A Beautiful Mess by Lucy V. Morgan

Directly after I get done writing this review, I am going to look up other books by this author and buy them.  This was WONDERFUL!  It was a perfect combination of humor in the face of being dumped, of getting even, of dumping that special someone in turn and (an even better revenge) of finding a man who loves you to pieces in spite of all that emotional baggage.  This was a tongue-in-cheek look at love on the rebound, only to have it turn into the love of a lifetime.  Bailey’s friends and roommates made the book, in my opinion.  They were priceless! 5 Stars

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A Flash of Fang by R. E. Butler

I didn’t like this story as much as I did the first.  The plot was not as well developed, and while the attraction of the main characters (witch Elizabeth and her bear-shifting mates Axe and Ash) was as fun to watch unfold as in the first book, the outside stuff that was happening just didn’t come together.  The parts involving Daeton seemed to come out of nowhere and disappeared the same way.  I don’t know if that was supposed to be a lead in for a third book, but it was just strange.  The creepy dreams were just left hanging.  The only good part of the book was the steamy interaction between the were-bears and their witch.  I’m giving the story 3 stars because it just felt rushed.  I think if the author had taken her time and worked a little more to smooth out the plot, it would have worked much, much better.

Claiming Poseidon’s Heart by Renee Field

OMG, I wanted so much to like this story.  I tried to get into it.  I liked the concept, but then I have always had a special fondness for the old Greek myths, and in particular anything having to do with Zeus, Poseidon and Hades (not necessarily in that order).  So when I saw this book, I thought there was no way I would not like this story.  I was sold from the blurb and sample on.  Unfortunately for me, I really hadn’t banked on the heroine ruining the entire story…but that’s exactly what happened here.

When Poseidon stumbles across an old friend (cursed to live out his life as a whale) being chased by whalers, he becomes enraged.  Channeling his wrath into a storm, he sends that whaler and all aboard into the killing depths where they belong.  For one environmental activist trying to intervene, that wrath is impossible to escape and Soki falls victim to the storm as well.  Realizing his mistake, Poseidon attempts to save her.  What he doesn’t count on, is how much he finds he desires modern-day woman.  Being a Greek God and unaccustomed to denying his desires for any length of time, Poseidon isn’t exactly happy when he finds wooing the reluctant Soki to be a challenge worthy of the Gods.

And I wasn’t exactly happy, either.  Soki is an unpleasant mixture of unemotional scientist, bitch and juvenile, all rolled into one.  She ruined just about every scene she came in contact with, and being as she was the heroine, that was a lot scenes!  Renee Fields is a marvelous story teller and a talented author.  She knows how to write and the rest of book was wonderful.  I just plain could not stomach Soki. 2 Stars

The Raising by J. E. Taylor

There comes a point in every really good bad horror film when you find yourself yelling at the TV, ‘Don’t do THAT, are you crazy?!?”  The Raising is that kind of really good bad horror film.  I didn’t think I was going to like it at all, but the author took an unbelievable and campy concept (Gypsy curse?  Please.) and turned it into a Grade-A gem of a horror story.

Dr. Holly Robbins has lost the love of her life, Jacob.  She’s worked in the ER for far too long not to know that gone is gone forever, and everyone knows nothing can bring back the dead.  But even the most clinical doctor has her moment of weakness when desperation and grief tangle with hope and even the most unlikely of possibilities becomes something you’d take time off of work to try.

If you like dark romance and campy horrors, gypsy curses and bringing the dearly depart back from the grave for one last night of love, I dare you not to like this story.  If Pet Cemetery and Practical Magic had a love child, this is what it would read like. 5 Stars

Sensual Erotica: Her Gift by Red Phoenix

This has just become my favorite short in the entire series.  I LOVE this scenario. In the continuation of the love story between Amy and Troy, Her Gift is a real treasure.  Troy is getting ready to leave for his new job in India, just when he and Amy have finally come together at last.  Putting on a brave face, Amy arranges a special night just for Troy, a night of tender firsts, something for them both to remember in the long months of separation ahead.

Did I mention I loved this story?  I know I’ve said this before, but Red Phoenix does sensual and seduction extremely well.  The interaction between Amy and Troy is heart-wrenching and tender, just the way first times ought to be…without that awkward ‘you’re on my hair’ moment. 5 Stars

A Little Harmless Surprise by Melissa Schroeder

This is my second Melissa Schroeder short story and, I have to say, I liked this one much better than the first from her that I tried.  Evan loves May and for one night only he decides to give her something she’s always wanted: a fun little ménage with fellow Dom, Rome.  What follows is sensual hot romantic eroticism at its well-written best.  Ms Schroeder’s writing skills really shone through.  I swear, my Kindle caught fire!  I still, however, have a problem with the ratio of story to advertisements.  The story only makes up 37% of the book.  In my opinion, that is inappropriate. 4 Stars

Across My Knee: The Delights of Spanking by Various Authors

This is a compendium of 10 spanking stories by different authors.  There were several stories in here that I liked, some that were really good, and a couple I wasn’t so fond of, though it might just have been my particular fetish tastes.  The first story wound up being my least favorite, and I am truly glad that I continued reading because I found others that were so much more my cuppa.  The book has been thoroughly edited.   It’s very well written, even the stories I wasn’t so fond of I would recommend.  If you are a fan of good spanking erotica, then I would definitely consider this a Must Have for any collection. 4 Stars

Welcome to the Fish Tank by Big Kahuna

If you are one of those people who does not require realism in your stories in order to suspend your disbelief and enjoy a good piece of fiction, than this might be the book for you.  This is, after all, a work of erotica and erotica plays by a different set of rules than most any other genre.  Erotica is fantasy based, and though it didn’t work for me, that doesn’t mean it’s not hit-the-nail-on-the-head perfect for someone else.  It was fairly well written, there were only a few minor editing problems, and compared with many indie books out there, you could do a whole lot work the Big Kahuna.  However, here were my problems with the story:

#1) This was a kidnapping story.  Granted, kidnappings are frequent erotic-fodder in the imaginations of many people, and I am one of them.  But I found her reactions to her situation to be jarringly unrealistic.  Not at first, where her responses are exactly as one would expect a woman’s to be when she wakes up in a strange place, under slightly ominous circumstances.  I’m sorry, but having bigger boobs is not compensation for being some stranger’s plaything without your consent.

#2) It’s a little nit-picky point, but I counted at least two and probably three different places in that story where Marina would have died.  Yes, it’s a fantasy, but even fantasies should abide by the laws of physics.  For instance, the human gasp of shock and/or fear.  This sound is not made by a rapid exhale that would cause Marina to blow pretty bubbles.  This is caused by a sudden inhale of air or, in Marina’s case, water, which would result in an instant coughing/vomiting spasm as she tried to get the water out of her lungs.  She never would have survived however long she spent under anesthesia without her mouth being taped shut.  It’s little slips of detail like this that I found too difficult to look beyond even just long enough to enjoy this story for the fish tale that it was.  (Sorry, sorry.  Couldn’t resist.) 3 Stars

A Husband for Margaret by Ruth Ann Nordin

This is the story of Margaret Williams, a young woman so practical and out-spoken that, finding the local manly pickings a bit slim in Omaha, Nebraska, she advertises for a husband elsewhere.  Unlike another reviewer, I didn’t have a probably with this aspect of the story.  Although much, much rarer than advertisements for wives, I know women also utilized this avenue when they couldn’t find local mates.  It also added (for me, anyway) a bit of a twist to the usual ‘man places add for wife’ plot used by other historical romances.

What Margaret didn’t count on was for the man she’d been ‘courting’ to die in a tragic horse accident, nor for his brother to show up in her fiancé’s place.  Nothing says ‘I love you, let’s get hitched, please, dear God’ quite like showing up with four small children for your first face-to-face meeting.  But he does and Margaret takes the plunge, and the end result is a story that is charming and sweet, and extremely mild where explicit sexual content is concerned.  It’s definitely more romantic than erotic, which was a nice change of pace for me.  4 Stars

A Little Harmless Gift by Melissa Schroeder

To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the story, but I have a feeling that’s not for anything the author did.  It just was not my thing.

The writing was well-done, nicely edited, not a lot of mistakes like with so many Indie books, but the story just didn’t suck me in.  It also annoyed me a little that the main story was only 36% of this book.  The remaining 64% was filler—advertisements for some of her other books, under the current pen name and others, along with samples of some of her other stories.  Call me old fashioned, but to me this ratio is way off. 3 Stars