Friday, December 28, 2012

To Have a Human


Author: Amber Kell
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher URL: www.extasybooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-77111-398-4
Genre: {M/M} Shape-shifters
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Carey Gale is human but that does not mean he is too weak to be a shifter’s mate. Cat shifter Broden Lyall learned this lesson after Carey had to rescue him from the wolf shifters who had kidnapped Broden.

To Have a Human is an impressive action as well as passionate story. The characters are creditable plus the plot is fascinating. Carey has a welcoming personality that seems to inspire shifters to want be his friend. In fact, all of his band members are shifters; they all love and respect Carey. What Carey lacks in strength, he makes up for with his skills as a highly trained warrior. Broden is the alpha in his small pride of cat shifters. Although Broden’s cat is happy to have Carey as a mate, the man side of Broden worries about Carey being able to fit in. Broden is soon proven wrong in his conjecture. Carey and Broden are a perfect match in every way.

Amber Kell has created a superb happy-for-now saga that I enjoyed immensely. 

Cover Up


Title: Cover Up
Author: KC Burn
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781623802387
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Detective Ivan Bekker thought a cheating boyfriend was the worst thing that could happen to him. Then he kills a criminal in a drug bust gone bad and he winds up under investigation and Ivan’s boss thinks there’s a leak in the department. Even though he’s on administrative leave, Ivan’s still placed in an off-the-books undercover operation to find evidence crucial to plugging the leak and he’s totally on his own.

Ivan winds up posing as a divorcee and rooming with Parker Wakefield and it doesn’t take him long to figure out the younger man can’t be a criminal. Ivan doesn’t believe Parker’s involved with the Russian mob from the drug bust either; he’s just too sweet and naive. Shortly after, Ivan’s resolve breaks down and they become involved. But strange things are still going on and he needs to figure out what they mean. There’s Parker’s friend Neil and the people he brings around and what about stack of cash Ivan finds. Could Parker really be involved?

Cover Up is the second release in KC Burn’s Toronto Tales series and while it can be read as a standalone, it would be best if read in order.

The plot for this one is a bit different and it’s because Ivan’s investigating Parker. It also means the author manages to sneak in plenty of secrets, misunderstandings and twists to mess up their new relationship. It makes for a fairly even paced plot. Not to mention Ivan’s still trying to deal with the aftermath of having killed someone for the first time—think PTSD. The personalities of both men are pretty well developed, the chemistry between them is sizzling and there’s a good dose and betrayal, action and danger. I like these two together. And Parker’s sweet, even if his gullibility with his friend Neil and how he lets the guy walk all over him bothered me. This plot certainly isn’t without conflict but the author gets these two together in a manner I found plausible and that worked well within the story line. 

Feeling the Rhythm


Author: SJ Frost
Publisher: MLR Books
Publisher’s URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-60820-8135
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Remmy has a habit of falling for straight guys and, with Brad around, it seems it’s a habit he’s not breaking anytime soon.  He knows the only way things are going to change is if he leaves the job he loves and makes a fresh start.  Planning on leaving his job with Conquest to go to school is a big step, but walking away from Brad may be the hardest thing he has ever done.  But Brad has other ideas and Remmy wonders how long the drummer will be sticky around.

Feeling the Rhythm is the newest addition to the Conquest series.  This newest addition tells the story of Remmy and Brad, both characters that fans of this series have run into before.  Remmy manages the band’s roadies, making sure each concert venue is set up the way the band likes it.  He loves his job but has been on the road with one band or the other since graduating high school.  Remmy is an easy character to like, he is shy and easy going around those he is unsure of, while at the same time very tough when he needs to be.  The way he cares about those around him is just what Brad needs to help him through the changes in his life.  

Brad is Conquest’s drummer and the last single member in the band.  While I wondered a little about Brad in the beginning of this story, watching him change as he accepted himself and his feelings for Remmy made this story a great read.  The two men have a wonderful connection that flows smoothly as they become lovers and it feels as if they have always been together as a couple.  This does not mean that everything runs smoothly for them.  Brad’s past plays heavily into the story and I felt for the young man he was and the wrong done to him. 

Feeling the Rhythm is peppered with wonderful secondary characters, all fans of this series will know from previous stories.  The guys are not only there to lend Brad and Remmy moral support as they start their new relationship, but also to help the two men out when Brad’s past comes back to haunt him. 

I love how the author wraps up the story lines surrounding Brad.  The closure she brings him felt realistic and just what the main characters needed.  Feeling the Rhythm is not to be missed and while each story in this book can be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading each book in order, to get the full impact of the series.

Love Brokers: Mr. Romance


Author: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-62300-106-3
Genre: {M/M} Holiday
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Jacob Cruz needed a little push in the right direction from a mutual friend. So mutual friend stepped up to the matchmaking challenge by introducing best friend Jacob Cruz to new best friend Brant Hudson. Jacob and Brant immediately found each other extremely appealing; unfortunately, fate had a few detours in store for the budding lovers.

Love Brokers: Mr. Romance is an enchanting, as well as amusing, journey-to-true-romance story. Jacob and Brant have the same personality traits. Both men are naturally charismatic, honest and compassionate. They have the same dream of helping others find happiness with a loving partner. After Jacob and Brant met, they each realized being content in a shallow relationship with their current boyfriends was not enough. Spending years apart, Jacob and Brant re-ignite the sparks at a second chance meeting. This time, Jacob and Brant finally manage to fulfill their heart’s desire for a long term relationship together.

L.C. Chase has created a heartwarming saga that I thoroughly enjoyed.

7 Days of Christmas


Author: Nicole Dennis
Publisher: Silver Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 9781614958420
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series Holiday
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Noel Hudson spent his childhood in a state run orphanage. Now that he’s an adult, he’s alone and on his own. Moving to Hamilton River was supposed to be a new start but instead, he lost his job then his apartment and ended up living on the streets. For two weeks, he’s spent his days inside Justin’s bookstore reading until the store closes in the afternoon. Justin can’t help but wonder about him and when he learns of Noel’s past he’s determined to make a change in his life. Justine offers him a job, a place to stay and seven red envelopes, each with a little hope, love and Christmas magic inside.

7 Days of Christmas is part of Let It Snow 2012 and Nicole Dennis wrote it to be part of her Hamilton River series.

This is a cute story—a gently holiday tale of hope and love set during the Christmas season. Some might say it’s too sweet—that Justin and Noel are too perfect and that they didn’t have any conflict, but I didn’t care. I love both characters. Their personalities are perfectly crafted, there’s just enough back story, the descriptions pulled me into the plot and I loved the use of the red envelopes. It’s a unique and creative approach I didn’t expect. The slow courtship between Justin and Noel is wonderful. The soft touches, kisses on the cheeks and spending time together—sharing Christmas traditions while they got to know each other instead of jumping into bed is appreciated. Ms. Dennis not only captured the heart of both men but the spirit of the season with this joyful and entertaining release. 

A Slice of Love


Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher’s URL:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62380-079-6
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Marcus knew it would be hard to make a go of his bakery, but he did not realize just how hard it would be.  When he tells one of his friends about the troubles he is facing his friend comes up with the perfect solution, Gregory.  Gregory needs a second job, but landing the first was hard enough and he’s not up to facing any more rejection.  When a friend tells him of a possible job in a bakery, Gregory is willing to give it a try. 

A Slice of Love is the newest book added to the A Taste of Love series and I was a little surprised by the appearance of one of its main characters.  Fans of this series may remember that we were introduced to Gregory in A Serving of Love, where he was introduced as Sebastian’s ex.  To say he was a jerk in that story would be an understatement and I wondered how the author would be able to turn this cheating jerk into a character that I could end up caring about.  The author did a great job on this point and it was not long into A Slice of Love that I was hoping things would turn out for both Marcus and Gregory. 

These two men were made for each other.  Gregory is living with HIV and one of his many worries is that he will never again feel the love of another man.  There is vulnerability about Gregory now that causes the young man to come across shy or uncertain at times.  The regret he feels about his past actions come across realistically as does the way he is dealing with his disease. 

Marcus is a hard working young man who is trying to live out his dream, something that is hard for him to do since the death of his friend to AIDS.  He feels a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed, worrying about letting those who have helped him down.  He is also trying to deal with an overbearing father whose approval he continues to crave.  Being a military brat myself, I can honestly say that the way The General acts rings true to life, as does the relationship the men have.   

When Gregory and Marcus meet, there is an instant connection.  Although the men’s relationship moves fast, the author does a great job touching on the topic of safety when it comes to their sex life.  Even though the men each have family issues that are on the mend by the end of the story, they also have a ‘made’ family and I enjoyed seeing them all come together to help the men out when needed. 

A Slice of Love does not just center on Marcus and Gregory.  It also touches on many topics dealing with HIV that have found their way to the news over the last few years.  That, even in this day and time, some people are still ignorant about the disease is sad, and I like the way the author works to bring some education on this topic across without appearing to be preaching. 

A Slice of Love was a good addition to this series and I am sure Mr. Grey’s fans will love it.

An Isolated Range


Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-077-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Western Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Marty Green loves basketball. His dream of playing for his college team comes to a screeching halt when he strokes on the court during his first game. It leaves him hospitalized for weeks, putting him at the mercy of his overprotective parents. Able to use a wheelchair, Marty refuses to stay with his family while going to rehab. Instead his doctor’s friend, Dakota, offers him a job on his ranch, and he accepts.

Quinn Knepper meets Marty when he arrives and is immediately attracted.  Working as Wally’s veterinary assistant mean’s he’s at the ranch often and Quinn enjoys spending time with Marty, but realizes right away that Marty isn’t outgoing about his sexuality. But Quinn has other issues to deal with too. His father is ashamed of him and Marty’s father is a powerful state senator—and a vocal homophobe. Making a relationship work with two such families is difficult, especially when Marty’s reluctant to interfere with his father’s re-election.  Can Quinn convince the man he loves that their future is more important than his family’s opinion or Marty’s dad’s political ambition?

An Isolated Range is the newest release in Andrew Grey’s Range series. It’s possible to read this book as a standalone but because of the recurring location and character relationships, I recommend the books be read in order.

Mr. Grey never ceases to amaze me with the variety of couples he successfully brings together on Dakota and Wally’s ranch. This time it’s a truly unique story because of the freaky nature of Marty’s stroke, bringing to mind how fragile and uncertain life can be, reminding us all not to take life and love for granted. I truly appreciated the light hand Mr. Grey used during the hospital scenes while still getting across Marty’s frustration and disappointment with the situation and his family. The scenes are sad but still express what’s going on without being maudlin.

The whole plot is heart-wrenching (get out your tissues) and heartwarming, depending on where in the story you happen to be reading. I enjoyed it a lot and think the pacing is perfect and the plot line realistic. The personalities of Quinn and Marty are fully developed, descriptions of the ranch pulled me into the scenes and I loved seeing favorite characters returning. That Marty is recovering while he and Quinn are both becoming independent of their respective family is a definite plus for me. These two guys came together at a believable speed and in a reasonable manner. It’s Andrew Grey at his best—creating memorable characters his readers can care about. Enjoy.

Sullivan


Title:  Sullivan
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-1-78184-169-3
Genre: {M/M} Were-shifters Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Arriving in San Antonio, snow Leopard shifter Sully Ward was in for a few surprises. The apartment he secured via the internet turns out to be a dump in the worst part of town even if it is within walking distance of the college. Sully’s first friend is a homeless boy and wolf shifter Bobby Baker runs away as soon as he realizes Sully is his mate.

Sullivan is book seven in the Leopard’s Spots series. In this episode, Bobby, whose younger brother is mated to Sully’s Cousin Oscar, finally gets his story. Bobby is next in line to be Alpha of the wolf pack; a position he did not choose for himself. Nevertheless, Bobby understands it is his duty and he lives up to the Alpha status whenever it is necessary.  Upon first observation, Sully is timid; however, Sully is as strong if not stronger than Bobby. Sully’s strength is tested when a psycho attempts to murder Bobby.

Bailey Bradford’s Sullivan is another wonderful addition to this exciting action romance series. I very much enjoyed this saga. The series is best read in sequence.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of spanking

Tigerland


Title: Tigerland
Author: Sean Kennedy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-028-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Since Declan Tyler retired from the AFL, he and his partner, Simon Murray, have made a good life together. Their professional lives still keep them in the public eye but they try to stay away from the media with their personal lives. That changes when Greg Heyward, Declan’s ex-partner and team mate decides to retire and come out of the closet the same day. It wouldn’t matter except Greg intends to use the revelation to gain attention and plans to drag Declan and Simon’s name into the spotlight. Initially Declan’s furious. He refuses to speak out in their defense, insisting it’ll blow over, except it only gets worse.  Can Declan and Simon’s relationship survive Heyward’s lies? Will it make them stronger as a couple or drive them apart forever?

Tigerland is the newest release by Sean Kennedy and is the sequel to Tigers and Devils, which is also the series name. Please note the books should be read in order or you’ll be lost.

By the end of the last book, Declan and Simon were an established couple but here they’ve even more in love and the author’s done a great job showing that their relationship is deeper and more committed. You can’t help but root for these two. I loved the hilarious, bantering dialogue between the various characters. It often helped lighten the mood and kept the story from bogging down, and besides it’s just plain fun.

There’s plenty of returning secondary characters—friends that play important roles in Declan and Simon’s lives. There’s also family, Coby (Simon’s assistant), and Heyward, the attention-seeking problem to deal with. For the villain, Heyward’s pretty annoying and the author supplied just enough information about him to make his character seem real. A jerk still, but real. Lastly, I liked how the author handled the media coverage and showed how pushy they can be to get a story. I don’t know about you but taking away a person’s privacy under the umbrella of the people-have-the-right-to-know is nuts.

So, off my soapbox. I enjoyed this entertaining and well-written story. The pacing is smooth, the personalities nicely developed and the relationships believable. I don’t know if another book is planned, so keep checking the author’s website for updates

Highlander Brawn


Author:  Eliza Knight
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  http://www.ellorascave.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419943256
Genre:  {M/F} Historical, Paranormal Elements, Sequel
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs:  Amethyst Nymph

The moment she laid eyes on the raven-haired devil with the stormy gaze, Sorcha was hooked.  He’d come to make peace with her clan, but his presence was playing havoc with her libido.  Sorcha had vowed to be a healer and warrior to her clan.  Men were off limits, especially this man who made her feel things she didn’t want to feel.

The alliance between the two clans was rocky enough without adding in the unexpected heat Laird Reed Campbell feels when he meets Sorcha.  One taste of her would be enough to get her out of his system, or so he thought.  That one taste was forcing him into marriage with a hellion who said she looked forward to being his widow.  Sorcha needed discipline and Reed wanted to be the man who gave it to her…in his bed.

When Reed and Sorcha are in the same room, it’s like a detonator.  It was only a matter of time, a very short one, before the two of them stopped pretending they didn’t want each other.  Sorcha isn’t the meek and mild type and this drives Reed to distraction in more ways than one.  He wants to be angry, but Reed can’t stop feeling fortunate for being bound to Sorcha.  The couple bond in ways they never imagined, even though they have trust issues. 

Highlander Brawn is the sequel to Highland Steam but that doesn’t mean it takes a back seat where amorous relations are concerned.  This story might make you break a sweat while reading, so come prepared.  I was curious about Reed and Sorcha when they first appeared.  Brief as their first encounter was, I felt the mounting tension and knew something big was coming.   Hands down, the best scenes in this book happen in the first few pages when Reed goes for Sorcha.  Readers will be tickled and turned on at the same time.  I love Sorcha’s boldness at times and Reed’s reaction to her moods.  A couple like them will always keep you wanting more.  Thank you, Eliza Knight, for giving me more than I expected.  

One True Thing


Authors: Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-046-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

When a handsome stranger keeps Dusty from a fall, he’s smitten but doesn’t get the guys’ name before he disappears into the crowd. Dusty searches for him for weeks and when they finally meet, his rescuer acts like they’ve never meet. It’s strange but Dusty agrees to a date with Archer anyway. He isn’t always happy with Archer; while at other times he is which is confusing. Then the shock comes—Dusty meets Archer’s identical twin Asher—who’s really his savior, which explains his conflicted feelings. He’s dating the wrong twin. 

Asher loves photography but hates his job in the porn industry.  Asher wants a boyfriend but the guy he’s interested in is the cutie he kept from taking a tumble and he can’t find him. Then Asher learns his brother’s dating the guy he wants and it almost rips out his heart. But when Archer leaves Dusty in a leather bar and he calls for help, Asher gets the chance with the man he’s crazy about. It’s not long before he and Dusty are involved and falling in love, but Archer isn’t done messing with his life and this time, Asher could end up in jail.

One True Thing is the second release in the One Thing series by the writing duo of Piper Vaughn and MJ O’Shea. It’s possible to read it as a standalone but I recommend they be read in order.

Dusty was a great secondary character in the first release, so I was thrilled to learn he was the focus of this newest one. He’s an interesting guy—fun, loyal, hard-working, dependable and loving. Dusty’s personality was pretty well rounded before but now it’s fully developed and I like him even more. Two things I like about him most are he has hope and keeps trying no matter what. I got caught up in his story at the beginning and just kept reading.

Asher’s also a wonderful character and so different from his twin, which on the surface might seem odd but in reality is all too possible. Unlike his sibling, Asher’s the perfect kind of guy for Dusty—reliable, kind, and loving. They made a great couple and I was happy when Dusty realized the difference and got together with him. The development of their relationship is believable, and progressed at a reasonable pace. The scene where Dusty found out about Asher’s porn job could have been a trite scream-fest but instead the author quickly turned it around into a realistic and adult reaction which I liked. Good going to both authors.

So, if you like reading well paced and plotted books with great characters you can care about, I suggest you give this entertaining release a try. Enjoy.

Raindrops And Roses


Author: Christiane France
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-356-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Drew McEvoy realized timing meant everything when it comes to a possible relationship with Englishman Michael Dawson. Regrettably, Drew’s stay in London is almost over or is it?

Raindrops And Roses is the first book in the London Calling series. The characters are well matched, Both are mature peaceful men focused on their professions only to the extent of doing quality work. However, their jobs are not the total sum of their life. The short time spent together exhibits how much they have in common. Drew is a project manager for a Canadian restoration company. Michael is an editor for a publisher and works at home. Michael has a cat he rescued and named Marmalade. When Michael brought Drew home for a visit, Marmalade could sense that Drew likes cats; so in Marmalade’s regal opinion, Drew is deemed quite suitable to pet him.

Christiane France has created a delightfully heartwarming romantic encounter short story that I very much enjoyed.

Slow Dance


Title: Slow Dance
Authors: AJ Llewellyn & DJ Manly
Publisher: Silver Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 9781614957454
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Police Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Jubilee and Kieran went their separate way when the case they were working ended, but they didn’t realize how horrible being apart would be. Kieran’s pain is so intense that when he returns to his job in Canada, he goes deep undercover, putting his life in danger to infiltrate a dangerous drug ring. And Jubilee goes home to Texas, trying not to worry about Kieran, while attempting to find a murderer who’s been spotted near Lone Trail. Will Kieran survive his assignment? Can these two lovers now living in different countries find a way back to each other?

Slow Dance is the newest release in the contemporary romantic suspense series, Orgasmic Texas Dawn. Because of the ongoing story line and recurring characters, the books should be read in order.

With Jubilee unable to come out of the closet, Kieran doesn’t have any choice but to leave the man he loves behind. It makes for some well-scripted, high-stress dangerous scenes as Kieran goes deep undercover. The gang characters the authors created for this portion of the tale makes the story come alive and the situation Kieran’s in seem real. Cecil’s a scumbag and Dana’s just a poor, sad soul.  I wasn’t anticipating that Jubilee and Kieran would spend about 75% of the story apart, which mean the plot flips back and forth between them before they finally meet when Kieran flies to Dallas. It’s certainly unusual but the way in which it’s handled works.

I like Kieran and Jubilee. Their personalities are even more developed with this release. Seeing more of Kieran’s father is also a nice addition and the scenes while Kieran was hospitalized is nicely done. The pacing is fast throughout the story, the flow makes sense and the two pieces—Texas and Canada—come together in a believable manner. Getting the guys together and the hopes of a happily-ever-after come to an abrupt halt with a cliffhanger for the next book. I usually don’t like that kind of ending but with this series, I’m oddly okay with it. I can’t wait for Last Dance, coming next.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Italian Ice


Title: Italian Ice
Author: EM Lynley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61372-482-8
Genre: {M/M}, Suspense, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Trent and Reed are on vacation, at least Trent is.  It seems Reed, who is supposed to be retired, has been picking up side jobs with the FBI.  While in Italy with Trent, when he’s approached, he can’t seem to walk away. 

Italian Ice, the second story in the Precious Gems series, finds Trent and Reed in Italy. These men are total opposites and, during the course of the first story, I wondered how these two would make it as a couple.  This second story seems to pick up on that thread and brings their differences further out into the open.   The men have only been together for six months and, while they are still learning about each other, it seems that Reed has been keeping secrets.  I found Trent’s reactions to everything very realistic.  It’s easy to understand the anger and betrayal he felt, and, I could not believe that Reed thought things would never come to light.  The chemistry between the two still exists however, and the passion they display really heats up the pages.

The author has woven into the story another mystery that ends up pulling both men in.  At times, Trent made me shake my head, as he came across as one of those flighty women who can’t seem to stay put when told to and always find themselves in the hands of the bad guy.  At the same time, it was easy to see that he needs and wants to be connected to Reed in any way possible and if he has the ability to help the man, he will. 

Reed grows as an individual during the course of Italian Ice and starts to realize what, and who, is important to him.  Seeing him overcome past events and face his demons makes some of his past actions understandable.  I especially enjoyed the ending and the various surprises he had for Trent.

Italian Ice is full of wonderfully written secondary characters.  Several of these characters are definitely in the bad guy category but add a great dimension to the story.   There are several twists and turns in this story and while some are predictable, it does not keep this from being a good read.  The author does throw in a small twist toward the end of the story that makes me wonder how this will switch things up in the series. I can’t wait to see what will happen to these two characters next.

Greeting Cards


Author: Tinnean
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-107-6
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Ben Haggerty’s devastated when his lover of nearly seven years moves out suddenly, leaving him to spend the holidays alone. Weeks later, with the help of a friend, he finds Richard’s address but the greeting card he sends ends up at the wrong house and with the wrong man, Jason Prescott.

Thinking the card he receives is from his sister, Jason opens and reads it. The message from Ben asking when Richard’s coming home pulls at his heart and he writes back. The two men correspond for months, all the time growing closer and they eventually spend weekends together. Learning Jason is even smarter than Richard makes Ben uneasy but Jason’s nothing like his snobbish ex. Can a scholar find happiness with a blue-collar worker and make a life together? Ben hopes so.

Greeting Cards is the first book by Tinnean that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and it won’t be my last. I’ll be looking for others by this talented author real soon. I suggest you do too.

From the blurb, you might expect the story to be filled with pain and angst, but nothing could be further from the truth. Instead it’s a heartwarming story of second chances that made me smile. Yes, it starts off sadly because Richard’s just dumped Ben and he’s hurting, but it moves forward pretty quickly and the author doesn’t allow the feeling of the plot to become maudlin. And I’m glad because I really like Ben. The amount of personal history explaining why he doesn’t have family to lean on during this time is perfect and makes Richard even more of a scum-bag.

Don’t worry; despite being a feel good holiday release, the story isn’t too sweet. It’s well written, Ben and Jason’s personalities are nicely developed and the plot progresses at a believable pace. I love the idea of using oddball greeting cards through the getting-to-know-you phase of Ben and Jason’s relationship. It’s a hoot. Ben and Jason build their relationship by communicating, so they know each other pretty well before they met. That means, in this case, romance and kisses but not a lot of blistering sex. And I didn’t even care. I don’t think you will either. Enjoy.

Hunter and Hunted


Author: M.D. Grimm
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62380-103-8
Genre: {M/M} Shifter Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Hunter Landon abandons his Knight’s training when he meets deer shifter Glenn Lightfoot. Glenn was not the monster Hunter was taught to believe all shifters to be. Instead of killing Glenn, Hunter saved the shifter’s life and received a loving mate, along with the kind of family he always wished for.

Hunter and Hunted is the fourth book in The Shifters series. In this installment, Hunter is a human with psychic abilities. Hunter was adopted by one of the members of the radical group known as the Knights because of his gift. Hunter was never comfortable with the Knight’s philosophy; he only sought having a real home and family. Glenn has a loving family. Glenn’s father was apprehensive about bringing an enemy into their home; however, Hunter proved to be trustworthy. The protectors of all shifters are a group known as the Agency. In each episode the Agency members fight a battle with the menacingly sadistic knights. In Hunter and Hunted the agents move ever closer to capturing the fanatic leader of the knights, but alas agent Poe is thwarted again.

M.D. Grimm has created a fascinating as well as enjoyable saga featuring romance, drama and emotional turmoil. 

Hunter’s Season


Author:  Thea Harrison
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.samhainpublishing.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61921-311-1
Genre:  {M/F}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Xanthe just got back from her latest assignment, knowing her cover has been compromised and knowing she can’t work undercover again.  While guarding the Queen, she ends up protecting Aubrey after an assassination attempt.

Hunter’s Season is the latest addition in the Elder Races series.  I felt there wasn’t really as much suspense to the story as there have been in past stories.  There was a little more information about the Dark Fae and this story takes place in the other plane, not Earth. 

The relationship and chemistry between Xanthe and Aubrey was interesting, as well as hot.  I liked the way the author contrasted some of Xanthe’s characteristics between her personal and professional lives.  Aubrey had been dealt a big blow and doesn’t trust anyone, except maybe the Queen and her consort.  Between the two, quite a few conflicts arise, especially since Xanthe is very conscious of her station as a commoner, compared to Aubrey’s as Chancellor to the Queen.

There was a small subplot that has been woven throughout some of the series regarding Tarot cards.  I enjoyed the way that situation was resolved.  In addition, I had to laugh at Aubrey and how determined he was about keeping Xanthe in his life permanently.

I am looking forward to more stories about the Elder Races.

Rarer than Rubies


Author: EM Lynley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61372-477-4
Genre: {M/M}, Suspense, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Trent is not too sure about his forced vacation but since he does not have much of a choice about it, he plans to make the best of things.  Reed is at the airport to pick up a map that will further his mission.  Things go wrong once Reed notices that the map is put in Trent’s bag by mistake.  Reed wonders how hard it can be to retrieve the map and complete his mission.

EM Lynley’s book, Thief of Hearts: Tempted in Thailand, has found a new home, a new title, and over 4000 extra words, something you may or may not notice depending on how long ago you read the original.  Now titled Rarer than Rubies, the book is the first story in the author’s new Precious Gems series.  Regardless of the title, this was still a fun story to read.  Trent and Reed are such different characters that you would think that, as a couple, they would not work. 

Trent is an author who is in a rut.  His last relationship did not end well and the results are showing up in his work.  Trent thought he would be going on a glamorous vacation, thanks to his friends, but they seemed to have other ideas.  Reed is a federal agent working undercover in Thailand. He’s beginning to wonder if he should get out while the getting is good.  When Trent meets Reed, he thinks things might be picking up, yet from the time the men meet nothing goes right for either of them.  The author uses this time to throw all kinds of monkey wrenches into the men’s lives.  While Reed’s results in some rough consequences, Trent’s lead to some laughs.  I liked seeing these two play off each other and Trent’s occasional prissiness made me chuckle at times.  There is a connection between the two men and once they come together they really heat up the pages. 

The adventure the men seem to find themselves in, courtesy of Reed’s undercover work, will keep the reader’s attention till the last page.  There are many twists and turns, and the author did an excellent job wrapping everything up while giving the men their happily ever after.

Rarer than Rubies was a great read and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for these two next.

Under Pressure


Title:  Under Pressure
Author:  Laurie Roma
Publisher:  Siren Bookstrand Publishing
ISBN/BIN:    978-1-62241-578-6
Genre:  {M/F}, Romantic Suspense, Series
Rating:   5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Bella returns to Chicago to pick up the pieces of her life after nearly dying at the hands of a stalker.  Jason runs into Bella at a fund-raiser and really likes her feisty spirit.  What happens when Bella’s brothers and Jason go head-to-head when they realize she and Jason are together means lots of conflict and yelling.

The first book of the IAD Agency series is full of suspense, hot chemistry and humor.  Under Pressure examines a very serious alpha male in full alpha mode, as Jason understands the threat to Bella.  The sparks fly when Bella and Jason are together and not just in the bedroom.  I had to laugh out loud when Bella dug in her feet about Jason keeping her informed when the threat returns.

All the secondary characters, from Bella’s friends to Jason’s co-workers/friends, were funny especially since the men let their alpha personalities show.  Bella’s threats when she was cooking were so funny.  I loved the way the author wove these characters into the story and I could see where some pairings might show up future stories.  I was a little surprised about the ending, especially in light of some earlier remarks in the story.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the IAD Agency series, and I know we will be seeing all these friends in future books.  Under Pressure is one story that I will be reading again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Good Fight


Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781613727379
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Jerry Lincoln’s IT business is so successful he’s buried in work and his friend Peter convinces him that he needs help. Jerry eventually hires John Black Raven as one of his two new employees and despite John being an excellent worker; Jerry finds it hard to keep his mind on business with the sexy man around

John’s depending on the stability of his new job. He’s desperate to prove he can provide a good home for his niece and nephew and has been trying to get custody since his sister died. He’s also attracted to his new boss and it’s not long before John realizes the attraction is mutual and a relationship develops. Having Jerry to lean on while dealing with Child Services helps decrease John’s emotional load because getting the two Native American kids returned is going to be a fight. It’s a battle John and Jerry intend to win.

The Good Fight has so many layers and I enjoyed them all. It’s fun and entertaining, has some great friendships, and a well-developed romance between two interesting guys that I really like. What’s so great about this story is Mr. Grey seamlessly integrates these ‘normal’ topics while handling the heart-wrenching social problem plaguing Native Americans dealing with Child Services.  John’s trouble getting the kids back almost made me cry and showed how messed up the system is and that it needs to be fixed. Jerry’s caring and support during the frustrating time only made the bond between the men stronger.

As per his normal, Mr. Grey has created great characters, used vivid descriptions, a fast pace, a well scripted plot and all the emotional turmoil I could handle. The kids are adorable, the scenes on the reservation fit in perfectly and the ending is completely satisfying. I’ll be reading it again in the future and I hope you give it a try. You won’t be sorry.

Scarlet Blade


Author: Jez Morrow
Publisher: Torquere Press Publishers
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-61040-395-5
Genre: {M/M} Historical 
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

As the ship sailed into the Matagorda harbor, it was the end of the journey for Spanish nobleman Joaquin de Castille and Roman Priest Tomas. However, it was not the end of the love shared by the two men. Tomas was bound for Texas and Joaquin was bound for California. The hostile greeting by the natives in Texas altered Tomas’ decision to stay in Texas; consequently Tomas changed his destination to California, reuniting the lovers once again.

Scarlet Blade is a wonderful illustration of character traits, as well as religious views. Because of his wealth and nobility status, Joaquin is allowed to be a little more openly gay. Also because of his skill in weapons, Joaquin is not an easy target to bully. Joaquin was exiled from Spain to prevent embarrassment to his mother. Tomas has the most interesting background of the two main characters. Following the Roman family traditions of giving the younger son to the church, Tomas had no choice in becoming a priest with several older brothers in the household. Tomas did not follow the church’s dictate that God condemned same sex love. Tomas believed he was born with the sexuality God intended him to be and therefore, men loving men is not unnatural or a sin. Tomas is even more skilled in weapons than Joaquin, though Tomas tries harder to avoid conflicts than the easily offended Joaquin.

Jez Morrow has created an amazing as well as an exceptionally enjoyable historical saga. The play on words is humorous plus the intimacy is fascinating.

Second Chances


Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781781841518
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Western Series
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Robert "Oggie" Ogden was a Chicago Police Officer until a shotgun blast took part of his arm. Now he owns a ranch outside Cattle Valley and he’s getting it ready to house GLBT teens. His new home is just as much a second chance for himself as it is the kids and with hard work, Oggie can make it work but he won’t take hand-outs or pity from anyone. That’s especially true of the one man he’s attracted to and who irritates him the most—Drake Smith.

Bullied as a kid, Drake’s grown a tough outer shell as an adult to keep from getting hurt again. He doesn’t make friends, so he’s surprised when his efforts to help Oggie angers him. But sometimes misunderstandings and anger is only a mask for other feelings and it’s not long before he and Oggie’s flawed emotions have turned to desire and passion. Can these two hurt and damaged men find happiness together?

Second Chances is the latest release in Carol Lynne’s Cattle Valley series. Since previous characters play minors roles, it’s possible to read this one as a standalone.

As a general rule, I enjoy the Cattle Valley books but I can’t say that about this newest release. I love the concept of setting up a home for kids in need on Oggie’s ranch. It’s a great idea with lots of potential and I hope to see more of it in the future. Oggie and Drake are unhappy individuals, deeply wounded by their pasts, and both have multiple issues and emotional problems to deal with. (I just couldn’t wrap my mind around them being a couple.) So on top of two angry guys trying to develop a believable relationship, there are multiple story lines trying to weave into the plot. Another one of my problems is so many of them seem to end up as dangling threads.  Without going into detail—Cullen is tortured but after getting to the ranch, it isn’t mentioned again. His aftermath of dealing with the trauma is dropped. I found this omission horribly disappointing.

For me the high point of the story is actually Cullen and Joseph and their secondary plot. I really want to know more about them and hope they get a book of their own in the near future.

The Ice Dragon


Title:  The Ice Dragon
Author:  Bianca D’Arc
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.samhainpublishing.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61921-396-8
Genre:   {M/F}, Shape-shifters, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Roland is fatally wounded.  Lana and Tor realize how bad he is and end up saving him.  Just as Roland realizes she is his mate, he also realizes she is one of the lost princesses.

The Ice Dragon is the third book in the Dragon Knights series and introduces a new dragon to the readers.   New weapons are discovered that the northern warlord has created to use against the dragons.  He is also trying to re-capture Tor.

As Lana’s story unfolds, I was a little disappointed that more information wasn’t given about how she ended up where she did after being abducted as a child.  The warlord whose slave she was couldn’t have cared less whether she lived or not once Tor was born and he made a big mistake by making her care for the baby dragon.

I loved the way Roland and his knights were willing to listen to Lana and made her feel that she had a lot to offer militarily, along with her healing ability.  As Roland and Lana became friends, the chemistry between them scorched the pages as he becomes her lover.  Though this is not really a BDSM book, there are some mild elements in some of the later scenes between them. 

I liked the way the author also introduces Roland’s brothers and a few other characters.  The dragons that are bonded to knights are just as interesting as the human characters and I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

Publisher’s Note: This book is a re-issue - all of the books in the series will be reissued.