Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter Hearts

Author: Fyn Alexander
Publisher: Loose Id
Publishers URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62300-506-1
Genre: {M/M}, Western
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

After a failed relationship, and a beating outside a saloon, Luke is running from who he is.  Hoping to start over, he heads for the Dakota Territory, getting a land claim he plans to farm.  When one of the worst winters on record hits, Luke heads for town renting a small home to stay in for the winter.  When Sam shows up during the middle of a blizzard, Luke has no choice but to let him stay, but has he made a terrible mistake?

Winter Hearts by Mr. Alexander is a well written western that will grab your attention from the beginning.  The story takes place during the 1880’s, a dangerous time for men like Sam and Luke.  Having to hide their true selves from everyone else keeps them from finding the happiness they both crave. 

Since this story is set in the Dakota Territory, I wondered how the author would handle the men’s relationship with the feelings regarding same sex relations during that time.  What I liked was that, while Luke was cautious of those around him and how he behaved, Sam was more carefree and in many ways innocent of what others would think.  The way these two men balance each other out is one of the things I liked the most about this story.  There is chemistry between them that heat up the pages as well, so it is easy to understand why the relationship between Luke and Sam moves so fast.

As you would expect the relationship does not go unnoticed and soon the men are forced to face what being gay during that time means.  I honestly did not expect this story to have a happy ending, as I could see no way for the author to move the men in that direction.  I loved the way the author chose to wrap the story up and think many others will as well. 

Fans of this author are sure to love Winter Hearts and, if you love the western sub-genre, I would recommend picking this one up.

Like Stars

Title: Like Stars
Author: Selina Kray
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0332
Genre: {M/M} Historical 
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

On the threshold of a duty bound adult, Viscount Nathaniel Thredgold seeks the adventure of a soldier before he is required to marry and provide an heir. Unfortunately, his escapade turns into seven years of grief for his family and best friend Wesley Douglas.

Like Stars is a Regency budding romance set in England during a time when a same sex couple was a hanging offense. Nate and Wesley are two teenagers exploring their sexuality, although Wesley is fairly sure he is gay. I got the impression Nate is bi-sexual since he did experience intimacy with females while he was away fighting a war. The plot illustrates the strong bond of friendship between Nate and Wesley more so than lovers.

Nate sustained numerous injuries during the war that left him disfigured enough that his family did not recognize him; even Wesley believed Nate was an imposter. The main reason Nate returned home after so long an absence is to make amends for the impetuous way he left home.

Heartbroken by the loss of Nate, Wesley continued his schooling. Wesley became a doctor who chose to practice in his home county of Haversham rather than London. Of all the people that knew Nate, Wesley is one of the last to acknowledge Nate, as well as forgive him.

Like Stars is a charming as well as enjoyable friends to lovers saga.  

It’s Okay

Title: It’s Okay
Author: AKM Miles
Publisher: ManLoveRomance Press
Publishers URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR-1-02014-0311
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Mystery, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph
                                           
Its spring break and Gom is hoping to spend the time with his partner and family.  Problems arise, however, when the young police officer is pulled into one emergency after another.  Thankfully, his family and lover are there to lend a hand.

It’s Okay is the latest addition to the Scarcity Sanctuary series.  While the main couple in this newest story is Gom and Casey, this is not a story about their relationship.  In many ways, this is a family centered story as many, if not all, of the Scarcity family show up.  I loved seeing every one back together again as the author does a wonderful job bringing the sense of family across.  I loved how they are all there to help each other regardless of what the problem is. 

It’s not only the Scarcity family that needs the occasional hand however.  Soon Gom is called into duty and he finds himself going undercover once again.  The cases he finds himself working on are intense, especially the first one.  I could not believe the way Kade has been treated and am glad that things worked out the way they did.  The second case was a bit of a surprise, and I hope we will be seeing more of Viho in the future. 

It’s Okay is a great addition to this series and one I am sure fans of the author will enjoy. I absolutely loved the wedding/commitment scenes in this book and am sure many others will as well.   I would recommend reading this series in order, for those new to it, so readers can get a strong grasp on the various characters in the series.  

Once Upon a Pirate

Author: Jambrea Jo Jones
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0333
Genre: {M/M} Dragon Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Valda Rollins is stuck in a cell with Flame; a dragon obsessed with bodybuilding and can hear voices in his head. Valda begins to wonder if Flame is crazy or is it magic?

Once Upon a Pirate is part of the Ever After Series. This is a short installment that ends on a “to be continued” very important mission. The characters are wonderfully captivating as well as entertaining.

Valda is a wizard who became a pirate to escape the fanatical members in his family. He has a reason to hate dragons, yet Valda discovers not all dragons are bad.

Flame is a lovable dragon who just wants to protect the good guys, especially his mate Valda. Keeping his body in top form through daily exercise means Flame will be battle ready to defend his love ones. 

Jambrea Jo Jones has created another fantastic addition to this romantic comedy series. I enjoyed Once Upon a Pirate immensely, and I look forward to the next episode in the Ever After Series.

Manifest

Title:  Manifest
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:   eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0124-5
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

After Melia finds some kidnapped victims, she accidentally finds herself bound to Dornin-tah, the oldest son of the family she found. Dornin-tah didn’t realize that the beautiful woman he saw on his way to his family didn’t have the thick skin that would prevent scratching until it was too late.  He finds he doesn’t mind at all that she is now his.

Manifest is the latest story in the Terran Times Second Wave series.  I really like this series as the author has come up with some very interesting alien life forms and customs that help keep the various stories fresh.  One constant is the Terran, or someone from Earth, that is willing to leave to start a new life which may include being a mate to one of those aliens.

In this case, Melia had no intention of doing nothing but her job as a custom agent.  She was one on earth, but wanted to go to the stars.  Melia has a sixth sense about shipments being contraband, which led her to finding the tah family.  Even as her life changes because of Dornin-tah, her life is threatened.

Melia and Dornan become bonded and have some explosive chemistry.  I loved some of the reactions Melia had to some of the customs she had to endure when she was introduced to the Adru-Skari society.  Some of Dornin’s family’s reactions were funny as well.

Ms. Grace has a knack for transporting you into the various worlds she has created.  As I read more of the Terran Times Second Wave series, I look forward to future stories.  

The Hit Man Cometh

Author: Edward Kendrick
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781784303136
Genre: {M/M} Crime, BDSM
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Murder is just business for Mick Whalen; that is until he develops an immediate attraction for the target Gavin Wilde. Not only is Gavin kinky in the bedroom, he proves to be an asset to Mick’s hired assassination profession.

The Hit Man Cometh is an interesting plot featuring the criminal’s point of view. Murder is conducted like any other business. There is a boss who handles the assignments, as well as money transactions. Job files are sent to the hit men and another corpse becomes a story in the news.

Mick is a “no remorse” human, who likes the feeling of power he gets from being in control. His attitude is that the people he kills caused grievances to someone willing to pay for them to die, so Mick is just carrying out a task.

Although Gavin, a coyote shifter, is a former con man, he is not a killer without justification. Teaming up with Mick was more in the form of being Mick’s bodyguard, rather than becoming a hit man.

Edward Kendrick has created a saga that I found both impressive as well as a little distressing. The industry like set up is impressive. The information available through research is distressing because moral values along with a person’s anonymity do not exist in Mick’s world.  

A Chaotic Range

Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63216-150-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

For David, daily life on the ranch is pretty simple. It’s mending fences and taking care of the cattle but when a snowstorm rolls through the area, they find a stranded motorist almost frozen in his car. He's surprised to discover that the stranger is Brian Applewright, a guy he knew in high school, and that Brian's ranch boss fired him for being gay.

A new job on the ranch is a wonderful turn of events for the unemployed Brian and gives him a chance to get reacquainted with David, his high school crush. After a recent break-up David has issues of his own to deal with, and starting a new relationship is something he’s not interested in. But circumstances and human nature has other ideas and it isn’t long before the attraction of their earlier years is back and stronger than before. The question is whether they can move past the pain of their previous mistakes and make a life together.

A Chaotic Range is the newest release in Andrew Grey’s Range series. Due to the overlapping characters and the continuing use of the same location, I recommend the books be read in order.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 months since the release of a book in this entertaining series. I always look forward to each one and was beginning to think the series had come to an end and I’d missed the notice. With this long awaited release, fans can be assured of another well written and plotted story that fits wonderfully into the family of books.

The book begins with the life threatening snowstorm in which Brian is stranded. It’s well written, allowing the reader to feel all the pain and despair he experiences in this situation and how he got there. The rescue and the opening scenes with the men from the ranch are equally gripping and reminded me why I enjoy this series so much. The descriptions of ranch life are nicely done but those involving the storms are particularly vivid. 

I like David and Brian and while there aren’t a great many details about their high school years, there are enough to understand their renewed attraction. These two have a lot of baggage and I really expected them to have more trouble moving past them, but they move quickly into a relationship—really too fast, considering their pasts. Seeing the nice integration of several of the previous characters was enjoyable and it certainly grounded the story in the established setting. So despite my niggles, I enjoyed it and will be looking for the next one. Happy reading.

Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore

Author:  Aliyah Burke
Publisher:  Totally Bound
ISBN/BIN:  9781784303143   
Genre:  {M/F} Contemporary, Multicultural
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

One month is the time Marine Brent Agers has left to get himself together.  The pains in his body aren’t going away as fast as Brent wants and he’s restless, so he hits the road.  Brent pulls into a small town, hoping he can relax in peace without being disturbed.  When he runs into a woman who has him hot and bothered, Brent becomes more confused.

Life is good for Maya Brennan.  Work, friends and pets keep her going.  Her simple life becomes very complicated when Brent shows up in her town and becomes her neighbor.  He changed her life when they hooked up on vacation in ways Maya never imagined.  But, Brent doesn’t seem to remember her and all the epic sex they had.

Memory comes crashing back to Brent and he’s determined to rekindle things with the woman who’s given him many sleepless nights.  Maya tries, but she can’t resist Brent’s charm.  Things heat up between the couple and they become acquainted as Brent’s month of leave comes to an end.  Brent is torn but he knows he wants more than a fling, while Maya believes that a fling is all that can happen between them.  After some soul searching on both parts, the couple gets the ending they deserve. 

Maya and Brent’s past should have made their reunion easy and magical.  Even though Brent didn’t remember Maya, he felt drawn to her.  Of course Maya would be angry if her lover didn’t remember her.  Who wouldn’t be? I kept waiting for the moment Brent would remember and I was anxious to see how he’d handle it.  It had me turning the pages faster.  I loved the small town vibe and how everyone was so protective of Maya and she of them.  But, Maya did issue an ultimatum to Brent that had me disagreeing with her.  I don’t think she was fair in some of the demands she made of the man.  I was wringing my hands, thinking the couple could never work out this bump in the road and yet they did.  Till We Ain’t Strangers Any More is the third book in the Interludes series, but the first of the series that I have read.  Reading it as a stand alone was not a problem, but obviously one can’t help but be curious about the previous stories.  Aliyah Burke never disappoints with her characters or plots so I suggest for more fun, pick up the series.

Rack & Ruin

Title: Rack & Ruin
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63216-420-9
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

A war, street gangs, extremists fighting for principles and revenge, violence has always been a part of Earth’s history. With each new generation of mankind the hostility as well as history is repeated.

Rack & Ruin is the third book in the THIRDS series. The setting is a future time, yet the issues illustrated are realistic problems of today’s world. Featured is the team members’ emotional conflicts between a dangerous job, painful memories and personal relationships.

The exciting plot exhibits the violence between the Order of Adrasteia, an extremist group of humans on a mission to exterminate all the shifters known as Therians and the Ikelos Coalition, a Therian group seeking revenge for their slaughtered family members.

The Therian Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense Squadron A.K.A the THIRDS  is a military style version of law enforcement consisting of teams of both human and Therian agents working together to implement peace. The Thirds are, for all intents and purposes, caught in the middle of the warring factions.

What I find really interesting is that the shifters are actually a medical creation by the world’s top scientist. Animal strains of DNA were infused into a vaccine created to cure a lethal virus infecting millions. However, some who survived the virus developed an altered human DNA. The children born with the ability to shift were deemed abominations by their own parents. Therians became the targets to be despised by bigots, replacing the homophobic attitude of an earlier era.

Charlie Cochet has created another exhilarating installment to this extremely enjoyable series. The characters are absolutely engaging. The storyline blends intense skirmishing, moments of amusement along with poignant romantic clashes.