Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sharing Paul

Title: Sharing Paul
Author: Jade Archer
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-538-2
Genre: {M/M} {M/M/M} Cat Shifters
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Matt Freeman is under attack by a group of thugs in a park when cat shifter, Paul Wittman, comes to Matt’s rescue. Taking the injured man to his home, Paul is concerned Matt will reveal Paul’s secret. However, Matt is attracted to the big cat and the man.

Sharing Paul is the third book in the Portals series. In this well written episode, the plot has a psychological characteristic with an interesting twist. The enigma, known as Hawk, is identified, although his purpose for helping the cat shifters still remains a mystery. Matt is a human male. He considers himself to be an outsider that most people overlook or target to bully. Matt has always been enchanted by jungle cats so when he first meets Paul in cat form, Matt feels protected, rather than afraid.

Paul is not like the other cat shifters. He’s an introvert who enjoys wide open spaces and running. Paul’s forever friend, whose name is Joshua, is naturally vivacious and outgoing and exists in the narrow confines of a room, powered by Paul’s psychic energy. Paul and Joshua are both attracted to Matt, yet Paul is hesitant to claim Matt, fearing he would not understand the link Paul has with Joshua. I get the impression that war among the mages is about to happen very soon. It will be interesting to see how the shifters’ lives will be impacted. Jade Archer has created a fascinating saga with a dash of humor, sensual intimate scenes as well as emotional drama that I greatly enjoyed.

The Ghost on My Couch

Title: The Ghost on My Couch
Author: L. A. Gilbert
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-824-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Alex Tanner is a twenty-seven-year-old male nurse with a job where no one appreciates him and the pay is terrible. He lives in a small, cramped flat in London and since he doesn’t have a boyfriend, he spends his spare time reading and watching TV. Alex knows what he wants in the perfect man—tall, dark and handsome—if you please, but he hasn’t had much luck finding him. One day after a tough day at work, he changes clothes, settles in to watch TV and finds a ghost sitting on the other end of the couch. They’re both shocked—scared really, but they soon find they have a lot in common and enjoy spending time together. His ghost—Sid—isn’t the image of a guy he’s usually attracted too but he’s kind, funny and easy to be with. The question is what are they going to do? Can they have a future together? What if Sid has to leave?

The Ghost on My Couch is the newest release by L. A. Gilbert. It’s a fun, well written story with an interesting, unusual premise that caught my attention from the beginning and didn’t let go until the very end. This story isn’t a typical M/M romance, not by any stretch of the imagination. Instead it puts two lonely, kindhearted men who don’t know their own worth together—and they can’t even share a single touch. The personalities of Alex and Sid are really nothing special, taken alone, but together they make a sweet couple, each with their own quirks, if only death didn’t separate them. The author did a wonderful job constructing their personalities and building their relationship despite it taking place within the confines of Alex’s small apartment.

Not a human but still a great secondary character is Sid’s three-legged, one-eared cat with the horrible name of Baldrick. The other important personality in the story is Alex’s best friend, Andy, a rather offensive straight guy, who’d do just about anything for his gay buddy.

The crazy situation of Alex and Sid does make for its share of pain, unhappiness and angst but overall, The Ghost on My Couch is an amusing and enjoyable read. Yes, the ending did seem a little rushed but it’s also filled with several twists and turns that help Alex and Sid get to their happily-ever-after. This one is definitely going into my keeper pile. Read this one. You won’t be sorry you did!

Victor

Title: Victor
Author: Joyee Flynn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Publisher URL: http://www.sirenbookstrand.com/
ISBN: 1-61034-364-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Victor hates the fact that he is jealous of his brothers because they seem to be finding their mates. He hopes his day will come soon but doesn’t expect to find his mate while on a mission for the Council. Or that his mate will turn out to be part demon.

I loved this fourth addition to the Marius Brothers series. Victor is told in the first person, which is a change from the previous stories. It is also one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. It not only gave the series a breath of fresh air but it allowed the reader to learn new tidbits about some of the previous characters we have come to know.

As for Victor and Malachi, the author could not have formed a more perfect couple. Victor is the oldest of the Marius boys and from the moment of each of his brother’s births, he has pledged to protect them, something his brothers never realized. His size and strength, as well as the fact that he comes across as very cold, has made him feared by many of the other vampires. The author wrote the perfect mate for Victor in Malachi. This is a young man who has had an extremely rough life. His need to be loved and protected meshes perfectly with Victor's need for a mate to cherish. While the mating bond calls to each of them, their joining is not the typical happy event, due to Malachi’s background. The angst that their mating causes, not only within Victor and Malachi, but also other members of the Marius family, comes through clearly, and while I could understand the reactions of some of Victor’s family members, I was disappointed in their behavior. The connection between Victor and Malachi is strong, however, and I loved that these two finally realized just how much in love they really were, even in such a short period of time.

With the appearance of several members of the Marius clan, as well as the unexpected appearance of a new family member, there is plenty to keep the reader happy while they await further additions to this series.

Resistance

Title: Resistance
Author: Selena Illyria
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-607-2
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Amethyst Nymph

Life is so good when Katrina takes a chance and lets Braydon into her heart. But, things get confusing when he disappears for weeks. Katrina’s insecurities surface as she wonders if Braydon has been playing games with her. Receiving no word from him leaves Katrina torn between anger and worry.

Braydon knows he’s in danger of messing up his relationship with Katrina if he doesn’t get home soon but locating his brother is taking longer than expected. After the weekend they’d spent together, there is no way Braydon plans on letting Katrina leave him.

Katrina and Braydon are on the verge of starting their happy life together when circumstances rip them apart. Katrina has no idea what’s going on because Braydon hasn’t corresponded with her. She tries hard to give him the benefit of the doubt, but Katrina keeps imagining that Braydon found someone else. And of course, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Braydon was doing everything in his power to get home to her before another suitor tries taking his place.

Resistance is futile in this erotic story, because Braydon puts his foot down. He knows when to push the issue, and when to let Katrina have control. There are moments when everything seems to go wrong and I feared Katrina would never give Braydon a chance to explain. Once or twice, I found myself getting angry at Katrina for doubting Braydon. Under the circumstances though, I couldn’t blame her. In the end, Katrina grows stronger and I was pleased. The passion between Katrina and Braydon, plus the interesting supporting characters has made me curious. I was sucked into this installment of the Dragon Kin series, so I look forward to reading backwards and discovering how things began between this couple. If you enjoy hot paranormal men who know how to make a girl scream, then this book if for you. Selena Illyria has done a great job of leaving readers hungry for more.

Unbearable

Title: Unbearable
Author: Jade Buchanan
Publisher: Changeling Press
Publisher URL: http://www.changelingpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60521-611-9
Genre: {M/M/M} Bear Shifters
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Polar bear Theodore Kisoun is not happy; mated only six months to Robin and Christopher, two adorable pizzly bears and Theo spent most of that time traveling for his job.

Unbearable is the second book in the Bear With Me series. Theo had never minded travelling before. However, returning home after a week long trip, Theo feels guilty for being away from Rob and Chris. Theo misses his mates more than he could ever imagine. Theo realized just how much when he was treated to a surprise celebration, planned by Rob and Chris to show Theo they missed him too. Theo has a calm, always socially correct personality. Rob is fun loving who enjoys playing jokes, while Chris is a sensitive burst of energy. Together Rob and Chris keep Theo on his toes. Jade Buchanan’s Unbearable is a wonderfully heartwarming short story interwoven with humor, as well as a sensual love scene. I enjoyed this episode immensely.

Broken Wings

Title: Broken Wings
Author: Bethany Brown and Ashlyn Kane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-971-3
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

When he left his lover, Brad Wilde, without any explanation, Patrick Hawkins thought he was doing the right thing but as soon as he arrived home in Ontario, he knows he’s made a terrible mistake. He’s miserable, unhappy and his friends don’t know what to do with him. And Brad’s just as unhappy with their separation and his friends and work can’t fill the void.

Getting back together isn’t easy, when living so far apart, and long distance relationships aren’t easy under the best of circumstances but Brad and Pat are determined to make it work. Life is complicated and when things get bad, being apart only makes them lonelier, but it makes them realize that sometimes the only way to fix their problems is to make a big change and one of them move closer to the other.

Broken Wings is the newest release in the Lost Boys and Love Letters series by co-authors Brown and Kane. It follows characters met in previous release so I recommend reading the books in sequential order.

The book starts with a prologue, setting up Patrick’s unhappiness. He’s rude and surly and generally a miserable human being to be around. All this makes him into an unlikable guy because you don’t know what’s wrong and don’t find out for awhile. His change in behavior starts when he tries to reconcile with Brad. From here he’s pleasant, almost so changed its Jekyll and Hyde different, making the alteration hard to accept. Another thing bothering me is Brad’s quick acceptance of Patrick back into his life after having his heart broken. Both seemed a bit unrealistic to have happened so quickly.

I liked the symbolism of Patrick’s tattoo and the depth of his feeling toward Brad and that he is willing to give up a lot of what he values for them to be together. The authors also do a nice job with scenes revolving around the death of Brad’s grandmother and his stalker and how Patrick steps up to support and protect his lover during these painful and difficult times. There are a lot of friends/secondary characters and sometimes it’s hard to keep them straight since many speak and act alike, but a few stand out…tattooed Justine and her burly husband Keegan, Bingo the dog and Graham (I loved the scene with him at the tattoo parlor. The near fainting was a hoot).

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Maven, My Everything

Title: My Maven, My Everything
Author: Joyee Flynn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Publisher URL: http://www.sirenbookstrand.com/
ISBN: 1-61034-408-1
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Madden, like all members of the Sons of Thanatus, has the ability to hear the souls of the dead. It is the job of the organization to help those souls find their final peace. After finishing his latest assignment, Mad heads to New Orleans for some rest and relaxation. Deciding to stop off at one of the bars in the hotel, Mad picks up Josh, thinking the twink will be just another one night stand. Little does he realize just how wrong he is.

Sons of Thanatus is the new series by prolific writer Joyee Flynn. This series is different from many of the paranormal series out there, as it does not center around vampires and shape-shifters. Instead, this series is about a secret organization believed to be connected to the gods. At one time, the group was strong but as times changed, many of its members went into hiding. Now most of the Sons of Thanatus no longer realize who they really are. This of course gives the author the opportunity to add new stories to the series as new members are found.

As for My Maven, My Everything, the first book in the series, the opening scene will pull you right in. Madden is a strong individual who’s good at his job. After the death of his wife and unborn child, he has kept a tight rein on his feelings. Josh has just finished his initial training and is ready to begin his apprenticeship with his new maven. After a night of passion, which burns up the pages and shows the reader just how strong of a connection these two have already formed, the two men are shocked to discover that they are maven and apprentice. While the author does a wonderful job showcasing the feelings Mad and Josh have for each other, she does just as well tossing in the angst. I found myself close to tears more than once as these two struggled to overcome the obstacles that presented themselves.

There are many wonderful secondary characters, some of whom will get stories of their own. The story is evenly peppered with love, suspense and angst. While I did feel the author could have fleshed out the cases the men had been sent out on a little more, I do believe this is a great book that will keep the reader entertained.

Devon's Revenge

Title: Devon's Revenge
Author: Jade Archer
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-516-0
Genre: {M/M} Cat Shifters, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Devon is hungry and angry for the first time in his life. Replacing his Master is proving to be almost impossible in this strange new world called Earth. Being a pleasure cat in a harem did not provide the skills he needs to survive. Devon’s future is looking very bleak until he meets Nate, a cat shifter warrior whose mission is to rescue other cat shifters from the evil mages.

Devon's Revenge is the exciting second book in the Portals series. The well written plot is filled with action, mystery and exceptionally sensual lovemaking. The characters are believable. Devon never wanted to leave the safety of the harem. In his world, Devon and his twin brother Ethan were trained solely for the master’s pleasure. When Ethan escapes to Earth, Devon alone becomes useless to their master’s needs. Devon is sent to locate Ethan and return to their home planet. However, Devon’s search proves to be a lesson in the abusive life of a stray. Upon meeting Nate, Devon discovers his soul mate.

Nate’s instincts tell him that Devon is his mate. Nevertheless, there is a matter of building trust between them before Nate will claim Devon. While Nate and Devon are exploring their new relationship, a new evil is plotting ways to kidnap and enslave Devon. Jade Archer has created a captivating, as well as, an exceedingly enjoyable plot with several surprising developments revealed, along with adding another piece to the puzzle. I look forward to the next episode.

Offside

Title: Offside
Author: Ryan Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-964-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Adam Dumas has played soccer since childhood and currently, he’s the only openly gay player in Major League Soccer. When he’s suddenly transferred from LA to St. Louis mid-season, he’s not happy and plans on getting out to a more important team as soon as he can. His attitude changes when he sees his new roommate, center forward Colin Evets, and suddenly, he’s thinking of making a good impression and maybe, pressing their bodies together. But Colin’s straight…right? When Adam misinterprets his young roommates easygoing, laidback attitude for something it isn’t, Adam’s afraid he’s ruined their friendship. While Adam has to decide if staying in St. Louis is what he wants to do, Colin must come to grips with his sexuality and determine if Adam is the man for him.

Offside is the newest release by Ryan Loveless, who is a new author for me, and it looks into the world of Major League Soccer, a sport I’m totally unfamiliar with. I could be wrong but it seems that Mr. Loveless did a great deal of research on this sport. The information about the game, the practice sessions and how it’s played, among other things, flow smoothly throughout the story, making the game come alive and peaking my interest in watching a real game.

It took me a little while to warm up to Adam, since he initially comes off so arrogant and cocky, which isn’t the case with the much sweeter and kindhearted Colin. These two are very different in attitude, age and life experiences and I had trouble seeing them as a viable couple…at least in the beginning. It wasn’t until later in the story after Colin had been injured during a game that I really started to see them as something beyond the superficial. There really wasn’t a lot of conflict outside their relationship…not even Colin’s family, after he comes out to them, but it still allows for a nice integration of the numerous secondary characters.

I found the nasty reaction to Adam’s sexuality by some of the players and fans handled well and pretty typical of the real world, but I was surprised with the ready acceptance of the St. Louis team to Adam and Colin being an out couple. It’s the Mid-west and since I live in this area of the country, I have trouble believing they wouldn’t have trouble, as much as I wish it wasn’t so.

Luke’s Surprise

Title: Luke’s Surprise
Author: Lavinia Lewis
Publisher: Total E-Bound Books
Publisher URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com/
ISBN: 978-0-85715-528-3
Genre: {M/M}, Shape-shifter, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

After finishing college, Luke returned home to help his brother on the family ranch. While helping with a delivery, Luke comes upon his mate. The problem is that neither man is gay.

Lavinia Lewis is a new author for me and I am always a little leery when trying someone new. I am glad, however, that I decided to give this author a try.

Luke’s Surprise is the first book in her new series Shifter’s Haven. Luke's brother, and pack Alpha, has kept him busy and this latest chore brings him face-to-face with his mate, who just happens to be another man. The attraction between the two men was instantaneous and intense. Unlike recent shifter stories, Ms. Lewis’ werewolves can chose to separate from their mates so when Mark suggests that ignoring the desire to mate would be for the best, Luke walks away. The author was able to portray the devastation that Luke was feeling at that time so well that I wanted to smack Mark for hurting the younger man. Not only do the men have to struggle with the issues of starting a new relationship, but the author also throws in some added angst when she introduces an obsessive werewolf into the mix. There are many tense moments in this entertaining story that will have the reader holding their breath as a result.

With at least two more stories to come, it is easy to see that Ms. Lewis is sure to earn many new fans with her Shifter’s Haven series.

Lean on Me

Title: Lean on Me
Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61040-201-9
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Aiden has a special psychic talent that makes it difficult to find a lover; human guys are not willing to risk getting up close and personal with Aiden. However, Aiden might have found the answer to his problem in a club called the Bloodrose.

Lean on Me continues the Bloodrose series. Bloodrose is a private club that pairs up supernatural creatures for the optimum sexual experience. In this fantastic chapter, club owner Jonny, a matchmaking vampire, decides to introduce human Aiden to one of the club’s employees, werewolf Jared. Jared is intrigued by Aiden; he also has the perfect very sensual solution to Aiden’s problem. Aiden finds Jared to be fascinating. For the first time in his life, Aiden can indulge in lovemaking and feel unharmed. The storyline features a touch of drama, illustrating Jared’s ability to protect his mate Aiden. Also highlighted is Jonny’s matchmaker expertise, as well as the characters I first met in Codes and Roses. Julia Talbot continues to create impressive installments to this series. I thoroughly enjoyed Lean on Me.

Paris A to Z

Title: Paris A to Z
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-866-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

One of the biggest shocks of Zach Mitchell’s life comes with discovering his ex- lover, Jon, is getting married to Jared’s old friend/former lover, Cole. Due to the strange intermingling of their relationships, he, his lover Angelo, and their friends Matt and Jared soon find themselves on a jet bound for a wedding in Paris. From the beginning, Zach doesn’t expect things to go smoothly. Between Matt’s jealousy and Angelo’s temper, he’s pretty certain someone’s goings to get punched and it’s probably going to be one of the grooms. The person he didn’t expect to worry about was himself and what would happen when he and Jon saw each other again. Getting over old hurts and giving up old dreams turns out to be harder than imagined but if he hopes to have a future with Angelo, he knows that he has to decide what and who’s going to make him happy.

Paris A to Z is the latest release in Marie Sexton’s Coda series and it follows the lives of the men we’ve met in previous releases, so I advise reading the books in sequential order. Ms. Sexton did a nice job bringing all the characters together and while I don’t know if it’s true, it seems like a wrap-up…an ending to the series.

While the book takes place at the wedding of Jon and Cole, the story is heavily weighted on the side of Angelo and Zach. The phone call where Cole invites the four friends to attend his and Jon’s wedding is amusing due to Zach and Matt’s outrage and due to its description, I could almost see their heads spinning. Yet the premise these two had no one else to invite to their wedding except their ex’s and their ex’s friends seems unrealistic.

The locale…Paris…is handled well, as is some of the activities the couples participate in while they are there. Along the way, there is a little unhappiness, unease and angst but that’s almost to be expected of all these guys. That’s especially true of Angelo and Zach, but I was surprised with Zach and his unexpected pull toward Jon after so many years. The wedding vows, while short and simple, were heartfelt and lovely and the small private dinner/bar time afterwards was a nicely planned end to the special event.

There a few other small twists and turns that I won’t go into but which I’m certain you’ll enjoy. Yes, there are a few inconsistencies but overall it’s an enjoyable read that played out in a well paced and smooth manner.