Saturday, June 21, 2014

For Her Protection

Author: Amber A. Bardan
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN/BIN: 9781419990465
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary
Rating: 2 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

The moment Connor and Charlize meet, sparks fly. There is obvious attraction but also immediate tension. Charlize’s life revolves around her job as CEO of her family’s company; she won’t let anything get in her way from proving she can be a success. Unfortunately it becomes apparent that the company she controls is far from stable and the stress is radiating off her sharply enough that Connor can feel it a mile away. He wants nothing more than to distract her from all things corporate and get her focused solely on the physical pleasure he can provide.

When Connor realises just how bad things are for Charlize at work, he offers up his security services and makes it his prime directive to personally keep the boss lady safe. However he’s about to realise that you can’t make Charlize do anything she doesn’t want to do. It’s a battle of wills but Conner is finally able to bring down Charlize’s walls of resistance However with Connor’s constant distraction and hidden enemies trying to destroy her, will Charlize regret mixing business with pleasure?

There is an interesting story itching to get out of For Her Protection; one of sinister workplace behaviour that I couldn’t wait for Charlize to overcome, but it suffered from being pushed to the background while Charlize and Conner’s relationship went back and forth. I wanted to like them, but most of the time they drove me crazy. They are passionate, strong-willed and steadfast in their ideas, but they clashed constantly, which spoiled their relationship for me. I was rooting for Charlize, but her entire situation seemed to trigger distress in me, especially the workplace harassment. I connected with the situation in such a way that I wasn’t able to relax and enjoy the story. What Charlize was going through was too serious and stressful to me and most of the time, Connor’s response to the situation turned me off.

Many characters seemed stereotypical and frustrating. There is a scene where the actions of two implied steroid abusing gym guys cause injury to a female gym user. Charlize witnesses this and gives the guys hell – great, but the insinuation that Charlize was so hot headed that it clouded her judgement; that these two guys were actually going to cause grievous bodily harm to her but she was oblivious and needed Connor to step in, was frustrating. The way he intervened, with no consideration, as if Charlize couldn’t comprehend the situation; literally throwing her over his shoulder, kicking and screaming, saddened me. Conner refers to Charlize as a “she-cat”, and a “creature”. She is irritated by this, as was I, and she shows it, but of course Connor loves to see her worked up and frustrated so keeps on doing it. Two can play at that game, and Charlize loves it when she can get Conner so worked up that his mask slips. I personally don’t like this kind of interaction. I understand the fantasy and how this can transition into lust and passion, but I couldn’t buy into it. The ending does bring some satisfaction and closure, but the emotion this story stirred up in me meant that I wasn’t personally able to enjoy it.

The Defeat of Lawson

Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-933-7
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

The only thing Marty knew about shifters was that they were hated by humans.  When he ends up shifting, he freaks out and knows the only thing he can do is keep this new side of him a secret.  Then he meets Lawson and learns more than he ever expected about the shifter world.

The Defeat of Lawson is one of Ms. Hecht’s newest releases.  Part of her The Lost Shifters series, this story brings one of the unlikeliest heroes into play.  Lawson has a strong dislike of the feline shifters and at times the coalition itself, and while in the beginning it was easy to see him as an odd choice for a main character, after thinking about it some, it did begin to make sense, especially when the author pairs him up with a young, newly shifted feline.  I liked watching Lawson as he became more ‘human’ as he came to care for Marty; when he realized just how ugly he had been towards the felines and at times other members of the coalition, I really felt for him. 

Marty is a young man who had everything going for him, until he has his first shifting episode.  I can only imagine the confusion Marty felt when he shifted, especially since he had no one to talk to afterwards.  With no real knowledge of the shifter world to draw on, Marty is unprepared to deal with the situation when a group of ravens attack him one evening.  Marty is also unsure what to do about Lawson, the young man who ends up saving the day. 

As fans would expect, there is an intense attraction between the two men.  This attraction, of course, leaves Lawson feeling protective of the cougar shifter, who is slightly reluctant to go with him to coalition headquarters.  Marty is full of trepidation as he walks into the coalition for the first time, which is only understandable.  It is easy to understand how he feels and when he is told that his parents and friends must now believe he is dead, I wanted to cry along with him. 

There is a lot going on in The Defeat of Lawson that will hold the reader’s attention.  There are also appearances by several former characters who help the two young men find their happily ever after.  The author also leaves a couple of crumbs behind to tease the readers and I can’t wait to see what will happen with the new assassins or the results of Marty’s blood work.  

Readers of this series are sure to love this new addition.  Although the books may be considered stand-alone, I would strongly recommend reading the books in order.  

Belligerent Beta

Author: Poppy Dennison
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925180-00-8
Genre: {M/M} Werewolf Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Dan Keller has an image to uphold, although he has been rather lax in his Beta duties to the pack of late. Awareness, plus a change in his attitude, opened Dan’s eyes to the possibility of a relationship with the shy pack Omega, Nathan Ross.

Belligerent Beta is the second book in the Pack Partners series. The compassionate plot illustrates the importance of acceptance. The storyline is integrated with a touch of mystery, as well as a smidgen of intimacy. The interaction between the characters is amusing.

Nathan had never felt he was a part of the pack. Yet, Nathan unknowingly had a distinctive connection to several of the pack members. Dan chose to isolate himself as much as possible from the pack until he was made aware of his emotional detachment from everyone. After struggling through personality adjustments, Dan and Nathan realized that bonding with others brings about true happiness, as well as self worth. 

Poppy Dennison has created a splendid saga that I enjoyed immensely. The display of family unit love all through the story is especially heartwarming.

Because of Jade

Author: Lou Sylvre
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781627989480
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Between Luki being cancer free for five years and married for ten, Luki and Sonny have a lot to celebrate.  The two decide this is the best time to get together with their family and have a big gathering planned.  Only things don’t go the way they are supposed to, and what should have been a happy time soon becomes one of grief. 

Because of Jade is the newest Vasquez and James book by author Lou Sylvre.  This newest book picks up five years after the end of Yes and the two men have just found out the Luki is cancer free.  This should be a happy time for the two men and if you are like me, you want these two to have some good times for a chance.  Yet, the author can’t seem to keep from throwing in some angst and soon the men’s lives are once again in turmoil.  If you have read the blurb on the publisher site then you know what is coming, even so I could not believe when Josh and Ruthie died.  You can feel how divested Luki and Sonny are, and even as I found myself close to tears, I could not help wondering what this would do to our couple. 

The love that Luki and Sonny have for each other has been apparent from the start of this series.  It is during moments like this that it really comes through; as no matter how much each man is hurting, they continue to worry about the other.  This of course causes problems from time to time, and I liked that the author did not drag out these moments of miscommunication.  Then there is little Jade.

Jade is Ruthie and Josh’s daughter.  She has now become the ward of Sonny and Luki and as you can imagine, this is something that has the men unsettled.  The author has done a very good job with the relationship between these three.  There’s so much that needs to be touched on, from the little girl’s grief, to the adjustment the men go through becoming instant parents, to the relationship each man has separately with Jade, that it would have been easy for the author to ignore or gloss over something.  Ms. Sylvre does not do that; instead each aspect is handled in a realistic manner which helps make this a wonderful story.  Even with all the hard times these three find themselves going through, the author does manage to throw in a little humor.  I was so thankful I was not drinking anything when I came to the scene where Jade is apologizing for Luki “accidentally peeing” on one of her class mates, as I am sure it would have gone all over the place.  

Of course this would not be a Vasquez and James story without a little suspense thrown in.  Expect a few twists and turns, some that you are sure to see coming, and some that may surprise you.  I could not believe some of what happened and was surprised by how well each man was able to control themselves.  Because of Jade is a wonderful addition to this series and one book fans should not miss.  While I would love to see these two men settled, the idea of never seeing them again is a little sad, so I hope the author has a few more stories planned for Luki and Sonny.

A Fighting Man

Author: Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925180-02-2
Genre: {M/M} Romantic Comedy Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Army Ranger Slater Cassidy is on a mission; he employs his best tactical strategy to capture the attention of the elusive Casper Kennedy. Slater’s goal is a future relationship, but first Slater must break down Casper’s barriers.

A Fighting Man is part of Men Of Manhattan series. The characters in this installment are directly connected to Blaine McKlintock and Spencer Cassidy, the main characters in A Marrying Man. Casper is administrative assistant to Blaine and Slater is Spencer’s younger brother. The plot illustrates all the entertaining ways Slater dreams up to court Casper. Although Casper is resistant at first, he is not immune to Slater’s persistent charms.

 A Fighting Man is a vastly amusing unrequited romantic seduction plot that subsequently cultivates from delightfully heartwarming to a tearful transitory heartbreak when a war zone drama changes the emotional tranquility of Slater and Casper. The description of combat aftermath is very realistic; I mourned the loss of joy right along with the characters. Nevertheless, in spite of or perhaps because of the mental as well as the physical anguish they both experienced, an enduring love immerses along with a new found happiness. 

Sandrine Gasq-Dion has created an incredibly impressive thoroughly enjoyable saga. I suggest reading A Betting Man followed by A Marrying Man first.