Category Archives: Review

Werewolf Cinderella – Amanda Milo

Cinderella done right! With the werewolves and laughter it always needed!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fairytale retellings aren’t my thing, but when I saw this was about werewolves, was written by Amanda Milo, and turned the stepmother around, I one-clicked it and read it right away. No regrets! This was awesome! I’ve loved everything Amanda Milo has written. She has a great sense of humor and fast paced writing style that hits all the right notes for me.

This started off in a unique way, grabbing me and holding me with the second start. The young people’s sexual exploration was hilariously written. It’s so funny but probably accurate! Poor sheltered humans for centuries trying to figure sex out on their own without any information at all. Ugh! Amanda Milo really depicted this well!

I loved how the old fairytale was turned around like the mean stepmother and stepsisters. The references to other fairytales were also great. I promise, even if fairytales aren’t your thing either, you’ll love this!

SAFE, M/F, no cheating, no OM/OW drama, bit of violence, occasional foul language, HEA. First person present tense. Graphic sex scenes.

This was 98 pages – a quick read I read in a few hours.

Error count: 2 – Amazing!

Favorite Quotes:

“My heart is so easy for him. It flops beneath him like a besotted puppy, wanting all the belly rubs.”

“When questioned about my strange behaviors, I claimed I was suffering from an onset of menses madness. Evidently, everyone everywhere is willing to accept this as explanation enough for an eighteen-year-old lass like myself to change moods at the speed water rushes past in a brook.”

““Let me drive this pony,” Gareth orders hoarsely. “After all, I’ve handled this sword all my life. You’re liable to stab yourself.””

Skin (Flesh Series Book 2) – Kylie Scott

Post-apocalyptic dark romance with zombies

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the second book in the Flesh Series. I gave the first, Flesh, four stars as well. I enjoyed this one just as much. Flesh was a ménage, but Skin is a dark romance. Nick buys Roslyn and chains her to the bed in the beginning. There is some nonconsensual kissing and touching but no rape. He didn’t want to keep her chained up forever and was hoping he wouldn’t have to resort to that, but she cracked his head open with a wine bottle as soon as he got her home. Watching these two sort out their differences was entertaining and often made me laugh.

Nick was not a bad guy. He was just in a bad situation and made some mistakes. He is an alpha male but not over the top. I liked that Roslyn was strong, didn’t give in to Nick right away, and had the guts to stand up to baddies. The sex scenes were hot. The action scenes were well written and paced without too much gore in the book overall.

Just like Flesh, the story grabbed me from the start. There isn’t too much backstory at the front. It is set in Australia, but if it wasn’t explicitly stated, I wouldn’t have known. There is no dialect speech, not a lot of “mate”s and such. Just a little flavor thrown in.

M/F, no cheating, no OW/OM drama, contains several graphic sex scenes, contains a bit of foul language and a good dose of violence, standalone, HFN.

Error count: 11. There are many comma splices (sentences with two independent clauses joined with a comma but not a conjunction). It happened so often that I have accepted this as style. I’m not a fan of the style, but that’s probably because my brain keeps yelling, “Error!” while I’m trying to enjoy the story. I do think it may add to the fast pacing.

Favorite Quotes:

“He was a beast, an animal reeking of sweat and ready to pounce, rock hard and hurting. His hard-on gave Godzilla a run for its money. If he swung it about, Tokyo would be leveled.”

“Men were such complicated creatures. Women were so much more straightforward.”

Pursuit – Lynda Chance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot! Jealous, protective, possessive alpha male but no pain (spanking, BDSM, etc)

Lynda Chance is one of my all-time favorite authors. There hasn’t been a Lynda Chance story that I haven’t loved, but this might be my favorite.

Lynda writes dominant alpha males, possessive, jealous, caveman instincts, but no pain (spanking, BDSM, etc.), no cheating ever, no OM/OW drama, no abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical). These men are only controlling in the bedroom, about safety issues, and about getting their woman. They don’t try to isolate or keep their women dependent on them financially.

Logan gets hit by the thunderbolt when he sees Lauren in a coffee shop, and he refuses to accept her rejection. He works at her with single-minded purpose to make her his!

Logan is an OTT alpha male that says and does everything right for me. Lauren is a strong woman who can handle him. I laughed out loud several times and like to re-read this every few years.

This one is SAFE. As in all her books, there is no cheating, OW/OM drama, or love triangle. This one doesn’t even have dubious consent or a virgin h. So I recommend it for everyone without reservation! I think this might be Lynda’s favorite too because she revisits this couple with three short stories. This novel is a standalone with a HEA. The shorts are slice of life, further adventures of, type stories.

Favorite Quotes:

“He’d have her, and sooner, rather than later, if he had his way about it. She was like the proverbial Little Red Riding Hood, taking one step too close to the Big, Bad Wolf.  And when she did, he’d have her. And that would be that.”

“He showed no signs of even being interested in other women. Like, she didn’t think he even registered that there were other women alive. Like there were no other women but her living on the planet.”

The only problem with grammar I found was missing commas between two independent clauses joined by a conjunction. It happened regularly but not consistently, making them mistakes rather than a style choice. Most readers may not even notice the issue.

The short stories are, in order:

  • Temptation in Texas Logan and Lauren
  • Temptation in Texas: A Christmas Special
  • Logan and Lauren: A Valentine’s Special

Flesh – Kylie Scott

Hot post-apocalyptic ménage romance with zombies

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love The Walking Dead and Z Nation TV series, but I generally prefer post-apocalyptic novels without zombies. That said, I did enjoy this. It is a post-apocalyptic ménage romance with zombies.

Ali has been holing up in an attic since the zombie apocalypse started. When she runs out of food, she goes foraging in empty houses. There she finds Dan and points her shotgun at him.

This novel started out with a whoosh instead of a lot of backstory, which I enjoyed very much. The action kept on going, with the zombies and other humans and in the bedroom. It contains several graphic sex scenes, M/F and M/F/M, because along the way, they meet Finn. I loved the characters in this, especially Dan, who is very funny. This novel made me laugh out loud a few times. I liked that they are in their 30s and 40s. I also loved that Ali is a strong woman. She helps herself, fighting back instead of waiting to be saved. She’s no annoying damsel in distress!

It is set in Australia, but if it wasn’t explicitly stated, I wouldn’t have known. There is no dialect speech, not a lot of “mate”s and such. Just a little flavor thrown in.

Everything is totally consensual. There is no cheating or OW/OM drama. It contains foul language. There is lots of sex and quite a bit of violence. For a zombie story, I wouldn’t say it was gory.

I thought it was well written with good pacing. I caught only 6 outright errors, which is fantastic. There are many comma splices (sentences with two independent clauses joined with a comma but not a conjunction). It happened so often that I have accepted this as style. I’m not a fan of the style, but that’s probably because my brain keeps yelling, “Error!” while I’m trying to enjoy the story. I do think it may add to the fast pacing.

If you like ménage and zombies, I recommend it. I plan on reading the next in the series, Skin. This is a standalone novel but part of a series, with different characters in each book.

Population and Saltlands – Elizabeth Stephens

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m combing the two reviews for these together here because they comprise one total book. Saltlands picked up exactly where Population left off. It’s like someone just tore the book in two along it’s spine, ala Bed Knobs and Broomsticks!

I liked Saltlands better, but that makes sense. Population is slow at the start because of necessary world building. Taken as one book, the action builds throughout, hitting a steady stream near where the book was broken in two, and goes on to the climax.

Over a decade ago, “the Others” arrived on Earth. They have since carved up much of the planet into private kingdoms. Humans remain in the leftovers, fighting over scraps. This is a post-apocalyptic romance.

I loved the strong female lead, Abel, her African and Spanish genetics, her ability with the sword and hand to hand fighting, her determination, and her emotional strength. I loved Kane, who is complex but honorable. The world-building was good and something I haven’t seen before. I enjoyed the “Others”. The pacing was good, most of the time, and there were some great action scenes. There was a good dose of violence, but it wasn’t described in gory detail. You can cut someone’s head off with a sword without describing blood sprays and such.

There is a cliffhanger ending, but the sequel is out. It’s basically one book split into two parts. I definitely want to read the next one, but I hate this modern tendency of splitting books. “The Stand” is hugely long but is one book!

Child molestation and rape is hinted at in some parts but not seen directly.

This is M/F. No cheating. No love triangle. It is written in 1st person pretense tense. I find this much less jarring than 3rd close present tense.

There are basically two sex scenes. They aren’t graphic but rather camera obscura. They lack detail, so the words could be taken to mean more or less depending on the reader. For example:

I tear his belt free and kick his pants off with my feet, then I tease him with my fingers and then again with my lips.

What is meant by this? Exactly where her fingers and lips go is up for interpretation.

Grammar and spelling: I found 13 errors in Population, including missing words, wrong words, and repeated words or phrases. Not bad at all. This is aside from the routinely missing commas between two independent clauses, missing commas after introductory clauses, and extreme run-on sentences that I have accepted as the author’s style of writing. This is fiction, not academia, so the rules are less rigid. I found this style distracting because my brain shouted “error” frequently, and the run-on sentences were confusing at times.

Unrealistic Timing: Abel is seriously hurt after the forest cult part in the beginning but seems mostly recovered 1-2 days later. She has never worn heels, wears and dances is stilettos for 48 hours, and no mention is made about swollen ankles or legs. There is definitely some almost instalove. It happens pretty fast. But I’m okay with it.

Confusion: Earlier in the book, Abel talks about having been raped or was it attempted rape that was thwarted? I thought two of a gang had actually succeeded until the second sex scene when blood is obliquely mentioned twice along with some pain. If she wasn’t a virgin, where do the pain and blood come from? At the least, it’s unclear. At most, there is a contradiction.

There were times when the story got too close to familiar fairytales. There was some “Beauty and the Beast” when Abel first gets to Kane’s estate and some “Cinderella” with the ball preparation.

I would have given this 4 stars, but the aforementioned problems drop it to a 3 for me. I will be reading the second half of this ONE book.

In the second half, action is almost nonstop with lots of gory fight scenes and drama. Each chapter has a black and white inkblot image above the chapter title, blood splatter, and they are appropriate! The violence is certainly amped up. Abel goes through hell, one desperate situation to another, and keeps her determination and resilience. It was a wild ride, very fast paced, and kept me reading very quickly. It made me laugh out loud a few times. The humor was appreciated amidst the intensity. It tickled my funny bone that the villain always sets up in dental office buildings. I liked the secondary characters, especially Mikey.

There are a couple of short sex scenes, not graphic. Romance is not the focus of the second half of the ONE book. There is some OM drama. I was very happy that our main couple dealt with this in a mature fashion, by talking it out. It didn’t cause anything stupid to happen except a ridiculous fight for fair maiden’s hand.

I found more errors in this half – 17. Mostly missing words, a few repeated words or phrases. As with the first half of the ONE book, commas are missing everywhere, but I accepted that as writing style long ago. At the opening of this half of the ONE book, I thought to myself, “Someone has a thesaurus.” Many words were used that just aren’t common enough to be in Abel’s thoughts since she hasn’t spent the last decade reading literature.

This is a 1st person present tense novel. One scene could be considered cheating, but wasn’t exactly consensual, so I don’t want to call it cheating. OM drama. Occasional foul language, but it gets as bad as it can. HEA.

A third book is hinted at called “Generation 1”. I couldn’t find anything when Googling this. If it is published, it will at least be a totally different book than this ONE.

Surviving Seduction (The Shattered World #2) – Maia Underwood

Entertaining But OM/OW Drama Is The Story

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is the second book in the series and continues right where the first left off. There wasn’t a cliffhanger, so you don’t have to read this one.

I enjoyed parts of this. The fight scenes were especially good.

Other Man and Other Woman drama is the core story here, so if you hate that, stay away. There is a fake out dream scene – we are subjected to a sex scene with OM. Even if it isn’t real, we still had to read it.

If you enjoy OM/OW drama, go for it!

I would love to read the third book the author planned, but she seems to have disappeared from the book world around 2012.

Surviving Passion (The Shattered World #1) – Maia Underwood

Good read – steamy but not graphic

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and romance, so the joining of the two is one of my favorite sub-genres. And I really like this one.

About nine years ago, the economy crashed, followed by technology, and then civilization as a whole, wiping out most of the population through starvation, disease, and violence. Selena has been on her own, not even talking to another person, since her father died four years ago. She is almost caught by a group of nasty men and ends up hiding in the same building and room as Dan, who is also avoiding the same men. After the group gives up on finding Selena and leaves, Dan forces her to return to his small group with him.

It’s written in close 3rd, always with Selena. I would have liked to have followed Dan some of the time for sure. I didn’t get to know him as well as I hoped, but I liked what I saw. There is no cheating, no OW. There’s a man who wants to be an OM, but Selena has zero interest in him.

It’s a little steamy. There are only two sex scenes in this book, and they aren’t that graphic. The first starts with some nonconsensual touching. I’ve read in other reviews that some readers view this scene as rape. I didn’t see it that way myself, so it’s at least subjective. Dan gave Selena a chance to stop him, and she didn’t take it. We also know that she’s already attracted to him. The reader has had some foreplay. Selena says, “I hate you,” but I took it like “I hate that you have the power to make me feel so strongly because it scares me”. Afterwards, Selena hasn’t been traumatized and is actually regretting not showing that she wanted Dan more, afraid that he might not want her the same way anymore. However, if you are sensitive to things like this, if it’s a trigger for you, then definitely stay away. The second scene is fully consensual and even initiated by Selena.

There are some strange formatting errors. Most of the book is left justified with paragraph indents, but sometimes there are several paragraphs that are fully indented like a block quote. I found very few actual grammar / spelling errors.

I enjoyed the story and really liked the action scenes. They are described and paced very well. I especially liked Selena’s parts in the fights. Selena is strong in that she’s a survivor and has some skills. But she’s been emotionally and socially stunted by her life experience. She acts childishly at times, but I liked that she called herself out on it. Her behavior makes sense for her life experience, and she grows along with the story.

I agree with other reviewers that the story could use some work, but it’s a good read as is. If you have a fascination with post-apocalyptic romance like I do, then I recommend it.

Trucker (The Good Guys) – Jamie Schlosser

So cute!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Travis picks Angel up when she starts to hitchhike across the country.

This was so frigging cute. It’s a light-hearted, feel-good read. I loved that both the leads are virgins. Travis’ horror date stories were hilarious. I laughed out loud several times while reading this.

The only thing I didn’t like was the OW drama. It was just another woman that wanted Travis, mean girl stuff, no touching at all between H and OW. Very cliche, but at least it was over quickly!

Angel was naive and far too trusting, but she’s very young (17/18). It’s nice to see that life hadn’t beaten that out of her already.

This is written in alternating 1st. I only found a few grammar mistakes in the whole book, just extra words. HEA.

Great quick read that I needed between heavier stuff!

Tribes – Mia Frances

Post-apocalyptic Horror – Not Romance

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Remember “The Day After”, the 1983 movie about the immediate aftermath of a nuclear war? It was a horrifically real depiction meant to raise consciousness and help make sure it never became reality. It is not a feel-good movie and certainly not a romance. TRIBES is along those lines but adds rape and much more human killing human. At least “The Day After” showed some people being compassionate, working together, and helping each other. These are very rare in TRIBES.

Alex is taking her two sisters and their seven kids to her camp in the Adirondacks when a nuclear war starts. Alex and the kids are the only decent human beings we see for most of the book. Wolf, the “hero”, is not a decent person! At no point did I want them to be together.

Alex is a strong woman, smart, level-headed, and kind. Being a hiking and nature enthusiast, she has just enough skills to keep them alive at the start. Intelligence and perseverance allow her to improve these skills and their situation. I liked all the survival information and descriptions of nature, finding them both entertaining and informative. Alex eventually learns to shoot, track, and hunt. The descriptions of her thought processes when raiding potentially abandoned buildings were great. If there weren’t other people still in the world, Alex would have easily kept herself and the kids alive and even thrived.

But they are not alone, far from it! They were on the road when they got warning of an imminent strike. None of the locals would give them shelter, but at least they didn’t kill them. I think those locals died anyway because soon the only people left in the world were murderers and rapists. They killed everyone from babies to old people. It is a starkly pessimistic apocalypse. I love post-apocalyptic fiction, especially without zombies, and this is the worst vision of what humanity could be that I’ve read.

Though this novel contains two people who get together and have sex, it doesn’t meet my definition of a romance. I found it categorized at Amazon under “Science Fiction Romance”, so I was severely disappointed. There were no reviews anywhere to correct my expectations, which is why I felt especially compelled to write this review. My post-apocalyptic fiction doesn’t need romance, but it does when categorized as such.

If you are looking for a “romance” with good feels, hot sex scenes, a hopeful feeling, and a leading man with good qualities, steer clear of this!

It is also categorized under “Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction” and “Dystopian Science Fiction” which fit. I would also put it in “Horror”.

It is written in close 3rd, mostly from Alex’s POV. But there is frequent head-hopping within a chapter, mostly short dips into the children and Wolf. I don’t like head-hopping and find it disorienting.

Very long paragraphs and character background loaded at the front failed to grab me, but I kept going, expecting something to happen soon. It did, but the long paragraph style continued throughout, and I’m just not a fan. It also bothered me that time passed between these long paragraphs with no indication, leaving me to realize it later. At least a double carriage return would have been nice.

I feel like the book would have been better if it started with Alex noticing the people missing, the radio notification, and the women’s reactions. Their reactions would tell me what I needed to know about them. I don’t need all the background loaded into the front, and the book would start with a whoosh. It took so long for the actual bombs to be revealed that I was wondering if the whole thing wasn’t a horrific hoax or mistake. When we get inside Wolf’s head, we again get a lot of backstory loaded in. I’d have preferred this come out in conversation or something. There really isn’t much on screen dialogue between Alex and Wolf, no “get to know you” conversations or discussions about how Wolf is treating Alex or the kids or how Alex wants them treated.

There are some typos, missing periods and quotation marks, and a few unnecessary dialogue tags. Some of the book, within and outside of dialogue, is in bold, which I’ve never seen before. It clearly indicated emphasis. It didn’t really bother me but felt weird.

I just couldn’t enjoy this either a romance or a non-romance. I didn’t find the sex scenes hot and never rooted for the couple together, but I didn’t get the revenge killing I wanted either when I had moved to looking at this as a horror novel. I don’t wish I could give it no stars though. It deserves the one star for the third paragraph I wrote here.

The McClane Apocalypse, Book 1 – Kate Morris

Makings of a good story, shame about present tense + grammar

Rating: 2 out of 5.

At the start of an apocalypse, Reagan escapes the college she’s been at and goes home to the family farm. The McClane’s are clearly preppers. One of Reagan’s sisters is married to a an Army Ranger. He is brought home wounded by his brother and a friend. So we have three hot military men for three beautiful McClane sisters.

This story is written in present tense throughout, which was shocking to my system and difficult to read until I got accustomed to it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel in present tense before and have decided I’m not a fan of this choice.

There are many grammar and spelling errors. At some point, there was a search and replace that replaced the second half of certain words with “Where”. Yikes. Unnecessary dialogue tags are everywhere. Dialogue and action are placed in separate paragraphs. The same word is used to describe things in adjacent paragraphs. This novel could have seriously benefited from an editor.

Now the story is actually pretty good in parts. I love the whole post-apocalypse romance genre, which is why I decided to try this even after reading bad reviews. I found I don’t agree with the complaints that the women are weak. Reagan is a sharp shooter and goes with the men to defend some neighbors. In the beginning, she kills her attackers. She’s got the makings of a strong character, but her thinking she is ugly because of some scars seems quite far fetched.

It makes sense that Grams and Hannah would be cooking all the time. There are no more microwaves! Cooking for that many people is actually quite strenuous. And Sue is heavily pregnant and then taking care of an infant while still managing an enormous garden, which is hard work too. These women aren’t weak just because they are doing “women’s work”. Women’s work is frigging hard!

The fact that Reagan and Hannah are both virgins makes sense for their characters. Reagan has been far ahead of her age group in school since before she hit puberty. Hannah was home schooled because she didn’t want to go away to a school for the blind. I don’t find it ridiculous. When Hannah decides she wants a man, she isn’t shy about showing him.

The story ends before it’s complete, but it’s not really a cliffhanger. I don’t feel like I have to know what happens next. Since I found present tense so uncomfortable, I don’t think I’m going to find out. If the series is ever properly edited and put into past tense, I would definitely read it.

There were no sex scenes in Book 1, so it is a clean romance. However, the romance itself didn’t get very far in this book.