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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Lord Mouse (Lords of Davenia #1) by Mason Thomas narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lord-mouse-by-mason-thomas-8387-b

Blurb

Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.

But that could change.

When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin—enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.

Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.

Review

So clever!

My first impression of this is that I get the same feeling listening to this that I did as when I listened to Family of Lies by Sam Argent. So, I think, fans of that title will love this! It also sort of felt like Jordan L Hawk’s “Hex” series.

Where this story fails in those comparisons is the polish. Mouse is fully fleshed out but does change a bit near the end in such a way that he lacks the same “oomph” with which he started. The romance, while secondary, isn’t as well done as it is in Hawk’s books, and the ending neither promised a sequel nor felt completely satisfying.

It’s a sort of historical/fantasy piece where the thief has all the smarts and runs his mouth constantly and befuddles the bad guys and in the meantime falls for the good, and “proper” royal.

Joel Leslie is amazing at giving us all the various characters – including multiple voices for some characters. (I don’t even KNOW how he can manage all those voices!) I was really glad I’d listened to this rather than read it, because he definitely kept me engaged when I might have lost some of my impetus.

In any case, this is fun, funny and a little bit romantic. This is a fairly low steam (fade to black when it comes to “sex”) romance, but our characters have plenty of feels between them. Most of this is fantasy with lots and lots of action and twists and turns as Mouse outsmarts all the “bad guys”.

If I had to make any complaints it would be the ending. We have a tremendous amount of build up and climactic moment of separation and then an all too easy and rushed reunion and finale.

I’m not sure if our MCs have more coming but I’d love to see more of them and what all kinds of trouble they can get into.

I was grateful to have listened to this and highly recommend this in audio format.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

Posted in 4.5, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Audiobook, Author Provided, Bi-Sexual, Book, class difference, Cop/Crime, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Fade to black/No Steam, Gay, Heat Index, Historical, Homophobia, Hurt/Abuse, m/m, Magic, Mid, Morgan, Mystery, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Opposites attract, Paranormal, Secret Identity, Witches | Leave a comment

Strays (Urban Soul #2) by Garrett Leigh

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/strays

Blurb

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

Review

If Garrett Leigh has a “light side” this is it! While most of the books I’ve read by her have had a heavy current of dark running through it, this is almost light and fluffy by comparison.

Sure, there is a really creepy stalker portion to the story – and it is seriously creepy – and there’s some past trauma to be dealt with – but the main body of the story is two slightly (very?) imperfect people learning to open their hearts and love someone.

It’s VERY British and that’s a hoot! I love all the slang and can’t wait to hear this in audio format. I hope Craig Beck does it as he’s the one who brilliantly performed Misfits.

We get to see the triad from Misfits – a little – and that was sweet, but most of this is Nero and Lenny and it’s sweet, tender and a little steamy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and if you’re someone who has stayed away from this author for fear of the “dark” – this might be a great one to try as it’s really not all that dark.

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

Posted in 5 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Boss/employee, Chef, Contemporary, DA, Exploration, Friends to lovers, Gay, GFY/OFY, Heat Index, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mid, Mild, Morgan, NetGalley, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, Riptide Publishing, Virgin | Leave a comment

Unshakeable Faith Audiobook by Lisa Worrall Narrated by Sean Lenhart

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/unshakeable-faith-by-lisa-worrall-8094-b

Blurb

Of all the bars in all the towns in all the world, the stranger walks into Brody Tyler’s. With no memory and a name he chose from a newspaper, Nash is a gamble—one Brody is willing to take. It isn’t long before Brody and Nash fall in love, but then a tragic accident shatters their cozy world, resetting Nash’s memory once again.

The “new” Nash Walker is a businessman with a bottom line, and he doesn’t care what or who gets stomped on. Waking up in a hospital bed after a hit-and-run with no idea where he’s been for the past six months is bad enough, but someone trying to kill him is even worse. Enter Brody Tyler, accidental bodyguard.

Brody’s determined to help Nash remember and bring back the man he loves. Nash thinks Brody’s a drop-dead gorgeous pain in the ass. If only he could remember….

Review

So… that happened!

I’m a bit – overwhelmed by this. It was a bit like being in the middle of three books all at the same time. Luckily – they all come together at the end but – wow- there was some serious whiplash for awhile.

I have to say, that the first thing someone should know about this – it’s fiction. First and foremost. It is entirely implausible and improbable and unrealistic times one hundred.

So… if you put on your “suspension of disbelief” hat and just go with it – well – it’s kind of fun! It’s like seeing the lady on the soap opera – Marlena I think is her name? – with amnesia, being possessed by a demon on a tropical island with her imposter husband who is her real husband pretending to be someone else…

In any case. The first third (approximately) of the book is the love story of Good Nash falling in love with Brody. The second third is Bad Nash being a dick to Brody and Brody still managing to find something worthy of love in him. Then the final third is Good Nash returning to his senses and everything coming together.

Phew.

It was quite a ride!

The smexy times are pretty hot – even with Bad Nash and the feels are pretty sweet – especially the groveling.

So, while I was sort of rolling my eyes a lot – I did enjoy this as a piece of entertainment and can recommend it thusly.

Audio

Sean Lenhart is a relatively new to me narrator. He does a fairly nice job – I had to speed his voice up to 1.5x because he tends to really draw things out but at that speed it was pretty nice. I enjoyed the fact that he attempted to give everyone unique voices and Southern accents – that’s always a nice touch. However… his version of Nash did not sound like a smaller, white guy. It didn’t. So I was surprised when the physical description said that Brody was the bigger guy and that Nash was a smaller, slim guy. His accent also sometimes bled into a New York accent – it wasn’t perfect.

But… it was enthusiastic! And he does a lot to infuse emotion into his narrations and I think it did add to the overall experience of this story.

So, for the audio and the story I’d give this 3.5 of 5 stars. It was definitely entertaining, if nothing else.

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher For Honest Review

Posted in 3.5 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Audiobook, Billionaire, Bodyguard, Book, Boss/employee, class difference, Contemporary, DA, Dreamspinner, Gay, Heat Index, High but not hopeless, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Misunderstanding, Morgan, Mystery, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Scorching, second chance at love, Secret Identity | Leave a comment

Wolf Whistle (Werewolves of Manhattan #7) by A.C. Katt

MLR Press Presents

https://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=ACK_WOWH

Blurb

Can a whistleblower find a new future with a wolf while being chased by a corrupt cop and the Serbian mob?

Richard Kerrigan is on the verge of losing hope. Fired from his job for blowing the whistle on a defect that would harm service members if used as designed, he is now blacklisted in the Chicago area. A local Serbian mobster wants Richard and won’t take no for an answer.

Garou Industries, the loup garou privately owned company, has been searching for Richard to offer him a position in the company as they value having someone with his integrity on staff. Richard relocates to Manhattan to begin his new job and stays with Julien Bellaire, his mentor, who is also Richard’s Mate.

Before they can settle in, the Serbian mobster turns up dead and a corrupt cop who secretly works for the Serbians comes to New York with trumped up charges to pin the murder on Julio. With over eighty witnesses to Julio being on an airplane at the time of the murder, the cop abandons trying to frame Richard and instead plots to murder him. The loup garou request assistance from the Italian mob to protect Richard which comes with some interesting consequences.

Review

(Other books in the series reviewed here: http://openskyebookreviews.com/?s=katt)

There are some series that I just have to keep reading, even though I’m not sure the “spark” is still there. This is one of them. I kinda love the strange customs that these wolves have – the hierarchies, the golden thread, the no sex til you meet your mate, all the eating… it’s strange but unique and I still find it compelling.

The plot is predictable – that can be comforting – no denying that – and this is really not any different from the other books in the series. The one thing that’s a little different is the ease with which Richard accepts all the paranormal stuff –

Spoiler Inside SelectShow
.

I found the rest of the “drama” to be uninspiring – but I still read this in one sitting and find myself looking forward to the next one!

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Posted in 3 star, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Contemporary, DA, Fated Mates, Gay, Heat Index, Hurt/Abuse, m/m, Mild, Mild, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Purchased, Shifter, Virgin | Leave a comment

A Warlock’s Surprise (The Warlocks #2) by Erin M. Leaf

Amazon link
https://www.amazon.com/Warlocks-Surprise-Book-ebook/dp/B01N39442V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488741270&sr=8-1&keywords=warlock+surprise+leaf

Blurb

Leo thinks asking his soul-splice mate to marry him will be easy, but Dakota says no, again and again. When he finally capitulates, Leo believes happy ever after is in the cards, but Dakota isn’t feeling well, and meddling family members hijack their plans. Neither warlock wants the drama of a large ceremony, but the Conclave gets its way. Witches always do, after all.

When the eventful day arrives, neither man expects their old enemy to raise a demon from Hell to ruin their wedding. Witches can’t stand up to a demon, so the newly wed warlocks must save the day, but not before a surprise revelation leaves Dakota reeling.

Can Leo and Dakota survive a demon, witches, and a grandma intent on embarrassing them both as much as possible? Sadly, even magic can’t guarantee a happy ending…

Be Warned: MPREG, m/m sex, public exhibition

Review

Book 1 Reviewed Here

http://openskyebookreviews.com/a-warlocks-best-friend-by-erin-m-leaf/

So, I was really psyched when I saw this sequel – it was released at the end of January – but I held off buying it because – I have to admit – I was kinda annoyed. It’s 66 pages and the cost is nearly $4. I love supporting authors and I don’t mind buying books, but I was … well…. 66 pages! In any case, I did eventually buy it and I’m kinda bummed.

Book 1 was fun, silly – yes, but sexy and romantic and really felt cohesive.

This one felt like it was all over the place. The blurb spoils the main surprise – the mpreg – so that was a bit of a let down – and the two MCs spend all their time bickering. It wasn’t sweet at all!

Even the pregnancy thing was confusing. I wasn’t sure how he delivered or if they were even happy about the baby. There’s a strange ceremony – handfasting – that drew out the same villain as the first book – and I wasn’t sure why she wasn’t kept down from the first round of spells against her.

This just didn’t live up to my expectations at all. I didn’t feel a connection to the MCs like I did in book one and I was a bit confused by some of the plot and I was disappointed that the mpreg was “spoiled” in the blurb.

All in all, I’m going to give it a 3 of 5 – because there are some really clever “magicks” used in this – but it wasn’t nearly as good as book 1.

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Posted in 3 star, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Contemporary, Established Couple, Fated Mates, Friends to lovers, Gay, Heat Index, Homophobia, Little to no angst, m/m, Morgan, mpreg, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Purchased, Scorching, Witches | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Karen Bovenmyer author of Swift for the Sun

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OS: Welcome To Karen Bovenmyer, author of Swift for the Sun.
She’s stopped by to share with us her new book and to talk about Fear. Thanks so much for coming today!


KB:
Thanks for having me!

Fear: Why Aren’t You Sending Out Your Drafts?

I majored in creative writing for both my bachelor’s and master of art degrees, but I didn’t send out any of my work until I was in my thirties. I felt like nothing I wrote was good enough to be published. What I realize now after attending dozens of writing conferences, earning an MFA, and six years of getting paid for stories and poems, is that writers are both the best and worst judges of their own work—this goes for new writers and experienced authors. I want to share with you some concrete ways to manage your fears and SEND IT IN ALREADY.

Ignoring your Inner Critic, Facing Rejection, and Jumping Before You’re Ready
The first hurdle for me as a young writer, and also for many of my students, is fear. I needed to understand my fears before I could address the root causes and get my work out there. Mine follow here:
1. My work doesn’t read like my favorite writers’ works and therefore sucks. My first drafts seem awkward and clunky in comparison. I’m afraid it’s just not good enough and I’m ashamed to share it with anyone else, even other writers at my level. How totally embarrassing to have a bunch of degrees and still write this way instead of perfectly.
2. If I send my work out into the world, someone is going to reject it. Then I’ll have confirmation of how worthless I am. I’ll know I’m not a writer, because if it was good enough, every editor would accept it every time. Best not to take the risk and live an unsatisfied, frustrating, rejection-free life instead.
3. I’m just not ready. I haven’t written a million words yet (Gerrold’s WORLDS OF WONDER), I haven’t read everything ever published in the genre I want to write in, and I don’t know everything there is to know about writing yet. I just need to write, read, and learn until I’m an expert at everything and one day I’ll wake up and feel ready.

Most of you can repeat back the solutions for these blocks suggested by conventional and collective writer-wisdom: 1) create shitty first drafts anyway, 2) grow a thick skin for rejection, and 3) get your work in the hands of editors even though you don’t feel ready. But do you really grok those solutions enough to push past your fear and follow the advice? Fear is a very powerful monster and the low self-worth it was attached to prevented me from acting.

Subvert your fear.
Pull a piece of paper out of the nearest trash can and write down this: WHY AM I NOT SENDING OUT MY WORK? WHAT AM I AFRAID OF? Write three reasons.

I’m serious. Stop reading right now and do it. Yes, you can cheat a little and use one of mine if you’re not sure what yours are yet.

Now, read over what you’ve written and write at least three solutions for each one. If necessary, do a quick internet search for the conventional writer-wisdom solution, but limit your research to five minutes or so. Even having a starting place toward a solution can be enough to face your fear and get going. Mine were:

1. Afraid of my shitty first drafts: Love your work. Read other writers’ first drafts and compare them to their final drafts. A great book for this is Woodruff’s A PIECE OF WORK: FIVE WRITERS DISCUSS THEIR REVISIONS. Woodruff’s book shows beginning drafts and final drafts so you can compare and see what it is the pros first created and how they refined it. This, and powering through my fear and joining critique groups anyway, helped me understand exactly how shitty my first draft can be and still create a viable story. To this day, my guiding thought is: Does it make me feel? If the writing creates feelings in me, I can work with it in revision so it does the same for a reader. How to edit/revise is a whole blog post by itself, but that was my first hurdle—learning to see and love the kernel of story I was working with.
a. Study pro’s first drafts and revisions
b. Join a critique group
c. Volunteer slush-read for a magazine to understand the levels of quality most writers are submitting
2. Afraid of rejection: Love your work. My first form-letter rejections hurt so much I still have lingering anger. I know it’s both childish and churlish, but those first few, especially from no-pay or royalties-only markets and contests, stung like the dickens and I haven’t worked through that hurt. But I kept sending drafts out and growing a thicker skin. It wasn’t until no-pay and royalties-only markets rejected work that I later sold to $.10 per word markets or subsequently earned Finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest that I really understood what editors at conferences had been telling me for years. If your piece doesn’t speak to an editor, or doesn’t fit well with the other stories they are considering, or they just recently published a story too similar to yours, they will reject your story. It’s not personal—it’s chiefly about the needs of the magazine and the taste of the editor (though the quality of your work must be high). Years of slush reading for a pro magazine and working as an editor for another taught me the truth of this. My work has to meet a baseline of quality, and then it’s up to the editor’s taste and needs if it’s a fit. The only way to learn about the baseline is by reading, writing, revising, and submitting. Love your work and get it to others who will love it too.
a. Send stuff out anyway. Treat rejection letters as badges of honor.
b. Get new ideas for revision from rejection letters (especially personalized ones).
c. Send to a variety of different markets that seem like good fits.
3. Afraid I don’t know enough yet: Love your work. Give up your perfectionism. You’re never going to be able to know everything and trying to is elaborate procrastination for writing and sending your work out. As you grow more experienced, you’ll learn to recognize when a story has enough of a golden kernel for you to share it with a critique group, revise it, send it out, and keep sending it out until someone buys it. It’s the doing of the thing, not only reading about it, that teaches you the most deeply.
a. Take classes with a homework component to get writing something, anything.
b. Join a critique group and regularly share work with them. Challenge each other to submit to contests. Again, treat rejection letters as badges of honor.
c. Find ways to look at and learn from successive drafts, both for yourself and others.

Much of this advice boils down to “write things and send them in no matter what” but again, it’s hard to do that when fear is standing in your way. I still haven’t sent out anything I wrote while I was in my twenties. If I can even find any of it, the strong feelings of inadequacy tied to each of those pieces would probably still keep me from submitting them. I had to reach a stage in my personal journey where I felt ready to face my fears and SEND IT IN ALREADY. My best wishes as you explore why you’re not sending in your work, and the solutions to help you subvert your fear.

Blurb

Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gun runner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost, he is a survivor.

When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave, Sun, instead.

Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.

Release Date: Mar 27, 2017
80k words
Pages: 230
Cover artist: Anna Sikorska

 

Buy Links

 

Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/swift-for-the-sun-by-karen-m-bovenmyer-8309-b

 

 

 

Author Bio:

Karen Bovenmyer was born and raised in Iowa, where she teaches and mentors new writers at Iowa State University. She triple-majored in anthropology, English, and history so she could take college courses about cave people, zombie astronauts, and medieval warfare to prepare for her writing career. After earning her BS, she completed a master’s degree with a double specialization in literature and creative writing with a focus in speculative fiction, also from Iowa State University. Although trained to offer “Paper? Or plastic?” in a variety of pleasant tones, she landed an administrative job at the college shortly after graduation. Working full-time, getting married, setting up a household, and learning how to be an adult with responsibilities (i.e. bills to pay) absorbed her full attentions for nearly a decade during which time she primarily wrote extremely detailed roleplaying character histories and participated in National Novel Writing Month.

However, in 2010, Karen lost a parent.

With that loss, she realized becoming a published author had a nonnegotiable mortal time limit. She was accepted to the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program with a specialization in Popular Fiction and immediately started publishing, selling her first story just before starting the program and three more while in the extremely nurturing environment provided by the Stonecoast community, from which she graduated in 2013. Her science fiction, fantasy, and horror novellas, short stories, and poems now appear in more than forty publications including Abyss & Apex, Crossed Genres, Pseudopod, and Strange Horizons. She is the Horror Writers Association 2016 recipient of the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. She serves as the nonfiction editor for Escape Artist’s Mothership Zeta Magazine and narrates stories for Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Far Fetched Fables, Star Ship Sofa, and the Gallery of Curiosities Podcasts. Her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT pirate romantic adventure set in the 1820s Caribbean, will be published on March 27, 2017. http://karenbovenmyer.com/

Social Media Links:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenbovenmyer

https://www.facebook.com/karen.bovenmyer

https://twitter.com/karenbovenmyer

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Educating the Platypus (Kontra’s Menagerie #17) by Charlie Richards

Extasy Presents

http://www.extasybooks.com/educating-the-platypus/

Blurb

On the Road: Life’s blessings can come in the darkest moments.

Enjoying a last hoo-rah before another tough year of college begins, Kai Sudderson and his friends vacation in Kansas. He takes advantage of the secluded pond system behind his rented cabin to go swimming…in his platypus form. Living with his aunt and uncle, Kai had never met anyone else with the ability to turn into an animal. That is, until he gets himself snared in a beaver trap and a penguin shifter rescues him. Unable to pass up the opportunity for not only knowledge but medical treatment, Kai accompanies his new friend home. There, he meets Dorian Yaris, who—despite being so much older and having such a serious disposition—calls to Kai like no other. When Dorian explains about mates, will Kai consider the bonding thing with someone so obviously different or will he deny everything and return to his former life?

Review

What? A platypus shifter? So cute!

This is an amazingly cute and sexy novella. In addition to being about a shifter who has never met other shifters, this is also about a 200 year old Alpha Condor shifter without a pack of his own.

Dorian gets to introduce Kai to the world of shifters as well as to being mated and all that entails. We meet Kai’s friends, who will later get their own stories! We also move into the pack of the damaged Dingoes and begin their saga.

I thought this was a fun, unique shifter story and it’s a great bridge to several other stories in the series.

4 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Contemporary, Fated Mates, Gay, Heat Index, Little to no angst, m/m, May/December, Mid-grade, Morgan, New Adult, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Purchased, Shifter | Leave a comment

Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns by Tara Lain Guest Post

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OS: Thanks to Tara Lain for stopping by today and sharing thoughts with us about her new book!

TL:

10 Books (and Plays) That Shaped My World

Hi! I’m Tara Lain and I write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. I’m delighted to be here with Skye today celebrating the release of my new cowboy romance, Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns. New books are always a great excuse to look backward at other wonderful stories that have affected my life in some significant way. Here are a few in no particular order —
1. Pride and Prejudice – No romance author would exist without our amazing Jane! Not just historical Regency romance authors are in her debt. She defined the nature of romantic tension for all of us and the melting perfection of happy ever after.
2. Madeline – Even as a child, I lovedParis!
3. The Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro – I group these together because they embody the same tropes – the hero who masquerades as a fop while actually performing astonishing acts of heroism against an oppressive government. This trope is a huge fave of mine and informed my book Wolf in Gucci Loafers.
4. The Importance of Being Earnest – Many of my most influential books are actually plays. I studied theater in college and have read many, many plays. Oscar Wilde set such a bar – I dreamed about ever being so amazingly brilliant and clever. I never get tired of this play.
5. The Imaginary Invalid – I had to list one, but actually this should be everything Moliere ever wrote. These plays are so funny and embodied tropes that westill embrace everyday.
6. A Streetcar Named Desire – It’s hard to choose one Tennessee Williams play. In my opinion, he personified theater. But Blanche is just too wonderful a character to pass by.
7. Dune – That book sucked me in so far I walked around on Arrakis for weeks in a fog of spice.
8. Lord of the Rings – The War and Peace of fantasy, Lord of the Rings made me want to speak Elvish for the rest of my life.
9. Atlas Shrugged – Don’t make that face! LOL. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is not my own, but oh man, can she write heroes. I fell in love at least three times in this book. Who is John Galt?
10. Heaven by Jet Mykles – My first ever MM romance, Heaven blew me away with its passion, lack of gender roles, and wonderful fluidity. I started writing MM romance and never looked back.
Those are the books on today’s list, but I could easily write a hundred more lists of equal length. My new book, Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns, is a fave of mine and I hope you enjoy it. Here’s a nibble of the book —

 

Blurb

Cowboy Danny Boone—a name he made up one drunken night and has regretted ever since—harbors a big past and yearns for a small future. A short, bright career as a champion bull rider almost ended in his death when his homophobic father discovered Danny was gay. Now Danny longs for a plot of land he can build a ranch house on and enough money to make up for some of the education he missed.

Danny also hides a preference for beautiful femmes who like to top—a combo rarer than a unicorn. Then onto the guest ranch where Danny works drives San Francisco decorator Laurie Belmont, a young man so gorgeous he makes horses gasp, and so ballsy he almost kills Danny’s attacker.

Laurie’s trying to find his way out from under the thumb of a domineering mother, helpless father, and rich, privileged boyfriend.

But no matter the attraction, their lives are worlds apart, and cowboys don’t ride unicorns.

eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboys-dont-ride-unicorns-by-tara-lain-8301-b
Paperback: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboys-dont-ride-unicorns-by-tara-lain-8302-b

Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Dont-Ride-Unicorns-Tara-ebook/dp/B06XBW1C5C/

B&N— http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cowboys-dont-ride-unicorns-tara-lain/1125859242?ean=2940157502751

Kobo — https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cowboys-don-t-ride-unicorns

Excerpt

“I want to see what’s ahead.” He coaxed Tramp into a trot and then a canter, and before Danny could even register it, he was in a full-on gallop.
“Shit!” Danny glanced at Grove, who looked worried. Danny frowned. “Should I go after him? He’s pretty sure in the saddle, but he doesn’t know the area.”
“Yes, please. He’s pissed, and he’s got a wicked temper. Plus he’s fond of biting off more than he can chew.”
Danny scrubbed the accompanying image of Laurie’s biting and chewing from his brain and took off after him at speed. Danny rode Star Gazer, a beautiful black Arabian who had lots of speed on Tramp, but Laurie had a head start.
Danny galloped down the path, looking for signs of Tramp ahead. Finally he saw the flick of her tail rounding a corner, and he turned Star Gazer into the rough and ran catty-corner to intercept Laurie. When Danny came up beside Tramp, Laurie rode easily, grinning and obviously having way too much fun. Danny waved him down. “Stop, damn it.”
Laurie gave him a pouty look but slowed Tramp to a trot. “What’s wrong?”
“Just stop.”
Laurie frowned and pulled up Tramp.
Danny waved a hand to the right. “There’s a little stream over there. Let her get a drink.” He walked Star Gazer through the trees to the trickle of water, so precious in drought-ridden California.
Laurie dismounted and dropped his reins, letting Tramp get her own water.
Danny did the same, and as Star Gazer walked to the stream, Danny turned on Laurie. “First, you don’t know this area. Going that fast, you could have hit barbed wire, or for that matter, the highway that comes up fast in a half mile. Second, Tramp isn’t an Arabian. Yes, she’s got some speed, but she’s older and not bred to gallop for that long.”
“I asked to ride the Palomino.” He crossed his arms.
“And you may get to if it’s okay with Rand, but you’ve got to respect the horses, and making them pay for your temper isn’t the way to do it.”
Laurie’s eyes widened a bit; then he stared at his boots. “Tramp seems more than willing to run.”
Danny stepped closer. “A quality of horses you should be aware of is that they don’t always act in their own best interests. The same can be said for some humans.” Breathe. “You shouldn’t be riding alone. Period.”
Laurie stepped closer and thrust his pretty face toward Danny. “Okay, simple. You can ride with me.”
“I’ve got work to do.”
“News flash.” Laurie took another step. “I am your work.”
One more step and they’d be nose-to-nose—or lips-to-lips. Danny stared at that mouth like it held the secrets of the universe. What would those lips taste like? Big cowboy in the sky, help me.
___________________________________________________________
Website: http://www.taralain.com
Blog: http://www.taralain.com/blog
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain
Twitter: http://twitter.com/taralain
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain

BIO

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 36. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

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Mnevermind 2: Forget Me Not Audiobook by Jordan Castillo Price Narrated by Seth Clayton

audiobookreview

Audible link
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Forget-Me-Not-Audiobook/B06XD5DF84/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1489719544&sr=1-1
Blurb

No two people are exactly alike, but Elijah Crowe is very, very different.
Elijah is on the autism spectrum, so the tasks of day-to-day life most people breeze through are a challenge for him. His career suffered because he never got the hang of schmoozing, and now he wastes his talents teaching classes at the mall. His social circle is limited to his ex, his therapist, and a structured inclusion group at the Rec Center. The one bright spot in his life is the memory science of Mnemography.
Although he loves nothing better than devouring the latest research and tinkering with all the specialized equipment, he never clicked with any other experts in the field until he met Daniel Schroeder. Daniel runs a memory palace—he even writes his own mnems—and that shared interest alone would make him fascinating. But Daniel and Elijah met under unusual circumstances, where the statement, “I like you, and I think you like me,” held some surprising nuances.
Now Elijah suspects he’s gay, but the few prominent people in his life are less than supportive. Some are downright hostile. Elijah might not be neurotypical, but he’s plenty smart. Surely there’s some way to get people to accept him for who he is. If only he could figure out how.

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

I am constantly impressed by Jordan Castillo Price. I don’t know why I keep forgetting this, or maybe it’s less that and the more I read by her, the more I love.

I had avoided this series because I’m not a fan of speculative fiction in the dystopian sense, and something about the blurb felt that way – I’m not sure why. But really, the science fiction part is there, for sure, but this is more a story about relationships and expectations and dealing with people and their “quirks”. I had no idea about the autism and I love that about this, but that’s not all.

I am struck by how multi-faceted this story is. We have the fascinating science fiction – the ability to make “memories”, the philosophy that inspires – what is real? – the relationship between Daniel and his father, the relationship between Daniel and Elijah, the relationship between Elijah and Beth and Elijah’s autism. It’s just so much! You’d think that with all this going on the story would be bulky or awkward, but it isn’t.

Jordan is just so gifted that all the nuances are neatly ensconced in the story and as a reader, it isn’t until I’m thinking about it that I realize just how detailed and complex the story really is.

The second part of this trilogy is written from Elijah’s perspective and it’s FASCINATING! I’m not sure we can ever know what it’s like to actually be in someone else’s head, but in this case, the POV is startlingly different from being in Daniel’s head. Elijah just thinks differently so his perspective on events in not the same as you’d imagine the same events.

I loved that we got to see his yearning and understand where he’s coming from – then compare that to how Daniel feels and what he sees.

The story about Daniel’s father’s memory issues moves forward, but we see more about the romance in this installment. It’s so easy to see how Daniel fits in Elijah’s world so well and I was so pleased that when the two find themselves at a hurdle, they push through it rather than let it form a wall between the two of them. In this case, Elijah’s autism is really helpful, because he’s so damn direct that he won’t let Daniel sink into social niceties. Elijah calls him out and forces him to acknowledge where things went wrong so he can address it. It was so refreshing!

In any case, I can’t wait for the next installment and I really hope we see the entire series in audio format soon!

Highly recommended! (If you enjoyed Carry The Ocean by Heidi Cullinan or Ethan, Who Loved Carter, I’d recommend this story for you, as well.)

Audio

Seth Clayton did an absolutely amazing job with book one and he outdoes himself here. I really, really love the way he characterizes Elijah through his pacing and intonations. I thought this was my favorite as a book and I bet it’ll be my favorite as an audiobook, as well.

I think, when the chemistry is right, the right narrator sort of “embodies” the character and for me, it’s Elijah.

Excellent and highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

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Posted in 6 star, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Audiobook, Bi-Sexual, Book, coming of age, Contemporary, DA, Dystopian, Dystopian, Established Couple, Exploration, Friends to lovers, Gay, GFY/OFY, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mid, Mild, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Purchased, Speculative Fiction, Virgin | Leave a comment

Angel in Black Leather Pants (Cloverleah Pack #9) by Lisa Oliver

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Black-Leather-Pants-Cloverleah-ebook/dp/B01M0R5C9G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487539675&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+oliver+cloverleah+9

Blurb

Adair was tired of waiting. He knew he had a mate, although they’d never met, and his waiting wasn’t made any easier watching Tobias snuggling close with his two mates. He’d thought a lot of the smaller wolf at one time. All he had was the company of his two brothers, and endless patrols trying to keep the Cloverleah pack lands safe. A trip to Claude’s with his brothers one night has some unexpected, but pleasant consequences, and after an initial misunderstanding, Adair is suddenly thrust into the world of magic, and the demands of a relationship.

Vassago’s never had a chance to be proud of who he was. As the second son of the king of the djinn, and being a lot smaller than his father or brother, Vassago spent a lot of time on the human realm, avoiding his family and those who had nothing better to do than bully him. After spending a horrible nine months trapped in Jake Poindexter’s body, he knew he had to find his potestatem before he could claim his mate. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done. When help is offered, he’s hesitant to take it, but the lure of finally being in his mate’s arms was too strong to ignore.

The troubles hitting Cloverleah are falling thick and fast. Insane plans of wiping out all paranormal life isn’t confined to a few errant humans. It’ll take the steadfast nature of a wolf shifter, who still has a habit of saying the wrong thing, and the magic of a djinn who’s struggling to believe in himself, before these two will find their HEA.

Warning: Contains M/M adult content. If this isn’t your preference, please don’t buy.

All of the books in the Cloverleah Pack series can be read as standalone. However, to fully appreciate the relationships between secondary characters, it might be wise to read the series in order.

Review

Book 7 reviewed here: http://openskyebookreviews.com/watching-out-for-fangs-cloverleah-pack-book-7-by-lisa-oliver-review/

Book 8 here: http://openskyebookreviews.com/tangling-with-bears-cloverleah-pack-series-book-8-by-lisa-oliver/

OOOOO I love Vassago!

While it looked like Vassago might have been a sneaky, almost bad-guy in the last book, we find out that he’s really, really not. He’s super sweet and very misunderstood in his own world and amazingly powerful.

Adair, if anything, seems to follow the Kane “Stick my foot in my mouth at every turn” pattern and ends up making Vassago mad more often than not. However, both these guys end up being really sweet together – as you’d expect.

There’s a lot of fun “powers” in this – djinn can do almost anything really – and that was a great addition to the Cloverleah pack. (The markings Adair gets are hysterical!)

It was great seeing Luke and Kurt and Tobias again – as well as the other couples. I really like Vadim and we got to see a lot of him, as well.

This was another great addition to the series with a few surprises and lots of magic!

4 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4 star, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Contemporary, DA, Demons, Fairies, Fated Mates, Gay, Heat Index, Hurt/Abuse, m/m, Merpeople, Mid, Mid-grade, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Purchased, Shifter, vampire | Leave a comment