Monday, May 6, 2013

Dweller on the Threshold


Author: Rinda Elliott
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-426-2
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Urban Fantasy
Rating: Recommend Read
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Beri O’Dell’s six feet tall and stronger than most men. She has long, white-streaked hair that glows in the sun and moonlight—and doesn’t have a clue what she is. Growing up in foster care left her feeling alone but her relationship with her one-time foster-sister, Detective Elsa Remington, is her one constant. Beri’s in Florida when she gets word Elsa’s in a coma. It seems a paranormal creature is stealing souls and Elsa’s a victim.

Determined to save Elsa, Beri heads to the city to track down whatever is responsible. Helping Beri is her two spirit guides, a witch and a fussy necromancer. The last member of their group is Nikolos, an ancient Minoan warrior, who know exactly who they need to find.  It’s a creature he fought millennia ago and just barely won—so it’s bad. But they have to try—no matter what the cost—or the Dweller on the Threshold could destroy everything.

Dweller on the Threshold is the first release in Rinda Elliott’s new urban fantasy series, featuring kick-ass heroine Beri O’Dell.

New authors are always an uncertainty but I was so enthralled by the premise of this book I had to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. Not only is Beri a complicated and well developed personality but the world building in this first release is top notch. Yes, I admit that it’s complicated and at times a bit confusing but that’s because there are so many layers, interesting secondary characters and vivid details that almost paint a picture of Beri’s world. So yes, that means you need to pay attention.

Don’t think that it’s all doom and gloom. There are some lighthearted moments and even a few chuckles because of the snarky digs and comments between some of the characters—it’s really pretty amusing. There’s some pretty intense chemistry between Beri and Nikolos too, but the love element takes a backseat to the urban fantasy part of the story, all without shortchanging it. Well done, Ms. Elliott.

I really couldn’t get enough of this wildly creative story and was disappointed when I got to the last page. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted more. Be aware that this is an ongoing story arc and several of the plot threads are left dangling to be dealt with in the next book. Look for Blood of an Ancient coming in October. I can’t wait.

Primal Instincts


Author: Gabrielle Evans
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand  
ISBN/BIN: 9781622426959
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Layke, an elf elder with The Council, is one of the oldest beings around.  Unfortunately, that sets him apart from others as they all feel he should have the answer for any problem that pops up.  It also makes finding friends and lovers hard since he is never sure if they like him for himself or for who he is.  When he meets Aspen, all doubts fall to the wayside and he can’t wait to learn more about the demon.  But Aspen is not who he seems and both men wonder what is in store for them.

This was a fun, fast paced story that will hold your attention to the end.  Primal Instincts, the newest book in The Moonlight Breed series, centers around two characters the readers are already acquainted with.  I love Aspen’s bouncy attitude and the fact that he has no real filter between his brain and his mouth means he says just about anything that pops into his head.  I love that Layke does not try to change that and in fact, tries to encourage the younger man.  There is a mystery surrounding Aspen that soon becomes the focus of the story.  I like that the author uses this to change the series plot a little so that not everyone who shows up in these books has had the same experience. 

Layke is an easy character to like.  As one of the oldest paranormal beings around, it would be easy for him to feel entitled, yet that is not how he is and the isolation that he seems to feel because of who he is, is wearing him down.  Watching Layke with Aspen was fun and you can’t help but root for them.  It is not surprising that the bond between them forms so fast or that they can’t stand to be parted from each other.  One of the things I liked about this story is the fact that Layke goes into more detail about mates, explaining things that the others no longer remember.

There is some disturbing news regarding The Hive’s activities and what they have done to Aspen.  While in some ways this is shocking, it is something the characters, as well as the readers, should have seen coming.  The author hints at some upcoming changes and I am interested in seeing what she has planned.

Primal Instincts is a great addition to this series, and while some of the books can be read as stand alones, I would recommend reading them in order so that you can receive the whole impact of the world in which the series exists.

What You Do To Me: A Breathe Epilogue


Author: Sloan Parker
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-62300-359-3
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

An accident that almost psychologically destroyed Lincoln, as much as it did Jay, brought them together. Mutual grief evolved into mutual love, giving both men a second chance to find happiness.  

What You Do To Me: A Breathe Epilogue is a brief update to the main characters first introduced in the excellent novel Breathe. By taking a day at a time, Lincoln and Jay are moving beyond the guilt, along with the pain, of their tumultuous past together. Jay and Lincoln are now living together, sharing a strong loving bond plus working towards a happier future. To learn all about Jay and Lincoln, I suggest you read the truly heartwarming story Breathe first.   

Freeing Demitri’s Wolf


Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-498-1
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, May/December Romance, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Kiernan is beginning to wonder if his obsession with the young waiter at the diner is the sign of a mid-life crisis or something more.  When he finds out Demitri returns his feelings, he wonders if the young man is just who he needs in his life.  Then he learns Demitri’s secret and wonders just what he’s gotten himself into.

Freeing Demitri’s Wolf is the newest book in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series. I really love this story.  Kiernan is a strong, dominating character.  While he doesn’t advertise the fact that he’s gay, he doesn’t hide it either.  Demitri, on the other hand, is a bit submissive and while his family knows he’s gay, they just think it’s a phase.  The chemistry between the two men is strong and the sex between them heat up the pages.  These two make a great couple but Kiernan is human and has no idea of the paranormal world, which means things aren’t going to go well. 

The author really throws a lot of twists and turns into this story, keeping the reader very entertained.  The way in which Kiernan acts when he finds out about Demitri is understandable.  However, I like that he doesn’t drag his feet when it comes to accepting the shifter.  There are a few new characters introduced in the book, and I had to laugh when Kiernan’s daughter meets Demitri for the first time.  There are also a few old characters popping up to help the two men along the way.

Freeing Demitri’s Wolf is a fun, hot story and I am sure fans of this author will enjoy this new one.  If you have yet to try anything by this author and like the shape-shifter genre, then I would strongly suggest giving this series a try.

A Betting Man


Title: A Betting Man
Author: Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925031-05-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Kent Samson’s competitive nature would not allow him to decline a challenge proposed by his best friend and co-worker. So when the next person to walk into his office is a male instead of a female, Kent is determined to win Terry Barron as well as the bet.

A Betting Man is a well-paced romantic comedy. All of the characters are humorous, intelligent and genuinely engaging. The storyline is written in both Kent’s and Terry’s point of view. Kent is a high performance driven man, who is a little ashamed of his humble background. His material lifestyle is a testament to his success. Even the prominent women Kent dated was self promoting with sexual benefits for him. Although, Kent had never dated a man before, he is not gender premeditated. Dating Terry is the first time Kent formed an emotional connection with any of his dates, as well as desiring to have an actual long-term relationship.

Terry is a naturally easy going gay man who desires to be loved for the intuitive individual that he is, rather than the image his family has chosen for him. Because of his secret, Terry is cautious on the subject of his background. Also, Terry constantly makes a conscious effort to control his pronunciation, something he has in common with Kent.

One of the key highlights of A Betting Man is Kent’s expressive forward thinking parents. Their intelligent Christian views blended with Southern charm is refreshingly heartwarming. Kent was concerned his parents would condemn a same sex relationship. However, just the opposite was true; both parents welcomed Terry with open arms, immediately acknowledging Terry as an unofficial son-in-law.

Sandrine Gasq-Dion has created an excellent saga that is extremely enjoyable.  A Betting Man illustrates the typical chaos of building a loving liaison regardless of the sexual characteristics of the couple. 

Doc Featherstone’s Return


Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-515-5
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Joshua knows that the young hawk shifter is someone he could come to care about. However, his family believes shifters, and especially those in their family, should stay pure.  If they ever found out that his mate was not only a hawk, but also a man, they would disinherit him in a minute.  It’s not until the infirmary at Coalition Headquarters is attacked and both he and Ash are injured, that Joshua starts to see things differently.

Doc Featherstone’s Return is the latest book in Ms. Hecht’s ongoing series, The Lost Shifters.  The story picks up shortly after the attack on the infirmary and everyone is trying to get back to normal.  Ash, who was badly injured during the attack, isn’t doing so well.  Unable to walk or shift, Ash has given up and those around him are starting to worry.  While what Ash is going through is rough, I liked that the author chose to let him go through the same feelings as a human rather than letting him heal right away. 

Joshua, while not as hurt as Ash, is also injured, but rather than stay with the Coalition, he goes home to recuperate.  This causes even more problems with Ash and when members of the coalition decide it’s time for the Doctor to return, they send Shane to fetch him.  Regardless of what he is doing, Shane always has me laughing and seeing him interact with Joshua was no different. 

Just because the Doc returns does not mean things go smoothly for the two men.  Joshua has a lot of misunderstandings to clear up before things look like they can even develop for him and Ash.  Once they do get together, however, the chemistry that has always simmered below the surface really heats up.  These two make a good pairing and I like that the Doc is so possessive of Ash, given Ash’s history.

While there is no major battle in Doc Featherstone’s Return, there is a surprising enemy.  This little twist was not one I saw coming and was actually shocked that the author took things in that direction.  I felt bad for all those involved.  The author does bring up the possibility of new characters joining not only this series, but also its spinoff, The Wayne County Wolves and I am curious as to who will be showing up.

While it is not necessary to read all the books in this series in order, I would highly recommend it.

Astronomical


Title: Astronomical
Author: Silvia Violet
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-62300-298-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Blake Theriot had given up on finding the man of his dreams; the last time Blake was in a relationship was two years ago. When Professor Greg MacIntyre moves in next door, Blake realizes Greg is his dream man. Unfortunately, Blake cannot seem to gather up the courage to actually have a conversation with Greg.

Astronomical is a budding romance story. The character description is very amusing. Blake is an extremely tidy man who was forced to adjust his routine when his adolescent niece needed a part time sitter, plus Blake adopted an abandoned dog who grew to be large and messy. The one issue Blake has yet to overcome is giving up sexual control to his partners.  On the other hand, Greg is exceptionally adaptable; he has no control issues when it comes to intimacy. 
       
Silvia Violet has created a delightful saga. I especially enjoyed Blake’s niece’s manipulations of Blake and Greg.


Reader Advisory: Spankings, Light BDSM 

Haunted Wolves


Author: Moira Rogers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-443-9
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 07-09-13

Lorelei is emotionally wounded—broken and she doesn’t know if she’ll get better. Her life’s a mess and all she has left is the members of her pack. They’re getting used to a new home and have a new alpha pair to care for them. All the changes are exhausting but getting settled makes her feel safe, yet given her time to think about what she’s lost and that’s painful. 

Colin’s an enforcer and he’s spent the last decade on the move. He never thought about staying in one place but being with Lorelei opens him to feelings he’s never had before. He wants her in his bed but when dangerous magic begins swirling around their pack lands, all Colin’s protective instincts come to the surface. Can two wounded wolves win against the magic threatening them or will the darkness swallow them both?

Haunted Wolves is the second release in Moira Rogers Green Pines series. It takes up shortly after the first book left off, so they should be read in order.

There’s a lot to like about this book and that includes two great main characters in Colin and Lorelei. These two are broken by past circumstances but because the author did a good job building their personalities and backgrounds, it’s easy to understand them. It’s not their fault but…talk about two messed up lives. I sometimes didn’t think they’d ever be able to shed the darkness of the past and take a chance on a future together. The doom and gloom following them is nicely written and plotted but fewer depressing scenes would’ve been nice.

The story’s full of pain, fear and angst, not from just these two but from the entire pack, and problems have followed them to their new home. There are plenty of wonderful secondary characters that really add zing to the story, vivid descriptions bring their new home to life, the pace is steady from start to finish and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing.  I can’t wait to see what secrets are revealed in the next book. Watch for it. 

Collared Souls


Author: Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781623805166
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Todd and Nick are trying to make their way to safety but, with the military on their tail, they know they need luck on their side.  Unfortunately, things don’t seem to be going the men’s way.  Now they just have to figure out who to trust.  Again.

When this newest story in the Chained Heart series starts, Nick and Todd are still on the run and, as the reader would expect, it’s not long before the action starts.  Like the other stories, the author pulls the reader right back into Nick and Todd’s world from the first page and keeps the reader entranced until the last page.  I must admit that, while I like the action these two seem to constantly find themselves in, I really want to see them find their happily ever after. 

I liked catching up with these two and can’t get over the trouble they seem to find themselves in.  Of course the author takes advantage of this to bring back many past characters.  While some of these characters are obviously bad and the reader will have no problems disliking them, it was Todd’s father that drove me a little crazy.  More than once I wanted to smack him for his attitude towards Nick.  There are many twists and turns during the course of the story, with a few surprises thrown in along the way.  While all this made the story fun to read, one of the things I enjoyed more was the background info the author threw in. 

Although the author had already explained that many of the issues facing the world the men live in is a result of the eruption of the super volcanos, I always wondered if that was all.  In Collared Souls the author goes into deeper detail about what caused the changes and why some things are so different now.  I felt doing this filled in some blank spots in the story’s history, making for a richer read.

Fans of this series are sure to love the new addition.  Readers do need to know that this is a series that must be read in order.  

Dante Burning


Title: Dante Burning
Author: Amanda Steiger
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: changelingpress.com/
BIN: 06333-02035
Genre: {M/M} Shape-shifters
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Waking up with a hangover is not the answer to cat shifter Dante’s problem. But staying out all night getting drunk is the only way Dante can control his animal’s urge to pounce on his human best friend and roommate, Devin.

Dante Burning is an emotional friend-to-lover romance. Dante and Devin have been friends since childhood. Dante is the self appointed protector of Devin, who is shy as well as a gifted artist. Discovering the love each felt was mutual, Dante and Devin are overjoyed. Nevertheless, Dante wanted to take their new relationship slow, he understood his animal side was too sexually aggressive for a gentle human. However, Dante is surprised by Devin’s desire to experience a little kink in their intimacy. Now the only issue Dante and Devin faced was gaining acceptance from Devin’s parents.

Amanda Steiger has created a heartwarming and enjoyable saga.

Dylan’s Witch


Author: Jory Strong
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Publisher URL: www.ellorascave.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781419920233
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Getting tied down to one woman isn’t in Detective Dylan Archer’s plans for his life. Not even after he meets Seraphine, a beautiful witch who is supposed to be his heartmate. He’d rather keep to his bachelor ways than be tied down, but Dylan can’t deny his inability to stop thinking about her, either. There’s a serial killer on the loose and Dylan’s on the hunt. When Seraphine’s targeted, he’s forced to deal with his conflicted feelings, and has stop a killer before it’s too late. For both of them.

Dylan’s Witch is the newest release in Jory Strong’s Supernatural Bonds series.  Due to the recurring characters and intertwined friendships, the books should be read in order.

This is a good blending of a paranormal-based serial killing and the romance between Dylan and Seraphine. It’s surprisingly well-balanced and manages to smoothly interject many of the characters from the previous books. It’s nice seeing these people again, but I could have done with fewer points of view.

The prologue detracted from the beginning for me—it made it drag a bit—but then I’m not a big fan of big scenes from the villain’s viewpoint either and here, there were plenty. Overall the pace is fast, there’s vivid imagery and magic is well placed throughout the plot. We’re given a good introduction to Serephine’s sister and niece but there’s several loose threads left dangling that I assume will be handled in a future release.

Dylan and Seraphine are interesting and I wish I could say I liked Dylan more but his continual refusal—almost until the end—to accept Seraphine and the paranormal is just annoying.

Compromises for his Moose


Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-518-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Adam and the rest of Kontra’s pack are still visiting the family of the pack’s newest mate.  Wanting some time to himself, Adam heads out to the woods for a little cat nap.  The last thing he expected to find was a couple of young shifters, or that their older brother would turn out to be his mate.

Compromises for his Moose is the eleventh addition to the Kontra’s Menagerie series.  Most of the pack members have found their mates, which is leaving Adam feeling a little jealous.  This is something that is totally understandable and while it does not play a big part in the book, I think the story would have come across as unrealistic if he wasn’t.  Adam begins to wonder if he’ll ever find his mate, so the fact that he does means he’s willing to do anything to keep him.  Some readers may have a problem with the instant connection the main characters in these stories have, but this is one of the points I like, so the fact that Adam was so willing to stay with Noah was not a problem for me. 

Noah is a moose shifter who became the guardian of his younger siblings after the death of their parents.  Noah isn’t very dominating, but when someone tries to abuse his sister, he doesn’t hold back.  Noah is an easy character to like and everyone will be able to understand his need to protect his siblings.  One of the things I like about Ms. Richards series is the variety of shifters that show up.  Noah is the first moose shifter I have ever read about and I wondered if the author planned to show any difference between Noah and the others, other than their animal.  The way she goes about showing the differences was refreshing and I never thought about what kinds of trouble the larger animals could run into if they had to shift inside a building. 

Although there are a few new characters introduced into Compromises for his Moose, a majority of the characters are returns from previous books.  I always like when these guys show up, especially if the new character comes from a pack that does not approve of same sex pairings.  While there is some action in this story, the issues are cleared up right away. 

Compromising for his Moose is a fast-paced read that is sure to be enjoyed by many of the author’s fans.  While this could be considered a stand-alone, it would be beneficial to read the books in order so that you can get a full understanding of the characters.