An Alisa Review:Saved: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free #1) by A.M. Arthur

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

 

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

 

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

 

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

 

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 67,000 words.

 

This was an emotional story.  Braun has pretty much lived his life in fear of his first heat because that would mean he is then eligible for mating.  His father’s death is a relief but then it send him into an even worse situation to contend with.

 

Braun is scared of his future when he is rescued by Dex and Serge but they promise to help him find a solution that doesn’t involve going back to the group home.  He and Tarek both fight the mating bond initially but agree to take it slow and see if them having a relationship would be viable.  Tarek isn’t like any alpha Braun has ever met but they will really have to pull together to help Braun’s brother, Kell.

 

I could feel Braun’s unhappiness with the world he live in; he is thought of and treated as a second class citizen by many.  He wants to change things but doesn’t know how but get lucky with friends who will help him find some solutions.  Tarek has never really wanted an omega until he meets the feisty Braun.  It takes some trial and error but he soon learns the way to his omega’s heart, but his omega isn’t like most and throws a wrench into a lot of things.  I continued to hurt for Braun and Kell as life just kept beating them down but when a lawyer comes to help Kell the future will hopefully start to look up.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series when it comes out and hope to see more of Braun and Tarek but I also want a happy ending for Kell.

 

The cover art by Sloan J Designs is very nice and eye catching.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 316 pages

Published: September 12, 2017 by Briggs-King Books

ISBN13: 9781999706722

Edition Language: English

Series: Breaking Free #1

An Alisa Review: Talk Bunny To Me (Hoppity Shifter #2) by A.R. Barley

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

When werewolf hunter meets bunny shifter, romance is the last thing either one of them expects to find… but

 

Benjamin Holland is a werewolf hunter–and a pretty successful one. He’s hunting a rogue wolf in Minnesota when he trips over a bunny shifter and takes the twitchy nosed little dude back to Illinois. It’s strictly catch and release. He needs to get laid, but after getting his heart crushed by his best friend Peter he’s not looking for a forever mate.

 

Mating is the last thing on Justin’s mind. He’s just escaped an arranged marriage to his warren’s next Rex. He wants to make up for lost time and build a life for himself in Chicago, but the more time these two spend exploring the city together the better they get along. When Justin’s ex-fiance tracks him down to the city, they’re going to have to decide if forever might just start with one magical night.

 

This was a great follow up to Chasing His Cottontail.  Benjamin has been dealing with the rejection of his best friend but can’t help but want to protect another bunny shifter when he rescues him.  Justin is running away from the man he has been promised to and the violence he has been living in.

 

Justin will do anything he can to prove to Benjamin that he is a worthy mate while at the same time Benjamin loves to take care of Justin.  I loved Benjamin realizing that is he had ended up with Peter it would not have been right so there was no reason for him to be upset.  They definitely look forward to their future together and making a family.  We get to see glimpses of Peter and Luke too which was nice.  I couldn’t help but think that Justin would want to see his family but maybe after being promised to an abusive jerk he doesn’t feel the need.

 

The cover is wonderful and gives a great visual for Benjamin and Justin’s bunny.

 

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages

Published: July 13, 2017 by MLR Press

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Rescued by Dakota Storm

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Dean Montgomery loves his ranch and his family, but something is missing. When he sets out on a road trip to purchase land to expand his ranch, he finds himself stranded in a snowstorm.

 

When the sexy and gruff Colt James, a tracker and rescue worker, rescues Dean, both of their lives are turned upside down. Attraction sizzles, and hearts race. But then trouble brews, and Dean is needed back home. Can these two make their new relationship work?

 

This was an interesting and sweet story.  Dean is rescued by Colt when he is stranded during a snowstorm and Colt brings him home to wait it out.  Their attraction and the intense situation help them get to know each other quickly.

 

Most of this story is told from Dean’s point of view which makes it easy to understand his thoughts and doubts he can easily read between the lines when it come to Colt and get past his gruff exterior.  Colt’s nephew Coop understands their relationship and quickly knows the new family dynamic he thinks they should have and he is a wonderful and helpful kid.  Dean supports Colt when he has to put himself in danger to rescue Colts friends and, after a little pushing, Colt knows he wants to help Dean when his brother is in trouble.  I really liked the loving relationship these two build and how much they understand the others quirks.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and works well for this story.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 132 pages

Published: June 17, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864039

Edition Language: English

 

An Alisa Review: Smitten by R.W. Clinger

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Rating:  2 stars out of 5

 

Feeling somewhat blue about his singlehood and dull life as a finance advisor, Jesse Fitzpatrick is about to find his world turned upside down.

 

Jesse’s best friend, Carr de Vantino, is coming home from the jungles of Ecuador. He’ll only be home for four days, and it’s a very rare occasion, since Carr has been traveling the world for the last twenty years for Armistice Coalition; a group similar to the Peace Corps. Excited about Carr’s visit, Jesse has to face the bittersweet reality of life — he’s always been smitten with Carr, although Carr only treats him as a friend. It’s obvious he lacks any romance or desire for Jesse.

 

Carr’s visit becomes interesting, though, when he slips into bed with Jesse. As secrets of Carr’s life unfold, Jesse starts to hope the traveling man has grown smitten for him. Do they have a chance at becoming a romantic couple? Or will Carr take the next flight back to the jungle?

 

This was a nice idea for a story but the execution didn’t work for me and I was just left scratching my head trying to understand the characters.  Jesse’s best friend is coming to visit for a few days before he is back off to the jungle, at least that is what he thinks.  For the last 20 years they have just spent a few days together here or there with Jesse traveling to Carr or Carr coming back to their hometown.

 

So, Jesse talks about Carr fondly, as you would think of a friend and then suddenly he decides he’s smitten but then, oh wait, he is in love.  He spends so much time trying to guess Carr’s intentions based on his actions and suddenly when Carr makes a move Jesse says that he has always known Carr’s feeling and he was just waiting for him to act.  Huh?  Jesse’s thoughts and actions never really added up to me and I had trouble with the “secrets” that Carr apparently kept from Jesse throughout their entire friendship.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs gives a nice visual of Carr, the world traveler.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 49 pages

Published: April 22, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634863292

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Hybrid (A Darker Hollow #1) by Shannon West & T.S. McKinney

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Jax’s little brother Mason is all grown up and finds himself longing for a life of adventure. He finds it in a way he never planned late one night while walking home to the lodge beneath a full moon, when he is attacked, bitten and left for dead by a huge black werewolf. As he’s dying and all hope is fading, he is discovered on the trail and believes he’s being saved. Instead, he’s bitten a second time, and this time by a vampire.

 

Mason finds himself in the middle of an ancient war between the vampires and the Dire werewolves, and during a raid, he’s captured by the wolf who first bit him, a strong alpha named Finn. Finn is powerfully attracted to him, but Mason is changing, becoming something not quite wolf and not quite vampire—a new creature with powers of his own.

 

A hybrid is an interesting idea, made me think of Underworld, but I had some issues with how the characters acted throughout the story.  Mason has been feeling like something big was going to happen but he never expected it to be for him become something that has never existed before.  Valeran and Finn have been trying to destroy each other for as long as they can remember.

 

Valeran saves Mason after Finn’s attack and takes him as a lover and teaching him to hate werewolves.  When they finally go after Finn’s pack Mason is captured and Finn takes him as a mate and causes Mason to second guess his feelings for Valeran.  It takes a lot for Mason to start using his brain to examine his thoughts and actions.

 

We get to see all the characters’ points of view which should help to understand them better but most of the time I couldn’t help but think why is he doing that?  I didn’t like that Valeran and Finn tried to use Mason against each other for most of the book and Mason doesn’t even realize it until close to the end.  His seemingly acceptance that the essentially is suffering from Stockholm Syndrom but is determined to make everything work with both lovers is a bit wacky to me.  It takes until the very end of the story for Valeran and Finn to kind of accept their attraction to each other.  I am hoping that the series will continue with these three actually having a relationship and getting Finn’s pack back.

 

The cover art by E Keith is nice and gives good visuals of the Mason.

 

Sales Links: Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: March 29, 2017 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

Series: A Darker Hollow #1

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