Midsummer’s Bottom

Midsummer’s Bottom by Darren Dash  description:

The Midsummer Players stage an outdoor version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream every year on Midsummer’s Eve, in a glade in a forest. The actors have a wonderful time, even though they’re dreadful. Audience members appreciate the effort they put in and applaud politely, but almost never attend more than once. Except for…

…the fey folk!

All of the fairies named in the play are obliged to attend every performance, due to a deal that they struck back in the day with a mischievous Master Shakespeare. In an attempt to disband the irksome Midsummer Players on the eve of their twentieth anniversary, Oberon and Puck hire a human agent of chaos to infiltrate the actors’ ranks and set them against one another by focusing on secret attractions and grudges that have been lying dormant up to now. Sparks will fly, and everyone will come to blows, but it’s all executed with a wink and a grin, and there will be more smiles than tears by the end. At least, that’s the plan…

Inspired by the Bard’s immortal play (which it also weaves into its plot), this light-hearted Comedy is a novel in the spirit of the movies Smiles Of A Summer Night and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, and the musical A Little Night Music. For lovers of Shakespeare, chaos and fairies everywhere.

Midsummer’s Bottom  4 STARS

I don’t even know how to begin to review this. It was not at all the book I was expecting it to be, though I mean that in a good way. Every moment was a surprise where anything was possible and the ending was anybody’s guess. It turned out a lot more erotic that I would’ve guessed, though the final line of the book description should’ve given that away, but not too absurd when you consider the plot involves real life fairy dust and a man that considers himself an agent of chaos. But within all the absurdity, and the fact that real fairies appear from the Feyland, and Puck is indeed out making mischief, the characters were a varied and interesting bunch that brought real issues to the story. People in marriages where the spark has long since died, those unhappy with their lot in life, and more that are just trying to figure out their place in this world. All of which is sucked into a horrible rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is being challenged by the very fairies that inspired it. While I wouldn’t consider it a retelling per se, it definitely holds to the magical idea of the original play, more so by how lyrical Dash’s writing is. Not just counting the scenes in Feyland which are wonderfully written in the form of Shakespeare’s plays, but even just the main parts of the story between the events of the people were very well put together. It made for a story that I couldn’t stop reading for having to know how it would all come to an end.

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The King’s Spinster Bride

The King’s Spinster Bride  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

Sixteen years ago, Princess Halla of Yshrem saved the life of an eight-year-old barbarian boy and watched her kingdom fall to ruin, all on the same day. Now, she is a forgotten spinster in a quiet temple, living her days out in solitude. The last of her line, she exists in the hope that she has been forgotten, for to be remembered by the enemy is to be certain death.

One person has not forgotten her. Mathior, now twenty-four, is the fierce warrior king of the Cyclopae. Yshrem is in turmoil and his advisors have a suggestion – kill the last remaining member of the royal line, and there will be no rivals for the throne.

Mathior has a different idea. He’s loved Halla for sixteen long years, and it’s time he claimed her as his wife. But a barbarian’s wedding customs are unlike any other…

The King’s Spinster Bride  5 STARS

While I know this book was written in conjunction with other authors writing in the same “series” of sorts, I really hope Dixon chooses to write more in this world. As usual she creates such a detailed and interesting place that I want to be able to return again and again. It’s a fairly short story, but there’s a lot within and moves along at a good pace. Halla is a very regal woman, and definitely not some weeping wailing princess that needs some prince to save her. While she isn’t a warrior, she’s very dignified and meets life head on and whatever it has to throw at her. But as Halla is exactly from the sort of kingdom you’d imagine with castles and crowns, Mathior is from a barbaric tribe with customs they unwaveringly hold to and ultimately ends up bringing the two together. It was definitely an interesting wedding that had me blushing the whole time, and I’m not sure if she did write more how much it could vary due to their customs, but I’d love to see what Dixon could come up with.

Fire in His Fury

BOOK 1: Fire in His Blood  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Fire in His Kiss

BOOK 3: Fire in His Embrace

Fire in His Fury   description:

Just like Rapunzel from the fairy tales, dreamy, romantic Amy lives a hidden life. She’s kept locked away in a tower for her own safety, with her sister as protector. Amy knows it’s for her own good. If a dragon catches her scent, she’ll be carried away and forced to become a drakoni’s mate.

But Amy has a secret – she desperately wants to be stolen. She would love to be rescued from her life of idleness and the thought of a devoted drakoni male charging in and saving her from her boredom sounds perfect to her. Of course, she wants a romantic, loving male who will adore her.

What she gets is Rast.

He’s not kind. Not romantic. Definitely not gentle. But he is utterly and completely obsessed with Amy and he’ll stop at nothing to make the delicate female his

BOOK 4: Fire in His Fury  4 STARS

I really blame Claudia. If you’re living in a world where a dragon may snatch a girl up because he thinks she his mate, you might want to have a bit of a talk about the birds and the bees. Poor Amy. Honestly, part of me almost dropped this to 3 STARS because of Amy, and how she viewed Rast in the beginning. She kept calling him murderer after seeing him kill another dragon, and thinking he was so evil, but it seemed a bit unrealistic. She knows dragons are being driven insane by this world, and that they fight over territory, and that yes to a degree they’re all murderers because they’ve burned entire cities to the ground, so why is she shocked? But as you go, it is more about Amy just having been so caught up in a fantasy that when faced with reality of the situation she got herself in she just doesn’t know how to handle it. That is something that I’ve really liked about this series, Dixon deals with the horrible truth of what living in such a world would be like. This isn’t just some cute little love story, it’s people fighting for survival in a land filled with death from above, and possibly more death on the ground. I was glad that Rast had more of his memories, because we then get to see a better picture of his world, and even more how the Salorians treated the Drakoni. It also leads to a lot of struggle on his part to come to terms with how humans see the world. Amy, though, grows a lot and I loved how it all turned out in the end. It’s an interesting set up for at least 2 other books, depending on which cliffhanger Dixon wants to handle next. I really don’t care which, I just want more.

The Barbarian Before Christmas

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon. While this is apart of the Ice Planet Barbarian series, it still requires you to have read the first book in the Icehome series.

The Barbarian Before Christmas   description:

The growing barbarian tribe is about to celebrate No-Poison Day – a time of love, laughter, and gifts. But all Elly wants is for her mate to be at her side before the brutal season arrives. All Bek wants is a way to quickly return to his female despite the mountains between them. Thanks to the talents of a newcomer…they’re both about to get their wish and celebrate the happiest of holidays together

BOOK 17.5: The Barbarian Before Christmas    5 STARS

This was a short story, but still managed to give such a fun look at their No Poison Day celebration. I love these short stories because you get to see so many of the couples and get a more rounded view of what’s going on in the village, both in Croatoan and Icehome. The main focus was on Bek and Elly, who are definitely my favorite couple. I loved that Dixon didn’t just automatically “fix” Elly. Elly loves Bek and they have a great relationship, but she still has trouble socializing, and hasn’t gotten over her fears, such as needing someone else to taste her food before she eats. Perhaps I like her so much because I can relate to the anxiety and depression of being a part from the one you love for long periods of time, and altogether Dixon handled it perfectly. After them, seeing Lila and getting to know what it was like for her being able to hear now was wonderful. I’d been curious considering she hadn’t seemed all that moved over the change when it first happened, but in this we really get to experience what it’s meant to her. All the Barbarians, humans, and new alien men gave a lot to this story even in such a short format, and it always just makes me want more.

Lauren’s Barbarian

While this is a spin-off series of The Ice Planet Barbarians, it’s still rather tied to the series and I disagree that it can stand alone. At the very least you should read the first book of IPB.

Lauren’s Barbarian  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

A lush, tropical island on an icy planet makes no sense.

Then again, not much makes sense anymore after waking up and finding myself not in bed but on a strange world populated by aliens. Since that moment, I’ve learned that nothing is normal anymore and I’ve got to roll with the punches. I can handle this, though. I’m strong and capable.

So… washed up on a tropical island? Got it handled.
Separated from the others in my group? Handled.
Stranded alone with a brutal but delicious alien man that can’t speak English but has great…ahem…body language? Yup, handled.

Add in the fact that my cootie – a symbiont I need to survive – has chosen my big, hulking alien friend as my fated mate? Let’s just say that the situation isn’t the only thing that’s going to be handled.

But it isn’t long before I learn that the tropical island paradise is a death trap and we’re all in grave danger, aliens and humans alike. To survive this, I’ll need my tempting guy to give me a hand with the situation…good thing he’s got four of them.

BOOK 1: Lauren’s Barbarian   4 STARS

This book starts when they’re finally letting the captives out of the pods, and how they all reacted, and what exactly happened while Taushen and Brooke were away. First off, I’m so glad we finally discovered the secret of the island Josey saw way out at sea. It also does tie into events that happened earlier in the IPB series, and so it was nice that even as it’s breaking off into a rather new story line, it’s still staying consistent with the previous books of this world. Though at first I was a little miffed that we finally find the 4 armed natives that was hinted at previously in the carvings of Croatoan, and it turns out they also are blue with tails and horns, and also calling themselves Sakh. But honestly it was rather clever of Dixon to think about the different species mixing together, and who knows how other Sakh ended up on the island, but it’s not really that far-fetched. Once I realized that it made me like it all the more. And again we’re dealing with a human and alien overcoming a language barrier, and having to work together to save the tribe. It was developed nicely, and of course it sets up for so many more stories with the new Icehome tribe, and learning how they’re going to come together and survive this new world they’ve all suddenly been tossed on. Lauren is likeable and practical. She’s a little unsure of resonance at first but she doesn’t put up a big fight with it, which was nice to be able to have someone just happy to have a man that’s completely devoted to them. The set up of the island and the tribes was interesting, and of course leaves me wondering about the mysterious 4th tribe that no one meets. But altogether it was a fun addition to the series whether Dixon wants to call in the same series or not.

Barbarian’s Tease

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Tease  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

It should have been a one-night stand.

I never intended to seduce Taushen, but things happened. I don’t dwell on the past and while it was great, I’m not looking for a relationship. Of course, try telling that to Taushen. The big blue alien’s in love after one night, and it’s making things darn awkward. We’ve got bigger problems than whether or not I’m his woman, like the ‘cargo’ of the space ship that landed here.

But Taushen’s not giving up. He thinks I’m his mate.
And he’ll do anything to keep me.

BOOK 16: Barbarian’s Tease  4 STARS

I hesitated to read this book for so long because of all the people making it sound like Brooke was just this horrible person, but honestly I really felt for her. I don’t consider it a spoiler since it all happens within like the first few pages of the book, but it turns out while trapped together on the ship Brooke was basically roofied, and Taushen unwittingly took advantage of her during a time when she couldn’t stop herself. Brooke is upset over what happened, while she had technically enjoyed it she still hadn’t been in a position to say no. And Taushen is equally mortified to know she hadn’t truly wanted him, and that he’d misunderstood when she tried to tell him she was roofied. But what actually upset me wasn’t that Brooke wasn’t willing to be his mate after that, why would she suddenly change her mind when she’d never wanted to be anyone’s mate, and hadn’t truly been throwing herself at him. It was that Taushen suddenly pushes her aside, won’t let Brooke talk to him, and then his idea to fix the situation where he’d taken advantage of her (even if he too was in a way a victim) was to kidnap her. Then act like a child over the idea of someone else playing with his toy. The beginning was a bit much to swallow, and it made me really not like Taushen. However, Dixon does move the characters on past that, and they do finally get to deal with their issues, and come to truly understand each other. There’s a lot of growth on both of their parts, and Taushen does quickly understand the mistake he’s made and does his best to remedy them and do right by Brooke. As Brooke puts it, these aren’t human men, their culture is completely different, and you can’t judge them by human standards. I mean yes there has been a lot of kidnapping going on, but this was the first one that really bothered me. Regardless, as the plot develops, and the ending comes about setting up the new spin-off series, it turns out to be a good story, and has me wanting more.

The Alien’s Mail-Order Bride

The Alien’s Mail-Order Bride  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

Though still carrying the scars of his past as an intergalactic soldier, Emvor doesn’t mind the quiet of his chosen life as a farmer. He doesn’t even mind that most nights are lonely on remote Cassa, but he does need help around his farm. A mail-order bride from his homeworld seems like the perfect solution. She’ll be a tall, sturdy female to help with the chores and bear his children.

Unfortunately, the person that arrives is Nicola. She’s small, delicate…and human. She also knows nothing about farming, and she’s lied and deceived her way across the galaxy to get to Cassa so she can hide from those that would capture her. She’s a problem, and also the most enticing thing he’s ever seen.

Now Emvor has to decide…can he keep the woman who’s nothing like what he asked for but is everything he needs?

The Alien’s Mail-Order Bride    4 STARS

This was a fun little novella, and if you’ve read Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians series then it’s in the same universe, though you don’t have to in order to enjoy this story. Having read her other books, it was interesting to see what happens to humans out there. It’s illegal to trade in them, even though people frequently do, but even when they’re “saved” by the authorities their fate is no better. It’s one of the things that makes you immediately sympathetic to Nicola’s plight, and something that Emvor feels as well. Dixon did a great job of developing these characters quickly, and really making the relationship that grows between them realistic and rather sweet. That’s really what this story is all about, even as it’s out in space and about a human on the run, it’s rather low-key and focuses on what Emvor and Nicola are feeling, what they want out of life, and what ultimately ends up making them the perfect couple. Altogether, quite enjoyable.

Beauty in Autumn

Beauty in Autumn   by  Ruby Dixon    description:

Inspired by the story of Beauty and the Beast, a short and sexy interpretation of the classic fairy tale…

For years untold, there has always been a beast in the cursed forest. Every year at the Harvest Festival, a new bride is sent to him…never to return. But when Willow is chosen to be the newest bride, she seeks out the help of the local wise woman.

Willow might be able to break the curse, but to do so, she must refrain from looking at the beast entirely. It sounds easy enough, but as things get heated between them, can she keep her promise? Or will she need to see who – and what – she’s bedding first?

Beauty in Autumn   3 STARS

This is a really short story, and it’s shown as book 3 of a series of stories written by different authors, but they aren’t in any way connected as far as I can tell, and so it’s just as easy to read them in whatever order you want or just read this one which I very much enjoyed. While this is said to be based on Beauty and the Beast, about the only thing that ties it to that fairy tale is the roses that are mentioned. It really comes across as more of a retelling of East of the Sun West of the Moon. Regardless of what fairy tale it resembles most, it was a rather interesting twist, and I liked that Willow wanted this, that she realized that this was her fate and she went in gladly. Of course, since it’s Dixon, you should know just how naughty it’s going to be. It’ll make you blush, giggle, and have you speeding right to the end.

What’s New Pussycat?

BOOK 1: An American Werewolf in Hoboken  by  Dakota Cassidy

What’s New Pussycat?  description:

Derrick Adams is not happy. His pack of wolves isn’t like all the others. He’s got a brother who found his lifemate in the pound, a cousin who’s a vegetarian and now he has a lifemate of his own and she isn’t barking.
Martine Brooks is in a pickle. Derrick Adams is in a jam.
Pickles and jam. Not exactly a hot combo. Unless the “pickle” is a sultry, sassy cat shifter and the “jam” is a gorgeous hunk of wolf.

Derrick is cursed to die if he doesn’t make the woot-woot with his life mate on the night of the next full moon. Martine’s been held captive by a power-hungry warlock for six long months, forced to do his bidding before finding herself stuffed in a cat carrier and ditched at a 7-Eleven.

After rescuing her from a dumpster, Derrick and Martine strike a mutually beneficial deal: Mate, save a life, walk away—both alive and kicking. Win! Yet, there are kinks in the plan. Like the fact that Martine’s one-time captor is on the hunt, planning to extinguish all of her nine lives at once. Or the fact the curse threatening Derrick’s life is about to throw him a monster curve ball.
But the biggest kink might prove to be Derrick and Martine themselves, two avowed commitment-phobes…who are beginning to wonder what forever looks like.

 

BOOK 2: What’s New Pussycat?   3 STARS

The humor wasn’t as prominent as it was in the last book, though it still managed a light, fun story. However, it’s such an overused and ridiculous trope to have the two main characters be completely against the idea of a forever sort of love, and to then be surprised and unsure why they suddenly think about the other so much and are so happy to be near them. Regardless, it was nice that from the very beginning Martine knew exactly what was going on with Derrick, and happily agreed to be there for him, which did allow for other plot twists to come up. As well as for the fact that they’re in Cedar Glen for the most part, and so we get to see all the characters that were brought up previously and really get to know the strange bunch of paranormals that make up this little safe haven. It really added to the story, and makes for the promise of more books set here a rather appealing one. I want to know what’s to come of all these characters, not just the main ones that are the star of the book. Derrick, of course, is a werewolf, and it was funny for him to be initially opposed to Martine being his potential mate because she’s a cat, and we all know cats and dogs don’t mix. Martine was really the more interesting part, because she’s not just a cat shifter, she’s a witch’s familiar. This is the big driving point of the story, and gives us a lot more magic to deal with than just another shape-shifter to read about. Altogether it was a good story with a surprise ending.

An American Werewolf in Hoboken

An American Werewolf in Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy  description:

Wooing a life mate can be hard enough for a wolf, wooing one while under the threat of a curse even more so.
Wooing a mate while pretending to be her dog? Nearly impossible.

After being drugged and captured by Animal Control, Max Adams is on Hoboken’s doggie death row when his life mate adopts him, takes him home, and promptly names him Fluffy. While JC, in all her new-pet-owner-ness, feeds “Fluffy” vile kibble, dresses him in mortifying dog couture, and schedules to have his manhood removed, Max’s human side gets to know JC. Especially in the biblical sense.

Hopefully well enough to make her fall madly in love, mate with him under the full moon, and move with him to Cedar Glen to live happily every after forever and ever amen. And fast.
Because the curse comes with a deadline…and the clock is ticking.

BOOK 1: An American Werewolf in Hoboken   5 STARS

This book earned every star for all the non-stop laughter it gave me. I was practically smothering myself trying to remain quiet in public, because it is that hilarious. Yet, while it had it’s silly quirks, it honestly brought up some interesting challenges and dangers that a shifter might would actually face in the world. Like being caught in wolf form by animal control, and drugged before you knew what hit you. And the things Max goes through trying to keep JC happy, and unaware that her new dog is actually a man, was so wrong it was… yes you guessed it, hilarious. There are no complaints about this story. From the way the paranormal world works, to why Max is cursed, and all about their little haven in Cedar Glen was just a fun adventure. JC is an awesome girl with a big heart who just wants to take care of her overgrown dog she just saved, and Max is just a man stuck in an impossible situation and trying to figure out which way is up. All the characters around them really filled in the tale, and are something to look forward to seeing again in future books. I’m definitely going to be diving into book 2 as soon as I can.