Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Amethyst Eye


Title: The Amethyst Eye
Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61040-157-9
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Dante is fascinated watching Jared, who is blind, walking down the street and never stumbles. Jared knows Dante has been following him for weeks because Jared wears the magical amethyst pendant, or the eye, given to Jared by his granny.

The Amethyst Eye is a well written sexy teaser that lures you into the short story and holds you imprisoned to the end. The truth of whom or what Dante really is remains hidden all the way through the majority of the story. The plot is an exceptionally sensual seduction of Jared. Despite the fact that Jared is blind, he is aware of everything, as well as everyone, around him. He has friends who look out for his safety. However, Jared has no fear of Dante. Jared discerns that his life is about to change and welcomes the adventure with enthusiasm. It's been a long time since Dante has been intrigued by anyone. Dante can sense that Jared is unique, in addition to having an enchantment that Dante desires. I was thoroughly captivated by the talented Julia Talbot’s mesmerizing saga.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Boy Next Door


Title: The Boy Next Door
Author: Kate McMurray
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-936-2
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

After the death of his abusive father, Lowell’s mother soon becomes ill, causing Lowell to return to his hometown for good, which is something he thought he would never do. When he realizes his new home places him right next door to his high school crush, Lowell is unsure what to do. Once he and Jase become reacquainted, those old feelings return, leaving Lowell wondering if he’s heading for a fall.

After the death of his abusive father, Lowell’s mother soon becomes ill, causing Lowell to return to his hometown for good, which is something he thought he would never do. When he realizes his new home places him right next door to his high school crush, Lowell is unsure what to do. Once he and Jase become reacquainted, those old feelings return, leaving Lowell wondering if he’s heading for a fall.

The Boy Next Door by Kate McMurray is a romance about a love that almost did not happen. The main characters, Lowell and Jase, were, at one time, best friends. When hormones and school cliques came into play, their friendship soon fell apart. When the author brings them back together again many years later, the chemistry between them is intense. While the sex between them is hot, their relationship has many problems and, at times, you are left wondering if this is a relationship that can, or even should, survive. Instead of school keeping them apart now, they have Jase’s ex-wife and his fear of being outed. The two not only have a new relationship that they must figure out how to navigate, but also family that is important to them. While Jase is conscious of the fact that he must work his sex life around his six year old daughter, Lowell is learning that the mother he loves may not remember who he is much longer.

I liked that the author chose not to down play either man’s family responsibilities. At times, the men may have wanted to forget the problems facing them, in order to have some alone time, something that is very realistic. Theirs is not an easy relationship and, to be honest, I did not see this story having a happy ending, yet the author did a wonderful job tying up the loose ends of The Boy Next Door. If I had to change anything in this story, it would be to add an epilogue allowing me a peek at the men’s future.

Simply Perfection


Title: Simply Perfection
Author: Trina Lane
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-449-1
Genre: Gay Ménage
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Niall Roberge always believed he’s meant to find happiness with two partners and has spent years looking for the men destined to hold his love forever. When he meets Dr. Matt Lincoln at a local event and later Trevor Mitchell comes into their lives, he feels complete and that their future is on the right track, if he can convince them they all belong together.

Matt’s participated in many ménages during his life, but is amazed at the intensity and depth of his feelings for Niall and how quickly they develop. Trevor’s been alone most of his life and hasn’t had the best luck in picking partners in the past, so he’s a little reluctant to open himself up to being hurt by the two new men in his life. Yet their growing bond is threatened when a man from Trevor’s past tries to tear him away from Niall and Matt, proving that Trevor belongs only to him.

Simply Perfection is the fourth release in Trina Lane’s ongoing Perfect Love series and it’s my new favorite. There is a carry-over of characters from the previous releases, so reading them in order will allow for the greatest understanding of continuing relationships.

All three men are likable and interesting and it’s easy to get caught up in their lives and growing relationship from the very beginning. It did develop quickly, but the way Ms. Lane got them together, using Niall’s Mohegan tribal history as the base added depth and a unique flair. I appreciated that the author had Trevor questioning the swiftness of their emotional bond; it helped make it more realistic.

The stalker portion of the book was well done and was integrated nicely into the plot. I loved how Trevor dealt with this villain…that he didn’t sit around waiting for rescue but worked to free himself…to return to the men he loved. It gave a very satisfying look into his personality and the search for him pulled his friends from the previous releases deeper into the story.

Overall it’s a fun and entertaining story that I really enjoyed. It’s well-written and plotted, has a smooth, fast pace, and is filled with interesting and intriguing characters. The premise bringing Matt, Niall and Trevor together is unusual and their passion and desire is sizzling hot and intense. Add in the stalker and you have all the aspects needed for a story that will keep your attention from beginning to end. Enjoy!

A Changeling For All Seasons


Title: A Changeling For All Seasons
Author: Anthology
Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 987-1-60521-009-4
Genre: {M/F}, {M/M}, {M/F/M}, Paranormal, Seasonal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

A Christmas Pageant by Sahara Kelly - 4 Nymphs
A music teacher, moonlighting as a cocktail waitress in a strip club, and a Drill Sergeant get snowed in and have the night of their lives. While I enjoyed this story, it seemed a little out of place in this anthology as I could not find the “changeling”.

Jingle Balls by Judy Mays - 5 Nymphs
In this fun story, Santa and his wife set up a friend’s son with Ms. Claus’ sister. Kudos to the author for the way she went about getting the two together. The chemistry between Richard and Jessica was hot.

Changeling by Shelby Morgen - 4.5 Nymphs
Arien decides she has to mate with a human, but she can only have a relationship with him on St. Patrick’s Day, unless he guesses her real name. But he has to kiss her first. The way Ms. Morgen wove her story together was interesting, especially with the size difference between Arien and Mich.

Elven Enchantment by Willa Okati - 5 Nymphs
This was an interesting male/male and ménage story between two elves trying to find their third. Ciara, Ardal, and Seanan meet in a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. Be aware the chemistry between these three is so hot, you will need ice cubes on hand.

For the most part, these ten stories were fun to read. The authors did wonderful things with some of the imagery in their stories. There were a few that I wish had continued, as I would have liked to find out more about their relationships and more about some resolutions at the end of them. From horses turning to elves, trolls, and fairies, A Changeling For All Seasons has something for everyone. Some of the situations were so true to life that you jumped right into the story. I could not stop laughing when I read the last story.

Long, Lonely Howl


Title: Long, Lonely Howl
Author: Lyn Gala
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-712-2
Genre: {M/M} {M/M/M/M} Werewolves
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Casey Keller drives to King’s Canyon National Park to be comforted by his friend, Nathan, after breaking up with Adam, Casey’s live-in boyfriend. Arriving at the ranger’s station where Nathan works, Casey encounters a man who shifted into a wolf. Casey soon realizes this knowledge of werewolves actually existing targets Casey as a menace to the shifter’s secret society.

Long, Lonely Howl is a mundane, conflict-free, repetitive plot primarily consisting of extensive conversations regarding the pros and cons of turning Casey into a werewolf after Casey discovers Nathan is a shifter. Towards the end of the story are two vaguely descriptive sex scenes. Casey is an “in the closet” gay man because of his job. He enjoys working with children and fears a negative response from society. Casey has never stopped yearning for another chance to start a relationship with Nathan. Nevertheless, he settles for Adam who is an out-and-proud gay man. Casey’s relationship with Adam is chaotic. Adam demands to be recognized as a couple, while Casey refuses to even consider it. When Casey learns that Nathan is a werewolf, Nathan demands that Casey move to another state so he would not be tempted by the allure of Casey. Nathan is Alpha wolf to a pack of two misfits. I did not get the impression of genuine bonding between any of the characters. However, the story did reveal casual friends with benefits. The most enjoyable segments of Lyn Gala’s saga are the intermittent inclusion of amusing comments.

Classic Murder: Mr. Romance


Title: Classic Murder: Mr. Romance
Author: Mary Martinez
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.bookstrand.com/
ISBN: 1-61034-086-8
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary, Mainstream, Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx

Adam Russo’s enjoyed his jet-setting lifestyle while building his fortune. Lately he’s begun to feel as though something is missing from his life. Each time he gone on a romantic adventure that would please the woman he’s seeing, it’s left him longing for the trip to be over quickly, despite his assistant, Katie making sure everything is perfect for them. Once Adam accepted that his love for Katie is real, he is determined to show her that she feels the same way.

Katie Sinclair has been wearing a disguise, including ugly glasses, to down play her beauty, so people would see the real her. One thing she has learned from her father, who is a businessman, is to be smart and make good choices. She’s built a quite a nest egg for herself, even though her family is wealthy already and Katie insists on supporting herself. She’s been working for Adam for years and her love blossomed for him before she even realized it happened. Always the dedicated employee, she makes sure everything is done to his specifications.

Classic Murder: Mr. Romance is a story that spoke volumes for me about the working relationship between Adam and Katie. I met my husband in a work environment and we only managed because the company is large. Adam and Katie plus the receptionist are the only employees and Katie knew exactly what Adam needed for each job he did. I kept wondering about Jordan, the go-fer, who insisted on scaring Katie every day, even after she asked him to stop.

My opinion of Adam is he is a truly caring person that earned his own wealth and he never looked down his nose at others. All those beautiful women were never hurt nor forced into any sexual encounter they didn’t want. After he started getting tired of hearing the society pages make it more than what he planned, he begin to want more out of life. His parents played a large part in the decision, as did Katie’s family. Katie could have run her own company but enjoyed working for someone else more. These two characters kept a lot of their feeling in check a little too much for me, but it’s understandable why when the murders needed to be solved.

Ms. Martinez is an amazing writer whose creativity burst onto the pages of her book. Her research and plotting of each of the murder victims, the places they visited, and the villain held my attention with trying to figure out who it was. I almost missed the true identity with the references to more than one person, and since the villain used classic Cary Grant movies to murder the women, it’s a surprise for the couple. Once Katie, Adam and the police figured out the truth, the story got even deeper. This is a keeper! I say read and enjoy!

Cowboy Keeper


Title: Cowboy Keeper
Author: Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.sirenpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-61034-317-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Billy Thornton is a troublemaker…everyone is town knows it. What they don’t know is that his older brother, Clem is abusing him on a regular basis and Billy puts up with the beatings, trying to direct his brother’s attention away from Rourke and the rest of the Blaecleah family. Billy can’t allow Rourke to be hurt and he’s willing to protect him at all costs and has been putting himself in harm’s way for years.

When Rourke finds Billy spying on his brother’s wedding, everything changes with a single kiss, making Rourke realize that Billy is the man he’s been waiting for all his life. For Billy, it’s a dream come true after years of fantasizing of loving Rourke, but their lives are in danger. Clem’s crazy…he’s not happy and he’s coming for them.

Cowboy Keeper is the second release in the new series, Blaecleah Brothers, by Stormy Glenn and it takes up shortly after where the first book left off. Since the story and characters follow so closely, I recommend they be read in order.

The overall feel of this story is far different than the first and if I’m honest, I have to admit that it’s my new favorite. I liked Billy from the first. He’s a sweet guy with a kind, tender heart that nobody ever bothered with because of his brother and he deserved so much more that he ever got out of life. Rourke too is a likeable man, and his easy acceptance of his bond with Billy and his desire to protect his new lover from Clem shows his true loving side.

The story pacing is nice throughout. Not too fast or slow, but progressing steadily forward until near the end when the speed picks up during the confrontation with Clem.There’s plenty of passion and desire simmering between Rourke and Billy, but you also get the chance to see then work through Billy’s insecurities and difficulties with his family. Did I mention that Clem is crazy dangerous? After a few initial problems, the ready acceptance of the Blaecleah family was nice to see, as was the help given by the new Sheriff. I can’t wait for the next release and I’m hoping it involves Sheriff Riley.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thief of Hearts: Tempted in Thailand


Title: Thief of Hearts: Tempted in Thailand
Author: EM Lynley
Publisher: Ravenous Press
Publisher URL: http://www.ravenousromance.com/
ISBN: 9781607773818
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Trent has lost his writing mojo. The death of his partner has caused him to withdraw from society and it has finally started to show in his romances. When his friends decide it’s time for him to join the world, they send him on vacation to Thailand.

Reed was supposed to pick up a map that would lead him and the local crime boss to the fabled Ruby Buddha. What should have been a simple job becomes anything but when the map ends up in the wrong backpack. On the plus side, the mistake leads him to Trent and Reed can’t help but be drawn to the sexy writer.

Romance readers always knew that the story’s hero would always be one of the ‘good guys’ years ago. However, today it has become popular for the heroes to have a bit of ‘bad guy’ in them. That unknown element is one of the things that make Thief of Hearts: Tempted in Thailand an entertaining read. From the start of the book, it is unclear just where Reed sits on the scale between good and bad. You know from the moment he shows up that he’s after a map that inadvertently ends up in Trent’s backpack. You also know that it is important for him to get it back or all kinds of hell will break out; however, you just can’t help hoping that he isn’t as bad as he appears. The connection between him and Trent is evident from the beginning and with the rough times Trent has been going through, you want him to find a happily-ever-after with Reed.

The author’s ability to make the men’s adventures come alive and the mystery surrounding the Ruby Buddha will hold your attention until the end. There are some interesting secondary characters that help flesh out the story and will cause more than a few chuckles.

Thief of Hearts: Tempted in Thailand is an interesting and fun story to read. I can’t wait to see if the author has a sequel planned, as I am sure these two would not have any problems finding more trouble to get into.