Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Touch Me Gently

Title: Touch Me Gently
Author: J.R. Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-575-3
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Clothes hide most of the scars from the torment of Kaden James’ horrific episodes during his youth. Fear induced from that period reduces Kaden to a panicked individual and makes staying employed difficult to accomplish.

Now, he’s been given a second chance at life and an opportunity at love when he takes a job on a Montana ranch as a cook. Kaden comes in contact with a host of people willing to look past the scars and help him regain his courage. Logan Michaels is ready to help him want to open his heart to a relationship and learn to trust. But danger presents itself and Kaden once again finds himself struggling to face down his demons.

J.R. Loveless’ Touch Me Gently is a brilliantly written story about a young man’s ability to overcome odds that would leave most crippled. I loved Kaden’s character. His gentleness made him a target for evil people, who enjoy inflicting pain and terror on weaker individuals. Logan is a cowboy with a heart. His spirit and ability to accept Kaden as is allowed for their love to grow and for Kaden to find his inner strength and once again thrive.

While there isn’t a great deal of sex between the men, there is an overwhelming passion and attraction that slowly simmers until they finally capitulate to their desire. Those episodes bring the heat while giving insight to just how deeply the men care for each other. Loveless combines action, suspense and drama to create a fast-paced story that took over my senses. Those who like their cowboys strong and determined with an ability to tap into their tender side will love Touch Me Gently.


Title: Squire
Author: Jet Mykles
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-60737-848-8
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Rabin’s comment to a late night talk show host just may come back to haunt him after the musician meets Izzy. While the young man may be the sexiest thing on two legs, Rabin has no plans of getting any closer.

I loved Jet Mykles’ Heaven Sent series so I was very happy to see Squire, the first book in the Indigo Knights series and a spin-off of Heaven Sent, hit the shelves. Since Izzy is Brent’s cousin, readers will be happy to know that both Brent and Hell make an appearance. Readers of the previous series will also remember Rabin from when he helped out Brent and the rest of the Heaven Sent band.

The connection between Rabin and Izzy is instantaneous, even if Rabin isn’t happy to acknowledge it. When they get together, watch out because these two are hot. Between Rabin’s commitments to his band and his fear of anyone finding out about Izzy, theirs is not an easy romance. Even if Izzy knew that nothing could come from their relationship, some of the young man’s reactions to Rabin’s actions were realistic. There are many tender moments, as well as a few intense ones that will more than hold the reader’s attention.

While only one new band member was actually introduced, other members were discussed, leaving numerous stories for the author to add to what looks like another great series.

Black Passion

Title: Black Passion
Author: Lorie O’Clare
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419929434
Genre: {M/F} Shape-shifter
Rating: Golden Blush
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Ran VicMoran has no intention of settling down. He wants to play with his computer and keep tabs on what is going on in the world to protect his new home in Costa Rica. Olivia Sancerre doesn’t act like most of the female jaguars within her community. She is quiet and tries very hard not to be like her mother. When Ran and Olivia get together, sparks fly.

In the second Black Jag book, the author takes you on an emotional up and down journey. Black Passion is about the volatile relationship between Ran and Olivia, as well as the danger that could change the jaguar world as they know it. The twists and turns in this book will keep your heart pounding and your mind guessing. The reappearance of the Hunters from the first book adds to the tension and mystery.

The relationships between the characters are very realistic and every bit as complex as you find in everyday life. The surprises that turn up in this story will make you wonder how this story will be resolved, as well as sets the stage for the next story. I was very intrigued by the familial dynamics that were introduced toward the end that can have long-reaching effects on this particular society. I am waiting with bated breath for the next installment in the Black Jag series. I recommend that you read each story in this series in order to get the most out of the storyline.

Finding Forever

Title: Finding Forever
Author: Lori C. Hawkins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-605-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

While accompanying his aunt to a London museum gallery opening, American actor Alec Bannerman met young and handsome architectural art historian, Peter Leavesley. Both men immediately feel the spark of attraction but through a series of misunderstandings, strange questions, vague answers and the well-intentioned matchmaking of an elderly family friend, the evening ends without settling the important question. What’s the sexual orientation of the other? Neither man is certain.

Both men get on with their lives—Alec landing an important acting job and Peter overseeing a large restoration project. They run into each other intermittently and each time, they’re left in deep emotional turmoil and unable to deny the continuing physical pull. When the truth finally comes out and they realize they have a chance at happiness together, their relationship still isn’t smooth sailing. Alex has to deal with telling his family he’s gay and Peter is afraid of being rejected—again, if Alec decides to stay in the closet. Life is full of uncertainty. Can these two find a way through the minefield of family and fear and come out with a happily-ever-after on the other side, or will the fears of what if’s and maybe’s tear them apart forever?

Finding Forever is a sweet romance that progresses at a leisurely pace, allowing ample time for scene and character development. I loved that the story took place in London, a city filled with bright lights, interesting neighborhoods and a rich history, all of which the author touches with snippets of information scattered throughout the story. The secondary characters add a nice richness that help round out the story and help to progress it along. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of Alec’s Aunt Jo. She supplied the love, support and understanding that Alec needed and provided great family background to the story.

I enjoyed the instant attraction of Alec and Peter, but what made it so much fun was the confusion the men experienced and the author handled this nicely. My only complaint is that for me this plot device went on a little too long—the first 31 pages, and even then Alec didn’t figure it out, his Aunt Jo aunt had to tell him Peter was gay. But when these two men get together, their reaction to each other is many things—hot, sweet and tender. It’s all those things that make you feel warm and fuzzy when you read a romance, yet all isn’t sweetness-and-light in their relationship.

There’s an injury that occurs to Peter that I won’t go into too much detail with, but just know that the author does a very nice job working both men through the injury, hospitalization and recovery period with just enough detail and emotions to keep the plot flowing and without making it maudlin or depressing. The ending takes place in an interesting location and in a cute and endearing manner. Overall, the story makes for a quick and enjoyable afternoon read.

Cat’s Game

Title: Cat’s Game
Author: Simone Bern
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419929465
Genre: {M/F} Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Jan Connolly is on a mission of revenge for her father, who was turned on by his partners at work. She feels as if those partners should have stood by her father; instead they betrayed him, leaving him to take the blame from the government. Jan has become a specialist in stealing information for people who want to get ahead and she has met her match when she meets Marcus. Jan makes some hard choices but knows when she has reached her limit for stealing and she needs to change her lifestyle.

Marcus Damon is a mastermind in science and he’s the owner of an important research company. He has scientific knowledge that could be harmfully used and he’s decided to hold off publicizing his report for a year, to make sure others won’t be using his research in a negative way. When he wakes up during the night, hearing Jan’s movements in his room, he decides to have fast hot sex with her but it leaves them both wanting more and Jan didn’t leave with what she came to get.

Cat’s Game is a short story of a beautiful woman and a powerful man with secrets, playing a cat and mouse game. I really enjoyed myself throughout this book because Jan and Marcus really tried to outdo one other. These two characters are so much alike and they find what the other is in need of without realizing it until it almost too late.

Ms. Bern really did a nice job of spinning a tale of espionage, deceit and of true love. I really learned a lot about the characters though their history and it helped me to understand the flow of the story better. My only complaint is that it would have been nice to understand what Jan’s father went through, losing everything and resulting in her caring for him.

I thought that Jan really took her revenge too seriously for her father. Her deep feelings for Marcus are part of the reason she stayed away from any kind of relationship and unwanted trouble. Because she got close to him, she revealed too much about herself and it allowed him to be able to track her movements.

Marcus is a man who never wanted for anything after becoming a brilliant scientist, except knowing how to feel true love. His unusual attachment to Jan from the beginning of their strange relationship made the story more believable for me. This is a great way to learn about a new author and I thought that she did a good job! I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Bern.

Fire of the Heart

Title: Fire of the Heart
Author: Mark Alders
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-637-2
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Mr. Barnaby rushes into the Food Emporium to inform Jacob, Callum and Zane that Aloysius is missing. Suzy is summoned to help in the search for the missing dragon. By the time Suzy arrives, a vortex has opened up on the street and the group is swept into the dragon realm. It appears the earthlings have crash-landed into the middle of a dragon war. The dragon leader Aloysius has been taken captive, Mr. Barnaby is lost and Jacob is immediately claimed for a mate by a dragon shifter named Nottolu.

Fire of the Heart is the fourth installment in the Pembroke Eve Chronicles. In this action-packed amusing episode, Jacob’s heritage is revealed. Jacob and Callum want to marry. Zane is in a relationship with the A-sexual Suzy; however, Zane still shares an intimate relationship with Jacob and Callum, much to everyone’s satisfaction. The realm of dragons is divided into regions. Aloysius is leader of the Mountain Cradle tribe, which is a part of the Clan of the Light. Aloysius has played a major role in protecting the people of Pembroke Eve. As the story unfolds, his connection to the townsfolk is revealed. Nottolu is a strong dragon shifter warrior who is honest and considerate of others. Nottolu relinquished his claims to Jacob because it was the honorable thing to do and he was rewarded for his actions with a group love fest.

The incredibly creative Mark Alders has produced another superb installment to the Pembroke Eve Chronicles filled with aerial dragon fights, in addition to a variety of sizzling lovemaking. I am especially fond of the dragon’s greeting ritual. Fire of the Heart is an enjoyable outstanding story.

In the Flesh

Title: In the Flesh
Author: Ethan Stone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-553-1
Genre: {M/M} Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Critter Nymph

It looks like someone is out to get Reno Police Detective Cristian Flesh. The only problem is that he can’t figure out who or why. Throw in his sexy straight attorney and things just keep going from bad to worse.

If you like watching crime dramas on TV, you will love In the Flesh by Ethan Stone. Even though the mystery aspect of the story is predicable, the author is still able to keep the readers wondering just how much more could go wrong for the young detective. It is the romance side of the story that will really hold the reader’s attention. It is clear, from the beginning, that there is some attraction between Flesh and Colby, his attorney. However, the author does such a good job keeping Flesh wondering about Colby’s sexual orientation that even I was beginning to wonder if the man was straight.

There are many complications that the two must face and straighten out, the least of which are the murder charges against Flesh. While the story ends on a happy note, for me, there were still some unanswered questions, not about the case which the author wraps up nicely, but about the two men. Hopefully, we will see these two again soon and all my questions will be answered.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sonoran Heat

Title: Sonoran Heat
Author: Katrina Strauss
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-742-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

When Richard, his partner of nearly eighteen years decides he isn’t happy, Tony suddenly finds himself single, alone and uncertain what to do with his personal life. One night, on a whim, he visits his favorite diner and meets Josh, a beautiful young artist working to put himself through design school. Despite their mutual attraction, Tony is concerned that getting involved with a man nearly half his age can only lead to devastating heartache. Still, when Josh invites Tony to a gallery showing of his art work, he can’t refuse and the two are soon dating.

Josh isn’t flighty or uncertain in what he wants out of life—he has goals, plans and dreams of painting. He never expects to fall in love with Tony but when he does, he starts thinking of adjusting his plans to include the older man. But when near tragedy strikes one of Tony’s friends, the 23 year age difference seems like an insurmountable obstacle and Tony begins to doubt Josh’s determination to stick with him. Both men have some difficult choices to make. Can Josh convince Tony of his sincerity or will their relationship lose its heat and turn as cold as a desert night?

Sonoran Heat is the newest release by multi-published author Katrina Strauss and as usual, she’s created two well-developed and likable characters in Josh and Tony. I particularly liked the differences in what the men did—artist for Josh and landscaper for Tony. The unusual artistic medium of Josh’s art work is nicely handled and the details and descriptions added great depth and interest to the story. The vividly described Sonoran desert is also important to both men—as beautiful scenery for Josh’s art and as a vista outside Tony’s backdoor.

A romance novel doesn’t often deal with such a wide age gap, which happens frequently in real life, and Ms. Strauss has done it here with creativity, flair, understanding and sensuality I enjoyed. While another author might have turned this into a kinky Sugar Daddy type story, I didn’t get that here. It just happens to be a sweet but passionate love story between two men of vastly differing ages and life experiences. It’s fun, light-hearted, sexy and shows the importance of people, not ages.

It’s actually rather slow moving and the story primarily focuses on the relationship between these two men and its problems, rather than any big explosive external conflict. So, if you’re expecting a lot of over-the-top drama, this charming romance isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a well crafted story with great details, a wonderful setting and two interesting guys years apart in age, I suggest that you give this simmering gem of a contemporary romance a try.

Eternally and Evermore

Title: Eternally and Evermore
Author: Marc Nobbs
Publisher: Phaze Books
Publisher URL: http://www.phaze.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60659-928-0
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary, Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

This story starts out with the puppy love between Will and Amy, which leads into a more serious relationship as the years go by. As they come to the finish of high school, decisions are made as to where Will and Amy should attend college. Will’s choice will most likely take him farther away from his hometown and Amy, only a short distance.

Throughout their school years, Will and Amy have been plagued by a man named John Nugent. At one time John and Will were best friends, but a bitter argument caused the rift between them. Will moved on with his life and avoids most confrontations with John, even though Amy is the reason for their split.

After twenty years, Will gets an invitation to their class reunion but he’s not sure he wants to attend. He hasn’t talked with any of his close classmates since he got a Dear John letter from Amy and he doesn’t want to face more rejection from her. Despite his misgivings, Will shows up at the reunion anyway. The first people he sees are his old friends who make certain he knows that Amy is there.

When I read the blurb for the story Eternally and Evermore, I thought that this should be a good book. Now after having read the story, I know it is a keeper and I enjoyed learning about no matter how much we go through, love finds a way.

Mr. Nobbs did a nice job of telling of how the young people go through peer pressures throughout school and how it can continue on into adulthood. He really made the story more believable with the well-detailed history surrounding the characters and his description of their abilities to overcome tough situations that came their way.

I was impressed with both Will and Amy for finding their love for each other but a little disappointed when they went their separate ways. It took years and a troubled marriage for Amy to finally realize she still had a bond with Will that would not go away. Will turned out to be a great father, even after his divorce, and he showed a lot of courage to face down his nemesis, John, who was bent on destroying him.

Now having read this book by Mr. Nobbs, I am pleasantly surprised to know how creative he is with telling this story of romantic proportions. I have added him to my list of authors to read!

Daryk Hunter

Title: Daryk Hunter
Author: Denise A. Agnew
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL: http://www.jasminejade.com/
ISBN: 9781419927829
Genre: {M/F}, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Ketera survives a shipwreck landing in Dragonia. She is found by Dane, who saves her from a slaver then takes to his home. Dane sets out to change her mind about Dragonians, as they are considered enemies by the Magonians.

Daryk Hunter is the first book in the Daryk World series and sets the stage for the coming civil war in Dragonia. Ms. Agnew has created a vibrant world as the backdrop for this story. The descriptions of some of the animals and plants found in Dragonia created pictures in my mind.

Dane seduces Ketera and the chemistry between them is hot and requires keeping ice on hand. The emotional change that the two undergo is a realistic look at two people of different backgrounds growing to love each other and then overcoming adversity. The relationship between Dane and his half-brother gives a realistic look at the rivalry between siblings.

Some of the secondary characters are very colorful and give the reader some entertainment during some of the situations that arise. The interactions between all the characters are interesting and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.