Tuesday, April 7, 2009

L. A. Mischief

Title: L. A. Mischief
Author: P. A. Brown
Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing.
Publisher URL: http://www.cheyennepublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-0-979777-3-1-8
Genre: Contemporary, M/M
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

LAPD Detective David Laine and Chris Bellamere, the main characters of L. A. Heat, have gone their separate ways after spending weeks together in what Chris hoped would be a lasting relationship. David is still dealing with identity issues and commitment. His life in chaos, his best friend grief-stricken over the murder of his own lover, Chris is finding it difficult to survive and move on.

L.A. Mischief continues the relationship of David and Chris. David is still not comfortable with being a gay cop and tries to keep his personal life separate from his job but when Chris breaks David’s rules, David walks away, leaving Chris heartbroken. This is an emotional episode with hard choices required of both David and Chris. To fully enjoy this story, start with P.A. Brown’s L.A. Heat.

L.A. Heat

Title: L.A. Heat
Author: P. A. Brown
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrpress.com/
ISBN: 978-0-9817464-4-9
Genre: Contemporary Mystery, M/M
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Another body of a young man has been found and it looks like the handiwork of the serial killer targeting gay men in Los Angeles. Assigned to the case are LAPD Detective David Eric Laine, who’s deep-in-the-closet gay, and his long-time partner Detective Martinez Diego, who never misses a chance to bad mouth gay men. As more information begins to surface, the evidence points to openly gay Christopher Bellamere as the suspect, so why is David attracted to Chris?

Ever wonder what it is like to be a detective? Take a ride along with David as he recounts a detailed description in L.A. Heat. P. A. Brown delivers a captivating murder mystery featuring the possible stimulus and the psychological patterns of a serial killer and the changes in David’s life. Knowing the dangers of his job and the attitude of his co-workers, David felt that it was essential to conceal his personal life, that is until he met Chris, who refused to allow David to remain in the closet. Chris is a savvy gay man who has had a series of one night stands, but he is surprised by his attraction to David and the appeal of having a long relationship with him.

L.A. Heat is the first book in the upcoming The L.A. Series. This story has a well written plot with realistic elements; the chemistry between the characters is captivating. I thoroughly enjoyed the beginnings of this series and look forward to the next installment.

Lilith Enraptured

Title: Lilith Enraptured
Author: Michelle M. Pillow
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921094
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Being a data analyst for Divinity gives Lilith the opportunity to visit other dimensions and study their history and culture. Awakening in an uncharted dimension inhabited by warriors seeking wives is the last thing Lilith expected to occur. Yes, she made mistakes but surely, the punishment shouldn’t be this severe.

Lord Sorin’s life centers on protecting his fellow citizens and finding a way to destroy their enemy. After the last disastrous union, Sorin would rather take matters of pleasing himself in his own hands, so to speak, than to become a husband once again. However, someone forgot to tell his treacherous tongue the game plan when he enters the marriage ceremony and spies Lilith for the first time. By the gods, this woman stirs something in him and he is at a loss for how to control it. The feeling is mutual, but Lilith isn’t ready to yield in defeat. Unfortunately for her, Sorin is not just adept when it comes to battle. He will have his wife, come hell or high water.

Michelle M. Pillow writes about lust, survival, betrayal, and love in Lilith Enraptured. The setting is a primitive world with an abundance of warriors, but not nearly enough women for wives. While the men will fight for the right to have a mate, they have honor and are willing to please the ones they choose. I completely understood Lilith’s reaction to the dilemma of discovering she’s not in her safe home anymore. Ms. Pillow’s words allowed me to feel the uneasiness, while my heart raced a bit as I put myself in her shoes. Sorin is the kind of man any woman would be happy to have. He is honorable, strong, determined, fierce, and handsome to boot, not to mention being a wicked lover. It was hard feeling sorry for Lilith after getting a clear picture of the man and the pain he harbored. I definitely enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more about this dimension and other warriors finding a suitable wife.

Cooking With Ergot

Title: Cooking With Ergot
Author: Luisa Prieto
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Publisher URL: http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60168-191-1
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Dominic Abernathy is preparing for his cooking show, Midnight Gourmet, when his producer informs him that his guest will be Carter Brooks, who writes witch-hunting cookbooks. This normally would not be a problem except that Dominic is a real witch. Dominic decides to get a glimpse of Carter and assess the potential danger but when he arrives at the bookstore parking lot, he finds Carter under attack from his cousin Simon. Dominic rescues Carter and Simon runs away, but the danger is not over because Simon is obsessed with destroying every witch he can find.

It is said the opposites attract and this is certainly true with Dominic and Carter, although they really have more in common than opposite. Both men enjoy cooking and a quiet non-violent lifestyle and, even though Carter does not believe in magic, there is something magical about the undeniable attraction they share.

Luisa Prieto has produced a fascinating tale in Cooking With Ergot. The characters are intriguing and the plot has touches of hilarity, including a few amusing recipes. The entire story is impressive and very enjoyable.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Fostered Love

Title: A Fostered Love
Author: Cameron Dane
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59632-902-7
Genre: LGBT Multicultural Erotic Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Jonah Roberts hasn’t seen his former foster brother, Christian Sanchez, in fifteen years. He never forgot the younger man, whose last words of love have lingered in his mind since their emotional parting. He comes home to help Christian as a last request by Marisol, the foster mother who believed in Jonah.

Christian never thought he would see Jonah again, but there he stood impressive as ever and offering his assistance. The years of distance haven’t dampened the love that first sparked to life fifteen years ago. No longer looking at him through the eyes of a teenager, Christian is a man who wants to rediscover Jonah and learn all of his secrets.

Will a dying wish be the kindle needed to reignite their shared love?

Set in a rural Florida town, A Fostered Love tells the story of two deserving men who discover a new chance at life and love. Thrown into a bad existence from the time he was born, Jonah hardened his heart and hasn’t allowed much to penetrate the shell surrounding it. Christian is strong enough not to settle for second best. He’s openly gay and refuses to hide his preference, especially in the small town he calls home. The passion shared by the two is clear and I was surprised they could contain it for so long. Cameron Dane’s characters always leap off the page and appear to be larger than life. Regardless of their differences, Christian and Jonah both crave love and acceptance. A Fostered Love is definitely a love story, but it also contains elements of suspense and drama that give it a nice balance. I have a feeling there’s at least one more story coming, and the supporting characters will get their chance at love and happiness. Cameron Dane’s fans won’t be disappointed and those new to her writing will add her to their list of favorites.


Title: Ravenous
Author: Aubrey Ross
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 9781595967961
Genre: Paranormal; Action Adventure; Ménage; Bisexual, Vampires
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Teladorian and his friend Azariel rescue Sophie from three vampire assassins while visiting an underground club and take her home to protect her.

Teladorian, a half-incubus, thinks Sophie is his mate, but soon discovers that he cannot sustain her with his blood, so Azariel becomes part of their bond. Sophie is still in danger because her father has angered a powerful vampire clan and has become a pawn in their war.

Ravenous has some very hot sex scenes between Sophie, Teladorian and Azariel. I did not feel that the conflict between the vampire clans was explored enough and felt that some of the action was just filler. The story concept is a good one, though, and Ms. Ross gave Sophie a few new twists as a vampire. After reading the epilogue, it is also clear that this is the first of a series.

Single Heart, Single Love

Book Title: Single Heart, Single Love
Author: Patt Mihailoff
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419918773
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Satyr Vael

Jade is indentured to a seedy innkeeper who ‘hired’ her to keep his inn clean and serve the customers. She’s done her best to avoid the gropes and such from the drunken men who frequent the place (and from the innkeeper himself), but all her hardships seem nothing compared to the man who just bought her contract: Cole McCayne.

A mountain man with a surly, dark personality, Cole makes it clear he only hired her to clean, cook, and take care of his son. Neither he nor Jade expect the attraction they both begin to feel over time, but Cole’s past keeps him locked away from any possible emotions. It isn’t until those demons return to haunt him with a vengeance that Cole realizes what he’s lost -- and what he’s going to lose -- if he doesn’t let go of memories.

Single Heart, Single Love is a sweeping historical romance set in the 19th century American West. Patt Mihailoff draws you in immediately, giving the setting and atmosphere free rein. The prose engages all the senses and never lets go. The style reminds me of the historical romances I grew up reading -- the ones that pulled me into the world of literary romance. It’s grand and descriptive, with a strong-willed yet soft heroine and a stubborn, dark, yet sexy hero.

Jade is the perfect balance to Cole’s darkness. The best part about her? She’s no shrinking violet. For that, she’s one of my favorite heroines. No matter how curt and spiteful Cole gets, Jade refuses to let him simply walk all over her.

Cole, despite his nasty attitude, is a good man. The past haunts him relentlessly, and the struggle he goes through to let go is heart-wrenching to watch. Yet, for all the growling and scowling, he’s strong and has a heart of gold, even if it takes devastation to break it free.

The love scenes are not explicit, and for that, I was grateful. They were well-written and paced perfectly for the story.

Single Heart, Single Love is one of those romances I can easily see myself reading in print, curled up in a comfy chair, sipping hot tea, and spending a quiet night alone.

Second Hope

Title: Second Hope
Author: J. B. McDonald
Publisher: Samhain Publishing LTD
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-472-9
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Rose Nymph

When Cole Masterson and his horse are involved in a freak accident, Cole knows exactly where to go to give his horse the best possible chance of healing – The Second Hope Ranch. With the reputation of offering the best equine rehabilitation going, he’s willing to pay whatever’s necessary to stay at the ranch with his horse, regardless of how unusual it is for the owner to accompany their horse. He just hopes the owner will agree to his terms.

As annoyed as Nat Jackson is about her new client’s request, she allows Fleet’s owner to stay. It’s not like she’ll pay him any attention anyway; her only concern is mending the horse. Her parents may not approve of her choices in life but with the help of her Grandmother’s investment, she’s been able to make the ranch quite the success. She isn’t going to turn an injured horse away just because of her dislike for cowboys. Running the ranch is difficult but Nat is a natural healer, even if the introduction of this unpredictable man is making her feel like she’s the one being healed.

Every so often I read a story that has a deep effect on me; the characters and story breaking past the typical boundary of casual escapism and creating a more permanent mark on me. Second Hope is one of these stories. The plot of a woman who has been hurt deeply but fights on, who won’t allow a man close enough to learn the truth of who she is or to inflict further pain, who is proud and gains respect for her work ethic, strength and tenderness caught my attention in a way few do. I was intrigued as to what could have hurt this character so badly and hoped she could gather all the strength from her suffering and use it to move on.

Cole was a character who I took a liking to immediately. I could tell that this was someone special; someone worth Nat opening her heart to. The intricate way he and Nat tested each other to see if they were trustworthy was wonderful. The author went at just the right speed; not rushing or making me wait too long. The use of the relationship between human and horse to portray the measure of a persons’ worth was a very nice touch, linking the story together.

However, it is because of the effect this story had on me that the few faults I found were heightened. The way Nat and Cole’s relationship played out to begin with was a joy; the glances, touches and kisses sending jolts of electricity through me. I guess that with such a buildup the result was never going to live up to expectations. I wish there could have been more detail to Cole’s thoughts as his patience and kindness are rewarded. I wanted to read more about the effect being so intimate with Nat had on him, as I believe this was both their stories, not just Nat’s. The ending was slightly abrupt and I wonder if there is more to come in this tale. Also, the writing became slightly repetitive; the words “sinew” and “cord” when describing muscle becoming a little grating. I must say though that horses always add a touch of magic and romance for me and I was sad that Second Hope had to end.

Dressed For Dying

Title: Dressed For Dying
Author: Janet Quinn
Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60272-462-4
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Detective
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Sean Madigan is new at being a news reporter who has gotten a big break from his editor; write a front page story about the murder of a wealthy businessman found with an unconscious younger woman. He is snooping around determined to solve the two murders with or without the help of the police. Why was he tampering with and taking evidence from the murder scene? The obvious answer is to get the truth about what really happened and show that he is capable of writing good pieces for the newspaper. When his sweetheart is almost murdered on more than one occasion, he starts to doubt himself but continues because he now knows who is the murderer and needs to stop them.

Dressed For Dying is a wonderful mystery that will keep you reading all the way to the end to find out if the hero survives. This story tells of murder, fires, and a news reporter’s commitment to tell the true story of what happen to an important person. I was swept away with him each time he went after another lead in the death of Marshall Haversham, who was a famous dress designer, and a Ms. O’Neill, who was found unconscious with him. The fact that Sean was actually doing the police’s job never stopped him from thinking of the danger he put himself or others close to him into. Here the scene is the early eighteen hundreds New York with sweatshops, dock jobs for the poor and the fact that no one seems to be able to stop the culprit from setting the Haversham warehouse fires.

The more I read this book, the more I became intrigued by the main character, who was like a lion stalking his prey. In his effort to solve the murders, he puts others at risk when he gives them items that he should not have, and asking too many questions. Janet Quinn has done a fantastic job telling of the difficulties of the lives of newspaper reporters, whether it is a beginner or veteran. I also wanted to mention here about the assistance of a newbie reporter who helped Sean, who was in the right places at the right time when needed. There was not a lot of information given on him, but that he was well dressed, and very helpful with the stories and finances. I was very impressed with the non-stop way that Sean continued even when it seemed like he would not be able to finish his story.

Escaping Darkside

Title: Escaping Darkside
Author: Amanda Steiger
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59596-581-3
Genre: Paranormal/Gay and Lesbian/Dark Fantasy
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Christian is the victim of a hit-and-run accident. That wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t wake up in the Darkside, a realm between Earth and Hell where human souls don’t have a chance of survival. The Council decides where souls go after death, and Christian wasn’t fortunate enough to get under their radar. When Seth saves him, Christian is unsure of how to take the golden-eyed man. However, along with his life, Seth helps Christian heal a deep hurt he has lived with for years. The only way to save Christian from his fate is to find him a way back to Earth. After finding Seth, is he willing to go back to Earth to avoid the Council?

In Amanda Steiger’s Escaping Darkside, we first encounter Seth and Christian in the Darkside; two unlikely strangers, who find comfort, love, and a commitment with each other. Both men drop their guard to allow the other to see their true form. It’s during these moments of trust that their bond grows and solidifies. I enjoyed this story from the plot to the moments of suspense. I can only guess there is more to come about Darkside, the inhabitants and the struggle that awaits Seth and Christian.