Friday, July 20, 2012

First Do No Evil

Title: First Do No Evil
Author: Carey Baldwin
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-60928-881-5
Genre: {M/F} Suspense Series
Rating: Golden Blush
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Dr. Skylar Novak’s father was murdered during a home invasion when she was a teenager and her mother died of breast cancer several years later. She’s still having trouble dealing with the loss of the people who meant the most to her. As an adult, she’s putting her life back together and opened a free clinic with her fiancé Edmond. But evil is still out there and it’s stalking Skylar. 

 A chance meeting with Skylar puts Detective Daniel Benson directly in the path of a killer. When the bullets fly, lives are put in danger, people die and Danny is seriously injured. Weeks after Sky saves his life, Danny’s convinced that Sky’s life is in danger but no one will listen to him. As he searches for the truth, they grow closer but as secrets are unearthed, danger looms and he’ll need to risk everything to keep the ones he loves safe. 

First Do No Evil is the first release in the new series Blood Secrets by Carey Baldwin. It’s a well-written romantic medical thriller that grabs your attention with a bang and doesn’t let go. In fact, those first action-packed scenes in the diner are so vivid, so shocking and filled with emotion I could almost feel it. And I’m happy to say the author’s ability to express a scene or an emotion doesn’t end here but is skillfully spread throughout this wonderfully plotted story. Let me tell you, I was kept on the edge of my seat with its many spine-chilling twists and turns.

Ms. Baldwin’s created a great story. It’s entertaining, fast-paced, has a smooth flowing plot and two great characters in Danny and Skylar - and I loved how the author got them together. The details of the medical part of the story are nicely done, which isn’t surprising considering the author is a practicing physician. I didn’t find the information overwhelming or too overdone and I doubt others will either after years of watching shows like CSI on TV. Now to the villain. I won’t give away his identity but he’s named early on in the book and becomes a third main character.  The guy’s really cold, dangerous and mostly unfeeling—he’s spooky and instead of being a cookie cutter bad guy, Ms. Baldwin made him unique and interesting. I don’t know where this series is going but I can’t wait for the next release.

Gregory’s Rebellion

Title: Gregory’s Rebellion
Author: Lavinia Lewis
Publisher: Total E Bound Books
Publisher’s URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/ 
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-78184-005-4
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Gregory is already having problems with the supernatural council, so when he is sent to Vegas to pick up a wayward shifter, he’s surprised to find out that the young cat is his mate.  Hayden has not shifted for some time and has lost some of his cat’s special qualities because of that. Unable to tell that Gregory is his mate, Hayden has trouble trusting the council’s enforcer, leaving both men open to trouble. 

Gregory’s Rebellion is the latest addition to the Shifters‘ Haven series.  This story wraps up the plotline concerning the supernatural council and left me wondering if this was the last book in the series.  I was glad to see, after a quick visit to the author’s website, that there is more to come.  This story also picks up shortly after the end of the last book and, while the stories can usually be read as stand-alones, you should at least read Nate’s Deputy before starting this one.   

Both main characters are well-written and it was easy to understand why Hayden refuses to shift.  I liked the way Gregory choses to step back, giving Hayden time to adjust to all the changes that have been thrown at him, even if it means not claiming his mate.  As fans have come to expect, once these two get together they really heat up the pages.  While the ‘bad guy’ is already known to the reader, the lengths that he goes to in order to reach his goals were surprising.  The story is filled with many returning characters that lend both Gregory and Hayden a hand and help move the story along. 

Gregory’s Rebellion is a great addition to the series, and I can’t wait to see what Ms. Lewis has planned for the rest of her Shifters‘ Haven series.

Kiale's Dream

Title:  Kiale’s Dream
Author:  Nacomy Blue
Publisher:  Red Sage Publishing
Publisher URL:  http://eredsage.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781603108218
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Two gods, Faily and Gion created the planet, Maion and the Kiale, then destroyed Maion after Gion had an affair. They ended up killing all but three brothers that were saved by a half-brother before he was killed. Ralden encounted Zoey when she started dream walking as a child and maintained their friendship until Ralden wanted to meet her. 

Kiale’s Dream, the first book in the Kiale Sons series, gives us an unusual look at vampire/angels.  I really liked the way the author combined the two into the race of the Kiale.  The descriptions of the Kiale gave me very vivid pictures of what Ralden and his brothers would look like. 

The story was an interesting one, though I did have a little trouble with having almost two complete storylines within the book.  One slight problem with this was that it kept jumping back and forth where one story was about Faily and Gion were punished by Asdon until they stopped warring with each other by being banished from Opyis. The other was about Ralden and Zoey.  Both couples burn up the pages. 

I could understand Zoey’s concerns, due to the way she had been raised as well as how people reacted to her gift.  That did not stop me from wanting to slap some sense into her, though.  The author created a very good foundation for the relationship between Ralden and Zoey.  

I was a little surprised by some of the twists toward the end.  One small incident created a big crisis that, in some ways, was sort of anti-climatic.  I also kept waiting for the two storylines to connect a little.  I did laugh at Ralden’s brothers’ reaction to the birth of their niece and to Zoey. 

I am looking forward to the next story about Ralden’s brothers. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Second Time Lucky

Title: Second Time Lucky
Author: Ethan Day
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com 
ISBN: 978-1-60820-697-1
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary 
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Luke Landon has never been one to dwell in the past or spend a great deal of time thinking about his future. Luke lives in the here and now world, that is until Owen West, from Luke’s past, returns to Luke’s present and opens the doors to their future.  

Second Time Lucky is a well-written, well-paced romantic comedy with realistic characters. The in-depth characters are especially engaging, even the secondary characters reminded me of someone I knew. The complexity of the personalities brought the characters to life. Luke and Owen are well matched, they share most of the same traits; it is only the methods they use to express these traits that are different. Luke is in-your-face-sarcastic, yet he privately manipulates people into being optimistic. Luke tries to hide his compassionate side, although most people who have long acquaintances with Luke can see it, as well as love him for it. While Luke is a private do-gooder, Owen is very public with his desire to help others. Owens’s mission is to mentor GLBT youth in the community. Educating families that sexuality is by birth, not the youth’s desire to commit social sins.

Ethan Day has created a laugh-out-loud hilarious story with illustrations of being who you truly are without shame. Exhibits of tender emotions that will melt your heart, as well as intimacy scenes require an increase in the cooling system. Second Time Lucky is an exceedingly enjoyable happy-for-now saga. Luke and Owen are so loveable, I was sad to say goodbye. Hopefully another visit with them is in the future.

Alone in a Crowd

Title: Alone in a Crowd
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781781840290
Genre: {M/M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Ryan Blackfeather likes to help people and takes his job and responsibilities as sheriff of Cattle Valley seriously. He loves his partners, Rio and Nate, and together they’ve built a good life together. But there’s still a part of him that feels insecure and when he gets a call that requires him to return to Oklahoma, he refuses to allow them to accompany him. He’s too embarrassed about where he came from and the life he had with his parents. Ryan goes alone.  

Instead of giving him answers, the trip only opens up more questions. He’s unhappy, surly and won’t let Rio and Nate help him through one of the roughest periods of his life. He’s in pain and still looking for acceptance from his father and that means a return trip to Oklahoma to confront the past, so he can move forward with his future.  

Alone in a Crowd is the latest release in Carol Lynne’s Cattle Valley series. Since the books have multiple recurring characters and relationships, reading them in order would be best. 

As a general rule, putting Ryan, Rio and Nate together tends to be sexually explosive but this time, the book focuses on Ryan’s family history and how it’s affected him. I liked learning more about his growing up years and feel sad he didn’t want his partners to be involved—that he was ashamed of where he’d come from. Ms. Lynne expressed these intense, painful and raw emotions well. But what I particularly enjoyed is Ryan’s ability to work through his childhood issues and grow, moving past some of the pain that had haunted him for so long. Don’t get me wrong. He isn’t able to work out everything but he did get some of the closure he needed and it’s expressed well. The emotional support given by Rio and Nate is handled nicely. Its firm without being overwhelming—enough to let Ryan know he’s loved. And the guys still manage to get in some sizzling hot sex—outside, while at dinner—naked, with food, which some might find off-putting.

Now for the rest of the story. There’s another secondary romance interwoven into the plot. It’s Smokey, who just returned to town, and shopkeeper Elliott. It’s a much shorter part of the whole plot and as much as I’m indifferent to Smokey, it’s nice to know what had happened to him in the months since he left town. He’s dealings with old enemies and new friends are nicely done. I just wish I knew more about Elliot.