Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Angel of 13th Street


Title: The Angel of 13th Street
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Torquere Books
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60370-981-1
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

When Jeremy turned 18, he was pushed out of the foster care system and onto the streets. Now the young man is trying to finish high school and get into college, without becoming another statistic.

Noah knows from experience what can happen to young boys who end up on the streets. Trying to help as many kids as he can means spending his nights alone, that is until he meets Jeremy

Eden Winters’ The Angel of 13th Street is a very good story that is sure to grab the reader’s attention. When 18 year old Jeremy struggles to stay out of the hands of the local pimp, he ends up getting help from Noah, an ex hustler, who is now known as The Angel of 13th Street. What neither man realizes is how much their lives will now change.

The story, which deals with the harsh reality of life on the streets for those young men with nowhere to go, can be harsh at times. The author does a wonderful job painting a picture of what Jeremy is facing, as well as the problems Noah had when he was in Jeremy’s place. From the beginning, it is easy to see that, regardless of the age difference, these two belong together. However, the author does not make their relationship an easy one as enemies and circumstances keep them apart. The emotions the two men feel for each other, as well as what they are going through, comes across realistically making it easy for the readers to understand the men’s struggles. While there are a couple of light hearted moments, this story is very intense and should not be missed.

Although this author is new to me, this won’t be the last of her books I read.

Barbed Wire and Bootheels


Title: Barbed Wire and Bootheels
Authors: Lorne Rodman, BA Tortuga and Vic Winter
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerepress.com/
ISBN: none listed
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Barbed Wire and Bootheels is an anthology, and as the title suggests, is composed of three short stories about cowboys and the land and men that they love.

Life on the Land by Vic Winter - 3.5 Nymphs
Jason loves his ranch and is proud of what he’s been able to accomplish with the help of his lover Robin.

Mr. Winter does a nice job presenting Jason’s willingness to work hard, the background of his struggle to succeed and the love he feels for Robin, and it’s done with caring and realism. I liked these two characters and wouldn’t mind seeing them again in the future.

Ride 'em Cowboy by Lorne Rodman - 3 Nymphs
While staying with family, Hubert visits the local fairgrounds and when he comes across blue-eyed Chase, its lust at first sight. Hue has seen the cowboy he wants and is ready to ride.

There isn’t much of a physical description of Hue but in the first portion of the story, the author does a nice job describing what’s been going on in his life. The story touches briefly on the death of Hue’s parents and coming to live with an aunt and uncle, where he feels like a fish out of water. His character brightens when he meets Chase and from there, the pace of the story picks up speed, ending with blistering hot sex and a hope for a little more.

File Gumbo: Too Careful by Half by BA Tortuga - 3.5 Nymphs
This short follows Beau and Sam, two cowboys from the Roughstock series and what’s going on during Sam’s recuperation period after his bull riding accident.

For a follower of the Roughstock series, it was nice seeing these two lovers again and reading about what is going on in their lives. Sam is healing from his injury and BA Tortuga did a nice job expressing the almost palpable frustration he feels in regards to the months of therapy he’s undergone. These two men are just as good together now as before Sam’s injury and when the frustrated cowboy demands sex, Beau doesn’t think twice, giving his lover exactly what he needs, and in a way that can only be described as HOT! This reader wants to see more about this couple again in the future.

In Plain View




Title: In Plain View
Author: J. Wachowski
Publisher: Carina Press
Publisher URL: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/
ISBN: 9781426890093
Genre: {M/F} Amish, Mystery
Rating: Golden Blush
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Magdalena O'Hara vividly remembers the phone call that changed her life. Her ability to roam the world as a freelance reporter has tapered down to local coverage, thanks to her new role as guardian to her eight-year-old niece. However, the role of guardian seems simple, compared to her latest assignment. The images Maggie captures sets off a series of events, with people trying desperately to elude detection.

Desperate people create dangerous situations so Maggie will have to identify the culprits hiding In Plain View.

J. Wachowski’s latest novel is a brilliantly written mystery about the death of an Amish man and the chain of events leading up to the incident. For those who are looking for a steamy romance with plenty of erotic action, this book is not for you. However, if you are hoping to find a suspenseful novel filled with drama and characters that are written to keep you enthralled, your search is over.

Maggie’s character took over my senses from the first page. Strong, determined, fearless at times and honed in her craft, Maggie is the freelance reporter others strive to be like but fail miserably at duplicating. Even with a romance blooming, she doesn’t allow her focus to be swayed away from the bigger picture of figuring out how the pieces fit together for her story.

Maggie’s understanding of human nature is evenly matched by the sheriff. There was one point where he proved he would be the perfect man for this willful woman. He understood what makes Maggie tick, because they share a parallel life when it comes to seeing human suffering and getting a firsthand glimpse of the evil lurking in this world.

The way the story ended gives J. Wachowski some leeway to revisit Maggie and the sheriff in a sequel. From the setting to the supporting characters and the well developed plot, I loved this book from beginning to end. In Plain View is sure to capture a new fan base for this fantastic author.

Pack Of Lies


Title: Pack Of Lies
Author: Vanessa Vaughn
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Publisher URL: http://www.ravenousromance.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60777-339-9
Genre: {M/M}, Shapeshifter, Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Jack never expected a night of mandatory schmoozing to end the way it did. Not only does he have to get his car repaired, but he ends up spending several days in the hospital. If that isn’t enough, he is having weird dreams and even weirder cravings.

I had a hard time with Pack Of Lies because I could not decide if I actually liked it or not. A young man and his date are heading home after a night out and run over something on a lonely stretch of road. When he gets out to see what happened, he’s attacked by a werewolf. Later, as he begins to go through his change, it becomes important to find the werewolf who bit him. While I thought the premise was a good one, it was only my need to find out how the story ended that kept me reading.

It’s not unusual for there to be characters that the reader won’t like as it is one of the things that can keep a story interesting. However, with the exception of Marcus and Jack, I found the rest of characters to be lacking. In my opinion, not one of the secondary characters had any redeeming qualities. The pack itself was so dysfunctional that it is surprising that Marcus ever held on to his position as Alpha. While it is easy to see some chemistry between Marcus and Jack, I felt so much time was spent on the pack and its issues with Jack that the relationship between the men became lost.

While I found the premise of Pack Of Lies to be a good one, the problems I had with the characters kept me from really enjoying it.

Acts of Passion


Title: Acts of Passion
Author: Sedonia Guillone
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419927201
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Suspense, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

As Detective Jack Cade surveys the crime scene, he’s sure of one thing - he needs a criminal profiler. Discovering his reliable source isn’t available doesn’t leave Jack feeling comfortable, and meeting the new profiler takes his apprehension up a notch. But Dr. Michael Di Santo is about to show Jack why he comes so highly recommended.

Michael’s new to the area. His overall perception of the area grows by leaps and bounds as he discovers he shares a mutual attraction with Jack. Jack awakens a part of Michael he was unaware of and feelings he hadn’t expected begin to surface. Jack begins to see the professor isn’t absent-minded but a hot delectable man who needs the gentle yet domineering ministrations Jack is more than willing to administer.

Sedonia Guillone’s latest release, Acts of Passion, takes us into a murder investigation where Jack and Michael must use their skills to catch a savvy killer. I have to say I never thought hard candy was sexy, but I plan to carry a few pieces in my purse from this day forward. I had to reread that scene a few times (strictly for reviewing purposes). It’s one of the best erotic scenes I’ve read in a while. There is nothing like a writer who can take something so innocent and make it scrumptiously sensual. Michael and Jack definitely had their work cut out for them, trying to locate the culprit while getting a grasp on their budding relationship, but they didn’t allow their feelings to disrupt solving the case.

From the setting to the plot, Acts of Passion captured my attention to the very end and left me anxious for more. I did some research and plan to read Michael’s former lover’s story very soon. Those who enjoy this book might want to read Toshi’s story. Sedonia Guillone has delivered yet another winner!

Dark Horse


Title: Dark Horse
Author: Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: www.dreamspinnerpress.com
ISBN: 978-1-61581-466-4
Genre: [M/M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

When Dan met Justin Archer, he fell hard and they planned a life together but a year after his lover was severally injured during a riding competition, he’s left with a painful hole in his heart and a cold, empty bed. Between working as a horse trainer on Justin’s parents’ ranch and visiting Justin in the hospital, where he still lies in a coma, Dan has little time in his life for anything else. Still, the idea of giving up the dream life he’d planned is difficult and even though his head knows it’s unlikely Justin will ever recover, his heart can’t accept it.

Life changes when billionaire Evan Kaminski, his lover Jeff Stevens and little sister Tatiana, come to the ranch looking for a horse for the fifteen year-old. This chance meeting sets Dan’s life on another path that over a period of months leads him to a new job on the other side of the country. While Dan can’t deny his instant attraction to the passionate Evan, or the steady sexiness of Jeff, Dan’s still not certain his heart’s ready to take another chance on love. Does he share his life with Evan and Jeff, or would it be better to avoid being hurt, by going through life alone?

Dark Horse is the first release by new author Kate Sherwood. It’s long at 379 pages; each one packed with a depth of sorrow and pain I’ve rarely seen, so if you tear up and cry easily, get a box of tissues ready. You just might need them.

The story is told entirely in Dan’s point of view so the reader knows from the beginning how this emotionally wounded man feels about his job, his life and the people he works for. I enjoyed the way Ms. Sherwood described horse training, breeding and the competitive world of Eventing. While the story could have become unwieldy with needless ‘horsey’ details that didn’t move the tale forward, instead the author used restraint, including just enough information to allow the reader to feel a part Dan’s world.

The characters - Dan is, by far, the most complicated person in the story, and in some respects his own worst enemy. He wants the man he can’t have, yet is afraid to reach out for the love and affection being offered. He’s anxious, uncertain, unsettled, apprehensive and appalled that he wants another man—two men—while Justin is still alive, which makes for a great deal of angst. Evan is exuberant, forceful, straightforward and used to getting what he wants. Jeff is older, wiser, easy to get along with, tender and caring. These three men are totally different, but Ms. Sherwood has brought them together in a believable and creative manner. From what I’ve said don’t expect the entire story to be filled with emotional upheaval, because that isn’t the case. There’s also fun, caring, tenderness, bantering conversation, and a nice build-up of sexual tension.

I mentioned the long length before and I will honestly admit there were a few places where I felt the plot bogged down. What I found particularly frustrating was Dan’s inability to move forward with his life, not whining exactly, but at times close, and since we don’t know what motivates Jeff and Evan, it left me wondering why they bothered with Dan. The only way I can classify the end is—a happy for now…maybe.

Martin And The Wolf


Title: Martin And The Wolf
Author: Anne Brooke
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 13: 978-1-60272-701-4
Genre: {M/M} Werewolf Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Martin is invited to a house party in the Surrey countryside. There he meets the alluring Lucas. Martin and Lucas are very attracted to each other. They spend almost every night together after their initial meeting. However, there is something unusual about Lucas’ absence every full moon. When Martin follows Lucas to the local park, he discovers Lucas and a pack of strange wolves he refers to as friends.

Martin And The Wolf is a well constructed short story featuring a werewolf romance. The characters are interesting. Martin is a college lecturer; intelligent, easy going and happy to allow Lucas to take the lead in their relationship. Lucas is a designer with all the distinctiveness of his true alpha nature, although he is gentle when it comes to Martin’s human feelings. Martin is a good counterpart for Lucas. The plot exhibits modest emotions, references to intimate love scenes as well as a dash of drama. Anne Brooke has created an enjoyable light reading snippet for fans that are fond of shifter stories.

Dead Again


Title: Dead Again
Author: Tracy Cooper-Posey
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419921483
Genre: {M/F} Suspense
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Sophie and Jack are the only survivors of a small plane crash in the Rockies and it takes the both of them working together to stay alive until help arrives. It takes five days for the rescuers to find the couple on the mountain ledge. While in the hospital, Jack dies and Sophie has to move on with her life. Her life changed drastically with Jack’s attention and his death. She never saw him after being rescued and Los Angeles no longer enticed her to live there.

Sophie is now living in a small town in Montana, working in her restaurant. One evening while walking home, she think she’s sees Jack but how is that possible? When she confronts the man, he insists his name is Martin but Sophie knows better. These two have history that is eight years old - she’s just not willing to let it go and that’s just the way Martin/Jack likes it!

Dead Again is a fascinating story of surviving a life-altering ordeal, murder and facing truths that left me wowed. There is so much going on in this book, it kept me trying to figure out what the real story was behind the attempts on Martin/Jack’s life and that’s even after he was supposed to have gone into witness protection. Sophie and Jack created a deep bond, while alone on a cliff in the middle of winter, and fate was the key to them finding each other again years later. Throw in a corrupt cop and the plot explodes to a level I found almost unbelievable.

I imagine it would be hard enough to be a witness, but being on the run for seven or more years is not a life I would wish on anyone. The hardest part of being on the run is having to look over your shoulder all the time or staying in one place too long. It only puts other people in danger by affiliation. Jack showed intelligence, determination and willpower to overcome the threats to his survival. I must say that I was surprised and pleased with the outcome of this story.

Ms. Cooper-Posey created a great sinister character in the villain, who is behind the deaths of the people who came in contact with Jack. When I realized who the villain was and believe me, it came about half way through the book, it was a little daunting to know this person was capable of so much intelligence and to have the resources available to them. Although the villain had a lot of help, they did find their way into areas of government files that should not have been breached. I believe that was because the job the villain held. Once again, I am fortunate to have read this author’s story and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

‘Til Kingdom Come


Title: ‘Til Kingdom Come
Author: Evangeline Anderson
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-814-3
Genre: [M/M] Medieval Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

He lives in a world filled with magic, witches, dragons and oppressions and Prince Thrain Blackwater has grown up in bleak Castle Black, under the tyrannical thumb of his father, King Ungor and his unfeeling and deadly older brother, Baynor. After a vision shows him the one who can make him whole and aid in his revenge against those who wronged him, Thrain accompanies Baynor on a mission of treachery and brutality that will in all likelihood, alienate the one he means to claim as his own.

As son and heir to Queen Alaina, Prince Elias Trueheart has led a sheltered life within the walls of Castle Rowan. His royal mother might be a powerful sorceress, but Elias isn’t—he’s a null and resigned to living a life in obscurity, surrounded by his vast magical family. When the men of Castle Black attack, Elias is claimed by Thrain in a brutal manner he can’t forget or forgive, then kidnapped and taken far from his home.

Held captive beneath Castle Black is a magical being filled with riddles that will release Elias’ magic. The secrets this creature holds are confusing but one thing’s certain. He must learn to trust Thrain with his body and his heart and he only has a few short weeks to do it. If he doesn’t, not only will they both wind up dead, the land of both kingdoms will be pillaged and ruined and all magic will leave the world forever.

‘Til Kingdom Come is the newest release by multi-published author Evangeline Anderson, and take it from me—it’s well worth the read. This M/M medieval fantasy is vividly described, whether in regards to customs, clothing, daily life or personal/kingdom backgrounds, and the author does it in a creative and well crafted manner that brings the story and its people to life.

The tale begins with a reprehensible act that sets up Thrain as a villain. This one action shapes Elias’ opinion of him, forcing Thrain to spend the rest of the story atoning for what he did, showing his lover his true and caring nature. I actually felt sorrier for Thrain than I did Elias. After growing up with a dangerous father / king and a crazy / murderous brother, it’s a wonder he turned out as caring as he did. The father and brother--now these two men make perfect villains—the ones you love to hate and Ms. Anderson outdid herself with their creation. They’re despicable in every way and don’t have a single redeeming characteristic. Not one.

There is a seamless integration of magic, fairy folk and dragons throughout and I really enjoyed how she wove Elias and his power into the story, making them a vital piece of the puzzle. Then she added in some well-placed political intrigue, an unfilled prophecy, danger and brutality, then threw in a twist where Thrain’s touch is the only thing capable of grounding Elias and his newly unleashed magical ability. My only complaint is that there was just too much angst, bickering and mistrust on both sides. It got a little tiresome, but it’s balanced with the unique and inventive plot and nicely handled sexual tension build up. When Thrain and Elias do get together physically, watch out. The only word to adequately describe it - HOT!

The Wolf In The Woods


Title: The Wolf In The Woods
Author: Marisa Chenery
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59578-685-2
Genre: {M/F} Werewolves
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph

Realizing she’d passed the same boulder more than once has Red Stanwood seriously annoyed, but coming face to face with a wolf sent her into panic mode. When the wolf shifted into a hunky blonde man and gave Red one of the best orgasms of her life, she thought for sure she must be hallucinating.

Rutgar Holden’s life was changed forever when he was brought to his knees by the scent of his mate, who happened to be human. Now all he could think about was mating with Red but Rutgar knew he had to explain things to her before things got out of control. That was the plan, but unfortunately that wasn’t exactly what happened.

Lust wins out over logic and Rutgar bonds with Red without bringing her up to speed on what it means to be his mate. Working out the kinks in their relationship gets a bit more difficult when an intruder enters Rutgar’s territory and makes trouble.

Red and Rutgar’s first meeting pulled me in like quicksand and left me panting with the turn of each page. The couple just couldn’t keep their hands off each other, but it was certainly fun watching them try. Red was right to be mad at Rutgar but I was glad that she wasn’t frightened off. Her mind was more open than I originally thought. The Wolf In The Woods introduced me to Marisa Chenery’s stories and I am now a fan.

Big Diehl: The Road Home


Title: Big Diehl: The Road Home
Author: George Seaton
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60820-152-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

After receiving an honorable discharge for six years of service in the Army, Big Diehl is traveling to Laramie, Wyoming intending to inflict a deadly justice on his abusive father. However, a series of events delay his arrival. The first delay was Diehl’s rescue of a border collie,whom he named Jack. By the time Diehl finally arrives at his father’s trailer, Diehl realizes that his father’s misery is justice enough and committing murder is not the way to start a new life. It is time for Diehl to let go of his hatred and find a place he can call home.

Big Diehl: The Road Home is an insightful story of being gay in the military, as well as the stress of returning to civilian life. The Amy is a way to escape the squalor he grew up in, as well as give him an opportunity to come to a decision concerning his future. The realistic plot features Diehl’s life as a soldier, his romantic attractions and his heartbreaking observations of war casualties. Also featured is a Wyoming murder investigation. Jack’s rescue by Diehl provides the beginnings of a special friendship between man and dog. Diehl’s return also renews former love interest. However, Diehl’s goal has always been to find a place he can truly call home. George Seaton has created an outstanding saga that I exceedingly enjoyed.