Monday, April 21, 2014

Coming Clean

Title: Coming Clean
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-0-85715-675-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Chase Hughes didn’t realize how much he’d change after going away to college and now he needs to tell Benny, his high school sweetheart, that he’s ready to move on. The problem—Chase doesn’t want to hurt him. When he’s working at Clean Slate, Chase meets Mac Evans, an older guy who pushes all his buttons. He’s more than ready to start a relationship, but Mac will only let it go so far before Chases confesses the truth to Benny.  Years ago, Mac came clean to the people in his life and it cost him dearly but he won’t live a lie or be a dirty little secret.

Coming Clean is the newest release in Carol Lynne’s Campus Cravings series. I admit that when I read the blurb I was distressed. It was the idea of Chase cheating on his boyfriend I didn’t like, but as a Campus Cravings fan (I’ve read them all) I knew I had to give Ms. Lynne a chance to get Chase out of his predicament. In truth, the situation he faces is experienced every day by many trying to maintain a long distance relationship. It’s hard but life changes and so do wants and desires.

That’s what Chase has to deal with and his feelings come across as real. I just wish he hadn’t also come across as whiny and afraid to tell the truth. His interest in the older Mac is clear. I like Mac and his insistence on dealing with the past before moving forward with Chase. His history is nicely developed and I like his integrity. It doesn’t hurt that he’s sexy either. The romance that develops between him and Chase is sweet and lighthearted. 

Having the story take Chase and Mac to Cattle Valley is a nice blending of the two series. It gives the opportunity for a confrontation between Chase and Benny—which is an introduction for Benny since I’m expecting him to be featured when he heads off to college. I’m also looking forward to a book about Peter, Chase’s roommate. Both guys are nice additions to the story line and should make excellent man characters in the future.

Bear Hugs

Title: Bear Hugs
Author: SA Welsh
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com/
ISBN: 9781622321438
Genre: {M/M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Cage is in for a big surprise when he pursued Rob to a hideaway in the woods. Rob is a bear shifter hiding his true nature from his human mate Cage. However, Cage and Rob are in for another surprise when they meet Noah, a wolf shifter who is mated to both of them.

Bear Hugs is an enchanting ménage romance. The characters are creditable. Cage and Rob are lawyers working together in the same law firm. They share a long standing mutual attraction, however up till now Rob has been afraid of acting on his desires.

Cage has a take-charge personality; he refuses to admit defeat no matter what the issues are. Cage also suffers from a touch of jealousy, as well as a fear of rejection from Rob.

Rob is especially compassionate; he yearns for a permanent mate that will accept his bear side. Rob knew the difficulty a one night stand would generate for his bear as well as for Cage.

Noah is the least confident of the three. Noah hides his vulnerability behind an unperturbed appearance but Rob and Cage could sense his emotional pain. Mate rejection could cost Noah his humanity.  

SA Welsh has created an incredible saga incorporating a touch of humor as well as sensual intimacy scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed Bear Hugs

Velvet Scars

Title: Velvet Scars
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61040-670-3
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Genre: {M/M} BDSM Series
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

The reconstruction of the Velvet Glove is almost complete. It’s only days from the re-opening of the facility and Argon, the new master of the body mods shop, still needs an apprentice. He’s interviewed several but none have fit his needs—and that’s where the complication arises. Argon wants someone interested in the crafts offered in his shop and desires a man willing to be his submissive too. Who he accepts is Brother Yves, a young, sheltered man sent by the clerics of Mount Bell. It’s obvious that Yve’s terrified by everything but he stands firm in his belief that he’s destined to be with Master Argon. Can the Master and the innocent build a lasting relationship or will their differences be too much to overcome?

Velvet Scars is the second release in Sean Michael’s VG Resurrection series. If you’re a Velvet Glove fan, you’ll be happy to know the best BDSM club in the galaxy is about to reopen. There are last minute details to finish and for Argon that means finding an apprentice. The interview process is unusual and I think you’ll find it amusing. I certainly did. Until Yves arrives, and then the atmosphere changes. He’s a different type of man than Argon would have considered, but he’s captivated. The descriptions of these two are vivid, and the emotions Yves undergoes is well done but because of his sheltered upbringing and inexperience, I have difficulty with his ready acceptance to his new life. That part of the story didn’t mesh for me.

For those unused to BDSM books, be assured that this is of a lighter variety. Argon certainly takes the introduction into the lifestyle slowly for his new apprentice, showing him the wonders of sensation and the beauty of leaving the convent rules behind. I enjoyed seeing little snippets of previous characters as Yves settled in and made friends. I would have liked more background on Argon but enjoyed learning about Yves. I can’t wait to see who will be the focus when the club opens.

Pack Rescue

Title:  Pack Rescue
Author:  Gwen Campbell
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419948688
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Fina is running after rogue werewolves killed her pack and raped her.  She also made sure that they couldn’t profit from their crimes.  After ending up in Wyoming, she is given sanctuary by the sheriff’s pack.  Turns out Fina is the mate to both the Sheriff and his brother.

The first story in the Western Wolves series, Pack Rescue, follows Fina as she decides if she wants to continue running, or accept the offer of being the alpha female as the mate to the alpha and beta of the pack she ends up with after escaping from the rogues.  Everyone is very surprised to find that she and a young boy are the only survivors of the pack in Tennessee.

Fina is a strong woman that has a head on her shoulders and managed to hide the pack’s assets from the rogue wolves.  As she slowly learns to trust Cutler and Nath, she worries about Ryan’s acceptance since he is a male, though he is only five.  I loved how Cutler and Nath were so patient with her and Ryan, especially when he acted out.  There were some funny moments when Fina had to prove her dominance to the women, as well as Cutler and Nath’s reactions after they mated.  The scene on the table is extremely hot.

There are some wonderful secondary characters and I hope they make an appearance in the future.  Most were helpful to the new family. The incident with Melissa at the school was interesting, and also showed a lot about pack politics and hierarchy.  The way Fina’s situation was resolved involved a lot of pack politics that included other packs. 

I am looking forward to future books in this series.  This is also the first book by Ms. Campbell I have read, and I will be looking for others to check out. 

Publisher’s Note: Previously published as When A Pack Dies. The book has been edited for Ellora’s Cave publication.

Blood Red Roses

Author: Russell James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61922-237-3
Genre: Horror
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 
Publication Date: 05-06-2014

There were two kinds of slaves before the Civil War, those who came from Africa and the poor people of other races. Jebediah Abernathy was orphaned by the war and then sold by family too poor to care for him.

Blood Red Roses highlights the emotional devastation of war suffered by the families of the soldiers killed. The plot also illustrates the deplorable treatment of slaves as well as poor white workers. Driven insane by their grief, the owners neglected the daily operations of the plantation. The only portion of the property that was maintained was the rose garden.

At the tender age of fourteen, Jebediah was sold to Beechwood as a stable boy because society dictated that white boys did not work in the fields. Jebediah was warned by the overseer to never venture out of the stables after dark. Shortly after the warning Jebediah, quite by accident saw what happened to the slave boys but he was defenseless to help them. Trapped by the lethal rituals of Beechwood, Jebediah came face to face with evil. 

Russell James has created an intriguing as well as an enjoyable American historical entwined with scary ceremonies emulating dark voodoo.  

Blind Under the Moon

Author: SA Welsh
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-887-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Remy’s life revolves around cars with high powered engines. Getting summoned to the alpha house is bad news and learning he’s supposed to kill a captured vampire is even worse. He won’t do it. His refusal leads to a challenge for the Alpha position and to the surprise of everyone, Remy wins. Now what’s he going to do? He knows engines, not how to run a pack.

One thing’s immediately clear, the wounded vampire is Remy’s mate and Skylar had been sent by his coven to investigate a vampire poison. Skylar’s everything Remy could have asked for in a mate—except he’s blind. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that Skylar’s other senses make up for his blindness and that together they make an unstoppable team. But can they find out whose interfering with how mates are scented and what’s poisoning vampires before it’s too last?

Blind Under the Moon is the first release in the new paranormal series Blood Moon Pack Alliance by SA Welsh. This author is new to me but as a shifter and vampire genre fan, I had to give this book a try, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Remy, as the reluctant new Alpha, is a good character and watching him grow into the role of leader is handled well.  He’s also a likable guy with a nicely rounded personality and he’s fair to his pack as his learns his way. Skylar, as his vampire mate isn’t a particularly original pairing but it’s one I’ve always like. Skylar’s an interesting guy too and giving him, as a vampire, a physical disability—being blind—is a creative twist I didn’t expect, and it works well within the plot line. 

The world building could have been more in depth and I expect to learn more as the series continues but the details provided so far are vivid. The pace is fast, the plot line entertaining, I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between Remy and Skylar and there’s enough action and danger to keep the pages turning. I liked Blind Under the Moon and can’t wait for the next one.

Nothing Special

Author: A.E. Via
Publisher: Amira Press
Publisher URL: www.amirapress.com
ISBN: 978-1-627620-50-5
Genre: {M/M} {M/M/M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

First day on the job, rookie cop Leonidis Day informs everyone in the meeting room of two specifics about himself. One is that he is gay and two is that he wishes to work with Detective Cashel Godfrey.

Nothing Special begins with Cash and Leo developing a friend to lover’s relationship then towards the latter part of the novel, it suddenly changes into a four-man friends with benefits get-together. The setting is Atlanta, Georgia. The main theme is crime fighting. The characters are creditable.

Leo is an outspoken quick-thinking narcotics detective who takes his job seriously, which means he is not afraid to do whatever it takes to capture a perpetrator or save the life of his colleagues. Yet there is also a compassionate side to Leo for anyone caught up in desperate circumstances. Leo has loved Cash for years. However his flirty innuendos never progressed beyond friendship until Cash kissed him.

Cash is conscientious with reference to his job but he has a persistently irate demeanor that makes him appear surly to co-workers as well as extremely dangerous to criminals. Leo is the only person who can inspire Cash to laugh. Cash’s attitude stems from the dark secrets of his past.  Nevertheless, Cash and Leo are compatible because Cash is bisexual, his sexual interest are motivated by a person’s personality, not by their gender. Working together for over four years, Cash and Leo have formed a comfort zone that Cash did not want to complicate with sex. When Cash realized his feelings had grown beyond friendship, Cash and Leo became lovers, vowing to have a monogamous long term relationship.    

A.E. Via has created an impressive saga by fusing humorous dialog, exciting action as well as several intimacy scenes.  I particularly enjoyed the drug raid scenes.

Shadows of Fate

Author: Angela Dennis
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-927-4
Genre: {M/F} Urban Fantasy Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Brenna Baudouin was banished to Earth for using her Shadow Bearer powers to kill the people responsible for her husband’s death. She’s spent nine decades protecting others against supernatural creatures who’ve reached Earth through the veil separating the planes. On returning from an exorcism, Brenna learns she’s been assigned a new partner…one she doesn’t know and doesn’t trust.

Getting close to Brenna is part of Gray Warlow’s plan for revenge but it forces him to use a glamour to keep his identity secret. As they work together to determine how more demons are getting to Earth, Gray learns Brenna isn’t the woman he was lead to believe. As their attraction increases, so does the danger, and they have to find a way to completely trust each other or it could spell the end of them and everyone on Earth.

Shadows of Fate is the first release in the new urban fantasy series, Shadow Born, by Angela Dennis. As a fan of this genre, the premise sounded fascinating. The story grabbed my attention at the start and kept it until the end. I didn’t want to stop reading and easily read it in one day.

Brenna’s a great character. What happened in her past changed her—has made her tough. She’s not the same person she was when she was banished and the author has done a great job developing her personality and creating a rich background with depth and details. Gray’s character is equally well constructed but I had trouble liking him at the beginning because of his deception. It definitely helped that the story is told from both points of view so I knew what he was feeling, allowing my opinion to change as the plot progressed. 

There are so many things that make this story well done. The creativity in world building is top-notch. The details of what’s happened to the Earth since a devastating war make the story come alive. And I love the mix of paranormal races the author brought together to fill the newly changed world with. There’s a fast pace, magic, action, danger, betrayal and a complex storyline with a nasty villain that’s guaranteed to keep the pages turning. If you enjoy books in the paranormal or urban fantasy genre I suggest you give this one a try. I’ll be watching for the next book in this creative and entertaining series. 

Vaaden Warriors

TitleVaaden Warriors
Author:  Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher:  Changeling Press
Publisher URL:  www.changelingpress.com
ISBN/BIN: 06881-02216
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Anthology, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs                          
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Vaaden Warriors is the second book in the Galactic Affairs series and centers around three warriors we met in the first book.  Rheul’s brother purchases a slave for him, Randar ends up with two slaves, one as a favor to a friend, and Thale has to overcome his past to finally get his dream.

Rheul - 4 Nymphs

Rheul isn’t happy with his brother, but ends finding Darcy fascinating.  After all is said and done, he ends up endangering his life, as he wants to give Darcy time to get used to her life as his slave. 

Randar - 4 Nymphs

Randar purchases a slave, Lyssa, as a favor to Rheul, but ends up buying a second one to better meet his needs.  Sophie is the type he always envisioned, but didn’t realize he wanted until he had purchased Lyssa.  Circumstances change his outlook, but he must find a new owner for Lyssa, or he can’t be happy.

Thale - 4 Nymphs

Thale has not had the best of luck with his slaves in the past, but ends up purchasing one from the harems.  Moira slowly makes her way into his heart, but he has to convince the prime minister and council he has changed his tune.  

I loved the ending in the last story, as it was difficult to think there would not be some changes.  I would have liked to find out more about what the other stipulations were that would be going into the law, but only two were listed.  I’m hoping in future stories more information will be given about it.  The differences among the men make for interesting reading.

Vaaden Captives

Title:  Vaaden Captives
Author:  Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher:  Changeling Press
Publisher URL:  www.changelingpress.com
ISBN/BIN:  06794-02187
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Anthology, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Vaaden Captives is the first book in the Galactic Affairs series and is a collection about three women.  Facts about Vaaden society is given, though some of it is not pretty.  Non-Vaaden women are slaves, personal if they are claimed, or placed in public harems if not.

Sorcha - 4 Nymphs

The first story is about Sorcha, who is unhappy when she realizes her owner is married, because she believes in fidelity.  Thale tells her she has to accept her lot in life now, regardless of her beliefs.  When Sorcha meets Thale’s brother, Valen, she falls for him.  After some serious problems between the brothers, things are resolved.

Enid - 4 Nymphs

Enid is the second slave’s story.  I found Bastian interesting because he understood immediately that Enid had been abused and eventually fell in love with her.  Bastian ends up asking the prime minister to bend a few rules for him.

Susan - 4 Nymphs

The third story is about Susan and gives the reader more information about Vaaden marriages, as well as some of the protections slaves have on Vaaden.  Even as Susan accepts her lot in life, things conspire to make some changes that will make her life easier. 

The collection of stories in this book are intriguing in a lot of ways.  I enjoyed reading about the world the author created, even as I got upset about some of the societal mores on Vaaden.  I do want to find out more about Vaaden society and what changes may be in the future based on the special permission given to the three warriors.  I am looking forward to the next book.