Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Darkness Entwined

Author: Nikki McCoy
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publisher URL: pride-publishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-78430-722-6
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Unwanted and unpredictable but a useful tool for some, Keenan survives by hiding his powers until he is rescued by Rowan, King of the Vam’kir.

Darkness Entwined is the second book in the Of Blood and Spirit series. The plot’s theme is interracial wars. For centuries, there were two separate pure races. Vampires and shifters are both spiritual children of the light. The vampires considered themselves superior to the shifters. However, Rowan is a blend of both vampire and shifter, which is a source of contention for the vampire counsel.   Keenan is a mix of dark as well as light; he is not approved of by anyone. A proposal to form a treaty between the vampires and shifters meets with opposition from both sides. Nevertheless, the vampires and shifters must join forces to eradicate Roh Se Kahn, who is bent on destroying all creatures of the light.

Darkness Entwined is set in the current world with modern day weapons. The paranormal characters live amongst the humans, who are unaware of their existence. The difference between the species is the life spans and the ability of the paranormal’s speedy healing. Also magic plays an important part in the life of the paranormals.

Nikki McCoy has created an exciting, emotional as well as very enjoyable saga.  In the beginning Rowan and Keenan seem to be unlikely mates but as the story evolved, the reader can see how much of an asset each man is to the other. Together Rowan and Keenan form an unstoppable bond. Although Keenan has finally gained some respect, it is bittersweet because of the loss of his trusted friend. I look forward to the next book for answers regarding several unsolved dilemmas featured. 

Storm Warning

Title:  Storm Warning
Author:  Monette Michaels
Publisher:  Self Published
Publisher URL:  http://monettemichaels.com
ISBN/BIN:  9780986273056
Genre:  {M/F}, Contemporary, Suspense, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

DJ Poe has a new job, but needs to rescue her mother before she starts.  Friends she did a mission with in Afghanistan help her.  When she starts her new job, she runs into the one brother of her friends she hasn’t met.  Tweeter decides DJ is his.

Storm Warning is the fourth book in the Security Specialists International series, also known as SSI. DJ happens to be the first woman agent hired by SSI because of her background.  Her background, along with Tweeter’s sister Keely’s habit of attracting trouble, puts her talents to the test.

I loved DJ as she is a strong woman.  Readers need to be aware that when she shares some of what happened to her at the hands of her father and his cronies, it could be the cause of some triggers.  DJ is a survivor, and with Tweeter’s help, starts to heal.  I also enjoyed Tweeter’s stealth courting, as he called it.  He goes out of his way to show DJ that he wants a relationship with her for the long term.  I was so happy when they finally got together.

DJ’s mom has to heal, as well.  The women of SSI go a long way to help both heal and I loved the way they were so kick ass when the situation called for it, as readers of the series already know. 

The bad guys are interesting even though a few are predictable, but DJ and Tweeter have lots of help from their fellow agents, and some from other agencies, as they finish their missions.  There were a few twists and turns, though one main situation was one that could be seen coming. 

While readers don’t need to read the series in order to enjoy it, I recommend that the stories be read in order to get the most out of them.  Storm Warning is a great addition to the series and I am looking forward to reading more about Security Specialists International.

In From the Cold

Author:  Meg Adams
Publisher:   Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN:   978-1-61922-871-9
Genre:  {M/F} Contemporary, Christmas
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Change wasn’t only blowing in the wind, it had created a tornado for Claire Iverson.  She was tired of hiding in bed and reliving the past.  Claire needed this new job to get her life back on track.  What she didn’t need was the run-in on this dirty flying bus with a rude father who was neglecting his adorable daughter.  Her heart sank when Claire realized the little girl was her new job.

Balancing work and his daughter Suzie is harder than Drake Driscoll expected.  He was counting on the hired nanny to take care of the best thing in his world.  What he hadn’t counted on was the instant attraction to the curvy woman who obviously thought he was the worst father in the world. 

Claire connects with Suzie and Drake so effortlessly but she’s uncertain about what comes next.  Baggage from the past still haunts Claire and it isn’t so easy to share that with Drake, no matter how understanding he is.  Drake has problems of his own, which surface on this business trip and changes things forever.  Claire is overwhelmed by it all, and this could be enough to send her back to cutting herself off from the world.

I loved this reality romance, In From the Cold!  It was a clever mesh with the feel of a day time soap opera and the average person’s life.  Meg Adams painted a picture for me that I wanted to keep staring at.  I was right there on that plane with Claire and the mother in me jumped into life.  I am so glad she wasn’t shy with her opinions.  Drake deserved the little gifts his daughter gave him and I couldn’t help but laugh at the entire thing.  Those moments were when I started warming up to him and a few of my favorite scenes.  He made me relate to being a single parent from the dad’s point of view.  The issues with his best friend and his ex-wife brought me to my knees.  I would never have guessed he was dealing with so much because he appeared so well put together.  They say bad things happen for a reason and this story is a good example of that.  Claire and Drake weren’t the only people who got the new beginning they deserved.  I don’t want to give away the too much, but I know readers will be drawn in by other characters and love this story as much as I did.  It’s like an onion, because it has so many layers that might bring up tears.  

The Forsaken

Title:  The Forsaken
Author:  Shiloh Walker
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.samhainpublishing.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61923-248-8
Genre: {M/F}, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

The Unwanted          4 Nymphs

Both Destin’s and Caleb’s psychic powers meshed too well, according Caleb.  He left Destin because she wouldn’t open up to him, but he kept getting distracted by the feedback when she connected with a rapist.  Now they have to work together to track down another rapist.

The lack of communication between Destin and Caleb was a little disturbing, and when they have to work together again after five years, they still avoided the issue for a while.  Even as they worked together to solve the case, Destin realizes things aren’t always what they seem

The Innocent     4.5 Nymphs

Jay is tracking Linc down because he abruptly dumped her, even as it seemed they were getting close.  Jay’s boss sends her to Hell for a different reason.  Immediately, Jay causes Linc problems. 

The suspense in this story will keep readers guessing until the end.  There were quite a few twists in this story, including one very big surprise that throws several characters into roles they didn’t plan on.

The Forsaken is part of The FBI Psychics series about an organization called the Oswald Group that employs psychics with various talents.  The group also trains them with shielding and how to live with their talents in the real world. 

I enjoyed this book and thought that the two stories were intense.  All the characters were very realistic, even those with seemingly strange abilities.  The author showcased a few issues Destin and Jay had when they used their abilities.  I liked that Jay had someone that she could touch without repercussion in Linc. 

Both couples had trust issues to overcome, due to their individual circumstances.  Please be aware that both stories dealt with rape and a few other issues that can trigger some readers.  Each story ended with interesting and realistic solutions. 

I am looking forward to reading more in this series.  Each story can be read by itself and The Forsaken combines two novellas of The FBI Psychics series into the FBI Psychics Collection 1.

On Bryson

Title: On Bryson
Author: D. J. Manly
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com
ISBN: 978-1-68175-068-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

NYPD Sergeant Bryson Accurso is determined to find out who shot his cousin. All evidence points to the Gambini mob boss. Soren is more of a hostage of the Gambini family; Soren’s survival depends on following the boss’s orders and the boss has ordered Soren to seduce Bryson.

On Bryson is a wonderfully entertaining romance. The theme is cops in the never ending battle against organized crime. The plot illustrates the illusion of respectable society, criminal cover-ups and a big shootout scene.  The characters are credible.

Soren comes from a conventional religious family; he was banned from the family for being gay. Fortunately his rich clandestine lover’s family welcomed Soren as another son rather than admit both young men were gay. The longer Soren lived with the Gambini family, the more he realized that leaving alive would never be an option. Nevertheless, Soren used his time to gather information on the mob’s various money making operations.

Bryson is openly gay to his family, although Bryson’s father continues to hope to have a daughter-in-law sometime in the future. Bryson has a daring personality; he is almost fearless in his investigations to solve a crime. Bryson is attracted to Soren; however Bryson is reluctant to have a personal relationship with a possible criminal.

D. J. Manly has created a fascinating saga. I especially enjoyed the amusing interaction between the characters and the surprises revealed.  

What’s Your Poison?

Author: SA Welsh
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-4874-0476-5
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Jackal shifter Jake has been spending long hours in his lab trying to find an antidote to the toxic solution Trevor used against the Blood Moon Pack. When he finds an answer against the blood poisoning and drugging smoke that affects so many, Jake calls the mated pairs and vampire elders to take the first available doses.  It’s exciting to know that he’s able to help the couples complete their mate bond, but Jake’s farther away from being happy than ever before. Doesn’t he deserve a mate too?

What’s Your Poison? is release five in the Blood Moon Pack Alliance by SA Welsh. 

I’ve liked Jake since his introduction. I appreciate how his personality has been developed so far and his dedication to his work—it’s importance to the plot line and the characters in his world. I’ve been waiting for him to be the focus of his own book—to get his mate and his happily-ever-after, but with this release I’ve been sorely disappointed. It’s short and really more of a filler than a full-fledged release in it’s on right. Poor Jake gets pages at the beginning filled with vital details but then the focus shifts to the previous couples. Then it’s all about them and lots of sex. There’s nothing more about Jake until the unsatisfying and confusing epilogue. I certainly hope things become clearer with the publication of the next release. This one left me feeling unhappy.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mad Delights

Title:  Mad Delights
Author:  Beth D. Carter
Publisher:  Totally Bound
Publisher URL:  www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781784306540
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Crime and Mystery, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Chloe is stalking Romeo, because he rescued her cousin and becomes obsessed with him.  She meets Dax when he confronts her about stalking Romeo.  Chloe finds she is attracted to both men, but what happens when she offers to help them in exchange for themselves?

Mad Delights, a spin-off of the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club, is aptly named as most of those around Chloe, including her family, thinks she has a screw loose.  Her actions would seem to bear that out.  I did have to laugh at some of her antics.  Chloe is an interesting character and the reasons why she behaves the way she does is explained in detail, along with her family ties.  I loved the way Chloe bargained with her grandfather. 

Romeo never thought he would end up in a ménage relationship, though his brother is in one, and decides he will call his brother for advice.  Dax figures it will happen since Chloe has made it clear she wants both men.  The chemistry between the three is hot.

The men end up under attack and several things happen that put all the men and their families in danger.  The club has lost several members and it is playing havoc with moral. There are some twists that cause a few tense moments with rivals. As the reason why becomes clear, things get resolved, except for one major thread which hopefully will get resolved in the next book. 

Reader Advisory:  There is a scene of dubious consent and some racist language. 

Publisher's Note: This book is the prequel to Madness Ends and is best read in sequence. 

Publisher's Note: This book is linked to the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club series.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Against the Grain

Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63476-375-2
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Destructive Delta Defense Agents are recovering from wounds sustained in an intense battle with the Coalition, a group of rogue shifters bent on taking over the city. But there is something out of the ordinary happening with team leader Sloane and it is up to Ash and the rest of the team to solve the mystery.

Against the Grain is the fifth book in the THIRDS series. I suggest reading this extreme action series in sequence starting with Hell & High Water. The setting is New York; The Thirds are military trained police with the added bonus of being shifters.

In this installment the plot details the team’s suspicions of a potential corrupt agent in their ranks, in addition to questioning what they really know about those who appear to be respectable friends.

Also, the spotlight is mainly on Ash and Cael. Both men are confronted by people, as well as issues, from their past. Ash and Cael love each other, but they can’t seem to get over their own guilt issues that haunt them, making having a relationship very difficult. Survivor’s guilt, low self-esteem and denial all play a role in their emotional distress. As in every book, Against the Grain features nail biting suspense, ferocious fighting in animal form and a touch of humor.

Charlie Cochet has created another marvelous addition to this extremely enjoyable series. The honorable characters of Against the Grain forms a connection with the readers and it is not possible to have just one favorite. I felt gloomy on behalf of each character’s suffering and fury on behalf of the betrayal they endured. But do not despair; the story has a happy ending with just enough of a tease to inspire anticipation for the next episode.    

Warlock Unbound

Title:  Warlock Unbound
Author:  Dane Marie Bell
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.samhainpublishing.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61923-120-7
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph
Release date: 9/1/2015

Daniel is the last Beckett to cast the mate spell, however, because he waited so long, Kerry’s life is in danger.  When Kerry had been tortured, a hex had been placed on her that triggers once Daniel does the mate spell.  Will they be able to complete the mate spell and bond?

Warlock Unbound is the fourth book in the Heart’s Desire series.  The war between the Beckett’s and the Godwin’s is coming to a head with Arthur up to his old tricks, especially with the twist he has done.  The Beckett’s and their mates are all present as Daniel and Kerry fight to have a future together.

Readers that are familiar with this series know there are lots of spells and rituals running around within the story, as well as some horrible rituals used by the Godwin brothers.  Once the hex is lifted from Kerry, there is a twist that surprised me.  There is also a twist between Daniel and Kerry that is not present with the other couples, but that has to do with Kerry herself.  The epilogue also contains a pleasant surprise which could translate into future stories in this series.

The author did a good job explaining the difference between wizards, warlocks and witches contained in the world she created.  It was interesting to see how these characteristics play into the story.  

The Heart’s Desire series should be read in order to understand what is going on in each successive book.  This is a series I will be reading again and am looking forward to possible future stories.

The Firefighter’s Mate

Author:  Jayne Ripley
Publisher:   Etopia Press
Publisher URL:  http://www.etopiapress.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-941692-92-9
Genre:  {M/F} Paranormal Erotic
Rating:  3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Life was running Gabriela Acosta instead of the other way around.  She needed to regroup, so leaving Philadelphia seemed to be the only option to fix her life.  Just because she couldn’t afford to tow her dead car or a cheap motel didn’t mean things were all bad.  Gabriela had made it home, so things were bound to get better any moment.

In high school, Luke Taylor had been interested in Gabriela, but now things were on a whole new level.  Luke knew she was his mate the moment Gabriela returned to Cadillac Falls.  He wanted her in his pack and in his bed.  Luke wasn’t certain what problems Gabriela left behind, but he knew that he’d do everything in his power to help Gabriela now.

Someone has targeted Luke’s pack and woman by burning down houses.  Gabriela is angered by Luke’s idea of protection and refuses his help.  All of Gabriela’s plans to start over literally go up in smoke, so she thinks.  Now Luke has to gain back her trust and figure out who is threatening her. 

The Firefighter’s Mate is the beginning of the Werewolves of Cadillac Falls series.  Some questionable characters were introduced, and they will be a great foundation for the series.  There is so much to explore in this town because the packs seem to be so different.  I was expecting a bit more clarity about the fires, but the suspense will keep me guessing.  Luke and Gabriela’s relationship had a sweet, innocent vibe about it because they had known each other so long.  That definitely fueled some steamy love scenes between the couple that I know readers will enjoy.

Pint-Sized Protector

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-4874-0473-4
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series          
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Ajax is glad to be out of the cage that he spent just about his whole life in, but now he finds himself surrounded by strangers and not sure what to think.  Afraid to shift, Ajax has no way of communicating with those around him.   After moving out of the Alpha’s home and into one with the brothers that rescued him, Ajax is presented with another problem, his mate.

Pint-Sized Protector is the 30th book in Ms. Richards’ Wolves of Stone Ridge series.  This story brings a couple of new characters to the series, Ajax, an Andean Mountain cat and Cayden, the pack’s negotiator.  Ajax has a lot to overcome and because of what he has gone through, as well as his size, he is afraid to shift.  While this is easy to understand, it does cause some issues at the pack house.  I was almost afraid for the little cat when Declan threatens to ban him for injuring Lark, the Alpha’s mate.  It was understandable that Ajax is moved out of the main home and into one with the shifters that helped rescue him. 

Cayden has just gotten home after being on a mission for his Alpha.  Tired, all he wants to do is sleep for a few days.  As fans of this series may know, this is about the time where one of our main characters realizes their mate is nearby.  I wondered how the author would handle Ajax’s trust issues with the introduction of a mate, but thought the whole thing was handled well.  I like the way Cayden introduces himself to his new mate and then falls asleep next to his little cat.  That Ajax was able to relax next to Cayden and shift on his own helps makes the bond between the two shifters strong. 

While the relationship between the men moves much the way you would expect, it is the mission that Cayden was on for Declan that brings the couple problems.  I was actually surprised by the stupidity of the new shifters who have shown up and am not surprised by what followed afterward.  What may surprise the readers is the way Ajax reacts.  While it was intense, I almost had to laugh at everyone’s surprise.  

Pint-Sized Protector is sure to be another fan favorite and one that will find its way to many keeper shelves.

Hurts So Good

Title:  Hurts So Good
Author:  Serge de Moliere
Publisher:   Etopia Press
Publisher URL:  http://www.etopiapress.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-941692-89-9
Genre:  {M/F} Erotic Interracial
Rating:  3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

After all these months, Krista was still in pain.  Boy, was she regretting taking that riding lesson.  A little excitement was all Krista was looking for, not damaged discs.  The physical therapist assigned to Krista turned out to heal more than just her back problems.

Antonio stirred feelings in Krista that she wasn’t expecting, but definitely wanted to explore.  She was getting a second chance at love and now was not the time to blow it.  Antonio seemed to want Krista just as much, if not more.

Krista actually has a history with Antonio that didn’t end so well.  I was hoping for more detail on their relationship, but I got enough understanding to know that Krista’s actions were less than kind.  In trying to protect herself, she hurt them both.  Antonio got to reinvent himself while at the same time reminding Krista of who he always was.  Hurts So Good is a sweet story of a couple who have to first grow apart so they can finally grow together in love.    

Gage and Hamish

Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-946-9
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Cat shifter Gage likes to control the action from a submissive position. Hamish is a bear shifter who appears to be a gentle giant, but appearances can be deceiving, much to the delight of Gage.

Gage and Hamish are part of the Full Moon Dating series. The paranormal dating service has an excellent record for successful matches, even if the species seem to be unlikely mates. Gage and Hamish had given up on finding a mate on their own, so the service is their chance for finding happiness.

Gage is looking for someone who will allow Gage to give vent to his fighting instinct and still be strong enough to subdue Gage with the pain/pleasure sensations he craves. Hamish delights in being the one in total control. The rougher the play he inflicts on Gage, the more gratification they both gain. 

Julia Talbot has created an enjoyable addition to the series. The main theme is romance; however there is a touch of drama to this amusing plot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wolf from the Past

Author: N.J. Walters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-621-0
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 10-13-2015

Sylvie LaForge Dubois survived the last encounter with her now dead husband and spent months in hiding. Now she’s found her brother and his friends, letting them know she’s alive—and it’s harder than she imagined. It’s not just facing what happened or her brother’s pain, but seeing Gator and the way he makes her feel. After being mated to an abusive werewolf, Sylvie thought having a powerful wolf like Gator attracted to her would be scary but instead it’s thrilling.

Gator has wanted Sylvie since long before she was forced to take Andre as her mate. Now that she’s returned from the dead, he’s determined to let her know how he feels and to protect her at all costs. It might come to that when her former pack, the Louisiana Pack, learns she’s alive and they’re coming for her—dead or alive.

Wolf from the Past is release four in the Salvation Pack series by NJ Walters. The characters in these books are closely interwoven so I recommend they be read in order.

What a good addition to the series. The story caught my attention from the beginning with its fun and entertaining plot line. It’s well written, fast paced, has vivid descriptions that make the story come alive, and I enjoyed the sizzling romance between Gator and Sylvie. The world they inhabit is full of drama, action, danger and suspense and they live on the verge of being attacked at any minute by their old pack. What great world building. 

The author did a wonderful job developing the personalities of Gator and Sylvie and the plot fits perfectly into the ongoing series storyline. I enjoyed how the previous characters are utilized throughout, adding depth, and I really enjoyed learning who was helping Sylvie when she was on the run. What a surprise. I look forward to book five, even if I don’t have clue where the series is going next.

Shadows Fall

Title: Shadows Fall
Author: J.K. Hogan
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publishers URL: http://www.wildecity.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-925313-24-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Mystery        
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Abandon by his gypsy family for being gay, Titus never received the training he needed to handle the spirits that follow him.  When it becomes evident that something serious is going on, Titus sends word to his grandmother, hoping she will see fit to help him.  What he does not plan on is becoming involved with a cop, or becoming the focus of a serial killer. 

This is my first book by this author and it will not be the last.  I loved Shadows Fall and found myself drawn into the world created by the author.  The characters are well written and will leave you rooting for them.  Titus is a Romany chovihano, or medium.  He was banished at a young age after his people discovered that he is gay, something that goes against their cultural beliefs. Because of this, Titus does not receive the training he needs and learns to handle his “shadows” in his own way.  This isolates him from much of everyday life.  This is something that becomes clear at one point in the story and I was amazed by the scene that plays out when Titus goes out for the first time without his defense mechanisms and is confronted by life around him.

Charlie is a Detective who wanders into Titus’ coffee shop.  Titus is instantly drawn to the man even though he believes Charlie to be straight.  When Titus finds out that Charlie is a cop, it’s just another reason to stay away from the man.  Of course that does not go the way Titus plans, and soon these two men start a relationship that heats up fast.  I loved how these two click together.  Charlie grounds Titus in a way that has never happened before, which surprises the younger man.  When Titus finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation, both men are forced to look at what they have and if it is worth fighting for. 

While the romance between the men is well done and worth reading Shadows Fall for, there are other aspects that are sure to grab and hold the reader’s attention.  First there is the murder mystery woven through this story that is, at times, a little gruesome.  Trying to guess who the murderer is, and why the crimes are being done, especially as there seems to be no clear cut connection between the victims, helps make this a good read.  Next there is the crazy variety of secondary characters that will have you laughing at times.  I especially loved Titus’ grandmother.  Then there is the way in which the story itself is written.  The author has written this story in the first person from Titus’ view point.  Titus is funny, snarky, and at times a little crazy.  His sense of humor is not always appropriate and, more than once, I found myself laughing at what came out of his mouth. 

While the author did wrap this mystery up, the book ends on a cliff hanger and I can’t wait until the next book comes out.  

Giving It All

Author: Arianna Hart
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-889-4
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 09-01-2015

Ten years ago Grant Anderson left his hometown, engaged to his high school sweetheart and headed to Navy Seals training. Now because of his father’s illness, he’s finally coming home to Dale, Georgia.  Grant’s going home a changed man—divorced and without a lower leg after an IED explosion in Afghanistan. One of the first people he sees is Ellie, the skinny girl who lived next door. Grant can’t stop thinking about her but knows she deserves someone without his baggage or nightmares.

Ellie’s had a crush on Grant since she was a kid and now if she can convince him that she can handle his scars and baggage, they might have a chance at a relationship. They still have to work together trying to figure out what going on at Grant’s family business. The inventory is a mess, the accounting figures don’t add up and Grant’s cousin is acting odd. Something is definitely wrong and it’s up to Grant to save the business and protect Ellie from danger.

Giving It All isn’t considered part of a series but occurs in Dale, Georgia with some of the same characters from Son of a Preacher Man. Arianna Hart is a new author for me so I was pleased with her ability to pull me into the story. I admit that prologues aren’t usually something I enjoy but this one sets up the story nicely. Add in the good imagery, and steady pace and Ms. Hart had me hooked. I’ll likely be reading another book by her in the future.

There’s much about the plot that’s similar to other stories, in that they mimic the real world with soldiers coming home from a war. Here, Grant has lasting injuries and lots of emotional baggage. The author deals with these issues skillfully, and with tact and sensitivity. She also fully develops Grant’s personality, making him into a guy I liked. Then there’s Ellie—a wonderful, sweet girl-next-door who truly cares about everyone in her life. There isn’t anything about her to dislike. 

Their past as kids and their concern for his parents and the family business is a great way to bring this couple together. It’s nicely balanced against other things in the story. I’ll admit the plot’s easy to follow and there aren’t many surprises. That didn’t mean seeing this couple get together, or how the ‘funny’ goings-on at the family business worked out in the end isn’t fun or entertaining. Read and enjoy. 

Don’t Stake My Life on It

Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publisher URL: www.pride-publishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-78430-666-3
Genre: {M/M} Vampire Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Radney is having a major pity party; he can’t help it if he has a few flaws.  At least he has started to work on improving his personality. The answer to Radney’s dilemma is Andrew Meyers, a caring human who did not believe vampires existed until he met Radney.

Don’t Stake My Life on It is the second book in The Vamp for Me series. The plot is an amusing story of vampire misfits. The small coven is located on the outskirts of Vegas. The coven leader established a dating site, which serves as a convenient way to meet humans willing to feed as well as be intimate with a vampire. The dating site is also a way for vampires to meet their potential mates.

For centuries, Radney has allowed his badly treated past to dictate his life. His earlier vampire period has instilled a fear of uncontrolled feeding directly from humans, consequently leaving Radney grouchy and on the verge of starving to death on many occasions.

Andrew is a psych major college student who is researching the vampire dating site for his upcoming term paper. What Andrew hopes to find, as well as interview, is the vampire pretenders. Instead he meets Radney, a real vampire plus all the drama that goes along with dating a non-human lover. 

Bailey Bradford has created another impressive, humorous and enjoyable episode to the series. Radney and Andrew are well matched because all the members of the coven have a few psychological issues and Andrew’s goal has always been to be of assistance to people. 

Big Man on Campus

Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publisher URL: www.pride-publishing.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78430-693-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Benny Allenbrand lost his high school sweetheart when he moved away to college. Now that Benny’s graduated and attending the same school, he’s determined to win Chase back. It doesn’t matter that Chase is in a committed relationship. Benny does find a surprise in his attraction to another man and is willing to give in to the need for a physical relationship.

Jamie Whitmore’s father is a homophobic politician. When Jamie comes out to him, Jamie’s life turns into a mess, complete with the media camping out on his doorstep. He doesn’t need to make things worse by getting involved with a football player determined to get his former lover back. Feelings change and while their relationship might have begun as only physical, it quickly turns into much more. Will the pressure of the media and Jamie’s family destroy their new love or will they find a way to survive?

Big Man on Campus is release twenty in the Campus Cravings series by Carol Lynne. Being familiar with the characters from the most recent books would be advantageous, and I recommend reading Coming Clean first, but it’s not vital to understanding this plot.

I like both Benny and Jamie and I found their backgrounds believable. I’ve seen similar plot lines for individuals in other releases but putting the lives of these guys together made it stronger. Yes Benny didn’t want to give up his old love, and that does happen in the real world—and Jamie’s trouble with a homophobic family that lives in the limelight isn’t unexpected. Putting these men in a relationship is just asking for drama and angst—and reasons to read their story.

As with the other books in the series, Big Man on Campus is a novella, so the pace moves along rather quickly. That space constraint unfortunately doesn’t allow a realistic timeframe for the development of feelings or relationships. I understand how Jamie feels about his family and Benny because that was unchanged from the beginning, but not so for Benny.  His change of affection from Chase to Jamie is so swift; I almost got whip-lash. But then Benny is only eighteen and I was often uncertain if he really knew what he wanted, which made me feel sorry for Jamie. 

The scenes with Jamie’s father and their aftermath are nicely done and Daniel and Tony are great additions to the plot. Pulling Benny’s family in from Cattle Valley is also nice. I’m not a huge fan of epilogues but this one set two years in the future lets us see what’s happening to this cute couple. Enjoy.

To Catch His Mate

Author: J. D.  Walker
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publishers URL: http://www.amberquill.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-68175-059-0
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery, Shape-shifter        
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Felix can’t believe the thief he has been tracking has struck once again.  Determined to catch him, Felix uses a few “off the books” tricks to find his man.  What surprises him is that his thief also turns out to be his mate.

To Catch His Mate is my first book by this author and is one I will be re-reading again.  It is a shape-shifter story with a bit of a twist.   While both main characters are feline shape-shifters, Felix has no knowledge of his background.  Found as a young boy by the man who ends up raising him, Felix knows he can change, but not why or who he really is.  While the book was well done, this is one part of the story that I wish the author would have spent more time on and hope the author plans on a sequel to address this issue, especially given the way the story ended.

The main characters, Felix and Tyler, are both likeable characters.  Total opposites, Felix is an insurance investigator trying to track down a serial cat burglar.  Tyler, as you would guess, is the thief Felix is looking for.   During the course of his investigation, Felix begins to pick up on a smell that leads him to believe the person he is looking for may be his mate.  I found it funny that the only reference Felix had for this possibility was shows like Twilight and True Blood.  This is a change from what we normally see and I liked this little twist. 

While the way the two men meet is not much of a surprise, the reason for Tyler’s choice of hobby is.  I really felt bad for Tyler, who like Felix, found himself without his family at an early age.  Where his story changes is that unlike Felix, Tyler had no one to care for him and so finds himself wandering, never making strong connections, and falling in with a bad crowd.  Hoping to make a better life for himself, he takes a job with plans to finally settle down.  Then, at a weak moment, he shifts and is seen by some of his co-workers.  From there his life is no longer his own. 

I like the way these two men connect, and their relationship moves fast.  The need for Felix to make Tyler his, and secure the mating bond, is strong and plays into many of Felix’s actions.  Felix is not able to put aside his duties to his job, however, and I wondered just how all of this would pan out. 

While some may find aspects of this story predictable, it is an entertaining read that will hold your interest.  There are some points that the readers may find surprising and there were a couple of instances that I did not see coming.  One even had me close to tears.  I do love the ending and thought the way the author wrapped up the story was well done.  I am interested to see what else the author has planned and will be checking the author’s website to see what will be coming in the future.

Oppose

Title:  Oppose
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0382-9
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Jill becomes the Archivist for contracts as a volunteer in the Great Archive.  Several things happen once she arrives that she didn’t anticipate, including getting mated to a dragon.  Rimash is the Security Master for the Archive and is finally getting his mate.

The 25th book in the Terran Times Second Wave series, Oppose, is about prejudice and how differences are treated on Terran, as well as some interesting tidbits about the different alien societies that this series has created.  There were some humorous moments that had me laughing out loud at times.  I loved the court scene toward the end.  The concept of having a central archive is not new, though the way this one came about is.

Rimash is an Asian dragon, which departs from the typical dragon shifter we normally read about.  Part of the mating ritual between Rimash and Jill is there must be acceptance of his animal form.  The chemistry between Rimash and Jill is hot.

An incident on Jill’s first day at the archives changes her life forever and pits her against two different societies with different ideas about women and the roles they play.  It was funny how quickly a nanny and new quarters, supplies and schedules were implemented. I also loved Jill’s reaction to meeting the Archive itself. 

I had to laugh at a scene in the epilogue, especially since it hints at a future story about Rimash’s and Jill’s daughter.  I am looking forward to more in this series.

Savage Estate

Author: Vivien Dean
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publishers URL: http://www.amberquill.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-68175-057-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Mystery          
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Alec is getting ready to meet his father for the first time.  Already anxious and unsure how he should act, Alec does not know what to think when he gets to his father’s house and finds the man gone.  When a stranger shows up out of nowhere and he’s magically transported to Montana, Alec starts to wonder just what the hell is going on. 

Savage Estate is Ms. Dean’s newest book and, while not listed as a series on the publisher’s web site, could easily be a great start to an interesting series.  The reader will find themselves easily pulled into the world created by the author.  Alec is a young man used to growing up with one parent.  While he, at times, wished for his father, the love his mother gave him allowed him to grow up a strong individual sure about what he wanted.  When he gets a message from his father asking to meet him just days before his 25th birthday, he is unsure what to think.  For someone getting ready to meet an absent parent for the first time, Alec’s insecurities and confusion is understandable and believable.  Even later in the story, after the two have been together for a while, the anger that pops up is realistic. 

Needless to say, things do not go as Alec envisioned and he soon finds himself in a world he never thought existed.  Not only is he faced with a still missing father, he meets Rowan, a gorgeous, hot young man that happens to be a black panther shape-shifter who also just happens to be Alec’s new familiar.  While their original meeting may have been on the rocky side, there is a connection between the two that is easy to see.  Once Alec finds himself with family he never knew about, things really start moving.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this story.  Not everyone is who they say they are and the actions of those closest to them aren’t always what is expected.  This book has everything needed to make it a must read.  The chemistry between the main characters is intense, the mystery that Alec and Rowan find themselves in and the actions of the secondary characters is sure to make this a favorite of many readers.

While I have read several books by Ms. Dean, Savage Estate is by far my favorite and I hope the author plans to bring these characters back again.