Monday, April 21, 2014

Coming Clean

Title: Coming Clean
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-0-85715-675-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Chase Hughes didn’t realize how much he’d change after going away to college and now he needs to tell Benny, his high school sweetheart, that he’s ready to move on. The problem—Chase doesn’t want to hurt him. When he’s working at Clean Slate, Chase meets Mac Evans, an older guy who pushes all his buttons. He’s more than ready to start a relationship, but Mac will only let it go so far before Chases confesses the truth to Benny.  Years ago, Mac came clean to the people in his life and it cost him dearly but he won’t live a lie or be a dirty little secret.

Coming Clean is the newest release in Carol Lynne’s Campus Cravings series. I admit that when I read the blurb I was distressed. It was the idea of Chase cheating on his boyfriend I didn’t like, but as a Campus Cravings fan (I’ve read them all) I knew I had to give Ms. Lynne a chance to get Chase out of his predicament. In truth, the situation he faces is experienced every day by many trying to maintain a long distance relationship. It’s hard but life changes and so do wants and desires.

That’s what Chase has to deal with and his feelings come across as real. I just wish he hadn’t also come across as whiny and afraid to tell the truth. His interest in the older Mac is clear. I like Mac and his insistence on dealing with the past before moving forward with Chase. His history is nicely developed and I like his integrity. It doesn’t hurt that he’s sexy either. The romance that develops between him and Chase is sweet and lighthearted. 

Having the story take Chase and Mac to Cattle Valley is a nice blending of the two series. It gives the opportunity for a confrontation between Chase and Benny—which is an introduction for Benny since I’m expecting him to be featured when he heads off to college. I’m also looking forward to a book about Peter, Chase’s roommate. Both guys are nice additions to the story line and should make excellent man characters in the future.

Bear Hugs

Title: Bear Hugs
Author: SA Welsh
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com/
ISBN: 9781622321438
Genre: {M/M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Cage is in for a big surprise when he pursued Rob to a hideaway in the woods. Rob is a bear shifter hiding his true nature from his human mate Cage. However, Cage and Rob are in for another surprise when they meet Noah, a wolf shifter who is mated to both of them.

Bear Hugs is an enchanting ménage romance. The characters are creditable. Cage and Rob are lawyers working together in the same law firm. They share a long standing mutual attraction, however up till now Rob has been afraid of acting on his desires.

Cage has a take-charge personality; he refuses to admit defeat no matter what the issues are. Cage also suffers from a touch of jealousy, as well as a fear of rejection from Rob.

Rob is especially compassionate; he yearns for a permanent mate that will accept his bear side. Rob knew the difficulty a one night stand would generate for his bear as well as for Cage.

Noah is the least confident of the three. Noah hides his vulnerability behind an unperturbed appearance but Rob and Cage could sense his emotional pain. Mate rejection could cost Noah his humanity.  

SA Welsh has created an incredible saga incorporating a touch of humor as well as sensual intimacy scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed Bear Hugs

Velvet Scars

Title: Velvet Scars
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61040-670-3
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Genre: {M/M} BDSM Series
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

The reconstruction of the Velvet Glove is almost complete. It’s only days from the re-opening of the facility and Argon, the new master of the body mods shop, still needs an apprentice. He’s interviewed several but none have fit his needs—and that’s where the complication arises. Argon wants someone interested in the crafts offered in his shop and desires a man willing to be his submissive too. Who he accepts is Brother Yves, a young, sheltered man sent by the clerics of Mount Bell. It’s obvious that Yve’s terrified by everything but he stands firm in his belief that he’s destined to be with Master Argon. Can the Master and the innocent build a lasting relationship or will their differences be too much to overcome?

Velvet Scars is the second release in Sean Michael’s VG Resurrection series. If you’re a Velvet Glove fan, you’ll be happy to know the best BDSM club in the galaxy is about to reopen. There are last minute details to finish and for Argon that means finding an apprentice. The interview process is unusual and I think you’ll find it amusing. I certainly did. Until Yves arrives, and then the atmosphere changes. He’s a different type of man than Argon would have considered, but he’s captivated. The descriptions of these two are vivid, and the emotions Yves undergoes is well done but because of his sheltered upbringing and inexperience, I have difficulty with his ready acceptance to his new life. That part of the story didn’t mesh for me.

For those unused to BDSM books, be assured that this is of a lighter variety. Argon certainly takes the introduction into the lifestyle slowly for his new apprentice, showing him the wonders of sensation and the beauty of leaving the convent rules behind. I enjoyed seeing little snippets of previous characters as Yves settled in and made friends. I would have liked more background on Argon but enjoyed learning about Yves. I can’t wait to see who will be the focus when the club opens.

Pack Rescue

Title:  Pack Rescue
Author:  Gwen Campbell
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419948688
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Fina is running after rogue werewolves killed her pack and raped her.  She also made sure that they couldn’t profit from their crimes.  After ending up in Wyoming, she is given sanctuary by the sheriff’s pack.  Turns out Fina is the mate to both the Sheriff and his brother.

The first story in the Western Wolves series, Pack Rescue, follows Fina as she decides if she wants to continue running, or accept the offer of being the alpha female as the mate to the alpha and beta of the pack she ends up with after escaping from the rogues.  Everyone is very surprised to find that she and a young boy are the only survivors of the pack in Tennessee.

Fina is a strong woman that has a head on her shoulders and managed to hide the pack’s assets from the rogue wolves.  As she slowly learns to trust Cutler and Nath, she worries about Ryan’s acceptance since he is a male, though he is only five.  I loved how Cutler and Nath were so patient with her and Ryan, especially when he acted out.  There were some funny moments when Fina had to prove her dominance to the women, as well as Cutler and Nath’s reactions after they mated.  The scene on the table is extremely hot.

There are some wonderful secondary characters and I hope they make an appearance in the future.  Most were helpful to the new family. The incident with Melissa at the school was interesting, and also showed a lot about pack politics and hierarchy.  The way Fina’s situation was resolved involved a lot of pack politics that included other packs. 

I am looking forward to future books in this series.  This is also the first book by Ms. Campbell I have read, and I will be looking for others to check out. 

Publisher’s Note: Previously published as When A Pack Dies. The book has been edited for Ellora’s Cave publication.

Blood Red Roses

Author: Russell James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61922-237-3
Genre: Horror
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 
Publication Date: 05-06-2014

There were two kinds of slaves before the Civil War, those who came from Africa and the poor people of other races. Jebediah Abernathy was orphaned by the war and then sold by family too poor to care for him.

Blood Red Roses highlights the emotional devastation of war suffered by the families of the soldiers killed. The plot also illustrates the deplorable treatment of slaves as well as poor white workers. Driven insane by their grief, the owners neglected the daily operations of the plantation. The only portion of the property that was maintained was the rose garden.

At the tender age of fourteen, Jebediah was sold to Beechwood as a stable boy because society dictated that white boys did not work in the fields. Jebediah was warned by the overseer to never venture out of the stables after dark. Shortly after the warning Jebediah, quite by accident saw what happened to the slave boys but he was defenseless to help them. Trapped by the lethal rituals of Beechwood, Jebediah came face to face with evil. 

Russell James has created an intriguing as well as an enjoyable American historical entwined with scary ceremonies emulating dark voodoo.  

Blind Under the Moon

Author: SA Welsh
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-887-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Remy’s life revolves around cars with high powered engines. Getting summoned to the alpha house is bad news and learning he’s supposed to kill a captured vampire is even worse. He won’t do it. His refusal leads to a challenge for the Alpha position and to the surprise of everyone, Remy wins. Now what’s he going to do? He knows engines, not how to run a pack.

One thing’s immediately clear, the wounded vampire is Remy’s mate and Skylar had been sent by his coven to investigate a vampire poison. Skylar’s everything Remy could have asked for in a mate—except he’s blind. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that Skylar’s other senses make up for his blindness and that together they make an unstoppable team. But can they find out whose interfering with how mates are scented and what’s poisoning vampires before it’s too last?

Blind Under the Moon is the first release in the new paranormal series Blood Moon Pack Alliance by SA Welsh. This author is new to me but as a shifter and vampire genre fan, I had to give this book a try, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Remy, as the reluctant new Alpha, is a good character and watching him grow into the role of leader is handled well.  He’s also a likable guy with a nicely rounded personality and he’s fair to his pack as his learns his way. Skylar, as his vampire mate isn’t a particularly original pairing but it’s one I’ve always like. Skylar’s an interesting guy too and giving him, as a vampire, a physical disability—being blind—is a creative twist I didn’t expect, and it works well within the plot line. 

The world building could have been more in depth and I expect to learn more as the series continues but the details provided so far are vivid. The pace is fast, the plot line entertaining, I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between Remy and Skylar and there’s enough action and danger to keep the pages turning. I liked Blind Under the Moon and can’t wait for the next one.

Nothing Special

Author: A.E. Via
Publisher: Amira Press
Publisher URL: www.amirapress.com
ISBN: 978-1-627620-50-5
Genre: {M/M} {M/M/M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

First day on the job, rookie cop Leonidis Day informs everyone in the meeting room of two specifics about himself. One is that he is gay and two is that he wishes to work with Detective Cashel Godfrey.

Nothing Special begins with Cash and Leo developing a friend to lover’s relationship then towards the latter part of the novel, it suddenly changes into a four-man friends with benefits get-together. The setting is Atlanta, Georgia. The main theme is crime fighting. The characters are creditable.

Leo is an outspoken quick-thinking narcotics detective who takes his job seriously, which means he is not afraid to do whatever it takes to capture a perpetrator or save the life of his colleagues. Yet there is also a compassionate side to Leo for anyone caught up in desperate circumstances. Leo has loved Cash for years. However his flirty innuendos never progressed beyond friendship until Cash kissed him.

Cash is conscientious with reference to his job but he has a persistently irate demeanor that makes him appear surly to co-workers as well as extremely dangerous to criminals. Leo is the only person who can inspire Cash to laugh. Cash’s attitude stems from the dark secrets of his past.  Nevertheless, Cash and Leo are compatible because Cash is bisexual, his sexual interest are motivated by a person’s personality, not by their gender. Working together for over four years, Cash and Leo have formed a comfort zone that Cash did not want to complicate with sex. When Cash realized his feelings had grown beyond friendship, Cash and Leo became lovers, vowing to have a monogamous long term relationship.    

A.E. Via has created an impressive saga by fusing humorous dialog, exciting action as well as several intimacy scenes.  I particularly enjoyed the drug raid scenes.

Shadows of Fate

Author: Angela Dennis
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-927-4
Genre: {M/F} Urban Fantasy Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Brenna Baudouin was banished to Earth for using her Shadow Bearer powers to kill the people responsible for her husband’s death. She’s spent nine decades protecting others against supernatural creatures who’ve reached Earth through the veil separating the planes. On returning from an exorcism, Brenna learns she’s been assigned a new partner…one she doesn’t know and doesn’t trust.

Getting close to Brenna is part of Gray Warlow’s plan for revenge but it forces him to use a glamour to keep his identity secret. As they work together to determine how more demons are getting to Earth, Gray learns Brenna isn’t the woman he was lead to believe. As their attraction increases, so does the danger, and they have to find a way to completely trust each other or it could spell the end of them and everyone on Earth.

Shadows of Fate is the first release in the new urban fantasy series, Shadow Born, by Angela Dennis. As a fan of this genre, the premise sounded fascinating. The story grabbed my attention at the start and kept it until the end. I didn’t want to stop reading and easily read it in one day.

Brenna’s a great character. What happened in her past changed her—has made her tough. She’s not the same person she was when she was banished and the author has done a great job developing her personality and creating a rich background with depth and details. Gray’s character is equally well constructed but I had trouble liking him at the beginning because of his deception. It definitely helped that the story is told from both points of view so I knew what he was feeling, allowing my opinion to change as the plot progressed. 

There are so many things that make this story well done. The creativity in world building is top-notch. The details of what’s happened to the Earth since a devastating war make the story come alive. And I love the mix of paranormal races the author brought together to fill the newly changed world with. There’s a fast pace, magic, action, danger, betrayal and a complex storyline with a nasty villain that’s guaranteed to keep the pages turning. If you enjoy books in the paranormal or urban fantasy genre I suggest you give this one a try. I’ll be watching for the next book in this creative and entertaining series. 

Vaaden Warriors

TitleVaaden Warriors
Author:  Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher:  Changeling Press
Publisher URL:  www.changelingpress.com
ISBN/BIN: 06881-02216
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Anthology, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs                          
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Vaaden Warriors is the second book in the Galactic Affairs series and centers around three warriors we met in the first book.  Rheul’s brother purchases a slave for him, Randar ends up with two slaves, one as a favor to a friend, and Thale has to overcome his past to finally get his dream.

Rheul - 4 Nymphs

Rheul isn’t happy with his brother, but ends finding Darcy fascinating.  After all is said and done, he ends up endangering his life, as he wants to give Darcy time to get used to her life as his slave. 

Randar - 4 Nymphs

Randar purchases a slave, Lyssa, as a favor to Rheul, but ends up buying a second one to better meet his needs.  Sophie is the type he always envisioned, but didn’t realize he wanted until he had purchased Lyssa.  Circumstances change his outlook, but he must find a new owner for Lyssa, or he can’t be happy.

Thale - 4 Nymphs

Thale has not had the best of luck with his slaves in the past, but ends up purchasing one from the harems.  Moira slowly makes her way into his heart, but he has to convince the prime minister and council he has changed his tune.  

I loved the ending in the last story, as it was difficult to think there would not be some changes.  I would have liked to find out more about what the other stipulations were that would be going into the law, but only two were listed.  I’m hoping in future stories more information will be given about it.  The differences among the men make for interesting reading.

Vaaden Captives

Title:  Vaaden Captives
Author:  Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher:  Changeling Press
Publisher URL:  www.changelingpress.com
ISBN/BIN:  06794-02187
Genre:  {M/F}, Sci-Fi, Anthology, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Vaaden Captives is the first book in the Galactic Affairs series and is a collection about three women.  Facts about Vaaden society is given, though some of it is not pretty.  Non-Vaaden women are slaves, personal if they are claimed, or placed in public harems if not.

Sorcha - 4 Nymphs

The first story is about Sorcha, who is unhappy when she realizes her owner is married, because she believes in fidelity.  Thale tells her she has to accept her lot in life now, regardless of her beliefs.  When Sorcha meets Thale’s brother, Valen, she falls for him.  After some serious problems between the brothers, things are resolved.

Enid - 4 Nymphs

Enid is the second slave’s story.  I found Bastian interesting because he understood immediately that Enid had been abused and eventually fell in love with her.  Bastian ends up asking the prime minister to bend a few rules for him.

Susan - 4 Nymphs

The third story is about Susan and gives the reader more information about Vaaden marriages, as well as some of the protections slaves have on Vaaden.  Even as Susan accepts her lot in life, things conspire to make some changes that will make her life easier. 

The collection of stories in this book are intriguing in a lot of ways.  I enjoyed reading about the world the author created, even as I got upset about some of the societal mores on Vaaden.  I do want to find out more about Vaaden society and what changes may be in the future based on the special permission given to the three warriors.  I am looking forward to the next book.

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.