Category Archives: Amanda

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 Stars for Lab Rat by Nephy Hart #MM #Futuristic #SciFi #Thriller

LabRat_600x956Title: Lab Rat
Author Name & Publisher: Nephy Hart (Wayward Ink Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: May 4, 2016 – 280 pgs

Synopsis

At thirteen, Gabriel was subjected to experimentation designed to awaken latent psychic abilities.

He’s been locked in a downward spiral of self-destruction ever since.

Then one night he meets Laurie, who is the antithesis of everything Gabriel’s become: cheerful, optimistic, and comfortable in his own skin.

Laurie pursues Gabriel. But Gabriel no longer believes in love. With a dark past and a history of disastrous relationships, he’s promised himself ‘no more’. Laurie, however, won’t let go, no matter how many obstacles Gabriel places in his way.

When Gabriel starts hearing voices in his head, he realizes they belong to the scientists who experimented on him. Worse, they’re trying to track him down.

With the past nipping at his heels, Gabriel and Laurie flee together.

Can they outrun the enemy? Can they save Gabriel before either his life or his sanity are forfeit?

And is Gabriel as helpless as he, or Laurie, thinks he is?

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Review

 FourStars
Lab Rat is a disturbing and intriguing story. I recommend this to anyone looking for a dark sci-fi drama with some romance.
This is an interesting story, frightening and depressing for much of it, but at times also hopeful and romantic. Nephy Hart has done a great job portraying Gabriel’s mental and emotional instability. And the turmoil between Gabriel and Laurie takes the notion of romantic angst to a whole other level.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. I found it engaging but a bit drawn out. I feel it could have been condensed into a shorter book, and that might have captured my interest more completely.
This is not a sexually explicit book. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone looking for a highly romantic or erotic book.
Amanda

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TWO 5 Star Reviews for Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (Offbeat Crimes #1) by Angel Martinez #MM #Paranormal @AngelMartinezrr

limegelatinandothermonsters_800Title: Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (Offbeat Crimes #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Angel Martinez (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date: August 16, 2016

Synopsis

Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to a precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.

Just as he’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, Kyle’s new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved, and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways. If they can learn to work together, they might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.

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Review

FiveStars

Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters is a quirky and imaginative romance. I highly recommend it for someone looking for a light and funny paranormal romance.
Angel Martinez has managed to fit a lot into a relatively short book. She introduces a number of unique characters, solves a mystery, starts a steamy romance, and makes us laugh along the way. The story is immediately engaging and kept me hooked until the end.
Kyle and Vikash are great characters with depth and personality. They have a highly entertaining relationship – both in the bedroom and as partners on the job. The sex scenes are explicit and hot, and the budding romance is low-angst and sweet.
This is a great introduction to the Offbeat Crimes series. This book has a good conclusion, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a standalone story. I’m excited to move on to the next one!
Amanda
FiveStars
I have read a lot of paranormal books and yes they all have weird unexplainable things in them, that is what makes them so good…. But I have say that this book was beyond the unexplainable things. With that said I have to say that this book was so dang good. It was everything you look for in a good read. There was mystery, there was action, there was cops, there was inter office romance, there was freaky monsters, and there was extreme chemistry between the two main characters. You throw in the tension between other fellow officers and how quirky the main characters are and you have a winner on your hands with this read.

Kyle has not always been a paranormal officer. Until recently he was just like everyone else and lives a normal life as a regular police officer with a regular partner on his old squad. Hat all changed the night him and his old partner encountered the lime jello monster and Kyle stepped in to help his previous partner from being ate. Instead of doing the same to Kyle, Kyle was able to absorb the lime jello monsters powers and save his partner. Which in turn sent him to the 77th precinct with the other paranormal officers. Once there his powers really kicked in and he was not able to work with or get close to anyone else from fear of what he would absorb of their powers. Well that is until Vikash came to the precinct and was partnered with Kyle.

Things were different with Kash b cause instead of absorbing his power of destruction when Kash is angry, together they make the powers stronger and work hand in hand together. Not something either of them are used to but they make it work for their benefit.

With the case they are working on and the mystery as to what exactly the killer is exactly (whether human or a paranormal killer), Kash and Kyles unique powers could be the difference between there being another murder or not and Kash and Kyle being alive to tell the tell of what the murder is.

Add to the fact they are still feeling each other out at work and behind closed doors and you have a very good read.

Kash and Kyle in my opinion are very good together not only at work but at home also. They both have similar tastes in movies, music, and food but they also have this amazing chemistry together. I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out to find out what these band of misfit cops get up too and into. Great read.

Tosha

Excerpt

Kyle sat up straighter, shifting to see between the heads in front of him. Soren looked like a poster boy for the model police officer, tall and straight, uniform crisp and sharp. He stood at parade rest beside the lieutenant impassively surveying his new colleagues. A little knot of resentment lodged in Kyle’s stomach. At his own introduction to the Seventy-seventh, he’d been nervous and fidgety, freaked out by the collection of…freaks. How can he be so calm?

“Officer Soren transferred from the Harrisburg PD—”

“Don’t they have enough freaky shit of their own up there?” Wolf called out in his rasping growl.

“—since Harrisburg is in our jurisdiction,” she continued with a quelling glance.

“He’ll start out partnered with Monroe.”

“What does he do, ma’am? That it’s safe to put him with Kirby, er, Kyle?” Shira Lourdes asked as she flicked nervous glances across the room at Kyle. An empty chair slid away from her and fell over. Her partner, Greg Santos, shook his head and righted the unfortunate piece of furniture.

“Officer Soren’s abilities are his business, which he may or may not choose to share if you ask. And don’t bully him about it either, any of you.” Lieutenant Dunfee swept the room again, pinning each of her officers with her needle-laser gaze like captive butterflies. “Monroe, my office after briefing. Info on your current case.”

She dismissed them, stalking from the room with thunderclouds in her eyes. Kyle found himself approaching the new guy and trying his best not to be awkward. Did he offer to shake hands? Was it safe? Would the guy flinch like so many people did at the sight of Kyle’s scarred hands? Soren was even taller up close, six-foot- three of lean inscrutability, his blue eyes startlingly bright against smoky bronze skin.

“Um, hi, I’m Kyle Monroe.” Kyle fidgeted when Soren didn’t offer his hand either. “You’re with me, I guess. I’ll show you our spot in the squad room.”

Soren followed him silently and Kyle was starting to wonder if he was like Krisk in the not-speaking department until he finally spoke in a smooth, soft baritone, making Kyle startle and miss a step. “Why do they call you Kirby?”

“You’d hear it sooner or later, I guess.” Kyle shrugged. “It’s this thing I do, absorbing other people’s talents temporarily. If they’re close to me. Or touch me. Like Kirby, the little pink dude in the video game.”

“Ah.”

Just that? Soren didn’t edge away, or change expression at all. Was he made of stone? “It’s a thing. Everyone here has a thing.”

After a few more steps, Soren asked, “Always?”

“What…oh, was I always like this? Who knows? I mean, maybe I’ve picked up stray thoughts or something, but no. It’s pretty recent. Knowing that I do this.”

Kyle took a wide arc around Vance as he entered the squad room, pointing to the double desk in the far corner, well removed from everyone else. “That’s ours. Coffee’s over there, but you might not want that coffee. Let me grab my file and we’ll go see the lieutenant.”

“So what’s your story, Soren?” Vance called across the squad room. “What flies your freak flag?”

“Yeah, what do you do?” Jeff Gatling stopped ’porting his banana from one corner of his desk to the other.

“I don’t really do anything,” Soren answered as he hefted the empty coffee pot.

“Guess I’ll make fresh since I’m the new guy.”

He opened the top to remove the filter and every human voice in the squad room yelled out, “No!”

Most people would have startled, maybe dropped the carafe. Soren just blinked at the roomful of people gesturing wildly. He took the filter out and emptied it over the trashcan. “Why not?”

“You don’t want to do that.” Kyle stayed by his desk, a nice safe distance from the coffee station. “That’s Larry’s job.”

“Larry’s not keeping up then.”

The container of sweetener packets began to rattle. It shivered across the counter and leaped to a messy end, ceramic shards skittering across the floor. The desk that Krisk and Wolf shared rose from the floor several inches and slammed back down. Wolf fled with a squeaking yelp just before the desk flipped on its side.

Soren glanced toward Kyle. “Larry’s not a cop, is he?”

“He is…he was! A dead cop. Larry’s a ghost. He gets ticked if anyone else makes the coffee. Put the stuff back, please!”

“Larry?” Soren raised his voice but to all appearances remained completely unruffled. “I’m new here. I’m very sorry I invaded your jurisdiction. See? I’m putting the carafe back. Closing the top. Are we good, Larry?”

A breeze ruffled through a stack of papers, but no further mayhem ensued. The carafe slid from its pad on the coffeemaker and floated to the water cooler where Larry, who never manifested in a visible form, whistled tunelessly while he filled the carafe.

From his dim corner of the room, Carrington said in his dry, genteel way, “Welcome to the Island of Misfit Freaks.”

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5 Stars and 4 Stars for The Night Screams by Devon McCormack #MM #Romance @devon_mccormack

CoverTitle: The Night Screams
Author Name & Publisher: Devon McCormack (Harmony  Ink Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 28, 2016 – 220 pgs

Synopsis

Running naked through the woods, Cal flees the sadistic man who abducted and tortured him. When he stumbles upon a convenience store, he breaks in to steal food. A young store clerk, Jake, confronts him, and they get into a fight that ends with Cal being knocked unconscious. He wakes in the home of Jake’s Uncle Gary, the owner of the convenience store. Realizing Cal needs help, Gary tries to communicate with him, but despite Cal’s efforts, he can’t bring himself to speak. Instead, he writes down his experiences. Horrified by the perverse cruelty Cal endured, Gary takes him to the police, who track down his tormentor.

Abandoned by his parents before his abduction, Cal doesn’t have anywhere to go, so Gary and his wife eagerly welcome him into their home. He feels fortunate to be with such caring people—something he’s never had before. Despite their help, he still can’t find his voice, and he wonders if he ever will. And Jake certainly isn’t making things any easier. It’s clear he doesn’t want Cal to be part of their family. But the more Cal gets to know him, the more he realizes Jake might be the very person who can heal the deep wounds left by his horrifying past.

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Review

FourStarsTriggers: Gay bashing, death, loss, cancer

This was a great story.  It had love, loss, acceptance and learning.

Cal and Jake have a strained relationship at the beginning.  It’s somewhat difficult to tell if it’s jealousy or attraction.

I really like how Gary and Luce were able to take in both boys and offer them something that they were all needing – family.

I loved Gary.  He was funny, the steady sense in this family who, at it’s core is full of love and acceptance.  He knows that his wife has some learning to do but I love how he handles it.

Luce is a wonderful person who just has some catching up to do.

I felt that this story was more about Luce and her learning to accept than it was about Cal and Jake.  However, their story was one of learning how to have a relationship, learning to love themselves and each other.

AvidReader

FiveStars

The Night Screams is poignant and moving. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for an emotional suspense story with romance.

This is a gritty and engaging book. The characters are well developed and easy to love. The romance is realistic, and I’m glad that it’s not sexually explicit. I feel it fits the story better this way.

This story addresses not only the extreme abuse that Cal endured but also social and family issues faced by many LGBTQ teens. Cal’s journey is frightening and heartbreaking at times, but there are also hopeful and heartwarming moments.

Overall, I loved this book! There were a few little plot points that nagged at me through the story. The plot twist that resolved these issues solidified the 5th star in my rating.

Amanda

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5 Star and 3 Star Reviews for Beach Night by Parker Avrile #MM #Romance

CoverTitle: Beach Night
Author Name & Publisher: Parker Avrile (Paris April Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 23, 2016 – 75 pgs

Synopsis

Three million dollars is up for grabs…

Nobody stumbles into this two-bit lakefront casino by accident. Chris knows there’s something hinky going on from the moment Dillon waltzes into the place wearing his form-fitting three-hundred-dollar jeans. Dillon’s blazing hot, but those magic fingers keep triggering the machines to spit out jackpots.

It’s Chris’s job to put guys like Dillon in prison. That’s the reason Chris needs to go undercover as a hookup who meets Dillon on a secluded beach.

Or at least Chris tells himself that’s the reason.

“Beach Night” is an 18,000-word male/male contemporary romantic suspense novella. It’s a complete standalone story with a happily ever after and NO cliffhanger.

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Review
FiveStarsThis was a really intriguing short story.

From the moment Chris seen Dillion on the monitor overlooking the casino he worked security in, he knew that something was different about him. Not just different but possibly dangerous. Regardless Chris found himself seeking out Dillion and wanting to not only get to know him better but to also save him from the dangerous situation that Dillion was in. And so it began, Chris through himself full on into the situation to try and save Dillion. But what happens when the tables are turned and suddenly Chris finds himself in a situation that might take not only Dillion’s life but his own.

This book was full of mystery. I found myself questioning who Dillion was and whether he was in the situation he is in because of bad circumstances or because he is truly a bad guy. I also found myself concerned about Chris and Dillion’s safety. As I said this was a wonderful read and full of mystery and intrigue. I really enjoyed it!!!!

Tosha
ThreeStar
Beach Night wasn’t really for me, but you might like it if you’re looking for a light read with some romance and suspense.
This story is okay, but it seems rushed and awkward at times and lacking in depth. For me, character development is really important. When I feel the connection with the characters I become really invested in the story. Chris and Dillon didn’t really have enough depth or personality for me to feel that connection to them.
Overall, there were some interesting elements in the story, but it wasn’t very engaging. It was a bit of a struggle to get through. It might have been better if it was fleshed out more
Amanda

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4.5 Stars for Who Knows the Dark (The Vigilante #2) by Tere Michaels {#AUDIOBOOK} #MM #Romance @TereMichaels

1.5

Title: Who Knows the Dark (The Vigilante #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Tere Michaels (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 2, 2015 – 230 pgs

Synopsis

A wanted man after the destruction of the Iron Butterfly Casino, Nox Boyet must flee the island of Manhattan—the only home he’s ever known. Together with Cade, Sam, and the rest of their ragtag group, Nox must find a place to hide from the District Police and the violent group of unknown drug dealers on his tail.

The solution—the Creel family farm in South Carolina.

But home isn’t quite sweet for Cade, the prodigal son. As Cade struggles with his own secrets, shadows of the past threaten not only Nox’s life, but his relationship with his son, Sam.

Nox knows there will never be peace unless he finds the answers to all his questions—and the answers lie back on the island. Cade and the others must choose their paths—find safety or follow the Vigilante into the darkness of the city? The city where Nox will come face-to-face with the past.

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Review

 FourandHalfStars

This review is for the audiobook, narrated by Jonathan Young.
Who Knows the Dark is an intriguing post-apocalyptic adventure. The narration is done perfectly. As with the first book, Jonathan Young really brings this story to life with his performance. I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a strong action/suspense story with some romance.
This book is a bit slower paced than the first. The focus is on mystery and suspense as the characters work to puzzle their way through the complications of their forced exile. The pacing fits the story perfectly. It’s highly engaging and really hard to put down.
My only complaint is I feel like the ending is a bit abrupt. In the first book the ending was perfect for me. There was a definite feeling of some kind of conclusion, even knowing there was more to come. I didn’t get that feeling with this ending, and that was mildly disappointing.
This series has a romantic sub-plot, and there are a few explicit sex scenes. But I wouldn’t recommend this to someone looking for a highly romantic or erotic story.
Overall, I loved this book! I’m emotionally connected to the characters, and the story has totally sucked me in. I can’t wait for the next one!
Amanda

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4 Star and 3 Star Reviews for Roadhouse Reds by Layla Dorine #MM #ScienceFiction

RoadhouseReds_600x940Title: Roadhouse Reds
Author Name & Publisher: Layla Dorine (Wayward Ink Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: June 17, 2016 – 342 pgs

Synopsis

Born moments before his parents crashed landed on Earth, Jason was raised in foster care. As soon as he was old enough, he packed his backpack and hit the road. Just him and his bike.
Now a jaded young man, living above a roadhouse diner and bar with several other misfits, he struggles to understand friendships, relationships, and the bonds of family.
Unbeknownst to Jason, other refugees from the planet Altiss also made it safely to Earth. After discovering Jason living as a human, they seek to safeguard him and his fledgling abilities.
As Jason’s powers begin to manifest, his mate arrives on earth looking to claim him. Ano ki stalks Jason, seeking to gain his trust, and his proximity only intensifies Jason’s burgeoning magic..
Fearing they will be dragged back to the planet they fled, the refugees prepare to do battle. In Jason, they believe they may have what is needed to tip the scales in their favor.
Left with no choice but to accept his heritage and learn to fight, Jason struggles with some harsh lessons about love and trust amidst a backdrop of battle and betrayal.

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Review
FourStars

Roadhouse Reds is an enjoyable Sci-Fi adventure. I recommend this to anyone looking for a story with magic-weilding aliens, drama, and some romance.

This story has an interesting premise. It took some time to really draw me in, but at about the halfway point it became a story I couldn’t put down.

All in all, I feel there’s a good blend of drama and action. There is a good cast of characters. Jason in particular has great depth, personality, and history. Some of this is lacking in the other characters, but they have enough personality to make them lovable.

I think the description of how the magic works is really well done. And I love the magical fight scenes. I also really appreciate that the most badass leader and fighter is a woman.

I’m not sure if a second book is planned, but there’s a hint at possibly more to come. I would happily read more if this was made into a series.

There are a few steamy and explicit sex scenes, but I wouldn’t recommend this to someone looking for a highly romantic or erotic story.

Amanda

ThreeStar

Um…well…I really didn’t get into this book. Which was odd cause I really love sci romance. But this book, it wasn’t really romance. Sci was there though. Okay, the thing i was mostly disappointed about was that I felt like I was led around a bit. I wasn’t sure who Jason, the main character, was supposed to end up with til, well, the end. And even the ending was unexpected. He ended up with 2 guys instead of one. How that happened, I don’t know.
I was pretty much confused through most of the book. There were a lot of characters to keep up with, but that was okay. it made the story more interesting. Still, it was NOT what I expected and that’s why this story is 3 stars for me. I was excited to read it but after a few chapters, I became really confused as to which guy I was supposed to root for to be with Jason. At the end, I wasn’t rooting for anyone. I just had a big question mark on my forehead.
Cookie

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