An Alisa Release Day Review: Trex or Treat by Tara Lain

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.

Josh’s son, Ernie, can’t wait to go, so Josh dresses up like a movie cowboy and saunters over. It’ll be the best Halloween of Ernie’s life, but there’s another sharpshooter roaming the dark corridors, and this one might have a special treat for Josh….

This was such a sweet story, but being a short there is just so far that the story can go and I don’t want to spoil it either.  Josh and Trex have great chemistry and I love that both of them don’t just want a one off.  They connect on a deeper level and even better have much more in common than Josh could ever hope for.  Seeing the story through Josh’s eyes didn’t really give us much of a chance to get to know Trex but he truly seemed to wear his heart on his sleeve and the ending gave these two the perfect opportunity to try building a life together.

The cover art by Kanaxa is great and is absolutely perfect for the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages

Published: 2nd edition, October 31, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-131-3

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Half Breeds by Sara Codair

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Kicked out of private school, Allen has to brave a public high school where most of the kids don’t know supernatural creatures exist. He expects to be miserable, but he finds himself romantically pursued by two people: a shy, but fascinating boy named Jeremy and a spunky girl named Chloe. The demon in Allen wants to feed off Chloe, but the human part of him is falling for Jeremy. Which will win?

I liked Half Breeds and thought the story was  intriguing.  I loved the characters and the plot.  I only wish there was a little more of the backhistory filled in because in such a short story, this left some big narrative holes to leap over.

Allan and Jeremy are terrific together and you feel for Chloe.  Sara Codair makes Chloe a girl trying to do the right thing for Allan, not realizing the danger she’s in.

This is a neat little story that actually could make a wonderful larger novel.  It’s still one I definitely recommend and not just for the Halloween holiday season.

Cover art by Natasha Snow

Sales Link:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: October 23rd 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN13 9781947904118
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Reunion by M.D. Neu

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

It’s been twenty years since the quiet Midwestern town of Lakeview was struck by tragedy.  But every year on the anniversary of the event Teddy returns home for ‘The Reunion’. Lakeview, like Teddy, has secrets and not all mysteries should come to light.

I read The Reunion by M.D. Neu last of the 4 stories I had and I’m glad I did because I’m still thinking about it.  It’s beautifully written, I fell in love with the characters and the format in which the story is told is guaranteed to leave a chill in your heart and your mind running in circles.

I thought I knew where the author was going with the story and time after time, they proved me wrong.  And that ending….

Yes, this is a must read.  Grab it up now.  And let me know what you think!

Cover art by Natasha Snow is perfect.

Sales Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: October 23rd 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947904156
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Hula Dancers and Hauntings (Gabe Maxfield Mysteries #2.5) by J.C. Long

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5:

It’s Halloween time in Hawai’i and of course Gabe Maxfield is in business. Gabe owes lu’au owner Hiapo a favor (read Tiki Torches and Treasure to find out why!) so when weird things start happening at his lu’au, strange enough to frighten off his hula dancers, he comes to Gabe for help. Skeptical as always, Gabe steps into a creepy mystery where things are going missing or getting moved around and people are disappearing left and right. Can he solve the mystery before everyone he knows falls prey to the woods?

Hula Dancers and Hauntings (Gabe Maxfield Mysteries #2.5) by J.C. Long is one of a series of short stories being released by NineStar Press for Halloween and they are all just terrific.  In Hula Dancers and Hauntings (Gabe Maxfield Mysteries #2.5), J.C. Long takes us to Hawaii and an established couple, one of which has never been scared.  Oh Gabe watches horror movies with his lover and things of that nature but he’s never been truly frightened until a friend of theirs comes to his P.I. business needing to trade in a favor.

I won’t go any further.  J.C. Long does a really nice job with bringing in the Hawaiian culture, establishing the location and his people with the colloquialisms and local terms as necessary.  I liked his characters and he totally had me hooked with his premise.  I’ll say no more.  Great job and great story.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is a branding cover for all stories being collected for  the holiday by NineStar Press.

Sales Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 30 pages
Expected publication: October 23rd 2017 by NineStar Press
Original Title Hula Dancers and Hauntings
ISBN13 9781370101016

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Second Level by Drew Marvin Frayne

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The path to true love is never easy, especially when you are on opposite sides of the world’s greatest theological debate.

It’s Halloween, and the Demon of Masturbation—Dom, for short—has come to Earth to collect sins and souls for his boss. But a representative from the Interfering Angel Network—Ian—has been sent to put a crimp in his plans. Frankly, though, the two seem less interested in sins and souls than in the three bottles of tequila they down during the night. Alcohol can lower the inhibitions, but it also impacts judgment, and Dom and Ian soon find themselves in the world’s most awkward threesome with a young mortal virgin.

Forget battling for his soul—their real passion seems to be for each other. But Halloween night is waning fast, and the veil between the worlds is only lifted for one night. How can two beings from opposite sides come together when they know they are destined to forever be apart?

Second Level by Drew Marvin Frayne has to be one of my favorites simply because I laughed so much.  And it had such a neat twist at the end.  But mostly because of the humor and the wonderful characters.  Dom the Demon of Masturbation is priceless, especially when he’s musing on how beauty and body image has changed over the centuries.  What’s a short, chunky demon to do?

However, it’s in the swing towards poignancy towards the end where the depth of the story really kicks in and pulls at your heart, surprisingly so after sort of labeling the story a comedy.  No there’s more to this little gem than just that.  Read it and find out for yourself why I highly recommend it.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is again just perfect.

Sales Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: October 23rd 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947904101
Edition LanguageEnglish

Review: The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux

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Rating: 5 stars

When Dr. Wyatt Case admits to his best friend and co worker Noah Drake that he had been hiding under his desk rather than face the acting head of Board of Trustees of his museum about the low attendance, Noah suggests a lunch break to a new bar near their work.  Noah had met the bartender over their mutual love of old motorcycles and thought both the bar and the bartender were just his boss’s type.  The Gravedigger’s Brawl was situated in an old Victorian house in an area called The Fan and the minute Dr. Case enters the bar he feels an affinity for both the bar and intriguing bartender with the kohl ringed eyes called Ash Lucroix.  Ash with his Gaslight dress, finds the history professor with his leather patches and loafers adorable and just as intriguing in his absent minded professor sort of way.  The two men share a love of history,  and their attraction to each other grows every time they see one another.

But there are strange noises are starting to be heard from all corners of the bar, sounds coming from empty floors and things are happening at The Gravedigger’s Brawl that cannot be explained by old appliances and faulty wiring,  Then Ash falls and hits his head and no one believes his explanation about a strange man standing directly behind him. Their friends think it is just all the spooky Halloween decorations and stories they have been telling but Wyatt is not so sure.  His research leads to some disturbing things that happened in the house that is now the bar.  Can the evil Wyatt has read about be coming back to life?  The answer to that question might mean life or death to all involved at The Gravedigger’s Brawl.

Wow, what a wild, spooky ride Abigail Roux turned out and just in time for Halloween.  Abigail Roux delivers a loving tale of romance wrapped in the gossamer threads of a spider’s web of murder most historical, evil deeds and ghosts determined to live once more. Abigail Roux knows how to build a suspenseful atmosphere in her stories. And here she starts weaving the threads of ghostly happenings and otherworldly beings right from the start and the first bang heard from above. The author takes the usual mindset of the average person’s take on ghosts and hauntings  then gives that outlook to most of her characters. From that standpoint the author starts to play, and ups the anxiety level for each person as more and more unexplained things start to go wrong at the bar.  You know the drill, the uneasy laugh you might cough up as the floor squeaks above you and you try to remember where your friend was and when was the last time you saw them.  She plays on our logical disbelief on all things supernatural and then makes them a reality for all involved.  Are we scared close to the end for our favorite characters?  You betcha we are!

I just love the main characters here, a gang of six, actually four with two on the edges who vibrate with life lived very distinctly on their own terms.  Starting with Dr. Wyatt Case, a true absent-minded professor whose love affair with history and his museum has seen every other part of his life slide slowly into the dust.  He even has the suede jacket patches and loafers to prove it, good thing he is also cute and adorably naive when it comes to personal relationships.  Another thing in his favor, he has his best friend looking out for him.  That would be professor Noah Drake, lithe, handsome, intelligent and as socially active as his boss is static.  A meeting with a fellow motorcycle enthusiast who just happens to be a bartender at a bar owned by a man Noah has been dying to get to know better gives Noah the idea of a way to bring both couples together. The bartender would be Ash Lucroix, quirky, preferring his Gaslight inspired suspenders and matching tongue studs (hot, hot, hot) when performing his flair on top of the bar with Ryan, the other bartender. Ash’s ex boyfriends have not always measured up to his expectations and when his attraction to Wyatt turns into a relationship stumbling block for both of them, it is his nature that helps retrieve the situation, along with some very realistic groveling from Wyatt.  And throughout all the missteps, the arguments and very hot sex, I always felt that these two were real.  Their goofy, fumbling, drunken walk home had me in stitches because who hasn’t been there and done that, at least once.  And Abigail Roux  captured that beautifully in every hysterical detail.  Even when they were on the outs and their relationship shaky, it never felt less than authentic. There is also Caleb, the English, grumpy Goth that owns the bar and eventually Noah’s heart, Delilah in her leather corsets and hooker boots, and Ryan, into leather, whips and Delilah. One after another, great characters march across the page, spouting quick, snappy dialog and living life very much on their terms.  I loved them all and have a very new appreciation for tongue piercings.

And finally, there is historical Richmond where Abigail Roux lived for several years and the ghosts that haunt that region and beyond.  With Roux, the setting is always as almost as important as the characters themselves. The author’s intimate knowledge of the city and its settings adds so much flavor and ambience to the story that it acts almost like another character within the story. Ash’s apartment lives for us because Abigail Roux lived in such a one herself for two years.  And I have to admit I was desolate to find out that The Gravedigger’s Brawl was just a glorious figment of her imagination, so vividly did she describe it.  The ghostly tales and hauntings within the story, with few exceptions, are real as well, which is not surprising in an author as dedicated to doing her research as Abigail Roux.

I don’t know if The Gravedigger’s Brawl is a stand alone story or a start of something new.  The possibility of a new start gives rise to my hope that this is not the last we have heard of this quirky, wonderfully endearing group of six people.  Maybe if we get enough voices together we can see a haunting revival next Halloween.  In the meantime, gather your candy corn, eyeball chewing gum and all the ghostly accouterments and settle down with this wonderful book, perfect for Halloween or any time of the year.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Reese Dante gives us a wonderfully evocative cover, perfect for the story within.