Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Heart Mates

Title: Heart Mates
Author: Mary Hughes
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-522-0
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 04-28-2015

Sophia knows better than to get involved with a shifter. The Witches Council forbids it on threat of death, but that doesn’t stop the tingly feelings Sophia get when she runs into Noah, the new alpha wolf, at her Aunt Linda’s bookstore. He’s the last person to see her and Sophia hopes he knows what happened to her.

What Sophia doesn’t know is that Aunt Linda accidently hexed Noah and during the day, he turns into a fifteen pound terrier. With five opponents to his position as alpha ready to challenge him, the hex is a problem and Sophia’s magic isn’t working, so she can’t unravel it.  Between the hex, pack challenge and a mage from Sophia’s past intent on murder, Noah has his hands full trying to keep Sophia safe and both of them alive.

Heart Mates is the first release in the new paranormal romance series, Pull of the Moon, by Mary Hughes. It’s another fun and entertaining read by this multi-published author, and if you’re a fan of this genre, I suggest you give it a try. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Well, Ms. Hughes is off to a good start with her new series with Heart Mates. The world building is nicely done, the personalities and backgrounds of Noah and Sophia are fully developed and the descriptions are vivid. I’m a big fan of paranormals and werewolf books in particular, and Ms, Hughes adding witches, wizards and familiars to the plot really amped up my interest. It also took the story in some directions I didn’t expect but which I appreciated as the plot progressed. 

Don’t worry about getting bored or the plot dragging in the middle either. The pace kept my interest throughout—and yes, there is action and danger. Think pack challenges, murder and dangerous wizards. There are also some interesting secondary characters, and one who is a little mysterious—Jayden—who I hope we learn more about in the future. Enjoy!

Torn

Title: Torn
Author: Shawn Bailey
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com
ISBN: 978-1-61124-758-9
Genre: {M/M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Drugs and abuse are two elements in a relationship that Sam Mason can no longer tolerate from his boyfriend Tony. Fortunately, Justin Quick comes to Sam’s rescue before the verbal clash turned physical.

Torn is a view into life changes. Some changes are beyond our control and other changes we choose to make. The plot illustrates toxic relationships, as well as the modifications Sam and his best friend Caleb made to ensure their survival. Torn is listed as a ménage featuring Sam, Caleb and Justin however, the actual main romantic relationship is between Sam and Justin. The overall storyline is realistic, the characters are creditable.

Justin is an attorney who comes from old money but does not have the snobbish attitude associated with the wealthy.

Sam and Caleb are both fiercely independent with strict morals. Being homeless for a time during their teen years, Sam and Caleb chose to work honest jobs rather than accept a hand out from anyone. 

Torn is an impressive and enjoyable saga. The engaging characters are heartwarming. I could almost envision the destructive predicaments they dealt with.     

Alec’s Moon

Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-4874-0108-5
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series           
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Alec knows his alpha could be doing a better job, but everyone seems to be doing okay. Alec is just an omega so all he should be worrying about is looking pretty.  When Alec’s pack is attacked and he is taken to be sold as a sex slave, Alec figures his life is over.  When the hostages are rescued, Alec’s life is changed once again and he wonders if he will survive this time.

The thirteenth book in the Wayne County Wolves series, Alec’s Moon introduces two characters who really top the snark meter.  Readers will love Alec.  He’s young and used to just laying around but there is a strength to him that even he does not realize he has.  He hides his insecurities behind a snarky attitude and, I must say, some of the things he says and thinks had me laughing.  He almost beats out Shane in this field. 

Next there is Michi.  Readers may remember him as his brother is North from North’s Complications.  Like Alec, Michi is also on the snarky side, and just to give fans of this series a hint, Michi likes Carson and considers it fun to hang out with him.   Michi and North are asked to help out the Wayne County pack after they take in some refugees, some of whom are having a hard time adjusting. 

Michi is instantly attracted to Alec and is determined to help the young wolf get over his issues.  I wish the author would have spent a little more time on this aspect of the story, though what there is comes across realistically.  Some may find the fast moving relationship that these men have to be an issue, but that is the nature of the mating pull that each of the stories in this series revolves around. 

There are some new secondary characters introduced and I hope they will be getting stories of their own soon.  While this is a fun book to read, there are several topics touched on that may make this a difficult book for some to read.

Piercing the Darkness

Author: Angela Dennis
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-626-5
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 04-07-2015

Hilda Janssen died fighting a dark mage fifty years ago and since then has existed as a ghost. Now she works with a team of hunters dealing with paranormal creatures roaming the post-war Earth. It’s during a demon attack that Hilda tries to save her friends and makes the ultimate sacrifice and ends up in the Void, which is impossible to escape from.

Unbeknownst to Hilda, her friends have a plan to get her out. When she died, Hilda left behind a fiancé, Cade  Kerrigan who with their bond is powerful enough to pull her out—the problem—he thinks she’s dead, not a ghost. He’s not happy. Can old hurts be put aside long enough to rescue the woman he still loves; otherwise Hilda will spend eternity in a hell-like place.

Piercing the Darkness is release 2.5 in the paranormal series, Shadow Born, by Angela Dennis. It’s a short novella that picks up shortly after Fading Light ends, so I recommend the books be read in order to avoid confusion.

What a fast paced and entertaining book. The author jump-starts the action almost immediately and keeps the plot racing forward until nearly the last page. With such a short length, there’s not much back story except for some needed personal data about Hilda and Cade’s past relationship. That helps to make sense of their emotions—which includes anger, pain and betrayal. But watching them work through their issues and get back together—nicely done.

For me the best written part of the story is the time Hilda spent in the Void. Wow! Ms. Dennis outdid herself. The vivid descriptions of how horrible that place is and the creatures that inhabited it are top-notch. I look forward to the next release and hope you will give this well thought-out series a try. 

Moby's Dick

Title: Moby's Dick
Author: A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-879-0
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Burke Matthews is accustomed to salvaging wrecked water vehicles; it is what his team does best. However, rescuing cruise ship survivor Gabriel Bergeron develops into an additional benefit that Burke can’t resist.

Moby's Dick is a charming budding romance story, complete with a scorned ex-lover in the part of the scoundrel. The setting is small coastal town in Italy. The plot gives an overview of the procedures involved in salvaging disabled ships. The characters are creditable.

Burke is looking for a mutual love relationship; he wanted to feel an emotional connection that goes beyond the sexual aspects. Burke did not love his ex-lover, though he enjoyed the sex they shared.

Gabriel was not looking for a relationship but he experienced the same affections that Burke felt which soon developed into a sensuous love affair.

The ex-lover has some major jealousy issues; Burke presented his former lover with a straightforward break-up months before Burke met Gabriel. Yet the lover refused to accept Burke’s rejection of their one sided emotionally unfulfilling relationship. The former lover claims to love Burke, yet the lover commits an unspeakable act for the sole purpose of destroying Burke.

A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly’s Moby's Dick is a touching as well as enjoyable saga.

Terrance

Title: Terrance
Author: D.J. Manly
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR-1-02014-0366
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary; Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Terrance’s relationship with Alex may have gotten off to a rocky start – telling a guy that he has a ghost following him around is certainly a unique pick up line – but they have been through a great deal since then, and their bond is that much stronger for it. The circumstances of their meeting may not have been ideal, but they are putting in the effort to make this work. Alex tries very hard to understand Terrance’s gift for communicating with the dead, and Terrance loves him all the more for it. And Terrance has worked hard not to push Alex away when his gift threatens to overwhelm him.

They had been enjoying some peace and quiet – the voices in Terrance’s head had been keeping their distance and letting him have a life of his own for once – but it could never last. There are too many souls needing Terrance’s help. When a young boy’s cries for help start to haunt him, Terrance cannot ignore it. His head is filled with distressing images that threaten to push Terrance to the brink, and he knows they won’t go away until he faces what the young boy is trying to tell him. It is a race to unravel the story behind these horrific images, but will Terrance realize that he doesn’t have to run this race alone anymore?

Terrance is book two of The Severing series. Whereas the first book laid out the foundations of the paranormal world the characters inhabit and the circumstances that threw them all together, Terrance does a fantastic job delving into the character’s past, letting the reader see exactly what makes Terrance the man he is today. The story is thrilling, full of suspense and as with the first book, once I started I just didn’t want to put it down. The author writes a really good story, revealing just enough of Terrance’s past and how it relates to what is going on now to keep me hooked and wondering just how it’ll all play out. Although the focus is on Terrance’s character, Alex is never left out, his importance to Terrance and his strength obvious throughout, but especially during a surprising plot twist. I really felt Alex’s sense of helplessness at the things Terrance just had to do alone.

The style of writing is very down to earth and fun to read and I can tell how much the author is enjoying writing this series. The dialog seems to flow with excitement, which at times is hard to keep up with but mostly just adds to the sense of urgency of Terrance’s situation. I am thoroughly enjoying this series and suggest paranormal m/m fans definitely give this a try. The author does not shy away from using gritty, sometimes disturbing imagery. Make no mistake, the underbelly of this world is on full display, but I don’t think it is taken too far. In fact, it makes me appreciate the fragility and importance of Alex & Terrance’s relationship all the more.

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction

Author:  Kelli A. Wilkins
Publisher:  Amazon
Publisher URL:  www.amazon.com
ISBN/BIN:  B00THWLFQU
Genre:  Non-Fiction
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction has a lot of very practical advice that is easy to understand and follow.  This book is also a big departure from most writing books I have read and this one is almost like sitting in a classroom.

The author did a good job breaking up the various components of writing a book or short story, making you think you are in a creative writing class as opposed to an English class.  Each section of the book was followed by exercises that used the principles she was trying to convey and, if you are very ambitious and do all of them, you could conceivably have a very rough draft of a book done.

In addition to the exercises, the author touches on submitting a manuscript, how to handle rejection, includes a sample cover letter and uses some of her own writings and books as examples of what she is talking on.  She also gives ideas on how to go about finding someone to read your book before sending it out to publishers and the reasons why you should.

One piece of advice the author gives is something I have heard about when writing an angry letter, and that is to wait several days, then re-read it before sending.  Most of the time you wouldn’t.  Ms. Wilkins suggests writers wait at least a week after writing their book before reading it again, then you can spot potential problems to correct.  This is included in a very good section regarding editing.

I loved this book and the way it is so easy to understand and follow.  The author did good job in organizing it.  Whether you are someone just starting or someone with some publications, this is a good book for the bookshelf.