Saturday, November 21, 2009

Personal Demons


Title: Personal Demons
Author: James Buchanan
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60820-063-4
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Mystery
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Five years after he was shot, FBI Agent Chase Nozick, is still hunting the dangerous thug who severely wounded him and killed his partner. Chase travels cross country to California where he’s dropped in the middle of a Special Task in LA and partnered with a LAPD officer he’s never met. He soon finds himself confronting mysterious religious practices out of his experience with a new partner, who’s a believer.

Despite their mutual attraction, both men are in the closet and must take care to not expose their sexual orientation to the officers they work with. Chase has more than just a killer to find. He must learn to deal with the pain from the past that’s ruining his life and decide if he and Enrique have any hope of continuing their relationship, once the case is over.

Personal Demons is the newest release by multi-published author James Buchanan. This one deals with several subjects I’m totally unfamilar with; the Santeria religion, mysterious worship services, possession, human sacrifice and strange deities. I truthfully expected the aforementioned portions of the plot to be distracting but in actuality, the author did a nice job integrating them smoothly into the story. What I did find disrupting to the flow was the vast number of non-English words within its pages.

I applaud the author for utilizing such unusual components in the development of this unique and intriguing mystery. Add in two interesting characters, in the form of Enrique and Chase, and you have all the things needed for a winning mystery. I love Chase’s ‘doubting thomas’ attitude, but I appreciated it more that he was willing to give the odd events going on around him a chance; that he didn’t make fun of his new partner or his beliefs just because he didn’t understand them. Enrique is the most unusual of the two and he’s an upbeat, happy guy, doing a dirty, nasty job. He’s also doesn’t seem to care that the people around him…the officers he works with know he’s gay. No, his big secret is his out of the mainstream deeply-felt religious beliefs and practices.

Chase is dedicated to bringing his dead partner’s killer to justice, but he’s become a lonely, depressed drunk while doing it. Having Enrirque come into his life is the only good thing he has going for him. Despite how close the two men become, neither ever says the L word, yet both acknowledges their mutual commitment to making their relationship work long distance. And did I forget to mention the blistering hot sex? I think I did. Good reading.

The Strongest Shape


Title: The Strongest Shape
Author: Tessa Cárdena
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-236-3
Genre: {M/M}, {M/M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Caleb thought that he would be building a new life in L.A. with his actor boyfriend; only things don’t quite turn out that way. After getting drunk and falling asleep on some stranger's couch, Caleb meets the men who is going to change his life in more ways than one.

Scott and Chris have been on-again and off-again for years. That the two love each other is well known by both their family and friends so when Caleb starts spending too much time with the guys, everyone begins to worry about what’s going on and who will end up getting hurt.

The Strongest Shape is the first book of author Tessa Cárdena’s that I have read and I am sure it will not be my last. Her characters are highly entertaining and totally different from each other in personality, yet add just what is needed to make this threesome a strong committed partnership. The insecurities that Caleb must deal with as a result of an unexpected break up, as well as the feelings he is starting to have for Scott and Chris, are clear for the reader to see and understand. It is also evident that Scott and Chris are deeply devoted to each other and don’t take the addition of Caleb into their relationship lightly. The author also does an amazing job expressing the feelings of those around the men once they find out that they are now a threesome. Whether it is acceptance or disapproval, the emotions come across believable. From beginning to end, this was one story that I enjoyed and would highly recommend.

Undercovers


Title: Undercovers
Author: Nadia Aidan
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-1-907280-33-7
Genre: {M/F} Seasonal/Vampire/Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph

Detective Jasmeene LeCourt had been chosen to pose as a stripper to catch a murderer. With her skills, stunning looks and half human blood, she is perfect for this job. Though she is ready for the assignment, Jasmeene wasn’t so comfortable with the handsome vampire she is forced to work with. He is exactly the kind of man who gets under her skin, in more ways than one.

As a player, Roarke Dimitru has no time for women on a long term basis but something about Jasmeene is drawing him in deeper than he cares to admit. Once this case was over, Roarke figured he would sleep with her and get her out of his system. However, as the dangerous case intensifies, so does the undeniable attraction between them.

The past plays a big part in Jasmeene and Roarke’s relationship, even though neither of them realized this at first. Both had experienced heartbreak and been changed because of it. At certain points, I perceived Roarke’s actions as cold and aloof. Then I peeked into his heart and I understood his reasons. Jasmeene has more spirit than Roarke expected and I enjoyed watching her shock him every so often. The suspense and the sexual tension will definitely grab the readers. Nadia Aidan did a wonderful job in Undercovers, so I’m definitely going to read the other stories in this anthology, Caught In The Middle.

The Misfits


Title: The Misfits
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-469-5
Genre: {M/F/M} Contemporary Shape-shifter/Vampire Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Holly feels she’s a disappointment to her family. Her magic doesn’t work right, she can’t fly straight, and everyone in the Fae world makes fun of her. She can’t even get a job because she’s such a klutz. All she wants is to enjoy life, but knows that’s not going to happen in her restrictive world. Holly definitely doesn’t want to marry Bern, the jerk, and doesn’t care that he’s a prince. She wants out of Fae and needs to find a way through a portal to the human world.

Dominic hasn’t seen his family since the death of his twin. He’s alone and friendless until he rescues an emotionally and physically wounded werewolf, Jay, who changes his life. The two become inseparable lovers, and despite the differences between were and vampire, they make a life together.

What the men want more than anything else is to find a woman to love them both and make them into a committed threesome. When they met Holly, Dominic and Jay know they’ve found the woman meant for them. Before their new relationship can develop further, Holly’s forced back to Fae, and the men are in a fight for their survival. If the lovers can’t figure out what’s going on, and who’s behind it, they could all end up dead.

The Misfits is the fourth release in Ms. Elsborg’s Trueblood series and I hope it won’t be her last. While it might be helpful to read the books in order, The Misfits can stand alone without the benefit of the others.

As with all the books in this intriguing series, she’s created three likable characters that fit together seamlessly, even if at times the edges get a little ragged. Dominic and Jay are great together and adding Holly to the mix works well. All three have either personal or family issues to resolve before they can make it as a threesome and at times, it doesn’t look like it will ever work out. In fact, there are huge portions of the plot where Holly is on her own…dealing with her own problems. I would have liked to see more togetherness of Dominic, Jay and Holly and fewer scenes from the viewpoint of the various ‘bad guys’ involved in the plot.

There’s a nice integration of characters, good flow, and the sex is blistering hot. This is the first release in the series that brought Fae into the plot, and I liked this arc twist. Ms. Elsborg did a great job with Holly. She was a klutz, yet determined to succeed and to take control of her life and the same goes for Jay. He went from damaged and unsure of himself to fighting for what was right. I look forward to the next release.

The Hired Man


Title: The Hired Man
Author: Jan Irving
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-071-0
Genre: {M/M} Historical
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Bryn Morgan’s short life has been anything but peaceful. Moving from an abusive family life to the terror of prison was hard for the young man to undergo. Now, Bryn has returned to his hometown, seeking work among people who see him as little more than trash. His options look bleak, until he turns to the one man who always seemed to make him see a brighter side of life, Reverend Ian Kenyon.

Ian’s existence hasn’t been as shaky as Bryn’s, but he is battling his own hurts and loss. With the death of his wife and newborn son came a decrease in Ian’s faith. He has lived in darkness for so long, but hiring Bryn will change that for Ian. The men will learn to live, love and trust again. Over time, they will learn the meaning of the words forgiveness and friendship.

Moving past hurt, regardless of the caliber, can be a hard road to travel. Jan Irving’s The Hired Man takes us such a journey. Bryn has endured physical and emotional pain that has crippled his ability to see the good he possesses. Ian has emotional scars hindering him from finding joy. I love the slow build of their friendship, attraction and finally loving relationship. While there is plenty going on to keep the story moving, I never felt rushed to see them finally give in to their desires. Ms. Irving delivers yet another riveting story filled will brilliantly written characters, a strong plot and a breathtaking setting. Pick up a copy - you won’t be disappointed.

Her Dark Master


Title: Her Dark Master
Author: Jennifer August
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Publisher URL: http://eredsage.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60310- 358-9
Genre: {M/F} Historical, BDSM
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Lady Victoria Ashford decides to write for an underground sex paper after she finds and reads her brother’s copies. She ends up being blackmailed about her writing. She is also in love with her brother’s friend, Matthew Corwin, but her mother is being blackmailed by a Colonel and is insisting Victoria wed him.

Matthew is a known rake; when Victoria overhears him make arrangements to try a new girl at a bordello he frequents, she makes arrangements to take the girl’s place. To keep her identity hidden, she makes Matthew promise he will not remove her mask. Needless to say, Matthew is not happy when he later learns her identity.

Her Dark Master is a love story about what happens between two people when one doesn’t realize that they do love the other person. This story is filled with several twists and situations that get out of hand when Victoria tries to handle them herself. She is determined to live life on her own terms, as much as possible, within the society of Regency England. The scenes with Victoria and Matthew will have you going for ice cubes. I will be reading this one again even though I rarely read historical romances.

Cutting Cords


Title: Cutting Cords
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-092-5
Genre: {M/M}, {M/F}, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Sloan’s father has finally reached the point where he no longer knows how to handle his son’s problems. Hoping a new start in a new city will be what Sloan needs, he sends him off to live in New York with the son of an old teammate.

Cole has enough problems of his own and the last thing he wants is a roommate. Already presented with the done deal, Cole has no choice but to open his door to Sloan. But that’s all he’s doing.

After reading several of Mickie B. Ashling’s books, it is quite apparent that this author has no problem inserting tough social problems into the core of her stories. While previous stories have handled issues like bigotry and hate crimes, Cutting Cords deals with issues that are more personal in nature.

Unable to cope with the death of his mother or living in the shadow of his younger brother, Sloan has turned to prescription drugs, as well as cutting. The pain and suffering Sloan goes through while trying to deal with his problems is so realistically portrayed that it is sure to pull at the heartstrings of many readers. Cole’s problems are no less tragic as he has to come to terms with his approaching blindness but also overwhelming family obligations.

Cutting Cords is, by no means, an easy read. Both Sloan and Cole have serious issues to cope with and are unwilling to share their secrets with anyone, for fear of being ridiculed. While it is easy for the reader to see that these two need each other, it is not that easy for the characters and therefore a battle of wills always ensues. However, as these two come to terms with their problems and learn to trust themselves and each other, they soon learn that the love they have is one worth fighting for.

Private Property


Title: Private Property
Author: Audra Beagle and Chloe West
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerepress.com
ISBN: 978-1-60370-786-2
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Sam Kostas has had writer’s block for nearly a year. He just can’t get anything on the page that makes any sense. Deciding a change of scenery might help, he buys a large Victorian home in a small coastal town in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, moving doesn’t help; he still can’t write and he has a deadline looming. Then one day everything changes when a small but determined man, Will Adler, shows up on his porch claiming the house belongs to him. The strange and unexplainable thing that makes Sam crazy is that as soon as Will comes into his life, he can write again. A scream fest, mud bath and sprained ankle later and Sam can’t stop thinking about the annoyingly crazy bakery owner. Does he like Will? No. Can he stop thinking about Will? No. Does he love Will? Maybe. The question is whether the house will draw them together or drive them apart.

Private Property is another fun and fast-paced story by talented writing duo Beagle and West. I love Will. He’s quirky, sweet, determined to get what he wants, a little annoying and a great baker with a big heart. Sam’s closed off, reclusive, a little mean-spirited and so sarcastic, his words could flay the flesh from Will’s bones. These two guys come from vastly different places in life that on the surface it’s difficult to believe the authors can ever get together. Yet, they do and realistically. Both men deny through most of the book that they’re gay; yet long before Will and Sam acknowledge their feelings, it’s obvious to Sam’s friend, Grant, who tries to push them together.

There are a few inconsistencies in the story that I had problems with. The first being that both men were inexperienced with gay sex, yet when they finally got around to physical intimacy, it went off with a bang (no pun intended), and without a hint of apprehension. The other thing that bothered me was Sam’s attitude. He was young, yet he often acted far older than his age, even elderly in his aversion to anything technology-related. For a writer who needed to get his words down on the page…and do research, this portion of his personality didn’t make sense.

Even so, the story is a quick and enjoyable read.

Blood Curse


Title: Blood Curse
Author: Mychael Black
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-313-2
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Greek vampire Julian Kristados’ world revolves around the happiness and wellbeing of his lover, Jason Summerfield. When a stalker becomes consumed with Jason, Julian wants to know who they are and how to stop them. Jason knows if anyone can protect him, it’s Julian but with a mad man out for blood, Julian may not be able to keep the evil away.

Blood Curse is the second story in Mychael Black’s Blood & Fire series. Jason and Julian have used their time wisely. Their connection is stronger and their desire to remain a couple is evident. Jason’s thoughts on their plans for the future didn’t surprise me. Their passion produced thoughts of scorched satin sheets, melted chocolate and eternity. Mr. Black adds suspense and our first glimpse of a budding attraction to this installment, which kept the story moving along at a steady pace. For those who enjoy musicians and Greek vampires, pick up a copy and enjoy.

Love’s Alchemy


Title: Love’s Alchemy
Author: Ciar Cullen
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504- 690-7
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Sidra is the reincarnation of Isaac Newton, who had created a stone that gives life to dead people. At Newton’s death, his children thought he had cursed them to die after several hundred years.

Van and two of his brothers have been looking for the Alchemist to try to reverse the curse. After meeting Sidra, Van is not sure she is the one, though events soon make it clear she is.

The heartache and insecurity of the characters in Love’s Alchemy will resonate with all who read this book. The author pulls you into the story with the emotional ups and downs as Van and Sidra try to come to grips with their attraction to each other. This book will require tissues to be available while reading some of the exchanges between Van and Sidra. The story pulls you back and forth between Newton and Sidra as well as some of the other siblings. Sometimes the back and forth between Sidra and Newton seemed to jar the story for me because it would jump without any kind of warning. While the premise of this story is good, I sometimes felt lost as I read it and I could not really get a grasp of the characters.

Shades of Gray




Title: Shades of Gray
Author: Brooke McKinley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-080-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

The line between a decision that leads to a life of fortune and an existence riddled with adversity isn’t black and white but painted brilliant Shades of Gray. To FBI Agent Miller Sutton, there is no such gray area, or that was his view until he met Danny Butler.

Miller sees the criminal as no more than a means to an end. Putting Danny in danger to capture drug lord Roberto Hinestroza is the only thing he deems as important. However, over the course of a few weeks, the two men will learn truths about themselves, change their perceptions about what is important in life and finally, learn the power of love.

Shades of Gray is a brilliantly written story by Brooke McKinley. With a solidly developed storyline and a fantastic cast of characters, this tale will take over your senses. I couldn’t decide which of the main characters I liked the most. Both men had a great deal of self-discovery during the story. I think Danny beat Miller out by a smidgen because after I read about his past and everything he endured. The emotional depth of the characters left me spellbound during portions of this story. Brooke has a way of writing the characters emotions explicitly, leaving me no choice but to feel the grief and happiness as if it were my own. Shades of Gray has messages on acceptance, forgiveness and the importance of personal growth throughout the story. There is a healthy dose of action, suspense and a few sensual scenes filled with enough heat to fog up your windows. Between the handsome agent, crazy hit man and misunderstood criminal, I was on the edge of my seat while reading this book. I recommend Shades of Gray to those who enjoy the genre.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Velvet Blade


Title: Velvet Blade
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Books
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-844-9
Genre: {M/M} Futuristic Drama
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Gideon Blueplum is a successful businessman and through years of hard work has accumulated all the wealth he could ever want. Needing a break from his normal life, this experienced Dom decides to spend a year at the Velvet Glove, living in one of their luxury apartments, and enjoying all the social/sexual amenities the exclusive club has to offer.

While waiting for paperwork and admission into the club’s inner sanctum, Gideon meets Tybalt, the shy and endearing young man who will change his life. Gideon is certain he’s found his heart’s desire…the sub he’s been looking for. He sweeps the beautiful young man off his feet, carrying him into a life of love, tenderness, his personal kink and more luxury than he can imagine.

What Gideon doesn’t know is that his lover, his beloved Tybalt, is the last remaining member of the ruling clan from Tybalt’s home planet, or that the young man’s life is in danger. When the past comes calling, the lives of Tybalt, Gideon and everyone else at The Velvet Glove is endangered. The question is who is live and who will die.

Velvet Blade is another well-written and plotted look at the intriguing men who live, work and play in the best BDSM club in the galaxy, The Velvet Glove. This latest release introduces two new members to the Glove family, Gideon and sweet Tybalt, two dissimilar men you’re guaranteed to like.

As always, there’s lots of blistering hot sex and the BDSM lifestyle is at the forefront of the newest tale by talented author Sean Michael. He’s created interesting men who give each other exactly what the other needs, with a kink they both love. It also paints a vivid picture of what happens when a dangerous past, thought long put to rest, comes back more violent than ever. While I enjoyed the entire story, the portion that deals with the attack on The Velvet Glove, the injury of its inhabitants and the aftermath are where Mr. Michael excelled. The descriptions are powerful, the emotions intense, and the love and support of those involved…perfect. I, for one, am anxious to see where he goes with the next release in The Velvet Glove world. Don’t make us wait too long, Mr. Michael.

Lionsbane


Title: Lionsbane
Author: Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-315-6
Genre: {M/F} Futuristic, Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Jayla shut down her need for love the day her family was murdered. In the eight years since the event, Jayla has grown as a woman. Strong, determined and fearless, she is ready to face anything, including those she believes is responsible for the massacre.

Kane believes he is accountable for the pain Jayla has endured. Unable to protect her and her family that fateful day, Kane has made it his mission to become her protector. Over the years, he has watched Jayla become a confident woman. When their roles reverse, Kane discovers just how resourceful Jayla is and in return, Jayla discovers love once again.

Jayla’s plight in Lionsbane isn’t unfamiliar but the delivery is purely a Marteeka Karland original. She continues the Frozen Earth series with a young woman trying to relearn the meaning of trust and love and a man who feels guilty over a past wrong that was solely out of his hands. Kane is the kind of hero that never gets old to an avid reader. Loving, protective and passionate are just a few of his qualities. Jayla knew it was time to break out of her shell and take a hold of her life. I loved her sheer determination to emerge from her protective shield as a woman in ever since of the word. This eloquently written story draws you into the couple’s world and I can only hope Ms. Karland has more in store for the Frozen Earth series.

Cowboy Blues


Title: Cowboy Blues
Author: Jamie Craig
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60272-593-5
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary/Western
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph


Bull riding is the one thing that Spencer Cole lives for and he is damned good at it. Carving a name for himself in the rodeo circuit hadn’t been easy, but it had certainly been worth it. One bad ride brings Spencer face to face with the harsh possibility of never riding again. Now he is forced to accept assistance from the one woman who gives him the same rush he gets from bull riding. Yes, he wants to be in her bed but not as a patient.

Working as a photographer for her father, Rebecca Rankin has always longed to move on to bigger and better things. Covering the rodeo and spending time with her sexy cowboy, Spencer, was what got her through her small town life. This year their relationship changes when Rebecca nurses Spencer back to health, mentally and physically. Now it’s up to her to convince Spencer that life changes might not be as bad as he thinks.

Jamie Craig is a master at painting a vivid picture of the evolution of a couple’s relationship, and I enjoyed watching the story unfold in Cowboy Blues. Rebecca and Spencer bring the heat, starting from the first moment they meet. Their card game was one of my favorite scenes. I also appreciated the stroll down memory lane to the times before Rebecca and Spencer could actually be considered friends because I saw how they grew as individuals and felt how much impact they would have on the other. It was sweet watching them discover new things about the other, outside the bedroom. Spencer’s tragic accident left me feeling badly not just for him, but also for Rebecca. The reality of taking care of someone isn’t always romantic, but she took it in stride, which made for some mighty erotic moments. If you love new beginnings and hot cowboys, then there is no way you can skip this impressive story.

Her Every Fantasy


Title: Her Every Fantasy
Author: Stephanie Morris
Publisher: Amira Press
Publisher URL: http://www.amirapress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-935348-66-5
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Interracial
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Kayla Smith is the oldest of the Smith triplets and a woman who likes control. She’s watched her two sisters find love and Kayla’s ready to have a man of her own. The most likely candidate for the job is widower James Feldon.

James is still healing from the damage done by his deceased wife. His primary goals center on his children and father. James is just as attracted to Kayla but needed some pint-size intervention to take his blinders off completely. James notices things in Kayla that increase his love and respect in the beautiful woman. Kayla respects what a strong capable father James is and how he puts his family first. Has Kayla finally found that perfect mate?

Her Every Fantasy is the last story of the Smith Sisters Trilogy. I have to admit, this was my favorite of the three. Kayla looked at James, complete with four children, and decided to accept the entire package and take love as it came. I loved her determination and ability to allow his children in her heart without a second glance. Children are such a precious gift and this story illustrates that so well. James is a fantastic father, thanks to his ability to cater to his children’s needs and deep devotion to their happiness. The romance between the two was spontaneous and filled with wonder. The first date had me smiling and applauding the man for thinking outside of the box. Stephanie Morris has created a wonderful interracial romance that I’m sure will bring smiles, tears, and laughter to those fortunate enough to read it. Buy a copy and enjoy!

All Jacked Up




Title: All Jacked Up
Author: Lorelei James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: samhainpublishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-60504-684-6
Genre: [M/F] Contemporary Western
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Keely McKay wants to open her own physical therapy rehabilitation clinic in town and she wants to get started without any help or interference from her large, overbearing family. That mean keeping a secret and while difficult, it’s not impossible. The problem staring her in the face is one she didn’t anticipate. She needs a certified historical restoration expert to oversee the project and the only person available turns out to be Jack, her brother’s friend but her worst nightmare.

Jack loves restoring great old buildings…saving architectural gems from the wrecking ball. He’s striving to rebuild his business after a nasty partnership break-up and he believes a certain potential project is just what he needs to get back on top. When he realizes his single status is causing him problems with the selection committee, he comes up with the scheme of a fake engagement. The deal is that if Keely with pose as his fiancé, he’ll manage her restoration. It seems like a win-win plan for them both; a few weeks of pretending and then its back to their old lives apart. These two might be advisories most of the time, but in the bedroom they’re hot. If they’re not careful, by the end of their charade instead of being happy together, they might wind up miserable apart.

All Jacked Up is the eighth release in Lorelei James’ Rough Rider Western romance series. It’s not imperative that the books be read in order, but it would give the reader a greater understanding of the complexity and depth of the relationships of the various characters, both old and new.

Ms. James has once again given her readers a story of family, love, commitment and dedication but this time our heroine is the lone McKay female, wild child Keely, and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I’m thrilled, since I’ve been hoping for a book revolving around this spunky young woman for some time. Take it from me, the wait was worth it.

Keely has changed and matured a great deal since her introduction in the series and seeing her plan and execute the future she’d worked hard for is a pleasure. She’s finally grown into a woman striving to find her place in a family filled with overbearing Alpha males, and it isn’t easy, but she managed through grit and determination. It isn’t any easier trying to have a personal life and when she gets involved with Jack, her brothers are none too happy. The premise of a fake engagement might not be a new concept, but Ms. James handled it with skill and flair. The characters of Keely and Jack are rich and nicely developed, the plot fast moving, the sex blistering hot and the situations well thought out and realistic. And the dialogue is great…and so funny it had me laughing out loud.

I can safely say that All Jacked Up is now my new favorite in a series filled with keeper books. Read and enjoy…again and again. I will.

The Summer Gardener


Title: The Summer Gardener
Author: Jan Irving
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-229-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Alejandro Moreno is young but he’s not one to forget his responsibilities. With the death of his father, Alejo takes up the reigns as the provider and protector of his family.

Fane is a fairy who has his own responsibilities, one of which is the garden Alejo maintains. While he is lonely, Fane won’t take substandard company. He needs a person of a certain caliber and Alejo more than fits that bill, even if he is human.

Jan Irving’s The Summer Gardener is a superbly written story encompassing a fairy’s garden and the handsome young human charged to care for it. The couple’s dynamics builds from bantering to a relationship built on a strong foundation of love and trust. The kindness housed in Alejo’s strong body is what first draws Fane to him, and me to this story. Alejo’s selflessness and determination makes him a character you won’t soon forget.

Ms. Irving adds some light humor and passionate moments that are sure to keep you spellbound. The supporting cast appearances add just the right amount of laughter and tension to keep the story flowing and interesting. The Summer Gardener was a pleasure to read and I recommend it to those who have a fetish for prickly faeries.