Thursday, April 30, 2015

Going to the Chapel: Don't Ask

Author: J.J. Massa
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-887-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

A choice, to be socially accepted or be yourself, this was the dilemma Captain Zachary Smith and his secret lover FBI agent Falk Thayer must decide.  

Going to the Chapel: Don't Ask is a short story exploring the issues of being gay in a civil servant career. The plot is emotional, featuring clandestine intimacy along with public rejection. The characters are creditable.

In order to maintain his honorable military status, Zack hides his sexually by flirting with every woman he meets, as well as going through the painful task of dating some of the women.

Falk has the same goals as Zack; Falk desires to move up the FBI ladder. To reach those goals, both men would have to sacrifice their chance for happiness with each other. 

J.J. Massa has created a delightfully charming happy ever after saga that I very much enjoyed. 

Tempting the Bear

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-4874-0326-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Wren Cleaver has watched over his goddaughter Penelope since her parents died when she was a teenager. Now she’s an adult and he still worries—this time because Golren, the man she’s dating, is so much older. One night when they leave on a date, Wren follows them to the mysterious Falias Estate, outside of town. He sneaks inside the arboretum and hides, hoping to learn more about Golren and the estate residents. Instead, he sees two huge snakes change into men and promptly passes out, hitting his head.

When Wren wakes, he’s faced with facts he never imaged. The paranormal world isn’t a creation of fiction—it’s real and he’s fallen into the middle of it by following Penelope to the estate. What’s more he’s attracted to a stranger and has feelings he can’t explain. Can Wren make sense of the changes in his life and move forward with his new mate, or will he reject the paranormal world and what it offers?

Tempting the Bear is release twelve in Charlie Richards’ A Paranormal's Love series.  Be aware that there isn’t an ongoing plotline at this time but since there are numerous recurring characters, reading some of the previous books would be helpful.

I found Wren to be different than many of the other leads in this series. Yes, he’s gay but he starts off acting like an overprotective and disapproving father. That he’d follow Penelope on a date and hide in the shrubs is kind of cute, in a stalkerish kind of way. I also liked how he reacted to his first view of a paranormal shifting. It’s a nice change of pace and a creative opening to him meeting his mate. Good going Ms. Richards. 

Perseus, the clutch doctor, has been waiting a long time for a mate and I’m glad he’s finally found his in Wren. They are an unexpected pairing on the surface but ultimately it works between them. I admit their relationship is rushed and I think it’s because of the lengthy set-up. There just didn’t seem to be enough time devoted to developing and making their new relationship work. It suddenly did. Initially I thought the health inspector bothering Wren had the potential of being interesting but I was disappointed. There was little additional development and the issue is handled abruptly at the end. It almost turned into a plot idea that could have been eliminated. There are also a few inconsistencies. 

Anyway, I liked seeing all the previous characters and how their relationships are progressing. The pace is fast, there are enough descriptions to pull the reader into the story and the sex is sizzling. Watch for the next one.

Wings of Change

Title:  Wings of Change
Author:  Bianca D’Arc
Publisher:  Liefde Press
Publisher URL:  http://liefdepress.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781311914675
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Ménage, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Lucia runs to Kaden to let him know his dragon, Reynor, is not healing and along the way runs into Marcus and his dragon as well.  Both men are attracted to her and try to convince Lucia that it is the way of the Dragon Knights to share a wife.

Wings of Change is a novella of the Dragon Knights series that needs to be read between Prince of Spies and FireDrake (book 4 and 5 in series).  Wings of Change was released by itself after being published in the I Dream of Dragons Volume 1 Anthology.  The novella is also published by a new publisher to be purchased at either Amazon, Smashwords or Barnes & Noble.

The book introduces the Gryphons to Draconia and the readers of this series. Lucia is a priestess in her country. Running for her life, she ends up in Draconia.  She won’t stand by while Reynor is hurting and in need of healing.  Lucia ends healing Reynor after she realizes that nothing else is working, which causes an interesting scene involving a Gryphon feather.

Lucia is attracted to both Marcus and Kaden, but isn’t sure how things would work as she always thought she would only have one husband.  I enjoyed the way the knights, involving several of their friends, introduced Lucia to the idea of a relationship with them. The chemistry between them is hot.

After the Gryphon that Lucia was raised with shows up in Draconia, everyone learns the history behind the Gryphons and Dragons, as well as their common enemy.  Along with the Gryphons, several members of the royal family help the story along.  Even though there is a crisis going on in the royal family, all agree that Lucia’s, Marcus’ and Kaden’s wedding should go forward.  

I really enjoyed Wings of Change as it brings characters from various backgrounds to Draconia.  There are several threads that will be showing up in the future. This series needs to be read in order to get the most out of it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Dragons’ Demon

Author: Marie Harte
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61923-016-3
Genre: {M/F/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 06-09-2015

Eve Sinclair works for her father, Asael, the fallen angel turned demon. Her job as a higher demon is to push humans into making their decision toward heaven or hell.  A prank by her two older brothers goes wrong…again, and puts Eve Sinclair in a terrible situation that’s bound to upset the delicate balance between the races when they steal a dragon’s egg. A royal egg. Knowing the pure essence of the egg is in danger, Eve rushes to rescue it and runs into the egg’s irate older brother, Ranton.

As the commander of the Dragon Legion, Ranton isn’t someone to mess with and he’s determined to learn who’s behind the theft of the egg. But something else is going on. He can’t explain his attraction to the small demon and his little brother, and future king, is communicating with both him and Eve from inside his shell. The three of them are connected and Ranton’s determined to find out why and claim what’s his. Eve.

The Dragons’ Demon is the first release in Marie Harte’s Ethereal Foes series. Please be aware that this book was previous published.

I’m a fan of plots that feature dragons, but pairing one with a demon isn’t something I think I’ve come across before. It’s unusual but then Eve isn’t a normal type of demon either. She’s much more like her human mother than her demon father.  I guess that’s why I like her. She didn’t think or act like a demon. As you can guess from what I’ve written, the author did a good job developing her personality and making her likable, despite her situation. Then there’s Ranton. His position as dragon commander shows his power and position and his physical description is also vivid. We’re told some of his past but I don’t really have a feel for him aside from being bossy and arrogant.

The pace of this story is fast. I mean everything from the beginning to the end seems to happen quickly and there isn’t time for any kind of relationship development between the characters. It’s all heat and chemistry.  The sex scenes are well written but for a novella of this length… there are too many, overbalancing the rest of the plot. I did enjoy the secondary characters, whether dragon, demon or angel and it should be interesting to see what happens to this diverse group in the next book. It’s also an interesting twist to add Ranton’s newly hatched brother to the mix…spoiler alert. His character bears watching in the other books, as I don’t have a clue where it’s going even with the hints.  

Firebird

Title: Firebird
Author: Pelaam
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781784305253
Genre:  {M/M} Fantasy
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Freedom is a forbidden luxury for all who live under the Great Monarch Maurus rule, especially for Arturri and his new found mate Cassian.

Firebird is a touching romance interspersed with some vicious events. The background descriptions emulate modern earth, but their style of dress mirrors the eighteenth century.

The plot features a jaded unfeeling monarch too self absorbed to rule in fairness, a malicious head of security who takes great delight in beating people plus a slave like society forced to endure the ruler’s brutality. The characters are creditable.

Arturri is called a firebird; however he is man in form as well as intellect. Arturri has an emotional depth that exceeds those of most earthlings.

Cassian is intelligent as well as compassionate. Cassian is a perfect match for Arturri. 

Pelaam has created an impressive short saga that I very much enjoyed.

Knight Takes Queen

Author:  Elizabeth Lapthorne
Publisher:  Totally Bound
Publisher URL:  www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781784305024
Genre:  {M/F}, Suspense, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

During a hacking attempt, Peter drops in on Jane and ends up partnering with her to find the hacker and what they wanted.  Peter has been slowly trying to change their friendship into a relationship with Jane.

Knight Takes Queen is the tenth book in The Agency series.  I laughed when I realized the title of the book was a play on Peter’s and Jane’s chess game as well as Jane’s old gaming handle. 

Peter is a field agent and takes it on himself to protect Jane when they realize the Agency is under attack, especially when Jane pulls the plug to protect Agency systems.  The chemistry between the two is hot and both are willing to take the steps to change their relationship.

When they find the hacker, the couple face an interesting dilemma as they realize why the Agency was hacked.  What they learn is something that could have been handled better and I really liked the resolution, as it was so true to life in cases dealing with covert agencies when it is for the agency’s benefit. 

Knight Takes Queen can be read alone, although to get the most out of The Agency series, the stories should be read in order.  I am looking forward to see what surprising covert problem will be next.

Welcome to Lobster Cove

Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78430-514-7
Genre: {M/M} contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

After the sudden death of their mother, Boone Jensen gains custody of his younger brother and moves them to the new LGBT town of Lobster Cove on coastal Maine. There he hopes to finds enough work as a stonemason to support them both, and to get over being dumped by his partner.

Chef Dante Madia though life was perfect until he leans his business partner’s shady dealings has caused him to lose his New York City restaurant. Forced to start over, Dante leaves the city and heads to Lobster Cove with the idea of a unique dining experience for the small fishing community. He’s not looking for love but a little fun is another matter.

Welcome to Lobster Cove is the first release in the new Lobster Cove series by Carol Lynne.  It’s a spin-off of her long-running Cattle Valley series and some of those characters and past events are referenced, but if you haven’t read it, it won’t be a problem.

Like other books of this length written by Ms. Lynne, the pacing is pretty brisk, but she still manages to have developed the character personalities, and given enough details to make it seem real. While the romance focuses on Dante and Boone, there are other relationships that give the book a great deal of appeal. Dante’s straight foster sister, Ava, came to town with him and Boone’s brother Laddy, are both great additions. That’s particularly true of Laddy. His character is warm and loving, and his Down’s syndrome is treated tastefully, and I appreciate how Boone is shown to care for him.

The attraction between Boone and Dante is almost instant, but in this case Dante isn’t willing to jump into a permanent relationship immediately and I like that, no matter what his reasons. Both men have lots of baggage but it’s only a matter of time before Ms. Lynne gets them together in a way I could believe. I also like how Laddy’s always given such an important place in his brother’s life. Probably the best scenes in the story are those revolving around Laddy. Nicely done, Ms. Lynne. 

I found the read enjoyable, and easily finished it in an afternoon. There could have been more depth regarding both Boone’s work and Dante’s restaurant, as both are a little light on details. I don’t know who’s going to be featured next but I’m curious as to what’s going to happen in this new town as it grows. Watch for the next one.

Baby, Think It Over

Author: Hurri Cosmo
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publishers URL: http://www.amberquill.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61124-755-8
Genre: {M/M}, Coming of Age, Comedy        
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Three weeks at home with no parents and no school, Kedon can’t wait.  He has been counting the days and it can’t get here fast enough.  Then the worst thing in the world happened.  One of his teachers has assigned a project that counts as a big part of their grade, and not only that, but they have to have a partner.  Any chance of Kedon doing the assignment on his own is crushed and he soon finds himself with Tarell, the school’s and town’s golden boy.

I loved Baby, Think It Over and did not want to see it end.  This is a story that pulled me in from the first page.  Kedon is a good student, bordering on the geek side.  Ready to graduate and move on, he is looking forward to spending a little time by himself while his parents are out of town.  Due to the book’s blurb, readers already know this is not going to happen, but the way the author introduces the monkey wrench in Kedon’s plans was great.  More than once, I had to laugh while wondering about the teacher who let things gets a little out of hand.  Tarell, the son of the wealthiest man in town, may be eighteen years old but he knows what he wants and how to get it.  More than once through the course of this book, it is easy to forget that Tarell is still just a teenager as he handles situations like a man several years older than what he is. 

The premise of Baby, Think It Over is a great one and allows to the author to take the book in many different directions, many of which will have you laughing.  I died when Kedon and his parents are at the restaurant and his mother just does not want to let the subject of Kedon’s day at school drop.  I could not decide who I felt sorrier for, Kedon or his father.   Then there is Tarell.  At first, I could not help wondering just what was the real reason behind his behavior with Kedon, and while there is a bit of a secret, it is not a serious one.  The chemistry between these two young men is really strong, yet Kedon does not trust it, or Tarell, which is understandable.  Lastly there is the baby.  The author handled this wonderfully.  The fear and uncertainty that Kedon and Tarell feel at the beginning of their assignment comes across realistically and it is easy to understand how Kedon’s attachment to their “child” became so strong.  I loved watching these two grow as individuals and as a couple.  But their relationship is not without problems.

The author throws in a few little twists and turns that keep the story from becoming too sweet.  These events may surprise the reader, but the author injects them in a way that helps move the story along while adding some excitement.  The story wraps up nicely but you may want to keep a tissue or two handy.  

I hope the author has plans to bring these two back for more as I hated to see this story end, and I am sure I wouldn’t be the only one.

The Bricklayer

Author: Serena Yates
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63476-080-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Mike Brown’s been employed as a bricklayer for nine years. He’s come to realize how much he enjoys working on renovating older houses and is happy for the opportunity to work on a conservatory for a Victorian home. There he meets Ash, the landscaper hired to redo the backyard, when he falls over some of the bricklaying equipment. To apologize, Mike asks Ash out to dinner and the two are soon dating.

When Mike is moved from his current project to another and given an unwanted promotion, his stress level sky rockets, and despite doing a good job he’s fired for incompetence in less than two weeks. There’s been a problem on a past job and someone was injured and Mike is blamed. Now he has to find out who’s really behind the poor brickwork since he wasn’t responsible and stop the coming lawsuit before he’s sued and loses his license.

The Bricklayer is the third release in the Workplace Encounters series by Serena Yates. Please be aware that despite being part of a series the characters aren’t interconnected and the book can be read as a standalone.

I like both Mike and Ash. They’re honest, hardworking and pleasant guys and Ms. Yates did a nice job developing their personalities. Their meeting isn’t unexpected but that doesn’t mean the beginning of the relationship isn’t sweet and they aren’t cute together. I have to admit it was almost too cute and easy-going initially that it seemed a little slow and I kept thinking that something needed to happen to move things along. Finally it did and Mike lost his job. It’s a typical occurrence in many books and movies but the reason behind it is creative and leads to a rush of activity throughout the remainder of the story. 

While the guy behind Mike’s trouble isn’t a surprise, how Mike and Ash got the information they needed to expose him is well done. I also enjoyed the scene where they confronted Mike’s boss with the truth. Unfortunately I found the ending with Mike taking Ash home to meet his family totally anti-climatic. So, if you like a light read with little conflict, this book will work for you.

Pack’s Broken Heart

Author:  Gwen Campbell
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419948848
Genre:  {M/M/F}, Ménage, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Owen has to move and find another pack, but is asked by his cousin’s pack to help a neighboring pack when their sheriff, and later their Alpha, is murdered.  Suzanne also goes to help the sheriff’s office as a deputy.  Once there, the two are attracted to Tom, another deputy.

Pack’s Broken Heart is the second book in the Western Wolves series and picks up a few months after Pack Rescue ends.  Pack’s Broken Heart also gives an in-depth look at how a pack operates, what some of the responsibilities are for an alpha and what can happen when a pack’s leadership is depleted.  I liked this book as it also shows Owen in a different light and how he evolves into a leader, even as he wants nothing to do with a leadership role.

Suzanne and Owen butt heads a lot even though they are attracted to each other.  They get together during a pack run along with Tom. The three have a lot of chemistry together and I liked the way the relationship evolves between the three and how the men come to accept their relationship even though they have never been attracted to men in the past.  The author did a good job in dealing with some of issues. 

The various secondary characters are interesting and I was surprised by who the culprits were.  The author did a good job building the suspense as there were some twists.  The handling of one problem was an interesting resolution and I can see more stories coming from that particular thread.

I am looking forward to more in this series.  While readers can read Pack’s Broken Heart by itself, I recommend the series be read in order.


Publisher’s Note: Previously published elsewhere under the title Breakdown of a Pack.

Superhero

Title: Superhero
Author: Megan Slayer
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02015-0392
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Healing from an emotionally painful past makes starting a new relationship difficult for Chase Bender and Dylan Foreman.

Superhero is the first book in the Hiding In Plain Sight series.  My impression of the plot is that it has an inconsistent flow, as well as missing character details. Instead of a superhero, Chase comes across as a coward. The storyline jumps from an intimacy scene to a dramatic scene; there are not enough background essentials to clarify the violent activities almost at the end. I could not grasp the rationale for this particular scene. 

My interpretation of Superhero is a budding romance between two ordinary men moving past the former negatives in their lives. Chase and Dylan have compatible personalities as well as the same concerns for the future. Trust seems to be the key issue, especially for Chase. Overall, the story is, to some extent, enjoyable.   

Trailing Air

Title: Trailing Air
Author: T. A. Chase
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publishers URL: http://www.amberquill.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61124-766-4
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series          
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Rover is charged with helping Elwin, the thief who stole the book of spells, rescue his sister so that the Rovers pack can retrieve the book and destroy it.  The problem is that Rover is starting to feel something for this “enemy” and he’s not sure if that’s a good thing or bad one.

Rover finally gets his story told in Trailing Air, the fourth book in The Preternaturals series.  As one of my favorite characters in this series, I have been looking forward to him getting a book of his own.  The author did not disappoint and I am sure other fans of this series will like the book just as much.   Trailing Air picks up where the last book ended, the book of spells has been stolen and our good guys have no idea by who or what.  Pavel is still in the hands of Grime and the pack is having trouble locating him.  And no one knows what to do next.  Enter Elwin. 

Elwin is a dragon shifter trying to rescue his sister, who happened to find her way into Grime’s hands.  This character is an interesting one and the thing I loved the most is that he is not the typical dragon shifter.  In fact, I had to go back and read the author’s description of him just to make sure I got it right.  This little change was as refreshing as it is surprising since it was not what I was expecting.  While one of the oldest creatures around, Elwin still has a bit of innocence about him, due to the isolation dragons practice.  This, in my opinion, made him the perfect choice for Rover.

Having experienced rejection before, Rover is cautious of giving his heart away a second time, especially to someone who could be the enemy.  The fact that Rover feels something for Elwin is easy to see even though he is leery of the dragon.  While I liked the chemistry between them, and they do heat up the pages, I thought the shift to lovers happened too fast and would have liked to have seen a little more interaction between them first. 

Their relationship is not without issues, the biggest being Grime and the book of spells.  More about the book is revealed and it is more dangerous than anyone thought.  There is also a little bit of family interference, which is understandable since Elwin is an unknown factor to the pack.  

Several past characters show up to help the men in their quest to destroy Grime and the book.  It was fun seeing them again, especially Bandit and Allen.  The author also did a wonderful job wrapping up this story and did so in a way that leaves you wondering if there will be more stories added to the series or not.