Friday, February 6, 2009

True North


Title: True North
Author: Bethany Brown & Ashlyn Kane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-935192-43-5
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Engineer Jackson Strange has been accident-prone his entire life so after he slashes his leg open at work, he finds himself under the care of the attractive new doctor in town. When he arrives at the clinic, he expects to need stitches but he doesn’t expect the sizzling attraction he feels for the charming Dr. Julian Piet. As a heavily closeted man, Jack lives a lonely existence hiding his sexuality in his small-town Alberta home and his desire for the younger Julian is cracking open the doorway he’s hidden behind for years.

Julian moved home after a devastating betrayal by his boyfriend the year before and his self-confidence is at an all-time low when he meets Jack. In the following weeks, he and Jack circle around each other, acting as friends while playing hockey, always keeping each other at arm’s length. It’s not until they’re given a push by Julian’s bossy sister, Roz, that the men given in to their feelings and get together sexually for the first time. Despite the fact that Jack doesn’t do relationships (he’s really bad at them), the two move forward one day at a time, all while confronting roadblocks which could tear them apart.

True North is the first release in Brown & Kane’s new Lost Boys and Love Letters series. It’s a warm and touching story of two men damaged by past experiences, and how they go about finding the happiness they’ve been looking for. These two men are so real that I can easily imagine them as my friends or neighbors, and they have issues that almost everyone can relate to. And what couple doesn’t sometimes need a push, which is why Roz’s character is vital to the story. She and the other secondary characters make a great backbone to help propel the story forward when Julian and Jack need a little help. Together the men are near perfect, supplying what the other needs, and the sex…well, can you say hot enough to melt snow.

The authors do a nice job in describing the locale. This is especially true of the scenes where the weather turns bad and the various characters are forced to deal with blizzard conditions. The other thing which I found unusual in an M/M romance is the numerous important female characters which range from small Hallie (who steals every scene) to Jack’s ill mother (who only wants him to find happiness). Add all of these components together and you have a story that pulls at the heartstrings, and makes you wish that you lived near a town like the one in the story. Look for the next release in this ongoing series with Picture Perfect

Frights and Delights


Title: Frights and Delights
Author: Melissa Glisan
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Publisher URL: http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60168-146-1
Genre: Paranormal/Horror
Nymph Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Rave On - 2.5 Nymphs
Rae DeBoldt is hoping to escape the gloom of her lonely apartment she once shared with her girlfriend. She decides to go to a local Goth-inspired bar that has caught her interest. Rae meets a dancing girl that changes her life.

Echoes of Yesterday - 3.5 Nymphs
Jackie Johnson is an inquisitive six-year old fascinated with a newly formed hole in his backyard. He is sure there is more there than meets the eye while his parents believe it contains nothing more than the reminiscence of a time gone by when miners worked the area to make a living.

Frights and Delights contains two stories written with the hopes of adding a bit of thrills and chills to the reader. The first story, Rave On, left me a bit lost at some points. What started out as a story about a woman whose lover left her, drastically changed when she enters a gothic bar, and discovers something gruesome. I felt a bit teleported between scenes because of a lack of breaks that would indicate entering a new stage of the story. That coupled with the odd final scene left me a bit baffled. I believe those who enjoy gothic-based stories may enjoy this story more so than your average reader, who isn’t rapt by the scene. Echoes of Yesterday was an enjoyable read, and Jackie is a character I’ll likely remember for a while. He is a lawyer in training, if I’ve ever saw one. The mystery behind the hole is easy to get into and the outcome, while not frightening, is thought provoking.

Sex, Lies and Wedding Bells


Title: Sex, Lies and Wedding Bells
Author: EM Lynley
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Publisher URL: http://www.ravenousromance.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60777-064-7
Genre: Contemporary, M/M
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Kieran Quinn, a snarky columnist for Gloss Magazine in New York, is not interested in his co-worker’s friend’s wedding until she mentions this will be the fourth attempt for the bride to make it all the way down the aisle. Curious and sensing a story, Kieran flies to Buckwheat Springs, Texas to meet Danetta Harris and Jaxon Lang, the bride and groom. After talking to the jilted grooms and wedding couple, Kieran is convinced that something is amiss; the guys are all friends with no jealousy, or even ill will, towards Danetta. Digging a little deeper into the past, Kieran solves the mystery, but what should he do with the information and how can he prevent Jaxon, the man he is falling in love with, from being hurt?

Sex, Lies and Wedding Bells is an intriguing saga of how secrets and lies can hurt. Kieran prefers men to female lovers and is attracted to Jaxon, yet he makes no attempt to seduce him, thinking that Jaxon is straight. What started out as curiosity for Jaxon soon evolves into an eagerness to be intimate with Kieran. Danetta is self-absorbed; she gives no thought to anyone’s happiness but her own. EM Lynley has created a fascinating tale with a touch of mystery, betrayal and interesting revelations as the plot unfolds. The characters are realistic and the love scenes are sensuous. I enjoyed this impressive story immensely

Invasion Earth


Title: Invasion Earth
Author: Loribelle Hunt
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59578-476-6
Genre: Bondage, Light BDSM, Series
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Laney Bradford is a high ranking enlisted strategist with the Alliance Forces, fighting the Delroi that have invaded Earth. The Alliance government officials give her to the Delroi in a political marriage to ensure peace during the negotiations.

The Delroi have invaded Earth to obtain wives for their people, as there is a shortage of women on their planet. General Torfa has decided that Laney will be his mate.

Laney is very independent and does not like the role women have among the Delroi within the warrior caste. She has always been independent and being a soldier is part and parcel of her very makeup. Neither really trusts the other, but soon learn that they need to join forces if they are to keep the peace between their planets.

The clashes and the sex between General Torfa and Laney are sizzling. The cultural differences make for some very interesting arguments. Ms. Hunt understands military culture, which made Invasion Earth interesting to me. This is an enjoyable story and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Secrets


Title: Secrets
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books
Publisher URL: http://www.jcpbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-0-9818752-1-7
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Victor Bayne’s life is in turmoil…as usual. He and his sexy boyfriend, fellow PsyCop Jacob Marks, have bought an old cannery building, and are setting up housekeeping together in the large remodeled space. He never imagined that packing and moving into a new home could be so stressful, but at least the ghost of the previous owner has moved out, as she agreed. Living with Jacob has a lot of perks and the sex is still phenomenal. Now if he can get his friends to forget the terrifying idea of a housewarming party, he’ll be thrilled. Adding to his emotional upheaval is his inability to find any evidence of his or Camp Hell’s existence, and a spectral rapist and assorted spirits at a local nursing home.

Secrets is the fourth release in Ms. Prices’ popular and ongoing PsyCop series and it takes up shortly after the previous book left off. This tale of Vic and Jacob has two secrets that keep this tightly constructed story flowing fast and furious. Who is raping a dementia patient in a local nursing home, and why can’t Vic find any evidence of his life or Camp Hell on the internet? It’s as if neither ever existed and he doesn’t understand why. Ms. Price does a nice job in describing Vic’s determination to discover what happened to the facility that tortured him, and others, in the name of science and who is following him. Vic’s emotions are still all over the spectrum and buying a house and moving in with Jacob is causing him more stress than he expected. Jacob is still his constant, his calm center… loyal, determined and dedicated to his job and his love of Vic. These two men are such polar opposites that on the surface, you never expect them to connect, yet they fill the physical and emotional needs of the other. And the sex is still as hot and steamy as ever. Add in assorted ghosts, victims, and ongoing great secondary characters and you have all the components needed for a keeper book, in a keeper series.

Deceived by Desire


Title: Deceived by Desire
Author: Larissa Lyons
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419918759
Genre: Paranormal, Regency-set Historical
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Eleanor “Laney” Buckley possesses a gift that her mother condemned as a curse, but her grandmother considered a blessing. She uses the knowledge it grants her to help others, and now it is time for Laney to help herself. She has one hope; if she can gain Nash’s interest and assistance, there may be a way to avoid the fate for the path she is currently traveling.

Nash Hammond has no need for a permanent woman in his life. On the run from the demons of his past, and the current act that has him feeling lower than a snail’s belly, all Nash wants is an easy woman and some strong liquor. What he doesn’t count on is meeting a woman who can ease his burden and help him realize what a wonderful man he could be if he would only trust in himself.

Deceived by Desire picks up where Ensnared by Innocence ends. Nash is distraught over the way he treated his brother Erasmus’ lady love, Francine. He wasn’t expecting to meet a woman who could tame his beast, or would give him a reason to stop running and to start living. Laney lives with her circumstances, but knows she has to find a way to escape what is to come. She knows that Nash is the means to a very happy conclusion, if she can just get him to believe. I love Regency Romance, and Ms. Lyons knows how to incorporate the paranormal and erotica flawlessly. My only desire when I read the last book was to have a bit more shifting in the future release and I got my wish. I know we have at least one more book to look forward to and I can’t wait to finally meet Erasmus and Nash’s cousin Phineas.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Buckle Up!


Title: Buckle Up!
Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerepress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-593-6
Genre: Contemporary M/M erotic romance
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Rose Nymph

When Cody’s grandfather passes away, Cody takes the one thing that epitomizes his grandfather’s life - his trusty old belt buckle. The only clues Cody has as to where the buckle originates from are his grandfather’s love letters from the jeweler who made it. Something tells Cody the jeweler might like to see the buckle again so he heads off to Santa Fe in search of the Navajo in question. Cody gets more than he bargained for when his journey takes him straight into the path of Kelvin.

Kelvin runs a local pawn shop and loves hearing the stories attached to the pieces his customers bring in. When a shy cowboy, by the name of Cody, comes in looking to pawn such an obvious family heirloom, Kelvin knows he must be desperate and decides to help him out. Kelvin manages to tease his reasoning out of Cody and with his insider knowledge and connections, Kelvin is more than willing to assist Cody in his search for his grandfather’s lover. Can Cody read between the lines and see what else Kelvin is offering?

Buckle Up! is a light, sweet story with endearing characters who I wanted to see happy. I loved the premise of Cody’s grandfather’s belongings driving him to find something he didn’t even know he was looking for. The tension between Cody and Kelvin switches from cute to electric nicely and is always believable. As the characters go on their journey to uncover the secrets the letters and buckle hide, they learn more about themselves and their growing attraction. The majority of this story is very strong, the writing smooth, making it very easy and enjoyable to read but the ending seems slightly flat in comparison. After being caught up in their developing feelings and the adventure to uncover Cody’s grandfather’s past, I was left with a sense of “so now what?” However, I would definitely like to read more of Cody and Kelvin’s relationship.

Call of the Hunted


Title: Call of the Hunted
Author: Mark Alders
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-214-5
Genre: Paranormal, M/M
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

The creature, known as a widdershins, roams from place to place seeking a mate. He comes upon a small wooded area at the edge of a farm; he calls out and the next day his call is answered by Kayvan, a young man who feels drawn to the widdershins. The passion between them quickly develops, until disastrous events lead Kayvan to take a second look at whom and what widdershins really are.

Call of the Hunted is a dark fantasy interwoven with romance. The widdershins and Kayvan are complete opposites. Widdershins are the darkness to Kayvan’s goodness and light; only passion and love bind them together. Mark Alders illustrates how loving can be a salvation to a wicked heart.

Vision Controller


Title: Vision Controller
Author: Lorie O’Clare
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419919145
Genre: Shapeshifter
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

The three Sheridan sisters work for an organization called Vision Controllers that is an underground railroad of sorts, helping leopards keep away from Leo Pard and start a new life. They temporarily set up shop at the sanctuary that Josh and Chan have set up.

A hunter named Race Ogden notices them and has been watching them for a while. He stumbles upon their secret and the conflict between the three regarding Vision Controllers gets intense. He is attracted to Karma, the middle sister, and wants to protect her.

Ms. O’Clare has done it again with Vision Controller. She has woven a very intense suspense story with very hot sex scenes between Race and Karma as they learn to trust and ultimately love each other. As the relationships of the leopard’s progress, you learn more and more about the society and mating rituals of her leopards. My recommendation is to keep ice and fans handy when you read this one.

Vision Captured


Title: Vision Captured
Author: Lorie O’Clare
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419917547
Genre: Shapeshifter
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Josh Bard is a hunter that has been hired to find specific leopards. These leopards are supposed to be able to have visions. Josh is also on this list, along with Chantelle Drap. Both have kept low very profiles about their visions, so it is troubling that they happen to be on this list and in the top five.

Josh decides to watch and see what happens instead of just going along with the agenda given him. Leo Pard wants to build himself an empire and control any leopard with visions, as well as start a breeding program.

While Josh and Chan fight their growing attraction, things get very sticky as they try to stay out of Leo’s clutches and then escape after they are captured.

Vision Captured is the first book of the Leopard Visions series. While it is a good book, it was a slow start at the beginning. Once the pace picks up, it is a little hard to stop reading. The sexual tension between Josh and Chantelle is very palpable. The courtship ritual between leopards is interesting and both have a few misconceptions about the other’s role.

Primal Red


Title: Primal Red
Author: Nicole Kimberling
Publisher: Loose Id
ISBN: 978-1-59632-306-3
Genre: LGBT Mystery/Suspense
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Caen Nymph

A local artist and professor has been killed in a studio in the Vitamilk Building. Nick Olson is a reclusive painter and the number one suspect, as he was the one found covered in her blood. Reporter Peter Fontaine finds himself caught between the mystery of the murder and its number one suspect. Peter is determined to be one of the greats of journalism. So he makes it his duty to figure out who killed the professor, what the Russian mafia have to do with it and why Nick Olson isn’t guilty.

Primal Red is a book that’s a victim of unnecessary scene detailing. The author tries to bring her reader into her world and does so well at times, but mostly fails by going overboard. Everything is detailed so finely that you can’t help but want the story to hurry up and get to the point. Too much scenery really pulled away from the actual plot. The mystery in itself wasn’t all that suspenseful. Again I felt the author took too long to actually get to the point, which made it less thrilling. However the bonus point in this story was the character of Peter. He was interesting and had a dry sense of humour, which made me laugh a lot. Nick was intriguing but there wasn’t much focus on him. He was there, but hardly made an impact on me. If the author ever plans to write a sequel (or prequel) he is the character I’d like to get to know more.

The romance between Nick and Peter is marginal at best. It’s more a ‘getting to know you’ kind of start, which is great because it makes the relationship aspect more realistic. I think my favourite scene was when Peter’s job and Nick’s personal life came to blows. I thought the scene was well-written without going over the top.

Primal Red has a flurry of secondary characters that were very colourful. The whole prose was colourful, which really made it stand out from the crowd. However I just wish the author didn’t spend so much time over-describing the streets, buildings and character traits as they really didn’t need that much exposure. Primal Red is an interesting read, not so much for the murder-mystery or the romance, but mainly for the character of Peter. He’s one of strongest characters I have read in 2009.

Broken


Title: Broken
Author: Eve Vaughn
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-361-6
Genre: Interracial/Contemporary Romance
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx


Jocelyn Winters is a famous fashion designer, who needs a serious vacation. She does just that with her close friend Kyla, but going home isn’t easy after so many years away. Her first response when she sees Cade is panic, causing her to think of running away to avoid talking to him. She’s still very much in love with him but feels that after her brutal rape, she isn’t a whole enough woman for him.

Cade Devlin is co-owner of Devlin Ranch with his brothers and missing the love of his life makes him feel that his life isn’t complete. He’s trying very hard to forget Jocelyn by doing more work on the ranch, and avoids seeing her. When he’s forced to a family dinner in her honor, he fails to keep his mouth shut as asked, by accusing her of things that were not even true. Between his brothers and aunt, there is no way he can avoid Jocelyn for long, and when they did come together…WOW!

Broken is such a beautiful story about a young lady with bright dreams and how those dreams are marred by three men who pretended to help her. I felt sorry for her up to a point; when she tried to destroy the trust Cade had in her. I was very happy when her friend took matters into her own hands in an attempt to help the couple move forward; to reconciliation.

Ms Vaughn created a wonderful western setting in Texas, mixed with the fashion scene in Manhattan, New York, which made the choices for Jocelyn less complicated to decide quickly. I am hoping that Kyla is going to have a story of her own, and possibly with Stone, who has deep feelings for her. There wasn’t much alluding to what is wrong with her, only that she is a super model, and it had me wondering about what was going to happen next.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

True Blue


Title: True Blue
Author: Connie Bailey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-935192-26-8
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Heydn Case is a transfer student to a prestigious all-boys school. Unlike the majority that attends Acton-Pierce Academy, Heydn is not a silver-spooner. Hoping to finally fit in, Heydn is apprehensive about meeting his roommate. Like Heydn, Blue is also a senior at Acton-Pierce Academy. In order to protect himself from getting hurt, Blue has gone out of his way to alienate those around him. The last thing he was expecting was a roommate. To the surprise of both young men, they quickly bond over anime and yaoi videos. Soon they begin to develop strong feelings for each other. However, Heydn’s deep need to belong pulls them apart. It is only after Heydn sees the person Blue is becoming that he realizes just what he has lost. It will take a lot of trust, faith and love to bring these two back together.

Connie Bailey’s True Blue tells the story of two young men who wish to fit in at their private school. The author does a wonderful job portraying the angst these boys go through, not only as they struggle to come to terms with what they feel for each other, but also in the various relationships they form. The author also touches on topics such as bigotry, gay bashing, parental pressure and suicide. The secondary characters in this book are just as important as Blue and Heydn, making it a wonderful well-rounded story. The epilogue wraps up all the story lines in this book wonderfully. An excellent book not to be missed.

Immersed


Title: Immersed
Author: Liz Craven
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-267-1
Genre: Romantic SciFi-Futuristic
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Ilexa Dhakir loves her family, but is tired of the constant scrutiny that comes with being the sister-in-law of the planetary sovereign. Wanting to be valued for her abilities, and not her family connections, she volunteers for a year long medical exchange program, far from home. Instead of being posted to a planet she requested, she instead finds herself assigned to the planetary home of her eldest brother’s best friend, Thane Msaka. It’s been two years since the former soldier withdrew from the military, and while he may no longer appear the same, his stunning good looks still have the same affect on her libido.

Thane Msaka left military life behind and returned to tribal life, never expecting to get roped into playing babysitter for his best friend’s sister. He’s desired Lex for years, but his friendship with her brother has made her off-limits, until now. Once they come in constant contact, Thane can’t stop his feelings from growing, despite the upheaval her actions cause with the tribal leaders and members. When it becomes clear that some members of the tribe will never accept Lex as one of there own, Thane must battle those he has called family, to protect the woman who holds his heart.

Immersed is the second release in Liz Craven’s ongoing sci-fi romance series, Interplanetary League, and it’s just as well-written and plotted as its predecessor. The characters of Ilexa and Thane are all you could want in a hero and heroine…loyal, determined, passionate, and unbending in their beliefs of right and wrong, along with feelings of responsibility for those under their care. They also have numerous years of irritating and annoying each other, and Ms. Craven does an excellent job describing the emotions of Lex and Thane as their relationship changes from that of friend, to one of lovers. Then there’s the little matter of Lex causing cultural upheaval, poor rapport with certain members of her adopted tribe, a really angry, spurned woman, and Thane’s murderous father. All these factors make for a keeper, page-turner.

Ms. Craven has once again created a believable sci-fi world, using great descriptions, vivid details and characters which almost leap off the pages. The secondary characters are interesting in their own rights, only adding extra depth to an already intriguing tale, and her villains are near perfect. Perfect to hate, that is. I’d also like to know more about Talon’s brothers, his friend Vardin and even Drea…and who will bear the next Malkine. I’ll be anxiously waiting to see where this series goes with the next release, Escaped, which features Talon’s brother, Bastian.

Prophesied


Title: Prophesied
Author: Liz Craven
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-60504-060-6
Genre: Romantic SciFi-Futuristic
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Lia survived multiple assassination attempts during the early years of her childhood and now the only thing she wants is to stay hidden. She doesn’t care that on the day of her birth, she was bound in marriage or that her very existence brought an end to 5,000 years of war by her planets two rival factions. As a child she barely escaped an attempt on her life by the very guards who were sworn to protect her, leaving everyone on her spaceship dead. The only reason she escaped was through luck, which failed her again two years later, stranding her on a filthy mining colony. Now her life is changing again. Lia has been found, and by none other than her husband.

Talon has been looking for his wife since she disappeared, refusing to believe she was dead. He expects her happiness and gratitude when she’s rescued, not her surly disposition or escape attempts. He’s determined to make Lia understand the important role her existence plays in the continuing peace of their world and can’t fathom why she doesn’t care. As the two grow closer, pieces of information slip, giving him a view of her life that he wasn’t aware of and doesn’t like. Nowhere is safe, and as they near their home planet and Lia’s coronation, the danger only escalates, leaving Talon little choice but to put his unhappy wife into a virtual lockdown to keep her safe. If their arranged marriage is to be more than a political alliance, Talon and Lia must stay alive long enough for them to learn to trust each other.

Prophesied is the first release in Liz Craven’s new science fiction series, Interplanetary League, and it definitely qualifies as a keeper. While the setting of this fast-paced book is set far into the future, the backbone is the tale of Lia and Talon re-uniting, both politically and personally. Ms. Craven does an excellent job of describing Lia’s feelings of fear, the betrayal she experienced in the past, and the uncertainty of what could happen in the future. The author does an equally nice job in describing Talon’s confusion of why Lia tries so hard to escape him, and does it with a seamless interjection of vital background information.

Lia is a strong and determined woman, but she’s afraid to let anyone get close, so keeps pushing Talon away. Talon is a loyal defender of those he considers in his care, but he’s a complicated man ruled not only by love and desire, but responsibility and duty. Their passion is slow to build, but once ignited, is as fiery as a supernova.

The secondary characters are numerous and play from small to large important roles, as the story moves from mining colony to coronation. The ones which are the most prominent and who you get the best feel for are Talon’s immediate family (mother, sister Ilexa and four younger brothers), along with best friend’s Vardin and Thane. These are the people Ms. Craven left me wanting to get to know better as Lia’s life is threatened. Watching her newly acquired family and friends try to keep her alive kept the plot running forward at break-neck speed. The villain might not have been was well hidden as I would have liked, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of this portion of the story in any way. I’m looking forward to the next release in this new and entertaining series, with Immersed, the story of Ilexa and Thane.

Gym Dandy


Title: Gym Dandy
Author: Storm Grant
Publisher: ManloveRomance Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-934531-95-2
Genre: Gay Romance
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Personal Trainer Victor Brighton is doing a little clean up at Toronto’s Orr’s Gym when his four o’clock appointment arrives. One look and Victor has an immediate attraction to Douglas Newkirk, his new client. During the workout and afterwards at dinner together, Victor is fairly sure that Doug is interested until Victor tries to kiss Doug. That’s when Doug announces he is straight, leaving Victor to wonder if he got the signals mixed or is Doug deep in the closet.

Gym Dandy is a humorous story of two men seeking that elusive something they are both missing from their personal lives. Strom Grant created a very impressive storyline with some surprising twists, heartwarming characters and a little intrigue that I enjoyed immensely.

Bride Reborn


Title: Bride Reborn
Author: Solange Ayre
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419920226
Genre: Futuristic
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Snow Jarrett is a divorcee suffering in the final stages of Multiple Sclerosis. With no one to help her, she now resides in a Nursing Home. This isn’t the life she expected at thirty-two years old, but she’s a fighter and refuses to spill tears over a situation she has no control over. Who knew the answer to Snow’s prayers would come to her from an alien nation?

Physical Therapist Ryus of the Silver Pelt is in charge of Snow’s rehabilitation aboard The Terilians, an alien colonization ship. The death of his wife from two years prior is still an ache in Ryus’ heart and he can’t seem to go past it. He knows that mating is the difference between life and death, but he feels as if he is dishonoring his wife’s memory. Working with Snow reawakens the longing and sexual desire that lay dormant for two long years. Will Ryus learn to accept his feelings for Snow before it’s too late?

What a wonderful story! Snow is courageous from her acceptance of her fate with MS, to awakening aboard an alien vessel and discovering her cure comes with a price. However, her attraction to Ryus made this fact pill easier to swallow. There were times I could have slapped Ryus on the back of his head…hard. Here he had a woman who possessed all the qualities he could want in a mate and more, and he kept inserting his foot in his mouth as if it belonged there. I had my doubts that he would have what it takes to get her to accept him. I’m definitely planning to buy the first book A Thousand Brides, and I could only hope Solange Ayre will grace us with a few more installments. There’s nothing like a book that doesn’t just do what the norm does, but adds a bit of something you don’t anticipate. I’m not one to give away the entire book, but I will say that I loved the fact that these men have a thing for full-bodied women. I could almost see through Snow’s eyes when she saw the women who shared her destiny, and could feel her pride and surprise at the realization. If you are looking for a story that brings BBW women mates who appreciate every ounce they offer, then you should pick up a copy of Bride Reborn.

Stone Of Wrath


Title: Stone Of Wrath
Author: Shawn Lane
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419917905
Genre: Gay, Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Jedidiah is a rookie firefighter, who happens to find a huge stone during a building clean up. Not thinking anything of it, he puts it in his pocket until after his shift. At home and thankful for the next few days off, Jedidiah heads for the shower and bed. When neither sleep nor a quick jerk off session works, Jedidiah finds himself back in the bathroom. Much to his surprise, while trying to clean the stone he found earlier, a gorgeous man appears.

Cursed into a stone by a vengeful god, Topaz is pleased when Jedidiah, the reincarnation of Topaz's dead lover, frees him. The two men are instantly attracted to one another, confirming Topaz's feelings that Jedidiah is the one who will finally be able to break the curse. However, since he is unable to tell Jedidiah how to break the curse and facing a very tight schedule, Topaz fears he will never again be a mortal man.

Shawn Lane’s Stone Of Wrath is sure to hold your attention from the beginning. This enjoyable read has a little bit of everything from gods trying to help to vengeful gods who bring back the ex back into the picture. Moreover, don’t forget the hot sex as these two click from the very beginning.

Power Games


Title: Power Games
Author: Madeleine Oh
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59596-894-4
Genre: BDSM
Nymph Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

John is asked to go on a blind date by a friend. He is hesitant until he meets Ellen. Ellen turns out to be a young widow who is looking for a Dom to replace her late husband. She thinks this will be only for one weekend, but John ends up wanting more.

This was an okay story. The first part leads you to believe it will be about John’s friend and his sub. It is only later you learn the story is actually about John and Ellen. I would have liked to have a little less detail about Mark and Annie in the beginning.

Overall, Power Games is a good BDSM story that details some of the scenes and the negotiations that both a Dom and Sub engage in.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Depart. 57: Chemistry of Evil


Title: Depart. 57: Chemistry of Evil
Author: Lynne Connolly
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.net/
ISBN: 978-1-59632-845-7
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Sophie Adams is feeling guilty about her relationship with her fiancé because there is not much love left for him and she needs to end it before the wedding takes place. She is onsite at a dig in England while on vacation from her job in New York. Sophie loves every moment of digging in the dirt and is thrilled when she finds an old silver whistle with runes on it. When she is told the artifact is worthless, she is crushed by the comment, but she forgets her hurt when Evan walks in. He is looking for her to consult about confidential issues regarding his sister’s death.

Evan Howell is trying to find out who killed his estranged sister, who he has just re-connected with, and Sophie is the main link to the information he needs. After dinner, the evening is winding down for Evan and Sophie. They end up together again in the hotel hallway after leaving her fiancé’s room, where she rejected an offer from him to have sex with a third person. When Evan promises to her that he will be a gentleman while they share his room, she is a more disappointed than not because she wanted him to touch her, but accepts his word with great disappointment.

Depart. 57: Chemistry of Evil is a fantastic story with suspense from the beginning until the end and it held my attention all the way through. This is a story with a whirlwind of emotions, murders, and souls from the past creating fear in people. By blowing the runic encrusted whistle, she found, Sophie unwittingly unleashes King Authur’s evil son Mordred, who did everything in his power to keep her, even though he knew she did not want to marry him. The fact that Evan had special abilities shook Sophie up more than she wanted to admit, but she was still willing to bond with him despite her reservations. Lynne Connolly is a brilliant writer, who gives so much to her characters, bringing them to life in a very positive way. I was very impressed by the way she laid out the plot involving the murders, and the connections of the past with the future. As I kept reading, the ending became clearer to me and it was not what I expected. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Submissive Games


Title: Submissive Games
Author: Madeleine Oh
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-073-5
Genre: BDSM
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Tom invites Claudine to share a weekend at his cottage in France. Tom and Claudine want their relationship to be more than professional but do not take a chance on each other until an accident shakes up their relationship.

Submissive Games is the third story in Ms. Oh’s Games series; however, this is a prequel to Sexy Games. I enjoyed the interaction between Tom and Claudine. The emotions between the two, as well as their struggle to maintain the professional relationship between them, came through very well.

Once in a Lifetime


Title: Once in a Lifetime
Author: Jade Falconer
Publisher: Phaze
Publisher URL: http://www.phaze.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59426-671-3
Genre: M/M, Historical
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Percy is a young Lord in lust with his tutor. When the tutor, William, sees that Percy is unable to concentrate on his studies and why, William sets out to give Percy a completely new education. So begins Percy’s introduction into sex. Soon, the relationship ends and Percy goes to university where a completely new adventure starts. However, things do not always run smoothly for Percy as he is separated from Alastair, the man he has fallen in love with. It is only after some time has passed and Percy is newly ‘married’ that he and Alastair are able to come together once again.

Once in a Lifetime is both a sequel and a prequel. While the story tells us about Percy, whom we met in Ghost of a Chance, it actually takes place prior to the first story. The author takes us on a journey through Percy’s life from his introduction to sex at the hands of a tutor to his university years where he meets the love of his life, Alastair. We also see him through a variety of other relationships including the meeting of his future wife and the strain put on his and Alastair’s new relationship when the married couple must have a child to carry on the family line. The first book in no way deters from the enjoyment those who have already read Ghost of a Chance will find in this book. The author does an excellent job keeping Once in a Lifetime fresh, including wrapping the ending up in a very satisfactory way.

Dragon by Day


Title: Dragon by Day
Author: Daisy Dexter Dobbs
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419920264
Genre: Fantasy, Ménage
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Captive Suniko enjoyed being a handmaiden to a princess. After being captured, she wasn’t sure if she would escape, but thanks to a resource healer-priest, Jayket, she tastes freedom once again. A close encounter with a dragon leaves the two scrambling to escape death by roasting. They decide to return to the scene to take a closer look at the dragon, but find D’Akola the Strong in its place. D’Akola is a Guardian of Zalvanus and in dire need of medical assistance. Suniko and Jayket decide to assist the wounded man, and are greatly awarded for their efforts.

Dragon by Day is book two in the Valiant Hearts series and our first up close glimpse of Danior’s brother. While the characters had a wonderful chemistry, their lack of hygiene practices while they played was a bit unsettling for me. I understand they were on the run, and if there was no way to take care of this need, I would probably overlook this to a degree. While I am sure that some may not consider this an issue, there was something about intercourse without proper cleansing that didn’t make the sex as appealing as it could have been. On the bright side, the fighting was just as ferocious as ever and quenched my bloodthirsty lust for the day. I found Dragon by Day to be enjoyable read.

Runaway


Title: Runaway
Author: Amanda Steiger
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-59596-855-5
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 2.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Caen Nymph

Keith is a werewolf and fled his pack because of his cruel and evil alpha. Keith is always on the move, never staying in one place too long. He meets Taylor, a young and newly bitten werewolf. Keith helps Taylor but his past is soon catching up with him and the last thing Keith wants is Taylor to get in the middle of it.

Runaway is a decent werewolf story but lacks originality. Keith is a stray who ran away from his evil pack leader, but it was clichéd and lacked action. The fear Keith had for his former pack leader wasn’t particularly believable. I couldn’t feel the character’s emotion, which tainted the dramatic edge. Taylor was, pretty much, a one dimensional character as he didn’t bring much to the story, other than being a love interest for Keith. Even at that, it didn’t do much for me; he was pretty much a “damsel in distress”. He lacked any spark and in the end did nothing for me.

Overall the characters weren’t very intriguing; they didn’t bring much to the page. Not a lot of emotion behind them, despite their past and present hardships they had gone or were going through. The plot was there and I think much could have been done with the idea. However the lack of connection and emotion behind the characters made this a bland read. I suppose I wanted more angst and more action with the villain in the story. I didn’t want everything too be neatly tied in the end. However whilst this story had its flaws with me; it will find an audience within this genre.

Blood Brothers 4: Dante’s Wrath


Title: Blood Brothers 4: Dante’s Wrath
Author: Eve Vaughn
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.net/
ISBN: 978-1-59632-861-7
Genre: Multicultural Shape-Shifter/Vampire Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph

The same vampires that murdered his parents centuries ago have recently kidnapped Dante Grimaldi’s nephews and nieces. Dante is tired of playing cat and mouse games with his enemies and accepts help to bring his family home. Although Dante was glad that one particular dark haired shifter showed up to give her support, he was very concerned about her reasons for being there. Dante was not the kind of man to be distracted by a woman and he intended to stay that way.

Iris Vasquez was a lone wolf looking for a way to survive at the time she got involved with a bad gang of vampires. These vampires just happened to be the Grimaldi’s adversaries. Her life is different now and Iris has nothing directly to do with the plot against his family, but will Dante believe her? Iris knows he wants her as much as she wants him, but can he trust her? All she can do is pray that her past doesn’t ruin her future with the man she loves.

Iris took me through several emotions and sometimes made it hard for me to side with her. I wanted so badly for the truth to surface sooner and differently than it did. But I have to give it to her; Iris really knows how to stand by her man. I did feel for her when Dante unleashed his anger on Iris, even though I expected it. Dante has always intrigued me the most from the Grimaldi clan and Eve Vaughn made me fall deeper in love with him in this story. The things he did to support his brothers financially, emotionally and physically touched me. As troubled as he was, Dante came to terms with all his brothers and got closure. I have wished for peace and love for Dante since the first book of this series and at long last, he found both. Dante’s brother, Giovanni, is another story. That man has some demons to exorcise, literally and figuratively. If Eve Vaughn decides to give me more of his story, I’ll be first in line to read it, and I suggest you are too.

Back for More


Title: Back for More
Author: Cheryl Dragon
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.net/
ISBN: 978-1-59632-860-0
Genre: LGBT Multicultural Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Steve is a recovering addict who was never able to determine the root cause of his addiction, even after rehab and therapy. When his mother tells him that his old high school friend Alex is back in town and doing past life regression, he knows just where to turn for help. Alex knew he was gay from an early age and while he had feelings for Steve in high school, he had no plans of becoming just another one of his friend’s toys to play with and discard. When Steve shows up asking for help, Alex realizes that this time he won’t be able to turn Steve away.

Cheryl Dragon’s Back for More is a powerful story of two men who have been fighting to be together longer than most. Once Steve’s past life experiences become known, it is easy to see why he has had such problems with relationships. The author has made each life more poignant than the last. While the last life tragedy unravels, you can't help but know that something really bad is getting ready to happen. Cheryl does such an excellent job sucking the reader in that you cannot help rooting for the two men finally getting their happily ever after.

Those Who Cherish


Title: Those Who Cherish
Author: Jamie Craig
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/
ISBN: 978-1-60272-451-8
Genre: Gay / Historical / The Old West
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Father Alonzo Vargas resides in an abandoned presidio in southwestern Texas, his special punishment for not accepting the actions of Sheriff John Cullen as law. He has his own set of rules, which encompass the Bible’s clear definition of how to treat your fellow man, without passing judgment. Isolated, with only his donkey Angelica as company and a small garden to supply nourishment, Alonzo tries to have faith that there is a reason he lives this lonely life.

Ben McKinnon has nothing left of his family except the land he inherited from his father, a few books, and a wealth of memories from living under his parents loving roof. He is not a man to deny what he likes and Ben has no desire to romance women, he prefers the strong body of a man. When the Sheriff makes Ben his latest victim of the treacherous acts, Ben thought there would be no way out. However, with the arrival of Alonzo he gains hope, love and someone new to cherish.

Jamie Craig is a writing duo with the ability to bring entertainment, enlightenment and acceptance. Those Who Cherish is set during a time when corruption was unchecked and snatching a man’s life and livelihood away could happen without a second thought. Alonzo has lived his life without the corruptions of physically intimacies to hinder his path. Ben has only known the moments of fumbling in the dark or quick encounters to ease his sexual needs. Through the act of helping a neighbor in need, Alonzo found something he never expected to gain. I loved these characters because they are strong in some areas and unsure in others. They have a great balance and a real feel. While some may have objections to a story about a priest who finds love, I believe the subject matter was approached cautiously, and with care.

Rare Vintage


Title: Rare Vintage
Author: Bianca D'Arc
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-381-4
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Master Vampire Marc La Tour has been looking for his mate for nearly six hundred years and he’d resigned himself to being alone forever, until he meets Kelly. She’s all he’s ever wanted in a woman and mate, but she’s also under the protection of his friend Atticus and his new mate, Lissa, making her off-limits. Yet he can’t deny their attraction, which is the only thing that explains why he goes to her during a dream. Is Kelly his destined mate or isn’t she? Marc vows to find out. Yet, all isn’t rosy for Marc, when he’s challenged by a rival vampire to take over his territory and a fight to the death is the only answer.

Kelly went to work for Atticus Maxwell after the vampire married and converted her best friend, Lissa. She loves living at the winery because it gives her a much-needed job, and allows her to spend time with Lissa. When Marc LaTour comes to visit while his home is being remodeled, the handsome Master Vampire and his almost constant flirting nearly makes her crazy.

Rare Vintage is the second release in Ms. D’Arc’s Brotherhood of Blood Trilogy, and it picks up shortly after the first one left off. It’s filled with attraction, passion and potential love, along with a serious challenge which could result in Marc’s death. Kelly is sweet and caring and provides the balm for Marc’s soul. He is the strong and powerful guiding light that she’s always wanted in her life, but didn’t think she’d ever find, and Ms. D’Arc does a nice job describing Kelly’s unsettled emotions and desires.

I enjoyed the inclusion of the challenge portion of the story, but wish it had been longer and more detailed; that it had played a more important role. The secondary characters of Atticus and Lissa from One & Only were a nice addition and seamlessly interjected into the tale, and they round out the story nicely. Look for the last story in this trilogy with Phantom Desires, featuring Dmitri and Carly, coming soon.

Condor One


Title: Condor One
Author: John Simpson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-0-9817372-9-4
Genre: Contemporary/Gay
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Satyr Vael

What would happen if an American presidential nominee was found to be gay? What would happen if that same nominee won the election, despite this aspect of his life?

For David Windsor, soon President Windsor, it brings up a lot of complications. His opponent outs him during the election, and yet David prevails, becoming America’s President in 2012. While the American people seem to trust him, David’s acknowledgement of his sexuality on national TV gives his security team far more work than normal.

Enter Secret Service Agent Shane Thompson. Set to be President Windsor’s shadow in every respect, Shane soon becomes so much more than just a bodyguard. In addition to keeping the President safe, he and David must figure out how to juggle their respective duties without driving a permanent wedge between them on a far more personal level.

Condor One is the first gay fiction book I’ve read that brings an American President into play as one of the main characters. John Simpson doesn’t skimp on the details in this one, drawing an elaborate picture of what life is like for these two men caught between their jobs and their hearts.

I loved the opening scene especially, in which the Speaker of the House Daniel Gorski, the Republican nominee, outed David, in obvious hopes that it would sway the votes in his favor. David did not deny anything, and instead of boos from the audience, he received a standing ovation for being true to himself and to the American people. It made me want to pump my fist into the air and shout ‘yes!’

The only criticism I have, and it’s a slight one, is the very beginning, before things shift into David’s point-of-view. The first several paragraphs felt a bit like an info-dump, and the lengthy paragraphs (in that section and throughout the book) made reading a bit of a strain. Overall, however, these things can easily be overlooked.

Condor One is a brilliant story of ‘what if’ and one I highly recommend.

The Prince Who Never Smiled


Title: The Prince Who Never Smiled
Author: Pepper Espinoza
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/
ISBN: 978-1-60272-458-7
Genre: Fantasy, M/M
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Sitting on the throne next to his mother, Prince Leopold tried to enjoy the young lady who was performing in an effort to make the prince smile. The King had sent out a decree throughout the country that whoever could get the prince to smile, the prince would marry them. The only problem is the king failed to clarify his decree and is distressed when a peasant accomplishes the task without any knowledge of the royal message sent forth.

The Prince Who Never Smiled is a beautiful story of finding that special someone to love. The Prince is a good man who loves his parents and treats everyone with respect but the smiles did not come, no matter how hard he tried, until he met his soul mate. Pepper Espinoza has created a charming fable with sensual love scenes and an emotionally stirring storyline that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Hard Truth


Title: The Hard Truth
Author: Amanda Young
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59632-282-0
Genre: LGBT Vampire Paranormal
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Daywalker Cadge Johnson and his brother have lived in hiding since the death of their parents. Now, decades later he’s being blackmailed by his old friend and former lover, Red Taylor, to expose their existence to the council members who might have been involved in his parent’s death. Cadge has never been interested in politics or intrigue and would prefer to stay away from the council, who he doesn’t trust. Walking into the lair of the creatures who are a law unto themselves isn’t what he wants to do, but Red won’t take no for an answer. Even though Cadge has kept his old lover at arm’s length for years that hasn’t stopped his feelings, it’s just kept them simmering below the surface. In the midst of death, murder, betrayal and deception, the only thing that gives them hope for the future is the truth.

The Hard Truth by talented author Amanda Young picks up shortly after Secret and Lies left off. This time the story revolves around the elder brother, Cadge, and the man’s he loved for most of his life. Ms. Young does a nice job expressing the unsettled emotions of both Cadge and Red as they struggle to find a way back together, while trying to find a killer. The desire and passion is real, the anger and fear understandable, and the sex blistering hot. The villain, who I thought was the killer, wasn’t and the real killer was totally unexpected. I just wish I’d had a little more information about the motives behind the Johnson parent’s death and why.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dance Wars 2: Ruled By You


Title: Dance Wars 2: Ruled By You
Author: Sophia Titheniel
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-150-3
Genre: Paranormal, Werewolves, M/M
Nymph Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Werewolf and scavengers leader Adair is trying to wake his lover Pony Express rider, Lachlan and get him out of the territory for Lachlan ’s safety. Lachlan makes the dangerous trek to be with Adair every full moon. While neither wants to admit aloud that they love each other, Adair is concerned about keeping Lachlan out of the hands of his crew of scavengers. Lachlan , who thrives on danger, realizes too late that Adair would not to kill him but he could not say the same for Adair’s crew.

Dance Wars 2: Ruled By You is the second installment in the Dance Wars series. No matter the danger, Lachlan will risk everything to be with the man he loves, including his life. Because of his love for Lachlan, whom his wolf has claimed as his mate, Adair turns more to dance wars as a means to earn money. Sophia Titheniel’s creative description of Adair and his crew’s performance implanted a picture in my mind of the Radio City Rockettes dance line only with really big guys in combat boots doing high kicks in unison. Added to that visual, are some sizzling love scenes and I had a very enjoyable reading experience.