An Alisa Review: The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1) by O.E. Tearmann

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.

Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

This was a great story.  I loved the world that the author created and I didn’t feel as if I was missing anything.  Aidan is thrown in the deep end when he is assigned to the Wildcards but it may be the perfect assignment for him and for them.

I loved how different all the team members were, we got to see how different life was depending on where they grew up.  The team is really one extended family which is what people really need in this dystopian world.  They were able to bring another couple people into their team but it gives them even more frustration in some ways but great things in others.

Oh man, I felt for Aidan, he has not been given a good hand in life but it looks like he is finally getting the acceptance he deserves.  I could feel how hard everything was for him and how much he wanted it to work out.  Kevin grew up differently than the other Wildcards but he works himself to the bone for them.  He still has to fight what was drilled into his head growing up but he doesn’t let it affect what he feels for Aidan.

I loved the cover art by Fiverr with the coding visuals and playing cards.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages

Published: September 14, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Aces High, Jokers Wild #1

An Alisa Review: Hidden Hearts (Bad Valentine #3) by Clare London

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Accident-prone Ethan has a dating history that reads like a disaster movie script. Strong and silent Kel can’t seem to master the necessary small-talk on a proper date. When they both get signed up anonymously for a Valentines’s night event—”for those with an adventurous spirit but an open diary”—they never imagined they’d be matched. They never imagined the romantic sparks would fly. To be honest, they never imagined they’d survive the week.

A catalogue of disasters dogs the footsteps of their blossoming romance, including a coffee date with food allergies as an added extra, an intimate dinner that strays too close for comfort to chopped chillies, and a sensual massage with hot wax candles that threatens to alert the local fire brigade.

But if they can hold tight to their sweet, surprising, yet single-minded attraction – they might just survive this Valentine’s Day with something very special to look forward to.

Oh gosh, I loved this story.  Ethan isn’t who Kel would have usually gone for but they connected immediately on their blind date.  Kel is everything Ethan has dreamed about but never thought he could have.

I liked how this was a bit opposites attract but they connected so beautifully.  I loved how Kel didn’t even blink at Ethan’s clumsiness and wouldn’t let it scare him away.  And the best part an epilogue, it always wraps a story up nicely to me.

The cover art by Jordan Castillo Price is cute and I love the visual of Ethan.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages

Publication: February 1, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Bad Valentine #3

An Alisa Release Day Review: Place Setting (States of Love) by Claudia Mayrant

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Cameron Dunlop has lived in the Lowcountry town of Summer Corners, South Carolina, his whole life. He loves his home, but his little town in the Deep South doesn’t offer much in the way of dating options.

Chef Gray Callahan has enjoyed success in the kitchen, but his last relationship sunk like a bad soufflé. When plans for his sister’s wedding go awry, it provides the perfect excuse to pack up and go home, where he can help out as he decides how to start his life over.

Gray’s path crosses Cameron’s, and he realizes together they might have all the ingredients to save the day—with maybe enough left over for something sweet just for the two of them.

Such a sweet story.  Cam and Gray meet when Gray moves back to his hometown and they have an instant connection along with Cam helping Gray to find a place for and put on his sister’s wedding.

I really liked both of these characters.  Both of them are romantics at heart and are looking for love but haven’t found the right person yet, Cam can’t seem to find someone who will stick past one night and Gray has recently been burned by his previous partner.  The story didn’t get to in depth about their relationship but it was easy to see their connection and that they seem to have a great future together.

The cover art by Brooke Albrecht is absolutely perfect for this story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 70 pages

Published: January 18, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-972-7

Edition Language: English

Series: A States of Love Story

An Alisa Review: Best Christmas Ever by Terry O’Reilly

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bowing to his parents’ homophobic demands, Professor Henry Rodimacher always chose Christmas with his family over spending it with his partner. However, when Jeremy became terminally ill, Henry defied his family and stayed home for Jeremy’s final Christmas.

After Jeremy passes, Henry decides it’s time to mend fences, so despite a raging snowstorm, he starts the long drive home. Before he gets very far, though, he’s alarmed to see a hitchhiker out in the weather, Henry offers the man a ride, and is surprised the hitchhiker is Jimmy Wilks, a former student of his.

The heavy snow eventually forces Henry and Jimmy to leave the highway and take refuge in an abandoned log cabin. As the two hunker down to wait out the storm, they give into their mutual attraction and celebrate a wonderful Christmas together.

Can their newfound love survive once the snow thaws? Will history repeat itself with Henry going back home alone, or will the magic of their best Christmas ever live on into the New Year and beyond?

I really liked the bulk of this story.  It starts with Henry being very shy and uncertain of himself because of his past relationship and family.  Jeremy seems to know what he wants but isn’t quite ready to say it out loud.

I liked how they interacted once they were on the same page and really did have a great little Christmas together, though everything just worked out great from their feelings to the owner of the cabin being fine with everything, not very realistic.  Most of this is told from Henry’s point of view so I feel a little more connected to him and was very glad for him to realize his parents’ restrictions are too much for them to ask.  There was a big flash of doubt for Terry near the end which didn’t seem like him but it was quickly resolved.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a nice picture for the story.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages

Published: December 15, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634868334

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Sugar Cookies & Mistletoe by Kay Doherty

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Preston believed he would never find his mate. When he finally does, he’s in for a surprise. His mate, Dylan, is a rare omega wolf-shifter, but he’s still a child himself. Due to the unusual circumstances, the families agree to keep Preston and Dylan separated, only allowing monitored emails to be exchanged between them. Six years later, Dylan returns to the wolf-shifter town of Barton, and Preston. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s the perfect time for Dylan to meet the Callahan Pack, reunite with his mate, and figure out exactly what his omega status means for his future with Preston.

 

I feel like the minority here, but I really liked this story.  I knew it was going to be short, so there is only so far the story can go but these two are so cute with each other.  Preston and Dylan were pulled apart when Preston recognizes Dylan as his mate when he is too young.

 

These two have spent years looking forward to actually getting to really meet eat other and build a life together.  Yes, Dylan is innocent but he has pretty much been kept away from many others after an incident when he was attending school so he wants to be perfect for his mate.  Preston hopes his mate is willing to accept an older man when they see each other face to face.

 

We get to see their reunion and how wonderfully Preston takes care of Dylan in his time of need.  I loved seeing them a couple years on and how they are building a family together.

 

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow is great and will work for the other holiday stories that come out.

 

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 11,600 words

Published: October 22, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949340-99-0

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Sugar Fighter (Sugar Daddies #1) by Charity Parkerson

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Zeke is the older man. The richer man. The man who plans to give Korey the world.

As MMA’s Light Heavyweight champion, Zeke’s million-dollar matches and multi-million-dollar sponsorships have given him the freedom to do whatever he likes. It pleases him to spoil Korey. Before Zeke’s best friend Charlie was deployed two years ago, he made Zeke swear he’d care for his brother Korey if anything happened to him. When Charlie is killed by a roadside bomb, Zeke takes the young college student in, determined to give him everything he requires to succeed. He never expects to end up hoping he can keep Korey under more than his roof. He needs Korey beneath him.

If Korey had been in his right mind after Charlie’s death, he would’ve turned down Zeke’s offer. By the time he realizes his mistake, he’s already addicted to Zeke’s powerful presence. He never meant to end up dependent on the man’s smiles and hot glances. The money, Korey could live without. The man has him hooked. There’s only one problem—neither man wants to cross the line from friends to lovers, ruining what they have.

This was a nice quick start to this series.  Zeke has been making himself invaluable to Korey over the last couple years but doesn’t feel he can have him no matter how much he wants.  Korey doesn’t feel he could ever be enough for the put together Zeke.

This story didn’t get too deep but it worked, I hope some of the future stories have a bit more depth though.  Zeke doesn’t handle him and Korey taking a step in the direction they both want and has to work pretty hard to get Korey’s forgiveness.  I felt for Korey and how devastated he was when he thought Zeke didn’t want him.  I enjoyed seeing these two getting together as they both had been hoping for it.

The cover art is great and I love the visual of Zeke’s body.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages

Publication: June 25, 2018 by Punk & Sissy Publications

ISBN: 978-1-946099-33-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Sugar Daddies #1

An Alisa Review: Hybrid Reset (A Darker Hollow #3) by Shannon West and TS McKinney

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

“If vampires had yearbooks, I’d probably be listed as “Lucas, the Least Likely to Succeed.” After all, I’m living in the basement of a spooky old house about to fall down around my ears and a blood thrall named Liam brings me the blood of small game, so I won’t starve to death. It all started when some werewolves attacked our coven and killed off all the vampires, except for a few of us who managed to escape the bloodbath. But as the youngest, I still didn’t know how to hunt or even survive the sunlight, so I was stuck here in this old mausoleum of a house.  That is, until the werewolves came back. They found me right away, of course, and to my shock, they had Valerian, the leader of my old coven, living with them as the mate of the alpha wolf, Finn. Valerian and Mason, the beautiful blond mate of both Finn and Valerian—don’t ask; it’s way too complicated—both begged Finn to let me stay. He did, but he put me under the control of a big, mean, gorgeous, sexy wolf named Connor.

Don’t get me wrong. My old sire, Tolan, the sadist, trained me to do as I’m told. But sometimes, I forget and that really gets on Connor’s nerves. I see the relationship with Valerian and his mates and I want something like that for myself. I want to belong to someone. I want someone to love me. And more and more I think I want that someone to be Connor. But that may be something he can’t ever give me.”

A new pack, a new beginning, a little betrayal, some frequent fighting, a lot of sex and even some spanking, and you have a rousing and romantic adventure with the Hybrid wolves.

This series is continuing to intrigue me.  I liked getting to see Mason, Finn and Valerian continuing to build the trust in their relationship.  Connor has been mourning his dead mate for a long time and has trouble accepting his pull to Lucas.  Lucas hasn’t had the best life since he was turned into a vampire and he still has trouble knowing what to do.

They are beginning a new pack that will be welcoming and it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment.  Finn and Valerian are still trying to feel accepted by their mates and for different reasons and Mason’s open defiance doesn’t help matters.

I was glad to see Mason, Finn and Valerian recognizing the work their relationship needs and taking some of the steps they need.  I could feel Connor and Lucas’s pain and worries regarding their situation and how to act.  I don’t always like when it takes a life or death situation for someone to completely accept how they feel for someone.  I feel bad that Lucas wasn’t able to get the closer he hoped for and how what happened may affect his mother.

I liked cover art by E Keith it gives a nice visual of the house and of Connor and follows the style of the first book.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 184 pages

Published: July 18, 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

Series: A Darker Hollow #3

An Alisa Review: Down to Earth (Directions #2) by Jena Wade

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Everett Surlin longed for the day that his Fated mate finally recognized him. It’d been eight years since he’d first met Matt Jenkins, he’d never imagined it take this long for his mate to realize their connection.

Matt Jenkins had done his best to put his past behind him. The abuse he’d endured as a child stayed locked away inside him, never to be shared with anyone. He’d assumed that as a result of his upbringing, he was broken and he would never have a mate. That didn’t stop him from desiring Everett and wishing that they could be together.

When tragedy strikes, Matt stays at Everett’s side, which just might be the push he needs to discover what had been there all along and a future he never dreamed would be possible.

I enjoyed seeing Matt and Everett build their relationship.  Everett has tried to give Matt the space to hopefully realize what they are to each other but with every passing day it gets harder and harder.  While Everett helps Matt when he is put out of his home, Matt helps him when he loses someone important.

There was a chunk of the book where these two were not together and were pretty much distant “friends” since Everett is so gruff but I could see how he was trying to protect himself if Matt never realized who they were to each other.  Truthfully, I don’t think Matt even realized it until he claimed Everett and then there was explaining to do but they quickly meld their lives together.  I thought this story had bit more depth than the last in the series and they had multiple conflicts to resolve they did it together.

The cover art by Silver Heart Design Studio is nice and follows the style from the previous book

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 127 pages

Published: June 23, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Directions #2

An Alisa Review: Blackbird Fly Home (Doyle Global Securities #1) by Kendel Duncan

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Sometimes life will surprise you

Sometimes it will disappoint you

Sometimes it will kick you in the balls

Sometimes it will make you so happy you feel like you can fly

And sometimes, just sometimes, it will do all of those things.

The kick in the balls, both literally and figuratively, happened to Noah Pierce a long time ago. Ten years to be exact, when, to cap off a brutal and horrendous four-year relationship with the man who claimed to love him, that man buried a butcher knife in his side. It was the final wound in a seemingly endless cycle of bruises, cuts, breaks, sprains and other things that sent him to the hospital. He thought he was going to die. But when he opened his eyes in that ER room and saw a stranger with kind yet determined eyes looking back at him and with his boyfriend nowhere in sight, Noah knew that life was going to change for him. And it did.

For ten years he was stronger, he was better, he was……hollow.

He didn’t realize that last part until he saw one man. One pair of haunting blue eyes beside the very man who had ruined Noah all those years ago. One pair of frightened eyes. One pair of hollow, hopeless eyes that Noah couldn’t have walked away from if he tried…..because someone else hadn’t walked away from him all those years ago.

Noah didn’t realize it at the time, but by saving Jesse Miller from the clutches of his ex, he was going to learn to fly…..

Trigger warning: This book contains mentions of past sexual abuse.

This was a story with two men who help save each other.  Noah has basically been surviving since escaping his abusive ex ten years ago but helping Jesse escape the same man gives him a chance to really start living.  Jesse has a different but still abusive experience with the man but he clings to the man he knows will understand and help him heal.

Morgan helped Noah escape and also gave him a job and something to focus his life.  He stands beside Jesse and Noah to stand up to their abuser but also to not allow them to push either away. Jesse is finally able to grow into the man he was meant to be.

I liked both of these characters and while they were both damaged in different ways they find way to help each other.  I could feel Noah’s fear that he couldn’t be the good man that Jesse needed but I loved watching Jesse and their friends help him through his doubt.  Jesse is so much stronger than he thinks and many of his action prove that but with the support of Noah he feels that he can succeed and get over what he has gone through.  I loved all the characters in the book and look forward to reading more about them.  I may even go and read some of Kendel’s other series too.

The cover art by Dara Nelson is nice and has a nice picture of the characters together and I love the connection to Noah’s tattoo.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 347 pages

Published: September 18, 2017 by Dare Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Doyle Global Securities #1

An Alisa Release Day Review: The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean (The Middlemark Mysteries #1) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dr. Llewellyn Lewis leads a double life, as both an awkward but distinguished history professor and the more flamboyant Ramon Rondell, infamous writer of sensational historical theories. It’s Ramon who first sets eyes on a gorgeous young man dancing in a club, but Llewellyn who meets teaching assistant Blaise Arthur formally at an event held for wealthy socialite Anne de Vere, descendant of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford—who some believe was the real Shakespeare. Anne wants Llewellyn to prove that claim, even though many have tried and failed. And she’s willing to offer a hefty donation to the university if he succeeds.

It also means a chance for Llewellyn to get to know Blaise much better.

Not everyone thinks Llewellyn should take the case—or the money. Between feuding siblings, rival patrons, jealous colleagues, and greedy administrators, almost anyone could be trying to thwart his work… and one of them is willing to kill to do it.

When Anne de Vere turns up dead, the police believe Blaise is the murderer. Only the shy, stuttering professor who has won his heart can prove otherwise….

This was a fascinating story.  Llewellyn is adorably shy and when he is himself he prefers to hide away in his office behind books and research.  Blaise easily draws everyone in and wants nothing more than to catch Llew.

Llew if trying to decide what to do with pressure from all sides and no one really caring how he feels about it.  But Blaise stands by him and throws everything he ever thought about himself out the window.  But the truth about why Blaise is at MIddlemark may keep them apart.

I loved Llewellyn, even though he is crazy shy he can stand up for himself too and it was easy to understand him as most of the story is through his eyes.  It was great to see him find someone who wants to care for him and doesn’t see him as a burden.  Only a small portion is seen through Blaise’s eyes and when we do see his thoughts it’s easy to see how conflicted he is about what he is doing but his actions really show how he feels.  I can’t wait to see what else happens around Middlemark.

I love the cover art by Kanaxa is give so man little visuals from the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages

Published: July 31, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-486-9

Edition Language: English

Series: Middlemark Mysteries #1