Friday, August 13, 2010

Keys to Love


Title: Keys to Love
Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: Man Love Romance Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60820-159-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

When Julian left classical music for rock, he never expected to make it as big as he did with Conquest. Now after two years his life is crazier and more fulfilling than ever. There’s just one problem. Although he is out of the closet, in both his personal and professional life, he has never been lonelier.

Morgan is just trying to keep his head above water. Budget cuts at the school where he taught resulted in the loss of his job and the recent death of his father brought a whole mess of debt. In order to keep the family’s music store, Morgan is forced to take a job as a roadie for Conquest.

Keys to Love is the third installment to the Conquest series. Author S.J. Frost has outdone herself by keeping the characters, both old and new, as well as the story, fresh. Although many of the old characters show up, in no way will the reader feel as if they are reading just more of the same. The chemistry between Julian and Morgan is there from the beginning, and watching the two men try to figure out if the other is flirting or just being friendly is, at times, hilarious. Once they get together, it is almost as if two old lovers have reunited. Their relationship is not an easy one, as many obstacles are thrown in their way. Through it all you just know that nothing will be able to keep these two apart for long.

This series is probably one of my all-time favorites, and while there is only one single band member left, I am hoping that the author will find some way to either keep the series going or introduce a spin off. Although Keys to Love could be considered a stand-alone, I would recommend reading this series in order.

Lust’s Temptation


Title: Lust’s Temptation
Author: Tawny Taylor
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419929106
Genre: {M/M}, {M/F/M}, BDSM, Ménage and more, Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Oriel goes to see Troi and Amun after a young friend indicates that they had harmed her, knowing there was no harm. Oriel wants nothing to do with them, until she realizes they are really very nice men, even though they are possessed by Lust.

The second book in the Masters of Sin series, Lust’s Temptation, was a pleasant surprise. Though Lust’s Temptation follows the concept of Lust divided into two men, the relationship between Troi, Oriel, and Amun was a pleasant surprise in the way it ended up because Amum is the submissive in the relationship between the three of them. Keep ice on hand as your read the various scenes between the men, both with Oriel, and the group scenes.

The book started a little slow for me but once the three actually got together, it picked up a lot. The emotions that the men invoke remind me that all of us can be just as vulnerable in our relationships. Ms. Taylor has created a surprising group of men that can turn all our heads and leave us wanting more. I am looking forward to the next book and can’t wait to see which sin will be next.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

At Piper's Point


Title: At Piper's Point
Author: Ethan Day
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-816-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Cassidy Winters returns to the home of his late grandmother, Sadie Hart, for a quiet, seaside farewell ceremony. News of his arrival spreads and Cassidy finds himself planning a huge party to celebrate Sadie's life. Plans continue to change when a bevy of men all converge on Sadie’s shack, demanding Cassidy’s attention. Add to that, Cassidy rescues a sweet little dog that is very happy Cassidy gave her a home.

At Piper's Point is a beautiful well constructed story of love, grief and conquering relationship uncertainties. The characters are credible, as well as heartwarming. The storyline is about reminiscences, the grieving process interwoven with some comical moments. For Cassidy, his grandmother’s passing away meant losing the only family member’s love he had ever known. Cassidy rarely saw his parents, who were always traveling or going to charity events. Most of the really good memories Cassidy had growing up occurred during the summers spent with his grandmother. People are naturally drawn to Cassidy’s good looks, along with his sparkling personality. However, Cassidy fears rejection, which prompts Cassidy to keep his relationships to a six month period. When first love Nate Sommers returns to the island, Cassidy must face his fears and surrender to his true feelings. Adding to the chaos is Neil, a one night stand who’s hoping for a longer term, ex-boyfriend Teddy, who won’t take no for an answer. Best friends Ollie and Spencer who are now a couple, thanks to Cassidy along with Ben, the vet who treats the adorable little dog and has his own potential love agenda prepared.

The exceedingly talented Ethan Day has created a superb tale full of realistic emotions including humor. I can relate to the grief illustrated in this story. On the other hand, I can only dream of having a male harem dilemma. At Piper's Point is an excellent multi-leveled story that I enjoyed immensely.

Cancer: Penny Candles


Title: Cancer: Penny Candles
Author: Vivien Dean
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-708-3
Genre: {M/M} Futuristic
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Set in 2184, the United States is split, the middle half is leading a more primitive existence, struggling to survive after a biological attack on the country. Even though almost a century has passed, the people who live beyond the borders are distrustful of strangers and even the trained military personal are reluctant to cross into its untamed lands.

That doesn’t stop Sullivan Eberle. After experiencing a severe head injury, he’s discharged from a military hospital and he suddenly finds himself compelled to cross the border and find one specific man—Rafe Hamada. He has a note with a name, but he doesn’t remember who gave it to him or why and he doesn’t know where to look for Rafe, he only know he must find him.

Raphael Hamada and his mother left so-called civilization when he was eleven and the last thing they want is to be found, especially by a Strike soldier, even if the man who finds him can’t tell him why. Rafe knows he should tell Sullivan to leave town but he can’t turn his back on the sincere, friendless man. The truth is that, despite what his mother and some of the other townspeople say, Rafe trusts Sullivan, cares for him and doesn’t want to lose him. The question is what keeps him safer? Sullivan leaving town or staying?

Cancer: Penny Candles is part of the Boys of the Zodiac series. This newest release pulled me into the story from the very beginning and left me wanting to know more about Sullivan’s history, and what drove him to find Raphael.

Due to Sullivan’s head injury, there are huge holes in the plot because he just doesn’t know - his memories of the past are gone - and the author does a nice job of handling the uncertainty and unrest of this gentle giant. He’s a quiet, intense guy who only wants to be accepted as the man he is now—not the killing soldier he used to be. The author did a nice job with the mutual interest between Rafe and Sullivan at their initial meeting. She did an equally nice job exploring their simmering attraction and passion as Sullivan settles into life in Chadwick. Rafe is an interesting man; he’s kind-hearted, sincere, passionate and open-minded and ready to allow his heart to love a former soldier, in spite of the possible danger.

The pacing of the story is a bit slow, and there are lots of plot details missing from the first half (unrelated to Sullivan’s injury) of what life in this futuristic world is like. This left me with numerous questions, some of which weren’t answered until the final chapters of the story. The hints and hope for at least some of those answers kept me turning the pages and when the explanations finally arrived, the story buildup finally made sense. By the end, it was a touching romance and a hope for a happy future.

Off Trail


Title: Off Trail
Author: JB McDonald
Publisher: Torquere Books
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60370-380-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

With a loving husband and a business they both enjoyed, Keith had the perfect life. Then tragedy struck; leaving Keith, not only devastated with loss, but also having to start over from the beginning.

Off Trail by author JB McDonald is a story of starting over, in more ways than one. Keith is the primary character in this story and as such, the story revolves around him trying to cope with all types of changes. The turmoil that Keith faces, first with the death of his husband and then the loss of his home and livelihood, sends him into more than one tailspin. His reactions to what has happened to him, as well as the way he tries to cope, come across realistically. Present through most of these new changes is Spencer, the young artist/handyman that Keith meets shortly after moving to his new home. In many ways, Spencer almost comes across as a secondary character; however the chemistry between the two men is definitely there.

Although I enjoyed the story, I also felt slightly cheated as the story between the men seemed unfinished. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will see Spencer and Keith again soon.

United Passion


Title: United Passion
Author: Aubrey Ross
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-353-8
Genre: {M/F}, BDSM, Shape-shifter
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Maddox has been after Dyauna to mate with him for years. Dyauna refuses as she is a half-breed cat that can’t have cubs. The different cat prides are uniting to fight the Department of Morphological Affairs (DOMA).

United Passion, the second book in the Alpha Colony series, is fast-paced and presents a few new challenges in. Both Dyauna and Maddox are trying to protect each other and Dyauna doesn’t want to be the cause of Maddox’s bloodline ending. The relationship between the two is volatile and very hot. The author did a great job pulling the reader right into the emotional vortex between the two.

Some of the secondary characters in United Passion will be showing up again but not in a good way. The secondary storyline with these characters bears watching, as they try to throw a wrench into the plans of both the shape-shifter’s and DOMA. I, for one, can’t wait for the next book.

Come Green Grass


Title: Come Green Grass
Author: Maxine Isackson
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.awe-struck.net/
ISBN: 978-1-58749-662-2
Genre: {M/F} Historical Western
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Still grieving the loss of her parents, Leah Clayborn heads to Horse Flatts, Nebraska to stay with her only remaining family. Leah had found it strange that her Uncle Simon never visited her while she was growing up in Ohio but is eternally grateful for allowing her to stay with him on his cattle ranch now that she has no one else. She sets out to Nebraska with no idea what to expect but if the welcome from Ty Worth, a friend of uncle Simon’s who is waiting for her at the station after her long journey, is anything to go by, she has her work cut out for her. It is quite apparent that Uncle Simon and his men aren’t expecting much from her at all; there isn’t much work or entertainment for woman folk around these parts, especially someone from Leah’s upbringing. However as soon as she sees the amazing surroundings, she starts to feel the spirit of this way of life grab hold of her. Leah has never left the safely of her home or the warmth and protection of her family until now, so why can’t she shake the feeling that it is only now, at the tender age of 17, that she is finally coming home?

Come Green Grass is the prequel to Maxine Isakson’s fantastic novel Prairie Wind and serves as Leah’s introduction to ranch life. Set in 1894, the descriptive, detailed language transported me back to a world that, at times, seemed genteel and romantic, yet extremely stark and harsh at others. Leah soon learns that life depended on the seasons. The need for rain and the desperation when it doesn’t come is especially poignant. This is my favorite genre and nothing is spared a mention here. From the clothing and the food to the horses and architecture, my image of Leah and her surroundings was complete. I could sense the vast space in between dwellings and the hard work that went into even the smallest actions. The knowledge and research into the period is a credit to the author.

Ever since I was first introduced to Leah, I have known she is a character of true grit and determination. Her development through trauma and pain, while still keeping a youthful optimism, is wonderful to read and I couldn’t help but want her to succeed at anything and everything she set her mind to. The dialog between her and Uncle Simon, a fair man who keeps his emotions in check and who fully believes that actions speak volumes, rings true. The evolution of their relationship has a special quality to it that shows plenty of time and love has been invested by the author. The relationship between Leah and Ty is very subtle and suitably paced but perhaps it is just the romantic in me that can’t help but wish for a more obvious display of emotion. However, with the knowledge of the contents of the sequel, I concede to this being the right approach to things. If you like a sweeping, dramatic tale with amazing characters and a plot that has plenty of twists and turns, I highly recommend Come Green Grass.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Born to Be Wylde


Title: Born to Be Wylde
Author: Jan Irving
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-455-8
Genre: {M/M} Mystery, Suspense, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Ken Ito loved his mother’s romance novels while growing up. He never anticipated starring in his own version. When he awakens in a cave with a beautiful stranger caring for him, Ken feels safe but he knows he must return to his real life. There’s a killer stalking the woods in his small town, and no believes he’s real except Ken and Wylde.

Wylde has grown into a fine man and retreats to the woods for solitude. He enjoys getting in touch with his wild side and the natural setting makes him feel at home and less awkward. Wylde never dreamed that Ken could be his. The handsome deputy calls on his protective nature; he has finally found someone he considers a mate. Will they stop the killer before he strikes again?

Born to Be Wylde is the sequel to Jan Irving’s Wylde. Wylde has come a long way from the young man in the first story. He learned a great deal about being attracted to men and the ramifications of not having those feelings reciprocated. However, each lesson brought him closer to Ken. Meeting Wylde stirs up all of Ken’s old fantasies and brings them to the forefront. I loved his father’s reaction to Wylde, and knew the two could have a happy future if they escaped the persistent killer. Wylde was poised to gain a man and family of his own.

This fast-paced story combines some very steamy erotic moments with action and suspense. I was surprised at the killer’s identity. Ms. Irving did a wonderful job of hiding that information until the very end. Born to Be Wylde is a wonderful read and I recommend it to those who enjoy M/M contemporary stories

Long, Hard Ride


Title: Long, Hard Ride
Author: Keta Diablo
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Publisher URL: http://decadentpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-936394-01-2
Genre: {M/M}, Historical
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Marx has intrigued Grayson since the first time he saw the man across the room of the bordello they both visited. Before Grayson could do anything about it, the war started and soon both men are too busy for simple pleasures. Now saving Marx has become Grayson’s most important mission.

Keta Diablo’s Long, Hard Ride is part of the lineup for new e-publisher Decadent Publishing. The novella is a fast-paced read set during the time of the Civil War. The story line was interesting and kept my attention till the end. I found both Grayson and Marx intriguing and wondered just what they were really up to. The passion between them is hot so beware.

There are some continuity problems that threw the story off for me. While annoying, it did not keep me from wanting to see how the story would end and I hope the author plans on revisiting these two sometime soon.

Bruny


Title: Bruny
Author: A. J. Llewellyn
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-608-2
Genre: {M/M} Mystery
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

US Marshal Dean Honeybone and his lover, Jean-Luc are in Tasmania for their adopted daughter, Kaia Pendleton’s tenth birthday. However, Dean must leave and travel to the small island of Bruny when Cho Paek, a student on a field trip, is reported missing. Because of the secret circumstances surrounding the missing girl’s family, US Marshals have a special interest in this case.

Bruny is book three in the Honeybone series. In this episode, Dean’s impressive skills of interviewing a witness, in addition to extracting information, are exhibited. Proficient at interpreting body language, Dean gathers clues by separating truth from lies through his keen observation, gaining insight into the unlawful actions and who played a key role in Cho’s disappearance. The well written plot is the heartrending reality of the many senseless crimes that are still committed in today’s world and the officers of the law who are on a quest to bring criminals to justice. The characters are believable. Also, the wonderful guru of culture, A. J. Llewellyn features Kaia’s ancestor Truganini, the last full-blood Tasmanian Aborigine 1812-1876, who has a memorial site on Bruny. This is a thought provoking as well as enjoyable installment in the Honeybone series.

Billionaire’s Row


Title: Billionaire’s Row
Author: Sullivan Wheeler
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-521-0
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Detective Michael Weiss isn’t happy. He lives a closeted life, works with a partner overly concerned with looking good on camera and his lover is a reporter, using him as an information source. When the body of famous defense attorney Craig Davies is found murdered on the front lawn of former television star Sam Christiansen, the media goes on a feeding frenzy.

Everyone is looking to Michael for a quick answer and nothing about the case lends itself to the words quick or easy, because nothing is as it appears on the surface. There’s one layer of complexity after another and the relationships are just as twisted as the lies. He’s drawn tighter into the weave as his feelings for Sam grow stronger but even that must take a backseat when a new threat comes to the forefront that could end both their lives.

Billionaire’s Row isn’t really a romance so if that what you’re expecting, this book isn’t for you. It’s more a police procedural type of story; filled with the perfect victim, multiple suspects and a unique and interesting setting. Michael’s not a hero in the usual sense of the word; he drinks too much, often turns up at murder scenes drunk and pukes on the lawn. I understand why he’s afraid of stepping out of the closet but I don’t know why he constantly ignores his family’s attempts to communicate with him. At times, it doesn’t make him very likable, but I appreciate that he’s a dedicated police officer determined to bring a killer to justice and he falls in love while doing it.

Michael’s relationship with Sam doesn’t start until almost halfway through the story when the actor suddenly returns to town, which is a bit unusual, and while it might bother some readers, it didn’t me. The chemistry between Michael and Sam is immediate and builds to a passionate and intense relationship quickly. While they have little in common on the surface beyond the physical, they seem to care for one another and manage to stay together and move forward, even after Sam’s house is torched.

I must say that I wasn’t expecting the revelation of the true identity of the villain or what almost happens to Michael near the end. And as in all these types of books, the villain does get their just desserts by the final scenes and Sam and Michael will have the happy ending they both want. Does the story have issues I wish would have been resolved? Yes. Did I enjoy reading the book? Again, yes.

The Men of CCD: Help Wanted


Title: The Men of CCD: Help Wanted
Author: Marie Rochelle
Publisher: Phaze Books
Publisher URL: http://www.phaze.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60659-932-7
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Interracial
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph

Over eight months have passed since the crash and Keira Winters is still having nightmares. Unless she is able to conquer her fear, Keira will never get her job back and she loves her job. And to make matters worse, Keira discovers that the new owner of her father’s bike shop is the one man who gets on her nerves.

Jim Russell’s dream of owning a bike shop has finally come true, so he isn’t going to let Keira ruin it for him. His friends keep trying to convince Jim to spend more time with Keira, but he fights them tooth and nail. Sure he is attracted to her; any man with eyes would be. However, when he considered all the drama his ex-wife put him through, Jim wasn’t eager to jump into a relationship with another high maintenance woman.

Keira and Jim stop arguing long enough to admit their feelings, while taking their relationship to the next level. Their happiness is destroyed when issues concerning Jim’s son occur. Can the couple get through this, or will this be the end for Keira and Jim?

Jim and Keira got off on the wrong foot the first time they met, but the sparks were still there. The tension between the two of them was impossible to ignore. Jim doesn’t want to give up his single life, like the rest of his friends, at first but before he knows what hit him, Jim can’t imagine a day without Keira by his side. Keira comes to terms with the crash and starts healing, all because of Jim. The guilt that she lived with on a daily basis made me wonder how Keira was able to function each day. Her pain jumped off the pages. I was amazed by her strength and frustrated by her resistance to seek help. Keira shared a side of herself with Jim that even her girlfriends didn’t get to see, and that gave me hope. Jim got on my bad side by some of the horrible things he said to Keira in regards to his son. I’m glad that Keira was able to forgive him, because if it had been me, I’m not sure if I could. I was so angry that I had to stop reading and take deep breaths.

I think Marie Rochelle does a great job of addressing the issue without wrapping it up too neatly. There is plenty of suspense added into this love story to keep readers guessing what will happen next. The spontaneous sex scenes will leave you panting while turning the pages. Getting a glimpse into the lives of Jim’s friends, characters we came to love in previous stories, was a nice addition to this story. I was intrigued by Jim’s friend, Dante. Thank goodness, we have not heard the last of him. The Men of CCD: Help Wanted is a well woven story that will leave readers hot and bothered and warm and fuzzy at the same time. Grab a copy and enjoy!

Heart of the Mountain


Title: Heart of the Mountain
Author: Leiland Dale
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: http://silverpublishing.info/
ISBN: 978-1-4528499-5-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Western, Paranormal, Shape-Shifter
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

When the Bluebird Calls - 4.5 Nymphs
Veterinarian Devon Reid is ready for a fresh start. He moves to Bridger, Montana after the death of his mother and discovers the town and its residents are a perfect balm for his battered soul. But one resident in particular, Greg Elliot, inspires Devon’s heart to soar.

Greg is the ranch foreman for the Mountain Hart Ranch. While the work keeps him busy, it doesn’t replace a deeper connection; family he can share his life with. One look at Devon and Greg is hooked. He wants the handsome doctor, regardless of his initial nervous reaction. Devon’s past comes calling and changes the dynamics of their relationship for the better.

When the Bluebird Calls is the first story of the Heart of the Mountain series. Devon’s devotion to his mother made me love his character from the start. His caring and sincere desire to be the son she needed even when he understood this was their final goodbye was touching. Greg had so much pain to overcome, but he didn’t allow it to dampen his desire to regain a relationship he thought could very well have slipped through his fingers forever. Their initial reaction to one another is charged with pure lust and I knew, once the clothes came off, I would need a cold drink and my fan on high. Their lovemaking scenes did not disappoint me.

The setting is beautiful and adds a touch of romance and serenity to the story. When the Bluebird Calls is a story about new beginnings, rectifying the past and the power of love and friendship. This was my first Leiland Dale story, but it won’t be the last.


A Loving Hart – 4.5 Nymphs
It’s been seven years since Jasper Elliot saw his brother Greg. Confusion over his hasty departure is cleared up and propels Jasper’s relocation to Bridger, Montana. There’s more waiting for him in the small town than the opportunity to reunite with his brother. Love is on the horizon when he meets ranch owner Seth Hart.

Seth made the mistake of trusting someone with his secret long ago and refuses to make the same mistake twice. That firm decision falters when he meets Jasper. Jasper makes Seth burn with desire and reawakens his need for love. Will fate be kind the second time Seth attempts to share his abilities?

Leiland Dale’s A Loving Hart is the second story in the Heart of the Mountain series. We are once again back at the beautiful Mountain Hart Ranch. Mr. Dale has done a fantastic job of bringing the ranch to life. I could smell the straw and hear the horses neigh while the mountain breeze cooled my skin.

Jasper was ready to move on with his life and didn’t have any regrets about relocating. I could understand Seth’s apprehension; caution was required because his decisions affected not just him but those he employed. Their first glance response told me there would be no going back for Seth and Jasper. Their future together was destined before the first kiss.

As in the first story, love couldn’t come quick and easy. There were a few obstacles in the way, but it made their coming together that much sweeter. A Loving Hart contains messages about the importance of love, acceptance, and family. I believe we have at the very least one more future release in this series.

I loved both stories in volume one of the Heart of the Mountain series. The author delivers compelling characters, action, suspense, drama, and steamy sex. I’m looking forward to seeing what Leiland Dale has in store for the next installment.