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.