Friday, March 19, 2010

Lynx


Title: Lynx
Author: Joely Skye
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-975-5
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Jonah Carvin lives the life of a solitude lynx shifter. Remarkably, with only a stray animal to dull his ache of loneliness from time to time, Jonah adjusted well. He has learned to supply what his human and animal side need, to obtain balance. An encounter with an inquisitive wolf begins a series of events that will test Jonah’s resolve. This is no mere wolf but shapeshifter Trey Walters.

Trey cannot believe his luck. The reports of the lynx are true, and he has a rare opportunity to make contact with a shifter species he didn’t think existed. Trey has to be cautious, for Jonah’s sake and his own. Working for the FBI, he has encountered men who would like nothing more than to experiment on Jonah and other shifters. Knowing that he’s on their radar makes Trey nervous.

Trey and Jonah’s story takes us into the Canadian Shield. Joely Skye knows how to pull readers into his settings. The descriptions had me reaching for a warm blanket and wondering if I truly saw my own breath as I breathed. I could almost smell the cold clean air surrounding the characters.

Trey is a hard man, to the naked eye. After encountering him in Feral, I wasn’t sure if he could truly care for another. Happily, I was completely wrong. The man has a true depth and is full of passion and love. Jonah’s innocence and trust melted away all the armor that surrounds Trey’s iron clad control.

Jonah’s early years were hard but didn’t supply him with the steel he would need after his first encounter with Trey. While some of his later experiences saddened me, I know that they helped him grow up a great deal. He learned to cope and became the man Trey needed in his life.

Lynx doesn’t have a great deal of action, but the little that is there gave me shudders. They say it’s the quiet ones you should watch and after reading about Jonah, I’m inclined to believe that’s a true statement. The suspense, sensual encounters and emotional rollercoaster rides are what will do you in with this story. For those who waited for Trey’s story, the wait is over and you are in for a treat.

The Blue Moon Café


Title: The Blue Moon Café
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/
ISBN: 13: 978-1-60272-656-7
Genre: {M/M} Werewolf, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Thad Matthews is bored being home all day with nothing to do. He decides to visit the newly open restaurant in his neighborhood where he meets Sam Lupino, the owner. Thad and Sam have an immediate attraction to each other, as well as share a night of intimacy. Afterward, unexplained things started happening suspending their promising relationship.

The Blue Moon Café is a dark thriller that takes you on a psychological journey into the killer’s psyche. The setting is Seattle’s gay district and all the victims are young gay men. The characters are very realistic. The well-defined plot profiles a serial killer’s distorted mentality, a killer who has the instincts of a wolf. Thad is currently unemployed but tries to stay busy between searching for jobs. He is smart and observant. With each murder, coupled with the disappearance of Sam’s whole family, Thad became aware of the pattern. He also grows even more fearful when his new friend Jared has a near miss with the monster. Thad is caught between his traumatized friend and his mysterious lover in a web of suspense that could prove deadly.

Sam is in an emotional conflict between Thad and his family’s secret. Coming from Sicily, the family chose Seattle for the hunting grounds. Sam knew it was a mistake to be with Thad; however, he allowed his out of control passions to rule his decision. In a family of werewolves, they are all hunters, but which of them feast on humans? The amazing Rick R. Reed presents the answer by building layer upon layer of thought provoking, as well as petrifying, clues plus points out the serial killer’s warped reasoning. The Blue Moon Café is a dramatically potent suspenseful story illustrated with an unnerving realism. This is a dark fierce murder mystery, interwoven with the emotional turmoil of the frightening unknown danger, in addition to an unstable relationship. This is an exhilarating macabre fright saga at its most outstanding.

Bee Among the Clover


Title: Bee Among the Clover
Author: Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-218-9
Genre: {M/M}, Historical
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Only wanting adventure, Roman finds himself captured and forced to become the bedslave of a thane. Four years later, Aron must become the thane’s thrall in order to protect his people and pay off his father’s debt. Neither man is happy with the circumstances in which they find themselves, yet, each is soon drawn to the other.

In Bee Among the Clover, authors Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe bring the readers a historical novel that brings the time period in which the novel is set alive. Set during a time when thanes controlled a large area and having thralls was the norm, this story introduces the reader to two young men, Roman and Aron, each of whom is struggling to survive the difficult situation they happen to find themselves in. While the authors do not bog down the story with the language of the day, they do portray the characters and situations in a way that makes the story believable. Although at times, Roman and Aron find themselves in situations that are not always pleasant, their love for each other gives them the strength to make it through.

It was interesting to watch these two young men come to terms with themselves and the relationship they formed with each other. It was easy to see that their stations in life played heavily in how they treat each other. At times, I wanted to grab them and tell them to just listen to what the other was saying, as many times simple misunderstandings lead to most of their troubles. I found this to be a very interesting story with many twists I did not expect. If you love historicals give this one a try.

Ariella's Keeper


Title: Ariella's Keeper
Author: Michelle M. Pillow
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419926556
Genre: {M/F} Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Dr. Sebastjan Walter refuses to fit perfectly into his father’s mold and image. He wants a life of his own, void of manipulation and control tactics. Ariella hasn’t known freedom since the Medical Supreme cured her of a childhood illness. What he calls Ariella being a “ward”, she considers being a prisoner. To add insult to injury, Sebastjan’s father, the Medical Supreme hasn’t finished ruling with an iron fist. He has one more command. He expects Ariella to marry Sebastjan. They soon discover there are far worse things than an arranged marriage.

Michelle M. Pillow’s latest series Divinity Healers starts with a bang. Ariella's Keeper is a story about finding love and the power of karma. A majority of the story takes place in a mansion, and the story’s plot isn’t overly complicated. These are not complaints. I believe those two variables gave me a chance to focus more on the characters and their budding relationship. You could see the feelings begin to flourish between Ariella and Sebastjan. Sebastjan is a good man who doesn’t have time for superficial women. Ariella has more steel in her spine than she lets on. The two make an appealing couple and prove just how well matched they really are. The Divinity Healers is a spin-off of the Divinity Warrior series and you’ll see some of the characters make a cameo appearance. If this is any indication of how the series will end, I’m looking forward to reading every book that is to follow.

The Orchid Murders


Title: The Orchid Murders
Authors: John Simpson and Remmy Duchene
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-473-6
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Mystery
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewers: Mystical Nymph

Anderson Williams might not have the perfect life but that doesn’t mean he isn’t happy, or at least mostly. So what if he has a lousy record with men, and has been alone for longer than he wants to remember. He has a few good friends, a teaching job he enjoys and a father he loves. That all changes in a matter of a few short hours when he discovers his murdered father’s body and a maddeningly annoying police detective, Sam Morgan, barrels into his life, intent on catching the killer.

A serial killer, with an odd orchid calling card, is loose on the streets of New York City and Detective Sam Morgan is determined to stop him before he strikes again. He doesn’t have time for Anderson’s anger and he definitely doesn’t have time to fall in love. Yet, the more time Sam spends with the sexy professor, the more Anderson gets under his skin.

The Orchid Murders has a lot going on; making it fit more than one genre. At heart it’s a thriller, following the hunt for a brutal killer who dismembers his victims; and all manner of juicy clues are revealed as the story progresses. There’s a strange connection between the victims, the orchid left at the scenes, and an unexpected twist involving Yale University, just to name a few.

Then there’s the police aspect. The police procedures and interdepartmental relations are realistic, as is the partnership between Sam and Roger. There are plenty of gruesome details relating to the murder, several red herrings that baffle the cops, and plenty of future victims. And let’s not forget the crazy killer who somehow manages to keep a step ahead of the police.

The dialogue is snappy, the flow good, the characters interesting, and the premise so realistic that the plot could have been pulled from the headlines of any major newspaper. That’s what makes this story so bone-chilling. There really are people in the world capable of doing exactly what the villain in The Orchid Murders did. They all have family, friends and neighbors, and most of the time these people don’t have a clue. How common is it to hear afterwards on a news report…’he was the nicest young man’?

Lastly is the romance between Sam and Anderson. Their chemistry sparks immediately but it’s anything but smooth sailing for these two, since both have enough emotional baggage to sink any relationship. It takes a lot of work and understanding on both their parts to make a go of it and mostly, they’re doing it at different times, which made for all kinds of problems. In fact, despite their passion and desire they still fight like cats and dogs, making me want to smack them on the head and yell ‘grow up’.

On a final note, there are a few typos and point of view issues, but nothing that distracts too badly from the story.

The Gardener’s Gift


Title: The Gardener’s Gift
Author: Jaida Ross
Publisher: Excessica Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.excessica.com/
ISBN: 9781450561860
Genre: {M/F} Erotic Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Candice Britt thought that her family’s decision to send her to a boarding school run by nuns was the final act of betrayal. Her mother had chosen to ignore the facts and instead believe Candice’s monster of a father’s words over her own. She didn’t want to go away; she wanted her father to stop abusing her and for her mother to start acting like a parent but as that was never going to happen, Candice was just glad to be out of such a horrible environment.

Back then, she never could have believed she’d come to see the nuns and fellow students as family but now she couldn’t imagine her life without them. She was headed down a dangerous path but the security and nurture of the school put her back on track. However, just as soon as she decides she is ready to dedicate her life to them in return, Thomas, the local landscaping expert who has witnessed the kindness of the nuns first hand, enters her life. With a crisis of faith looming, the nuns and Thomas can only stand back and hope Candice can decide which path to take.

The premise of The Gardener’s Gift was promising and the characters, on the whole, were strong and likable but there were slight problems with the pace of this story. The book starts with the buildup to Candice being sent away by her family and taken in by the nuns. This was dealt with too quickly for me so although I was aware that Candice was in a very unpleasant situation, I could have done with more information to empathize with the character. As it was, I don’t think I was able to fully grasp the seriousness of the situation. Also, although Candice goes on to become a strong, independent, endearing character, her family in comparison were somewhat two dimensional so I could never connect to them or understand why on earth they were treating Candice so badly.

By far, the strongest element of The Gardener’s Gift was the setting. Detailed and vivid descriptions of every aspect of Candice’s world; her flare for cooking, her and Thomas’ love of gardening, the beautiful buildings within the school ground and the coziness of the town all made for an enjoyable read. Although I felt there were a few stops and starts in the flow of the writing, the plot felt fresh and kept my interest throughout. There was plenty of chemistry between Candice and Thomas and although there are a few moments during their relationship that required me to suspend belief, once I did that I was rewarded with a pleasant read.

Take My Picture


Title: Take My Picture
Author: Giselle Ellis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-396-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Aaron Bennett shows up to pose for photographer Jake Wyzchek and learns the job is for Jake's assistant. The two men work well together for five years until Jake realizes Aaron has become the center of his life. Recognizing he loves Jake, Aaron is determined to force an admission from him. Aaron threatens to move in with his new boyfriend and then must follow through with the plan when Jake declines to declare his love for Aaron. Dejected, Jake admits defeat; his only option now is to look forward to an opportunity to win Aaron back.

Take My Picture is a well written emotional romance set in New York. Upon first meeting, Aaron and Jake form an immediate bond of friendship that develops over the five years into a love neither man will acknowledge out loud. Jake is a young talented photographer who is a temperamental recluse. His predictable life consists of eating the same foods on the same day of the week. He relies on Aaron to inspire him, as well as chase away his insecurities of being alone. Jake illustrates his love by presenting Aaron with gifts that match Aaron’s wishes. Although Aaron has his own apartment and is a talented sculptor, Jake’s apartment feels like home plus Jake is Aaron’s comfort zone. Aaron has a propensity to be a little subservient; he depends on Jake to make the decisions. The emotional bond between Jake and Aaron is unmistakable. The characters interaction is humorous, in addition to being engaging. However, I did find it difficult to envision a five year relationship with no intimacy whatsoever, not even a kiss between two sexually active men who were in love. Taken as a whole, Giselle Ellis has created an impressive saga that I very much enjoyed.

Dragon Shift


Title: Dragon Shift
Author: Alice Gaines
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-378-1
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Ilona, a dragon princess, is resistant to her adoptive family’s efforts to get her to become involved with men, and she is wondering why they are so adamant she become sexually active. What she knows is that her dreams of her dragon keep her from losing her virginity to any other man. Ilona is overwhelmed by the sudden sexual emotions so much so that it is affecting her at the most inappropriate moments. When she is tempted by a handsome demon named Zimm, she thinks that maybe its time to give in.

Drake, crown prince of the realm of dragons, is looking for his mate, Ilona, who was kidnapped as a child, and has been living in the human realm. She is dwelling among demons who want to interfere with the dragons’ way of life and they will do whatever it takes to make it happen. He uses a special magical crystal to find Ilona and help her during her first change into a dragon. When he tries to order her around, it backfires on him, and he realizes that she is not as submissive as he hopes.

Dragon Shift is a lovely story of dragons connecting with each other, and of demons that are up to their usual interference of other beings’ lives. The amount of plotting the demons did to achieve their objective was interesting and they didn’t care who they hurt. I thought that Ilona was a little gullible to her adoptive family, who are responsible for kidnapping her and their insistence over her life. Their objective was to ruin her, so the dragons would not be able to procreate with the pure female dragons.

Ms. Gaines did a fantastic job of spinning a tale of how dragons mate, and made it very realistic for me with the detailed descriptions of the dragons and their lives. Although not a lot of history was given on the characters, the mating scene showed the enthusiasm of all the dragons’ flight and first mating. This is the first time I have read anything from this author, and I will be looking forward to reading more from her.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Dark Farewell


Title: The Dark Farewell
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-944-1
Genre: [M/M] Historical
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Its 1922 and a year’s passed since a massacre at a mine outside of Herrin, Illinois and David Flynn, a reporter from New York, is looking for a new angle to explain why 21 men were killed by striking miners. When he arrives in town, David finds more than he expected. While talk of the massacre still has the ability to rile up the townspeople, the newest topics of conversation are the traveling spiritualist medium, Julian Devereux, who claims he can talk with the dead, and the deaths of several young women.

Flynn doesn’t believe in the occult, mediums, psychics, ghosts or things that can’t be explained rationally and is certain Julian is nothing more a fraud, yet still can’t deny his attraction to the quiet, unassuming man. When another woman turns up dead and Julian begins having real, blood-stained visions, it’s up to the cynical David to defend and protect the man he’s coming to love.

The Dark Farewell is the latest release by talented multi-published author Josh Lanyon. It’s a look at small town life shortly after WW1, during the flapper years of early 1920’s America, and as a lover of history, the blurb caught my attention from the beginning. As I read each historical detail, I was pulled deeper into the story, giving me a better understanding of the attitudes and emotions of the time, all while introducing me to two great characters.

Mr. Lanyon showed great creativity with his slow exposure of the different aspects of David and Julian’s personalities. It’s like peeling away the layers of a large onion, one at a time. As a returning veteran, it was easy to see how the war affected David’s attitudes, making him harder and more cynical, and that’s why he has so much trouble dealing with Julian at the start. Initially I wasn’t certain what to make of Julian, and it wasn’t until half-way through the story that I got a better understanding of what made him tick and why. That’s when I got my ‘ah ha’ moment and realized that throughout the story, Mr. Lanyon had been leading the reader on a slow path of discovery; a path which changed my attitude.

My only real complaint about this novella is the sudden ending. I read the last word, and thought it was the end of a chapter, turned the page and I was like…what? No, that can’t be it. I went back and read the ending again to make sure I hadn’t missed something. After following the serial killer and Julian plotlines for the entire book, they were wrapped up so quickly in the last 2-3 pages that I couldn’t believe it. I think an ending with a slightly slower pace, more in tone with the rest of the story and a little follow-up, would have worked better…at least for me. Please don’t let the abrupt ending put you off. It’s only one small aspect of a story that’s definitely worth the read.

On a final note, if you’re expecting a fast rollercoaster ride, this well-written M/M novella isn’t for you, but if you can enjoy a slow, meandering tale that builds depth and emotion from scene to scene, then give this intriguing historical a try. You won’t be sorry you did.

Blood Magic


Title: Blood Magic
Author: Shayne Carmichael
Publisher: Torquere Books
Publisher URL: http://torquerepress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370- 923-1
Genre: (M/M) Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Adrian has encountered more problems. He is now juggling his feelings for Gabriel and Xander, trying to clear his werecat friends and find a killer. Adrian has also threatened a first formula vampire about how he treats his son. If this isn’t enough, Adrian is undergoing several rituals with Xander, still guiding ghosts to send them on their way, and his is teaching a student as well.

I did not want to put Blood Magic down. Blood Magic is a wonderful follow-up to Blood Ties in the Legends of the Romanorum - Blood series. The author has created an interesting tapestry of both the main characters and the secondary ones. The interaction between all of them is so intense, you jump right into the book and the non-stop action. I kept waiting, with baited breath, wondering what would happen next. Shayne Carmichael gives you some intriguing glimpses into this vampire society and its very complex rules. Adrian is slowly getting drawn into the internal politics of this society, even though he really wants nothing to do with it. I felt Adrian’s frustration with everything going on around him, which kept him on his toes as well as exhausted. I am looking forward to reading the next book while wondering about Adrian’s next adventure. These books need to be read in order to have a solid understanding about what is going on.

The Shunned




Title: The Shunned
Author: Jay Hughes
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Publisher URL: http://www.ravenousromance.com/
ISBN: 9781607773252
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Amish
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

James Semerad is working the checkout at Whole Foods, an organic grocery store, when a customer, Fred Billingsley invites James out on a date. James is still adjusting to living outside the Amish community and is surprised by the offer but accepts anyway, not willing to miss his chance to explore a liaison with the openly gay man. Before they can finish their dinner, a barrage of bullets strikes the rooms in Fred’s house, forcing the two to crawl to a bulletproof room. Fred is a lawyer for the Philadelphia mob and apparently, his last client’s family is not pleased with the verdict. With a mob hit order on them, the only safe refuge is to go into witness protection in the isolated Amish community of Lofstad, the same place where James grew up.

The Shunned has a well written, well paced thought-provoking plot with multiple layers of predicaments. There is the criminal element of the mob, the budding romance between James and Fred along with the austere Amish culture set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The interactions between the characters are believable and heart-warming. Fred is old-money who lives in a mansion. He is a lawyer, as well as an executive chef, openly gay and loves being the center of attention. His luxurious lifestyle necessitates Fred to represent only affluent clients without remorse; nevertheless he is a considerate man who does not intentionally try to hurt anyone. James is a shy Amish gay man who ran away from Lofstad three years prior and is endeavouring to start a new life in the modern world. He refused to prolong the brutal punishments he endured as a child or repent his sexuality, as his father demanded. He detested everything regarding the Amish life. His return only reinforces his opinion when he is again shunned by his father. The secondary characters support the storyline by adding a level of action and intrigue. There is some intimacy in the story; however the crucial point of the plot is the Amish culture’s harsh religious rituals, which contradict biblical teachings and the so called devout individuals refuse to practice all of the spiritual directives. The Shunned points out the menace posed by Christians who choose to follow only a very small selected proportion of religious principles. Jay Hughes has created a superb, as well as enlightening, saga that I enjoyed immensely.

L.A. Bytes




Title: L.A. Bytes
Author: P.A. Brown
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60820-041-2
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Suspense
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

When a local hospital is hacked, Chris is contacted by an old acquaintance to solve his computer problems before any damage to patient records can be done. It quickly becomes apparent that the hacking is far more extensive than originally thought when several patients, including Chris’ husband David, receive the wrong medication and one person dies. As they race to discover the hacker’s identity, Chris and David are thrown into one dangerous situation after another. Can Chris, and his computer skills, stop the person responsible before he can fully engages his cyber-plot, or will the City of Angels be brought to its knees?

L.A. Bytes is the newest release in P.A. Brown’s L.A. series and it’s another winner. With a computer hacking premise that could have been pulled from the headlines of any major newspaper, this thriller caught my attention from the very first page and kept me wanting more as I raced to the end. It’s a true rollercoaster ride that could be all too real in the electronically-controlled world in which we live. By adding Chris and David to this possibility, P.A. Brown created a complicated and well-written plot that’s guaranteed to please just about anyone who loves a fast paced suspense story.

The change…the deepening of Chris and David’s relationship is nicely handled. That’s one of the great things about this series – we, the readers, have gotten the chance to see their relationship through all the possible phases, and seen it come out more intense and stronger on the other side. Ms. Brown has taken two vastly different individuals and, through creativity and flair, changed them into a committed couple, intent on the happiness and safety of the other. David and Chris are at heart, the backbone of this thriller story, but it’s what goes on around them as they search for the computer hacker, that fuels the plot.

I’m not a computer expert, but it safe to say Ms. Brown did her research, and while some of the terms flew over my head at the speed of light, it didn’t keep me from enjoying this complex storyline. In fact, as I think about it now, it didn’t detract from the story at all and to my way of thinking, that shows a writer’s true talent.

There are plenty of twists and turns, dangerous situations, a couple of near-death experiences, an explosion and a terrorist bent on bringing LA to its knees. At heart - what makes the reader care - is Chris and David’s determination to keep the other safe no matter what the cost. But what keeps them riveted and turning the pages is the computer hacker/terrorist, what’s he’s done to the two lovers and the possibility he could succeed in destroying the infrastructure of L.A.

The One That Stayed


Title: The One That Stayed
Author: TC Blue
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-937-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Russ and David’s two-decade love affair is teetering on the edge of a tragic ending, thanks to a hate crime gone too far. David isn’t ready to lose the man who has changed his life so completely. He refuses to grow old alone. Does he have enough strength to get him and Russ through this pivotal moment?

The One That Stayed is officially my favorite story of the One and One series. We get an inside view of David’s emotional turmoil, as well as a glimpse of how his relationship with Russ began. Ms. Blue has outdone herself. The anguish of the characters exploded off the pages. While the story does contain a great deal of sadness, the moments where we travel back helped to ensure the story never become too melancholy. I could finally understand why David seemed to have so many issues with his son’s relationship with Elliott. I believe Elliott reminded David too much of the man he once was and it might have been too painful to remember.

From the setting to the plot, I couldn’t have been more thrilled with this story. David has much more depth and character than I previously gave him credit for having. If you’ve enjoyed reading this series, you definitely don’t want to miss The One That Stayed. It’s a tear jerker but leaves your heart feeling light. If I was ever in doubt about what love looks like, this story delivers a sweet and enduring example.

The Egyptian Demon’s Daughter


Title: The Egyptian Demon’s Daughter
Author: Ciar Cullen
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-963-2
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Nefertari Smith, a professor at Princeton University, is fretful of a man bent on stalking her, and she’s not sure what he wants. Coming from parents with origins of an ex-angel and mage/witch makes her someone unusual. She is avoiding, and wanting, Jasper at the same time, but hasn’t figured out the connection quite yet. After she has a sexual encounter with Jasper, it leaves much to be said for listening to her family’s teaching against vampires.

When Jasper Grayson got the first sample of Nefertari’s DNA a few months ago, he started out with it being part of a test project, but later finds out that Tari is more than human. There has to be at least three tests of a person’s DNA for conformation of what they are and he is willing to do what it takes to know if she is human or not. He is actually looking for a woman who is immortal, and will be his soul mate for the rest of eternity.

The Egyptian Demon’s Daughter is a short novella about demons, vampires and how lasting relationships can be formed, despite differences. Nefertari leads Jasper on a chase because she thought him human, not wanting a serious affair, and there is a twist to this connection that I won’t give away here. There was not a lot of history given surrounding Jasper and Tari but the secondary characters added a nice touch to the storyline.

Ms. Cullen did a great job of spinning a tale of the paranormal, who are surviving among humankind, without letting on who they really are. It was interesting finding out the gifts that Nefertari had but I would have liked the story to have been longer.

Journey to Compromise


Title: Journey to Compromise
Author: Mara Ismine
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-883-8
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Mitch arrives in a small town, controlled by werewolves, the night before a full moon. Walking to his motel room, he encounters a young man being battered by four werewolves in human form. Mitch rescues the young man and manages to get him to the safety of the forest so they can shift into their cougar form and give the bruises time to heal faster. Recovered enough to travel the next day, the young man Todd leaves town with Mitch, mutually in search of a nonviolent existence.

Journey to Compromise is a fantastic shifter short story. The plot is well written and well paced. The characters are appealing. Mitch is drifting from place to place in search of work after his company closed and his long term relationship ended. However, he is not bitter about his circumstances; he continues to look forward to a flourishing income again. Mitch is an honorable man and he is very attracted to Todd. Nevertheless, he refuses to take advantage of Todd’s magnetism. Todd, like Mitch, is good natured and hard working. Their personalities are similar in temperament, although Todd is a little more persistent when it comes to expressing his sensual needs. Mara Ismine’s Journey to Compromise is an amazing story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Liquid Glass


Title: Liquid Glass
Author: Zathyn Priest
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerepress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-922-4
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary/Historical
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

In the late 1850’s, the death of Viscount Eldon Davenport turned his home, Lillyport House, into one of the most haunted houses in England. After weeks of increasingly erratic behavior, the flamboyant young poet was purported to have committed suicide by a single gunshot to the head. His parents were said to have never recovered and it wasn’t long after his funeral that they sold the house and moved into another.

Famous reclusive painter Cameron McKenzie is a huge fan of Viscount Davenport’s’ poetry and when the opportunity arises, he purchases the house in secret and moves in. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural or ghosts until he hears screams, sees ice and blood he can’t explain, and then accidentally raises Eldon from the dead.

Suddenly having Eldon, a man who’s supposed to be dead, in his house means Cameron needs help. Now! In desperation, he turns to psychic Trudy. She’s determined to discover what happened in the past and figure out how to keep lovers Eldon and Cameron together in the present. Her ex-husband, Mal, on the other hand has an irrational hatred for Eldon, and is just as determined to return the reanimated young poet to the ground, permanently.

Liquid Glass is the latest release by author Zathyn Priest and it’s another winner. It’s a well-written and unusual look at reincarnation, witchcraft, murder, betrayal and a love that spans the centuries. The characters have very interesting and distinctive personalities, making it easy to keep them separated despite the complex plot and multiple viewpoints. In some books I’ve read, flipping from the past to the present can be annoying and confusing, but I’m happy to say, this isn’t the case with Liquid Glass. Mr. Priest moved the story from 1857 to the present and back again with flair and creativity, giving the plot the needed information about what happened to Eldon and how he wound up in the present. No matter what the century, the secondary characters are more than they seem on the surface and are vital to the plot.

The reincarnation portion of the story is complicated, which means paying attention to the details or you’re likely to get lost. I have to say I was impressed with Mr. Priest’s ability to artfully weave all the characters together, showing how the past and present influence each other. Another high point in the story is the vivid descriptions of life in Victorian England and how little parents interacted with their children.

Both Eldon and Cameron are intriguing in their own right, but Eldon’s wide-eyed excitement in everything present day is just darn fun to watch. Add in tenderness, passion, love and desire, and this M/M release has all the elements needed to hold a reader’s attention from the first page to the last. I look forward to the next release by this talented author.

Bound by Nature


Title: Bound by Nature
Author: Cooper Davis
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-964-9
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Publication Date: March 23, 2010

Recent killings of werewolf pack members have brought about a need for change. The council’s proposal to insure peace between their rival clans is that the two male Alphas should mate, a rarity but not unheard of, among werewolves. Hayden Garrett is gay and has loved Josh Peterson for as long as he can remember. Knowing Josh is straight, Hayden is afraid of being hurt, so he rejects the council’s idea for clan peace. What Hayden didn’t know was that Josh had loved him for years.

Bound by Nature is set in a small town in Wyoming. The plot is a slow paced journey full of twists and backtracking from the present to the past, revealing a compelling series of events that occurred five years earlier; in addition to how it changed both Hayden and Josh’s life. Hayden is a strong intelligent educated Alpha with good protective instincts. However, because of the negative effects he endured over the last five years, Hayden has become disagreeable in his mind-set, concerning Josh. Although Hayden never got over his yearning for Josh, he now fights the attraction. His memory loss of the past drama and the sense of betrayal by Josh rendered Hayden incapable of trusting the obvious mating scent coming from Josh during their meeting requested by the council. Josh has always accepted Hayden and wanted to spend time with him, there was always an attraction that Josh did not understand, yet his wolf acknowledged. Being an intelligent Alpha as well, Josh possessed the same protective instincts as Hayden. Except Josh remembers the past, so the animosity he can see in Hayden’s eyes fills Josh with regret for the love lost. Both Hayden and Josh are loveable realistic characters with compassion.

Once I read past the few confusing segments while moving from past to present then back again to past with each chapter, the overall storyline created by Cooper Davis is an expressively caring, as well as enjoyable happy for now, romantic saga.

Cold Scheme


Title: Cold Scheme
Author: Edita Petrick
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921346
Genre: {M/F} Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Thinking that she is in control of her life for a change, Detective Meg Stanton finds that that is not the case at all. First she is greeted with a dead body as a hood ornament on her partner’s car. The problems of her past starts adding to her already hectic work load of cold case files and the questions Meg doesn’t want to answer at the moment.

Meg’s partner is a lot of help to her when she starts to get off track. When her inquiries take a turn for the worst, I was wondering if she had finally accepted her past and was ready to move to the future. There was a lot going on for her to focus on just one thing and she was having a hard time separating her emotions, both professional and personally.

Cold Scheme is truly a thrilling suspense with a few twists to it and I must say that I was completely surprised with the identity of the villain. Meg impressed me with her intelligence to solve old crimes and her ability to analyze any situation quickly. I felt for her when two of the people she most wanted to forget came barging back into her life; her father and ex-husband, wanting control.

This mastermind villain was so devious, I never even got an idea or wasn’t paying enough attention to the clues they gave. The sad part is Meg looked at them as a good friend, and never suspected until it was almost too late to do anything about their threats to her loved ones. A very smart person with the right connections could only pull off murders at this level and almost got away with it too!

Kudos to Ms. Petrick for her brilliant storytelling of how masterfully an evil person can be, and I am hoping to read more about Meg Stanton.

Painted Lady


Title: Painted Lady
Author: Roxy Harte
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-515-9
Genre: {M/F/M} Multicultural Historical
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Lucy Bowman didn’t know how treacherous traveling the Oregon Trail could be until she loses her owners to sickness. The promise of freedom is quickly washed away and with no protector, Lucy is left to the mercy of the wagon master.

Daniel “Dangerous Dan” Hatch has straddled the fence a time or two. While he tries to be law-abiding, things don’t always work in his favor. When Dan sees Lucy, he knows there’s a beauty lurking under all those layers of trail dust. While Lucy appreciates the handsome outlaw’s assistance, she has no desire to once more become a slave.

The two part ways after arriving in California and Lucy soon discovers making her way isn’t going to be easy. The change of venue allows Lucy to meet the newly appointed sheriff, Rages Like Thunder and presents an opportunity of a lifetime. Lucy purchases a local brothel and begins to live a life she never dreamed possible.

Will she find love or has her long journey hardened her outlook on commitment?

Painted Lady takes us on the adventure of Lucy Bowman, a slave traveling across the plains. Thunder, Lucy, and Dan are all fascinating characters. Each brings a different element to this story, creating a balance that would be missing without all three. We watch the characters change over the course of this story. Their views and desires were tested throughout the tale.

Neither man treated Lucy with what we would recognize as a traditional type of love, but they loved her in their own way and to the best of their abilities. Their actions and words made me question their emotional connection to Lucy at times. Soon, I saw the coldness as a means to protect their hearts and a way to come to terms with wanting what they felt was unobtainable.

The setting is picturesque and harsh, depicting the real struggle of settlers with a desire for change. Ms. Harte’s imagery sucks you into each setting. I could feel the dust in my throat and hear the patter of rain on a tin roof. The characters, both primary and secondary, were believable and well written. Action, suspense, and heated erotic moments are just the tip of the iceberg for this brilliantly written story. If you take nothing else away, you’ll remember the importance of never giving up on your dream. Painted Lady has cemented itself on my favorite books list and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Harte’s works in the near future.

Nothing Personal


Title: Nothing Personal
Author: Scott & Scott
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-539-5
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Carlos wants it all. He wants the loving husband, the house with the picket fence and the 2.5 children that go along with it. The only problem is that he is still searching for Mr. Right. Even if Mr. Right should come along, it’s still illegal for gays to marry in Ohio. Who knew a simple protest rally could cause so many changes.

Nothing Personal is part of the Romentics series by authors Scott & Scott. This story, like the previous ones, has many interesting and colorful characters. The main characters in Nothing Personal are Carlos and Gallagher. Carlos is a young Cuban American, who has made many bad choices when it comes to relationships. Gallagher may be the hunk who catches Carlos’ eye, but he also has some secrets that may just tank the relationship for good. These two men have nothing in common, yet, they find themselves drawn to each other. For me, however, the chemistry between the two men just did not seem to be there.

Since this story spends so much time with Carlos and his growing interest in the political situation going on around him, it seemed that these two did not have the time to really get to know each other. While the political topic that draws Carlos’ attention is important, I would have liked to have seen more of the story centered on the men, with the political situation as a backdrop rather than the other way around. The secondary characters, as well as the snappy dialog was the saving grace, as both continued to hold my interest in the story when I might have otherwise put it down. While this may not have been my favorite book in the series, I am anxiously waiting to see what these two authors will bring the readers next.

Paden


Title: Paden
Author: A. J. Llewellyn
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-490-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Thanks to the intervention of Paden, the head of the Huna secret council and Lopaka’s long-lost father, Kimo and Lopaka have won the battle to keep full custody of their son, Little Kimo. Rescued by Lopaka and Kimo from his Samoan Cannibal King husband, Paden must now seek out his own destiny.

Paden is the final book in the Phantom Lover series. Paden is on the run from the council high priests as well as his revengeful husband, the cannibal King. Paden takes a terrifying journey as a spiritual warrior to fight in the war between good and evil; a battle he was destined to fight without fully understanding the significance. Now with the importance comprehensible, he is willing to do anything to protect his beloved as well as gifted children and grandchildren, including give up his own life. Paden must face his past before Kimo can help him reverse the ritual performed to change Paden into an immortal, in addition to freeing him to have a future with his family plus a loving partner to share his life. With each painful memory Paden realizes that he was seduced with dark magic, so that the cannibal King could gain control over his powers. Paden and his spirit guide are the main characters, with Kimo, Lopaka and the rest of the family featured in this intriguing plot. As with all of the stories in the Phantom Lover series, island rituals play a key role in the story interwoven with romance.

The very talented A. J. Llewellyn illustrates the truest power comes from the love shared with others. Paden is an amazing ending to an incredibly enjoyable series. I would not be surprised to see some of these characters make a guest appearance in the future.

Rescued


Title: Rescued
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-041-7
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Mika Blackwell vividly remembers the day his pack abandoned him as the worst day of his life. Feelings of betrayal and loneliness were a constant part of his life until he encountered Gabriel Staley.

Gabe has a love of animals and a heart and home large enough to take each one in. When Gabe receives a call to rescue a wounded wolf, his apprehension only lasts for a moment. Gabe doesn’t understand his immediate desire to protect and possess the beautiful wolf but doesn’t have time to question his behavior.

Mika recognizes Gabe for whom and what he is, Mika’s mate. Is Gabe ready for a union with a shifter?

Rescued is the first story of Bailey Bradford’s new series Southwestern Shifters. The story takes place in a rural area where homosexuality is unacceptable by a large number of the population. The common abandonment issue shared by Gabe and Mika helps to unite this couple. Gabe has had more time to heal and is much more fierce about protecting Mika from the reoccurring feelings. The characters pulled me into the story with their humor and humanlike flaws. Mika wants love and a home but fears his mate’s rejection of him and his abilities. That reaction made him more real to me than anything else he could have done. I would have liked clarity on how he sustained his wounds, and I’m hoping for more details in a future release.

After meeting the Alpha, I have a feeling there is more to his situation that meets the eye. Some of the other characters seem to have a love interest that could warrant a story. At most I can recognize at least two other stories in this series that are sure to be as good, if not better, than our introduction.

With a mixture of juicy erotic encounters, action and suspense, Mr. Bailey has done a wonderful job with this first installment. While he kept true to some of the background about shifters, he did alter one belief that made me do a double take. I am sure that Gabe will not become a shifter anytime soon and if he does take the plunge, I am anxious to see how he fares from the experience. Rescued played on my senses and has me anticipating the next release for this wonderful series.

Heart of a Huntress


Title: Heart of a Huntress
Author: Crista McHugh
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-890-1
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

While out on a job for the Kavanaugh Foundation, Lana, a seasoned vampire hunter, is having second thoughts about her job because of being alone. Byron has ignited, in full force, feelings that she has suppressed for years and causes her to think of having a mate and family. Lana is still grieving over a lost love from years ago and doesn’t want any attachments, so she thinks a one-night stand will do the trick.

The Alpha male of a werewolf pack, Byron, is bent on revenging the death of his former leader, who was killed by an old vampire. Now that he has the scent of Lana, knowing she is his true mate, there is nothing that will stop him from claiming her…well except, maybe Lana. He is still having trouble with leading his pack, along with a rebel named Alan, who is determined to take over.

Heart of a Huntress is the first novel I have read by Ms. McHugh, and I really must say that I’m impressed. When I realized that this is the first in the Kavanaugh Foundation series, I got even more excited to know I will have the pleasure of reading more from this author! There is a deep seeded plot by the older vampires underlying this story that left me trying to see the big picture before I got to the end. I was not disappointed by waiting until the end to find out the villain’s reasons for what he did, and here I won’t give it away.

Some of the secondary characters added quite a bit to the story, and even though there is not a lot of history given on the characters, I can’t wait to learn more in the next book. It was amusing watching Byron and Lana wrestle with their fast blooming emotions for each other. Throw in a trainee of Lana’s and you have a great story. Read and enjoy this one, I did.