Review of: Hidden Powers by Tara Lain

TITLE: Hidden Powers
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: Superordinary Society
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: March 12, 2019

BLURB:

Superordinary Society: Book One
Jazz Vanessen is weird—and not just because he’s a werewolf. For most of his life, he’s felt different from his alpha male brothers and friends. Since he’s adopted, he can’t even blame it on family.
Now eighteen, Jazz meets his idol, the social activist Lysandra Mason, and her breathtaking nephew, Dash Mercury. When Dash is around, even stranger things start to happen, including Jazz falling hopelessly in lust. Not only is Jazz having visions, making people disappear, and somehow turning invisible, but somebody’s following him and threatening to reveal his pack’s secrets to the world.
Together with Dash and Jazz’s equally amazing friends—Carla, BeBop, Khadija, and Fatima—they discover the danger is even more lethal than they thought, and Jazz’s weirdness may save all their lives.


Hidden Powers is the first book in a brand new series called Superordinary Society by Tara Lain. This is the first paranormal book that I’ve read by Tara Lain. I love reading her contemporary books, and so I thought that I would give this one a try. I liked it and thought that it was a good start to a promising new series. I figured with it being a young adult book that it would be light on the romantic side of things, and so it was, which is fine. I liked the chemistry that developed between two of the main characters and will be excited to see how their relationship progresses in the next book.

I normally like the author’s writing style, but I found this one to have a lot of information about Jazz’s pack and their backstory and how they were all related to each other. And I found it hard to keep track of who was who and why all of the info that was given was important to the book. I agree with another reviewer’s review about how this part could have been forgone at the beginning of the novel and would have preferred to see more background on how Jazz and his best friend Carla had essentially grown up together and how they got to be so close as friends. I agree with the reviewer that more time invested in their relationship and how it evolved would have been more beneficial to the story.

Since this is a new series, I did spend most of the book trying to figure out who were the bad guys and who were the good guys. I was so happy that some of the people that I thought were going to be the bad guys ended up being the good guys. I was also hoping that the villain in the story wasn’t going to end up being one of Jazz’s biological parents or biologically being related to him since he’s adopted and doesn’t know where he gets his special powers from in addition to being an alpha werewolf. This wasn’t confirmed in any way in the book, so I’m hoping that we find out more about Jazz’s biological parents in the next book.

I liked the storyline of the book. I liked how Jazz is starting an internship at his family’s company and is going to work his way up in the company as opposed to going to university and then coming in as a CEO or some other high-ranking individual. I also liked how he became friends with his fellow interns, Carla, BeBop, Fatima, Dash, and Khadija and how they each have different powers and abilities that complement each other. They end up forming a group that they call The Superordinary Society and vow to help others in need.

I liked how the story progressed after getting through the beginning, and I think I will like the second book in the series a lot more now that I know who the important characters are and what their goals are. I look forward to seeing more of the members of the Superordinary Society and what forces of evil they conquer next. Overall, a good start to a promising new series.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Impacted! by Mickie B. Ashling

TITLE: Impacted!
AUTHOR: Mickie B. Ashling
SERIES: Bay Area Professionals
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: BDSM, Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2019

BLURB:

On his way home from vacation, Scott Gregory, a closeted sub, hooks up with the gorgeous Red, a flamboyant Dom, for a thrilling one-off at a BDSM bar. They part ways after a satisfying scene… but meet again when Robin Kennedy—Red—arrives at his new job as a dental hygienist and discovers one of his two bosses is Scott.
Robin and Scott embark on a journey of exploration into their kinkier sides and discover they’re more than compatible—they’re a perfect match. But keeping employer/employee and Dom/sub separate at the office presents difficulties, and to make matters even more complicated, the owner of the dental practice is an acknowledged homophobe.
They fall in love, but Robin chafes at all the secrecy, refusing to live in the shadows. Scott isn’t as brave; he’s desperate to protect his job and his future. Will they be able to find some middle ground… or will their entire relationship fall apart because of fear?


I loved Impacted! by Mackie B. Ashling. Impacted! is the first book in the Bay Area Professionals series. This is my first time reading a book by Mackie B. Ashling, but I can guarantee it won’t be the last. I loved the blurb and have been on a BDSM reading kick lately, and this book had everything that I love in a BDSM book. A Dom that is younger than his submissive but is no less experienced just because he is younger than his submissive. The Dom and sub end up working together and have a hard time keeping their professional and private lives separate. I also love a super needy sub and a protective, dominate Dom who’s there to push the sub’s limits and give him what he needs. Mackie B. Ashling gave me all of those things in this book, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to see how Scott and Robin’s relationship evolves.

There were a couple of things that I thought were a little unneeded in the book. The book is told primarily through Scott and Robin’s POV which is expected, but we also got the POV of Scott’s best friend Susie, who’s straight and is looking for her forever boyfriend. So it’s kind of like having an MF subplot while you are reading a MM story. So if you don’t like reading MF stories at all, then this is probably not for you since the MF subplot does continue into the next book which is the sequel to this story and continues Scott and Robin’s story. It does continue the BDSM theme with Susie becoming a Domme, and she’s looking for her perfect submissive male. There were also the POVs of Scott’s boss Ron, who is a homophobe and I think there was a couple of other’s that I really didn’t think that we needed to know what they were thinking or why they were doing what they were doing. I don’t think it brought anything extra to the story. It sometimes took the focus away from Scott and Robin who the story is supposed to be about.

Scott’s a closeted submissive. He has just moved to San Francisco and has a contract to take over a successful dentistry business in a year. He didn’t know that his boss was a huge homophobe when he signed the contract. Who would have thought that there could still be homophobes in San Francisco, which is like the most gay-friendly place to live? But Scott was unlucky enough to have to work for one. He shoves himself back into the closet, telling himself that it is only for a year and that he can handle it since the reward is a four million dollar practice. He will be set for life. On his way home from vacation, he stops at a BDSM bar for a final scene before returning to his closeted life and hooks up with the flamboyant Dom, Red, who was bartending that night. After a very satisfying scene, they part ways, and Scott’s sad that he won’t be able to see Red again since Red’s moving soon. He definitely wasn’t expecting to see him when he goes to work the next day and finds out that he was hired by Ron, the owner, as the new assistant dentist.

Robin’s a Dom and has just finished getting his degree as a dental assistant. He would have gone on to be a dentist but didn’t want to be indebted by student loans. Even though he hasn’t been in the BDSM community long, only a couple of years, he did go and get trained to be a Dom and had been doing scenes with subs for a couple of years. He likes having one-off scenes and isn’t looking for a contracted sub. His last night bartending, he serves a sub a drink, and they have instant chemistry and agree to do a scene after he gets off work. He has no idea that the sub will turn out to be his boss at his new job or that they will get to continue to explore their kinks. Their chemistry goes through the roof, and they find that they are very compatible, are perfect for each other. But can they keep things under wrap under their boss’s homophobic nose or will he find out and fire them both. You will have to read the book to find out.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Amber Krogh

Review of: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael

TITLE: Educating the Professor
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: BDSM
RELEASE DATE: Jan 29, 2019

BLURB:

Kenneth Brannigan is a small-town history professor. He’s happy with his life, loves the classes he teaches, and lives in a tiny apartment in a converted house with his best friend, Tim, next door. He’s still recovering from a bad breakup and is content to stick to his comfortable routine. It’s Tim who insists he come to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer.
At the mixer, Kenn meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. Dave is drawn immediately to Kenn and is thrilled when Kenn offers to show him the best pizza place in town. One meal leads to two, which leads to Dave and Kenn spending most of their free time together… and Kenn loosening his self-imposed rules regarding dating and sex for some kinky fun.
Kenn’s ex isn’t going to just let Kenn be, though, and the happier Kenn is with Dave, the less the ex likes it. Will Kenn continue to run away from his past, or will his relationship with Dave help him face it head-on?


I loved Educating the Professor by Sean Michael. I love reading Sean’s books when I’m in the mood for a book with lots of chemistry between the main characters and lots of kinky scenes. This book started out as more of a slow buildup toward the sexy times, but the book also had more of a plot than some of the other books that I have read by this author. If I had to improve on anything in the book, I would have liked to know more about what happened to Kenneth’s ex. The last time we saw him, he was ready to hit Kenn, and the police had been called, but we don’t know if he went to jail or if he backed off and gave up or even if the harassment from the private investigator that his ex had hired was still bothering them. I’m not entirely sure that they needed to be in the book, but like I said before, the book had more of a plot than some of the others. The ending and epilogue just didn’t answer all of my questions about what had happened. There were other parts of the book that definitely made up for the missing answers, like when Kenneth gets his piercings and all of their fun weekends together.

Kenneth had been verbally and physically abused by his ex-husband when he was caught watching what his husband considered perverse videos. He’s told repeatedly that what he wants is perverse and he was beaten until he couldn’t move because of it. He managed to run away and get a divorce, but it’s been over three years, and he’s still being harassed by his ex, which makes sense since he told him that he would make sure that he would forever be alone. So naturally he hasn’t been looking for a relationship, and he’s been relatively happy with just his teaching job and his friendship with his bestie, Tim.+

I loved Tim. He was the perfect best friend, bubbly, happy, and forcing his bestie to get out and do things like going to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer. It’s at the mixer that he meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. They get to talking, and Kenn offers to show David around to all of the best places to eat. And they go from there to being friends with benefits to being in a relationship.

I loved how David is a Dom and has more experience than Kenn but he doesn’t rush Kenn into doing anything that he wasn’t ready to do, and I also loved how supportive he is in reassuring him that his desires aren’t perverse so long as they aren’t hurting anybody.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: The Case of the Voracious Vintner by Tara Lain

TITLE: The Case of the Voracious Vintner
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: The Middlemark Mysteries
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
RELEASE DATE: Jan 29, 2019

BLURB:

Where Bo Marchand comes from, gay men are just confirmed bachelors who never found the right girl. But now Bo’s a successful winemaker on the central coast of California, supporting his whole damned Georgia family, and all he really wants is the beautiful, slightly mysterious Jeremy Aames.
Jeremy’s vineyard is under threat from Ernest Ottersen, the voracious winemaker who seems to know all Jeremy’s blending secrets and manages to grab all his customers. Bo tries to help Jeremy and even provides a phony alibi for Jeremy when Ottersen turns up dead in Jeremy’s tasting room. But it’s clear Jeremy isn’t who he claims, and Bo must decide if it’s worth tossing over his established life for a man who doesn’t seem to trust anyone. When Jeremy gets kidnapped, some of the conservative winemakers turn out to be kinky sex fiends, and the list of murderers keeps dwindling down to Jeremy. Bo has to choose between hopping on his white horse or climbing back in his peach-pie-lined closet.


I loved everything about The Case of the Voracious Vintner by Tara Lain. This is the second book in The Middlemark Mysteries, and there are cameos of Dr. Llewellyn Lewis and Blaise from the first book in the series, The Case of the Sexy Shakespearian, who are planning to have their wedding at Bo Marchand’s winery and end up helping to solve this mystery also. I loved getting to see them again and how happy they are. The book is full of twists and turns and complex characters and details that have you looking one way and convinced of who the bad guy is going to be only to be completely blindsided by who the bad guy ends up being. I loved how I was kept guessing, and it made the book fly by. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for the next book in the series.

I loved Bo Marchand. I didn’t particularly like his family, but he was a good son to take them all in when his father died, and their company went under. I liked that he held his ground about staying in California and continuing with his successful winery when his mom wanted him to take over the family business and stay in Georgia. Bo is one of the top winemakers on the central coast of California and has a soft spot for newcomer, beautiful and slightly mysterious, Jeremy Aames. Jeremy is a super talented winemaker, but his vineyard is under threat from Ernest Ottersen, the voracious winemaker who seems to know all of Jeremy’s blending secrets and manages to grab all of his customers.

I loved Jeremy. He’s surrounded in mystery, but he’s stubborn also. He is completely determined that Ernest Ottersen is out to get him and put his small vineyard out of business and he can’t figure out why he’s the only one being targeted. But even when the evidence shows that it couldn’t be Ernest, he’s still determined that it is. Who else could it be? You will have to read the book to find that out.

I also loved the chemistry between Bo and Jeremy and how they work together to figure out what is going on and who’s sabotaging Jeremy’s vineyard.

Overall, a lovely mystery/suspense book that I would recommend to everybody.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

TITLE: Devouring Flame
AUTHOR: E.J. Russell
SERIES: Dreamspun Beyond
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: Jan 8, 2019

BLURB:

Reunited and reignited.
While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.
On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.
Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.
When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.
But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.
Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.


I loved Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell. It’s the thirty-fifth book in the Dreamspun Beyond series and the second book in the Enchanted Occasions series. I love how unique this book is and the world that the author had made. I love that there’s a company out there the paranormal community can hire to plan their special occasions. In this book, Enchanted Occasions Event Planning is hired to cater a huge feast for a convention of vampires for their one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood. But like in the first book, Nudging Fate, things do not go as smoothly as they should.

Smith is a half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning. As a half-demon, he has an inner flame that has to be feed to keep him alive. If the flame goes out, then he will die also. If he were a full demon then he would be able to recharge it himself, but his human genes keep him from being able to do that, and so he needs to consume severely charred meat to keep his flame alive. There was one other way to keep his flame alive, and that is being with another fire demon or ifrit. He’s only had one night with an Ifrit named Hashim of the Windrider clan that he met during an Enchanted Occasions event. On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word, the message was received, loud and clear—thanks but no, thanks. While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again, Hashim.

Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust during their one night together, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free, as Smith finds out when he sees him performing a fire dance at the interstices Las Vegas Carnival. With their attraction sparked once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name, but if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes. Luckily Smith is the guy who gets stuff done, and Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.

To make things even more complicated, they have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood, a Ringmaster, and finding out who’s hunting and trying to kill Hashim’s friend Rion, a Minotaur and fellow carnival attraction.

I loved Rion. He was huge and scary looking and didn’t have any friends but Hashim, but he was the most innocent and friendly Minotaur. I loved getting to know him and hope that he gets his own book in the future.

If you read the first book in the series, Nudging Fate, and enjoyed it, I recommend reading this book, Devouring Flame. I enjoyed it just as much as the first one.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis