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Blood and Lipstick

Author: Encarnita Round, Leigh Campbell, Robert Hanley, Victoria Oldham, & E.E. Ottoman
Publisher: Storm Moon Press — found here
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Rating:  3.5 Stars

The first tale is 27 Days by Encarnita Round (1 star) which follows Sarah through some troubles with her wife when a new love interest enters the picture. 27 Days is written in first person, which is a hard perspective to pull off, and unfortunately I think that very reason is part of the story’s downfall. As the reader, you’re so rooted in Sarah’s head that the actual actions are glossed over or jumbled most of the time. You get more thoughts and history and Sarah’s impressions than anything else. It’s so very narration heavy because it’s first person that it was hard to wade through while I read. I felt like the author was cramming information and backstory down my throat to get it out rather than letting it flow naturally and as needed, and because of this I also feel that there was some backstory that wasn’t needed and I as the reader was left going ‘okay, I know this, but why should I care when it doesn’t directly impact anything that’s going on in any of the story?’ It wasn’t just the way the story was written that didn’t grab me, but some of the characterization of the five hundred year old vampire seemed more like a teenage to twenty something girl when reacting to things internally.

We continue with Bloody Flowers by Leigh Campbell (4.5 stars). The story starts with Meri at a club looking for a tasty woman to bring home to her lover and maker, Helene. She finds Diana and after a taste decides to bring her home, already feeling like the woman will be more than just a one night bite. The complications arise when it comes to light that Diana is on the run from another vampire. The writing is great, it really pulls you into Meri’s point of view as you read. As well the action scene leaves you on the edge of your seat to see just how things will turn out. Definitely worth the read, and worth watching to see what this author will produce next.

As we slide into You and the Moon by Robert Hanley (3 stars) we follow the tale of Julie as she searches for the woman and scientist whose shoes she has followed since a girl. Cassandra was everything that Julie wanted to be, and every ounce the person Julie wanted to be with. Over all, the plot was an interesting one. The concept that vampirism could be cured with modern science was definitely a new spin for me. I’ve seen a lot of ways science has helped vampires to survive, from farming humans to creating fake blood, but never had the research been spurred from the remorse and guilt of what being a vampire made a woman do. I did have a few issues with characters though, as the relationship starts off a little more dangerous obsession on Julies part than love, and the accepting that Cassandra is a vampire off the bat by Julie was a little awkward since she just seemed perfectly fine with it after never having come across it before.

Next we set sail with Jayne and Eleni in Love’s Horizon by Victoria Oldham (4 stars). Jayne loves the sea. She owns her own boat, uses it to ferry tourists around, and also happens to live on it. When she’s not out on open waters, she’s digging deeper into the paranormal. The combination of these two things is what draws Eleni to her, needing a human captain. The story and the characters were interesting, and I did personally find the concept of vampire pirates quite a new twist and an enjoyable one at that. I’d love to read more, both from this author but from this world and these two characters.

And finally, we travel back in time with Business Makes Strange Bedfellows by E.E. Ottoman (4 stars). Gret is ahead of her time, being an independent woman that refuses to let men hold her down from getting her inheritance to becoming a doctor. One night in her lab, she accidentally releases something and to put it right hires Vi’s help in tracking and killing it. The writing is well done, the plot is most definitely an interesting one, and the ending leaves you wanting more. I also really love the tip of the hat to Lovecraft in the story. I will say though that I found the climax of the monster hunt a little rushed, but then that could just be me wanting more too.