Review: Amid the Winter Snow by Grace Draven, Thea Harrison, Elizabeth Hunter & Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

This anthology was a great mix of new worlds and familiar favorites for me.

In the Darkest Midnight is set loosely in the world of Grace Draven’s Wraith Kings, though this story stands up completely on its own. It follows young Jahna, a nobleman’s daughter with a sizable birthmark, who falls head over heels for her brother Sodrin’s instructor in swordsmanship. Radamir is a swordmaster of Ilinfan, a line renowned for its skill. He has committed to four years training Sodrin, but he is quickly taken by the intelligence and fortitude of the young woman derided by others for her appearance. It isn’t romantic between them, at first, as Jahna is only 15, but over time, they form a friendship and much later, it develops into something more. This is a very slow burn and I was a little put off at first by how long Jahna was too young for their relationship to take off. But Draven does a fantastic job crafting the longing Jahna feels for Radamir. By the time they got together, not only did I want it, I needed it to happen. Now that’s over, I’m still wanting more. [Read more…]

Review: Hamilton’s Battalion by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Jen

This anthology cashes in on the popularity of Hamilton with a trio of love stories against the backdrop of characters marginalized by race, religion, and sexuality. I haven’t seen the musical that has captured the hearts of so many, but you really don’t need to be familiar with it to understand what’s going on here. Eliza Hamilton is collecting stories from her husband’s soldiers after his death about their history with him. Hamilton, the Yorktown, and the Revolutionary are the threads that hold the novellas together. [Read more…]

Review: Thrones of Desire by Mitzi Szereto

Reviewed by Ronelle

Fire-breathing dragons, princesses, court drama, the fate of battles and kingdoms… everything that epitomizes fantasy is here. Paint those landscapes and scenarios with the best that erotica has to offer, and you get something both epic and blood-stirring. In these lush and timeless landscapes, the battle for flesh can be as important as the battle for power. Myth and legend reside here and good is not always the most attractive or captivating choice.

***

Every now and again, I get a hankering for something short and naughty (read: requires little time commitment but is still engaging). This usually happens when I get bored or stressed or have had a string of dud books. I then find myself browsing Audible’s erotica category and lamenting the lack of fantasy stories. In my most recent foray, I discovered Thrones of Desire and It. Was. Perfect. In fact, if the rest of his work is as good as this, Mitzi Szereto may have just jumped to the top of my list of favorite romance authors. [Read more…]

Review: No Shit, There I Was by lots of people

Reviewed by Ronelle

A fair number of crazy-but-usually-worth-hearing stories have started with “no shit, there I was…”. So someone got the bright idea to turn a group of speculative fiction authors loose on the phrase and this collection was the result. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole ‘speculative fiction’ thing, but I decided to give it a try and added it to my review list.

*several months later*

So no shit, there I was, sitting in a coffee shop, laughing my ass off and garnering weird looks from the other patrons. I might have snorted coffee up my nose at one point and a couple older ladies even moved to a table further away from me. If anyone who was in the Four Winds Coffee Shop in early January 2017 is reading this, you have my apologies for disturbing your java time.
[Read more…]

Review: A Real Man: Volume One by Jenika Snow

real-manReviewed by Shelly

All of the stories in this series are basically a porn script, absolute smut. The novellas are HEAVY on the sex and the dialogue screams porn. But I must say, the one thing I appreciated is that there’s no sexy time with anyone outside of the couple. Small victories folks, I’ll take them as much as I can get them. Snow does gave fair warning in all of these stories – it’s insta love/lust, everything is insta and zero conflict/drama. And of course, there’s tattoos, lots and lots of tattoos. [Read more…]

Review: Otherworld Chills by Kelly Armstrong

otherworld-chillsReviewed by Jen

Kelly Armstrong takes us back to the Otherworld for one more anthology featuring the characters we have grown to love. Many of these shorts have been previously published, but not all.  And several are set after the events of the final novel.

Brazen – This is a Nick novella set after 13. And I really enjoyed it. Here, Nick is on the hunt for Malcolm. He’s hired a team of supernatural mercenaries to help him with the job. But one of the agents gets too close and ends up on the wrong side of Malcolm’s muzzle. Nick has to team up with a member of merc unit to find the missing agent and continue the hunt for his former alpha. [Read more…]

Review: Dirty Work by Amanda Heger, Harper St. George & Tara Wyatt

dirty-workReviewed by Shelly

I occasionally read anthologies because there’s a single story that I’m interested in. I tend to usually stay away, because the majority of them are more of an intro to a story line with little to no story, just a day in the life of. For this anthology, I went all in because there are only 3 short stories and even more promising – all new to me authors. These are all stories of second chances. [Read more…]

Review: Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh

wild embraceReviewed by Jen

I’m such a fan of the Psy-Changeling series. This anthology gives us a peek into the lives of (mostly) secondary characters whose stories have been waiting to be told.

Echo of Silence – This story takes place early in the series timeline, after the second book, Visions of Heat, but if you’re worried about jumping that far back in the series, don’t. This story stands up completely on its own, and it may be my absolute favorite novella in the series. It harkens back to those early stories where the Psy are still holding tightly to Silence. And though our hero’s Silence is fractured, it’s a secret that could cost him his life. [Read more…]

Review: One For Sorrow by Pippa DaCosta

one for sorrowReviewed by Jen

Pippa DaCosta gives fans one last hurrah with the characters of the Veil series, in this little collection of short stories. It’s meant to be read after last novel in the series, and in the first two stories, shows that life goes on for Muse and her family even after the last big battle was won.

“One For Sorrow” gives us a slice of life for Muse as she hunts a lower-level demon who is more than she bargained for.  Her mission takes her into an old home of Akil’s and the events give us some insight to her current frame of mind and how she is dealing with the loss of her former mentor and friend. Ryder is in this one, too. It’s a little bittersweet, but ultimately shows us that Muse and her friends are going to be ok. [Read more…]

Review: There All Along by Lauren Dane and Megan Hart

there all alongReviewed by Jen

This two story anthology features novellas by Lauren Dane and Megan Hart. The blurb says they are set in futuristic worlds, though I felt like the Hart story had a more sci-fi feel, and Dane’s had a more Old West flavor.

Land’s End – Verity Coleman is tired of putting aside what she wants to please others. Married off to an abusive husband at the age of 14, becoming a widow was the best thing that ever happened to her. For the past few years, she has been nursing a crush on Loyal, the lawman who travels into town every few months. But she’s ready to act on her feelings and seize the opportunity to get out of the town that’s stifling her.

I liked Loyal. He’s not exactly the strong, silent type, but he’s close. He’s kind of a big gruff man who has never settled down, never had any roots. But he looks forward to the days he gets in the young widow’s company. He dreams of her. He wants her. But he thinks he’s no good for her. (One of my favorite tropes!) I really enjoyed watching her break down his resolve and seduce him into the kind of relationship they both wanted.

The story did drag for me at times. Occasionally, I was tempted to skim the narrative to get back to the parts where the romance was unfolding. Verity and Loyal had great chemistry, though. And their love scenes are smoking hot.

Rating: B/B-

By the Sea of Sand – I enjoyed this sci-fi romance story a bit more than the first novella. Set in another world, it focuses on Telia, a woman with a young son, who takes in wounded soldiers to heal. She thought she was a widow, until her latest soldier turns out to be her husband, Kason, who was taken by the enemy. The bad guys altered him somehow, suppressing his memories. And Talia can’t clue him in without possibly setting off an implanted trigger in his mind. Kason has to remember on his own, or the results could be disastrous.

The connection between them is clear and immediate, even without Kason’s memories. These two are hot together, which was great. More than that, though, I really felt how difficult it was for Talia to have her husband back, but as a different man. At the same time, Kason’s frustration was tangible… and anyone could see how much these two needed one another.

The danger plot with the aliens was ok. My only complaint about the story was that I felt the resolution was too easy after all the build-up. But that wasn’t enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

There All Along
by Lauren Dane and Megan Hart
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Berkley