Monday, June 8, 2015

The Door Keeper

Author: Hurri Cosmo
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com
ISBN: 978-1-68175-028-6
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota, to say lead detective Nick is not from here would be an understatement. But if Nick revealed where he is really from, it would shock the locals to their human core.

The Door Keeper is an intense action murder mystery plus romance plot with an aliens-among-us theme. Nick is from another realm in the universe, although his duties are the same, policing the area to keep out the criminals. Nick’s team of police men and women are individuals with distinctive talents. They work in secret cleaning up the paranormal messes before the human community becomes aware of the chaos surrounding them.

The main characters are Nick, Arrain and the sinister vampire. Each of these characters has secrets.

Coming to the human realm was not an accident.  Nick chose this realm as a hiding place because on the grand scale of the universe, the human realm does not merit even a small notice by the powers that be. Nick’s presence went undetected until the vampire decided to make this realm his hunting ground.

Arrain came to rescue Nick as well as reveal a few secrets regarding Nick’s past. Arrain also came to mate with Nick, joining their powers to form a stronger crime fighting unit.

As for the vampire’s secrets, he got away without a trace, leaving Nick and Arrain to question how the vampire can be caught, as well as destroyed if they can ever find him again. 

The Door Keeper is an extremely enjoyable saga that leaves the door open for a sequel. 

Along Came Merrie

Author:  Beth D. Carter
Publisher:  Totally Bound
Publisher URL:  www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781784303426
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Multicultural, Western, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Merrie is looking to change her life but ends up on the run after seeing something she shouldn’t after she stopped to use a pay phone.  After escaping, she ends up on a ranch where both Braden and Leo live.

Along Came Merrie is the first book in the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club and gives readers a glimpse into the world of outlaw motorcycle gangs.  While the Demon Devils’ are the group Merrie is running from, she meets the leader of the Red Wolves later in the story.  The author did a good job showing how one incident can color a person’s actions when something triggers memories later.

As Merrie heals, she tries to sort out her feelings, she is safe and grateful but is her attraction to Braden and Leo real or because they are her rescuers.  The conflict she has, along with realizing she could have a poly relationship, is very real.  In addition, Braden has some issues that have to be dealt with, especially as it causes a few issues between him and Merrie. An incident makes both men realize they can’t live without Merrie and want her to stay.  The three have some hot chemistry.

Several of the secondary characters are interesting, and there are several surprises. The leader of the Red Wolves and the sheriff turn out to be best friends, though they try to keep that fact hidden.  The suspense will grab you as it keeps building.  The author created an interesting solution to the entire problem. 

Along Came Merrie is the first book about outlaw motorcycle clubs that I have read and it did not disappoint me. In fact, I’m looking forward to reading more about this series as the author had an interesting epilogue to this story.

Time Waits

Title: Time Waits
Author: C.B. Lewis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781632168535
Genre: {M/M}, Time Travel, Science Fiction          
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Janos is running for his life.  Wounded and close to death, the Hungarian soldier stumbles through a door that leads him a hundred years into the future.  When the first person he sees is a young German male with a purple streak through his hair, Janos can’t help wondering if he’s gone from the frying pan into the fire.

Time Waits by author C.B. Lewis is a well written time travel romance that is sure to remind many readers of the movie Time Cop.  As readers would expect, there are a lot of rules that govern the issue of time travel, and of course more than one is sure to be ignored.  When the story starts out, Dieter, a historian/linguist for the Temporal Research Institute, is waiting for the latest team to come back from their mission. It is during that time when the institute experiences a problem they have never had to deal with before.  While one of the main rules that everyone at the institute is forced to follow deals with not interfering with anyone or anything in the time period they are visiting, nothing has ever been said about what to do if someone comes over to the future.  When this problem becomes reality, Dieter is forced into a role he has no idea how to handle. 

Janos is a soldier in the Hungarian army trying to survive WWII.  It was not his plan to join the army, but when the Nazis rolled into town and family and friends started to “disappear”, Janos thought the best place to hide was in plain sight.  When one of his fellow soldiers realizes that Janos is gay and plans to expose the other man, Janos does the only thing he can to survive.  Unfortunately, he gets seriously injured in the process.  It is while running through the forest looking for a place to hide that he crosses over into the future.  As the reader would expect, Janos is confused by what he sees and distrusts those that he meets. 

This is what made the story so interesting for me.  Rather than having Janos come to terms with everything within a few pages, the author really plays this part of the story up.  Everything that both men, Janos with his fears of where he is, and Dieter with the severe case of PTSD that he is suffering with after having a gun stuck to his head, comes across very realistically.  The author also does a wonderful job making the rest of this science fiction story seem believable, which is sure to help keep the readers turning the pages.  Even the relationship between the main characters builds in a way that is easy to believe, especially given the way in which they first met.  Once Janos and Dieter come together, they really heat up the pages and the feelings between them grows fast. 

There are a few twists in this story that readers will not see coming.  In fact, at one point, I had to go back to re-read a portion because I thought I missed something and I am sure others will be just as surprised as I was.  Time Waits is sure to be a fan favorite and find its way to keeper shelves.   

My Life Without Garlic

Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: totallybound.com
ISBN: 9781784305871
Genre: {M/M} Vampire Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Everything Augustin thought he knew about vampires is wrong; of course Augustin never believed vampires were real until he met Tony and the other members of the vampire coven.  

My Life Without Garlic is the first book in The Vamp for Me series. The theme is a superbly amusing romance featuring a delightfully snarky man with the usual human issues. Tony is a fairly new vampire, still learning vampire skills. The characters are believable and engaging.

Augustin is concerned about his health so he is working on eating healthier, as well as doing exercises. Working for an accounting firm, Augustin also tries to be financially responsible. Nevertheless, Augustin’s main concern is that he is lonely. Tony is the kind of lover Augustin always dreamed about but without the fangs.     

Even after becoming a vampire, Tony retained his human traits. He feels self conscious regarding his lower level of intelligence compared to Augustin’s. However, Tony is compassionate with very few fears and plenty of stamina. Only his sense of pride keeps Tony from acting on his desires. 

Bailey Bradford has created a fantastic thoroughly enjoyable saga. The secondary characters are just as amusing as the main characters. I look forward to the next book. 

Object

Title:  Object
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0363-8
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Bella decides to take an assignment on a planet where faces are covered because she wants to be accepted for her mind, not her looks.  Lord Akking wants Bella after he meets her and maneuvers to get her assigned to him as his assistant.

Object is the 23rd book in the Terran Times Second Wave series.  This was different as most people rely on their looks, but Kloa requires all public workers, and the aristocracy, to wear masks to cover their faces.  The court uniform also has garments that hide the shape of their bodies. The history about how this came about is interesting and Bella gets a personal tour, which includes the original looks of the Kloa.

Lord Akking has a club called Face-to Face, where traders and alien workers go so they can talk and discuss business among themselves without the masks.  I thought this was an interesting concept. The staff of the club was great and Bella realized that she could be friends with some of them.  I laughed at some of the expectation the staff had about Bella and Lord Akking, especially since everyone could see they had some intense chemistry. 

There are some interesting things in the future of this series based on the epilogue.  Most of the stories can be read as standalone books.

Saving Crofton Hall

Author: Rebecca Cohen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63216-508-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Benjamin Redbourn, the Earl of Crofton is faced with a financial crisis when he learns his mother’s gambling debts and forgery of his signature has put the ancestral home in danger of foreclosure. He refuses to let the bank take his home and decides to open the Elizabethan manor up for weddings and other paying events. It’s a bigger job than he imagined and needs help.

Downsizing cost Ashley Niven his event planning position, so he jumps at the chance to work at Crofton Hall. As he and Benjamin get everything ready for their first client, the two men grow close but can Ashley overlook Benjamain’s playboy reputation? Money is tight, time is running out and the manor is full of old secrets. Can these two men save the manor and make a life together work?

Saving Crofton Hall is the first release in the new series Stately Passions by Rebecca Cohen. It’s wasn’t until I checked the Dreamspinner website that I realized the author had previously published the historical series, Crofton Chronicles. Be aware that Stately Passions pulls in information from those books but reading them isn’t necessary.

The premise of turning an English manor house into a paying property isn’t a new idea. That doesn’t mean I didn’t find how it’s forced on Benjamin by his mother’s irresponsible behavior, both realistic and creative. I did. The situation he’s placed in is nearly impossible but he remains patient with his mother despite her actions. Truthfully, I don’t know if I have that kind of patience. Still, the author does a nice job keeping the family as a unit and working together to make the best of the situation.

I enjoyed Benjamin. Despite his playboy reputation, you have an idea pretty early on what happened. He’s a good guy and afraid of being hurt again. Then there’s his home—Crofton Hall. The author does a great job using tidbits of the past characters that become a focal point—and the descriptions are vivid, pulling the reader into the scenes. I also enjoyed all the details of the problems Ashley and Benjamin dealt with getting ready to open. Dealing the permits, upgrades, inspectors and other things would be a nightmare and I could feel their frustration.  Good going Ms. Cohen.

These two men make a believable couple and their relationship moved along at a speed that is realistic. This author is a new one for me and I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to her writing. I can’t wait to read what happens to them and Crofton Hall next.

From the Ashes

Author: Lillian T. MacGowan
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-62300-853-6
Genre: {M/M} Mystery & Suspense
Rating: 2 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

By ranking definition this book was readable, but not without its flaws.

The setting is identified as the Bottom without any reference to a city, country or even a planet. The location plays a significant role in identifying dialog and other relevant environmental details.

The premise of the story is a low level criminal illegally acquiring property in the city’s poorest section, corrupt city officials and child prostitutes. The purpose for the property takeover is not revealed; perhaps this is the unsolved mystery of the ineffectively developed mundane plot. The story pattern seems to be repetitive. Every problem presented, the characters would immediately have sex before finding a resolution to the dilemma.   

The main characters are Deck, a firefighter and Naim, a doctor. The only ample character background description is of Naim, who has a Middle Eastern heritage and lived in France until he finished medical school. The jargon spoken by Deck and some of the secondary characters is a tedious distraction especially because the dropped words expression of speaking is unfamiliar to me. 

I was not personally impressed with this book, I found no emotional qualities illustrated, nor did the overall story make any reasonable sense to me. 

Bind

Title:  Bind
Author:  Sierra Cartwright
Publisher:  Totally Bound
Publisher URL:  www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781784305895   
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Lara approaches her best friend’s brother about marrying her in order to save her family’s company.  Connor agrees, provided Lara is his wife and submissive in truth. 

The first book in The Donovan Dynasty, Bind, is an intense book that gives a look behind the scenes in the closed world of corporations, as well as BDSM.  I liked that the author did a good job showing that a BDSM relationship between a Dom and sub is what the couple makes it.  There was only one issue I had regarding this and that was the whip, as that would not be something used in the beginning on someone new.  However, I loved the references used regarding the ‘Indiana Jones’ franchise.

Connor is very patient with Lara, especially explaining things to her, but he makes it clear what he expects should he help her.  The chemistry between the two is very intense and I had fun watching their relationship grow.  I’m glad Connor finally came around in one area at the end of their story.

There were several interesting secondary characters and I loved Connor’s assistant.  I had to laugh at that relationship as it provided some lighthearted moments, as did Lara’s neighbor and her dog, Suzy.  I wanted to slap Lara’s father, but he redeemed himself at the end.  Both families were interesting, to say the least, and had a lot to say about Connor’s and Lara’s relationship. 

It will be interesting to see how this series turns out as it is about the three Donovan brothers, though I hope to see one about Erin as well.  The author included an interview about the series at the end of Bind.

Shift Happens

Title:  Shift Happens
Author:  Christy Gissendaner
Publisher:  Etopia Press
Publisher URL:  http://www.etopiapress.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-941692-69-1
Genre:  {M/F} Paranormal
Rating:  3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Tuesday started off bad and was getting worse by the minute.  All Ellie Reynolds wanted was some coffee before her clients start arriving.  She hadn’t expected Atlanta’s most eligible shifter bachelor to show up and piss her off with an outrageous offer.  Ellie’s rant is quickly silenced by the sound of gunfire and she winds up on the run for her life.

Jackson Lawrence didn’t mean to bring danger to Ellie’s doorstep, but that’s exactly what happened.  Because of his work, Jackson had become wanted by people who would cross the line to get what they wanted.  He had to keep Ellie safe, even though she wasn’t too thrilled about being stuck with him.  As far as Jackson was concerned, he wouldn’t mind being stuck with Ellie in a few more positions, especially if it involved a bed. 

I love the play on words in Shift Happens, the first book of the I Heart Shifters series.  The story is a great example of how things snowball and life can change in a second.  Ellie presents herself as an average girl, but she’s so much more than that.  She has spunk and a secret that makes her who she is.  Jackson calls her on it and helps her become comfortable in her own skin, thus being able to accept the fact that he finds her desirable and wants something long term with her.  Their story has a balanced blend of danger and heat that readers will eat up like a midnight snack.

Hidden Dragons

Title:  Hidden Dragons
Author:  Bianca D’Arc
Publisher:  Liefde Press 
Publisher URL:  www.liefdepress.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781506199887
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Isabelle grew up in Draconia after she and her mother fled their homeland.  After her mother’s death, she had been having a very hard time, until two Dragon Knights show up.  Robert and Bear hope she is their mate.

Hidden Dragons is the eighth book in the Dragon Knights series and brings some new elements in the ever-expanding universe of Draconia.  The author has created a beautiful world on the brink of a major war that can tear Draconia and their neighbors apart.  The lives of the knights, their mates and the dragons are so intertwined that they have become one family.

Each new character with a surprise background keeps adding to the richness of the stories.  Hidden Dragons is no exception.  While readers won’t find out exactly who Isabelle is until the end, her courage warmed my heart.  She is a little shy around the two men, though eventually she realizes they really want her for herself.  The chemistry between Robert, Bear and Isabelle is hot.  I had to laugh at some of the things that happened as they all got to know each other.

Lots of characters from previous books show up to help the trio, in the battle and helping Isabelle adjust to life in the Lair.  Of course, there is the bad guy that eventually falls. 

Readers need to read this series in order, as each book builds on the other as Draconia gets closer to the final battle.  I can’t wait for the next story of the Dragon Knights, as the ending of this one will keep you wanting to know more about who Isabelle really is and how she will have an impact on the future.  This series is one for the keeper shelf.

Ghost in the Flames

Author: Daisy Harris
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 9781619230026
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series          
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 
ARC: Available July 7, 2015

Rick is having trouble putting the trauma of his past behind him.  When a rough night leads him to a local bar, he takes his anger out on someone else.  Not only does this affect his job but also throws his past in his face.

Book five of the Fire and Rain series, Ghost in the Flames brings together two young men who share a tragic past.  Rick is a fireman who works with some of the previous characters that have shown up in this series.  He is having a hard time accepting the fact that he is gay, in fact, he goes so far as fearing to do anything that could be considered “gay”, and classifies his one night stands as taking care of an urge.  He seems a little hard to like in the beginning yet, when the events that formed him are revealed, readers will understand why he acts the way he does. 

Stan is a counselor who works for the police as a member of their crisis management program.  It is during one of his shifts that his and Rick’s lives are thrown back together again.  You can see the attraction that Stan has for Rick right from the start and, while he goes out of his way trying to help Rick, I almost wanted to tell him to just step away. The author does a great job, however, bringing these two men together and helping them over the issues that hang over their relationship.   

While each of the books in this series ties in loosely with each other, through the various characters, it is possible to see these books as stand-alones.  However, if you do decide to read all the books, I recommend you do so in order.