Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hometown Secrets

Author: Dawn Flemington
Publisher: Loose Id
Publishers URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62300-556-6
Genre: {M/M}, Western, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Pete comes from a long line of farmers and ranchers and his family has always put God, country and family before all else.  While he loves them, he is worried about what will happen should they ever find out he is gay.  Although he never plans on them knowing, he also never planned on losing his heart.  When he meets Asher, that is exactly what happens.  Now Pete has some major decisions to make.

Hometown Secrets is my first book by author Dawn Flemington, but it will not be the last.  This is a story that is strongly written, with both the characters and plot pulling the readers in from the first page.  Both Pete and Asher are easy to like and readers will find themselves rooting for the two to find their happily ever after, however, there are also times when I found myself wanting to smack Pete.  It is easy to understand why he needs to keep his feelings for Asher a secret, however, the excuses only work for so long before the reader will start seeing things from Asher’s point of view.  As for Asher, once the readers learn more about his past, they will not be able to help but hope that Pete comes to his senses and starts treating the younger man better. 

While the connection between the two men is strong and when they come together they heat up the pages, their relationship is full of angst.  A lot of the problems the two men face are due to the strong homophobic thread that runs through the town and unfortunately, Pete’s family.  I was surprised by the way this part of the story played out.  While the actions of some of the secondary characters are predictable, others will surprise you.  I could not believe how some of these people behaved, or the lengths they went to in the name of hate.  The author does a wonderful job wrapping this story up in a way that will satisfy the readers. 

I am sure Hometown Secrets will bring the author many new fans and I can’t wait to see what she has planned next.

Velvet Song

Title: Velvet Song
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press Publishers
Publisher URL: www.torquerepress.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61040-618-5
Genre: {M/M} BDSM Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

After a bomb caused massive damage to the Velvet Glove, the club is being rebuilt, only better than before. With the owners living off-site, Hawk and Jester have taken over running the facility, with Efren now as the head trainer. He’s busy but also distracted—dreaming of someone calling him and then he finds Mabon, painting in a training room.

Mabon is a worker brought to the Velvet Glove to apply nano-paint to the repaired walls. Because he’s of the Setian race and sensitive to chemicals and pheromones, Mabon isn’t supposed to interact with the Glove personnel. That doesn’t stop Efren from asking him to dinner. Because of the pull Mabon feels for Efren he agrees, despite his boss’s objection, knowing their caste differences mean will be a problem. Efren doesn’t agree. Can he find a way to convince his new boy that castes don’t matter and at the Glove they can be happy?

Velvet Song is the first release in the new spin-off series, VG Resurrection, by Sean Michael. After the Velvet Glove was bombed, I assumed the world of the premiere BDSM club in the galaxy had come to an end. Imagine my surprise to learn a spin-off had just been released. As a long time reader of the original series, I didn’t know what to expect with a different cast of characters taking over the main roles, but I needn’t have been concerned. Mabon and Efren are great additions to the men living and working at the Velvet Glove. I can’t wait to see who else will follow in future releases.

I like both men but I found Mabon particularly interesting. His background and attitudes is not what I expected and I found the development of this personality very creative. I hope we get the chance to learn more about him and his race as the series progresses. The two men work nicely as a couple and Mabon’s introduction into Efren’s world is handled gently and with care. It’s just a little kinky, so for someone not familiar with BDSM books, this one would be a good first read.

Yes, there are a few typos but my big niggle is how Mabon’s aversion to meat is forgotten. Initially he doesn’t eat meat because his culture believes animals have souls and that’s fine with Efren. Then later they go to the dining hall to eat breakfast and it’s as if it was never mentioned—pork is being eaten. For something made into a character issue—it’s a big oversight.

In Plain Sight

Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-727-2
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

First it was his twin’s, Finn, turn to use his special talents on a mission.  Now Kline is being asked to contribute.  While his older brother, Tate, may be a little more understanding this time around, he is no less overbearing.  But this is the least of Kline’s worries, as the leader on his mission is none other than Zaid, the object of Kline’s lust.

Ms. Hecht’s latest release, In Plain Sight, is the eighth book in the Wayne County Wolves series.  In this story we are introduced to Kline, who like his twin, is an omega with special talents.  Where his twin had an enhanced sense of smell, Kline is able to see in the dark better than any other shifter.  This comes in handy when the mission the young shifter is sent on takes place in some old tunnels. 

We are also re-introduced to Zaid, the leader of a small rag-tag group of shifters who find themselves members of the Wayne County pack.  In this story, Zaid has to come face to face with a monster from his past.  I love shifter stories, particularly when the shifter is something other than the norm.  However, the idea of snake shifters just freaks me out, especially when the shifted animal is larger than normal.  This made it very easy for me to understand Zaid’s need for revenge while at the same time, fearing the moment when he meets up with Obsidian again. 

The story spends a large amount of time on the search for Obsidian, which gives Zaid and Kline time to get to know each other, rather than jumping right into a relationship just because they feel the mating pull.  I liked this little switch up, not only because it gives the readers time to get to learn the characters, but also because it allows Kline to become more of an individual rather than Tate’s little reclusive brother. 

Many of the secondary characters in this story are ones readers may remember from various previous books, however, there are a few new ones introduced.  This, of course, leaves open the possibility of many more stories for the Wayne County Wolves series.  

Fans of this series are sure to enjoy this newest release and, while not all the books need to be read in order, I would strongly recommend it as it allows you to have a wide understanding of both the characters and the issues they face. 

Sabin

Title: Sabin
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781781848418
Genre: {M/M} Shifters Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Freed from a drugged captivity that kept Sabin and his brother in their snow leopard form for almost two years, Sabin’s human form has discovered he has a sweet tooth. In pursuit of donuts, Sabin meets his mate Emmett. Forgetting about the shopping, Sabin and Emmett seek out the nearest motel.

Sabin is the eleventh book in the Leopard’s Spots series. The setting is Colorado Springs. The plot continues with the human trafficking theme. Shady law enforcers, along with their surprising agenda, are revealed. The balance of justified or merciless actions regarding the powerful man of unknown origins is scrutinized. Although the mystery man appears throughout the series, he has not been featured as a main character yet.

The characters are credible. Before meeting his mate, Sabin is mostly content to simply enjoy having his freedom, along with being surrounded by his family. After meeting Emmett, Sabin likes exploring the kinky side of his sexual nature. Emmett grew up in a wealthy family; he was always different from other kids at school because of his unusual eye color. Emmett has other explained traits not found in humans, such as enhanced hearing, smell and strength. He is a loner, as well as addicted to his work. Mating with Sabin not only uncovered Emmett’s true nature, but what it means to be bonded.

Bailey Bradford has created another fascinating episode highlighting corruption, deadly turmoil and intimacy. I particularly enjoy the elements of mystery.


Reader Advisory: Story includes elements of BDSM.

Texas Fandango

Author: Cynthia D’Alba
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-057-7
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 02-02-2014

KC Montgomery has watched and dreamed about Drake Gentry since she was eleven. As the years passed and KC saw him go through one woman after another, and even marry and divorce a good friend, her feelings didn’t change. Now that Drake’s single again, she finally has the chance she’s always wanted—Drake all to herself for two weeks of fun, sun, surf and sex.

After getting dumped by his latest girlfriend, Drake’s left with tickets for a two week island vacation and no one to share it with. He’s shocked when KC volunteers to go along and agrees to her stipulations—no strings and lots of sex. Except when they get home, Drake realizes that he wants strings and everything that goes with them. The question? How to convince KC that a man’s who has been around the bend more than a few times is ready to settle down—with her.

Texas Fandango is the new release in Cynthia D’Alba’s Texas Montgomery Mavericks series. It’s possible to read as a standalone but you’ll get a better understanding of secondary characters and ongoing relationships if read in order. 

At just barely 100 print pages, Texas Fandango is much shorter than the other two books in the series. That means there’s little time for developing a relationship between KC and Drake before their island get-away.  The description of the vacation made me want one and the sex is hot, even if there’s little build-up before they jump into bed. After all—that was the deal. The pacing is smooth, there’s opportunity to meet previous characters, there’s some fun dialogue and even with the short length, both Drake and KC get to have some personal angst time. Unfortunately, all they need to work through their problems is to talk to each other. That means a quick resolution at the end that was pretty painless.

The Case of the Sinful Santa

Authors: Amber Kell and RJ Scott
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781781848548
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

It doesn’t matter that Nick Klauson is Santa’s nephew; he’s tired of feeling like he doesn’t fit in. That’s why he’s sitting in a bar, trying to drown in a bottle of whiskey when a gorgeous stranger takes the seat next to him. There’s definitely some mutual attraction going on, so maybe he’ll get lucky.

When Zephariel, the Angel of Vengeance, walks by a bar, he feels a pull that demands he go inside. He spies Nick sitting at the bar and recognizes that he’s the one meant for him, and just as they leave together, Zeph’s whisked away. Leaving the man behind that Zeph’s certain is his mate makes him testy, until learning he’s needed to fight a zombie infestation. A bigger surprise is Nick showing up to fight zombies too. With the help of Sam, Bob and others, can Nick and Zeph stop the zombies from endangering the children at Mal’s school?

The Case of the Sinful Santa is the latest release in the End Street Detective Agency series. Please be aware that the books really should be read in order or you won’t understand the ongoing relationships.

It’s another great addition to the series and despite thoroughly enjoying the rest of the books, this one might be my new favorite. I mean how can I not get a good chuckle out of a character that’s related to Santa and has the ability to see whether you’re naughty or nice? There’s also an amusing mixture of dialogue, and references to holly, tinsel, candy canes and even Christmas magic. The story is well plotted, there’s good imagery, nice personality development and a smooth flow. I really enjoyed the integration of the previous characters—they are very important to the zombie infestation plotline but still allow Zeph and Nick’s relationship to shine through. 

As you might have guessed there are several twists—and Santa even makes an appearance. I really like both Nick and Zeph and hope to see more of them in upcoming books in this fun and entertaining series. I look forward to the next one, and hope you’ll give The Case of the Sinful Santa a try. 

Refined Instincts

Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02013-0160
Genre: {M/M} Vampire Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Home for vampire Troy Raines is not a place but a person. Broken in spirit as well as his body, returning to the place where his vampire life began is a fitting place for his life to terminate. In spite of this, Troy’s maker, Lord Renart Bellerose is able to persuade Troy that salvation comes only to the living.

Refined Instincts is the fifth book in the Instincts series. This is a series that is best read in sequence because the cameo scenes are main characters from previous episodes. The plot is a marvelously well written emotional romance blended with turmoil as well as sensual intimacy. The characters are especially realistic as well as engaging.

Renart is an elder vampire but not quite old enough to be considered an ancient. In his former life, Renart was an aristocrat skilled in the arts of fighting. As a vampire, he still maintains the deadly skills along with the manners of a highborn gentleman. Renart’s past has taught him to hide his feelings. Although he was drawn to Troy upon first meeting, later Renart regretted his show of indifference towards Troy.

Deprived of any physical affection from Renart, Troy’s desires morphed into hate. Lost without guidance in the strange new world of the vampire society, Troy relies on a combative attitude to mask his disillusionment. Troy also allows himself to be embroiled in a deadly scheme doomed from the start. Branded as a traitor, Troy expects to be put to death, yet help comes from the most unlikely of persons.

S.J. Frost has created another exhilarating installment to this series. What I enjoyed is the vampires are intelligent, powerful and deadly when necessary but choose to show compassion whenever possible. 

Weather the Storm

Author:  Monette Michaels
Publisher:  Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL:  www.liquidsilverbooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62210-059-0
Genre:  {M/F}, Contemporary, Suspense, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Elana is hiding from a madman, when she overhears a traitor hiring a mercenary to kill someone she knows.  Vanko has to protect her from all those trying to either kidnap or kill her. 

The third book in the Security Specialist International series, Weather the Storm, is a fast-paced suspense story that crosses international boundaries.  Weather the Storm, continues the thread of trying to find a traitor in the government, who has targeted several analysts and agents of Security Specialists International. 

Elana has a fear of men, due to her being kidnapped by a madman that also killed her parents.  Vanko has been able to breach that fear and become the only man she trusts.  Vanko is adamant that they will have a permanent relationship if they survive everything thrown at them.  The chemistry between the two is hot and I loved how Vanko was so considerate of Elana, even as she tried to seduce him.

Lots of the secondary characters are from the previous books, with a couple of new ones thrown in. Two of the main bad guys, Demidas and Crocker, make for some interesting interactions between themselves.  Crocker was the nicer of the two, and I almost felt sorry for him in some ways.

While readers don’t need to read the stories in order, as there is a short explanation of what is going on, I suggest you do so.  There is a lot of backstory in each book that enhances the next story.  I am looking forward to seeing how the author is going to resolve the hunt for the traitor in future stories. 

More Than Everything

Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-259-7
Genre: {M/M}, {M/M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Charlie Rhodes fell for Scott Boone when Scotty’s family moved into the apartment next door. They’re together all through high school but when Scotty moves closer to his father’s family, their relationship slows and eventually ends. It’s a painful time for the heartbroken Charlie. Life goes on and Charlie finds love again with Adan Navarro. But he’s unable to commit and their relationship ends too, leaving Charlie feeling hurt.

Years later, a family crisis moves Charlie across the country where he meets Scotty again, except he’s now in a committed relationship with Adan. He’s crushed to learn they’re in love. What he doesn’t realize is that both men regret letting Charlie go and want him back in their lives. Can they convince Charlie to give them another chance? Can he trust them after so much time and hurt?

The newest release in the Family series, More Than Everything can be read as a standalone. It’s a well written and entertaining addition to the series that I enjoyed. The storyline is nicely plotted, the personalities are unique and well developed, the imagery is vivid and the flow smooth. I like Charlie. He’s a sweet guy and doesn’t make any apologies for who he is. Even when life hurts, he goes on—he deals with it—tries to be happy. The family crisis took me surprise and takes the story in a direction I didn’t expect. It also got all three men back together. It was a painful twist for Charlie but added another layer of upset to his life. His biggest hurt also gives him his greatest happiness, and the future he always wanted. It’s a difficult moment in his life and oh, so realistic. The author handles it very well.

She also handles the threesome aspect nicely. More importantly this portion of the story is about blending all of their lives into a whole—a family. It’s non-traditional but watching them work through their issues made me smile. But then I found myself smiling often during this entertaining love story. I couldn’t help it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

If Only

Title:  If Only
Author:  Cherise Sinclair
Publisher:  Loose Id, LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:   978-1-62300-397-5
Genre:  {M/F/M}, BDSM, Series
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Galen and Vance have been watching Sally since they first got assigned to the Harvest Association case and finally get to play with her.  Sally has given up finding a Dom, especially after her last relationship turned out to be an abusive one.  Sally is also secretly tracking people she discovered involved with the Harvest Association, which could get her killed.

Readers of the Masters of the Shadowlands series have been anticipating Sally’s story and Ms. Sinclair does not disappoint.  If Only also continues the story about the human trafficking group that the two FBI agents, Galen and Vance, are tracking. 

Sally has been a constant and is the longest trainee that Club Shadowlands has had. Master Z has slowly been trying to find Doms for all the trainees and has decided to pair Sally with both Galen and Vance.  The two men are extremely protective of Sally, especially after they helped rescue her from her ex.

All three realize there are some big issues between them.  Sally can’t express her feelings or ask for what she wants, Galen doesn’t want to care for anyone other than Vance, and Vance has trust issues.  As they spend time together, they all learn how to let some of these issues go.

The chemistry and the scenes between Sally, Vance and Galen are hot and very intense.  I loved some of the antics Sally did, causing the two men lots of lighthearted moments.  There were times I wanted to slap each upside the head as they each created situations where there were hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

Most of the characters from Club Shadowlands show up for support of one, or all three.  As the story unfolds, the Harvest Association top person turns out to be a big surprise.  There was also a surprise twist toward the end that Master Z throws out. 

I recommend that this series be read in order, especially since a lot of the characters have roles in this story.  I am looking forward to reading more about the Masters of the Shadowlands.

Airos

Title: Airos
Author: Jennifer Wright
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781781848203
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Zane has earned his place among the vampire warriors, even so his secrets are about to be revealed. Meeting Bo, a dragon kidnapped and held captive by the vampires, alters everything in Zane’s well planned existence.

Airos is the third book in the Finding Home series. The plot is set in a parallel world purposely preserved centuries behind Earth’s detrimental technology. The goal of their world is to maintain a simple life in peace. However, the menacing leader of the dragon clan wishes to eradicate the entire vampire species. The plot is a mixture of secrets, treachery, jealousy, conflict with a touch of intimacy.

The characters are believable.  Zane’s life revolves solely around his duties as a warrior, as well as keeping his mother a secret from the vampires. Because of his belligerent personality, Zane is only tolerated by most of the coven. Nevertheless, Zane’s best friend is secretly in love with him. When Zane realizes how his friend feels, as well as the fact that Bo is his mate, he endeavors to reject the bond plus distance himself from all emotional involvements.

Bo is a smart considerate man. Also, being much smaller than the warrior dragons, he realized he could not win in a fight, so Bo learned to rely on his wits to avoid conflicts. Bo has been kept in the dark by his older brother for most of his life regarding their ancestry. The secrets were an act of brotherly love as a means of protection for them both. Bo recognized a bonding had occurred with Zane, yet he was unsure if the bond could be broken given that Zane refused to acknowledge they are mates. Zane and Bo are finally drawn together after some heartbreaking tragedies, but not everyone’s wounds are healed. There is still a traitor as well as an evil leader that must be dealt with.  

Jennifer Wright has created an incredibly emotional action filled saga that I enjoyed immensely.


 Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as it is part of a series.

Brokenhearted

Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-083-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Oliver Parrish grew up an orphan and lived in several foster homes. So when Sheriff Owen “Mack” Macklin travels across country to tell him that his older sister has recently died, Oliver’s shocked.  With encouragement from Mack, Oliver decides to accompany Mack back to his hometown of Hope Cove. Learning about his sister is an eye opening experience, but falling in love with Mack takes him by surprise. Just when Oliver’s making new friends and his life is on a new path, the discovery of what caused his sister’s death sends him running. Can Oliver and Mack find a way back to each other or will Oliver’s fear of what might happen keep them apart? 

Brokenhearted is the first release in the new M/M contemporary series, Hope Cove by Cate Ashwood. It’s also the first book that I’ve read by this author and I’m so pleased with my introduction to her well developed characters and writing style.  The story has a smooth pace, a sweet story line with just the right amount of angst and some sizzling sex. The vivid descriptions of Hope Cove make it come alive. I could move to this town.

I really enjoyed how Oliver learned about his sister by reading her journals. It’s a nice touch—a very sweet idea. I love Mack. He’s a great guy. And then there’s Haydn, Oliver’s new friend. I like this guy. He’s a unique individual and I’d like to know more about him. I hope to see him the focus of a book in the near future.  The revelation of what happened to Oliver’s sister took me totally by surprise. It’s a great twist—and no, I’m not saying what it is. You’ll have to read it for yourself. Just know that I couldn’t put this entertaining book down. Enjoy.