An Alisa Review: A New Leash on Life by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Beaten by the IT recession, Justin has come back to his hometown where he’s inherited a small house from his mother. Surely Barry, his old crush and sometime nemesis, is long gone. Jobs are scarce, so impulsively Justin seeks to buy into a pet grooming business. But when he has to visit the local bank for a loan, who sits behind the big desk but Barry?

Justin’s appearance jolts Barry out of his miserable rut of a life. What if they were to pick up where a brief boyhood attraction abruptly ended? Then his mother’s sudden stroke throws his whole life into a tumbled ruin.

Juggling business and pleasure can be a complex, risky endeavor. Will Justin resist Barry’s charms and flee again, or will fate give them a new leash on life?

Another story that just did not work for me and I don’t think it’s a good omen when I feel like I have to force myself to finish a book around 50 pages.  Justin is going back to his hometown in a last ditch effort to survive since losing his job.  Barry has been living his life per his mother’s wishes for so long that seeing his boyhood crush seems to throw him out of his mundane life.

These two seem to have the lingering lust from their teens but other than that they don’t do anything to actually be in a relationship.  They both ran as teens in fear of being gay but the way Barry just assumes and kinda forces himself to be in Justin’s lifealong with his attitude didn’t endear himself to me.  His attitude about finding out he was adopted didn’t help me like him anymore.  Justin just seems to let himself be led by Barry in some ways and though he kinda stands up for himself at one point it doesn’t last long.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs has a nice visual of Justin and his dog.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 16,988 words

Published: March 23, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634867610

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Rescued by Love (Canine Cupids #4) by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

 

With his life torn apart by tragedy, Garrett finds a true lifesaver in the Golden Retriever pup, Mandy, that he rescues from a local shelter. Inspired by the heroic search and rescue teams he sees on television, he and Mandy become a trained SAR team. Their first big challenge comes when a series of violent storms with vicious tornadoes rip through the high plains.

 

Dan has come home from Iraq shattered by the horrors he witnessed. Like his father and grandfather before him, he takes off on an old motorcycle to try to find peace and outrun his nightmares. Instead he finds a storm that almost takes his life.

 

Lucky for him, a special SAR team comes to his rescue. In Mandy and Garrett he just might find the unconditional love he needs to become whole again.

 

I am not having much luck lately in short stories.  I always like to break up my longer books with some shorter one but they are feeling kinda tossed together and not bringing me joy and just feeling blah.

 

I felt that these two were just tossed together by circumstance and stayed together for convenience, I couldn’t feel any emotions with these two and it seemed like they were going through the motions.  On top of that there were editing errors with mixed up names which confused me as to the characters actions.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is alright but I feel it would be better with two human hands with the dogs paw.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 12,966 words

Published: 2nd edition, March 16, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 978163486760

Edition Language: English

An Ashlez Review: Catastrophe by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Although veterinary technician Carlton is violently allergic to cats, he loves them with an undying passion, enough to tolerate miserable symptoms to keep working with the felines in the San Maribal Zoo. The cheetahs especially fascinate him. Then he meets a mysterious stranger who is evasive about why he’s in the zoo — nude and after hours! This man tells Carl there’s a cat inside him wanting to get out. That sounds really crazy, and the suggested way to make it happen even crazier … but exciting.

Zyl is a member of the ancient shifter tribe, or Were-Kind. His people are working to enforce humane treatment of animals and save endangered species. Hearing of a planned raid by an extreme animal rights group to free the denizens of zoos, they realize this will a real catastrophe. Joining forces with regular humans to avert the problem will mean “coming out” as the powerful beings they are. Again, a potential disaster.

Attracted to Carlton against his better judgment, Zyl teams up with the vet tech he meets under awkward circumstances only to discover a valuable ally and a soul mate

I was sorely disappointed in this – I know it’s only a 50 page novella but even then I struggled.  I liked the idea of the book, I love a good shifter story but this one was so weird and went from one extreme to another it was almost like whiplash.
Zyl – interesting fellow with a very interesting speech pattern
Carl – my kinda guy I always dreamed of having his job – though his initial skepticism and then immediate I’ve always known, kinda made me angry.

Overall it was an alright quick read if you want a little shifter romance, but for sure not if you want full on substance book that draws out the conclusion or is less abrupt in the subject shift.

Cover – beautiful, beautiful eyes beautiful cat .. very apt

Sales Links:  AmazonJMS Books LLC

Book Details;
Kindle Edition, 62 pages
Published March 13th 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published May 18th 2014)
ASINB07NZLJXM9

An Alisa Review: Rez Dogs and Scooter Trash by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

 

Mike Dufrane fled a traumatic youth, hard years haunted by an abusive biker father, poverty and degradation, by escaping into the military. There he found only more savage violence. Then a chance encounter with an animal rescue group showed him another way. On an Indian reservation in the southwest, he finds a place to make a difference. Rez Dogs Rescue Shelter will be his route to build a positive life. Then a handsome Native American rides up on a Harley and throws Mike’s plans for a loop.

 

Adam was not there when his kid brother needed guidance and a firm hand. Back from two tours with Special Forces, he starts a youth center on the Rez to try to atone for his error but he cannot give up his Harley or his image as one bad ass biker. When an outsider starts a shelter for abused and neglected dogs, Adam initially finds it ludicrous but then recognizes a purpose similar to his own. However, the stranger seems to fear or hate bikers and is reluctant to begin a friendship. When crime and danger threaten both their projects, they have to join forces to prevail and suppressed attraction bursts into flame.

 

This was an interesting story of two people from different backgrounds coming together as their different missions come together.  Adam is trying to make up for being gone when his brother dies while Adam is just trying to do what is right with the mission he feels is best.

 

There is no real connection with the characters but it was a nice quick read.  We see them work on their missions and admire each other from afar until danger comes.  I liked that these two had such different backgrounds but such similarities in them too, I think it helped to bring them together more.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is cute and has the “awe” factor.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 57 pages

Published: September 8, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634867092

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Homeless in Heaven by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Homeless for over two years, Merl has hunkered down to endure a second winter in Eden, Colorado. He has lost the ability to trust or accept kindness as anything but a sneaky attempt to weaken for an attack. He sells aluminum cans and other trash to survive, knowing he should attempt to get back into the mainstream but he lacks the will to try.

 

Nate has led a sheltered and privileged life as the only child of wealthy older parents, now deceased. He is working on a photo journalism piece about the homeless people in Eden when he first encounters Merl. The big man impresses him so much that when an early blizzard hits, he goes back to the camps try to bring Merl and others to shelter in his own home.

 

Can he win Merl’s trust and cooperation in an effort to provide positive long term help to other homeless people in the area? Even more important, can he forge a real partnership with the suspicious older man?

 

This story left quite a bit to be desired for me.  It was written well but I just think it needed more depth and length to get me to connect to it.  The story is honest about some homelessness in the world but I felt that it romanticized trying to help.

 

Nathan is apparently so taken with his very short interaction with Merl that he risks everything to bring others into his home.  I don’t know if it was supposed to be a life altering experience for him but it just seemed to jump the gun on why he was doing it.  Merl pushes him away but quickly changes his mind and suddenly they are talking about long term without anything else really happening.  I just felt that this was a quick jump into bed and it didn’t feel like it could really be long term and at the same time we weren’t given too much to connect with the characters.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice but I didn’t feel it showed the characters well.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 49 pages

Published: August 4, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634865883

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Wrenching by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Mal has not had an easy life. He’s struggled to overcome a lot of roadblocks and hardships as he built himself a life as a mechanic, despite a serious handicap. He’s admired rancher Dan from afar but never dreamed events would play out to land him in the amazing spot of being able to do a real service for his secret hero. Can he maintain his cool and a safe distance when they’re sharing a house and working to resolve a dangerous mystery?

Dan says he does not have employees but friends who help him run the ranch he inherited from his father. Challenged by his younger step-brother and facing dangerous sabotage to his truck, he enlists a young mechanic to help solve the puzzle. He’d always wanted a real brother or a partner he could trust but his step-brother is not the right guy to fill that role. How about Mal, who brings some fine but rare qualities to the Flying W?

A lot of this story didn’t really make any sense to me and even with that I mostly enjoyed the story.  I’ve never understood the loving someone from afar when you barely know them as Mal did Dan. And Dan turns to someone he barely knows to help him.

The mystery wasn’t much of a mystery to me but it gave Dan and Mal a reason to be together for a period of time.  I didn’t really see this relationship building at all except for their own random thoughts but they never did anything or really got to know each other for Dan’s ideas at the end of story make any sense.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a nice understated design.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages

Published: May 12, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634865838

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Special Delivery by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Monte’s sporting goods store is teetering on the edge of collapse due to the economic problems. The small conservative eastern California town he chose for his dream project is not welcoming, even though he keeps his gay lifestyle quiet. Then big trouble and a gorgeous package delivery driver fall into his world at the same time. Are they somehow connected?

Jeff, a special agent for Homeland Security, is working undercover to help bust a contraband and drug operation. Tracks lead to the small town of Cameron Creek, California. Who is the crime ring’s contact at this end? As a delivery driver, Jeff is scoping things out. When he meets Monte, he is smitten at once, but evidence begins to link this new friend to the case. Jeff has every reason not to pursue a relationship, but can he stop himself?

I can’t say this was a good or bad story but I couldn’t connect with it either way.  Monte’s dream store hasn’t been doing nearly as well as he had hoped.  Jeff hopes befriending Monte will help his case but doesn’t expect anything to come of it.

Monte seemed very trusting and was accepting of his fate in regards to his store and even second guesses everything between him and Jeff.  Jeff is undercover when he meets Monte but doesn’t seem able to stop himself from getting to know the man.  I’m not sure if it’s Jeff’s instant distrust and dislike when he sees something that may incriminate Monte or what but these guys seemed to involved for the very little time they spent together.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is cute and was the first thing that caught my eye.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 47 pages

Published: September 12, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864923

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Smoke and Spots By Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

smoke-and-spotsWhen firefighter Grady Ashcroft adopts his deceased sister’s son, he knows life will change. He never expected to be a dad, but he’ll give young Jamie his best, even if it means a celibate life in a new home. He does not expect to find the man of his dreams in the Colorado village where he takes a new job, either.

Sullivan Parker wanted to be chief of the Valle Vista fire department when the former chief was forced to leave. Instead, the town council hires a stranger from far away. Despite his resentment, Sully finds himself drawn to the newcomer. He also discovers a need to take Jamie and the spotted pup the former chief left behind under his wing.

Can the brotherhood of battling dangerous blazes morph into stronger feelings for the two men, or will conflict prevail?

 

This was a nice short story.  Grady and Sully meet when Grady relocates with his son to Sully’s town as the new fire chief.  Grady spends most of the book adjusting to life in a small town and settling down into a new routine with little wrenches thrown in by Sully.

 

This story is told from both characters’ points of view which gives you a chance to see both of their personalities better.  They both feel drawn to one another, but don’t know how to interpret the feeling.  Grady is determined to make life good for his son and has resigned himself to a life as a single father because he assumes since he’s in a small town there won’t be anyone available.  This story has a HFN ending that gives you the chance to imagine a future for them.

 

The cover art is nice and connects to the story.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 46 pages

Published: September 3, 2016 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634862103

Edition Language: English