Saturday, November 19, 2011

Artistic Appeal

Title: Artistic Appeal
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN:  978-1-61372-128-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Brian Watson knows something is up when his friends Dieter and Gerald invite him to their Christmas party. After taking over Dieter’s case to get his famous family painting, The Woman in Blue returned, his friends think he needs a little fun time. They intended to introduce him to a friend but the man who catches his eye is Nicolai, the deaf art restorer caring for the art work already returned to Dieter. 

There’s a lot standing between Brian and a relationship with Nicolai, including a bad break-up a year ago that left Nicolai reluctant to give up his independence again and an ex-boyfriend Justin, who wants him back. Then there’s the complication of Brian telling his ex-wife, young daughter and parents that he’s in love with a man. All this is going on while he’s working on a precedence-setting legal case and trying to convince Nicolai that loving him doesn’t steal his independence, it just makes them both stronger. 

Artistic Appeal is release six in Andrew Grey’s Bottled Up series. Please be aware that it’s a continuation of the story started in book five, Legal Artistry, which should be read first.  

The premise of getting stolen family art work back is compelling enough but add in gay divorced, dad Brian in a relationship with deaf and independent art restorer Nicolai and it’s even more so.  I enjoyed this book…both the story and characters. It’s believable, has a good flow, vivid descriptions and Brian’s small daughter, Zoe, is a cute little scene stealer. I really appreciated how much Nicolai’s deafness was included, showing how he functioned in silence by using lip reading and sign language. 

The growing relationship between Brian and Nicolai is sweet and tender, even if they have a few issues to deal with along the way. And their developing family with Zoe is wonderful to watch, even while dealing with Brian’s ex-wife and her hateful attitudes. There are also some great scenes with Dieter and Gerald from Legal Artistry, so that’s nice too. 

Mr. Grey has another winner with this enthralling book and I’d love to see more of these four men…Dieter, Gerald, Nicolai and Brian…again in the future.

Pinyon

Title: Pinyon
Author: BA Tortuga
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-547-8
Genre: {M/M} Werewolves
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Confused and half starved, Tanner traveled from San Francisco to Southern Colorado in wolf form. Werewolf Stirling is amazed when he recognized the stray as the pack outcast.  Tanner was the werewolf who never learned to shift; now it seems Stirling will need to teach Tanner how to change back into a man.  

Pinyon is a wonderful short story filled with humor, a puzzle and scorching intimacy. Years ago, Tanner had accepted being different from the other pack members and lived his life as a human man. Tanner was terrified when he shifted to wolf form but his wolf instincts took over ,guiding Tanner back to his birth home.  Seeing Tanner again motivated Stirling’s wolf to claim Tanner as a mate. 

BA Tortuga’s depiction of animal behavior is so realistic it makes reading Pinyon a pleasure I want to savor again and again.  

Colour Me Undead

Title:  Colour Me Undead
Author:  Mikela Q. Chase
Publisher:  Total-E-Bound Publishing
ISBN:  978-0-85715-791-1
Genre:  {M/F} Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph 

Vampires don’t require a piece of paper or ceremony to mate, yet Cora is organizing a wedding for her cousin.  On top of that, the groom’s brother, Basil, is trying to get her into bed.  The last few disastrous dates Cora had has made her concerned about hooking up with a vampire.  But, something about Basil is making it hard for Cora to resist.  The unexpected drama doesn’t stop the couple’s union, it aids in bringing them together. 

I always enjoy a little chase between a couple and when paranormal beings are involved, that takes things to a whole new level.  There were some very entertaining conversations that made me chuckle and some passionate promises that made me blush.  The instant he lays eyes on her, Basil comes on strong to Cora.  His take charge attitude and Cora’s resilience are qualities that make me like them and I think readers will feel the same.  Colour Me Undead is the first in the Cloaks and Daggers series and a short story packed with unconventional romance.

Dragon Fire

Title: Dragon Fire
Author: Emily Carrington
Publisher: Loose Id
ISBN: 978-1-61118-455-6
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Mark and Luke have been together for several months now, yet the two men continue to struggle with the dynamics of their relationship.  When Mark is forced to take time off from work, the men head back to Mark’s hometown and family, where Luke hopes their relationship will finally turn into the one he has always dreamed of. 

Dragon Fire is the second story in Ms. Carrington’s Dragon in Training series.  The story picks up shortly after the end of book one and Mark is still struggling with the fact he is a dragon, more specifically with the side issues such as shedding.  With the physical side of their relationship currently on hold due to Mark’s shedding issues, Luke fears the two are growing apart and that he may no longer be Mark’s “happiness”.  The fears and insecurities Luke is going through are understandable.  The men’s relationship is still fairly new and, with Mark under stress, it seems as if the two are growing apart.  Many times I wanted to smack Mark for the way he was acting, especially when he would have a mini epiphany and then go back to his old ways.  The story isn’t just about the men’s relationship however.  The author throws in a few obstacles when Mark and Luke go home to spend the holidays with Mark’s family.  The homophobic behavior of some of Mark’s family members, as well as the obnoxious behavior of Mark’s biological mother, keeps the men busy while entertaining the reader.  

If you liked the first book, you really need to pick up Dragon Fire.  Between the men’s relationship and pesky family members, there is a lot to keep the story moving.   I can’t wait to see what the author has planned for these two next.

Oathbound

Title: Oathbound
Author: Mychael Black
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-707-9
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Werewolf Vaughn Burke is sent by his Alpha to pick up werewolf Elian Levine and bring him to the Alpha’s safe house. Although Vaughn swore to never have a mate, Elian is the one man he could never resist. Mutual secret desires of the past come full circle when Vaughn and Elian meet again. 

Oathbound is the second book in the Dark Reign series.  In this episode, the battle that has long been brewing between the werewolves and the vengeful vampire Dalton Gray is close to exploding into all-out war. Elian had managed to escape the vampire, only to be captured again. This provoked Vaughn to break the Alpha’s rules and rescue Elian.  

Mychael Black delivers a short story that exhibits a touch of action and how heartbreak, or the prospect of imminent heartbreak, can produce erratic behavior in a usually logical person. Also included is a superior example of exceptionally sensual lovemaking.  Oathbound is an impressive, as well as, incredibly enjoyable saga.

Healer

Title: Healer
Author: Cassandra Gold
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-198-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Shape-shifter Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Dr. Tristan Matheson’s hidden his healing abilities for years, eluding detection by never staying in one place for very long. He’s always used his talent to help people and until now, he’s managed to stay ahead of the organizations tracking him. When two men arrive at his hospital intending to capture him, the only way he escapes is with the help of Cam, a mysterious shape-shifter.  

Cam is a member of the Delphic Institute and able to take on the shape of any person he’s ever seen. The mission to retrieve Tristan was supposed to be routine but the emotions he stirs are unexpected and not entirely welcome. Cam can’t deny his attraction to Tristan but there’s a lot going on to keep them apart…his own deep-seeded insecurities and those other organizations willing to kill to ‘retrieve’ people with talents.  

Healer is the newest release by author Cassandra Gold and it’s a good beginning in the new series, The Institute.  This new book is an attention grabber from the first page. The writing is tight, the story flows easily from one scene to the next, and there’s a good variety of characters with interesting, well developed personalities. Despite the Delphic Institute reminding me of the school in the X-Men franchise, there are still differences to set it apart. I for one am looking forward to seeing who will be the next person featured in this new and unique paranormal series. And yes I looked on Ms. Gold’s website and she’s still working on the next one and there’s no title yet.  

What I liked:

  1. Tristan’s a self sacrificing sweetie you have to love. Cam appears more extroverted when, in reality, he holds secrets and hurts deep inside.
  2. I love all the odd nicknames based on what a person’s talent is, such as Spoons for the telekinetic who bends spoons. It gave me a chuckle.
  3. There are numerous secondary characters that add flavor and interest, who would make good lead characters in future books.
What I wanted to know more about:

  1. The inner working of the Delphic Institute…including the person running it…Claudia.
  2. The bad guys…the organizations trying to get their hands on people with talents.
  3. Why does the government know about them and ask for their help occasionally but not protect them from the bad guys?
Well, I think that’s enough for now. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taste of Pride

Title:  Taste of Pride
Author:  Helena Ray
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-918-0
Genre:  {M/F/M/M}, Shape-shifter, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Marta returns to Savage Valley after the publisher of her book folds.  She meets Sam, Phil and Mel while there and wonders why she is attracted to all three brothers. 

Taste of Pride is the second book in The Pride of Savage Valley, Colorado series about the lion-shifters series.  The common theme of NormCorp trying to get a foothold in Savage Valley sees more businesses being approached to sell and family dynamics almost sees a family torn apart, as well as a community.  More about the shifter society and legend are revealed in this book, as well. 

The author did a good job showing how misunderstandings and jealousies within families can cause estrangements and how it can keep families apart.  I did like the way she showed how siblings can overcome feelings and seek to work together for the betterment of the family. 

Some of the secondary characters in this story are fun loving.  There are some very serious moments as well and the reader will enjoy some of the quirkiness of some of the personalities you meet.  I am looking forward to reading about the rest of the shifter families in future books.

Paws On Me

Title: Paws On Me
Author: Silvia Violet
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-698-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Lieutenant Seth Morrison is overworked and understaffed but he loves being a cop. Having an enduring relationship however is another matter until he meets bear shifter Brandon Lord. Brandon is everything that has been missing from Seth’s life.  

Paws On Me is part of the multi-author Protect and Serve series.  The well written plot starts with a murder investigation that advances into a romance. Seth is a human who is accustomed to working with shifters, as well as vampires.  Seth is attracted to Brandon from the first moment they meet, but he is concerned that the nightclub owner may have ties to criminal activities rumored to happen at Brandon’s club.  Seth soon discovers that Brandon is more of a cuddly bear until provoked into a justified violence, and then Brandon can be deadly.  

Silvia Violet has created a fantastic saga. I particularly enjoyed the love scenes, as well as the exciting action fight scene.

Nexus

Title: Nexus
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-248-0
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy, Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

By day, Marcus Roth is a top-notch criminal attorney for a small but prestigious firm but by night, he kills demons. He knows that he’s important to his lover and hearth…Joseph Locke…but is Marcus really just a simple warder? 

While on a trip to Lexington, Kentucky for Joe’s grandfather’s birthday, Marcus discovers just how important he is to the other people in his life. He uncovers demon activity threatening Joe’s father and ends up revealing his warder identity to all of his lover’s family. To save the people he loves, Marcus must fight against a traitor and demons, putting himself at risk and threatening his life with Joe. Even if he lives through the ordeal, it doesn’t mean he’ll ever forgive himself or understand that his hearth and fellow warders can’t do without him. 

Nexus is release five in the Warder series and I’m sad to say it’s the last one. Please note that the books should be read in order. 

There’s just so much about this book and series I enjoyed. The warder/sentinel world building is filled with larger-than-life personalities and vivid descriptions, there’s lots of fun, bantering dialogue, and it has plenty of kick-ass demon killing, good friendships and sizzling hot sex. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see the family side of a warder and his hearth, making it extra special. Joe’s family is great…funny, kind, warm and they love Marcus like crazy.  

As much as I’ve enjoyed the other books…and Sinnerman I loved…seeing the love and commitment of a long-term warder/hearth relationship is wonderful. Marcus is a quiet kind of guy, deeply committed to his hearth and friends. He’s warm, protective and kind…unless he’s killing a demon, then watch out. Then there’s Joe, who’s much more feisty and demanding in what he wants, despite his physical handicap. They’re so cute and loving together, you could almost get tooth decay. 

It was great seeing all the other warders, their hearths and sentinel Jael. There’s plenty of action sprinkled throughout, lots of emotion, danger and suspense (especially near the end) and a plotline that doesn’t let up and keeps you racing to the end. So, here at the end, all I can say is that I’m sorry to see the series end and I’ll be re-reading them again in the future. Enjoy!!

Rugged Return

Title:  Rugged Return
Author:  Edith DuBois
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN:  1-61034-919-9
Genre:  {M/F/M/M}, Shape-shifters, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

After years of managing her sister’s career, Michelle decides the time has come to take care of herself.  She meets three handsome doctors in Savage Valley that decide she is theirs. 

The second book in the Rugged Savage Valley, Colorado series, Rugged Return, is just as intense as the rest of the two concurrent series about Savage Valley.  When siblings work together and one is extremely spoiled, jealousies and resentment is sure to follow.  Michelle’s sister is a singer who is extremely manipulative and I know people just like her.  As resentment on both parts comes to a head, Elias, Thomas and Franklin do their best to help Michelle realize she comes first to them.   

As Michelle struggles to understand her feelings for the three brothers, NormCorp plans to shatter the peace of the town by forcing Savage Valley to sell the land for development of a resort.  The struggle that communities have trying to hold on their way of life, in light of developments, is not new and the author reflects on some of the more sordid practices we sometimes hear about. 

The relationship that Michelle has with Elias, Thomas, and Franklin is intense.  The fact that there are people she can talk to, other than the brothers, bring characters from the lion-shifter series in as secondary characters, making it a must to read both series concurrently.  I am waiting with baited breath to see if Michelle’s sister shows up in a future story as I wait for the next story about the bear-shifters.

Genesis

Title: Genesis
Author: Brannan Black
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-725-3
Genre: {M/M} Futuristic
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Alpha Mace and his wolf-men pack send out a call for help; their goal is to eradicate the psycho rabid who wants to destroy the civilized packs dwelling in and around the city once known as Denver. 

Brannan Black’s Genesis is the fifth book in the Wolfman Series.  In this episode, Mace’s pack is joined by fifty wolfmen from various packs to hunt down the cannibalistic rabids plaguing the territory. The storyline features plenty of battle action, as well as the pack’s intimate bedtime bonding tradition.  Daniel’s loving influence with Mace lends a hand in forming a coalition of most of the packs in the metro area.  The other packs saw the benefit of cooperation and trade.  Daniel traded his innovative skills in exchange for fresh meat, produce and other useful items. Genesis is an impressive and exceedingly enjoyable installment to this world building series. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Legal Artistry

Title: Legal Artistry
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-113-1
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: Golden Blush
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

When Dieter Krumpf’s grandmother died, she left him everything. That included a photo album with pictures, showing the family art collection her father had to leave behind when they fled the country ahead of the Nazis.  Dieter wants his family legacy back and when he contacts a law firm to determine his chances, he’s assigned up and coming attorney, Gerald Young.  

Gerald doesn’t have much hope of getting the paintings back from the museum, but still wants to help. After determining Dieter has a case, it’s agreed that suing in Austria won’t work, but as his feelings for Dieter grows, Gerald’s more determined than ever to find a way to win. Together they travel to Vienna to search through old records, hunting for any clue that will help them…and what they ultimately find is the treasure of love. 

Legal Artistry is release five in Andrew Grey’s Bottled Up series and while some of the characters are from previous releases, it’s possible to read as a standalone, if desired. 

Once again Mr. Grey has penned a wonderfully poignant story with a complicated and intriguing plot and what makes it so compelling is that the basis of the book…families trying to recover valuables taken by the Nazis…is a real life situation. To make this story backbone realistic, he’s added in lots of details to help the reader understand what happened during this period in history. 

While the book started off a little slow because of the prologue, I still feel the information is important and added more depth and understanding of Dieter’s family history and needed to be included. This story grabbed me on the opening pages and I could barely put it down. The writing is top-notch, Dieter and Gerald are warm and likable guys with charming personalities, and there’s plenty of emotional pain and suspense as they fight to retrieve Dieter’s family legacy. But one of the best things is Gerald’s unconditional support and how their love blossoms and grows stronger over the course of the book. The story continues with the next release, Artistic Appeal.

Tame

Title: Tame
Author: A. J. Llewellyn
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-192-1
Genre: {M/M} Werewolf
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

West Los Angeles Police division Officer Cavan Carmichael and his partner answer an animal abuse call. However, what they find is a man who has been severely beaten and chained. Cavan discovers that Ludo is so much more than a just man, especially when it comes to making love. 

Tame is not your usual bland werewolf story. A. J. Llewellyn kicks it up a notch by adding an intriguing twist. Cavan is a quiet man, who has a history of betrayal from his ex-boyfriend. Cavan pushes his loneliness aside when he is needed to help care for his mother. Ludo also has a history of betrayal by his family, who viewed Ludo as a commodity with monetary value rather than the unique person that he is. The plot highlights the main character’s humorous interactions with the quirky secondary characters. The intimacy scene description comes in the form of Cavan’s dream where he desires to make love with a wolf.  Tame is an exceptionally impressive saga that I enjoyed immensely.  

Blood Signs

Title: Blood Signs
Author: Amber Kell
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-920468-23-1
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Randall Stewart’s trying to get through medical school and, after losing his part-time job, doesn’t have enough money left over to eat. Unable to find another job, his roommate Darren suggests a way to help him earn some badly needed cash. The next night Randall’s introduced to one of the toughest and most powerful vampires in town. He doesn’t know what to expect…but it certainly isn’t to become Sasha’s exclusive blood donor. And falling in love never entered his mind. Becoming part of the vampire world changes Randall’s life forever and if he’s not careful, it could end his life too. 

Blood Signs is the first release in Amber Kell’s new series, Blood, Moon and Sun. I’m a big fan of vampire books and I found this blurb intriguing, so I looked forward to reading it and wasn’t disappointed once I got my hands on it.   

It’s a fun and entertaining story that I was able to zip through easily in one sitting.  Both Randall and Sasha are appealing and fairly well rounded for a story of a mere 25K.  There are numerous secondary characters to add interest and help propel the story forward. I especially enjoyed Liam and Dustin. The sex between sweet and likable Randall and possessive and dominant Sasha is sizzling hot, but it doesn’t take over the story. There are enough details of vampire society and bonding with their mates to make Sasha’s actions understandable. Finally the villain…Sasha’s older brother, Ustin. This vampire could have been much more evil, but he never really pulled it off and Randall’s rescue happened too easily.  

There are several plot threads left dangling and a few new ones added at the end but considering that this is apparently an ongoing storyline featuring Randall and Sasha I’m not surprised or upset. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Samhain's Kiss.

Dating The Delaneys

Title: Dating The Delaneys
Author: Anne Brooke
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-201-0
Genre: {M/M/M} Contemporary, Series
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Mark and Johnny Delaney decided it was time to try dating Liam before moving their relationship forward to the next level. After a pleasurable romp in bed, Mark reveals his plans for the future. 

Dating The Delaneys is the fourth book in The Delaneys And Me series. In this episode, the personalities of the characters seemed to have altered emotionally into a more detrimental masters and slave scenario. Mark treats Liam as an object, rather than a person with feelings. Mark displays sibling jealousy but only because his twin Johnny wants to play with Mark’s toy. Johnny must ask Mark for permission to touch Liam. The only one who expresses love is Liam. I find it hard to imagine there could be any happiness in a relationship that lacks choices for two of the parties involved. The storyline does have a touch of humor and enjoyable intimacy scenes.  

Snakeskin Boots

Title: Snakeskin Boots
Author: Xara X. Xanakas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-117-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Shape-shifter Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

In Jeff Cordata’s world, wolves are dangerous and meant to be avoided. Not that he has much luck with men, anyway. He’s found it’s not easy being a were-boa-constrictor in a world where wolves are seen as sexy and desirable. 

It turns out bookstore customer Brad Cannidy’s been watching Jeff for weeks and Mr. Clueless never noticed. Jeff’s shocked when the sexy wolf asks him out, but after his family’s bad history with wolves, his first thought is to run. When he and Jeff are starting their relationship, his ex-boyfriend Michael re-enters his life…only as a pair of snakeskin boots. Someone is turning snake shifters into fashion accessories and while they hunt for the people responsible, Jeff and Brad must decide if it’s possible for a wolf and snake to make a life together. 

Snakeskin Boots is the first release is the new series Were Menagerie by Xara X. Xanakas. This author is a new one for me and after reading this fun, entertaining and humorous story, it won’t be my last. I mean this refreshing look into the paranormal world is really funny and had me chuckling from the first page. How crazy is the pairing of a wolf and snake? The author even included a whole group of weres’ from scorpion, to bear, elephant and even spider monkey. I, for one, can’t wait for the next book in this unique series to see what happens next. According to the website, it’s supposed to be Flight of the Spider Monkey, so watch for it. 

Jeff has a unique and often sarcastic way of looking at the world. He’s pleasant, kindhearted, depressed and has low self-esteem, so he can’t believe hunky Brad could be interested in him. Brad is just the opposite and knows exactly what he wants, and is determined to have Jeff for his own, despite the roadblocks thrown in their way. That means problems with various family members, nest and pack, and a villain torturing and killing snake shifters. This story has it all. It’s well written, has a smooth flow, it’s filled with bantering dialogue, great secondary characters, blistering hot sex, and plenty of action near the end. If you love shifter stories, give this one a try.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Together Bound

Title: Together Bound
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-159-9
Genre: {M/M}, Science Fiction, Sequel
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Todd and Nick have been together as master and slave, but more importantly mates, for over a year.  Their work as sentries keeps them busy so the men have learned to enjoy their down time.  When Todd receives a letter from the Vice Chancellor regarding Nick’s ownership, their life together changes in ways they do not see coming. 

Together Bound is the sequel to Marked Yours by author Elizabeth Noble.  The story picks up several months after the end of the first story, and while the author does do a little history building in the beginning, it is necessary to read the books in order so that you have a solid grasp about what is going on. 

The main characters, Todd and Nick, are as engaging as ever.  In no time, I found myself pulled back into their world, watching as the drama around them unfolded.  The connection between the men is stronger than ever and while the sex scenes between them will heat up the page, it is the subplot that will hold the reader’s attention.  The Vice Chancellor has called the men in for help and while Todd does not approve of the way the man asked, he does understand the reason for the secrecy.  As the two men go into a government run orphan slave compound, their lives and relationship will be tested.  Both Todd and Nick must face an enemy that has the power to tear them apart.  The emotions they go through, due to this latest assignment, are easy to understand, yet, at times I wondered if the author was planning on waiting for the next book before the air between Todd and Nick was cleared.

Although Together Bound does not end on a cliff hanger, it does leave a clear opening for a third book, and I can’t wait to see what these two will find themselves involved in next.

Faith, Trust and Stardust

Title: Faith, Trust and Stardust
Author: Gabrielle Evans
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61926-002-6
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Kendall Orion is crazy about vampire enforcer Cassius Reynard, but Kendall has a big secret. He’s kept it hidden for nearly a hundred years and to keep Cass, he’s willing to try to get rid of it no matter how much it hurts.   

Cassius is going crazy trying to make sense of Kendall’s mood swings but he’s knows his little man is hiding something. When a misunderstanding leads Kendal to self-mutilation, Cass is determined to learn the truth, which only leads to more questions. As they work on their relationship, Haven is threatened from the outside and just when Kendall needs him most, Cass is away on business. Can he get back in time or will it be too late? 

Faith, Trust and Stardust is the second release in Gabrielle Evan’s Haven series.  The plot and characters are closely intertwined so it would be best to read them in order. 

It’s a fun and entertaining story that’s perfect for an afternoon read. It’s filled with action from the opening pages, has a well scripted fast pace and the characters are likable, funny and warm. Big, burly Cassius is a soft marshmallow when it comes to his little mate and some of their conversations…their bantering…had me chuckling out loud. Ms. Evans did a nice job developing their personalities and their struggle to come to an understanding on their mate status is handled well. Kendall’s an emotional wreck, Cassius is ready to tear his hair out in frustration and it’s all expressed with a believable depth of feeling. There are also some twists and turns to watch for involving Kendall. 

It is nice seeing more of Jory and Stavion from the previous release and well as Raven, who I’m anxious to learn more of. I’m hoping he has his own book sometime in the future. There’s also numerous other secondary characters sprinkled throughout for interest, aggravation, annoyance or support, including an interesting Elder that I’m expecting to see again…fingers crossed. I look forward to the next release in the series, Forgotten Sins.

What We Deserve

Title: What We Deserve
Author: Kerry Freeman
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-61118-632-1
Genre: {M/M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Sean Miller and his boyfriend, Tyler Welsh, arrived at Sean’s parents’ home for the usual Wednesday night dinner.  During the meal, Sean’s mother announced that Jamie Matthews has returned and wanted to see Sean. Old wounds of hurt Sean thought were healed years ago were immediately opened.  Sean realizes he is unable to forget his first love Jamie, yet Sean refuses to give up his passion for Tyler.  Sean’s only options are to keep both Tyler and Jamie as his boyfriends. 

Kerry Freeman's What We Deserve highlights the pitfalls of a permanent ménage à trois relationship. The plot blends humor, sensual intimacy scenes, as well as creditable characters with realistic emotions.  Having a gay son was not an issue for any of the parents. The main problem was with Sean, Tyler and Jamie conquering their fear of their budding relationship, ending in heartbreak. Sean and Jamie have a history of being childhood best friends. However, the bond was broken by Jamie’s leaving for service without telling Sean, plus Jamie had no contact with Sean for all the years he was gone. Tyler fears being dumped by Sean as well as Jamie, whom Tyler has grown to love as much as Sean. Jamie fears he has lost any chance of regaining Sean’s trust and love. Jamie also discovers that he loves Tyler.   

Working through their insecurities, all three men make a decision that they can only be happy in a “household of three” relationship. What We Deserve is an impressive happily ever after romance that I enjoyed immensely. 

Caution: Contents Under Pressure

Title: Caution: Contents Under Pressure
Author: Gabrielle Evans
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
ISBN: 1-61034-939-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Life has changed for Stavion. Instead of doing his job of leading the enforcers, he now finds himself in charge of his enemy’s old coven. With that change in position, come responsibilities and stress he never imaged or wanted. Meeting Jory changes everything...he’s just what Stavion’s been waiting for. Knowing his little mate is skittish means patience, but no matter what, he’s not giving up. Jory is his! 

Jory can’t believe he and his friends are finally free and that they have food and a warm place to sleep. He’s scared of all the huge vampires in the house and it’s only made worse knowing that Stavion, the biggest and scariest of the group, claims to be his mate. Jory’s keeping his own secrets and doesn’t know what to do, but can’t deny his attraction to his mate either. What will he do? 

Caution: Contents Under Pressure in the first release in the new series Haven. Please note that this book picks up at some point in the Moonlight Breed series, which I was unaware of.  In the opening pages, you will find references to some of those characters and if you haven’t read the other books, you’ll likely be a bit confused initially, but it should pass quickly. 

I like Jory and Stavion. They’re as different as different can be but still fit together as a couple perfectly. That’s not to say that Ms. Evans starts them off smoothly…not hardly. Their meeting itself is a plot twist…the aftermath of an unpleasant circumstance Jory and several others had to be rescued from. The resulting fear and unease starts him and Stavion off on uneasy footing, but it allows them time to become acquainted before a physical relationship develops.  So, if you expect them to immediately jump into bed, you’ll be disappointed.  

The plot flow is smooth, the characters well developed, the descriptions vivid and the sex, once their relationship becomes intimate, is blistering hot. There’s also some good friends mixed in with periods of fear, pain, deceit and betrayal. The action packed scenes at the end are fast paced, pulling in characters seen throughout the book and even adding a few new ones. People may end up bruised and battered, but the villains get their just desserts, and Jory and Stavion survive the conflict, just as they should. I look forward to seeing more of them in the future.

Premonition

Title: Premonition
Author: D.H. Starr
Publisher: ManLoveRomance Press
ISBN: 978-1-60820-305-0
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Suspense
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

With one of the highest solved rates of cases in his district, Martin is truly one of Boston’s finest.  What no one knows is that the police officer has a little help.  Martin’s special abilities aren’t the only secret he’s been keeping, however, and with the hot new partner he’s been assigned, all his secrets just might come out. 

Premonition is the latest release by author D.H. Starr.  This suspense-filled story is sure to become a hit as it holds the readers attention from the first page till the last.  The author writes characters that truly grab the reader and Martin and Justin are no different.   While both men are cops, that’s where the similarities end, at least outwardly.  Martin is gay but worried about what coming out could mean. Justin, on the other hand, is openly gay and could care less about what others think.  You would think that this would be a problem for their relationship, yet it isn’t.  These two fall in love almost at first sight.  That connection between the two is easy to see and the passion that soon follows heats the pages up wonderfully. 

Martin’s abilities cause problems, however.  Wanting to be honest with Justin, Martin worries about telling his new partner about his connection to the death of Justin’s brother.  The emotions both men go through are totally realistic.  Martin feels guilty over his inability to save Justin’s brother and this guilt colors his actions with the other man.  Justin, on the other hand, really hasn’t had the time to grieve and when he finds out Martin saw his brother the night he died, things really hit the fan.   

Between the men’s relationship, and the mystery surrounding the death of Justin’s brother, Premonition has a lot of twists and turns to keep the reader entertained.  Not only is this one story I will read again, but it is one I hated to see end and hope the author has plans to brings these two back some time soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Behind Iron Lace

Title: Behind Iron Lace
Author: Mercy Celeste
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com
ISBN: 9781920501761
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Darcy Butler isn’t thrilled with his move to New Orleans. It’s hot, humid, he isn’t happy with his job, his life and he’s homesick for the life he left behind in Oregon. When he meets the gorgeous photographer he intends to hire to re-vamp the art department of his online magazine, Darcy suddenly feels something he’s never experienced before. An attraction to a man.  

Caleb Mitchell is home from roving the world because his mother is dying from cancer. He needs a distraction to keep his sanity and thinks the position as art director is just what he needs. Caleb doesn’t expect his instant attraction for the cute owner, especially a man who claims to be straight. But he wants Darcy and he’s determined to get him. Caleb just has to get Darcy out of the closet first…and deal with a jealous ex…and a past that could destroy everything. 

Behind Iron Lace is the first book by Mercy Celeste that I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and it won’t be my last. The story caught my attention on the first page and didn’t let go until the very end.  It’s entertaining, well written with a smooth flow, has vivid descriptions and Darcy and Caleb have unique and interesting personalities. There are numerous secondary characters to add color and flair; it has drama, angst and plenty of hot, steamy sex. What more could you want?  

The chemistry between Darcy and Caleb is instantaneous and I loved the first part of the story where they met, grew closer and Caleb slowly seduced Darcy out of the closet. It was sweet, tender and hot. But there’s plenty of unhappiness too, with Darcy dealing with his business partner and the pain of Caleb’s mother dying. The story has a little bit of everything and just when it looks like life will work out, the bottom falls out of their relationship. Never fear. Ms. Celeste throws in a few more twists near the end, giving them the happily-ever-after they’ve been looking for. Read and enjoy.