Saturday, May 12, 2012

Queerwolf

Title:  Queerwolf
Author: Rob Rosen
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-672-8
Genre: {M/M} Shape-shifter
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

It’s not that Blake Henry intended to run out on his date, nevertheless that is exactly what happened. The problem is Blake has no memory of how he became naked, covered in blood lying on the deck of a ferry.  With the help of his neighbor Ted Destry, Blake is able to solve the surprising mystery of how he turned into a queerwolf.   

Queerwolf is a hilarious action romance with plenty of twist and turns. Blake is an openly gay, good-natured self-employed accountant. Of course that was before his body went into adrenaline overload, which has some very interesting side effects. Blake’s new-found abilities also gained him a pack of enemies. Ted is a nice guy who has waited two years for Blake to notice him. Once Ted and Blake established a boyfriend relationship, Ted is determined said relationship will be long term. Both men are lucky they fell in love with each other.   

Rob Rosen has created an interesting spin to the usual werewolf book. Queerwolf is impressive as well as enjoyable; I especially enjoyed Blake’s witty personality.

Aaron’s Awakening

Title: Aaron’s Awakening
Author: Lavinia Lewis
Publisher: Total E-Bound Books
Publisher’s URL: http://www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN/BIN: 9780857157270
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Aaron, his father and his father’s mate are finally moving back to Texas and Aaron couldn’t be happier.  Aaron has missed the ranch and although he knows his father wouldn’t be happy about his not returning to college, Aaron can’t wait to get to work.  When Aaron meets his mate, he’s not sure who is more surprised, him, his mate, or his father. 

Aaron’s Awakening is the fourth book in the Shifters’ Haven series.  Fans of this series will remember Aaron and Cary, as both men have made appearances in previous stories.  The men are both young, especially Aaron.  While he may be 20 years old, there is an innocence about him that is not hard to miss.  Cary, on the other hand, may have seen more than his fair share of life but there is an innocence about him when it comes to love.  These two complement each other and it is easy to see the connection forming between them, no matter how hard Cary tries to deny it.  By no means do the men have an easy-going relationship.  Not only do the two men have to convince the council that it is right for them to be together, but Cary finds himself in the hands of some crazy killers, not once, but twice.

I could not stop turning the pages of this book.  I thought it made an excellent addition to the series and loved the new characters that were introduced.  While I know there are at least two more books coming, I hope the author has no plans to end this series anytime soon.

Trust

Title: Trust
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Books
Publisher URL: www.torquerebooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61040-300-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary BDSM Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

After being with his master for nearly ten years, submissive Kerry gets kicked out of their home. He’s confused and devastated by the sudden change and makes the long trip back from Florida, but he doesn’t have a home and ends up living on the streets. Kerry’s found sleeping on a bench by a Hammer member and is offered a job working there as a server. Because of what happened, Kerry’s afraid to get close to anyone until he meets Dom Bellamy. With his new friend he feels safe and secure and over time he learns to opens his heart, but will he ever be able to trust again? 

Trust is the latest release in Sean Michael’s The Hammer series. It’s another good addition to the family of books and while reading the other releases would be helpful, it can be read as a standalone. 

This Hammer book deals with a subject I’ve never come across in a BDSM book before...a long term sub being dumped. Kerry being homeless and living on the streets is heart-wrenching but having the members of the Hammer rally around him is a well-crafted glimpse into their community and it’s nice seeing a few of the old characters. Kerry’s a mess. He’s alone, scared and trying to get his life back on track. The author does a good job expressing his unsettled emotions and the majority of the story deals with the growth of the relationship between him and Bellamy. I like that Bellamy and Kerry starts out as friends, something they both really need before it progresses into something intimate. 

The BDSM aspect of the story is pretty light in this one but considering Kerry’s trust issues that’s not surprising. Bellamy’s a great guy…kind, sensitive and understanding, but still firm and dominant and just the Dom the wounded Kerry needs. It’s a tale of recovery set in a well-paced and plotted story that I really enjoyed.

Pet’s Pleasure

Title:  Pet’s Pleasure
Author:  Zenobia Renquist
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
ISBN/BIN: 9781419936524
Genre:  {M/F}  Futuristic, Sci-Fi
Rating:  3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph 

Starling woke up cold and naked in a room full of strangers with no memory of how she got there.  The abnormally giant men spoke a language that she couldn’t understand, but Starling understood one thing.  This new planet was now her prison.  Starling’s captors were vague about their plans for her, but when she saw her human companions being collared, it all made sense.  Starling was now a pet. 

The only way King Bekion can protect Starling is by making her his pet, even though he is against owning humans.  As he spends more time with Starling, Bekion has trouble following the law of his own kingdom that makes owner and pet sex a big no-no.  She’s the most amazing woman he’s ever come across.  Juggling the burden of duty and desire turns out to be harder than he thought.   

The power struggle between Starling and Bekion doesn’t go unnoticed, nor does the fact that they are both hot for each other.  Looking at the big picture, Bekion and Starling can only be together behind closed doors.  A pet can never be queen and a king can’t marry his pet.  Bekion’s plans to keep Starling safe go wrong and draws too much attention to their relationship.  Just when it seems like the couple will be torn apart, they finally find a way to be united in the most unexpected way. 

Bekion’s mother and brother are the cause of Starling’s abduction.  They both annoyed me right from the beginning.  I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Bekion, because it seems he spends his days cleaning up their messes.  His mother’s choice of a companion for Starling had me laughing out loud.  The antics that go on seemed so much like child behavior at the playground that I had to remind myself that the major difference between the aliens and humans was their size.  Certain moments I saw as a painful reminder that Starling was a pet.  I even found myself getting jealous when Bekion started showing interest in another woman.  I knew what was expected of him as king, but that didn’t make it any easier to accept.  The end worked out the only way it could,  I think.  Part of me was happy about it, while part of me still wanted more.  Pet’s Pleasure puts a different spin on forbidden love.  It made me consider things I could or couldn’t deal with in a relationship.  Love might not be able to conquer all but it does make you change your priorities.  This story has some memorable characters and I know readers will walk away with strong opinions and images etched in their minds.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Barnabas Leopold

Title: Barnabas Leopold
Author: Joyee Flynn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Publisher’s URL: http://www.bookstrand.com
ISBN/BIN:  1619267411
Genre: {M/M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Five years ago, Barnabas lost his mother and both fathers in an accident.  Now at the age of 21, the half-vampire / half-fae has to take over his father’s seat as head of the East Coast Council.  Already feeling overwhelmed, Barnabas doesn’t know how to react when he meets Digger, his new guard and mate, or what to do when he realizes that his long time guard and confidant, Miles, is also his mate and never said anything. 

Barnabas Leopold is the third book in the Beyond the Marius Brothers series.  While the previous stories had some angst, this newest addition is full of it.  Barnabas is a young man who had to go through so much already and now, when he could use all the support he can find, he learns that the one man he has always counted on has kept a secret so big there may be no going back.  In Miles’ defense, he was under the impression that Barnabas had rejected him, and he had a good reason to believe that.  Throw another hunky warrior into the mix and you have a recipe for anguish.  I liked the three men and the fact that the author chose not to let them iron their problems out so easily.  When Barnabas, Digger and Miles get together, they really heat up the pages. 

Ms. Flynn also used this book to throw in new characters and new problems, as well.  With the close connection between three of her series, I would not be surprised to see some of the new additions to the Marius brothers’ world show up in all the other two series soon.

Taxes and TARDIS

Title: Taxes and TARDIS
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com/
ISBN: 9781614955894
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

Being a self-employed electrician is a dream comes true for Brent Kelly. However, organizing tax receipts has always been a nightmare for Brent until he meets accountant Logan Willis. Suddenly, Brent finds taxes irresistible, or at least the man who is coaching Brent on the proper way to manage his assets. 

Taxes and TARDIS is an amusing romance of two gay men stepping out of their comfort zone to find love. Brent usually has no problem conversing with people, but with Logan, Brent is almost tongue tied. Brent is generally attracted to hunky guys like himself, so Brent is confused by his desire for Logan, who is more of a geek. Brent is very social. His standard weekend is to meet his friends at a bar with an occasional sexual pick up. Logan spends his weekends at home or with his family. Logan is shy in public but almost aggressive in private with Brent. Both men have some past drama that accounts for part of their traits and fears. My only disappointment was the use of the word preference in referring to Brent’s sexuality. Born gay is a genetic reality, not a choice.    

N.R. Walker’s Taxes and TARDIS is an impressive and enjoyable heartwarming saga.  

Jeremiah’s Heart

Title: Jeremiah’s Heart
Author: Lynn Hagen
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Publisher URL: www.sirenbookstrand.com
ISBN/BIN: 1-61926-669-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Going out on a date with Charles Sinclair is the worst decision Sylvester ever made. The evening ends badly and he’s forced to flee but winds up in an even worse situation. It starts a series of life-changing events he could never image.  He’s scared, in pain and just when Sylvester thinks he’ll die, a voice offers him hope. 

When Jeremiah and his friends rescue a human their crazy former alpha experimented on, it’s obvious the man’s dying. Determined to save him, Jeremiah’s claims the stranger, stopping the pain that’s killing him. It’s an unexpected way to start off a mating but the men quickly become devoted to each other. Things go smoothly until Sylvester has a terrible adverse reaction to the serum, forcing them to break their bond. Can Jeremiah and Sylvester survive the separation and can they get back together?  

Jeremiah’s Heart is release three in Lynn Hagen’s Shifters of Mystery series. Due to the continuing storyline and returning characters, the books should be read in order.  

We met Sylvester briefly at the end of book two but didn’t get many details of what had happened to him. That’s where chapter one in this release picks up. It gives us lots of background details of his date with Charles, his capture that we didn’t see before and where Jeremiah steps in. It’s full of fear, suspense and pain and the author packs a lot into a short space, giving the reader a good idea of the turmoil Sylvester went through. It’s well done. 

I like this series and the underlying plot-line is progressing nicely without overshadowing the relationship between Jeremiah and Sylvester. The secondary characters, whether new or old, are interesting, adding spice, flavor, friendship and humor to the overall plot. I really want to see one with Pat and Sam in the near future. 

Then there’s Jeremiah and Sylvester. I like these two…so different in life experiences but a good match, nonetheless. The author has done a nice job with them and getting them together. The personalities of the characters are well developed, the story flow is smooth and the pages are filled with desire, passion, and danger.  It kept my attention throughout and I’m looking forward to the next release. 

Santana’s Discovery

Title: Santana’s Discovery
Author: Lynn Hagen
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Publisher URL: www.sirenbookstrand.com
ISBN/BIN: 1-61926-629-6
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

For most of his life, Santana hated werewolves in the belief they slaughtered his parents. It’s only after his joins a radical group, determined to wipe every werewolf off the face of the planet, that he learns it’s all been a lie. When he stands up to the group leader, it lands him in trouble that almost gets him killed. 

Isaac knows falling for the man that shot him is nuts. He needs to stay away from Santana but can’t and his desire only becomes worse the closer it gets to the full moon. Learning Santana risked his life for him opens Isaac’s heart.  Can he convince Santana to become his mate and share his life as a werewolf? Can they win against the hunters? 

Santana’s Discovery is the newest release in Lynn Hagen’s Shifters of Mystery series. Due to the continuing storyline and returning characters, the books should be read in order. 

I admit I wasn’t expecting this storyline…at least not the part of how Santana and Isaac got together. I mean Santana shot him. It’s not exactly a normal way to meet a future mate but it’s certainly a catchy twist. That’s not the only reason I like this second release. Santana’s had a rough life and the story of what happened to his family pulls at the heartstrings.  How can you not feel bad for this guy? But it’s only the beginning of the intense emotions swirling throughout the plot of this book. Both Santana and Isaac feel strongly for the other but each try to deny it for a long time, allowing the author to get them together slowly and realistically. 

I like Isaac but I love Santana. He’s alternately funny and grumpy. I never knew what to expect from him and it definitely kept Isaac on his toes. But he’s also tender-hearted, kind and loving. Just the kind of man werewolf Isaac needs for a mate. Don’t get me wrong. Isaac has a lot to recommend him too. Put these two men together and you have a winning combination packed within in a well-written and entertaining story I really enjoyed. Add these factors together with some great secondary characters (some I expect to see in the future), action, suspense, passion, desire and humor and you’ve got a story you won’t be disappointed in. Watch for Jeremiah's Heart coming next.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Graceland

Title: Graceland
Author: Ally Blue
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-827-3
Genre: {M/M} Interracial 
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Release Date:  July 3rd, 2012  

Student Nurse Kevin Fraser is enjoying a night out with friends when he hears this incredible voice singing on stage. Owen Hicks is the Cherokee version of Elvis, including the famous hip movements. Unfortunately, Owens’s voice is almost permanently silenced by out of control diabetes. 

Graceland is a realistic illustration of just how deadly diabetes can be if not taken seriously. Kevin is a compassionate man who works at the hospital to support his education cost. Owen is an average man with a minor self-esteem problem, in addition to a major sweet tooth. When Owen is brought in to the emergency room, it is Kevin who is able to calm Owen. What started out as a comfortable friendship slowly evolved into love. Along with dealing with the disease, there is a social status issue, as well as racial tensions, among members of both Owen and Kevin’s family. The secondary characters add a touch of humor to the plot.  

Ally Blue has created a remarkable health awareness saga that I enjoyable immensely.

A Helping of Love

Title: A Helping of Love
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61372-393-7
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Russ Baker has the chance to run the new restaurant being started by his current boss.  Deciding to try a new supplier, Russ meets Peter for the first time.  After being the victim of his boyfriend’s abuse once too often, Russ decides to leave the man and with the help of his new friend, finds his way back to being the person he once was. 

A Helping of Love is the newest story in the Taste of Love series by author Andrew Grey.  In this story we meet two interesting characters who are struggling with issues in their lives.  For Russ, those issues involve the abuse he receives from his boyfriend.  Not only does his boyfriend beat him, but he also tears down Russ’s self-confidence.  Peter’s struggles center around the fact that he is now in a wheel chair and not only does he continue to learn a new way of living, but he also has to learn to live with peoples’ new perceptions of him.   Each man finds something in the other that allows them to move forward in their lives.  I like that although the attraction between Peter and Russ is evident from the beginning, the author allows them to find their way to the physical side of their relationship slowly, making the story seems more realistic.   

A Helping of Love also has some angst in it as both men must handle personal issues.  For Peter, that means finding out he has a half-sister, while Russ has to handle the fact that his ex is now stalking him.  To me, it seemed as if both these side stories played out predictably, but that did not keep me from enjoying the story.

Previous couples showed up to lend Russ and Peter a hand and new characters were introduced, leaving me wondering who will get the next story.  This story, like the others in the series, is a well-written, feel good story that I will be reading again.

Lennox

Title: Lennox
Author: Joyee Flynn
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Publisher URL: www.sirenbookstrand.com
ISBN/BIN: 1-61926-668-7
Genre: {M/M/M/M} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Lennox Ashton is one of the omegas rescued from his abusive inner circle now that the Omega Network is up and running. He was kept captive in a small attic room for years, enduring horrible torture. Now free and crippled, without family or friends, he has nothing to live for. 

Seeing Lennox during his rescue, Hugo Cormac’s smitten, refusing to leave Lennox’s side. When Hugo’s appointed the new alpha of the Oceanside pack, he convinces the recovering Lennox of his feelings and he goes along as the omega. They have to start a new life and pick betas Blair Peregrine and Falcon Beall to round out their new inner circle. But the past comes back to haunt Lennox before they have a chance to meld their lives together and Lennox is captured. Can his three men find him in time or will they be too late? 

Lennox is the newest release in Joyee Flynn’s Resistant Omegas series and I suggest the books be read in order. 

This is a good addition to the series and with the Omega Network in place has a vastly different feel from the first book. I like how this one started…with Lennox’s rescue, but I wasn’t expecting the severity of his injuries…that he’d be crippled/maimed. Between Lennox and Hugo, there’s a lot of swirling emotions in the first part of this story and the author does a nice job dealing with them. She also does well explaining why and how Lennox was abused, its affect on him and how Hugo is helping him deal with it. I like how some of this is handled but after being abused, the physical part of the relationship between the men moves forward much faster than seems reasonable for the situation.  

I like the guys in this book. Hugo is a caring alpha, Blair and Falcon are tender and protective and they make a good inner circle for Lennox. They’re new to each other but still have a playful and humorous side I enjoyed. The story is fun and entertaining with lots of intense emotions, suspense, danger and plenty of blistering hot sex. My other niggles…I didn’t expect such quick resolutions of Lennox’s crippling or the resolution of his kidnapping (my lips are sealed on the details). I look forward to the next book, hopefully with one of the new pack members.

Death

Title: Death
Author: T.A. Chase
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-0-85715-940-3
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

In life, Gatian Almasia cared only for his sister and his secret lover. After his lover died, Gatian had planned to seek solace for his misery by traveling the world. However, becoming the target of a revenge killing, Gatian awakens to find he has left the world of the living and must travel the world as the Pale Rider Death. 

Death is the fourth book in The Four Horsemen Series. This is an amazing religious myth with a modern twist. Death is the one Horseman all mortals feared. Even when Death was the mortal Gatian, he was considered cold and uncaring. Nevertheless Pierre reminded Death of his long lost mortal lover, the only man Gatian ever loved. Unlike the other Horsemen, Death makes his home in Paris and enjoys modern technology. Pierre Fortescue is a self-loathing wealthy jetsetting heroin addict. Released only six weeks from his second stay at the rehab centre, Pierre goes on a heroin binge when he learns of the deception committed by his lover. Dying, it is Death who saves Pierre’s life.  

T.A. Chase illustrates the down side of being rich; the impact wealth has on a person’s psychological health. Gatian and Pierre experienced a lack of trust, due to the greedy society they dealt with on a regular basis. Life taught both men that without trust, it is almost impossible to find real love, yet Gatian and Pierre finally managed to find the healing powers of love in each other. Death is an outstanding emotionally realistic saga that I thoroughly enjoyed. 


Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

Ambush

Title: Ambush
Author: Clare London
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61372-413-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Sequel
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Miles Winter had a clear focus in life until he met Zeke Roswell…business always came before pleasure. That no longer applies.  Now he’s willing to end his work day early and is waiting for his lover to share details of his latest gallery exhibit—on bondage. Little does Miles know that Zeke has plans of his own; plans that include Miles, his desk and using some of the bondage tools on him. 

Ambush is the newest release by Clare London and is the sequel to True Colors, which was released in 2009. So while reading it first would explain the relationship dynamics between Miles and Zeke, due to its short length, it’s not mandatory. FYI-True Colors was a Best of 2009 Winner and at the time of this writing is currently on discount on the Dreamspinner Press website. 

Truthfully, it’s been so long since True Colors was released, I’d just about given up on seeing more of Miles and Zeke, so imagine my surprise when I saw Ambush listed on the upcoming release page. It’s a nice, if brief look into their lives, giving the reader a glimpse into the love, passion and desire that simmers between them. The first portion gives you a little background on what they’ve doing but is a little slow with an uneven pace as they banter back and forth. It’s at about the half-way point that the plot speeds up and you can almost feel the emotional zing between them. Bringing in the BDSM aspect was an unexpected twist and it leads to an intense scene featuring handcuffs. Look for Payback coming next.

Lust Plague

Title:  Lust Plague
Author:  Cari Silverwood
Publisher:  Loose Id
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:   978-1-61118-802-8
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Steampunk, Series
Rating:  4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon  

Sten saves Kaysana from zombies infected with the lust plague.  Unfortunately, she loses her ship in the process, though one of her favorite crew members survives.   

The second book in the Steamwork Chronicles, Lust Plague, is filled with zombies, though I was startled by the different types of them because the author surprised me with that one.  A very big difference from the normal zombie stories was the fact that some of the zombies, or resurrected men, could actually think and pass as normal for awhile was very interesting.  There was also the normal flesh-eating ones that we have come to expect. I normally avoid zombie stories, but I enjoyed this one.  I will caution readers though that there are some parts of the book that may disturb. 

The main characters Sten, a frankenstruct and an airship captain, Kaysana, had such wonderful chemistry.  Kaysana has to rethink her ideas about being dominated, as well as her attitude regarding frankenstructs. I thought the give and take of their relationship was very believable, as they both struggled to come to terms with their growing feelings once they were no longer affected by the plague.  Emily was an interesting secondary character and added a lot to the story. 

The world that Ms. Silverwood has created is very interesting, since I had not been exposed to steampunk stories until this series.  The various countries and the types of people she showcases have made this series one that I want to read again.

Of Dark and Bright

Title: Of Dark and Bright
Author: Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61372-431-6
Genre: {M/M/M} Contemporary Western Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

It’s been two years and while Jeff, Dan and Evan are happy together, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t had some rough patches. Their lives are good, the sex is great and they’re looking forward to the future when Dan gets an unexpected phone call that changes everything. His estranged sister, Krista, is on the run from the law, is seven months pregnant and wants help…with the baby and the police. 

While willing to help his sister, it puts more stress on his relationship with Jeff and Evan than Dan ever imagined. They want to help but Evan is obsessing over protecting his own sister and Jeff is dealing with health issues. There are rising tempers, fears, secrets and complications that get worse by the day, all which are driving a wedge between the lovers. If the threesome has any hope of surviving, they need to learn to pull together before it’s too late. 

Of Dark and Bright is the latest release in Kate Sherwood’s Dark Horse series. Since the books follow the relationship of the same three men, they should be read in order.

I’ve enjoyed all the books in this series but I think this one is my favorite. We get to see Dan, Jeff and Evan further along in their relationship and learn how serious external issues cause them problems. Letting the point of view switch between all three men was a great way of knowing what was going on with each…what they are thinking. I like that.  

There’s a lot positive going on with this entertaining read. It has a smooth flow, a complicated plot line with numerous well developed characters and vivid descriptions.  I liked the surprise twist of Krista’s arrival and how her personality was developed but I didn’t know from one scene to the next whether I liked her or not…mostly not. Then there’s Jeff and his health scare. I really thought that more of the plot was going to revolve around his illness and then suddenly it switched to Evan’s sister when she got in trouble. I was disappointed that this opportunity for growth of the threesome was dropped. I really like Dan and Jeff much more than Evan, but then Evan still comes across as arrogant. Add all this together with emotional pain, betrayal, suspense, action, danger and a new baby and you have a story that kept my attention from the first page to the last. I hope we see another book in the future with this sexy threesome raising the baby.

A Time for Secrets

Title: A Time for Secrets
Author: Marshall Thornton
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-548-6
Genre: {M/M} Mystery Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx  

Business has been a little slow in Chicago for Private Investigator Nick Nowak. Even his second job as a nightclub bouncer has cut back his work hours. With nothing on the agenda, other than moving to a new office, Nick accepts the job to find a long lost love, or so this is the story the client gave Nick. What Nick discovered is murder and corruption in high places.  

A Time for Secrets is the fourth installment in the Boystown series. The setting is 1982 and the storyline gives a brief history of events, as well as people in Nick’s life up to the current plot. The emphasis is on case and Nick’s live in lover, Bert Harker, who has AIDS. On the surface, the case seemed to be simple. Nick was able to locate the man in question. However, when Nick’s client is murdered, Nick decides to dig a little deeper into the past and the search leads Nick back to a fatal gay bashing in the year of 1959. Nick’s personal life is more complicated than solving a crime. Nick loves Harker, although he is not in love with Harker. Nick takes care of Harker the same as anyone would care for a sick relative or friend. Nevertheless, Nick continues to have sexual encounters with strangers.

Marshall Thornton’s A Time for Secrets illustrates the dangerous and degrading lives endured by gay men. The impressive as well as enjoyable saga highlights just how slowly social attitudes regarding homosexuality changes

Monday, May 7, 2012

Floods and Drought

Title: Floods and Drought
Author: Zahra Owens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61372-427-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Western Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Since Rory McCown went to prison, Tim Conroy’s waited for him to get out. It’s been a long three years but now he’s finally up for parole. The only problem is in order for that to happen, Rory needs a dependable job. It means finding someone willing to take a chance on a convicted horse thief and in ranch country, that’s a tough sell. Tim sets out to convince his boss, Hunter Krause from the Blue River Ranch, to help Rory and it’s not easy. 

Rory’s had a rough life and it’s turned him into a loner, who doesn’t trust easily. Going back to the ranch is one of the most difficult things he’s ever done, but Tim’s there. It’s still hard. His attraction to the wrangler remains but he’s scared to open up. Just when he and Tim are getting closer, an unsavory person from his past comes back, intent on destroying him.  

Floods and Drought is the newest release in The Wrangler series by Zahra Owens. Due to the story location and returning characters, I recommend the books be read in order. 

It’s a well-written and entertaining story about two men who are totally opposite from each other.  I mean totally different in every way but they’re still well suited, complimenting each other very nicely. There’s a good progression of their relationship. Three years is a long time, Rory’s been through a lot and the two men need a little time to act on their attraction. Once they do…watch out…it’s intense and full of passion. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy and they have a lot to work through.

The author did a good job describing the ranch, their daily hard work routine, Rory’s conflicted emotions and his fear…of so many things. There are also some interesting twists and turns in ranch life, Rory’s drinking, family dynamics and trouble from the past coming back to haunt him that rounds out the plot. Add all these things together and you have a story filled with suspense and angst that kept my attention from beginning to end.

Mutegi’s Sweet One

Title: Mutegi’s Sweet One
Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publisher’s URL: http://www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-77111-132-4
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Pulling over to help some stranded motorist, Mutegi never imagines that he’ll find his mate.  Only when they meet, Mutegi believes Ben is married with a small child.  When the truth comes out, Mutegi can’t wait to claim his mate. 

Although Mutegi’s Sweet One is the first book in the Kontra’s Menagerie series, this is not the first time we have met the bikers.    Mutegi and his fellow bikers were introduced in Through Dagus’s Eyes, book seven in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series and I couldn’t wait to get started on this new series.  The characters are interesting and, like the first series, this one centers on a group of shifters who have banded together for reasons of their own.  Members of Kontra’s Menagerie do not come from the same shifter family and Mutegi’s animal is a warthog, something I never thought I would see in a romance story, especially as a main character. The unusual mix of shifters is one of the things that keeps Ms. Richards’ book fresh and why I look forward to each new story. 

Ben is a young man on the run with his sister and her baby.  Hoping to get the two to his family’s home, where there will be help keeping them safe from his sister’s abusive ex, Ben is worried when their car breaks down and even more concerned when a group of bikers show up to help.  The connection between Mutegi and Ben is present from the start, but the deception that Ben is hoping will keep him and his sister safe keeps the men apart.   When the air is cleared up and the men get together, the passion heats up the pages.   

Trouble ends up finding the group of travelers and when it does, Mutegi’s secret is revealed.  There is a fight scene that is over the top but I could not imagine it going any other way.  The other shifters make excellent secondary characters and I can’t wait to see each of them getting stories of their own.  This new series is sure to bring the author many new fans, and Mutegi’s Sweet One is one I will be reading again.

Take Me Hard

Title:  Take Me Hard
Author:  Zenina Masters
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Publisher URL:  www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-77111-107-2
Genre:  {M/F/M/M}, Ménage a Quatre, Shape-shifter, Sci-Fi, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph 

Zoe has been raised with wealth and uses it to get her mates.  She ends up rescuing seventeen more clones, or blenders. 

The seventh installment of the Four Ever More series shows how some people think of the clones.  In Take Me Hard, the three men were captured and placed in a collection, with the collector stating he was going to look for, and capture, the other clone sets. 

This particular set is lions.  We learn a little more about the clones than we first learned about in Come to Me.  Different types of clones/blenders are introduced in this story, which has an interesting bearing on Zoe’s world.  The differences between these clones and the Lion set is very clear legally.  It was interesting that the others were all considered property and had to be bought to ensure they became free.   

Each book in the series introduces different planetary worlds and their customs.  This book intrigued me because Zoe was actually tera-forming a planet her parents had given her.  The detail the author gives lets you see the planet in your mind and you can envision it growing as more people colonize it.  So far this happens to be my favorite. 

While you can read the books in this series by themselves, you will get much more enjoyment if you read them all.

Hope

Title: Hope
Author: William Neale
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com

ISBN: 978-1-60820-629-2

Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx   

The theme of Hope illustrates how acceptance, compassion and Hope work together for the contentment we seek in life.  The main characters exhibit these traits. Hope is the story of Spencer Hawkin’s journey to happiness with Hunter Harrison.

Spencer’s acceptance of who and what he is, was the source of his breakup with his now ex-boyfriend. Spencer is gay and he embraces what life presents to him with a good attitude illustrated by Spencer’s episode of unrequited love for Cade featured in the third book Always Faithful. Spencer has the ability to open his heart as well as connect with others in a positive way. Spencer is a gentleman whose compassion allows him to love easily whether it is a sick child, friends or a potential lover; Spencer’s perception allows him to recognize the good in most of the people he encounters. It is these qualities that inspired Lucas and Rogan, the main characters in the first book Home to help Spencer acquire a teaching job along with a fresh start in Cleveland, Ohio.     

Hunter Harrison is a single dad caring for his adopted son whose heart defect has him desperately awaiting a heart transplant that may not come in time. Spencer is Hunter’s son Ethan’s idol. When Spencer moved to Cleveland and realized Ethan lived close by, Spencer made it a priority to visit the child he met through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. From their first meeting Hunter and Spencer knew there was an immediate attraction between them. However, dealing with the unfortunate circumstances of his child, Hunter rejected any relationship with Spencer other than friends. Yet fate along with the power of hope brings about a positive change leading to a happy ever after. 

My impression of Hope is that William Neale has written a part of his life story. The extraordinarily enjoyable romance engages the reader, inspiring me for a while to reflect on a beneficial idealism rather than dwell in a negative reality.

His Imperfect Mate

Title: His Imperfect Mate
Author: Lynn Hagen  
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 1-61926-628-8
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph 

Dudley’s been listening to his father tell how evil shifters are from the time he was born.   When he finds out his mate is a wolf shifter, he runs.  Not only does he run, but he calls his brothers to take Sloane out.  When his brothers fail, and Dudley realizes that everything his father told him was a lie, he knows he has a long way to go to make things up to his mate. 

His Imperfect Mate is another Lynn Hagen addition to the Brac Pack series.  This book actually picks up on a sub-plot that has been running through a couple of the author’s previous books.  Both Dudley and Sloane are characters we have met before.  Dudley is a young vampire who has left his family, after taking all he could from his father.  He’s a little hyper, especially when he has had a cup of coffee, he’s unsure of what he truly wants and he’s afraid of his mate.  Sloane is a wolf shifter; in fact, he’s Maverick’s cousin and he’s hoping to reconnect with the large alpha.  He’s just as surprised as Dudley when he realizes that the little vamp is his mate.  But he’s devastated when he finds out that Dudley put a hit out on him, regardless of how innocently.  

When His Imperfect Mate begins, Dudley’s is trying to make amends to Sloane, but the wolf shifter wants nothing to do with him.  While I could understand where Sloane was coming from, I really wanted to shake him and make him patch things up with the vampire.  Although Sloane decides to give Dudley a chance, the men still have a few things to iron out.  This story is not all angst-ridden, however.  When Sloane decides to ignore everyone’s warnings and let Dudley have some coffee, I could not help but laugh out loud.   

Just as the two men are working things out though, Dudley’s brothers show up, followed shortly by their father.  I liked that the author used this time to let Dudley settle things once and for all with his brothers and then his father.  Since the brothers have stayed behind with the Lakelands, I am sure we will be seeing new mates showing up shortly. 

Ms. Hagen continues to add stories to her Brac Pack series that keeps this series fresh and entertaining.  The characters are easy to care for while the story lines keep the reader turning the pages.  I can’t wait to see what more she has planned for this series.