Thursday, August 4, 2016

Enemies of the State

Title: Enemies of the State
Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: Nine Star Press  
Publishers URL: http://ninestarpress.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-911153-33-7
Genre: {M/M}, Political Thriller, Series        
Rating: Golden Blush
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Ethan has worked himself up to the most wanted position in the Secret Service, head of the Presidential detail.  Having been with Jack since the race for office, Ethan has spent a lot of time with the widower.  Now in office, Ethan is surprised by his feelings for the new President.

Tal Bauer is a new author for me and after reading Enemies of the State, I will be looking for more from this author.  Enemies of the State is definitely a book for those who love thrillers and those looking for a book with a little more meat on it will want to pick this story up, as well.  The author has done an excellent job with the character and world building and readers will find themselves pulled in from the very beginning of the story. 

Ethan is a member of the Secret Service.  He has worked hard to make it to the top and is not going to let anything take his accomplishments away.  Ethan is also gay, something that is widely known.  He also has a love ‘em and leave ‘em reputation, something he is fine with.  He is honored to be in charge of the new Presidential detail, as Jack is someone he believes the country needs.  Once in the White House, however, the standoff attitude that is needed for the Secret Service becomes hard for Ethan to hold on to. 

Jack never imagined he would find himself in the White House.  When his wife died while serving the country, Jack realized he had to step up and do his part in making America safe.  Soon he found himself running for office, and 15 years later he is the new President of the United States.  Jack is a people person, however, and the isolation that he is suddenly faced with, due to his new job, leaves him a little lonely.

Jack and Ethan soon find themselves exploring new ground and both men are confused and worried.  Yet, as they struggle with the growing change in their relationship, they both continue to give everything to their jobs.  While the relationship between these two is a strong part of the story, and the author handles the many obstacles they face in a realistic way, it is not the only focus of the story.

The author uses many of the problems faced today as issues in Enemies of the State, giving the book a current up to date feel.  Several of these issues are the focal point for a group that is planning a major coup, not only of the United States, but other areas of the world as well.  The way the author handles this part of the story is amazing.  The twists and turns leave you wondering just who the bad guys are and, while I was able to guess one, some of the others surprised me.  I was up late into the night because I could not stop turning the pages to see what would happen. I think readers will be happy with the way the story was wrapped up. 

According to the publisher’s website, Enemies of the State is the first book in The Executive Office series.  I hope the second book will be out soon as I am very curious about what the author has planned next.

Clan McKinloch: The Boxed Set

Author:  Kaitlin Maitland
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-68252-176-2
Genre:  {M/F, M/M/F, F/F, M/M}, Contemporary, Collection
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Stars, Stripes, and Xmas Bells - 4 Nymphs

Trip McKinloch is in the Air Force and will be returning to his unit the next day.  When he meets Ashton at a Fourth of July celebration, they spend a wonderful night together.  What happens when they meet at Christmas and realize they have not gotten each other out of their system makes for some family drama for Trip.

Hearts, Candy, and Clover - 4 Nymphs

Gavin McKinloch opens his own bakery, but is still hurt over the situation with Ashton and Trip.  Ashton’s best friend, Luce, hangs around and wonders how she can make Gavin realize she’s the one for him while Gavin is trying to figure out if Luce could love him.

Kiss Cam Connection - 4.5 Nymphs

Micah and Brody have been together for five years, but they haven’t been able to find a woman they both can love.  They help out Nena at a ball-game, but forget to get her contact information.  Using the missed connections listing on Craigslist, they end up finding Nena.  Despite the men knowing she is what they want, Nena must make the decision to be part of a ménage relationship.

Junebugs, Haunted Houses & Jack o’Lanterns - 4 Nymphs

Donal McKinloch is trying to come to terms with his wife, Stacey, wanting a divorce.  A lot boils down to miscommunication and Stacey’s parent’s expectations.  Once Stacey realizes what is going on, how can she make it up to Donal, especially since she has to face his family as well.

Cupid, Mardi Gras & Auld Lang Syne - 4 Nymphs

Zoey has always known she is attracted to women and she is extremely attracted to Morrie McKinloch.  Morrie only knows she has difficulty with men but never considered another woman until her brother dares Zoey to kiss her.  Morrie now knows what she wants, but knows it won’t be easy coming out to her family.

Roses, Rallies, and BBQ - 4.5 Nymphs

Ossian McKinloch has decided he won’t start a relationship since his last one ended badly.  What he doesn’t count on is meeting Jax, Brody’s business partner, and his attraction to him.  The two men’s friendship becomes love, though both have some obstacles to overcome.

The Clan McKinloch Boxed Set has all five stories of the McKinloch series.  Kiss Cam Connection is part of the Missed Connections series but is a tie in to the McKinloch stories as well.  The McKinloch siblings work in the family pub with the exception of Trip, which doesn’t sit well with his parents.

I loved reading about all of them, but my favorite McKinloch sibling has to be Ossian also known as Oz.  My heart broke a little as I was reading his story and what happened between him and his friend from the Marines.  I hated Luke’s wife and was very relieved when Oz decided to try another relationship when Jax came along. 

Each story has a unique situation that each sibling has to overcome due to what is supposed to be a family curse.  Reading each story does give credence to the curse based on the trouble each sibling has getting to their “happy ever after”.  I will be reading these stories again in the future.

Closer by Morning

Author: Thom Collins
Publisher: Pride Publishing  
ISBN/BIN: 9781786514400
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery        
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Dale is a B-list actor.  One who has always kept a secret, even from himself.  After moving from the States to England in order to be closer to his son, Dale has finally landed a role that may turn his career around.  He never expected to meet someone like Matt, or for life to start imitating art, both of which leave Dale wondering just where his life is heading.

Someone is killing young gay men, only no one has any idea how the victims are tied together.  On top of that, the murders resemble what is unfolding on the set of a new thriller being filmed in town.  Is there a connection or is it just a coincidence?  This is the premise the author lays out for readers in Closer by Morning and one that will leave you guessing until the end.  Readers should know that while the author is not overly graphic in his descriptions, he does touch on topics that may be hard for some readers to handle. 

While the murders are a primary point in the story and one that ties all the characters together, this book is also a romance. The author brings us two characters that can’t seem to help but fall in love.  Dale is an actor who has always struggled with his sexuality.  He has gone so far as to marry and father a child, one he loves deeply, to keep from admitting to himself, and others, who he really is.  Matt is a lawyer.  He is good at his job, but not at relationships.  He is also openly gay.  The men meet at an exercise boot camp and, while there seems to be a connection, they are afraid to say anything for fear of being wrong.  Of course, this does not last long and soon the two are forming a friendship that quickly moves into something more. 

I like the passion that exists between the two men. I also like that, while Dale is currently in the closet, he realizes he will have to eventually come out and is not forcing Matt to go back in.  It is interesting to watch the relationship develop between these two and thought that for all Dale’s fears of being found out, he could not seem to help the PDA’s from occurring.  I also liked the relationship that Dale had with his son and could not help but chuckle a few times when they were together. 

Matt is also a likeable character and I felt for him when it came to dealing with his ex.  I could not help wondering how someone as strong as Matt ended up with someone like Jamie, and if that would play an important part of the story.  I liked the fact that, while things did not work out well for Matt in regards to Jamie, he did not let that keep him from developing a relationship with Dale.  I also liked that Matt understood that Dale would need time to feel comfortable with the feelings that were developing between them and had no plans to force him into anything. 

Both men are surprised to find themselves pulled into the murder investigation that is currently going on.  Neither man can imagine that they would have any connection to the case, and I had to agree with them.  I was just as surprised as they were when everything started to come together. 

The author did a good job keeping this part of the story going.  He has peppered Closer by Morning with so many secondary characters that I could see one or more being the “bad” guy.  I was also surprised by the way the killer was caught and am sure readers will not see it coming.  Closer by Morning was an interesting read and I will have to keep my eyes open for more books by this author. 

Quit

Title:  Quit
Author:  Viola Grace
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-4874-0800-8
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Minerva is wasting away as she waits for her daughter to get out of the tank. Her daughter had to be put in it after she got to the point Minerva couldn’t keep carrying her.  What she didn’t know is that the father is on his way to make sure Minerva is still around to take care of her.

Quit is the 36th and last book in the Terran Times Second Wave series.  Minerva was one of the first generation of Terrans in the Terran Times series.  Minerva has a unique talent that has allowed her to act as Recruiter Norz for years.  Now as her role changes to wife and mother, she is chosen to fill another role that will be unique to Terra.

I loved Imbolt’s description.  He would definitely be memorable under any circumstances, but he fills his role as ambassador and later Minerva’s husband admirably. Imbolt also made sure Minerva got well and I had to laugh at some of Minerva’s minor rebellions when they first met.  They hit it off very well together. 

I am going to miss this series.  Despite each story being very fast paced, the author transported readers to various worlds and created some unique societies on those worlds. I think it was wonderful that the series ended with the tie in to the first group of Terrans that went into space.  I will be reading the Terran Times Second Wave series again.

Marriage of Inconvenience

Author: M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63477-528-1
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Dreamspun Desire        
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Release date: Aug 15, 2016

Kerry has always wanted to be a publicist for A-list celebrities.  He knows he has to pay his dues, but he’s tired of monitoring Twitter and Facebook accounts while everyone else gets the plum jobs.  When actor Jericho Knox screws up big time, Kerry finally gets his turn to prove himself, but is this really what he wants.

Let’s address the elephant in the room before going any further.  Marriage of Inconvenience is predictable from the very beginning.  If you ever read one of the many Harlequin romance books back in the day then the feel of this story will be a familiar.  That does not mean that this is not a book worth picking up. 

Kerry is out of his depth in Marriage of Inconvenience.  The career he has always wanted is not what he thought it would be, something that becomes clearer when he is thrown into the middle of a sex scandal.  I could not believe that Kerry did not think things through when he agreed to become “the man on his knees” in the photo that exposes Jericho Knox.  At the same time, I could not help but feel a little sorry for him as he starts to see the reality of the life he wanted.

Jericho, on the other hand, is an obnoxious actor who has the chance at the role of his life.  However, when he is caught in a compromising position it takes everyone working for him to clean up the mess and put a good spin on it.  In the beginning, it is easy to dislike Jericho a little.  But as the story moves on, the reasons for them become clearer, making it easier to understand his actions. 

These two are thrown together under tough circumstances and at first they clash constantly, which is to be expected.  As they get to know each other, and start coming together as a team, the attraction between them builds.  They do eventually heat up the pages of the book and it was good to see them finally come together for real, rather than for the press.  

Even with the predictability of the story, this was a fun book to read.  Fans of Ms. O’Shea are sure to enjoy this new book and, those looking at the M/M genre for the first time, can’t go wrong with Marriage of Inconvenience.

Protecting the Land

Author: A.J. Marcus, Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-4874-0751-3
Genre: {M/M} Werewolves Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Werewolf Justus is having a hard time adjusting to life on a ranch, the problem being he must stay in human form and wear clothes.

Protecting the Land is the second book in the Wild Lands series. An agreement made between the werewolf pack and the Abbey family has worked well for both groups. The Abbey family’s claim includes a forest that is the pack’s hunting grounds. Humans stay out of the forest and the pack protects the Abbey family from trespassers. Justus has been sent to guard the ranch.

Henry doesn’t know about the agreement nor does he know werewolves even exist. The only thing Henry knows is that Justus is not qualified to work on a ranch. When miners encroach on ranch property, secrets are revealed. 

Protecting the Land is an interesting as well as enjoyable addition to the series. Although Henry and Justus are charming characters, I mourn the lost of the more entertaining characters featured in the first book Claiming the Land

Bomb Tech

Title:  Bomb Tech
Author:  Fiona Roarke
Publisher:  Nickel Road Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.amazon.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-944312-060
Genre:  {M/F}, Romantic Suspense, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Alex met Veronica when he gave a presentation to her class.  Later, he ends up rescuing her from a fake bomb in the middle of town.  With help from Alex’s family, Alex and Veronica try to find out who is trying to kill them.

Bomb Tech is the fourth book in the Bad Boys in Big Trouble series and introduces us to the fourth Langston brother.  Alex became a fireman after his time overseas as a bomb tech.  In this story, we learn more about The Organization, the private law enforcement group that was introduced in Biker and that Alex is being actively recruited for, since most of his brothers now work for them.

Once Alex and Veronica get together, the chemistry is intense.  They have a few obstacles to work through such as a stalker, houses blowing up and smoke bombs. Alex has to overcome his undeserved reputation with the ladies, as well. 

Alex’s brothers and their boss from The Organization help with safe houses and other resources.  I was very surprised about who the stalker actually ended up being as all the clues pointed to one of Alex’s friends.  The scene where the stalker was revealed raised my heartrate for sure. 

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Bad Boys in Big Trouble series, as there is one more Langston brother we haven’t met yet.  While each story can be read alone, I recommend this series be read in order to get the most out of it as each story includes some of the previous characters.

Claiming the Land

Author: A.J. Marcus, Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-4874-0733-9
Genre: {M/M} Werewolves Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Elijah Abbey and his family have claimed land that is the ancestral home of a group of werewolves.

Claiming the Land is the first book in the Wild Lands series. The plot is about the early cattle ranch settlers and ruthless claim jumpers in the Colorado territory.

There are two groups of humans, one bad and one good. Elijah’s family are the good humans. The Abbey family consists of a windowed father, three sons and a daughter-in-law. Elijah is the youngest son, the best shooter and gay. Elijah has no desire to kill the wolves, watching the Abbey encampment from a safe distance. This is not the case of the claim jumpers who kill the wolves for sport.

Werewolf Armand, who is one of the pack’s warriors, spends most of his time in wolf form. However, even as a wolf he is attracted to Elijah. With so many of the pack being killed by the bad humans, Armand approaches Elijah with a proposal: if they leave most of the forest untouched, the wolves will get rid of the bad humans for them.

A.J. Marcus and Caitlin Ricci have created an impressive saga. I especially enjoyed the pack’s code of respect traditions.