Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bottoms Away

Title: Bottoms Away
Author:  Etienne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-922-0
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Chris has just had the first of two surgeries that will free him from his ostomy bag.  He is anxious to get home so that he can get on with his life, knowing that soon he will be able to have his final surgery, which will allow him to return as close to normal as possible.

Bottoms Away is the third story in the About a Bottoms series, and since this story picks up right where Bottoms Out ended, it is necessary to read the books in order.  I enjoyed this story and the way in which the author pulls you right back into the world of Avondale.  Chris and Mickey continue to face a variety of issues that pop up in their lives.  Through all the issues they face, the love between them continues hold them together. 

I loved the project Mickey came up with in order to keep Chris busy while recuperating from the first surgery.  It was an unusual little twist.  Then there is Ted, Chris’ little brother.  I had to agree with Chris’ opinion of the truant officer who showed up at the house and am not sure I would have been as polite in the beginning.  As for the way Chris and Mickey deal with the abuse in Ted’s past, I am glad they were able to bring justice for the little boy.  The men also touch base with a variety of family members, which does not always work out well. 

For those who have  not yet given this author a try, his style of writing is a little different than some.  I will admit that the first time I tried one of his books, I had a little trouble getting into the book, yet by the end I was a fan.  Now I am addicted and About a Bottoms is just one more series that is on my must read list.  

Hide

Title: Hide
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781784300272
Genre: {M/M} Were-shifters Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Worthless! Adal had been mentally programmed all through his childhood to believe that he and his brother Steven were too unworthy to live. Meeting human Dorso Rodriguez and discovering Dorso is his mate; Adal begins to break free of the crippling lies along with the toxins inflected by his evil father.

Hide is the first book in the Spotless series, which is a spinoff of the Leopard's Spots series. The main connecting character from the previous series is Isaiah. In this episode, Dorso works at Snow leopard Isaiah’s auto repair shop. Adal and his older brother Steven have been sent to abduct Isaiah’s mate, Amur leopard Bae.

Adal is a dual breed cat shifter with a down trodden personality because of his abusive childhood, yet he is a compassionate man. Adal lives in constant fear of his father, he is reluctant to fight, but will kill anyone who threatens Dorso.

Although Dorso is human, he is strong as well as very protective of Adal. Dorso has a big open-minded family who only want to see him settled into a long term relationship. 

Bailey Bradford has created an enjoyable introduction to a new series. I found Adal’s dual breed combination as well as the dual blending of series’ characters intriguing.  There are not a lot of battle scenes in this installment; however the intimacy scenes are scorching. I suggest reading the Leopard's Spots series first to fully enjoy Hide

The Protector

Author: Cooper West
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-443-0
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Suspense
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Alex has been having a hard time adjusting since the death of his husband.  Even after all these years, he has no desire to look at anybody else.  Marcus has all but given up on finding the one for him.  Neither man is thrilled to be brought together and are wondering if their bonding is a mistake.

The Protector is the newest book by author Cooper West.  This is an interesting shape-shifter story, with more than one twist, that keeps the story fresh for the reader.  The author spends a lot of time laying a foundation for the world in which the book takes place.  At times, for me, this became a little dry and boring.  As for the characters and storyline, I found myself pulled in and wondering how the author would wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner.

Alex is a Protector, which means that he is able to take the shape of a dog, in his case a German Shepard.  Until the death of his husband and Handler, Theo, Alex was a member of the police force.  With Theo’s death, everything Alex or anyone else knew about the Guardsmen has been shaken up.  The author does a good job bringing the grief that Alex is going through across realistically.  I can understand why he behaves the way he does and thought that those in charge of the Guardsmen should have done a better job counseling him. 

Marcus is a Handler, which means he is human, yet is able to control the Protector he is bonded with.  The problem Marcus has is that, at 26 years old, he has still not found his Protector, something that is extremely unusual for a Handler.  I wanted him to find his Protector and have his happily ever after, yet knew this was not something that the author would allow to happen right away. 

Marcus and Alex are hot together, yet they have more than the usual amount of obstacles to overcome.  It is easy to understand some of their problems, from Alex’s grief to Marcus’ unrealistic expectations at times.  I could not help wondering if this story was going to end well. 

Besides the relationship between the two men, The Protector has a mystery woven through it that will keep the reader’s attention.  Some aspects are predictable, however, the author does keep the reader guessing about who is the bad guy.  There are a few little twists and turns in the story and I loved the way the author wrapped up both the romantic storyline and the mystery.  

The Protector would make a great first book in what would be an interesting series.  I hope the author has plans to revisit this world again.

Strategic Lust

Title:  Strategic Lust
Author:  Elizabeth Lapthorne
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  97814199949111
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Kate is protecting Josh since there is a price on his head after he and his partner destroyed an evil grimoire.  This is the first time she has ever been tempted to break her rules because Josh is so appealing.

The ninth book in the Urban Seductions series, Strategic Lust, picks up where Strategic Surrender left off.  Josh and Kate are trying to help find who put the price on their heads and discover why there are actually two different factions after them, as they try to figure things out.

Kate and Josh have chemistry and Kate tries hard to stay focused on protecting him.  Several things happen that cause Kate and Josh to discuss their jobs and why things have be a certain way, which lead to declarations of love on both their part.

Several secondary characters from previous books show up to try to help with a situation, which hopefully will resolve the issue regarding the contract.  I was surprised at the resolution of one situation, as I did not see that particular thing happening, though after thinking about it, it is understandable.  A character that hasn’t shown up in the last few books, was mentioned, so there is a possibility that he might have his own story in the future.  I sure hope so. 

The series has so many twists and turns among the human, witch and wizard populations and what can happen when magic is involved.  Once a thread seems to be resolved, another pops up that is even more twisted than the last one.  This series needs to be read in order to get the most out of it.  I’m looking forward to the next book.

For Love of: Tangi

Author: Antonio
Publisher: Smashwords
ISBN/BIN: 9781311457059
Genre: {M/M}, Coming of Age, Young Adult
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Colt’s life has been golden, never really knowing a moment of uncertainty or discontent until the day he meets Tangi.  Tangi is the “new kid” at school and, like Colt, a senior.  When Colt mistakes the other boy for a girl, and asks him to lunch in front of the entire class, everything changes for both of them. 

For Love of: Tangi is my first book by this author and I have to say I enjoyed it very much.  The story is a little unusual as, at times, it seems as if there are more than two main characters. However the story does center on Colt and Tangi, with everyone else pulled into their universe.  Colt is the town’s golden boy but he does not carry the air of entitlement such a position would bring which is unusual.  His confidence takes a hit, however, when he meets Tangi.  I liked that the author allowed him to continue to feel uncertain even as he sets out to befriend, and later falls in love, with Tangi. 

Tangi is different from the rest of the kids at school.  Thanks to his parents, Tangi is a world traveler which gives him an exotic air; the fact that his looks are unique does not hurt either.  While he is not offended by the fact that Colt thinks he is a girl at first, he really does expect the school’s star football player to keep the lunch date that shocks the school.  Tangi is an easy going character.  I love that the author gives him a hidden strength that both young men will find useful at times.

The author also handles the intimacy between the two young men in a way that comes across wonderfully.  The passion between them is hot and intense, even though they choose to take things slowly, waiting to become more physical.  

There is a wide variety of secondary characters in For Love of:  Tangi.  Each one is necessary for moving the story along and, many times, are just as important as the main characters.  There are many fun moments in the story, as well as some tense ones.  The story flows smoothly and will hold the reader’s attention until the very last page.  I could not help hoping for a sequel as For Love of: Tangi came to an end.  I will be keeping my eyes open for more from this author, and encourage those who love the coming of age/young adult sub-genre to give this book a try.

Fireman, Flames and Fettuccine

Author: Sara York
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0240
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Fireman Grady Madison is being cautiously optimistic about a possible long term relationship after meeting restaurant owner Paul Sessa.

Fireman, Flames and Fettuccine is the second book in the Love's First Response series. The plot features two men who are both insecure; neither man feels he is worthy enough for the other. However, they are both learning that love evolves from companionable personalities. Grady is starting life over as an openly gay man in Everett, Washington. He was transferred to a different fire station after a gay bashing from his former co-workers. Although Grady is accepted by most of his current co-workers, he has not dated anyone.

Paul moved from Hollywood to Everett to be close to his daughter, as well as to break the secreted one night stand cycle he was caught up in. Paul is ready to find an out-in-the-open real love. 

Sara York has created a wonderfully touching budding romance saga that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Icy Seduction

Author: Shara Lanel
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN/BIN: 9781419946905
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal, BDSM Elements
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Jake has seen a lot during his time as a New York cabby, but getting stuck in a ditch with a customer about to freeze to death on the back seat is a new one on him. They aren’t going anywhere until morning, so they will have to get inventive in order to stay warm. Huddled together under blankets, Werewolf Jake takes one sniff of Christine’s human scent and is lost. He’s not in the habit of sleeping with strangers but there’s an undeniable psychic connection that has him needing to claim her now. He won’t force her; he just needs to find out whether she is willing to submit.

Christine cannot explain the desire she feels for her cab driver. All she wanted was to get to her parents in the Catskills, but here she is, blanketed in this stranger’s arms, melting despite the cold. She should not allow this to progress; can’t understand what has gotten into her, but his natural dominance is too much of a turn on. It’s not like she’ll ever see him again anyway…

The morning after, there is no regret, just a lot of awkwardness. They go their separate ways, but can’t ignore the pull to be together, even when Christine has returned to her home in Florida. They try the long distance thing, but the wolf in Jake is having none of it, especially as Christine’s behavior would suggest she is trying very hard to forget about him. She doesn’t understand what is happening but luckily for Jake, she can’t seem to hide from this connection any more than he can. Determined to convince Christine that they are fated to be together, Jake decides to reveal his true identity, setting up a shocking chain of events that could spell the end of their fragile bond once and for all. 

I love the mixture of genres that come together in Icy Seduction. On the surface, Christine and Jake are contemporary characters, living normal lives until one fateful night when things ignite. Add some very erotic scenes of BDSM exploration and a powerful, unpredictable paranormal bond and there’s no putting this book down. The focus isn’t on the fact that Jake is a werewolf so much, but on how both Christine and Jake deal with their undeniable bond. Jake shows a great deal of patience and restraint while Christine works through her feelings. They both try to deny the strength of their bond because the odds are stacked against them. Christine has never behaved like this before and is initially worried what Jake must think of her. As things progress, Christine is torn between her natural instincts and cold hard facts. Jake doesn’t want to believe Christine is his mate either, as he knows how difficult it will be to convince her they have a future together. The characters are well thought out and appeal to me because they seem pretty down to earth despite some unreal situations. There is also a nice parallel between what the characters are willing to get up to inside the bedroom compared to what they are afraid of outside of it.

Love on an Owl’s Wing

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-931-3
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Luc has been a widower for some time and while he was happy with his wife, he never expected to have another long-term relationship.  No one is more surprised than he is when he meets Dylan and realizes the young human is his mate.

Love on an Owl’s Wing is the newest addition to Kontra’s Menagerie, the ongoing shifter series by author Charlie Richards.  These characters in this new book are interesting and fun.  Both are returning characters, so fans of this series will have already met them.  I was glad to see Luc find his mate, as this is something I have wanted to see happen since he was introduced to the series.  Dylan is Kai’s cousin and has had some rough times growing up.  Because of the mating pull, there is an instant attraction between the two men when they meet.

While readers may hope for an easy relationship for these two, the author has chosen a different path.  There are many obstacles they must overcome, least of which is the fact that Dylan is a human, with no knowledge of the paranormal world that exists around him.  I like that several previous characters are there to help Dylan and Luc.  I also like that the author set up a new pack with the dingoes so chances are we may see Dylan and Luc again. 

Love on an Owl’s Wing is well done and I am sure many fans will love this new addition.  The little twists in the story, as well as the intense chemistry between the main characters, will hold the readers interest from beginning to end.  While it is possible to consider this book a stand-alone, I would highly recommend reading this series in order.

The Third Kingdom

Author: RJ Scott
Publisher: Extasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-77111-924-5
Genre:  {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

The Third Kingdom will be a world of equality and liberty for all. It took a monumental battle to destroy the evil looming over their world for a thousand years; nevertheless, all the prophecies have finally come true.

The Third Kingdom is the sixth book in the Supernatural Bounty Hunters series. Each book features a couple destined to be mates. In this episode, the mates are Ethan, a human and Reuben, a vampire. Ethan is the murdered victim in the first book The Vampire Contract. Vampire Micah Jamieson is falsely accused of killing Ethan. Wolf shifter Connor Strand is sent to arrest Micah and return him to the Glitnir Court. However, Micah and Conner are destined mates. So instead of turning Micah over to the court, Connor chose to run away with Micah.

Ethan and Reuben are part of the underground rebellion started by Micah’s twin brother, Joseph. The rebel’s mission is to ban discrimination by allowing good magic to openly flourish in the kingdom again; the old rules said two supernatural beings with magic cannot be together. The other part of the mission is to accept mixed bloodlines as equals; Asherkan is a blood demon that has royal elvish blood was rejected as the rightful King of the Second Kingdom.

RJ Scott has created a stimulating climax to this enjoyable series. The villain has been vanquished, lovers have been reunited for all eternity and the healing of a kingdom has begun. Also included is a list of all the titles and characters in the entire series. 

My Wicked Masters

Author:  Ann Mayburn
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62300-332-6
Genre: {M/M/F}, Ménage, BDSM
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Master Rory and Master Liam are thinking of parting ways because of some personal issues when Rhiannon asks them to train her.  They realize that Rhiannon is actually a very vulnerable submissive that gives an icy face to the public.  As they go forward, whose heart may be broken?

My Wicked Masters is the fourth book in the Club Wicked series and I think the author outdid herself with this one.  Lots of readers have been waiting to hear Liam’s and Rory’s story, though I would never have seen them paired with Rhiannon.

Rhiannon’s life story may cause triggers in some readers and the author allowed Rhiannon to actually trigger herself in several places in the story.  This is actually a critical part of the story, as it shows how someone that has been abused and wants to life a BDSM lifestyle can do so as long as their Master is aware and takes things slowly.  Both men are very careful about how they treat her, but at the same time, don’t let her get away with things that she shouldn’t.

Part of the story conflict is actually Liam’s and Rory’s relationship, as they have been friends for years.  They had an encounter with each other twelve years ago, but Liam has basically been in denial about that part of himself.  As they train Rhiannon, things come to ahead between them, though both know they need to resolve the issue if they are going to keep Rhiannon for themselves.

The chemistry between the three is very intense and I loved the final scene at Club Wicked.  Several secondary characters threw obstacles in the way, but issues between Rhiannon and Sally were finally resolved.  When Rhiannon realized she actually had friends, several relationships between a few of the characters changed as she started to open up.

One great thing about this book is that communication is showcased in this story.  If a submissive has triggers, they need to let the Dom know as there can be disastrous consequences if that is not communicated.  My Wicked Masters brings this issue to the forefront in a wonderful story.  

This series doesn’t need to be read in order, but I highly recommend readers do.  I am looking forward to more about Club Wicked.

Stay with Me

Title: Stay with Me
Author: S.E. Harmon
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-667-0
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Mac has the reputation of being a bit of a player, however he would not mind settling down if the right man came along.  Imagine Mac’s surprise when that right man turns out to be his agency’s newest client, Jordan.  And the man also happens to be straight. 

Stay with Me is the newest book by author S.E. Harmon.  I believe this is my first book by this author, however after reading Stay with Me I plan on looking for more.  I was pulled in from the beginning and stayed up late to see how the story would play out.  The book is told in the first person from Mac’s point of view, but the author is able to keep the story from feeling one sided. 

Mac is an interesting character whose snarky attitude fills the book with some light moments.  He also has bad taste in men, which can be seen when his ex shows up.  It was during these moments when Mac had me wanting to smack some sense into him.  To give Mac his due, however, there are reasons why he has trouble with relationships and it takes some time for him to come to terms with his past. 

Jordan is a lawyer who hires Mac to spy on his fiancé.  He is just what the high strung PI needs.  Everyone, including Jordan, believes he is straight; however, he has a hard time keeping his hands off of Mac.  There is a strong chemistry between Mac and Jordan that really heats up the pages.  You really want these two to work out, yet there are so many problems in their relationship that it’s hard, at times, to see them finding their happily ever after. 

The author filled Stay with Me with some wonderful secondary characters that helped move the story along.   I am really curious about Drew, Mac’s partner, and would love to see him get a story of his own. 

Stay with Me is a great book for those interested in trying the m/m genre for the first time.  If you’re looking for a new author to try, I would have no problem recommending S.E. Harmon either.