Saturday, May 9, 2009

Captive


Title: Captive
Author: Scarlet Blackwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-935192-90-9
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM, M/M
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

An Alaskan retreat seems to be the perfect location for author Gabriel Black to work on his latest novel. Gabriel has a deadline looming on the horizon and hopes the hideaway’s solace will allow some peace and quiet. When Ethan, an armed trespasser, makes his presence known, he turns Gabriel’s winter abode into an inescapable prison. Gabriel’s desire to work changes to a quest for survival, and the author isn’t above using seduction to escape. Will Ethan fall for his attempts, or will Gabriel make the situation worse than he could ever imagine?

Captive is set in a picturesque Alaskan home. While Gabriel is scared in his current position, his craving for BDSM comes to the surface during his interactions with Ethan on a subconscious level. Scarlet Blackwell’s Captive is a creative story, and while some of Gabriel’s reactions seemed a bit of an extreme for a prisoner’s responses, you soon understand his reactions and then are able to relate to his feelings towards Ethan. The story itself is more complex than meets the eye, which surprised me. I was then able to understand fully why Ethan drew such strong reactions from Gabriel. I found the story to be an enjoyable read and recommend it to those who enjoy capture scenes in their novels.

The Edge of Desperation


Title: The Edge of Desperation
Author: Jason Edding and James Buchanan
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60820-043-6
Genre: Sci-Fi, Futuristic Romance, M/M
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

The Dark Robe Society 2 - Jason Edding 4 Nymphs

Jack Harrow and Edge Fland, with the help of the rebel soldiers, have escaped to the underground stronghold located one thousand feet below the surface. Jack’s unique abilities make him too dangerous for the Black Robes to abandon their intent to destroy him. Checking for structural damage after a near-miss attack from the Dark Robes, Lt. Toren Mir reports his findings to Commander Alton Tees. Tees has secretly desired Toren; however he knew that Toren is Admiral Dobson’s lover, so Tees remains quiet about his feelings even when he notices Toren watching him. When Dobson is discovered to be a replacement clone working for the Black Robes, he is destroyed. Tees takes command of the rebellion and appoints Toren as his assistant. Confessing his feelings to Toren, he discovers that the desire is mutual. Jack and Edge, joining forces with Toren and Tees, set out to bring down the Black Robes Society.

Beyond Duty - James Buchanan 4 Nymphs

Stranded on a planet engaged in war, Sargent Alad Deming is walking in the slum sector known as Desperation Alley in search of an information broker who could give him a lead on soldier assignments for his unit and him. Along the way, Alad meets another soldier who only gave his name as Hirah. Alad does a hand signal to let Hirah know he would be interested in sex and Hirah gives the ‘I agree’ signal. Together they venture into an establishment that serves food, drinks and cushions on the floor. After a night of enjoyment, Alad and Hirah promise to contact each other via the service house. However, they meet again sooner than expected when Alad is summoned by a Captain looking for soldiers and his commanding officer is none other than Lt. Hirah Gahage, a dangerous outcast from Krtayurga. Warned of the danger concerning Hirah, Alad cannot resist him, and vice versa. What started as an attraction grows into love and respect. Both men are honorable and vow to uphold those standards Beyond Duty.

The Edge of Desperation is an impressive futuristic saga filled with creative creatures, well-written plots, chaos and extremely enticing love scenes. Strong characters tackle the challenges and undertake the crucial finish considered necessary. Since The Dark Robe Society is a series, I got the impression from the ending that another episode is possible. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these fascinating stories.

Space Escapes


Title: Space Escapes
Author: Jason Edding and Angela Fiddler
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-934531-76-1
Genre: SCI-Fi, M/M
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Dark Robe Heart: Dark Robe Society 1- Jason Edding 4.5 Nymphs

Jack Harrow has become cynical on the subject of his creators, an underground society established in the Earth year of 2140 by disgruntled scientists with God-like complexes. At the present year of 2575, Jack formulates his escape to Jupiter and following close behind Jack is Edge Fland, an assassin for the Dark Robes. Edge has orders to exterminate Jack; however, after being intimate during the voyage, a strong magnetism between the two men develops. Now Edge, as well as Jack, is being hunted.

The Bright Side of Midnight - Angela Fiddler 3 Nymphs

Dr. Tavish Pan is returning to the mining colony Midnight after finishing his education, which was financed by the colony. His goal is to find a cure for Black Lung. The workers who are mining Arochos, the main ingredient used to create a mood enhancer drug, are the most affected by the sickness or so Tavish believes. However once he is on the planet and starts testing, he finds there is drug addiction with life-threatening side effects also. Jordan Patrice, the man who becomes Tavish’s lover, is addicted to the drug and Tavish has even more reason to find the cure for several ailments. Blocking the progress for a cure are the corrupt men with their own agenda for keeping the mines open. One of those men is Rees, who supplies the men with drugs to keep them under his control. Tavish is in a race against time to stay alive, find a cure and save the men on Midnight.

Space Escapes is an intriguing sci-fi anthology that overall I found enjoyable. Each story has a plot of complex puzzles that are revealed as the story moves forward; each has a love interest with intimate encounters, and in each story greed, as well as power-hungry villains bordering on insanity, is illustrated.

Threads of Love


Title: Threads of Love
Author: Kathleen Coddington
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419919718
Genre: Historical/Het (m/f)
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Satyr Vael

Aislinn deTalby first met Roger Montclaire when she was fourteen, but even then, she knew he was the one for her – her true love. She was betrothed to him and spent the next several years planning for her perfect wedding. When the day finally arrives a few years later, however, Aislinn is beside herself with anger and grief. Roger is dead and she is marrying his dark and brooding scholar brother, Garrett.

Aislinn despises Garrett, and he's not entirely fond of her headstrong, stubborn ways. Her lingering love for Roger only drives the wedge deeper between them. Yet another sort of storm is brewing, and unless they can see eye-to-eye and work together, disaster may come swiftly before they ever have a chance at peace.

Threads of Love is set during the Middle Ages – specifically the 14th century – in England. An uneasy treaty is struck between France and England, but it's the war in Exley Castle that is the focal point.

Aislinn is young and naïve, and beyond stubborn. Yet she manages to show her strength and maturity as the novel progresses. She's the perfect foil to Garrett's hermit-like scholarly ways.

Garrett is the epitome of 'don't judge a book by its cover' (literally and figuratively, in his case). He's dark and mysterious, yet sexy and strong. If I'd been Aislinn, I wouldn't have been able to resist him.

The love scenes were battles of wills at the start, which just made them hotter. The tone (pacing, wordage, etc) was perfect for the time period and the overall feel of the story.

There were several points where I hit an 'aha!' moment, and by the time I finished, I wanted to read it all over again.

Threads of Love is another historical that will stay with me for some time, and I hope to see it in print in the future.

Private Dicks


Title: Private Dicks
Author: Katie Allen
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921674
Genre: Gay Contemporary M/M
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Isaac Rhodes is a man who invokes fear in others. He was a good cop and now without the rules and bureaucratic tape, he’s a hell of a private investigator. His partner, Nate Washington, plays the starring role in Rhodes' fantasies. Wash is Rhodes' version of a diabetic with a slice of chocolate cake in front of them. He knows he wants a taste but fears the repercussions. After a year of silence, Rhodes lets Wash know there will be no women in his bed, and Wash finds himself in a quandary. While Wash is attracted to Rhodes, he’s not sure if he’s ready for a gay relationship, especially a public one.

In the midst of this newly discovered and acted upon attraction, the P.I.’s find themselves involved in a case that will test their professional skills and their hearts.

Private Dicks introduces us to two men; one as hard as nails and the other handsome enough to make your teeth ache. Their abilities differ and allows for a higher degree of success when it comes to closing their cases. There is a nice balance to the couple. Rhodes and Wash are manly men with their own quirks that don’t mind dishing out a friendly ribbing. It made their attraction easier to understand and believable for me. Katie Allen brings action, suspense, mystery, and erotic encounters to us in this story. Some of the subject matter presented may be unsettling to some, but it was included more as reference details instead of an attempt to create a shock factor. I believe I appreciated this most about the author. Ms. Allen depicted their more tender moments in a way that didn’t alter my perception of the men or make them girly. I absolutely enjoyed reading Private Dicks and I hope to read more of Katie Allen’s stories in the near future.

Sit Up and Beg


Title: Sit Up and Beg
Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: N/A
Genre: Paranormal, M/M
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Caen Nymph

Werewolf Killian gets kidnapped by a psycho man who amuses himself with capturing magical creatures and making them fight to the death. Evan is a shifter himself and wormed his way into the organisation to help these creatures. Usually Evan is too late to help the were-creatures, but not with Killian, who has a whole of fight still left in him.

Sit Up and Beg is an action-packed story. The author dedicates a good chunk of the story on Killian getting captured and the way Evan helps Killian escape. Whilst that aspect was good, I didn’t find it very interesting, as it didn’t elicit any “on the edge of my seat” kind of feeling. The romance between Killian and Evan went too quick and felt forced, making for an abrupt ending. It didn’t make much sense, despite the author stating the time of their escape and their romance being six months later. Overall, I found the story disjointed and a little bland but even though the action didn’t do much for me – the fact the author chose to start the story that way was a refreshing change.

Slippery When Wet


Title: Slippery When Wet
Author: Stone Richards
Publisher: Extasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-282-4
Genre: Contemporary/Gay (m/m)
Rating: 1.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Satyr Vael

Newly-single Devon Markum is dealing with a rough break-up when he hires a hunky college student to clean his pool. The first time he sees Marty Phillips, he finds himself unable to stop thinking about the man. A chance meeting at a bar ends in a hot night of sex for them both, but what happens when Devon's architectural firm takes on a particular new client with ties to Marty?

Slippery When Wet didn't grab my attention as well as I'd hoped. The storyline seemed a bit too contrived and the ending too convenient. The sex scenes left me rather cold, primarily due to the neverending 'male' this and 'male' that. It's clear these are men, and while buzz words are one thing, I think this story went a bit too far. Another issue I had is the tricky one with pronouns. There were many scenes in which a diagram was almost needed, despite there being only two men. It's a hard balance to get right: that of pronouns and proper names; but Slippery When Wet went too far to the pronoun side to the point where it wasn't clear who was doing what.

I wish I could recommend Slippery When Wet because it has potential with a bit more polishing, but I honestly can't.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Animal


Title: Animal
Author: Nathalie Gray
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921322
Genre: Shapeshifter/Futuristic
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Brioni Metcalf believes in the fight against the evil shadow government, known as the Iron Conclave, and serves the fight against them by handling logistics in her resistance cell. She’s quiet, dedicated and believes in giving everyone a chance, even Haruto, the newest Lycan who’s joined their group. While others in their small group fear the dangerous man who kills without remorse or passion, Brioni finds herself drawn to his quiet loneliness and dignity.

In the midst of a sleepless night, Brioni happens across Haruto playing an ocarina; the sad haunting notes a heart-wrenching expression of his deep emotional pain. When she reaches out to him, instead of smirking and smarting off as she expects, he takes her in his arms, his touch unleashing their mutual desire. Before their relationship can grow stronger, the resistance is betrayed and Haruto flees, leaving Brioni alone and confused. Distance might separate these two new lovers but that doesn’t stop Haruto’s determination to keep Brioni safe, and he’s willing to kill to do it.

Animal is the newest release in Nathalie Gray’s ongoing action-packed, futuristic shapeshifter series, Lycan Warriors. If you haven’t had to opportunity to read the first three releases, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily enjoy this entertaining story as a stand-alone.

The emotional pull between Haruto and Brioni is just as intense as their physical passion, and watching these two come together is a pleasure. Haruto’s past is filled with so much pain, suffering and torture that it is easy to believe this damaged soul will never be able to open his heart, mind and body to the love of another person. Yet, that is just what this wounded and misunderstood Lycan warrior does with his involvement with Brioni. I wanted their relationship to work out, not just because I like Haruto, but because he deserves the happiness Brioni brings to his hitherto lonely life. She becomes the solid centering force he needs, just as he becomes her protector. Brioni is exactly what Haruto needs; a woman to love and believe in him, and she does with it with passion, determination and more than a little flare.

The only real complaint I have with Animal is the manner in which Haruto’s painful childhood background is interjected into the story. Instead of pulling me into the past, it actually felt disruptive to the overall flow, leaving me unsettled, and wishing the information had been provided in another manner.

I know the bad guys who make up the Iron Conclave are clandestine but I, for one, would love to have a little more information about this group. Why are they in existence, how do they get funding, and how do they get away with their actions, among others. These individuals, whoever they are, are truly worthy of the name villains, and I hope they get their just punishment in the end. Look for the next release in the months to come. Read and enjoy!

Twilight Guardian


Title: Twilight Guardian
Author: R.G. Alexander
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-529-0
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Kit has been a guardian for the Sariel Trueblood Clan ever since he finished his training. He has lived a long time and now that he has finally found love, he must sacrifice himself in honor to pay a debt for his people. Now that he finally knows Jesse’s name and when he sees her after years of dreaming about her, he’s shaken to know she is real. Kit takes complete advantage of her in the little time they had to each other.

Growing up with a loving mother and brother is all Jesse knows besides hiding behind a camera. She had taken many pictures and lived her life in her dreams of other people and places for a long time. When she takes a job in England for a friend, she feels the need to find the O Ye Haven Pub to see if it is real. The fact that she feels like her dream man Kit needs her or he might die alone pushes her on. After Jesse figured out all the hints she kept getting from her mother, and the Goddess, it left her more confused than ever about who she is.

Book Three of Children of the Goddess series Twilight Guardian is a very interesting and fantastic story and it was slow learning of what the history of the two main characters were. I was very surprised by a few events that took place throughout the book and when I learned the real truth about Kit’s beginnings, I was awed. After Jesse figured out all the hints she kept getting from her mother and the Goddess, it had me wanting to yell at them “Just tell her what she needs to do!” It was very frustrating to have others know what needed to be done, and not tell the person who could change the outcome of the future.

R.G. Alexander had done it again for me by the continuation of the saga Children of the Goddess and writing about the different characters, as well as having them interacting with each others lives. The loyalty was deeply rooted from the beginning between families, and adding the little ones being born was very special to me. R.G. left me thinking about what Kit’s mother and brother will be up to, who have been out cast for their evil intentions. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and can only hope there is more to come from little Alexei because of the gift given him by the Goddess.

Tartan Twins


Title: Tartan Twins
Author: Selena Illyria
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-114-5
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph

Robin has been lusting after Rorick and Lochlan since the day she started working for them. Their perfect looks make it impossible for Robin to ignore the rush of heat she feels each time she is near them. It also reminds her of how plain she is and reinforces her belief that there would be no way under the sun such men would look twice in her direction. Even though all three of them have an evening of uninhibited sex, Robin assumes that it had to be a drunken mistake.

Rorick and Lochlan have grown tired of sleeping with every available woman in sight, trying to satisfy their need for Robin. The wolf half of them recognized Robin as their mate, even if she refused to believe them. With the full moon approaching and Robin pulling a disappearing act, the twins’ patience is running out.

Selena Illyria has enslaved me with the Tartan series and another shackle was added after I read Tartan Twins. Robin, Rorick, and Lochlan make one sexually intense story sizzle like frying bacon. Understanding that they are part incubi allowed me to forgive the twins for sleeping with other women and flaunting it in front of Robin. I got a bit worried during moments when Robin was so unsure of herself but in the end, she stepped up to the plate. I can’t wait to see what adventures lay ahead for all three of them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Feral


Title: Feral
Author: Joely Skye
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-520-7
Genre: Gay-Lesbian Romance, Paranormal Romance, M/M
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

The day werewolves captured and tortured Ethan still lingers in his mind. Years later, he still refuses to shift, knowing that he is stronger in his most primal form – a cougar. Werewolves are once again after him, and they aren’t trying to give Ethan an option about what form he is in. After so many years, the primary thought is that Ethan is Feral.

Bram is an Omega Pack member and remembers Ethan. His existence with the Pack hasn’t been easy, but if Bram follows the rules, he keeps the Alpha’s protection. Ethan and Bram form a bond, which surprises them both.

The bond causes Bram to decide he must protect Ethan from his Alpha’s plans. Ethan can’t forget the man who has protected him and refuses to treat the act lightly. Will they be strong enough to survive the cold dish of revenge waiting in the wings?

Joely Skye writes about love, rebuilding lives and relearning the art of trust in Feral. Ethan has suffered an enormous amount of emotional and physical pain. He knew his animal form was stronger than the human side and knew it was the only way to survive. Bram’s role as an Omega isn’t the safest when it comes to the Pack. He’s been kicked for so long that the true extent of harm done by his own Pack is shown by his reactions to others. Ethan awakened a side of Bram he didn’t know existed, or possibly was too scared to acknowledge. Ethan gave Bram someone to focus on who needed protection more than he did. The story grabbed my attention from the first paragraph. Between the chase and then the discovery of innermost desires, I couldn’t help but enjoy the book. The character’s weaknesses drew me in and made them feel real and approachable, while the story’s plot and setting added the balance needed to make this a book unforgettable. I’ll be adding Joely Skye’s to my must-read author’s list.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Trunk in the Basement II


Title: Trunk in the Basement II
Author: Helen Chilcott
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-263-3
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Mystery
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Sphinx Minx

Seventy years have passed since Herbert Stokes disappeared at sea. Now Australian novelist Leckie Armytage is searching a used book store for Oscar Wilde. An unseen hand directs her to the book she needs - and to Stokes’ luggage key ticket. She is caught up by the mystery and travels to England to search for answers with the grandson of the missing man.

The smelly ghost of Molly Elva Millar is back in part two Chilcott’s tale. She’s still seeking revenge and even inhabits Leckie’s body at times.

Albert Stokes and servant Eugenia Purdie have a lovely late-life romance going. They help Leckie search family papers for clues and pursue them through the sewers of London. It’s a scary (and slimy) adventure, uncovering illegitimacy, murder and even arms trafficking.

This installment starts at Chapter 19 and ends, “This is not the end.” I’m still not sure where the story is going, but I am enjoying the path it takes. I’m looking forward to the next leg of Chilcott’s journey.

Shunga Chronicles: Prince and the Assassin


Title: Shunga Chronicles: Prince and the Assassin
Author: Lizzie Lynn Lee
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-201-2
Genre: Shunga, BDSM, M/F
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Midori is taking a bath in the hot springs when a highborn stranger comes upon her. Finding him appealing, she invites him to join her in the bath. Refusing to give him her name, she named him Gorgeous Cock and he called her Silver Eyes. Being the last of her kind, Midori has the traits of the kitsune-bi or fox people, which make her perfect to be a spy and an assassin. Engaging in a sexual interlude, the couple cannot forget their time together. When Midori is ordered by her master to kill the prince, she discovers he is the man she loves; Midori vows to find a way to save the prince, as well as sustain her honor.

Shunga Chronicles: Prince and the Assassin is the second episode in the Japanese erotica series. Born with the natural skills of stealth, Midori is trained from a child to be an executioner. In a country split into three tumultuous domains, Midori’s master delegates her to exterminate his rivals. Lizzie Lynn Lee has created another moving tale of characters torn between love and their sense of duty. The plot is interesting and the interwoven cultural fable is enjoyable.

Best Unspoken


Title: Best Unspoken
Author: Bryl Tyne
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.nobleromance.com/
ISBN: N/A
Genre: Contemporary, M/M
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Caen Nymph

Levi Finley is young, hot and has everything going for him so his friends and his mother don’t understand why he would date a middle-aged introvert, who literally says nothing. Levi knows why he stays with the man but when their taunts get into his head, Levi starts second guessing himself – that is until his quiet boyfriend decides to remind him exactly why he stays.

Best Unspoken is a very original story, a premise that had me glued to my seat. The funny thing about this story is that I didn’t completely warm up to the couple but the writing pulled me in and inevitably made me curious to know more about the characters. Levi is young, compared to his forty or so boyfriend Rob. His mother and friends don’t approve and consider his quiet lover “creepy”. I felt bad for Rob; he was judged because of his age and his introverted personality. Levi’s friends, and to a lesser extent, his mother were rather horrible and I was surprised that the character was so easily swayed by their opinions.

Overall Best Unspoken is a premise that would have worked wonderful in a much longer book, where it would have been given more time to develop. The characters’ relationship is fascinating enough and the writing was solid. I felt the story was rather a fragment of their relationship – and in the end left me a tad confused because there was no character development. However, the author has me very interested and I can only hope the author decides to make this story into a more feature length novel.

The Drakhom Taboo II


Title: The Drakhom Taboo II
Author: Celia Jade
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: None
Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Vampire, (m/f)
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Bianca worked hard on her design and felt their company was turned down because Devon Slane, the company’s owner, wanted a personal relationship with her.

The Drakhom Taboo II continues the story of K & E Ergonomics with Bianca. Both continuously challenge each other and I liked Bianca’s spirit. She didn’t let Devon get away without confronting him.

The Drakhom Taboo


Title: The Drakhom Taboo
Author: Celia Jade
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: None
Genre: Paranormal, Vampire, (m/f)
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Kate has always avoided Drakhoms because she was afraid of the stories she had heard about their sharp teeth. Her new client, Tanton, set her pulse pounding when she first met him. Kate has a rule that she doesn’t date clients but she also suspects him of being a Drakhom.

The Drakhom Taboo is a story of sexual tension. I liked the way Tanton slowly breaks down Kate’s barriers. Get the fans ready for when you read the first sex scene.

Concealed Affairs


Title: Concealed Affairs
Author: C.R. Moss
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-261-9
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Sphinx Minx

Victoria Padden is a computer specialist with wealthy roots and a wild child past. David Lloyd is the soon-to-be doctor she’s been living with. Her mom is thrilled with this arrangement, but it’s too stable, too boring. And it’s not progressing rapidly towards marriage.

Tori’s boss and best friend, Sally Becker, takes her to a bachelor auction and bids on the owner of a construction and landscaping company. Sally sees hunky Geoff McKenzie as a great way to move David out of Tori’s life. Geoff is attractive, sensitive and for some reason, unable to hold on to a woman.

Chubby Bertha Sims, abetted by her wealthy and pushy mother, wants Geoff for herself. A jealous co-worker wants Tori’s clients. Nasty notes and phone calls plague Tori.

Geoff and Tori both do a lot of hot fantasizing before they get to the real thing near the end of the book. Bertha has some steamy dreams as well, and records them in her journal.

Ms. Moss is an engaging writer. The book kept me engrossed until the end but then I was disappointed by a couple of twists. The author did not foreshadow these significant factors well and worked a little too hard to tie up loose ends. I was left with new characters I didn’t fully understand and some heavy duty questions about the older cast members I had thought I understood. Moss had done a great job of making me feel comfortable with her people and her plot. Then she spoiled it with too many surprises.

Murder by Design


Title: Murder by Design
Author: Jade Falconer
Publisher: Phaze Books
Publisher URL: http://www.phaze.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60659-049-2
Genre: Gay M/M Erotic Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Sidney loves his life. He’s doing very well as a model in L.A, has a boyfriend who loves him and tons of gorgeous friends - some he even has sex with. This fact comes back to haunt him when his boyfriend is found murdered. When the police start to suspect him, Sidney has no idea how he will prove his innocence.

When a famous fashion designer is found murdered, Greg is assigned the case. What he hoped would be an open and closed case becomes anything but as he falls for their prime suspect. Now Greg has to find the real killer in order to prove Sidney innocent.

Murder by Design is an interesting who-done-it set in the modeling world. Sidney is not always a likeable character, in the beginning. As his life spirals out of control, he becomes less self-involved, which makes it easy to see why Greg has fallen for him. While the mystery itself does not leave you on pins and needles, there were a couple of times when I could not make up my mind about who the murderer was. All in all, this is another fine book by Jade Falconer.

Trust


Title: Trust
Author: Shawn Lane
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921797
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Paramedic Brad Callahan is on duty when the call comes in; a car wreck on the Southern California freeway. Rushing to the scene, Brad discovers the passenger is mystery author and the love of his life, Justin Lowe. After a botched relationship in college with Justin, Brad has lived with regret for thirteen years. Even thinking that Justin hates him, Brad feels compelled to visit Justin in the hospital and assure himself of Justin’s recovery. When Justin awakens, he tells Brad that the wreck was not an accident. Upon release from the hospital, Brad takes Justin to his apartment and offers to help investigate the death threats. Shortly after their arrival home, the long simmering desire for each other comes to the surface and the intimate yearnings become reality again. However, the question that still remains is who wants Justin dead?

Trust - the title says it all. Because of his background, Justin has issues with trust and is jealous of Brad’s friends. One thoughtless incident by Brad and Justin severs the relationship without giving Brad a chance to redeem himself; a decision that has left Justin’s heart unoccupied by anyone else. After Justin moves away, Brad examines his life to resolve the underling stimulus of the path he is on and the direction he actually wishes to follow in his life. Losing Justin’s love is his biggest regret. Both men pay a heavy penance for years. The incredible Shawn Lane delivers an excellent illustration of human judgments and how they can have an effect on life for years; fortunately time along with maturity, provides a second chance. Trust is an amazing story that I enjoyed enormously.

The Far Away Years


Author: LF Blake
Publisher: Torquere Press
ISBN: 978-1-60370-335-2
Genre: Contemporary, M/M
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Caen Nymph

Jeff and Danny may be best friends and band mates, but their relationship is still rocky at times. Danny, who is hopelessly in love with Jeff, is unfortunately married. However, both men come together and delve into a life that they both one day wish could come true. Spaced over a few years, Jeff and Daniel fight hard and love even harder. Jeff's denial, stardom and family life push Danny to the brink of destruction but it is only then that Jeff realises the only person who ever made him feel alive could be about to disappear. Will Jeff get a second chance with Danny?

Rarely do stories make me feel exhausted emotionally by the end of the page. LF Blake has managed to do something that rarely happens to me and I don’t know why I am surprised. After sampling a shorter piece by the author, I had to get this novel. Set in the backdrop of the Eighties, best friends and band mates Jeff and Daniel live a wannabe-rock-star life. Trying to succeed with their band Far Cry, both men navigate their lives through denial, depression, pain, sex, girlfriends and drugs. Daniel provides lead vocals and is also the biggest emotional wreck in the story, which tore my heart to little shreds. The author voiced him so exceedingly well, I felt like he was in the same room as me. His dramatics and his destructive life just made me pity him. Hopelessly in love with his best friend Jeff, who is married and wants the two-point four children and a dog, Danny flounders from one syringe to the next. In the closet, because he has to be – no one knows the real “Danny”, not even Jeff or their band mates. Daniel is known as the drama queen and the womaniser. Throughout this whole story, I just wanted to hug Daniel. Someone so hopeless is rarely written, his life was painful to read, and yet I never once thought “get away and try it on your own” he was so tied to Jeff, he literally only existed for the man. The author wrote such a broken character that it exhausted me to read his pain.

Jeff was the silent and in denial character, who was also hard to read. Trying to be the good son, he married the pretty girl and wanted to start a family. Never once in the story did the author make Jeff dislike his wife; I actually believed he loved and cared for the woman. Was Jeff bisexual? No. I don’t believe Jeff was; however the author uses a lot of confusion techniques that makes you ask the question whether Jeff was bisexual or gay and ultimately not care because it was all about feelings and the author portrayed them very well. Jeff just loved two people and out of fear, and his obvious love for his wife, he resented anything to do with Daniel for a point in time. However when Daniel and Jeff come together, it is done under the guise of desperation and cheating. Both men are in relationships and their situation should make me dislike them; cheating men being my big no-no but the author did a fantastic job with that storyline that I was swept away in their rocky and dangerous relationship.

The characters are what made this story so great. Two broken main characters, the wives and girlfriends, Jeff's family and the band all adding flavour. The author brought such colourful characters that they demanded to be read in one go.

One criticism that could be said about The Far Away Years is that the author chose to time her story in the eighties, however other than sub-heading that told the year every few chapters, the story held no flavour of the setting. The world-building was pretty poor, and ended up reading like a present contemporary. If emphasis is made on the year, then the author should have stuck to it. Whilst I personally find the characterisation in this story superb, I think the author forgot about the world-building and lost a sense of structure to the story.

Overall, a great story centred on musicians, this author has a distinct style of story telling and I am very excited to see what else LF Blake will offer.

Vision Revealed


Title: Vision Revealed
Author: Lorie O’Clare
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921605
Genre: Shifters, (m/f)
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Jin Rose has asked for a meeting with the hunters to clear the air regarding her father and herself. She wants to be able to move freely without a price on her head after she resigned as a hunter.

Kane Masters is a white leopard that wants to be the fifth hunter. He runs into Jin Rose and realizes that she is the female that he has been having visions about for the last year. As Kane convinces Jin Rose that she is his mate, Kane tries to protect Jin Rose from other leopards and werewolves.

Vision Revealed is a fit ending to the Leopard Visions series. Ms. O’Clare answers questions in this book that presented themselves as you read the earlier stories. The confidence that Kane has in himself, as well as Jin Rose’s insecurities come through. The tension between Kane and Jin Rose was so real that I felt I was actually standing there and feeling it. I highly recommend this series to anyone that likes to read about shifters.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hidden Hands


Title: Hidden Hands
Author: Shayla Kersten
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921131
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Months after losing his lover to another man, Detective Jeremy Lawson is lonely, which is how he finds himself standing inside a packed gay club. As much as he desires a committed relationship, he knows he’s unlikely to find anything except sex from a pick-up at a club scene. Surprisingly, he couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only does he get the best sex he’s had in months but he finds a wounded man in need of rescuing, not only from his own demons but also from a mysterious shooter.

David March hates his life, and doesn’t think he deserves to find any kind of a happy future. Wounded by a past he couldn’t control, he believes the only thing he deserves is pain, suffering and unhappiness but he’s also terribly lonely. Looking for a little physical relief brings him to a gay club where he meets a tenderhearted one-night stand who turns out to be a local cop. Despite the danger, meeting Jeremy changes David’s thinking; giving him hope for the future, if he can stay alive long enough to enjoy it.

Hidden Hands is short at just under 25K, but author Shayla Kersten manages to pack a great deal of story into it’s length. There’s blistering hot sex between two hunky men, angst, pain, anger, and a dangerous mysterious stalker bent on death. David has so much emotional baggage that, at times, I wondered if he would be able to work through his problems so he could have his happily-ever-after with Jeremy. Years of pain and uncertainly because his family couldn’t accept his sexuality has left David near suicidal and his quick turn-around, once he got involved with Jeremy, was my only real complaint regarding the plot. Agreeing to see a shrink just didn’t seem enough to justify his change in attitude, yet with the story length, was likely the only way to resolve the issue in the space allowed.

David’s background information was interjected nicely, giving a thorough understanding of why he thought and reacted as he did, without allowing his past issues to become maudlin. Jeremy is loyal, determined and dedicated; just the stabilizing center David needs in his life. The identity of the stalker was rather abrupt, but was done nicely, as was the revelation of who was actually behind his actions.

If you’re looking for a quick and enjoyable afternoon read, you might want to give this little novella a try.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hearts Afire: April


Title: Hearts Afire: April
Author: Emery Sanborne, Jamie Craig
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59578-527-5
Genre: Anthologies, M/M
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Once Burned by Emery Sanborne – 4.5 Nymphs

Andreas Sullivan comes from a long line of firefighters, so to say it’s in his blood would be an understatement. Part of Andreas’ new promotion includes being available for unexpected assignments. His latest task has him helping handsome adrenaline junkie, Bobby Ford.

Bobby knows his reputation precedes him, but wants to make this station his home. He didn’t anticipate his attraction to Andreas and refuses to let it just slip away gently into the night. Andreas knows better than to mix business with pleasure, and regardless of what good sense tells him to do, he wants Bobby with equal fervor.

Once Burned, Twice Shy and it will take time for Andreas to feel comfortable in this new situation. Will he let his guard down long enough to see what Bobby has to offer?

A Voice in the Dark by Jamie Craig – 4.5 Nymphs

Firefighter Dan Middleton knew he was going to have a life in public services. He started at a young age preparing for his career. However, nothing could prepare him for helping Anthony Saunders the morning Anthony’s life changed forever.

Anthony remembered that A Voice in the Dark calmed him during those agonizing moments. He may have lost his sight, but not his will to live, and Anthony has a low tolerance for coddling. He wants to thank the man who helped him that fateful morning. The men bond, thanks to their mutual likes. Will Dan and Anthony find a way to coexist?

Hearts Afire: April delivers two exciting stories about firefighters and their chance at love. The authors have created characters with wit, sex appeal, giving spirits and highly driven libidos. Each story has a bit of suspense, action and humor then topped with erotic encounters to boot. Those who enjoy stories about gay firefighters will enjoy this installment of the Hearts Afire series and I recommend this book to those who enjoy the genre.

Tooth and Claw


Title: Tooth and Claw
Author: Annmarie McKenna
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-506-1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Seth Gramble is unusual, even for a vampire, and it makes him a prince among his people. He’s one of a rare few who can also shape-shift into a jaguar. When Seth’s best friend, police detective Luke, introduces him to his female partner, Paxton, both the vampire and jaguar parts of Seth recognizes they have found their mate. Unfortunately, after the death of her long-term lover by a rogue vampire, Paxton refuses to have anything to do with Seth. It’s been six long months and Seth is tired of waiting. It’s time to claim his mate. He only hopes she won’t kill him first.

It doesn’t matter how much her body craves Seth Gramble, Paxton Tenor doesn’t want to have anything to do with the handsome bloodsucker. She’s learned the hard way that vampires are bad news, and nothing good can come of having a relationship with one. Paxton manages to keep the sexy predator at arm’s length until she, Seth and Luke get assigned a serial burglary case together. The close proximity with Seth forces Paxton to realize that not all vampires are rogue killers, like the one who killed her lover. The toothy vampire might be annoying, but he’s also smart, funny and sexy, and when his kitty comes out to play, why fight their attraction? Let the games begin.

Tooth and Claw by Annmarie McKenna is a fast-paced, fresh and funny paranormal romance that you’re certain to enjoy. The panty-raiding thief is a hilarious way to get these two lovers up close and personal, and their witty, bantering conversations kept me chuckling as I raced from page to page.

There’s an interesting mix of secondary characters, especially Luke, who kept calling Seth ‘toothy’ or ‘your highness’. I mean, come on. Who would have expected a vampire to be okay with being called ‘toothy’ all the time, even if it was his best friend doing it, and it certainly made Seth appear more human and less predator. The rapport between Seth and Luke is definitely best-buddy material; who else could get away with the things they pulled on each other.

Then there’s Paxton; the perfect woman to make both Seth and his kitty purr. It was fun watching this self-assured and sexy woman come to the realization that despite his blood-sucking tendencies, Seth was a ‘good guy’ in vampire clothing, and the perfect ‘man’ for her. I might not have read any of Ms. McKenna’s books in the past, but her name has been put on my watch list with this lively and well-written romance.

Bound by Blood


Title: Bound by Blood
Author: Evie Byrne
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-518-4
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Gregor Faustin is so involved in opening his new and unusual nightclub that he ignores his mother’s premonition of his future wife, until he literally runs her down on his way to a business meeting. After he gets a taste of Maddy’s blood, he has connected to her so much more than he wanted. It is way more than he ever expected, making him realize he can never go back to the lonely life he once lived. He is thinking about her all the time with her feisty mouth and luscious behind.

When Maddy realizes that she has been hit, she tries to get up and starts blasting Gregor with profanities, threatening him to within an inch of his life. He rescues her from an unwanted ambulance ride to the hospital, instead taking her home. She knows that her days are numbered with serious health problems, and has made her peace with accepting death. Gregor has a different plan, whether she wants it or not, and will not accept her decision to give up.

While reading Bound by Blood, I kept wondering how these two characters would finally meet, and it was not what I would even conceive. This is a fabulous story about old world vampyrs, and how they have mixed in with humans. The family is of Russian heritage, but living in New York City protecting their clan, and others that are loyal to them.

With the seriousness of her health problems hovering around Maddy, she finds love a little too late and Gregor is the typical macho male, to a fault. Evie Byrne created a wonderful story of love, and of how different races can survive amongst each other, even with death on the horizon. But who am I to ruin a fantastic story? I’m looking forward to reading the next book of the Faustin Brother series.

Possessor and Possessed: A Jarhead Story


Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
ISBN: N/A
Genre: Contemporary, M/M/M, Erotic
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Caen Nymph

Rock has been known to be the possessive one in the relationship, but after some guys at the gym dismiss Dick and his relationship with Rock and Rig, he comes home to stake his claim on both men.

Possessor and Possessed: A Jarhead Story is a tender story about three men, who love each other fiercely. Dick is a sweet character in the Jarhead series, and one that I feel isn’t explored that often, gets to star a little more in this story. The story is all sex, and little on the theme at hand. Dick shows his possessiveness through sex, and whilst that isn’t wrong at all – I felt the author could have used a more original way to tell the story; one of the components being the storytelling along with the sexual aspect. I was a tad disappointed with the story overall; however, for what was offered, it was an easy read.

Paxton's Winter


Title: Paxton's Winter
Author: T. D. McKinney
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/
ISBN: 978-1-60272-502-7
Genre: Gay (M/M) / Historical (Old West)
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Satyr Vael

Paxton “Pax” Terhune is a former rancher who's holed himself up in the mountains, far away from a nightmarish past. His lover was hung while he watched, and a ruthless mine owner is now after Pax. Bounty hunter Zane Steadman has been sent to hunt Pax down but what he finds is far more than what he expected. Now he's faced with the possibility of losing the one man he was hired to bring in.

They're both quickly running out of time, and the odds aren't in their favor. But Pax will do anything to keep Zane in his life...

Paxton's Winter is a story rich in details and history. Pax and Zane are two very different men at first glance, but the more they're together, the clearer it becomes just how perfect they are for one other.

After the death of his former lover, Pax locked his heart firmly away and that proves difficult to keep up when Zane steps into his life. Zane slowly, patiently works his way into Pax's heart, though and when it comes down to it, Pax will do everything he can to hold onto Zane.

I was happy to see the love scenes are brilliantly done for the time period. They're not purple prose, but they aren't highly explicit. They hit a wonderful medium that keeps up the heat while remaining true to the overall tone.

There were tense moments, and times when the heartbreak (especially Pax's) shone through clear. But in the end, it's all worth the ride just to see them get the best ending possible.

I've become quite a fan of T. D. McKinney's, and I would love to see more historicals like Paxton's Winter.