Category Archives: Short Story: 1-100 pages

Taken by the Pack by Cheryl Dragon

Taken by the PackTaken by the Pack by Cheryl Dragon
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Short Story:  20,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  Dead Rose
 

Danny loves Alaska, but it doesn’t seem to love him back. The full Wolf Moon sparkles over Fairbanks, but he’s alone for those long nights. He wants to come out of the closet and date, but his frail family might implode. All he wants is the right man in his bed.

Brandon and Justin are lovers and wolf shifters native to Alaska. They’re out to protect their way of life, and sometimes that means extreme measures. When Danny’s brother proposes aerial wolf hunting, Danny enters their sights. Danny was the closet case in high school, and now, he’ll be their sex toy. The shifter pair is ready to do whatever it takes to stop the hunting and maybe add a sexy human man to their pack.

Excerpt

I’m going to start by saying this book did not work for me.  It is fairly rare I read a book and do not really like it.  I will say it isn’t horrible, but just had a very flimsy plot line that didn’t work for me at all.  The story ends up being more about the sex than the story itself and the sex isn’t very well written either.

Danny has been forced to return to his home in Alaska after his father becomes ill.  Because of the attitude in Alaska and his family Danny believes it best to stay in the closet.  Unfortunately for Danny because of the small town atmosphere he can’t get laid either.  Justin and Brandon are well known to Danny.  Unknown to Danny is the fact that they are wolf shifters.  The two overhear Danny and his brother talking about hunting wolves from a helicopter and decide to take drastic action.

I didn’t buy that these two men would even hatch up this plot to kidnap, have sex with and blackmail Danny.  Hello, talking sooooo much easier!  I get that Justin has wanted Danny for a long time but still it really doesn’t sound like the most well thought out plan.  The rest of the story progresses from there.  We only get the bare outlines of these men’s past and how they even related to each other.  The story is short and not well thought out.  Just way to simple and easy at the end.

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The Case of the Cupid Curse by Amber Kell and R.J. Scott

The Case of the Cupid CurseThe Case of the Cupid Curse by Amber Kell and R.J. Scott
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Short Story:  31, 703 Words
Purchase at Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

The very thought of paranormals is enough to drive Private Investigator Sam Enderson mad, but add in his attraction to a vampire, and his world is turned upside down.

Sam Enderson is a human detective who finds himself working for paranormal creatures, despite his resolve to stick with humans only.

Bob is a vampire and turns up on Sam’s doorstep to rent a room. Sparks fly, and Sam is attracted to the vampire in spite of himself.

Soon after Sam is cursed by a witch, two cases land on his desk. Dealing with werewolves, annoying ghosts and a grumpy gargoyle is bad enough. But somehow, in amongst all of this chaos, he has to find a lost fae and a missing shifter child.

Excerpt

This was a cute, short story.  I think my biggest issue with it was the amount of stuff that just gets rammed into the book.  There wasn’t enough time to deal with it all.  Still I think the authors did a good job of bringing the first book to a satisfactory conclusion.

Sam starts up his own detective agency when his uncle dies and leaves him a building.  Sam use to sell books and thinks it will be no problem starting up a detective agency and being successful.  (Naïve much!)  He is determined not to work with paranormals but Sam just seems to attract them.  He gets a witch mad at him right away, his first tenant is a vampire fixated on him, and, poor Sam seems to have a real gargoyle and ghost in the building with him.  He then proceeds to have his first two clients be paranormal.  Sam is having a rough time.

I love the humor that is in the story.  The characters are lively and fun.  Sam is just a little TSTL.  Bob is soooo lovestruck, poor schmuck!  The two are a good balance.  Sam isn’t so lovestruck and Bob is going to keep naïve little Sam from getting killed or kidnapped.

The writing was good.  Not excellent but it made for good entertainment.  The scenes are well described and the sequence of events makes logical (I know logic in paranormal?) sense.  The characters really made the book though and if you have read any of these two authors’ works you know that is true of most of their writing.  They are fun and engaging.

I do wish the story had been a bit longer and a little less shallow.  I could have used a bit more background.  Also Sam, being a detective, never bothers to check on any of these people he comes into contact with.  I would think renting out an apartment in a building you live in, checking on the tenant would be a top priority.

Overall it was a fun read.  Not real emotional and with a bit of an HEA:)

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Superhero by Eli Easton

SuperheroSuperhero by Eli Easton
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Harmony Ink Press
Short Story:  35,121 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

It’s not easy for a young gay artist like Jordan Carson to grow up in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where all anyone seems to care about in middle school and high school are the sports teams. But Jordan was lucky. He met Owen Nelson in the second grade, and they’ve been BFFs ever since. Owen is a big, beautiful blond and their school’s champion wrestler. No one messes with Owen, or with anyone close to him, and he bucks popular opinion by keeping Jordan as his wingman even after Jordan comes out at school.

Their friendship survives, but Jordan’s worst enemy may be himself: he can’t seem to help the fact that he is head-over-heels in love with a hopeless case—his straight friend, Owen. Owen won’t let anything take Jordan’s friendship away, but he never counted on Jordan running off to find a life of his own. Owen will have to face the nature of their relationship if he’s to win Jordan back.

Excerpt

This was a super sweet YA story.  It was shorter than I thought it would be.  The story shows the development of the relationship between the two main characters from meeting in second grade to college sophomores.  The story contains little that is surprising. 

The writing was good.  The beginning of the story is very slow.  I know this is part of the development of the story, but it just didn’t draw me in.  After the boys hit high school I was more into the story as more happened and developed. 

I wanted to really like this book.  I did like it but was unable to connect to the story so didn’t love it.  The characters just felt flat and the ending was swift and a little too pat.  Still it was enjoyable and as a YA I think the ideas behind it will appeal to a younger audience.

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Mastering the Ride by J.P. Barnaby

Mastering the RideMastering the Ride by J.P. Barnaby
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Short Story:  15,874 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

Josh, a young gay submissive with a strong desire to serve, is searching for the Master of his dreams. After being released by yet another Dom, he takes the advice of his trainer and leaves Chicago to accept the invitation of a Montana rancher—a real, live, modern-day cowboy. With his new Master, Wade Mallory, Josh may just find what he’s looking for… and more.

Excerpt

This is a short story and as such has some of  the typical  inherent flaws of shorts.  It ends just when it is getting good.  I would love to know more.  Josh is a sub and looking to be one full time to a Dom.  He is having trouble though and is in despair as another Dom dumps him.  Josh has lots of self doubt when it comes to his worth.  His service to his Dom helps him with that.  He wants to be necessary!  Wade has had a long road to get to where he understands himself more.  He left behind his life that he was living for his father to find a life for himself.  After he discovers his desire to be a Dom he begins his search for a Sub.  No Sub seems to want what he wants.  It isn’t about a thrill for him.  He wants a Sub to serve him but is having no luck.  Luckily for both men they have a common friend that sets them up.  Now they have to see if they each are what the other is looking for.

As the story is the writing is awesome.  I love the build up to the meeting between Dom and Sub.  It lets you know so much more about the men involved than a usual short would.  This does mean that the relationship part is very short.  This is where the short has problems.  You just start to see what these two men can have and it ends.  I still loved it.  It was a wonderful short that gives you a great view of this author and her writing.  Her abilities to write vivid and touching characters are shown here.  I usually have issues with the depth of characters in shorts.  Though we don’t get all the background on these characters, with even more hinted at, you still get a full enough one to start to really “see” them.  Readers will leave this short wanting more.

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Out of the Blue by Josh Lanyon

Out of the BlueOut of the Blue by Josh Lanyon
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Just Joshin
Short Story:  25,713 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

France, 1916. The Great War. High above the carnage in the trenches, British and German aces joust like knights of old for control of the skies. The strain and tension of living every day on the edge of death leads to dangerous choices and wild risks. When British ace Bat Bryant’s past catches up with him, he strikes out in panic and kills the man threatening him with exposure. But there’s a witness: the big, handsome American pilot Cowboy Cooper.

Cowboy, it seems, has his own ideas of rough justice.

Excerpt

I am going to start this out stating that I do not traditionally like historical because of the secrecy that must exist. There can usually not be a HEA.

The writing is wonderfully done. I do wish that there had been a bit more detail. Most of the book is fairly frank and short. Still you catch a glimpse of what these men lived through in WWI as pilots. Most didn’t live. The statistic given of 11 days being a pilots life span is one I have heard before and it is startling. You feel for them.

The characters are interesting and you care some for them but they aren’t as fully “fleshed” out as one would hope. You get nothing on Cowboy’s background and little more on Bat’s. You don’t get a good enough grip on what drives these men beyond the war. It leads to a lack of attachment to them and so makes it harder to approach Cowboy’s actions in the beginning of the story with any hope of understanding. Most readers aren’t going to like Cowboy because of his actions. To me it really didn’t feel like non-con but I know others will feel differently.

The plot was fairly simple and not involved. To be honest the blurb wraps up most of it. This isn’t a long read so there really isn’t much to tell with it. I could guess where the story was heading from the beginning so it was more about how the author choose to get there.

Overall it was a decent read but nothing really great. I enjoyed it but didn’t think it anything to wonderful.

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A Prideless Man by Amber Kell

A Prideless ManA Prideless Man by Amber Kell
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Short Story:  24,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Book three in the Supernatural Mates Series

Sometimes people aren’t quite what they seem.

James Everett moved to a shifter town to escape his shifter-hating father. Little did he expect to catch the eye of the town’s sheriff. Louis Arktos can’t resist the new human.

Something about the other man calls to his bear shifter nature and makes him want to protect the human from all the dangers in the world. When James’ life is turned inside out, Lou rushes to save him from unexpected dangers and most of all from himself.

Excerpt

If you have read any of Amber Kell’s books, especially the others in the series, then you know what to expect of her writing style.  If you don’t like that kind of writing don’t read it.

This isn’t the best written, plotted, and detailed, with great characters books out there.  Amber Kell’s books are more about enjoyment.  This is light read with fun characters and a guaranteed HEA.

Lou is the Sherriff and he has been interested in James for a while now.  James believes his life is too much for anyone else to handle.  He is in constant pain that is BARELY control by his medication.  Lou won’t take no for an answer where his mate is concerned.

I enjoyed the characters and the read.  This is not a deep read nor is it the best writing.  The plot line is simple and easy to follow, predictable.  The characters are a bit shallow.  The overall read is a simple and fun read.  This is a read to have when the day has been hard and you need a pick me up that is easy.

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The Superior Jewel by Hurri Cosmo

The Superior JewelThe Superior Jewel by Hurri Cosmo
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Silver Publishing
Short Story:  22,050 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

Ryan’s former girlfriend, Cheyenne, is used to getting what she wants. Right now, she wants Jansen Branwyth. The only problem is so does Ryan. For the first time in his life, he’s strongly attracted to a man. Okay, maybe it’s not the first time but that first time didn’t count because it was two months ago and it was the same man. Except with the very beautiful Cheyenne going after Jansen and thinking she’ll have no problem getting him, Ryan is sure he has absolutely no chance. Jansen, however, doesn’t care one bit what either one of them think. He knows exactly who he wants and knows precisely how he will go about getting his man.

 Excerpt

This is a new to me author.  I thought this was a sweet read.  I really liked that the author is upfront on her writing.  In her bio it says, “I am not big on angst.  I believe we get enough of that in real life … I’m okay with the fact I will probably never write anything ‘important’.”  It is really refreshing that the author isn’t expecting everyone to really agree on her writing and that there will most likely be those that don’t like her writing.  I may be a little biased in that I love sweet reads and dislike to crying my way through all my books.

Now the writing was good.  There isn’t sweeping descriptions involved but it is simple and fun.  I enjoyed the relaxing read that the author gave.  The plot was simple and obvious but it was fun with the way the author described the characters.  They were interesting, if simple.

My biggest disappointment with this book is in length and the two main characters’ length of time with each other.  I would really love if the author wrote a follow up to this book.  It would be interesting to see how the two will mesh their lives and how Ryan deals with being in a gay relationship.  I really think there is a lot more to these two men than was given in this book.

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Accidental Alpha by Poppy Dennison

Accidental AlphaAccidental Alpha by Poppy Dennison
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Wilde City Press
Short Story:  24,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon
Roses:  4
 

A quiet life. A break from the dangers of being a cop. Yep, Lex Tompkins has his future all worked out. That is, until fate—or rather the stray toddler from the house across the street—bites those plans in the ass. Well, technically Lex’s neck. Suddenly, he’s transformed into the Alpha of the secret werewolf clan hiding in the perfect, out of the way neighborhood of Lex’s dreams.

Now Lex is the unlikely leader of a dysfunctional pack… except for Spencer Robinson, the one shifter Lex can’t seem to keep his paws off. Will Spencer be able to teach Lex how to embrace who he has truly become?

Because accidents happen…

…but fate marks its own territory.

Excerpt

Lex is recovering from a stabbing while he was a cop.  The department has put him on early retirement and disability because he is not in top shape anymore and the psychologist won’t clear him.  He wants to be away from people but his one neighbor has a lot of people over often.  Spencer is the neighbor and though Lex sees Spencer look at him once he believes Spencer isn’t his type.

I loved this book.  It isn’t for everyone.  It is a sweet easy read but it was fun.  Lex is “Mr. Grumpy”, anti-social but after he is bitten his whole life and attitude changes.  Spencer isn’t as well defined as character.  We get that he is hurt that Lex only came after him after he was turned.

My only real difficulty with the book was with the sudden turnaround in attitude by Lex.  I would say that it is all about his turning but it doesn’t quite cover it.  Still I enjoyed the story and characters a great deal.  Look forward to the next in the series.

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Alrik by Carol Lynne

AlrikAlrik by Carol Lynne
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Short Story:  23,200 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

Book One in the C-7 Shifters series.

Alrik is determined to keep sex with Ben simple, but when wolves, shifters and bullets enter their world, all bets are off.

Dr Ben Cook has devoted his life to saving the Mexican Grey wolf population from extinction. A year after being shot while looking for a large pack of Mexican greys, he’s determined to try again. When Ben’s sister hires one of the C-7 shifters to protect him on his mission, he feels an immediate and undeniable attraction to the huge blond protector.

Alrik’s body yearns for his client on sight, but for a shifter who prefers sex without sentiment, Ben presents a problem. Centuries earlier, Alrik learned that love was a worthless emotion that only served to trap those stupid enough to fall.

Alrik is determined to keep sex with Ben simple, but when wolves, shifters and bullets enter their world, all bets are off.

Excerpt

Alrik is a lonely guy but doesn’t acknowledge it.  He is assigned to Ben while Ben hunts for a pack of wolves he is trying to prove exists.  Ben has been shot in this hunt previously and his sister is worried about him being injured again.

There is a lot that happens in this little story.  I liked the characters and the story line.  The writing was good.  The biggest hitch in the whole thing is Alrik himself.  I expect characters to change and grow.  I like stories with a HEA so for that to happen Alrik would HAVE to change.  The thing is…he really doesn’t.  He is against the relationship all the way until the very end when with little warning and little change in attitude he suddenly believes he has to have this relationship with Ben.  It really wasn’t in character and didn’t fit the storyline at all.  Yes, I want the HEA but it was like two ends of a story stuck together with the middle explaining it missing.  I was very disappointed by that as I did really enjoy the story.  I don’t know the cause of this and believe if the story had this “missing” section  I would have loved it.

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Syler’s Savior by Grace Lynn

Syler's SaviorSyler’s Savior by Grace Lynn
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Siren-BookStrand, Inc.
Short Story:  20,051 Words
Purchase at BookStrand
Roses:  3
 

King Syler has the worst luck. After being forced into an unwanted marriage as a young man, he now is free to choose a Queen that will have the people’s best interests at heart. Alone in the underprivileged Third Class, Syler saves Frost from the lashing post. Can Syler manage to keep the politics at bay, all the while fighting his growing attraction for Frost?

Frost Santaz is nothing special. Well, almost nothing. He works at the decrepit Third Class Orphanage and pulls his community service hours like everyone else. As the Prince of Third Class it’s his duty to protect his class from any more harsh laws that will eventually unfold into a Civil War. Frost has done his best to avoid a war he knows will cost more than it can gain. When King Syler needs him, Frost has found his way to save his class, and kingdom, but can he save himself from Syler?

Excerpt

First of all I try not to hold editing against an author.  This book was in need of a better editor.  There were many problems with sentences and words that threw me out of the story and interfered with the read.  Though I do try not to hold this against an author it can affect how I review it because I don’t get to be swept away, like I should, by the writing.

Syler lives in a world that has modern convinces but is struggling with feeding its people.  Syler is the king but the kingdom is also ruled by a council that contains more power than the king.  Syler has been struggling to help his people against a corrupt council.  Now with his ex-wife on the same side as the council Syler’s struggle is that much harder.  Syler goes to the lowest class’s district and while there the guards of the area turn on him declaring the king dead and Syler an imposter.  Frost is a man that also works for the good of his people, those of the lowest in third class.  When Frost is saved from a whipping by Frost, Frost helps Syler to escape the third district and to try and get back his kingdom.  Neither expected that they would also fall in love on the way.

The story line of this book really worked for me.  Frost and Syler almost suffer from insta-love but it really didn’t bother me much in the whole of the story, though I would have liked a bit more time for the relationship to grow to that.  The writing was well plotted out and the suspense of the read was good.  I thought there may have been a little too much effort put into wording the descriptions differently.  It was a little flowery and the words didn’t always work for me.  Sometimes less is more.

The characters were interesting.  I would have loved a longer read to really get to know them and their background.  Since this was a short read, I think the author did well with what was given about the men.  Syler was, in my mind, a bit more interesting of the two.  I think most readers would like to know how someone in Syler’s position ended up so different than most of his rank.  Why did he become so invested in the lower class and equality for the people instead of the status quo?  He seemed a little softer than one would expect.  Frost, who has a great name, is like I would expect from someone in his position.  It is inferred that Frost was one of the fortunate ones to have a little better quality of life than most of the third class.  Frost is a strong presence in the story and makes for a fun read.

Now as stated before there were some issues with editing.  I really wish that some presses would spend a little more time editing the writing.  This time and again threw me out of the reading and made me go back to reread a passage to see if I could understand it the second or third time around.  I had one other issue with the story.  Near the end there is talk about a guard and a girl from the third class and how marrying her would mean giving up his class so that means you marry down in this world yet we later see that not happening.  The author doesn’t explain this so I am unsure what to think.  I can guess why but I don’t know.

Overall it was a fun read.  I wish I could give the read a little higher rating but I just think that it doesn’t have the emotional depth and consistency to give it higher.  I do hope that the author will make sure to get a better editing job done before release the next time.

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