Saturday, February 20, 2016

Relentless

Title: Relentless
Author: Cheyenne Meadows
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781634768726
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal          
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Jag thought he had everything he ever wanted.  He had a job he was good at, he loved his husband and the fact that they spent so much time together, and he was able to let his cat out to run on a regular basis.  Then the unspeakable happens and Jag doesn’t know if he will ever be the same again.

Relentless is a new paranormal romance by author Cheyenne Meadows.  This is a story that is full of action right from the beginning. In fact, the violence is at times a little over the top, but given the premise of the story it is called for.  Jag, a Jaguar shifter, is also a sniper for a specialized military group.  At the time of the story Jag is married to a human who meets a tragic end.  The death is unexpected and I could not help thinking “OMG, I can’t believe the author just did that.”  Then to see what Jag had to do immediately afterward, it is not surprising that the man would have changed.

Sonar is an Ocelot shifter.  Unlike Jag, Sonar is a member of the regular military and has to keep his cat hidden.  When it is learned that an old enemy is killing again, it is up to Jag to take him down and Sonar is partnered with him to make sure he gets the job done.  These two men don’t hit it off right away, mostly because Jag has become used to working on his own after three years.  It is easy to see that there is an attraction between the two men and I like that the author does not drag this part of the story out.  I also like that the author has allowed Jag to come to terms with his husband’s death, rather than wallowing in guilt.  That is not to say that Jag is not out for revenge, because he is.  It is this journey that allows Jag and Sonar to learn about each other and for Jag to start living again.  Many of the scenes between the two men in their shifter forms had me laughing.  Once the men come together as a couple they really heat up the pages.  Their new relationship also ends up making them a solid sniper pair.  

The author puts these two through their paces.  The action is intense and, at times, there are a few twists and turns that the reader may not see coming.  To keep the story from being too dark and heavy, the author does throw in some wonderful secondary characters.  It would be fun to see some of these characters get their own stories as Relentless would make a good first book to a series.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63476-909-9
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Destructive Delta team members human Calvin Summers and tiger Therian Ethan Hobbs have been best friends since childhood. Calvin is ready to move their friendship into an intimate relationship, but Ethan’s emotional issues prevent him from expressing his true feelings to Calvin.

Catch a Tiger by the Tail is the sequel to Against the Grain and the sixth book in the THIRDS series.

History
In an effort to cure a deadly virus, scientist developed a vaccine that altered human DNA, as well as created a shifter species known as Therians.  THIRDS stands for Therian-Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense Squadron. On the surface, this agency was established by the government for equal rights law enforcement for all species. However, there is an underling system of highly classified corruption going on. Fanatical scientists continue to develop new drugs with hopes of using the THIRDS as test subjects.

Featured Characters
Although Calvin is a man of small stature, he has taken on the role of protector, especially when it comes to Ethan. The only childhood brawls Calvin was involved in was defending Ethan.

Ethan suffers from selective mutism and social anxiety, Ethan can only talk when he feels composed enough to speak. Calvin is Ethan’s sanctuary, they work together; live together even sleep together in a non-sexual way.

Intense Action Events
Capturing drug dealers, deactivating bombs, mob of protestors, drive by shooting and team member Dex is kidnapped.

I deliberately left out the plot details, but rest assured Catch a Tiger by the Tail is thrilling with heart stopping action, humorous, compassionate and exceedingly enjoyable.  


Psychic Says

Title: Psychic Says
Author: JJ Black
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publisher URL: www.pride-publishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-78651-384-7
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Stephen Jurgens has his hands full when Maddox Blackwood refuses to accept a negative response on the topic of their mating from Stephen. Also, Stephen is faced with revelations about his untapped powers and how to utilize it.

Psychic Says is the second book in the Revelations series. The plot illustrates a world of both good and evil magic. Revelations is the name of an investigative agency owned by the Oracle Grayson Muir. Stephen and Maddox work for Revelations on a referral basis.

Stephen is an overly cautious psychic and a medium, though he prefers to use only his medium gift when helping clients communicate with the dead. Summoned to determine the source of healthy cougar shifters sudden deaths, Stephen discovers he is also a target.

Maddox is alpha of the wolf pack that is assigned as bodyguard positions when needed.  Once Maddox realized that Stephen is his destined mate, Maddox refused to allow Stephen out of his sight, acting as Stephen’s personal bodyguard during work. Because of his self appointed mission to stay close, Maddox was able to save Stephen’s life when Stephen encountered an unfamiliar entity of evil. 

Psychic Says is an impressive and enjoyable romantic suspense. I found it especially interesting that Stephen did not know who and what he truly is. 

Taking the Long Way

Author: Max MacGowan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781634769235
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary          
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Rye’s job is one that is ruled by age.  Reaching the point where it is almost time to be let go, Rye can’t help wondering what he will do next.  After all, how many jobs out there are looking for an over aged escort.  Marcus doesn’t need any help.  Just because he is now blind does not mean he can’t survive on his own.  These two may not have anything in common but they soon find themselves on a road trip to Atlanta.

Taking the Long Way is the story of two men, each searching for a way to survive.  Rye has been on the streets for a while and, while he may be used to a lot, suddenly there is more and more that is bothering him.  He knows it’s time to leave the life but he is unsure what to do, and more than a little afraid.  While working one day he comes across Marcus. 

Marcus is a military vet.  On his last tour, he encounters an IED and comes home blind.  Trying to do as much as he can on his own, he begins to explore his surroundings.  Not realizing that he’s put himself in a bad position, it is up to Rye to come to his rescue.  The two men soon form an unusual friendship and when Marcus is given a sense of hope after hearing about a doctor in Georgia, he is ready to hit the road.

This is a great story about a road trip.  The two men, Rye and Marcus, learn a lot about themselves and each other on the trip between California and Georgia.  There are several things I enjoyed about this story and, one of those is the way the author actually has the men making key stops along the way, checking out areas of interest that many readers will be familiar with.  I also liked the way that Marcus did not let his limitations keep him from enjoying, for the most part, the trip.   That is not to say that the trip these two are on is a light-hearted adventure. 

The two men find themselves falling in love, however, both are worried about the type of relationship they could have and, while Marcus is willing to try, Rye is afraid.  While there are a few moments that will have you laughing expect some tears as well.  The story reaches a point where I was worried about how it would end, but the author does a wonderful job bringing the story to conclusion.  

Although I liked Taking the Long Way, there is one part of the book that I had an issue with.  I wish the author would have spent a little more time on fleshing out Rye’s character.  We know what his occupation is, and that he had been working for quite some time.  What we really don’t know is how or why he ended up on the street.  I felt like there was more to learn and never got the chance to.  I would still recommend the book to others who like the M/M genre and plan to re-read this book again in the future.

Carry Me Home

Author: Sterling Rivers
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781634768429
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary        
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Aiden was not looking forward to being home. The tragic and unexpected death of his mother is more than Aiden can handle, and although his remaining family should be supportive, they are anything but. He has not seen his father since his parent’s divorce when he was a kid, and has lost contact, more or less, with his older sister after she left home for college.  When they find out he is gay, their reaction devastate Aiden.  Using an uncovered connection to a long gone uncle, Aiden heads out of town hoping to come to terms with everything going on in his life.

Carry Me Home is a new story by author Sterling Rivers.  This book instantly pulled me into the world created by the author.  The characters came alive in a way that let me feel what Aiden was going through and I could not believe that those around him could not see, or did not care enough to see, that the young man was holding on by a thread.  It was very easy to dislike both Aiden’s father and his sister.  These two are cut from the same cloth and I wanted to smack them from the time they showed up.  It is no surprise that Aiden felt the only way he could deal is by getting in his car and driving away. 

Cody is the complete opposite of Aiden.  While Aiden is in the closet and more or less still coming to terms with being gay, Cody is open and out there for all to see.  While he realizes that not everyone is going to accept him for whom he is, he does not care and will not let that keep him from being who he is.  Needless to say, it was easy to see that these two were made for each other.  Cody is just the person to show Aiden that it is okay to be gay, and Cody’s family shows Aiden just what family means.  I loved watching these two come together.  The passion that exists between them is strong from the beginning and I thought it was funny that Aiden imagined he would just have a “friends with benefits” type of relationship with Cody. 

Carry Me Home is not just about Cody and Aiden.  This story is also about Biddy and George.  George is Aiden’s great uncle who left his love behind to go to war and never came home.  That, in itself, is sad but, when I found out just how close the two came to being together, I wanted to cry.  These two do a lot for Aiden when he needed something to help him get over his mother’s death.  While I was wondering if Cody and Aiden would ever find Biddy, I was not surprised when the connection between the four men is made clear in the end.    

I really loved reading this story and will be looking for more from this author.  

Silver Bells

Title:  Silver Bells
Author:  Dahlia Rose
Publisher:  Changeling Press
ISBN/BIN:  07547-02434
Genre:  {M/F} Contemporary, Christmas
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Danny Grinch is a grumpy toy maker who hates Christmas.  Only one person, his assistant, has a chance at changing his mind about the holiday.  Danny wants Tia, but he’s scared to make a move.  Waiting too long might lead her into the arms of another man.

Two years ago Tia Davis came to town for a new start.  She loves everything about the small town atmosphere and Christmas.  Since she arrived, Tia’s been giving Danny hints that she’s interested in dating him, but the man seems to be clueless.  

When Danny and Tia finally get together, they are happier than they imagined possible.   Tia is still curious about Danny’s strong feelings against Christmas because he refuses to share that part of him.  Tia’s old life catches up with her and threatens to ruin her present life that she loves.  

Silver Bells is the fifth installment of the Reindeer Games series and a holiday romance that left me longing for Christmas again.  I loved Danny and Tia together because they seemed so different.  Danny had valid reasons for disliking Christmas.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting something so deep and meaningful and that was a wonderful surprise.  Danny needed healing that I think only Tia could provide.  Tia’s past life was a shock that caught me off guard and had me frightened for her future.  I knew Danny was a strong man, but he turned out to be more heroic than I guessed.  When his woman was threatened, Danny impressed me.  Every woman needs a man like Danny and I know readers will appreciate him as much as i do.  This story has an appeal that is too strong to resist, so give in and enjoy.

Black of Night

Author: TC Blue
Publisher: Torquere Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-944449-21-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Mystery        
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Working as a fry cook, Matthew has formed bonds he isn’t too happy about.  When changes are made, Matthew thinks about leaving, but then he finds himself drawn to Rory and starts to change his mind. 

Black of Night is a new paranormal romance by author TC Blue.  This story takes the readers into a world where vampires and shifters exist alongside humans, even though humans have no idea they exist.  The characters pull you into the world created by the author from the beginning and continue to hold your interest until the last page. 

Matthew is a vampire.  He works as a cook on the night shift and, while he tries not to get too involved with the humans that he cooks for, he can’t help but become attached.  When the owner of the restaurant turns the place over to his nephew, Matthew begins thinking about moving on.  Rory is the new owner and Matthew has made him very curious.  It takes a while but eventually these two can’t deny the attraction that exists between them.   The author really heated up the pages with Rory’s and Matthew’s first encounter.  It is then that Matthew also realizes that Rory isn’t human.  While the two men deal with their reactions to each other, Matthew is still trying to figure out who is killing red heads in his small town, and what the possible connection to Rory is.

While I enjoyed the relationship that developed between the main characters, it is the mystery that really held my interest.  There were a lot of little twists and turns that kept me wondering, but when the culprit is revealed, the reasons for the killings is over the top.  I could not believe the way this part of the story played out.  

Fans of the paranormal sub-genre should really give this story a shot as I am sure it will become a must keep for many readers.   

Shield Mate

Title: Shield Mate
Author: Eresse
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL: www.lsbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-62210-286-0
Genre: {M/M} Hermaphrodite Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Ranael is a royal-blooded aristocrat in the military who has recently been promoted to captain. Ranel’s second in command is Vaeren; a half blood illegitimate child. Vaeren rose in rank for the reason that he had earned the king’s respect and friendship, due to his fighting skills as well as his compassion for others.

Shield Mate is the seventh book in the Chronicles of Ylandre series. The plot illustrates social prejudices and jealousy. Ranael and Vaeren became lovers, but when their relationship is discovered, a high ranking officer consumed with bigotry conspires to destroy Vaeren’s creditability. Ranael and Vaeren’s chances for happiness are severely damaged.   

True Bloods formed the ruling class of every realm on planet Aisen; their ancestors, the Naere, were a race of hermaphrodites. The Naere colonists were a highly cultured warrior race, with mental power to communicate without speaking out loud   kept their breeding with the planet’s natives to the barest minimum, retaining much of the physical strength, endurance and most of their gifts of mind control. The ancestors of the Half Bloods bred indiscriminately, with the native Gelra race which resulted in the diminishment or disappearance of many of the True Blood characteristics as well as all females of the Gelra race. 

Shield Mate is another enjoyably impressive addition to the emotionally charged Chronicles of Ylandre series. All of the books in the series feature a different couple; however the time frame is the same as the era illustrated in the first book Sacred Fate. All of the characters are connected in some way to the ruler of Aisen, Rohyr Essendri.

Setting His Owl A-Twitter

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-4874-0609-7
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series          
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Going out with his friends is just what Hector needed.  What he did not expect to find was his mate.  But Rocky does not seem interested and Hector is not sure how to act now.

Setting His Owl A-Twitter is the 33rd book in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series.  Like the last couple of stories, this book pairs one of the recently rescued birds with their mate.  In Setting His Owl A-Twitter the bird in question is Hector.  Fans of the series know that Hector’s mate is Rocky, one of the bouncers at a local club.  Hector can’t seem to stay away from the big bouncer, but Rocky has had more than a few problems in his life and is taking things more cautiously now.  While he is attracted to Hector, Rocky is not looking for a one night stand, especially since he has more to think about now than just himself.  Once Rocky understands that Hector is looking for something permanent, he decides to give the little owl a chance.  From that point on things really start to heat up between the two. 

I really loved the connection between the main characters in this story.  Both men are, in their own ways, insecure which leads to a few misunderstandings in the beginning.  On top of all the little normal things that come into play at the start of a relationship, Hector has to figure out how to explain shifters to Rocky.  I loved the way the author handles this part of the story, allowing several former characters to come back to lend a hand.  

Setting His Owl A-Twitter is a fun, fast paced story that fans of the series are sure to enjoy.  There are several birds left who are in need of mates and I can’t wait to see what the author has planned for them.  

Hunting for Spring

Author: Katherine McIntyre
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-68252-060-4
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal; Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

It’s lonely being a hunter, but it’s the only life Conor knows. His father taught him that duty always comes first, and Conor has dedicated his life to cleaning up the Philly streets of all things supernatural. On a hunt for a wight, he meets the mysterious Brenna, a beautiful woman who proves she has no problem taking action when duty calls. But Conor works alone – forming attachments will only compromise the mission.

Brenna is on a quest to locate a very special item of hers that has been stolen and the trail leads her straight into the path of a hunter. She’s always stayed away from those who spend their time sniffing out the monsters of the world – they have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later – but this guy seems to have a smart, and extremely handsome, head on those broad shoulders. And as much as she hates to admit it, she could use his help.

They’re wary of each other, but agree to team up in the hopes of targeting those behind the recent influx of nasties. As they fight their growing attraction, they focus on digging deeper into the sick underbelly of the city, with shocking results. Loyalties will be questioned and sacrifices will need to be made…

Hunting for Spring is an exciting read, fast paced and full of suspense. I was enthralled by the sizzling chemistry between Conor and Brenna. The author teases as tension between the two characters builds, but the wait is justified by a strong story that demands attention. It’s a slow burn but the passion is definitely there and delivers very satisfyingly. Conor and Brenna are strong characters whose shared insecurities and heartache made me desperate to see them happy. To see them both start to believe that they are meant for more than this life of painful solitude is a joy to read.

There is an engaging plot – dysfunctional families, secrets, emotional baggage – all set against a vivid paranormal backdrop, as well as a couple of surprising twists to keep the readers on their toes. The author has created a world that is frighteningly realistic at times. I recommend fans of the genre find out for themselves just what might be going on in the back alleys of a city near you…

Pact

Title:  Pact
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0462-8
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Mila is given no choice about becoming a volunteer as she is one of those with the DNA from the Lrrko home world.  The Familiar assigned to her rejects her, so she ends up with someone else once she is on Lrrko.

Pact is the 29th book in the Terran Times Second Wave series and is about another of the five women found to have Lrrko DNA.  The story gave a little bit more information about the Familiars and what happens to one that rejects a Bride after being given the task bonding with her.  I loved the fact that Mila struck a bargain to get what she wanted when she realized she had no choice about going to Lrrko.

Mila is surprised that Elder Hrakin ends up being her familiar.  It was fun  watching Mila learn more about herself on Lrrko and what she and Hrakin could do.  I was laughing out loud about some of her antics, especially when she hacked into histories that even Hrakin couldn’t access.  I loved her response.

The epilogue was a surprise and I loved it.  I hope there is more about that in the future.  Things are getting real interesting with the Lrrko and I’m looking forward to more in this series.

Playing For The Other Team

Author: Sage C. Holloway
Publisher: Loose Id
Publishers URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-68252-061-1
Genre: {M/M}, New Adult, Contemporary        
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Bryson, a high school senior, thought he would be enjoying his senior prom.  He did not think he would realize he was gay while watching Jasper dance.  Jasper has had a crush on Bryson since junior high but he never thought Bryson would come out to him while at the senior prom. 

Playing For The Other Team is a well written coming of age story that fans of the author, and those new to the genre, will not be able to put down.   Both boys are your typical teenagers.  Bryson is a well-liked athlete who has had some tough times at home.  Because of that he never really had the chance to figure out who he is, so when he realizes he’s gay, he is shocked and scared.  Jasper, also a senior, is an artist who knows what he wants.  He came out to his family years ago and has no plans of going back into the closet, not even for Bryson.  Bryson’s revelations lead both boys on a journey that has many twists and turns.  Along the way they learn more about themselves and each other. 

I really loved watching these two come together from the beginning.  When Bryson comes out to Jasper, I wanted to cry.  The confusion and uncertainty he is feeling comes through so clearly that it is easy to see them sitting in the stairwell as confessions are being made.  While Bryson accepts who he is easily, those around him have a harder time.  I was surprised by both Bryson’s mom and his best friend.  As for Jasper, I loved the way he is there for Bryson and, the way he arranges things with his parents in order to help Bryson’s mom was well done.  

Throughout the story, readers will be able to see the strong connection that exists between the two young men.  The author also does a good job bringing the passion between them across in a way that is believable.  You can’t help pulling for these two and, while the story ends well, I want to know what happens to them later on.  I would love to see a follow up to Playing For The Other Team, and hope the author has plans to revisit them at a later date.

Peace

Title: Peace
Author: T.A. Chase
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publisher URL: www.pride-publishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-78430-981-7
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Love can be painful, especially for messenger angel Lam, whose every encounter on Earth is being watched by his heavenly bosses. Nevertheless, Lam refuses to give up the mutual love he shares with fallen angel Lucifer Daystar.

Peace is the fifth book in The Four Horsemen series. The plot illustrates empathy, friendship, dishonesty, and abuse of power, as well as a hierarchy in heaven devoid of emotion. Archangels are ranked the highest with the most power among angels. The horsemen rank lower than angels, but higher than mortals.

The storyline features a different image of heaven; breaking heavenly rules such as showing compassion for others is an angel’s downfall; Lucifer is not the wicked fallen angel he was portrayed of being though he is very powerful.

Peace draws attention to the false impression initiated by religious myths and the continually distorted interruptions that encourage hatred. According to some beliefs amid mortals, the reward for committing anarchy will be a sanctified abode in the hereafter. 

I found Peace to be thought provoking as well as very enjoyable. Thanks to the creative writing of T.A. Chase, the image of Lucifer in a business suit will be imprinted on my brain for some time to come.