Tuesday, July 30, 2013

From the Ashes

Author: Daisy Harris
Publisher: Samhain Publishing  
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-798-0
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

When Jesse’s family found out he was gay, they threw him away.   Struggling on his own, he’s trying to work and go to school at the same time.  Money is tight and he’s barely getting by but when his home burns down, Jesse’s left homeless.   Just when things look bleak, in walks Tomas.

From the Ashes is the first book by author Daisy Harris I have read and, after reading this one, I can’t wait to see what she has planned for her new series, Fire and Rain.  The characters and story are well written and the author pulled me into the story from the first page.  Jesse is a strong kid struggling to make a life for himself after his family kicks him out.  Even as strong as Jesse is, he is also fragile, especially after his home burns down.  I wanted to wrap him up in bubble wrap to keep him from getting hurt worse than he already has.  When Tomas walks into the scene you can feel the chemistry between them, even with all the excitement going on around them.  Tomas is a fireman whose Latin heritage has him so far in the closet that he can’t seem to find the door.  Although I can understand Tomas’ confusion, there are times I wanted to smack him for the way he treated Jesse in front of others. 

The men have more than enough issues of their own to overcome, yet the author brings in secondary characters to toss things up even more.  Between one of Jesse’s co-workers and Tomas’ older brother, sometimes it seems as if Tomas and Jesse don’t stand a chance.  There is a lot going on in From the Ashes and the reader is sure to get hooked on the story.  The author does wrap the story up very well and I am sure this story will earn the author many more fans.

The Battle for Galerir

Author: Anna Lee
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02013-0112
Genre: {M/M} Fantasy Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

The kingdom of Galerir is at stake; Prince Tomas understands he is destined to be king, although he would have chosen to continue living a quiet life with his lover Sir Griffin Dalison if he were given the option. Nevertheless, Tomas and Griffin will fulfill their destiny to the best of their ability.

The Battle for Galerir is the second book in The Galerir saga. In this installment, more sinister plots as well as the culprits are exposed. The plot catalogs the true history of the kingdom before dark magic gained control. Tomas, with the approval of the dying king Antony, wrote new laws in hopes of destroying the myths created by the diseased mind of a fanatical king centuries ago. People were told as well as believed gay men were not worthy to be king or any worthwhile position. All magic was considered evil.  Greed in addition to removing the competition was the underlining basis of the myths. 

Anna Lee’s exceptionally enjoyable The Battle for Galerir is filled with revelations, each one providing another layer of turmoil for Tomas, Griffin as well as a volatile realm on the brink of war.  The Galerir saga continues in the upcoming Reuniting Galerir.    

The Broken Triangle

Authors: Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow
Publisher: Loose ID
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781623003869
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Vin bartends at the Square Peg and despite the invitations to date or have sex, he isn’t interested because Vin’s celibate. His heart belongs to Riley, a guy he’s been crazy about since high school and hasn’t seen since graduation. Vin spends his time working and with his best friend, Patrick, who’s another bartender.

Then one day Riley walks into the bar looking for Vin and suddenly it looks like all his dreams are coming true. But is having Riley in his life what Vin wants or he is looking at their relationship with ‘rose-colored’ glasses and missing the problems?

And Patrick…what’s he going to do? Now that he’s trying to get his life in order, he realizes how much he cares for Vin, but it’s all about timing. It has to be perfect to be with Vin and if luck is with him, Patrick will have a chance at his happily-ever-after.

The Broken Triangle is the second release in the Square Peg series and because it begins shortly after the first book leaves off, they should be read in order. I find the cover misleading—this is not a threesome story and doesn’t involve cheating.

I found this book entertaining but it wasn’t what I expected. I mean it’s nothing like the previous release. It’s not that the descriptions aren’t vivid, the characters of Vin and Patrick likable or the plot filled with lots of intense emotions. It’s that for a big portion of the story, Vin’s involved with Riley, who’s obviously the wrong guy for him. It made the plot drag a bit and it’s not until the POV switches over to Patrick that it picks up speed. I liked this part and getting to know Patrick better. He’s just such a lovable guy. You want his life to work out—for him to be happy.

Vin and Patrick are great friends and make a wonderful couple, but Riley—he seems hopeless as Vin’s love interest from the start. His jerk-factor is just too high almost from his introduction. I’m glad Shane and Ben play supporting roles instead of hanging completely in the background.

So, despite my niggles, this emotion filled story is definitely worth the read because ultimately Vin and Patrick are who the story is really all about. And don’t we always want our characters to find their HEA? I look forward to the next release.

Ropes and Dreams

Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Total E-Bound Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-78184-372-7
Genre: {M/M}, Western, BDSM, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Drake is the cook at the Mossy Glenn Ranch and the only thing that would make him happier is if he did not have to put up with the repercussions from his last relationship.  The only one at the police department that knows Ian is gay is his boss, yet once Ian meets Drake, he no longer cares if anyone finds out.

Ropes and Dreams is the second story in the Mossy Glenn Ranch series.  This is an enjoyable story and one that fans of this author are sure to like.  The story centers on Drake and Ian.  Drake is a firecracker who is trying to rebuild his life.  His problem, however, is that he has always been afraid of what he really wanted in a mate and therefore picked the wrong men.   This is the type of character that readers really care about and I could not believe what his ex puts him through. 

Ian, on the other hand, is a tough, knows what he wants cop.  For Ian, relationships were something he always wished for, but feared he would never find.  I liked that although Ian is a Dom, he is smaller than what we normally see for this type of character.  It is easy to see that Ian and Drake are meant for each other and I loved watching Ian take the time to show Drake that what he wanted was not wrong or abnormal. 

There is a bit of mystery going on throughout the story, as well as the romance between Ian and Drake.  The author leaves you guessing where the problem is coming from and I was a little surprised by the direction she took. 

While I did enjoy this story, and will definitely read the next installment of the series, I did feel like some of the issues in Ropes and Dreams were left undone.  I hope the author plans on revisiting them again in future stories.  

Take It Off! (Again)

Author:  Justin Whitfield & Taylor Cole
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:  www.jasminejade.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781419946783
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Sequel
Rating:  Golden Blush Award
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Take It Off! (Again) is the sequel to Take It Off, and continues telling about the authors escapades as male strippers/review dancers.  Be prepared for a wild ride as you read.  In some places you can figure out which author is writing and in others, they just come right out and tell you.

One of the things I liked was that, even though they were extremely promiscuous at times, they stressed using condoms.  There was the one exception and that was when one of the authors ended up doing a scene in a porn movie, but a clean test certificate, showing no STDs, was required on site at time of filming.

Another thing I liked is that they make it clear that dancers should have backup and contingency plans for the future, as this profession usually has a fairly short job retention at the peak of a career.  Saving is another item stressed, again looking to the future.

The last part of the book stresses exercise and diet as well as attitudes for a person’s life.  They even give a blueprint for a daily exercise program.  One of the guys even gives a meal recommendation at the end, though I’m not sure I would want to eat the same thing several times a day for days. 

I really enjoyed reading this and think a lot of their advice is very practical regardless of what job anyone chooses to do.  It is also a very entertaining book to read.  I also suggest both books be read in order and preferably back to back because they give a very entertaining look at a particular lifestyle.

Love Lessons

Title: Love Lessons
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing  
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61921-827-7
Genre: {M/M}, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

 Publication Date: 10-01-2013

Coming from a small town, Kelly worried about coming out.  He hoped that things would be easier, once he made it to Hope College, but it’s turning out to be harder than he thought.  To top everything off, he suddenly has a roommate he knows nothing about.

Heidi Cullinan has written another great story, Love Lessons.  This story takes place on a college campus and centers around Kelly and Walter.  These two characters are as different as you could expect and that is one of the things that make this story so interesting.  Kelly’s family is close and hard working.  While not rich, his parents try to make sure that the family has everything that it needs.  Kelly is also innocent in many ways and hopes that he will find his Disney ending while at college.  Walter is the exact opposite.  His family is well off but so dysfunctional that he could not wait to get back to school.  Whatever closeness that may have existed in his family left a long time ago.  Afraid to get close to anyone, Walter only looks for Mr. Right Now and has no problems being seen as the campus Casanova. 

These two complement each other wonderfully and, right from the start, the readers can see the changes coming over Walter.  The author did a wonderful job bringing the men to life and I could not help but be drawn into their story.  While a friendship blossoms between the men from the beginning, it takes awhile for anything else to start.  I liked the learning time the men had, especially as it gave Kelly a little time to come out of his shell.  Being in a relationship is not always easy for them, as neither man has the experience to know what they are doing.  As the reader can imagine, this does cause a few issues and to make things just a little more crazy for the two young men, the author threw in a few outside issues to contend with.

I really enjoyed Love Lessons and found myself reading late into the night.  This is a great starter story if you have not yet tried this author and, for those who are already fans of Ms. Cullinan, don’t forget to pick up your copy of Love Lessons.  

Between Good & Evil

Author: L.M. Brown
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publisher URL: spsilverpublishing.com/
ISBN: 9781614959571
Genre: {M/M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Required to meet the terms of a demon’s bargain, Tristan, Machidiel, and Alastor accidently jeopardize an innocent human’s freedom and this is only one of the many tribulations the three lovers must undergo.

Between Good & Evil is the second book in the Heavenly Sins series. The multifaceted plot has a religious implication. Love, faith and trust are called into question. The characters are fascinating. Tristan was an honorable man who was deceptively turned into a demon. Although he is a subordinate of the underworld, Tristan still maintains his virtuous traits. Mac is an angel on a mission to save the souls of his two demon lovers Tristan and Alastor. Saving Alastor is Mac’s main challenge since Alastor was demonized for sins committed during his human life.

The noteworthy point in this story is the roles of the archangels. They are aware of the future, yet the archangels withhold vital information as well as guidance. In their quest for deliverance from evil, Tristan, Mac, and Alastor are left to struggle through one crisis after another. Their relationship seems doomed from the beginning. Even love develops into a concern for Mac. Nevertheless, Tristan’s love for Mac and Alastor remains steadfast all through the chaos.

L.M. Brown has created an enjoyable as well as an Impressive saga illustrating jealousy, revenge, hate along with heartbreaking turmoil. Between Good & Evil does not have a happy ending, however, the story continues in the upcoming book 3, Between Life & Death.

I suggest reading this series in sequence; the first book is Between Heaven & Hell.