beauties by J.A. Rock
When Dr. Lester Usole attends an event at AI developer Carnificiality, he’s introduced to Beauties: artificial beings designed to provide tailored sexual experiences for their human owners. Lester isn’t interested in sex—but he is fascinated by Ira, a Beauty too violent to be sold.

Lester convinces Carnificiality to give Ira to him. Lester has always wanted the chance to work with an adult AI, and around Lester, Ira isn’t violent. He’s strangely innocent, uncannily perceptive, and his company does much to ease Lester’s loneliness. Except something’s not quite right: Ira roams at night, even when Lester’s sure he’s locked Ira’s door.

Soon Lester is certain of only one thing: Ira has a secret. Something that will link their pasts and change the course of their future—if Lester is willing to face what’s on the inside.

three-half-stars

I’m not going to lie, this was a bit of a let-down for me. With all these brilliant writers I expected to be scared shitless afterwards. The 2nd, 4th, & 5th was the best of the bunch. That’s pushing it for me, because the first wasn’t scary but I enjoyed the theme and what it involved. Story 2 & 3 weren’t bad, but I was really waiting for them to be over. They weren’t something that I would pick up at tall. I’ve never read anything by Steve Berman & Kris Ripper before. I truly liked Kris Ripper story once everything came together! It was obvious but I definitely like the characters realistic reaction during the story. I guess my reaction is that I wasn’t scared at all. Yeah, certain areas were a tad frightening, but with the cover and blurb I expected it to be WOW’d, and I’m left bereft wanting the fear that I was promised. I guess, I’ll try to sum up each story without giving away the plots.

Company by Roan Parrish

Hmm, this was weird, and I kinda liked it. I loved the idea about being a loner like Nick and having a dream come true for it to diminish in the way that it did. Michael is someone Nick was absolutely in love with. I remember feeling like Nick could be delusional. I’m not sure if he was ever there, but being petty, jealous and mean towards the new guy was crazy. I’m stumbling here because it took me a total of 14 days to read this entire book. I’m trying to write this review without going back to re-read certain things. Love Roan’s writing, I’m not surprised there. She’s a really dope writer, and I’d always appreciate that from her. I didn’t really care for the story overall. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was entertaining. I wasn’t scared though.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper

Now this I was confused about the most, but liked the outcome. It wasn’t scary or horror for me, but I think being in Palmer’s shoes is probably the worst thing that I would want to go through. It was certain catchy things that his partner was doing that had me suspicious, but pretty obvious towards the ending. I mean these two lived pretty normal lives in my opinion. I’ve never read anything by this author, and I’m slapping myself internally on why haven’t I? I mean this is a story that people can relate to. The normalcy of everyday lives and then your world getting turned upside down. The one thing I really like is Palmer didn’t second guess himself. He wasn’t those clueless blondes on t.v. or movies who see the signs once evidence is stacked against a loved one, and constantly denies it could be them. I ended up enjoying it once I got more involved with the plot! I enjoyed the story enough to want to read more from this author!

The Price of Meat by K.J. Charles

Loved the setting of this story, but I wasn’t really intrigued with the plot. I guess being more disgusted is what the author was going for. It definitely had Charles niche all over it. You can definitely tell its one of her works. I like Jo’s gumption. She was a fighter, and never game up. True Story, I’ve never watched Sweeney Todd or read the book, but I did know the overall basis of the story. I would have preferred the Asylum as the background to the story personally, but I did enjoy the mini world she built surrounding the town. So much happened that we didn’t necessarily get to see Jo & Arabella’s relationship blossom. It wasn’t present and didn’t give me the romantic notion I wanted from it.

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman

My first read by this author. Oh my goodness, I loved the mystery behind the flask. I’m not sold on any of the characters. Steve to me, was a super flake. I liked him at times, and at other times he disappointed me. I don’t know what I would have done if I was in Steve’s shoes. That flask is definitely dangerous, but the story didn’t move me at all. It wasn’t an ounce of horror in it. I kinda wanted to group it in with the buddy fraternity movies.

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale

Leave it to Avon Gale to write my favorite story out of all of them. This was super scary. I had to put it down in the evening because I was scared something weird was going to happen. Jason is staffed at this unknown facility to watch and not engage with this entity. It seems easy, all he has to do is make daily recordings of what he sees. Well that all goes to shit when he decides to engage. From here on out, it’s bananas. The entity known as “Cain” is an I don’t know what he really is. He’s scary I can tell you that. Jason is slowing losing his mind. He reaches out to different forums and people on helping him figure it out. He thinks he’s taking part of a psychological research with the U.S. Government. I wouldn’t put it pass them to do something like this. From the very beginning I was intrigued with this story. It was good and that ending had me holding my breath. Really good horror story.

Beauties by J.A. Rock

I expect nothing less from J.A. Rock. This was my second favorite. I was not disappointed. #TeamIra for the win!!!! This amazing writer wrote a world where Artificial Beings existed. If I can sum it up in 4 words it’ll be My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Shout out to Kanye, love this album). That is literally what I kept thinking over and over. It was one of those stories that on the outside it seems perfect, but underneath it was brimming with treachery, and chaos. Lester!!! Poor Lester, tried to do something nice. This story confirms on why in the future SHE won’t be participating in ROBOTS of any kind. No ma’am, I’m not going to let something MAN created get the one up on me. I really enjoyed this story alot. I could definitely read more of this.

 

 

About Avon Gale

Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

About J.A. Rock

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including BY HIS RULES, TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and, with Lisa Henry, THE GOOD BOY and WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

About K.J. Charles

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or on Facebook, join her Facebook group, or email her at kjcharleswriter {at] gmail {dot} com. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.

About Kris Ripper

Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a little kid, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before tha

About Roan Parrish

ROAN PARRISH is currently wandering between Philadelphia and New Orleans. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

About Steve Berman

Steve Berman loves to tell stories that are both queer and weird. He was a Zeta Psi back in his college days at and remembers being hazed. He survived and graduated and even earned a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies. He has written and sold over a hundred articles, essays, and short stories. His YA novel, Vintage, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award.

Friendly Fire by Cari Z.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

cariFriendly Fire: by Cari Z.
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Pages: 252 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.

three-half-stars

The only thing that saved me from DNF the book was my need to see the end through. I liked the first half of the story, the two bad people were obvious, or at least one of them was. I enjoyed the writing a lot. It pushed me through the end. At the end of the story, I don’t know if I like the relationship. They didn’t really bond for me. I guess I wanted more passion from the couple and that’s what I found that was seriously lacking! I liked Lennox a lot and kinda loved his name. (It went on my future’s children name list)! I like Elliot for the most part, but I hated his job. It bothered me more then the story. I felt like we were leading up to this amazing story line and it wasn’t apart of the story. I didn’t like his career from the get go, but it became the focal point of why these two guys were together and I don’t get a glimpse of what Elliot does to make it special. Another thing was the getting to see him and Vanessa together. That bothered me. I wanted that scene for myself since Elliot cared so much about letting things happen to him just so Vanessa career wouldn’t get hurt.

I can’t speak for other readers but I look for things I can relate to in novels. I like the realistic idea that Elliot screwed up in life so he is atoning for his mistakes by not being a burden to his sister. Yeah, he had some really crazy things happen to him, but he was so worried about messing up Vanessa’s life that we get word of mouth instead of the actual scene. I’m greedy, I guess I wanted to be able to relate to him in some sort of fashion. I wasn’t to thrilled about the outcome.

Lennox was the type of person that you need to warm up to. He kinda comes of stand offish, but I like to call that “gentlemanly stoic”. He seems like to be in a difficult head space in life. I don’t really know the time frame from him being out the military to present day now. He seemed to be atoning for mistakes he things he’s made, but that’s one thing we don’t get to see about Lennox. I feel like his story wasn’t finished. He didn’t get enough personal screen time to me, and I wanted him to come to terms with his own grievances. It’s a part in the book where he is telling Elliot about his reassurances and atoning for prior mistakes. I don’t know if that was a light bulb moment for Lennox, but it didn’t seem he got the closure to me.

All in all, this was an okay read. I enjoyed the writing way more then the execution of the story. I don’t think it gelled well after the 50% mark. I really would have liked one trope to have been the main focus. Instead, I feel like the mystery/suspense as in competition with the romance side of the story. I will definitely check out more from this author though.

About Cari Z.

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

Enemy of My Enemy by Tal Bauer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

talEnemy of My Enemy: by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office #2
Release Date: October 24. 2016
Pages: 287 • Format: eARC
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
NineStar PressAmazon

An affair that stunned the world.
Two men, committed to their impossible love.
One general, determined to destroy them both.
President Jack Spiers and former Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach throw caution to the wind, committing themselves publicly as the first out male lovers and partners to occupy the White House. Jack moves Ethan into the Residence, but as Ethan settles into his new role as first gentleman of the United States, not everyone is thrilled with their choices. When it seems like the world turns against them, Jack and Ethan must turn to each other, finding the strength together to press on.
In the chaos, Jack’s relationship with the Russian president, Sergey Puchkov, grows closer, and the two nations find themselves working almost as allies. But President Puchkov has secrets of his own, secrets that could rip everything apart. And Ethan steps back into the action with Lieutenant Adam Cooper, taking charge of a covert kill team tasked with hunting down General Madigan once and for all.
But Madigan is elusive, and his dangerous reach is long. He strikes at Jack and Ethan from the shadowy corners of the globe, unraveling their entire world. As the mad general draws new allies together, he is single-minded in his quest to destroy the only two men who ever beat him.
He will stop at nothing until Jack and Ethan are shattered men, worlds apart, and struggling to get back to one another.
And after that, Madigan’s true revenge begins…

four-half-stars

This might be the novel version of Scandal. I enjoyed this so much more then book one. I’m all for that, but good Lord it seemed Good never could prevail against the evil in this book. That ending!!! ZOMG, I swear if it turns out to be true then I will find you Tal Bauer!!!! Nooooo, please don’t let crazy become the mole. It’s always the most loyal ones right. This book picks up immediately after the first, it’s not a stand alone and you definitely need all background info going into book two. Ethan & Jack!!! You guys gave me straight feelz. I was overloaded with joy with how fair these two have come, but just like Olivia and Fitz your happiness had a timeline!

I don’t even know where to start. So much information was thrown at me, that I am not 100% certain who is Good and who is Evil. It was so many twisty turns in this book, so many Noooo moments, so many tears!!! Gosh, I didn’t expect the tears but they were out in full force today! I really enjoyed the writing and the transition into each different povs. I think getting the main cast pov instead of just Ethan & Jack’s made the story. It was realer to see from everyone’s aspect. Even crazy ass Madigan. He was crazy but I liked his thoroughness.

You notice in my review that I don’t really talk about the plot, well I think it’s best if you read it and feel it while everything is happening. I mean it’s some really big WTF moments in the book, and yeah I closed my left eye and suspended reality for a while, but it’s fiction and I love it. I’m seriously in love with Fiasal and Sasha at the moment. I swear they better get a HEA by the end of the next book. Don’t know about their counterparts but these two need to come out on top

Ethan & Jack’s love was able to stand against everything that was happening to them. At the end of the day it’s still a romance, and I love them together. It was heartbreaking moments, but I love that they were able to be together by any means necessary.

Now, how long until the next book? Do I have enough time to order a case of wine?

About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

o-infected-undertowInfected: Undertow by Andrea Speed
Series: Infected, Book Seven
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Pages: 350 • Format: eARC
Published By: DSP Publications
Purchase Links:
DSPAmazon Kobo

2nd Edition

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds

Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.

Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.

With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds—one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.

Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.

four-stars

This book put me through the emotional ringer for sure. After all of the emotional pain of book 6, I was expecting to feel melancholy. It’s not quite how I felt at the end. I think I felt resolve for myself mostly. I felt all of Roan’s pain, and it was several times while reading this that I had to stop because I was crying uncontrollably. I get it, and I feel so bad and super protective over Roan. The two mysteries were good for different reasons but my review is based on the characters that’s all at this point. Roan is tired. That’s basis of this story. I think he’s been tired for a while, maybe even before Paris. All the events and everything he had to do was the icing on the cake to me. I’m tired for Roan. I cannot imagine what he was going through, and in the book my heart went out for Dylan. I 100% believe if Dylan left Roan then Roan would commit suicide. No one can change my mind on that one. So I have book 8 left, and a few novellas but I’m not sure how I feel this close to the series ending.

I don’t know how I feel about Holden at this point. My thoughts are all over the place, because unlike many characters Holden likes being himself. I don’t know if it’s selfish or a sociopath. He has the tools to be someone better, but I don’t know if he thinks he’s worth it, and that’s what I’m getting from him. On the other hand maybe normalcy is starting out with a relationship. It seems to be the path that Scott and Holden are on. Either brings baggage to the table, and both of them seem so damn stubborn that it shouldn’t work. Maybe expectations are super low that they are willing to deal with whatever when it comes to being together.

Roan’s vigilantism seems to catch up with him. I feel like I like/dislike the justice that he doles out. He is the only of his kind that is able to help people, but in helping people Roan losing his self, not just the lion surfacing and taking over, but Roan moral compass seems to decline. I don’t necessary like who he becomes, but it’s so unfair that its an necessary evil. I honestly don’t know how much more Dylan can take. It’s a lot mentally & emotionally to be with Roan. I could never take Dylans’ love away from him, but I feel like Dylan should re-evaluate his life. Is this what he wanted? How many more hospital visits, comas, and tears can you take. How much more personal attacks, and brutalization is enough for his sanity to still be in check.

I’m going to wrap this up because this down feeling I get with writing this review further proves my point of me loving and rooting for fictional characters. I would love to see Roan walk about from MK Investigations with Dylan and move away to open space off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. I pray book 8 gives Roan his peace that he so deserves.

About Andrea Speed

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!

Gideon by Ashe Barker

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

gideonGideon: by Ashe Barker
Series: Order of the Black Knights, #1
Release Date: October 5, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

Gideon Maybury enjoys a life of wealth and privilege, not to mention the advantages his position offers him in his career as a merchant banker and his less public life as a high-class, skilled, and very well-paid assassin for Her Majesty’s government. When his brother dies unexpectedly, he becomes the Duke of Westmoreland.

Michael Mathison has hated Gideon since they were at university together. He’s convinced Gideon had a hand in the death of Michael’s college lover, Christopher, and that he had something to do with the death of his own brother. So he gets a job as Gideon’s driver, enabling him to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the elder Maybury sibling. At first his suspicions seem to be confirmed, but clues emerge that suggest all is not as it appears at Maybury Hall.

As the mystery deepens, so does the attraction between the two implacable enemies, as does the feeling that they have met before—under dark and terrible circumstances. Each has reasons not to trust the other, but neither is averse to a bit of kinky play. Gideon and Michael end up owing each other their lives, and it results in consequences neither could have imagined.

three-half-stars

What happens is death people. I’m surprised that I did like this story so much. I’m not happy with the tags, because once you get passed the prologue it’s nothing but a contemporary story until the very end. I didn’t have a problem with that per say, but I wanted the fantasy element to play a major part. Without it all I’m reading is a mystery with a sociopath and a determined guy. Not that it was bad again. I liked it. I did wish it was more British. If we are going to be set there and then I would have liked for it to read like British guys instead.

Gideon Maybury is sociopath. No if and buts about it. He’s a Duke, but also part time assassin. I don’t even know how that happens. He’s cold, mean, and rich as hell. He doesn’t like people, and if you irritate him then you are probably going to end up dying. No big deal to him, he’s going to mosey right along with his life. Until Michael shows up as his chauffeur. Michael is on his personal vendetta to find out the truth about his ex’s death. He knows Gideon had something to do with it, and to prove it he has a plan. I don’t know how thought out his plan was. I mean, initially I was thinking “What can an everyday bloke like you do to someone with this much status?” What would stop Gideon from making you disappear? He didn’t mention this plan to anyone else, so if he had died then no one would know the truth about him and his actions. Of course these were my feelings while reading this story.

After I started reading, it was just a little mystery with a whole lot of smutty goodness. Somebody must have said that enemies and lovers burn up the sheets way more then friends to lovers. I don’t get Michael’s reason for jumping in bed with Gideon so soon. You had this grand plan and some way his charisma led you astray? Naw, I’m not buying that. By all rights this is a book I would normally rate like a 2.5 at best, and for some reason I’m giving it a 3.5. It wasn’t the mystery, that was pretty obvious if I do say so myself. The whole reason by the mystery didn’t even make sense. A lot of these people died for no reason.

I am disappointed in the abrupt ending. That’s all? I didn’t care about Gideon and Michael being together, I wanted the “fantasy” aspect dealt with. One of the reasons I was so happy was to see how reincarnation would work. But I felt completely let down on that aspect. I guess my rating is solely based on the cheesiness that I felt while reading this. I will definitely read book two.

About Ashe Barker

Until 2010, Ashe was a director of a regeneration company before deciding there had to be more to life and leaving to pursue a lifetime goal of self-employment.

Ashe has been an avid reader of women’s fiction for many years—erotic, historical, contemporary, fantasy, romance—you name it. Now, at last in control of her own time and working from her home in rural West Yorkshire, she has been able to realise her dream of writing erotic romance herself.

She draws on settings and anecdotes from her previous and current experience to lend colour, detail and realism to her plots and characters, but her stories of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of her own imagination. She loves to craft strong, enigmatic men and bright, sassy women to give them a hard time—in every sense of the word.

When she’s not writing, Ashe’s time is divided between her role as resident taxi driver for her teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises and a grumpy cockatiel.

Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

hexmakerHexmaker: by Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Hexworld, #2
Release Date: October 14, 2016
Pages: 186 • Format: eARC
Published By: Widdershins Press LLC
Purchase Links:
AmazonSmashwordsARe

A straight-laced policeman. A lighthearted thief.
A murdered millionaire.

Fox shifter Malachi steals for one of the biggest crime rings in New York City. But when he witnesses the murder of a millionaire, the only person who can keep him safe is Dr. Owen Yates, forensic hexman for the Metropolitan Witch Police—and Malachi’s witch.

Owen is horrified to discover his familiar is an uneducated thief. Even worse, Malachi threatens to unleash Owen’s deepest desires…desires Owen can’t act upon, as he’s destined for an arranged marriage to secure the Yates family fortune

Their agreement: Malachi will be Owen’s lover as well as his partner, until the day of the wedding. But as their hunt for the murderer carries them from teeming slums to Fifth Avenue mansions, Owens begins to realize Malachi commands his heart as well as his body.

With dark forces drawing ever closer around them, Owen must decide whether to bow to the demands of duty, or to risk everything for the man he loves.

Hexmaker is the second book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series, following the adventures of witch policemen and the familiars they bond with. Download today to enter a world of magic, romance, and intrigue.

four-half-stars

I have read everything under the sun by this author except the Spectr series. ONLY because I don’t want to wait for the next one, and read them in succession. I own them though. Hawk writes some of the most memorable and amazing guys in any genre that I’ve read. I have come to really enjoy this series, and this book was no different. (SN: Jordan, if you do read this, please for the love of goodness let Quigley & Issac’s book be up next. I can feel the hurt/comfort from book one. I’m begging for it.) I absolutely was enamored with this book from the beginning to end. Malachi was super amazing, and Dr. Yates was a delightful surprise. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story, some of it was pretty predictable and that’s not a word that I’d use to describe any of Hawk’s books.

You know how it’s love at first sight at someplace like a café in Paris, or Times Square in New York City; well these two meet at a crime scene and it’s an instant connection. Well as much as a connection can be for a suspected murderer and a forensic specialist. LOL. It was snarky, charismatic, and cute. Those are the three words that I would describe the scene for the first two meeting each other. I loved that they were complete opposites. I mean they had nothing in common, one from a rich family, a prestigious lifestyle, a respectable job, and the other was from the low brows of society, a thief, and a family made up of criminals. This difference did nothing when it came into the physical side of their relationship. It was super magical. It was HOT!!! It was explosive. My, my, my, Dr. Yates who knew you had that in you. It was nice to see Owen open up in way that he’s never felt comfortable doing. I enjoyed Malachi’s abrasives and equal prowess when it came to Owen. I think they definitely work well together.

**Tee hee, I just wanted to incorporate this somehow my review, I love JLH’s research and authenticity she brings to her stories. Never in my life would I have thought to read Historical Fiction, but she is the inspiration behind it for me.**

Now when it came to the mystery of the story like I said earlier it was rather predictable at one point. Nonetheless is was good. I did feel the ending was a tad bit rushed and would have like to see more from these two after the big showdown. I also felt like the storyline with Sophie didn’t end well. I just wanted some closure for Mal on that part, even though we suspect what she did. I had the same abrupt ending issue with the previous in the series, so maybe it’s a little pattern, but seriously I think she can write 5oo pages and I’ll still want more from her. No matter it’s still a great murder/mystery from this author. It’s still authentic in the setting, and she even includes real facts into her stories. I love the creation of the Metropolitan Witch Police. I love seeing all the characters and hopefully we can get a book from each one. I appreciate every one of her characters and books. I highly recommend this book to everyone. You won’t be disappointed, c’mon this woman writes Gold.

About Jordan L. Hawk

Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.