Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Acting on Love

Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Publishers URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR-1-02015-0389
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series        
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Until recently Brandon has been living his dream and loving it.  But when the play he was supposed to star in closes before getting off the ground and he bombs his latest audition, Brandon wonders what he is going to do.  And how everything will affect his relationship with Shunichi.

This novella is the eighth book in the Conquest series.  Readers of this series have met both main characters before, as Brandon is Jesse’s older brother.  As an actor in the theatre in Chicago, he has gone as far as he can.  Shunichi is a martial arts instructor and one of the best in his field.  These two men have a strong loving relationship and neither man can imagine living a life without the other in it.  Although both men have faced issues in the past, the author gives them one more to overcome. 

Brandon has the chance to reprise a role on Broadway that he is well known for.  The problem is the separation that would bring between the two men.  The author does a good job showcasing the problem and how it would affect both men, as well as the various ways in which they can be solved.  I think the readers will like the way in which the author wraps everything up, allowing both men to continue to have what they need and still stay together.

Of course Jesse and Evan show up and, in fact, they play an important part in allowing Brandon to follow his dream.  These two bring some over the top moments to the story as well.  Several other former characters show up to give Brandon and Shunichi all the encouragement they need. 

Fans of this series are sure to like Acting on Love and, while it is not necessary to read all the books in this series first, I would recommend reading the first two books.  

Butt Riders On The Range

Author: Anthology
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925313-12-3
Genre:  {M/M} Comedy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Hung Like A Horse by JP Barnaby - 4 Nymphs
Horse shifter Riley Harper is as skittish as a colt, always afraid someone would discover his secret. Fortunately, Riley’s days of hiding comes to an end when he meets John North, a Missouri farmer who turns out to be Riley’s new protector, friend and lover.  A striking heartwarming romance, the characters are engaging with a touch of amusement.

Chinchilla Chimichangas by Kage Alan - 4 Nymphs
Chris, along with his very opinionated imaginary friends, is taking a Route sixty-six trip mapped out long ago by his father. Detoured by a storm to a small farming community in Oklahoma, Chris meets Cameron, the cowboy of his dreams, as well as sanctioned by his make-believe friends.  The imaginary friends are especially humorous and contribute a pleasant balance to an emotional theme.
  
Squatting With Spurs On by Kiernan Kelly - 4 Nymphs
Live, love and repeat this is the magical time warp Dooley McCallister and Buck Caldwell are caught in. Dooley has no memory of his previous life spans, but fortunately Buck remembers each and every one. No matter the current century, Buck and Dooley always go back to their first Montana home together.  This story gives a humorous innovative meaning to the turn of phrase “I will always love you”.

Faux Cowboy by Shae Connor - 3 Nymphs
Doug Shaw heads to New York in hopes of having a little fun. Growing up on a farm in Wyoming did not offer much for a gay cowboy. However, meeting the cowboy pretender Jackson James at a western themed saloon soon fulfilled Doug’s erotic riding desires. Enjoyable as a one time read only, the casual hook-up theme did not exhibit any noteworthy actions or believable personality qualities. The unexciting one-dimensional characters did not completely employ my interest.   

Hooves And Horns by Eden Winters - 5 Nymphs
Kerry Abrams is a champion bull rider and Armando is a champion bronco rider. Though Kerry and Armando enjoy pleasing their rodeo fans as well as each other between shows, the secret to the lover’s rodeo success is that they are both shifters.  The character interaction is laugh out loud hilarious; I enjoyed the vibrant descriptions that draw the reader into the storyline.

The Boy From Battalion Bluff by Jevocas Green - 5 Nymphs
High noon everyday the townsfolk would gather on Main Street. The men gathered in hopes of being selected and the women gathered in envy to watch Dr. Feel-Good walk down the center of the street. The Doc’s mission was to select one lucky man to receive the Doc’s special brand of relaxing therapy. After waiting for months for his chance, Toby, the stable boy, finally got lucky. The principle of this plot is the old west meets another world. The storyline features exceptionally loving characters and a blissful conclusion.

The Five Hells War by Ally Blue - 5 Nymphs
Sometimes it is the little guy who wins. Salvador Flint owns a small ranch surrounded by greedy corporate ranchers willing to try everything, including hiring corporate lawyer Balthazar Shellenbarger to force Salvador out of business. But upon meeting Salvador, Balthazar found Salvador to be an honest man with a skill for more than ranching. The setting is not Earth, however the corruption illustrated in the plot is a realistic image of Earth. The storyline provokes outrage and the characters encourage cheers.   

And The Horse He Rode In On by TC Blue - 4 Nymphs
Texas sheep rancher Tyler and poacher Jason is an unlikely pair of shifters, yet there is an undeniable attraction between them that works. Of course it took months for the two to find common ground. Nevertheless Tyler and Jason managed to work through their differences to become lovers. The main features of the plot are an amusing dialog merged with compassionate characters. 

Overall, Butt Riders On The Range is a marvelous assortment of incredibly entertaining stories.

Brielle and the Alien Geek

Author:  Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher:  Changeling Press
ISBN/BIN:  07359-02373
Genre:  {M/F} Sci-Fi, Futuristic
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Life delivers Brielle a super serving of lemons when she loses her job, her apartment, and her man.  Becoming a Terran bride seems to be the only solution to Brielle’s problems.  Hopefully Terran males aren’t as bad as Earth men.

Work is Syl’s life, so he never seriously considered having a mate before.  His experiences with women up until this point have been clinical.  After meeting Brielle, Syl wonders what it would be like to have this woman want him, as much as he wants her.

Brielle and Syl are hesitant with each other, but eventually surrender to the chemistry growing between them.  Being mated is what they both want, but others around them don’t agree with their union.  Once again, Brielle’s life is on the verge of being shaken up like an earthquake because of a man. 

The Intergalactic Brides series kicked off to a great start with Brielle and the Alien GeekJessica Coulter Smith shows us that whether they are alien or human, a man in love is a force to be reckoned with.  The author laid a foundation with the world of Terran that will keep readers drawn in and enjoying the different layers.

Bombshell

Title:  Bombshell
Author:  Danica St. Como
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62300-754-6
Genre:  {M/F}, Suspense, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

MacBride is distracted after going back to Catamount Lake because of a woman he met at an explosives training seminar.  He doesn’t know Keko is the daughter of one of the best explosives expert in the country. 

Bombshell is the third book in The Men of Sanctuary series and is Sheriff MacBride’s story.  This is also a re-edited and revised book from another publisher, now under Loose Id’s label.  Of the series, this has to be my favorite book so far as Keko is such a kick-ass heroine.

I loved Keko’s sass and the fact that she gives as good as she gets when her friend Kamaka teases her, especially about MacBride.  Even though she acts out of character at the conference when she hooks up with MacBride, she is surprised to find the chemistry is still there when she gets an assignment to Catamount Lake.  The two of them have a hard time keeping their hands off each other.

A unique bomb is found that results in Keko ending up in MacBride’s neck of the woods.  As things progress, several characters from past stories show up to help, as well as a few new ones that help the story along.  This story has lots of suspense and humor in it.  While the main subject matter is a very serious subject, the story also showcases some of the problems, as well as some of the solutions, to something that also makes headlines. 

The Men of Sanctuary series should be read in order to get the most out of it, especially since the first book, A Strength of Arms, lets readers know how Sanctuary came about.  Bombshell is a good addition and I am looking forward to the next book.

Finding Freddy Venus

Author: Neil Plakcy
Publisher: Loose Id
Publishers URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62300-856-7
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery, BDSM, Series          
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Aidan and Liam meet their newest client and Aidan couldn’t be more surprised.  Freddy Venus is a former porn star and has played in many of Aidan’s fantasies, but the years haven’t been good to him and someone is now out to get him.

Finding Freddy Venus is the seventh book in the Have Body, Will Guard series.  This newest book finds Aidan and Liam taking on a new client while contemplating their six years together.  The author pulls you right back into Aidan’s and Liam’s world from the first page and will hold your attention until the very last sentence.  I like that the author has these two questioning some of the aspects of their relationship.  For me, it makes the series more realistic as everything is not always rosy.  The fact is that a lot of their issues come from a lack of communication, which leads to unnecessary worry, which also plays true to life.

As for the mystery aspect of Finding Freddy Venus, this starts out like readers would expect.  Freddy has a stalker.  Only Newt isn’t what everyone thinks, especially Freddy, who can’t seem to get the older man out of his mind.  These two secondary characters are so opposite from each other that it is hard to picture them getting together.  Not only are their personalities complete polar opposites, but so is the way the carry themselves.  This is the only part of the story I had an issue with.  Not because Newt is overweight and does not take care of himself, but because of the way Freddy treats him in the beginning.  Freddy’s attitude bordered on abusive and it was hard for me to like him in the beginning.  As the story progressed however, both these secondary characters grew on me and I wanted to see them find their happily ever after.  When the mystery surrounding Freddy is wrapped up, readers will be surprised by all the secrets that are revealed. 

This is a series that needs to be read in order.  Fans of this series are sure to love this new book and wonder where the series is going, especially after Liam’s and Aidan’s fears are made apparent.

Unworthy Heart

Author: Dorothy F. Shaw
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-845-0
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Ryan Donnelly’s a single father and he’s determined to be a great dad and to become successful at his career in a L.A marketing firm.  The failed relationship with his son’s mother makes him reluctant to get involved with any woman, and then he meets Maiya Rossini, a co-worker he’s been dealing with online. Nothing about the feisty red-head is his type and the strength of their attraction scares him.

Maiya grew up with an alcoholic mother in a trailer park and she’s worked hard to get an education and become successful. Getting involved with any man is out of the question. Ryan’s buttoned-down persona isn’t her type but their attraction is too intense to deny, but Maiya will try. If Ryan’s wants a relationship, he’ll have to convince Maiya to take a risk; otherwise she’ll run and never look back.

Unworthy Heart is the first release by Dorothy F. Shaw in her new contemporary romance series, The Donnellys.

This is a first time read of this author for me so I wasn’t certain what to expect. What I got was a fast paced book with vivid description and interesting personal histories. I like how the author wove both Ryan and Maiya’s family into the plot, giving them both serious emotional baggage to overcome. I particularly enjoyed the scenes that included Ryan’s young son. He’s a cutie. Also, the ones with Maiya’s ill mother are very well done.

Both Ryan and Maiya are serious about their jobs but that doesn’t mean they don’t make poor decisions about their sexual encounters that could have been professionally damaging. I admit it. This bothered me—a lot. I found the sexual tension well written but shock, I thought there was too much sex in this plot. It overbalanced the romance and Ryan and Maiya aren’t allowed enough time to actually get to know each other. 

Truthfully, I liked them as individuals interacting with family and friends much more than I did as a couple because in the first half of the book they were constantly doing ridiculous things or making poor decisions. It wasn’t until the last 25% or so that I could believe them being together. 

Equinox

Title: Equinox
Author: Jace Payne
Publisher: Loose Id
Publishers URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62300-828-4
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series          
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

When a night on the town with friends goes horribly wrong, Victor finds himself literally at death’s door.  Not sure how he will get back to normal, Victor follows the advice given to him by one of his nurses and heads out of town.  He’s not looking for anything special, just some time to find the person he used to be.  What he finds instead, will change his life.

Equinox, the first book in the new series, Secrets of Salem, is a well done story that pulled me in from the first page.  Victor is recovering from a life altering event.  When readers find out what happened, they will be shocked yet able to understand why Victor needs a calming place to stay for a while.  Rayne owns a shop in Salem and happens to be more than what he appears.  There is a lightness to Rayne that is just what Victor needs.  The attraction between the two men is strong and builds quickly. 

I liked the way and pace that the men’s relationship moved and did not feel short changed in any way. It’s something that I don’t always find to be true in novellas. The author also does an excellent job with the world building in this story, as well, and I found myself curious about the other residents of Salem 

There are a few secondary characters, of which Rayne’s parents are two.  These two are something else, especially his mother.  There is some conflict which is easily handled and the main characters do find their happily ever after.  While I am curious about who will show up in the next stories, I would love to see Victor and Rayne again.  Readers of the paranormal sub-genre are sure to love this new story by Jace Payne and, for those who have not yet tried this author, it is a good book to start with.

Deep Deception

Author: Z. A. Maxfield
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 9781619228498
Genre: {M/M} Vampire Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Independence is important to Adin; however since becoming vampire Donte’s lover, Adin has encountered a source of danger he is not prepared to manage alone or creatures he never knew existed, like a boy named Bran.

Deep Deception is the second book in The Deep series. The plot centers on Adin’s rescue of a kidnapped entity who appears to be a human boy, but there is more to Bran than being an orphan living on the streets. Several secrets in Adin’s past are revealed through dreams. Donte’s trust is broken by some he considered friends and re-established in others he considered enemies. Adin and Donte embark on a new beginning, secure in the love they share.

Adin is on a mission to discover who or what Bran is, along with why Adin’s rival collector Ned Hawiche is so determined to procure Bran. Donte is on a mission to protect Adin as well as Bran, but a mysterious illness jeopardizes Donte’s undead life. 

 Z. A. Maxfield has created an exciting saga that I enjoyed immensely. I look forward to the next installment of this series.                

Spring Break at the Villa Hermes

Author: Xavier Mayne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781632166524
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery, Series          
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Donnelly and Brandt are coming up on an anniversary and to celebrate, as well as to give his lover a much needed break from all the wedding planning, Brandt arranges for a week getaway.  What should have been a week of relaxing turns into more when some unexpected guests, as well as a hurricane show up.

Spring Break at the Villa Hermes is the fourth story in the A Brandt and Donnelly Caper series.  A year has passed since our main characters became engaged and the wedding planning has gotten a little out of hand at times.  Both men are feeling pressured and to give them some time alone, they head south for a week on the beach.  If you have read the other stories, you know that these two young officers always end up helping others when they are most needed.  It’s no different in this story as the two men find themselves helping out a group of young men looking for a good time during spring break. 

Unfortunately, it seems at times that Brandt and Donnelly are only secondary characters in this story as the college boys have a variety of secrets and problems that bring about more than a few surprises.   This is not necessarily a bad thing because Ted and Bark are great and I loved watching them, as well as the others, as they came into their own. 

The mystery aspect of Spring Break at the Villa Hermes is also a little light and does not really come into play until the latter part of the story.  There is a little different from the previous stories and I hope future additions to the series will bring back the stronger mystery side story that the author is so good at.  Another factor that fans of this series will notice is missing would be Bryce and Nestor, although they do make a brief appearance at the beginning.  To bring that touch of crazy to the story that these two usually supply, the author introduces two new secondary characters, one of whom is almost as crazy as Bryce.  

Spring Break at the Villa Hermes will keep the readers entertained with a wide selection of characters that all help keep readers turning the pages.  Readers should keep in mind that, to get the most from this series, it is best to read the stories in order.

Obedient

Title:  Obedient
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0324-9
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Shape-shifter, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Zelia dreams of being alone with a child, but her family keeps her pretty busy.  After Zelia foils an assassination attempt, she is offered her dream through the Volunteer Project.

Obedient is the 22nd book in the Terran Times Second Wave series.  This was a little different than some of the other books in this series, as Zelia has actually befriended a few of the aliens at the Volunteer Project. 

Zelia doesn’t feel appreciated by her family and is constantly trying to please them by obeying what they ask.  After she saved several of the aliens, she finally tells someone her dream and is surprised when they can accommodate her.  Of course, there are a few complications to clear up before making her dream happen.

I liked Rad, who turns out to be the father of her child.  The chemistry between the two is intense and I liked the way Rad gives Zelia her space due to her request.  Some of the secondary characters are from the first Terran Times series and end up being in this book.  The group on the planet was an interesting side story. 

I am looking forward to the next story, as Ms. Grace constantly surprises with the various twists of characters and the planets involved.