A Lila Review: Give Up the Ghost (Not Dead Yet #2) by Jenn Burke

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The bigger they are, the harder they maul. 

Immortal not-ghost Wes Cooper and his vampire partner, Hudson Rojas, have it all—rewarding private investigation work, great friends and, most important, a love that’s endured. But ever since Wes sent a demon screaming back to the beyond, his abilities have grown overpowering and overwhelming. He’s hiding the fact that he’s losing control the best he can, but it’s hard to keep anything a secret for long when your partner’s a former cop…and especially when your partner’s a former cop who wants to move in together.

When all hell literally breaks loose in Toronto and superstrength ghosts are unleashed on Wes and his friends, he and Hudson are thrown into a case unlike any they’ve seen before. To save the city, Wes needs to harness his new power…and find some answers. But when he gets them, the solution to fix it all could mean losing everything.

Give Up the Ghost is a nice addition to this series. Like the previous book, it has a slow plot, filled with intrigue, mystery, and lot of sassy characters, The dry humor and sarcasm are strong is this story as well as all the characterizations. Every small detail is important for the final resolution.

It’s interesting to see what has happened since Wes and Hudson rekindled their relationship and how the previous events shaped the twists and turns this time around. There’s a lot of information to digest. From settings, foods, clothes, and everything that makes this book unique.

I enjoyed seeing Evan, Lexi, and Iskandar. again, and how they were part of this book too. Even Michael was a refreshing sight with an unexpected role. I wanted a little less reflection and a faster pace. Even when the story was entertaining and compelling.

The cover matches the previous book and it’s interesting enough to get the readers’ eye. Still, the characters seem pretty young.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | Carina

Book Details:
ebook, 280 pages
ISBN: 1488036268
Published: June 3, 2019, by Carina Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Not Dead Yet
Book #1: Not Dead Yet
Book #2: Give Up the Ghost

A Lila Review: Not on My Bucket List by Tom Munroe

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When Sam goes on a gay website looking for romance, he finds more than he bargained for. Rejecting all the usual requests for hook-ups, he searches for something more sincere. And he finds it in the most unexpected of places, as he is drawn to the profile of a man in a faraway place.
Amir, an Algerian descended from desert nomads, has posted a profile looking for the love of his life. Sam finds it amazing that a gay man born in the Algerian desert has the bravery to not only declare he is gay, but also to admit his dream is to find a husband to spend his life with.
While Sam doesn’t consider himself the marrying kind, he starts chatting with Amir, telling himself he just wants to learn about another culture. His friends laugh at him, saying this man just wants to use him to emigrate to the west and take him for his money. But he refuses to believe it, sensing a sincerity he has never seen with anyone else. The two begin a dialogue that moves to weekly Skype sessions, discussions of religion and world politics, assistance with life challenges and, finally, a declaration of love … and an invitation.
Can these two men from vastly different worlds and cultures meet and find common ground for a romance? The challenges are great, and spending a life together seems like an impossible dream. While Sam’s friends continue to discourage him, he knows he cannot give up this man. Is Amir sincere, or is Sam being used?
There is only one way to find out if Amir is really sincere. And Sam knows what he has to do.

Not on my Bucket List surpassed my expectations. The blurb was interesting and the author delivered. Perhaps not on a way we are used to, but it worked for the story and the characters.

This is more of a narration than a romance novel. It’s like seating with a friend at a cafe, listening to his love story. Even so, it’s hard to put down. I’m glad I read it during the Holiday Break because I stayed awake past 2 AM.

I have to admit that I spent most of the time waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yes, I expected a trick behind their story, catfishing… but gladly, it didn’t happen. I had trouble with Amir’s attitude in some instances but the author did an excellent job presenting all the cultural differences.

That’s something that’s well done in this story as well. The traveling process, the visas, the government bribes, and everything else related to inter-cultural relationships. Plus, the countries descriptions.

Overall, if you don’t mind some telling, this is a great story to read. Just be sure you have the time to read it start to finish or close enough.

The cover by Written Ink Designs doesn’t make justice to the story. It’s a generic couple, cute but not relevant to the book.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | JMS

Book Details:
ebook, 100 pages
ISBN: 9781634867962
Published: December 22, 2018, by JMS Books
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: To Tame an Omega by Lisa Gray

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

In a non-shifting alpha/omega society, omegas have become so scarce, they’re sequestered at birth in isolated facilities.

Rafael Vargas, cyber expert, is an omega hiding in plain sight. At least until activists recruit him to hack an omega facility and rescue the children. He gets away clean until a prime alpha unwittingly hires him to trace the hack. With his precious freedom at risk, Rafael battles his instinctive attraction to the alpha.

Grant Tenereth, an alpha overseeing the omega facilities, is hell-bent on finding the kidnapped children. But from the moment he hires the fascinating but challenging Rafael, Grant finds himself questioning his rock-solid devotion to the rules. When he learns the man is an omega as well as a criminal hacker, he tries to do the right thing for the law, even if it isn’t the right thing for him. Or for the omega.

Grant struggles, trapped between duty and desire. Rafael aches for love but fears losing his independence. Will they realize before it’s too late that what they have isn’t just instinct? It’s everything.

To Tame an Omega is different than other Omegaverse stories. The author added a different spin, giving Betas a more important role. They are the real dividers between Alphas and Omegas, for good and back. There are also traditional events as the first heat, auctions, and socioeconomic characteristics.

The romance is more about lust and instinct. There are several miscommunication issues which give the story a good start. Te setup is interesting but some chapters and events felt a bit flat. I wanted more of everything.

Overall, the story has great potential but it fell short in the end. I really expected a better resolution.

The cover by Written Ink Designs is a simple representation of two generic characters, It could be the cover for any other story.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | iBooks

Book Details:
ebook, 101 pages
Published: October 6, 2018, by JMS Books
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: Ben’s Bakery and the Hanukkah Miracle by Penelope Peters

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Adam Bernard’s love-life is on ice.

Adam gave up his dreams of professional hockey when his mom died ten years ago; now his only focus is being the Jewish son his dad’s always wanted. Problem is, the pee-wee hockey team he coaches is in Boston for an international tourney the same week as Hanukkah. Now he’s stuck in a foreign city without so much as a candle. Enter Ben Daniels, the super-cute owner of the local kosher-style bakery. All Adam wants is a chance to celebrate the holiday away from home – but sweet and sexy Ben could light more than just Adam’s candles.

Ben Daniels’s love-life is on the back-burner.

Ben hasn’t stepped on the ice in three years. The official reason is that he’s too focused on making his kosher-style bakery a success. Problem is, he’s never kept kosher in his life, and internet searches only take you so far. Enter Adam Bernard, in town for one week only, with all the cultural touchstones anyone could want. All Ben wants is Adam’s Certified Jewish Opinion on his sufganiyot – but Adam could be the one to light Ben’s desire for ice again.

This Hanukkah, Adam and Ben find their miracles aren’t only on the ice.

Their fling was only meant to last for the holiday. But Adam’s about to get the chance to rewrite his history – and Ben’s dreams of business success are about to come true. Will they be so willing to extinguish their relationship in eight days – or will their Hanukkah miracle last for a lifetime?

Ben’s Bakery and the Hanukkah Miracle is an amazing treat to start the holiday season. The prologue was a bit hard to read since it felt as an omniscient narrator took over but in the end, it worked. After the first chapter, it’s easier to follow the author’s vision.

This story reads like a Hallmark Holiday movie. It’s sweat, steamy, interesting, and filled with hope and well wishes. All the characters were well-rounded and had a roll in moving the plot forward. The secondary characters are diverse but not simple tokens. They added color to the story.  The kids were perfect and acted their age, a mix of curiosity and innocence that balanced the adults and the drama.

Ben and Adam had great chemistry from the instant they met. All their matchmakers gave the reader a little window into their personality. They are both Jewish but were brought up differently. It took them several nights to get over the majority of their differences but they made it work.

I can’t tell you everything the author shows is accurate but she did an excellent job bringing culture and religion to the forefront of the story without making it feel as a soapbox. I loved the little details and how much they meant to Ben and Adam. I haven’t tried any of Ben’s dishes but I will love to do it now, even the eggplant 😉

This is definitely the way to start the Holidays this year.

The cover by Creativindie goes perfectly with the story. The characters are exactly as the author described them, and all the other little elements are present in the book. Great color and composition.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | iBooks

Book Details:
ebook, 242 pages
Published: November 13, 2018, by Penelope Peters
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: Fighting for You (Lifesworn #2) by Megan Derr

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

All Penli wants to be is left alone. After nearly a decade of blood, violent soldiering, and a lifetime of enduring his cold, ambitious family, it’s almost a relief to be practically alone in the middle of a desert kingdom with no way to return home because of the warrant out for his arrest.

The very last thing he needs is to be consumed by a fit of honor and nobility—but he would much rather die than ever see the two sweet, intriguing men who cross his path forced apart, one to be thrown to the streets, the other to marry a malicious bully Penli has despised for years.

Though he means only to free them, having no desire to marry after barely escaping one unwanted marriage, with each passing day Penli fears the only thing more difficult than throwing his life away will be resisting the urge to build a new one with two men he barely knows.

Fighting for You is the second book in the Lifesworn series but is one of those rare stories that is better than the first one. Perhaps because the reader is already familiar with the world-build, the characters, and the culture. With all that information already in-store, it’s easy to get swept away by great characters and an interesting triad.

I did return and read the blurb after reading the prologue. For a moment, I thought it was going to be an enemies-to-lovers story. But that’s my fault because I have read what the book was about a while back and didn’t check again before I start reading. This didn’t take from the story but it gets it more interesting with the introduction to a strong anti-hero.

As you can deduct by now, the characters are the strongest part of this story. Each of them has a personality to go with their backstory and are enough to carry the plot. I was fascinated by Penli and even when we didn’t get much about his two partners they showed the levity he needed.

This story is more about what you will do for love than a romance. We get to experience Penli discovering his need for company and how he fell in love with every challenge. The rest of the characters make the book shine and it’s nice to see the previous triad once more.

Definitely, a quick read for fans of fantasy stories and polyamorous relationships. Worth reading.

The cover by Natasha Snow has a similar format with a different color and anchor picture than the first book in the series. Pretty but it doesn’t provide much information about the story.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 95 pages
Published: April 16, 2018, NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781948608473
Edition Language: English

Series: Lifesworn
Book #1: Waiting For You
Book #2: Fighting for You

A Lila Review: Let Me In by Luna David

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Twenty-year-old Liam Cavanagh works three dead-end-jobs to take care of his family. He’s been the sole breadwinner since he was fifteen and yearns for a life of his own. Forced to grow up too fast, he carries the burdens of responsibilities that shouldn’t be his, and it’s slowly destroying him. The more he tries to control, the more out of control he feels.

When he gets a hit on a personal ad he placed on The Boys Club app, he shrugs it off as impossible. With nearly 600 miles between him and “Boston Daddy” he knew the odds were against them. Until Boston Daddy’s current boy convinces him otherwise and persuades Liam to take on the role of Daddy’s new boy.

Saying forty-year-old entrepreneur Cash Moreau is having a bad week is an understatement. The man he’s been with for years leaves him for a new job, his own company is in crisis, and to top it all off, a young stranger shows up on his doorstep with all his worldly possessions, claiming to be his new boy. Liam wants a Daddy to depend on, and Cash refuses to believe he’s what’s best for Liam.

Despite their powerful connection, Cash finally pushes Liam away, and the beautiful boy who stole his heart disappears. Soon, Cash realizes what he’s let slip through his fingers. The elusive thing he’s been searching for is Liam, it’s only ever been Liam, and suddenly Cash will move heaven and earth to find what he’s lost. Will he find his boy in time to make things right, or is it too late to let him in?

Let Me In is a different type of daddy kink story. Most I have read are heavy on the kink side and with not much plot. In this case, the plot could be overwhelming at times and the kink has a good balance with the rest of the story. Yes, the start/setup is a bit slow and I wanted it to move faster, but it worked with the rest of the pacing.

We get to learn a lot about Cash thru Tommy and Liam. By the time we get Cash’s POV, we are ready for his relationship with Liam to start. I appreciated the time the author spent creating three-dimensional characters and staying away from clichés. All boys and daddies are unique and interesting.

Some of the events and reactions can feel far-fetched but the amount of detail in the story help create a cohesive picture. Cash’s and Liam’s relationship feels natural even when most of their problems are due to lack of communication. But the ending could have used a little more about the MCs and less to do with others.

Overall, this is a really good story for those interested in Daddy Kink. The scenes are intense and diverse; especially for such a niche book. A good start to a series.

The cover by Morningstar Ashley of Five Star Designs is beautiful and goes perfectly with the story. Perhaps a bit too dark.

Sale Links: Kindle Unlimited

ebook, 312 pages
Published: March 29, 2018, by Luna Davis
Edition Language: English

Series: The Boys Club
Book #1: Let Me In

A Lila Review :Winter Cowboy by RJ Scott

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Micah Lennox left Whisper Ridge after promising the man he loved that he would never return. But the only way he knows to keep his pregnant sister and nephew safe is to go home. Spending winter in Wyoming opens too many old wounds, but he’s on the run from justice which can’t be far behind, and this is his last chance at redemption.

After a hostage situation leaves Doctor Daniel Sheridan struggling with PTSD, he returns to Whisper Ridge. Joining his dad in family practice is a balm to soothe his exhausted soul, and somehow, he finds a peace he can live with. That is until he meets Micah in a frozen graveyard, and the years of anger and feelings of betrayal boiling inside him, erupt.

Two broken men fight and scratch for their lives and that of their families, and somehow, in the middle of it all, they find each other.

Is it possible that love can be rekindled and become a forever to believe in?

Winter Cowboy is an interesting second chance story with too much happening off-page when the main characters were younger. It has a lot of drama, angst, and dark events–which also happened off-page.

The start is a bit confusing and it takes a moment to get into what’s happening. During this time, we get Micah’s version of the present events, mixed with the past. We learned a lot of what had happened to get him and his sister to this point. Also, their background and relationship with the family members that raised them.

I did enjoy Daniel’s characterization and how easy it was to feel what was happening to him; his fears, PTSD, and his confusion. How the two main events in his life turned into one leaving him with the need to escape and find solitude.

The combination of Micah and Daniel is explosive and passionate. They both have their flaws and at the same time, they bring hope to each other. This book is more about relationships, family, and forgiveness than love but all together makes an enjoyable read.

The cover by Meredith Russell is generic enough to fit the story but it doesn’t present anything about it. Just pretty to call the reader’s attention.

Sale Links: Love LaneAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 242 pages
Published: February 25, 2018, by Love Lane Books Ltd.
ISBN: 9781785641114
Edition Language: English

Series: Whisper Ridge, Wyoming
Book #1: Winter Cowboy

A Lila Release Day Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A friends-to-lovers novella that came from Out of the Shadows, because Nate and Dylan needed a story….

Nate and Dylan have been pals for a long time. So what if their friends think they’ve got a little bromance going? Doesn’t mean there’s anything more to it than that, right? And even if there is, Nate and Dylan are totally oblivious….

Until the night they share a drunken kiss—and everything changes.

Bromantically Yours was an unexpected surprise. I didn’t know this story was related to Out of the Shadows until the moment I started reading it. It can be read as a standalone but having the background of Nate’s and Dylan’s friendship complements the reading experience. It gives the reader an extra in into their relationship that’s not available with most short stories. Also, it’s good to see Christian and Josh again.

I liked the slow start to their transition from bromance to romance. It was unexpected for them, but they didn’t let their new feelings get in the way of their friendship. They asked questions and took the time, not only to date but to get to know the other’s expectations and fears.

It was funny, sweet, and smexy. The short length didn’t take away from the character development or the story plot. It’s simple, traditional, and nothing out of the ordinary but it works perfectly for the holiday.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows a perfect representation of Nate and Dylan. It is a cute Valentine’s cover for a sweet short story.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 97 pages
Published: February 14, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781640805347
Edition Language: English

A Lila Release Day Review: Southernmost Murder by C.S. Poe

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.

But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.

The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.

Southernmost Murder is a perfect mix of mystery, quirky characters, and romance. I was captivated by Aubrey since the very beginning. I remember him from the Snow and Winter series, just like Jun, and I’m glad the author took the time to give these two their own story. It’s not necessary to read the other two books though.

I loved how Aubrey’s narcolepsy was part of him and not a prompt to make him more interesting or create conflict. It’s an integral part of the story and it’s relevant to the plot and the relationship. We get to know all the characters through their actions and each of them had their personalities and backstories.

The book has a solid ‘whodunnit’ plot with many twists and turns. Yes, Aubrey makes several dumb decisions during the story but those don’t take from it. I enjoyed the way the author brings the reader into the setting and the different locations. Together with all the historical facts, items, and side characters.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the romance arc take a central part of the story. Jun’s and Aubrey’s chemistry was intense but their friendship really added to it. I wish we could have seen them together during their courtship, but we get little glances of it. Jun’s POV would have been nice too. The secondary romance is heartbreaking.

Overall, this is a great mystery and love story. I hope to see more about these two and some of the other characters. Perhaps the detective? Adam?

The cover by Reese Dante shows Aubrey and Jun together with some of the elements of the story.

Sale Links: DSPAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 200 pages
Published: January 9, 2018, by DSP Publications
ISBN: 9781640800779
Edition Language: English

A Lila Release Day Review: The Werewolf before Christmas by Charles Payseur

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ray seems like the perfect boyfriend—he’s gorgeous, incredibly romantic, and has a mechanical suit he invented to become the dastardly MantaRay. For Alec, who also spends his nights making life difficult for do-gooders everywhere, it’s a match made in supervillain heaven. Except that Ray is a bit too into the hit soap opera All My Werewolves. When tempers flare during what’s supposed to be a quiet night out, Alec nearly ruins everything over a stupid bet with an alien gorilla.

Desperate to prove his feelings to Ray, and with Christmas fast approaching, Alec decides the fastest way to Ray’s heart is to embrace the thing that threatens to divide them—a certain werewolf show with a certain actor who Ray admires. A simple kidnapping promises to do the trick, only fur (and fandom) fly when Alec’s romantic gesture leads to a very hairy situation. Can Alec prove to Ray how much their relationship means to him, or will his plans be ruined by the werewolf before Christmas?

The Werewolf Before Christmas is a very different type of story. Definitely not one that I read often. I had to start it twice because I had no idea what was I reading but I need to accept that it is a well-crafted short. After the reader gets to know the characters, the world, and the main plot, it’s easy to follow the action.

Perhaps a bit too easy. Especially when Alec sets to find his present. I liked the initial chase and all the little quirks and pop references but he gets what he’s looking for too quickly for all the planning and angst that went into it.

The author’s creativity is superb and the reason I’m rating this story four stars. Not one of my favorites but worth reading if you are looking for something completely different this Holiday season.

The cover by Paul Richmond is the same as the rest of the 2017 Advent Collection.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | NOOK

ebook, 35 pages
Published: December 1, 2017, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781640803152
Edition Language: English