Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fading Light

Title: Fading Light
Author: Angela Dennis
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-456-8
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 09-23-2014

Conflicts are growing on the Earthly plane between human and supernatural creatures. Shadow Bearer Brenna Baudouin and her partner, Gray Warlow decide to return in an attempt to prevent a devastating war. Their attraction is intense but hurts from the past linger for Brenna, sabotaging their attempts at reconciliation and frustrating Gray. Trying to build a relationship when humans are inexplicably turning to ash is almost impossible. Without any clues and the death count rising, Brenna and Gray are desperate to find the cause. Is it a powerful magical foe and have they been betrayed as they fear? Can they and their friends find a way to defeat their enemy and prevent a war? While trying to stay alive can they forget the past, so they can make a future?

Fading Light is the second release in the Shadow Born series by Angela Dennis. It begins shortly after Shadows of Fate ended, so the books should be read in order.

There’s a lot going on in this book—friendships, love, compassion, demons, death, destruction, betrayal and lots of angst. Most of the angst comes from Brenna who was hurt badly in the past and can’t let it go, which only hurts and frustrates Gray. I’m afraid that as much as I liked her in the first book, her personality here seems pretty stagnant. The author didn’t allow her to grow, at least in the beginning, and even though her pain wasn’t Gray’s fault, she’s still punishing him. Truthfully, I got tired of the whining. I was happy the author let her move on as the book progressed. Gray I adore. He’s a little too protective but he’s trying to do the right thing. By the end of the book, I could see them as a successful couple. I can’t wait to see what happens with them in the next book. I’ll be reading it; I hope you will be too.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters. They are so varied in nature and have such different personalities. The author did an excellent job of interweaving them into the plot, whether as a friend or a fight. And talking about fighting—the imagery is very well done, pulling you into the scene and making you a part of the action. Good job, Ms. Dennis. There are plenty of surprises in this fast paced, complicated story line, so pay attention; you don’t want to miss something exciting.

An Unconventional Chicago

Author: Five Author Anthology
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: totallybound.com/
ISBN: 9781784301453
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

An Unconventional Chicago is one enjoyable story divided into five segments written by five very talented authors. The main theme features brutal greedy mobsters controlling the entire city including a cesspool of dirty politicians. Chicago is divided into territories with a different mob family in charge. However, there is an underground movement working to take back the city with the help of mob defectors seeking revenge. The secondary theme highlights the clandestine romantic relationships.    

No Bravery by T.A. Chase - 4.5 Nymphs
One power hungry brother will do anything and everything to control the family’s territory, including sending his older brother Farris away to be tortured for years. But Farris finds an ally in his driver Darien. Together, Farris and Darien set the wheels of revenge as well as justice into motion.  

Love Don’t Die by Jambrea Jo Jones - 4.5 Nymphs
One of the dangers associated with living in Chicago is that a relationship between the privileged gang members and a lower class man is forbidden. Former gangster Dutch joined the rebellion to stay close to his lover Moran; their only hope for survival is to get out of town, which is an almost unattainable prospect.  

Passion Under Fire by Stephani Hecht - 4.5 Nymphs   
The revolution is heating up, moving ever closer to taking down the mob. Fed up with his gangster brothers, Georgio becomes allies with the underground along with his lover Tito. But after a shootout with the mob, Georgio and Tito are now on the run.

Ganging Up on Love by Amber Kell - 4.5 Nymphs
Dirk completes his mission for the rebels when he delivers the evidence to resistance leader Leon. The good news is there is an immediate attraction between Dirk and Leon; the bad news is the rebels are plagued with mob spies and betrayal. 

Bonfire Heart by Devon Rhodes - 4.5 Nymphs
The chokehold on Chicago has finally been broken, thanks to deputy mayor Thierry and his lover Eduardo who were instrumental in breaking the mob’s domination.  

Texas Twist

Title: Texas Twist
Author: Cynthia D’Alba
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-388-2
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Western Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 09-02-2014

After her parents die in a car crash Paige Ryan decides to move to Whispering Springs, Texas to be closer to her half-brother, Leo. It gives her a chance to use her education working at the medical clinic while trying to decide what to do with her life. She doesn’t expect to see the one man guaranteed to distract her…Cash Montgomery.

After being severely injured during a bull ride, Cash is drinking heavily and wallowing in self-pity. After sobering up some, he’s offered the use of his sister-in-law’s empty ranch house, unaware it’s already occupied by Paige. With nothing to do, Cash starts remodeling the house and soon the sparks are flying between him and his gorgeous housemate. Can they make a go of it, or will demons from the past drive them apart?

Texas Twist is the newest release in Cynthia D’Alba’s Texas Montgomery Mavericks series. The previous characters are closely interwoven so I recommend the books be read in order.

Prologues aren’t usually my favorite thing but in this instance it proves useful. It provides the details of the horrible bull riding injury Cash suffered, thus setting up his emotional state for chapter one. As a fan of the PBR, I’ve seen lots of riders get bucked off bulls, but nothing compared to the imagery of what happened to Cash in the opening of this book. The description is short but still conjures images that made me cringe. It’s quite an introduction and is just an example of Ms. D’Alba’s ability.

Needless to say, Cash has serious issues as a result of his injuries. He drinks too much, has an attitude problem, even with his family, and truthfully I didn’t like him much in the beginning. The author had to work at molding his personality for me to change my opinion, but it worked. I did like him eventually. Then there’s Paige—a much nicer person, who I liked immediately. Ms. D’Alba took these two people with such different life experiences, turned their present circumstances on their ears and put them together into a well plotted and paced story of pain and uncertainty that really worked. There are a few twists and several explosions of temper, so watch out for the fun as Cash and Paige try to figure out their lives.

Laser

Title: Laser
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-971-9
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Lukar knows he will never have a mate because he is a throwback among his people.  His brother ends up in charge of saving a young woman that would have died if not for her father, and in the process makes Lee Lukar’s mate and Guardian partner.

Laser is the latest book in Terran Times Second Wave series.  Readers learn more about the cybernetic program that the Nyal Imperium have and we get a good look when Lee’s life hangs in the balance.  Ms. Grace has created a wonderful world that is very believable.  The descriptions of the various aliens, as well as the humans, will let you picture them as you read. The ships that the Guardians have are ones I would like to have.

I loved Lukar’s brother, Dr. Icky.  While serious, he also has a wicked sense of humor the both Lee and Lukar experience.  The description of the wedding and the bride was interesting.  I really liked the symbolism as it was explained.

The chemistry between Lee and Lukar is hot.  I think both were a little surprised by their attraction, but Lukar realized what his brother did.  I liked that they discussed some of their differences in culture and that mindset about sex in their societies. 

While I haven’t read the entire series yet, I am really enjoying the books I have read and am looking forward to future stories, and these books can be read alone.

November Rain

Title: November Rain
Author: Daisy Harris
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-258-8
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph
Release date September 2, 2014
  
Elias can’t believe his luck when the most beautiful man he has ever seen starts flirting with him.  He can’t see how someone like Joe would ever be interested in a shy virgin like him.  Yet, when unforeseen circumstances bring these two men together, the attraction that arises between them sizzles.  Only a relationship between the men just may be doomed from the start.

November Rain is Ms. Harris’ newest book in the Fire and Rain series.  This story is a little different from the previous books, as neither of the main characters is a fireman.  In this book we have Joe, who is a cop, and Elisa, who works at a local clothing store.  They meet in a way that brings an instant connection, which does not always make for a lasting relationship. 

Joe is a tough cop, still trying to get over a breakup.  He’s older and more experienced then Elias.  Elias is young and inexperienced.  His cultural background makes coming out of the closet impossible but he can’t seem to stay away from Joe.  It is easy for the readers to see the connection between these two men and it is obvious that when they finally come together, it will be intense.  There is a gruffness to Joe that left me wondering at times at the pairing of these two.  As the story unfolds, Elias brings out a softer side to the cop that soon makes him the perfect match for the younger man. 

Elias brings just as many issues to the relationship as Joe does.  With only his brother and sister-in-law left in the States, Elias fears coming out.  It has also kept him from seeking a relationship with another man.  This changes when he meets Joe and the readers can see the struggle he goes through trying to come to terms with what he wants.  I have to say I was really worried when Elias’ brother and sister-in-law found out about Elias and Joe.

November Rain is an interesting story that touches on topics that have been seen on the news at one time or the other.  This lends a realistic air to the story, especially with the way the author handles the situations.  This story is a good addition to the Fire and Rain series.  The characters help keep the series fresh and there is just enough angst to keep the reading wondering what will happen next. 

Hell & High Water


Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: dreamspinnerpress.com
ISBN: 978-1-63216-012-6
Genre: {M/M} Detective Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Honesty is not always the safest policy as homicide detective Dexter J. Daley discovered. Moving from a local police agency to a federal agency did little to improve Dex’s popularity with his new squad team, especially since Dex was a replacement for a deceased agent much loved by Team Leader Sloane Brodie.

Hell & High Water is the first book in the THIRDS series. The setting is in a future world, the agency is comprised of human and shifter teams based in New York City. There is a prologue detailing Earth’s history, as well as a highly plausible viral theory which I thought was fascinating.

The primary plot has all the essentials of suspense. The agents are investigating several unsolved murders; the human victims were sympathizers working towards equality for all. Dead end clues, distrustful shifters, sinister villains combined with enthralling battles builds the storyline into an exciting episode.

The secondary plot is a budding romance between Dex and Sloane. The characters are heartwarmingly realistic, entertaining with a laugh out loud dialog.

Dex is so much more than he first appears. He comes across as a snarky motor mouth, yet he has a highly intelligent mind hidden beneath his comedic illusion. Dex is charismatic, compassionate along with being extremely perceptive. These traits are a plus point in his dangerous profession.

Sloane is a jaguar shifter, he has a vested interest in helping other law abiding shifters integrate into society as well as receive fair treatment. Sloane is a mystery; his background in addition to his personal life is a secret from most of his team members. Sloane’s reaction to Dex is one of tolerance. Even though Sloane does his best to fight the attraction between them, Sloane and Dex have a few ventures into intimacy.

Charlie Cochet’s Hell & High Water is a spectacular thoroughly enjoyable saga.

Snake Charmer

Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78430-113-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 08-08-2014

Gabrielo “Snake” Barbas has left his mercenary days behind and is now working as a security expert. When a strange car rolls into the company parking lot, Snake is suddenly in the middle of an attack on co-worker Riley Banks by his wealthy ex-boyfriend. Snake’s determined to keep Riley safe and decides to get him out of town and the best place is Cattle Valley where he has friends.

Riley doesn’t think much of his looks and can’t understand why Snake is interested in him, but the sex is great, so why argue? Snake is upfront that all he’s offering is sex, so Riley has to guard is heart—and the funny thing is, the man who has touched him the most is the man he can’t have. The question—is Snake protecting Riley from his past or Snake?

Snake Charmer is the newest release in Carol Lynne’s long running Cattle Valley series. While being familiar with the town and returning characters would be nice, it’s possible to read this as a standalone.

Snake and Riley are as different as they can be. Snake is a bad-ass mercenary and Riley is an office worker—a geek. They shouldn’t go together but Ms. Lynne uses her talent and makes these two work as a couple. Who would have thought at first glance it would work? I didn’t, but I really enjoyed these two and think it’s safe to say that they’re now one of my favorite couples.

I enjoyed the storyline. It makes sense. The pacing is smooth throughout and I like how Riley’s history with his ex is incorporated into the plot. The abusive past is pivotal in driving the story forward but it still didn’t overpower it, leaving plenty of opportunities for Riley and Snake to be together and for the various scenes in Cattle Valley. The imagery is good and the sex is sizzling, even if their relationship starts off rather quickly— but within the scope of the story it works. As secondary characters—it’s always nice seeing Nate, Ryan and Rio—they’ve been favorites from the beginning. 

I don’t know who the next featured couple is going to be in this long running series but I hope that we get to see Riley and Snake again in the future.

All Kinds of Tied Down

Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781632160652
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

U.S. Deputies Miro Jones and Ian Doyle are total opposites, which makes them the perfect partners.  Working closely for the last three years has been hard for Miro as his feelings for his partner have changed to something more personal.  When Ian realizes Miro’s feelings for him, will that change their relationship for the better or will their relationship be over for good?

All Kinds of Tied Down is just the type of story that has made Mary Calmes hundreds of fans.  The story will pull you in from the very first page and continue to hold your interest until the final word.  Miro and Ian are the type of characters that fans of the author have become used to seeing and I loved the interaction between them.  The chemistry that exists between the two men is evident from the start, but neither man is willing to act on it; Miro because he fears ruining the strong friendship that has formed between him and Ian, and Ian because he is unsure just what it is he is feeling for his partner. 

The journey these two take is an interesting one as they try to figure out just what it is they have while doing their jobs as U.S. Deputies. Both men have a tendency to get into trouble now and then, which tends to make things fun.   

Readers are sure to find the mystery aspect of this story just as interesting as the romance between the main characters.  There is also a variety of secondary characters that help flesh out this story.  A couple of them are sure to surprise the reader. 

All Kinds of Tied Down was a great read and one I plan of re-reading again soon.  I hope the author plans on bringing these two back for more because I would love to see them again soon. 

Evgeny and Feng

Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-771-7
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Size matters, at least to Tiger shifter Evgeny, however snow leopard Feng does not have problem dating a tiger. There is an immediate attraction that quickly turns into love between Evgeny and Feng. 

Evgeny and Feng is part of the Full Moon Dating series. The plot is amusing with a touch of drama, cat playtime as well as incredibly sensual intimacy moments. The characters are creditable.

Evgeny is a successful artist; he enjoys painting the beauty of nature. Evgeny has a serene personality, except because of his tiger’s strength, he fears injuring Feng’s smaller leopard form.

Feng enjoys taking risk; he works as an acrobat and also likes to surf. In leopard form, Feng is agile as well as fast; he takes pleasure in teasing Evgeny from the trees Evgeny is too big the climb.  

Julia Talbot has created a fantastic saga that I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to the next addition to this series. 

In Your Eyes

Title: In Your Eyes
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63216-069-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

As the son of the alpha of the Yafenack pack, Samuel Goodwin knows he’ll take over from his father one day. From an early age he dedicates himself to studying shifter law and becoming the best alpha possible. His problem—he’s not good at relating to others. Samuel meets Korban, the son of another local alpha at an interpack gathering and the older shifter immediately unsettles him. Samuel resents the feeling and tries to ignore him but can’t forget Korban’s beautiful eyes.

Years pass as Samuel and Korban grow older but they see other each infrequently. Without warning tensions escalate between their packs and Samuel’s father is forced into a deadly challenge fight. The result pits the two packs against the other, forcing Samuel to show he can lead for the first time, and throwing him and Korban together in a dangerous situation. Can they save their packs and find a way to be together?

In Your Eyes is the new release in the Mates series by Cardeno C. Please note that previous characters don’t play a role so it can be read as a standalone.

I’m a fan of the paranormal genre—shifters in particular—and have enjoyed the other books in this series. I was pleased to find another being released and the blurb caught my attention immediately. It’s told from Samuel’s point of view so we know all the pain, angst and emotions he experiences. He’s a complicated guy—dedicated and responsible but not empathetic—but I like him. The guy doesn’t even understand his own feelings and overanalyzes everything.  That’s where Korban come in. He’s an alpha too but he’s outgoing, open and affectionate and understands people. He’s the counterpart to Samuel and is his perfect mate, providing tension, love and sizzling chemistry.

There’s lots of vivid imagery in this well written and paced story and, as stated above, the personality of Samuel is well developed—Korban less so, since we never see his POV. There’s plenty of emotion and angst, and the danger and betrayal is woven throughout the last half which keeps the pages turning. There are several twists, and we even learn a little more about pack history, which I enjoyed.

My niggles: Since Korban and Samuel met as children they didn’t spend time together until older—several chapter into the story. Also, I would have liked to see some of the characters from the previous books. Yes, Zev had a phone call, but others are only mentioned.  

Icy Control

Title:  Icy Control
Author:  Elizabeth Lapthorne
Publisher:  Totally Bound
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781784300623
Genre:  {M/F}, Suspense, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Sally has finally been asked for help by Robert with the mission he and his partner are working on that revolves around a specific painting.  In addition, both realize they have very strong feelings for each other.

Icy Control is the eighth book in The Agency series. Ms. Lapthorne did a wonderful job with the mystery surrounding the Cezanne.  Not only did she do a good job with that, there were lots of humorous situations as well as tragedy regarding the theft and recovery of the painting.  There were some interesting facts about restoration and forgery issues that were brought up.  I also liked the creative way that things were resolved with the museum and the news to minimize some future issues.

Robert and Sally have some intense chemistry.  I liked that Robert was happy about Sally’s enthusiasm even as he worried about her safety.  Sally did her best to let Robert know she wasn’t upset by the darker aspect of his job and, in fact, wanted to be a part of it once she realized she might become a consultant for The Agency. I loved that Sally made Robert lose his control around her, which surprised some of his co-workers.

Most of the secondary characters we met in previous books, though there were some new ones that had interesting occupations.  As the mystery unfolded, there were a few twists that could have had some real world applications.

As this series progresses, some stories have more twists and information than others, but this series is one I will be reading again.