Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bring The Heat


Title: Bring The Heat
Author: M. L. Rhodes
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-533-1
Genre: Gay {M/M} / Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Police Detective Riley Ellison is about to get a little spice in his life. Flirting glances with a handsome stranger has Riley making frequent visits to Java Pit, an out-of-the-way coffeehouse. However, when the stranger makes a move for more than quick peeks, Riley bolts like a pimple faced teen at a Sadie Hawkins dance. When Riley begins to investigate a recent murder, he finds himself questioning his flirtatiously hot stranger, Dane.

Dane has lived long enough to know what turns him on and Riley revs up his engines. He sees Riley for who he really is and won’t walk away without a fight. The investigation could be just want Riley needs to deny their relationship. Will Dane and Riley work things out, or will Dane have to learn to live without his handsome officer by his side?

M. L. Rhodes’ Bring The Heat is about discovering love and learning to move past stereotypes. Riley was a geek growing up, and has never learned to move past that old view. When Dane makes his intentions clear, Riley can’t believe the beautiful man could really want more than a casual fling with him. There was a point where I truly wanted to paddle Riley’s behind, one part selfishly to touch the tempting morsel, but the other reason is because he didn’t believe in himself. Dane was easy to like and even easier to love. His sheer determination to show Riley his true feelings rather than to just tell him gave me goose bumps. M. L. Rhodes is simply a wonderful author. The story has a well-written plot, the characters are wonderfully detailed and are warm and friendly and finally, the settings where Riley and Dane interact add a homey feeling to the story. If I had one wish, it would be to see Dane strut his stuff!

Jackpot


Title: Jackpot
Author: Lainey Bancroft
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Inc
Publisher URL: http://www.bookstrand.com/
ISBN: 1-60601-319-X
Genre: Contemporary M/F Romance
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Cassidy Malone needs just one night of self indulgence; one night to forget the worries of a sick mother, an unreliable brother and an absent father; to forget the stress of a job she hates and a passionless life. One night where she can truly let go and be free. She never dared to dream that a man like Lucas Smyth would be interested in a woman like her; a woman with responsibilities and a distinct lack of social life, but the moment she walked into the room, he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. This is Cassidy’s last chance at getting some sense of happiness in her life and she’s going to make the most of it, if it kills her.

Lucas could tell Cassidy was different from the usual type of woman to show an interest in him. He doubted very much she even recognized him but Lucas always was the type of man to take risks. He wasn’t planning on treating her any different from the rest. She’d made it clear to him that she wanted the same thing he did; a night of absolute pleasure, no strings attached. So how come he was surprised to find her gone the next morning? Even more puzzling – why did he care? After a night full of deception both Cassidy and Lucas are forced to pick up the pieces. Whether they like it or not, it’s go for broke time. They better just hope that for their sake, the house doesn’t always win.

With one of the best opening hook ups I’ve ever read, Jackpot is tantalizing from the start, the strength and sex appeal of the leading characters catching my attention straight away. The author does a great job of creating the setting and I found it very easy to immerse myself in Cassidy’s life from the start. Cassidy was an honest character with a lot of responsibilities tying her down and I felt her anxiety thoroughly. One of the author’s many talents is creating realistic characters with often undesirable traits and Lucas was no exception. His attitude towards women leaves a lot to be desired and it was a lot harder to relate to him. Just when I thought I had the character’s number however, I see that he isn’t just about splashing the cash but does in fact have a heart and he realizes, eventually, that he wants to follow it – all wonderfully frustrating. The story was a little long, the “on again, off again” being drawn out a little too much. Lucas, especially, took forever to make up his mind which only added to the frustration caused by his character. The intensity of the relationship however was fantastic, especially at the end when I was itching for them to get it together – quite a feat considering how incompatible they seem at first.

Crossroads: Revisited


Title: Crossroads: Revisited
Author: Keta Diablo
Publisher: Phaze Books
Publisher URL: http://www.phaze.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59426-778-9
Genre: Contemporary M/M Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Frank McGuire’s cup overflows, thanks to his efforts to keep his young lover, Rand Brennan, on the straight and narrow. Just when it seemed everything was getting back to normal, another sadistic serial killer looms over Baltimore targeting gay college students. Frank once again will need to use his abilities to help find this murderer, especially when it seems Rand could be under the killer’s scrutiny. Frank knows he cannot leave anything to chance. Will Frank once again save the day?

Crossroads: Revisited is the sequel to Crossroads. Keta Diablo’s new story takes us back into the lives of Rand and Frank. Rand knows he’s in love with the tough P.I. and just wants Frank to reciprocate. Frank isn’t one to express his love with words, but in his own way, he does attempt to convey his feelings. I could understand Rand’s frustrations, and found myself screaming at Frank to say the words. The story has more than a few erotic scenes that fluctuate between low to moderate doses of BDSM. The plot and subplot both kept my interest, while the conflict Frank and Rand deal with is internal; it reminds me of just how much adjusting new couples have to endure. I found the story entertaining and recommend it to those who enjoy the genre.

Department 57: Treasure Laid Bare


Title: Department 57: Treasure Laid Bare
Author: Lynne Connolly
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59632-964-5
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Tara Carlisle, ex-army intelligence, has established a bookstore of the occult in a quaint small town in Connecticut for a change in her busy life. Now, she just wants to spend time working on old books and avoid thinking about anything else. When Garon Rothwell walks into her store, the sparks start flying between them and she tries to focus on his reason for being there. Because of her lack of self-confidence, she pushes him away without really knowing how he feels about her.

Garon Rothwell is a consultant, employed by Department 57 as a consultant, and is on a trip to retrieve a special book for his boss. Because of him being a sorcerer, he must abstain from having sex to maintain his powers, or so he has been told. He is sorely tempted by Tara’s beauty and fiery spirit, more than any other woman he’s ever met. He is in an uncomfortable position with Tara, because he is trying desperately to not feel anything for her, but it turns infernal every time they come close together. In the end, Garon realizes his true reason for seeking out Tara.

Department 57: Treasure Laid Bare is another story told about one of the Department 57 personnel handling a paranormal situation. This book had quite a few surprises for me, and it was an added a pleasant touch to read about previous characters coming to work the murders. The characterizations of the young rich college ladies was so right on, and their willingness to be part of a coven. I found it very refreshing to see that two people could find love in a dangerous setting and able to overcome the threat to them in the end.

Lynne Connolly has written a fantastic story of how love was able to survive, bringing family back together. Garon and Tara were the main characters determined to solve a mystery regarding the murders. Because of their complete trust in each other, it helped them to overcome the evil intentions of an entity that had special plans for them. This is a fascinating paranormal series and I am looking forward to the next book to be released.

Come Back to Me


Title: Come Back to Me
Author: Lisa Marie Davis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-038-3
Genre: Gay {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

It’s almost two years later and Mikel Maxwell is still mourning the loss of his lover, Slate. They say time mends all wounds and broken hearts, but for Mikel, the only healing balm that could restore his happiness is Slate himself. An attack grants Mikel’s wildest fantasy, when he once again comes face to face with Slate. Slate is there, ready to protect the man he loves, and wants to return to Mikel’s sweet embrace. Unfortunately, events from his last mission threaten to curtail their reunion. With no guarantee of forever, will Mikel happily take the time they have, or will he send Slate away?

In Come Back to Me, Slate has lived apart from Mikel, his one true love, in pain and insufferable misery. That’s a common occurrence for both men and was depicted with a nice depth of emotion. However, the characters connection didn’t overwhelm me as I anticipated. I was able to feel Mikel’s shock to discover Slate alive, and believe Ms. Davis did a wonderful job of portraying this event. The plot and ending were simplistic and could have been stronger, but I still found Come Back to Me to be an enjoyable read.

Blood Noir


Title: Blood Noir
Author: Jesse Fox
Publisher: Dark Roast Press
Publisher URL: http://www.darkroastpress.com/
ISBN: Pending
Genre: Gay Contemporary, Suspense, Mystery,
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Alex and Harley met as freshmen in college and have been together for ten years. Everything seems to be going well for both of them. Harley has his career as a PI that he enjoys and Alex’s career as a photographer is growing by leaps and bounds. If everything is so great, then why have Alex’s nightmares returned? And why are he and Harley keeping secrets from each other, all of a sudden?

An excellent mystery, Blood Noir by Jesse Fox is one of those books where you have to be careful not to spill all its secrets. The fast-paced story keeps you enthralled from the beginning and while the author lets you know who the bad guy is, you really do not know who the bad guy is. The characters, both main and secondary, are so strongly written that the reader will not feel as if they have missed anything as they step into the already established relationship between Alex and Harley. The mystery, which is centered on Alex and a past he cannot remember, is reminiscent of Agatha Christy or Alfred Hitchcock, which full of twists and turns, will keep you wondering what could happen next. As the author wraps up the story, the reader can count on several ‘Oh, No’ moments that will keep them on the edge of their seats. Definitely not a book to be missed.

Written In Blood


Title: Written In Blood
Author: Luisa Prieto
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-536-2
Genre: Gay {M/M}, Dark Fantasy, Vampire, Historical, Suspense
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Reporter Collin Foster, known for his outspoken articles, has become weary of the subjects most of London considers newsworthy. Scandal from the dissolute arouses more attention than the needs of the destitute population. Collin knows he has a knack for uncovering the top stories but for once, his passion for news may have delivered more than he can handle. A handsome stranger, a chance encounter, and the possibility of engaging in one passion-filled evening overflowing with Collin’s wildest desires, leads him to take the road less traveled. Hindsight is 20/20, and the night doesn’t fade away gently at sunrise, but it begins a chain reaction that will change Collin’s life forever.

Luisa Prieto’s Written In Blood takes us into the life of Collin Foster, a man who plays his cards closely guarded to his vest. His desire for men isn’t something he can allow to surface, especially during this period. I understood why some stories left Collin torn. He could appreciate the lure of having another man in his bed. He wasn’t biased about newsworthy events, even when it shed light on his own true nature. Collin is a strong man of strong character and he didn’t back away from stories, no matter how gruesome. He truly just wanted to make a better life for those around him, and if it meant getting into the muck to discover the truth, so be it! We watch his life substantially change over a period of three days max. Luisa Prieto definitely knows how to spin a tale. Action, suspense and the beginning of a budding love connection are all included in this story. I found Written In Blood riveting and can only hope there will be more to follow on Collin and his new life.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Forbidden


Title: Forbidden
Author: Lila Dubois
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/
ISBN: 1-59578-300-8
Genre: BDSM, Ménage +more {f/m/m/m/m/m}
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Cyressa is the Priestess of the Land Between the Seas. For fifteen generations, there has not been a High King and the Temple has been at odds with the current King because of his acts of cruelty towards the population of the county.

Cyressa has five temple slaves, four that were captives. These men are her bodyguards and commanders of the Temple’s army. These five men are called Zinahs and Cyressa loves the Prima Zinah, Tamlohn.

The political climate is worsening and a rebel army is growing. The Zinahs and the Temple’s army try to save the people, only to have a supposed treaty thrown back in their faces at a cost that Cyressa doesn’t want to pay - the death of her beloved Prima.

Forbidden has a lot of intense scenes between Cyressa and the Zinahs. I recommend you keep ice handy as you read. Ms. Dubois has created an interesting society within the Temple that is separate from the general population and their lives. The love that Cyressa and Tamlohn have for each other is forbidden by the rules within the temple. As the rebellion grows, the ending of Forbidden is extremely emotional and you may end up crying from the ups and downs toward the last part of the book. I am looking forward to reading about the Zinahs in her next book.

Fortune’s Bride


Title: Fortune’s Bride
Author: Roberta Gellis
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921209
Genre: Historical Romance/Het
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Duty bound Robert Moreton is in love with his life in the military and has no desire to ever marry or have a family. During one of his tours of duty, he meets Esmeralda Talbot and dances with her at a Governor’s Ball. He rescues her from a forced to marriage to the headman’s son of the village she was living in and attempts to send her to England. But he finds that there is no way to do so and that leads to the only available option to avoid ruining her reputation; marriage.

Shipwrecked off the coast of Portugal, and alone without any money or her father, Esmeralda can’t believe her eyes when she sees Robert sitting on his horse in the village where she was living. She knows that he is her only way out and lets him know she is willing to do whatever it takes to leave quickly before the headman starts complaining about money again. She has been in love with Robert from the first time she saw him and now has the opportunity to be his wife. After she found out he had been wounded during a charge against the French, she responded by almost fainting, and then pulled herself together, to see to his wounds.

Fortune’s Bride is the fourth book in the Heiress series, and I really enjoyed being on the war campaign against France with the characters, experiencing what people go through in battle. There is so much emotion between Robert and Esmeralda; they don’t figure out what they really feel for each other until very late in the story. This leads them to make wrong decisions regarding what the other really wants, and each goes along with the choice because they think it will please the other.

This is an adventure for the both of them, and while Esmeralda is always looking for a way to avoid being sent away from him, Robert spends his time trying to convince himself that he has not fallen in love with her. All of the different places they stopped had an aura of danger of being overrun by the French soldiers most of the time. The relationship developed with the secondary characters enhanced this story even more for me. There is definitely a strong bond growing between Esmeralda and her servants. So much so, that she is willing to sacrifice her needs for their survival.

Ms. Gellis tells a story during the time when Bonaparte is consumed with becoming emperor of more than one country. I hope the last book in this series will find the wars ending and peace reining.

Found


Title: Found
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerepress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-747-3
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Billy’s intrigued by the dirty man with matted dreadlocks, gaunt face and haunted eyes he meets on the street. So much so that when the raggedly dressed man tries to bum a cigarette, Billy offers him a warm meal at a local diner, instead. He might not understand his attraction to the homeless stranger he’s just met but Billy also trusts his instincts, seeing the submissive he’s been looking for in Montana. Billy thinks Montana is the man for him, and Montana thinks Billy is crazy for opening up his life and home to a worthless addict living on the streets.

Despite the problems Montana brings to their new and fragile relationship, Billy’s determined to help the younger man work through his painful problems, so he can move forward. That means replacing the high he gets from using drugs with something else and Billy thinks he has just the thing. First, he has to get Montana back on his feet, emotionally and physically, before he can introduce him to the lifestyle he loves.

Unfortunately, no one but Billy believes Montana is redeemable, and that includes Montana himself. Convincing the deeply wounded man that he’s worthy of having a good life is just one of the nearly insurmountable hurdles the couple must overcome. Will the scars from Montana’s troubled past and the reality of Billy’s chosen lifestyle scare him away? Or will he open his battered heart to the offered love that could be his salvation?

Found is the fourth and newest release in Sean Michael’s intriguing A Hammer series. Like the others, the title of this tale of redemption and salvation is perfect…Billy Found Montana on the street. Mr. Michael has taken an everyday occurrence, flipped it on its head and stomped it into submission, turning it into a healing love story…with a little kink and lots of hot sex. His vivid descriptions of Montana’s fear and precarious emotional state and Billy’s supportive responses are just two examples of the author’s talent and ability.

Mr. Michael takes his time developing the relationship between these vastly dissimilar men. He gives them the opportunity needed to build a strong emotional attachment, a life together and a deep friendship; all while getting Montana off drugs, before Billy introduces him to the BDSM lifestyle he loves. Their feelings for each other build and grow throughout the first half of the book before their physical relationship begins and when it does, the lust, passion and desire almost explodes off the page. The Dom in Billy knows that the submissive, but emotionally wounded Montana, needs a sense of trust and safety before he can open his heart and mind to the world Billy embraces.

Billy’s a great character. He’s an affluent, talented, open-minded Dom capable of seeing past the rough surface to the shining interior potential and what he sees in Montana draws him like a moth to a flame. Montana, on the other hand, needs help and direction finding his potential. He’s been downtrodden for so many years that he can’t get past his painful history, low self-esteem, insecurity and feelings of worthlessness. He can’t understand why Billy, a kind-hearted, funny and sexy man would want to have anything to do with him. He’s a loser and always will be, and he’s scared of losing Billy and their life together.

As is usual, Mr. Michael has created a well-written, paced and plotted book filled with realistic, likable and believable characters in the form of Montana and Billy and it was great seeing a few of the men we met in previous releases, as supporting characters. I’m always anxious for the next book in this series and after reading Found, it isn’t any different. I want it and I want it now. Please.

Finn


Title: Finn
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.redrosepublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60435-369-3
Genre: Gay, Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Finn has been exiled to a world he knows nothing about; one that, with its abundance of pollution, could lead to his death. Unable to cope, he finds himself on a bridge but cannot seem to make himself jump.

Crossing the bridge on his way home, Diego sees a man ready to jump. Trying to help, he gets the man to come home with him. After seeing the man turn into an otter, Diego begins to wonder if the whole thing has just been a dream.

I loved this book. The characters are all strongly written and play a part in the story, which is a twist on the usual fairy story. Finn is a pooka, a mythical being from Irish folklore, who has been exiled to this side of the veil. Rather than having him know everything there is to know about this world, the author has done a great job of having him learn as he goes. There is a scene in which Finn, left alone at the apartment, has discovered glue. This was just one of many scenes that had me laughing aloud. Diego, a struggling author, is shown with a mixture of confidence and self-doubt. Strong in his desire to be a writer, he is not always able to stand up to those in his life.

While the men are drawn to each other almost from the beginning, the author lets their relationship build as they get to know each other. Once they do get together however, the sex is intense. With unexpected twists and turns, this story is sure to hold the interest of any fantasy fan.

A side note: Cover artists Missy Lyons deserves some kudos as well, as the cover for this book is gorgeous.

Double Shift


Title: Double Shift
Author: Hannah Beckham
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-178-7
Genre: Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Het Ménage
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Trinity Staten and her two lovers, Newton Price and Merlin Davitch, are still on the run from Trinity’s psycho father, Jessia. Dealing with Newton’s distance, Merlin’s experiments and her own hormonal imbalance add more stress to the situation than one pregnant woman should have to endure. Just when things start to fall into place, Trinity discovers new details surrounding her pregnancy and her body’s reaction to being away from her lovers. She refuses to allow anyone to cause more disruption in her unstable situation. They are trying to stay one step ahead of Jessia and his henchmen, but he’s always lurking in the shadows like a leopard on the hunt. Will Jessia become the victor or can they possibly gain the peace they all deserve?

Double Shift is Hannah Beckham’s third installment in the Shift Work series. Trinity’s roles as lover, mother and future ruler have mellowed her enough to understand what’s important while she comes into her powers. Her family’s safety and wellbeing are Trinity’s top priority. There were a few surprises that I didn’t see coming in this episode and I’ll admit I had to read those portions twice. Ms. Beckham knows how to keep you off balance. Moreover, while the ending was as I anticipated, those scenes added just enough spice to make this book anything but predictable. This fast-pace story mixes action, suspense, and erotic play that’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.