Familiar of Not by Pelaam

81H953P9ytL._SL1425_Title: Familiar or Not
Series: Scare This!, #1
Author: Pelaam
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Novella (54 pages)
Publisher: MLR Press (October 31st, 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: When Julen sees Aleck, he knows the man is hot. The real question is, whether he’s a Familiar or not.

Julen might be a witch, but Halloween is too commercial for his tastes these days. When his Aunt Cassandra learns that Julen likes their new neighbour Aleck, she can’t resist trying to bring them together, and invites Aleck to a Halloween soiree. But she interferes a little too much. To Julen’s delight, he and Aleck seem made for one another. Until he discovers his Aunt’s involvement. Heartbroken to think what he shared with Aleck isn’t real, Julen runs away to a mountain cabin to get over the hurt.

But when the truth comes out, can Cassandra and her Familiar Wiley get Julen and Aleck back together before it’s too late.

ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0319

Product Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=PFAMORNT

Reviewer: Prime

Review: The blurb of this is interesting – it seems to centre less on the romantic couple and more on the meddling witch and her Familiar. So for me that likes different and loves a good holiday short or novella this is already giving indications of awesomeness. Interestingly, though, the aunt (Cassandra) plays a big role but a majority of the story is Julen’s perspective.

This is a standalone book in the Scare This series. I read Queen of Bats, Four of Skulls story in the series first (and reviewed it), without realising that it was in fact a series! My bad.

Julen is a grumpy witch when we first meet him, and that is nothing short of funny for me, mostly because I can relate, though not the exact situation. Probably part of his grumpiness stems from his both mischievous and hilarious, Aunty Cassandra, and her Familiar is just as funny and full of mischief. Julen is instantly suspicious of the witch after she starts talking about the new neighbour to him. Aleck is a sweetie and often hangs out with his high maintenance best friend. From the moment we’re introduced to Aleck it’s pretty clear he is more than a little fascinated with Julen.

This is a fun, lighthearted read. There is some not so light-hearted meddling and drama, but that just makes it a more enjoyable read.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

Red Lettering by Barbara Geiger

71rCfVPl6fL._SL1425_Title: Red Lettering
Series: Scare This!, #3
Author: Barbara Geiger
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Novella (89 pages)
Publisher: MLR Press (October 31st, 2014)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts
Blurb: What was supposed to be a one-night stand for Colin, with a bit of strange, shouldn’t have been on Halloween when his departed lover still has something to say.

Colin’s boyfriend Ren was flamboyant and fabulous, in-or-out of drag. Colin has been mourning him for seven years. When Colin walks into the local diner, he doesn’t expect to see Peter the flirty waiter dressed as a waitress. Colin wants to let Peter go, but somehow he just can’t do it. It’s Halloween, the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and Ren still has a lot to say. Peter’s been hurt before, and Colin has truths of his own to face, but with Ren’s help, maybe they’ll have a hot at more than a one-night stand.

ISBN: MLR02014-0318

Product Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=BGREDLTR

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Red Lettering is a standalone book in the Scare This series. So far, this is the third story I’ve read in this Halloween theme series. The premise is intriguing, although I’ve come across it before in other books. Ren, the long dead lover of Colin is playing matchmaker between Colin and Peter, showing them exactly what they need.

It’s good that this story features drag queens – Ren had been one and Peter is dressed as a waitress when Colin meets him. Colin sure knows his make up too. I say it’s good because many stories that I’ve read with drag queens are all light-hearted romps, but Red Lettering is more heartfelt and serious. Don’t be surprised if you feel the urge to shed a couple of tears!

This is a rather heartfelt and poignant story, in both the present and the flashbacks. It certainly isn’t one of those Ren literally haunting and pushing the two together, although his tragic life is certainly something entirely different from Colin’s version of Ren. Then Peter is just a kind soul, very patient, despite his own past experience. That being said I can’t say it was fun. However, it was thoroughly enjoyable, albeit intense. Even Halloween is the holiday for healing, it seems.

And the teaser, we get a “to be continued”! According to Barbara Geiger’s website, the sequel, “Black Shades”, is a Christmas novella that will feature Peter’s point of view. One thing I had thought was that there wasn’t enough Peter, so I’m relieved to see that there will be the opportunity for more!

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

Unexpected Spirits by Nicole Dennis

81zVamkdJ1L._SL1425_Title: Unexpected Spirits
Series: Scare This!, #5
Author: Nicole Dennis
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short (43 pages)
Publisher: MLR Press (October 31st, 2014)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Can ex-lovers find their way back to one another while Samhain allows a desperate person to do about anything to connect?

A reluctant medium turned writer, Dmitri Terron, hates Samhain and the spirits invading his life. He follows the Druid path, creating wards and barriers to keep out the ghosts. Even with the barriers in place, an unexpected spirit enters his home. It’s his ex-boyfriend, Zackary Kendrick, who is scared and relieved to find Dmitri.

Needing to learn what happened, Dmitri pushes past his personal barriers to help. Zack’s physical body rests in a coma. A piece of Zack’s soul needs to reunite with his body or all is lost.

ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0320

Product Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=NDUNXSPT

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Another story from the Scare This! collection, this is another standalone book. I’m going to have to admit, the blurb left me both confused and intrigued. After reading Red Lettering in this series directly before, I was left wondering if I am reading about a dead ex-boyfriend playing matchmaker. The truth of the matter is it’s actually more complicated than that.

Immediately, though worldly Dmitri seems so innocent as well, perhaps because he has a severe agoraphobia because of the spirits that haunt him. He’s been using druidic techniques to protect himself. However, that doesn’t stop the strong “spirit” of Dmitri’s ex, Zack, to come through. The twist here is that from the outset they need to figure out exactly what happened to Zack to know if he is dead or alive.

I was often not sure what to think of Zack, mostly because I couldn’t decide if he was a dick or if he was just misunderstood. Or, if he was just too dense when he had been in a relationship with Dmitri. Truthfully, the reason that Dmitri and Zack broke up ten years earlier, and the effect it had on Zack really did hit me emotionally and I was upset for Dmitri. In the end, I love both Dmitri and Zack.

I find it hard to write down what I think about this story. The character stories really got to me, particularly Dmitri’s when he thinks of his past with Zack and how they broke up. My heart also breaks for him in the beginning when we are shown his agoraphobia. This story is good, enjoyable and emotional. I love the mysticism and magic.

For anyone wanting a good horror/paranormal/Halloween story, I recommend this one. That is probably all I can say without going into too many details.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

Queen of Bats, Four of Skulls by D.C. Williams

81mye1fLxOL._SL1425_Title: Queen of Bats, Four of Skulls
Series: Scare This!, #4
Author: DC Williams
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Novella (60 pages)
Publisher: MLR Publishing (November 1st, 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Tom and Jackson are keeping a secret… they can do magic. Sort of.

Tom Cooper and Jackson Manning are hereditary magic users. Really. Mostly they think of themselves as party planners. House sitting for their grandmothers over Halloween will test their patience, but spending their least favourite holiday in the ramshackle old house brings them into contact with Dave, the handsome handyman who is keeping secrets of his own.

When dark forces threaten Dave on the spookiest night of the year, can Tom and Jackson save him in time?

Product Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=DCQOBFOS

Reviewer: Prime

Review: This is a fairly straightforward story, as seen in the blurb. That is, of course, if you can get past the discussion of cousins sleeping with cousins, hereditary disorders, low sperm counts (though some viable) and men being more likely to be gay in the family. Tom and Jackson, are actually also second cousins, hence my comment in the previous sentence, but they are also lovers.

Dave is a quiet guy with some fantasies – particularly when he finds out that Tom and Jackson are not only a couple but also second cousins. It’s always the quiet ones you have to look out for.

Interestingly, Tom and Jackson may be lovers but they don’t live together and they are by no means exclusive. They each want a Mr Right of their very own and this has held them back from doing anything beyond casual sex. I also find it amusing that even though Tom and Jackson have some sort of witch-like magic in their blood, they also hate Halloween.

Tom and Jackson’s grandmothers are sisters who live together. These two quirky women are hilarious, despite the fact that they only pop up right at the end, these women we get to know through their grandsons. It is their grandmothers who encourage Tom and Jackson to be together.

When the three of them get together, it is both hot and sweet. Tom and Jackson are also two very willing knights in shining armour for Dave. This is an enjoyable read for anyone who likes their Halloween to include a little kink.

Blue Moon by Megan Slayer

71v-ayvnGyL._SL1425_Title: Blue Moon
Series: Scare This!, #2
Author: Megan Slayer
Genre: Paranormal / Halloween
Length: Short Story (44 pages)
Publisher: MLR Press (November 1st, 2014)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5-3 Hearts
Blurb: The ghost at my door claims to be my ex-boyfriend, back from the dead. Yeah, right.

Two years ago on October 31st, my world fell apart and I know it’ll never be fixed. No ghost can ease my broken heart and bring my boyfriend back to me. None. Now there’s a ghost at my door claiming to be Tristan. I don’t believe it. Ghosts don’t exist—or do they?

Have I mentioned it’s Halloween? I hate Halloween.

ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0316

Product Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=MSBLUEMN

Reviewer: Thommie

Review: Once upon a time, he was madly in love. He had dreams and a life filled to the brim with joy. He shared his favorite Halloween with his lover in their own special way, as it was their own special holyday. Once upon a time, he was a whole man.

Now Paul is merely going by each day trying to go by each day without his beloved. Now he simply exists without any plans for a future that was taken away from him rather brutally. Now his special holiday is his bane… Tristan is dead and never coming back no matter how much he wishes it. No one can change reality after all…

First thing I noticed about this book is the storytelling. How smooth the language flows and how easily I got the feeling that I just inserted Paul’s mind (our MC). However, though the writing style was smooth, I didn’t feel the pain or the grand emotions I thought I ought to feel. How weird is that? I ought to feel the shock and pain and distrust emanating from Paul, right? Wrong! I completely missed them and that was a bit disappointed, but trust me when I say that the final line in the first chapter had me popping up goose-bumps all over and have my jaw hanging open for a couple of minutes, because that was the moment when shock hit me big time. Sadly, it didn’t last long.

Tristan’s PoV – the other MC aka the ghost – the very next chapter came and with it brought so much more on the plate. Enter the paranormal world where not only ghosts but also demons and angels, Heaven and Hell exist too. Basically, this is a deal-with-the-devil-gone-wrong story set in the Halloween period. I’m still confused about the deal with Halloween here but I won’t delve much on that.

There is one big problem with this story for me; you have this guy whose lover died and suddenly said lover is standing right in front of him telling him that he’s real and that they should start celebrating Halloween… And here I am thinking, “F#@$ Halloween mate, the dead lover is freaking back. HELLO!!!! Either go on a mental crisis already or screw his brains out, what celebration and what Holiday?”

And while I’m not much of a drama reader (I detest it truth be told) I kept thinking that Paul ought to have had a complete meltdown crying and screaming and grabbing at his dead lover with such fierceness that he might have endangered his well being, if of course you could do that to a ghost. Is my way of thinking wrong..? Don’t answer that!

Anyhow, there is some little drama but it’s always meshed up with the “you have to believe and like Halloween again” thingy, confusing the hell out of me for the biggest part of the read.

But beside the plot that was somewhat disappointing, because I totally expected the demon to show up and make a Hellish scene and that didn’t happen, this is not your ordinary Halloween story. Yes, it’s set on the holiday, but it felt as if the setting was just a prop, as if it was there just for the sake of making this plot a bit more credible. And as love-stories go by, I’ve certainly read better ones. Not that this wasn’t sweet and hot, or passionate even, but I just felt the lack of that once in a lifetime/forever ever after love that this was meant to be.

Bottom end if you expect a high-tension Halloween dramatic love-story my personal opinion is that this will disappoint you. But if you don’t mind a bit of a slower in intensity, and sweeter in general terms love-story with the “even Death shan’t take us apart” theme, then go ahead, and knock yourself out, this is definitely the story for you.