Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Russian Bear

Title: A Russian Bear
Author: CB Conwy
Publisher: Torquere Books
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-622-3
Genre: {M/M}, BDSM
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Mischa and Tom’s first meeting was totally by accident, yet once these two get together, nothing is going to keep them apart.

CB Conwy’s A Russian Bear is an excellent story set within the BDSM world and tells the tale of a young man whose introduction into BDSM was not only unexpected, but was also just supposed to be a ‘one off’. The author does a wonderful job walking both Tom and the reader through his journey of self-discovery. Tom’s mixed feelings regarding his new needs are realistic and come across believably. Mischa’s growing feelings for Tom also ring true and the reader can see this tough Dom start to fall. Although it takes the men some time to acknowledge their feelings for each other, it is easy for the reader to see their feelings right from the beginning. When an act of violence disturbs Mischa and Tom’s lives, the story really comes alive, as Mischa tries to make things right once again.

A Russian Bear has just the right mix of sweet and kink to hold any readers attention. The author’s ability to bring both the characters, and the BDSM world, to life makes this a not-to-be-missed story. I will be eagerly waiting for more from this author.

Embracing the Tiger

Title: Embracing the Tiger
Author: Daisy Dexter Dobbs
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419929137
Genre: {M/M/F} Fantasy, Ménage
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Princess Aladee is the prisoner of the bloodthirsty tyrant Tordanuk. On a daily basis, the evil sorceress, Shivrane makes her life miserable. But she draws strength from the two Guardians of Zalvanus, Bax’Taran the Brave and Yevlor the Swift, who share in her fate.

There seems to be no way out of the prison, but Shivrane’s own curse will be used as the weapon to help them finally regain their freedom. Their freedom brings hope for a better future for themselves and all of mankind.

Embracing the Tiger is the third story in the Valiant Hearts series. The three have endured pain and suffering that most would have succumb to but thanks to the guardian training and the princess’ determination, their wills would not be broken. Their time imprisoned has given the three an opportunity to develop feelings for one another. The action scenes drew me in and had me thirsty for purple blood, while the erotic encounters between Aladee and her men are written with passion and as a testament to how deeply their love flows. There was one scene where I couldn’t understand how the men thought Aladee would be safer without them by her side. It boggled the mind for a moment, because the enemy was everywhere and relentless. But thankfully they saw the error of their thoughts before it was too late. I found Embracing the Tiger to be an interesting addition to the series and look forward to reading the next release.

House of Stone

Title: House of Stone
Author: Vaughn R. Demont
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60928-061-1
Genre: [M/M] Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Being a Fae noble and the current head of the House of Stone isn’t much fun for Richard. His hereditary mini-kingdom has seen better days; most of it’s situated in the City’s slum, and he’s become a star in the local porn industry to earn enough money to live on, and to pay his taxes. But he’s still a noble—right? So what if his family’s magical sword, The Azure Blade, has suddenly stopped working for him? What else can go wrong? A sudden arranged marriage to a female Fae he’s never met is fast approaching. Is it in order to beget the next generation or is there another reason?

Making his new bride happy is the least of Richard’s worries. He has just eight days to discover and fix whatever shame he’s brought into his family’s house. If he doesn’t, his dirty secret will be revealed to the entire Fae court and he’ll lose his family land holding forever. With his faithful servant and lover, Simaron, at his side, Richard has to find and slay the demon who killed his father, deal with a community of rogue half-breeds living in his kingdom, discover what the spirit of a long dead ancestor wants with him and determine what other Fae noble is trying to destroy him and why. It’s just another day in the life of a less than perfect nobleman with a terrible family secret.

House of Stone is the first book by Vaughn R. Demont that I’ve read and I’ll be looking for others in the future. It’s written in first person from Richard’s viewpoint, allowing the reader to get a good feel for the changes he goes through—his growth from a self-centered noble to a caring man by the last page.

This urban fantasy has a complicated plot with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing from one chapter to the next. The pace is fast, the story well written and the numerous characters interesting and unique. And when I say numerous, I’m not kidding. There are characters of various importance moving in and out of nearly every scene and while most just round out the story, others play vital roles. There’s even a variety of other creatures—goblins, sorcerers wielding magic, seers, magical swords, demons and a ghostly spirit ancestor, all of which should make any fantasy lover happy.

I enjoyed the details of the Fae world and all its intricate relationships and customs, even if the particulars got a little confusing at times, requiring a quick re-read to set things right. It’s a culture based on class. In the case of Richard and Simaron, it’s noble versus servant, which I found a little annoying, not on Richard’s part but on Sims. There were times I wanted to bang the man over the head for being obstinate and clueless of the depth of Richard’s love. Getting to know Simaron better would have been nice but with little snippets of his emotions interjected throughout the story, you’re still able to get a good feel for how much he cares for his lover/lord.

I will give you fair warning, the romance portion of this story is pretty much set before the book’s beginning. Richard and Sim have been lovers for years; they just haven’t worked out the details of how to make it work, due to their class distinctions. What you get in the story is the way they struggle against horrible odds to fix a problem that could destroy them all. Take it from me, it’s worth the read. Enjoy!

Illusion of Night

Title: Illusion of Night
Author: C. J. Black
Publisher: Liquid Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-59578-724-8
Genre: {M/M}, Fantasy
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

With his mother and sister dead and his father and brother setting him up to die, Prince Vanlyn’s life is a living nightmare. Then he met High Lord Tanderes.

Illusion of Night by C.J. Black was a very interesting story, set in a world where magic is commonplace and not always used for good. The main characters do not come together under the best of conditions and, to be honest, I did not always like Dane, Lord Tanderes, in the beginning. The animosity and mistrust, as well as the underlining lust Dane and Vanlyn feel in the beginning, comes across clearly for the reader. The author also lets these feelings play out at their own pace rather than forcing them along, which gave the story a realistic feel. When the two men finally come together, you can see that all their previous struggles have allowed them to form a stronger partnership.

The author also did a wonderful job weaving together a world of fantasy that I am sure many readers will hope to visit again. The secondary characters, both good and bad, enrich an already fantastic story.

This was one of those books that, once I started, I could not put down as I was constantly wondering what would happen next and how the author would bring Dane and Vanlyn together. The characters were fascinating and the strongly written story held my attention until the last page.

Pump Me Up

Title: Pump Me Up
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-510-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Maddoc gets more than he expected when he decides to use a free pass to the gym. He gains new friends, begins a workout regiment and meets a former Marine, Ivan, who puts pep in Maddoc’s step. Maddoc’s life is hectic, thanks to a persistent stalker. Ivan sees something in Maddoc and refuses to allow anyone or anything to stand in the way of him claiming the red-head as his own. Maddoc hasn’t has the best of luck with relationships and wants to slow things down. But how slow will they really have to go?

Pump Me Up is Andrew Grey’s sequel to Spot Me. I am unsure of how the stalker was able to accomplish a few things in this story. While it left me wondering, it didn’t overshadow the budding relationship.

Maddoc’s trouble weighs him down but underneath the frightened exterior, beats the heart of a tiger. He is anything but timid in the right situations and has a personality that draws new friends into his life. Ivan isn’t looking for love, but he knows a good man when he sees one and is willing to protect Maddoc. He’s the type of man you would want fighting in your corner and warming your bed. The two make a sweet couple and heat up the pages of Pump Me Up. Some of my favorite characters from Spot Me have come back for quick cameos, which was a true treat. I found the story a fast-paced read, lightly peppered with perfectly timed innuendos and quick one-liners.

Strange Fortune

Title: Strange Fortune
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60928-113-7
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Suspense
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Publication Date: July 20, 2010

Valentine Strange, a soldier of fortune, is commissioned by the Holy Orders of Harappu to retrieve the diadem of the Goddess Purya from an ancient temple deep in the White Mountains. Also requested to accompany Valentine on the journey is Aleister Grimshaw, a witch in the employ of the Holy Orders. The journey is dangerous and Aleister is haunted by demons that invade his dreams, as well as threaten his sanity. Through it all, Val fearlessly defends Aleister against all manner of curses, bandits and deviant beings.

Strange Fortune is an exciting suspense action fantasy, with romantic overtones. The well written plot holds the reader captive to the last word. However, Val’s dialogue, along with descriptions of his leisurely pursuits, gave me the impression of a historical English gentleman. The characters are well developed. Val is impulsive and straight forward, with no hidden agendas. He needs money to pay his gaming debts, plus he is a skilled soldier. Val loathes witches in general. On the other hand, he is stunned to realize he is genuinely attracted to Aleister. As an unenthusiastic companion on the expedition, Aleister continues to be plagued by a demon attempting to control him, causing Aleister to distrust his sanity in addition to wielding the magic he is capable of. These torments first started in his childhood, stemming from a tomb unearthed during Aleister’s first dig site. Because of his sufferings, Aleister spends much of his time alone. In the course of his growing intimate friendship with Val, Aleister begins to rely on Val as his defender, as well as his lover. Surviving many hazards completing their mission, both men discover that they must face the destruction of Harappu, along with finding a new place to begin their lives together.

The incredibly talented Josh Lanyon never fails to deliver stories that will have you hanging onto the edge of your chair with mystery and suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed Strange Fortune, a fascinating saga that I will not soon forget.

Monday, July 12, 2010

For Women Only

Title: For Women Only
Author: Kayelle Allen
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-435-0
Genre: {M/F} Science Fiction/Fantasy
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Khyff Antonello earned his nickname, the Machine, from his years as a pleasure slave. He has healed physically from the various forms of abuse suffered over the years but emotionally, Khyff is a mess.

Ambassador Mehfawni Ruh has an appreciation for blondes with blue-eyes. One look at Khyff and she’s more than willing to keep the introductions brief, as long as the loving takes all night.

When faced with the information of the wrongs done to Khyff by her kind and family, Mehfawni wants to make things right. She knows she can heal the hurts if only Khyff will trust her. When his reason for being with her is revealed, will Mehfawni still want to share her heart with him?

For Women Only is the second story of the Antonello Brothers series. Kayelle Allen has created a suspenseful story that kept me on the edge of my seat. There were subplots within plots and I never knew the true motive behind the hidden agendas, until the end. I finally have some of the pieces for a certain small gray-eyed character who stole my heart in the previous related stories that I’ve read.

Khyff is a complex man. Confused, filled with pain and uncertainty and hiding from a childhood brimming with demons, he’s unsure if he knows the meaning of the word “love”. Mehfawni is the walking epitome of the word honor. She takes her role as a leader and family member seriously. With Khyff’s help, she begins to see the true atrocities behind the treatment of the men of her world. The two are a fantastic couple; each building the others strengths, defending them in weak moments and proving that love is worth certain sacrifices.

The emotional rollercoaster of this story left me aching for Khyff and his plight. For Women Only moves at a fast pace and never game me a moment to catch my breath until the final sentence. This is a fantastic addition to the series and I am anxiously awaiting future releases from this brilliant author.

Reviewer’s Note: References to the abuse of children are mentioned in this story and may be a hard subject matter for some to read but the author presented the material, as delicately as possible.


Title: Bonded
Author: A. J. Llewellyn
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-55487-582-5
Genre: {M/M}, Suspense
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Mingo thinks everything between him and his love is going great but then Francois lets a little bomb drop and soon it’s time for a change. If that isn’t enough, Mingo’s mom wants to introduce him to his new ‘daddy’, who just may be keeping a few secrets of his own.

The one constant in an A.J. Llewellyn story is that the main characters are never going to have a normal everyday-type romance. This holds true for Mingo and Francois from the Mingo series. You would think our heroes would get a little down time after surviving a hurricane, but no, the author throws these two right back into the deep end. With the arrival of Francois’ ex, his teenage son and Mingo’s mother’s new boyfriend, Mingo and Francois battle one adventure after another. While the passion between the two men is as hot as ever, it is really the story of the men’s growing love for each other and their families that kept me glued to the book. I loved the new addition to the men’s family, and when it came to Mingo and his mother, I couldn’t decide who I felt sorrier for. Bonded had me laughing almost from the first page and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for Mingo and Francois next.

Lily White Rose Red

Title: Lily White Rose Red
Author: Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-472-5
Genre: {M/M} Erotic Mystery
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Private Dick Grey Randall has a nose for the PI business and a way of getting his man, regardless of the case. When a wealthy client retains his services to investigate a murder, Grey is sure he’s not being told the entire truth. His sleuthing skills, contacts and some dumb luck helps him find the bones most hoped would remain buried. The highlight of this case is meeting Phillip Martin, AKA Mr. Big—AKA Mr. Beautiful, a man who makes Grey act on his inclinations and brings out the dormant desires he allowed Mr. Lefty and Sir Righty to take care of in the past.

As time passes, Grey discovers Phillip is more connected than he anticipated. Will the man who revs up his engine be the culprit or is someone else guilty of the crime?

Lily White Rose Red is the beginning of Catt Ford’s new series Grey Randall: Private Dick. This fast-paced suspenseful tale is a fantastic beginning and paves the way for what I hope to be many more interesting mysteries to come. I was drawn in from the first chapter, thanks to its carefully detailed plot and fascinating supporting characters. Set in Las Vegas in 1948, the social injustices make it harder for Grey to perform his job as an openly gay man. And while he may have to stay in the closet for the most part, when his desires come out to play, they lead to some passionate moments sure to leave you breathless. The heat between Phillip and Grey can only intensify in the upcoming stories.

The supporting characters all add their own special touch to this story, and help it to flow effortlessly from one scene to the next. I’m looking reading about the next case file to cross Grey’s desk.

Pushing Limits

Title: Pushing Limits
Author: Sindra van Yssel
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737- 802-0
Genre: {M/F} {M/F/M}, BDSM, Ménage
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Samantha has had some bad experiences with Doms. She has a two page list of things she will not do because of it. Some of the Doms want nothing to do with her and tend to badmouth her to newer Doms.

Arthur knows what it is like to be a submissive, as well as a Dom. His experience in Los Angeles makes him the perfect man to make Samantha let go.

Sindra van Yssel’s Pushing Limits allows you to see some of the results that cause havoc within the BDSM community. Arthur goes out of his way to make sure that he does nothing to overstep Samantha’s limits without her permission. The negotiation scenes were very well written and give you great insight into how well you have to communicate what you want and will allow.

This is the second book of the Bondage Ranch series and it’s a wonderful guide for newcomers to the BDSM community. Samantha and Arthur have some intense chemistry. I related a lot to Samantha and give the author kudos for the emotions she got from me. I will be reading this one again and think this should be on every BDSM lovers bookshelf.

Publisher's Note: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and elements, domination/submission, exhibitionism, voyeurism.

Reviewer’s Note: There is one ménage scene toward the end.

Dark Obsession

Title: Dark Obsession
Author: Sydney Somers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publishers URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60504-978-6
Genre: [M/F] Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Rae McAvoy takes her job as team leader very seriously and isn’t interested in allowing anything to get in the way of destroying as many demons as possible, all while keeping her team members safe. What she doesn’t need is inference by her sexy-as-sin ex, Parker, but if doing one last job together will get him out of her life permanently, she’s willing to put up with the aggravation. Unfortunately for Rae, Parker isn’t her only problem. She and her team have been assigned the job of finding a rogue scientist who’s kidnapping children for genetic manipulation experiments…….and that man is her father.

Parker has never forgotten the love and passion he felt for Rae and knows that it was his own darkness that drove her away. He’s unwilling to give up on her and is determined to remind her of how good they were as a couple, every chance he gets. The more they’re thrown together, the higher their mutual desire spirals until it explodes into passion and need. When secrets from their pasts come to light, Rae and Parker either have to control the threat or take the risk of being consumed by a darkness that will destroy them.

Dark Obsession is the fourth release in Sydney Somers action-packed paranormal series Shadow Destroyers. While reading the previous three releases would be beneficial, you can certainly read this book as a standalone without difficulty.

Once again Ms. Somers has written a story that grabs the reader’s attention from the first page and keeps it until the very last word. The characters of Rae and Parker are well developed and interesting, each with enough past history and personal family baggage to sink any relationship. On the surface, they seemingly don’t have a chance of reconciliation. Yet their almost constant struggle with bitterness, hostility and distrust doesn’t stop the pull—the desire they feel for each other. These two people have gone through so much in their lives, separately and together, that you can’t help rooting for them to find a way back into each other’s arms. On their own, they’re lonely and a little heartbroken but together they’re intense, alive and sizzling with passion.

While I love the ongoing storyline, with its past hurts, death, betrayal and demon slaying, the people of the story and their intertwined relationships is where the author excelled. And I don’t just mean with the primary characters of Rae and Parker. She’s done an equally nice job of seamlessly interjecting characters from the previous releases, blending their lives, hurts and joys into the present story. One person I’d like to know more about is Linc and what part he actually plays in the ‘gatekeeper’ prophesy. I have a feeling that when he gets drawn more fully into the story that the action and danger is only going to get more violent and intense. I look forward to the next release.

Jacob's Ladder

Title: Jacob's Ladder
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-806-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Santo Ignacio is a place for healing. While most of the residents grew up in the small town, some like Jacob “Yasha” Livingston find themselves drawn to the picturesque location, purely by accident. Yasha didn’t expect to find a place to call home or for that matter, to fall in love...

What began miles away in LA as a head cold started a chain of events that made Yasha rethink the excuses he’s accepted over the years and the lies he’s told himself so he could continue down his destructive path. His new path leads him to the Santo Ignacio. And just when he reached rock bottom, a rainbow brighten his existence.

EMT Jason “JT” Lents’ upbeat nature and sweet smile draws people to him. JT refuses to accept he’s gay and the parade of pretty eligible women attests to his determination to find a traditional love. Yasha makes JT struggle with that closet door he attempts to keep firmly locked and the lust he keeps on a short leash. Soon, it’s not the ache for just a man, but Yasha that will lead JT to decide if he can muster the courage to live life, instead of a lie.

Z.A. Maxfield has truly done it again. I never grow tired of the St. Nacho series and the latest release, Jacob's Ladder, has cemented this talented author on my list of favorites. Brilliantly developed storyline, characters with an emotional depth that draws you in and leaves you wanting to protect them while inviting them over for dinner and a breathtaking setting that makes you want to escape the big city to find a seaside small town to call home awaits your reading pleasure.

Yasha is a strong man, used to taking care of himself, who has allowed his past to dictate how he allows his lovers to treat him. JT wants the kind of marriage that was his example while growing up and is willing to repudiate his true inclination. The two have a great deal to overcome, but eventually the veils are lifted and they begin to see how destructive their behavior has been. I found this to be a wonderful story that tugged at my heartstrings. Messages of self-worth, friendship and redemption are throughout this tale. I saw the beginning of a love connection and I’m truly hoping Z.A. Maxfield won’t make us wait too long to see that relationship bloom. Those who have enjoyed the series will be delighted when they read Jacob's Ladder.

The Blood of Love

Title: The Blood of Love
Author: Victor J. Banis
Publisher: ManLoveRomance Books
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-155-6
Genre: {M/M}, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

You would think that, after living as long as he has, Jonathon would know not to fall in love with a human. As a result of dealing with a past flame, Jonathon meets, and soon falls for, the sexy young Nate. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the two men, once the rest of the Amorinii find out.

Author Victor J. Banis takes a popular theme, vampires, and gives it a twist in his latest release, The Blood of Love. By introducing a new group of vampires who need cum rather than blood to survive, the author opens up a whole new world on what can, at times, be an overdone concept. These new vampires are the Amorinii and, for the most part, finding ‘food’ is not an issue but every so often, one of the Amorinii falls in love and that’s when the problems start. Unfortunately for Jonathon, he is the Amorinii that falls and the author does not make this an easy journey for either Jonathon or Nate. The story is fast paced and the passion between these two is hot. There are enough twists and turns to keep this story fresh and leave the readers wanting more. With a wonderful cast of secondary characters, this is one story that calls for a sequel.

As a bonus, the author has included a short story entitled The Hungry Heart. This story is told in such a way that the reader will, at times, be left guessing. As this story of two men out on a lonely night craving someone to call their own progresses, the reader will be drawn in only to reach a shocking conclusion. While I am not a huge fan of short stories, I loved this one and was, in no way, ready to see it end.