Monday, May 20, 2013

All in the Details


Author: AKM Miles
Publisher: Silver Publishing  
ISBN/BIN: 9781614959236
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Beau suffers from OCD, but, rather than let it get him down, he uses it to make a success of his life.  While he loves that his events business is going strong, he wishes he had someone in his life to come home to.  Enter Officer Nash Tyler.

I loved this newest story by author AKM Miles.  The characters are well written and the story itself had me laughing more than once.  Beau suffers from OCD, something has caused problems with his relationships in the past.  I like that, rather than letting it rule his life, he is making it work for him.  I also like that it is not something that is constantly harped about.  Nash is an officer with the local police force.  With the exception of his boss, no one knows that Nash is gay.  This changes as soon as Nash and Beau meet.    Poor Beau, as soon as he overhears the two little boys talking, you know things are going to go bad, but his and Nash’s introduction was hilarious.  As Beau seems to be a trouble magnet, there are many more crazy scenes like this in the story. 

Although the men’s love story is a sweet one, they find themselves battling outside forces who feel that the love they have for each other is wrong.  While the reader may know who the bad guy is, they will be surprised by the extent that he goes to.

All in the Details is a great, fast paced story.  I could not wait to see what would happen to the men next.  I loved the strong connection they forged so early in their relationship and the passion between them heats up the pages.  The small mystery that is woven into the story keeps the reader entertained and moves the story along nicely.  If you have not yet tried a story by this author then I strongly suggest you start with this one.

Grime and Punishment


Author:  Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781623003111
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Jack Masterson's career as a firefighter ended when he was injured at a fire. Unable to return to the job he loved, he and his cousin Gabe started a job cleaning crime scenes.  It’s a way to still be involved with helping people and one call throws the past right in the face. His old flame Nick Foasberg has committed suicide.

Ryan Halloran tried to help his cousin Nick but couldn’t stop his death. He doesn’t know the entire history between Nick and Jack, so he doesn’t understand Jack’s claim they both need closure. Being a nurse doesn’t prepare him for cleaning up the crime scene but he still helps Jack.

The attraction between Ryan and Jack can’t be denied but when Ryan learns Jack’s secret, he doesn’t know if he can believe they have a future. Can these two men help each other move forward or will they be stuck in the past—apart?

Grime and Punishment is the first release in Z.A. Maxfield’s new series, The Brothers Grime.

While I enjoyed this story, it’s much darker than what I expected from Ms. Maxfield.  Both Jack and Ryan are carrying around some pretty heavy baggage and haven’t been dealing with the emotions that go with them. The author does a nice job of slowly handling these issues and as they do, the tone of the book lightens and seems to pick up speed. The personalities of both men are well developed and snippets of their histories explain the dark and depressing initial tone. Don’t misunderstand me. I wouldn’t change them. I like Jack and Ryan and appreciate their unique storyline. It’s not often an author takes a chance on an emotionally and physically wounded hero, like Jack. Then there’s the crime scene clean-up angle—totally creative and unique—another premise I haven’t seen before.

Surprisingly, despite the high levels of emotions and their pasts, Jack and Ryan getting together works. Yes, I wish their relationship had developed more slowly, especially since Jack had been seeing someone else when the book started. That transition could have been smoother. That brings the secondary characters to mind. Be aware that there are lots of them—I mean a lot, so pay attention. I expect we’ll be seeing more of them again in future releases. Enjoy.

Voyeur


Title: Voyeur
Author: Piper Whitney
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com/
ISBN: 9781614959229
Genre: {M/M} Shifters
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Chi Zimmer is desperate for a job when he applies for a position at the new nightclub Voyeur. Fortunately for Chi, co-owner Gage Sinclair had an opening at the club as well as an opening in his bed. Chi is just what Gage is looking for to fill both positions.

Voyeur is a heartwarming budding romance with humor, sensual intimacy along with a touch of drama. The characters are convincing. Chi is on the run from his controlling boyfriend. Chi tried to accept the powerful boyfriend to please his family. However, Chi could not endure having his own spirit crushed into conformity, so he left home to start a life of his choosing. Gage and his co-owner have worked for years to launch their nightclub. Finally the business is successfully in operation. But Gage’s personal life is lonely; Gage wants more than one night stands. Navigating their way through doubts, secrets and shocking fights to the death, Chi and Gage settle into a happy ever after relationship.
  
Piper Whitney has created a wonderful saga that I enjoyed immensely.  

The Jouster’s Lance


Author: A.J. Marcus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 9781623804770
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Dale O’Toole makes his living working as a jouster in the Renaissance Faire circuit.  He loves his job and has put a lot of effort into creating his alter ego Diederik, the Demon Duke of Denmark.  When he goes to Colorado to fill in for an injured jouster, Dale does not realize that, while the area is a little more liberal in some ways, it is even more stringent in others.  While he’s willing to compromise a little regarding his character’s name, he’s not willing to give up the budding relationship he seems to have with another faire worker, Austin.

The Jouster’s Lance is the first book in author A.J. Marcus’ new series, A Ren Faire Romance, set at Renaissance Festivals.  The main characters, Dale and Austin, each work at the festival in Colorado but while Dale is a jouster, Austin is lower on the totem pole, working at one of the many shops.  While their jobs at the festival separate them, there is also the fact that Austin is out while Dale is still in the closet.  All this falls by the wayside when these two meet.  Theirs is a relationship that builds slowly even though the attraction between them is hot.  Then there are the outside interferences that both men have to put up with.  While events involving Austin’s ex are more or less predictable, those surrounding one of Dale’s co-workers is surprising. 

Readers will be able to see the author’s knowledge of these festivals, as his vivid descriptions and inner workings of the faires help bring the story alive. The vast variety of characters in The Jouster’s Lance will help keep the reader entertained and left me wondering just how true to life they were. 

This was a fun read and I am curious to see what the author has planned for book two.

Watch Me


Title: Watch Me
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78184-323-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx
Release Date: 05-24-13

Ten years after his father threw his older brother Kade out of the house, Zeke Straus started looking for him. He searched for years, working as a bartender to make ends meet. Now he’s in another new town and has another bartending job, but this time it’s different—he’s attracted to the owner.

After the legal mess closed Fallon’s on Fifth, new owners bought the bar intending to reopen under the name Clean Slate. Reid Jackson’s rule against fraternization goes out the window when he sees the new, sexy bartender Zeke Straus.

When Zeke learns his brother knows many of the men who frequent the bar, he’s shocked, but when he told Kade’s traveling from Cattle Valley to meet him, he can’t believe his search is over. Reconnecting with Kade and having a relationship with Reid causes unexpected problems. Does Zeke stay with the man he loves or does he move to Cattle Valley to be with his brother?

Watch Me is the newest release in Carol Lynne’s Campus Cravings series. There are lots of returning characters, so while reading them in order would be best, I recommend you at least read the book featuring Kade and Lark, A Biker's Vow.

I’ve always been a fan of Kade and Lark, so I was thrilled this one explained what happened in Kade’s past and that he was given the chance to be reunited with his brother. And I like Zeke too. His story is another good addition to the family of books that make up the Campus Cravings series. I liked the premise—his long search for his brother and learning a little of what he went through to find him. In fact, it’s probably my favorite of the recent releases, despite my niggles.

The development of Zeke and Reid’s personalities is pretty good considering the length—78 actual print pages. It didn’t really give much time for them to develop a relationship either, so again, we’re dealing with a case of instant love, but it seems to work. The sex is maybe a little too frequent for a release of this length but count on it being sizzling.  It was nice getting to see a little of so many of the previous characters. Some played more important roles than others but they were all integrated seamlessly and provided some laughs. I look forward to the next release in this fun and entertaining series.

Kiss of the White Wolf


Author: Cassidy Ryan
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN: 978-1-78184-302-4
Genre: {M/M} Wolf Shifters
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Journalist Hal Paxton was not looking for a story when he encountered wolf shifter Luke Tallis. Nevertheless, Hal realized Luke had been beaten and needed help so he drove Luke to the hospital. Hal furthermore discovered there is a mystery surrounding Luke that got the attention of the police.

Kiss of the White Wolf is a well written well paced arousing romance blended with social cruelty. The setting is the United Kingdom. The characters are creditable. Hal is an investigative reporter who exposed the corruption in the police department. For this reason, some in the department seek revenge. The main thorns in Hal’s side before meeting Luke are the media constantly camped outside his London home. After meeting Luke, Hal’s problem is staying alive as well as growing accustomed to being a wolf shifter’s mate. Luke is an out in the open wolf shifter alpha without a pack. He is an artist who lives a quiet country life. Luke worries about other shifters who were held captive. As the story unfolds, the culprits in addition to why these events occurred are revealed in heartbreaking details. The plot highlights honorable men, in contrast to the prejudice cowards motivated by greed.    

Cassidy Ryan has created a splendidly engaging saga that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Evolution


Title: Evolution
Author: Sam Kadence
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-411-4
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Young Adult
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Gene just wants to sing.  When his band has a shot at the big time, Gene can’t decide if he’s excited or regretting everything already.  To make things even more confusing, Gene accidentally runs into Kerstrande, who just happens to be a member of rock royalty and Gene’s secret crush.

Evolution is my first book by this author and after reading this one, I am curious to see what the author has planned next.  Evolution is the kind of story that covers several sub-genres and can therefore be enjoyed by many readers.  There is the rock star aspect of the book, with both main characters in the music industry.  The difference is that while Gene is just starting out, Kerstrande has faded into the background.  The music sub-plot plays heavily in Evolution, and readers may be surprised by the way this part of the story plays out. 

Then there is the paranormal aspect.  This one can get a little confusing at times, as there are a variety of paranormal beings in the story and it is not always clear as to who is what.  The paranormals in Evolution are not always likeable either and are a little on the dark side, which I was surprised by.  It is clear early on that Kerstrande is a vampire, but the author keeps you guessing when it comes to Gene.  Another thing is that in the world the author has built, paranormal beings are known about but must be registered.  The consequences for those who do not follow this law are extreme, which shows why Kerstrande has kept hidden. 

Although it does not always appear so, Evolution is also a young adult story.  Gene is not quite legal but has been on his own for a while.  When he meets Kerstrande, he does not expect the changes that his life takes.  There is a strong connection between the two men and it is easy to understand why, at times, Gene is not sure where he stands with the vampire.  While Kerstrande is the older of the two, at times Gene comes across as the more mature one.  I was surprised by some of Kerstrande’s actions but liked the way he finally steps up at the end.

Evolution was a very interesting story and one I will be reading again.  However, there are some loose ends and I hope the author plans on a sequel soon.

Hazard’s Dare


Title:  Hazard’s Dare
Author:  Frances Stockton
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419944796
Genre:  {M/F}, Light Bondage, Contemporary
Rating:   4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Avery has decided she wants to break out of her ‘goody two shoes’ image while she is on vacation in Dare.  She is shocked when she walks in the Truth or Dare Club and sees Hazard singing on stage.  Hazard is blindsided since he thought Avery was engaged, and then sees her walk in to the club wearing a red dress.

Hazard’s Dare is related to the Ink and Kink series that includes the Alexandria Griffins football team.  While Hazard’s Dare is not part of the series, several characters show up or are mentioned from the series to give readers a glimpse of how some of the characters interact with each other. 

I had to laugh at a lot of the references about how Avery’s brother, his husband, and some of their close friends might react when they discover she has a relationship with Hazard.  The way the author shows the changing emotions Avery and Hazard have toward each other, love and relationships, is so realistic, I thought I was listening to some friends telling me their story.  The chemistry between the two is hot, and neither was afraid to switch roles when they were at Jaxon’s house. 

Even though I guessed that one of the characters was going to play a part in the suspense of the story, I was surprised when he actually did and for the reasons he did.  I was also surprised about how and who resolved the issue.

Ms. Stockton has written a great story, and I think readers will enjoy it very much.  I am looking forward to reading more from her series, and also more about some of the other players for the Griffins in the future.

Butt Pirates in Space


Author: Anthology
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02013-0064
Genre:  {M/M} {M/M/M} Sci-fi
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

What to Expect When Your Boyfriend is Expecting by Shae Connor - 4 Nymphs
On the all-male planet of Lalande, biologist from earth Zeke and his Lalandian boyfriend Zeph’s steamy prenatal lovemaking timetable is interrupted by a pirate’s kidnapping scheme.

Spacehunters by Kage Alan - 3.5 Nymphs
Former soldiers, as well as victims in a war to exterminate all homosexuals, gay couple Chace and Jayden are on a mission to steal a priceless artifact. Their ultimate goal is to build a long range spaceship so they can leave the territories controlled by Earth. The storyline is filled with an abundance of snarky dialog making it difficult to follow the actual plot.

B’Utopia by Kiernan Kelly - 4 Nymphs
Captain Jarrick Freeman was a loyal company man until he and his crew were deemed disposal employees. It was only the timely actions of pirate Captain Rictor Horn that changed Jarrick’s state of mind from company loyalty to seeking revenge.

Free Gift with Purchase by TC Blue - 4.5 Nymphs
Romantic relationships had been forbidden aboard the pirate spaceship Mama. To remedy this problem, the captain kept good-timers on board, professionals who serviced all of the crew without becoming emotionally attached to any one partner. However, first mate Valmark soon realized his happiness was dependent on his rare, exotic and incredibly passionate free gift.

Pride of the Rangers by Angelia Sparrow - 4 Nymphs
Lieutenant Cliff Cody of the Space Exploration Rangers has been stripped of his rank, as well as sentenced to life on an agricultural penal colony. With the aid of a fellow inmate, Cliff escapes to a pirate’s spaceship. Nevertheless, sometimes justice is a mystery, wearing a variety of facades.

Butt Pirates in Space is an exceptionally enjoyable collection of humorous stories ranging from sensual to kinky intimacy.