Thursday, June 30, 2016

Smoke & Mirrors

Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63477-388-1
Genre: {M/M} Shape shifter Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx
Release Date: Jul 8, 2016

THIRDS Agent Dexter J. Daley is in big trouble. The last thing Dex remembers is falling asleep beside his mate Sloane Brodie. How did Dex wind up tied to a chair in a room with no windows? And why is this Therian wolf asking questions about Dex’s long deceased mother?

Smoke & Mirrors is the seventh book in the THIRDS series. The plot is a combination of intense gripping suspense, top level conspiracies, life or death apprehension, engaging characters and tension breaking comedy. In this episode, Dex is fighting a personal battle between his beliefs and the reality concerning his parent’s demise and the secretive Intelligence Agents.  

Dex is highly intelligent as well as extremely perceptive, good skills to have when analyzing the adversary.

Perplexing tidbits of information from a power hungry mad scientist coupled with an unexplained medical condition has planted seeds of suspicion in Dex and drastically reduced his sense of well being.

Before his kidnapping, Dex liked to play pranks on his team mates to raise everyone’s spirits, but now the team noticed there is something different about Dex even though he tries to hide his strange symptoms.

As more information is revealed, Sloan is also affected, dealing with his anger concerning issues in the past as well as guilt regarding a future with Dex, Sloan temporarily rejects his relationship with Dex until Ash gives Sloan a strong verbal kick in the butt, shaking Sloan out of his self induced pity party. 

Charlie Cochet has created so many twists and turns in this brilliant episode of the THIRDS, I was literally hanging on the edge of my chair. Dex pulls out all the emotional stops of the readers. I absolutely enjoyed Smoke & Mirrors.

Quell

Title:  Quell
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0792-6
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Within the Nyal Imperium, prison guards have a special talent that can keep prisoners calm. Amylia has been recruited by the Volunteer Project and is a guard at one of their prisons. At a court appearance, Amylia is kidnapped along with the prisoner, the Queen of Rohul, she is guarding in court who is being broken out of prison. Since Amylia befriended the Prime Queen while she was a prisoner, as a reward, Amylia becomes a province queen with the Queen's brother-in-law, Gyrion, as her Consort.

Quell is the 35th book in the Terran Times Second Wave series. In one way, this book is different from the previous ones in this series.  Rohul is ruled by women.  Each province is ruled by a Queen and their consort, with one Prime Queen for the planet.  I was surprised about the way a Province Queen could become the Prime Queen and how quickly it could happen.

I had to laugh at some of Gyrion’s antics after he met Amylia.  There are several instances that endear her to the people, one is where she uses her power to vanquish one of Gyrion’s former lovers.  The instance with the beast was so funny, especially the days that followed that instance. 
                                                                                                                       
I loved the way Amylia handled the Imperium when they came looking for her and their former prisoner.  Amylia and Gyrion learn about each other and their chemistry is hot.  The epilogue was a surprise. 

I enjoyed reading Quell and will be reading it again for the humor in it. There is one more book in the Terran Times Second Wave series according to the author and a lot of answers will be given in that story.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Worth Fighting For

Author:  Cheyenne Meadows
Publisher:  Totally Bound
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-78651-049-5
Genre:  {M/F} Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Cowboys & Western
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Experience has given April firsthand knowledge of what it means to be abused, so she has a soft spot for others with the same background.  Instead of coming home with one horse like she planned, April winds up with two.  She finds the perfect stable for her horses, but the owner was proving to be a bit difficult.  His expertise with animals clearly didn’t extend to people, because the man wanted nothing to do with April.  She had no idea why the man didn’t like her.

It isn’t just April that Dusty wants to avoid; it’s all women in general.  Dusty’s life has been turned upside down because of war and women.  The unsettled tension between his brothers has left Dusty with only his dog and his stable.  April is the one person who might upset his normal routine and Dusty doesn’t want that.  She’s constantly underfoot trying to help, which makes it impossible for Dusty to ignore his attraction to her. 

The nurse in April wouldn’t let her turn her back on anyone or anything needing compassion.  I was expecting April’s past to be more detailed, but honestly I’m glad it wasn’t as bad as I was imaging.  She was just so sweet, I would have hated to think of her dealing with more bad things.   Even though Dusty is bad tempered most of the time, April is drawn to him.  Something in his eyes touched her and April wanted to get to the bottom of his pain.  If that meant opening up about her own troublesome past, so be it.  To say that Dusty had been wronged by a woman would be an understatement.  Under the circumstances, I understand why he had sworn off relationships, even the one with his family.  When you add PTSD into the mix, that makes things worse.  Getting close to another human being was hard for Dusty, so it moved me to see how good he was with animals.  There is something about a man bonded with his dog that just makes me feel warm and fuzzy, especially if the man is smoking hot. 

I fell in love with April’s horse, Mischief, and he was the center of some of my favorite scenes.  Dusty’s brothers also made me feel very comfortable and left me curious to know more about their lives.  Everything came together like a hand and glove in Worth Fight For.  The right amount of turmoil was added, without being so sad that I needed to take a break to calm down.  Things weren’t perfect for Dusty and April but I felt they dealt with everything perfectly.  This story will renew your faith in people and give you the hope that everyone can have a second chance.

Cops and Robby

Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925313-92-5
Genre: {M/M/M} Contemporary, Taboo
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Robby knows first hand that being a prostitute is a dangerous occupation; thankfully Robby is rescued and sheltered by Cole and Morgan Caldwell, a couple of unique brothers that just happen to be cops.

Cops and Robby is a short story that exposes the secrets of three men. The plot highlights the three men growing into a loving long-term relationship.
 
Robby comes from an abusive home and turns to prostitution for his survival. Even after his rescue, Robby lives in fear of his vengeful pimp.

Cole and Morgan are brothers as well as lovers; this too could be perceived as survival after the family tragedy that occurred in their young lives. What started out as non-sexual comfort evolved into a deeper expression of brotherly love as adults.

Cops and Robby is an impressive and enjoyable saga. There is a small amount of Incest, but the main theme, as well as the intimacy, is a romantic ménage. 

Harmony

Title:  Harmony
Author:  Jillian Verne
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-68252-114-4
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Teodor always believed he was a sinner and not a good man. Other than his music, he could not accept his nature.  Because of this, he ended up abandoning Eva, the love of his life.  What happens when he realizes he may lose her forever?

Harmony is the fourth book in the Masters of the Order series and this story is about Teodor and his struggle to accept himself.  One thing that is a little different from the previous stories is that this book goes from the past to the present and also looks at things from Eva’s, as well as Teodor’s, perspective.  In this respect, sometimes the story was a little hard to follow, but it makes perfect sense as you witness the full impact of Teodor’s struggle.  Harmony is a very intense and emotional book.

Part of Teodor’s problem was his addiction to drugs, which added to his sense of guilt and self-loathing.  He did not want to accept the things that Eva loved as right between the two and ended up leaving Eva.  Eva herself made some choices after that that had a big impact on her self-worth.  Readers should be aware there is one ménage scene that makes Eva realize she deserves better.

I loved that several of the Doms and their ladies helped both get to the point that they needed to be so they could eventually be together.  There are places that may be difficult for some, especially the suicide thoughts, and I was actually in tears reading some sections.  Another influence that added to Teodor’s view of himself was his brother’s input and his opinion that he freely shared with Toedor. The author has a lot of insight into the lifestyle and the responsibilities of a Master/Dom to his sub and the sub’s responsibility.  As always, open communication is stressed as the key to a successful BDSM relationship.

It was very clear from the beginning that Teodor and Eva had some intense chemistry together.  The author was also very sensitive to the fact that Eva was seventeen when the two met.

There are still a few Master’s that haven’t gotten their relationship yet and Teodor’s fellow band members are also interesting and hopefully will get stories as well, as they have had Teodor’s back from the beginning.  

I am looking forward to reading more of the Masters of the Order series.

That’s One Cross Vamp

Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publisher URL: www.pride-publishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-78651-462-2
Genre: {M/M} Vampire Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Erin Meyers is tired of the empty direction his life has taken; it is time for a change. Vampire Jude has been waiting for years for Erin to notice him as more than a friend, Jude wants to have a long term relationship with Erin.

That’s One Cross Vamp is the sixth book in The Vamp for Me series. The plot features Erin going through some life changing decisions and the support from the vampire coven especially Jude.

Erin is a psychiatrist who has helped several of the vampires deal their fears, yet Erin has avoided facing his own fears until his health forces Erin to deal with all of his issues.

Jude has secretly loved Erin for a long time, but watching Erin go through a variety of one night stands was more than Jude could tolerate, so he watched and hoped for his chance with Erin from an emotionally safe distant.

Bailey Bradford has created an impressive and emotional addition to this series. I especially enjoyed Erin’s willpower to conquer his health issues as well as Jude’s determination to provide all of Erin’s needs.
  

This series is best read in sequence starting with My Life Without Garlic.

A Dandelion for Tulip

Author: R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63477-314-0
Genre: {M/M}, Urban Fantasy, Series        
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

David has been in love with Tulip almost from the moment they met.  But Tulip is a fairy and, even if he wasn’t straight, David does not believe he is good enough for the other man. 

A Dandelion for Tulip is the sixth book in the Being(s) in Love series by author R. Cooper.  This new book pairs a human with a fairy once again. In this story, our human is David.  A student struggling to get his PhD in the study of Beings so he doesn’t have time for a relationship.  That does not stop him from falling in love with longtime friend, Tulip.  Since Tulip is straight, however, David knows all he will ever have is his friendship.  I liked David.  The author did a good job bringing this character alive in a way that you could easily picture this slightly nerdy young man, who is a little on the socially awkward side, try to come to terms with his feelings for a friend. 

Our fairy is Tulip.  Tulip has been around for a while and during that time, he has been rejected in a way that has left its mark.  To protect himself, he guards his feelings well so it is no wonder that David does not know the real Tulip.  Even though Tulip is older than he looks, he still has a bit of innocence about him.  I felt a little bad for him a time or two as he tries to keep from falling in love with David.  But the more Tulip rejects David, the more David begins to feel unworthy of love. 

While A Dandelion for Tulip is not an angst-driven story, there are a few misunderstandings that cause bad feelings between the characters.  The author has done such a good job making this story come alive that it is easy to feel for the characters and, more than once, I wanted to tell them to stop being so careful and go after what they wanted.  

This story was a great addition to this series.  While each story can stand alone, I would recommend that you read the books in order as it will give you a clearer understanding of the world the author created.  If you have not yet tried any books by R. Cooper, I would strongly suggest that you start with this series.   

Demon Duke

Title: Demon Duke
Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02015-0561
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Calvin Blackwood is a healing witch, still learning his craft. Sadly, Calvin’s magical powers are not strong enough to heal his ailing brother, but Calvin can summon Sal, a demon duke who has a fondness for humans, especially Calvin.

Demon Duke is the second book in the Paranormal Nobles series. The well-written plot is a combination of compassion, a touch of drama and characters that are believable, as well as incredibly hilarious.

Having loss their parents to ill health, Calvin’s older brother Nathan is the only family Calvin has left. Calvin and Nathan are very close and do whatever they can to help each other even though their beliefs are extremely different.

Calvin knows if he summons a demon, he will be expected to compensate the demon with sexual favors. That being said, Calvin also knows that summoning Sal for help will be a price he is more than willing to pay since he is already attracted to the sexy demon.    
Sal is an unusual demon in that he forms emotional relationships; Sal enjoys socializing with humans and vampires. Vampire prince Valentin and his cousin Basil are Sal’s best friends. Sal secretly loves Calvin though Sal refuses to admit it. The only relatable demon traits Sal has is his enormous sexual appetite, his battle abilities along with his superior magical powers. 

S.J. Frost has created an outstanding saga. The interactions between the characters is truly entertaining, I think Sal is my favorite character because he is a clever, boastful, sweet talking, badass. Although Calvin is a badass when necessary, he’s normally a little more reserved than Sal.  

The Power Games

Title:  The Power Games
Author:  Brynley Bush
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-68252-110-6
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Ava arrives at the tryouts for a new reality show with her friend Emmett, who is helping her with her agenda against her step-father.  They don’t let anyone know just how inexperienced she really is about BDSM.  Ava ends up getting paired with Roman.

The Power Games is the first book in the Club Helix series, and is by an author I have never read before.  After reading The Power Games, I have to say that Ms. Bush is an author that has been added to my must look for list as she is very knowledgeable about the BDSM lifestyle.  While a lot of scenes in this book are very intense, she explains things Ava has questions about in a very understandable way that gets to the heart of things.

Roman knows that there is something slightly off, but is immediately captivated by Ava.  He has his own demons, but once Ava starts to trust him, she also realizes he can make her face some of her demons.  The chemistry between the two is very intense.  Readers should also know that the last major scene between them in the contest can cause some triggers as it is a very intense kidnap scene with the scene continuing into role-playing.

Things come to a head between Roman and Ava after a scene triggers Ava, so she has to come clean.  Ava learns the most important lesson in a relationship with a Dom is communication.  Roman and Ava renegotiate her contract and limit list once they clear the air.  I loved the last part of the book where they admit they love each other, though that was also the only part I didn’t like, as I would have liked to know a little more about what happened between them after that.

There are a few secondary characters that help the story along; it is a reality show after all.  The relationship between Ava and Emmett is explained as well as the full reasons Ava decided to do the contest.  I have to give the author kudos for the concept of doing this contest to coincide with the opening of Club Helix and the interest it generates. 

I am looking forward to more stories in the Club Helix series, especially if they are as intense and well written as The Power Games.  This book is one to read again and should be on every BDSM lover’s bookshelf.

Valet

Title: Valet
Author: Jet Mykles
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-68252-113-7
Genre: {M/M} Historical Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

As the new Earl of Rose Hall, Johnnie must carry on his inherited duties. That means staffing the household with enough servants to meet the needs of the Rose family, as well as invited guests. Due to family hardships, Tyler seeks a job closer to his childhood home and applies for a position as footman; however the immediate attraction to Tyler inspires Johnnie to offer Tyler a position as his personal valet.

Valet is the first book in the Rose Family Chronicles. The genre is not a customary historical but a mix of time periods combined together with a few modern amenities incorporated. The time period mixture was done on purpose by the author. I think it adds more significance to the socially forbidden couple. The fans of the Heaven Sent series will recognize the engaging characters. The plot is a gratifying romance.

Johnnie is an easy going man, yet he takes his responsibilities seriously. He has had a few sexual flings but no long term affairs.  What Johnnie really desires is a cherished relationship, preferably with a man not part of the nobility.

Tyler is a hard working shy man who is always mindful of his servant status; he feels uncomfortable being treated as an equal by Johnnie. Though Tyler and Johnnie truly love each other, Tyler’s biggest fear is losing Johnnie when Johnnie is required to wed and provide heirs. 

Jet Mykles has created an outstanding incredibly enjoyable saga. I could almost feel the love Johnnie and Tyler share.     

Quick

Title:  Quick
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0706-3
Genre:  (M/F), Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Camile is a paid companion that is being used to cover an ambassador’s preference for men.  When they attend a festival on Namkor, Camile is given what the natives call the gift, which means she cannot leave the planet for at least a year. Mordem is one of the Guardians that will be training her.

The 35th book in the Terran Times Second Wave series, Quick, is a little different than previous stories in the series.  Camile is chosen to become a Guardian by the planet and also becomes hated because she is an outsider.  Several of her relationships change due to her new status.

Her main instructor is Mordem, who had been her lover before she was chosen.  I found it interesting that those chosen could reject their gift and go back to their previous lives after a certain time.  Another interesting fact in this story is that Camile and Mordem could not be lovers until after she had finished training, since other societies in this series could.  The chemistry between Camile and Mordem is intense and I did have to laugh about the fact that Mordem’s brother also tried to make a play for Camile and some of the antics he used.

The author continues to make this series fresh with each new world and societal mores she creates.  Readers should be aware that references to the Yemish ambassador’s sexual preferences are mentioned even though there is actually no sexual scenes. There are only a few more stories for this series in the works and I am looking forward to reading them.