Saturday, June 29, 2013

Finding Jackie

Author: Lou Sylvre
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-489-3
Genre: {M/M}, Mystery, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Still grieving over Desi’s death, Luki and Sonny are slowly moving on with their lives.  To do that, the two men head to Hawaii to get married surrounded by members of Luki’s family.  Afterwards, the men plan to take that RV trip they missed the last time.  Only after the I Do’s, things start going downhill and neither man is sure where they will end up.

Finding Jackie is the newest story in the Vasquez and James series.  Of the three books in this series, Finding Jackie is my favorite.  Although Sonny is still grieving his nephew’s death and there are problems with Jackie, one of Luki’s nephews, among other things, this story is still a lot lighter than the last one.  The relationship between the two men is stronger than ever.  I love that Luki is starting to show more of his feelings for those around him.  There are also some conflicts as Luki plans to return to government work, something that Sonny is not thrilled with.  Since it is easy to understand where both men are coming from, the readers will be able to find the story believable.  Thankfully, the many obstacles that seem to be thrown at the men only make their relationship stronger.

A past enemy comes back into the men’s lives to cause a lot of trouble and unfortunately, that trouble does not center on just Luki and Sonny.  The things that Jackie went through made me want to cry.  I am really looking forward to seeing more about this young man in the future and hope the author plans on writing his story soon.   Both Luki and Sonny come out in force to go after this enemy and I felt the author did a wonderful job wrapping the storyline up.

This really is a well-written story.  I loved it and could not put it down.  The whole time I was reading, I wanted to skip to the last page just to see how it ended.  While I want to see Luki and Sonny finally have a happy ending, at the same time I don’t want the series to end. 

Since each story has information that flows over to the next book, this is a series that requires the reader to read it in order. 

Born This Way

Author: Poppy Dennison
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-755-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Dayton Whitmore’s human but grew up with a lion-shifter pride because of his friendship with Tawny, the Alpha’s daughter. When he’s injured playing basketball with some shifter friends, Dayton needs to see a specialist in Atlanta. Even though they’ve never gotten along, he agrees to check on Tawny’s brother, Hart, before returning home.

Because of his liger heritage—a tiger mother and lion father, Hart Sherman’s alpha father threw him out of the pride at age eighteen. He’s been cut off from his sister and spent the intervening years making a name for himself as a high-powered entertainment attorney. The problem—he never went back to the pride to get Dayton, despite knowing they were mates since their teenage years. When Dayton shows up at his apartment, it gives Hart the chance he’s been waiting for. The question is whether Dayton is willing to change his life—is he willing to be a lion’s mate?

Born This Way is the newest release by Poppy Dennison.  Okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker for lion shifter books, so it’s only natural I had to read this one—and I’m glad I did. It’s sweet, fun and entertaining and in the end has the happily-ever-after I’ve come to expect from Ms. Dennison. 

I like both Dayton and Hart. They have pretty well rounded personalities for a book of this length and they get together in a believable way. Yes, they have a bit of a history but Hart still has to work to convince his mate to give them a chance. It’s a nice change from the immediate acceptance of a mate bond. The details of their personal lives helps to understand them but the overall shifter world building could have been better.  Tawny and Malachi, the pride alpha, are interesting additions and helped to flesh out the story.  There are a couple of twists that results in some danger and action, so look out for those. So, if you enjoy shifter stories with warmth and heart, give this one a try.

The Door into Spring

Author: Missy Welsh
Publisher: Loose Id
Publishers URL: http://www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62300-393-7
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Mal and Wes have been together for several months and the two young men love being a couple.  Wanting to do something special in order to show Wes just how much he means to him leaves Mal feeling at loose ends.  Then the perfect opportunity falls into his lap and Mal could not be happier.

The Door into Spring is one of Loose Id’s Spring Flings by author Missy Welsh.  This short story is part of the My Summer of Wes series and gives the reader a small glimpse into the lives of the two young men introduced in the previous book.  While I am dying for a new novel centered on these two men, I am glad that I was given the opportunity to get this small look.  The love that exists between Mal and Wes is just as strong and intense as when we left them.  I loved the scene up on the roof and had to laugh at Mal toward the end when he realizes they were not exactly alone. 

The author allows Mal the perfect way to show Wes his love and I liked the excitement that the younger man shows as he goes about recreating the roof garden.  Wes’ reaction is perfect and comes across very believably.  

Fans of the first book will really want to pick this short story up.  It is one that should not be missed.

Girls’ Night Out

Author: Lauren Dane
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-738-6
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Release Date: 09-03-13

The Murphys and Chases are throwing parties to celebrate Lily and Nathan’s upcoming wedding. After sending the kids off to their grandparents for a sleepover, the adults are meeting for a little Friday night fun. The women are gathering at the Pumphouse for drinks, cake and lots of penis party favors. The men—well they’d like to be spending the evening alone with their women, but instead they’re at Tonks for wings and pitchers of beer.

Girls’ Night Out is the second release in Lauren Dane’s Visits to Petal, a series of shorts revolving around her characters that live in Petal, Georgia 

This 22 pages story is a quick look into an evening out as many of the characters from the current and past series gather to celebrate Lily and Nathan’s wedding.  These people have fun. So there’s lots of snappy dialogue as they banter back and forth but I’m sad to say there isn’t anything special about the story. It actually fell a little flat and left me feeling like I was watching the story from a distance, instead of being part of it. The best part for me was the fun the women had with all the references to the penis party favors and penis hats. I can so see that happening at a bachelorette party. That at least made me smile.

Kallen’s Atonement

Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Publishers URL: http:/www.extasybooks.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-594-0
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Kallen’s life within the Coalition is not going the way he hoped.  Being a Hyena shifter, he really was not expecting a lot, but he at least hoped to get closer to his brother.  Not wanting to cause problems, Kallen puts up with the abuse he receives from his fellow shifters, but he has a hard time not feeling crushed by the actions of Drake, a tiger shifter.

I really enjoyed Kallen’s Atonement, the latest The Lost Shifters story, by author Stephani Hecht.  Once again, the author brings the readers an unusual pairing in the form of Kallen and Drake.  Theirs is not an easy relationship as Kallen is a little leery about entering into a relationship with the tiger shifter.  I could understand where Kallen was coming from, especially after the way some of the other Coalition members had been treating him.  I had forgotten that Kallen was Gage’s brother so I could not believe that Gage took so long to stand up for him.  I did like that Gage went out of his way to clear things up, however.

While I was able to understand Kallen’s concerns regarding starting a new relationship, I could also see where Drake was coming from. I was glad that he decided to take the advice of Kallen’s few friends about how to win the younger shifter over. 

The author takes the readers on an action packed journey as these two men try to find their happily ever after.  A lot of previous characters stop by to give Kallen and Drake advice, which at times, will make you laugh.  I love seeing old friends and especially loved the way the author introduced a little twist regarding two old characters at the end of this story.  

Kallen’s Atonement is the 25th story in this long running series.  While some series would start to feel a little old about now, the author continues to make each new story exciting and fresh while leaving the reader wanting more.  While it is not always necessary to read this series in order, there is information that carries over from one book to the other. 

To The Other Side

Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02013-0077
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Time is running out for biologist and environmentalist Garrett Evergard; he must find a compelling reason to preserve the unspoiled Pacific Northwest rainforest from destruction. Fortunately, Garrett’s encounter with a spirit bear, as well as the witch Bryson Summers, leads to the salvation of both the rainforest and Garrett.

To The Other Side is the first book in the Terra Book series. The plot is a heartwarming romance. The setting is beautifully detailed. Centuries ago, the discrimination against anyone different from society’s majority so prevalent on the Earth side caused a mass influx into non-prejudice Terra. However, the European social composition of the aristocratic and poor, along with power-hungry villains, still subsists in Terra. Terra is also inhibited by all manner of rare creatures with distinct personalities. The fascinating characters are persuasive. 

Bryson is the designated gatekeeper; his job is to maintain balance between Earth and the dimensional Terra. This is a key position because the destruction of one side of the planet could also destroy the other side. Bryson is an enormously compassionate witch who uses his magic to heal people, especially the poor. Bryson lives inside a tree that borders an enchanted valley where sacred animals are protected from those who seek to kill them. Garrett has the same love of nature as Bryson which makes Garrett and Bryson the perfect soul mates.

S.J. Frost has created numerous intriguing components in this impressive saga that I found exceedingly enjoyable. The character descriptions, the amusing interaction between the characters, the strong bond of friendship, plus the good versus evil conflict are elements prominently illustrated in To The Other Side. Also, the book cover magnificently depicts the world of Terra. 

Diamond Dust

Title: Diamond Dust 
Author: Vivian Arend
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-556-6
Genre: {M/F} Contemporary Paranormal Series
Rating: Golden Blush
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Release Date: 08-20-13

Talk about a rough week—Caroline Bradley is having one. With a large group of rowdy bear-shifters ready to overtake Takhini territory, as pack second in command, she’s busier than ever. Then without warning, her alpha lover scents his mate, changing her status. Caroline’s happy for Evan but it couldn’t come at a more inopportune time—she needs to focus all her skills to keep the town from exploding.

As one of the front-runners in the upcoming election, clan leader Tyler Harrison needs every advantage possible. As a bachelor, he’s afraid for others to trust and vote for him that he’ll need a female at his side, and Tyler picks Caroline for the role. She’s strong, independent, sexy and has influence over nearly everyone in town, both human and shifter alike. She’s what he needs and his bear shouldn’t agree more.

Diamond Dust is the newest release in Vivian Arend’s Takhini Wolves series. Because of recurring characters and relationships, I recommend the books be read in order.

Where for me to begin? How about with a general statement of how much I enjoyed this book. It’s hard to believe, but for me this paranormal series just keeps getting better with each new release.  It has so many things to recommend it—and I do. It has great characters you can care about, and they even have well rounded personalities—way to go Ms. Arend. But that’s not all. It also has a fast pace, an interesting premise with plenty of twists, vivid descriptions, and a snappy dialogue that caused more than a few chuckles. And I can’t forget all the wonderful secondary characters because this story is truly driven by how their lives interact with Caroline and Tyler.

Despite all the things going on in this story—the clan election and the Takhini pack—at its hearts you’ll still find Caroline and Tyler. I like these two. They’re so different, yet the same in so many ways and when they get together—watch out for the sparks. Unlike many paranormal books, it’s not a quick I’ve found my mate book. I’m pleased about the slower way in which the author got them together, developing a relationship first. 

So, as you can see, I’m pretty happy with this entertaining story from beginning to end. I don’t know who the focus of the next book will be but I have an idea it’ll likely be Evan and I’ll be watching for its release. I hope you will be too.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Soldier of Fortune’s Downfall

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-561-2
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Raven has been working for the scientists for years now, and while he has known for some time that everything with them was not what it seemed, he saw no reason to change.  Then one day he smells something wonderful coming from one of the labs and Raven’s life changes in more ways than one.

I was excited to see that Soldier of Fortune’s Downfall, the newest book in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series, was going to be about Raven, and wondered just how the author was going to make this ‘bad guy’ a hero.  Raven is one of the scientists’ enhanced soldiers and, from the time he first showed up, it was hard for me to make up my mind about whether or not I liked him.  I have to say, I was surprised by some of the things we learn about Raven and understand the soldier a little better now.  It also means that watching the soldier go from someone who only cares about himself to someone who needs to care for his mate, made for some exciting reading.

Raven’s mate is Liam, a young Artic Fox shifter who is being held by the scientists.  Readers know just what it means the moment that Raven catches the fox’s scent and the fact that he will need to rescue Liam means there will be a lot of action.  While I was expecting the action, I was a little surprised that Raven’s first thought was to turn to Declan and his pack for help.  There is a lot of tension between the pack members and Raven, all of which is understandable.  Watch for a lot of action once the rescue mission starts.

Even with Liam in fox form, it is easy to see the way Raven cares for the shifter.  When the young fox is in human form, the attraction between the men is strong, yet while Raven knows the two are mates, Liam has yet to figure it out.  That isn’t the only obstacle in the men’s path and I was a little surprised that Raven did not catch on right away about the problems with Liam’s Alpha.  Raven has a lot of adjusting to do now that he is part of the shifter world, rather than working with the scientists, and I wish we could have seen a little more of that.  

The author also used Soldier of Fortune’s Downfall to introduce a new twist to the series.  I did not see this twist coming and when the author did not show all of what happened, I was a little perturbed.  I can’t wait to see what the outcome will be, or how it will carry over to Kontra’s Menagerie.  Because some of the topics carry over from one story to the other as well as crossing series, I would recommend reading the stories in order.

My Wicked Devil

Title:  My Wicked Devil
Author:  Ann Mayburn
Publisher:  Loose Id, LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62300-331-9
Genre:  {M/F}, {F/F}, BDSM, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Kira sees Lord Bryan at Club Wicked and doesn’t want anyone else help her overcome the pain she has when she has sex.  Bryan isn’t sure he wants to do it, because Kira is a celebrity and could bring his past back into the public eye, but can’t deny their chemistry.

My Wicked Devil is the third book in the Club Wicked series and brings several issues involving BDSM and public perception.  Most of the public perception is that BDSM is abusive, when it is actually a power exchange between the people involved.  Trust is a big issue and that is brought out big time in this story as Kira is an adrenaline junkie that hasn’t really learned her limits, even after her accident.  This is a big issue with Bryan as he does not want to hurt her by pushing her too far.

The author did a great job explaining what a sadist and masochist is and how they complement each other.  The fact that Kira is turning to BDSM to try to get past the pain of having intercourse, so she can eventually have a family, was an interesting concept.  I loved Bryan now that there was more information so the reader gets to know him, especially with the glimpses we had in previous books. 

The chemistry between the two is hot and both have to make choices about how they want to proceed when there are a lot of trust issues.  I did have to laugh at Kira’s spunk, even knowing she would pay for it later.  Both are very strong with very strong personalities, which play havoc, especially in Bryan’s life.

I loved Laurence and had to laugh at the scene where he made Bryan listen to Kira.  I also would have loved to know what Bryan said to Kira’s sister after putting up with her attitude for awhile.  Several characters from the previous books also make an appearance. 

I am so looking forward to the next books in this series, because Club Wicked has so much to offer readers.  These books need to be read in order as several references from past stories will make more sense.

Burning Bright

Author: Rachel Wilder, A. Catherine Noon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-60928-526-5
Genre: {M/M}, {M/M/M/M}, Paranormal, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

After spending the night at a club with some friends, Sasha is ready to head home.  The problem is that he can’t seem to remember which direction his car is in.  Before he can figure it out, Sasha is accosted by a group of men and is rescued by Neal.

Burning Bright is the first book in the Chicagoland Shifters series.  This story is fast-paced and will pull the readers in from the first page.  While there are a lot of characters in this book, the story centers on Sasha and the men he starts to fall in love with. 

Sasha is a veterinarian, looking for a change and hoping to land a new job in Chicago.  But he’s more than that as Sasha is also an animal empathy and coven guardian.  Only in a world that does not always treat paranormals well, his gifts are something he allows very few to know about.  This is one aspect of the story I wish the authors would have expounded more on.  While it is mentioned a few times that Sasha is a guardian, they really do not go into detail as to just what he did, or how moving so far away would change that, if it did. 

Neal is a retired Marine that now owns and runs the Factory, a local bar/BDSM club.  Like Sasha, Neal and his men also have a secret, one they work hard at keeping others from knowing.  When Neal rescues Sasha, it is easy to see the connection between them.  The two men pair up immediately and, while they are limited as to how far they can go, that does not keep them from heating up the pages.  The men are so different that it is interesting seeing this relationship develop, especially when Sasha starts to have feelings for Steve and Carlos, two of Neal’s men. 

While Sasha struggles to come to terms with the changes in his life, he also finds himself the subject of curiosity by other paranormals in Chicago, thanks to his connection to Neal and the men of the Factory.  Not all the curiosity is good and the authors use this to really throw some twists and turns into the story.  I love all the action that ensues as it really keeps the story hopping. 

Burning Bright is a little different than most of the paranormal stories out there, but if you want a refreshing change then you really need to give this book a shot.  Readers should know that this is a series that will need to be read in order.  

Buried Bones

Title: Buried Bones
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62380-711-5
Genre: {M/M} Werewolves Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Architect Dylan Warner and handyman Chris Nock are making progress on remodeling the old farm house formally owned by Chris’ uncle Frank. Everything is going well until a ghost makes an appearance and Dylan and Chris must discover who the ghost is as well as what the phantom is requesting from them.

Buried Bones is the second book in the Bones series. The intriguing plot is romantic suspense. The characters are convincing. Dylan is a perfectionist regarding his job. He stresses over the smallest design details. Dylan also is determined to restore the original attributes of his home as much as possible. Dylan fears revealing his dangerous werewolf side to others, especially to Chris. However, Chris who lives next door to Dylan has complete trust in the werewolf. Chris has a natural talent for fixing up houses, plus Chris is a good cook, which is a great benefit because Dylan cannot cook at all. The plot illustrates the strong loving bond of trust Dylan and Chris share. 

Kim Fielding has created an amazingly enjoyable saga blending romance, mysterious history along with deadly drama. Exploring the background of the werewolf Andy, Dylan and Chris encounter a werewolf pack, more information about werewolf abilities, forgiveness along with the importance of preserving family connections.     

Winter Frost

Title: Winter Frost
Authors: A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781614958147
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Kieran, Jubilee, Sean and Nicholas team up to track down a serial killer working in a Mexican red-light district. It’s a dangerous assignment because this guy thinks he’s a modern day Jack-the-Ripper, mutilating women just like the original. Sean's next assignment is with Trace. They're assigned to protect a witness and while in transit, their car is almost carjacked, so it’s danger and business as usual for the four Marshalls at work.

Things are in turmoil with Kieran and Jubilee’s adoption of Juan stalled and someone they trust trying to take him away from them. It puts a strain on the relationship between the two couples and for awhile puts their working relationship in jeopardy, too. Can the couples weather the troubles facing them or will it destroy everything they care about?

Winter Frost is the newest release in the Orgasmic Texas Dawn series and because of the recurring characters and ongoing plotline, the books should be read in order.

This is another nice addition to the family of books. It’s entertaining, full of tension, has lots of danger, plenty of conflict and the feelings of hurt and betrayal is off the charts. I admit it. I’m shocked at the turn of events regarding Juan’s adoption. The breach of trust caused by these individuals and experienced by Kieran and Jubilee is jaw-dropping. These twists are nicely developed and cause repercussions throughout the book. Nicely done, authors. 

There’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions in Winter Frost. Yes, Sean and Nicholas are the other focus of this story and their relationship is growing closer, but what’s happening with Kieran and Jubilee’s blocked adoption causes trouble between the friends. The strain in their relationships is believable and how it’s resolved—very nicely done. 

Since this is an ongoing series, there are a few plot threads left dangling for the next book, so don’t be surprised. There are even some hints of what might come next. Watch for Spring Leaves, coming soon.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Misunderstandings

Author: Angel Rothamel
Publisher: MLR Press
Publishers URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR-1-02013-0075
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Light BDSM, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

After spending six years with the SEALs, Dan and his fellow SEALs have settled down in Cedar, Colorado.  The men he has served with have become his second family and he’s going to need every one of them when a past he never knew about comes to light.  The one person he never thought he would need in his corner, however, is Dallas, his CO’s pilot.

Misunderstandings is the first book in a new series by author Angel Rothamel.  The series, SEALs of Cedar, Colorado, will be centered on a team of SEALs put together because of their sexual orientation.  This first book starts with Dan. 

Dan is now a mechanic and like the rest of the men in his ‘family’, more than capable of taking care of himself.  Because of that, when he is hit with unsuspecting news, he has no problem turning to his CO for help.  That will mean spending time with Dallas is just something that he will have to deal with. 

Early in the story, readers learn that there is major conflict between the two men, although the reason behind it is not clear right away.  The fact that both the men are strong, alpha type individuals also means that neither is comfortable taking the first step to clear the air between them.  Once they do decide to clear things up and look into starting a relationship, they really heat up the pages.  But the misunderstandings that existed in the beginning of their relationship are not the only ones they have to face, as the author throws a couple of twists into the story.

When Misunderstandings starts, Dan finds out that he has a family he knew nothing about.  Rather than being a good thing, however, it becomes a case of having to deal with the demon seed.  The author did not pull any punches with this part of the story.  I could not believe the way some of these new family members acted, or the lengths they would go to in order to get what they want.  

Misunderstandings was a very good story, one that pulled me in from the beginning.  The various men in the SEALs team were intriguing and I can’t wait to read the rest of these books. 

Master at Arms

Title:  Master at Arms
Author:  Bianca D’Arc
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:  www.samhainpublishing.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-61921-574-0
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Tristan kills a skith and saves Rath from worse injury.  Rath decides Tristan will be his knight, now he just has to find Tristan and Thorn a wife, so he can be with his own dragoness.  Cara finds both Tristan and Thorn attractive, but isn’t sure she can choose between them.

The latest installment in the Dragon Knights series, Master at Arms, brings more surprises for the royal family and the dragons of Draconia.  Family intrigues play a big part in this story as well.  I had to laugh at Rath and Sharlis, as they were doing their best to play matchmaker once they realized both men were attracted to Cara.

I was surprised with Tristan’s background, since he is the Master at Arms at Cara’s family estate on the border with Skithdron.  He also didn’t quite understand what Rath was getting at, even when Thorn started talking to him about Cara and the types of marriages the Dragon Knights have.  Cara has a lot of chemistry with Tristan and Thorn, which makes the sex scenes hot. 

As more dragons and knights are introduced in this series, we learn more about Draconia and the war they are facing.  I have tried to guess how this series will end as I read, but the author keeps adding twists that keep the reader guessing.

Torquere Press Special Calls for Submissions

Torquere Press Special Calls for Submissions


SEPTEMBER - OUTSERVE CHARITY SIP BLITZ

Every year, the great authors at Torquere Press put their money where their mouth is, donating their time writing stories for our chosen charity. Those same authors donate any royalties earned on their stories to the chosen organization, with Torquere matching those donations 100%. In the past we've raised $5000.00 for Lambda Legal, over $3000.00 for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and more than $10000.00 combined for organizations such as NOH8 and Doctors Without Borders.
For the 2013-2014 Charity event, which will premiere in September 2013, we've chosen OutServe-SLDN as our donation organization. OutServe is an non-profit that provides legal services and support to LGBT military individuals and families, working toward equal representation and benefits.
This year's theme for Charity Sips, or short stories, is "In Uniform". Who doesn't love a man, or woman, in uniform? While OutServe is primarily a military charity, we want to encourage authors to use their imaginations. Soldiers, sailors, pilots? Absolutely. But we're also open to stories about first responders like police, firemen and EMTs, as well as security guards, park rangers or anyone else who wears a snappy uniform to work. Give us hot, romantic, fully realized stories with happy endings about all the unsung heroes and heroines in the world.
Word count for Charity Sips ranges from 3000-8000 words. Deadline for submissions is July 1, 2013. Please send stories to submissions@torquerepress.com with OutServe Charity Sip and your story's title in subject line. Include full manuscript in RTF or Word formats, and in the body of the email include a cover letter with your full legal name and address information, as well as a synopsis of your story. Please our general submissions guidelines for formatting and other information. Feel free to emailkristi@torquerepress.com for more information.

OCTOBER - LIGHTS OUT SIPS!

They say there’s nothing there in the dark that isn’t present in the light. We disagree! Halloween is all about things that go bump in the night, and October is all about Halloween here at Torquere. Give us romantic, fully realized, LGBT tales about Halloween and/or paranormal activity, from ghosts to were-creatures to vamps and everything in between. Give us all the things that only come alive when the lights go out!
Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Lights Out in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is August 1, 2013. Length, 3000-8000 words.

NOVEMBER - THANKFUL SIPS

We should all stop and be thankful for something. Whether it's the big things -- like love and family -- or the little things -- like flavored lube -- or simply the HOT things, we want to know! For our Thankful sips, we're looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about love during Thanksgiving holidays. Make us laugh or cry, surprise us and make us glow with happy endings! Length is 3000-8000 words.
Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Thankful in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is September 1, 2013.

DECEMBER - ALL I WANT SIPS

All I want for Christmas (or Hanukah or Yule) is you. Or you and you… Who doesn’t want to be with someone they love for the holidays? For our All I Want sips, we’re looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about love at the holidays. Make us laugh or cry, surprise us and make us glow with happy endings! Length is 3000-8000 words.
Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with All I Want in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is September 15, 2013.

Ruffling the Peacock’s Feathers

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-545-2
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Rueben and his brother haven’t been very close lately, but when Ricky goes missing, Rueben is determined to find him.  What he doesn’t expect is to find his brother holed up in a hotel with a bunch of sexy men, or for one of those men to be his mate.

Fans of the Kontra’s Menagerie series will remember Ricky from an earlier story.  In Ruffling the Peacock’s Feathers, Ricky’s brother Rueben shows up.  Rueben is the total opposite of Ricky.  Being gay aside, Rueben is easier going so when it becomes known that Lamar, the man he has been having sex with for the last few hours, is a shape-shifter, he isn’t as freaked as Ricky was when he found out.  

This does not mean theirs is an easy going relationship.  The attraction between the two men is strong, which for Lamar is understandable since he knows Rueben is his mate.  For Rueben however, he does not quite understand his need for the other man.  I like that, while Rueben goes into the situation thinking of Lamar as just a one, maybe two night stand, he isn’t upset at the possibility of more.  Readers will be a little surprised by the way that these two bond.  I love the unusual method and found it a refreshing change from what we usually get.  I also love that Lamar is a peacock rather than something more aggressive.  While I love the more predatory shifters, the occasional switch up is a nice change, especially when it is something not seen before.  The conversation between the two men when they meet up in the park was well done and I kept expecting to have someone show up to see this big man talking to a peacock and wondered how Rueben would handle the situation. 

While not all stories in the series need to be read in order, there are some aspects that carryover from one book to the other, as well as crossovers between this series and the Wolves of Stone Ridge, that I would recommend that the reader read them as they come out.

The Gig

Title: The Gig
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62380-712-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Chance meeting can sometimes evolve into a prospect for a new future career as well as new friends. When Drew Clifton and his lover, Travis Miller, meet Dylan Warner and his lover, Chris Nock, a new camaraderie is formed. 

The Gig is a Bones/Speechless Crossover short story. The key feature is that the four men all have flaws that spawned emotional turmoil. Drew and Travis are the main characters from Speechless. Drew cannot speak or write. Travis has lost his sight in one eye, also, he is unemployed. Dylan and Chris are the main characters from Bones. Dylan is a werewolf and Chris suffers from low self esteem. All of the men had retreated from society until they met their special someone with whom they could share a loving relationship.       

Willing Sacrifice

Author:  Joey W. Hill
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419943607
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Series
Rating:  5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Max is the security chief, as well as a limo driver, for the company Janet works for.  Janet keeps men at arm’s length because of her past, but is also a Domme at the club her employers go to.  Max left the SEALs after his mother was killed and his sister attacked.  Neither one acted on their attraction to each other until an emergency breaks some barriers between them.

Willing Sacrifice is part of author Joey Hill’s Knights of the Board Room series, and is a bit different as it is about the Administrative Assistant to Matt at K&A.  Janet uses BDSM as a way of maintaining control, without the emotional entanglements of a relationship. Max also has his own demons to overcome, but knows about the club as he constantly drives the owners and their ladies there.

I have to give Ms. Hill kudos for the research she did regarding SEALs and their training.  I also was intrigued by the way she used some of the concepts and training with her interactions between Janet and Max as they explored their relationship, especially since Max is not a submissive by any means.  The chemistry is intense and the scenes between them are hot. I was also intrigued by the give and take between them and Max’s willingness to sometimes submit emotionally to Janet when she needed him to for her to maintain balance. 

All the characters from the previous five books show up, giving support as needed to both Max and Janet.  Readers get additional insight into them as you see some things from both Max’s and Janet’s perspective.  While readers don’t need to read the previous books to enjoy Willing Sacrifice, I recommend you do to get the most out of this story.

Monday, June 24, 2013

In Search of a Story

Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-614-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

With his editor angry at his last story, Brad Torrence has one week to write another the man loves or Brad’s out of a job. He comes across an ad selling unused nursery items and Brad calls, thinking he’ll write an article about a grieving mother. What he gets is a single man with a story he didn’t expect.

Months have passed and Cory Wolfe’s still grieving, but sharing his story with Brad makes him feel better. But most surprisingly is the attraction he feels for the younger man—he actually feels alive again. As their relationship grows, Brad digs deep into another story about financial greed and it’s dangerous. If Brad’s not careful, his hunt for his next big story could very well be his last.

In Search of a Story is the last release by Andrew Grey. It’s a sweet, emotional and romantic story guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings.

Premises that are a bit unusual catch my attention, so after I read the blurb I knew I had to read it. I like how the author brought Brad and Cory’s world to life, pulling in loss, pain and anger without letting the story turn maudlin. The plot moved forward with Brad’s next news article at the same time their personal relationship develops. That brings in romance, passion, love, danger and suspense. As you can see, there’s a little bit of everything in this heartwarming story.

Both Cory and Brad are likable guys and their personalities are nicely developed. The pace is steady, the descriptions are good and various secondary characters nicely placed within the plot. I even got the happily-ever-after I wanted. I hope you enjoy it too.

The Angry Dove and the Assassin

Author: Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-544-5
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Caley can’t believe he’s seeking refuge with a wolf pack.  Years ago wolves killed his family so he knows that they can be viscous creatures.  So when the new assassins show up, he can’t believe how drawn to their leader he is.  Grey is everything he could ever want in a mate; now Caley has to make peace with how his feelings for wolves are changing.

The Angry Dove and the Assassin is the latest addition to the Wayne County Wolves series.  The assassins Shane found to help the pack have finally shown up and just in time too.  I love that the author continues to enlarge the world in which her stories take place.  These new characters bring a lot of history with them, some of which we get the chance to see as Grey becomes Caley’s love interest.  With Grey being an assassin, the reader knows to expect a little craziness from him, but actually he is tamer than what I was expecting.  He is definitely all alpha male, however, and I like the way he clicks with Caley.

While Caley lives with Chris’ pack, and designs clothes for a lot of them, he has kept to himself since moving in.  It is easy to understand why the Dove shifter is leery about forming attachments with the wolves after what had happened to his family.  However, that all changes when he meets Grey.  The attraction between them is strong and I like the way they acknowledge the fact that they’re mates without drawing it out over a long period of time. 

To keep the story from becoming too light, however, the author brings back Rand, who causes more than his share of trouble.  The author uses this time to introduce the next group of troublemakers, as well as possible problem areas for the pack.  I like that the author introduces new situations into the series, as it keeps the Wayne County Wolves series fresh and the reader coming back for more.  I also like the twist she threw in regarding Cassie and can see it becoming a major series plot line issue. 

While it is not always necessary to read the series in order, I would recommend it as it gives you a chance to learn about the various characters in the series.

Teasing Jonathan

Author: Amber Kell
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78184-330-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

On his way to a meeting, Jonathan stops for coffee and meets Kai Stromwell, when he keeps the man from being hit by a speeding car.  It’s not long before it becomes clear that someone’s trying to kill Kai but the question is who—and why? Is it somehow related to Kai’s successful business or his quirky sister?  With the attraction between them off the charts, the only option to keep Kai safe is for Jonathon to act as his bodyguard. Can these two men work together to figure out who is targeting Kai and stop them before it’s too late? Can they make a new relationship work under the pressure?

Teasing Jonathan is the newest release in Amber Kell’s Mercenary Love series. Because of the recurring characters/relationships, I recommend the books be read in order.

Prologues aren’t usually my favorite thing but I liked this one. It allows the reader a look into the unrest Jonathan’s experiencing and is written with sensitivity, showing the long term effects of PTSD. I also appreciate how later in the story Jonathan’s concerned how his sleeping problem might interfere with his physical relationship with Kai—a real possibility.

Now to the actual story. I love how Jonathan and Kai met. It’s just the first of several action-filled scenes that keeps the story rolling along at a pretty fast pace. There are so many options of who might be behind the threats to Kai’s life that I didn’t have a clue who was behind them until almost the end. So, good going Ms. Kell. I like to be kept guessing as long as possible. 

The personalities of Kai and Jon are pretty well rounded, the imagery is good and the secondary characters are well placed. I particularly liked getting to see a little of Sin and Callum at the beginning. Kai’s sister is also an interesting addition to the storyline. I look forward to the next release.