Monday, November 11, 2013

Bondage Slave for Hire

Author:  Laura Tolomei
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-77111-718-0
Genre:  {M/F, M/M/M, M/F/M/M} BDSM, GLBT, Holiday, Paranormal
Rating: Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Lilly loves being a bondage slave.  When she saw Terry, then his two lovers, she decided they were the only ones that could be her masters.  What she didn’t know is what price she would have to pay if she wanted to live beyond Halloween.

Bondage Slave for Hire is the first book I’ve read by author Laura Tolomei and it won’t be my last.  Ms. Tolomei was very creative in her picture of slaves in this particular bondage club, with everything working toward one night of the year.  This story was very original, and not like anything I have read before.

As the story progresses, readers will start to get an inkling of what Julian and Andre are, but still won’t have a clue about Terry until the end. I was extremely surprised about Halloween night and how descriptive the author was, which borders on horror.

The chemistry, and later love, between the four main characters is apparent. The fact that Lilly was willing to do what she did could only have been done for love, even as she was being told she was not supposed to love the three men.

Secondary characters come and go, but each contribute to the story in their own way.  Readers will love some and hate others, but all add to the story and Lilly’s experiences with Terry, Julian and Andre.  

Some things can be disturbing in this story, but everything that happens is geared toward Halloween Night and the ritual that happens.  Those of us familiar with different BDSM lifestyles may cringe at some things, but in this case the scenes are warranted.  Kudos to Ms. Tolomei for Bondage Slave for Hire.

Touché

Title: Touché
Authors: A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly
Publisher: Silver Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 9781622320684
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Marco Dellburn loves his job as a US Marshall but his life is a mess. The man he loves, Sam Channing, is the leader of a motorcycle biker gang and Marco recently got caught in an ambush, causing him to get hooked on pain medication. He’s afraid of losing his job, his lover and even friends if his dependency is discovered.  To make matters worse, Sam is put in terrible danger when he agrees to go undercover for the Marshall Service to bring down a Columbian drug cartel.  Can these two survive and find a way to be together or will drugs and danger drive them apart…or get them killed?

Touché is the latest release in AJ Llewellyn & DJ Manly’s Orgasmic Texas Dawn series. This book is part of an ongoing series and must be read in sequence in order to understand the relationships and plotline.

I thought the other two couples that we met previously in this series had it rough but the pairing of a Marshal and a biker leader is the most unusual yet. The uncertainty and turmoil facing these two means the authors have to get particularly creative to get Marco and Sam together. Never fear, it happens but I have to admit that I’m not as excited about Touché as I was some of the others. I like seeing many of the returning characters, but the story seems a bit disjointed in places, while in other it flows smoothly. 

There’s plenty of action scattered throughout and I was particularly surprised about the ambush scenes where Marco is injured. It’s a nice twist and its repercussions play well throughout the remainder of the story. Marco and Sam admitting their feeling for each other is nice but they spend most of the story apart and Marco plays the jealousy card well. My complaint is the unsatisfying end to the cartel plotline. Because of all the stuff going on with Marco during this time, we miss the wrap-up with Sam and what went on with the drug cartel in South America. I was disappointed to miss it. 

The Demon's Blood

Author: RJ Scott
Publisher: Extasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-77111-664-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Blood demon Asherkan Iblis and mountain lion shifter Simeon Blue have been part of the underground movement to restore equality in the kingdom for a long time, but it was not until they were selected for a mission together that the two men realized they were fated to be together.

The Demon's Blood is the fourth book in the Supernatural Bounty Hunters series. In this episode, the underground is moving ever closer to taking down the minions of Ludvik’s black magic. Long ago, magic had been banned from the kingdom. Those with powers hid their magic. However, Ludvik's hunger for absolute control motivated the resurrection of evil.

The stemma of being a slave, as well as keeping his true identity a secret, has taken an emotional toll on Asher. He feels inferior to the other species because of his slave status. Blood demons are treated as disposable objects, so Asher doubts Simeon is genuinely attracted to him. Simeon also is at a loss regarding his unusual yearning to be permanently bonded with Asher. Nevertheless, the time spent together in hiding reveals Asher and Simeon are preordained mates. 

RJ Scott has created another exciting and very enjoyable installment to this series which is best read in sequence starting with The Vampire Contract.

I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore

Author: Jet Mykles
Publisher: MLR Press
Publishers URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR1020130145
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Dustin is a hard-working architect who does not have time for relationships; that’s where the occasional one night stand comes in.  When he gets talked into attending a party with his sister, he doesn’t expect to find someone who will change his life forever. 

Fans of Jet Mykles are sure to love her newest release, I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore.  The story is about two men who can’t seem to get over each other.  Dustin is the younger brother of a gay romance writer.  When she needs someone to attend a party with her, he’s there for her.  While there, he sees someone that holds his attention the whole night.  Bryce is a young man who has yet to settle on just what he wants out of life, other than a lot of sex.  He finds himself just as drawn to Dustin as Dustin is to him.  From there the story will take the reader on a wild ride as Dustin and Bryce try to fight their feelings for each other.

It is easy to understand why Bryce felt like he wasn’t good enough for Dustin.  He works several part-time jobs, doesn’t have any real plans for the future and loves to party.  Dustin, on the other hand, is older, is settled in his career and has his own home.  They are total opposites, yet the chemistry between them cannot be denied.  Although I liked that the author kept the characters wondering about how their lives are changing because of meeting each other, I was close to tears when Bryce set out to become more adult in order to be what Dustin wants and needs.  Dustin did drive me a little crazy, however, with the way he stresses about the age difference between the two of them, especially since it is really not that much.

I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore also has a wide variety of secondary characters. While most are supportive of the two men, there are a couple of people that needs to be thumped upside the head.  

This story is fast-paced and will pull you in from the beginning.  The characters are engaging while the story keeps you wanting to see what will happen next.  Not only is this story one the author’s fans are sure to love, but it makes a greater starter story for those thinking of dipping their toes into the m/m genre.

Taming the Enforcer’s Flirt

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-705-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Cornelius Roister doesn’t believe in being in the closet. He’s a bit of flirt, using his teasing nature to keep control when guys show an interest in him, without getting close enough to get hurt again. This tactic work fine until he visits his friend Gus and meets his mate, Einan, a gargoyle enforcer. His flirtatious nature isn’t understood or appreciated by his new mate, leading to more than one argument. Can he and Einan learn to talk through their issues or will their mating fail?

Taming the Enforcer’s Flirt is the latest release in Charlie Richards’ A Paranormal’s Love series.

Talk about baggage. Cornelius has enough to doom almost any relationship. It’s too bad it interferes with nearly every aspect of his life and truthfully I would have preferred an explanation earlier in the plot. But even so, the author creates a good opposite for him in Einan. This gargoyle mate has a well developed personality—he’s even a bit gruff—but he’s just what Cornelius needs to feel safe. Ms. Richards does a good job expressing their misunderstandings and frustrations—and then there’s the sizzling make-up sex. I can’t forget that. 

I like the pairing of another rhino shifter and a gargoyle. Bringing Cornelius’ ex back at the end of the story is a nice twist. He makes an excellent villain. Those scenes are some of my favorites because of their action and danger, but the resolution seems a bit quick. I’m happy with the introduction of Vane during this section and hope he’ll be featured in a future release. 

Monsters Under the Bed

Author: Susan Laine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62380-072-7
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Private Investigator Sam Garrett is chosen by Mozart Chance to solve the case of Mozart Chance’s death. A possible murder with four suspects, one of the suspects happens to be Sam’s live-in lover Rex Ford.

Monsters Under the Bed is the fourth book in the Lifting the Veil series. The multifaceted plot is well written. The characters are creditable. Sam and Ford are former detectives. After resigning from the San Francisco police force, Ford became a landscape artist, while Sam chose to be a P.I. Sam is well suited for his line of business, he has perfect recall, is ambidextrous, a speed-reader as well as highly developed at solving riddles, even in his dreams. After Ford’s life changing event, Ford is now content to love and be loved by Sam in addition to tending his gardens.

As the mystery unfolds Sam realizes that the monsters are not always of the mystical variety waiting to terrify individuals. Humans can be monsters hiding in plain sight until they reveal the evil lurking behind their pleasant facade. One of the suspects is a monster willing to commit murder for Mozart "Mo" Chance’s fortune. However, Monsters Under the Bed also features interludes of sizzling intimacy between Sam and Ford as well as a brief moment of humor brought on by a random cupid attack. 

Susan Laine has created a superb romantic suspense saga blending engaging characters with an exceptionally enjoyable detailed plot.

Jaguar, Be Mine

Title:  Jaguar, Be Mine
Author:  Ju Dimello
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
ISBN/BIN:  9781419946714
Genre:  {M/F} Paranormal, Shape-shifters
Rating:  3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Karintha Montreaux  has no desire for a mate in her life, especially one who was being forced on her.  She’d worked hard taking care of her pack and didn’t appreciate being doubted.  Just because she has a soft spot for Xander doesn’t mean she plans on giving in to the desire she’s been hiding.

Xander Steele is finally getting his chance with the woman he’s been in love with since his teen years.  Karintha has never taken him seriously, but now she had no choice.  As much as he wanted forever, Xander was willing to settle for one night if it would make Karintha happy.  It would kill him to leave her, but it was a risk he was willing to take.

Karintha and Xander both feel the undeniable attraction, but Karintha is the least honest about her feelings for Xander.  Granted, she has her reasons, but those reasons could destroy her life and perhaps the lives of her pack if she isn’t careful.  Xander knows that Karintha operates best when she’s in control and he does his best to let her think she is.  There is a bit of a power struggle that leads to some very emotionally raw moments between the couple.  When the walls come down, it’s a beautiful thing. 

Jaguar, Be Mine is a love story that was sitting on the back burner on low for a long time.  Finally things boiled over and turned into something better than expected.  Karintha had moments where she seemed detached, but the more I read, the more I understood why.  I was a bit put out by all the time she wasted and I’m glad that the pack elders jumped in when they did.  Love didn’t come when these two wanted, but it was right on time.  This happy ending is only the beginning for them.

Royal Blood

Title: Royal Blood
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound
ISBN/BIN: 9781781844601
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Spiro had long thought his mate was dead.  When he finds out Nialo has been forced to take the shape of the jaguar that everyone knows as Sema, he is furious and bound to do whatever it takes to free his lover. 

Royal Blood is the fourth, and final, book in the Neo’s Realm series by author Carol Lynne.  Fans of this series have been waiting for this story and I am sure they will not be disappointed.  As followers of this series know, Spiro has been mourning the loss of his mate, who unbeknownst to him, has been stuck in the form of a jaguar.  I was curious to find out how the author planned on bringing these two together and just how Nialo ended up as a jaguar to begin with.  I liked the way the author settled these issues.  I also like the little twists and turns the story took once Nialo was once again human. 

While the romantic relationship between Spiro and Nialo is an important part of the book, I like the side story more.   Finding out why Nialo was a jaguar, what would happen to Morwyn and Faelen and if Zeus would get his comeuppance, really kept my interest and had me turning the pages. 

Royal Blood was a well-done conclusion to this interesting series.  Not only did the author wrap this book up perfectly but ended the series well.  Those who have not tried this series should really pick it up; just remember it is important to read the books in order.  

Halloween in Paradise

Author:   Tianna Xander
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-77111-719-7
Genre:  {M/F/M|, Ménage, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Gabby wants shifter mates, which is why she is still in Paradise, hoping she will find them.  What she doesn’t expect is two sexy Caspian Tigers coming to town and immediately claiming her.  Vincent and Corbin were looking for Paradise, not realizing they would run into Gabby.

The latest story in the Paradise series, Halloween in Paradise, is a fast paced story that brings some new issues to Paradise.  On a mission from Cascade, Corbin and Vincent find their mate unexpectedly, resulting in some revelations they are forced to tell.

I really liked that the author revealed more about how the males in Paradise handle strangers and protecting the women in town.  The fact that if a mate runs instead of accepting a mating and what needs to be done runs true with the new shifters that were introduced.  I also had to laugh at the ‘light bulb’ that went off in Vincent and Corbin’s head when they saw the Halloween costume contest.

The chemistry between Gabby, Vincent and Corbin is intense.  Some of the secondary characters think the men are extremely lucky to have Gabby.  Some of the secondary characters in Paradise still need to find their mate, but this story is also the introduction to a new series, Caspian Cascade, about the Caspian Tigers.  I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Paradise series as well as the new one.

The Trials of Gregg

Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-704-3
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

John loved his life in the Navy.  He worked hard to achieve everything that he has in his life, but after one mistake, turning into his lion form, John finds himself in cuffs.  Taken to a large warehouse, he is unsure what to expect.  After being introduced to the coalition, his life begins to change in more ways than he expected.

The Trials of Gregg is the latest addition to The Lost Shifters series.  In a way this story takes the readers back the series origins, as John is a lost shifter returning to the fold.  I liked this character a lot.  He is tough, what you would expect from a SEAL, yet at the same time he does not try to hide how the changes forced on him unsettle him at times.  Gregg is a good counterpoint for John.  Like John, Gregg is also a shifter, but while he has been a member of the coalition for a while, he can’t help feeling like an outsider at times.  The fact that his father is the “town drunk” does not help either.  Being a member of the coalition’s military force means Gregg is capable of taking care of himself just fine, yet there are times when he would not mind having someone to rely on, which is where John comes in. 

As with past-mated pairs, the connection between John and Gregg is strong from their first meeting.  This does not mean they jump instantly into bed, or that everything between them goes smoothly.  There are numerous obstacles, both personal and professional, that make coming together a bit of a challenge.   Several previous characters show up to give these two men advice, as well as help move the story along.  There are also a couple of action scenes in the story, one of which will make John wonder just what he has gotten himself into.
 
Readers are sure to enjoy this newest addition to Ms. Hecht’s long-running series.  While I think it is helpful to read this series in order, The Trials of Gregg is one book that can be read on its own.

A Ghost Most Elusive

Author: Ally Blue
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61921-763-8
Genre: {M/M} Mystery Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Publication Date: 01-21-2014

Grumpy in life makes for a cantankerous ghost or so it seems to Adrian Broussard and his live-in lover Greg Woodhall. Nevertheless, the ghost provided enough cryptic messages whispered in Greg’s ear to finally find her killer.

A Ghost Most Elusive is the second book in the Mojo Mysteries. The plot builds at a comfortable pace. The setting is North Carolina, near Chapel Hill University where Adrian continues his education. Being snubbed by a ghost is a first for Adrian, particularly since he has the strong psychokinetic abilities to communicate with the dead. Greg performs at the local theatre, as well as working at the area’s renowned hot dog restaurant. Having a ghost speak to him is also a first for Greg.

Greg is the one who had a casual acquaintance with the elderly lady, as well as being the first to notice something was wrong at her residence. The ghost whispered cryptic messages in Greg’s ear rather than Adrian’s. This caused a few hard feelings between Adrian and Greg. Both men insisted on being the protector of the other, although fear of losing each other was the main source of their verbal skirmishes.

As each clue is decoded, Adrian and Greg’s clandestine investigation draws them ever closer to danger. Nevertheless, they refused to give up until the murderer is exposed.

Ally Blue has created a riveting saga only interrupted by modest examples of a strong loving relationship. Mojo Mysteries is a spinoff from Bay City Paranormal Investigations series. I thoroughly enjoyed A Ghost Most Elusive

The Scarlet Tide

Author: Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-229-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

The only things that change in the life of paranormal investigator, Duncan Andrews, are his cases. His boyfriend’s still a ghost, his best friend’s a witch and he’s still attracted to, but he denies himself the affections of, his friend Nick, a guy who actually has a pulse.

When a man comes to him deeply concerned over the wellbeing of his boyfriend, Duncan has a reason to be distracted from his own messed up life. The case leads him to Indianapolis and the underground rock bank, The Scarlet Tide, and the discovery that the members are all vampires. Duncan needs to destroy the entire group but it’s a dangerous situation that could get him killed. Can Robbie, Gina and Nick give him the help he needs to survive his confrontation or will it get him killed, so he can finally be with his ghostly boyfriend?

The Scarlet Tide is the newest release in Stephen Osborne’s Duncan Andrews Thriller series. Because of the close association of all the recurring characters, the books should be read in order.

I enjoyed this book but still find it difficult to write the review. Not because of problems with the writing but with the direction the personal storyline is going (you’ll see when you read it). I like Duncan and the development of his personality. He’s changed since the first book—gotten more skeptical with life. After all, having a ghost for a boyfriend isn’t easy when they can’t really touch. I don’t know what the author has planned for Robbie but I can’t image the series being the same if he ‘passes into the light’ at some point. Yet, Duncan needs a physical companion—so I feel conflicted—but maybe that’s what the author intended. I admit I’m a little tired of Duncan complaining about his lack of a sex life. What does he expect? His boyfriend doesn’t have a body? 

The investigation part of the story flows well, is interesting and gives the plot plenty of action and danger. Secondary characters are integrated throughout; the vampires are nicely villainous and die well. I’m glad to see that Nick plays a more prominent role and hope to see more of him in the next book. Maybe Mr. Osborne can come up with a way the three guys can be happy together…that would make me happy.

Tristan’s Despair

Author: Lavinia Lewis
Publisher: Totally Bound
ISBN/BIN: 9781781844786
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Tristan has been trying to turn his life around, hoping to make his brother proud.  When he meets his mate, he’s thrilled.  But if Tristan claims him it could cause problems for his pack. 

Tristan’s Despair is the latest addition to the Shifters’ Haven series by author Lavinia Lewis.  The story picks up with Tristan trying to cope with the effects of his attack.  There is also the fact that he and his brother are struggling to get along.  While he hopes to find his mate, he isn’t really holding his breath.  When he does meet the man, not everyone is happy about it.  I was a little surprised by everyone’s reaction to Joey being human and Tristan’s mate at first.  But as the story progressed, I could understand it, as Joey is not only human but a reporter as well.  Both things that could leave the pack open to danger.  What no one knows, however, is that Joey already knows that Tristan, and most likely the others, isn’t human.  The way Joey finds out about Tristan is a refreshing change and one I am sure the readers will like.  Joey’s misconceptions are sure to leave you laughing.

There is chemistry between the two young men and when they come together, they really heat up the pages.  In no way does their relationship go smoothly and the author really had me wondering just how this relationship would play out. 

The men’s relationship is not the only focus of the story.  The author continues a mystery that was introduced in the last book.  The twists that occur are sure to leave the reader guessing, as well as leaves the door open for future stories.  

Tristan’s Despair is a well written story that fans of this author is sure to love.  If you are new to this series, however, I suggest you read the stories in order as there is an underlining thread that runs through the books.