An Alisa Release Day Review: Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better—until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

 

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

 

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart—and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

 

This was an interesting story.  Matt has been looking forward to his vacation during sturgeon season and is highly disappointed when his coworker, John, shows up on the lake.  When he gives John shelter he gets the opportunity to see a different side of the man than the one he has been working with for months.

 

So….basically John has been acting like an idiot trying to blend in and hiding himself.  We see how much his actions have been hurting Matt and his presence at Matt’s refuge puts an immediate damper on things.  John has really been hurting himself too but once he has a chance to admit his feelings to Matt he doesn’t want to hide anymore.  These two jump pretty quickly into their relationship and it’s a little hard to believe that Matt is able to let go of John’s past actions, but they seem to build a pretty solid relationship.  The community of people who gather to spear sturgeons and everything along with it are quite interesting.

 

Cover art by Anne Cain is a great background for this story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 86 pages

Published: April 19, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635334142

Edition Language: English

Series: A States of Love Story

An Alisa Review: Beneath the Layers Anthology by NineStar Press

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Eight stories of men who like a little satin and lace.

 

A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci

This ex-linebacker is impossible for his friend to resist.

 

Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic

Sometimes secrets are better when they’re shared.

 

Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell

Tonight he has the chance to live out his dream.

 

Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel

When one finds two partners, it helps to dress for the occasion.

 

All That Entails by E.M. Hamill

A gender-fluid prince with a penchant for gowns finds his unlikely match in an arranged marriage.

 

After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn

Sometimes happily ever after requires a pretty frock.

 

A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke

One sweet secret shared—and a spicy one returned.

 

Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea

Sometimes love can be found behind a feather boa.

 

This is a wonderful collection of stories; especially of you love men in lace like I do.  All of these stories are quite different with only the lace as something in common, but I think it makes it even better because you get to see such different relationships.  Some are comfortable in their own skin while some others just need love and support to know that what they want is okay.  Most of the stories are told through one character’s point of view and the author’s do a wonderful job of showing the other characters emotions and feelings.

 

In A Linebacker in Lace Brent has a chance meeting with Arliss and discovers his secret isn’t as bad as he thinks.  Arliss loves a man in lace and Brent is learning it isn’t shameful for him to wear it.  Arliss’ assertiveness is a great contrast to Brent’s shyness.  Gavin and Lex role play in Satin Secrets but Gavin has a surprise for Lex.  Lex’s reaction is so much better and hotter than Gavin could hope for.  Lex wants Gavin to feel comfortable to share his secrets and fantasies.

 

Billie wants to go farther than just wearing his panties in Backwards and in High Heels and surprises his lover, Oliver, with a date after his time away.  After the nervousness fades Billie is so grateful of the work he put in for them to dance together for the first time.  Oliver is a nice steady shoulder for Billie’s nervousness and worries.  In Angels in Delaware Beau is surprised by his reaction and willingness to get to know Angel and Delaware.  They come to his rescue when he needs it and work towards a relationship together.  The only thing is I couldn’t help but feel that Beau was the odd man out even when things seemed to go smoothly and he is included.

 

In All That Entails Darian is heartbroken knowing he will have to give up his gowns and comfort in marriage.  Henry will not change who he is for anyone and takes the first step towards compromise.  I loved seeing them open their eyes to the possibility of more between them.  Frank works hard to keep his real desires hidden in After the Dance.  His and Charles friendship is the only bright spot in this day until he finds out that Charles must marry and is already in love.  Seeing them work out their future despite expectations from those around them.

 

In A Secret Shared Tommy must share a secret after Michael shows him his extra nerdy side.  Despite his fear and unwillingness to come out Tommy shares his deepest desires with Michael and is greatly rewarded.  The two do well to work their relationship around their outside lives.  Barrett has kept his Friday night plans secret in Ruffle My Feathers until his boss is suddenly at his show one weekend.  Both determined to keep everything normal try to ignore their connection from that weekend.  Watching them discover that sometimes hiding your true self from those around you isn’t always the best choice was nice.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is wonderfully understated but is perfect for this book.

 

Sales Links: NineStar Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 165 pages

Published: April 17, 2017 by NineStar Press

ISBN: 9781945952913

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Release Day Review: Seashores of Old Mexico by BA Tortuga

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

After a bar fight gone horribly wrong, Clint is on the run, tired, hungry, and desperate to get out of Texas and across the border as fast as he can. But more than anything, he needs a place to relax and feel safe—at least for a little while. Searching for work, he stumbles into a cantina on the beach and runs into its owner. Jack might be a little older and a little worldlier, but the two men have enough in common to form a fast friendship that soon spills over into the bedroom.

 

But Clint isn’t the only who’s done things he isn’t proud of, things he’d rather keep hidden. Both of them have to be ready to drop everything and run if the past gets too close, and that’s no foundation for a relationship—especially since the truth always comes out eventually.

 

This was a nice story.  When we meet Clint he is pretty down on his luck and really needs someone to support him.  Jack steps right up to take that job even is Clint is still wary of what could happen if someone find him.  These characters both build friendships with each other before they explore if they can be more and it gives them a pretty firm base to start from.

 

I really felt for Clint when I read how scared he was of his past coming to get him and how eager he was to do almost anything for some food and a little comfortable sleep.  Jack is worldlier but really is as alone as Clint in his personal life and grabs onto their relationship with both hands.  These two complement each other well and while they slowly tip toe around each other at first open up quickly once they know that is an option.

 

Cover art by Alexandria Corza is a wonderful picture of the background of this story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 55 pages

Published: 2nd edition, April 10, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635336566

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Love by Design by Sam B. Morgan

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Rating:  2 stars out of 5

 

Two years ago, Jeremy Lanzo’s life almost fell apart when he fell for his boss and the golden prince of McIntyre Corporation, Benjamin McIntyre, the Third. After being ruthlessly rejected, he swore off the blue-eyed blond and did everything in his power never to cross paths with Ben again.

 

Now the two of them have been chosen to lead the company’s largest project to date; a lavish hotel in Sydney, Australia. Working and residing with Ben is difficult enough, but Ben’s continued attempts to make amends and re-kindling their broken friendship may prove more tempting than either of them can handle.

 

Ugh, I really wanted to like this story and kept hoping the tone would change and it would pick up, but it never seemed to.  Jeremy has pretty much been on his own since he went off to college and has sworn to stay away from Ben as much as possible while Ben is hoping to get their friendship going again.  Their connection to each other is strong, but they worry of what others would think could very well be their downfall.

 

I liked the premise of this story and definitely didn’t enjoy this as much as the author’s previous book I have read.  It started off right with the poor me attitude and it just continued through the book with both characters.  We see both of the characters points of view which means we hear how both of them are sad or depressed about what happened before and what they would like now.  I couldn’t connect with the characters as they seemed to live a bubble from the outside world and once that comes into play it feels like they give up.  It was nice to see Ben finally grow a pair near the end of the book and decide what he had with Jeremy is more special than anything else, but it just couldn’t redeem the rest of the story for me.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and works well for the story.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 205 pages

Published: February 17, 2017 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682522899

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Fangs Like Me by Lyssa Dering

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

 

Lane, a newborn vampire, still feels the pain of betrayal. Two years ago, a faithless boyfriend took his life, and now, Lane’s Maker has also left him behind. The pain of separation burns strong when all Lane wants are arms to hold him and enough warm blood to satisfy his voracious appetite. At a shifter party, Lane is drawn to a hunky Alpha werewolf who tries to console him.

 

Parker is more than a thoughtless hookup. Since his family disowned him for finding boys just as hot as girls, all he wants is someone to love and look after. The sweet little vamp calls to his protective instincts, but he sure is jumpy. Cuddling with boys is new and delicious, but when this boy also wants him as a food source, things get complicated.

 

Vampires and shifters aren’t supposed to get along, and Parker’s rough dominance triggers bad memories for Lane. But Parker’s wolf wants Lane, and he knows he can give Lane what he needs. Can Lane learn to navigate his past and give the thing growing between them a chance? Or will the very real possibilities of heartache, abandonment, and even death, keep them apart?

 

This was a very enjoyable book, it sounded interesting, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Lane was traumatized when his boyfriend took his life and then was saved by being made into a vampire.  Life hasn’t been easy for him since and he has had a hard time fitting into the vampire world and only really had one friend outside his den.

 

I couldn’t help but feel for Lane, he feels like an outsider in his home and doesn’t really have anyone to turn to.  He jumps at the opportunity to be with and protected by Parker, but is worried his fear of fangs and being bitten will cause problems between them.

 

Both of the characters have been hurt by those close to them and are trying to navigate new worlds when they meet.  Parker has wanted someone to take care of and love while being loved in return and can’t help but hope that maybe Lane is his chance.  We see both of these characters’ struggles and feelings throughout the story, both being willing to risk so much for the other.  I loved seeing their interactions and how much they really cared for the other.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and gives great visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages

Published: March 13, 2017 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 9781945952722

Edition Language: English

 

An Alisa Review: Terrible Twos by Megs Pritchard

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

terrible-twos-by-megs-pritchardAfter leaving University, Zach struggled to find employment. When he eventually found work in a call centre, he was ecstatic.

 But from day one he had a problem.

 After an accidental run-in with the manager, Geoff, Zach was under no illusions that his days were numbered.

 While dealing with is work issues, Zach is left devastated when his sister dies.

 Now, struggling at work with a boss who may or may not like him, Zach is now raising his two young nephews alone.

 One night a chance encounter with Geoff changes everything. But is Geoff willing to stand by Zach or will he walk away?

 This was a cute story.  I have read a couple of this author’s books before and I was hoping I would enjoy this one just as much and I defiantly did.  Zach is working so hard to be an adult, but no matter what he has been hit with problems or something going bad in his life.

 

Zach is just getting into the swing of things at his new job when he is hit with the news that his sister and brother in law have died in a car crash.  Suddenly he is a father to two young boys that are missing their parents.  To top it off his boss keeps giving him more and more crap at work and Oliver, his oldest nephew, is going through the terrible twos.

 

This story is told from Zach’s point of view and you can’t help but feel for him and his situation.  I can’t imagine having to raise two little boys with no support system what so ever.  Not knowing what John is thinking really makes him seem like a jerk from the beginning, but even he admits to it when Zach confronts him.  At some points I really wished John had a bit more of a backbone than just running scared when something goes wrong, I mean Zach has enough going on than to deal with more crap.  I absolutely loved Zach’s nephews, this author didn’t paint the kids as perfect like most do, I could just picture everything that they did because it was exactly the kind of thing most kids really do.

 

Cover art by AM Snead is adorable and gives sweet visuals of Zach and his nephews.

Sales Links

 Amazon

Book Details:

ebook

Published: January 30, 2017 by Megs Pritchard

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

they-walk-among-us-by-ta-chaseZach agrees to help Raven and finds himself drawn into a world he never knew existed.

 

Zach Harleigh was a baby when the aliens arrived. He doesn’t remember much about those months, except his parents fighting and his dad leaving. His father died, destroying the aliens, and his mother died when Zach graduated from medical school. He’s alone in the world and working hard to get his career going leaves no time for any kind of relationship.

 

One night, a beautiful man is brought into the ER. Raven Sanderson has been severely beaten and seems unsocialized. Raven and Zach hit it off when Zach takes over his care. Raven can’t speak but writes notes to Zach, letting him know the man is in the city to find his sister.

 

Zach agrees to help Raven and discovers a world he never knew existed. A world full of alien creatures that read minds and heal with a simple touch. He realizes there is more to the world around him, and the aliens he thought were destroyed weren’t. Their offspring walk among us.

 

Zach has always been interested in the aliens that were around when he was a baby, but never thought he would actually see one as they were said to have all been killed.  He doesn’t hate them, far from it, he has spent a lot of time researching and trying to find the truth.  When he meets Raven he is fascinated with him and wants to do anything he can to help him.

 

Raven is intrigued by the intriguing doctor, but doesn’t want to get anyone involved in his mission, let alone he isn’t sure about trusting a human.  He quickly learns there are a lot of layers underneath the surface and nothing about the doctor is quite what it seems at the beginning.  Both of these characters have been longing for someone to love and someone they can let into their lives without reservation.

 

We see how open Zach is to Raven, even showing him things that he has never shown anyone else.  Raven is so reserved at the beginning, but eventually opens up and really begins to hope for a future with Zach and his people.  I loved seeing them fight together to overcome the things standing in their way to get Raven’s sister and then for their future.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is wonderful and perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 168 pages

Publication: February 7, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786515346

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Defrosting Jack by Susan Laine

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

defrosting-jackJack Frost has a problem. He’s the mythical power behind the elements of ice, snow, and frost, but his fame is being usurped by a fictional Frozen queen. So Jack’s the grumpiest man in Yuleland and is in need of a naughty distraction.

 

Rudolph Hreinn has a problem, as well. Rudy’s in high demand on Christmas, but the rest of the year he’s scorned by everyone for being different. So Rudy’s the saddest man in Yuleland and desperate for a nice diversion.

 

When the winter sprite and the reindeer shifter meet, after a rocky start, a friendship of like minds is born. Attraction soon follows. But then strange things start to happen. Odd omens warn them of dire consequences for Yuleland and for the winter holidays should they fall for each other.

 

Can love unite two lonely men and save Christmas? It’s the most wonderful time of the year—for some frosty reindeer games.

 

Jack gives off the impression he prefers to be solitary in defense to being continually pushed away.  Rudy has been ridiculed for his heredity and prefers to spend most of his time alone.  They both are tired of denying their attraction for the other and quickly realize they are the perfect counterpart to each other (hot to cold).

 

Jack and Rudy stand by each other through the whole situation, fighting for their love in spite of the consequences that have been foretold.  We see both of their emotions and feelings pretty plainly even though Jack holds his tight to his chest when with others.  I was rooting for these two to get everything worked out and continue building their connection to each other.

 

The cover art is very nice and gives a good visual for the characters.

 

Sales Links: Siren Publishing

 

Book Details:

ebook, 126 pages

Published: December 7, 2016 by Siren Publishing

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Honey Trap by Fyn Alexander

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

honey-trap-by-fyn-alexanderWhen Scarlett and Ronin, two very beautiful individuals, approach Julian May, he cannot believe his luck. Having albinism and being somewhat shy, he doesn’t usually get attractive people approaching him. Being gay, he falls in love with Ronin, only to find out that Ronin and Scarlett are the same person and that they made a play for him as part of a honey trap.

 

All hell breaks loose as an angry and betrayed Julian refuses to have anything more with Ronin/Scarlett. Meanwhile Julian needs to rescue an old lover who is stuck in a prison in Afghanistan and the only person willing or able to help him is Ronin. Despite Ronin’s jealously when he sees Julian and his former boyfriend together, he does not give up on trying to win Julian’s heart. Little does he know, he already has it.

 

This was an intriguing story that kept moving.  MI-6 has been using Ronin as Scarlett as part of honey traps, but he lets his emotions get in the way when he is told to get to know Julian.  Julian is content with his life, hiding who he really is from his family and acquaintances, but starts to see a reason for something more when he is with Ronin.

 

Julian is confused by his reaction to Scarlett; he has never been attracted to a woman before.  He becomes a bit confused when he meets Ronin’s family and they are very similar to how Scarlett described her family.  Ronin isn’t willing to let Julian go after he finds out and puts himself in danger to keep Julian safe.

 

Julian is so sweet and really innocent it’s hard not to love him and know how he feels.  When he finally feels as if he has found what he always wanted his reality comes crashing down around him.  Ronin knows the real Julian and you can feel his determination that he can break through the wall Julian puts up after he is hurt.  We could clearly see how hard being Scarlett and Ronin for Julian was and how conflicted he was with his job.  I love how supportive Ronin’s family is of his gender fluidity, but didn’t really like Julian’s attitude toward it; granted he had been hurt, but he doesn’t seem like he even tries to understand.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is wonderful gives great visuals of the main characters.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages

Published: October 4, 2016 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682521984

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Russian Blau (Dragons Schooled #1) by Emily Carrington

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

russian-blauIce dragon Blau Lepa seeks nothing more or less than to be a professor at SearchLight Academy. He’s wanted to teach his whole life, and considers it a sacred calling. When he meets Professor Rob Boyle, he’s instantly attracted. But both he and Rob are convinced that teachers and students shouldn’t have sex, not to mention that Blau’s afraid to bond with a human who will pass away so quickly.

 

On top of his scruples, Rob’s suffering from a broken heart. Eventually he gives in to his attraction and finds being dominated by Blau fills him with soaring desires and heals his wounded heart. But is that enough to make him decide to throw away his humanity and accept magical powers so that he can spend all eternity with his lover?

 

Blau is in his last semester of school with Charlie, Rob’s former lover and friend, as his advisor.  Rob and Blau have an immediate attraction, but don’t act upon anything until they are manipulated together by Charlie.  Once they both let their walls down they can work on their connection to each other.

 

We get to see both characters’ points of view which helps as they both have their own struggles in this story.  I felt Rob’s getting over his heartbreak from Charlie was quickly resolved and just kinda done instead of work through.  Blau’s biggest fear is loving someone who isn’t immortal and he would have to watch them die.  I felt that there were some back stories in this that I was missing regarding Charlie and Rob’s former dragon student (it looks like this series references characters from some of the author’s previous series) which would have help some of my confusion at points, but for the most part I liked the story.

 

Cover art by Fiona Jayde is a sweet picture of Blau and Rob.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages

Published: October 24, 2016 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682522325

Edition Language: English

Series: Dragons Schooled #1