Thursday, October 27, 2011

When Love Is Not Enough

Title: When Love Is Not Enough
Author: Wade Kelly
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61581-984-3
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: Golden Blush
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Living with an unstable mother was never easy for Jimmy Miller but it got worse after his parents divorced. It led to six years of arguing with his mother, fighting in school and keeping secrets from his best friend Matt after he fell in love with Darian. Finally the pain is too much to bear and he ends it all, leaving behind a furious friend and emotionally wrecked lover. 

In the aftermath of Jamie’s death, Matt and Darian form an unexpected bond that could be threatened by the truths hidden in Jamie’s journals. Matt is determined to learn what really happened to his friend, but can he? Will the pain of what happened be enough for he and Darian to build something lasting when they’ve already learned that sometimes love isn’t enough? 

When Love is Not Enough is an outstanding story by first time author Wade Kelly and according to his website is the first release in the new Unconditional Love series.  I have to admit that when I realized this gem was part of the Bittersweet Dreams set of titles, I almost passed it up, but I’m glad I didn’t. The basis for this well written and plotted story is Jimmy’s suicide, so it’s filled with pain, anger and deep, raw emotional upset. My warning…be ready for a few tears. 

It’s told in three perspectives. Some are from Jimmy/Jamie’s dated journal entries over a period of years, flashback scenes while Jamie and Matt are growing up and present day ones with Matt and Darian at the funeral and their new relationship, sparked by their mutual grief. I expected to be angered by their instant attraction but surprising I wasn’t. The constant switch of viewpoints could have also been confusing but Mr. Kelly did a great job of keeping the plot straight and the story flowing smoothly. 

Mr. Kelly has made Jamie into a sweet and confused guy who comes from a divorced home and who lives with a controlling, abusive mother. The person who gets him through his high school years is his best friend Matt, a sexually promiscuous but closeted gay, even while young. These two are together as much as possible as they grow up, but Jamie still has secrets from his buddy…and that’s when Darian enters the story. He’s crazy about Jamie from the start and becomes totally committed to him. So years later with Jamie’s suicide, he’s totally devastated, bringing him together with Matt. 

All these varied pieces of the puzzles…family, friends and life experiences…have been expertly juggled by this author into a gripping, cohesive whole that I couldn’t stop reading. Yes, Matt and Darian becoming a couple is a bit shocking but it fits into their pain and grief, but this story isn’t really about them. It’s about Jamie. The love he had for his friend Matt and his father. How he fell for Darian and his confusion over his desires. But mostly it’s about him growing up and the emotional and physical pain he suffered for being different. Yes, I wish Jamie could have lived, but his story leads to the beginning of what could be a happily-ever-after for Matt and Darian. Get this one and read it!

Double Deuce

Title: Double Deuce
Author: KC Kendricks
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-185-3
Genre: {M/M} Detective Mystery
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Private investigator Ian Coulter is sitting at the bar of the Double Deuce checking out two sexy guys when one of them passed out on the floor.  Ian’s former cop instincts kick in and he springs into action.  After the emergency is taken care of, the other stranger, who turns out to be undercover agent Rick Mohr, offers to buy Ian a drink.  A short time later, while sharing sex along with information, Ian and Rick reveal a common interest in Amethyst Cove’s ongoing criminal activities.  

Double Deuce is an intriguing suspense, blended with humor, as well as a friends-with-benefits relationship.  The plot gives an impressive description of crime solving tools used to build a case for a trial conviction.  The characters are convincing.  Ian and Rick are both highly intelligent, with the ability to hide their reactions.  Ian is extremely computer savvy, which is crucial for working surveillance.  Ian is also a free spirit when it comes to relationships. He prefers sex without any emotional ties.  Rick is  following the money trail for the Treasury Department. Rick is on the rebound and still in love with his boyfriend of eleven years.  As the story unfolds, I got the impression there was a budding romantic connection between Ian and Rick.  However, the illusion is broken by a bittersweet ending. 

KC Kendricks has a distinctive writing style.  The characters are amusing and the plot is delightfully unexpected.  I fully enjoyed Double Deuce    

Imlay’s Cure

Title: Imlay’s Cure
Author: Stormy Glenn & Lynn Hagen
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-827-3
Genre: {M/M} Science Fiction Shape-shifter Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Dr. Imlay Jones is a man who believes in self-control and that includes sex. He doesn’t understand why people get excited about a messy physical act that results in the need for a shower. He much prefers spending his spare time on his medical research, but Livewire going off-ship to the nearby planet surface sets his nerves on edge. It doesn’t make sense but Imlay wants the mechanic back and he can’t rest while Livewire’s gone. 

When the crew learns that Livewire’s been kidnapped, Imlay insists on going along on the rescue mission. But getting Livewire back to the ship is only the first step, since he’s suffering from days of brutal beatings and can’t stand to be touched, has screaming nightmares and doesn’t even trust his friends. Only Imlay’s presence and touch can calm him. Can a man who doesn’t like sex give his mate a reason to live or will the memories that haunt Livewire destroy them both? 

Imlay’s Cure is release three in the series Lady Blue Crew by Stormy Glenn and Lynn Hagen. Since the storyline and characters are so closely related, my recommendation is that the books be read in sequential order. 

I’ve always been a science fiction fan, so I’ve really enjoyed this well thought-out series. The crew of the Lady Blue, being on the run from the Elite Forces, is the basis of the story so I was happy to get more information about what was behind their problems with this organization. In fact, I’m expecting more action, twists and turns as they fight to stay alive and clear their names as the series continues. *Rubbing hands together with glee*  

Livewire is an interesting and outspoken character and having him kidnapped makes this release much darker than any of others. The poor man was brutalized and the authors did a great job expressing the fear, pain, anger and devastation he experienced in its aftermath. Their pairing of him with Imlay on the surface doesn’t seem like such a good idea but it’s clear the doctor is just exactly the man Livewire needs to come out whole on the other side.  

I loved seeing the interaction of the members of the crew…they’re like a family and while much of the story is serious, with Gig and Pax around, there were still plenty of lighter moments. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Adwaka's Blade.

Catch and Release

Title:  Catch and Release
Author:  Dakota Dawn
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN:  1-61034-792-7
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Rain is in Italy for one of her best friend’s wedding, but came early to look for furniture for her family’s business.  Trent see Rain, but knows he will only spend a couple of days with her. Trent feels he can never love another, after seeing his former fiancé die in a car crash. 

The second book in the Blessed series is a look at a man that feels guilt by being still alive while his true love is dead.  Catch and Release is his motto.  The feelings that the author gave Trent are so true to life about people feeling ‘survivor’s guilt’ for living when a loved one dies.  The feelings that surface when he is with Rain confuse him. 

The emotions that both Trent and Rain have will draw you into the story and keep your interest.  The angst the author creates in both will make you wonder how they will ever get together.  I liked how the author slowly showed you how the blessing started manifesting itself to both.   

A few new secondary characters show up, especially in one scene that could be termed very light BDSM as well as voyeurism.  This series should be read in order to get the full benefit of knowing what happens within the Cortino family, regarding the blessing.  I am looking forward to reading about the other members of the family as they find their true love.

Broken

Title: Broken  
Author: Jessica Freely
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-61118-554-6
Genre: {M/M} Multicultural
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Eben Flannery is sent to the Boston airport to pick up new arrival, Song Xiu.  According to his brother’s description, Eben was expecting Xiu to be an exchange student.  However, Eben is sadly disappointed when he discovers Xiu is the latest addition to Nicky’s escort service. 

Broken is a somewhat complex plot that borders on gloomy at times.  The characters do not live up to a realistic value of the theme’s lethal potential.  I found it hard to relate to Eben, who merely accepts the life of a gangster without any attempts to pull himself out of the gutter.  Eben is an active participant in Nicky’s criminal business by being the gang’s enforcer.  The plot illustrates a three way audition sex scene with Xiu, Nicky and the escort boss.  Also displayed is the drug use of Xiu as well as Nicky, each having a different drug of addiction.    

Jessica Freely has created an interesting story with mild emotions, a hint of violence and a touch of amusement. 

A Nanny for Nate

Title: A Nanny for Nate
Author: Lisa Worrall
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com
ISBN: 9781920501587
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

It’s been more than a year since Parker Adams’ husband was killed by a hit-and-run driver and the only thing keeping him going are his job and small son. It hasn’t been easy raising his child alone and when his regular sitter moves, he hires a live-in nanny to give Nate the stability he needs. A mix-up in envelopes results in tall and handsome Jake arriving for the job, instead of petite Melanie, which sets Parker in a panic since he felt an attraction the second they met. But Nate is thrilled with Jake as his Nanny and Parker can’t send him away. What’s he going to do with Jake around 24 hours a day? 

A Nanny for Nate is the first book by author Lisa Worrall for me. It’s a heartwarming, fast paced and fun romance that I’ll be enjoying again in the future.  

It’s not that the premise is particularly original.  After all, a busy widowed parent needing a nanny for a child has been done before, but it’s the charming way Ms. Worrall brought Nate, Parker and Jake together that made the difference. And unlike others, who might have immediately shoved Nate into the background, this author kept him a prominent part of the story. He’s a cute kid and a real scene stealer. I also like the way in which she had both adults interacting with Nate. A fight about the death of Daddy and the trip to Pacific Park in Santa Monica is just two examples of the care both men took with him.  

The angst Parker experienced on what he thought of as betrayal of his deceased husband is expressed nicely. But Ms. Worrall did just as good a job with the desire and passion he and Jake felt for one another. Their lovemaking is intense and the unpleasant scene the next morning not unexpected. When it almost looked like a parting of the ways had come for them, a little creative jealousy sparked the dialogue needed to save the day. Read and enjoy.