An Alisa Review: Tortoise Interruptus by JL Merrow

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

tortoise-interruptus-by-jl-merrowCursed by an impatient witch to turn into a tortoise at inopportune moments, Tip is horrified to find himself tortoise-napped by a customer at the Isle of Wight cafe where he works.

 

Things start to look up when Tip ends up very literally in the capable hands of drop-dead gorgeous Steve, but Tip soon begins to wonder just how far he can trust Steve, who turns out to have a close connection with his kidnapper. Tip’s attempts at a normal life — and love life — seem doomed to remain frustrated in more ways than one!

 

Inspired by a real-life incident. Yes, really.

 

What a sweet and funny story.  Tip has been dealing with the fact that he can turn into a tortoise at any time after he was cursed by a witch.  It has really put a damper on his ability to live his life since he never has more than a few minutes notice.

 

We see Tip’s complete frustration at his situation and knowing there is nothing he can do about it.  When he changes back right in front of Steve he can’t believe his luck that the handsome man would want him.  Steve doesn’t care about the curse and is willing to be patient if it gets in the way, which it like a breath of fresh air to Tip’s most recent dating experiences.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is cute and catches your eye.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 33 pages

Published: January 28, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634862851

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: What the Cat Dragged In by Kate Steele

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

what-the-cat-dragged-in-by-kate-steeleAn owl and a pussycat? Seriously? Oh yeah. Seriously hot.

 

It’s a case of lust at first sight. The sizzle between Kyle and Bryan ignites into a passionate encounter with an unexpected result. Fun and games between this owl and lynx shifter are all well and good, but love? That’s more than either one expected, and, for this interspecies couple, may be the very thing that tears them apart.

 

This is a cute short story.  Kyle always runs when Bryan is around because he doesn’t know how Bryan will take his attraction.  When Bryan uses Kyle’s games against him things get interesting.

 

I loved how Bryan didn’t care about what others would think of their relationship and just went with being with the man he wanted.  Kyle has more doubts, but when he sees that Bryan won’t hold prejudices against him he opens up.  Both characters make mistakes which we see in their interactions, but want to do right by the other in the end .

 

Cover art by April Martinez is nice and is a standard “fling” cover for Loose Id.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 48 pages

Published: January 24, 2017 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682522943

Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: They Called Him Nightmare (2016 Daily Dose – A Walk on the Wild Side) by Deja Black

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

they-called-him-nightmareFrom the 2016 Daily Dose package – A Walk on the Wild Side

This short story is my first from this author, and I was pleasantly surprised by the story. It opens with high school student Alec assessing all the others in his class for who will taste the best. A young vampire, he has the ability to put people in thrall, so they have no idea he has had sex with them and drunk their blood. But when the young man nicknamed Nightmare is around, Alec loses his ability to think straight. He’s attracted to the boy whose real name is Kai, and when he reaches out and touches him, sparks literally fly. Both recoil from the shock, but Alec wants more and Kai, wanting nothing to do with Alec, disappears shortly after the encounter.

Flash forward ten years and Alec has finally found the location where Kai has been hiding from him all this time. Excited to finally set out to meet the man he feels attracted to, he has no idea that Kai’s mother, or at least the woman he calls mother, is dying of cancer but wants nothing more than to see her boy settled before she goes so is willing to help him get his man.

There’s much more, including some very good character development, considering the brevity of the story, and there’s a surprise in store for readers who are wondering what type of being Kai might be. Let’s just say he’s the last of his kind. When the two men come together this time, they ignite in passion and finally fulfill their destiny.

I really like this story as I said at the beginning of this review. It had all the ingredients of a longer story, including a unique otherworldly perspective, and I’m looking forward to more from this author in the future.

Catt Ford is the cover artist for this series and this particular cover shows a figure in the center of a clearing lit by bright blue light and surrounded by wild animals in a darker shadowed border. It’s very appealing.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 26 pages
Published June 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775023 (ISBN13: 9781634775021)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series2016 Daily Dose – A Walk on the Wild Side
CharactersKai Bennu, Alec Vasilios settingSouth Carolina (United States)

A Lila Review: Guardian by Jordan Taylor

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5                   

GuardianGavin lives a serene and routine life. He has no friends, and his only contact is with co-workers or acquaintances he sees over the week, during his day-to-day activities. Even when he doesn’t know of his existence, his Guardian is always with him. Trying to console him, to love him, and bring him joy.

Unfortunately, he’s not able to touch Gavin or influence his decisions. Just like the Guardian, we follow Gavin around and see, through his eyes, how Gavin lives. We experience Gavin’s depression and the Guardian’s love and desperation to make his protectee life brighter.

When the Guardian asks for help to manifest as a human, his request is granted. For the next twenty-four hours, he had the chance to meet face-to-face with Gavin and explore what he always wanted. As the time counts down, Gavin will realize that what he wants might not be what Gavin needs.

Guardian is a beautiful short story about the true meaning of love. It’s a none traditional romance, but lovely on its own right. I’m not going to spoil the twists and turns that give this story its uniqueness. I’d only say that it’s different than the blurb description.

The author did an excellent job bringing to life the Guardian’s feelings and Gavin’s misery. Also, with the changes in Gavin’s life. They were slow but significant. There’s some humor together with the pain and angst.

It takes some time to get used to the Guardian’s POV and the omniscient narration, but overall, it works well. The story is compelling enough to make the reader fall for the characters and pull them into reading faster to see what happen next.

The cover seems too severe for the story, but it matches Gavin’s state of mind at the beginning of the story. It has an old London feel, but more Gothic than contemporary.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 42 pages
Published: March 7, 2016, by NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781911153146
Edition Language: English

Its all Romance and Killers with ‘Conversation Hearts’ by Avon Gale (excerpt and giveaway)

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Conversation Hearts

Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist Aaron Anderson

Release Date: February 10, 2016
Goodreads Link

 

Blurb

It’s Valentine’s Day, and grad student–and male escort–Levi Barron expects to spend his evening with a client who’s paying him for his services in bed… not an assassin who needs to borrow the view from his hotel room in the morning.

With nothing to do but endure the company of his unwanted guest, Levi and the assassin, Sinjin, spend some time bonding over HGTV, minibar beverages, Flannery O’Connor short stories, terrible Valentine’s candy, and the necessity of lying about their jobs.

Their evening takes an unexpected turn when they decide to indulge in their mutual attraction, and in the morning Levi doesn’t know if he’s spent the night with a hired killer or a hydraulic engineer with a very specific fantasy. Either way, the two have enough chemistry–in and out of bed–that Levi isn’t sure one night with Sinjin will be enough.

And a message left in candy suggests the feeling is mutual.

Buy Links:

Excerpt

IF GIVEN a choice, Levi Barron would definitely prefer to have been stood up, rather than have a gun pointed at his head.

His client for the evening was already two hours late, and just when it looked like Levi would be spending Valentine’s Day reading some poorly articulated thoughts of college freshmen about Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, he heard the unmistakable sound of a door opening. Levi put a bit more Southern in his Georgia accent as he went to meet his client—only to find himself greeting the business end of a gun.

“Well,” the guy said, sighing. “This is awkward.”

Levi couldn’t seem to breathe. He’d heard stories about this kind of thing happening (and he’d maybe, once or twice, watched a few similar-yet-sexy versions of this exact scenario on RedTube), but the reason Levi’s agency rented a room in a luxury hotel in downtown Nashville wasn’t just for client comfort.

It was also so that Levi and his colleagues didn’t end up robbed or sold into sex slavery.

“I don’t have any money,” Levi said immediately, raising his hands even though the man hadn’t told him to do anything with them. “The agency handles all of the financial transactions. Even, uh, gratuity.”

That Levi was a poor graduate student in American Literature being robbed at gunpoint was sort of hilariously depressing.

The guy lowered the gun. “What? I’m not here to rob you, for fuck’s sake.”

Oh God. Suddenly being a sex slave didn’t sound as appealing as those videos implied it would be. “Are you going to kidnap me and sell me to a sex dungeon?”

Worst. Valentine’s. Day. Ever.

“Are those actually real? I thought they just existed on RedTube.” The gunman, dressed in black with equally dark hair and eyes, looked kind of like Edgar Allan Poe. Only without the creepy mustache.

Levi couldn’t believe this was really happening. At some point he expected cameras and a television reveal, followed in a few days by an uncomfortable meeting with the English department about his choice in part-time jobs.

“Are you going to kill me?”

The man grimaced. “I’d rather not. Look, I just need to borrow the window for a few minutes in the morning. No reason anyone has to die.” The man paused. “Anyone other than the… never mind.” He set something down on the ground. Either the guy was going to pull a violin out of there and serenade Levi, or it was a rifle case.

Rifle case. Windows. Gun. Shady guy dressed in black, skulking around and breaking into hotel rooms.

Levi’s uninvited guest was an assassin.

“You’re going to kill someone on Valentine’s Day?” Levi made a face, even as he backed away and glanced anxiously toward the window. “That’s awful. What are you, evil Cupid?”

“Technically I’m not going to kill anyone until tomorrow,” quoth the raven. His voice went flat and cold. “But if you keep asking me questions, I might change my mind. Now sit down and let me think.”

Levi sat.

About the Author

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Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Find Avon:

@Facebook||   @avongalewrites.com||  @twitter || bourbon and candy (avon’s mailing list)

Giveaway

Win a copy of Conversation Hearts!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Dreamspinner Press

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The Holiday Romance Fun Continues with Catherine Lievens’ ‘Benoit’s Christmas Surprise’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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BenoitsSurpriseChristmasFS

Benoit’s Surprise Christmas by Catherine Lievens
Release Date: January 20, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Blurb

Belgium expat Benoit Girault has only worked in the administrative department of Toys for All in Milwaukee for a few short months, but it’s long enough for him to miss everyone back home and to fall for coworker Jake Manning—not that Jake ever notices him. Or so Benoit thinks.

Jake notices Benoit all right, but he doesn’t want to risk mixing business with pleasure, not when it could create problems in the office. So when Jake’s friend and boss, Randall, tells him to team up with Benoit to organize a Saint Nicholas party, he’s less than thrilled. But as they work together and Jake nurses Benoit through an illness, he realizes some people might be worth risking it all for.

 

Pages or Words: 50 pages
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance

Excerpt

YOU WANT me to do what?”

Jake’s boss smiled at him as if he were asking nothing much—the bastard. Randall knew exactly what he was doing, just like he knew Jake would react like he did. He hated parties, and everyone in the office knew it.

“Organize a party for the new clients.”

“Janet usually organizes the parties.”

“She’s busy with another contract. The Belgian clients are yours, Jake. It seems obvious to me that you should be the one in charge of this.”

“But I don’t know anything about the saint you’re talking about.”

“You have enough time to learn something about him and about the Belgian traditions that go with it.”

“You can’t do this to me, Randall. Please. I’m already busy with this new contract. I don’t have time to organize a party.”

“The clients were delighted when I told them there would be a party.”

Jake gaped at his boss. “You told them?”

“Of course. When Mr. Leblanc said he was bringing his wife and son along, I just knew we had to do something for the kid.”

“Someone could take him to the zoo,” Jake muttered.

“Jake, we’re a toy company. Why would we take a kid to the zoo?”

“It’s not like we actually have the toys in this office. That’s what the stores are for.”

Randall set his jaw and narrowed his eyes. He obviously wasn’t going to be swayed by Jake’s protests. But what about pleading? “Randall, I just don’t have the time to do everything on my own, especially if you want a kiddie party.”

“That’s why Benoit is going to help you.”

Buy the book

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance (ARe)

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Meet the Author:

Catherine Lievens has always loved books. She’s not sure how she managed to marry a man who doesn’t read, but she deals with it and buys enough books for both of them. Just ask him—he frequently wonders if the books on her shelves mate with each other to produce new ones. She never told him it’s only her buying more books.

After brushing up her English to graduate in English language and translation, she decided to put it to good use and write the characters she always dreamt of. She likes writing about creatures people say don’t exist, like shifters and harpies, because her life’s too boring to write about what she knows, and she always wanted to be a cat anyway.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, The Hat Party, Man2ManTastic, Havan Fellows, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Jessie G. Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Mikky’s World of Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Alpha Book Club, A.M. Leibowitz, Kathymac Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter, Inked Rainbow Reads, Book Lovers 4Ever, Molly Lolly, Louise Lyons, Anna Butler Fiction, Velvet Panic

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 2 copies of the e-book.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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A Stella Review: THE UGLIEST SWEATER by Gillian St. Kevern

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Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

The Ugliest SweaterDan’s favourite festive sweater is so ugly, it’s cost him not one but three boyfriends and sent him back to his parents’ place for the third Christmas in a row. About to give up hope of ever having a Christmas date, Dan meets Jake, a hot guy with a rock and roll edge. Jake is infatuated with Dan’s sweater but vanishes before Dan can decide if Jake is for real or really in need of an eye-check. After all, no one has ever liked the sweater.

Dan’s sweater is rocketed to national attention, when Jake’s radio colleagues launch a hunt for the mystery man in the hideous jumper. Dan jumps at the chance to meet Jake again, and they hit it off in a big way, to the accompaniment of intimate gigs, exclusive clubs, and the paparazzi. Dan falls hard, but despite obvious mutual attraction, Jake refuses to take him back to his apartment. Is the relationship real – or a ratings stunt? After all, Jake has a reputation for cool that Dan, a lowly gym instructor, could never approach. Is a fondness for tacky Christmas clothing the only thing they have in common? Or does uber-cool Jake hide a Christmas secret of his own?

“Have you lost your goddamn mind?”

“That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” Dan looked down at himself. “It’s only a sweater.”

Aston snorted. “That is ‘only a sweater’ the same way the Titanic was a bit of a wreck.”

Dan forced a laugh. “You can’t compare a sweater to an actual tragedy.”

“That sweater is an actual tragedy. Honestly, Dan. Have you gone blind?”

I honestly can say this story disappointed me a little, maybe my hopes were too high, because I fell in love with the gorgeous cover and then I read the blurb and thought The Ugliest Sweater could be original and sweet. What I got was a lovely reading with cute characters (main and secondary too) but nothing more. Even in stories so short, I need some characters’ background or just an epilogue to see where the relationship has gone after the first sex night together. While here I got none. As a matter of fact, the ending felt to me rushed and very unexpected, I turned page on my kindle and there was the author’s bio. It was frustating.

That said, if I try and forget about these things, I had a good holiday story, sweet and fluffy. I was looking for a light book because  I was coming from a heavy reads, and The Ugliest Sweater was perfect, it took my mind away from dark places and filled it with colors and gingerbread smells.

Plus the cover art by Aria Tan caught my attention at first sight. It’s super cute and adorable.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published December 14th 2015 by NineStar Press
isbn13 9781911153108
Edition Language English

 

A Stella Advent Story Review: Hearth and Home (Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar) by E.T. Malinowski

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Hearth and Home coverThistle is a sweet elf with a kind heart. He tries his best to help all the other elves in Santa’s workshop. Unfortunately, Thistle tends to leave disaster in his wake despite his good intentions. He dreams of finding an elf who will love him in spite of his clumsiness, an elf he can make a home for. But what elf wants to live in constant peril? Thistle figures he should just stick with his anonymous treat baskets, especially where Bayberry, Santa’s production manager, is concerned.

Bayberry is a bit of a serious elf. A little distant from most of the North Pole crew, Bayberry is lonely. When another Thistle Incident occurs, pushing the production department behind schedule only a few weeks before Christmas, Bayberry gets a “suggestion” from The Big Guy to ask Thistle for help. What could an accident-prone elf do to assist him? But to Bayberry’s surprise, he might gain more than help with his monthly reports.

I picked this short story by E.T. Malinowski because I read Kai for Christmas last year and I liked it very much. So I was curious about her new story for the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Thistle is the sweetest and helpful elf ever with a little problem, his clumsiness. He’s able to fall on nothing and breaks anything.  He’s trying so hard to be handy in Santa’s workshop, especially with his amazing baked sweets. And then one day, his crush and manager asks for Thistle help. Bayberry is the only one who believes he’s not a trouble but a fascinating young man. This new closeness will bring them to finally open their eyes and find a mate.

Hearth and Home is really adorable and well written, I found myself in a world full of holiday scents, with great characters and one of the cutest elves I’ve read about. This story won me over for its sweetness, it’s my soft spot I know. More, it was evocative and magical. And the sex was hot.

If you’re looking for something to warm your heart in these cold days, this short is for you.

The cover art by Bree Archer is simple and fitting. Well done but I would have preferred something different, magical and colorful as the story is.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 56 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RSIP58
edition languageEnglish
seriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Somewhere to Be by Amy Yip

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryJamie Goh’s life took a downturn when he lost his job, and a bad relationship left him disillusioned and afraid to trust again. But his friends and family want to see him happy, even if he’s turned off by the idea of dating. Following a Christmas disaster that proves the UK really can’t handle snow, Jamie discovers not everyone is out to hurt him—and loyalty means something to some people—when a sweet guy goes above and beyond for him.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

Amy Yip uses every bit of her 37 pages to layer in Jamie’s multi racial family, his wonderful mixture of cultures, Dad from Chinese Malay, Mum from Devon and his speech a natural polyglot of both. It flows so beautifully as we grasp the depth of Jamie’s broken heart, his fear of moving forward and the joy that  meeting Nick brings him.

Somewhere to Be by Amy Yip is one of those stories that is bigger than its pages.  You get the feeling of place, Brighton in winter, grey seas, empty beaches, punishing winds and yet, Jamie loves it. Yip gives you Jamie’s marvelous Goh family, a takeout Chinese food business and combines it with two men trying for common ground and perhaps a future together.  Its realistic, beautifully described and full of heart.  And I wanted more at the end of the story.  I wanted a place at the table and to be a part of their holiday celebration.  You will too.  Grab this story up and join in the romance and wonder as well.

Advent Cover by Paul Richmond.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ndle Edition, 37 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RSHF5E
edition languageEnglish
seriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

 

A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Fireworks and Resolutions by Leandra Dohman

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StorySomething big happened at the office Christmas party between Joseph and Carter, his coworker and ultimate crush. Too bad Joseph doesn’t remember it. Now, it’s New Years Eve, and Joseph finds himself locked in the bathroom with Carter. Joseph doesn’t understand why his natural confidence fizzles out whenever Carter is around, but the man reduces him to an awkward mess. If he can just find the courage to be himself, there might be more fireworks in his future than the ones they watch from the balcony.

Fireworks and Resolutions by Leandra Dohman is short, cute and very like a Christmas sugar cookie. Its very much like you would expect and yet you are so happy to see it and it tastes so good.

Leandra Dohman  takes the holiday office party and gives it a sweet happy ending instead of the smarmy, regretful one it normally gets.  Cute and awkward meets tall and handsome but it works, you find it sweet and adorable and yes, the ending is full of fireworks.

I liked the characters, the scenes really do move very quickly and the story is over in a snap or should that be in a blink of an eye.  If you like holiday stories, you will like this little romance.

Cover notes are not included unless the cover is different from the generic one done by Paul Richmond.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769648
edition languageEnglish
series Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar