Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scarred


Title: Scarred
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-251-0
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Zac Alben loved working as a paramedic and thought his world was perfect until he introduced his life partner Terry to his new work partner, Jakob. He never imagined they’d hit it off so well or that the meeting would change his life forever. After healing from a fight with Terry that left half his face deeply scarred, Zac returns to work pretending that everything is fine—that’s he’s mending from the injury that still leaves strangers cringing at the sight of his deformed cheek. Except Zac isn’t fine; he’s an emotional basket case headed for a meltdown.

Jakob doesn’t know what happened the night Zac was injured because he won’t talk about it. All he wants is to help the man he’s fallen in love with, but who will barely look at him. Despite Zac’s withdrawal, Jakob is determined to find a way to pull him back into the community he’s pulled away from, and at the same time, find a way to get Zac back into his arms.

Scarred is the eighteenth and newest release in Carol Lynne’s popular Cattle Valley series. Just a little FYI-while it would be helpful to have read a few of the previous releases, there’s enough background information revealed through flashback sequences that the plot can easily be followed, if being read as a standalone.

What sets this series release apart from the others is the seriousness of its subject matter so be aware, you may need to keep a box of tissues handy. Zac has been struggling with bouts of depression all his life and he’s just as emotionally scarred on the inside as he is physically scarred on the outside. Ms. Lynn handles the sensitive nature of Zac’s mental health problems with great care and understanding, while at the same time, weaving a creative and loving romance. Zac’s emotional upset and hurt is more than a little heartbreaking and Jakob is the perfect supportive partner.

I don’t really want to go into too many details that will give away important pieces of the plot but Ms. Lynn manages to interject some unexpected twists that really caught me by surprise. The crux is that this Cattle Valley release is a love story, but it’s also much more so if you’re expecting a lighthearted piece of fluff, this serious minded novella isn’t for you. But if you’re interested in getting to know the soul of a deeply wounded man and are willing to watch and hope as Jakob and Ms. Lynne takes him on a journey to self-discovery and change, this well-written story is one you’ll enjoy.

False Dawn


Title: False Dawn
Author: Maia Strong
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61040-019-0
Genre: {M/M} Erotic, Science Fiction
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Police Detective Galen Traub’s job aboard the generational starship Lažna Zora takes a twist when he has to investigate the disappearance of his husband, Dayan Andrus. With little evidence and time ticking away, Galen’s top priority is finding the culprits and freeing his love.

Dayan is trapped, with no means to request help. His captors seemed set on having him under their control, with little regards to what he needs to survive. Will the two be united? Can Galen find his husband before it’s too late?

Maia Strong delivers a fascinating mystery to be solved in False Dawn. The unlikely culprits made Galen’s reaction to their identity believable. I have to admit I didn’t see it coming, and it’s nice not to be able to guess the bad guy for a change. We gain a great deal of input about their relationship through Dayan. From events that strengthened their bond over the years to the balance they bring to each other’s lives. The men make a wonderful couple. Galen is a realistic character with his flaws displayed for all to read. Even in Dayan’s weakest moment, his source of strength was the relationship he shares with Galen. Maia Strong adds details about the ship without overpowering us with information. It was just enough to set the stage and help me feel as if I was traveling amongst the stars with the characters.

I found False Dawn a refreshing change from most of the Sci-Fi stories I’m currently reading and would recommend it to those who enjoy the genre.

His Perfect Partner


Title: His Perfect Partner
Author: Trina Lane
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-246-6
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Ethan Harrison loves his job with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and goes out with his two best friends when he can, but his personal life is lonely. It’s lacking that special someone—the partner—his soul mate, the one man he’s dreamed of finding for years.

When a complicated and dangerous international espionage case crosses his desk, Ethan doesn’t realize just how much it will change his life. That’s because his dream man turns out to be none other than Special Agent Ryan Ashton, who arrives at his office to hand over months of case files regarding the investigation of Luke Yeung, the man Ethan will be prosecuting.

Life isn’t a fairytale and the journey to find a happily-ever-after isn’t simple or easy. The question is whether these two and their love can survive against the murderous rage of a defendant, determined to never see the inside of a courtroom.

His Perfect Partner is the second and newest release in Trina Lane’s Perfect Union series.

Ms. Lane did a nice job with the personalities of all her characters and I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction of Ethan with his best friends Rick and Conor who were introduced previously. The relationship between the three men is lighthearted, fun and totally supportive—no matter what. Calleigh and the boys make an appearance at the end.

Ryan—this man is everything that Ethan ever wanted in a partner and their chemistry is obvious from the start and it doesn’t take long before they’re fully involved in each other’s lives. The author does a nice job showing how their relationship grows—it’s sweet, caring, loving and fun. I thought she handled the strain between Ethan and his family realistically and did just as well showing Ethan’s acceptance into Ryan’s family—it was charming and engaging.

Things go well for these two until Ethan is viciously attacked and left for dead. Here, the author lost a great opportunity. Instead of continuing what could have been a good suspense element, it just seemed as if this thread suddenly got dropped while he healed—in truth I felt like I missed out on what was going on in the background in both the legal case and in the hunt for his attacker. Yes, I know what happened in the end but I didn’t experience it.

Boystown 2: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries


Title: Boystown 2: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries
Author: Marshall Thornton
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61040-018-3
Genre: {M/M} Mystery
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Little Boy Silent - 5 Nymphs
The nephew of a Chicago Mafia boss was accused of killing his stepfather. Private Investigator Nick Nowak is hired to find out why the suspect refuses to talk to his defense lawyers. In reality, the suspect is as much a victim as his stepfather.

Little Boy Blond - 4 Nymphs
Nick is hired by the owner of the Jewel Box Theater to investigate the murder of a porn star beaten to death in his kitchen. Prejudice can be a strong motivator in minds that are closed to reasonable thoughts.

Little Boy Loved - 5 Nymphs
Nick receives a call from his former lover Daniel Laverty. The teenage son of Daniel’s friends is the only living victim of a serial killer police are calling the Bughouse Slasher is missing and Nick is hired to find him.

Boystown2: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries is a well written trio of realistic crime stories featuring gay victims. Nick is a former Chicago cop, inspired to leave the police force after it was discovered he is gay. The setting is the gay community in 1980’s Chicago. Intermingled with each crime investigation is an insight into Nick’s personal life. Although not committed, Nick has a seven month informal relationship with Detective Bert Harker. Bert refuses to move in with Nick for fear of losing his retirement. Nick refuses to have an exclusive relationship with Bert until they are living together. Before Nick and Bert can move forward, Daniel and Nick renew their sexual acquaintance. Nick is in a quandary regarding how to explain Daniel to Bert, who seems to have been unavailable for days. Rumors of AIDS are beginning to surface, adding another layer of real fear to the gay populace.

Marshall Thornton has created another intriguing collection, highlighting the sordid side of discrimination. I enjoyed these fascinating stories and look forward to the next installment.

Cole's Surrender


Title: Cole's Surrender
Author: Marie Rochelle
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.redrosepublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60435-737-0
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary, Interracial, Multicultural
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

For years, Lauren Lake has tried to escape the pain of unrequited love for Cole Brady. An attempt to share her feelings ended with him callously shooting down what he thought was a simple infatuation, with Lauren deciding that space and time to heal were needed. Seven years later, Lauren is facing the man she loves once more and refuses to allow the love to resurface.

Cole identified his mistake quickly but too slowly to claim Lauren as his own. The type of love Lauren offered is the type that great marriages are built on. Cole watched, with a touch of envy, as his two friends moved into the roles of happily married men and ecstatic fathers. Something deep inside him wonders why he can’t have the same happiness. Cole knows the only woman capable of helping him obtain that dream is Lauren. Will Cole find a way to earn a second chance?

Cole's Surrender is the third and final story in Marie Rochelle’s Tycoon's Club series. Both Lauren and especially Cole made me so upset at times I knew I could serve time for giving them both a case of “shaken character syndrome”. They are humanly flawed and it’s those flaws that had me pulling my hair out. Cole’s past actions and words worked against him throughout this story. Each time I was ready to forgive him, I learned of yet another thing he said or did. Cole’s one time inability to look past the outer appearance to examine the inner beauty almost caused him to miss his blessings.

Discovering the words Cole uttered to lose Lauren left me feeling cold and aching. I wanted to help her pack and put a restraining order on him out of spite. I don’t know how she bounced back after his tactless approach to squashing her “crush”. I’m certain her mom’s love and support had a great deal to do with it. She became a wonderful, confident woman, after that interaction, so kudos to her. Most of Lauren’s issues stemmed from Cole’s actions. You couldn’t see the pain fade around the edges until she gained without him speaking directly to her. The one point where I couldn’t understand Lauren’s reasoning is when she allowed a known player like Cole to have sex with her without a condom. Who knew exactly where he used to stick that and be sure he didn’t have something incurable to pass on? I would think that any woman with her confidence level would have demanded he protect her.

The story brings back all the main characters from the previous stories. It was wonderful to see strong men take the care of their families on with sheer determination. Cole's Surrender is about hope, forgiveness and second chances at love.

His Hearth


Title: His Hearth
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-572-2
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

After years of hard work, Julian Nash has earned a huge promotion at work and is expecting to share a night celebrating with friends and his boyfriend of six weeks. When Julian arrives at his date’s office to pick the man up for their date, he finds him intimately involved with a man from another department. Shocked and hurt, he leaves and goes to the restaurant alone, where he’s rescued from an embarrassing evening by an old acquaintance, Ryan Dean. During a pleasant evening of friends, food and drink, Julian discovers that attractive and popular man-about-town Ryan has been trying to get Julian’s attention for weeks. The ardor between them sizzles and quickly burns out of control, sending the men up in flames of passion Julian didn’t expect. It also sets his life on a path of danger, opening him to a paranormal world he never imagined existed…least of all in San Francisco.

His Hearth is the latest release by author Mary Calmes. It’s a little contemporary romance and a little paranormal fantasy—complete with warders, a sentential and demons rolled into one. There’s also a nice back-story of Julian’s friendship with his creative partner, Cash and Cash’s wife Phoebe, that’s nice done with some pretty funny dialogue you don’t want to miss.

Julian’s night didn’t start off well and changing his date at the last minute isn’t something he expected and Ms. Calmes did a nice job getting him through this rough patch without him turning him into a raving angry, drunk. I must admit I did find Julian almost too calm, but he had already consumed several alcoholic drinks and was moving towards mellow. What I did find odd was how he’d missed the signals that Ryan was interested in him—had been interested in him for several weeks.

Ryan was a unique and rather unusual character who didn’t seem interested in promoting himself, which I found to be a rather strange personality quirk for an ex-model. He was actually a nice guy—a lonely guy who wanted that special someone in his life and he knew that someone was Julian. The chemistry sizzles between them immediately and Julian makes an attempt to stand by his guns and hold off having sex with Ryan but—you guessed it—they have sex that night. So much for Julian’s principles. I know that doing the big I’m clean speech in the middle of a passionate scene can be a real mood killer, but I would have found it much more realistic to use the condoms instead of going bareback when they didn’t know each other well.

The interjection of the paranormal aspect of the story was interesting and unexpected, despite its mention in the website blurb. Once this part of Ryan’s life was revealed, it pretty much became the focus of the story and, I must admit, I could have used a few more details to avoid confusion. There are several new characters that join the story at this point but I’m afraid I can’t really say much without revealing too much of this fantasy element.

Overall the story is a worthy afternoon read, and I admit to being curious as to whether Ms. Calmes has plans for other books dealing with the warders Ryan fights with to protect the city. I guess time will tell.

Wings of Love


Title: Wings of Love
Author: Deirdre O'Dare
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-724-3
Genre: {M/M} Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Shape-shifter, Action/Adventure Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Border Patrol Officer Manuel Ortiz kept his ability to shape-shift into a red-tailed hawk a well guarded secret. He refuses to allow family or co-workers close enough to know about his abilities. The thought of ostracism frightens him.

Border Patrol Agent Alex Macalister is used to keeping his own secrets and those of the members of the Paranormal Operations Unit. They operate under a “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule but all the agents know how to keep the other’s council, which allows them to work well together. Alex is sure that being teamed with Manuel has something to do with abilities he doesn’t want advertised. Is it enough to make him want to keep Manuel as a partner? If Alex can get over his loner ways, he might find out that being teamed with Manuel could have him soaring on Wings of Love.

Deirdre O'Dare The Thin Green Line series is back with another interesting tale. We are once again on the border between Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico, where the illegal activity is increasing. Shape-shifters team up with aliens in this installment, giving the border patrol agents an adventure they wouldn’t soon forget and creating an interesting story for those of us who enjoy dark-fantasy.

The combination of action, suspense and a budding relationship between Manuel and Alex kept the story flowing from beginning to end. Alex isn’t a complicated character; he’s just a man who enjoys his own company. He grew up sheltered in one aspect when it comes to learning about his abilities and understanding how to use them. His way of performing his job may seem strange to others, but Manuel figures out how to go with the flow.

Manuel lacked the opportunity to share his abilities with a trusted loved one and Alex filled that void. He learned to enjoy his gift even more over time. Finally having someone who “gets it” made him a stronger man. It was nice to see some of his and Alex’s defenses melt in the wake of the other.

The cameo appearances add to the story without distracting us from our main characters. I found Wings of Love a well written read that touches on the subjects of the importance of friendship, faith, and trust.

Broken Angels


Title: Broken Angels
Author: Anne Hope
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60928-158-8
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary, Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Zach Ryler is a take-charge type of person and believes he can fix anything that’s broken. Little does he know that life has a way of proving him wrong more than once and Rebecca is at the top of the list. Zach tries to do what he feels is right with her bitterness not being able to bear children. He is not prepared for the tragedy of losing his sister and brother-in-law to a brutal death and the legal responsibility of three small children. The one person he thought never to be close to again, Rebecca, is there to help him care for their wards.

While trying to put her life back together, Rebecca James finds herself becoming guardian for her friend's children, when she couldn’t have her own. She spent a few years destroying her marriage to Zach by not accepting that she would not give him the child she wanted but now realizes that her love for him has not faded. Now all she has to do is conquer the fear she has of being around children and find a way to exist without losing herself again.

Broken Angels is a bit of a deceptive title but turned out to be a loaded story of what could go wrong with unsuspecting villains and I really enjoyed reading it. There are a few broken angels among the main characters and Rebecca is the biggest concern.

I had a problem with Zach at first, with his inability to accept the fact that he couldn’t fix everything or everyone. He turns out to be a very loving, caring person who just needs to be shown how to care. His devotion to Rebecca is very touching, and I found myself grinning at the changes that overcame him throughout the book.

This is the first time I have read one of Ms. Hope’s stories and I can say that she did a really nice job. The way she wrote the plot is very well done, she kept me reading to figure out the villain and boy, was I surprised. I thought, for sure, it was someone else and that’s saying a lot for me, when I usually know before the end.

If you are looking for a fairytale story, this is not it, but you will enjoy reading about how the characters learn to rediscover life in a positive way and the fierce emotion of protective guardians, read and enjoy.

Leo: All That You Are


Title: Leo: All That You Are
Author: Jamie Craig
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-725-0
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Since moving to Los Angeles, Gage Kimball’s life has changed dramatically. He’s made a few friends who accept him for who he is, he’s making money playing his guitar regularly in public and he has a wonderful boyfriend he’s crazy about. His peace of mind is shattered with the unexpected arrival of his youngest brother, Ben, with the horrifying news that their father is suffering from cancer—and Ben wants him to come home to Salt Lake City.

Gage is still hurt and angry with the way his parents treated him when he told them he was gay, but it doesn’t lessen the worry he feels for his father and what might happen to him. Christopher is worried about the reception Gage will get from his family, so he agrees to accompany his beloved when he returns to his family home. Will the parents who disowned Gage welcome him back into their lives or will they reject him again, overlooking the wonderful man he’s become?

Leo: All That You Are is the newest release in the Boys of the Zodiac series and is my new favorite. It’s a sequel to Taurus: All That You Do and features lovers Gage and Christopher as their new relationship grows and meets new challenges.

I like these interesting men and the author did a very nice job further rounding out their personalities and relationships in this release and once again, her storytelling drew me immediately into their story. She wove a tale of love and understanding between two passionate and caring individuals and then she interjected pieces of information regarding Gage’s past that I’d wondered about. I loved the manner in which Gage and Christopher came to lean and depend on each other for support; each drawing strength from the other. All these things and their sizzling chemistry kept me fully engaged and wanting more.

The secondary characters are numerous. Some were previously introduced, such as Rev, but with the new characters, she truly excelled. There are numerous Kimball family members, some accepting, loving and supportive of Gage, and others far from it—namely brother, Brett, their parents and a group of overzealous bishops. These people and their vicious, anti-gay attitude I found emotionally ugly and unfortunate but realistic examples of modern day hate-mongers. But they certainly do make great literary villains.

For those of you who love a sweet and tender happily-ever-after, I can guarantee you’re going to love this one. Read and enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cops and Rubbers


Title: Cops and Rubbers
Author: A.J. Llewellyn
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-728-1
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Although Jason still has to work as a telemarketer for a local theater, he has finally realized his dream of becoming an author. While promoting his books and gathering a fan base are part of being an author, Jason never thought he would also have to battle pirates.

If you read eBooks, then you probably know about the many problems eBook authors face with piracy and trying to protect their books. In Cops and Rubbers, author A.J. Llewellyn takes these problems and weaves them into a romance that was fun to read.

Jason, the author in the story, works a couple of jobs, as well as writes, in order to make ends meet. The fact that his books end up on the pirate sites almost as soon as they are published isn’t helping. Darius is our pirate. While he knows what he’s doing is illegal, he does not understand how he could possibly be hurting anyone. The two men don’t meet right away but when they do, the connection between them is instant and intense. With several obstacles, besides the obvious and a few twists and turns, the author keeps the reader glued to the story. While I thought Jason went a little easy on Darius, I loved the way the author wrapped the story up.

You would think that because of what he does, Darius would be hard to like. I would have thought that the anger and frustration Mr. Llewellyn feels towards the pirates that steal his work, something that he talks openly about on his blog, would find its way into the building of the character, making Darius unredeemable. The fact that readers will be drawn to Darius is a credit to the author’s writing. Readers of m/m stories are sure to love this one so pick up a copy soon.

Daughter Of Snow


Title: Daughter Of Snow
Author: Elaine Corvidae
Publisher: Mundania Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mundania.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60659-224-3
Genre: {M/F} Fantasy
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Pook, Mina and Alexandreya have become a working team hunting down rogue fae, who are preying on innocents. The three of them feel the need to keep the peace that was established after the Faerie War and they need something, anything, to keep the boredom at bay.

Alex is in her element attending the university and spending her free time between creating more inventions such as a speak machine and Pook. She is frightened by the appearance of a wild fae from her homeland. When she learns of the death of her father, she knows that she will have to travel back to Ruska to claim her inheritance. This is a trip that will test their love completely and learn of how beautiful Alex’s homeland is.

Daughter Of Snow is the fourth book in the Shadow Fae series and once again centers on Alex and Pook. I found myself a little angry with Alex from time to time, when she would allow others to make her doubt herself. She is the ideal engineer, who needs no encouragement to create a new project that would benefit mankind. Pook never disappointed me with his outspokenness and determination to live free from the Faerie people.

The characters are so numerous that I won’t mention all of them, but Pook and Alex stand out the most. This story tells more of their struggles to survive trying situations that were beyond their control and I loved their determination to overcome each trial that stopped them from succeeding with life. There are a lot of secondary characters that brought a lot of help to the main characters, especially Padgett, the banished Seelie fae, who took a liking to both Pook and Alex.

Ms. Corvidae continues to wow me with her storytelling and this tale is just a great as the first three. The creative plotting is so complicated that I had to pay close attention, so as not to miss what was going on in each scene. She has become a favorite author, and I am looking forward to reading other books by her. Please tell me this is not the last book in the Shadow Fae series because it would leave me wondering too much about some of the characters, whose stories needed to be told.

The Sundered Stone


Title: The Sundered Stone
Author: Elaine Corvidae
Publisher: Mundania Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mundania.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59426-134-3
Genre: {M/F} Fantasy
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

The third book of the Shadow Fae series continues with Mina, Duncan, Alex and Pook, who have to battle both the Seelies and Unseelies, in order to eventually have a peaceful life. As Alex and Pook discover their feelings for each other, Mina and Duncan learn more of why Pook is at the center of the coming war of the Fae.

I thought that Pook did a great job of accepting the formal changes needed to prepare for the presentation to the Queen and he accepts that he will always be the street rat that he is. Alex and Pook’s relationship was one that seemed destined and I believe they belonged together because of the hardships they had already gone through in their past.

From the last book Prince of Ash which carried over into this release, I found out a lot of the reasons for the Fae’s behavior towards humans. The deceit they used to gain their own goals, regardless to who were hurt by their actions and their willingness to abandon loved ones said they were really heartless. To me, the Fae really needed someone to give them a wake up call and Pook was the one person to do it. I am extremely pleased with Ms. Corvidae’s ability to express her writing skills here and I was never disappointed. The plot flow is smooth throughout the book and I enjoyed the very descriptive scenes of the battles and grassland area outside of the city.

The Sundered Stone is quite the book in that it gives more explanation of why Pook and Alex were constantly fighting for their lives. It never ceased to amaze me of how coldhearted the Fae are about taking human lives or forcing others for their own purpose. As the story unfolds, you learn more about Pook being a prince, not wanting anything to do with the parents who abandoned him. He rebels, but finds himself needing to participate, hoping others survive the Fae.

When I started reading this story, I thought it would begin telling of other main characters but was pleasantly surprised how it unfolded. The mere fact that it would take Mina, Duncan, Alex, Pook and other Fae to cooperate together to accomplish a common goal for peace, spoke volumes for me. I don’t want to give away too much here and there is a lot going on, but I will say that you will not be disappointed reading this Shadow Fae series.

Prince of Ash


Title: Prince of Ash
Author: Elaine Corvidae
Publisher: Mundania Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mundania.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59426-131-2
Genre: {M/F} Fantasy
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Mina and Duncan have settled into a comfortable life after breaking the power of the Seelie Court, and they have become husband and wife. There is a spark of magic that they are sensing from time to time and feel there is a need to find it. What Mina and Duncan find is that way more was going on with the Seelie and they thought they would be able to handle the upcoming war with them.

Trying to find his reason for living, Pooka spends his days running with the Red Soldiers and his nights fighting the creatures who would seek out the townspeople of the slums, where he lives. Pooka finds himself helping out a female stranger, who he finds attractive, but knows she is out of his reach. He is more than he even realizes, after being cast off by his parents to be raised by humans

Alexandreya Alekseevicha is fleeing from her father in Ruska and hoping for a better life in her mother’s homeland in Dere. What she finds is trouble from the time she steps off the ship but eventually finds her way to her mother’s brother, Duncan. Once she learns who Pooka really is, she loves him even more for standing for what’s right.

I must say that as I was reading the second book of the Shadow Fae series, I was excited to see what happens to the main characters, who continue to fight for the right of others to live in peace. Prince of Ash starts out at a quick pace and never really slows down. Mina and Duncan are married now, and enjoying their quiet life with owning a bookstore. In walks Duncan’s niece, and the story gets even more active from that point on. Pooka is quite a character here, and I love his attitude towards life! He doesn’t understand the true goings on surrounding himself, but never gives up on the three people who support him.

Ms. Corvidae has created a wonderful story of a way of life for street urchins, who are determined to survive every obstacle they are confronted with. It is a nice touch to include Mina and Duncan, since they actually started out from the last book. There is a lot revelations revealed throughout the story, and it certainly kept my attention focused on what would happen next. This is a great story and should be read in order of the books published to understand what is going on with the characters.

Love's Fortress


Title: Love's Fortress
Author: Samantha Kane
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419928352
Genre: {M/M} {M/M/F} Historical, Ménage, Regency
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

For Gideon North, a wife has to come with certain qualities. Hardworking, practical, and if possible, strong enough to not have a morning case of the vapors. Talkative, weak woman need not apply for this position.

Sarah Whitney is everything he could hope for and more. She understands Gideon better than anyone to date and in some cases, better than Charles Borden.

Charles has cared for Gideon since the Peninsular War. His life wouldn’t be complete without him. He fears he has lost his opportunity for a future with Gideon. Gideon fears his wife may not accept his scars. And Sarah is frightened she will never have a home of her own. This marriage will provide all three with the love and security they desperately need.

Just when I thought Samantha Kane couldn’t improve on this series, she blows me away with Love's Fortress, the seventh book in the Brothers In Arms series. Sarah’s loving relationship with her parents created a woman who is fierce, determined, courageous, loyal and warmhearted. Ms. Kane pairing Gideon with Sarah was a stroke of genius. He finally had someone to connect with, who understood his pain. Sarah was the perfect healing balm needed for Gideon to see himself as the man he truly is and to reclaim the passion that lay dormant for far too long. Her acceptance of Charles also smoothed the path for them to admit their lives wouldn’t be less than spectacular without him there. She made Gideon take his own advice and stop hiding in the shadows. It was nice to see him smile after so long.

Charles is an angel when necessary and a devil behind closed doors. He is the combination both Sarah and Gideon needed to make their lives one brilliant memory after the next.

Those who have enjoyed this series are sure to be as ecstatic as I was to see both men finally be able to claim the life and love they deserve. Pick up a copy and enjoy.

West of El Pilar


Title: West of El Pilar
Author: Stevie Woods
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60820-178-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Doctor Ian Grayson feels compelled to continue researching his uncle’s theories. This time, Ian and his lover Mac Wallace set off for the archaeological site of El Pilar, which is on the border of Belize and Guatemala. Ian is searching for an unusual crystal skull.

West of El Pilar is the third book in the Tomcat series. In this well written episode set in a Central American rain forest, the trek is full of dangers. However, Ian and Mac are prepared to deal with whatever they encounter. Ian feels he is neglecting Mac by spending so much time on research. However, Mac understands that confirmation of a theory is essential, in addition to one of Ian’s passions; Ian’s other passion is Mac. Together for three years, Ian still struggles with finding a balance between his work and time to express his love for Mac. The only concern Mac has is Ian exploring dig sites alone. Mac fully supports Ian’s work, so he travels with Ian to provide added protection.

The incredible Stevie Woods illustrates Ian and Mac as a well coordinated, extremely loving couple who are committed to their relationship. Each man supplies moral support, in addition to communicating thoughtfulness for each other’s well being. The site’s cultural history is fascinating. West of El Pilar is an impressive addition to the fantastic, as well as particularly enjoyable, Tomcat series.

Fight To Remember


Title: Fight To Remember
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-828-0
Genre: [M/F/M] Shape-shifter, Vampire, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymphs

It’s only by chance that Rhyl narrowly avoids being staked in the heart by the demon Malin but it leaves him trapped deep underground, wedged tightly between slabs of rock. His only hope is that his twin will find him, and he only survives by sucking the blood of rats. The question is can he stay sane while he awaits rescue?

Piper has a strange kind of amnesia and for fourteen years, she’s had to deal with not remembering anything from the previous day after she wakes from a night’s sleep. It’s frustrating, upsetting and forces her to keep journals of her daily activities and photos of the people in her life in order to function. It makes for a lonely life.

In order to keep his younger brother safe, Kier, a werepuma, has bound himself to a demon who forces him to fight against others to the death. With any luck, Kier can win enough fights to be set free—if he’s isn’t being lied to.

Fight to Remember is the fifth release in the Trueblood series and it’s just as fast paced as the others. It has a complicated plot and is filled with interesting characters and there are enough twists and turns to keep just about anyone happy. There are various otherworldly creatures moving in and out of the storyline: vampires, weres of different varieties, demons and even a succubus, and don’t forget the scattered humans to round everything out.

While I liked Kier and Rhyl, the member of the trio that really caught my attention was Piper. Ms. Elsborg picked a truly unique and creative amnesia syndrome for her character and I appreciated the amount of research she must have done to understand the difficulty and frustration that understandably went with Piper’s daily life. It makes her a truly distinctive personality and one that I’ll likely remember for a long time. There’s great passion and desire simmering between these three and while her amnesia does cause some minor problems, the need of Piper, Kier and Rhyl to be together quickly overcomes those obstacles.

Still there’s so much other stuff going on in the background that at times you wonder whether anything is going to work out for these three—not only as a trio but as individuals. And just when you think that all hope is lost, another twist in the plot happens and it moves on again. Some of the scenes are pretty dark and brutal but others are fun and lighthearted. Ms. Elsborg runs the gambit of emotions as the story progress and in the end manages to give Piper, Kier and Rhyl the happily-ever-after they deserve. Enjoy!

Winter’s Orphans


Title: Winter’s Orphans
Author: Elaine Corvidae
Publisher: Mundania Press
Publisher URL: http://www.mundania.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59426-126-8
Genre: {M/F} Fantasy
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

As an indentured worker, or rather factory slave, Mina Cole has lived from day to day, working her life away for meager earnings from a very young age. She knows that she is different from the other girls working alongside her and after work, she seek out the drink that help ease her tired body before she has to start another twelve hour shift. When she unknowingly stops one of the girl’s death with powers unknown to her, she draws the attention of the Seelie Court of Niune. After she had been attacked and still not trusting others, especially men, Mina rejects the help Duncan offers and yet she finds herself needing him more than she wants.

Over the years, Duncan RiDahn has survived by teaching faelings how to protect themselves. He lost his lover, along with the use of his legs, one fatal night to the Seelie Court. Mina becomes one of his reluctant students and her dark power is a draw to him, but also something that frightens him because he knows what kind of powers she might have. Her powers could be a threat to the Seelie Court., as well as to the faelings that live in Niune. He must do all he can to help her see herself for the good person she can be and not turn to the darkness that wants to take her over.

Winter’s Orphans is the first book in the Shadow Fae series and I found myself intrigued reading this story. This is a little different from the normal fairy stories and I really enjoyed finding my way through this book.

I understood Mina’s distrust of others because of how much she couldn’t trust them with her secrets. She did learn through Duncan how to trust, need and to love someone without there being a reason, other than caring. These two characters have a lot of issues without each other and when they did spend time together, they learned to trust each other more, or rather Duncan did.

This is the first book I have read by Ms. Crovidae, and I thought she did a great job of spinning this tale. There is a lot going on with the plotting, and the creativity of secondary characters afforded more to the storyline. I am looking forward to the next book in the Shadow Fae Trilogy, to see which direction the story goes.

Tease


Title: Tease
Author: Mina Kelly
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-834-1
Genre: {M/M} Shape-shifter Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

At times, Barnabas enjoys the solitude of his seaside cottage. It’s the perfect location for an artist to thrive and cultivate his craft. When he rescues a handsome stranger from a storm, his libido is soon under attack and Barnabas doesn’t want to cause any waves by broaching the subject of sex. But, that isn’t a problem because the little Tease knows exactly what he wants… he wants Barnabas. There are secrets that he is unsure of how to share with his rescuer. Will Barnabas be able to handle the truth or will he decide their differences are too much to overcome?

Mina Kelly’s Tease takes us to a picturesque locale where the storms are fierce, the locals understand their lore and friendship is forged then altered into more. The storm outside wasn’t the only one brewing in Barnabas’ life. He had the ability to learn from the mistakes made by himself and others around him. He knew the answers to his dilemma and while it could have produced a result that left him heartbroken, he decided he could survive that more than begging hated by his lover. Barnabas’ integrity, compassion and honor make him an appealing character. Those who enjoy shape-shifter tales will enjoy this release. It’s a story about love and taking risks.