Thursday, September 8, 2011

Whispered Words

Title: Whispered Words
Author: Marie Harte
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-61118-471-6
Genre: {M/F/M} Multicultural Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

The Psychic Warfare Program got scraped when government funding was cut. Instead of transferring to another agency, Chloe King, along with a few of her fellow agents, left to work for a private organization but without the government medication or protections. It forces them to keep a low profile working in a gym undercover to avoid detection. 

Chloe’s been a cop or an agent for ten years, catching the bad guys while using her power to escape danger. The voice she’s heard for most of her life fails her when she goes looking for a paranormal object that’s gone missing. She almost winds up being murdered by a serial killer and barely escapes with her life after being aided by two strangers. Chloe’s on the ragged edge and knows she has to get away to clear her head and doesn’t expect to discover the voice is real. And she certainly never thought they’d belong to two strong, sexy men who’ve determined she belongs to them. 

Whispered Words is the third book in Marie Harte’s Power Up! series. For the best understanding of ongoing character relationships, I recommend the books be read in sequential order. 

It’s a well plotted book with plenty of action that grabbed my attention on the very first page. Chloe’s an interesting woman. Her personality is determined, self-sufficient and kick-ass but she’s filled with longing and afraid of wanting too much happiness. Ms. Harte’s made her a complicated woman who’s survived a difficult childhood and the details revealed really help to show who she is and where she came from. Then there’s Josh and Xavier Cannon…identical twins with their own psychic powers, who are the perfect match for Chloe in every way. Get the three of them together and the sexual tensions at a rolling boil and when they get to a bedroom or any other horizontal surface, it’s blistering hot. And the sex scenes…get a fan! 

I liked the addition of Josh and Xavier’s family and I hope to see more of them, especially the two other brothers, again in the future. The parents liking Chloe was a nice touch, since she didn’t have a family of her own, giving a good warm/fuzzy feeling to those scenes. Catching the stalker is a priority and having the Cannon family and Chloe’s friend able to help was great.  

I can’t wait to see what happens to, most likely Nathan and Avery, in the next release.

Unforgiven

Title: Unforgiven  
Author: S.W. Vaughn
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-61118-439-6
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Prince of the Seelie Fae, Braelan stood back in the alley; this was not where he‘d intended to enter the human realm.   He had meant to emerge beside his half brother‘s place.  Lost and in need of cab fare, Braelan robs an ATM, using his magic.  Witnessing this event is ex-cop River, who tries to scam Braelan.  Reaching an agreement to share the money as well as a night of intimacy, Braelan and River form to an unbreakable bond of love. 

Unforgiven is the third book of the Fae trilogy.  The trilogy is the individual stories of three Fae men who were all sired by the King of Arcadia.  The previous books are Skin Deep and Heartsong.  In this episode, Braelan is riddled with guilt over his less than honorable treatment of his elder brothers, who both reside in New York with their human mates.  He seeks forgiveness, along with his desire to spend time getting to know his brothers Cobalt and Uriskel as equals.  Another dilemma Braelan is facing is the announcement of their father to step down as King, thrusting Braelan into the position of having to deal with the politically corrupt realm of Arcadia.   

The plot showcases the change of attitude Braelan has undergone in a year since his brothers last saw him.  The drama illustrated occurs when two fanatical humans are on a mission to destroy gay men and the Fae culture.  S.W. Vaughn's Unforgiven is an action packed spectacular incredibly engaging saga that highlights the destructive effects of bigotry.

Heartsong

Title: Heartsong
Author: S. W. Vaughn
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-60737-591-3
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Trystan Raines is plying his trade as a prostitute at a bar in New York when a stranger offers Trystan a deal he could not refuse. Trystan soon discovers that the Fae really do exist.  Along with the offer of a million dollars to play escort for a month, to Prince Braelan, Trystan is caught in the middle of a deadly conspiracy, as well as finding the love of his life.   

Heartsong is Book two of the Fae trilogy.  The intriguing plot highlights the fairy world.  Braelan is a prince of the Seelie clan, Braelan’s bodyguard Uriskel is part of the conquered Unseelie clan.  Considered to be monsters, the Unseelie clan is rumored to be the origin of all the woes contaminating the humans.  Trystan is a homeless barely surviving human.   

As the story unfolds, the connection to the first book Skin Deep is revealed, along with Braelan’s revelation of his true connection to Uriskel.  The plot illustrates how lies can shatter a person’s life, in addition to how truth can bring about a change in feelings.  Braelan’s personality emerges as a bored egotistical man with unused skills, a disdain for hard work and a lack of ambition.  His source of entertainment is having sex with Trystan, touring New York and inflicting pain on Uriskel.    However, Braelan is being manipulated by a false friend and Uriskel is being manipulated by their father, the King.  Trystan is being guided by his need for money to survive, as well as his love for Uriskel.

The storyline exhibits deadly betrayals, brutal action, magic, a dash of humor as well as an edgy anticipation.  S. W. Vaughn’s Heartsong is a fantastic, extremely enjoyable saga.

A Portrait of Andrew

Title: A Portrait of Andrew
Author: J.P. Bowie
Publisher: ManLoveRomance Press
ISBN: 978-1-60820-388-8
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Since Andrew and David moved to New York, Peter has missed his friends beyond belief.  Thrilled that he and his partner, Jeff, are able to spend the Christmas holiday with them, Peter is looking forward to the trip.  The only thing he did not plan on was the murder investigation that has Andrew as a possible person of interest. 

While A Portrait of Andrew is the third book in the Portrait series, this is the first one I have read and let me tell you it won’t be the last.  The story is able to stand on it’s own and the author gives background information along the way so I never felt as if  I was missing something.   

The characters are interesting and pulled me in right from the beginning.  Peter is an artist who finds himself with physic powers after coming out of a coma.  The author played this very well, rather than having Peter experience ‘visions’ or ‘dreams’, the young man gets a feeling, almost as if becoming ill.  Jeff is an ex-cop turned private detective.  Slightly older than Peter, Jeff is the prefect counterpart for the artist.  While the story is not heavily saturated in sex, the author still brings across the passion and love that exists between the men. 

A Portrait of Andrew is just as much, if not more, a murder- mystery as it is a romance.  The crime is one that builds slowly during the course of the story, as the author gives the reader a chance to become familiar with all the characters.  It is not surprising that Jeremy is killed but I am surprised someone had not killed him sooner.  The killer, and the reason behind the crime, was the surprise.  While it was easy to figure out part of the mystery, I did not expect the whole of it and loved the surprise twist at the end. 

While A Portrait of Andrew is a sequel, it is also in some ways a prequel as well.  Readers new to J.P. Bowie’s books are introduced to Nick Fallon, the cop investigating the murder at the center of this story, and his new lover Eric.  These two men are now the main characters in another series by the author. A Portrait of Andrew is a very entertaining read and I can’t wait to check out the earlier stories.

Personal Training

Title: Personal Training
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-082-0
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Holton’s life is stagnant. He’s alone, overweight and afraid of ending up like his diabetic father, so he decides to make some changes in his life. He’s determine to get healthy so he throws out his junk food and joins a gym, where he meet Marcus, a trainer, the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen. Over the next three months, Holton works hard to shed the unwanted pounds and build muscles and then one day, learns he’s caught Marcus’ eye. 

Holton is shocked but thrilled when Marcus asks him out and despite his nerves, says yes.  It doesn’t take long to learn they have a lot in common but an event in Holton’s past makes getting close difficult. If they have any chance of developing a relationship, he’s going to have to learn to let go of the hurt and open his heart to the possibilities of love. 

Personal Training is the newest release in Andrew Grey’s Work Out series. The formula for these books is pretty similar from one to the other but that doesn’t mean that each one isn’t unique in their own way.  While there is a character carry-over from previous releases, it’s possible to read Personal Training as a standalone without a problem. 

As with all of Andrew Grey’s characters, they’re believable and Holton isn’t any different. This guy has real problems and while we might not be able to relate to his particular experience, his fears and insecurities have been felt by everyone, making him easy to relate to. First of all how many of us don’t want to drop a few pounds…hands up if it’s you. Then there are the health problems of Holton’s mother. Everyone with aging parents can certainly relate to that fear associated with her illness… real, painful and scary. 

I enjoyed the book, despite it being more painful and angst driven than the others. The characters personalities are well developed; there are plenty of high emotions, a few surprises and a slow growing passion between Holton and Marcus. The only real complaint I have is that Holton’s long standing problem seems to be resolved much faster than was realistic to get to the end. I look forward to the next release in the series.

GodMaker: Vampires of London

Title: GodMaker: Vampires of London
Author: William Maltese, with art by Mikesbliss
Publisher: MLR Press
ISBN: 978-1-60820-326-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Graphic Novel
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph 

When London artist Ethan finally gets up close and personal with Antonius, the gorgeous mystery man who has been buying his work, he receives an offer that is too good to be true – a chance at immortality.  Ethan is dubious, until Antonius transforms into his vampire state right in front of his eyes. However, rather than run away screaming, Ethan is intrigued by what is on offer and begins to wonder whether he could possibly spend forever with a creature that until now, he had thought was just the stuff of legends. What’s more, could he really consent to becoming one himself?  

There’s no denying his attraction to the new man in his life, but is Ethan really ready to give up his humanity for a man who so obviously knows how to keep a good secret? 

I like the range of emotions Ethan experiences in GodMaker: Vampires of London; from complete shock at the absurdity of Antonius’ offer, to acceptance of the fact that there is obviously so much more to this world than Ethan knows, to downright need and lust for the vampire. Antonius is mysterious and brooding, with a complicated past that just drew me in. Once I was hooked, the surprises and plot twists kept me enthralled. The artwork of Mikesbliss compliments the story perfectly to create a very atmospheric setting, full of danger and passion and one that I hope to revisit.

Steam Powered Passion

Title: Steam Powered Passion
Author: Corinne Davies
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1610340159
Genre: {M/M/F} {M/M} {M/F} Steampunk, Series
Rating:  Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rogue Satyr 

Lady Tori Trenton knew her husband didn’t love her. Their marriage had been one of convenience, for political reasons. She didn’t love Lord Trenton either. But she is still shocked when an airship pirate captures Trenton’s frigate and tells Trenton he can keep one item; his wife or his ship. Lord Trenton chooses his ship. 

Tori married Trenton because the only man she truly cared about died at sea. If someone had to make a sacrifice to marry Trenton for her family, she thought it should be her. She is stunned to find Sean, still alive and first mate to Captain Mal, the pirate who attacked her husband’s ship. 

Tori believes her fate will be similar to the two ship doxies she is quartered with. That is until she comes to realize that Sean may still love with her and what’s more, Mal is intrigued by her. But Sean and Mal are now lovers and Tori worries Sean only loves men now. She knew Sean was a steampunk engineer who loved to tinker and is aghast to find that Sean has a mechanical arm now. Sean keeps Mal’s amazing ship, the “Seahawk” sailing. 

Events spiral out of control. Outside influences, personality conflicts, and the past of all three threaten to destroy what could be a wonderful three-way relationship. 

Steam Powered Passion is what all erotic steampunk should strive to be; Victorian ethics and technology intermingled with modern day sensibilities and fantastic inventions, with some very hot sex. It is a fantastic read and the plot, both character and adventure driven, will keep you on the edge of your seat. Mal, Sean, and Tori are all very detailed, unique and believable characters. Each have their own wants, desires, and agendas; often at odds with each other. They are all very lovable characters and I cared deeply about what happens to them. Mal and Sean’s relationship is obviously lacking something, but Tori adds the right balance to make the ménage a trios both wonderfully erotic and believable. That is if all three strong personalities don’t screw it up by the end of the story. 

The plot is clear and fun. This isn’t to say there aren’t some angst ridden moments where you want to reach in and strangle the protagonists or that there aren’t any sad and poignant moments. The plot works on two levels -  romance and adventure -  and it does so deftly. 

I’m glad that Steam Powered Passion is the first in the series, Steampunked Lust.  The world Corinne Davies created definitely deserves visiting again. I would love to learn more about the politics, technology and culture of this unique universe.

Long Tall Drink

Title: Long Tall Drink
Author: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-61118-499-0
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Ray Ford’s lived on a ranch his entire life and for most of those forty some years has lived a lie. Knowing what can happen to a gay man in a rural, ranching community, Ray keeps quiet to protect his life and Ford Creek’s legendary reputation. His world changes when he picks up a sexy hitchhiker, Travis Morgan, a renowned horse trainer heading for his ranch. He’s a man who threatens Ray’s control and makes him want things he’s keep tightly hidden. 

Travis might be in high demand as a horse trainer but he still lives the life of a drifter, moving from ranch to ranch, without getting attached or emotionally involved. When he agrees to train at Ray’s ranch, his good intentions go out the window. The standoffish but sexy rancher gets under his skin like no other man and he’s suddenly willing to risk his heart and hide by taking a chance on what might happen between them. 

Long Tall Drink is the first book by L. C. Chase that I’ve read. It’s a tension filled story with so much angst between Ray and Travis, it’s nearly palpable. I like these guys and hated how gay bashing/hate crime ruled their lives. She’s written a compelling story that isn’t filled with sex scenes. That doesn’t mean there aren’t snippets of passion and tenderness between Ray and Travis…but due to their circumstances, restraint is their watchword. 

The story grabbed my attention from the beginning and the simmering attraction between these two men kept it ‘til the end. The characters created are believable and well rounded and if asked to pick a favorite…I couldn’t. Both are equally likable and have compelling personalities and their past hurts make them discontented figures that deserve some happiness. At least Ray has found a balance of sorts on the ranch, but not so for Travis, who’s all alone…so I guess I feel far worse for him. Its here Ms. Chase did such a nice job. She took these two scared and hurt men, fighting their attraction, put them together so they couldn’t deny it and pushed…and pushed them some more. 

Overall, it’s a well written and plotted story, with vivid characters, good flow and with a nice description of horse training and what it means to live on a ranch. And I loved Dottie, the woman who takes care of Ray and runs the household. She a hoot but she also cares deeply for his happiness. The huge twist…the black moment near the end came out of left field but it served its purpose in showing Ray just how much Travis means to him, now and forever. Good job L.C.

The Most Exquisite Gift

Title:  The Most Exquisite Gift
Author:  Dakota Dawn
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN:  1-61034-462-6
Genre:  {M/F}, {M/F/M}, BDSM, Ménage
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Dara is doing a favor for a friend by going by Garner’s to pick up a gift that Bryan bought for his wife.  Garner was told he will be training a new sub for Bryan and his wife as a third. 

I had to laugh at the last paragraph in The Most Exquisite Gift because it seemed so out of place in the book, even though it could be true.  That being said, this book is a beautiful look at a woman who is curious about BDSM, but really hasn’t taken that step.   Dara is a very strong woman with her own business, but has always wanted what her friends have.  Garner has trained a lot of subs, but has been looking for his “soul mate” because of how happy his friend Bryan is. The author kept you emotionally involved throughout the book. I could not put it down once I started reading it. 

Dara and Garner have explosive chemistry together so keep ice handy.  Part of Dara’s journey was to learn that once in a while, a Master may share his sub with a very close friend, in this case Pete.  I actually wanted to slap both Garner and Pete because of how they started treating Dara while they were all watching TV.  Dara actually reacted very mildly compared to how I would have reacted. The secondary characters added an element of uncertainty and angst for Garner, until the morning of his birthday.  This is a book I will be reading again.

Deadly Revenge

Title: Deadly Revenge
Author: Lorelei Confer
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-471-5
Genre: {M/F} Suspense, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx 

Victoria Richards, Tory to her family and friends, is returning home to help her mother start up a Bed and Breakfast.  She hasn’t been home in years and having the title of “Runaway Bride” attached to her, isn’t making it any easier.  When she is run off the road on her way into town, she thinks nothing of it and continues on to spend her time with family.   

Dave was following her and is shocked when she is forced off the road; he is concerned and questions her about who would want to harm her.  While working undercover on a task force for human trafficking, Dave Miller is on vacation visiting his parents and he’s finally met a woman he believes is strong enough to stand up to him.  Tory lets him know from the start she is only there for three months and will be leaving for home afterwards.  Over a period of weeks, Dave is still trying to find the traffickers and spend more time with Tory. 

Deadly Revenge starts off with action and never stops.  This story is quite fascinating and kept me in suspense, as I wondered what would happen next.  From the first incident until the last, I never guessed who the villain was and imagine my surprise when all the characters fell in to place! 

Tory seemed to be a little short-sighted in the beginning about the accident and other events happening to her, but she finally reacted in a way that proved normal of any person.  Her strength came from deep within after being betrayed by her ex-fiancé’s cheating, which left her with a determination to not depend on others.  Dave is my knight in shinning armor, who got a little lost at one point and that’s because he reacted without asking the right questions.  These two characters truly unfolded in a positive way so that you couldn’t help but like them. 

Ms. Confer did a great job of writing a suspenseful tale of how human trafficking can affect people’s lives.  Through her characters, they portrayed a very realistic story, along with how the plot unfolded for me.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Riding the Circuit

Title:  Riding the Circuit
Author:  Sofia Hunt
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-593-2
Genre:  {M/F/M}, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

The NARA Queen has a stalker, so Mitzi’s father hires Riley and Jonah to guard her since they are going on the same rodeo circuit for the summer.  Riley and Mitzi have a history but neither man is sure she’s worth the trouble, due to her reputation. 

The first book of the Rodeo Riders series, Riding the Circuit gives a small look at behind the scenes rivalries, rumors and summer flings during the rodeo season.  While I enjoyed the book, there were a few confusing areas, such as a scene between Jonah and Mitzi that starts outdoors in an alleyway, then, suddenly they are in bed then back outside. Other than having to go back a couple of times, this, in no way, detracted from the story itself.   

Both men reluctantly accept the task of guarding Mitzi because the money they will earn will let them implement their plans of owning their own ranch.  The relationship between Mitzi, Riley and Jonah is hot.  The author did a credible job of showing how families perceive various issues and how it affects the children even when they are adults.  There were a few secondary characters that you know are going to show up in later books, especially Mitzi’s friend.  

I did keep hoping Mitzi’s stalker was not who I thought it was, but even though I guessed, the end result could have caused a confrontation in any family.  One lesson that the author conveyed very well was that you cannot live your life on someone else’s terms.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Steven’s Journey

Title: Steven’s Journey
Author: Lynn Hagen
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1610347129
Genre: {M/M}, Shape-sifter, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Steven doesn’t have any other choice but to trust the young man who offers to help him escape his abusive boyfriend.  When he gets to the shelter that’s still being built, he meets the most amazing man, Roman.  Unable to stay away from the handsome construction foreman, Steven wonders if he has traded in one possessive boyfriend for another. 

Steven’s Journey is different from the other books in the Brac Pack series.  For a start, this is the first book in which neither character is a member of the pack, second, this is also the first book without a wolf shifter as one of the main characters.  Steven is a human running from an abusive ex, while Roman is one of the Lakeland’s,  a family of bear shifters who have received permission from Maverick to stay in the area.  Since several members of the pack show up throughout the story and some loose ends from other books are tied up, Steven’s Journey flows perfectly with the rest of the series. 

Readers are sure to find this story entertaining.  There is the strong connection between the two men which the author does a wonderful job bringing across.  There are also many great scenes in this newest release that are sure to have you laughing out loud.  The first time Steven meets Roman in his bear form is just one of them.  New characters are also introduced that are sure to find their way into stories of their own.  And of course, there are the mates.  While there are no outlandish adventures this time around, Cecil’s reputation does proceed him.   

Steven’s Journey makes a great addition to this fun series and will leave you wanting more while you wait for the next installment.

Better Than Friends

Title: Better Than Friends
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerepress.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-292-7
Genre: {M/M} BDSM Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Hank and Jason have been best friends since high school, long before Hank came out of the closet. In the intervening years, they’ve grown up, become successful and shared many things but not every secret desire. 

When Hank gets a huge promotion to senior partner, he’s finally able to finance his long-held dream, membership in the best BDSM club around—The Hammer. Stepping inside, he meets a sexy but bratty sub dressed in silk and his eyes just about pop out of his head…Jason? They agree to have dinner together and discuss what learning about this new side of each other means. Will their long friendship survive the change or can it become even better if they become more than just friends? 

Better Than Friends is the newest release by Sean Michael and in my opinion, one of the best stories added to the Hammer family of books in a while. It’s the unusual premise for the story—two old friends unaware of the other’s interest in the lifestyle and their sudden discovery of the truth that makes it so appealing. It’s something not done before in the series and tackling the topic was a nice change since it allowed the author to express the fun and ease of Hank and Jason’s long association—things not usually seen in a Dom/sub relationship. And you certainly saw that, even in their first meeting at the club. Knowing each other so well added more complexity and depth to the story and their changing relationship. I loved how both Hank and Jason wanted the friendship they relied on the stay unchanged; that was a very heart wrenching moment for me. 

It’s a short read at just a little over 11K, so things move along at a pretty fast clip. I loved the bantering, snappy conversation and how comfortable they were with each other, despite the change happening in their old relationship. The flow of the story is smooth, it was nice seeing flashes of a few old characters and there is plenty of kink as Hank and Jason explore the new sexual side of each other. All in all, this story of an old friendship turned to love is very satisfying. Enjoy.

Submissive Beauty

Title:  Submissive Beauty
Author:  Eliza Gayle
Publisher:  Resplendence Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60735-336-2
Genre:  {M/F/M}, BDSM, Recommended Read
Rating:  Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Gabrielle is supposed to meet a friend at The Sanctuary to watch a demonstration but gets stood up.  Thomas sees her and decides he, along with his friend David, wants to train her.  Gabrielle is curious, but wary, especially after her nasty divorce. 

Submissive Beauty is the first book I have read by Eliza Gayle but it will not be the last.  From the beginning this book grabbed me and kept me interested to the end and caused my heart to start racing.  The emotions that Ms. Gayle invokes while reading this book are intense.  I even started crying at one place toward the end because I was so wrapped in Gabrielle’s story. 

Gabrielle is like a lot of us in that we are curious but sometimes the societal mores we grow up with causes us to either repress our desires, or if we follow them, guilt.  Thomas and David give Gabrielle intense training, while trying to break down her barriers.  Trust is the biggest issue that they had, which is something most of us experience.  I did have to laugh when Thomas changed Gabrielle’s safe word. 

The book is mostly about Gabrielle’s journey and shows how betrayal can wreck havoc in relationships, especially if one party is insecure about themselves.  Ms. Gayle has a very good understanding of BDSM and it shows in this story.  I highly recommend that Submissive Beauty be added to every BDSM lover’s library.

Song of Oestend

Title: Song of Oestend
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-630-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Aren Montrell travels from his home on the continent across the sea to his new job and hopefully to a new life at the BarChi Ranch, located in the Oestend prairie.  For the last leg of his journey, Aren is escorted by the ranch Forman Deacon.  Aren is secretly attracted to Deacon and as Aren later discovers, the attraction is mutual.  

Song of Oestend is an intriguing mystery romance set in an imaginary world that mirrors early America.  The storyline illustrates a social class structure.  Oestend has a shortage of men with property, a requirement for marrying a landowner’s daughter.  Single working class men were only allowed contact with working class women.  Race discrimination is also a factor illustrated.  Natives were killed or enslaved by the first settlers, annihilating a culture with only two survivors. 

Deacon is one of those survivors. Deacon, as well as the BarChi Ranch’s cook, is the only source of knowledge regarding Oestend’s true history, the wraiths, along with the meaning of the symbols painted over doors and windows.  The characters are convincing.   

Aren’s employment as the ranch’s bookkeeper was a convenient way for his former lover to dispose of Aren.  Being pursued by matchmaking fathers with daughters causes Aren moments of terror so he avoids contact when he can.  Deacon is a contradiction. Born of a race of enslaved people, Deacon craves being sexually submissive.  However, Deacon forcefully demands respect from the workers.  The secondary characters including the wraiths add drama, jealousy as well as a touch of violence to the plot. Overall, Marie Sexton has produced a remarkable saga.  I enjoyed the cultural mysteries presented in this well written plot.


Reader Advisory: This book is set in an alternate reality and contains scenes of violence, mild D/s and bondage, plus a M/M/M ménage scene.        

White Paws and a Dream

Title: White Paws and a Dream
Author: Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-710-2
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

When Ifan Vashnikov is called to the UPAC Conference, he isn’t thrilled. He attends because he doesn’t have a choice but when he learns of their plan, he’d rather go feral than have a mate forced on him. Not that the Elders care what he think and Ifan finds himself mated, even without drinking the spiked champagne.  To irritate him more, he learns his mate is a human, being cared for to insure his safety. 

Misha is a dreamwalker, the most powerful in a thousand years and his father wants to use his ability for evil. He’s being tortured when he’s rescued and taken to the UPAC Council to recover. Misha hopes to meet the man he’s been sharing dreams with but when they meet, Ifan doesn’t remember him. He’s hurt and doesn’t know what to do. Should he give life with Ifan a chance or would it be better to run? 

White Paws and a Dream is release eight in the Midnight Matings series and is by Stormy Glenn. It’s a much darker and more serious tale than any of the other books, which took me by surprise. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and Ms. Glenn has again wrote a well plotted, smooth flowing and entertaining story but this one had little to even smile about. Misha’s life is hard. He’s been emotionally and physically abused by his power-hungry father for years and then the Elders turn around and assign him a mate. It makes for a tense and painful introduction between Ifan and Misha. 

Misha is very interesting and vastly different from others in the series, so far. He’s the first human mate and the first with an ability so out of the mainstream in the paranormal world. I loved the creativity of this selection and putting him with the protective and isolationist Ifan worked perfectly. He’s a dominant guy others don’t want to mess with since his white tiger is uber-protective. 

Secondary characters are numerous and weave in and out of the story. I liked Brodelyn, the UPAC Historican that showed up at important spots along the way and I’d like to see him again. Then there was the villain and his minion. The scenes involving these two unsavory individuals are handled well - filled with action and result in a satisfying ending.

Nature of the Beast

Title: Nature of the Beast
Author: Amylea Lyn
Publisher: Silver Publishing
ISBN: 9781920484910
Genre: {M/M}, Shape-sifter, Fantasy, Series
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Raine is special but in a place like The City, being special can be dangerous.  When Raine winds up in prison, he knows that all hope is lost.  Then he meets The Beast. 

Nature of the Beast is a great story and a wonderful beginning to a series that is sure to bring the author many fans.  As the first book in the Outside the City series, it does all the things it should.  The readers are introduced to a variety of characters, some they will come to care about and others they will be glad to see get their just desserts.  This story also introduces the readers to the world in which the series takes place.  The City is repressive, with a governing body that is corrupt in more ways than one, leaving those that want to survive no choice but to break the rules. 

Raine and Ash are the main characters and they grab the readers’ attention from the moment they are introduced.  Raine has a special connection to planets that lands him in prison.  The scenes that take place there are intense and may be uncomfortable for some readers.  While there, Raine is given to The Beast.  Ash is a shifter that has been betrayed by someone close to him.  Landing in The City’s prison, he has no memory of who or what he is.  When Raine tries to find out The Beast’s name,  the scene will remind many of Jane and Tarzan’s first meeting.  There is a strong connection between the two, which the author does a great job of showing to the readers.  There is plenty of action as the men try to find their way to freedom, as well as find the person responsible for sending Ash to prison in the first place.  While at times, it may seem as if there are more lows in the story than highs, the problems Ash and Raine face are necessary to further the story.  I loved the epilogue, as it does a wonderful job wrapping up the story between Raine and Ash without giving anything away on the upcoming sequel. 

Nature of the Beast is an entertaining story and one that should not be missed.

Inferno

Title: Inferno
Author: Jocelyn Michel
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-584-6
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph 

Running her florist shop is keeping Bianca busier than usual, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner.  No matter how hectic her schedule gets, Bianca always sets aside time for her favorite hobby, hunting werewolves.  One particular wolf has been giving her the slip for a while.  Bianca is looking forward to the day she can add him to her list of kills. 

Bianca’s innocent, kid-sister looks doesn’t fool Raffe at all.  This wolf knows the sexy vampire won’t give up until she has him exactly where she wants him.  After Bianca’s apartment is destroyed by fire, Raffe suggests they take a break from trying to kill each other.  He’s more interested in exploring the sparks flying between them.

I’ve been dying to know why vampires and werewolves became enemies since I read the first story in the Assassins in Lace series.   After reading Inferno, the fourth book, I don’t think it matters any more.  As long as Jocelyn Michel continues to give me witty comebacks and spontaneous love scenes, I say ignorance is bliss.  It thrills me reading the pivotal moment when the werewolf and vampire realize they can’t actually go through with killing the other.  Bianca and Raffe talked about this serious topic as if they were discussing the weather, while their lovemaking was far from tepid.  I appreciate how the characters contradict themselves.  Sure, they’re both lethal paranormal beings who most would think twice about messing with.  But, at the end of the day Bianca and Raffe are just a couple with the hots for each other.  That never gets old.  I hope there are more assassins waiting in the wings, because I’m not ready to say good-bye to them.

Bend

Title: Bend
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-614-3
Genre: {M/F/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Annabelle Calhoun is an independent woman and has never been interested in any relationship with a man longer than a one-night stand. Even then she’s determined to be in control and usually doesn’t want to even know her partner’s name. And forget about a monogamous relationship. It isn’t going to happen. Not even seeing the loving commitment between her brother Rory and his partner, Chance, changes her mind.  

She’s been with two men before and then she meets Justin and Evan, who want more from her than just one night. They want forever. She’s never been able to give up being in charge before but if she wants to find happiness with these two hunky ranchers who drive her crazy, Annabelle is going to have to learn to bend. 

Bend is the fourth release in Bailey Bradford’s Love in Xxchange series and is my favorite so far. Please note that it can be read as a standalone. 

I liked Annabelle. There is something about her character that appeals to me. She’s a strong-willed woman but deep down, she’s tired of being alone but is still unwilling to give up the control she needs. Ms. Bradford’s done a fine job of crafting her personality, giving her plenty of attitude and enough personal issues to sink just about any relationship. Enter Justin and Evan, two determined men who know what they want…Annabelle. Yet, they too have issues and past hurts to deal with. That didn’t stop the threesome’s quick move to an intense, passionate and blistering hot sexual relationship.  

The plot flow is smooth, the personalities are believable and the integration of the secondary characters, many met previously, is seamless. I enjoyed meeting Annabelle’s friend Josh. Ms. Bradford outdid herself with the creation of his quirky personality and I can’t wait to find out what happens with him in What Matters Most. There are also plenty of twists and turns with Annabelle’s family to add pain and drama. My only niggle is how quickly Annabelle changed her mind about wanting a real relationship with Justin and Evan. It seemed she was dead set against it one minute and then suddenly she’s changed her mind and is taking off to their ranch. I didn’t really get what had finally made her change her mind, but that still didn’t negate my enjoyment of the story.