Tuesday, December 23, 2008

As Serious as the Grave

Book Title: As Serious as the Grave
Author: Kiernan Kelly
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerepress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-452-6
Genre: M/M paranormal/horror
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Rose Nymph

Ever since the Dante comet passed the Earth, the dead have been coming back to life. After being done in, by of all things, a mosquito bite, Tyler Grayle found himself on a gurney complete with toe tag. Luckily for him, the furor over whether the previously deceased could be productive members of society or not has eased off for the time being. Tyler has a job and his own little cubical, even if his boss is totally necrophobic. He has a home and he has a best friend named Daniel, who stuck by him during the pesky “dying and coming back to life” thing. I mean sure, there are the strange looks, people giving him attitude for no apparent reason; certain guys in bars laying it on thick and then looking at him like he was lower than scum after a quiet whisper in said guy’s ear from the ever helpful barman; idiots with a whole lot of power and not a lot of brain cells to back it up, demanding the living impaired be stripped of all rights, effective immediately. On second thoughts, things are getting serious…

As Serious as the Grave mixes the fantastical with stark reality, tackling the very real dangers of bigotry, ignorance and fear set against a paranormal backdrop. Unexplained powers are bringing back the dead and whether Tyler likes it or not, he’s been given a new lease of life. He didn’t ask for it, didn’t chose to be this way but to be persecuted for something out of his control drives him to the edge. Running parallel with the worsening relations between the living and the “re-living” is Tyler’s budding relationship with Daniel, providing a little light relief, keeping Tyler grounded when he is in danger of losing control. Despite the unpleasant themes running through this story, Kiernan Kelly has created realistic characters that I cared about and portrays a positive message of love providing the strength to overcome anything.

Gingersnaps: Santa Paws

Book Title: Gingersnaps: Santa Paws
Author: Lena Austin
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-098-8
Genre: Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Chocolate Minx

He really did not mean to be bad so to show he is sorry, JR Thornton dons a Santa suit to deliver gifts to the orphanage run by his sister-in-law. Problem, JR is met at the door and finds himself on the business end of a locked and loaded shotgun held by Phaedra, a pissed off wood fairy.

Gingersnaps: Santa Paws is part of the Night Critters Series. The fabulous and hilarious Lena Austin delivers her own rendition of the poem Twas The Night Before Christmas with plenty of rocking and rolling in the house. This is a great tale to lighten the mood and laugh out loud.

Callie’s Shadow

Book Title: Callie’s Shadow
Author: Wendy Stone
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC
Publisher URL: http://www.nobleromance.com/
ISBN: 9781605920092
Genre: Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Callie Wolfe, werewolf and supernatural crime-fighter with the Agency for Supernatural Police, is in love with her boss, Shadow. If he feels anything for her in return, he sure doesn't show it until Callie loses her cool and confronts him about his standoffish behavior, only to end up in his warm embrace. When Callie and her co-agents find themselves embroiled in a fight to rid their city of a band of murdering rogue vampires, Callie and Shadow must juggle their budding, sexually charged relationship with tracking down and capturing the killers.

This is actually two romances for the price of one. Callie and Shadow juggle their relationship while their co-agents Angel and Marcus juggle theirs while trying to find some killers. A rogue vampire and werewolf are plotting to take over humans and use them for food and entertainment. The four agents are hot on their tail after some gruesome murders alert them to the problem.

I found this to be a very enjoyable book. Tracking the killers is compounded by the relationships of these four agents, both personally and as a team. Ms. Stone did a great job keeping my interest throughout the book.

Special Content Alert: Brief forced intercourse, exhibitionism and graphic violence

Dragon's Devotion

Book Title: Dragon's Devotion
Author: Willa Okati
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59596-856-2
Genre: Shape shifters, M/M
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Former soldier Kenth is the leader of a small group of people who wanted to start a new life away from the cities. Needing to check on the rabbit traps, he walks toward them. Instead of rabbits, he finds a beautiful flame colored dragon with his foot caught. When the dragon transforms into a man, Kenth falls in love. Baen has never met a human before, but there is something about Kenth that Baen finds irresistible.

Dragon’s Devotion is Book Four in the Dragon series. Kenth misses the dragons when he leaves the city; he always admires their beauty in flight. When he meets Baen, he hopes the dragon will stay. Having never met a human before Kenth, Baen is drawn by the loving kindness in the man. Willa Okati delivers another heartwarming and enjoyable episode in Dragon’s Devotion.

The Band

Book Title: The Band
Author: Mychael Black and Shayne Carmichael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-374-1
Genre: Contemporary Romance M/M
Nymph Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Cheitan and Giovanni, part of the Gawth band, is feeding off the energy from the fans as they perform the last show of their tour. Best friends since childhood, Chei and G are also part time lovers, although Chei would wish it otherwise. Chei has been secretly in love with G for years and waiting for G to make up his mind to settle into a long term relationship. When G finally decides to settle, he chooses his former part time lover Geoffrey. Brokenhearted, Chei turns to their neighbor Robbie. The more time Chei spends with Robbie, the more his feelings change. Now Chei is faced with loving two men and how to deal with this dilemma.

The Band is a unique story of three men and their journey to find love. G lives for the moment, not giving a lot of thought to the future. Chei is a caretaker, protecting the people he loves, while Robbie is a caregiver, always willing to give others what they need to be happy, even if he must be denied happiness. Mychael Black and Shayne Carmichael created a tale illustrating the behind-the-scenes view of rising musical stars. The story is enjoyable with an added twist.


Title: Revenge
Author; Rita Karnopp
Publisher: Eternal Press
Publisher URL: http://www.eternalpress.ca/
ISBN: 9781897559710
Genre: Romantic suspense
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Sphinx Minx

Abi Madden is a marriage counselor who feels like a failure when she finally accepts the fact that her own marriage is in ruins. Someone is making attempts on her life, and that of her newborn daughter Kelly.

Abi’s older sister Chyna thinks it is the soon-to-be-ex-husband Trevor. She’s always disliked him.

Abi and the baby flee to Canada with Miles Sandler, the police officer investigating her case. He’s been burned romantically as well, and the two form a comfortable friendship that could develop into so much more.

Chyna starts out as a delightfully bossy, leap-before-you-look type character, and she gets herself into real trouble here.

Abi is so introspective it can be annoying. And why would any intelligent female, awakened at 3 AM by the doorbell and finding only a small box, take the box inside before calling for help?

This book starts as a really engrossing page-turner. Then the cast gets bigger and the plot becomes muddled. There’s a baby who never fusses and a semi-mystic connection to an Indian tribe. I found the solution to the mystery way too complex, with far too many characters contributing to the danger and the resolution.

No One But Madison

Book Title: No One But Madison
Author: Doreen Orsini
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419918077
Genre: BDSM
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Thrust into a world of bondage and submission to uncover an abusive Dom in one of New York's BDSM clubs, undercover journalist Madison Garrett strives to maintain her freedom while training for her most challenging role. When she discovers her arrogant boss, Drake Williams, is the masked "Master D" training her, secret fantasies come to life and passions unfurl.When word of Madison's plans leaks out, submissives matching her description are brutally attacked. Drake has no choice. To save the woman who has enslaved his heart, he must take her training to the highest level.

Ms. Orsini has skillfully woven Madison’s training for her undercover role with the suspense of uncovering the abusive killer. The tension between Madison and Drake is palpable and you can see the sparks fly. Even as her training evolves, Madison still maintains her personality, which is what Drake wants.

No One But Madison is a fantastic depiction of the safe, sane and consensual lifestyle of BDSM, as well as a good thriller The author leaves you guessing until the end. I highly recommend this book as a keeper to be reread for anyone that likes to read BDSM. I know I will.

Home Station on the Prairie

Book Title: Home Station on the Prairie
Author: Kara Larson
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerepress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-528-8
Genre: historical western, gay erotic romance
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Rose Nymph

The year is 1860 and Jamie Boyd is working as a stock tender at a relay station in the Nebraska territory. With only Pa and the ponies for company, life is hard but then Jamie never was very good with people. At least the horses never made fun of him for his lowly job or his dreams of being a Pony Express rider. Still, it would be nice to have a friend who talked back to him once in a while.

Returning one day from a supply run, Pa brings good news. The powers that be want to upgrade the place to a home Station, housing three riders and Jamie’s going to be one of them! Just when he thought things couldn’t get any better, Jamie recognizes the man set to replace him as stock tender. He’d known Thad Richardson since his childhood back in Iowa. Jamie had been able to push aside the feelings Thad stirred in him as he was growing up, but now that they are living in close quarters, undeniable emotions quickly resurface.

The joy of finally realizing his dream and having actual real people to talk to is short lived, however. With an unsettled political climate and the worry of technological progression looming large, Jamie wants to bury his head in the sand until it all blows over. Is his deepening relationship with Thad enough to keep him from running away?

With wonderfully descriptive writing that creates the perfect setting, Home Station on the Prairie took me to a different time and place. I could picture the scenery, feel the exhaustion of such a hard life and almost smell the weary riders and tired horses as they returned from long days and nights on the prairie. The solitary existence made me care deeply for the characters’ well-being and worry for their futures. I wanted Jamie to achieve his goals and be happy and felt his frustration as circumstances out of his control threatened his livelihood. The style of writing requires you invest all your attention to reap the benefit of such detail to western life on the brink of war. If you are a fan of this genre (and maybe even if you aren’t) I recommend you make that investment.

Soul Mates: Bound by Blood

Book Title: Soul Mates: Bound by Blood
Author: Jourdan Lane
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 1-933389-76-1
Genre: Gay Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Peter is no stranger to one-night stands. He constantly dissuades the advances of men looking for quick sex while working as a bartender at the Houston nightclub, Rave. The one customer who makes Peter forget his rule about dating customers is Lucien Delacroix.

Lucien is handsome, charming, rich, and immune to the word “no”. He is the owner of a rival gay nightclub, The Den, and ready to make Peter his lover. Peter can’t stop thinking of the alluring man, and discovering Lucien is a vampire makes him apprehensive. Even with so many obstacles placed squarely in their way, their love transcends and thrives. Human or not, Peter is up for the fight, and ready to stake claim on the relationship he desires.

Soul Mates: Bound by Blood is book one of the Soul Mates series. Peter hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to relationships. His beauty attracts men from all lifestyles. Take, for instance, Lucien. He has waited centuries for a man to set his world on its ear, and won’t walk quietly away from Peter. Their passion ignites the pages of this book. Soul Mates: Bound by Blood has a bounty of wonderful characters. It was hard to select a favorite, when even the supporting characters possess attributes that leave a lasting impression. Jourdan Lane’s attention to detail transports you to each bar, apartment, and home. There is an abundance of action, sex, and suspense, and I strongly recommend this book to those who enjoy vampire love stories.

Up in the Smokies

Book Title: Up in the Smokies
Author: Mel Spenser
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerepress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-451-9
Genre: Contemporary M/M short
Nymph Rating: 2.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Rose Nymph

For years, Smoky Mountain Rentals owner Ben has rented a cabin to Kevin. He has watched from afar as every year Kevin has brought boyfriends up to share in the beautiful scenery and long hiking trips. This year however, Kevin is alone.

He had booked the place for him and Thomas but when Kevin arrives, Thomas is nowhere to be seen. Kevin doesn’t like being alone as it gives him too much time to think about things; about how this is feeling less like a romantic getaway and more like a last ditched attempt to make things work. As if on cue, his cell phone rings. It’s the call he’s been dreading and even if he had half expected it, Thomas’ words still hurt.

Not too keen on the vacation for one thing, Kevin contemplates leaving until all of a sudden, Ben is right outside his cabin. Maybe this year Kevin will finally see what’s been right under his nose all this time.

Unfortunately, I found Up in the Smokies difficult to read at times. It seemed disjointed and a little repetitive in places but the premise and character development showed a lot of promise. Ben’s longing for Kevin is handled well but perhaps this story could have benefited from being lengthened. Although I warmed to the characters, I don’t feel I was given enough time to immerse myself in their situation. The ending was nice and I think that given a little more time, I could really come to care for these guys.