Monday, August 18, 2014

The Falconer’s Lure

Author: A.J. Marcus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-830-8
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

All his life Garret Nicholson’s taken care of and trained birds of prey at the center run by his parents. He also works at his father falconry show during the Hawkwook Renaissance Festival trying to prove he’s a dependable adult, capable of being a good falconer. His dad has trouble seeing it, but leaves him in charge for a few days while he does business off-site.

Trevor DePalma loves the birds, and watching the shows makes him happier than he’s been since his parents threw him out of the house. He volunteers at the falconry booth and ends up helping Garrett with their care. Trevor learns all he can about the birds and the two grow close, except he’s afraid to tell Garrett about his past, especially about being homeless. As the dangers of living on the streets get all too real, can Trevor depend on Garrett to be there when he needs him?

The Falconer’s Lure is the latest in A Ren Faire Romance series by AJ Marcus.  Please note the previous characters don’t play major roles, so it can be read as a standalone.

I’m a fan of watching the birds of prey shows myself, so finding falconry as the focus of the story is a plus for me. It’s obvious the author did his research about falconry and did a very nice job weaving the information into the story. I enjoyed the scenes with the birds and actually learned something too.

I guess what I liked the most is that the author chose to use a young homeless man as one of his leads. He took a situation where Trevor and his friends had hit bottom but put it in the fantasy setting of the renaissance festival and turned it into a positive experience after months of uncertainty. Weaving the bad with the good, the pain with the joy and the rejection of the parents with the acceptance of Garrett, made for nice juxtapositions throughout the story. Having Garrett show Trevor compassion as they developed a friendship first was a nice way to begin their relationship.

Overall—I enjoyed the story, it’s well written and entertaining. I admit the opening started a little slow for me, but after a few pages it picked up and remained steady throughout the remainder of the book. The descriptions are vivid and I really liked Garrett and Trevor, and the author did a nice job developing their personalities. 

Trusting His Rat

Author: Charlie Richards
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-77111-983-2
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Paolo is thankful for the refuge that the Stone Ridge pack has given him.  However, being there brings the rat shifter one surprise he never expected – a mate.  Jamie has been protected by the members of the Stone Ridge pack from the moment he became a member.  When he meets his mate however, the young shifter does the one thing he has always done, run to his friends for help.

Trusting His Rat is the twenty-fourth book in author Charlie Richards’ long running Wolves of Stone Ridge series.   While I have enjoyed all the books in this series, Trusting His Rat is one of my favorites.  The characters are well done and have a strong chemistry that they do not try to hide.  Paolo has Dom written all over him, and he is thrilled to find out that Jamie, his mate, is a natural submissive.  With the mate pull and their natural leanings, you would think that these two would have an easy time of getting together.  But that is not the way things go and when a misunderstanding occurs after their first time together, Jamie does what comes naturally for him, he runs. 

When the readers learn more about Jamie’s past, they will understand why he acted as he did.  Both Jamie’s friends and Paolo himself help Jamie understand and overcome his fears.  The author could have chosen to draw this matter out; however, she did not, which kept the story moving smoothly.

There are many appearances by former characters and there are a couple of tense moments, due to the actions of some of those characters.  Thankfully Jamie and Paolo are surrounded by pack members and friends who help the two men when they needed it the most. 

Some of the books in this series need to be read in order however, this particular one can be read as a stand-alone if you wish, although I would highly recommend you read all the stories in order.  

Not Quite Broken

Author: Diana DeRicci
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0270
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Dex is desperately trying to find the will to live but each day becomes harder. Dex’s only salvation is his friend Brian.

Not Quite Broken is part of the Arbor Heights Series. This is an especially emotional plot dealing with an ordeal not usually associated with men by the heterosexual society. The storyline takes the reader through the pain, lost of trust and feelings of being utterly helpless. Plus the emotional shame of being unwanted by family.

Dex is a young gay man just starting to implement his independence. He had a job and an apartment, but he wanted to meet new friends. Unfortunately Dex is horribly violated by a deranged man at a dance club. The emotional part of the violence almost destroyed Dex. Dex became so mentally withdrawn only Brian could pull him back to a few normal activities.

Brian is an extremely empathetic man; at first his single desire was to help Dex in any way he could. However, the more time Brian spent with Dex, the more he desired Dex as other than a friend. Nevertheless, Brian is an honorable man; he declined to act on his yearning for intimacy with Dex until Dex approached the topic first.

Diana DeRicci’s Not Quite Broken is a realistic as well as enjoyable saga that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I mourned for Dex’s lost of wellness, but I rejoiced for the peace Dex found in friends. 

Semper Fae

Title: Semper Fae
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: ManLoveRomance Books
Publishers URL: http://www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN/BIN: MLR-1-02014-0268
Genre: {M/M}, Paranormal, Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Zach has gone from being a Marine medic to head of security for Luge, the sidhe prince.  When he fell into his new position, he never realized he’d end up falling for anyone so far out of his league.  Luge isn’t known for being monogamous and Zach has no plans to be anyone’s one night stand.  But fate has more in store for both men and neither will be able to change a thing.

Semper Fae is the third book in the Endangered Fae series by author Angel Martinez.  While I loved the first two books, this one is really story driven and held my attention more than the others.  Zach and Luge are characters we met in the last story, but while they were minor characters in Diego, they take front and center stage in Semper Fae. In many ways these two make an unlikely match but they are perfect for each other.  Although the two men have strong chemistry, neither man can see just how much the other cares for them.  Of course, the author does bring them together, however, it is not in a way that anyone would see coming.  Unfortunately, it causes more than the usual problems later. 

While the romance plays a big part of the story, there is another part that is just as enthralling.  When Diego unexpectedly opened the veil between humans and the otherworld, no one knew what the consequences would be.   A year later they’re starting to find out just what is in store for both societies and it’s not all good either.  There are some twists and turns that are sure to surprise more than a few readers. More than once I was shocked by what was going on and worried how the author would be wrapping the story up.  I could not help crying at the end and am anxiously waiting for the next book to come out.

Endangered Fae is a series that needs to be read in order so if you have not read the previous books, you will need to do so before starting Semper Fae

In Fine Form

Title: In Fine Form
Author: Eresse
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Publisher URL: liquidsilverbooks.com
ISBN: 9781622101177
Genre: {M/M} Hermaphrodite Series
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Yandro Vaidon is the very essence of proper diplomacy at all times, much to the dismay of his employer Ambassador Jareth Hadrana. Nevertheless, there is an undeniable attraction between Yandro and Jareth. The attraction will take years to come into full bloom, but Yandro and Jareth consider their future together was well worth the wait.

In Fine Form is the sixth book in the Chronicles of Ylandre. The setting is Aisen, a planet resembling the European Regency time period. True Bloods formed the ruling class of every realm in Aisen, their ancestors kept their breeding with the planet’s natives to the barest minimum, retaining much of the physical strength, endurance and most of their gifts of mind control. The ancestors of the Half Bloods bred indiscriminately, which resulted in the diminishment or disappearance of many of the True Blood characteristics. The plot illustrates social prejudices, rumors of war, greed as well as schemes of corruption.

Jareth Hadrana is a member of the ruling class while Yandro Vaidon is a member of the lowest class of commoner. The class difference is the main source of Yandro’s despair. He allows the bullies to torment him without protest. Yandro even has the demeanor of a man deserving of such ill-treatment. Yet he is one of the most ethical of men amongst Jareth’s staff. Jareth is a man of compassion, regardless of what society deems as proper. Jareth also is not above using his mental powers to gain information. Jareth’s main flaw is his lack of trust in anyone who is not a family member.

Eresse has created another impressive as well as an exceptionally enjoyable addition to this series. I suggest reading the series in sequence beginning with Book One: Sacred Fate.  

The Blinding Light

Author: Renae Kaye
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-813-1
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Jake Manning’s been caretaker of his siblings for years; he watches over their alcoholic mother and is now paying off her debts. He can’t hold a job, either because of his sense of rightness or inability to keep his mouth shut. When he applies for a position as a housekeeper he’s desperate for money, even if his new boss, Patrick Stanford, has already run off several other housekeepers. 

Blind since birth, Patrick is very particular about his home and can be rude if he doesn’t get his way. He drives Jake crazy but there’s an attraction simmering just under the surface that Jake can’t deny. As the months progress, so does their relationship and during that time his family is getting their act together—and then the bottom drop out again. Jake’s mother has another crisis and needs him. Will Jake let Patrick help or will he pull away and handle his family problems alone?

The Blinding Light is the first book by Renae Kaye that I’ve read. It’s a fun and entertaining look at two wounded men who are struggling with life and who find that it can be much better together.

I really like these guys and am happy their romance built slowly. In fact, Jake and Patrick didn’t meet for several chapters. Instead, they communicated via computer generated notes, which is still rather old-fashioned, even if they used a modern method. It’s a twist I didn’t expect and I haven’t seen before.  The personalities of Jake and Patrick are well developed and give the reader a good feeling for their background and emotions.  Put them together and you wind up with a cute, feel good story with lots of grins and a few chuckles. I loved how Patrick didn’t let his blindness hold him back and Jake didn’t care about it either. It didn’t define who Patrick was. There’s a steady pace throughout, good descriptions, a solid plot and no dangling threads that I remember. 

I also enjoyed the secondary characters that were mostly Jake’s family. They really rounded out the story, even if they are also my niggle. Jake sacrificed everything for his family and they constantly took advantage of his love for them. He needed to stand up for himself more. 

Bride of the Black Scot

Author:  Elaine Coffman
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN/BIN:  9781419949227
Genre:  {M/F} Historical
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amethyst Nymph

Juliette Pemberton has accepted her arranged marriage to the infamous Black Scot.  She didn’t think the bad rumors could be true about the man.  After meeting a black-haired devil who unlocked feelings Juliette never knew existed, she becomes torn between duty and desire.

Stephen Gordon’s life hasn’t been an easy one, and it’s left him distrustful of women.  When he arrives to claim Juliette, Stephen tries very hard not to fall victim to her charms.  She drives him crazy, in more ways than one.  Because he’s been withholding information about The Black Scot, Stephen hurts Juliette.  

The simple budding relationship between Stephen and Juliette was made unnecessarily complicated by Stephen.  I understood his reasons for keeping his mouth closed, but after a point he should have come clean.  The only reason I didn’t lose respect for him was because he did at least try to reveal all to Juliette before he slept with her.  I have to give him credit for that.  I love a man of honor. 

The Black Scot has some unexpected humor centered around Juliette’s constant talking.  I laughed out loud many times.  If you enjoy verbal sparring as foreplay as much as I do, this story is a must read.

Taming the Mistress

Author:  Sindra van Yssel
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Publisher URL:  www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN:  9781623006082
Genre:  {M/F}, BDSM, Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Sue is feeling out of sorts as she realizes she is getting bored.  She became a Domme after she had a relationship end.  Dane is watching Sue, but knows there is more to her.  Will Dane let Sue return to who she really is?

Taming the Mistress is the sixth book in the Bondage Ranch series.  This is a little bit different because a woman, who is not a natural switch, has been known as a Domme at the Ranch for years.  The author did a good job showing the difference between someone who is a natural switch and those that make choices due to circumstances that color their lives.  Regardless, judgments should not be made because of someones ideas about what a Dom, Domme or Submissive is.

Though Sue and Dane clashed, it became apparent that Sue could become Dane’s submissive and leave her Domme behind.  The chemistry between them is hot, but it takes the help of friends to help them get together as there are a lot of misunderstandings.

Most of the secondary characters are those we have met before and several have some good advice for Sue.  I liked that the author did not minimize past relationships and showed feelings such as jealousy realistically. 

I am looking forward to more in the Bondage Ranch series.  The author is good at showing various aspects of BDSM and what some of the characters struggles are to get to their journey.  Taming the Mistress is just another book in a great series that should be on everyone’s bookshelf.