Category Archives: 4 Star

4 Star Review for Ravel: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story (#2) by R. Phoenix #MM #Paranormal @RaissaPhoenix

CoverTitle: Ravel: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story (#2)
Author Name & Publisher: R. Phoenix (Phoenix Publications)
Publication Date & Length: April 1, 2016 – 81 pgs

Synopsis

Revised & expanded edition as of 3/22/16. Please note that content, publisher, and other aspects of the work have changed.

For the past few years, Reese has hidden away in his home, refusing to venture out where he might have to face what reminds him of all that he’s lost. When Ashton, a human thief, breaks into his home one night, he doesn’t have a choice but to face the harsh truths of the world he’s turned his back on. He knows he supports the society monsters of myth and lore built upon the backs of humans through his silence, but the new leaders don’t tolerate sympathizers.

If a werewolf can’t act against the status quo without facing severe consequences, a human with Ashton’s cunning and experience circumventing supernatural predators certainly can’t risk drawing their attention. Their chance encounter leaves them both shaken and questioning whether they are living life as they were intended—or if surviving is really living at all.

Ravel is approximately 23,600 words (excluding front/back matter).

###

The Ripples in the Status Quo works are set within a world where supernatural beings seized control from humans and relegated them to the bottom of the food chain. Used for food, entertainment, and worse, nothing protects them from the hands of those who claim them as slaves. But not everyone adheres to the status quo the world at large has accepted…

Please note that the RISQ world has little place for humanity–and the author’s idea of romance may not match yours. As such, there are no guarantees of happily ever afters, and content may be offensive to some readers.

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Review

 FourStars

I have to say that I liked this novella better than the previous one, but I still didn’t quite get how they all connected except for that they were happening in the same world the author had made up. Again I felt like the story wasn’t complete, but it was more complete than the first one felt so I felt it was a step up, but I still felt like the whole story of Reese and his passed lover wasn’t fully told.
However, I have to say that I once again enjoyed the world that was built and the writers way of writing so I can’t wait to see how she grows with the rest of the series.
Renee

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4 Star Review for Adieu Warm Sunshine by C.E. Case #FF @SupposedCrimes

CoverTitle:Adieu Warm Sunshine
Author Name & Publisher: C.E. Case (Supposed Crimes)
Publication Date : August 1, 2016

Synopsis

Pamela Costis is just another dancer/addict loitering at the stage door with no autographs to sign. She tells herself she’s not looking for anything, but when the black town car pulls up and reveals a tall, dark stranger, she’s intrigued enough to get closer.

Sunflower “Sunny” Darling is unmistakably a cop, except she’s really something darker, but that doesn’t matter until Pamela goes missing after their one night stand. No one else seems to have noticed.

Occam’s Razor flies in her face, but Sunny can’t accept Pamela’s disappearance as anything ordinary. She delves into the theater underworld, follows where drugs take her, but finds only dead ends.

Pamela’s true threat is inside Sunny’s own world.

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Review

FourStars

Sunny is an agent with lots of secrets and she’s certainly not sharing them with her NYPD partner.  When she meets dancer Pamela and they share a smoking hot night together she could never imagine how complicated things are about to become.  And they are certainly complicated! For the first third of the book I was unsure what I was going to make of this story but once it began to unravel I really enjoyed it and could see where C E Case was going with it.  There are a lot of very dodgy people involved and I wasn’t sure that the supposed good guys were really the good guys at all.  Sunny was so mysterious that I was never really sure who she was and Pamela was naive to the extreme.  They made a great couple though and I was really rooting for them all the way through.  Sunny was relentless in her quest and I liked that about her.  She was willing to break the rules and do whatever it took for Pamela.  There is certainly another book in this story and I hope that C E Case has plans to keep it going. It was well thought out and kept me interested, especially as things began to heat up in the last few chapters.  A good read
Kitty Kat

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4 Stars for Capturing Forever by Erin Dutton #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Capturing Forever
Author Name & Publisher: Erin Dutton (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: August 16, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Jacqueline Knight is driven and ambitious, always focused on getting to the top. But when her father’s failing health demands her attention, she must consider putting her career on hold. Though she struggles with her new responsibilities, she won’t admit she can’t do it alone. And the last person she wants to accept help from is her ex, Casey.

Since their breakup eight years before, Casey Meadow s has concentrated on co-parenting their son and making a new life for herself. While she’s happy to offer her help, spending time with Jacqueline threatens to open the box in which she’s locked away their past relationship.

Will the lessons learned in eight years apart be enough to mend the mistakes of the past?

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Review

 FourStarsI’m not sure I can say much about this book. Dutton again has a well-written, tightly plotted, character driven romance, so in that way I can definitely say this is a good book. However, I was reluctant to keep reading once I started. Most of us have that first love who, in the sublime discovery of passion, sex, and deep emotion, we’ve given all of ourselves to. And again, most of us have parted ways, for one reason or another, from that first love. We leave those relationships missing a piece of ourselves, a piece that changes us forever. It changes the way we love, and how much we put into the next relationship. And to read about these two people, who each still had pieces of the other, made me a bit melancholy. To read about how they each hurt the other, each hurt for the other, and still after all this time cared so much about each other, it makes the heart sore for all the time together that they missed out on. So this book took me a lot longer than usual to finish. Because Jacq and Casey both needed the time apart to grow into people who could change enough to fit back together. And while the results were everything you could wish for, it was still hard to watch them go through it.
AmyP

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4 stars for The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust #2) by Christian Baines #MM #Paranormal @XtianBaines

CoverTitle: The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Christian Baines (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: August 16, 2016 – 264 pgs

Synopsis

Reylan’s last assignment for The Arcadia Trust brought a rebellious human servant under his roof, and a volatile werewolf lover named Jorgas into his bed, leaving the self-reliant Blood Shade–known to the outside world as vampires–in no hurry to risk his immortality for them again. But when a new terror starts disappearing humans from a bad part of town, Reylan must do everything in his power to keep Sydney’s supernatural factions from the brink of war. Having an ambitious, meddlesome human in the mix is only going to make things worse…especially when that human is Jorgas’s father. Reylan will need all his determination and cunning to keep the peace under his roof, between the night’s power brokers, and in his lover’s troubled heart.

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Review

 FourStars

The Orchard of Flesh is an intriguing story with interesting characters and good suspense. I recommend this to anyone looking for a unique paranormal story.

This book has an interesting take on the vampire mythos. The world development is very good. The pacing is good, and it’s engaging. In general I would prefer a bit more character development to really flesh out the main characters.

There are a few little things that bother me about this book. I find some of the writing a bit awkward. It doesn’t happen often, but it can be confusing.

Also,  sometimes the patterns of speech for certain characters is inconsistent. It can be jarring when reading dialog, and it makes for odd character development.

There is some sexual content, but I wouldn’t recommend this for someone looking for a highly romantic or erotic book.

All in all, I enjoyed this story quite a lot, and I’ll be looking for more books from this author.

Amanda

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4.5 Star and TWO 4 Star Reviews for Piece of Cake: The Wedding (Wedding Novellas) by Gun Brooke #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Piece of Cake: The Wedding (Wedding Novellas)
Author Name & Publisher: Gun Brooke (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date: August 1, 2016

Synopsis

Kendal Moore knows she’s being used shamelessly by her boss, Holly McAllister. What’s more, Kendal has willingly agreed to it. Holly needs a wife to remain in the US despite an expired visa. Now it’s their wedding day. Kendal is about to marry the woman she secretly loves, but she is afraid. What if she fails Holly by getting last-minute cold feet?
Holly McAllister tries to keep up her usual stern demeanor. If she doesn’t marry, all she’s worked for is lost. She is surprised that the only person she can imagine marrying is her assistant, Kendal, whose loyalty she always relied on. Now Holly’s heart and conscience insist she must talk to Kendal and call off the wedding. She can’t take advantage of the woman she’s grown to love. Kendal deserves more.

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Review

FourandHalfStars
This is such a sweet short. Holly and Kendal struggle with their situation because both are afraid to expose the feelings they each have for the other. At the 11th hour, both women are having second thoughts, not because they can’t stomach the idea of being together, but because they’re afraid that the other will have sacrificed too much and come to resent the other. And they each care too much for that to happen. Even so, most of the story the two are dancing around any type of admittance of how they really feel. It almost feels like an entire courting ritual in the space of a few hours. I liked how each genuinely had feelings for the other. Also, I really enjoyed the interracial aspect of the relationship, because it was dealt with so matter-of-factly. And also Brooke used such a deft touch letting us know about it that we got the picture without the type of heavy-handed repeated descriptors reminding us that Kendal was black every time Holly looked at her. It felt like it was mentioned because it was notable, but then, having let us know, we were allowed to relax in to their relationship without having to constantly be reminded. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was treated like it was just a normal thing, and that was wonderful to read. I did knock off a half a star, simply because like most short stories that I enjoy, I would’ve liked more. I would have loved to have gotten more of their story before the wedding, and mostly because I liked Holly and Kendal so much I didn’t want to let them go. I believe this was written and included in an anthology centering around a wedding theme, and if so, I’d definitely go looking for the anthology based just on how good this story was.
Amy P
FourStars
Gun Brooke has written a lovely novella of hidden love between two women about to marry. Kendal and Holly are marrying to keep Holly in the country and are insisting it’s a marriage of convenience. On the day of their wedding we find out their true feelings for each other are romantic and sexy and intensely loving. I enjoyed this story as it was just the kind of mushy romance I love.
Kitty Kat
FourStars

I enjoyed getting to know Holly and Kendal! I love the idea of the boss and the assistant. This little story was a great break in my day.

Well written, entertaining, and sweet! Would have loved a full novel with these ladies, but loved to meet them just the same. My only issues with the story was not getting to know the characters more; however, that is the downfall of a shorter work and was to be expected. All-in-all, it was a sweet story that was well worth the read!

Tori

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5 Star, 4.5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Far from Home (Belladonna Ink #1) by Lorelie Brown #FF #Romance @LorelieBrown

CoverTitle: Far from Home (Belladonna Ink #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Lorelie Brown (Riptide Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: August 1, 2016 – 208 pgs

Synopsis

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calmness rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess — anorexia is not a pretty word — and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And, if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

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Review

FiveStars

When Rachel offers to marry Pari to let her stay in the country and eventually become a citizen she could never imagine just how
much it would change her life. It starts off as a practical arrangement but becomes so much more. Rachel’s struggles with anorexia and Pari’s difficulty trusting after a heartbreak make the book all the more interesting.   The attraction was obvious from the start but seeing it grow into something beautiful and strong was wonderful.  We see it all from Rachel’s point of view but the author managed to encompass the emotions of both women so well. The love scenes were extremely sexy and the love between them was so true. This was a really great read and I found myself wallowing in the romance of it all. Five stars!

Kitty Kat

FourandHalfStars

This book kept me thinking about it long after I finished the last page. Rachel, our pov, is anorexic, and that is a big part of this story. I found it extremely interesting to get a look at the way Rachel looks at herself, and how different it is from how she views others. In fact, there were many things that caught my attention in this book and drew me in further. After straight Rachel figures out that she’s very much in lust with her fiance, and quite possible in love, I loved the conversation with Nikki and her girlfriend in the tattoo shop. A lot of that conversation resonated for me. I really liked the relationship between Pari and Rachel, and how it slowly changed. Pari made me fall a little in love with her and her mother as well. I’m glad Brown included so much of Pari’s culture in the story, but I would have loved a bit more explanation of some of the parts of the ceremony Pari wanted to cut out. And again, I loved how Pari’s parents were slowly won over by Rachel, but we still got such a real reaction from some of Pari’s other relatives. In all, there was a lot in this story that I loved. A couple of things kept me from giving it a full five stars. First, Rachel’s collapse came as a total surprise to me. I feel like I didn’t get enough of a lead up of her slipping back into her unhealthy habits. I get that she was spending an excessive amount of time at the gym, but I don’t know how long her workouts were before the stress of the wedding hit, so I didn’t get that it was becoming worse. Also, I saw all the habits and rituals she had surrounding food and how she ate it, but again, I didn’t get the sense that she’d stopped eating before she had her break down. Unless she was lying to herself as well, which could be possible, then I would have expected more signs that she was slipping back into her sickness. I loved that final scene before the epilogue though. And the epilogue itself, which holds another surprise simply in how long it took to get back to where they’d been, was a perfect way to end the story. I definitely recommend this book.

Amy P

FourStars

Rachel and Pari devise a plan that will keep Pari in the US and help Rachel pay off some of her college debt. What could go wrong? Well, how about Rachel believing she is straight, Pari’s mother showing up, and both women falling in love with one another.

Far from Home is a lovely read and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I was worried this would be another of the same in a long line of didn’t-realize-I-liked-girls-until-you books. There is nothing wrong with many of those books; however, they are very cliched and don’t really stand out. That was no the case with this book. It put its own spin on the classic tale and we get to meet some great people along the way. I also enjoyed getting to meet Pari’s mother; she was well developed and in general, a lovely woman.

I loved getting to know both ladies; it was enjoyable to watch their love story unfold. I am glad that Rachel has Pari to love and support her through her recovery. Well done!

Tori

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5 Star, 4.5 Star, 4 Star Reviews for Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan #YoungAdult #FF @Poor_Medea

CoverTitle: Prom and Other Hazards
Author Name & Publisher: Jamie Sullivan (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 29, 2016 – 36 pgs

Synopsis

Frankly, prom is a ridiculous concept. People at school treat it like its a test run for a wedding, complete with ‘promposals’. That’s not even mentioning the dresses, which look like Disney vomited tulle and sparkles onto the nearest mannequin. Sam wants nothing to do with it.

Except for the tiny fact that she’s been in love with her best friend Tash since they were ten years old, and Tash dreams of a perfect, romantic prom. Sam had given up hope, until she spotted The Suit in a shop window. Sleek, androgynous, and flat out cool—but also way out of Sam’s price range.

But if she can earn the money for the suit, then surely the suit is all she needs to finally admit how she feels and see they both enjoy the perfect prom.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a really cute, sweet story. It’s mainly pretty fluffy, just a nice little story about a girl finding the right way to ask her best friend out and give her the most magical prom night ever.

Although the premise isn’t anything really new, it’s the writing style which made me love this story. It’s funny and smart and features an excellent main character. Sam is a delightful narrator, and it’s easy to see why the girls like each other so much. They’re a perfect pair.

There’s really no angst or drama to be found. The side characters are fun, even Tash’s “date of convenience,” who ends up being a bit of a surprise. Kieran, the tux shop employee, is a fun replacement for the typical fairy godmother. Even the girls’ classmates are a nice bunch, if a bit idealistic.

If you’re looking for a fun, sweet book that will make you smile and say, “aww,” this is the one for you. Very cute!

5 stars
~AmyM
FourandHalfStars
I enjoyed this sweet story of teenager Sam and her secret love for best friend Tash.  As she makes plans for prom night she is a mix of hope and fear and I felt that along with her. It is well written and kept my attention, as Sam was a likeable character dealing with a universal dilemma. Should she come out to her friend and confess her feelings thus risking their existing friendship? This lovely romance was the perfect way to while away an afternoon, dreaming of happy ever afters.
Kitty Kat
FourStars
This was quite a fun and sweet short story. We meet Sam, who has loved Tash since she can remember, and Tash, who may or may not have any idea of Sam’s true feelings. What is certain, is that like many young adults, both have a hard time admitting what they feel for the other. Sam knows Tash dreams of a perfectly romantic Prom, and she wants to give Tash exactly what she wants. But more than finding her way to Tash, this story is about Sam finding herself, finding who she is and becoming comfortable with the person she finds. The catalyst is the Suit. Not only does the Suit finally make Sam work towards being with Tash, but it also becomes the way for Sam to finally accept who she is. The result is a story that satisfies.
Amy P

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