My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a wonderful anthology this was to read. The stories are sweet and light, many of the characters, adorable in their bad-luck, clumsiness.
The anthology starts with No Wrong Turns by Lisa A. Adams — a story where the main character is just starting out on her own. Leaving the protections of home and family to strike out and hopefully succeed. Like all the stories in this anthology, a series of vehicular mishaps and a lost wallet bring the MCs, Jessica and Sean together. Adorable.
Falling for You by Michelle Ziegler is the tale of a single lady, Darci, who has the worst luck imaginable finding a suitable match in the world of online profiles and blind dates. Of all the stories, this one held the most humor, and there were places where I found myself nodding in agreement or laughing out loud. A fun read.
Coffee and Cufflinks was probably my favorite of the bunch. Being an office geek, I was able to really enjoy this story about the corporate world and dealing with a client who is less than ideal. The studly water bearing hero, Daren, sounds yummy!!
A Slippery Slope — I will reserve my thoughts on this one, as I wrote it under my mainstream pen name. Suffice to say, it is good 😛
The anthology closes with The Shamrock Incident by London Saint James, the perfect ending to this sweet collection. With the main character working in her florist shop during the St. Paddy’s Day rush, Marissa and Treys lives literally crash together, and the romance begins to fly. I really enjoyed the authentic feel of this story, and I really felt connected to the main character, Marissa. Excellent writing, and a wonderful ending — to the story, and the anthology.
I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys quirky, real feeling romance stories written on the sweet side. And, I am happy to report the heat rating on this one is low enough I was actually able to recommend it to my mother. Hooray!
Jessica Brannah is escaping from her last heartbreak with a loaded car and a new address. But, when Murphy’s Law finds her stranded in a back country town, she realizes there’s no outrunning love.
Falling For You by Michelle Ziegler
Darci’s ready to move on. Too bad the dating pool stinks. Until, a ghost from her past resurfaces—the man she missed out on in college.
Andrew was the one man she’d always loved, but neither of them ever made a move. But, old feelings aren’t the only thing resurfacing of late. Darci’s ex comes crawling back at the most inappropriate time, and with all the testosterone flying, she might not end up with either man.
Coffee and Cufflinks by Annabelle Blume
Fresh out of a failed relationship and exhausted by a constant barrage of fiascos at work, Olivia Johnson doesn’t see the man of her dreams standing right in front of her. She tells herself the morning coffee meet-ups with Daren are nothing but coincidence, but even she can’t deny his unequivocal attractiveness. When a night entertaining clients takes a turn for the worst, and Daren shows up where she least expects him, failure starts to look more like fate.
A Slippery Slope by Rebecca Hart
Anne Montgomery is psyched for her girl’s only weekend, despite her friends’ choice of vacation locale—the snowy slopes of Harris Peak Ski Resort—where someone as notoriously accident prone as she has no business being. When Murphy’s Law finally catches up with her, Anne is forced to consider there may be times when it pays to be unlucky.
The Shamrock Incident by London Saint James
Florist, Marissa Carmichael isn’t usually a klutz, but she’s in a hurry and having a bad day. In her haste, she loses her balance and tumbles from the back room of her shop, arms flailing. Her less than graceful entrance halted by a headfirst crash into a display case chock full of silk flowers.
Trey Cleary didn’t think his day could get any worse, until he finds. himself picking the side view mirror of his BMW up from the ground. On a mission to do something about it, he locates the flower shop matching the name on the back of the van that mangled his ‘baby’. But, his car is forgotten when a beautiful woman bursts into the room like an out of control whirling dervish, and takes one mother of a wipeout into the shop’s counter. Coming to her aid brings out the hero in him like no one he’s ever encountered, and leaves him with a need to know more.
For Marissa and Trey, this just might be the one time it pays to be unlucky.
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Welcome back. I know I have been a bit MIA lately, but I have good reason — writing. Can’t fault me there, right?
Anyway, before I get off on a tangent about my absence, let’s get to why I am posting today.
Fellow Inkspell author and friend, Annabelle Blume has a new release out — the newest installment of her Outlier Chronicles series, and I was lucky enough to score a review ARC. Here is what I thought about it. (From Goodreads)
I was really excited to get a chance to read and review this one, as I enjoyed the first story, Frozen Heart so much. In this one, we get to see what happens with Beckett and Cressie (and the dogs) after they decide to abscond from the Affinity together. I don’t do review spoilers, so I will stay away from the plot for the sake of this review. However, I will say that I really loved where the author took this follow-up tale, deciding to pick up on a mention in the first book of Cressie’s parents.
I really think it would make a nice novel, but the novella length matches nicely with the first installment of the tale, and the storyline didn’t feel rushed by the length, so I am content with the way it came off.
The descriptions are stellar and the characters strong and true to what I expected from them based on the first story. Even the dogs are perfectly portrayed and oh so lovable in their protectiveness. This is definitely one to pick up, especially if you read the first story in the series.
Would love to see more stories revolving around the Affinity and the “Collective”. Maybe something that goes more into the reasons for the strict rules and strange breeding laws they have adopted. The society that Cressie and Beckett survive in is one that has me infinitely curious.
A great tale for an evening of reading! I highly recommend this one.
Now that I’ve told you all what I think about it, let me give you all the juicy release details…
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Two lovers face off against a government determined to keep them apart. It’s only brave if it’s hard.
After a decade of being alone in the wilderness, Cressenda is still adjusting to life with the man of her dreams. When Beckett hatches a plan to break her parents out of The Affinity prison work camps, Cressenda must make the biggest sacrifice of her life; trading her freedom for her parents’. Cressenda’s fortitude is tested at every turn, from surviving the conditions of West Fallen work camp to believing in Beckett’s dedication to their plan and their love, even when it looks like all hope is lost. With the help of a unlikely ally, Cressenda learns to stop fighting against her fears and embrace the power of fighting for her dreams.
Will trusting Beckett to take down The Affinity be the ultimate show of faith or a fatal mistake?
Annabelle is a Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy Romance author, that is, when she’s not checking homework or begrudgingly cooking dinner. Wife, mother, and creator of alternate worlds, Annabelle has a penchant for that which is outside the norm.
Her Sociology degree has given her the ability to construct worlds that exist only in her head and translate them passionately to the page. The time spent studying individuals, interpersonal relationships, and particularly, women, within the constraints of our society led to Annabelle’s unabashed ability to talk about sex as it fits into our modern lives.
She’s also the author/personality of The Bombshell Mommy at Vitacost.com, where she expounds her knowledge of being a vixen clad in sweatpants.
A serial book monogamist, Annabelle is deeply devoted to the literary love of her life until the next amazing book falls into her clutches and she obsesses anew.
* * * * *
To top it all off, Ms. Blume has been kind enough to offer a great giveway as part of the Release Tour. This is a rafflecopter giveaway, so I cant show it here (stupid WordPress) — but I can give you the link!
Make sure to enter to win one of 15 e-Copies of MELTED TEARS
I really enjoyed this erotic paranormal short story. It had a bit of everything — suspense, magic, romance, a dash of dark. Oh, yeah, and did I mention BDSM? You all know how I feel about that. 🙂
I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, so I won’t get into the plot, but I will say that I thought the storyline was unique and well written. Ms. Kande gives the characters dimension and life.
Would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a BDSM romance, and for me, all the better because it had elements of the paranormal as well. A Win/Win.
Will have to check out more from this author.
**Received a copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.
Since this is a NA title, I thought some of you might be interested in this title, and the review done by my “alter-ego”. Enjoy!
Blurb: Isaac Laroche is cursed. All he wants to do is hide out and feel sorry for himself. Never mind that he got caught sleeping with his seventeen-year-old piano student, or that he abandoned her when the truth was exposed.
Isaac’s feisty high school sweetheart has different plans. Heather Swann has returned to their hometown of Mobile, Alabama, to regroup after breaking up with her troll of a fiancé. She’s restless and looking for a diversion, but she bites off more than she can chew when she sets her sights on rehabilitating Isaac with her unorthodox sexual, mental, and physical plans.
The two quickly reconnect, but their happiness is threatened by family secrets, old vendettas and the death of a beloved father-figure.
Can Heather handle Isaac’s baggage, or will her own come back to haunt them both?
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars for this decidedly…
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Sacrificial Oath – Terri Rochenski (4 Stars)
After reading the entire anthology, I really feel this story is the perfect place to start out from. The story has a strong fable feel to it and I can definitely see where the cover image inspired the story. Some great references to the red so prevalent in the image throughout the tale. The well-written story follows the MC, Alesuela as she comes to grips with the sacrifice she has to make for the good of her father, the King, and their people. I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, so I wont give more plot detail than that, but I will say the internal conflict was well done, and Alesuela’s emotions really shine through. Overall, I would have preferred a bit more “action”, but this tale seemed to be more morality “fairy tale” based than most fantasy, which was a nice change of pace.
The Amulet of Ormisez – J. Keller Ford (4 Stars)
As most of you know, I am a huge fan of selkie tales, so I had a special place in my heart for this story. Like the opening tale, this one was set in a more traditional historical fantasy backdrop and focused on the story of two brothers, Elton and Cayden Fletcher. The author does a tremendous job with the characterizations of the two brothers, and as a reader, I felt drawn into the conflict unfolding and invested in the characters and their journey. The ending sweet and the potential relationship for Elton was a nice touch, though I did feel everything worked out a little too perfectly and fortuitously. Overall, a satisfying little story.
Birthright – Lynda R. Young (4 stars)
The third story in the anthology was decidedly different from the previous two, with a more “supernatural” feel to it, which was a nice surprise for me. The story held my attention and I was intrigued by the mystery of Christa’s heritage from beginning to end. I did feel some of the events in the story went a bit too quickly for me to really “believe” it, and I think I might have liked this one a little more had it been a bit longer and the story more drawn out. The author could have easily made this one into a satisfying novel, in my opinion.
Petrified – Kelly Said (4.5 Stars)
I really enjoyed this tale snuggled at the center of the anthology. Kelly Said does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the world of her main character, a young healer named Locklyn. Here is another story in the anthology I think could have easily been made longer, mostly because the world building was so strong, the intrigue so intense, I wanted to know more about the world the author introduced to us here. I also felt the romantic relationship progressed a bit swiftly for my tastes, but the way the rest of the story was weaved more than made up for that small shortcoming. Plus, I just love me a strong female lead 🙂
Last Winter Red – Jennifer M. Eaton (5 Stars)
I think this has to be my favorite story in the book. I really enjoyed the more dystopian feel to this one, and I found the twist up at the end to be just perfect for the tale. It is rare to find a good dystopian in short form as there is generally so much world building necessary to really pull it off well. In this instance, I found the back story to be just enough to keep me intrigued and wondering while not boring me with useless details for the sake of story length. I would be interested in reading more about this world Ms. Eaton creates for us in this one.
Escort To Insanity – J.A. Belfield (5 stars)
The final tale in this anthology comes from the author of the Holloway Pack series, J.A.Belfield, and the story contains all the things I have come to expect from Ms. Belfield’s writing. The main character, Cole (short for Nicole) decides to hire an escort to take her to a party she doesn’t really want to attend. While this short does not involved the famed Holloway pack, it does involve shifters. The action and suspense were nicely peppered throughout the story and the voice is spot on. I really enjoyed this one despite thinking I would miss the focus of the story being on Jem and Sean from the Pack. A great ending to the anthology!
Let me start by saying I really loved the cover of this erotic short when I had the opportunity to check it out recently. I have a weakness for men in aprons and an obsession with Gordon Ramsey, so this one really piqued my interest.
I was not disappointed. The story follows culinary disaster, Elle Connor to a cooking class run by a the owner of BITE, a very popular local restaurant. Kevin also happens to host a local TV cooking segment that Elle is obsessed with — and not because she cares anything about cooking.
I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, so I will stay away from the broader plot points and stick to my overall impressions. I found the dialog witty and the relationship between Elle and Kevin sweet and steamy in all the right places. While I think the story could have used a bit more in the way of tightening through the editing process, I found the author’s voice appealing and the characters likable and “real”.
A great steamy short perfect for a single sitting with enough romance and steam to keep this erotic romance dish tasty and satisfying.
I would preface this review by stating that I have not read a great deal of dystopian fiction, nor am I a huge fan of futuristic tales, but Charlinder’s Walk wasn’t quite what I expected it would be going into the novel. The story is presented with a more fantasy feel, than a sci-fi futuristic style, which I did appreciate and respond well to.
Charlinder’s walk is the tale of a teacher in 2130, Charlinder, who decides to embark on a journey to learn the origins of the plague that ravaged the planet in 2012. He is rather unprepared for what he might find, but intent to learn all he can about the past and the causes of the plague with the hope he, and his people may find a way to keep it from happening again.
Ms Miers writing style is easy to read and understand, while not losing any of it’s descriptive qualities. Some of the longer diary sequences in the novel I found a bit distracting — not for their content or the times when the author breaks to them, but the large sections of italics text were a little tough on my eyes and I found each time they popped up, I was jarred a bit from the depths of the tale and had to work my way back into it.
Im not one to post spoilers in my reviews, so I won’t go heavy into the plotline, but would state that the story explores Charlinder’s voyage to adulthood in a world much bigger than he’d ever expected when he started his trek. It also touches on religious ideals, gender roles, and holistic healing methods. All interesting stuff.
I would suggest Charlinder’s Walk without reservation to any dystopian fiction fans, or anyone interested in a well written coming of age tale with some really interesting and unique plot twists.
Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Charlinder’s Walk? Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Charlinder’s Walk tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I can’t host Rafflecopter here, but visit the Official Tour Page to enter.
Alyson Miers was born into a family of compulsive readers and thought it would be fun to get on the other side of the words. She attended Salisbury University, where she majored in English Creative Writing for some reason, and minored in Gender Studies. In 2006, she did the only thing a 25-year-old with a B.A. in English can do to pay the rent: joined the Peace Corps. At her assignment of teaching English in Albania, she learned the joys of culture shock, language barriers and being the only foreigner on the street, and got Charlinder off the ground. She brought home a completed first draft in 2008 and, between doing a lot of other stuff such as writing two other books, she managed to ready it for publication in 2011. She regularly shoots her mouth off at her blog, The Monster’s Ink, when she isn’t writing fiction or holding down her day job. She lives in Maryland with her computer and a lot of yarn. Connect with Alyson on her website,blog, Facebook,Twitter or GoodReads.
Get Charlinder’s Walk on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
My rating: 3,5 of 5 stars
3.5 stars for a unique, romantic, modern day tale with an almost fairy tale feel.
After my first foray into Tiffany Reisz’ writing with SEVEN DAY LOAN, I thought I knew what to expect with IMMERSED IN PLEASURE. I was pretty wrong. Where the former was dark and sultry, this short was sweet and light.
I’ve not read a Spice Brief before, so I don’t know if they are all about the same length, but this was a bit short for me to really sink myself into the characters enough to be emotionally vested in whether or not the main characters, Derek and Xenia actually “make it”. More sweet and romantic than sultry or erotic, I think the length may have done a disservices to the readers investment in the characters. Despite that, this was a well spent hour or two and I enjoyed the twist on the traditional Little Mermaid tale.
I loved Fathoms, and quite frankly would love to visit a club like that at some point in my lifetime. I could totally see there being a ritzy themed club like that in LA or NYC.
I’d have given it a solid 4 stars, if not for the super short length to it, as Tiffany Reisz’ ability to weave words is something I, as an author aspire to.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
3.5 of 5 stars
House of Order may be one of the more gripping, interesting and unusual collections of short stories I have ever read. I have to admit, it took me a little while to “get into” the book, as the MC, Manito, uses quite a bit of Spanish in the stories. It has been far too long since I have read any Spanish, so that held me at arms length for a bit.
Once I got past the feeling of being on the outside looking in, I was able to really sink myself into these short tales as narrated by Manito’s uncle, Neto.
John Paul Jaramillo paints a bleak, but vivid picture of the harshness of Hispanic life after the steel industry closes down. I really like the style he uses — a minimalistic approach as it were, telling and showing us so much with so few words. He holds nothing back, making sure to show us the brutality of the lives they lived. We see the Ortiz family struggle with drugs, alcohol, religion and familial abuse.
At only 108 pages, the stories are short and to the point, but even with their brevity, they speak volumes about what it was like to grow up in that harsh environment, and I really felt like I had a much better understanding of the Hispanic male psyche by the time I finished the last page. I would warn that this is not what I would consider a “happily ever after” type of book. I found myself a bit broody when I was finished — as some of the truths and realities expressed in the book are just that heartbreaking.
I think of all the stories (or chapters), my favorite would me “Little Blue Box”. The story had me laughing out loud and my boyfriend wondering what the heck I was reading that had me so entertained.
Despite being a white, Irish girl, I still felt drawn into the experiences of the characters as if I was living through them alongside Neto and his family.
Overall, I would say I enjoyed this book much more than I expected, and would give it 3.5 of 5 stars.
I would recommend this one to any fan of short story collections and for anyone looking for a glimpse of what life is really like in a Hispanic family.
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The House of Order?
Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official House of Order tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! You can enter on the official House of Order tour page–since I can’t host rafflecopter contests on WordPress.
About the author: John Paul Jaramillo grew up in Southern Colorado but now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He earned his MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University and, currently, holds the position of Associate Professor of English in the Arts and Humanities Department of Lincoln Land Community College. Connect with John Paul on his website, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.