Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'll Be Home for Christmas


Title: I'll Be Home for Christmas
Author: Adrianna Dane
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-470-1
Genre: {M/M} Multicultural Contemporary Western
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Growing up as an orphaned half-Indian in a small town, Destrie Two Rivers knew his options were limited. Falling for a rich rancher’s son didn’t help his cause. There was something about Benedict Webster that called to Destrie. Unfortunately, it was that attraction that led to his worst nightmares. Even after years of separation from Benedict, the torch burns bright. Are they destined to live separate lives?

Adrianna Dane’s I'll Be Home for Christmas takes us to a remote location where your family name is everything and can be the difference between status and respect or being banned from a much needed job. I liked Destrie’s character from the start. He took the pain that he was dealt and instead of allowing it to beat him down, he stood proud and strong. His determination to move on with life makes him so much more appealing. Benedict’s wealth didn’t make up for what was missing in his life. You could only respect his character. Instead of focusing on his own happiness, he dedicated his life to the well being of others.

I'll Be Home for Christmas has a plot you don’t see coming, and it adds a nice dose of suspense to this story. I loved the setting. The wooded area’s isolation and quiet calm added a nice element. It gives you a chance to enjoy nature, while having uninterrupted time with the characters. To watch the area alter from a location of despair to a sanctuary for happiness was an added bonus. I'll Be Home for Christmas is a wonderful holiday story filled with messages on love, hope, survival and forgiveness.

Bound to Please


Title: Bound to Please
Author: Kimberly Gardner
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60820-045-0
Genre: {M/M}, {M/M/M}, BDSM
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Benny has wanted his boss, Jason since his first interview; unfortunately, he knows there’s no way the big bad Dom would want someone like him. When porn star/model Rain shows up, Benny is surprised by the feelings the young man provokes. Who is it he really wants? Or is it possible he could have both?

Author Kimberly Gardener pulled me into her latest release, Bound to Please, from the very first page. I loved the main characters, each of whom is totally different from the other, yet brings something into the relationship that completes the others. Jason is a Dom; one who is so popular, he could have any sub he wanted. Benny is Jason’s assistant and has been in love with the man almost from day one. Rain is the bad boy who craves both men but is afraid to hope he even stands a chance.

When the story starts and the main characters are introduced, it was easy to see how Benny felt, as if his emotions were out there for all to see. The other two are a little harder to pin down as Jason is unable to see what it is he really needs in his life and Rain hides his true self behind the veneer of a cocky, self-assured porn star. Many times I wondered just how these three would be able to make a relationship work, or if someone would end up stepping aside so that the others would be happy. As the men battle outside influences and self-doubt, the readers will be pulled into a story that is sure to become a keeper. While the story does center around the BDSM world, and some scenes do appear in the story, the content is not so heavily played that it may be difficult for some readers. In fact, if you have been wanting to read a book with a BDSM theme and have not been sure where to start, Bound to Please would make a great introduction for the reader.

Diamond Lust


Title: Diamond Lust
Author: Madelle Morgan
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419923517
Genre: {M/F} Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Petra Paris is a geologist, who is on a secret mission for the board of a company she works for, with the intent of clear her father’s name of fraud. Along the way, she makes a few mistakes by taking other employees into her confidence in finding the culprit and Seth is determined to save her from being in danger. Petra unwillingly develops more feelings for him that she would like, especially after her mother’s bitter teachings of not trusting men.

Seth is an undercover cop for the RCMP Diamond Protection Unit and works as a pilot. What he needs to do is get out to the mine where the stealing is being done, and it the only way he can find out how the smugglers are moving the diamonds. What he does while flying Petra out to the mine is convince her into saying he is her boyfriend, and he proceeds to make people believe it’s really true. He finds out as the hours of the day progress that she is a headstrong woman, who he is attracted to, and he has to keep a close eye on Petra.

Diamond Lust is a fantastic story that kept me on edge throughout the entire book, trying to figure out whodunit. Each time Ms. Morgan started getting close to who the villains are, she turned another corner and sparked my interest even more. It made me appreciate the amount of work it takes to change rough diamonds into the sparkling gems seen in the stores, giving me the utmost respect for the miners. I found the hero and heroine quite entertaining with their stubborn determination to avoid a relationship, and when they finally faced the truth of what was going on in their lives, the story got even better for me.

I must say that this is the first book I have read by this author, and I am really pleased with her storytelling of diamonds, murder, and a blossoming love affair. Even with the small amount of history given on the characters, this is a great story. I will be keeping an eye out for more from this author.

A Matter of Time III


Title: A Matter of Time III
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Club Lighthouse Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.clublighthousepublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-897532-83-6
Genre: {M/M} Murder-Mystery
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

No one can question Jory Keyes feelings for his lover, Detective Sam Kage. After Jory’s abduction, he sustains injuries while protecting his lover. However, Jory has no idea the worst pain is yet to come. Sam decides he has to leave to protect his career and Jory. After three years of separation, will Jory decide to give love one more chance?

Clearly, I’m starting to think Jory has a kick me sign hanging on his back, suspended for all the world’s prized jerks to see. He seems to have the worst luck with men and Sam always strives to be the cherry on top. Sam reminded me of a hound dog on the scent of a fox. Regardless of what he did, or how far he went, Sam always refused to give up on claiming Jory as his own. Jory, on the other hand, knew that Sam would one day break his spirit to the point of no return. Even with that knowledge, he didn’t have the strength to put the iron bars on the doors.

Mixed in with a twisted relationship that would make Lucifer proud of the complexity, we see wonderful things happen to some of my favorite characters. Mary Calmes has brought us yet another story sure to have you talking to her characters and screaming for Jory to run towards the light. If you enjoyed the first two stories in this series, hold on to your hat for a bumpy ride! Action, suspense, and a fair amount of drama await your reading pleasure in A Matter of Time III.

King of Damon's


Title: King of Damon's
Author: Sophia Titheniel
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-272-2
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Elves
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Alyan is awakened by his lover, Damon, who is excited about the celebration for Summer Solstice, an elf tradition. However, the club’s version is a week long striptease contest to see who will be the King of Damon’s.

King of Damon's is the fourth book in the Damon's series. Thomas enters the contest with no other ambition than to seduce as many of the other contestants as he can. Thomas is an egotistical player; he is proud of his one night stand conquests and his variety of bed partners. However his favorite entertainment comes to an unexpected standstill when he's faced with his first rejection. Euriel is noticeably indifferent and for Thomas, this becomes a challenge. Euriel recognizes Thomas has a player’s personality and avoids conversation, other than to issue warnings for Thomas to stay away. Euriel desires a loving, as well as lasting, relationship. Although he does his best to conceal it, Euriel is not immune to the sexy Thomas. After watching Euriel’s erotic striptease on stage, Thomas realizes for the first time in his life, he wishes for more than one night with the gorgeous Euriel. The talented Sophia Titheniel has created another well written episode with engaging characters and very sensual love scenes. This is a fantastic series that I enjoy immensely.

Fallon’s Flame


Title: Fallon’s Flame
Author: Marie Harte
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-524-1
Genre: [M/F] Paranormal Shape-shifter Ménage and more
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Like the original Circes, the members of Dawn Endeavor were genetically manipulated by scientists working for the government. Whereas the first group served in the Marines, this second generation group are trained Navy Seals. Like their earlier counterparts, all four men, Fallon, Jules, Tersch and Hayashi, can change into large, hulking beasts capable of reaping death and destruction on the enemies of the United States. The difference with these four men is that they all have a different psychic gift.

An unexpected change in the leadership of their little group initially leaves them feeling uneasy, but a new assignment forces them to focus on the upcoming mission. It also brings them in contact with Olivia Lynn, the group’s new interpreter. The sexy new female team member turns the head of all the men, including Jesse Fallon. Everything about Olivia drives him and his beast crazy with desire, but bad past relationship experiences initially make Olivia reluctant to get involved with Jesse. He doesn’t understand how a human female can satisfy the needs of his Circe beast but she does and he can’t get enough of her. While in the Brazilian jungle, on a mission gone terribly wrong, Fallon must discover Olivia’s secrets to save not only her life, but his as well.

Fallon’s Flame is the first release in Marie Hart’s newest series, Dawn Endeavor, the sequel to the popular Circe’s Recruits. There’s enough information nicely placed within the story, detailing the past of the two groups, and Circes in general, that there isn’t a problem if you haven’t read the original Circe series.

I never know what to expect from a spin-off series. Will it be worse, the same or better in quality than the original? I mean, do you avoid the second series or take a chance and risk being disappointed? If Fallon’s Flame is any indication of the other books in Dawn Endeavor, I needn’t have worried. Ms. Harte has once again created a thoughtful, well-written story that rolls along at a fast pace, from beginning to end. Her characters are all interesting, and with such different personalities and temperaments, that it’s a wonder they get along at all, but she’s worked them into a cohesive unit and did it with flair, creativity and a deep abiding friendship that can’t be broken.

I enjoyed the book and the manner in which the author got Jesse and Olivia together. Her being a Circe wasn’t a big surprise, even if she didn’t know it. I mean, the mating urges for a Circe is the same, no matter what the series, and Olivia had to change forms in order for the established premise to work. The manner in which it first occurred wasn’t what I expected, but it worked nicely, and fit the context of the storyline perfectly, while drawing Olivia further in the world Jesse inhabited. No matter what the form, Jesse and Olivia are sizzling hot and filled with passion.

The secondary characters in Fallon’s Flame are great, and I can safely say, that aside from their new boss, Mrs. Sharp, I liked them all. I’m especially intrigued with Hayashi, the quietest member of the team, and I look forward to learning more about him in Hayashi’s Hero with its anticipated release in May 2010.

Redemption


Title: Redemption
Author: Remmy Duchene
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-479-4
Genre: {M/M} Multicultural Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Keegan MacLamore has spent twenty-five years serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. He returns to his hometown with a realistic view of how he is perceived by the townspeople. Fortunately, his best friend, Jaxon Lesley, believes in his innocence.

Jaxon arrives at Keegan’s ranch to fulfill a promise. The moment he set eyes on the sexy rancher, Jaxon knew he was in trouble. His old attraction for Keegan has come back full force. However, the secret he has kept all these years could stop the romance before it has begun.

Can Keegan find it in his heart to forgive Jaxon?

Redemption is a story about second chances at love and life. The townspeople's cynical feelings toward Keegan MacLamore had little to do with his actual misconduct in the beginning. The negativity was destined to haunt him and destroy his young life. I felt sorry for Keegan at that moment. No matter what he did, he was labeled a troublemaker. Jaxon didn’t have a real family to rely on for guidance. It was hard to dislike him when you saw his dedication to Keegan and his desire to make amends. This story reminded me of what I sometimes dislike about small towns. There’s nothing like being the delegated whipping boy. The stress and unfairness of the situation can be enough to make anyone become a rebel.


The setting for this story isolates the characters, allowing readers an opportunity to focus on their attraction and budding relationship. Redemption moves at a moderate pace, and includes some scenes between Keegan and Jaxon that are anything but slow and relaxed. The characters grabbed my attention and I could see their internal battles being warred. Redemption is my first opportunity to read a book written by Remmy Duchene and I’m looking forward to reading more of his tales in the near future.

Tryst


Title: Tryst
Author: Stone Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-484-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Shane Connors meets with his client for final instructions before his flight to London. Shane has been hired to investigate Don Witte, a millionaire businessman and CEO of Witte Manufacturing. After checking into his hotel, Shane goes to work on collecting any information he can gather. However, nothing in his experience has prepared Shane for the immediate mutual attraction he encounters when Don catches Shane attempting to sneak into the executive offices.

Tryst is a pleasant tale of two men, from different backgrounds, coming together for a romantic fling. Shane is a believable character, a cop for five years, now a barely solvent Private Investigator from New York. He’s spent the last six years keeping tabs on wayward employees and cheating husbands, so investigating a CEO is a challenge Shane cannot resist. Investigation is his priority; his private life consists of no more than brief sexual affairs. Don is known as a wealthy cutthroat businessman, who is accustomed to others following his directives. Don is very intelligent; he immediately recognizes the instant attraction they have and moves quickly to seduce Shane for an unforgettable week. However, the applied term “Don giggled”, located throughout the story, creates an image of a teenage female rather than that of an adult male, in addition to diminishing the realism of Don’s male character. The dialog simply did not match the storyline’s depiction of a male/male liaison in my view. Overall, Tryst is an appealing and enjoyable story.

Heart and Soul


Title: Heart and Soul
Author: Evangeline Anderson
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-532-6
Genre: [M/M] 80’s contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

It’s been two years since an undercover assignment at the RamJack, a notorious gay resort, changed Detectives Nick Valenti and Sean O’Brian from best friends and partners to devoted lovers. Now Sean wants to accept another risky assignment, working for porn king James Talbert; only this time he’ll be going into the dangerous situation alone. Nick isn’t happy, especially when he learns Talbert is suspected of making snuff films with young gay men as the stars.

When Sean fails to call for his daily check-in, Nick knows something is terribly wrong and goes undercover to find his missing lover. The rescue goes awry almost immediately when Nick is taken prisoner and he and Sean are ordered to act out Talbert’s twisted sexual fantasies, or die. The dangerous situation further tests the men’s trust because if they don’t trust each other…they could both wind up dead.

Heart and Soul is the latest release by Evangeline Anderson, following the lives and loves of Police Detectives Sean and Nick. This release can easily be read as a stand-alone; however, in order to get a better understanding of the complexity and depth of Sean and Nick’s personal and professional relationship, I recommend you start where it all began with The Assignment.

This look into the lives of our guys is much darker than the others and the villain, Talbert, is even more vile than the one from the RamJack. The scenes of Nick and Sean as prisoners are well done but didn’t have the usual flair I’ve come to expect from Ms. Anderson. This time, I just didn’t feel the urgency and fear the men were experiencing. Yes, what happened was horrific and showed the love and dedication of both men, but there was something lacking and I can’t quit put my finger on what. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the story, because I did. The middle just felt incomplete.

The unrest and angst Sean experienced in the later portion of the story was understandable and well done. Ms. Anderson expressed his disgust and emotional pain well, without going over the top. She did just as nicely with Nick’s demand that their lives return to normal.

For me, the best part of the story was seeing the change in Sean and Nick’s relationship…the maturity since they were first introduced. These two are truly two parts of a whole and their emotional bond is just as deep and meaningful as their physical one. These two lovers are just as devoted as ever and when they get alone, they come together with intense love, tenderness and passion.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

King's Gambit


Title: King's Gambit
Author: Treva Harte
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-535-7
Genre: {M/M} "Cowpunk" Futuristic Western
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

All of Calle’s life he’s been delegated to the role of second best. For once, he wants to know what it’s like to be first in someone’s thoughts and heart. When Mosca offers him an opportunity to become his personal guard, Calle is surprised but ready to take on the challenge. Now if only he can get Mosca to let down his defenses long enough to embed himself in Mosca’s heart.

King's Gambit is the sequel to Checkmate and I loved reading every word. Treva Harte takes us into Mosca’s world. It’s a dangerous environment full of treachery that has no room for love. Calle wasn’t my favorite person after the first story, but I’ll admit I wasn’t upset to see him get his due. I could finally understand his decisions and relate to them. Years of longing tainted him and left him broken in body and spirit. It’s enough to make a person desperate for love and devotion. The setting for this story was perfect. It was an environment where Calle wasn’t comfortable and had to escape his shell and learn to stand again. I wasn’t sure how he would fare, but was pleasantly pleased by his tenacity. Treva Harte adds action, suspense, and stimulating sexual encounters to make King's Gambit one sequel you won’t forget.

Left of Center


Title: Left of Center
Author: Zathyn Priest
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-913-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Brandon Faulkner meets three different Goth guys in a chat room that he is interested in a get-together for sex with. He arranges dates with all three throughout the weekend. His first date is with Enigma, a surprising young man who transforms Brandon’s life.

Left of Center is an intriguing and emotional short story. The well-developed characters are particularly realistic. Brandon’s personality is that of a self-absorbed player, whose goal is to have as many one night stands as possible. His only concern is his own gratification, never giving any thought to his partner’s enjoyment. Brandon considers himself eye-catching and irresistible. However, Enigma is not impressed and for the first time, Brandon has to work hard to be successful with a guy. Enigma is very much like the name implies. His conduct is unpredictable, inconsistent and at times uncanny.

Zathyn Priest’s Left of Center is fascinating and a well written somber romance that conveys a consciousness towards the populace on the peripheral of what is judged as a usual psychological demeanor. I found this saga impressive and enjoyable.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

After Arsenic and Rio


Title: After Arsenic and Rio
Author: D.J. Manly
Publisher: eXasty Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-478-1
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Marshall’s life is finally something he can be proud of. When his past comes back to haunt him, he has many difficult choices to make.

Angelo has never been able to forget the young man he fell in love with all those years ago, but attempted murder is just too hard to forgive.

When I read Arsenic and Rio, I was totally drawn to Angelo and Marshall, but especially Marshall, who tried so hard to leave behind a life that was tearing him apart. When the story ended, I was devastated that the men did not find the happily ever after I so wanted for them.

When author D.J. Manly’s recently released sequel After Arsenic and Rio came out, I wondered if he would once again put these two men through another angst-filled journey. In some ways he did, while in others he did not. When a monster from Angelo and Marshall’s past rears his head, the men are forced to come face to face for the first time in years. Both men have changed as Marshall finds himself maturing and building a life he can be proud of and with Angelo spending time with the bottle. While I was happy to see how far Marshall had come since the first story, I was surprised by the fact that Angelo had become an alcoholic. Yet, even with everything in their past, the author has made it possible for the reader to see that these two still love each other.

The author’s ability to pull every last bit of emotion from his characters is one of the things that draws readers to his stories. When Angelo and Marshall are once again separated, we can see how it destroys Marshall and the reader knows exactly how he would react should anything happen to Angelo. For Angelo, this time apart is a learning experience and while the things he goes through would traumatize a lesser man, I was glad that he would now know what Marshall went through all those years ago.

As the story ended, I could not help but be overjoyed that these two men, who have been so in love and had many obstacles to overcome, would finally get the ending they so greatly deserved.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Biting Me Softly


Title: Biting Me Softly
Author: Mary Hughes
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-974-8
Genre: [M/F] Contemporary Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Computer geek Liese Schmetterling hasn’t had much luck the last couple of years. Her sleazy ex-fiancé broke her trust and heart, and then got her fired… and then blackballed, making it difficult for her to find another job in her profession. Her mother has cancer, which means Liese needs to keep her job at the Blood Center for the insurance. She’s expecting a pink slip when hunky Logan Steel shows up to install a fancy new security system that will eliminate her job. Liese wants to hate him, but that’s hard to do when the sight of him sets her libido into overdrive, making her want to climb the man like a tree and latch onto his lips and never let go. She knows Logan is hiding something, but can’t figure out what. Could it have something to do with never seeing him during daylight hours?

Logan is in Meiers Corners to fortify the antiquated security systems at the Blood Center, in order to protect it against the vampire cartel bent on taking it over, and finding the luscious Liese is a pleasant bonus. As a four hundred year-old vampire, Logan is trained and ready to battle against his nemesis but he ends up fighting against Liese’s painful past and mistrust instead. No matter how many times he tells her that he loves her, she can’t quite believe it. The problem is that when she gets in the middle of a vampire war, if she doesn’t trust him, she could wind up dead.

Biting Me Softly is the forth release in Mary Hughes’ fun and quirky paranormal series, A Biting Love. There’s nothing about this book I didn’t like, and it fits in nicely with the other releases in this delightful keeper series. While it’s possible to enjoy it without reading the three previous books, in order to get a real feel for the relationships between the characters and the odd goings-on in the city of Meiers Corners, I recommend reading them in order.

I love Liese. Her brain works at ninety miles per hour and I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth next. She has serious trust issues when it comes to men, but that doesn’t stop her from being a little snarky, lighthearted, independent and stubborn. Then there’s gorgeous and sexy Logan. This Alpha male vampire is everything you’d expect him to be: possessive, protective, loyal, dedicated and determined but able to bend when he comes to Liese. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the entire story, but where talented Ms. Hughes excelled, is her odd characters and their interactions with each other. Well, that’s not completely true, either. The dialogue she constructed not only fits the scenes and the characters odd personalities, but also is so funny that at times, I got a stitch in my side and was chuckling aloud.

The plot of Biting Me Softly follows along nicely with the ongoing story arc and bringing in people from the previous releases added familiarity and continuity. There’s also a strong sense of friendship, family, hope and loyalty. Logan and his new lover fit together well, and the passion between them only grows hotter and more intense the longer they are together. Ms. Hughes did a great job pulling all the pieces of the story into a cohesive and enjoyable read. I anxiously await the next release.

A Matter of Time II


Title: A Matter of Time II
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Club Lighthouse Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.clublighthousepublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-897532-77-5
Genre: {M/M} Murder / Mystery
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Jory Keyes is still picking up the pieces of his shattered heart. His on-again off-again lover, Detective Sam Kage, is having issues stepping beyond the closet door, guarding the secret of his sexual preference. Sam knows his fate if he comes out to the police force. Will he have to decide between life with Jory and life as a police detective?

A Matter of Time II is Mary Calmes’ second story of the A Matter of Time series. Sam has restored my faith in him. After seeing how confused he is, I began to like him more. He seemed more human, which is saying something. There were points where I questioned if he truly cared for Jory from his actions alone. The repercussion of working in an anti-gay environment, where your life is on the line, is more than enough reason to be cautious.

Jory is really growing up. He sees his destructive behavior for what it is and starts to recognize his true worth. There was one scene where I was pumping my fists in approval. He not only saw the wrong path, but also evaded it swiftly.

I have to admit I wasn’t surprised by who actually decides to put Jory in harm’s way. From the beginning, there were no warm and fuzzy feelings for the character. A Matter of Time II combines suspense and steamy erotic scenes, producing a great sequel. I loved reading this story and anticipating the drama unfolding in the next installment.

Prairie Wind


Title: Prairie Wind
Author: Maxine Isackson
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.awe-struck.net/
ISBN: 978-1-58749-187-0
Genre: Historical Western
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Leah Worth could never have imagined the changes that were to happen in her short life but at the grand old age of nineteen, she finds herself widowed, in charge of a large cattle ranch and to top it all off, facing impending motherhood. Her broken heart is unable to withstand the constant grief forcing its way through her veins and Leah switches it off. Missing Tyler, the love of her life who she lost far too soon, who should be there to share in the ups and downs of life on the Nebraska Sandhills, Leah decides that going through the motions is all she can do.

There’s certainly no lack of distractions for Leah, with new arrivals and sad departures causing quite a commotion in the community. One such arrival looking for a place to stay is Louis Drake, an educated man whose calm demeanor and friendly attitude help him settle at the Diamond C ranch without much fuss. He likes to keep to himself but doesn’t shirk his share of the work, a philosophy that keeps him in good stead with the other men and Leah. It’s working alongside this man that allows Leah to look a little deeper and the more she looks, the more she worries. With feelings she thought long since dead beginning to stir once more, Leah starts to question just who Louis Drake really is and why he suddenly turned up in just the right place at just the right time.

Prairie Wind is a highly atmospheric story with vivid descriptions of late 19th century Nebraska really setting the scene. The level of detail was such that I felt completely immersed in the period. The introduction to Leah seemed a little awkward as there was a lot of back story that, added to the detail of the setting, interrupted the initial flow of the story but it soon found its footing. That is not to say that Leah’s background wasn’t completely enthralling – I believe the buildup to the moment Prairie Wind begins could have been a separate story in itself and I would love to read about Leah’s romance with future husband Tyler. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Leah was a character with substance. She grew and developed wonderfully throughout and I couldn’t have asked for a better leading lady. Louis was an intriguing fellow whose secrets I was interested to learn.

The pair worked well as leading characters and there was a very strong supporting cast that really created a community spirit. Having finished the book, the one thing that left me slightly out of sorts was the lack of romance. The pace of the story was perfect for the setting. Life was hard and life or death depended on the elements. The illusion of time passing was successfully done but it also meant that relationships took time to develop. I am happy to be teased and made to wait for things to happen but I felt the kinship between Leah and Louis to be somewhat anti-climactic and rushed. However, Prairie Wind was never meant to be a story simply about a guy and a gal falling in love. I love that I got to follow the drama of Leah’s world and I felt a deep connection to this strong woman’s difficult life.