Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rarely Pure and Never Simple

Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02013-0161
Genre: {M/M} Futuristic Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

There are times when opposite personalities attract, work well together and even fall in love. Damien Hazelwood is a people finder. Blaze Emerson can start fires with just a thought. Both men have been contracted by the Guild to work together to locate missing children. 

Rarely Pure and Never Simple is the first book in the Variant Configurations series. The exciting plot has an earth in the future setting. Conspiracies, treachery as well as greed are the major theme. DNA manipulations have advanced into creating a large percentage of gifted children known as Variants. The cause of these altered genetics and the side effects exhibited is unknown. The Variants are feared by some, rejected or simply tolerated by others. The fear factor seems to be the prominent reaction regarding the Variants.

The characters are exceptionally realistic. Damien is a highly intelligent extremely neurotic man; even the simplest task requires a ritual of repetition. Human contact can provoke a killing rage in Damien, which explains why he is a recluse. Nevertheless, upon first meeting, Damien right away trusts Blaze. In fact Damien finds comfort in Blaze’s company. Blaze is an exceedingly intelligent man who hides his intellect beneath a volatile temper. Blaze has zero tolerance for foolish people. Blaze is an intimidating combatant to everyone except Damien. Blaze and Damien mesh well with each other in every aspect.

Angel Martinez has created a magnificent action saga that I enjoyed immensely. The characters are incredibly engaging. I especially enjoyed the snarky dialogue exhibited mainly by Blaze.  Rarely Pure and Never Simple is an amazing blend of mystery, humor, pandemonium as well as a budding romance

Crashing the Comicon

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-732-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Seb can’t believe he is forced to take a commercial flight to do Vampire Council business.  While trying to get settled, he smells something, or someone, enticing.  Once he realizes his mate is on the plane he can’t wait to stretch his legs a little.  After seeing the sexy young man, Seb is left with little choice but to detour to Vegas.

Crashing the Comicon is the latest story in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series.  In this newest story, one of the main characters, Seb, is a vampire.  When he meets his mate, he is surprised but anxious to make the connection.  What he does not plan on is having to try so hard to woe the young man.  Dirk, on the other hand, is a human, one who does not know about the existence of paranormal creatures.  Or so Seb thinks. 

Dirk really makes Seb work for the connection between the two of them.  I can understand his fears, especially when he finds out that Seb is not human.  The fact that the vampire does not give up, and looks for ways to show the young man that not all paranormals are the same, makes him an even more likeable character.  I love the chemistry the main characters in these stories always have, and the connection between these two is hot, and I love the way Seb brings Dirk out of his shell.

New secondary characters are introduced, and a possible new pairing is among them.  Of course, there are a few intense moments when a monster from Dirk’s past shows up, but with friends there to help, all goes well.  

Although I suggest reading these books in order, it is possible to read Crashing the Comicon by itself. 

Velvet Whip

Title:  Velvet Whip
Author:  VJ & Sierra Summers
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419947919
Genre: {M/F}, BDSM, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Stephen is excited to be working with Ginger, but concerned because he is attracted to her.  Ginger knows he can give her what she wants.

The third book of the Velvet Scenes series, Velvet Whip, is a demonstration about whipping a masochistic sub properly.  The authors made a point of asking for safe words and what things were hard limits for that particular scene.  

The authors goes into a fairly good description of the subspace that some submissives get when things come together for them.  Stephen’s specialty is using a whip without breaking skin.  The care that Stephen takes as he is whipping her is also showcased.

Both Stephen and Ginger are attracted to each other, but Ginger considers Stephen a player and Stephen thinks that Ginger could be the one woman to make him want more, so he avoids her.  Once they actually work together, the chemistry is intense. 

Each story in this series can be read alone.  Each is a scene happening within Club Velvet Ice and is a good demonstration of different aspects of BDSM.

A White Coat Is My Closet

Author: Jake Wells
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-255-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Dragon Minx

Being in the final year of his pediatric residency doesn’t leave Zack Sheldon much time for a personal life. He’s too busy taking care of sick kids to do little more than spend an afternoon at the gym. That doesn’t mean he can’t admire a sexy guy when he sees him. Unfortunately, Zack’s too personally insecure to think a man like Sergio Quartulli would be interested in him.

It’s only by accident they meet at the pool and Zack’s shocked when Sergio agrees to a date. Suddenly they’re spending time together and before he knows it, they’re a couple. It doesn’t mean after living his life in the closet that Zack’s comfortable with the idea of his co-workers at the hospital knowing he’s gay. Sergio’s not happy with the lies but is willing to give him time to work through his issues, but Zack doesn’t have much time. An unforeseen circumstance forces him to make a decision—and he has to make it now.

A White Coat is My Closet is the first book by new author Jake Wells. Coming from the medical world I’m always worried a book in a hospital setting won’t’ reflect the reality of what goes on within its walls. Sick patients and how they are dealt with—both good and bad, and the suffering they experience are often glossed over to the detriment of the story. Not in this case. As a practicing physician, Jake Wells handles these issues nicely—with care, compassion and finesse—allowing the characters and the plot to grow and develop as the story progresses. It also gives the reader a chance to think and reflect on what’s going on—how similar situations could impact their life. Can you tell? I enjoy books that make me think and that aren’t necessarily easy to get through. 

I enjoyed the imagery, especially the detailed scenes with sick little Christopher. Talk about tear-jerker pages. It was difficult to get through those, but I loved the humor and kindness shown in how to deal with a scared child. Very nicely done. The pace is smooth, there’s great banter between Sergio and Zack and their personality development is good. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised but the crisis in the later portion caught me totally off-guard. I couldn’t stop reading. Zack’s a mess in a lot of ways and he’s definitely not an ideal ‘hero’ but he’s also portrayed as a real person. I hope you enjoy him as much as I did. 

Saving Sonny James

Author: Lou Sylvre
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-249-8
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Luki and Sonny have returned home from their honeymoon.  Things did not go as the two had planned and now Luki is suffering the consequences.  Sonny has tried to help his husband in every way possible but when Luki gives up trying and Sonny is offered a chance to do a show in Europe, he goes.  Only things are not what they seem and Sonny has to hope his husband will find him in time.

Saving Sonny James is the newest addition to the Vasquez and James series.  This story picks up shortly after the end of the last story.  The two men are back from their honeymoon, which was anything but normal.  The results have a lasting effect on both men.  The author does a wonderful job covering the difficult topic of PTSD.  The way Luki behaves, and the way in which Sonny tries to deal with everything, is very true to form.  Kudos to the author for covering all aspects of this issue, and not just making Luki angry at times.  Although a tough topic, I like that it adds a realistic feel to the story.

Even with everything the two men are going through, the love they have for each other continues to shine through.  The connection and chemistry that was present from the time of their first meeting is just as strong now.  Of course there is a mystery woven throughout this story just as there was for each of the previous books.  While Sonny is at the center this time, I am glad that the author did not go into graphic detail and, in fact, the author moves this part of the story along at a nice pace. 

This is one of those series where the characters really pull you in from the beginning.  With each new book, I hope that this time Sonny and Luki will finally find their happily ever after, while at the same time hoping the author has more books planned for the future.  The Vasquez and James series is one that needs to be read in order.  Before reading Saving Sonny James, please make sure you have read the previous books so you get the full impact of the characters and what they are going through. 

Training

Title: Training
Author: Sean Michael, Julia Talbot, and BA Tortuga
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-593-5
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Ursa Minor by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga - 4.5 Nymphs
Bear shifter Dakota is distressed because he can no longer see how to do his job properly at Bloodrose, so owner Jonny takes Dakota to Cereus, a resort also owned by Jonny. Dakota will be trained as a Private cabin attendant for grizzly bear shifter Cord. However, Cord and Dakota soon discover they share more than a work relationship; Dakota and Cord are mates. Cord is no longer a grumpy bear in seclusion and Dakota is learning to relax, in addition to enjoy being a bear protected by Cord.  

Heaven and Hell by Sean Michael - 4 Nymphs (Light BDSM)
Cast down to Earth in a mortal’s body, angel Uri could only feel despair until demon Quake taught and trained Uri to take pleasure in the sensuality of mortal ecstasy.

Weed and Feed by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga - 4 Nymphs (Light BDSM)
Vampire Cian is ready to cut short his stay at Cereus resort until he saw rowdy gardener werewolves Terry and Boone sharing the benefits of their friendship. Wolf Alpha Jackson had an interest in Terry and Boone. Together in Cian’s room, the four men spent a most pleasurable evening teaching Terry and Boone about control. 

Jonny’s Epilogue
Jonny is an ancient vampire, business owner as well as a matchmaker. Jonny considers his employees and close friends as family, always willing to help them anyway he can. When Jonny receives a phone call from Cereus manager Duke, Jonny is happy with the positive updates. Business is going so well that Jonny is opening another resort in the south of France. 

Overall, the stories are impressive as well as enjoyable. The Cereus series, beginning with Cereus: Building, is a spin-off from Julia Talbot’s Bloodrose series.

Love Betrayed

Title:  Love Betrayed
Author:  Samantha Kane
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:   9781419946646
Genre:  {M/M}, Regency, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

During the war between England and France, Daniel and Harry met and started an affair.  Harry has secrets and they could drive them apart.

The latest story in the Brothers in Arms series, Love Betrayed, is the story of Daniel and Harry, whose story will continue in the next book

The men meet under some dire circumstances in the middle of a war. Harry was sent to war by his father in order to get rid of his liking for men. He never thought he would find someone to love in the middle of a war.  Daniel is jaded and uses sex after his missions to unwind.  Harry was something unexpected.  The scenes between the two men are explosive and they have a lot of chemistry.  I was a little surprised by Daniel’s reaction when Harry left, but I understand he has a hard time letting his feelings out.

Several of the secondary characters give both a hard time.  The intrigue going on around everyone makes for some hard feelings, as well as lots of revelations.  Most of them went out of their way to manipulate Daniel. 

I am looking forward to reading more about these two men, as I fell in love with Daniel.  The stories in this series can be read alone, but I recommend readers read the series in order to get the most out of the stories.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Isherwood

Title: Isherwood
Author: Missy Welsh
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61124-508-0
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Cas has been on the run from his pack for awhile now.  Tired and hungry, he finds himself in Isherwood.  While walking through town, something forces him to shift.  Stunned, he ends up getting hit by a car, which then leads to meeting Finn, his mate.  Cas is not sure what is going on, but he can’t help wondering if these changes are for the better, or if he will be hurt again.

Isherwood is the newest story by author Missy Welsh.  Fans of the shape-shifter sub-genre are sure to love this story, as the world that Ms. Welsh created is a refreshing change from the norm.  While the characters may be a human and a werewolf, there is just something about them that really makes the story.  I liked their connection, and seeing the strength of the mating bond, especially in the beginning when Finn has no idea what was going on, had me rooting for the couple.  While the men’s relationship is the primary focus of Isherwood, there is a side story that is just as important.

The town of Isherwood has been under a change lately, a change that has a deep impact on all the residents.  As the story unravels, and more about the town is revealed, I found myself anxious to see how things would turn out.  There are a couple of gory moments in the story but they are important to the plot.  It is also during this time that more about Finn’s family, as well as his brother-in-law, is revealed. 

There are also a lot of wonderful secondary characters in Isherwood that play important roles in the story.  Some of these characters call for stories of their own and I hope that the author has follow up stories planned. 

Isherwood is a well done story, one that fans of this author should not miss.  It is also a great starting point if you have not yet given this author a try.

Duke Betrayed

Author: Amber Kell
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78184-840-1
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Duke Hellbur would never betray his people, so being accused of selling Thresls is horrifying. The accusation makes him determined to prove his innocence and find those responsible before his enemies can destroy him. That’s not his only problem. He’s barely hanging onto his humanity, but when he scents his mate, the Duke knows if he completes their bond he has a chance of finding his betrayers and having a future.

Balaze is happy with his life as a medic and after losing his first mate, taking a second isn’t in his plans, but he can’t deny his attraction to the Duke either. The two men must learn to work as a team as they go off-world on a dangerous manhunt. If they don’t become a united couple, they could end up dead.

Duke Betrayed is the newest release in Amber Kell’s Thresl Chronicles series. Because it closely follows recurring characters and has an ongoing plotline, I recommend the books be read in order. 

I’m happy to say I enjoyed this one. I found Duke Betrayed fun and entertaining and I love learning a little more about the Thresl world with each new book. The pace is steady, the imagery good and the personality development of Balaze and Hell is nicely done. I like these men. They’ve both lost mates in the past, making them unique in how they feel about the idea of mating again. Being ‘widowers’ isn’t something I expected but I appreciate nonetheless. These two are in reality perfectly matched and while on the surface their story might not seem like a great romance, in reality their depth of feeling makes it one. So, good job, Ms. Kell. I can’t forget about the betrayal of Hell as the conspiracies in the kingdom grow larger. I can’t wait to see what happens next with that plot line. Oh, and then there’s Saint….and the mate he’s stalking. I’m anxious to read their story.

Second Chance to Mate

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-713-5
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

The curse that has weighed heavily over Aaric’s family has finally been lifted.  Unfortunately, it comes too late for Aaric who has already met his mate, but did not claim her because of the curse.  But then Aaric picks up a scent and can’t help hoping that maybe fate is giving him another chance.

Kontra’s Menagerie and it’s sister series were built on the concept of each shifter having only one true mate. However, the author switches that up a little and in a way that makes total sense and opens both series up to new changes.  Second Chance to Mate, the fourteenth story in the Kontra’s Menagerie series, once again visits the Tamang family curse, which was broken in Breaking the Playboy’s Curse

Pulling the readers in from the start with the introduction of Aaric, and later Crain, the author shows the readers some of the collateral damage done by the Tamang curse.  I did wonder how the author would fix the problem of Aaric already having met his mate and I was surprised to learn that his last mate was a female.   I liked how this issue was solved, but could understand Aaric’s reluctance to believe that fate was giving him a second chance. 

Of course this means that while the first meeting between Aaric and Crain is intense, it does not go well and Crain’s reaction is understandable.  Because this is a fast paced story, the author does not keep these two apart for long and the fact that she makes Aaric woo Crain works well.  Once they come together, they burn up the pages, and Aaric’s introduction to gay sex is really hot, so be prepared.  

Second Chance to Mate is another well done story by this author, and one fans of the series should not miss. 

Desire Unmatched

Author:   Lynne Silver 
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419948053
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Xander swore he would never claim his match as long as his father is alive since his childhood was nothing but training and emotional abuse.  Emma knows she’s his match, but doesn’t understand why he is resisting their match. 

The fourth book in the Coded for Love series is the best of the series, so far.  Desire Unmatched brings two people together, one that spent months in captivity and one that is considered an ice machine.  There is resolution to part of the situation that has been dogging the genetic program, but it also creates a new problem involving terrorists.

I loved seeing the way Xander’s fellow soldiers supported him, even before he started changing, after finally getting together with Emma.  Some of the younger ones even started asking for his advice.  I was happy that he finally was able to stand up to his father, a man I wanted to slap. 
                                                                                                      
Once Emma and Xander get together, there are a few bumps, but things eventually smooth out.  Due to Xander’s history, the twist that Emma ends up teaching him how to make love to her is different, but very touching.  Xander is so sweet in these scenes, but his natural dominance does eventually assert itself as things progress. 

To get the best of this series, you need to read the stories in order.  I am looking forward to the next one.

One Perfect Night

Author: Christiane France 
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-502-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

One night of bliss generates lasting impressions for Paul and Nico.

One Perfect Night is part of the London Calling series. A chance meeting between strangers, yet both feel that special something that draws them together. This is the theme of the London Calling series. The characters are creditable.

In this installment, Paul and Nico’s morning after causes both men regret for not exchanging contact information. Nevertheless, another chance meeting resolves the contact problems. But the main issue is learning about each other, as well as learning to compromise. Paul is of the opinion that they are in lust, while Nico believes he feels love.   
Christiane France’s One Perfect Night is a delightfully sensual as well as very enjoyable romantic short story.