Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ghost Soldiers

Title: Ghost Soldiers
Author: Keith Melton
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-498-5
Genre: {M/F} Urban Fantasy, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Life for vampire hit-man Karl Vance isn’t easy. It got tougher when he’s forced into a contract on a rogue sorcerer, who’s building an army of enslaved paranormal creatures in Eastern Europe. It doesn’t matter how difficult the odds. If he fails to kill his target, the self-righteous Order of the Thorn will kill his vampire lover, Maria Ricardi. Then when he gets in a no-win situation behind enemy lines and there’s no way to fulfill his hit, the people holding his leash still refuse to call off the mission and he’ll be lucky to survive. 

Back in Boston, Maria’s having dreams of Karl in danger and they’re driving her crazy, but it’s just another thing to worry about. There are traitors within her mafia family, FBI agents breathing down her neck, angry crime families from New York threatening her, and creatures under the control of the sorcerer Corjocaru trying to get her to join him. To make matters worse, Maria learns Karl is walking into a trap, and it doesn’t appear there’s anything to do to help him. 

Ghost Soldiers is release two in Keith Melton’s Nightfall Syndicate series and since it follows characters and situations introduced in Blood Vice, I recommend reading it first. This urban fantasy is fast paced with a well written, complicated plot, and it’s filled with plenty of creative twists and turns, and numerous well developed and intriguing characters. It’s non-stop action from beginning to end and take it from me, you need to pay attention to what’s going on or you’ll get lost.

Karl is still as dark and brooding as ever and while he still has a code he tries to live by, he’s now trapped in a dangerous position that limits his own honor. Yes, he’s a vampire assassin and while you might think who and what he is might make him unlikable, that couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s still a man of principle, trying to do the best he can under terrible circumstances to protect the woman he loves. There’s a lot of action going on throughout the story, both in Romania where Karl is for the majority of the story and Boston, where Maria is struggling for control of her mafia family. In both locations, there are numerous secondary characters that add interest and flair to the story, and there are a few scattered paranormal creatures for added flavor. Take note that this isn’t a romance or a lighthearted read, so if that’s what you’re looking for, the series isn’t for you, but if you’re looking for an intense and riveting read, give it a try.

Sparkles and Strawberries

Title: Sparkles and Strawberries
Author:
Katica Locke
Publisher: Shadowfire Press
Publisher URL: http://www.shadowfirepress.com

ISBN: N/A
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Zarik’s not proud of his actions, but they are for a good reason.  When Ezarali approaches him seeking help to make Nathan’s Valentine’s Day special, Zarik seizes the opportunity to ask for a favor of his own.  While it might not be the only way to accomplish his goal, it’s the easiest way.  When Nathan discovers what he’s done, will it be the final straw or can the three roommates still coexist after this betrayal? 

After being introduced to Nathan, Zarik and Ezarali in Faerie Christmas, I was hoping to see the three young men again.    Sparkles and Strawberries takes place a few short months later.  Thanks to Nathan’s loving care, Ezarali has grown and isn’t the shadow of a faerie we first met.  There are still some things that Nathan will have to get used to, but the couple seems to be taking strides in the right direction.  Zarik is still… Zarik.  He is still headstrong, determined and unbending.  I’m hoping in the future and with the right source of love, we will finally see him shed his armor. 

The story has some action and suspense, giving a nice balance to the steamy erotic moments.  I found Sparkles and Strawberries to be an enjoyable read and hope there is more to come for these three dynamic characters.

The Love of a Mate

Title: The Love of a Mate
Author: Kim Dare
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-567-2
Genre: {M/M} Shape-shifter, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Caden’s always been able to use a smile or even a little flirting to get any wolf to do just about anything he wants. So when he decides that Alfred is the mate for him, he knows he’ll need every trick of seduction he’s learned to tame the pack troublemaker and turn him into a mate worthy of taking control of their relationship. Unfortunately the other members of the pack don’t understand Alfred and making them appreciate the man Caden loves might be the biggest obstacle of all. 

The Love of a Mate is the fourth and final release in Kim Dare’s Pack Discipline series and it’s my favorite.  Please be aware that for a better understanding of character/pack relationships, I recommend the books be read in sequential order. 

I admit I wasn’t certain I was going to like Alfred in the beginning, since he was such a brat throughout the series, and he didn’t start off treating Caden very nicely. But Ms. Dare’s vivid descriptions of his emotional pain and turmoil quickly changed my opinion. She did just as nicely with Caden’s quiet strength and determination to have Alfred as his mate, despite all the roadblocks standing in his way. He’s a sweet guy, which makes him the perfect opposite for the more aggressive Alfred.  

To balance the upset and anger, there are also moments of great tenderness between these two, as well as passion and desire. I guess ultimately there are numerous scenes I enjoyed, so much so that I couldn’t pick a favorite. I liked them all. Take it from me. If you enjoy a good shape-shifter with hints of BDSM, then this well written and plotted story is for you. Read and enjoy.

Behind Blue Eyes

Title: Behind Blue Eyes
Author: Bryl R. Tyne
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-115-0
Genre: {M/M} Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Martin LaRocca arrives at the Knights of Fidelity masquerade ball, dressed as a debutante.  Marty is hoping for a night of romance with his Prince Charming, Daniel Stroemeyer. Regrettably, proving his worth to his father, by carrying out his first murder, is also on Marty’s agenda.  Marty’s target is Daniel.  

Behind Blue Eyes is a dark romance with a happy ending.  The characters are believable.  Marty is the youngest son of a powerful mobster. He hates the family’s twisted criminal world.  Marty wished he could run away and never look back, being gay is also an incentive for Marty to leave. Nevertheless, he fears his father’s vengeance if he were to get caught leaving.  Marty is assigned to watch Danny, who is second in command of a rival mobster.  During Marty’s surveillance, Marty and Danny discovered an attraction that leads to love.  For a year, the two men would have clandestine sexual dates. 

Meeting Marty inspired Danny to dream of a future, where he and Marty could express their true nature away from the criminal lifestyle.  Danny formulates a plan to save them, although he has doubts of success, as well as doubts on whether Marty will agree to join him.  Knowing the grime outcome of remaining in the family, Danny is determined to attempt finding his freedom.   Bryl R. Tyne has created an intriguing story illustrating the darker side of New Orleans, in addition to a glimpse of a gangster’s cold-blooded life. Behind Blue Eyes is an impressive, as well as enjoyable, suspenseful tale.

Rory's Last Chance

Title: Rory's Last Chance
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-546-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx  

Rancher Chance Galloway knows, upon stepping inside the Xxchange, that it’s probably one of the biggest mistakes he’s ever made. He’s not into random sex but he’s lonely and hates to admit, almost desperate, for physical contact from another man. He’s ready to walk out the door when a gorgeous stranger touches him, making him forget about leaving. 

Rory Calhoun decides to check out the local club and meets a man who fulfills his every fantasy. He’s got plenty of emotional baggage, but it’s obvious the man of his dreams has his own problems when he doesn’t want to become involved with anyone he considers a pretty young thing. Days later when Rory’s given the opportunity to show Chance he’s a serious minded man to be trusted, he reaches out and grabs hold, hoping for everything he’s ever dreamed. 

Rory’s Last Chance is the first release in Bailey Bradford’s new series Love in Xxchange. The story starts in Chance’s viewpoint and it’s pretty obvious from the beginning how lonely he’s become, and how much he dislikes the club scene and random hook-ups with “pretty young things”. His attitude is rather brisk and cranky but it’s also apparent from the description that deep down, he has issues, turning him instantly into a man you feel sorry for and want to know more about. The same goes for Rory and on getting to know him, it’s clear he’s hiding years of pain and Ms. Bradford did a nice job expressing his feelings. 

The plot is smooth and has a good integration of secondary characters, some of which play a more prominent role than others. Max and Bo are interesting and add flair to the storyline, and I can’t wait to find out what happens between them in the upcoming story, Miles To Go. Then there’s Rory’s family and the man who hurt him, Art. They don’t make a physical appearance until his sister Annabelle shows up near the end, but the author still makes the father and Art important, but villainous, parts of the story by using the phone. It’s a bit unusual for the bad guys but is still works. My big complaint is the resolution dealing with Art. It was done quickly and totally in the background without the reader getting to see what was going on. The ending was probably realistic since Art didn’t live in the same state with Rory and Chance but it left me with a lot of questions on what went on.

The Captain's Man

Title: The Captain's Man
Author: Scarlet Blackwell
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-547-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Josh Addison is not expecting to have any fun alone on the Mediterranean cruise he won.  However, being seduced by Captain Kane Kessler turns into the best two week vacation Josh has ever experienced.   

The Captain's Man is a sizzling romance with a touch of emotional drama.  The well written characters are believable. Josh had a break up right before their vacation was scheduled to begin.  His lover left Josh for another man, ending their five year relationship.  Josh suffers from low self-esteem.  He is embarrassed by his skinny body and ghostly white skin.  So Josh is very surprised that the incredibly handsome captain is attracted to him.  Josh dreams of a long term relationship, although he soon realizes his dreams are doomed when Kane explains what he and Josh have is merely a fling.   

Kane is at sea eight months out of the year.  He has a confident personality to match his physical appeal to both men and women.  He enjoys his job, self-assured that he has the ability to please.  The down side to his career is that Kane has to stay in the closet, as well as limiting his sexual encounters to short affairs.

The Captain's Man is a fascinating story with lots of sex as well as emotional conflict.  Josh and Kane are star-crossed lovers with a happy for now ending.  However, Scarlet Blackwell leaves the door open just enough to give the reader hope for a sequel to this tantalizing and most enjoyable saga.

Cowboy Way

Title: Cowboy Way
Author: Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
ISBN: 1-61034-574-6
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Growing up in the household of a conservative minister wasn’t easy for Matthew McCallister and he knew coming out to his family would mean leaving them and his hometown behind. He heads out of town with his younger brother, only to be stopped and arrested for kidnapping and theft of his own money. Luckily for him, the sheriff of Cade County believes Matthew’s telling the truth and helps to hide him on the Blaecleah ranch. 

The Blaecleah’s are unlike any family Matty’s ever met…and Quaid confuses him, especially when he proposes marriage almost immediately as a way to save Matty from his bigoted father.  Matty hasn’t had good luck with men and as much as he wants to say yes to the proposal, he’s afraid to agree. The big question is whether Quaid can keep him safe when Matty’s father turns up in town to cause trouble. Can their new relationship withstand the ugliness or will it wither and die? 

Cowboy Way is release three in Stormy Glenn’s Blaecleah Brothers and since the characters continue from one story to another, I recommend the books be read in order. 

I really liked Matty. He’s a well developed character with a realistic family background that’s integrated nicely into the plot. Despite being treated poorly by his father, he’s still craving that special someone and watching him become part of the loving Blaecleah family is a treat.  It also means there are a large number of secondary characters, wandering in and out of the story, and while I loved learning more of Quaid’s family, the person who is an important part of the story is Matty’s father. Ms. Glenn did a very job making the man into a villain…a raving lunatic and a creep for his treatment of his sons.

The relationship between Quaid and Matty starts quickly but it’s done in such a manner that it works, while still allowing Matty the time he needs for them to become intimate. Once they do take that next step, watch out, it’s passionate and blistering hot.  Ultimately the story is about a man overcoming the fears, pain and hatred of his past and allowing himself to hope for a future with the man he loves. Watch for the next book in the series, coming soon.

All Wrapped Up Volume 1

Title:  All Wrapped Up Volume 1
Author:  Angela Knight, Ann Jacobs, Dakota Cassidy, Kate Hill
Publisher:  Changeling Press, LLC
Publisher URL:  www.changelingpress.com
ISBN:  978-1-60521-552-5
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Anthology
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Blood Service by Angela Knight - 4.5 Nymphs 

Adiva is captured by Vigilante, a vampire bounty hunter you do not want on your case. 

I actually enjoyed this story though I would have liked some explanations about the levels of dominance and submission that were mentioned in the book.  Reading this story was timely since there is so much unrest with people trying to overthrow the current government in several countries. 

Branded by Ann Jacobs - 4.5 Nymphs 

Cole’s sister has a friend named Amber that ends up being branded by a sadistic Dom.  Cole tried to protect Amber and his sister by accepting exile after he is caught trying to stop Dex. 

I thought the author had a very creative imagination by making Obsidion a haven for those that practiced BDSM.  She captured the misunderstanding that some people have regarding BDSM in this story, and tried to show that there are so many levels and practices within the BDSM community. 

Slave School Dropout by Dakota Cassidy - 3 Nymphs 

Nyla has always thought Lucas was her friend until one day she notices his scent, which is a sign she has found her lifemate.  Nyla accepts this after a lot of kicking and screaming. 

I disliked Nyla so much, I wanted to slap her silly.  I think she was the whiniest shifter I ever read about.  I actually know a young lady that is so self-centered that she whines and complains about everything to the point you try to avoid her.  I found it hard to swallow that Lucas would be as patient as he was about it.  I did find some humor in the fact that her mother ended up explaining what BDSM was. 

Tainted Kisses by Kate Hill - 4.5 Nymphs

Etlu was taken from his mother’s womb and raised by his foster father, then tortured by his foster father and others in the community.  Niabi was in disguise and slated for death after a battle that she lost. 

Reading this story, I can understand why Etlu did what he did after he discovered Niabi was a woman.  Because I think we all want to be a better person, a man wanting to change and explore other avenues is something we can all relate to.  The way the author went about doing this in the book was great and I really enjoyed seeing the transformation. 

All Wrapped Up is pretty good overall.  There were things I would have liked to know about and I really could have missed reading one story.  Three of these authors I have read other stories and books and thought these stories were just as wonderful as those others.  This was the first time I have read a story by Ms. Cassidy and while I may try to read another one by her, I did not enjoy her story, though I know some friends who enjoy her writing.  All in all, this was a good book for any BDSM lover’s bookshelf.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Scales and a Tail

Title: Scales and a Tail
Author: Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
ISBN: 1-61034-537-1
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Tired of its younger members fighting, the elders of the paranormal world come up with a plan that forces them to pick a mate from a different species. Those attending the UPAC Conference are cornered and there’s no getting around the consequences of the spell cast that night. 

Beauregard Stratford is a bunny shifter and he isn’t exactly accepted within his shifter community. Not with his snow white fur or his strange violet colored eyes. When he gets sucked into the elders’ scheme and mated to Sebastian Drakus, a dragon shifter and prince of his kind, Beauregard hopes to finally have a place to call home and to find the acceptance he’s always craved. Except one thing after another happens to put him at odds with his new mate until it feels like his heart will break in two. Can Beauregard and Sebastian work through their troubles or is their mating destined for disaster?  

Scales and a Tail by Stormy Glenn is release two in the new Midnight Matings series and while the premise of the story is the same from one release to another, each can be read as a standalone. 

Okay, I admit it. I loved Beauregard. He’s just so cute and cuddly, with his white hair, violet eyes and kind heart…what’s not to like. Then when you learn he just wants to be loved because no one but his mother ever has…well, you want him to have his happily-ever-after. Let’s just say Ms. Glenn has crafted a sweet and adorable character that really pulls at the heartstrings. Then there’s Sebastian. He’s all Alpha dragon and he acts like it and while his personality is just as well developed, due to his ability to misunderstand and jump to conclusions with his mate, I wanted to boot him in the butt on more than one occasion.  

The details of dragon and rabbit shifters are nicely integrated into the story and I especially enjoyed learning about the traditions and rituals that ruled Beauregard’s life. They made for interesting complications between the two new mates and the male pregnancy part of the storyline wasn’t something I expected but enjoyed. Sebastian and Beauregard are at odds during most of the pregnancy and the author does a great job juggling their painful emotions.  She does get them back together believably and it’s just in time for the birth of some very special babies…and wasn’t that an interesting delivery?

Assassin

Title: Assassin
Author: Lena Austin
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-652-2
Genre: {M/M} Sci-Fi, Series, Futuristic
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

On his first assignment as a sex engineer, Paris Cordell’s space shuttle is attacked by insurgents.  However, moments later Paris is rescued by Sumner, the son of the spaceport Aerie’s sinister ruler.  From the beginning, Paris had a sense of foreboding.  The attack and rescue confirmed his mission was compromised. Paris had no choice now but to follow it through to the end, even if it meant killing Sumner to whom Paris is instantaneously attracted.  

Assassin is the first story in the Sex World series.  The plot is a well written dark thriller, interwoven with a touch of romance.  The setting is futuristic.  The religion worshiped by many is based exclusively on the profits from business.  Crimes against mankind are viewed as an interruption of cash flow by the governing body, known as the Consortium.  The characters are convincing.  Paris is a master at seduction, as well as a highly skilled assassin.  Paris is trained to give either happiness or death, depending on the needs of the Consortium.  However, falling in love with his client is not part of his training. 

Sumner was trained to imitate his father’s sociopath behavior.  Sumner’s true character is that of a compassionate man. Nevertheless, he employs a merciless façade for the benefit of his father’s demented ego, as well as his own continued existence.  Engaging in sex with Paris, Sumner was having a hard time remembering to show a ruthless image.  Assassin is an admirable psychological profile of a God syndrome mentality, which affects some people in high ranking positions.  The talented Lena Austin has created a fascinating comparison between a fictional, possible future world and today’s reality.  I found Assassin to be exceptional, as well as captivating.

Jungle Inferno

Title:  Jungle Inferno
Author:  Desiree Holt
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN: 9781419930447
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Suspense, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Mark is captured by terrorists after he and his team try to get an infamous arms dealer that the U.S. has been after for years.  Faith hears him when he cries for help and discovers she can feel his torture. 

I actually loved reading Jungle Inferno and would have given it a recommended read except for two areas that the author’s editor and/or Beta reader missed.  I had to go back and read a paragraph again that ended up being a duplicate right after reading it the first time.  The Senator’s wife has one name in one section and another later, then back to the first name toward the end of the book.  

This being said, the story was so true to life that is could be taken out of the pages of any POW’s experience. The author did a lot of research to really capture the things that Special Operations soldiers experience and the secrecy that they are supposed to keep.  The bond that soldiers have is also shown and is so true. Faith is such a strong woman, though she doesn’t think so. The way Ms. Holt wove the love that Faith and Mark have for each other was brilliant, because that was what kept him alive.  Do keep ice on hand because the chemistry and sex scenes between the two scorch the page.  I am looking forward to the next book in the Phoenix Agency series.

Son of Death

Title: Son of Death
Author: Nikki McCoy
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-550-4
Genre: {M/M/M} BDSM, Fantasy, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx  

Not understanding Jamie’s power of precognition, his family committed him to a mental hospital at an early age. The only thing that made his life livable was Loland, who was sent there for being gay while a teenager. Finally they were able to get away but they spent the next few years struggling with Jamie’s powers and the fears that came with them.  

Seth, a Keeper of the Gods, has been waiting to find his destined mate for centuries and when he meets Loland, knows he’s been blessed with the man perfect for him.  Then he’s introduced to Loland’s lover, Jamie and he’s shocked to learn that both men are his mates. Jamie’s lived his life in fear and has a lot of obstacles to overcome before he and Loland can explore the D’s type of relationship they crave with Seth. To be together, Seth is willing to do anything to keep his mates safe, including challenging the gods the keepers serve. 

Son of Death is the first release in a new series, Keepers of the Gods, by Nikki McCoy, who is a new author for me. It’s starts off nicely, and at a good pace, allowing the reader to get to know Jamie and Loland as individuals and to understand the depth of their relationship. Their personalities are interesting, unique and well developed and their love and devotion is obvious from the beginning. They’d be the perfect couple, if they weren’t both subs.  

Enter Seth, a Dom who’s willing to do anything to protect those in his care and in this case, it’s his mates. This guy is all Alpha male and he’s scary big too, yet gentle with Jamie who’s had an abusive past. The descriptions of his firm gentleness as he guides his damaged lover into the world of BDSM is well done and while some may find it has strong content, it is tastefully done. Add in the dangerous aspects of the story revolving around the various keepers/gods and what going on with Jamie’s mysterious family members and you’ve got everything needed for an interesting story. I look forward to the next release.

A Very Personal Trainer

Title:  A Very Personal Trainer
Author:  Justine Elyot
Publisher:  Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN:  978-0-85715-554-2
Genre:   {M/F} BDSM
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Lara needs a personal trainer to help her get organized and ends up hiring Dexter. Dexter has a secret that Lara is bound and determined to find out.  Dexter has to decide if he wants to make the changes necessary to have Lara. 

I had a little trouble with A Very Personal Trainer, as the book sounded like a journal entry to me.  Though a lot of readers like a first person perspective, I don’t like them as a rule, but have read a few that were actually quite good.  Unfortunately, for me, this book did not fall into that category.  While Lara’s stalking of Dexter, as well as Dexter’s situation once you find out more, could have come from real life, their relationship doesn’t quite ring true in my opinion.  Those that like reading journals, as well as those that like stories about punishment, may find this book interesting.  From the BDSM aspect, it is not a bad story.

Black Heart Down

Title: Black Heart Down
Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-328-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Rock band Black Heart Down’s lead guitarist Robbie Russo is tired of being singer Kyler Christenson’s dirty little secret.  Robbie and Kyler have been together as band mates and lovers for eleven years.  However, Kyler refuses to openly admit that he is gay.  When Robbie leaves the band, Kyler realizes things must change, starting with himself.

Black Heart Down is a spin-off of the Conquest series.  The superb plot illustrates Robbie and Kyler’s attempts at balancing a public, as well as a private, life. The emotionally intense storyline is heart wrenching, interwoven with a dash of humor.  The intimate scenes are exceptionally impressive.    The characters are believable.  Robbie and Kyler love each other, but like any relationship, they both have made mistakes over the years.  Robbie is, to some extent, immature; his first tendency is to run away when he is upset, only to return once he has achieved control over his anger.  Robbie gives the impression of having a touch of low self esteem, as well as a small portion of jealousy for Kyler’s public charisma.   Friends, along with feelings of regret for his impulsive actions, help Robbie to step off his emotional rollercoaster. 

Kyler is haunted by his abusive past.  Judged as damaged goods by his hypocritical family, Kyler was cast out when his sexuality became known.  Kyler has struggled for years with his shame for being gay.  Fears of losing Robbie permanently motivate Kyler to triumph over his anxiety of openly expressing his love for Robbie.  Kyler and Robbie finally realize that sustaining love and happiness together is a continuous work in progress.  S.J. Frost has created a marvelous love story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Heaven’s Hell

Title: Heaven’s Hell
Author: Lynn Hagen 
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-406-5  
Genre: {M/M}, Shape-shifter, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Heaven has been dreaming of the day he’d meet his mate.  Unfortunately, he never thought they would meet in the manner they did.  Now it is up to Murdock to make things right, or die.

I love the way the author is able to make each new novella feel fresh.  While each story is about wolves finding their mates, each couple is unique enough to keep the series from being boring.  In Heaven’s Hell, a great addition to the growing Brac Pack series, Murdock is the ultimate player, picking up numerous men a night just for the pleasure it brings him.  Heaven is the complete opposite and the fact that he has been fantasizing about becoming one with his mate makes the devastation he feels upon their first meeting all the stronger.  The feelings the men are going through come through clearly and while each take the mating concept seriously, they look at the time prior to the mating differently.  It is easy to understand where each of the men are coming from, yet, Murdock’s actions have dire consequences for the couple.  While the men’s romance is a large part of the story, the author also takes this time to introduce more problems for the pack.  Humans now know about the wolves, but these aren’t your average humans, and their knowledge causes big problems for Heaven.  

I enjoyed the many twists and turns Heaven’s Hell, which was aptly named, had and can’t wait to see how the author clears them up in her future stories.

Squeak and a Roar

Title: Squeak and a Roar
Author: Joyee Flynn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
ISBN: 1-60601-651-2
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

The elders of the paranormal world are tired of the fighting among their young people and they’ve come up with a plan to stop it. Everyone who attends the UPAC Conference has something slipped in their drinks and it triggers each person’s mating heat, with the result that they have twenty-four hours to find and claim a mate from another species.  

Software developer Gavin Ashby is happy with his life.  He doesn’t want a mate...he just wants to be left alone. It’s not much different with video game tester Ant Marino.  He, too, leads a solitary life and after his last abusive relationship, wants to keep it that way but like Gavin, he’s sucked into the plans of the elders and they end up mated. Both men are unprepared for their feelings and they have more than a few hurdles to overcome. Can they reach out and grab the love being offered or will they let problems continue to get in their way? 

Squeak and a Roar is the first release in the new Midnight Matings series. Ant is a sweet and kind mouse-shifter with the cutest little squeak, and it’s easy to like him from the beginning. Gavin not so much. He’s an arrogant lion and he’s not exactly the warm and fuzzy type, but he’s happy to find a mate he has something in common with. And the blistering hot sex isn’t bad either. Then when things are going well between them, Gavin overreacts about a trust issue and does something in anger, not thinking or caring how it will affect his mate.  This didn’t endear Gavin to me…and then Ant forgives his mate far too easily to be believable, considering how hurt and upset he was. This part of the plot didn’t flow for me and left me with bad feelings for Gavin, even though he managed to redeem himself later. 

The poor relationship between Gavin and his father, the leader of the lion pride, is well developed, giving a good sense of why Gavin acts the way he does. His father is a nut and the author does a nice job working through the difficulties and dangers associated with him, resulting in a satisfying resolution for Gavin/Ant and the pride in the end.

Please be aware that there are numerous typos scattered throughout the manuscript that I found distracting. While the story did have some things I had issue with, I still enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next release in the series, Scales and a Tail.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lost

Title: Lost
Author: Abby Blake
Publisher: Siren Publishing
ISBN: 1-61034-388-3
Genre: {M/F/M} Paranormal, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rogue Satyr 

Caleb and Ethan are best friends. They also happen to both be psychic and work for a top secret government agency. While trailing a psychic terrorist for weeks, they both ‘hear’, telepathically, the panicked terror of a young woman being abducted by the rogue they’ve been chasing. Not knowing how the young woman is involved, they rescue her, her terror being almost deafening to both of them. 

Theresa was abandoned at birth. She has always felt different and has sequestered herself from the rest of the world. Even riding the subway and taking the elevator is hard for her. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia since she hears voices.  A strange man, posing as a police officer, ‘arrests’ her. She knows he’s not a real cop but she doesn’t know how she knows.  Suddenly two hunky and handsome men come to her rescue.  Her desire for them seems to affect them as well.  They tell her she is a psychic and in terrible danger. 

Not knowing who in the agency to trust, Caleb and Ethan go on the run with Theresa.  They try to protect the burgeoning psychic, whose powers are starting to manifest themselves.   

But which is the bigger threat; the rouge agents hunting down Theresa for unknown reasons or Theresa’s uncontrollable powers? 

Lost is the first book in the Altered Destinies series.  These books are stand-alone and need not be read in any particular order. 

Lost is a very well written story. It is a paranormal tale about psychics and does a good job at describing how being psychic can affect the day-to-day life of a person with such powers.  It is really a ‘coming of age’ story, even though Theresa is 27, in that she is learning to deal with new powers, a new view of life, and has to come out of her shell that she has built up around her to protect herself from the powers she didn’t even know about. 

The characters are very likable and soon the reader cares about what happens to her. The world of Altered Destinies is built in such a way as to make it very believable, even though it is about unbelievable subjects.  

The erotic scenes are very erotic, in that we feel the lust and desires of all three people in this ménage a trios. What could be a muddled mesh is handled deftly by the author and is very easy and clear to read.  The plot is suspenseful and is full of twists and turns.  

I enjoyed reading Lost and if it is any indication, Abby Blake’s series Altered Destinies, even if unlinked, will be just as good.

Catch Me If I Fall

Title: Catch Me If I Fall
Author: Riley Knox
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-119-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Avery opens his front door and saw his extremely sexy, very straight next-door neighbor, Ethan, standing on the porch, dressed as a Girl Scout in shorts, bearing boxes of cookies.  The glimpse of Ethan, at that moment, immediately sent Avery into the fantasyland where Ethan had been featured in the starring role for months.  Seeing Ethan like this Avery begins to hope that his fantasies are about to become a reality.  

Catch Me If I Fall is a delightful romantic comedy.  The background information is a bit confusing, such as Ethan’s last name and where Avery’s sister lives, but the main focus of the storyline is understandable, as well as amusing.  The plot features Avery and Ethan’s first date as well as all the little mishaps that take place.  The characters are laugh out loud funny. 

Avery is an openly gay geek, who coaches a girl’s softball team. He lives an unexciting life, with a history of dating a few dull men.  However, Avery becomes a bundle of nerves whenever he is in the presence of Ethan, except when expressing his desires regarding intimacy.  Ethan has a charismatic personality that Avery finds very appealing.  Ethan finds Avery adorable.  Being eight years older than Avery, Ethan’s only doubts is whether he can satisfy Avery in the bedroom.  The intimate scene is sizzling.  Catch Me If I Fall is an enjoyable short story.