Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Wolf’s Destiny

Title: The Wolf’s Destiny
Author: R. F. Long
Publisher: self published
Publisher URL: www.smashwords.com
ISBN: none listed
Genre: {M/F} Fantasy Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

In the wild north, Jeren and Shan have made a life with his people, but the land of Jeren’s birth…her heritage is still exerting a pull on her. Refugees are streaming into their home camp daily and when one of these people tries to kill her and fails, killing others, Jeren knows she can no longer stand idly by. She must fight her brother, Gilliad. Now.  

Shan has his own problems. He’s worried about losing his wife and he’s struggling against the dark magical forces threatening to overtake him. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do, they’re being driven farther and farther apart. When Jeren makes the decision to fight against her brother, Shan makes a mistake that will alter all their lives. The destiny they hoped for is changed but is it forever? Can they somehow change it back? Can they still be together? 

The Wolf’s Destiny is book three in R. F. Long’s A Tale of the Holtlands.  I read the first two books when they were released but it’s been two years since the second and I admit that I initially had trouble remembering who the characters were. So, not only should the books be read in order but if it’s been a while since you’ve read The Wolf’s Sister (published through another source), I think you’ll find it beneficial to re-read it first. 

The book starts off rather slowly with a scene out of everyday life, and Jeren and Shan trying to unsuccessfully slip away to spend time together. Within a few pages Jeren’s duty to her ancestral people interferes and the action picks up with an assassination attempt where several people are killed. From this point on, the overall pace of the story doesn’t let up but speeds ever faster towards the end. But getting there isn’t easy. Jeren, Shan and a vast number of secondary characters (some good and others bad) fight their way across country on the way to Jeren’s ancestral land and her tyrannical brother. 

There are plenty of twists and turns in this entertaining and complicated story. And when I said lots of secondary characters I wasn’t kidding. It seems like with every new chapter somebody (or something) else was being introduced or brought back into the story. Truthfully, at times the constant flow of people (creatures) got confusing. I really liked how the author took the magical ability of both Jeren and Shan and made it stronger and more intense, changing them into a force to be reckoned with. I did enjoy getting to see more of Ariah and Shan’s brother, Indarin.  

After all of the changes in Jeren and Shan, and their circumstances, I wasn’t certain things would work out for them but the author managed to realistically get them back together. I was satisfied with the ending…that this couple had a happily-ever-after, but I was left wondering if this was the end of their story, or whether there might be another book in the future. Unfortunately at the time of this writing, the author’s website was unavailable, so I don’t know if another book is planned or not.

Tofurkey and Yams

Title: Tofurkey and Yams
Author: Karenna Colcroft
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-511-0
Genre: {M/M} Holiday, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Werewolf Kyle Slidell is determined to celebrate a traditional Christmas with his mate, pack alpha Tobias Rogan. However, Tobias is just as determine to spend the holiday alone, wishing the day disappear forever. 

Tofurkey and Yams is the second addition to the Real Werewolves Don't Eat Meat Series. The first book Salad on the Side introduces Kyle, a human living in a mostly werewolf apartment complex. There is an attraction between Kyle and Tobias. A jealous pack member changes Kyle into a werewolf and Tobias claims Kyle as his mate. Kyle and Tobias are still in the adjustment period. The down side of being a werewolf is the necessity to break human family ties. Because of this pack law, Tobias becomes depressed during the holidays. He allows his past to dictate his present frame of mind until Kyle forces Tobias to accept making new holiday memories with him.  

Karenna Colcroft has created an emotionally moving and enjoyable installment. I look forward to reading the next episode Veggie Burgers to Go.

Christmas in Flip Flops

Title: Christmas in Flip Flops
Author: A. J. Llewellyn
Publisher: Amber Allure
ISBN: 978-1-61124-228-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

It’s almost Christmas and life for dental hygienist Devon Callahan is a mess. Because of the economy he’s been jobless for months and unable to find anything permanent. He’s almost out of cash, his credit cards are nearly maxed out and then on the day of a promising job interview, his cell phone gets stolen.  

Luckily the interview goes better than he imagined but if he wants the job, there’s a catch. He has to leave for Waikiki within twenty-four hours, where he’ll be working at Schofield Barracks, giving dental care to US soldiers and their dependents.  

Devon is thrilled to have the job but is worried about what his boyfriend, Manco, is going to say. They are expecting all of Manco’s family from Peru for the holidays and now his plans have changed. Can Devon explain to his lover why this move to Hawaii is a good career move or will it mean he’ll be spending his holiday and the days after, alone. 

Christmas in Flip Flops is A. J. Llewellyn’s new fun and entertaining holiday release.  I must admit that the catchy title and colorful beachfront cover is what first caught my attention but then I read the blurb. I was hooked. Then I started reading and got sucked right in on the opening pages. 

There’s just something about a Christmas story set in beautiful, tropical Hawaii that’s appealing. The descriptions of the island are nicely done, as are the wonderful new friends that help keep Devon occupied in his spare time. I loved that Devon’s job was set at Schofield Barracks and that his patients are servicemen and their families. It allowed the inclusion of a good deal of historical background information. I also got a kick out of the all the hard to pronounce Hawaiian street names…and how often Devon got lost as he tried to navigate around the island.   

Overall I found the premise to be realistic; the setting beautifully described, and the dialogue fun and snappy. But at heart it’s a romance about Devon missing his man. I have to say that initially I wasn’t too impressed with Manco or his snarly attitude, but I came around after an unexpected twist brings them back together. So, whether or not your winter means snow on the ground, give this holiday release a try. I enjoyed it and I think you will to.

Tied Together

Title: Tied Together
Author: Z. Allora
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-574-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Bass player Josh Strider is just about at the end of his rope. His step brother, keyboardist Robin Strider persist on clinging to the bond of brotherhood when there is nothing brotherly in the feelings they share. It takes almost losing each other before Robin can admit they are lovers and not blood brothers. 

Tied Together is the second book in The Dark Angels series. Josh and Robin are members of the famous The Dark Angels rock band. The plot features Josh and Robin’s emotional rollercoaster in the closet romance.  Growing up in an abusive home after the death of Robin’s mother, Josh and Robin both have issues of being abandoned. Robin is gay and fears rejection by society as well as the fear of being alone. Josh has always been Robin’s protector. In Robin’s mind the status of brothers is socially acceptable since they have the same last name and were raised in the same household. Robin views intimacy with Josh as a momentary lapse in his resistance. Josh on the other hand knows his own mind. Josh realized years ago that he is in love with Robin. Several dramatic events force Robin to come to terms with his true feelings for Josh resulting in a lover’s relationship.  

Z. Allora’s Tied Together taken as a whole is impressive as well as pleasing for fans that like spanking scenes. For me, I found the amusing interaction between Josh, Robin and the secondary characters to be especially enjoyable.       

You Can Choose Your Friends

Title: You Can Choose Your Friends
Author: Zahra Owens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-331-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Prequel
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Being the youngest son of an ultra conservative minister means that Franklyn Galloway is stuck firmly in the closet without any hope of coming out. His father has specific expectations for his life, which includes his future occupation. Franklyn wants to study architecture, while his father insists on a business degree. He manages to sneak in a design class where he meets free spirited Jay Molenski. Franklyn’s been raised to believe his feelings for Jay are wrong but their attraction can only be denied so long.   

His trip home for Thanksgiving goes badly and Franklyn ends up back at the dorm, nursing a fifth of vodka and a bottle of sleeping pills. If not for Jay, he might have made a mistake that could have ended his life. It’s up to Jay and his family to prove Franklyn deserves to be loved for who he is. 

You Can Choose Your Friends is the prequel to the previously published You Can’t Choose Your Family by Zahra Owens and takes place twenty years before the first release. It’s the story of how Jay and Fran met at college and spent their first Christmas together with the Molenski family.  

I loved watching Fran move away from his stifling family and finally get the chance to be himself for the first time in his life. The on-going guilt and repression by his father, even from a distance, is nicely expressed and it shows the depth of his emotional pain, and continuing fear and unhappiness. Fran’s struggles to be himself are handled nicely, and Jay is the perfect friend to help him, being supportive but honest with his own feelings. He’s open, caring and tenderhearted. And he has a loving, supportive family, willing to welcome Fran with open arms. 

I liked seeing these two men come together and develop their relationship. Fran finally admitting his preference for men and his love of Jay is wonderfully done…if at times heart wrenching. If you can appreciate a story where a young man takes the first steps into a new life, then give this novella a try. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.