Friday, January 25, 2013

How to Save a Life


Author: Sloan Parker
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-62300-076-9
Genre: {M/M} Suspense Series
Rating: Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Two strangers, to each other, arrive at the Haven at almost the same time. However, neither security company owner Walter Simon nor reporter Kevin Price is at the club to have sex. Young men started disappearing from the rooms reserved for sexual pleasure; the men would enter the rooms never to be seen again. Now it is up to Walter and Kevin to work together and uncover the facts.

How to Save a Life is the first book in The Haven series. This series is a spin-off from More. From the very beginning the intricate plot pushes all of the reader’s curiosity buttons. The detailed description illustrates the club is loaded with security, so the first question that comes to mind is how is it possible to simply vanish undetected? As the story progresses, elements of suspense is added answering the questions of who and why. There are a number of separate factors at work, yet all the puzzle pieces fit together in a logical pattern.

The engaging main characters are not to be missed. Walter and Kevin is a perfect match, especially in personality traits. Both men have tragic events in their past that still rule their personal lives. Both Walter and Kevin genuinely care about people, particularly gay men in trouble. The main irritation between Walter and Kevin is their twenty year age difference. Walter fears Kevin’s happiness will be negatively affected being in a relationship with an older man. Kevin’s mature attitude is to take each day as it comes and be grateful for their time spent together. Walter and Kevin are highly intelligent, exceptionally passionate as well as being extremely loveable.

Sloan Parker has created a stunning saga that I enjoyed immensely. How to Save a Life has all the emotional ingredients anticipated in a well-written romantic whodunit, intense drama along with a spine-chilling psycho killer. The sinister side of this tale is balanced with the amusing and amorous dialogue that will arouse decadent visuals of scorching intimacy scenes.  

Slave to Chaos


Author: Nikki McCoy
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 9781781842027
Genre: {M/M/M} Paranormal BDSM Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Because Shayne is so powerful, he’s feared by the others of his kind. At the age of twelve, he was forced to destroy one of his future mates, the God of Chaos and his mother, the Goddess of Night. Now six years later, he’s nineteen and struggling to come to grips with his fractured life. His remaining mate, Collen, won’t claim him and Shayne doesn’t understand that Collen has problems of his own.

Chaos didn’t die but he’s stayed away to keep Shayne and Collen safe from the powerful half-god/sorcerers hunting them. The years watching them from afar have been painful and he wants nothing more than to be with his mates. When it becomes obvious staying away isn’t the answer, Chaos returns but regaining their trust isn’t easy. Can these mates find a way to survive the ones hunting them and can they find the happiness they desire?

Slave to Chaos is the latest release in Nikki McCoy’s Keepers of the Gods series. This is part of an ongoing series and the books should be read in order.

Shayne, Collen and Chaos are all interesting characters but vary in age and life experience. Shayne, the submissive, is the youngest but most powerful and needs a firm hand, but until Chaos’ return, hasn’t gotten what he’s needed. These three have an intense mate bond but have lots of baggage and there’s the whole half-god/sorcerer problem too. That means along with trying to work through individual conflict and straightening out their relationship, teaching Shayne to submit, love, anger and sizzling hot sex, they have to survive powerful people trying to kill them. As you can see, the author has given the trio a lot to deal with.

I enjoyed seeing the characters from the previous release and particularly like Shayne’s new friend, Gianni and his secondary plot line with Marc. Gianni’s personality is nicely fleshed out giving him a sense of realism I appreciate.  Be aware there’s plenty of sex scattered throughout the book, consensual and otherwise, so take the reader advisory seriously. *spoiler alert* The abuse Gianni suffers is very real. The pacing is fast for the most part but there are a few places it dragged a bit.  Check the author’s website for the next release.

Reader Advisory: This book contains M/M/M ménage, BDSM scenes including explicit sex, graphic language, graphic violence and one scene of rape

Memory in Shadow


Author: CJ Black
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
ISBN/BIN:  9781595789792
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Sequel
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

While Dane and Vanlyn are still away recuperating, the war between the humans and fiends continues.  Although many are working towards a compromise that would allow the two factions to live in peace, others are working to destroy everything.   Lahn struggles to hold everything together while his friends are away, but things seem to be taking a turn for the worse.  Then Rasleigh shows up and Lahn wonders if the young man is ready to accept his fate.

Memory in Shadow is the sequel to Illusion of Night.  This new story starts not long after the end of book one.  Many of the fiends continue to cross the veil between the human world and their own.  In order to fully understand just who and what the fiends are, as well as the reason for the war, it is important to read the stories in order. 

Many of the secondary characters that peppered Illusion of Night also show up in Memory in Shadow, although not all are who they seem to be; and while Memory in Shadow is full of interesting characters, the story centers around Rasleigh and Lahn.  Rasleigh is one of those characters that, in the first book, was easy to dislike.  Now as readers begin to really know Rasleigh, it is easy to see the many layers that make this character up. Rasleigh has a hard time reconciling who he was with whom he is now and I found myself feeling for Rasleigh.  It is easy to understand why he forgot his past, due to the loss he sustained, but I also wondered if he was getting ready to repeat some of his past mistakes.

Lahn is a fiend struggling to carry out the wishes of his friend.  As the war drags on, the fiend finds himself under a lot of stress and the fact that some of his allies seem to be turning against him doesn’t help either.  Lahn is a strong, dominate character. I liked him in the first book and was happy to see him get his own story.  Although I had forgotten about the connection between Lahn and Rasleigh I was looking forward to their reunion and wanted it to bring some relief to the fiend, but it soon became apparent that that was not going to happen, at least not for a while.

The attraction between the two men is very strong, yet, at times, their physical relationship borders on dubious consent.   This aspect of the story may be difficult for some readers but the situations ring true to the nature of the characters. 

The author makes sure she holds the reader’s attention with the many twists and turns peppered throughout the story.  Not only is the war heating up but new rifts and creatures turn up causing issues for all involved.  There are a few unexpected surprises that had me on the edge of my chair and at one time had me worrying about the state of our heroes.

This was a great follow up story that also leaves the door open for many return trips by the author and readers. 

Revolution


Title: Revolution
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78184-204-1
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

It’s been three years since Luuk and Jameson went on the run and during that time, they’ve almost been killed numerous times. As their health and spirits lag, finding a way to stop running and for Luuk to resume him usurped position as Alpha Anax is in the forefront of their minds. It’s been a difficult time for Jameson since he didn’t even know shifters existed before he became involved with his mate and being on the run has put Jameson on the ragged edge. He loves Luuk and is determined to see that he retakes his rightful position as leader and will help however he can. It seems they have help coming—and they could make all the difference—not just in the success of defeating the man trying to kill them, but returning Jameson’s best friend and his peace of mind.

Revolution is the latest release in Bailey Bradford’s Southwestern Shifters series. Note: reading these books out of order will be confusing.

I was surprised how much darker this book is than the others but what I didn’t expect was how much I would enjoy this different slant. For a good portion of its length, Luuk and Jameson are running for their lives. There’s nothing lighthearted or funny going on. It’s truly a tale of two men trying to stay ahead of the men chasing them. That means fear, danger, pain, anger and guilt.  All these emotions are woven through the story well, or maybe I should say believably, as Jameson and Luuk look for a place of safety. And that’s where the two priests come in as secondary characters. These men are just the first of the individuals the author weaves into the story to help them.

There are places that drag a bit and the sex at odd times, such as when one of them is injured, I just found unsettling. I also hoped to learn a little more about Luuk and Jameson as individuals but that didn’t happen, which I found disappointing. Lastly, the big build up to the fight for Luuk to get his Alpha Anax position back is resolved too quickly. 

Bayou Loup


Title: Bayou Loup
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-62300-163-6
Genre: {M/M} Shapeshifters Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Former sheriff, pack alpha and now widower werewolf Bobby has decided to live his remaining time as the gay man he was born to be. Bobby ventures to a gay bar in Lake Charles and there he meets Mark as well as discovers that Mark is Bobby’s mate. Bobby is confused to say the least; it is not often that werewolves find a second true mate, not to mention his wolf choosing a man this time when the first mate chosen by his wolf was a female.

Bayou Loup is the third book in the Rougaroux Social Club series. This episode is an absolute tear-jerker romance. The characters are enormously compassionate. Bobby is well respected in the pack because he sincerely gives respect to others, plus Bobby is so easy to like. The only thing Bobby has kept hidden from the pack is the fact that he is gay. Bobby knows that claiming Mark would save his life, yet Bobby refuses to influence any of Mark’s decisions regarding their relationship. Bobby and Mark are well matched in bed, as well as out of bed. Mark is a zoology professor and his favorite animals to study is the wolves. Learning Bobby is a wolf shifter changes Mark’s goal from publicizing his findings on the swamp wolf to a more private undocumented study of Bobby.

Lynn Lorenz has created a marvelous saga that I thoroughly enjoyed. The blend of intimacy, humor and emotional warmth displayed by all of the characters is superb.

Advisory: This series is best read in sequence.

Midnight Silence


Author: D. McEntire
Publisher: Silver Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 9781614956136
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx           

At age sixteen, LeeAnn’s family was killed by a group of red-eyed monsters, leaving her in the care of her step-uncle William and his surly mother. As a deaf person, her life is difficult and it’s filled with lots of hard work and little thanks. Three years later, LeeAnn learns William has stolen the inheritance she didn’t know about and she runs, sending her straight into the path of danger.

As a Watcher, Jacob rescued LeeAnn but wasn’t able to save her family. He’s been keeping an eye on her since and when she runs from William, he rescues her from a group of Rogue vampires. To keep her close to him, Jacob pulls her into his world but the question is whether he can keep her safe.

Midnight Silence is the latest release in D. McEntire’s The Watchers series. Since this is part of an ongoing series, reading them in order would be helpful but isn’t mandatory.

I’m not usually a big fan prologue’s but this one is well done and provided vital information on what happened to LeeAnn and her family when she was child. In this case the story would have been lacking without it. Now to LeeAnn. I really like this young woman and her personality is pretty fleshed out. Her being born deaf is a twist from other books in the series and it certainly gives her many unique problems to deal with. Then there’s Jacob. Having him learn sign language so he can communicate with LeeAnn is a nice touch and not something you see often in a romance. This guy is tough on the outside and a marshmallow inside—at least where LeeAnn is concerned.

And I can’t forget to mention the villain of the story—William. This guy is a total creep and having him escape his just desserts didn’t sit well. I’m disappointed in the abrupt ending. There’s a big dramatic moment here and instead of finding out how the situation’s resolved, the chapter ends on a note of hope. Next the epilogue begins with a three year gap when life is rosy. As much as I’m happy to see that their life is going well, the omission in the last chapter’s a let-down. Still I enjoyed the story of these two and look forward to the next one—most likely featuring the stern Malachai and newly introduced Elizabeth.

Papa’s Boy


Title: Papa’s Boy
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62380-135-9
Genre: {M/M}, Western, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Lately it seems like every time Ray turns around, one of his friends is falling in love.  It’s not that he’s jealous, okay maybe a little; it’s just that sometimes he wishes he could find the love of his life too.  Then he meets Zeke. 

Papa’s Boy is the newest story in the Morning Report series.  In this new story, readers are introduced to Ray and Zeke.  Ray is friends with the men of the Lost Cow Ranch and knows what some of the others went through when they met their life partners.  While he would like someone to come home to every night, he doesn’t see that ever happening.  Ray is a little at loose ends because of  all the changes that have been happening lately and the author does a great job bringing the way he feels across believably.  I liked this character and could understand why, at times, he felt like a third wheel. 

Zeke is a new character to the series and one I was surprised to see pop up in a story of his own.  Zeke has a lot of issues and once the readers get to know this character’s history, they will have no problem understanding why he acts the way he does.   I was shocked by some of the things Zeke went through and could not get over the treatment he suffered at the hands of his family. 

The relationship between the two men is not an easy one and I must admit, at times, I almost wanted Ray to forget about Zeke.  Of course, these two finally get together and when they do, the pages really heat up.

As if the author did not feel she threw enough into Papa’s Boy to hold the readers interest, there is a side story that involves a young man by the name of Lee.  Readers may remember Lee from the previous stories and the things that happen to him here had me close to tears.  I hope the author plans to give Lee his own story soon.  I also thought the author wrapped up the story line wonderfully and loved how she brought a close to Zeke’s story.

While these stories could possibly be considered stand-alone books, I would highly recommend that you read them in order.  Each of these books was a great story to read and I plan on reading each again.

Twin Passions


Title:  Twin Passions
Author:  Lora Leigh
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419943065
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Astra thinks that her Wizard Twins betrayed her and the planet.  With disappearances of the Queen and the Princess, everyone is on high alert and there is a lot of intrigue going on behind the scenes.  Torran and Rhydan had played a part in trying to find the traitor, but at what cost?

The third book in the Wizard Twins series, Twin Passions, is a little different from the first two, because it gives a lot of the background about the war between the light and dark.  There is also a lot of information about how the Sorceresses and the Wizards split into different societies with some rigid rules.  Even though I really liked that Ms. Leigh finally went into more detail about this, I would have also liked a little more about the relationship between the three.

Astra grew up knowing her mother wants her dead and then she overheard her Twins talking about bonding with another sorceress, so she has a lot of trust issues.  Despite all this, she realizes that Torran and Rhydan aren’t what they seem to be.  Once the three get together, they really burn up the pages.  The author created a wonderful joining ceremony for them, where there was a very big surprise for Astra.

There were a lot of secondary characters such as griffins, unicorns, other sorceresses and wizards and a dragon.  Not only did we get introduced to some of them, we learned that they gave a lot of advice to Astra, Torran and Rhydan.  The ending gives the reader a glimpse of the story coming in the next book.

While you don’t have to read Ménage a Magick and When Wizards Rule, I recommend that readers do but readers do need to read Twin Passions before reading the next book.

Raven's Dream


Title: Raven's Dream
Author: Kam Miller
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com/
ISBN: 9781614952732
Genre: {M/M} Shifters Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Raven has waited years for Cale to feel ready to be claimed. However, when Raven arranges a romantic date intending to claim his mate, Cale rejects Raven. Realizing sending Raven away is a mistake; Cale must battle his own insecurities before he and Raven can find mated happiness together.

Raven's Dream is the second book in the Portland Pack series. In the first book of the series, Liam's Happiness gives an overview of the pack members. I suggest reading this series in sequence. Cale came to the pack after he was instrumental in helping Liam escape an abusive alpha. Cale also comes from an abusive pack. Forced to submit to a psychotic alpha, Cale has years of emotional scars to overcome. Raven and Cale, as well as the whole Portland pack are the targets of the same fanatical alpha but for different reasons. For Raven, the psycho alpha wants revenge. For Cale, the psycho wants to continue having Cale under his control again. For the Portland pack, it is targeted for takeover or eradicated. Finally claiming each other as mates, Raven and Cale’s contentment is short lived before they, along with the rest of the pack, are embroiled in a battle with the psycho’s pack. Unfortunately, the psycho they sought was not part of the battle and so remains a threat.

Kam Miller has created a marvelous action saga that I thoroughly enjoyed. The interaction between all of the characters is amusing and heartwarming. Raven and Cale are very sensual. I look forward to the next episode.