Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Breathe Me In

Title: Breathe Me In
Author: Lex Valentine
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
ISBN: 978-0-9834199-2-1
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Vampire Wilson North stood at the back of the church. Watching Corey and Seth marry gave Will hope; he wanted what they had, a mate.  Moments later, Will makes his way to his family’s mausoleum and sat on a bench to ease the pain in his injured leg.  Wizard Garrick Forrester’s internal nagging is impossible for him to ignore; magical senses drew him to Granville Cemetery to find Wilson.  With one touch of their hands, Wilson and Garrick knew that they belonged to one another.  

Breathe Me In is an extension of Sunstroked in the Tales of the Darkworld series.  The storyline mentions BDSM; however the theme is honorable men sharing an indestructible love connection.  In this episode, Wilson, who is the former lover of both Corey and Seth, finds his bloodmate, along with discovering mating is not always easy to accomplish.  Easygoing Will becomes a force to be reckoned with when he learns the true reason for Garrick abandoning him.  Will follows Garrick to Paris, intent on destroying the enemy as well as claiming his mate. Garrick is on the threshold of life changes that will eliminate his bond with Will or so he thought.  With the aid of family and friends, Will and Garrick’s destiny is on the right path.  

As an added bonus, Lex Valentine has included an excerpt of Fire Storm, Tales of the Darkworld Book 7 with the same main characters that are in Fire Season. I thoroughly enjoyed the vampires, demons and dragons battle scene.     

Sunstroked

Title: Sunstroked
Author: Lex Valentine
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
ISBN: 978-0-9829099-8-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Werewolf Seth Dylan has been in the closet all of his life up to the moment he met Wildling Corey Green outside the small chapel at the Granville Cemetery.  Seth consents to go to Corey’s home and as Seth stepped into the foyer, he realized his life would never be the same again.  The darkness Seth had lived in brightened the moment Corey had spoken to him, Corey represented happiness, pleasure and freedom, in Seth’s opinion.  Sadly Seth did not realize that Corey is his mate. 

Sunstroked is the sixth book in the Darkworld series and can be read without the others but there will be things you may not understand if you’ve not read Common Ground or Hot Water or Fire Season.  Also included is an excerpt from Thunder and Myth, Tales of the Darkworld Book 8.  

The theme is the romantic discovery of mates.  The plot centers around the emotional turmoil involved when one mate is oblivious to love and happiness. Living with a painful past, Seth is not aware of what his instincts are trying to tell him.  Seth did not understand why he found only Corey’s scent so appealing, or why Seth desired only Corey’s touch.  

Corey has an optimistic personality, which balances the gloom in Seth. Corey also knew immediately that Seth is his mate. Nevertheless, Seth’s lack of insight is the source of Corey’s slide into a heartbroken darkness.  The storyline illustrates how emotional stress has an effect on the physical wellbeing. The in-depth characters encourage the readers to experience Seth and Corey’s misery, as well as their joy.  Just when I thought all hope is loss, revelations leads to Seth and Corey’s sensual make-up lovemaking scenes. 

Lex Valentine has a talent for building romantic suspense, with an extremely enjoyable happy ever after climax.

Back Home

Title: Back Home
Author: R.J. Scott
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com
ISBN: 9781920484392
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

When he was a teenager, Kieran Addison fell in love with his older brother’s boyfriend, Jordan Salter. By the time he graduated, he couldn’t stay nearby and see them together, so left to attend college in another country. Several years later, when his brother, Brad, is killed in a car accident, Kiernan returns home briefly but leaves days later, unable to stay around Jordan. 

It’s two years later after his father has fallen ill and Jordan’s been injured that Kieran’s sister calls, begging him to come home. There he finds things worse than expected. His father’s health is fragile, the company is almost bankrupt and Jordan is a shell of his former self, beaten down by hard work and guilt over Brad’s death.  

It’s up to Jordan and Kiernan to rebuild the failing family business, all while exploring their growing feelings for each other. But to do that, they first have to overcome their grief and deal with some well kept secrets that could destroy what they’re building. 

Back Home is another intense emotional story by author R.J. Scott that’s filled with drama, pain and what it means to be part of a family. Poor Jordan. He’s tried so hard to hold everything together and can’t and on the inside, he’s slowly falling apart despite his best efforts. Then there’s Kiernan. He has just as much emotional baggage…years of it. With these two, the author has created a couple of exceptional male characters, well developed in every way. Their story is rich in details, has plenty of interesting secondary characters, lots of angst-filled emotions and when they finally get around to it, blistering hot sex.  

These two wounded men have lots to work through while trying to find common ground when they were both dealing with so much pain. Ms. Scott did a very nice job getting Jordan and Kiernan from barely talking, through a rocky truce and to lovers and did it believably.  

I only have two little niggles. The first is Jordan’s hand. It was injured down to the bone and he should have gone through physical therapy, but aside from initially a few grimaces and twinges, it was rarely mentioned. In fact, he was using it like the accident has never happened. The other is the resolution of the banking issue at the end. While I liked how it worked out, I felt that it was just a little quick. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed this well paced and thought provoking story and will be re-reading it again in the future.

Three Hearts One Love

Title: Three Hearts One Love
Author: Ronna Gage
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-619-X
Genre: {M/F/M} {M/F} Contemporary, Western
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph 

Karma Rodden never thought she’d meet a man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, so imagine her surprise when not one but two gorgeous gentlemen capture her heart. First there’s Dylan, the rancher and rodeo star whose gentle nature pulls at her heartstrings while his hard earned muscles keep her begging for more. Then there’s Jaxon, the very successful, very adventurous lawyer who makes her feel like she could reach out and touch the very stars when they get together. She never meant to hurt anyone and she’s trying very hard to ignore the choice in front of her. With all the confusion that is surrounding her heart, can Karma keep her head and do what is right for all of them? 

It took a little time to warm to Three Hearts One Love, mainly because of the character of Karma. At first, I couldn’t empathize with her at all; she wasn’t content to have one perfect man in her life and kept agonizing over whether she wanted Dylan or Jaxon, or whether she even had to make a decision at all. Three Hearts One Love tries hard to convey a message about the difficulties you face when you try not to deny your true self for the sake of society, all the while giving the reader hot, steamy M/F/M action with some very hunky male specimens. Personally, I enjoyed the story much better when the characters were too busy living their lives and sharing their bed, to worry about the rest of the world because my goodness, there were some sexy scenes. Dylan in particular caught my eye, and I loved the western element he brought to the table. Jaxon was a little too successful, smart and all around too perfect for my liking, but when the three characters got together, there were no complaints from me.

Bounty

Title: Bounty
Author: Hank Edwards
Publisher: Self Published
Publisher URL: www.smashwords.com
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Western
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Josh Stanton has always been an outsider in the town of Belkin’s Pass.  His mother was rumored to be a witch, who ran off with the devil when Josh was a child.  Only two people actually cared about Josh; Agnes, the school teacher who adopted Josh and Dexter Wells, Josh’s best friend. 

Bounty is a friends-to-lovers romance interwoven with vampires, zombies, a Native American spirit protector, as well as both racial and spiritual discrimination.  The setting is the Old West.  The main characters are convincing.  

Josh and Dex’s childhood friendship evolved into love over a fifteen year period.  Dex is forced into the difficult position of arresting Josh, the man he has always loved, or escaping with him to save both their lives.    The plot has good mystery growth, along with plenty of action.  Josh has the ability to raise the dead. In the recently departed, the description implies the dead body is invaded by a evil spirit who attacks the living.  However, these creatures can be easily killed with a bullet to the brain, unlike the vampires that can only be harmed by silver. The storyline presents several scenarios of questions regarding Josh’s gift but with no real conclusions. 

Hank Edwards has created an interesting story. On the other hand, Bounty finishes in a bittersweet cliffhanger.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Demon Familiar

Title: Demon Familiar
Author: Jory Strong
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: www.jasminejade.com
ISBN: 9781419936609
Genre: {M/M/Bisexual} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Ianthe is pulled from the void by a binding spell and demon essence become mortal-familiar. She longs to become human and love as a human, but has been unable to escape the dark realm or her master, until now. Ianthe is an Incubus/ succubus and must feed both parts of her personality in order to survive, which mean shifting between her female and male forms.  

She can have anyone but wants the one who accidentally summoned and bound her, Detective Miguel Torres. When Ianthe shows up uninvited to a party, Miguel wants her more than any other woman ever…but later he meets Ian, her mysterious twin…and wants him too. Miguel doesn’t understand his desire for a man and once he gives into it, feels nothing but shame. But it brings back memories from the past and when a gay teen is murdered, Miguel is forced to make a decision that will affect the rest of his life. 

Demon Familiar is release seven in Jory Strong’s Supernatural Bond series and it takes up a few weeks after the last book left off. Even though part of a series, it can be read as standalone.  

As with all of Ms. Strong’s releases, the writing is top-notch and the pace moves along at a good clip, with a good integration of characters from the previous releases and the murder Connor and Miguel are investigating.  I really liked this portion of the story and how well they worked together to find the murderer of a young gay man, who’d been thrown out by his father. The painful memories that surfaced of Miguel’s gay uncle who’d been killed years earlier are nicely expressed, making me want to know more. The attraction between Ianthe and Miguel is immediate and the passion blistering hot as their desire soars nearly out of control. 

Where I had problems:

  1. After the prologue where Miguel is shown to be a hereditary witch and the subsequent accidental binding, the topic of him being a witch is hardly mentioned. It left me with lots of questions regarding what being a witch will mean to his life.
  2. Ianthe’s sudden party-crashing appearance at a cop’s home isn’t questioned by a single person, which I found unrealistic for men in law enforcement.
  3. Choosing this lust inducing incubus/succubus demon as Miguel’s mate seems odd. It never gave me a good sense that their pairing is real…that Miguel’s emotions and actions weren’t manipulated to meet her needs.

F-Stop

Title:  F-Stop
Author:  Desiree Holt
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN:  9781419934278
Genre:   {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

After a breakup with Mike, Kat thought she would never see him again but runs into him at the airport where she is seeing her sister off, along with her sister’s boss and family.  Mike is determined to not make the same mistake he did before. 

The fourth book of the Phoenix Agency series is very intense, emotionally, as Mike realizes he wants a second chance with Kat.  F-Stop is either non-stop action and suspense or very hot sex between Mike and Kat. Both will keep your heart rate up as you read.   

The author did show how some stalkers act and gives some pretty good advice about handling a stalker.  I’m glad the author handled it the way she did within the story.  Part of the lesson is that stress can play a big part in someone’s life and how that stress can affect them especially if there is psychic power/energy involved.  Another thing the author did was bring some of today’s headlines right into the story and indicated what some of the obstacles are with trying to resolve kidnappings without loss of life.   

F-Stop is also a look at betrayal and how bad judgments can affect relationships and lead a person to a place they may feel they don’t have choices.  Ms. Holt has some very great characters within the Phoenix Agency and I am looking forward to Troy’s story.  I do hope she is going to do one for two of the secondary characters that keep popping up, especially with the contributions they make to the agency even though they aren’t partners.   While you can read this by itself, you really should read the series in order to get the best enjoyment in reading it. 

Publisher's Note: Previously published as Freeze Frame with The Lotus Circle and then Cerridwen Press, this book has been revised for Ellora's Cave.

The Ship Engineer

Title: The Ship Engineer
Author: Serena Yates
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com
ISBN: 9781920501051
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Nathan Kappas is an intelligent and serious minded ship’s engineer, who’s much more comfortable dealing with the mechanics of running an engine than he is with relating to people. He’s just been promoted to second engineer on a much larger, mid-size cruise ship, the Sapphire, when he meets a man who will change his life. His new crew mate, Harper Quade, a musical dancer, is everything Nathan isn’t. He’s good with people, full of life, has a bubbly personality and enjoys a good laugh.  

Harper is like nothing Nathan expected and opens his eyes to what been missing from his life. The attraction between them is immediate and it’s not long before they’re spending as much time together as possible. But Harper left an abusive ex-boyfriend behind when he came aboard ship and now that man has found him again, threatening not just what he and Nathan are building together but Harper’s very life. 

The Ship Engineer is release three in Serena Yates’ series Workplace Encounters and while I’ve enjoyed the first two, this latest is my new favorite. It’s a well written story, filled with information about working and living on a cruise ship, including interesting tidbits about visiting some of their ports of call, without letting the story get bogged down with too many details. There’s intense attraction, a slow growing physical relationship followed by blistering hot passion, betrayal, fear, stalking and worse. It has just about everything needed for an entertaining read and it’s going right into my keeper file.  

I love Nathan. There’s just something about the socially inept guy you have to like. But it’s the very fact he’s not perfect… that he’s a bit flawed that makes him a compelling character you want to succeed. But despite his problems Nathan immediately relates to Harper and I loved how this accidental meeting opens his life up to emotions and a chance at romance he never thought to experience. He also has a big secret, which I won’t reveal, but it’s something he and Harper need to deal with when the time is right. 

Ms. Yates has created a real sweetheart in Harper, but she’s also given him a troubled background of his own to deal with. The love affair between him and Nathan is tender and poignant, allowing them to learn about each other physically and emotionally. But when the stalker appears on the scene, it’s up to Nathan to come to the rescue or Harper and everything they’re building together could be destroyed.

Bringing Him Home

Title: Bringing Him Home
Author: Penny Brandon
Publisher: Loose Id
ISBN: 978-1-61118-445-7
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

The only ones who know Jared’s gay is his family.  Afraid to come out to the small town where he lives, Jared figures he’ll always be alone.  That is, until he meets Kyle.  But Kyle has a few secrets of his own that may bring their relationship to an end before it can even really begin. 

Bringing Him Home by author Penny Brandon was a good read with believable characters.  While both Jared and Kyle are gay, Jared is in the closet, afraid of what would happen should the people in his small town find out he’s gay.  Kyle, on the other hand, is open about his sexuality and has been since being kicked out of his home as a teenager.  From the moment the author brings these two together, the attraction between them is obvious and hot.  The author does an excellent job showcasing the beginning of their relationship.  Jared’s nervousness and worries not only come through clearly for the reader to see, but are realistic for someone with his fears.  It was funny watching these two as they realized they were both tops and trying to figure out who would bottom first.   

I must admit I was a little perturbed at Kyle the morning after and totally understood Jared’s hurt and anger.  However, once it became clear why Kyle acted the way he did, it was a little easier to forgive him.  The book is aptly titled as the reader soon finds out.  As Kyle opens up more and the men learn the meaning of compromise does not necessarily mean smooth sailing for the two. 

Bringing Him Home will hold the reader’s attention and leave you feeling satisfied at the end.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bobbi and the Beast

Title: Bobbi and the Beast
Author: Saloni Quinby
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-692-8
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Bobbi is running for his life after escaping two crazy men, who had kidnapped him with the intentions of rape then murder. Suddenly, Bobbi’s captors are attacked by a beast and Bobbi is rescued. 

Bobbi and the Beast is a heartwarming short story. The excerpt is misleading; the setting is a wooded area outside of a modern city. Bobbi is a female impersonator at a night club.  Dressed in drag, his kidnapping is a case of mistaken identity.  When Bobbi encountered the beast, he saw the beauty that lay beyond the outer appearance.  Days later, Bobbi also realized the man within the beast was who Bobbi wanted to spend his life with.  The beast is actually a wealthy businessman cursed with a cynical outlook at his empty life and blessed by the redeeming magic of love.  Saloni Quinby has created an intriguing and exceptionally enjoyable saga.    

End of the Line

Title: End of the Line
Authors: Lynn Hagen & Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-788-9
Genre: {M/M} Science Fiction Shape-Shifter Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Giovanni Gallardo’s on the run. He thought taking a starship as far away from Earth as possible was a good idea until he arrives at a backwater planet at the far edge of the galaxy. When he arrives at End of the Line, he starts to question his decision. He’s alone, afraid and doesn’t know what to do when he gets caught in a firefight, forcing him to take refuge on a strange ship.

Commander Remy Vystal and the crew of the Lady Blue were once members of the Elite Force. After being accused of something they didn’t do, they were forced out and now they fly all over the galaxy, doing black market jobs in order to survive. When Remy sets eyes on Gigi, his protective instincts go crazy and he soon discovers the little human is his mate. When the past haunting Gigi catches up with him, it means Remy and the crew have to fight to keep his mate safe from the man who’s put a bounty on all their heads. 

End of the Line is a really good start to the new series Lady Blue Crew by Lynn Hagen and Stormy Glenn. The story’s well written and does a great job introducing this new world and the interesting individuals that call the ship home. Its action packed, has a smooth pace, and plenty of sizzling hot sex between hunky bad-ass Remy and cutie-pie Gigi.  

Remy is a big, burly wolf shifter, while Gigi is a typical small man in need of a protective mate. They make for an interesting couple…forced to deal with an abundance of danger in their new life together, but the authors also crafted some lighter moments and witty dialogue. I just about cracked up with the scenes of the man-eating replicator and the mess hall filled with foam. That is just one example of the creative skills used by the authors to balance the fun versus more serious aspects of the story. Look for Pax’s Blues next.

A Solid Core of Alpha

Title: A Solid Core of Alpha
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-143-8
Genre: {M/M}, Science Fiction
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

When Anderson was 13 years old, tragedy struck the mining colony he lived on.  Only the fast actions of his older sister saved the young boy. He spent the next ten years in an escape shuttle, all alone with the exception of the hologram world he created.  When the shuttle finally docks, Anderson’s survival is at stake. 

Amy Lane is a prolific writer who covers a variety of themes.  A Solid Core of Alpha is a science fiction story in the truest sense of the words, as even without the romance that is woven through it; this book would surely be a hit with the sci-fi fans.  The characters are strongly written and it is easy to forget that several of the secondary characters are not real people.  Although the story covers a long period of time, the author keeps the pace going nicely so that the reader will not feel as if the book is dragging.  There is some time between the start of the story and when Anderson and C.J. meet.  While most romance fans may find exception with this, it is an important part of the story as it builds Anderson’s background, giving the reader a glimpse of the issues the young man will face once he reaches civilization.   

C.J. is the go-to guy for the Hermes-Eight space station.  When ships come in with problems, he can take care of them.  The twenty-nine year old is also vastly knowledgeable about sex and not used to doing without.  When he meets Anderson, C.J. is instantly drawn to the younger man.  The author’s ability to show these two falling in love is great.  C.J. knows how fragile Anderson is and the difficulty he has controlling his wants, as well as Anderson’s, comes through realistically.  The passion between them is intense and sets the pages on fire. 

A Solid Core of Alpha is, in no way, a lighthearted story, however.  It is dark, full of angst and readers will find themselves worrying about both heroes in this story.  Readers should also know that there are strong references to physical and sexual abuse, both of which are unfortunately needed to drive home the results of the long term isolationism that Anderson suffered from.  This is a great story by the author and one her fans should not miss.