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: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor Narrated by Kenneth Obi

Audiobook: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/teaching-ben-by-shae-connor-9302-b

Blurb

Learning to love means a study in patience.
Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.
David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing.
As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I just couldn’t get into this book. (The narrator didn’t do much to change this opinion, unfortunately.  Sometimes a great narrator can really pull you into a book… but not this time.)

I wasn’t every really captured by the “romance” though the set up seemed “ripe” for a perfect hidden romance or slow burn. I guess I didn’t want everyone to make such “good choices” and “do the right thing”. (I admit this could totally be influenced by current mood – so be warned.)

In any case, it’s not a bad story and the writing is good, it just wasn’t something that pinged on my radar. Maybe too tame? Anyhow…

Audio

Kenneth Obi does a nice enough job with this. He’s easy to listen to and does a fair job with the timing and emotions. He’s not great at giving unique voices and he didn’t do much to elevate this for me.

Overall still 3 of 5 stars

3-stars-small

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Posted in 3 stars, adult - 18+, Book, coming of age, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Gay, Gay, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mid level angst, Mild/low level heat, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, second chance at love, Standalone, Teacher | Leave a comment

Audiobook Tour: The Solstice Prince by SJ Himes Narrated by Joel Leslie

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Solstice Prince Audio Banner

The Solstice Prince

Realms of Love Book #1

SJ Himes

Gay Epic Fantasy Romance

Audio Release: 04.30.18

 

Solstice Prince Audio Cover

Cover Illustration and Design by Sarah Jo Chreene

Narrator: Joel Leslie

 

BLURB

Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded.

Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical. Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.

One day, when necessity and fate intervene, Jaime meets someone unexpected—Prince Maxim, youngest son of the Pyrderian king, a sword master and a devastatingly kind man. Unaccustomed to powerful people with compassion and heart, Jaime flees. A cascade of events reveals Jaime’s hidden talents of healing, and he finds himself not in chains, but at the beginning of a new life.

This swift change of fortune opens Jaime up to new possibilities, including a smitten prince who cautiously courts Jaime, easing him away from his fears and reminding him that compassion and love can make him strong. The winter solstice is quickly approaching, and Prince Maxim shows Jaime the enjoyment and excitement to be found in a land that embraces the ice and cold, and the mysteries of all things magical. He learns to see the man under the royal mantle, and Maxim is more than even Jaime suspected.

The winter solstice is nigh when tragedy strikes, and Jaime learns that his past of grief and sorrow can be a pillar of strength for his solstice prince. If there is one thing that Jaime believes above all else, it is in the healing power of love.

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

TANTOR

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36566371-the-solstice-prince

solstice teaser 1

solstice teaser 2

EXCERPT

His eyes were drawn to the wide shoulders of Prince Maxim, the royal speaking quietly to a pair of full healers in their silver and white robes, the edges trimmed in varying hues of green that denoted their ranks and specialties. One of them saw Jaime hovering and pointed towards him with a smile. Prince Maxim turned and grinned wide when he saw Jaime. Jaime smiled back, flushing. The prince said his goodbyes and strode across the room to him. Long legs, a trim waist, a broad chest, and strong shoulders clothed in black leather pants and a brilliant white shirt, topped with a long jacket in rich sky blue left Jaime at a loss for words. The prince looked every inch the royal.

Prince Maxim was at his side before he was ready, and Jaime shivered, skin tingling from head to toe when the prince gave him a wide smile and offered his hand. Jaime found his much smaller hand engulfed in the prince’s with his long fingers curling over, holding him firmly. His face burned, and he ducked his head, hair falling over his eyes.

“Good morning, Jaime.”

“Good—good morning, Your Highness,” he stammered back, and he gripped the hand holding his in an unconscious plea for support.

He was holding hands with a prince. His life had taken an unexpected twist.

“Please, call me Maxim,” the prince offered, and Jaime gasped, shaking his head frantically. The prince was smiling at him, somehow beyond patient.

“I wouldn’t dare! I couldn’t, Your Highness,” Jaime burst out, heart racing again. “It’s not allowed.”

Prince Maxim drew closer, their joined hands between them, and he gave Jaime a slow perusal, taking in his wide eyes, flushed cheeks, and no doubt able to see the galloping pulse in his neck. “There is no one to gainsay you for the privilege. I do not mind. Please, it would be an honor for you to use my name.”

“Can I—can I think about it?” He couldn’t believe he just said that, and he nearly bit the tip of his tongue off snapping his mouth shut.

Prince Maxim chuckled and turned them both, tucking Jaime’s hand in the crook of his elbow. “While you’re thinking about it, how about I give you a tour of the castle? Something besides the kitchens and servants’ halls? Would you like to see the library? Do you like to read?”

“Master Eames wanted to talk to me…”

“I’ve been ordered to return you promptly after midday by Master Eames, along with strict instructions not to overdo it.” The prince’s charming grin never fell away, and he seemingly saw nothing amiss in a healer ordering about a royal. Master Eames was a distinguished healer, surely used to getting his own way, and Jaime had no desire to run afoul of the healer’s orders either. Prince Maxim continued, “Now what about some breakfast and then on to the library?”

“I love to read. I would love to see the library.” The idea of the prince taking him to personally see anything was spinning about in his mind, making him feel dizzy, and leaving him glad for the strong hand holding onto his.

SJ Himes Logo

I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), The Wolfkin Saga, and the epic fantasy romance series Realms of Love. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SJHimes/

Website: https://www.sjhimes.com/en

Joel Leslie/Narrator

Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth. A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds. His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.

He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre. He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world.

His authors have praised him as “a narrator among narrators, a man whose ability to create different characters rests on the power of his voice and his impeccable delivery,” and a “true delight…” “his professionalism, good humor, and charm make him a dream to work with,” “Anyone else would only be second best”.

Joel has consistent access to his home studio for all production needs. When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs.

http://www.joelleslienarration.com/

 

GIVEAWAY

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Recent Release: Hacking the Consequences (Shifter’s Regime #1) by Charlie Richards

Extasy Presents

http://www.extasybooks.com/charlie-richards/hacking-the-consequences/

Blurb

Keeping the Peace: When a lion shifter finds a stranger hacking his systems, he discovers a kindred spirit in the most unlikely of places.

Thirty years before, Vincentius Goldstein agreed to join the council with the express intention of bringing their technology into the twenty-first century. After all, he’d had fun hacking into it. He’s done that, and now finds the almost daily meetings and constant infighting stretching his patience. Vincentius prefers the seclusion of his computer room. When he discovers someone hacking into his system, his excitement is stirred for the first time in decades.

After figuring out where the hacker is located, Vincentius sends a council investigator after him. To his shock, when the investigator returns with the hacker, a small guinea fowl shifter named Cho, Vincentius realizes the man is his mate. Even with the mate-pull, Cho fears him. After all, Vincentius had ordered Cho captured and taken away from the safety of his flock and friends.

Can Vincentius figure out how to win the favor of his captive, or will he lose the best thing to happen to him in over three hundred years?

Review

This falls back to the Charlie Richards we all know and love! It follows that lovely fated mate trope with a bit of quirky humor and some mellow smexy times.

We get to see a newly developing branch of the shifter world – the flock of odd birds who briefly resided with Declan’s wolves, is now branching out! Some of the council men we’ve met before return and we get a new series as a result!

This is the kind of Charlie story I love and I know fans of hers will as well.

4.25 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4 stars, adult - 18+, Book, Extasy Books, Gay, Gay, Hurt/Abuse, Little to no angst, m/m, Mid level steam/heat, Mild/low level heat, Morgan, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Shifter, Standalone, Virgin | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to go Dark: Rebel Audiobook By: Rhys Ford Narrated by: Tristan James

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rebel-by-rhys-ford-9200-b

 

Blurb

The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something – it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never – would never – turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.

Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together…until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.

For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.

When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.

Review by Dee

(Book reviewed here previously by Dee)

I am a big Rhys Ford fan; she has a way with words and she can make a murder scene seem like a work of art. However, I initially struggled with this book because it started off somewhat dark. As the brothers are introduced in the story, one gets a sense of the horrible childhood they all suffered through. This is a story about forging a brotherhood, giving/taking second chances and making a family, no matter how one is (or not) related.
After 3 years, Gus has returned to his brothers, after finding out that he is the father of a 3 year old boy. There are flashbacks to events happened to Gus as a child, while with his mum and in foster care; not for the faint of heart. The horrid childhood Gus suffered through is partly the reason that he couldn’t commit to his then boyfriend, Rey. As Gus and Rey dance around their strained relationship, (realising they never stopped loving each other), they have to navigate past histories, custody hearings for the child, a vengeful child protective service officer and family, to get their HEA.

I thoroughly enjoyed their journey.

It took me 2 tries to read this. I had been expecting something along the lines of the Dirty series – tongue-in-cheek humour, a bit of drama, some hurt/comfort. Instead, I got a story that took me apart emotionally, but put me back together in a cocoon of family, warmth and love. As an added bonus, there are little gems in the form of references to characters from other books, (hers and others).
Now to patiently wait for the next brother’s story.

 

4.5 stars out of 5

Review by Morgan

On the one hand I absolutely agree with Dee.  Rhys is so gifted at description and bringing emotion to her words – in my mind she paints a story for us more than almost anyone else I read on a regular basis.  The downside of that is the rhythm of the story is sometimes bogged down by these luscious descriptions.  Since she likes to write action/crime/mysteries the pacing is an important piece and I think it suffers sometimes for that.

That being said, she’s also so talented at giving us intriguing and big hearted characters that some of the above can certainly be forgiven.

I agree with Dee that I was expecting more of Cole’s humor or Damie’s irreverence and we don’t really get that here.  Honestly, I missed the release from tension that the humor offered.

As is the case with many great authors, though I try not to, I do compare one piece to their other works, and this isn’t my favorite by the author.  It’s amazing on it’s own, but I’ve enjoyed others by her better.

With that said, if an emotional journey is what you’re looking for this is the story for you!

 

4 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Tristan James and Rhys Ford are a terrific match.  Tristan knows just how to stretch out the drama and it really matches Rhys’ tone to perfection.  His voice is like candy to me and I’d pretty much listen to anything he narrates – so I’m a bit biased 🙂

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4.5 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Audiobook, Book, Contemporary, Dark Romance/ Bad Boys, Dreamspinner, Gay, Gay, High but not hopeless, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, Mid level steam/heat, Monthly Theme, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, Standalone | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Nicki Bennett For Bad to the Bone!

NB:


Part of the fun of writing a story is creating the secondary characters who support the action and help define the main characters through their interactions. In my new Dreamspun Desire Bad to the Bone, one of my favorite secondary characters is protagonist Alex Morrison’s Irish setter, Buck.
One of the inspirations for Buck’s character was a television commercial for a popular brand of dog food that shows a character and his dog growing up together, from toddler to teen. I wanted to show that same progression in Alex’s life, though I changed the scale from his teen years to adulthood. Buck’s age is a reminder to Alex of the passage of years from his “golden days” to the present.
Buck is based in large part on my own Irish setter, Tara. She was a Christmas present from my husband before we had children. Like most setters, she had a slender build, long legs, floppy ears, and a flowing red coat. Tara was sweet-tempered and energetic. She loved to run around in our large backyard in Chicago. When we moved to Texas, we helped her deal with the heat by giving her a kiddie pool of her own to splash around in. My husband helped burn off her energy by taking her for long, long walks after the sun set every night.
When our children were born, Tara was a gentle protector and playmate. Her one flaw was that she loved to chew, especially when she got bored. When we went out, we’d keep her on our enclosed sun porch, which had an old sofa we didn’t mind if she laid on. Tara liked to gnaw on a corner of the sofa and was starting to tear the fabric. Someone told us to sprinkle a bit of hot sauce on the spot to discourage her from chewing on it. My husband tried it one day when we were going Christmas shopping. We came home to a porch ankle-deep in fluffy white fiberfill. We’re not sure if the hot sauce burned a little or if she liked the flavor, but she proceeded to rip the cover off the couch completely and shred the stuffing out of it. It looked like it had snowed inside.
On another day, I was planning to make pizza for dinner and had taken a pound of bread dough out of the freezer and set it on the counter to thaw. I had to run to the store to buy some ingredients, and when I got home, the bag of dough was gone. I was checking the freezer in case I’d forgotten to take it out after all when Tara wandered into the kitchen, looking guilty. I found a shred of plastic bag on the floor and realized she’d grabbed the dough from the counter and eaten it. A little while later, she was starting to look pretty uncomfortable, and I was worried that the dough was rising in her stomach! I called our vet, who told me she might be pretty miserable for a while, but it wouldn’t hurt her. Unfortunately the discomfort wasn’t enough to teach her not to snatch food from the counter in the future.
Alex’s setter, Buck, isn’t quite as manic as Tara could be, but he shares her high energy. Even in his senior years, he loves to accompany Alex on his morning runs and thinks every time the door opens, it’s to let him outside. He’s a good judge of character but a bad judge of what he hits when he wags his tail, and he loves a good ear-scratching. And he doesn’t forget a friend.
Incidentally, Buck is named after a semi-famous movie character. Bonus points to anyone who can guess who that is in the comments before they read the book.

Blurb:
A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.
Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.
Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.
But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Excerpt:

Alex rose and moved through a few stretches before pulling on a pair of shorts and a long-sleeved T-shirt and lacing on his running shoes.

Buck danced around him as soon as he opened his bedroom door and followed him into the kitchen, the feathery sweep of his long tail betraying his eagerness. Alex nodded a greeting to Alanna, who was nursing a cup of coffee at the kitchen table. “Get this overgrown dust mop out of here,” she groused when Buck laid his head in her lap and nudged. Alanna gave a good scratch behind each of the setter’s floppy ears, bringing him to an expression of blissful idiocy. “I don’t want to have to fish his hair out of my corn flakes.”

“Might be too late for that.” As soon as Alex opened the door leading to the stairs, Buck raised his head and darted out in front of him, then waited impatiently at the bottom of the steps for Alex to unlock the heavier outer door. “You’d think we never let you outside, you big goof.”

The mid-October morning air carried a chill hint of cooler weather to come, but Alex knew he’d be pushing up his sleeves before the end of the run. He started off slowly, Buck loping easily at his side, until he left the streets of the Freeland business district—such as it was—behind him. As the buildings thinned, giving way to more open field, he picked up the pace, letting the breeze waft away the last of his sleepiness.

Running had always been his catharsis, his way of releasing stress and clearing his head. He’d sat through enough sport physiology lectures during his playing days to know that the endorphins it released were not only analgesic but also mood-elevating—the so-called “runner’s high.” Pounding along the quiet country road, he consciously freed his mind of thoughts, focusing on the rhythm of his footfalls and the regular cadence of his breath.

It worked for the first few miles, but the unsettled feelings raised by Ricky Lee’s return refused to stay at bay for long. Running might provide a temporary distraction, but it couldn’t resolve issues or make them disappear, Alex knew. The only solution for that would be to face them.

He paused at the crossroad that marked his midpoint, slowing his breathing and pushing up the sleeves of his T-shirt as the sun and his exertion warmed him. Buck had wandered off to answer nature’s call, but as he bounded back he halted and turned his head to glance down the road, his ears perked up.

The throaty rumble of a motor broke the morning silence before a black dot appeared against the horizon, growing larger as it approached. The cycle rolled to a stop and the rider pulled off his helmet. Before he could speak, Buck leaped forward and jumped up at Ricky Lee, barking furiously.

Alex grabbed the dog’s collar and pulled him back before he could knock the bike over, wondering if Buck could possibly remember Ricky Lee.

 

Buy Link:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-to-the-bone-by-nicki-bennett-9442-b

 

Author Bio:

Growing up in Chicago, Nicki Bennett spent every Saturday at the central library, losing herself in the world of books. A voracious reader, she eventually found it difficult to find enough of the kind of stories she liked to read and decided to start writing them herself.

You can find Nicki on her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011754789784

 

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Audiobook: Banded Together by K.C. Burn Narrated by Darcy Stark

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/banded-together-by-kc-burn-9193-b

Blurb

Punk’s not dead, but it’s time to redefine life.

Devlin Waters thought he’d have music forever. But the tragic death of his best friend ended the twenty-year run of his punk band, Negative Impression. Unable to process the loss, Devlin distances himself from everyone and everything that reminds him of the band. But forty-one is too young to curl up and wait for the end. In a search for a second career, he finds himself at university with a bunch of kids young enough to be… his kids. His sexy archeology professor, however, makes Devlin think about life beyond his grief….

Dr. Jack Johnson does not appreciate Devlin’s lack of respect, his inability to be serious, or his chronic lateness. Worse, he hates that he’s attracted to a student. When he realizes Devlin is the rock star he crushed on in his youth, he drops his guard—against his better judgment.

Before they can move forward together, Jack must admit to Devlin that he’s not only an admirer, but he also sings in a cover band. How will Devlin react to his ultimate fanboy when his own music has died?

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

There was a lot of potential in this story. I loved the idea of an old rocker going back to school. The fact that his professor is a fan is awesome. The juxtaposition of rocker and professor – also awesome.

What didn’t work for me was the fact that I never liked Devlin. He was a bit too whiny and though he had a lot to be upset about, I just never warmed to him. As a result I found it hard to care about his relationship.

There was a bit too much drama and the ending didn’t nearly satisfy.

Though the writing was nice and the story idea intriguing, I wasn’t bowled over by this story.

3.25 (rounded to 3.5) of 5 stars

Audio

I’ve enjoyed Darcy Stark narrating other series and he did a nice job with this as well. He matches the tone of this – a bit angsty – a bit dramatic- a bit emotional.

I’d listen to the sample if you’re not familiar with him – but I think he’s very easy to listen to and adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.

4 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4 stars, adult - 18+, Audiobook, Book, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Gay, Gay, Homophobia, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mid level angst, Mid level steam/heat, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to go Dark: Verified Kill Audiobook by Patricia Logan narrated by Rusty Topsfield

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Verified-Kill-Audiobook/B00ZSYA7TM?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_19&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=35SRNT8TCC9854SQMTG9&

Blurb:

Walker Easton has chosen a life of solitude, and it’s always suited him well. When a young lover is viciously taken from him, he begins to reevaluate his connection with Emilio. Could he have saved the young man had he resisted the deep-seated desire to belong to someone? Lost and uncertain for the first time in his life, his bravado is slipping away.

When he’s given his next filthy assignment, he remembers Emilio’s final words to him…”Who will grieve for you when you are gone, Walker?” His next choices set him on a dangerous path where there is no turning back, and when an old friend gets in the way, he has an impossible decision to make.

Callum Tryst is a dangerous man in his own right. Young and cocky and undeniably one of the finest assassins alive, he goes after a target not knowing that there is one painted on his own back. When he crosses paths with a career sniper, he finally meets his match…or does he? Callum learns the hard way that perhaps the best weapon against his enemy is another enemy. He finds himself asking the question, “If I’ve never ever cared about anyone, did I ever really matter?”

Join the pair as they mete out justice as only they know how, in a desperate fight to the finish…and the discovery that the fight is not as they always assumed it to be. Assumptions get you killed…and dead men cannot love.

Review: I had listened to one of Rusty Topsfield’s narration a while ago and was not overly impressed with the performance, at least where he tried to sound English. But, I couldn’t find the time to read the ebook, so I took a chance and got the audiobook. I am so glad I did!
The story is about an assassin bent on revenge for his dead lover who meets another assassin. Unbeknownst to either of them, they have the same target in their sights. The story is a little convoluted, with a target that may be innocent, a hateful parent and characters from the Silver (BDSM) series, (although not necessary to have read said series). There is some D/D (not a lot); however I’m not a BDSM fan, so the story was just OK for me.
Rusty Topsfield was better (to me) this time around. I never had a problem knowing who was talking and he made both MC’s sound like the alpha men that they were. My only gripe is that during the non-narrative bits, he sort of had little to no inflection, so it sounded like some of the sentences ran without punctuation. But honestly, his narration definitely made it easier to enjoy the story, (sorry Ms. Logan!).
Based on his narration, I will probably get the rest of the series in audio format ☺

4 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased For Review

Posted in adult - 18+, Audiobook, Dark Romance/ Bad Boys, Gay, Mid level steam/heat, Mild level angst, Monthly Theme, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Standalone | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Go Dark: Circle by Garrett Leigh

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35894093-circle

Blurb
I love him…but he’s forgotten why.

A lot can happen in six years, and Ash and Pete have seen their world flipped upside down more times than most. Being parents to Pete’s young nephew wasn’t in their plan, but life happens to them and they roll with the punches. Or at least they did, until new heartache rocks their hard-won happily-ever-after.

Ash loves Pete as much as ever—more, in fact—but Pete battles alone with a burden that weighs heavily on his heart. Ash is no stranger to dark clouds, but the secret Pete keeps from him is a storm that could break them.

Despite the fierce love that once buoyed them, they’re both drowning until a new friend throws them a lifeline. His wisdom offers insight—for better or worse, real love is rarely a smooth journey. For Ash and Pete to come full circle once more, they’ll have to hit the road and chase it

Review
This story brings a conclusion for Ash and Pete. It’s six years on from the end of Rare and it doesn’t look like life has settled very much for them. For as much has changed since the ending of Rare essentially they are still the same with Pete working a lot. I loved that Jed and Max from Only Love appear in this story. Jed provides a stabling influence on both Ash and Pete at time they need help. Pete has lost his way and Ash doesn’t know how to help him. For all his success with his art Ash is still insecure and doubts himself without Pete. Pete is pulling away from him and he doesn’t know how to help. Their lives are more busy and full of family now. But the hard won level of trust and communication is suffering. A brilliant emotional roller coaster of a story. This is a terrific conclusion to the series. They get their happy ever after, perfect.

4 of stars out of 5

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Posted in adult - 18+, Gay, High but not hopeless, Hurt/Abuse, Length, Mid level steam/heat, Monthly Theme, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, PTSD | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Day Review: Nudging Fate by E.J. Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nudging-fate-by-ej-russell-9553-b

Blurb

An Enchanted Occasions Story
Not exactly a match made in Valhalla.
Half-norn event planner Anders Skuldsson is under strict orders from Asgard not to meddle with Fate. But with Enchanted Occasions’ latest booking—a competition for the hand of Faerie’s one true prince—crashing around his ears, it’s really difficult to toe that particular line. But if Andy pretends to be a contender for the prince…. It’s only temporary, so Odin can’t blame him. Right?
Conall of Odstone’s half-brother, Prince Reyner, was supposed to choose a mate before being crowned and wed. But the idiot left Con to impersonate him. Again.
When Con meets Andy, his anger turns to desire… and despair. Even if Andy forgives him for his imposture, how could someone eligible for a prince’s hand settle for the court outcast? And the double-deception isn’t their only obstacle. Unless Andy makes the right choice, their fates could be sealed by…well… Fate.

Review

This is a wonderful case of two hidden identities and the not-as-predictable outcome as you might think! I thought this was fun, sweet, a bit sexy and very enjoyable.

The trope is a combo Cinderella/Cyrano and it really worked! I didn’t love the chemistry between these guys as much as some of Russell’s others characters, but they still had some sizzle.

Where the author excels is her world building and her characterizations – I didn’t see big plot holes and I thought the secondary characters really added (without overshadowing the MCs) to the story.

If you like fantasy, fairy tales and secret plot twists – this is for you!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Posted in 4.5 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Book, Cinderella/Cinderfella, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Fairies, Fantasy, Gay, Gay, Hidden Lovers, Humor, Hurt/Abuse, m/m, Magic, Mid level angst, Mid level steam/heat, Mild/low level heat, Misunderstanding, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Secret Identity, Standalone | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Day Review: Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennett

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-to-the-bone-by-nicki-bennett-9442-b

Blurb

A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.
Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.
Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.
But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Review

While I don’t usually like “second chance” books, I really enjoyed this one.

This was very heart-felt, with a real-ish type setting but enough “fantasy” elements to make it feel a bit like Cinderella.

I loved the added touches of making Ricky Native American, as well as rich. The “bad guys” were super bad and I definitely felt like I was reading an old timey romance – with a gay twist!

I thought Alex and Ricky Lee had great chemistry and their story was mostly sweet and little hot. I loved Sam – especially the end scene!

Overall this was exactly what you’d expect for the genre, well-written and a quick sweet read.

3.75 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Posted in 4 stars, adult - 18+, Book, Bullying, Cinderella/Cinderfella, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Gay, Gay, m/m, Mid level steam/heat, Mild level angst, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, second chance at love, Standalone, The one that got away | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment