Friday, April 22, 2011

Manning Up

Title: Manning Up
Author: J.T. Steele
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: http://www.loose-id.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60737-962-1
Genre: {M/M}, BDSM, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

If Elijah wants to be true to himself, he will have to come clean to his extremely religious family, as well as his teammates. Wesley believes he has finally met his soul mate but can he wait for Elijah to come out or are they meant to be alone?

While one of the main characters in Manning Up may be a professional baseball player, this is by no means a sports story. Instead, this is a story of two men who are meant to be together; only they have to overcome several outside factors first. When Elijah and Wesley meet for the first time, you can see the instant attraction, but fear of revealing those feelings hold them back.

When Elijah and Wesley decide to see where things can go, the chemistry between them is intense. Although both men feel the strong need to be together, Elijah’s upbringing causes some rough moments. The struggle Elijah goes through as he comes to terms with his sexuality is very believable and I felt for both Elijah and Wesley. Manning Up also has a slight paranormal feel to it, as Wesley is a physic and “magic man” in training. The author does a wonderful job weaving this aspect through the story, especially with regard to some of the sex scenes.

When things come to a head and Elijah has some difficult decisions to make, help comes from a very unlikely source. I was not at all surprised by Elijah’s family's behavior and was glad that he was finally able to see the light, where they are concerned.

J.T. Steele is one author I am looking forward to seeing more of.

Crunch Time

Title: Crunch Time
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-828-0
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

George Higgins loves his teaching job but never expects to use his skills to help a soon-to-be-former professional football player prepare for an audition on a sports talk show. After their first meeting, George doesn’t expect the cocky, Darren White, to even show up for their first appointment, but surprisingly he does, making a huge effort to learn from George. It soon becomes apparent Darren has some serious problems--he can barely read and his public speaking is terrible, but lucky for him, Darren has a dedicated and determined George on his side. It’s Crunch Time with the audition fast approaching and together, these two men must work together to get Darren the job he needs, all while their budding relationships grows into something that could last a lifetime.

Crunch Time is the latest release by Andrew Grey in his Gym series and while there are appearances by some previous characters, it can still be read as a standalone read.

George is a real cutie. He’s kindhearted, hardworking, just a little nerdy and loves his teaching career. The other thing about him that I appreciated is that despite his physical disability, he refused to back down from life. Darren was just as endearing in his own right. He’s young, the career he loves is over and because of his lack of education, he has little prospects for the future. Mr. Grey did a nice job with the personalities of both men, rounding them out so that I felt I had a good idea on what made these vulnerable guys tick.

The plot flows smoothly and at a good pace from the opening pages to the end. It’s a sweet story of blossoming romance and growing love as Darren overcomes his personal shortcomings. I liked the stress on his dyslexia and how, because of his football abilities, his reading problems were ignored by his teachers. It reminded me of what happens too frequently in schools everyday, making the story very realistic. Never fear…it’s certainly not all seriousness…there is plenty of fun, bantering conversation to make you smile as Darren and George get to know each other. I can’t wait to see what happens with the next release, Positive Resistance, coming in June - watch for it.

Life Out Loud

Title: Life Out Loud
Author: Gabrielle Evans
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Publisher URL: http://sirenbookstrand.com/
ISBN: 1-61034-365-4
Genre: {M/F} Suspense, Contemporary, Erotic
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Goddess Minx
Quinn Harper is returning home to Salem Oregon, after being gone for five years. She left for the east coast, settled in Virginia to finish school and recover from a broken heart. Now that she’s getting her life together, she begins to realize that Zach is the one who has stolen her heart.

Zachary Jenson is coming home. He’s finished with his job as an FBI undercover agent and wants to start a new life with a family of his own. When he finds out that Quinn is also back, there’s nothing he won’t do to have her for himself.

After reading Life Out Loud, I was surprised to find out who is the villain turned out to be. The author had me fooled and it is done in a very deceptive way. This is the first book in the Salem Nights series, and my first read from Ms. Evans, who has done a great job with her creative, intrigue-filled and suspenseful writing. After being friends from childhood, Zach and Quinn, now as adults, learning they both feel the same way; there is a lot of steaming hot sex going on.

Zachary turned out to be a little possessive of Quinn, and yet very supportive of her needs and wants. I must say that he really developed into a warm person that I could admire with his love for his family. Quinn is a spitfire who had no one to lean on after the death her parents and from generations of family, she is left very wealthy. She had a problem deciding on a career and she learned a few truths about the people closest to her.
I am excited to learn what will be happening in the next story of this series or rather, who it will be about. While reading this book, I kept wondering how the end would turn out and imagine my surprise when I reached it! Ms. Evans sure does know how to spin a realistic tale of what could and could not go wrong. I say read and enjoy.

Of Wolves and Men

Title: Of Wolves and Men
Author: G.A. Hauser
Publisher: The GA Hauser Collection LLC
Publisher URL: http://www.authorgahauser.com/
ISBN: 9781461020141
Genre: {M/M}, Shape-shifter
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Charlie is just your average everyday cowboy. Unfortunately, ever since getting a blow job from Joe, he can’t stop thinking about being gay. After meeting the mysterious Roman, Charlie soon realizes being gay is the least of his worries.

Of Wolves and Men by G.A. Hauser was one of the most unusual books I have read in some time. The story starts off a little slowly and, at one point, becomes confusing as it switches from Charlie and what he’s going through to Roman and the start of his problems. Once the story smoothes out, however, the reader will be quickly drawn into the men’s world.
The way these two meet is different than most. While the sex between them is intense - at times, almost feral - it is hard to see any real connection between them. In some ways this makes sense, as Roman and Charlie do not get the chance to spend real quality time together as Roman shifts between a crow, wolf, or human form when overly emotional.

While reading Of Wolves and Men, I found myself with many questions, some of which go unanswered. However, as the author is already planning a sequel, I am sure it will just be a matter of time before that is resolved. I will be waiting for the next story to see how Charlie and Roman fare and to find out who really cast the curse that hangs over them.

Forty-Eight Hour Burn

Title: Forty-Eight Hour Burn
Author: Tonya Ramagos
Publisher: Siren-BookStrand Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.sirenbookstrand.com/
ISBN: 1-60601-900-7
Genre: {M/F/M}, BDSM
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amazon Nymph

Georgia loves Gavin and Randy but was sheltered from them by her father when he was alive. Gavin and Randy are just waiting for Georgia to give them a sign that she wants what they can give her and Georgia risks jail giving them that sign.

Forty-Eight Hour Burn is the first book in The Service Club series. The Service Club is made up of public employees who gravitate toward the BDSM and ménage lifestyle. I found this fact interesting. Georgia is an independent woman that has a job she loves, but knows the men want her to quit so they can take care of her. Randy doesn’t mind if she works until Gavin explains why Georgia can’t go back to her current job, but they neglect to tell Georgia. Even with today’s openness about different lifestyles, I can just see headlines if someone’s lifestyle became public knowledge while working with children.

I liked that Gaven and Randy were giving Georgia time to make up her mind about what she wanted after spending 24 hours with them. They were both really patient with her, while she was learning what they expected of her. The twist at the end of the story was so realistic because crisis can sometime show us what we really want. I am looking forward to future books in this series and think all BDSM lovers should add this one to their bookshelf.

Come Unto These Yellow Sands

Title: Come Unto These Yellow Sands
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60928-273-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Professor Sebastian Swift grew up in a renowned literary family and became a famous poet at an early age, himself. Many of the things he did under pressure as a young man gave him a bad boy reputation that continues to haunt him years later. Yet despite these things, his life is going along pretty well, including his relationship with the Wolfe Neck Police Chief, Max Prescott.

When one of his best students comes to him after being beaten, Swift volunteers his cabin as a place to get away, only to later discover the boy’s father is dead and that he’s the prime suspect. Suddenly Swift’s life is falling apart as he tries to find his missing student before his lover discovers his involvement.

Max cares for his lover but doesn’t like being deceived and doesn’t like that Swift is involved in his murder investigation. He hates it when it becomes apparent someone is attempting to frame Swift for the murder and if Max doesn’t identify the killer, the man he loves might just end up dead.

Come Unto These Yellow Sands is the newest release by multi-published author Josh Lanyon. It starts off at a steady pace, with Swift receiving a visit from his student who’s been beaten and it progresses through the remainder of his normal day, in many ways reminding me of a classic British mystery, filled with a wealth of vivid characters and rich locale details.

It also has its share of low simmering desire and passion between Swift and Max, but I didn’t feel I knew how their relationship would turn out until near the end. There were many times I wasn’t even certain Max wanted Swift for anything other than sex and then something would happen and Max would be there ready to defend him and I’d change my mind. Then there’s Swift’s troubled and checkered past. Talk about depressing and filled with angst. Take it from me…this suspense is not lighthearted. It’s well written, has deep, intriguing characters, a well plotted mystery and is filled with deceit, betrayal and fear. What more could you ask for? Oh, yeah. A satisfying end…you’ll get it.