Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sex and Candy

Title: Sex and Candy
Author: Diana DeRicci
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0219
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Denial can be a cruel mistress as witnessed by Brad Hauffman. Fortunately, openly gay Brad did not suffer from denial, only disappointment in his closeted best friend Geoff. However, meeting Tristan Reaver along with the budding romance they share, Brad’s wait for happiness is finally over.

Sex and Candy is part of the Arbor Heights series. The plot illustrates the negative effects trying to please others instead of yourself can have on someone. Not only does living a lie impact the pretender, but all the other people involved.

Brad is lucky; the fact that he is gay was acknowledged as well as supported by his parents, employer and friends. Brad is an easygoing pastry chef who loves to cook. He also dreams of having a long term relationship someday. Going to the Blue Dogs private party was more an act of rebellion for Brad rather than his normal social activity.

Tristan has hosted friends with benefits gatherings in his home for years. These are private stress relief parties with some very strict rules. Tristan is a businessman who has never been in a monogamous relationship before meeting Brad. After dating Brad for a few weeks, Tristan is not willing to share Brad with anyone ever again.

Diana DeRicci has created a notably impressive as well as an enjoyable story.
The main aspect in this story, besides the intimacy between Tristan and Brad, is the attitude of people who are living a charade existence. Honorable behaviors have been cast aside in favor of a bogus standard of living. 

Reluctance

Title: Reluctance
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-0-85715-660-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

It’s been a year and Keegan’s still agonizing over the death of several wolves that died guarding the Alpha Anax. He’s riddled with guilt, works constantly, never smiles, can’t sleep and has pushed all his friends away.  When a security breach is brought to Keegan’s attention, he’s forced to go outside the pack to find an expert to build a system to secure the compound.

Going to Brazil isn’t what Keegan expects but that’s where Marcus and Nathan send him to pick up security expert, Olin. His plane trip is unsettling and then his initial meeting with Olin doesn’t go well either. They snap and snarl at each other as an unwelcome mating bond kicks in. But Keegan can’t deny their pull and he follows Olin into danger. Can these new mates survive or will they die in the rainforest before getting to know each other?

Reluctance is the newest release in Bailey Bradford’s Southwestern Shifters series. Be aware that there are aspects to Keegan and Olin’s relationship that fall into BDSM.

Now onto the rest of the review—It’s fun, entertaining and I found Reluctance to be an enjoyable read. Truthfully, the last couple of books in the series dragged a bit for me but this one turned everything around. My attention was really caught with the attention to detail, complex story line, integration of previous characters and fast pace. But that’s not all. It also has a mystery in the depth of the rainforest, which gives the story action, danger and suspense—all great reasons to keep reading.

Then there’s Keegan and Olin. These two guys are so different—in every way—and Olin has such a chip on his shoulder, I sometimes wondered if their mating would work. Yet, the author manages to get them together and does it convincingly.  The ongoing story line is coming along nicely and the twists here were interesting. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next release.

Cops, Cakes, and Coffee

Author: Sara York
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0211
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Drake Knowles’ first visit to the coffee shop located near the police station where he is works is surprised by the immediate attraction he felt for the shop’s owner, Adam Hughes. Nevertheless, being surrounded by his co-workers, Drake knew his fascination for the man had to remain undercover.

Cops, Cakes, and Coffee is the first book in the Love's First Response series. The story is set in Everett, Washington. The main theme of the plot is discrimination. The characters are creditable. The concept of dating is new to Drake; he is more accustomed to driving to Seattle for a night of anonymous sex. However after meeting Adam, Drake is willing to risk discovery rather than let pass a possible future with him.

Because of painful mistakes in his past, Adam is adamant about having a platonic association prior to a romantic relationship. Adam also knows the negative impact Drake’s sexuality could have at his job.  

Happiness is short lived as well as freedom is lost when belligerent hypocrites are prepared to ignore the law, commit assault along with devastate their own lives all for the sake of perpetuating their narrow-minded viewpoint. Although Drake was not the initial target of abuse, he was dragged into the fight for attempting to end it.

Sara York has created an impressive romantic saga that I very much enjoyed. Drake and Adam are charming; the intimacy is enchanting plus the aggressors got their just dessert. 

Floodgates

Title: Floodgates
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-738-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Nymph

Tracy Brandt has a pretty good life with the exception of his cheating ex-boyfriend. At least he thinks he does until he’s almost killed at work, which brings his brother’s annoying best friend, Homicide inspector Cord Nolan, to the hospital and to the rescue.

Cord didn’t make a good impression on Tracy when they met five years ago and the intervening years hasn’t changed Tracy’s opinion. But Cord’s changed—he isn’t the same man he was. He’s still a good cop but he’s also personally reliable now. Tracy just can’t see it. Now that Tracy’s in trouble, Cord hopes he finally has a chance of showing the man he cares for that he’s a different man and worth opening his heart for.

Floodgates is the newest contemporary release by Mary Calmes. I tend to read nearly all the books by this author because I find them fun and entertaining and I enjoy the characters she creates. That’s true of Tracy and Cord in Floodgates, even if they do remind me of Sam and Jory from her Matter of Time series.

The story starts off with a bang—literally, when Tracy gets shot at. It’s a beginning that pulls the reader into what’s happening in Tracy’s life and propels the plot forward at a steady speed. As per usual there’s a lot about this book that appeals to me—the well developed personalities, vivid descriptions, solid relationships and good dialogue. There’s even enough action, danger and drama to make just about any romance reader happy. Tracy and Cord are interesting guys too. I really appreciate the amount of background provided and how it’s seamlessly woven into the plot; it made the rocky start of a personal relationship believable. 

Here’s my biggest niggle. Tracy and Cord spend a large portion of the book apart—almost adversarial—before their relationship begins to change. Instead too much time is spent on Tracy dealing with his ex, Breckin. There are some other spots I found troublesome but I won’t go into detail and reveal any other spoilers about the plot or it’s villain. Just know that despite my niggles, I did enjoy it.

An American Memory

Author: George Seaton
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925031-83-6
Genre: {M/M} Twentieth Century Historical
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Narrated in the first person, one man recounts life for homosexuals in a Denver community. The orator is a people-watcher who chronicles places, as well as his social encounters from 1969 through 1982.

Though the characters are mainly gay men, the idiosyncrasies exhibited are human traits not restricted to any sexual category. For example, the first narrative illustrates a talented character named Michael who hears voices in his head. Creativity or living in his own reality? The origin of reality is an individual perception rather than a standardized opinion of the general public.

The stories begin with the adult gay man and descend into his coming of age teenage years when he was first subjected to the painful actions of bigots. After two years in the Army, the narrator realized he could no longer live the heterosexual lie society expected. At the age of twenty four, he steps out of the closet to live the life nature intended. However, the deadly disease sweeping through the nation brings the freedom of casual sex amongst the gay men to an abrupt halt. The loss of so many to AIDS blanketed the whole community with apprehension.

George Seaton’s An American Memory is a captivating very enjoyable blend of observations, descriptive settings along with a touch of humor. This was the era when the majority of society regarded homosexuals as part of the small clans of outcast inhabiting the less desirable sections of the city. Labels like Gay, Flower Child, Hippies as well as the Political Rebels were all lumped together in the conceited mentality of America. The era was considered a temporary misguided phase, not part of their civilized religious lifestyle. That is until noteworthy men started dying from AIDS. Suddenly, everyone became aware of the secret lives of friends and neighbors. Homosexuals had become the untouchables, sub-humans that did not deserve fair treatment or equal rights. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Torquere Press Call for Submissions

OPEN CALLS FOR ANTHOLOGIES

Our anthology calls are a great place to get your feet wet with a short story, or to explore a theme without committing to a full novella or novel. For all anthology calls, we’re looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about the chosen monthly theme. Make us laugh, make us cry, or surprise us and make us glow with happy endings!
Please send your 3000 -10,000 word submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with the title of the theme (ie: Torqued Tales) and your story title in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Each theme has a title and due date listed on the individual call.

JULY 2014 -- RODE HARD -- COWBOY STORIES -- DEADLINE APR 15

Cowboys, y'all! From the Wild West to the modern era and any time (or place) in between, our Rode Hard anthology will feature fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about cowboys and cowgirls. Whether they make their home on the range or in a neon-filled dancehall, give us real cowboys with real problems. And really steamy love lives!


AUGUST 2014 -- DAWG DAYS -- WOLF/DOG SHIFTERS -- DEADLINE MAY 15

It's the way you growl, or maybe it's the way you use your teeth, or the way the moonlight shines on your fur... Wait, what?  We want your best canine/lupine shifter stories for the Dawg Days of summer. Keep us on our toes with wolves, coyotes, dingoes or even a pit bull shifter or two. The more biting the better!


OCTOBER 2014 -- ETERNALLY DARK -- DEADLINE JULY 15

All vampires are creatures of darkness, but these have a twist: they're forced to endure an existence of literal, as well as spiritual, darkness. Blind vamps use all of their other senses, including their sixth sense, to find both lovers and prey. Our Eternally Dark anthology will feature fully realized, romantic, stories about blind vampires. Deadline for submission is July 15, 2014.


NOVEMBER 2014 -- PUNK'D -- DEADLINE AUGUST 15

Whether we're taking high tea in a dirigible over London, chasing exotic werebeasts through the jungles of Darkest Africa, or pitting Continental mechanical know-how against the New World's sharp-shootin' cowboys -- steampunk, gaslamp, and clockpunk stories really crank our gears! The Punk'd anthology will feature fully realized, romantic gay (m/m) stories about life and love in the steampunk (and related) genres. Deadline for submission is August 15, 2014.


DECEMBER 2014 -- SANTA'S LITTLE KINKSTERS -- DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15

We're hoping to fill our stockings this holiday season with stories as kinky as the curls in Santa's beard. Does the heat of a good spanking keep the winter chills at bay? Does practice tying up a sub help when it comes time to put garlands on the tree or ribbon on presents? Do the reindeer sometimes misbehave just so they can get a lick of the whip -- and what do those elves do while Santa's out delivering toys, anyway? Send us your fully realized, romantic m/m stories of holiday kink  for our Santa's Little Kinksters anthology. Deadline for submission is September 15, 2014.


LESSONS IN LOVE CHARITY SIP BLITZ -- DEADLINE JUNE 15

Every year, the generous authors at Torquere write stories and donate the proceeds of these shorts to charity, with Torquere matching each donation. We call it the charity sip blitz, and this year, our charity is the Point Foundation. 
From their website:
The Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.
We're looking for fully realized GLBTQ stories that relate to academics, school, university and learning. We're a romance publisher, so give us a good love story, on that will make the reader fall in love with the characters and root for them. If you're going to have sexual situations, even on the sweeter side, please make your protagonists eighteen or older. While we are accepting Prizm young adult submissions on this call, we are representing an organization that caters to students, and we need to make sure our content is age-appropriate. Feel free to surprise us with non-traditional students, alternative learning, and teachers or students of more than just English, Math and Science!
All submissions must be received by July 1, 2014 for a mid-September release. Earlier is better. Word count can range from 3000-8000 words. Longer will be considered, but please query first to help us accommodate our editing schedule! Please see our general submission guidelines for formatting requirements. Send submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Charity Sip Blitz Adult or Charity Sip Blitz Prizm in the subject line.


TALES OF LEATHER

Like your short stories with a little bondage, dominance, spanking, or submission? So do we! In fact, we like BDSM play stories so much that we're giving them their own category. Tales of Leather will be guaranteed to bring on all the hot BDSM action that readers crave. We're looking for romance stories with happy endings, engaging characters, and a fresh point of view. Stories should range from 10,000 to 50,000 words. Longer stories may be considered, but please query first. Stories will be contracted for two years, at our standard royalty rates. Please see our writer's guidelines page for royalty rates, formatting and submission information.
Guidelines:
- GLBT stories -- f/f, m/m, m/m/f
- 10,000 words and up
- standard royalty rates apply
- exclusive electronic 2 year contract
For queries or submissions, contact General Manager/Submissions Editor Kristi Boulware atsubmissions@torquerepress.com
Please put "Tales of Leather" in the subject line of all emails.
Follow our general guidelines.


BIRTHSTONES

Birthstones is a sexy, sensual GLBT series with a birthstone theme completely and solely interpreted by the author (i.e. Using the stone itself, the color of the stone, the mystical meaning of the stone, the area the stone is mined, use your imagination). We're looking for unique takes on the theme, interesting characters, hot sex, and attention to relationship. If multiple stories are submitted which fit the theme, more than one Birthstone may run.
Guidelines:
- GLBT stories -- f/f, m/m, m/m/f
- 10,000 words and up
- standard royalty rates apply
- exclusive electronic 2 year contract
The available stones/months are:
January/Garnet -- deadline September 15
February/Amethyst -- deadline October 15
March/Aquamarine -- deadline November 15
April/Diamond --deadline December 15
May/Emerald -- deadline January 15
June/Pearls -- deadline February 15
July/Ruby -- deadline March 15
August/Peridot -- deadline April 15
September/Sapphire -- deadline May 15
October/Opal -- deadline June 15
November/Topaz -- deadline July 15
December/Turquoise -- deadline August 15
Please email questions and submissions to:
submissions@torquerepress.com with Birthstones in the title.
See our general guidelines for formatting and general submission information.


SPICE IT UP

Who doesn't need a little spice in their life? The Spice it Up line has openings starting in January 2012. Stories need to be inspired by a spice or herb, or the spice must feature prominently in the story. To see what spices have already been used, see our bookstore at www.torquerebooks.com. Spices may be duplicated, but all stories must be original in theme and content. We're looking for romance stories with happy endings, engaging characters, and a fresh point of view. Stories should range from 10,000 to 30,000 words. Longer stories may be considered, but please query first. Stories will be contracted for two years, at our standard royalty rates. Please see our writer's guidelines page for royalty rates, formatting and submission information.
Guidelines:
- GLBT stories -- f/f, m/m, m/m/f
- 10,000 words and up
- standard royalty rates apply
- exclusive electronic 2 year contract
For queries or submissions, contact senior editor Lorna Hinson at submissions@torquerepress.com
Please put "Spice It Up" in the subject line of all emails.
Follow our general guidelines


COLOR BOX

Color Boxes are currently open for submissions.
Just pick a color and run with it. Whether you go with what the color looks like, the feelings it evokes, or the emotions associated with it, let the color be your guide.
These sexy GLBT stories will be at least 10,000 words (but can be longer), and have a happy ever after (or at least happy for now) ending in any genre. We're looking to do all the colors of the rainbow from Alabaster to Zymenchlora.
Please check on the color box page: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=78_112 to be sure your color hasn't already been used.
Please email questions and submissions to:
submissions@torquerepress.com with Color Box in the title.

Follow our general guidelines

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Born of Stone


Author: Missy Jane
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-023-2
Genre: {M/F} Urban Fantasy Series Recommended Read
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 05-27-2014

Orestes and his twelve gargoyle brothers were magically created by the King’s wizards to protect the realm and its people and for seventy years, he has served them well. He has little contact with the human inhabitants of the kingdom, but that changes the night a petite serving woman catches Orestes’s eye. It’s obvious Astrid’s frightened but Orestes doesn’t know why. When he learns the castle overseer has beaten her, he and his brothers are furious. He takes Astrid to his room to care for her injuries and then makes love to her.

Despite her attachment, Astrid believes her new liaison with Orestes is temporary.  When he’s called away for a few days, evil enters the castle and she’s kidnapped by a traitor. Their bond is much stronger than either realizes. Can Orestes find Astrid before it’s too late?

Born of Stone is the first release in the new series by Missy Jane, Gargoyle Masters.

Wow. I’m always cautious with an unfamiliar author but when I discovered gargoyles were the paranormal shifters featured here, I knew I had to read it. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect from Ms. Jane’s writing when I started, but I’m happy to report she exceeded my expectations. The premise is intriguing, the pace steady, and the plot complicated which kept my interest until the end. It’s also filled with interesting secondary characters and the world building is, in my opinion, top-notch. The descriptions are vivid, pulling you into the story immediately, and the details of the life and culture of the time period really brought Born of Stone alive. Even the villain of the story is interesting. And yes, the problem with him is resolved a little abruptly but you can tell by the ending that this guy isn’t finished causing trouble, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the next release. So yes, look for an ongoing story line in this series. 

Now to Orestes. What we’ve learned about him, his brothers, and their creation is an interestingly different slant on how gargoyles are usually handled in paranormal romances. It’s a definite creative flair I really enjoyed and all the little surprises really added to the overall reading enjoyment. Orestes’s also just an intriguing guy in his own right—and I like him. Add in downtrodden Astrid, and their new and growing relationship and you have a story I couldn’t stop reading. I for one can’t wait for the next release in this well written and entertaining series. Watch for it. I will be.

Love of the Wild

Author: Susan Laine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press 
ISBN:  978-1-62798-508-6
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Jim Faulkner never dreamed his werewolf research would lead him into discovering a mate.  Nevertheless, Jim’s true mate Dakotah is determined to maintain a solitary life in the wild. 

Love of the Wild is the fifth book in the Lifting the Veil series. The central theme of the series is two parallel worlds co-existing for centuries until the barriers were torn away, revealing a paranormal world to humans. Each book in the series can be read as a stand alone manuscript.

Love of the Wild features an intriguing plot of a different type of werewolves.  Progenitors are the powerful immortal rulers in the werewolf hierarchy.  The characters are out of the ordinary. Jim is an intelligent man in his forties who enjoys adventures. He has a congenial personality with an unassuming self esteem. Jim writes travel books and nature articles for magazines. However, Jim’s thrill seeking days have slowed down over the years. Jim took the werewolf assignment in an attempt to contend with the younger men in his career field.

Dak first appears to have a hostile personality but he uses solitude as a defense to avoid heartbreak. He is however, the compassionate strong silent type. Dak knows immediately that Jim is his mate although only the possibility of permanently losing Jim to another spurs Dak into making amends with his mate.

Susan Laine has created an amazing romance that I enjoyed immensely. I especially enjoyed the amusing character interaction in Love of the Wild.

Reaper’s Dark Kiss

Author:  Ryssa Edwards
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62300-647-1
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Because of Sky’s blood, which is type A sub D or red gold, she ends up living in the wrong place.  Julian realizes she is his mate, and will do anything to protect her.  Protecting her by making her his mate could cause a war among the different vampire factions.

Reaper’s Dark Kiss has a different take on vampires, and how they came to be, that is so different from anything I have read. This includes the Furies and Angels. Though the book started a little slow, it kept getting more interesting and I ended up reading this book in one day as I could not put it down.

Sky is trying to report on a serial killer as part of her job, but gets sidetracked by Julian.  They have chemistry, but Julian wants to make sure she gets to know him before she has to make a decision about staying with him.  Julian, who is a Reaper, is also constrained by laws among his people and can’t fully claim her as his mate, yet.

Brothers forged by war and banishment, several are at odds, including one that wants Sky as a blood-slave.  Other characters try to help and hinder both parties, and lots of maneuvering on everyone’s part brings conflict among the brothers.  I loved Marek, though he caused just as many problems, because he went out on a limb for Julian and Sky.

While this book is not a series yet, I do hope this author decides to do stories about these characters as I fell in love with most of them. This is also the first book I have read by Ms. Edwards, but I will be looking for others to read by her. 

Vampire Prince

Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing
Publisher URL: www.ellorascave.com
ISBN: 9781419948602
Genre: {M/M} Vampire 
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Every night, blood slave Sebastian Beaumont along with the other slaves must endure the same ritual. Line up on display to be selected as a vampire’s evening meal. Until one night, vampire prince Valentin Wyndham chooses Sebastian. Suddenly Sebastian’s desire for freedom turns into a wish to be Valentin’s exclusive captive.

Vampire Prince is a captivating story of expressive compassionate characters as well as a poignant plot. The setting is Savannah, Georgia.

Sebastian has a strong-willed personality, which has assisted him in staying alive regardless of the physical and emotional abuse bestowed on him for years. Sebastian’s superior logic tells him that escape from the blood house is impossible, only death at the hands of his captors is to be expected. Nevertheless, Sebastian still yearns for a glimpse of sunshine before his demise.

Valentin has a volatile personality similar to Sebastian’s. The difference is Valentin has the power to bend his combatants to his will. Valentin has a strong aversion to bullies, pretenders along with deceitfulness. All of which can be found at the blood house. Born into nobility, Valentin continues to exhibit a sense of upper class traits in his style of apparel. However, Valentin is slowly becoming open to Sebastian’s fashion advice.

S.J. Frost has created a superb thoroughly enjoyable saga. All the elements of a captivating plot are illustrated. The storyline features villainous exploits, bigotry, humorous interactions between characters, sensual intimacy scenes as well as heart stirring dialog. 

Lovers of Her Dreams

Author:  Julia Talbot 
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781419949593
Genre:  {M/M/F}, Paranormal
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Tim and Ryder try to take things slow with Savannah so she can get the chance to know them.  The men pull Savannah into a dream and end up marking her as theirs, which brings things to a head.  Savannah is denying she is a feline shifter as well.

Lovers of Her Dreams brings two different shifters together with a dream walker.  While Tim and Ryder are lovers, they have been looking forward to making Savannah theirs.  Ryder realizes that Savannah also has to overcome her aversion to being a shifter due to her upbringing. 

The chemistry and scenes between the three are very intense, however, one scene between the three gets a little confusing as it is unclear who is actually saying or doing what.   It is also sometimes unclear whether the scene between them is a dream or not, so the reader needs to read carefully. 

I was laughing at a few of the antics that Ryder did, especially when he involved Tim and later Savannah.  It reminded me of a big kid sometimes.  The love between the men was so joyful, I almost wondered if Savannah wouldn’t feel sort of like a third wheel, but the way the author wrote the story; it was never awkward between the three.  That seemed a little unrealistic, except for the one time she was forced to confront herself about being a shifter. 

Lovers of Her Dreams is a fast paced romance showcasing the love between three people.

Calming a Demon Heart

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-882-8
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Gargoyles aren’t real. That’s what Matthew Beakman always believed until he learns his brother Marty’s life has been saved by one and he’s romantically involved with another.  He’s thrilled Marty’s alive and wants to thank the gargoyle responsible but learns that the huge red gargoyle—Vane—doesn’t like humans.  Undaunted by the warning, Matthew follows Vane, determined to accomplish his self-appointed task. He’s attracted to the heavily-muscled male and is excited with the idea of meeting him. And when Vane presses him against the wall and growls, it makes his body tingle.

Calming a Demon Heart is the newest release in Charlie Richards’ A Paranormal’s Love series. Due to the recurring characters and ongoing storyline, the books should be read in order.

Gargoyles aren’t written about often, which is why I enjoy this series. They give a slightly different slant to what could be considered usual in the shifter genre and the variety is a nice change. There’s also the shock factor—gargoyles—something out myth, even more so than werewolves and vampires. It certainly makes the mating interesting. At least in this release Matthew’s a little ahead because he already knows they exist, which increases the pace of the storyline immediately.

I don’t know what to make of the Vane we meet in Calming a Demon Heart. Previously he’s all bad-ass, someone you don’t want to mess with. Here he’s so different—an uncertain, wounded individual, haunted by his past. It didn’t mesh with the Vane I already had in my head. It’s not that the descriptions here of what happened in his past aren’t well done, it’s putting the *two* Vane’s together I have trouble with. Matthew I thoroughly enjoyed. He’s experienced in life—in ways that Vane isn’t, so he can help his new mate move out into the world, making him comfortable.

Overall the pacing is good, I enjoyed the inclusion of numerous previous characters, there’s action, danger, and plenty of sizzling hot sex. The ending is in two parts and while pretty satisfying I wish we’d been able to see both portions. It’s here several new shifters species are added to the series and hopefully they’ll be possible mates in future books. Maybe we’ll see a little variety in who is mated.

An Endowed Valentine

Author:   Tianna Xander
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-77-000-883-5
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Mia thinks she has been stood up for her wedding on Valentine’s Day, unaware there are circumstances that prevent Vincent and Pierce from returning.

An Endowed Valentine is a fast paced story in The Endowed series.  Readers learn about part of the bonding among mates, including the fact that new mates can’t be apart for several months after mating.  I had to laugh at the reason and even the two days they were originally supposed to be gone would have been too long.

Mia is assigned to cover a mass wedding being held in the town where she works.  Mia runs into Pierce and Vincent while there.  She is surprised and not sure she wants to hear any explanations about why they did not show for their wedding.

More information could have been given about those reasons and more about who was behind it.  I would like to see more about this in future stories. 

Each story in this series can be read alone, though readers will enjoy them more if they read the entire series.

One Good Deed

Title: One Good Deed
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 9781627985499
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

After suffering a tragic loss, Luka hopes to start his life over in America.  Once his plane lands, however, Luka finds out those things are not going to be as easy has he hoped.  Thankfully, one of the first people he met was Peter, who plans to help Luka any way he can. 

One Good Deed is a very good story by author Andrew Grey.  I found myself pulled into the story from the first page.  It is easy to understand Luka’s nervousness as he gets off the plane.  When he is picked up, not by his cousin but by a family friend, the news he receives almost sends him into a tailspin.  I felt bad for Luka and could understand the uncertainty he was feeling being in a strange place without the lifeline he was expecting. 

Like Luka, Peter also draws the reader’s attention.  From the beginning, the reader knows that something has happened in the man’s past.  When the events unfold, I was shocked, and unlike Peter and Luka, I would not have been as forgiving of his mother. 

Fans of the author know that he likes to make a connection between the main characters right from the start, so the chemistry between these two is strong.  I liked that Luka acknowledges that Peter must be handled gently and takes his time with the man.  When they do come together the heat between them is intense.  

There is a bit of a twist that I did not see coming and liked the way the author wrapped everything up.  Fans of this author are sure to enjoy this newest story and if you have not yet given Mr. Grey a try, then One Good Deed is a great place to start.  

Wolf at the Door

Author: N.J. Walters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61922-039-3
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date 04-15-2014

Gwendolyn Jones thinks her luck’s changed when she inherits property in the hills of Tennessee and moves into the cabin to pursue her dream of writing romance novels. She’s working on a free-lance paranormal piece and agrees to meet a contact in a local cemetery for a flash drive with information on werewolves. Afterward, her world falls apart when ‘real’ werewolves arrive at her door intent on taking it.

Jacque LaForge knows about the flash drive and how it could endanger all werewolves. He needs to get it from Gwen before his crazy former alpha/father gets involved.  On meeting, Jacque’s shocked to discover she’s his mate. When Gwen wrecks her car trying to get away, Jacque has to find a way to explain the dangerous world in which he lives and convince her to stay with him.

Wolf at the Door is the first release in the new paranormal series Salvation Pack by NJ Walters. Romances featuring werewolves are some of my favorites, so with an appealing blurb and an author I’m familiar with, I had to give this one a try.  

Gwen’s an interesting woman and I love her fearlessness of moving into an area of the country where she didn’t know anyone. She’s also a little flawed in her inability to make good decisions—like meeting a stranger in a dark cemetery—never a good idea. And Jacque, he’s kind, dependable and a responsible leader. Both these characters have nicely developed personalities and I feel like I know them pretty well but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t things I can learn about them as the series progresses.

With the unorthodox way Gwen and Jacque met I wasn’t certain the author had any chance of getting them together convincingly.  I admit I struggled for a large portion of the story with this premise. It bothered me **spoiler alert** that after being kidnapped and her life taken over Gwen fell for Jacque so easily. Yes, I know it’s a paranormal romance but it was just so fast. Even so, once I got past this, they make a nice couple and the adversities they and the other pack member face are done well. There’s lots of action and danger when dealing with Jacque’s father’s pack, the pace is smooth and there are enough twists to keep things interesting. 

There are questions left unanswered at the end of the story, which I assume will be addressed in the future as part of an ongoing story line. I’m curious as to which Salvation Pack member will meet his mate next. All these guys are unique individuals and I’d like to learn more about them, so it should be interesting. Look for it.

Might’s Karma

Author: Stephanie Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-873-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Not only does Might have to overcome the abuse he suffered at the hands of his former master, but he also has to make peace with the mistakes he has made since becoming a member of the Wayne County Pack.  Adan is not thrilled about returning to his old pack but continuing as a lone wolf is no longer an option.  He knew returning to the Wayne County Pack would mean a lot of changes but he did not expect finding a mate to be one of them.

Might’s Karma is the latest book in the Wayne County Wolves series.  Fans of this series may remember the introduction of several half breed shifters a few books back.  This newest story tells the tale of one of those shifters.  Might is an eagle shifter half breed who uses sex to cope with the abuse issues he faces.  As you would expect, this leaves him with a bad reputation that he finds hard to overcome.  The story’s other main character is Adan.  Adan is a former pack member who left the pack when he was a young boy to keep his family from the backlash his actions would bring.   The fact that both men are, for one reason or the other, outcasts draws them to each other. 

Ms. Hecht likes to have her characters feel an instant attraction to the other and that does not change in Might’s Karma.  However, regardless of that instant attraction, the couples usually have to overcome obstacles in order to find their happily ever after’s.  I liked that Adan was willing to take the time to know Might, which in turn allowed the younger man to realize that not all situations had to lead straight to sex.  

Might’s Karma is a great mix of romance, angst and laughter.  Even though the first scene with the scorpions was intense, and I felt bad for Adan, I could not help laughing. There is a mixture of old and new characters stepping up to help the two men out.  The new characters also brings many possibilities for new pairings and I am curious who the author will put together next.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bad Influence

Title: Bad Influence
Author: K. A. Mitchell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61922-215-1
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx
Publication Date: 04-15-2014

It has taken Silver three years to get his life on track. Unfortunately the sight of his former boyfriend Zebediah Harris renews the pain of rejection Silver fought so hard to bury.

Bad Influence is the fourth book in the Bad in Baltimore series. The plot is especially heart-rendering because Silver was a throwaway teenager in the eyes of his ultra homophobic parents. Determine to never depend on anyone for anything ever again, Silver finds it difficult to trust people or reveal all of his private history. Silver was not aware of how many real friends he had until he was arrested. The compassionate friends coming to Silver’s rescue are the main characters from the previous books in the series.

Zebediah is burdened with years of guilt, along with regret, regarding his treatment of Silver. He was in the closet when he first met the teenager Jordan Barnett, who is now known as Silver.  Zebediah and Silver loved each other then, but Zeb was too cowardly to show his love by helping when Silver needed him most. Seeing Silver again gives Zeb a chance to ask for Silver’s forgiveness. 

The circumstances illustrated in Bad Influence are mildly troubling. Nevertheless the enjoyable storyline contains several upbeat moments, humorous dialog as well as a happy ending.  

If Wishes Were Horses

Author: JM Cartwright
Publisher: Loose Id
Publishers URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62300-770-6
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Sequel
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Angel thought everything was going well.  He and Brandon are closer than ever.  The children seem to be doing well and Angel loves his new job.  But when things begin to change, Angel wonders if the last three years were a figment of his imagination.

The novella, If Wishes Were Horses, is the follow-up to the author’s The Trouble with Angel.  This new story picks up three years after the end of the first book and I found myself pulled back into the men’s world.  The characters are the kind that make you care about them, so when things look as if they are going badly, I could not help worrying. 

If you remember the first book, then you know how easily Angel jumps to conclusions and how riled up he can become.  What happens in this story will keep you surprised, and at times laughing.  While I would have thought some of their issues would have been worked out by now, it is easy to see why the misunderstandings occurred.  

This is a great follow-up story, but you will need to read The Trouble with Angel, which was published by another company, before reading this one.  I hope the author has plans for Brandon’s former teammate because I would love to see more from this world. 

Enigma

Title: Enigma
Author: Moira Rogers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-60928-772-6
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 05-13-2014

Starting with childhood, Anna Lenoir’s life hasn’t been easy. As a female shifter she has more to prove than men who make their living as bounty hunters and she’s one of the best.  Anna has few friends and never gets emotionally involved with men; it’s easier to walk away. At least until she meets fellow bounty hunter Patrick McNamara and then she’s as much unsettled, as she is attracted.

Patrick’s as tough as Anna and because of the magical powers bound to his strange tattoos he has the reputation of prove it. Together they make a great team and when the heir to an important councilman disappears, they’re needed to locate him before a territory war starts. The job isn’t easy or danger free, but the hardest part is opening up their hearts and becoming vulnerable to each other. Can Anna let go and allow herself to love a man willing to die for her?

Enigma is the newest release in the Southern Arcana series by Moira Rogers. Due to the nature of this series, I recommend the books be read in order.

I was beginning to give up hope for the next release in this series but it is worth the nearly two year wait. Enigma is a well written and entertaining read with a plot that kept my attention from the beginning to the end. Anna and Patrick are some of the most interesting and complicated characters I’ve come across in some time. They’re both flawed—wounded in their own way and their issues definitely define them as individuals. There’s nothing light and fluffy about Anna and Patrick—instead there’s a depth and richness to them I appreciated. 

The story line is smooth and fast paced, the descriptions are vivid and there’s plenty of action and danger. I admit I love the world building in the series and I learn more about the setting with each release. Secondary characters abound and it’s nice seeing the returning people and how they’ve changed and been integrated into the story. Okay. I think that’s enough for now. I have no idea where the series is going or who the focus is going to be next, so I suggest you read Enigma and the rest of series and wait with me for the next one.