Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Negative

Title:  Negative
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4814-0201-3
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Aster came back from the dead with a special talent.  When Aster is assigned as a bodyguard to Lady Abrieth, she meets Yodin, who is considered the god of war on Rekfa.  What happens when she meets him at a celebration?

Negative, the latest in the Terran Times Second Wave series, is a bit different than the previous stories because it involves beings more like gods than people.  I was intrigued by the author’s description of how Aster and Yodin became the way they were.

The avatar on Rekfa takes Aster away from Yodin, so she can grow into her powers and talent.  Yodin isn’t happy, but later realizes it was right, though he finds the separation difficult.  I had to laugh at some of the situations he got himself into as the god of war and sex.  I could also understand some of Aster’s feelings when she learned more about Yodin.

Aster and Yodin have some great chemistry together.  Aster knows she wants to be with him, but knows she can’t live in his dark world.  Yodin realizes she needs light and a way to create things, so he ends up compromising so he can make Aster happy.

The avatar and some of Yodin’s old friends help things along, though there is one sad event that casts a pall for a while.  There were also some humorous scenes involving the avatar, Lady Abrieth, and Lerodan.

This book was a fun book to read and can be read alone.  I am curious to see what the next one is about.

Something More for Santa

Author: AKM Miles
Publisher: Man Love Romance Books
Publishers URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR-1-02014-0349
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Holiday          
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Derek loved his mother and did everything to make her final days peaceful.  Now he is left in debt.  Working several jobs to cover the past due medical bills is starting to wear the young man down.  Little does he know that things are about to change, thanks to a little elf that happens to overhear Santa’s wish.

Something More for Santa is the latest release from author AKM Miles.  I have to admit that this story sounded vaguely familiar to me, but for the life of me I could not remember if I had read it or not.  This newest expanded edition is one I will not forget however, and I plan on reading it again in the future.

From the beginning the author pulled me into this story.  All the main characters are well written, in fact while the story is about Derek and Max, Michael, Max’s son, plays such a strong role in this story, that he could be seen as a third main character.  Derek and Max meet after Michael looks for someone to help his father with his “main headache”.   At the time Derek is working as one of the Santas at Martin’s department store and happens to be on break, and feeling sorry for himself, when he meets Michael.  The three are drawn together once again, after Max goes searching for his son who has wondered away from his sitter.  There is a strong connection between Max and Derek, making it easy for the readers to see that these two belong together.  The addition of Michael is a bonus for Derek, as these two bond almost from the moment the little “elf” asks “Santa” for help. 

Even though the connection between the two men is intense, and their relationship flows easily, there are interferences from multiple outside forces that shake things up a time or two.  These little twists and turns keep the readers turning the pages to see what will happen next, while adding just enough suspense to keep the story from being too sweet.  

Something More for Santa is a definite keeper and sure to bring this author many new fans.

A Healing Man

Title: A Healing Man
Author: Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925180-92-3
Genre: {M/M} Romantic Comedy Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

NYC cop Tiernan Callahan realized that self-denial becomes a thing of the past when confronted with unadulterated desire. The object of Tiernan’s desire is wounded warrior Dario Ramos, who is a friend of the Callahan’s unjustified enemy Casper Kennedy.

A Healing Man is the fifth book in the Men Of Manhattan series. The characters were first introduced in A Fighting Man featuring Casper Kennedy and Army Ranger Slater Cassidy. Casper was engaged to Tiernan’s brother Mason who was killed in Iraq. Slater and Dario were survivors of that same war.

Tiernan’s attitude regarding gay men stems from his uncompromising religious mother. Tiernan’s fears of rejection from his family overrule his true personality. The bigoted attitude is also causing problems with his performance on the job. Learning to face his demons brings about a positive change in Tiernan, but not without some apprehension for his future.

Dario is a man of compassion, dealing with his own demons as well as with physical pain on a daily basis, he recognizes the sufferings of others and tries to help anyway he can, regardless of a person’s sexually. 

Reading Sandrine Gasq-Dion’s A Healing Man I found exceptionally enjoyable illustrations of crimes in progress action, Tiernan and Dario’s incredibly sensual budding romance, vastly appealing secondary characters, especially Danny Finnegan, Tiernan’s work partner plus Dario’s mother. The two of them provided most of the storyline’s hilarity. 

Steps to Heaven

Author: Star Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781632163769
Genre: {M/M}, Suspense       
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Steve and Bob became friends while at the police academy, something that works in their favor as partners on the job.  Their latest case soon has them re-thinking their relationship, both on the job and off.

Steps to Heaven is a mystery that centers around two young cops and a case that seems to spiral out of control.  Steve and Bob have a strong connection and the skills each brings into their partnership make them an outstanding team on the force.  Their strong friendship has always caused others to talk, which makes things difficult on Steve and Bob when their feeling for each other start to change.

I liked the friendship that exists between the two men and can understand why Steve has such a hard time coming to terms with his changing feelings, even if I did not like how he tried to combat those feelings in the beginning.  The men’s struggle with their changing feelings plays a large part in Steps to Heaven, which means the story is not overshadowed with a lot of sex.  This keeps the romance aspect of the story realistic, and when they do come together the passion between them is intense.

The mystery that is woven into the story is an interesting one and I liked the way the author pulled the two men into what was going on.  As much as I liked the mystery, this was also the part of the story that gave me the most problem.  I found the procedural aspects to be a little lacking, at times wondering how the men could be such good cops and continually make stupid mistakes. 

While the premise of Steps to Heaven is a good one, and for the most part I liked the story, parts of it did come across to me a little weak.  I am curious to see if the author plans on bringing these men back for more and would most likely pick up the story if she did. 

Texas Bossa Nova

Author: Cynthia D’Alba
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-667-8
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Western Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 03-31-2015

Magda Hobbs lost her mother at an early age and feared ending up like her—in love with the wrong man. When she fell for a cowboy, Magda jumped on her Harley and left town, determined to run from temptation. Six months later she’s scared for another reason—her father’s had a heart attack and she races back to Whispering Springs.

In need of a job while her father recovers, Magda gets talked into taking a job as a housekeeper for one of the Montgomery’s. She ends up working at her ex-lover, Reno Montgomery’s ranch.  It’s not the best situation but with boundaries it works—at least until a snowstorm strands them together without power. The danger and isolation rekindles their desire, but when they rejoin the world will they stay together or will Magda let the past push them apart?

Texas Bossa Nova is the newest release in Cynthia D’Alba’s Texas Montgomery Mavericks series. While it’s not imperative, with the number of recurring characters, I recommend reading the books in order.

What a fun and entertaining read. I really enjoyed Reno and Magda. These two are perfect for each other but are they a mess. Magda is carrying around so much baggage, it’s amazing she can function, yet she comes across as strong-willed and independent. These two jump to conclusions, communicate superficially and try to ignore each other at first—can you say adults acting like they’re in high school. It’s a bit of a hoot. 

The descriptions of ranch life are vivid and those involving the ice storm are particularly well done, making it seem real. There is plenty of angst and tension between Reno and Magda and the sex is sizzling. There are more than enough surprises to keep the pages turning, the pace is smooth, and there’s some fun dialogue. I enjoyed the secondary characters and a couple of the new ones I hope to see featured in a future release. 

Letting Hearts Heal

Author: Luna Jensen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781632163165
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Western        
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

After Mason left Sweet Valley, he never planned on returning.  When tragedy strikes however he heads to the one person he knows will help him.  What Mason does not know is that his aunt has died, so Mason finds himself wondering what the hell he’s going to do next.  He never expected his first love to come back into the picture, or for the feelings the men had to still be there.

Letting Hearts Heal is a heart wrenching story that grabbed me from the first page, and had me staying up late in the night to see what would happen.  Both Mason and Dean are the type of characters that readers will fall for, and hope that they find their happily ever after.  Mason comes from a religious family that was ruled by an abusive father.  It’s not surprising that they would take Mason’s coming out badly.  Dean is older than Mason, but that did not keep the men from falling in love.  The age difference did keep them from becoming serious though, something that Dean had hoped to change in the future.  Both men’s lives are changed by the actions of their parents, and that is one of the aspects at the center of this story. 

From the time he leaves home, Mason’s life has been hard.  One of the things I liked though was the fact that the author did not focus on the negative and instead showed how the young man was able to rise above his circumstances and become a chef, even though he had no schooling.   While Dean’s father may not have been physically abusive, the man was cold and distant. Readers will not be surprised by the lengths Dean’s father went to, when controlling his son’s life.  Dean is left with the fear of becoming just like his father.  The author finds the perfect way to showcase the differences between the two men, when she had Dean re-vamp the ranch into something totally different than what his father had been doing.

Mason and Dean are brought back together in a unique way and while the attraction between the two still exists, both men are leery about starting anything new.   Another important key in whether or not these two get together, is the fact that Dean now has a son, one he did not know about until recently.  There is a lot going on in the men’s lives, from Mason’s fear of fire, to Dean’s worries over his son Wyatt, yet the author finds a way to bring these two together in a way that is believable.  I loved the way Mason and Dean overcome their various issues and work towards becoming a family.  I also loved the way the author handles the relationship between Mason and Wyatt, as well as the one between Wyatt and his father.  

This is my first book by this author, after reading Letting Hearts Heal, a book I will be re-reading in the future, I will be keeping my eyes out for more from Ms. Jensen.  

They Come By Night

Author: Tinnean
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63216-431-5
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

In the world in which Tyrell Small lives, vampyrs are real. The difference from myth is that most survive on bagged blood and a fortunate few have access to the precious blood of the rare human sabors. For Tyrell it’s all a mystery. He knows he’s different and he has a strange birthmark to prove it.  However it’s not until his father explains their family history that Tyrell learns the truth. The birthmark means he’s destined to feed vampyrs.

Running away from home isn’t the answer but Tyrell needs to think. He climbs out his bedroom window and up onto the roof where he meets Adam Dasani, the vampyr who’s been guarding him for years. With the blood of two the of the strongest saborese families flowing through his veins, Tyrell’s safety can’t be left to chance. Adam and everyone else think Tyrell’s destiny is unchangeable, but nothing could be further from the truth, showing just how special Tyrell really is.

They Come By Night is the newest release by Tinnean. I’m very fond of books in this genre and found it to be fun and entertaining, but because the cover reminded me of a campy 1950’s movie poster, I almost gave it a pass without even reading the blurb. I’m glad I gave it a try. I hope you will too.

I thoroughly enjoyed the world building in this new release. Yes, I know the idea of vampyrs being civilized and utilizing bagged blood isn’t new, but taking it a step further with the creation of sabors certainly is. That brings Tyrell into the story. His personal history and the disintegration of his family at the beginning are very well written. The depth of emotion pulled me into the story and kept me wanting more. The plot flow is steady, the imagery is vivid and the details and history of the sabors are nicely placed within the plot. Yes, there are things left unexplained about sabors and Tyrell’s missing Uncle Phillip is a big dangling thread I’d like resolved, but overall I’m satisfied with the ending.

There are several interesting secondary characters, both vampyr and Tyrell’s family that I’d like to see again.  I enjoyed the personalities of Adam and Tyrell, the snappy dialogue is fun, and there’s even a bit of action, deceit and danger. I really hope there’s a sequel in the works. 

Arrival

Title: Arrival
Author: Michelle Robbins
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publishers URL: http://www.amberquill.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61124-726-8
Genre: {M/M}, Science Fiction, Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Everything changed the day the Urilqii showed up and now humans have to come to terms with the fact that they are not the only ones “out there”.  While some are excited and open to these new comers, others are not.  Liam is in the live and let live column, especially with how gorgeous the Urilqii are.  When he meets one of the warriors at a concert, he’s pulled into a world he’s not sure he’s ready for.

Arrival is the first book in the Urilqii series.  The author uses this story to set the series up, so there is a lot of information thrown at the readers and causes the story to feel a little heavy at times.  Because there is so much going on, this is a series that will need to be read in order.

This first book introduces the reader to a group of powerful Urilqii warriors.  I loved the way humans changed the Urilqii’s names, because of not being able to pronounce them, and it made me think of immigrants coming through Ellis Island back in the day.  First Sargent Mike is one of those warriors.  He has reason to see the Targolt destroyed, but worries that humans are too ill prepared to accomplish the mission.  For me, Mike was hard to like, even though it is easy to understand why he behaves the way he does. 

Liam is typical of the younger generation.  Working and partying are two of the most important things in his life.  When the Urilqii show up, he goes along with the flow. The instant attraction he feels for Mike throws Liam into the limelight, something he is not ready for.  When the Targolt finally show up, Liam, like many of his friends, sign up to fight alongside the Urilqii.  This brings Liam and Mike back together. 

The initial attraction between the two men is still there, and the connection the two men have, has some unexpected side effects.  These side effects heat up the pages and throw a few wrinkles into the situation.  While reading I really wanted to see these two find their happily ever after, yet at times Mike drove me so crazy, that I was ready to tell Liam to walk away.  I did like the way the author solved the men’s problems however, and felt it played well in the story. 

Fans of the science fiction genre are sure to love Arrival.  It has everything you would look for in this genre, from alien invasions to humans out to destroy both the good and the bad aliens.  It also has a complicated romance woven through out, that will keep the reader turning to the pages to see how things will play out for Liam and Mike.     

Sealed in Sin

Title:  Sealed in Sin
Author:  Juliette Cross
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.samhainpublishing.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61922-496-4
Genre: {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph
Published in April 2015

Genevieve has man trouble.  Not only is she in love with Jude, she now has Thomas after her, along with several of the Demon Princes.  As her powers grow, she makes one decision that has terrible consequences.

Sealed in Sin is the second book of The Vessel Trilogy that picks up where the first book left off.  As the demon hunters, guardian angels, demons and other paranormal entities choose sides, more of the prophecy is starting to come to pass. 

Genevieve and Jude solidify their relationship after she makes a terrible mistake that brings to light some divided loyalties.  The decision they make leads to betrayal by someone thought to be on their side in the coming war between good and evil.

The author has certainly kept my interest with the suspense throughout the book.  Readers will learn more about some of the secondary characters’ relationship, more about the choices some of the characters made in the past and how the demon hunters are made.  The story has a lot of religious overtones as it relates to good and evil and the continuous war between the sides, but is actually a very good mystery. 

This series is not a typical love story, though there are several woven throughout as Genevieve struggles to grow into her power.  I found it interesting that even her teachers and guides are unsure about what is next as she is the first to get to the level of power that she is at without being captured by one of the princes.  

This series needs to be read in order, and I am looking forward to the last book.  This will be a series to be read again as it continues to throw surprises as it progresses.  I can’t wait to see how it ends as this particular story ends with a small cliff-hanger.