Omega Alone, S. Rodman

I very much wanted to like this book. The premise grabbed my attention and I was curious about how the rescue would become love, how Luca would find his strength, and how Erik would find his softness. While those three things happened, I found far too much that bothered me deeply to truly enjoy the story and the outcome.

Trigger warnings not mentioned in the synopsis:
Dubious consent during matings, yes, on more than one occasion and each time it bothers
Attempted rape
Stockholm syndrome
Administration of drugs without consent
Forcible invasion of memories through magical means
Physical abuse
Trafficking of a person
Uninformed consent at every freaking turn

Just with that list alone this book should be a one star review. There were huge issues with how Luca was sold in the first place, bound to a vampire, then sold again to the wolf shifter who becomes his mate, beginning with Luca's time with the vampire, not dealing with Luca's fear, obvious distress, lack of knowledge, his reaction to Erik's pack, and his silence in reaction to virtually everything if he's not either crying or trying to escape, seeing nothing of his own innate magic or talents in general, getting virtually no dynamics of Erik's pack...

The thing is though, I didn't hate the story. It's a long list of what was missing and inadequate, but there are moments of sweetness and hope and one tiny bit of humor after Luca does a really cool thing near the end and other characters that managed to grab my interest insomuch as to make me actually consider continuing with this world if there is to be a series to follow.

...yeah, I know.

So yeah, huge red flags, incredibly disturbing scenes that are not addressed constructively or satisfyingly, and a lack of character depth or growth that really doesn't inspire me to recommend this story at all. But...I might actually read more from the world at some point, so there is that.

*$4.99 on Amazon

Call of the Night Singers, Rachel Langella

For being such a short story, it sure packed a punch. It was very slow going at the start and the voice was quite boring, to be honest, but once all the supernatural stuff started going down it became vastly more appealing and captivating. Told only from Geoffrey's POV, it lacked the balance I was hoping for, but it did have quite a lot of story depth even though it was very light on character depth.

I wasn't wowed by the romance at all, and definitely not the MC's themselves, but the overall story was sufficiently creepy and suitable for the setting described in the book. The villains were very obvious as were the basics regarding so many deaths that came before, but the actual why, the motivations, the paranormal element, and the violent confrontations, those were all mysteries that were woven quite well and kept me reading.

This was a new-to-me author that I very well might give another go. Once the plot picked up so did the actual story telling and perhaps that speaks to a talent that needed a little warming up before hitting their stride. If that stride is anything to go by, this is an author I'd definitely revisit.

*$2.99 on Amazon

When Garland Heatherford is named heir to his uncle’s vast fortune, he isn’t pleased by the honor, and with good reason. The last five heirs all met with most untimely deaths – four of them from drowning. Although loathe to accept his inheritance, Garland nevertheless travels to the “cursed” town of Bath, North Carolina, to meet his aged uncle, hoping to avoid the fate of his predecessors. But Garland has something in his favor the other heirs didn’t: his lover, Geoffrey Wainwright.

The sight of the decaying hulk of Heatherford House dismays both men, yet they have little choice but to enter a world where a miasma of horror lies beneath a veneer of breeding, and madness and death seem to lurk in every corner. Ruling over all is the presence of sinister Roderick Heatherford, who has managed to outlive five young, healthy heirs despite his allegedly poor health. When an unexpected illness strikes Garland and he begins to sleepwalk, lured from bed by singing only he can hear, Geoffrey resolves to protect Garland from every danger – even if it costs him his own life.

Eggsquisite: Glitter Dragons Book 1, Jinx Jax

I think it was the writing and the pacing and the overall voice that threw me off.  By all rights the premise and the fact that are are legit glitter dragons threatening to dominate the world via social media with the force of cute should have been enough to have me ass over tea kettle in love with the story.  Except I wasn't.  I wanted to, really, I truly wanted to love this story, but I just didn't.

Even the intimate chemistry was lacking along with the actual romance.  Nothing actually built, it was just a whole lot of hesitations, distractions, interruptions, and spontaneous shifting that I really didn't believe the idea of mates by the end.  I'm a sucker for fated mates and while this was purported to be a magical mating situation, very little of it felt magical.

And speaking of magic, very little of that was explained or demonstrated, with notable exceptions of weird glitter explosions and happy-feeling makings once the shifting happens.  Yes, each dragon has individual abilities, but an overly enticing pool isn't enough to convince me that the magic is actually a compelling element of the story or the characters.

Between the awkwardness, the disrespect and insecurity, the rushed pace of everything, the vague discussion of magics, and the overall dynamic between all the characters, there wasn't much left to rave about in a positive way.  Oh the story was fine, it was interesting in its unique elements, it just failed to wow me.  I won't be continuing the series.

*$3.99 on Amazon

Just when you think you've seen it all...

Heavy metal musician Keith Lane knows all about the hustle. After all, he's been chasing fame and fortune for almost a decade while working as a pool boy. When he stumbles upon six stunning and very naked men claiming to be dragon-shifters from another world, he's dubious until one changes right before his very eyes.

Captive to a cruel king, Nionn has longed for freedom and a mate. With the help of his brothers, they use magic to travel far from home and into the presence of one destined to help them. When Nionn senses Keith is his mate, he refuses to believe he deserves him, choosing instead to think he must be overcome by the perilous journey.

When the dragons enchant every human who sees them, it becomes clear they have remarkable star power. Keith vows to keep them safe from unscrupulous promoters and human groupies. Of course, he'll have to start by keeping his hands off Nionn, and that's going to be almost impossible when he feels an overwhelming urge to be with him.

With a scheme to help the dragons become celebrities, and a group of talented and dedicated humans determined to pull off the superstar launch of the century, will Keith and Nionn come together or will they find a way to resist the powerful allure of the mating call?

Bound to Happen: AirB&D Book 4, Olivia Joy

I know these stories are short in this series, but a couple of them have still managed to win me over with their honesty, connection, and chemistry.  This story didn't manage to do that.  While there was chemistry, a really decent amount, that played well to their mutual desires, it didn't translate to a relationship in a real way for me.  Overall it was a nice story, a fairly okay addition to the series, but it wasn't my favorite.

Will was a little easier to know as we begin with his POV and his internal commentary on his life, relationship status, job, and feelings about the situation as well as about Mitch.  Mitch on the other hand, was bland to me.  There wasn't a good enough explanation of his motivations, his redemption for the bet, or a real connecting moment between him and me as a reader.  I just didn't care about him and wasn't convinced that he deserved Will.

The outcome was a tale of two men who got a second chance at a college attraction turned sour and all the spice you'd expect from this series.  It wasn't fully successful for me by the end, but it wasn't an entirely unenjoyable reading experience either.  It was just...meh...and a bit disappointing.

*$3.99 on Amazon

Will Simpson figures he’s the epitome of boring. He works in a cubicle, goes to the beach for vacation every year, and even the ex who only wanted sex once a week left him. So when he gets an invitation to spend a weekend at a B&B in Maine with a bunch of his old frat buddies, Will figures why not do something totally out of his comfort zone. He knows he might see Mitch again, but with enough guys around, it wouldn’t have to be awkward.

Mitch Archer thinks a weekend with his old buddies might be fun, too, but when he gets to Maine, he surprised to find Will is the only one who made it. He’s also surprised to discover that the house itself is more than just a fun place to vacation in small-town New England. He’s always wondered what he and Will could have had together, so he grabs at the chance to test things out between them. He’s ready to explore, and he’s bound and determined to show Will how adventurous he can be.

Snow Time for Love: Tales of the Circle Book 3.5

After becoming curious about the slightly off-putting realtor in Heart from the same series, I was weirdly interested in reading his story.  What we got could be sweet so some, sexy to others, but mostly it was rushed and disturbing to me.

To start, did we have to read about Ralph boning his FBuddy with only about an hour and a half of reading in the whole book?  Couldn't we have just started with the morning after?  It was so uncomfortable for me to read the rest of the short story because I was already having a graphic display of what he got up to with one guy in the morning and am expected he comes to love another guy by the end of the night.

Sure, he knew the guy he fell for and was always attracted to him, but the transition from attracted business colleagues to lovers and more felt jarringly abrupt and icky.  Add in the flashback to Ralph's initial come-on to Bo and I'm seriously anti-Ralph on the basis of his behavior just not being okay no matter how much his heart yearns for love.  He's constantly making inappropriate and over-the-line propositions that I can't take him seriously.

Bo, on the other hand, was a bit different because he was sweeter, more earnest, and was in a position to give in to his attraction and did so in a way that was more genuine.  I just liked him better.  That's not to say I didn't feel that "love" came too soon, it just felt more organic from Bo's end.

But honestly the whole thing felt like we were racing to the finish and the subtleties and growth were lost in the rush.  There was so much time spent on reminiscing and describing the moments of attraction that I wondered for nearly the whole story if all their feels were just in their heads.  Overall it was sweet, lots of steam, and while it wasn't a bad story, it just made me uncomfortable for too long, was followed by a rushed romance, and then it ended...nicely.

*$2.99 on Amazon

Lonely for company, Realty-Man Ralph seeks to celebrate a pricey property flip with his favorite contractor, Bo. But Bo is afraid Ralph will discover he’s squatting in the house they’re currently renovating. A winter storm is coming, and the forecast is heavy snow… with a chance of tequila, Chinese food, and love.