Friday, August 12, 2011

Keep it Under Wraps

Title: Keep it Under Wraps
Author: Lillian Grant
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-570-3
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Suspense Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx  

Actor Jonathon Deveraux’s trying to clean up his image, so he’s appalled on receiving a DVD he doesn’t remember staring in. He hires Georgina Stanvers to find the two women responsible but it’s obvious the PI doesn’t like him and he’s not certain he trusts her.  

George thinks Jonathon’s too much of a charmer and used to getting his own way and then there’s the matter of her father losing his retirement fund to bad investments in the film industry. When she and Jonathon reenact the bondage scene from the DVD trying to jog his memory, passion between them flares fiery hot and clothes disappear.  

The case is more complicated than originally thought when other threats surface and bullets fly. George puts herself in danger, Jonathon’s willing to do anything to protect her and the killer wants his money. Can these two trust each other enough to survive or will one or both of them get shot?  

Keep it Under Wraps is release two in Lillian Grant’s Reel to Real series and it takes up a few months after the first left off. While the previous characters make appearances, this story can be read as a standalone but for a fuller understanding of Jonathon’s personality, please read them in order.   

Jonathon’s a changed man since the events in Rio but his life is still in turmoil. I really appreciate Ms. Grant’s growth of his personality, while still allowing the reader to see his charm and sex appeal.  Add in the spunky George and you’ve got a winning combination that almost sizzles off the page. I admit to initially being a little put off by George’s attitude toward Jonathon. It didn’t make sense why a PI wanting a job with a famous Hollywood actor would act so snotty and her unrealistic rude behavior continued for some time. Fortunately the other parts of the story made me want to keep reading and I’m glad I did. 

Recreating the DVD scene is a great idea and getting these two together between the sheets is fiery hot. Truthfully, I never knew what to expect. It seemed like every time I turned a page another piece leading to the DVD puzzle appeared. Then there’s the issue of who exactly is looking into Jonathon’s business activity…the money…and why. That’s a whole other plot twist I didn’t see coming but which gives the story greater depth.  The secondary characters are plentiful, the locale changes from city to city and you even get to see a little of a movie set. The story’s a roller coaster ride of action and emotions from beginning to end.  Enjoy!

Crying for the Moon

Title: Crying for the Moon
Author:  Sarah Madison
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-943-0
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Alexei has left the ‘Life’ and is ready for a little peace and quiet. Only he never planned on a pack of werewolves, or a persistent human, to complicate things. 

Ms. Madison’s paranormal romance, Crying for the Moon, is a fun read that is sure to hold the readers attention.  From the beginning, it is evident that this book is slightly different from other paranormal stories.  For starters, the vampires in Crying for the Moon are not the same as those we usually see, giving the story a fresh feel.  Then there is Tate and, while readers may be able to guess one of the vet’s secrets, I am sure the other will leave the reader just as surprised as Alexei was.  Finally, there are the ties between the main and secondary characters that enrich this story.  Whether it is the developing romantic connection between Tate and Alexei, which really starts to heat up once Alexei overcomes some of his issues, or the friendship the two men have with Nick and his pack, the connection between the various characters plays an important part in the story.   

There is, of course, some angst thrown in when Alexei’s ex shows up.  Victor is what you would expect in a vampire.  He’s manipulative, greedy and plain evil and I loved when he got his comeuppance.   I only hope that this is just the first in many stories the author has planned for this group, as it felt as if there was still more stories to be told. 

Once and Again

Title: Once and Again
Author: Lauren Dane
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-520-3
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Seven years ago, a heartbroken Lily Travis left Petal, Georgia behind but when her father ran off with a twenty-something twit, she didn’t have a choice but to return. Her mother’s a wreck, her younger brother Chris is ditching school and Lily needs to pick up the pieces and put their lives back together. That means meeting with her brother’s teachers in an attempt to keep him from failing his classes. 

When Nathan Murphy looks up and sees Lily walking into his classroom, all his old feeling for her come rushing back to the surface. He hates that he hurt her and knows the intervening years of playing the field have meant nothing. She’s still the one woman meant to be his…the only one who felt right and he’s determined to get her back, but there’s a lot standing in his way.  

Lily has trust issues when it comes to Nathan. She also has lots to deal with and doesn’t need another complication in her life, but she can’t ignore her feeling either. The timing might be inconvenient but love can’t be denied and between Nathan’s plan and their well-intentioned friends, Lily doesn’t stand a chance. 

Once and Again is the first release in Lauren Dane’s new series Petal, Georgia. It’s a sweet and enjoyable story of old lovers meeting again and the flame of attraction reigniting. Just as importantly, it’s the story of Lily trying to salvage her crumbling family after her father’s desertion.  

While some may find such a serious topic off-putting in a romance of such a short length—approximately 100 story pages, I felt Ms. Dane handled it with skill and her usual creative flair. Her character development and descriptions of Lily’s family dynamics are top-notch. Despite the grim nature of the issues plaguing her family, there are fun periods too when Lily is dealing with her brother Chris that had me chuckling. Yes this part of the story tended to overshadow the romance with Nathan but considering Lily moved back to town to deal with her family, no one should find this surprising. Ms. Dane more than made up for this inequity by constructing an intense and passionate love story between Lily and Nathan during the time allotted to them. 

There are plenty of well developed secondary characters from both Lily and Nathan’s family, along with old friends they’ve known for years. All play roles of varying importance, but the ones that really stand out are Lily’s mother and brother, Chris. I for one can’t wait for the next release in this entertaining new series. Read and enjoy!!!

Coyote's Creed

Title: Coyote's Creed
Author: Vaughn R. Demont
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-538-8
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Publication Date: 10-11-2011   

Spencer Crain day have gone from bad to worse. His honorary Uncle Rourke picks Spencer up at school to inform him of his father’s demise.  Everything Spencer believed about the world around him turns out to be an illusion, including his own heritage.  

Coyote's Creed is the first book in the Broken Mirrors Series.  The theme is elaborate con games.  The setting is imaginary cities imitating anywhere in America.  The humorous characters resemble those found in fables.  There are three main groups of tricksters; Phouka are Fae shape-shifters, with Rourke as King of the Phouka.  The Kitsune are Nipponese foxes and work in the Little Tokyo section of the city.  The last group is the Coyotes, who are considered to be lucky con artists. Spencer is already well acquainted with small cons; however learning he is half coyote is a real surprise for him.  The plot illustrates the continuing feud, which is more an agreement to disagree on who is the cleverest of the tricksters.   

Spencer wants no part in the feud but he is tricked into carrying out a prank that will gain a few bragging rights for the coyotes.  Regrettably, Spencer’s exploits endangers lives, including his own.  The plot is filled with descriptions of intricate card tricks, magic spells, suspense, lusty creatures as well as steamy intimacy.  Interwoven into the storyline is the main purpose of these tricksters mixed in with the human society, the answer is really quite simple in addition to making sense.

I found Vaughn R. Demont’s Coyote's Creed to be a wonderfully imaginative happy-for-now satire, along with being marvelously entertaining.

Tobias’s Own Adventure

Title: Tobias’s Own Adventure
Author: Connor Wright
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-864-8
Genre: {M/M} Steampunk
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rogue Satyr 

Tobias Poole is a young man who always has his nose in adventure books. He has difficulty with his family over certain issues, so reading allows him to escape. His first reluctant trip away from home is on an airship that is attacked by the infamous air pirate “The Hawk”. The Hawk, Caledfryn Heddwyn Hawthorne, is a polite, gentlemanly, handsome and dashing robber.  He asks the wealthy passengers to drop their valuables in a bag, all the while apologizing for the inconvenience. He refuses to take wedding rings; anything inscribed from a loved one and even allows a woman to take the picture of her boyfriend out of her locket before handing it over.  For reasons he couldn’t really answer, Tobias attacks Caled, trying to wrestle the gun from him. Caled is much stronger then he looks and rebukes Tobias. After he finishes robbing the rest of the passengers, Caled takes Tobias along with him.  He takes him to a hidden airship hanger, nearby Caled’s house. Caled is the perfect host, and allows Tobias the use of his extensive, if unorganized, library.  In it Tobias finds a book of homoerotic drawings and poems.  He quickly slams it shut and puts it back on the shelf as the images and poetry get more and more graphic. Caled eventually gives Tobias two choices; stay with Caled and become an air pirate or go to his original destination, all expenses paid by Caled.  Tobias doesn’t want to become a criminal, but he doesn’t want to do what his family had planned for him either. Tobias knows there has to be a third choice. 

Tobias’s Own Adventure is a witty, funny, unpredictable, and at times tense, romp. After the first two chapters I thought I had the whole story figured out. Boy was I wrong. The story takes an interesting, delightful and totally unexpected twist. I love when a story does that and Tobias’s Own Adventure handles it well.  The plot is strong, the characters are well written and believable, the relationships are complex and you are always kept on your toes. I absolutely fell in love with Caled and Tobias and their chemistry. Although it is hinted at early in the story, it is slowly revealed that both Tobias and Caled are gay. The airship Tobias was on was taking him to a doctor, a doctor Caled is familiar with, to ‘cure’ Tobias’s disinterest in women.  It is hinted at that there is an arranged marriage waiting back home for Tobias, with a woman Tobias feels nothing for, not even with the few kisses he has had with her. But his first kiss with a man, Tobias feels it to his toes. Many times a gay romance historical story will ignore the prejudices of the past (or even today) and become totally unbelievable. Not this story. Tobias’s sexual preferences, and the abhorrence his family has with them, is very much part of the plot. Although the precise time is not given, it is sometime during the Victorian Era, with stuffy Victorian mores. It is handled in a sensitive, subtle, and inoffensive way, and handled with deftness.  

This is a great story that made me feel as if I was on the same adventure as Tobias. The world is given in great detail. Although there are no graphic sex scenes in this story, the build up to the off screen sex is some of the most erotic I’ve read. Sometimes, less is definitely more. Much of the story takes place in Luxembourg and the author obviously has done a lot of research. (Who knew there was a language Luxembourgish?) The dialogue has short phrases in French, German, and Luxembourgish and it just adds to the adventure aspect of the story. My only complaint is that, except for airships and air pirates which are kept mostly in the background, the steampunk elements are non-existent. Not that this ruined my enjoyment of the story. It is just that a publisher lists the genre as ‘steampunk’ I expect, well, steampunk. Fortunately for this story what steampunk there is, is more than enough.  This is a well thought out, wonderful story that works on so many levels. I hope that Tobias has another adventure.

Interview with a Gargoyle

Title: Interview with a Gargoyle
Author: Jennifer Colgan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-533-3
Genre: {M/F} Paranormal
Rating: Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rose Nymph 

Melodie McConnell has gotten used to the quiet solitude that accompanies her while she works her night shift magic at the bakery. One night, a disturbance draws her attention away from work and into the dark alleyway behind the bakery, where she witnesses something that will change her life forever…  

Blake DeWitt has been chasing the Witch’s Cabochon for ten long years. A curse has been passed down through the male side of his family for centuries and now, Blake is resigned to spending the daylight hours incased in stone. His only chance to free himself from becoming a beastly gargoyle upon every sunrise is to become a hunter, willing to do anything in his quest to destroy the gem that houses the power of the curse. 

Blake can sense the Cabochon’s presence but when the trail leads him into the life of a human woman, he is certain something has gone terribly wrong. No human should possess the raw power of the gem, but is it only the unnatural energy that is attracting Drake? It’s only a matter of time before dangerous demons start being drawn to Melodie, leaving Blake with the ultimate choice, one he never thought he’d have to make.  

Interview with a Gargoyle is a fantastically engaging story from start to finish. Melodie is a great character, full of spirit and humility. The hidden world that she is thrust into is gradually exposed and the reader travels the same journey into the underworld along with her. The conflict between Blake’s good natured soul and his desperate actions gives his character great depth. There is also a strong supporting cast of characters and the way this story ends makes me hope there could be more in store for some of them in the future. 

The chemistry between Drake and Melodie teases and the eroticism, while subtle, is intense, meaningful and ultimately satisfying. What I liked most about the story was the intermingling of normalcy with the paranormal. Very human issues between friends, family and lovers mix together with demonic power struggles and prejudices to create a world that I really enjoyed getting my teeth into. The way in which the author allows simultaneous storylines to run parallel to each other just long enough for the reader to come to the same conclusions about what is happening as the characters do is extremely effective, with everything crashing together wonderfully at the end.

Forgiving Jason

Title: Forgiving Jason
Author: Serena Yates
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-604-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Window washer Steve Jacobi is determined to be financially independent of his family. He’s always known he’s bisexual but hasn’t ever found a man he was interested in enough to approach. He spends his time working but when he saves up enough money and goes car shopping, his world turns upside down on meeting Jason Fortin. 

Jason loves being a car salesman and he’s good at his job. He’s always been gay but never met a man he’s willing to come out of the closet for, which changes when he gets to know Steve.  Their relationship quickly blossoms into something serious and he’s ready to take it to the next step.  When some of the guys Steve works with attack him, Jason backs off in fear to protect the man he’s coming to love. Can Steve forgive him for his actions for will it drive them apart forever? 

Forgiving Jason is release five in Serena Yates’ Men of Riverside series. While this isn’t exactly a gay-for-you story, neither Steve nor Jason has ever felt attracted enough for another man to do anything about it before. This makes for some bewilderment and confusion on both their parts…all of which is cute and sweet to watch as they explore their mutual desire. That’s just two of the things Ms. Yates created with the personalities of Steve and Jason that are so endearing…she also made them into believable people you want to know more about. 

The secondary characters are few but important, whether I’m referring to Steve’s older brother or the bigoted villains who attack Steve late in the story. This event is what causes Jason to make a unilateral decision that almost destroys their relationship. The author handles his attack well, showing the senseless homophobic hate without sensationalizing what they did. She also did well in bringing Jason and Steve back together in a realistic manner, and at a pace I could believe, and it was done by gasp…communicating with each other like adults. Saying and showing you’re sorry and meaning it goes a long way and not enough authors write it well for their characters and Ms. Yates does both. 

I like Jason and Steve as individuals and a couple and hope to see more of them in the future. Watch for the next book in the series, Loving Vicente, coming in September.

Avanti

Title: Avanti
Author:  Lynn Hagen 
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-492-8
Genre: {M/M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Avanti has just met his mates, but since he’s not ready for one, let alone two, he runs.  Jesse can’t believe his luck.  Not only does he have one mate, he has two.  Now he has to figure out what to do about them.  Craig doesn’t know why he’s so drawn to the two wolves, but he does know he wants them now! 

I liked this newest addition to the Zeus’s Pack series.  The main characters, Avanti, Jesse, and Craig are great together.  Each of the men have issues that they must overcome before they can begin the relationship that seems to be forming between them.  The sexual chemistry between the three is hot and the way Craig’s personality changes, once the men get into the bedroom was hilarious.  I could not believe some of the things that came out of his mouth.  There is also a lot of tension woven into the story, not just between the men, but also in the form of interference from the outside world.  With the men and the pack trying to protect the newly mated threesome from Craig’s crazy uncle, and as the unrest within the pack becomes more pronounced, the action in Avanti is sure to keep the reader entertained. 

As much as I liked Avanti, I did have one issue.  Early in the story, as each man is being introduced to the reader and each other, their reasons for not being in a relationship, or even the willingness to start one, was clearly stated.  Yet, it seemed as if the three men went from running away to jumping into bed in the blink of an eye.  In fact, the change was so fast, I thought I must have missed something and flipped back to re-read several pages to double check.  Once I overlooked that part, the story, for me, began to flow nicely.   All in all, Avanti was still a satisfying read.

Positive Resistance

Title: Positive Resistance
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-937-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Being overweight in high school wasn’t fun for Steven when his biggest tormentor, Lane Parkinson, called him Blobby Bobby. He moved away from his hometown following graduation, after his parents rejected him for being gay. It’s been a decade and Steven thought he’d left his bad feelings behind but, when his company transfers him back to the town he never wanted to see again, they all come rushing back.  

Imagine Steven’s shock when he runs into Lane at the local gym and he discovers his childhood bully has turned into a kind and attentive potential lover. Despite how Lane makes him feel, there are painful things in Steven’s past Lane will have to accept before they can pursue a relationship. And what about his parents? Is it possible to repair their fractured relationship? 

Positive Resistance is book five in Andrew Grey’s Work Out series. It’s a short and sweet novella and from the blurb, you’d think it was a lighthearted piece of romantic fluff but in truth it’s much more. It’s also a love story filled with heart-wrenching pain and hope. But never fear it’s not all sadness because Mr. Grey has also given us moments of fun and friendship. That’s where the individuals from the previous releases come in. Steven might be new to the gym but the men who frequent it have warm and outgoing personalities that welcome him with open arms. They also provide the plot some much needed comic relief. 

The scenes in the gym are well written, grounding the story in the one place all the characters congregate almost daily, and it’s here that Lane and Steven begin their love affair. The descriptions of the exercise routines, shower and sauna are vivid and realistic and while it doesn’t make me want to run out and buy a membership, it certainly gives me a good understanding of what the inside looks like.  

Despite having a few wobbles, Mr. Grey did a nice job getting this couple past the pain caused by the tough issues of Stevens past and into each other’s arms. I hope to see more of these two loving men in the near future. Watch for the next release, Personal Training, coming soon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blood and Tears

Title: Blood and Tears
Author:  Ethan Stone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-053-0
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Mystery, Sequel
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Gabe Vargas has lost everything that was important to him.  The only way he can get even some of it back is to continue to let everyone believe he’s dead.  He also has to trust FBI Agent Drew Bradley - the man who’s already failed him once. 

Blood and Tears is Mr. Stone’s sequel to In the Flesh and Flesh and Blood.  I would strongly suggest that readers begin with the previous books before starting this book as Gabe has a rich history that comes out during the first two books and plays an important part in this story.  Drew was also previously introduced to readers and already has strong ties with Gabe.  Drew and Gabe are complete opposites.  Drew is a straight laced Fed while Gabe is barely in his twenties, unsure of where his life is going and bi-sexual.  Their relationship is full of conflict, due to their past connection, which I must admit I had forgotten about and wondered how long it would be before they would be able to put it behind them, as well as Drew’s upbringing and career, neither of which are gay friendly.  The wide range of emotions they experience is understandable; even Drew’s reaction to their first encounter will be believable to the reader. 

Blood and Tears is not just about the men’s growing feelings for each other.  There is also the mystery of who is trying to kill Gabe.  Mr. Stone keeps the mystery moving at a fast pace with the many twists and turns.  Readers will be glued to the story as they try to figure out who is after Gabe and I, for one, was surprised by the culprit as well as the reasoning behind the attacks. 

Blood and Tears is just as engaging as Mr. Stone’s other stories.  The characters and story grab hold of you from the beginning and don’t let go till the last page.

Bear Out

Title: Bear Out
Author: Jade Buchanan
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-670-6
Genre: {M/M/M} Shapeshifters, Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Polar bear shifter Theodore wanted to start creating some memories with his two mates Pizzly bears Christopher and Robin that would last a lifetime, so he presented them with a three week vacation trip.    

Bear Out is the third book in the Northern Bears Series.  Theo wants to build a strong relationship, filled with fond memories, with his mates.  The setting features the various countries, as well as the cruise ship.  The three men leave their home in Calgary, traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland north to Orkney and the Shetlands, across the North Sea to Norway, all the way up to Svalbard where they hoped to see polar bears up close.  

Chris is excited to see all the sites.  However, he realizes that he must restrict his normal inclination to touch his mates in public.  Rob is not happy sleeping alone because the ship’s cabin is comprised of three twin size beds.  Theo is not happy with the discomfort expressed by his mates and the lack of intimacy during the cruise.  Yet all three endure the minor inconveniences for the sake of their mates and make up for lost intimacy once they leave the ship.  The storyline illustrates how each man gains a new respect for each other in addition to how much they cherish their loving union.  Jade Buchanan has created a touching short story that I enjoyed.  

Snooke

Title: Snooke
Author: Lynn Hagen
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-634-3
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

After searching for centuries, Kane has finally found the man he’s certain is his mate but why does Snooke keep running away from him? And knowing someone is beating the small demon…putting bruises on his pale skin makes Kane see red.  

Snooke’s been crazy about Kane since the moment he first laid eyes on him. He isn’t proud of the things he done for his family and doesn’t feel like he’s worthy and struggles to stay away from the warrior. Above all else, he wants to keep Kane out of his messed up life and out of danger. 

They still have to find the missing crystal, Snooke’s life is being threatened and someone is playing tricks that could endanger them all. Can they find out who has the crystal and Kane keep Snooke safe so they can lead a happy life together? 

Snooke is release two in Lynn Hagen’s new Demon Warrior series and it begins shortly after the first book left off.  Note: Despite the publisher’s assurance that each release can be read as a standalone, please be aware that due to the close relationships of the characters and ongoing plotline, the reader would be better served if they are read in order. 

I liked Snooke when he was introduced in Hondo. With him, Ms Hagen has created an interesting little demon whose life is filled with secrets. She used him effectively to propel the story forward but the mystery behind his life stayed hidden until near the end, which I appreciated. Kane’s a big macho guy and having his little mate in danger was a nice showcase for all of his protective instincts. What I really liked was how Ms. Hagen had him turn into a puddle of tender goo when it came to his love for Snooke. It was so darn cute, it could almost give you tooth decay. 

The villain - the thief of the missing crystal - has become obvious and now it’s a matter of keeping him from using it to endanger their world.  That mean finding him and it and I’m certain the warriors will be busy with that task in the next release. I have to admit Ms. Hagen surprised me with this guy’s identity and the twist of how he relates to our characters. The world of the demons is even clearer and this time, we got to go to the human world a little where we met Dillion, who will be featured in the next release, Rainerio. My big complaint is the number of short snippets of scenes near the end. It was confusing, leaving me feeling unsettled and puzzled on what was going on.

Push Pull

Title:  Push Pull   
Author:  Joely Skye
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN:  978-1-60928-481-7
Genre: {M/M} Shape-shifters
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Scandalous Minx
 

Scott Lund knew his time with Rory MacIntyre was limited.  Regardless of how protected he should feel in Wolf Town, he knew there was someone out there waiting to take him from a place he wanted to call home.  While Scott is willing to give up Rory to protect him, Rory isn’t willing to let Scott walk out of his life.  Soon, Scott’s past comes calling and he learns just how important he is to those who love him and what it means to be a pack member. 

Joely Skye uses a touch of action and suspense, mixed in with a healthy dose of drama to deliver another wonderful tale about the residents of Wolf Town in her latest release, Push Pull.  I would have loved to have learned more about Scott’s past.  There is so much I still don’t understand about the character, but it’s clear to see what he brings to his relationship of Rory.  Even in his sadness, Scott wanted to make Rory as happy as he could for as long as possible 

Rory’s past is revealed more in this segment.  Rory is a man who knows his mind and refuses to allow anyone to change his perception of a situation.  His fierce love of Scott and willingness to protect him added that special touch of romance I was hoping for.  And I’ll admit I loved how his family and friends rallied around the couple, but weren’t short sided about pointing out the error of Rory’s ways.

This was definitely an enjoyable read.  I look forward to reading more about the Wolf Town residents in the near future.

Two Mates for a Magistrate

Title: Two Mates for a Magistrate
Author: Scarlet Hyacinth
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-652-1
Genre: {M/M/M} Werewolf, Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Magistrate Wolfram Rozenstadt has shouldered his responsibilities for centuries with only the support of his best friend and assistant, Klaus, and now the stress is giving him nightmares. Then one day he has a vision that nearly takes him to his knees. He sees something that gives him hope - his two mates, Dietrich and Fritz. 

Dietrich’s mother was a witch and he learned early to keep his wolf on a tight leash but on meeting Fritz, he nearly loses control. Fritz is all too human and doesn’t understand how their promising date turned weird with growls, claws and fangs. Wolfram arrives and the new mates come to an understanding but there’s still an unknown enemy, lurking in the shadows, trying to do harm to the spirit wolves. Wolfram is powerful, the enemy is strong too and this time, the evil might win, destroying their hope for a future. 

Two Mates for a Magistrate is release three in Spirit Wolves. It begins with a prologue that takes place in 1581, introducing Dietrich, while the present day story begins after a seven year gap. I admit this long time interval caught me by surprise and I can only conclude it allows for two things…the virus research to get farther along and for Paulie to have aged so he can become a mate in the next book, Three Mates, One Destiny. 

Dietrich is an interesting man and I was happy to see that he was also a witch, through his deceased mother, but I wish we’d seen more of this side of his personality. I felt the least connected to Fritz, our human, but I did like how he was willing to stand up with his mates during their confrontation action scenes. Wolfram is truly unique…powerful, protective, stoic and even a little mysterious. Ms. Hagen did a good job with the personalities of the wolves; I wish I could have felt the same with Fritz. 

Setting the majority of the story in Dietrich’s former hometown was a nice touch, but more then-and-now details would have been appreciated. I really liked that we had the chance to see the characters from the first two releases and had the opportunity to meet Sebastian Morrigan and Marcus Deacon, who will be featured with Paulie in the next release. The biggest thing I liked about this one was the chance to see more into the world of the spirit wolves and the ferals and that we got some answers to questions that had been dangling for awhile. But as expected, it opened up even more questions with the introduction of a now indentified bad guy. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book. 

With Wings

Title: With Wings
Author: Z. Allora
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-420-3
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Darius Stone, lead guitarist for The Dark Angels, a rock band created by lead singer Angel Luv, is finding it hard to reconcile his “I am straight” certainty with his “gay only for Angel” passionate desires.  

With Wings is the first book in the The Dark Angels series and the main theme is a journey of sexual discovery and a same-sex romance.  The setting is a villa in Bali, which affords Dare and Angel a quiet seclusion to explore their feelings.  A detail of Bali’s tourist attractions also provides informative background.  The plot is expressed from Dare’s point of view.  His emotional turmoil, as well as his interactions with Angel, is both heartwarming and annoying.  The story begins as interesting, but not especially noteworthy, until about halfway when I could see the development taking place.  The small mentions of the main character’s profile, which is scattered throughout the storyline in bits, made it difficult to be fully engaged in them. Absent is Dare and Angel’s family connections before joining the band.  Featured is Dare, who is hung up on the sexuality labels - straight, bi-sexual, gay.  His brain tries to fit his emotions into one category by inventing excuses for every reaction Dare has to Angel’s touch.  However, Dare’s heart defies his brain by exhibiting an almost unbearable craving for intimacy with Angel.  Comfortable with being gay, Angel is very much attracted to Dare, yet declines to initiate a relationship other than friends with benefits which take place a year after Dare joined the band.  Secondary characters include band members Josh on bass, Robin on keyboards and Dusty on drums. The interaction between all of the characters illustrates a strong friendship bond.

With Wings is amusing and entertaining with particularly impressive intimacy scenes.  Z. Allora has created a remarkably enjoyable happy-for-now saga, leaving the ending open for a continuation in future stories.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Under the Moon

Title: Under the Moon
Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-271-2
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Jamie has a personal rule against dating other werewolves until he meets the irresistible Alpha werewolf Ty.  Jamie swiftly learns that some rules are made to be broken. 

Under the Moon is an amusing quick read, set on a college campus in Boulder.  According to pack law, each pack member should be useful by increasing the numbers or, at least, being strong protectors of the wolves weakened by age as well as the children.  Since Jamie is gay and a nerd, he decided to move away from the pack’s influence.  The drama to the plot is exhibited by Anton, Jamie’s roommate who is obsessed with the werewolf game he created.  The plot reveals that Anton has a more sinister plan in mind than merely gaming.  The characters are intelligent and strong willed.  However, Beta Jamie and Alpha Ty’s relationship works together, as nature intended.  Julia Talbot has produced a fantastic snippet that I very much enjoyed.      

Blessed Times Two

Title:   Blessed Times Two
Author:  Dakota Dawn
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN:  1-61034-300-X
Genre:  {M/F/M}, BDSM, Paranormal
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Branda meets one of the Cortino twins in a bookstore, then discovers that they live next door to the house, where she is house-sitting.  Branda is trying to start a business and generally get her life together after an attack. Troy and Trey have been looking for the one to make the family blessing come true when they find Branda. 

Blessed Times Two is a wonderful story of family traditions and legends passed down from generation to generation, as well as a coming-of-age type story.  I liked the way the author used a legend about a fisherman with a new twist.  I had to laugh at the test used though but once the entire legend is spelled out, it makes a lot of sense.   

Branda is overcoming an attack and is very self-consciousness about her looks.  The author wove a lot of angst about her looks, her family and her experience into the story to show why she acts the way she does.  Branda could be an every day woman that is smart, business savvy, but very self-conscious about appearances, while trying to bury emotions.  She could be any one of my friends, for that matter.   

Trey and Troy are ecstatic, once they discover Branda is their true love.  The men come from a family that welcomes new members into the fold, with no questions asked.  This family also has a lot of traditions to help welcome Branda that I absolutely loved and, if possible, would like to incorporate some into my own family.   

Be warned that the chemistry between the three is hot.  There are a few very tense moments that make your heart pound and make your mind race about where this is going.  With the help of family and friends, everything gets resolved.  The love of family and friends comes through very clearly and I will be reading this one again.

Draconian Measures

Title:  Draconian Measures
Author:  J.C. Owens
Publisher: Loose Id
ISBN:  978-1-61118-408-2
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Scandalous Minx
 

Graitaan understood what was expected of him when he entered into the service of the King.  To no longer have his comrades at his side doesn’t make his situation any more pleasant and in fact, being surrounded by Finnarian warriors wears on his nerves.  He wants nothing to do with them or their leader, but he may not have a choice in the matter. 

Sadan is a prince among the immortal Finnarians.  He understands his attraction to Graitaan quite well, for the unyielding Draconian is his soul mate.  Sadan has waited as long as he plans to for Graitaan to come around.  Now he’s ready to maneuver his mate into a more compliant position. 

Will Graitaan learn to accept Sadan and all that he wants to give him, or will he fight until Sadan decides to give up his notion of taking him as a mate? 

For those who’ve enjoyed Gaven and Gaven 2 will definitely want to read Draconian Measures.  So many questions were answered for me in this installment.  J. C. Owens does a fantastic job of weaving a romance into a story filled with battles, on the fields as well as of wits, between the two main characters.  Sadan has a large ego and earned every bit of it over the centuries.  His persistence and determination made for interesting reading. 

Graitaan is a brilliantly written character.  When his past was revealed, it was easy to understand why his apprehension of taking the love and life Sadan offered.  He’s such a complicated character on some levels but in the end, he has the simplest wishes that his torn heart refuses to believe will come true.  He wishes for love, acceptance, family and happiness.  Sadan took his time and carefully removed each stone that encased his mate’s heart.  When subtle didn’t work, he had no trouble using passion and erotic delights until Graitaan had no choice but to give in and accept him as his equal and mate.  Their desire could be felt by all.  This is definitely a story that not only sheds light on their relationship, but also on one of my favorite characters. 

From the suspenseful scenes, to the vivid settings, J. C. Owens left nothing to chance with this latest installment.  I found the story a credit to the series and look forward to the future releases.