An Alisa Advent Release Day Review: O Hell, All Ye Shoppers by Louisa Masters

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Ethan Hall plans to fill Saturday, December 23, with junk food and bad TV, a day just for him amid the holiday chaos… until his baby sister calls and begs him to go collect a present for her. At the biggest shopping center in Australia. On the busiest shopping day of the year. Hell no. Right?

Ethan’s soft heart gets the best of him. He battles through the parking lot, and in the main shopping concourse, he’s trampled, elbowed, and bombarded with terrible holiday music. Then he enters hell itself, a specialty store aimed at women… where he meets Ty. They bond in a sea of estrogen and manic shoppers, fighting together to attain freedom, only to find they’re not quite ready go their separate ways.

This was a cute story.  Ethan can’t help but give in to help his sister and meeting Ty make all of his frustration worth it.  It’s strange how Ethan and Ty are connected and could have met so many times but it just seems they were never in the right place at the right time.  I loved their connection and how much they want to see how they can work together.  I love that they don’t jump in too much but want to spend as much time together as possible.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is the 2017 Advent Calendar Stocking Stuffers general one.  It’s cute, humorous, and in keeping with the overall tone of the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 26 pages

Published: December 2, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Guardian of Magic by Dominique Frost

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

When a god falls in love with a mortal, the entire world will feel the impact…

 

Brady Jenkins is a witch whose dream job is to practice magic professionally. He doesn’t have a familiar, though, and without one, he can’t obtain a witchery license. And without the license, he’s stuck. And so the cycle goes; no familiar, no license, no practicing witchery. Brady believes himself to be a painfully mediocre witch. After all, a real witch would have a familiar, right?

 

Malachai is an ancient god who is drawn Brady who is seemingly ordinary, but unknowingly powerful…and oh so innocent. He appears to Brady as a little black cat. But things soon get complicated when Malachai begins to fall in love with Brady. He’s forced to reveal himself and asks Brady to be his eternal companion.

 

Brady’s world turns upside down when he discovers his cat isn’t a cat; he’s something so much more. If that isn’t enough, Brady must decide what he wants–the freedom of being a mortal, or the burden of immortality. Will immortality be worth it for a love that will outlast eternity?

 

I really enjoyed this story.  Brady has spent his life thinking he was a failure and has been unable to call a familiar no matter how many times he tries.  Malachai has been biding his time knowing he couldn’t claim Brady until he came into magical majority and throws everything Brady knew into chaos.

 

I liked how Malachai was willing to wait for Brady to come to terms with what they mean to each other since he has been claimed by a god.  Malachai is much more willing to live based on Brady’s wants than just doing anything he wants.  Brady is stubborn and needs to come to terms with how his life will change when Malachai comes into it.  Most of this story is about Brady getting through his witch’s license test.  This was left a little open ended and I think it would be interesting if we get to see these two in another story.

 

Cover art by Ginny Glass is eye catching and I really like it.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 115 pages

Published: October 9, 2017 by Loose Id

ISBN: 978-1-68252-422-0

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: My Forever, My Always (Men of Crooked Bend #1) by Taylor Rylan

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Growing up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere Wyoming did not provide Simon Redfeather with a whole lot of opportunities to explore his sexuality. From a young age he’d known he was interested in men but wondered if he’d ever find someone to settle down with. Though he wanted to stretch his wings, he knew the ranch was his life and he’d inevitably follow his heart back home. Would he be able to find love with someone that could give as good as they get and love the land as much as he did?

 

Sean Welsh considered himself lucky that he’d grown up with two dads because coming out had been a breeze. Never wanting to trade in on the privilege of their last name, Sean and his identical twin wanted to forge their own path and open their own architectural firm in Jackson, Wyoming. He never expected Simon Redfeather, one of his new clients, to be a gorgeous, sexy, honest to god cowboy. With Simon pushing all his hot buttons, he finds himself wishing he wasn’t the shy twin and yearns to be daring, like his older brother.

 

The attraction is instant but are Simon and Sean willing to risk everything in order to find their other half?

 

This was a sweet story and while it kept my attention seemed to drag at times.  Simon falls in lust with Sean when they first meet but bides his time by beginning a friendship with him.  Sean is shy and his biggest fear is his actions hurting his business with his actions but after getting to know Simon he knows the risk may be worth it.

 

I loved Simon’s patience with Sean and his ability to adapt to pretty much anything that went on.  However, at times, he seem just too perfect; never getting annoyed or upset with anything that went wrong.  Sean doesn’t really voice his feelings very often but if often grateful to Simon’s perceptiveness and how much he wants to take care of him.  There were quite a few times that I felt the book dragged on a bit but it would often change pretty quickly just a few mundane things that I didn’t feel helped the story any.  I look forward to reading about Sean’s brother as we saw some of his story in this book.

 

The cover art by Jay Aheer is beautiful and absolutely perfect for this story.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 279 pages

Published: June 15, 2017 by Taylor Ryan

Edition Language: English

Series: Men of Crooked Bend #1

An Alisa Review: Vampire Claus by Robert Winter

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

 

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

 

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, naïve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his scheme to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

 

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

 

This was a nice holiday story with a bit of a twist.  Taviano has pretty much hated himself since he was turned into a vampire.  Paul quickly brings some light into his world and he doesn’t want to let him go.

 

Paul hasn’t had the best time since coming out to his parents but he does have some support from the rest of his family and is just trying to get by on his own.  Even with this he has a positive outlook and it goes a long way to helping Taviano see himself in a new light.  I loved Paul’s view of the world and how he only saw the good that Taviano did and ends up giving Taviano a purpose.  We learned much about Taviano’s life before he was born and its mysterious connection to Paul but Taviano doesn’t think much on his past as he doesn’t feel worthy.  Taviano continues to prove himself when he defends Paul against the Boston vampires and comes out on top.

 

The cover art by Dar Albert is great and I love the visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 112 pgs

Published: November 15, 2017 by Robert Winter

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: The Past Comes Home (Ames Bridge #2) by Silvia Violet

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Twenty years ago, Paxton Marshall realized he liked boys, in particular his brother’s best friend, Brad. Pax now runs a successful art gallery, but he’s never found anyone who stirs his heart the way Brad did.

 

Brad Watson is back in town for his twentieth high school reunion. However, the celebration of long-ago days is the last thing on his mind. He’s there for one reason: to finally tell Pax how he feels.

 

Pax is shocked to learn Brad is not only gay but also interested in him. Dating a man in Ames Bridge isn’t as simple as it sound, though. In order to make a relationship work, both men will have to bolster their courage and alter their expectations.

 

*This book is an expansion of a previously published short story titled Open to the Past. Over 35,000 words have been added.*

 

This was a nice story that showed love and the support of others can get you through.  Pax is mostly happy with his life and has really closed himself off to love as he knows it is hard in their small town.  Brad never got over his attraction to Pax and is finally at the point in his life where he wants to pursue him.

 

Brad and Pax haven’t really seen each other much since Brad graduated high school but neither have ever really let go of their crushes.  Pax moved back home after his brother’s death to help out his aging parents knowing it would never really allow him to meet someone to spend the rest of his life with.

 

I understood Pax’s doubts and fears but he has let them rule his life for so long.  He was a big supporter when his friends’ made their relationship public but isn’t sure is he is willing to g=fight so hard for his own.  Brad just jumps in with both feet and is willing to move away from the city he loves to be with the man he loves.  While I enjoyed the story there was a bit more of the stereotypical southern redneck attitude in some of the town and it just felt a little forced.  I was glad to see Brad and Pax finally have the serious conversation they should have had all along to be able to have a real future together.

 

The cover art by Meredith Russell is nice and gives good visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Link: Amazon  

 

Book Details:

ebook, 229 pgs

Published: October 3, 2017 by Silvia Violet

Edition Language: English

Series: Ames Bridge #2

An Alisa Release Day Review: The Librarian’s Rake by Z Allora

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Opposites might attract, but is acting on that attraction wise?

 

Librarian Tristan Cooper can’t steer clear of sexy, motorcycle-riding bad boy Phillip—the man is hot—but Phillip is bound to find quiet, bookish Tristan boring, like all Tristan’s boyfriends. Tristan yearns to explore his wild side, the part of himself he’s only allowed into his fantasies, and maybe rakish Phillip is just what he needs to feel free.

 

Sexperienced hairdresser Phillip is more of a believer in happy endings than happily ever afters. Experience has taught him not to hope for more—until he meets sweet, vulnerable Tristan, who seems genuinely interested in his heart. But Phillip can’t trust enough to see himself as a man Tristan might want for more than a night.

 

With the help of a pair of matchmaking grandfathers, Tristan and Phillip might find the courage to step beyond their comfort zones and discover what has been missing from their lives….

 

I really enjoyed this story.  Phillip definitely does his best to not let emotions get into his sex in order to guard his heart.  Tristan has never really had a great relationship or great sex and hopes that Phillip will help him learn to be more adventurous.  Both of these men just need a little push from those around them to open up to some new things.

 

Phillip has been trying to convince himself that he is happy with everything in his life but Tristan causes him to re-think how he has viewed sex and relationships.  Tristan decides to bide his time when it comes to Phillip, he knows what they have is special he just needs to come to terms with it.  I felt for Phillip and how he hurt himself while trying to protect himself from the pain of rejection.  I can’t say that he is quite the rake that Tristan thought he was.  However, when Phillip decides to admit his feelings he jumps in with both feet.

 

Cover art by Anna Sikorska is great and I love the visual of the two characters together.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 123 pages

Published: October 25, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-63533-886-7

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: A Cowboy for Caleb (Great Plains Shifters #1) by L.C. Davis

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Falling for his deceased twin brother’s mate was never part of Dustin’s plan.

 

This midwestern Alpha might be a little rough around the edges, but he lives by a few simple principles and honor is chief among them.

 

Nonetheless, when tragedy strikes the Meadowlands Pack, Dustin feels he has no choice but to bring his twin’s mate home to take care of him. The only problem is, Caleb isn’t anything like Dustin expected of the city omega who stole his brother’s heart and divided their family.

 

What starts out as trying to do the right thing soon becomes a blurry series of complicated decisions that lead Dustin further away from the path he’s always followed—and further into the arms of the one omega he was never supposed to want.

 

~

 

Caleb has been through the worst a mated omega could fear. He’s lost his mate and their unborn child, and now he finds himself at the mercy of an Alpha who has every reason to hate him.

 

Despite being twins, Dustin and Caleb’s former mate, Alec, are nothing alike. Caleb wants nothing more than to please his new Alpha and secure his position in the pack, but Dustin seems to take everything he says the wrong way.

 

As forbidden tensions mount between Alpha and omega, Caleb begins to fear that Dustin will start taking his developing interest the right way.

 

I enjoyed this story.  Dustin pretty much lives for his pack and spends all of his time and energy running it.  He has been trying to get his brother and parents to come to neutral ground so that they can all see each other again.  While it hasn’t happened yet he is hopeful but then tragedy strikes and Alec is taken away for good.  Caleb is mourning the loss of his mate and child when Dustin comes to take him home.  He has never been to his mate’s pack lands and has a lot of adjusting to do.

 

I hurt for both Caleb and Dustin, they lost someone very important to them but then feel as if their feelings are betraying Alec.  Dustin knows it’s fate but can’t find the right time to tell Caleb that they are mates.  When biology kicks in Caleb does what he thinks the right thing for Dustin is even if it hurts himself.  These two are able to find comfort in each other but also the hope of the future.  The only problem I had with the book was Dustin’s mom, I just couldn’t get past how horribly she treated everyone.

 

Cover Artist: Wolf Conan, cover art is a nice and catches your eye.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 141 pages

Published: October 8, 2017 by LC Davis

Edition Language: English

Series: Great Plains Shifters #1

An Alisa Review: Nosy Neighbors by Nina Schluntz

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Julian is used to drama, seeing ghosts tends to do that to a person’s life, but when he falls for a man known as the neighborhood murderer–the dead help him uncover secrets no housewife could predict.

 

Moving into a suburban, middle class, stereotypical neighborhood was never on Julian’s to do list. When his identical twin brother inherits their Aunt’s house in such a place, then finds a good job, Julian reluctantly follows. He expected to feel isolated by being the only gay person on the block, okay, more likely the zip code, but a few nosy housewives eagerly inform him the neighbor across the street is gay, and punned, Mr. Creepersen, due to several murders that occurred in his basement five years ago.

 

This story sounded interesting and I couldn’t resist reading this.  Julian has been with his brother since forever but truly lives a lonely life.  Keeping his “gift” a secret and his general shy personality makes it hard for him to open up or get to know people.  Neil has quietly lived his life since his husband’s death but live with reminders all the time with how all those in the neighborhood treat him.

 

Neil lives with the invisible scars from his marriage and the fallout that he lives a quiet life not really allowing anyone in.  He opens up to Julian a bit but quickly makes assumptions of his feelings.  While Julian opens himself up to the ghosts in order to help Neil get some closure he also opens himself up to more pain and is trying to figure out how to navigate through it.

 

While I’m not quite as sympathetic towards Neil as I thought I would be I understood what happened to him and how that affects what he does now.  His insecurities almost push Julian away but Julian isn’t willing to just give up when he finally found the kind of relationship he has been looking for.  While I enjoyed this story I connected with Julian way more than I did with Neil.  They seem to be heading off into the future together which was nice but more of a conclusion for these two would have been nice.

 

The cover art by Melody Pond is nice and gives some good visuals from the story.

 

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages

Published: September 1, 2017 by MLR Press

Edition Language: English

 

An Alisa Pre-Release Review: Finding Home by Garrett Leigh

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?

 

With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.

 

Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.

 

Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.

 

This was a story that called to me despite it not being my usual genre.  Charlie is definitely a good kid and he wants to make things better for his new foster brother.  Leo is a good kid hidden underneath the surface, he has had to have a strong skin and push others away so long but Charlie quietly gets through his barriers and he doesn’t know what to do about it,

 

Leo has had to live his life in fear of being hurt or protecting his little sister from their father.  This has caused him to grow up in ways a kid never should have to.  Charlie found his home with the Poultons and hopes that Leo and Lila may be able to also.

 

This story was wonderfully written and I was able to see the characters feelings and emotions well.  It’s heartbreaking to see Leo wanting to reach out to someone but not knowing how to and then feeling that he needs to push others away.  I loved Charlie’s nurturing nature and how he uses it to calm Leo’s demons.  I loved that Leo was able to confront his past in a way that finally gave him some closure and the strength to start building a new life.  I love the HFN ending that gave us a great view of their progress in their relationship with each other and the family.

 

Cover art by G.D. Leigh is absolutely perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: October 9, 2017 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-601-9

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Soul Bonds (Common Powers 1) by Lynn Lorenz

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

It’s not how big the power, it’s how you use it.

 

Mitchell’s tired of one night stands and casual encounters.

 

Sammi is a runaway sex slave who’ll do anything to stay free.

 

When they meet in a bar, Mitchell can’t believe his luck. Sammi is sex on two legs and seems to know just what Mitchell wants from a lover. But Sammi’s owner Donovan isn’t going to let him go so easily. He’s prepared to destroy anyone who stands in his way to get back his prized slave.

 

Is the bond between Mitchell and Sammi strong enough to stand up against the damage Donovan inflicts on their lives, or will it shatter?

 

This was such a sweet story.  Sammi and Mitchell’s connection is instant and it kind of scares Mitchell a bit but even with that he refuses to think of not having Sammi in his life.  Sammi has been abused and used his whole life and can’t wait to live his life for himself but he has to face his past first.

 

I loved Mitchell’s determination to keep Sammi even when Donovan does his best to ruin his life.  I loved the relationship he has with his best friend Brian and how he is fully supportive and willing to help both of them.

 

Even with the support of Brian and Mitchell it’s heartbreaking to see Sammi determine that he just needs to leave in order to keep Mitchell safe.  I loved Sammi’s openness and how willing he is to put others first and help someone.  I am looking forward to seeing Brian’s story in the next book.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and give good visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 176 pages

Publication: 2nd edition, December 20, 2016 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-512-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Common Powers #1