Saturday, July 23, 2011

Strong Arms of the Law

Title: Strong Arms of the Law
Author: Cerise DeLand
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN: 9781419934735
Genre: {M/F} Western, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph 

Skye Chamberlain has been in tricky situations before but it’s safe to say nothing beats her current predicament. Forced to live under the watchful eye of Texas Ranger Rex Martinez after research for her current crime novel put her in danger, things are getting more than a little hot under the collar, for both of them. Rex is used to having people under his protection but nobody has gotten under his skin like Skye. There’s a spark that threatens to ignite into a full blown inferno if Skye is forced to remain in a confined space with the gorgeous man a minute longer. With their attention focused fully on each other, can Rex keep Skye out of danger long enough to make it count? 

In Strong Arms of the Law, you get a burst of hormones and hot-headedness from page one. I was actually overwhelmed by such extroverted, headstrong characters immediately making their mark, as well as by their relationship pushing forward so quickly. Thankfully, it did settle down, and I could enjoy the plot a lot. It’s a story that really starts with a bang and although that put me off slightly, I am glad I stuck with it. Skye is outgoing, impatient and quick to rush in. She has quite a packed history. At times, she seems too needy, demanding she get what she wants, now. I could see the sweetness deep down though, and I did want her to be happy. She certainly copes well in tense situations. Rex seems a little calmer, quick to admit that Skye has power over him but equally able to exploit his power over her. I like him and can see the attraction to the Texas Ranger in his deep respect for Skye. I didn’t have a problem hating the bad guys who were out to cause trouble for Skye and was worried for her and Rex’s lives, which made for an exciting ending to an action packed story.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pop Life

Title: Pop Life
Author: Ryan Loveless
Publisher: Silver Publishing
ISBN: 9781920484422      
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating:  3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Even after two years, Andrew is still recovering from the breakup of his marriage.  His business partner and best friend, Michael, is hoping Andrew’s upcoming trip to New York will help turn things around for his friend.  While Andrew is not looking forward to the business part of his trip, he can’t help but be excited about running into Jamie again. 

Pop Life is an interesting read set within the music world during the late 1990’s.  Andrew is a songwriter, visiting New York for a family wedding. While there, however, he is also meeting up with a popular member of a boy band to discuss music for an upcoming solo record.  It’s during this time that Andrew is reacquainted with Jamie, another top-billed musician.  The chemistry between the two men is there but the mistakes Jamie has made in the past continue to haunt the young musician, making it difficult for him and Andrew to get together.  The author does a good job bringing all the anxiety and uncertainty that a recovering addict goes through, especially when faced with temptation the way those in the music industry are.  When Jamie’s secret is finally revealed, it is shocking, yet at the same time, not surprising.   Andrew, in many ways, continues to carry a naiveté around him, even for someone who has been in the business as long has he has.  Some of this, I am sure, is due to the fact that while he has been in love with Jamie for some time, he has never had a sexual relationship with another man. 

At times, Pop Life came across more like a soap opera than a romance novel.  The drama surrounding the secondary characters tended to overshadow the main characters, almost running away with the story more than once.  While I liked the story, I also felt slightly cheated out of the story I was expecting to read. 

Taming the Wildcat

Title:  Taming the Wildcat
Author:  Mina Carter and Bethany J. Barnes
Publisher:  Summerhouse Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-936950-36-2
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Summer sees Roz and decides he is just the one to scratch her itch.  Roz is looking forward to three days of sex, if he can find someone that catches his eye.  Both are battle hardened warriors. 

Taming the Wildcat was a fun book to read.  Not only is the chemistry between Summer and Roz scorching, they end up falling in love and unbeknownst to Summer, she ends up being married to him.   

This seems to be the first book in the Sargosian Chronicles and I am looking forward to reading more about the Sargosians.  The authors created a warrior society that has a lot of rigid rules, as well as some beautiful customs.  Roz’s reaction to some news surprised everyone, though it could be a true life situation when someone is in a battle.   

I loved the secondary characters within the story, as they added a lot.  I had to laugh at Roz’s men’s reaction to Summer and her cooking.  A lot of the teasing is so true when you have a lot of military or veterans around as it relieves a lot of tension. Some of the situations throughout the book are so funny, you laugh out loud. I am going to be reading this one again.

A Serving of Love

Title: A Serving of Love
Author:  Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-910-2
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Sequel
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Billy and Darryl have gone on vacation, leaving Sebastian in charge of Café Belgie.  As his first night comes to a close, the café is robbed but all is not lost as Sebastian meets the man of his dreams, just as the robber is heading out the door. 

Andrew Grey’s characters are very engaging, pulling the reader into their stories from the first page.  A Serving of Love, the sequel to A Taste of Love, is no exception.  Fans of the first book will remember Sebastian, the out and proud waiter who befriends Billy, helping him at the restaurant, as well as with his relationship with Darryl.  This time around, it is Billy who is there to lend a hand when Sebastian wonders if his relationship with Robert is worth fighting for.  Robert is a young attorney, who is also a big klutz.  Apprehending the man who had robbed the restaurant wasn’t so much a planned event as it was an accident.  Robert’s finally reached the point where he is ready to come out of the closet; the only problem is that he was just voted in as judge and he is worried how others will take the news.   

Robert and Sebastian are drawn to each other, but both men have strong personal issues that rear their ugly heads at times.  The confusion and fear both men go through, especially Robert, is very realistic.  The author very easily makes their story come alive and it is not long before the reader will be rooting for them.  Of course, all the characters from the first book are there to help them find their way.  There is also the introduction of new characters, a couple of whom I would have loved to have had the chance to smack.  There is a slight mystery surrounding Robert’s father that plays a small part of the story, the outcome of which is slightly predictable. 

As with all of Mr. Grey’s stories, I could not put A Serving of Love down.  Fans of the author are sure to love this new book and if you have not yet tried anything by Mr. Grey, I suggest you give this one a shot.

Thin Ice

Title: Thin Ice
Author: J.T. Marie
Publisher: JMS Books
ISBN: 9781611521146
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph 

Jessie was as surprised as David was when their childhood friendship developed into something deeper. Her father had tolerated their friendship but makes his feelings about a deeper relationship quite clear – David is a delinquent from a bad family and his daughter could do much better. Before Jessie can even begin to argue her case, David is implicated in an altercation that leaves a member of Jessie’s family badly hurt and she is forbidden from ever seeing her love again. Jessie’s despair that her family can’t understand her feelings forces her to make a choice, with consequences that no one could have predicted. 

Thin Ice was well written story that I enjoyed reading. It was as if I was hanging out with Jessie and she was casually telling me her story, slowly pulling me deeper as the seriousness of her situation became clearer. There is some poignant imagery to a rather dark plot. The writing is a little vague at times, perhaps to emphasize the high school student point of view. There were times I thought I was reading about something that happened in the past when it was actually the present, and vice versa. In my opinion however, this added to the clouded vision of a young woman in love. Jessie’s frustration at her father caring more about how the rest of the community sees her family than her happiness seems particularly accurate to me. If you like young love, angst and dark, bittersweet endings, I recommend Thin Ice.

The Diary of Anna’s Submission

Title:  The Diary of Anna’s Submission
Author:  Jenika Snow
Publisher:  Evernight Publishing
ISBN:  978-1-926950-54-9
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Anna is still a virgin, but doesn’t feel sexual without thinking about BDSM and how she wants to experiment.  She decides to take a break from school and go off by herself to think, unknowingly renting from Felix. 

The Diary of Anna’s Submission is a diary of a young girl’s coming of age, her way. The author kept you emotionally involved as Anna starts her journey and later as Anna tries to analyze her feelings.  I almost wanted to cry in a few places because I kept identifying with her.  Felix is a Dom that thinks he can train Anna without getting involved.  Be aware that the chemistry between them is scorching so be prepared. 

The Diary of Anna’s Submission does have a few scenes that can be extremely dangerous. I don’t recommend that anyone do these, though I know some within the community do, as these types of scenes can go very wrong.  The author is knowledgeable and shows Anna’s journey, as well as the intensity.  I usually am very apprehensive about reading books in first person, but I enjoyed this one and will be reading it again. 

Warning: erotic asphyxiation

Fang and Fur

Title: Fang and Fur
Author: Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-631-9
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Vampire Sterling Roane doesn’t like being the bodyguard to his coven leader but it’s still his duty to protect him.  That changes the night of the UPAC Conference when he’s accidentally mated to Beau Garret, the Alpha of the Pacific Northwest Region. A man who claims he isn’t gay and, even worse, is engaged to a woman. 

Heartbroken to learn his mate doesn’t want him, Sterling lands his jet in the middle of nowhere, dropping off Beau before heading back to New York. He doesn’t realize that what’s waiting for him is worse than anything he left behind, because someone back home wants to claim him and it isn’t his mate. 

Fang and Fur is release five in the Midnight Matings series, this one by Stormy Glenn. The concept of the forced mating hasn’t changed but this time, there’s a twist giving hope if it didn’t work. This is also the first time I saw one of the elders might have a plan behind what they were doing with the mating edict. Otherwise, it just seems like another means to hold power over the members of the paranormal community. I’m crossing my fingers for more explanations in the future. 

I admit to liking Sterling immediately. He’s an honorable man who’s trying to do the best he can. Beau’s so shocked at being mated he didn’t handle it well, making Sterling miserable which didn’t endear him to me. Initially, their actions are based on all over-the-top-emotions. I found this surprising coming from two such duty-bound individuals, but Ms. Glenn used her creativity to save a situation spiraling out of control and got it back on track and did it believably. She even managed to get Sterling’s uncle, Elder Lewis, back into the story briefly even if he did appear an insensitive jerk. 

The problems with the coven leader surprised me but the ones with the ex-girlfriend didn’t. I mean, the woman got dumped for a man, so yes, she’s angry and a werewolf. I couldn’t expect anything else. Still it was handled nicely and gave the story more interest and didn’t bog it down, making the plot arc an entertaining part of the book. And of course the villains get their just desserts in the end. Sterling and Beau have problems but when they finally get together, it’s sizzling hot, giving them the physical and emotional bond they both want and need. I’m anxious to see what happens with the next set of releases coming in August.

Marked Yours

Title: Marked Yours
Author:  Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-963-8
Genre: {M/M}, Futuristic, Paranormal
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

When a volcano erupts in Yellowstone Park, the world changes, in more ways than one.  Now, three hundred years later, mankind still struggles to survive.  Nick and Todd are just two of those who try to keep their world alive. 

Marked Yours is a very interesting story that is sure to bring the author many fans.  Set in a world that continues to survive after an apocalyptic event, nothing is the same.  Babies are purposely born to become slaves and same sex relationships are encouraged to prevent over population.  The need for protection still exists and that is where Todd and others like him come in.  As a sentry, it is his job to protect the citizens of New Colorado from enemies, both normal and paranormal.  In a world where slavery once again exists, Nick is bound to Todd at an early age.  When Nick turns 21, Todd is finally able to claim the young man.  The attraction between the two is very strong but as you can imagine, the master/slave dynamic causes a few problems for the two.  Todd and Nick must also contend with interferences from outside sources.  The scenes where Nick received his owner’s marks is rough and very intense; readers will have no problems understanding Todd’s need for revenge.   

Readers will enjoy the relationship between the two men and understand how the many pitfalls they find themselves in could come about.  In many ways, Marked Yours is also very emotional.  Nick has been raised since birth to be a slave.  In the society that exists, within this story, slaves are at the total mercy of their ‘teachers’ until the day they are turned over to their owners.  The training that Nick went through is unpleasant and while the reader only learns about what Nick went through as the young man remembers, it is still, at times, hard.   

Marked Yours is one of those stories that is hard to tell others about without giving too much away.  Suffice it to say, readers are in for a very entertaining time as this fast paced story is sure to hold their attention until the very last page.  This was one story I hated to see end and will be re-reading again soon.

Kiss of Temptation

Title: Kiss of Temptation
Author: Crista McHugh
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-459-6
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal, Vampires, Witches & Warlocks
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx 

Here we have another employee from the Kavanaugh Foundation being sent on a mission to find a missing, powerful artifact before the enemy does.  Daniela has become a trained witch and is looking for the legendary Staff of Octavius to keep it out of the wrong hands.  The staff contains powers that can overwhelm the user and destroy anyone with or without paranormal abilities.  She meets Luc, while trying to get away from the vampires who are looking for the staff too.   

Luc hid the Staff of Octavius some centuries ago, after he had been turned into a vampire.  Before that, he was a priest and spreading the word of God to others.  His anger at becoming a vampire is great, but he managed to overcome his thirst for human blood by relying on the vows he took as a priest.  Luc has been having dreams of the past, as has Daniela and while helping her, he smells her scent, and his thirst comes back alive after six hundred years. 

Kiss of Temptation is a very intriguing story of past lives of reincarnated souls and the chase for a weapon that can be used for good or evil.   This is the third book in The Kavanaugh Foundation series, and I found myself enjoying every moment of reading the story.  There is so much steamy, explosively hot sex going on between Luc and Daniela, I thought they wouldn’t find the Staff of Octavius, for a while. 

Luc is quite the heroic vampire and not exactly what I expected of him.  That’s because like most vampires, they take what they want from humans but Luc is the savior who rescues the lost souls.  He feels the connection to Daniela, not sure what to do about his thirst for her, but he wants her by his side for eternity. 

Daniela showed me how much a person can overcome losing their parents and moving on with her life.  Her abilities helped her fight the vampires off to a point, but she desired Luc and fought against him when she found out he is a vampire.  In the end, she figures out what is more important to her. 

As Ms. McHugh moves on with her writing of The Kavanaugh Foundation, I found this story even more spell bounding than first two books.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roughstock: City/Country

Title: Roughstock: City/Country
Author: B.A. Tortuga
Publisher: Torquere Press
ISBN: 978-1-61040-248-4
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Western Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Being born and raised in Texas doesn’t mean Emmy likes cowboys or country/western music. She’s a city girl to the core and with her tattoos and leather corset, she stands out from the crowd when her friend abandons her in a western bar. It’s also the reason she catches the attention of bull rider Cotton, who thinks she’s the most captivating woman he’s ever seen. She’s definitely not a cowgirl and she’s not a rail thin model. Emmy’s interesting, smart and beautiful and he wants her, like no other woman ever. 

One date leads to another and the months go by, leading Cotton to think Emmy is the one. But Cotton’s not certain his family and friends agree, since she’s so different and isn’t part of his bull riding world.  When Emmy loses her job and her world falls apart, Cotton struggles to put their relationships back together after hurting her. He has to prove that a girl from the city and a cowboy from the country can find true happiness together. 

City/Country is the ninth release in the Roughstock series and the first to feature a male/female pairing, so the blurb was an unexpected surprise.  

Emmy has a unique personality, much different from any other person in this series, which is probably why I like her so much. She knows what she likes and marches to the beat of her own drum, so matching her with Cotton, your basic good ol’boy bull rider, wasn’t expected.  Yet they go together good, their attraction fierce from the beginning. Ms. Tortuga did a nice job showing their compatibility and passion, even in the face of Emmy’s friends and Cotton’s family. Their relationship still worked, despite what seemed like overwhelming differences and the odds of failure. 

Cotton’s a nice guy…kind, considerate and thoughtful. He’s the type of guy you’d want a friend or sister to bring home, but even he can make mistakes. The author showed his error in judgment but didn’t dwell on it, and then went about realistically trying to get his woman back. This section is particularly well done because both he and Emmy are miserable apart and the struggle for them to get back together isn’t rushed but plays out over a reasonable period of time in a reasonable manner. Enjoy. 

NOTE: This is a heterosexual romance and isn’t available through the Torquere Books web site. It’s for sale at allromance.com (see link above) and the Kindle version can be found for sale at www.amazon.com

Natural Instincts

Title: Natural Instincts
Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-322-2
Genre: {M/M} Vampires, Series
Rating: Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Andreas Nikandros is on a mission to find a vampire to turn him.  This aspiration is motivated by his need for strength.  Andreas intends to destroy the vampire he believes killed his sister.  Moving forward with his plan, Andreas arrives at La Rose Rouge, an upscale restaurant owned by vampire Renart Bellerose and known to cater to vampires.  At the threshold, Andreas notices another patron walking to the entrance.  Andreas’ instincts tell him the man is a vampire.  With one glance, Titus Antonius Calidus, a thousand year old vampire decides Andreas will make a pleasurable partner for the evening.  However, one evening together cultivates into a forever love.      

Natural Instincts is the first book in the Instincts Series.  The well-written plot totally connects the reader with the unique characters.  The storyline skillfully blends anxiety, heart stopping battles, emotional chaos, as well as intimacy scenes so potent the reader is left breathless and sweaty.  The setting is Chicago.  All of the characters are remarkably convincing.   As a zoologist, Andreas’ intellect understands vampires only did what nature intended for any efficient predators to do.  Nevertheless, his older sister was the only family Andreas had.  Andreas want justice for her untimely death.  Andreas has a fearlessly assertive, intuitive personality, with the added benefit of common sense.  Andreas is a passionate man who easily falls in love with Titus, yet he has the good sense to realize that the love may never be returned since Titus clearly stated his only interest is sex and feeding. 
 
Titus is pragmatic, direct and worldly sophisticated. His persona vibrates with a dynamic charisma, making it impossible to resist him.  Titus is a consummate lover, so he is delightfully surprised to discover Andreas shares an exceptionally passionate nature also. As the story unfolds, Titus is even more astonished to realize he is in love with Andreas.  The talented S.J. Frost has created an extraordinary and extremely mesmerizing vampire saga that I completely enjoyed.  I absolutely recommend Natural Instincts to everyone who enjoys this genre.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lorcan’s Desire

Title: Lorcan’s Desire
Author:  SJD Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-889-1
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary Western, Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

At twenty-one, Lorcan is ready to step out from under his family’s shadow and find some adventure of his own.  Heading out on foot, it’s not long before the young man is desperate for shelter and work.  With only a few cents in his pocket, Lorcan is willing to do any job he can get. 

Lorcan’s Desire is the first book in the A Whispering Pines Ranch series.  While the story pulled me in from the beginning, and had me staying up late, even switching to my laptop when the battery on my ereader died, I am finding it a hard story to review.  Even after staying up late to see how the story would end, I can not decide if I liked Lorcan’s Desire or not.  Lorcan and Quinn are very interesting and complex characters, and while there is some chemistry between them from the start, there are many complications such as Lorcan’s confusion over his sexuality and Quinn’s desire to stay deeply in the closet.  As you would expect it is these complications, and others, that lead to some major misunderstandings.  It is also during this time when Lorcan’s immaturity and Quinn’s insecurities come to the forefront.  The fact that Lorcan seems to be forming a connection to another ranch hand doesn’t help matters much and, after the introduction of Jess into the story, it feels, at times, as if there are now three main characters.  While it was easy to see that Lorcan and Quinn had the beginnings of a strong relationship, even  if they had to work at it a little, it wasn’t long before I started to feel as if this was a couple that was never really meant to be.  The misunderstandings seemed to take over the story, with both men finding it easy to give up on what they may have found. 

As the men’s journey is set to continue in the next book, Lorcan’s Desire has neither a HEA nor a HFN ending.  While my feelings regarding the story are still very much in the air, I am anxiously awaiting the next book, as I am curious how things between Lorcan and Quinn will be resolved.

Speak to Me of Abduction

Title: Speak to Me of Abduction
Author: Lillian Grant
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-354-9
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Suspense Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Charlene Paige runs out of money and ends up stranded in Rio, working as a hotel maid.  Against her better judgment but desperate for cash to get out of town, she’s offered and accepts a small part in a new movie shooting nearby. When her womanizing co-star, Jonathon Deveraux, disappears, she contacts his famous older brother, Jacob. The now reclusive Oscar winner reluctantly agrees to help Charlene but he’s determined to keep his distance, despite his simmering attraction to her.  

As the hunt for Jonathon continues and Charlene and Jacob grow closer, it becomes clear that the target is actually Jacob and making him pay for something that happened in his past. It makes him afraid for Charlene’s safety and even with his precautions, she’s kidnapped off the street. Can Jonathon and Charlene be found in time or will Jacob lose the two people who mean the most to him? 

Speak to Me of Abduction is the first release in Lillian Grant’s new series Reel to Real. Charlene is an interesting woman and I immediately felt sorry for her on discovering the conditions under which she is living. The initial scenes where she meets the men involved in the movie are well described, showing them to be repulsive and seedy. The personality of Charlene is well rounded, a bit naïve but still pleasant, levelheaded and well traveled.  Jacob is a different kind of interesting. He’s older, more mature, has been hurt in the past but at heart, he’s still a protector. He’s a great friend, brother and lover and the way Ms. Grant wrote him made me want to know more about him. 

The mystery/kidnapping part of the story is interesting and doesn’t overbalance the romance between Jacob and Charlene, the descriptions of the locale and situations are vivid and the personalities of both primary and secondary characters nicely handled. The sexual tension…the build-up of the relationship of Jacob and Charlene is well done and when they finally get together, it’s sizzling. The action packed scenes near the end are some of the best in the book and I really enjoyed seeing the villain get their just desserts. Watch for Keep it Under Wraps, the next book in the series, coming soon.

Fighting Chance

Title: Fighting Chance
Author: Viki Lyn
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-61118-428-0
Genre: {M/M} Vampires, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Kresnik vampire slayer Corbin Hamilton is starting to regret giving in to his younger brother’s request to guard vampire Johan Maier.  Babysitting a vampire wasn’t Corbin’s idea of a good time; he would rather kill them.  The problem is Corbin and Johan are very much attracted to each other and Corbin is losing his battle to ignore Johan.  

Fighting Chance is the second book in the Chances series.  The well written plot is full of action, along with emotional chaos.  The characters are credible.  Corbin leads a lonely life, filled with guilt for actions in his past; he has never had or wanted a relationship before he met Johan.  Corbin’s focus and goal is to avenge his father’s death by killing the prince of the Red Serpent clan.  In order to achieve this goal, Corbin must survive the final trials of a Kresnik warrior.  With Johan fighting beside him and saving his life several times, Corbin finally admits that he loves Johan.   

The serum treatments Johan receives allows Johan’s emotions to awaken again and the emotion Johan feels the most is love for Corbin.  Johan’s old world charm was a tool used merely to get his victim’s blood, before meeting Corbin.  Now Johan is determined to gain Corbin’s trust, as well as protect Corbin from harm even if it means his own death.  Corbin and Johan are well matched in strength along with gifts that boost up each other’s skills in battle.  The actual intimacy, which comes towards the end, is sensual.  Viki Lyn has created an exciting and exceptionally stirring fantasy that I enjoyed immensely.

A Werewolf at the Falls

Title: A Werewolf at the Falls
Author: Marisa Chenery
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN: 9781419934933
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph 

Jorja has dealt with her share of unruly customers.  It’s to be expected when you work as a cocktail waitress in a casino.  Her night shift takes a turn for the unforeseen when a dark-haired piece of eye candy drags her onto his lap and kisses her, as if they are the only two people in the room.  After making a quick escape, Jorja is finding it hard to ignore the pounding of her heart and the desire to run back to the mystery man for more.   

Kian was hoping for a weekend of drinking and gambling with his friend, but the weekend wasn’t turning out as he’d planned.  From the moment he scented his mate in Jorja, Kian knew he had to have her.  He decided they would have some hot and heavy sex and then Kian would reveal his big secret.  Things might have gone smoothly if he hadn’t claimed Jorja before telling her he’s a wolf.   

The interference of another wolf causes turmoil between Jorja and Kian and threatens their future together.  Fortunately, Jorja steps out on blind faith and decides to give Kian a chance, even though she hasn’t totally accepted the fact that he is a wolf.  In the end, things work out in a touching happily ever after ending.  Parts of the story were predictable and I couldn’t help hoping for a longer story so I could see a bit more disturbance in the plot.  But because of Jorja’s family status and past, the length of the story works.  Jorja did have reservations about being with Kian but under the circumstances, I think her reaction was as realistic as it could be.  I’m glad she gave her situation serious thought and I think A Werewolf in the Falls is an enjoyable, cute love story.  It made me want to read more from Marisa Chenery. 

Myth and Mischief

Title: Myth and Mischief
Author: Gabrielle Evans
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-632-7
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

After finishing his champagne toast and hearing the elder’s edict, Colton is furious, even if he’s desired a mate of his own for centuries. When he spies the small, cream colored ferret running from two angry pursuers, he’s determined to protect the man and soon decides to claim the small shifter for his very own.  

Sly’s wanted a mate for as long as he can remember and realizes as soon as he crawls up Colton’s back that the huge shifter is perfect for him. Ferrets don’t have a long life span and if he has any chance of spending eternity with his mate, Sly must keep his powerful family treasure from the people determined to steal it. 

Myth and Mischief is the sixth and last release in the Midnight Matings series. While the beginning still starts off with the forced mating announcement by the elders, this time there’s a twist that changes the usual routine of the opening scene. While running for his life, Sly isn’t in the ballroom during the toast so he didn’t drink the bespelled champagne, so it’s a nice variation to the otherwise same opening. The other opening aspect of the story I enjoyed was the unusual pairing of ferret-shifter Sly with the large, hippogriff Colton, making it different from other stories of the same genre. 

Overall the story is a quick and entertaining read, with two sweet characters I liked from the start. Sly is a cute and adorable bundle of energy, while Colton is calm, thoughtful and protective. There are sections that are funny, some which are intense and sizzling hot and still others that turn serious or dangerous. Through it all, the love between these two mismatched mates grows stronger as they strive to bring some treacherous villains to justice without getting killed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

His Warrior Bride

Title:  His Warrior Bride
Author:  Lara Santiago
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN:  1-61034-544-4
Genre:  {M/F}, Futuristic Sci-Fi
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Utopia is one man’s version of what his world will be like under his rule, if he had his way.  Rule number one is all men have to be married to live there.  Rachel and Daria are the last two women captured to be brides for the top two mercs he has hired to protect him and his city. 

His Warrior Bride was a very good surprise for me.  Not only does the author seem to have a grasp of the world of shadowy government agencies, but of the world of soldiers for hire.  One thing you should be aware of is that there are some definite parallels to places like Waco and others that choose to create their own society.  In this case, an asteroid hit Earth, causing devastation. 

Rachel, Daria and Kate are three field operatives of the government and have been trying to get Andrew Hillard, leader of Utopia, into custody for kidnapping.  Kate got caught and became the first of the brides to undergo “re-orientation”.  Rachel and Daria allow themselves to be caught to try and find her.  What follows is a game of wits between their two designated spouses and the leadership of Utopia. 

Craig and Mark end up falling in love with these two women. They also try to help them when they realize they have intelligence the men have no way of knowing.  The chemistry between the two couples is intense and you can see how these men would be attracted to Rachel and Daria. 

The author kept the suspense in His Warrior Bride once you realize exactly what is going on and she threw in a twist that surprised me, as it was something that I never considered, though she did leave clues as the story unfolded.  This is one book I will be reading again and again.  Those that like a futuristic mystery suspense will want to add this to their bookshelf.

Perfect Knowledge

Title: Perfect Knowledge
Author:  Alex Standish
Publisher: Torquere Books
ISBN: 978-1-61040-251-4
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Mystery
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

After the death of his best friend, Evan puts everything on hold and hits the road.  Only his trip hits a major snag when Evan becomes collateral damage in a gang war. 

I loved Alex Standish’s Perfect Knowledge.   It was the perfect combination of romance and mystery, as I found myself drawn in by both the characters and storyline.  Evan is a young artist who still has an air of innocence around him.  When a brush with death leaves him with an unusual side effect, he ends up meeting Chase.  Chase is an ex-cop turned private eye and, while he’s surprised by Evan showing up in his office, he is not shocked by Evan’s talent.  Hired to find a missing girl, Chase is in need of any clues he can get.  The attraction between the men is present from the beginning and, while the author allows things to grow between them naturally, it is not long before the men are acting like a well established couple.  

It is not only the main characters that the readers will enjoy, but also the secondary characters as well.  Evan fits into the friendship between Chase, Toby, and Kay as if he had always belonged, resulting in some snappy dialog that well leave you chuckling.  Perfect Knowledge is slightly different from the usual mysteries, however.  Instead of following one case throughout the story, this book revolves around three separate cases.  The story moves smoothly from one case to the other, with each being different and interesting.  The author also does a wonderful job wrapping the story up by giving the reader a small glimpse of Evan’s and Chase’s future.  This is one story I hope the author plans on turning into a series.

Two Fangs and a Hoof

Title: Two Fangs and a Hoof
Author: Joyee Flynn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-587-8
Genre: {M/M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Shea Mayer isn’t thrilled to be attending the UPAC Conference, held every four years but he’s furious after he drinks a glass of champagne and hears the crazy proclamation of the elders. Before he can take a step to escape, Shea finds he’s in a tug-of-war with two vampires and he’s the prize they’re claiming. He isn’t pleased. 

After their birth coven tried to kill them for being gay, Calin and Dustin ran away to the city and have been on their own since, struggling to make a living and pay their bills. They didn’t mean to claim Shea as their mate against his will and they’re devastated when he rejects them, just like everyone else in their lives. Is there any way for these three to move past the hurt and pain caused by their forced mating or will they exist as strangers for the rest of their long lives? 

Two Fangs and a Hoof is the fourth release in the Midnight Matings series and this one is by Joyee Flynn. I’m still having trouble with the forced mating premise and while I understand that the facts of what the elders did can’t change, I wish a way could have been found around the repetition of so much dialogue in the opening scene.  

One of the things I enjoyed about this story was the unexpected pairing of submissive vampire predator versus dominant herbivore. It’s not something I’ve seen before so it was a treat that allowed a number of interesting twists and turns throughout the plot. It also helps that Calin and Dustin are so cute and endearing, despite being a bit childish at times. I can only assume Ms. Flynn did that intentionally, due to the way they were raised in their backwards puritanical coven. The conflict between Shea, Calin and Dustin go on for a good chunk of the story but when the change in their relationship occurs, it’s like turning on a light switch fast…it’s too fast. 

Be aware that the story is told in Shea’s POV, so we don’t get the chance to see how Calin or Dustin feels. Also, if you’re squeamish, the later scenes during which a furious, and on the rampage, Shea is rescuing his mates turn graphically bloody. The next book in the series is Fang and Fur.

Vodka Shots

Title: Vodka Shots
Author: Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-643-0
Genre: {M/F} Futuristic, Action-Adventure, Suspense, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph 

Dmitry has been sold out by a woman who means the world to him. Four months ago, he woke up to find his bed empty and his woman gone.  Now he’s torn between making her pay and dragging her back into his bed.  His misplaced trust nearly got Dmitry killed and left him with one question that he desperately needs answered.  Why did she leave him?   

Karri knew Dmitry would find her eventually and that their reunion would be a volatile one.  When her daughter is taken, Karri is forced to take action.  If she doesn’t give up the information that The Consolidation wants, her daughter will be killed.  Sacrificing the man she loved was the only way.  Unless Karri can convince Dmitry that she’s telling the truth, they are all in danger.  Will he put aside his anger and help her or has she pushed him too far? 

Dmitry has built up lot of anger toward Karri, but also anger toward himself for still wanting her, even though he doesn’t yet know the reason she betrayed him.  As much as I understood his position, there were moments I felt Dmitry’s treatment of Karri was too rough.  Fortunately, he got a grip on himself before he crossed a line that would make me dislike him.  Once he knew what happened to Karri’s daughter and didn’t miss a beat in wanting to protect her, I easily forgave him.  Part of me can’t help wishing Karri would have had more faith in Dmitry from the beginning.  However, the mother in me easily understands her reasons, so I just can’t find fault in her decision.  I was relieved by the loyalty she and Hawk both had for Dmitry, although there were some moments I had doubts.  Hawk has piqued my interest and I’m looking forward to reading more about him.  It seems that he might have met his match.  

Vodka Shots is the second story of the Wanted series, but I think it can be read as a stand-alone story.  Readers will have no problem connecting with the story or the characters.  I found it difficult to pick one side over the other.  Marteeka Karland does an outstanding job of making you feel what Dmitry and Karri felt, because their emotions literally jumped off the pages.  It would be impossible to decide which character I liked more, because I bonded with them both, but for different reasons.  The balance of action, turmoil, and hot sex was perfect and it left me wanting more.  I am sure readers will agree.