Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gypsies

Title: Gypsies
Author: T.A. Chase
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-1-78184-036-8
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

On the planet Beasor, there are four kinds of citizens; non-magical ordinary Beasors along with the magical gypsies, tramps and thieves. When Gypsy Percy is held captive on Earth, it takes the love of his life, ordinary Alden as well as tramps and thieves, to rescue Percy from the menacing humans. 

Gypsies is the first book in The Beasor Chronicles Series. This fascinating plot gives an overview of magical powers, in addition to the friends-to-lover romance between Percy and Alden.  The magical beings have the ability to flash themselves to another universe with just a thought. However, with gypsies they need rest plus consensual sex to restore their full powers after flashing. Percy has a problem with jealousy, which causes him to act without thought. It is this trait that was the source of his captivity. Since Alden is not magical, he traveled to Earth with a tramp. The compassionate support of Alden nursed Percy back to health. Alden loves Percy for the man he is, not for the magic he can manipulate into wealth. The trauma Percy endured forced Alden and Percy to finally confess their feelings are more than friendship. Their lovemaking is a healing bond for both of them.  

T.A. Chase has created an enchantingly enjoyable saga. An amazing blend of adventure, romance and mystery, I look forward to the next episode.   

Olives for the Stranger

Title: Olives for the Stranger
Author: Neil Plakcy
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher’s URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978161188530
Genre: {M/M}, Suspense, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

When the events of Arab Spring hit Tunisia, Aidan and Liam find themselves trying to stay out of the way.  Luckily for the two bodyguards, a job falls into their laps taking them away from Tunis and into problems of another sort. 

Olives for the Stranger, the fourth book in the Have Body Will Guard series, uses the Arab revolutions of last year as its back drop.  The events that occurred in Tunisia play an important part in the story and add a touch of realism as well.  This story is just as well-written as the previous ones and readers will find themselves pulled in to the story by Aidan and Liam, as well as the story’s plot.   

Aidan and Liam are a couple of my favorite characters and because of their strong connection to each other and the numerous adventures that  seem to find them, it is easy to forget that they have only been together for a short period of time.  I started to wonder why Aidan was, all of the sudden, worried about his and Liam’s relationship until the author reminded us of how long the men had been together. Once I remembered that and took into account the separations and jobs they had, it was easy to understand why Aidan was feeling like he was.  Aidan isn’t the only one feeling insecure, yet Liam is better at containing his feelings, which made me want to smack him a time or two.  The author, however, does a wonderful job showcasing the love these two feel for each other that readers know there’s nothing to worry about. 

Although part of a series, Olives for the Stranger can be read as a stand-alone; however, I would suggest that first time readers at least read the first book before reading this one. 

Kissin’ Tell

Title: Kissin’ Tell
Author: Lorelei James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-60928-848-8
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Western Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

When Georgia Hotchkiss left Wyoming, she didn’t intend to come back. Plans change when her boss sends her back home to set up a branch office in time for her class reunion. She’s unhappy but going to the reunion alone and looking pathetic in front of her cheating ex-husband is even worse. Lucky for Georgia, her high school classmate, Tell McKay’s turned into a smokin’ hot cowboy and he’s happy to help her out. 

Tell McKay had a crush of Georgia all through high school and let her take advantage of his good nature. But not now. He’s turned into another McKay ladies man and this time, he’s calling the shots. If Georgia wants help, she’ll have to agree to his conditions and that means spending time in his bed. It’s a good bargain but once the reunion is over, neither is ready to go their separate ways. Could they actually be in a relationship? The idea scares them both, and what about Georgia’s secret plans to leave at summer’s end? 

Kissin’ Tell is the latest release in Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series. Since there’s a lot of recurring characters, I recommend reading the books in order. Long-term series can be a tricky and this one’s now up to number thirteen. I’m happy to say that it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down or getting stale. But then I don’t think that’s possible with the sexy McKay men and the interesting woman they get involved with.  

The story begins with a prologue showing how the young Tell feels about cheerleader Georgia. He isn’t the strong, sexy cowboy of today, but is instead a thin, geeky teen. It’s nice seeing how he’s changed and matured since graduation. And did I mention Ms. James did a great job turning him into a typical McKay man—smokin’ hot and a little wild? Georgia hasn’t changed as much and continues to see some things - especially her family - as she did as an emotionally wounded teenager. It seems everything she does is to protect her heart. That means despite the great sex, it takes awhile for her and Tell to develop a relationship. They definitely have communication problems and their issues could have been resolved if they’d talked more and had sex less. Don’t get me wrong, the sex is hot and steamy, but a relationship is more than hitting the sheets. 

Otherwise the story is fun and entertaining, even if it’s a bit predictable. And it’s wonderful that Ms. James manages to weave in so many of the previous McKay couples—now with families of their own. The already large McKay family keeps getting bigger and no matter the McKay, a story by Ms. James is guaranteed to be filled with love, passion, laughter and satisfying happily-ever-after. Enjoy!

North’s Complication

Title: North’s Complication
Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher’s URL: http://www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-77111-225-3
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

North can’t help feeling something for the young Tiger shifter but family obligations means he has to put those feelings aside.  Dominic craves North, but once the doctor comes clean about his fiancé, the Tiger shifter knows he can no longer stick around. 

North’s Complication is the latest book in Ms. Hecht’s ever growing series, The Lost Shifters.  North is the coalition’s therapist, Dominic is one of the coalition’s many warriors, but he’s also keeping a secret that he’s worried will bring everything down on his head.  There is a connection between the men that readers will be able to see from the beginning, but the conflicts keeping them apart cause quite a bit of angst.   North’s Asian background makes it easy to understand why he feels compelled to follow his family’s wishes, yet I couldn’t help wanting to smack him for the way he waited to tell Dominic.  Dominic, on the other hand, is both fragile and tough.  You can almost guess what is about to happen, yet it still took me by surprise.  The way the author portrayed North’s feelings of guilt came across realistically, as did the way the couple’s friends gathered around them.   

There are many twists and turns in this story that hold the readers interest.  While many of the secondary characters are individuals we already know, there were a few new members of the coalition introduced.  I liked the way in which the author wrapped this story up and can’t wait to see what else she has planned.

Animal Instinct

Title: Animal Instinct
Author: Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61372-524-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Duncan Andrews has seen ghosts since childhood, which comes in handy since he’s a private detective who deals mostly in paranormal crimes. His case this time is just as strange as always. Someone has stolen the skull of a long-dead warlock, who was the Master of Animals and the thief’s out of control, using animals to kill. The skull belongs to the father of his centuries-old witch friend Gina and while fighting against the growing power of the thief, she’s winds up in a coma. It’s one more bad day in Duncan’s life.  

Just how many people live with their ghost boyfriends and a zombie bulldog? Not many. At least he and Robbie are together, but even that’s uncertain as Robbie worries he should move on. It makes it hard for Duncan to focus on his job of protecting Ashton Marsh, a victim of several animal attacks. Can Duncan find the skull without getting killed or maimed? Will Robbie stay with him or leave, breaking Duncan’s heart? 

Animal Instinct is the new release in Stephen Osborne’s Duncan Andrew Thrillers series. Since many of the characters are recurring, you should read the books in order.  

I liked Duncan and Robbie in Pale as a Ghost and that hasn’t changed. Here we see the depth of their feelings caused by the challenges of a relationship that allows only minimal physical contact. It’s hard for them and the author did a good job expressing their frustration with the decade-long situation. And who wouldn’t be annoyed? They haven’t had sex for ten years. Dealing with this issue is only one of Duncan’s problems. Another is Robbie keeps thinking of leaving—of moving on so Duncan can have a normal life. It makes for some well done emotional tension.  

Then there’s the actual mystery/investigation case. It gives the reader a stolen skull, witches, warlocks, death by animals and lots of danger. The villain is discovered about the half-way point but it takes the remainder of the book to figure out how to deal with him. But while Duncan does, the scenes are filled with action, humor and plenty of fun one-liners. The ending is packed with pain and suspense, and comes to a satisfying conclusion. I can’t wait for the next release in this entertaining series.

Saviours of Oestend

Title: Saviours of Oestend
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-1-78184-026-9
Genre: {M/M} Cowboy Dark Fantasy Sequel
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Dante Pane had tried to give up on life when he was forced to leave his home at the BarChi. However, the wraiths plaguing all of Oestend did not kill him. Instead, his new home was cursed with dead animals, unnatural weather and voices riding the wind.  

Saviours of Oestend is the intriguing sequel to Song of Oestend. Like the first book, this story continues the complex plot that illustrates how the first settlers of Oestend created an imbalance of the lands, as well as destroying the native people. The current ranch owners are paying the price for their thoughtless forefathers. There are three amongst them that inherited the magic of the old ones. By joining their magic together, the spirits are finally appeased. The characters are convincing. Dante has been forced into a sexuality closet, which makes him a bitter man. He is jealous of the happiness Deacon has found in an openly gay relationship with Aren. Cami is not what she appears to be and is a mystery to everyone, yet she is the only one who can reach the heart and soul of Dante. The plot gives a detailed history of the land and the characters. Intimacies between the various couples are illustrated. There is even a six-way sexual ritual highlighted.   

Saviours of Oestend is a fascinating and exceedingly enjoyable saga. However, you must read Song of Oestend first in order to truly understand the thorough plot.

Heated Match


Title:  Heated Match
Author:  Lynne Silver
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com 
ISBN/BIN:  9781419940644
Genre:  M/F, Contemporary, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Loren wants to write stories with meat and ends up getting a story tossed into her lap when she meets Adam.    Adam realizes he is in trouble once he meets Loren, because she happens to be his genetic match as well as his best friend’s sister. 

The first book in the Coded for Love series is full of intrigue.  Heated Match is a different play on using genetics to create enhanced soldiers for missions.  The way the author uses some elements is very realistic, but I also understand some of the reservations that Adam and some of the other men had.  The author played up a lot of the fear that Adam had as more was revealed about his past. 

The twists and intrigue in this story will keep a reader interested.  There were several different layers, one of which was resolved by the end of the story, but several threads were left hanging for the rest of the series.  One thing that was different in this is that you know very quickly who the main villain is, though the why isn’t quite clear. 

Several relationships are intertwined as they are relatives, but some of the past relationships have a big bearing on what goes on in the story.  Some of the secondary characters were much more likable than Adam, mostly because of the way he acted toward Loren.  There were also resolutions of some relationships that had major implications for the characters. 

This is the first book by this author that I have read.  I was pleasantly surprised by this story and I am looking forward to more stories in this series.  I am also curious about what else she has written. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Swan Who Flew After a Wolf

Title: The Swan Who Flew After a Wolf
Author: Scarlet Hyacinth
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Publisher URL: www.sirenbookstrand.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61926-835-7
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Ratings: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Anson’s been alone for twenty years—since he lost his first love to another man. Now his life’s complicated by the realization his real mate is Reed, the son of his long ago lover. He’s hesitant to claim Reed, afraid of what others will say and then there’s their age difference to consider. Anson doesn’t know what to do. 

Reed’s tired of waiting. He’s known Anson’s his mate since he was fifteen and doesn’t care what others think. When they finally give into their desires and Anson claims him, their joy doesn’t last long. They’ve kept their feelings secret and Reed’s family is untrusting of their bond. Just when things settle, Anson learns he has a son, Paris, who he didn’t know about. Paris is easy to get along with but his mother’s causing problems, claiming to be Anson’s mate.  

The Swan Who Flew After a Wolf is the latest release in Scarlet Hyacinth’s Mate or Meal series. With the ongoing plotline and recurring characters, I recommend reading them in order. 

Prologues aren’t my thing but I like this one—how Reed was allowed to show a childish interest in Anson, without knowing what it meant. It was cute and allowed Anson to be caring and tender.  It also showed an early version of the response Anson could expect from Reed’s family—very negative. It’s a nice beginning before getting to the meatier part of the story. 

As an adult, Reed knows what he wants—Anson—and he doesn’t want to take no for an answer. Then there’s Anson, who’s determined to do the right thing—and wait. Here Ms. Hyacinth does an excellent job expressing the emotions of both men and in Anson’s case, fear of their age difference and the judgment of others. She handles both issues nicely without being maudlin or without too much angst—and she doesn’t let it go on too long. Yes, they get together quickly but these two have known they were mates for years; they’ve just waited for Anson to claim him.   

There are enough twists to keep the readers’ interest and the pages turning. A son for Anson was a nice touch and then adding his nasty mother to cause trouble—a good tension builder. You can’t forget the sexual tension and desire simmering between mates Reed and Anson either. But that’s not all. There’s a well integrated black moment bringing in a great deal of pain and suffering—and that’s all I’m going to say. The ending went off in an odd direction but I’m certain that all plays out with what will be happening in upcoming releases. Look for The Wolf Who Fought for His Soul Mate next.

Lucius' Bite

Title: Lucius' Bite
Author: K-lee Klein
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-700-5
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Wolf shifter Lucius is not fond of humans so when he learns that the head of the household male witch Ali has invited humans to their holiday dinner, Lucius is outraged until the human Nicu arrives. Nicu is like no other human Lucius has ever met and his outrage immediately turns into confusion because of his uncontrollable desire for the mysterious Nicu.  

Lucius' Bite is the first book in the Family of Misfits Series. The majority of plot is a slow moving romantic tragedy with a few moments of humor. I found the description of a spirit mate to be somewhat perplexing, as well as the concept of being fated to die or kill at the age of twenty five to be a dismal burden to carry all through childhood. As for the characters, Lucius is an immature coward who is a little slow in comprehending the issues. Nicu is a compassionate man who has decided his destiny is to be the martyr. The powerful good witch Ali is the most entertaining of the characters; he applies his magic for the purpose of correcting the bad behavior of the others, mainly Lucius who tends to be sarcastic.   

Lucius' Bite does have a happy-for-now ending with an opening for the next episode. The intimacy scenes mirror teenage explorations illustrating a large amount of kissing. The most enjoyable part of the story was the humorous interaction between the characters.

Commando Cowboys Captivate Their Lady

Title:  Commando Cowboys Captivate Their Lady
Author:  Paige Cameron
Publisher:  Siren Bookstrand
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61926-861-6
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Ménage, Shape-shifter, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Cad and Garth are from the third tribe and want an alliance with Rae’s tribe.  After meeting her, the men know she is their mate and want to marry her as well.  What happens when all three tribes come under attack means they may have to put aside their distrust to join forces. 

The fifth book in the Wyoming Warriors series gives the reader more insight into the Warriors and the way their society was divided up into five different tribes.  Commando Cowboys Captivate Their Lady shows how suspicion and distrust could affect everyone when their lives may be in the balance.  This book is very fast-paced and keeps the reader interested throughout.   

The suspense is woven into the story of Cad, Garth and Rae as they become a threesome where the chemistry between them is very intense.  I liked the fact that Rae doesn’t just fall into their plan of marriage.  She takes the time to make sure that the men want her for her, not as just a way to combine the tribes.  Some of the secondary characters will be showing up in the future if the storyline is any indication.  

The author transports the reader into this particular society and makes you want to be part of it.  Ms. Cameron has done some research to make the fights very realistic.  She also introduced a new element within the series that will take it into some very interesting scenarios in future stories.  I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for these men and women.   

While the stories can be read alone, in order to get to know the Warriors and their society, it is best to read the series in order.  I, for one, will be reading this series again.

What Evils Lurk in the Hearts of Men

Title: What Evils Lurk in the Hearts of Men
Author: Mychael Black
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-333-7
Genre: {M/M} Vampires Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Working for Arcanum, the US government's paranormal police agency, has become a real challenge for Detectives Jonah and Riley Pierce. Especially since Riley is the target of a madman and Jonah refuses to allow Riley to walk into danger alone. 

What Evils Lurk in the Hearts of Men is the second short story in the Arcanum series. The romantic suspense plot features intriguing characters, as well as steamy intimacy scenes. Jonah mourned  Riley’s death for a decade, however since  they have been re-united Jonah and Riley are seldom apart. Jonah is still trying to adjust to Riley being a vampire, yet not concerned enough to break the special bond that they share. Riley is a strong vampire considered rare even among other vampires. Together they help restore the balance between the humans and vampires co-existing in the world.   

 Mychael Black has created an exceptionally enjoyable action saga. 

Advisory: Fictional characters Jonah and Riley’s relationship could be considered incest. 

Touch

Title: Touch
Author: Cassandra Gold
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61124-296-6
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Evan Holloway’s life has been difficult. He can’t let his skin come in contact with anything another person has touched without his mind getting impressions. The ones filled with negative emotions are hard on his mental stability, so he’s forced to wear gloves most of the time. He’s happy living at the Delphic Institute and using his psychic powers to help others.  

When Evan’s made to look like a traitor, he runs but doesn’t get far before being captured. After being held for days, he escapes, taking Dr. Elijah Wexler hostage.  Evan looks malnourished and sounds crazy but when a tracking device is discovered in Evan’s neck, Eli’s horrified. Evan’s story forces Eli to rethink everything he knows about his life.  As they keep on the run, Evan and Eli grow closer and come to realize that together, they can do anything. 

Touch is the second release in The Institute series by Cassandra Gold. Several of the characters are recurring in the ongoing plotline, so reading the books in order would be best. 

It gets off to a quick start and doesn’t let up as the story progresses. The writing remains tight, there’s a smooth flow from one scene to another and the paranormal aspects of the plot are presented believably. I like Evan and Elijah. These two have nicely developed personalities and I enjoyed learning about them over the course of the story.  

I always appreciate it when an author keeps me guessing and Ms. Gold did just that with her many twist and turns. And I can’t forget the action, danger, betrayal, fear and anger either. All of these adds an edge to the scenes and kept my attention as this suspense filled romance built up speed to the final confrontation with the villain.  

At the end, we see a few of the previous characters. Unfortunately, we don’t learn much new about the Delphic Institute, which was a wish I’d voiced from my previous review, but we do learn about their rival, the evil Samael Organization. I have no idea what’s coming next but I look forward to the next book in this entertaining world.