Friday, April 17, 2015

You in My Arms

Author: AC Katt
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR-1-02015-0387
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary; Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Family has always been important to Jason Monroe – he feels the need to contribute as much as he can to his father, step-mother and baby sister Kitty. He’s worked hard but he’s earned himself a soccer scholarship that puts him one step closer to his dreams. However, his dreams come crashing down when his father and step-mother are killed in a car crash. Jason knows what has to be done. His future is put on hold so that he can take care of his little sister Kitty. Money is tight – Jason has to take on 2 jobs just to keep him and Kitty afloat. He certainly doesn’t have time to find a boyfriend. His friends mean well, taking him out for his Birthday and trying to set him up with the cute stud at the end of the bar, but Jason just wants to get back home to Kitty.

Club owner Zach Montgomery isn’t interested in anything long term. He’s had his fingers burnt in the past so is just looking to find someone he can have a good time with for the night. When he spies Jason propping up his bar, Zach decides he just has to have him. When Jason says no, Zach is less than impressed, but if Jason won’t go to bed with him, he might as well put that sexy face to work making him some money behind his bar. It was only a job offer; he didn’t mean to let him get under his skin, but Zach can see behind the façade. Jason is putting on a good show, but all is not what it seems – and it is chaos behind the scenes. Can Zach stop himself from getting involved?

You in My Arms is book one of the The Sunset Club series. The characters are adorable and I took to them all immediately. There is chemistry between Jason and Zach that pulls the reader in. The supporting cast of characters are strong in their own right and really hold everything together. Unfortunately however, this story suffers from pacing problems. The writing gets bogged down in detail too often, which really hurt the flow of the writing. I was eager to read the story but put off by heavy explanations of mortgages, home improvement, Kitty’s social security benefits, and the law behind it all. Details of the education system, Kitty’s psychological well-being, Zach’s finances, and Jason & Kitty’s daily routine - all important aspects to the characters, but there is just too much data, daring me to put the book down. As a result, the story often had to jump ahead in places, just to keep the plot moving.

This is a shame because the plot itself is enjoyable, with a satisfying ending. I imagine everyone loving Jason, he is just such a strong, kind hearted man. I loved that he would not let anything cloud his judgement when it came to Kitty. I got caught up in Jason’s life so was dubious of Zach at first, but as we got to know him, I was willing him and Jason to figure out where they truly belonged – in each others’ arms.

Paws for Change

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-4874-0270-9
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series        
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Derek Sommers has finally had enough of his parents meddling in his life.  When they start planning his wedding to a woman he does not really know or like, he does the only thing he can think of – run.  Hoping to make peace with his brother, he heads to Stone Ridge, where things are not always what they seem.

Paws for Change is the 28th book in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series.  This story brings together family members of characters we already know.  The first is Derek, who is Deke’s brother.  Derek feels guilty for not sticking up more for Deke after he is treated poorly by their parents.  When Derek himself leaves home, he decides to try and make things right with his brother.  It is just after entering Stone Ridge that he meets the other main character, Dillian. 

Dillian is Edwin’s, another character readers have met before, godfather.  Feeling lonely and missing his godson, Dillian heads to Stone Ridge.  The first meeting between Dillian and Derek is a little intense and surprising, and has a bit of a “holy cow” feel to it.   As readers of this series know, once mates meet the draw between them is strong and hard to deny.  It is no different for these two.  Drawn together, the two men waste no time getting to know each other.  The relationship between these two does have its obstacles which, of course, lead to some entertaining moments. 

Fans of this series are sure to enjoy this newest addition to Ms. Richard’s long running series.  While some of the books in this series should be read in order, this one can stand on its own, but I would highly recommend that first timers to this series refrain from doing so.  

Temple’s Touch

Author: Amber Kell
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781784305376
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Wolf hybrid Temple Stewartson has his future all mapped out. First he will get his degree at wizard school, and then start a new life with his best friend wolf shifter Madison Archer.

Temple’s Touch is the sixth in the A Wizard's Touch series. This episode features the next generation; Temple is the son of Dean, one of the wizard triplets featured in Farren's Wizard and a female wolf shifter from the local pack. The plot consists of Maddie’s kidnapping, as well as the magical rescue actions performed by the wizards.

Temple is different from his siblings because he inherited more wizard traits; Temple is an empath who has a puny mating recognition sense of smell. Nevertheless, Temple knows he has grown to love Maddie over the years.

Maddie was adopted by the pack after his birth pack was destroyed in a flood. Although Maddie is not one of the stronger wolves, he is the fastest runner, which makes Maddie an asset for the pack hunts. 

Amber Kell has created a thrilling installment to the A Wizard's Touch series that I immensely enjoyed.

Wicked Angel

Title:  Wicked Angel
Author:  Celia Jade
Publisher:  Extasy Books
Publisher URL:  http://www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0273-0
Genre:  {M/F} Paranormal, Angels
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Lana accepts the fact that she is blessed with the gift to heal angels and support them in their missions.  She knows she doesn’t stand a chance with the silver-winged enforcer who causes her heart to flutter.  Still, Lana can’t help wondering what the mouth-watering angel wanted from her.

An injury provides the perfect excuse to get Lana exactly where Julien wants her. The blue-eyed angel has never felt such deep emotion for a human woman before Lana.  Instead of being appeased by getting her in his bed, Julien’s fire is stoked and he wants more.  There’s only one way for them to have a long term relationship, so Julien lays it all on the table.  

Julien left me curious, panting and wanting more.  The quick glimpse I got into his head and heart makes me want to know more about him. I can understand why Lana was so weak in the knees just thinking about Julien.    Wicked Angel is a short read but it makes a big impact by ending with a beautiful beginning for the couple's future.   

The Serpent and the Angel

Author: M.D. Grimm
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63216-566-4
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

The fates have matched an unlikely pair as mates; rattlesnake shifter Sheriff Tobias Goldstein and golden eagle shifter Angel. Their destiny is to safeguard one of the four ancient scrolls scattered centuries ago to prevent earth’s destruction.

The Serpent and the Angel is the eighth book in The Shifters series. In this episode, the reader gains a little more insight into the shifter’s original enemy, along with the importance of the scrolls to him. The setting is Colorado 1866. Mining coal is the small town’s main source of income. Typical of any place in America, there are a few bigots and law breakers.

Tobias has zero tolerance for racist people, as well as anyone too lazy to work. He has a one warning rule; a second infraction would get the person killed. Tobias was devoid of human emotions until he mated with Angel. It was Angel who taught Tobias what love felt like.

Angel is the guardian of the scroll; this duty was passed down to him from his father. Because of his mission, Angel was always on the move, never staying in one place too long and never using the same name. In nature, the eagle kills snakes, but Angel accepts as true that destiny is not always clear to the human understanding. Nevertheless, Angel and Tobias have skills that are a benefit to each other.  

M.D. Grimm’s The Serpent and the Angel is an exciting and exceptionally enjoyable action packed addition to this series.

Too Hip For Love

Author:  Sindra van Yssel
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62300-676-1
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Sequel
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Parker and Karen have had an arrangement for several years; however, Karen now wants more than just a Dom-sub relationship.  Karen wants to find someone that will love her and give her children. 

Too Hip for Love brings two characters from Take Me With You and tells their story. Too Hip for Love shows a relationship, at first glance only a Dom-sub friendship type relationship, grow into a strong love.  What this book also showcases is that lack of communication can cause all sorts of misunderstandings that can lead to misery.  Even though both love each other, neither has been willing to actually relate what they feel or need to the other.

There were some interesting scenes between Parker and Karen and a good balance within them.  I did get a little upset with both of them because they both seemed to be waiting for the other to say something, though Karen did not speak up when Parker asked her about what she felt she needed.  Things start to change after Karen has an accident.

Friends in the lifestyle tried to help and kept giving advice and other characters showed up for a minute.  I liked that the author kept the various situations real and the evolution between Karen and Parker could be almost any relationship.

Those that have read Ms. Van Yssel’s books won’t be disappointed by this one.  

Family of Lies: Sebastian

Author: Sam Argent
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63216-681-4
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Sebastian Orwell doesn’t want to have anything to do with wounded Crown Prince Turren, who he finds in the woods. So to keep from getting involved, he uses his magical ability to heal him as much as possible and leaves him in the safety of a city tavern. The prince won’t let the good deed go, leaving Sebastian to deal with unwanted affection and assassination attempts that won’t stop.

Sebastian and his father have an odd relationship but that doesn’t mean Sebastian wants him to get in trouble unnecessarily. Finding the truth is difficult when he can’t get rid of a love-addled prince, who won’t take no for an answer. With assassins trying to kill Turren, it’s an added job to keep the prince alive. Making the situation worse is keeping the secret that he has magical ability—as well the reason behind why he wears a hood and never shows his face.

Family of Lies: Sebastian is the first release by Sam Argent as far as I can discover. Let me say right off that I enjoyed this book. While it’s not a roller coaster ride, the pace is even and I didn’t find that it had any place where it dragged. Overall, I found it fun, engaging and the world building is creative and filled with interesting details that brought the plot to life.

Yes, it’s long but that’s okay with me because there’s so much that I liked. It’s filled with adventure, action, betrayal, miscommunication and fun, snappy dialogue that made me smile. I loved all the magic and spells and that Sebastian’s family is filled with so many unique but difficult individuals. Then there’s Turren. He’s a quirky guy, who knows what he wants—snarky Sebastian—and he refuses to give up on his quest for true love. And all this happens in the middle of lies, assassination attempts and family intrigue mixed with some seriously dangerous villains. I really want a sequel to this well crafted story, so take the hint Ms. Argent and start writing. 

Numb

Title:  Numb
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0308-9
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Gala can’t feel anything and is constantly getting injured.  The Volunteer Project finds a place for her on Rekfa.  Gala finds more than she ever dreamed.

Numb is the 20th installment of the Terran Times Second Wave series by Viola Grace.  Those that are fans know that there are always some surprises, either about the population or the characters themselves.

The Avatar on Rekfa needs a new host.  Gala is willing to be that host in exchange for her biggest dream.  Gala never expected to find love with one of the Immortals living there.  Arez and Gala have some intense chemistry and I really liked the way he was with her.

Numb has the two main characters from Noble, Aster and Yodin, among the first supporters of the new Avatar, and help Gala learn about her new world. There were some interesting snippets about the population of Rekfa.

Numb was a fast paced story.  Several books in this series are related but most can be read alone.  I am looking forward to the next one.
  

Athis Dey

Title: Athis Dey
Author: Jennifer Wright
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781784304973
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Larken and Khale spent so much time dwelling on their own personal pain that true love almost escaped their notice.

Athis Dey is the fourth book in the Finding Home series. The plot is an incredible merge of stirring dramas, plausible dilemmas and amusing character interactions. The setting is the fantasy world of Pavarus, which is caught up in the middle of a civil war; the demented dragon leader wants to control this world populated by vampires, dragons and magic folk. The honorable vampire warriors are currently the protectors of the realm.

In this episode Larken and Khale are fated to be mates, but neither man recognized their good fortune. The separate emotional chaos each man dealt with blocked their capacity to find happiness; neither Larken nor Khale realized that the solution to their calamity was outside of their control.

Vampire warrior Larken is wallowing in heartbreak after being jilted by Zane. Airos is Zane’s story. Larken begins to self-medicate but the remedy caused more of a crisis than dealing with the issue that plagued him.

Vampire warrior Khale is castle sentinel leader for his affluent father. Khale has been abused all of his life, the worst of his beatings are because he is gay. Khale will do anything to gain his father’s approval, but his vindictive father is incapable of loving anyone but himself.

Jennifer Wright has created another impressive installment to the Finding Home series. The main characters are engaging as well as being incredibly sensuous in their few moments of intimacy. The villains are truly a nasty piece of work. I absolutely enjoyed Athis Dey and look forward to the next episode.

 Publisher's Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series

Johnnie

Title: Johnnie
Author: Cardeno C
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Publishers URL: http://www.cardenoc.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781942184249
Genre: {M/M}, Shape-shifter, Series        
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Not all Prides are built the same.  If you’re one of the lucky ones, you will be ruled by a Premier, which will bring honor and wealth, in many forms, to your Pride.  For a Premier to last, he must have a Siphon, a rarity in the shifter world.  But what happens when the Pride’s Siphon decides he can no longer go on?

Johnnie is the first book in the Siphon Collection.  This story lays out the foundation for the world in which the books will take place.  The shifter dynamics are slightly different than what we have seen previously.  First, this is a story about lions, a refreshing change from the usual wolf packs.  These lions embrace their wild side, as much if not more than their human side and much of those traits come through easily for the readers to see.  The alpha character or Premier, as the leader is called, is not given the title by his father, nor can just any member of the Pride challenge for the position.  Instead, those born with certain telling characteristics are given this rare honor.  Not only does the difference in their appearance set them apart from the rest of the pride, but they are also gifted with several other unusual traits as well.  The omega character, or Siphon, is an even rarer shifter and one that is also decided at birth by the appearance of unusual traits.  The Siphon is just as important, if not more so, to the Pride as it is their job to ensure the longevity of the Premier by absorbing the excess power that surrounds the Premier. 

In Johnnie, the Berk Pride’s Premier is Hugh, and while he has worked to make sure those in his Pride are well taken care of, his Siphon has never even been a blip on his radar.  In the beginning, and even at times throughout the story, Hugh is a bit of a jerk.  He does not always come across as likable and more than a few times the idea of smacking him on his head entered my mind.  Although he does retain his rough around the edges demeanor, Hugh does begin to redeem himself. 

The Siphon in this book is a whole other story.   Raised to believe he is good for only one thing, and never seen as anything else, the Siphon is not even given a name.  Tired of living the way he has, he does the only thing he can think of.  His actions have a major effect on the Pride and the lives of himself and the Premier.  While I could not believe the way the young man had been treated, I loved the way Hugh goes about making amends.  When the Siphon asked for a name, I wanted to cry and, as more of his story came out, it was easy to see why he did what he did. 

The relationship that develops between Hugh and Johnnie was well written and I loved the way the two grew as individuals.  Their new relationship has some strong consequences for the Pride as well.  The changing dynamics are interesting to see and the results are a little bloody at times.  

Johnnie was a well-done introduction to what looks to be an interesting collection of stories.  While I would love to see more of Hugh and Johnnie, I am also curious to see what the relationship between other Premiers and Siphons is like.

Combustible

Title: Combustible
Author: Darcy Abriel
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com
ISBN: 978-1-61124-765-7
Genre: {M/M} Futuristic Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

No hope, no escape and no future, these are the certainties of life in the penal colonies. Two of the residents have found a little bit of solace through their love, Drayce Eth, a DNA creation and Crispen Wills, a human born in the prison.

Combustible is part of the Pandemonia series. The theme is all of Earth becomes a prison system, controlled by scientific researchers who experiment on humans. In this episode, Crispen becomes a tool to be used against Drayce. However, Crispen and Drayce joined together to fight the Nucleate rather than submit.

The series, taken as a whole, is gloomy; Pandemonia is a prison for the political prisoners, whose only crime was that they dissatisfied a scientist’s attempt to de-humanize them into becoming an obedient pet. 

Because of the dismal setting, the characters simply exist, devoid of any growth. The premise of the plot is forebodingly out of the ordinary, but I am not a fan of bleak storylines without any possibility of justice or positive expectations.     

A Strength of Arms

Author:  Danica St. Como
Publisher:  Loose Id, LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62300-750-8
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Ménage, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Lorelei is rescued by Adam and Lucian after an attempt on her life that leaves her with memory loss about the incident. 

The first book of the Men of Sanctuary series, A Strength of Arms, introduces Sanctuary to readers where military and law enforcement personnel can go for peace, as well as training.  Adam and Lucian are retired Marines that have created their own peace by creating Sanctuary, as both are combat veterans.  While Lorelei is there, the two men realize what they had been missing, but have to come to terms with the fact they both want her and will do everything in their power to protect her.  I loved that Lorelei was such a strong woman and did not sit back and let Adam and Lucian run over her.

Lorelei eventually accepts that she is attracted to both men. The chemistry is intense between the three.  Their relationship has a lot of ups and downs as they learn about each other and what they need.  The men finally accept that Lorelei is just as much a warrior as they are.

The secondary characters are interesting and I loved the way the author had Lorelei use her talents to trap the villain.  Sheriff McBride is an interesting man and has a big part in this story. This book also showcases some of the issues that arise in classified jobs and result in a lot of mistrust that show through in some of the situations that come about in this story. 

Readers should be aware that this story was previously published with a different publisher, and it has been revised a little bit.  I am looking forward to the next story in The Men of Sanctuary series, as there were a few threads unresolved.

The Devil Will Do

Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publishers URL: http://www.wildecity.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-925180-89-3
Genre: {M/M}, BDSM, Fantasy, Sequel          
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Eryn knows the things he craves makes him different from everyone else.   When his cravings turn to the darker side, Eryn begins to feel worthless.  To make matters worse, the young prince he has been dreaming about needs Eryn’s help, but Eryn fears he will be unable to accomplish the task before him.

While The Devil Will Do is a sequel to Hero and Miles and the Magic Flute, it can be read on its own.  In fact, the story is a revised edition of the author’s novella, Sweet Son. It is the story of a young man searching for the person he is meant to be and hoping he will be worthy enough to free his true love. 

This is not a story for everyone.  It is a dark tale of discovery that touches on topics that may be offensive or difficult for some people to read.  The primary character in the story, Eryn, is a young merchant struggling to be what everyone else wants him to be.  While out with friends, he inadvertently discovers a side of himself he did not realized existed.  His actions only bring him a temporary feeling of joy before self-doubt, fear and hatred seep in.  Around the same time, he begins to dream of a young prince, the man he is destined to wed. 

Wyn is more of a secondary character, showing up in dreams or spells that last but a short period of time.  There is no real period of courting or getting to know each other which, for me, was a bit of a turn off.   While I understand that the story was about Eryn’s acceptance of himself and his needs, both needed in order for him and Wyn to work as a couple, I would have like to have seen him learning with Wyn by his side. 

Those who have already read Sweet Son may want to give this revised addition a try.  Those new to this series may want to keep in mind that the BDSM in this story is not on the light side, so be forewarned.