A Lila Review: A Broken Cup by Emery C. Walters

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Funerals are no fun, except, maybe, if cell phones get mixed up. Russell hasn’t seen his now deceased, non-supportive father in years, but his older brother calls him in Hawaii, demanding his appearance at the funeral. But brother Mike warns against displaying any ‘gay stuff’ to his perfect wife and innocent children.

Recently dumped, Russell isn’t quite with it as he rushes to get ready with help from a new neighbor. So it turns out that the Mike he calls from the airport isn’t his brother but the neighbor’s bisexual ex.

Countless hi-jinks follow, with family and without. Through it all, sexy ex Mike is right there with Russell. When all is said and done, can Russell make a go with a newly developed family with Mike? What might life be like on the mainland?

A Broken Cup starts with an interesting premise, but a confusing set of events. After a couple of pages, the author’s intent became clear, and it’s easier to see the path the rest of the story takes.

Perhaps if this has been a movie or TV series, it would have been great, but the dry humor and comedic relief was a bit overwhelming. I wanted to enjoy it, the characters, the locations, and theevents. Unfortunately, it felt as if I was skipping important parts of the story.

If you are looking for a laugh, lots and lots of drama, and a strange way for the main characters to get together in the start, this is a good short story to read.

The cover by Written in Designs is sweet and goes with the title even when it can be the cover for any other MM Romance.

Sale Links: JMS | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 32 pages
Published: April 24, 2018, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634866156
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: A-dork-able by J.D. Walker

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

a-dork-able-by-j-d-walkerAlister Redgrave knows he’s a dork. He dresses in ill-fitting suits and trips over imaginary obstacles constantly; then there’s his Star Trek underwear. Still, he hopes to find the love of his life one day. And when he meets Jaiden Greyson, the new Assistant CFO in the Finance department, Alister knows he’s found his dream guy. Except, Alister makes a fool of himself repeatedly in front of Jaiden and decides he doesn’t have a chance in hell.

Jaiden Greyson doesn’t know what to make of Alister when he meets him. A more klutzy guy had never existed. But despite all that, there’s something about the man that draws him in, and he’s determined to find out what it is, no matter the antics of a jealous coworker intent on ruining everything.

Jaiden has Alister in his sights, and Alister won’t know what hit him, in the best sense.

A-dork-able is a sweet & simple story. It’s a fast tale that reads like a diary confession more than a drama-filled story. Alister does an excellent job as a narrator even when he gets lost at times. I wanted more from Jaiden but that’s one of the shortcomings of a short story.

The plot is predictable but it works. The author gave the characters enough depth to get the reader to want more, but at the same time, allowing the story to move at a quick pace. Alister’s mishaps might sound a bit over the top but the light weight of the story is enough to make them seem as an endearing quirk.

The main characters are thirty-seven and forty-one, something that I love. They’re comfortable with their sexuality and sure of what they wanted in a partner. They have good chemistry and their work relationship isn’t a concern to their love life. It brought them together.

Yes, there are some miscommunications, awkward moments, and a couple of things that might not work out of fiction, but overall, this is a good short story. A quick read for a quiet afternoon or to read between two longer stories.

The cover by Written In Designs is cute but I don’t see the characters in it. Well, personality-wise, that is, the clothing it’s up to par.

Sale Links: JMS Books | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 38 pages

Published: January 21, 2017, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634863186
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: Tempted to Taste (Sutter’s Bay #5) by Shawn Lane

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

tempted-to-taste-by-shawn-laneRyan Callahan’s parents died in a boating accident off Sutter’s Bay when he was five years old. Now Ryan is back in the bay ready to live in the Victorian reproduction house his father built for his mother. And ready to get his dream job a chef in a restaurant. The job of head chef seems to fall into his lap when Mabry’s is short staffed, but when the sexy as sin owner, Chris Mabry, returns from vacation he fires the inexperienced Ryan on the spot.

Ryan’s dream seems to be over before he gets a chance to prove himself, but when Chris realizes how bad his restaurant’s situation is, he rehires Ryan. As Mabry becomes a success, things sizzle between Ryan and Chris and soon Ryan is cooking for Chris personally.

Tempted to Taste is more of a spinoff than part of the original series.  We do see characters from the previous books, especially Adam and Galaxy, but even so, this book exists on the outside of the others’ friends and family circles. It does have the Sutter Bay setting which helps to bring them together.

This story has a faster pace, which I enjoyed. The plot is simple and the main plot revolves around the main characters’ relationship. There’s no angst or unnecessary misunderstandings. The story has the right amount of fluff and smexy scenes to get the reader to forget about anything else but the story.

Ryan doesn’t waste any time getting settled or looking for a job. He knows what he wants and that includes Chris. From the start, both established an understanding about mixing work and pleasure and this fact never becomes an issue. They are direct and to the point even when they are falling for each other. Chris first impression isn’t a positive one, but he more than makes up for it.

If you’re looking for a quick read between stories or a distraction from the world, this is your story. Don’t expect a piece of literary fiction. This story is a simple romance with interesting characters and a beautiful setting. Plus, it can be read as a stand-alone.

As always, the cover includes the main characters and a view of Sutter’s Bay.

Sale Links: JMS Books | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 49 pages
Published: January 14, 2017, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634861489
Edition Language: English

Series:  Sutter’s Bay
Book #1: Sweet Reunion
Book #2: Twice in a Lifetime
Book #3: Galaxy’s Heart
Book #4: Finding Forever
Book #5: Tempted to Taste

 

A Lila Review: Soothsayer by Cari Z.

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

soothsayer-by-cari-zCillian Kelly can look into people’s eyes and see their fates. He’s running from a past filled with mistakes, lying low and selling his services on the sly. When he learns that Sören Egilsson, a man who sacrificed himself so Cillian could escape imprisonment two years ago, is somehow still alive, Cillian has to find out how. What he gets is the body of the man he loves possessed by an ancient spirit who draws Cillian into a battle to the death for the right to control Sören’s fate, and the power that comes with it.

Soothsayer is not a traditional romance. It’s the embodiment of doing something in the name of love. With the added bonus of learning how the main characters reached that point in their relationship. Their love story is beautiful but unconventional.

The book is narrated by Cillian in the first person. We see what he sees and experienced all his emotions. Even so, Cillian doesn’t get lost in internal monologues or “I’m not good enough” rants. He knows his place in the world and accepts what faith had chosen for him. That doesn’t mean that he’d not do everything in his power to align things in his favor.

From the start, we are part of Cillian’s alter universe. He can be any tattooed guy walking around us. The world as we know it is the main setting, but the psychic current giving life to the characters exists in an underground civilization. They’re in touch with a different reality, and their abilities are a representation of that evolution. There are several terms to follow and different legends to learn about. And a good amount of suspension of disbelief is necessary, even for a paranormal story.

Character introductions take the beginning of the story and can be a bit too long but necessary. As well as seeing Cillian in action. But all those events and circumstances have a role later in the story. It takes a while for the main characters [Cillian & the Spirit] to interact, and even longer for the main couple [Cillian & Sören].

The author did good balancing the amount of travel time and the events around it. Most stops are entertaining and the Spirit adds the necessary comedic relief. A lot of the twists and turns are kept hidden away from everyone, including the reader.  The way the story resolution is achieved isn’t easily assumed. At least not completely, making the reader want to read faster.

Overall, this is a nice story to read if you are looking for a different interpretation of paranormals and alternative universes. Soothsayer is different from other books and creates a niche of its own. The book has a solid HFN with the possibility for more stories, but there aren’t necessary. What we get is enough to satisfy the reader.

Natasha Snow did a good job representing Cillian and his trip around the country.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 184 pages
Published: January 30, 2017, NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781945952524
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: Finding Forever (Sutter’s Bay #4) by Shawn Lane

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

finding-forever-by-shawn-laneFor years, Nolan Young has tried to deny he’s gay. With an abusive, homophobic father, who is also the mayor of Sutter’s Bay, Nolan has no choice but to ignore that part of himself.

Until he meets Leo Winthrop on the beach one day. Leo is exactly the kind of guy Nolan would want … if he could allow himself to act on his desires.

Leo has been dealing with demons of his own. His older brother brought him to Sutter’s Bay hoping it’d help Leo put his past behind him. The quaint town hasn’t been much help … until now.

Meeting cute and innocent Nolan changes Leo’s outlook and brings hope to his life for the first time in years. But can he convince Nolan to stand up to his father and take a chance on forever with him?

Finding Forever has a younger vibe than the rest of the stories, but it’s as heartfelt nevertheless. The things the main characters dealt with are part of who they are and how they became better young men in the end. For a novella, there’s an extensive amount of background and past headaches that follows Nolan and Leo. 

I enjoyed the way they met and how they get brought back together afterwards. The author did an excellent job being true to the characters’ ages. They were mature, of course, but they retained that sense of wonder that allowed them to rebound again and again. The pace is fast, but they became protective of each other in a way that felt realistic; even if fueled by lust and fear. 

Their relationship felt effortless and most of the conflicts in the story were external. We get to see how the main characters from the previous books rally around the youngster and help them succeed. By now, Sutter’s Bay is familiar territory and it’s easy to visualized the places the couple visits. 

Perhaps the only drawback is the extra time the main characters spend musing about each other and their problems, together with some areas in which the story pace slow. But other than that, this is a nice addition to the series. 

Another similar cover for this issue; still mainly generic with the two main characters and a view of Sutter’s Bay.

Sale Links: JMS Books Amazon 

Book Details:

ebook, 97 pages
Published: December 3, 2016, by 
JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634861458
Edition Language: English

Series:  Sutter’s Bay
Book #1: 
Sweet Reunion
Book #2: Twice in a Lifetime
Book #3: Galaxy’s Heart
Book #4: Finding Forever

A Lila Review: Nothing Special V (Nothing Special #5) by A.E. Via

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

nothing-special-v-by-ae-viaAtlanta’s notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine, Edwin Steele – who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department – to join the team. God and Day weren’t recruiting. They have a lot on their plates, like the fact they’re supposed to be getting married soon. They don’t have the time or the patience to integrate a decorated war hero with a slight chip on his shoulder into their well-oiled machine.

A hothead that’s uncontrollable and terrible with authority… but wasn’t that their team motto?

Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn’t respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle – City Councilman, Rasmus Steele – shows him a video of God’s team in action, he knows right away, it’s where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.

Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man wielding those massive firearms like a true beast… like a soldier. “And him. Who the hell is he?”

“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”

Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God’s technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech,” he’s willing to give it his all, and he definitely shows and proves.

Tech is stunning. His sweater vest and khakis, a stark contrast to the blue-jeaned roughnecks he works with. A beautiful sheep amongst the wolves. Steel thinks there’s no way the brilliant man would be interested in a hardhead like him, but Tech has a few badass hidden talents of his own and manages to fool him… fool all of them.

Nothing Special V is two books in one. We get Steele’s and Tech’s story. Plus, side stories from all the previous couples. It takes a moment to get used to all the POV changes, but the author did an excellent job keeping them organized and relevant. All the voices combined gives us the best look into the futures of God’s and Day’s men.

The first meeting between Tech and Steele set the pace for the story. It shows the reader how well-equipped they are to deal with each other and how good they fit in the team. Reading both of their thoughts and feelings also clue us into the path they need to follow to be together. They needed to grow stronger individually to be a couple.

The combination between meaningful smexy scenes and the action-packed plot lines create the perfect balance of enjoyment. These men are more than their batches, they’re a family that works like a well-oiled machine. But under everything else, they are strong because of the men at their side. Each couple and their love make them more than lethal.

If you are a fan of these men, you’re going to love the extra scenes with them as a group and the individual couples. The whole thing works together and sets the stage for even more couples to come.

And the bonus story at the end of the book is a perfect five. I love the little short story about the youngest couple in their bunch.

The cover by Jay Aheer is a compilation of the covers from the other books in the series, together with the new additions—Steele & Tech.

Sale Links: Amazon | Smashwords | Nook

Book Details: 

ebook, 360 pages
Published: December 19, 2016, by Via Star Wings Publishing
ASIN: B01N0G9507
Edition Language: English

Series: Nothing Special
Book #1: Nothing Special
Book #2: Embracing His Syn
Book #3: Here Comes Trouble
Book#4: Don’t Judge 
Book#5: Nothing Special V

 

A Lila Review: The Secrets in My Scowl by A.E. Via

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

the-secrets-in-my-scowl-by-ae-viaFrom high school, up until he became a successful attorney Jacob Snowden was convinced that love had it out for him. “Everyone left,” were the words he lived by. His mother, his high school sweetheart, his father, and his fiancé, all left Jacob just when he felt it was safe to let down his guard. Not any longer. Jacob was a determined man, set at keeping people at a distance. If his six foot one, military-made body didn’t scare people off, his permanent scowl surely did. At almost forty, Jacob’s social life was non-existent, but he told himself his work fulfilled him. He helped people get out of their loveless marriages. Jacob Snowden was one of the best divorce lawyers on the east coast and was damn proud of it. So, imagine his disdain when a wedding planner moves into the suite directly adjacent to his… an insanely masculine, male wedding planner.

Wylde Sterling had made quite a name for himself in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, working for a wedding planner that catered to the elite. He was known for his charm and impeccable taste. Yep, he was incredible at giving couples the wedding of their dreams. But he wanted nothing more than to plan his own. After striking out in love more times than he cared to admit, Wylde decided to start his own business in a new city, hoping Richmond would give him a fresh start. Things started out wonderfully – until he started to piss off the angry divorce attorney next door.

Wylde could see past Jacob’s mean scowl, knowing there was a reason for it. It was the man’s defense mechanism, his means of keeping people away. Everything in Wylde told him to stay away, but he believed Jacob just needed to meet a man who had been hurt as badly as he had.

The Secrets in my Scowl had me swooning from the start. I loved reading about Jacob’s past and how it shaped him. His experiences felt real and the author did an excellent job describing the military elements and the settings. I’m glad this part was included in the story and not narrated as a confession by Jacob later on. It lets the reader understand him without labeling him an ass.

Wylde’s introduction was a bit slow. Perhaps because I was still into Jacob’s story and wanted to see more of him. It was almost like starting the story all over again. But waiting for them to meet was worth the wait. It was explosive, luscious, and enough to keep the reader into the possibility of a relationship from there on.

The MCs had great chemistry. They weren’t perfect but worked well together. Their pasts made them who they were and it was nice to see them grow through the story. Their profession might look opposite from each other, but in reality, the author brought them together throughout Wylde’s comfort words to Jacob. Their UST was flawless.

Yes, the ending was a bit cliché, but it’s part of the magic. The story was fun and engaging and included great secondary characters. Patrick is one of my favorites. Emotions ran high, but the angst wasn’t overwhelming. Both main characters are snarky and compassionate on their own way. I’m glad Wylde wasn’t the stereotype wedding planner, and I felt sorry for all his mishaps before he started dating Jacob.

I deducted a quarter of a star because I’m a picky reader. I wanted to know more about the future of Jacob’s high school sweetheart, and a more descriptive encounter during the divorce preceding Jacob’s involved at the end of the story– a middle finger, perhaps? Also, I think the plot line with Jacob’s mom was unnecessary. Overall, these comments are more about me as a reader than the story itself.

Jay Aheer did an amazing job finding the right models for the cover. The composition has all the important elements of the story—which are brought into the perfect balance. The blue hue is a bit bland, but it goes with other covers designed by Jay for the author.

Sale Links: Amazon | ARe | Smashwords

ebook, 286 pages
Published: Oct 28, 2016, Via Star Wings Books
ISBN: 9781370823741
Edition Language: English

A Lila Release Day Review: Built for Pleasure by Thursday Euclid

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

built-for-pleasure

 Retired military officer Malcolm Torvik runs a rehabilitation facility for malfunctioning pleasure cyborgs. When WLF-6759—Wolf—arrives at Reboot Camp, the former battle cyborg presents problems Malcolm’s never faced before. Most pleasure cyborgs are sensation junkies, constantly high on the chemicals sex releases into their bloodstream, but Wolf’s faulty refit means it’s spent a decade suffering through unwanted encounters—and sometimes fighting back despite the consequences.

 At first Wolf’s rebellion frustrates Malcolm even as Wolf’s undeniable physical perfection draws him. Then Wolf’s unexpected vulnerability and need open a whole new dynamic between them, and Malcolm finds himself feeling far too much for something that isn’t even human. Or is it? Could Homo sapiens technica be just as human as Malcolm is? And if it is, what’s Malcolm supposed to do about it? Malcolm’s been alone for so long…. Is it possible he’s found love with a cyborg? How far will he go to ensure Wolf’s freedom? Malcolm knows what he must do—for both of them—but it might cost him much more than his comfortable life.

Built for Pleasure is a beautiful story. The first couple of chapters are strong and have a depth that goes beyond the amount of words used. The ideas are refreshing and interesting, keeping the reader engage and wanting to read the next page and the next. 

I love the idea behind Wolf’s and Malcolm’s meeting and how their relationship evolved even when by their society standards Wolf shouldn’t have the ability to create a friendship or anything more. And we get to see how Malcolm struggles to understand the differences between Wolf and the rest of the cyborgs.

This book is a wild ride. We get a bit of everything, from one-on-one scenes between the characters, to regal parties, and battle scenes. The author did an outstanding job building a world for this story, and including well-rounded characters to go with it. The way the cyborgs are integrated into the story and the everyday life of the citizens is an interesting take on traditional sci-fi books. 

I like that Malcolm was a middle-aged, retired military man with a good relationship with his family. They played an important role in molding the type of man he is. And Wolf is a character that will steal your heart. I love seeing how much he “matures” during the story and how he tries to do better, first for Malcolm, and then for himself. 

 If you like sci-fi stories with a good balance of romance and world-built elements, this story will be for you. The only thinks that didn’t work for me were some elements related to Wolf’s past, and a bit of a slow pace in the middle of the story. Other than that, this is a good story to read. 

There’s a lot to look at in the cover designed by Aaron Anderson, but the overall composition works well; even when it feels a bit generic.  All the elements are part of the story itself. 

Sale Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

 Published: November 21, 2016, Dreamspinner Press

ISBN: 1634779037 (ISBN13: 9781634779036)

> Edition Language: English

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 151 pages

Published: November 8, 2016 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786514790

Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: Twice in a Lifetime (Sutter’s Bay #2) by Shawn Lane

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

twice-in-a-lifetime-by-shawn-laneFive years ago, British transplant, Jude, left San Francisco after the tragic murder of his lover, Martin. Heartbroken, he settled in Sutter’s Bay and opened a small flower shop, hoping that surrounding himself with bright colors and pretty things — living things — would somehow lessen the anguish he felt over his loss.

Jude never expects to find a love like he shared with Martin ever again. Certainly a love like theirs won’t come along twice in a lifetime. But then Jude meets sexy Rex Warner, the new veterinarian in Sutter’s Bay, and he can’t help but wonder if his luck has changed.

Will Rex be able to stop Jude from dwelling on the painful past and look toward a promising future instead?

Twice in a Lifetime is a solid romance story. We first met Jude in book #1 in the series, Sweet Reunion. There was an air of mystery about him that make him interesting enough to have me reading this story; to learn more about him. Plus, I can’t resist a man with an accent. 🙂

I loved the opening scene. The author did an excellent job letting us in Jude’s past without breaking our hearts over and over again. I’m glad the angst didn’t carry on. The reader’s able to appreciate the relationship between Jude and Martin without taking away from Jude and Rex.

Both MC have bigger than life personalities that blend well. They might look like polar opposites, but in the end, they complemented each other. They didn’t try to change the other. They loved their differences and celebrate their quirkiness. The way they first met marks the tone for the rest of the story–sexy, funny, and interesting.

The plot twists and scenes made the book flow quickly and keep the reader engaged. There are several smexy scenes that go with the overall structure of the romance. And, many more funny, everyday moments in which we see the characters interact with family and friends.

This series is growing on me. Twice in a Lifetime is definitely better than the first book. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

The cover for this story is beautiful and goes well with the theme. The colors are soothing, but I don’t think the models resemble the characters’ descriptions.

Sale Links: JMS Books | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 97 pages
Published: October 8, 2016, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634861410
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: A Sip Of Rio by Teodora Kostova

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

a-sip-of-rio-by-teodora-kostovaLiam Young has a problem – he’s booked a romantic holiday to Rio de Janeiro months ago, but when he breaks up with his boyfriend, all his plans fall apart. Not only is his dream holiday slipping through his fingers, but Liam is tired of getting his heart broken.

Blaine Reed has a solution that can save Liam’s plans. Recently divorced, Blaine needs a break, and a couple of stress-free weeks in Rio with a sexy guy like Liam sound like heaven.

Liam and Blaine hit it off right from the start, becoming good friends even before they’ve left London. Despite their efforts to ignore the simmering attraction between them, it boils over when they end up sharing a room in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Being together in Rio is easy, and it’s exactly what Liam needs – no feelings, no drama, nobody getting hurt.

Until someone does.

When the holiday bubble bursts, it’s up to them to find a way to be together outside of Rio’s seductive magic.

A Sip of Rio is a travel log story with two lovely main characters. The way they met and how their friendship started set the tone for the rest of the story. Liam and Blane had great chemistry from the very beginning and their love story felt easy and dynamic.

The author did an excellent job making the settings an integral part of the story. It was interesting to see Brazil through their eyes and how small details like height played a role. They enjoyed their time together and met interesting characters too. There were funny moments mixed with serious conversations, but the overall story was sexy, low angst, and easy to read.

My main issue with the story was the pacing. It started strong and interesting, but when the characters arrived in Brazil time slowed down. As soon as they left, time sped up again and we get a rushed ending.

The solution to their relationship problems and how they will get together, in the end, didn’t ring true to me. It was too much of a fairy tale for a story that did great showing the reader a contemporary setting. Also, I think that the wrong MC asked for forgiveness. Perhaps in the reverse, it would have had a stronger ending.

The cover goes with the feel of Brazil. The models seem a bit generic, but overall it represents the heart of the story.

Sale Links: Kindle Unlimited

ebook, 151 pages
Published: Oct 6, 2016, Kindle Unlimited
ISBN: B01M10UDTY
Edition Language: English