Hello world!

This blog is all about Romance!  We review books about romance (mostly m/m – but there might be an occasional m/f, f/f, m/m/f, space-alien-babies, what have you).

In addition we are inviting fan fiction, slash fiction, fan-art – anything that moves you to create.

We hope you find something that entertains you or inspires you – Enjoy!

Feel free to email us at openskyebookreviews@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.

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Audiobook: The Charlatan’s Conquest by Vivien Dean Narrated by Simon Ferra

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-charlatans-conquest-by-vivien-dean-8592-

Blurb
With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together

Review
From the title I wasn’t sure about this story but seriously I should not judge. This a lovely paranormal story. Cruz reluctantly agrees to stand in for his friend, who is a genuine ghost hunter, on a seemingly easy job. I liked how Brody whilst suspicious of Cruz as a ghost hunter was still willing, for his father’s sake, to see the eviction through. Especially as Brody’s relationship with his father is already tense. The flow of the story is really good and kept me interested. I wanted to know if Cruz would tell Brody he was not a real ghost hunter, if there really was a ghost and who was it. I do like a mystery and if it’s a real ghost story so much the better. This story took a great unexpected turn about halfway through which brought Cruz and Brody even closer together. As the story progresses I got more into it, it did feel a bit slow at the start. I really liked Etienne, the real ghost hunter and his sister. I liked the little surprises the story has. Overall an enjoyable story with a satisfying ending.
Simon Ferra is a new Narrator to me and I really liked his style. I loved Etienne’s southern accent with just the right a of snark. Cruz’s forthright and honest manner came through clearly as did Brody’s weariness. Very good characterisation and story telling.

4 of stars out of 5

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Posted in 4 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Audiobook, Book, class difference, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Gay, Gay, Geek/nerd/techie/gamer, Ghost, Heat Index, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mary D, Medical, Mild, Mild, Mystery, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Opposites attract, Paranormal, Part of a Series, Secret Identity | Leave a comment

Holidays: An Unexpexted Sanctuary by Cassie Decker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

An aggressive super-flu pandemic wipes out a majority of the population over the course of one Christmas holiday—and brings Tobin and Kyle together. For almost a year, they’ve been trekking across the country from Colorado toward a sanctuary in upstate New York. Kyle’s survival skills have kept them alive, and Tobin wants to repay the man he loves with a very special gift of his own making. He sneaks off in search of the last few pieces… only to get himself and Kyle kidnapped by a desperate stranger. With their journey to New York on hold—possibly indefinitely—they’ll need to accept that home isn’t always defined by a place as much as the person you’re with.

 

Review

When the world as you know it has ended, you make due with what you’ve got. Kyle and Tobin find each other at the beginning of their journey and have traveled halfway across the country looking for the sanctuary they heard about before the world went dark. Kyle has the survival skills and Tobin has the engineering skills and between them they have been traveling for a year.

The author has given us a week in the MC’s lives and shows us how they work together to survive. The conflict they encounter is not dire but it does have you wondering what’s going to happen. In the end you have a sweet and sexy story that has 2 men learning to rely on each other.

3 of 5 stars

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Posted in 3 star, adult - 18+, Alternate World, Angst Level, Anthology, Beth Jumper, Book, Christmas, Dreamspinner, Families/Weddings/Holidays, Finding Family, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, Heat Index, Holiday, m/m, Mild, Mild, Monthly Theme, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Opposites attract, Part of a Series, Standalone | Leave a comment

Audiobook: Dyeing To Be Loved by Aimee Nicole Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Dyeing-to-be-Loved-Audiobook/B077732YCH/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1512181388&sr=1-1

Blurb:
Gabriel Wyatt is a big city Detective living in a small Ohio town. He expects a peaceful existence once he moves from Miami, Florida, but that’s the last thing he finds. Instead, Gabe discovers murder, mayhem, and one smart-mouthed stylist he can’t get out of his head. Josh “Jazz” Roman is a small-town business owner with big dreams and an attitude to match. He finds himself in the middle of a case that brings the dreamy detective to the front door of his Curl Up and Dye salon. Josh learns that the biggest threat to him isn’t a killer; it’s a man who wants something from him that he vowed to never give again – his heart. Both men deny that there’s something between them, even though they’re drawn together like magnets. Can Gabe convince Josh to let down his guard or will Josh let past hurts destroy his chance at a happy future?

Review: It is always a pleasure to read a good book, it is an even greater pleasure when said book is narrated by Joel Leslie ☺ And yes, I am a fangirl.
I really liked the story – a murder/mystery romance (actually 2 murders, 1 romance).
Joel Leslie performs with the perfection that I’ve grown accustomed to getting from him. His portrayal of Savage (the parrot) is hysterical!
As an aside, I already had my idea of how Josh and Gabe would sound – this had kept me entertained through the series. However, Joel Leslie made the characters sound so much better, especially Gabe, (whom I really didn’t like at first, so I gave him a whiny voice). Joel made him so much more likeable.
I don’t think I can say enough about the narration – it is a nuanced, enjoyable performance, something that I always assume I will get with Joel Leslie (haven’t been disappointed yet). I hope he gets to narrate the rest of the series soon!

6 stars out of 5

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Posted in 6 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Audiobook, Author Provided, Book, Contemporary, Cop/Crime, Dee, Enemies to Lovers, Gay, Gay, Heat Index, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mid, Mystery, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Opposites attract, Part of a Series, Scorching, Stalker/Abusive Ex | Leave a comment

The Gryphon King’s Consort by Jenn Burke

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-gryphon-kings-consort-by-jenn-burke-9104-b

Blurb
Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love

Review
I did like this take on the arranged marriage. Known to be opposites in outlook they are to be married to give a sense of balance. They both know this going into the arrangement. I did struggle with this book. I felt my attention drifting away to other things that wouldn’t normally distract me from reading. It is roughly halfway through when they consummate their marriage and mark each other. I liked that they started to bond over romance books and other things but this common ground was short lived. I empathised with Eirian’s frustration at not being valued as a person. All Luca seems to worry about is position. I found it hard to connect with either character. Their mood switched too frequently and the relationship seemed too tempestuous to survive. It felt like if it wasn’t for the mating bond they wouldn’t choose to be together. From early on I had an inkling who was behind the disruption between Luca and Eirien but the surprise was another character being the main driving force. Stirring up Luca to be discontent with his choice in Eirien. The story picks up in the last quarter which redeemed it for me. Although the ending did seem a forced happy ever after. Overall I found the story to be mediocre.

2.5 of stars out of 5

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Posted in 2.5 stars, adult - 18+, Alternate World, Angst Level, Arranged Marriage, Book, Dreamspinner, Gay, Gay, Heat Index, Hurt/Abuse, Mary D, Mid, Mid-grade, Mystery, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Politics, Shifter, Stalker/Abusive Ex | Leave a comment

Kairos by Mary Calmes

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/kairos-by-mary-calmes-9162-b

Blurb

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

Review

This is the Mary Calmes I’ve loved in the past. She’s given us another couple very much like Miro and Ian from the Marshals series and thrown in several “easter eggs” from her previous series like Aaron Sutter.

If you’re a fan of Miro and Ian you’ll love this one too. We’ve got two friends who live and work together but who haven’t yet realized that they’re in love. Mix in some really bad guys, some funny and quirky secondary characters and a family of odd-balls out in Napa and you’ve got yourself another low-angst, funny, sweet romance.

I loved seeing some familiar faces and thought reading this was like cuddling up in the perfect warm and cozy blanket. There wasn’t a lot new or exciting but it was familiar and wonderful just the same.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4.5 stars, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Bi-Sexual, Book, co-workers to lovers, Contemporary, Cop/Crime, DA, Dreamspinner, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, Heat Index, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, Little to no angst, m/m, Mid-grade, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Stalker/Abusive Ex, Standalone | Leave a comment

Holidays: Christmas Grace (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by C.L. Miles

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

Christmas has been a lonely time of year for Aaron since losing his family fifteen years ago. But now he’s seeing Craig, and though Aaron is sure they belong together, both have been hurt in the past, so they’re taking things slowly. So far, Craig has been supportive of Aaron’s struggles with anxiety—struggles that cost Aaron relationships in the past.

On Christmas Eve, Aaron is closing his bookshop when Craig surprises him with a specially planned evening. Will this be the night they take that final step and deepen their physical relationship? Aaron hopes so, but things aren’t that simple. Craig has been keeping a secret…. Can Aaron take his place as part of a family again and accept the love he’s missed for so long—or will he find that some deceptions are too big to be forgiven, even with the help of some Christmas grace?

Review

This was a bit melodramatic and angsty. While I appreciated that we are jumping into the story at the climax of their romance, I missed the part where the spark gets lit. That’s my favorite part of a romance – maybe even more than the HEA.

I didn’t care for Aaron and Craig seemed to make a big deal of something that shouldn’t have been.

Not my favorite.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

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Posted in 3 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Anthology, Book, Christmas, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Established Couple, Fade to black/No Steam, Families/Weddings/Holidays, Gay, Heat Index, Holiday, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mid, Monthly Theme, Morgan, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Part of a Series, Single Parent, Standalone | Leave a comment

Holidays: Alone for Christmas By Ashley John

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32732677-alone-for-christmas?from_search=true

Blurb

With his third divorce looming and his bank accounts frozen, Chip Harington was surprisingly okay with spending Christmas alone, even if he was living out of a suitcase in his office. He had already decided to skip the office Christmas party, until some surprising words from one of his employees makes him change his mind.

Noah always expected the crush for his boss to fade, but after two years working under Chip, his feelings are stronger than ever. With Chip’s personal life in tatters once more, Noah never expected his boss to show his face at the office Christmas party, so he was even more surprised when his drunken attempt to kiss Chip turned into so much more.

Chip assumed his encounter with Noah was nothing more than a one-night stand, but when his employee emerges from a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, they are forced to spend Christmas together in a London office block. With the lines between employer and employee blurred, will either man emerge from the snow the same, or will their Christmas encounter change the course of their lives forever, making them wish they had spent Christmas alone after all?

Review

This is nice story of an office worker having a crush on his boss, going to the office Christmas party and ending up in bed together. Except that said boss is in his 3rd divorce from a beautiful woman. Okay so maybe he is gay after all.

When Noah realizes that his boss Chip is spending the holiday alone at the office he just cannot let him spend it alone. The 3 days snowed in are just so funny to see. It’s like college freshmen the first time they are away from home. The things they get up to will have you giggling throughout. There is some conflict, to make you think all won’t work out and then a HEA.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Posted in 3.5 stars, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Beth Jumper, Book, Boss/employee, Christmas, Contemporary, Families/Weddings/Holidays, Gay, Gay, Holiday, Holiday Romance, m/m, Mild, Monthly Theme, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Purchased, Sports, Standalone | Leave a comment

Holidays: A Timely Gift (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Kris T. Bethke

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….
On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.
Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.

Review
This is a lovely story. Fate (or Grandpa’s magic) has given Rory and Deacon a second chance at love. I loved how Rory wants to think the pocket watch is influencing each moment but dismisses it only to finally accept a little solstice magic has helped things along. I love the Christmas films and stories where there is a little touch of magic. Makes you believe anything is possible. Rory and Deacon make a lovely couple and deserve their happy ending.

4 of stars out of 5

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Posted in 4 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Anthology, Book, Christmas, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Families/Weddings/Holidays, Gay, Gay, Heat Index, Holiday, Little to no angst, m/m, Magic, Mary D, Mild, Monthly Theme, Paranormal, Part of a Series, Reconcilliation, second chance at love, Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words), Standalone, The one that got away | Leave a comment

An Unlocked Mind by K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/an-unlocked-mind-by-kc-wells-and-parker-williams-9140-b

Blurb
Sercrets: Book Two
Rob Daniels is determined to prove to himself that his brother Alex got it wrong. Alex believes he found love through BDSM; Rob is certain that’s not possible. He even makes several visits to a London club to prove his point. But when he attends the grand opening of Secrets, Rob gets a shock, one that has him fleeing, vowing never to return—until he does… and runs into the brick wall that is Dom Vic Prentiss. As first meetings go, theirs is a disaster.

The more time he spends around Rob, the more convinced Vic becomes of two things—one, something is eating away at Rob, and two, he’s looking for something. Every instinct tells Vic to help him, but trying to unlock the secrets hidden in Rob’s mind requires a key. All Vic has to do is find it. Because maybe then he’ll get to see the real Rob, the man who’s scared to let go…

Review
The main thrust of the story revolves around Rob and how with the help of Vic he feels able to turn his life around. To fully understand the extent of the issues between Rob and his brother Alex would I recommend reading book 1 of the collars and cuffs series, An Unlocked Heart. However, I think there is enough information in this story to get an idea of what happened. The history and circumstances of bad blood between the brothers is very well explained.
At the start of the book Rob is not a likeable character. He is an angry man that thinks life is out to get him. He’s in a spiral of self hate which comes across as a very short temper and aggressive behaviour. There were times however that his insecurity comes across and I felt sympathy for him. Meeting Vic was the best thing that could’ve happened to him. Vic was able to see past Rob’s walls and defensive behaviour to what is underneath. I really liked this gentle friends to lovers story with the Dom/Sub element. As it progressed I got more absorbed in the evolving relationship between Vic and Rob and how Rob mends bridges with his brother. If you are unsure about BDSM I would recommend this book as it is a gentle and caring relationship.

5 of stars out of 5

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Posted in 5 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, BDSM, Book, Bullying, Closeted, Contemporary, DA, Dreamspinner, Finding Family, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, Handyman, Heat Index, Homophobia, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mary D, Mid, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, Reconcilliation, Scorching | Leave a comment

Short Order (Foothills Pride #8) by Pat Henshaw

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/short-order-by-pat-henshaw-9143-b

Blurb

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.

Review
This fell totally flat for me. I just didn’t feel the connection between John and Fen. Though I know some of that is John’s stoicism, the lack of sex and the off hand way their connection was worked into the mystery just made it seem like the romance was more afterthought than anything else.

I appreciated the quirkiness of the characters and the personal growth of all 3 men but I didn’t think this warmed my heart in a romantic sense.

The writing was fine so I’m giving this 2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars.

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Posted in 3 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Bullying, Chef, Christmas, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Fade to black/No Steam, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, Geek/nerd/techie/gamer, Heat Index, Holiday, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mild, Morgan, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Older MCs, Part of a Series, Rent Boy, Stalker/Abusive Ex, Standalone | Leave a comment