Review: Naughty Phantasia by various authors

Reviewed by Ronelle

I’ll start this review by stating that I did not finish all the stories, either because they didn’t interest me (“Valentine”, “How the Alien Stole Christmas”) or because I found the plot/characters unappealing (“Alien Rights”, “The Ghosts of Substation #69”). Overall, though, I enjoyed the collection and appreciated the variety. Some of the stories put more focus on external plot, while some focused almost exclusively on romance/sex.

Rather than go over each story individually, here are some of my favorites/notables from the Naughty Phantasia anthology:

WEAPON OF CHOICE by Katherine Kingston

Selvya’s gift for controlling fire made her a weapon in the hands of unscrupulous men. The king’s commander offers a chance for revenge and redemption, but it’s a risk she’s not sure she can take. [Read more…]

Review: A Crazy Little Spring Called Love by various authors

Reviewed by Ronelle

A collection of fantasy and paranormal romance shorts all revolving around the theme of spring. The heat level varies, as do the settings and time periods. Also, I’m presenting these in the order I read them, as my ARC didn’t actually auto-start at the first story for some reason. I’ll also stress that this was an advance copy, so hopefully some of my complaints will have been addressed in the final publication. [Read more…]

Review: Midsummer Delights: A Short Story Collection by Eloisa James

Reviewed by Jen

This short anthology consists of just three stories, all by Eloisa James, followed by a teaser, so there’s only about 65 e-pages of content here. As a result, none of the offerings is really developed.

The first short is A Midsummer Night’s Disgrace. Here, Cecilia has suffered through two failed seasons and has decided to risk her reputation by wearing a shocking red dress to a musical performance at a duchess’ house party. Cecilia’s been ignored by the gentlemen because her brother had been dropped on his head as a baby and is now mentally disabled. The men fear the disability will run in the family. Anyway, Cecilia is taken with the pianists and deems to ruin herself with him. Only, there is more to the musician than meets the eye.

This is five chapters long and suffers from a ferocious case of insta-love. The hero and heroine haven’t seen each other since childhood and they end up engaged after a dance and a handful of words exchanged in a matter of hours. [Read more…]

Review: For Crown and Kingdom by Grace Draven and Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve really enjoyed Jeffe Kennedy’s Twelve Kingdom books, and it was an anthology that led me to it. Imagine how excited I was to see this story nestled in another anthology with one of the same authors who took part in Amid the Winter Snow! I was already a Grace Draven fan, thanks to Wraith King series, so I’m always down to read something else from her.

Let’s start with the Kennedy short. The Crown of the Queen is a novella told from Dafne’s point of view, but be forewarned, this is not a romance. (I think that comes in the next book.) Instead, this is like an extended epilogue to The Talon of the Hawk. It takes place immediately after Ursula took the life of her father, the king. Dafne has been hanging out in Annfwn for the past few weeks, but when she gets to Ordnung, Ursula still has not been crowned High Queen. The entire story follows Dafne’s efforts to guide Ursula through the process of taking the throne. [Read more…]

Review: If the Fates Allow (An LGBTQ Romance Anthology)

Reviewed by Joanna

This anthology features Christmas shorts from a number of LGBTQ+ authors. All festive, romantic and in most cases super sweet.

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Must Be a Real Tree by Killian B. Brewer

Marcus works in a small-town diner. He loves his job, his boyfriend Hank, who’s the local mechanic, and he adores his deceased grandmother’s interfering friends. As Marcus never knew a traditional Christmas, he’s determined to make this year perfect. Suspecting Hank is going to propose, Marcus freaks out, and his grandmother’s friends only make it worse by giving him too much advice on exactly how to perfect his proposal scenario. [Read more…]

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…]