Saturday, November 13, 2010

And so is Love


Title: And so is Love
Author: Scarlet Blackwell
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-648-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Dane Faulkner understands what lead him to his ten-year prison sentence. For two years, most inmates have learned through pain or example to give him a wide berth. His new cellmate, Bailey Lewis, quickly interrupts Dane’s world and has him scampering to reclaim his calm existence. When it becomes clear that Bailey is targeted and will need Dane’s protection, he reluctantly takes up the gauntlet to protect him. Dane soon realizes that life behind bars is unpredictable……And so is Love.

I’ll begin simply by saying I loved this story. Dane and Bailey are two complex well-developed characters. If anyone was to ask Dane his sexual preference, he would have quickly stated women prior to meeting Bailey. His whole objective was to focus on himself and stay out of tiffs. I couldn’t fault Dane for preferring to stay on the fringes. While he seemed a little selfish at first glance, his reactions to Bailey’s plight told me there was a genuine caring person under that tough exterior.

Bailey is a touch bratty and is willing to push Dane’s buttons to get what he wants. And while some of his actions made me sigh, I began to relate some of them to his internal fears. The environment didn’t leave him the opportunity to appear weak and Bailey knew he had to put on his game face even if he went down fighting. Even while he was hurting, he only wanted the security he found in Dane’s arms. That had become his safe haven and the one place he wasn’t willing to live without.

I could understand Dane’s apprehension, but I loved how two characters in particular knew what made Dane tick. They were brave enough to give him the truth as they saw it and refused to back down, regardless of how he reacted. Dane was also admirable when it came to protecting Bailey. And while I understood some of his actions, I couldn’t help but to be disappointed each time Bailey’s heart was in the kill zone. I found myself wanting to wrap a protective arm around him at those moments. I was unsure if he would give up, stronger men have thrown the towel in for far less, but Bailey was definitely a forever type of man.

The story gives us a glimpse of the social injustices that inmates face, but it also showed how love can be formed even under less ideal circumstances. I hope to read more from this fantastic author in the near future.

Ethan's Freedom


Title: Ethan's Freedom
Author: Jade Archer
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-325-8
Genre: {M/M} Shapeshifters
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Michael Barnes returns home after working a double shift at the hospital, only to find an adorable tabby cat, exploring his kitchen. Ethan is a cat shifter who escaped from another world. Sensing that he could trust Michael, Ethan accepts the food offered by Michael. Feeling in safe hands, Ethan reveals his sensual human form to Michael. The mutual attraction is immediate.

Ethan's Freedom is book one in the Portals series. The well-written plot is packed with tension, action, mystery in addition to fantastic intimate scenes. The characters are psychologically true to life. Ethan is a pleasure cat who was destined to spend a wretched life confined in a harem created for the sole purpose of powering a mage’s spell casting. Ethan was never allowed to socialize with the servant cats, nor was he allowed outside the mage’s castle. Ethan has an adventurous spirit that yearns for the freedom to choose his mate. When the opportunity to escape into a portal is presented, Ethan takes it. Ethan’s biggest fear is rejection from Michael. Deception from a former boyfriend leaves Michael with trust issues. However, the time he spends with Ethan slowly erases Michael’s negative memories. Ethan and Michael are well-matched; both men are looking for a lifetime commitment relationship. The secondary characters add drama, as well as chaos, to the plot.

On the whole, Jade Archer has created an impressively enjoyable saga. I look forward to reading the next installment to this series.

Contact Point


Title: Contact Point
Author: Gwendolyn Cease
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-339-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Shape-shifter
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Jesse Chandler is utterly alone in the world, which explains how he finds himself on a deserted road in the middle of a storm. When he comes across an out of the way biker bar, he thinks his luck is changing, especially after he learns about the pool tournament scheduled for that night. He’s willing to gamble his last twenty dollars on the entry fee in hopes of winning enough for a hotel room and a few hot meals. Fate has other ideas and the tourney is called due to the storm and when he’s forced to leave for the night, Jesse winds up huddled under a tree for shelter.

From the moment pack Alpha and bar owner, Cade Reynolds sees the small human male walk into his bar, he knew the stranger is trouble. When he signs up for the pool tournament, Cade lets him play, figuring he’ll leave as soon as he loses, except Jesse wins every game, upsetting a few of his regular customers. The evening takes an odd turn when the weather turn worse and the bar closes early and Cade finds the little human outside under a tree.

Unwilling to leave Jesse outside in the cold and wet, Cade invites him home for the night. It only takes one touch before he realizes that it’s for more than sleeping and that his wolf wants to keep Jesse forever—as his mate.

Contact Point is the first book by Gwendolyn Cease that I’ve read and it was a pleasure. I admit it; I have a soft spot for werewolf stories, especially those featuring big-hearted Alphas falling for their mate; in this case a human, they never thought to find. The chemistry between Jesse and Cade is intense and I liked them both from the beginning. That’s especially true of Jesse. He’s gone through a lot of terrible stuff in his short life and the author has given him a well rounded but wounded persona you just want to take care of---Cade certainly did.

There’s a lot about this story that I enjoyed but the one aspect that really sticks out for me is that despite the werewolf shape-shifter backbone, the story focuses on the human side of the new and growing relationship between Jesse and Cade. Ms. Cease did a very nice job expressing Jesse’s desperation to find a place to call his own and a man to love him and Cade was just as adorably described in his fear of telling his new mate the truth of his were-heritage.

Don’t get me wrong - there is more than enough emphasis on Cade’s werewolf heritage and his Alpha status to satisfy any lover of the genre. And this part of his life is certainly brought to the forefront in a violent fight scene near the end. It’s well done and appropriate for the overall plot and plays out well with the ending. Give this little gem a try, you won’t be sorry you did.

El Cedral




Title: El Cedral
Author: Kiernan Kelly
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: N/A
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph

Faced with searing heat, patients as far as the eye can see and a less than adequate billing procedure, Dr Derek Thomas could be forgiven for wondering just what he had gotten himself into. Just one reminder of the pain and humiliation his ex heaped upon him back in New York is enough to snap him out of it, though. He headed South in search of a purpose to his life, as well as to escape his past. To his surprise, Derek’s new colleague Juan may just be able to help him with both.

El Cedral is a great short story packed with everything I could ask for. The descriptions are so vivid and colorful that I felt transported to another world. The plot engaged me immediately as I wanted to know what had been going on with Derek for him to make such a change in his life. With appealing main characters that sizzle with chemistry, an ex who’s just asking for his comeuppance and the possibilities of much, much more, this was a very enjoyable read.

El Cedral is part of Torquere Press’ Charity Sip 2010 Healing Hearts.

Get What You Need


Title: Get What You Need
Author: Janey Chapel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-644-6
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Bryan’s Bar is unlike any other in the downtown Atlanta area. The staff consists of ex-cons who want a better life. Each knows they aren’t cut out for a regular nine-to-five but they consider one another family so that’s all that matters.

Jay Hinshaw is a bartender who felt the night was under control until police detective Patrick Graves enters. Patrick’s presence disturbs the employees but he’s not there to bother anyone. He needs an outlet for his frustration. As he notices the mutual attraction with Jay, he begins to hope that a night of sweaty sex will be on the menu.

Jay is ready to play and eager to give Patrick what he needs. But is this a quickie or can an ex-con and a man of the law hope for more?

Janey Chapel’s Get What You Need takes us to Atlanta, where the sex is hot and spicy. Jay knows his vice. While some aspects of Patrick made him nervous in the beginning, others drew him to the man like a moth to a flame. Patrick can’t believe he’s found someone so real that he can relate to in an ex-con. What I like about him is he didn’t judge Jay. He accepted him as is and in return gained a passionate man that he could be himself with. This is a great story. Ms. Chapel combines a well developed plot, interesting characters and erotic scenes designed to make you turn up the fan. Those who enjoy cops and cons stories should pick up a copy of Get What You Need.

Cum And Get Me


Title: Cum And Get Me
Author: Zenina Masters
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-676-1
Genre: {F/M/M/M}, Ménage a Quatre, Sci-Fi
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Asher, Ecan and Shen are the new lawmen on Hakur and end up arresting Kalli after a fight in her bar. Kalli knows she is their mate, but decides to make them come to her as punishment, once they discover that fact.

In the third book of the Four Ever More series, Cum And Get Me follows another set of clones. This time, the author showcases some of the prejudices that the clones encounter as well as, how some are accepted and embraced by the world they live in. Asher, Ecan, and Shen get off on the wrong foot with Kalli and have to make up ground. I found the punishment Kalli devised very realistic as she basically made them grovel. The book also showcased the friendship that some of the clones have. Each book can be read alone, but the first book, Cum To Me, probably should be read first to get the background regarding the clones.

Unbound: Bonded II


Title: Unbound: Bonded II
Author: Jay Lygon
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61040-078-7
Genre: {M/M} Vampire
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Brandr is on a rampage; Kyle, Jamie and Henry were kidnapped from Brandr’s house. The culprit is Fionn, who has waited six hundred years for revenge against Brandr, the vampire who turned him. Brandr soon discovers that he loves Kyle, as well as misses the nightly chaos created by his nest of recently turned vampires. Brandr also discovers that his bond with Tyler has been broken.

Unbound: Bonded II is part of the Bonded series. The well-written plot is a romantic comedy. The setting is Los Angeles. The characters are believable. Brandr is a thousand year old no-kill vampire, whose former life was a Viking raider and now Brandr is a romance author. Kyle is a rent boy rescued by Brandr. Jamie is a computer programmer. Henry teaches Yoga. Brandr did not realize how lonely he was before Kyle, Jamie and Henry entered his life; now he is determined to get them back. Kyle, Jamie and Henry each love Brandr in their own way; moreover, they are happy living with Brandr. Fionn seems incapable of creating a new life for himself. Fionn prefers to wallow in desolation rather than move on with his vampire life. The interactions between the characters are expressive, with a hint of intimacy. The creative Jay Lygon has produced an enjoyable, as well as hilariously entertaining, story.

Match Maker




Title: Match Maker
Author: Alan Chin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
ISBN: 978-1-61581-588-3
Rating: Recommended Read
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Four year ago, tennis and life partners Daniel Bottega and Jared Stoderling had their sexual orientation became public knowledge, forcing them off the professional tennis circuit. Daniel now teaches tennis at a second rate country club, while Jared spends most of his time dealing with his overwhelming disappointment by drinking too much. The pain, frustration and discontent of their lives is putting a terrible strain on their decade’s long relationship, and Daniel isn’t certain it will survive.

The lives of both men takes on a sudden change when Daniel is given the opportunity of coaching a young tennis prodigy, Connor Lin, for the upcoming Grand Slam competition, and he takes Jared along as Connor’s doubles partner. Getting back on the circuit does several things to the couple. It opens their relationship up to media scrutiny, results in rumors that Connor is also gay and exposes the trio to unfair bias by homophobic judges and gets them numerous threats of violence. Most importantly, it leads to a return of Daniel and Jared’s competitive spirit that serves them well as they advance higher through the rankings.

Through all the strife, the three struggles past each new obstacle, every one capable of destroying their championship dream. Then the worst possible thing happens and a unsympathetic tennis association official’s security inaction puts them in danger and Daniel nearly pays with his life.

Match Maker is the first book by Alan Chin that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and it won’t be my last. In fact, I’ll be making a concerted effort on finding others he’s written and watch for new releases.

I have to admit that sports aren’t my thing - far from it - but that didn’t stop me from being fascinated by the blurb for this contemporary M/M romance. While I might be sports-knowledge-challenged, it’s apparent immediately that Mr. Chin doesn’t have that same problem. He knows his tennis and he’s not afraid to use the information, peppering the story with technical terms, coaching styles and the stress of traveling and competing on the national and international level. To this, he’s added two great three-dimensional characters in Daniel and Jared - long term lovers struggling to make a happy life in the face of homophobia and bigotry induced disappointment. With creativity and flair, he’s blended these components together with beautifully described locales and interesting secondary characters and turned the whole into a realistic and gripping story that I couldn’t put down.

I really can’t say enough good things about this vividly described and well-written and well-plotted story. It’s an alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming story that has won a spot in my keeper file. Give this one a try. You won’t be sorry you did. Read and enjoy! I most certainly did.

A Winter Tale: With Marshmallows


Title: A Winter Tale: With Marshmallows
Author: Stephanie Beck
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publisher URL: http://www.lyricalpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61650-245-4
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph

Being pregnant and single isn’t exactly a picnic for anyone but for Mona Renalds, it’s even worse. She’s a werewolf who has a maniac on her tail and no pack support. Using baking as a distraction from reality is no longer working and Mona knows she has to find a safe haven with a pack, before it’s too late.

Chris Meyters is an easy going Alpha who thinks there is plenty of time to find a mate and settle down. Once he meets a petite, pregnant blonde, Chris knows his bachelor days are over. Wanting Mona was something Chris couldn’t stop, even if he’d wanted to. But, is it fair to Mona to be claimed right now?

Mona and Chris both feel attraction blossoming between them, but neither are sure if they should act on it. Mona knows she is safe in Chris’ strong arms and wants to stay there permanently. Mixed signals have Mona wondering if her baggage and babies are too much for him to handle. Chris does his best to remain selfless by not giving into his desire for Mona. Regardless of her job with her former pack, Chris vows to put Mona’s safety and happiness first. I was so jazzed when that vow flew right out the window. These two have such a cute chemistry, I squealed out loud when they first kissed. All the violence in Mona’s past didn’t stop her character from exuding innocence and I enjoyed that. And even though Chris takes a more laid back approach with his pack, he is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

A Winter Tale: With Marshmallows is a touching story about new beginnings that will leave readers with a comforting view into the family life of a pack. By the end of the story, I wanted to move to Pennsylvania myself. There is also plenty of action and even a reveal for those of you who enjoy a little suspense.

Core Training


Title: Core Training
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-670-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Hugh Douglas needs some cheese to go with his whine over turning forty. A rare vintage by the name of Max Pierce is here to prove to Hugh that age is nothing but a number. The younger man likes what he sees in Hugh and hopes their connection is deeper than mere penetration.

Hugh is shocked at his luck to snag such a firecracker and wants to change his bed-hopping ways. Max’s alcoholic dad has issues with his son being gay and tests his ability to turn the other cheek, literally. Will Hugh and Max find a way to work things out?

Core Training takes us back to the gym I’m falling in love with. Some of the previous primary characters make a cameo appearance and add humor to the story. Hugh hasn’t been lucky at love the few chances he’s had. Now older and wiser, he doesn’t want to face getting old alone. He wants a man he can share his life and love with. Max is just starting out. He’s a gentle spirit but in Hugh’s presence, he’s a passionate man ready to test the spring in the big man’s bed. This couple does more than heat up the pages. Their fervor melts the words and scorches the edges of the book. There was no doubt they are compatible in and out of the bed. Andrew Grey has delivered yet another wonderful story.

Getting Physical


Title: Getting Physical
Author: Tianna Xander
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: http://www.extasybooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-55487-691-4
Genre: {M/F/M}, Ménage, Paranormal
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Nicodemo and Leopold have been friends forever and know they will share a mate. Both men went their separate ways to find her and Nicodemo found Cara first but delayed finding Leopold. When Nicodemo went looking for Leopold, he did not tell Cara why and she felt betrayed. As a result, Cara becomes a slayer to be feared after her grandfather finds her and offers to train her.

In the third installment of The Endowed, Getting Physical takes you in a direction that is slightly different than the previous books. There are several twists in this one that will keep your attention. The secrets revealed about both the slayers and the Vampire Counsel made me wonder where this story would go and kept me guessing.

Nicodemo has a hard time reconciling the fact that Cara is now such a feared slayer. Leopold hopes that she will accept him and the relationship between the three of them. The chemistry is scorching, and, to the relief of both men, Cara accepts the fact that she is their mate. I could definitely relate to the hurt that Cara felt when Nicodemo left without saying anything to her. The way both men tiptoe around the subject for awhile doesn’t surprise me at all; Cara also did this. The way this was handled in the book reflects some of the feelings most of us have when we have been hurt. The author did a good job reconciling them.

Each book can be read alone so far; however, if what I suspect is true of the direction this series is going, you will need to start reading them in order. This is one series that will be read again.