Monday, July 5, 2010

House of Driscoll


Title: House of Driscoll
Author(s): A. J. Llewellyn & D. J. Manly
Publisher: Amber Quill
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-696-3
Genre: [M/M] Dark Fantasy, Vampire,
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

All of France is in an uproar and revolution is brewing during the period when wealthy aristocrat Max Driscoll gets sexually involved with Galien, a stable hand and when the young man is arrested and facing death on the guillotine, Max turns him into a vampire. It doesn’t take long for Max to realize that his new fledgling isn’t the man he thought and the two part company. It doesn’t matter that nearly three hundred years have passed or that the two vampires live thousands of miles apart, Max can’t shake the now rogue vampire who’s willing to do just about anything to get his attention.

Now serving as the vampire council’s ‘cleaner’, Max is forced to travel to New York in order to confront Galien, when a series of murders in the gay community threatens to expose the existence of the vampire world. He vows to take care of the problem—Galien, but discovers on arrival that he’s not the vampire on the gruesome killing spree. It’s Blue, a beautiful young man recently turned by Galien and left untrained by his creator. Can Max discover the cause of Blue’s homicidal rage and turn him into a suitable partner and a worthy member of House Driscoll, or will he be forced to carry out the counsels’ edict? Death.

House of Driscoll is the first release in a new dark fantasy/vampire series. It starts during the bleak and frightening days of the French Revolution and progresses rapidly to present day France.

There’s a lot going on in this story and the relationships between the vampires are complicated, but once the set-up portion is complete, the characters, their relationships and the plot focus straightens out, making it easier to follow. The characters are numerous and the roles they play vary in overall plot importance but they’re all interesting, each with their own distinctive personality twists. The authors did a nice job building these vampires into unique individuals, some of whom I liked and others I disliked. Max believes in justice and fairness, but doesn’t know how to open his heart to love, and despite his cold-fish attitude, I liked him. Galien is a 300 hundred year old manipulative, spoiled brat, who is obsessed with Max—him I disliked, a lot. Blue is a bit of a puzzle. He’s kind, sensitive, caring and after what Galien did to him, capable of rage and murder, yet I found him a sympathetic character. Katherine is passionate, loyal to Max, fun-loving and a bit quirky and mysterious.

The conflict and confrontation between Max and Galien is the central theme and the authors did a seamless job sucking Blue and Katherine into their dispute. Emotions run high throughout the book, quickly changing from anger to sex and then to threats of death, all within a short span of pages, keeping the pace fast and action filled. Add in disposing of several bodies, a kidnapping, a group of human religious fanatics and a vampire who believes he’s the second coming of Jesus and you have all the components for an attention grabbing story.

My only complaint, aside from wanting Galien dead, is the abrupt ending that leaves the reader hanging with a—To Be Continued. When I saw those dreaded words, my jaw dropped and I sucked all the air out of the room with my gasp of “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Love Most Inconvenient 3


Title: Love Most Inconvenient 3
Author: D.J. Manly
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59578-733-0
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Man On - 5 Nymphs
Brody Montgomery, a physiotherapist, arrives at soccer player Vittorio Barilla’s home to minister to his rehabilitation after he broke his legs in a motorcycle accident. Brody is accustomed to dealing with spoiled sports jocks. However, Brody finds Vic very tempting and has a hard time remaining professional. By the end of Vic’s treatment, Brody has succumbed to temptation, falling in love with Vic.

Man Closet - 4.5 Nymphs
Noah Daniels, Hide magazine publisher, is on a mission to drag all famous secretly gay people out of the closet. After meeting Ace Taylor, the hot drummer of a top rock band, Noah changed his mission, as well as the premise of the magazine. Ace admits to being gay, nevertheless he considers sexuality to be private and not for public consumption.

Man Inside - 5 Nymphs
Yandal Torres is convicted of crimes he did not commit. His older brother had promised he wouldn’t do jail time if he took the rap for him and his gang buddies. Yan finds himself in danger shortly after his arrival at prison. In desperation, he attempts to plead for the protection of Diego Mendez, an ex-gang leader, as well as the only person tough enough to keep him alive.

Love Most Inconvenient 3 is the third installment of the anthology series. All the stories have well-written plots. The characters are believable, with admirable interaction. The emotional level is first-rate, along with marvelous intimate scenes. The third story I found to have especially realistic circumstances, as well as being heartbreaking at times. However, in all three stories, love redeems their hearts and actions, leaving the reader with a blissful feeling. The incredible D.J. Manly has created a fantastic anthology that I enjoyed immensely.

The Alpha's Pet


Title: The Alpha's Pet
Author: Louisa Gough
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-707-6
Genre: {M/M, M/M/M} Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolf
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Blue understands pack law and his position as an Omega leaves little room for privileges or the ability to escape certain sadistic Betas. His loyalty and respect for the Alpha, Rafe, keeps him in the pack but it will be his feelings for the latest member, Gabriel, that will make him fight for more than the status quo.

Gabriel is Rafe’s newest pet. He has an overwhelming attraction to Blue and soon discovers the feelings are mutual. Blue knows the only way to gain Gabriel and the respect of his pack is to move up in rank by a show of strength. Is he prepared to battle a Beta and stand his ground or is he doomed to live a life as their special chew toy?

Louisa Gough’s The Alpha's Pet takes us into the inner workings of a pack and allows us to watch Blue begin to identify his strengths as he plans for a better life. After Gabriel came on the scene, he took off the veil the Betas maliciously placed over Blue’s eyes. There is so much he never saw in himself until Gabriel more than willingly pointed it out. Rafe is a fair leader who only wants the best for his pack. The few times he interacts with Blue, I could see the care he has for the younger man and understood fully why Blue was so loyal.

There is one scene where shifting is involved that completely took over my senses. I could feel the anticipation of the pack members, as well as the barely controlled energy of everyone present. The story is a great quick read. Pick up a copy and enjoy.

A Vintage Affair


Title: A Vintage Affair
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-807-5
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Austin Gillespie is the auction director for one of the oldest wine shops in North America and he’s in danger of losing his job. His boss has sent him to the damp and musty cellar of a decrepit antebellum mansion, known as Ballineen, to catalog its contents and find four legendary bottles of wine, purported to have belonged to Robert E. Lee. Austin doesn’t have time to be distracted by the odd inhabitants of the house, or to get involved with sexy but deeply closeted Jeff Brady. He certainly doesn’t need the police closing down his search for the wine after a body’s found in the cellar.

For Austin, its love at first sight but Jeff doesn’t believe in anything more than a one-night stand. Even if he believed in love, being gay in a small southern community makes it impossible to have an ongoing relationship with another man. If Austin doesn’t want to give up on his dream, he has to find a way to save his job and make Jeff understand they could have a future together.

A Vintage Affair is the latest release by multi-published author Josh Lanyon. This story is definitely heavy on the romance and light on the mystery despite Austin finding a dead body in the cellar. The search for the culprit is done entirely off story and while there is speculation on the killer’s identity, the name isn’t revealed until the very end.

I loved the choice of Austin’s profession as a master of wine and how Mr. Lanyon integrated snippets of information into the story. For someone with little knowledge of that portion of the wine industry, it was an eye-opening part of Austin’s professional background. At times, the descriptions of the wine and its various components were so vivid I swear I could smell the different aromas that made up each bottle.

Jeff and Austin couldn’t have been more different and while I liked Austin immediately, I never did warm up to Jeff. Maybe I didn’t know enough about him, but his attitude left me feeling a little flat. He definitely didn’t deserve to be loved by such a charming and caring man as Austin. I guess the point in the plot where my feelings for Jeff galvanized into dislike was when he brought a woman to Austin’s bed, almost forcing the man into a ménage just to prove a point - that sex is just sex.

Despite not putting in much of an appearance, my favorite character in the story is Austin’s brilliant little brother, Ernest. This kid stole every scene he was in and by my way of thinking, deserved to play a larger part in the overall story.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practices, ménage (m/f/m), voyeurism.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bastet


Title: Bastet
Author: T. A. Chase
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 13: 978-1-60272-697-0
Genre: {M/M} Shapeshifter
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Kellan Largent, a grad student at Harvard, is waiting at the bus stop when a handsome stranger approaches and strikes up a conversation with Kellan. The stranger is Baz, a man that seems very interested in Kellan’s research into the Earth Warrior cult. However, Baz is not the only one interested in Kellan’s finds; there is one man who will do anything for the spell that created the Warriors, including kill Kellan for the secret temple location.

Bastet is the first book in the Earth Warriors series. The well-written, well-paced plot has suspense, action and a dash of cultural history, interwoven with steamy romance, as well as moments of humor. The characters are believable with great interaction between them. Baz is one of seven chosen to be an earth warrior by Egyptian deities who granted them immorality, along with the ability to shift forms. Their objective is to protect the Earth from destruction and keep the secrets of the Earth Warriors from mortals. Baz was sent to keep Kellan from finding out the truth about the cult, but also to keep Kellan alive. Kellan’s research discoveries on ancient Egyptian religious cults have placed his life in jeopardy. While performing his duty as protector, Baz fell in love with Kellan. Baz is a romantic who treats Kellan with loving respect. Kellan’s shyness often leads to him being ignored; however talking about his passion for knowledge turns Kellan into a chatterbox. Although Kellan’s intellectual mind finds it hard to believe Baz can shift forms, Kellan feels safe with Baz. Their growing love for each other is articulated with sultry touches, as well as incredible intimate scenes.

The amazing T. A. Chase has created a superb beginning to this extremely enjoyable series. I look forward to Book II in the Earth Warriors, hopefully coming soon.