Guest Post: Joe Cosentino with Holiday Tales!

OS: Welcome to Joe Cosentino here today to talk about Holiday Tales!

JC:

An Interview with Vasily Volkov, a character in Joe Cosentino’s Holiday Tales from Fairyland, the second Tales from Fairyland e-book novella and Tales from Fairyland Anthology paperback

Since the readers can’t see you, what do you look like Vasily?

I’m twenty, tall, lean, and strong with auburn hair, olive-colored skin, and sapphire eyes.

Where do you live?

In the Yagaville Orphanize in Fairyland, where I was left as a child. I work in the kitchen.

How does it feel to be out (no pun intended) of the new novella, Holiday Tales from Fairyland, by Joe Cosentino?

It’s great to get out of the kitchen.

Were you in Joe Cosentino’s popular The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland published by Dreamspinner Press? And how did the new stories come about?

No, mine is the Vasillisa, the Beautiful story. That first novella was Joe’s comic gay take on Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Pinocchio, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, and The Snow Queen. I, and the readers who loved The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, kept whispering in Joe’s ear, and Holiday Tales from Fairyland was born. Also, Joe told me he missed Fairyland and couldn’t wait to come back. I don’t blame him. My home is a wonderful place. LGBT people aren’t represented in traditional fairytales. Joe changed all that in his tales from Fairyland.

Your story takes place on Winter Solstice. What is it that you love about that holiday?

The air is cold, and the trees are bare. I love watching a handsome mystery man ride by my orphanage in white on a white horse to announce the morning, in red on a red horse to proclaim the afternoon, and in black on a black horse to signal the night.

Tell us about your story in Holiday Tales from Fairyland?

I am being tormented by the priest who runs the orphanage. So I gaze out the window each day at a mysterious, handsome man who rides by my orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, I discover the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can I rescue my tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day? Story three spills the winter beans.

Tell us about Prince Anton.

He’s my winter solstice. Prince Anton has long black hair, cherry cheeks, a muscular frame, and piercing emerald eyes. Though he is bewitched by Baba Yaga, his kind heart, goodness, and love for me come through like the sun through the barren tree branches.

Who are the other characters in your story besides Prince Anton, Baba Yaga the witch, the priest who manages your orphanage, and you?

Baba Yaga’s two henchmen. You’ll have to read the story to find out who partners with whom in the end? You’ll definitely be surprised!

What are the other stories in the novella?

The first story takes place on Halloween. Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the town folk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? You’ll see! In story two on Christmas, hunky Cavalier P.I. receives a visit from a new client, handsome young Fritz. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. But he seems more interested in the bulge in Cavalier’s tights than in getting himself off the hook. When Cavalier turns sweet on Fritz, it’s time for the private investigator to question his old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s other sister Louise, and Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer to save his intended, and find out: Who Killed Clara?

Fairyland is a very gay place.

The gayest. It’s Fairyland after all!

Tell us about the heroes in the other two stories.

Ichabod Crane is a young schoolteacher whose heart has been stolen by the town hunk, Brom Bones. Ichabod not only needs to win over the man he loves, but also win over the hearts and minds of the bigoted residents of Sleepy Hollow. Cavalier is a terrific private investigator who is seeking the perfect dance partner in Fritz, his gorgeous, young, and mysterious client.

Any chance you’ll be pairing in the future with Cavalier or Ichabod?

No. I’m a one-man man. And that man is Prince Anton of Rider Village, Fairyland.

Are you excited about the paperback of the entire Fairyland Collection?

So excited! What I hope is that everyone reads and these funny, sexy, heartwarming, romantic, fairytales. They will no doubt bring you back to better, joyous times. I also hope the movie studio producing those amazing animated fairytales finally realizes that fairytales should include everyone—including the bewitched prince who finds true love!

What other stories has Joe published?

I’m not in them, but they are still terrific. For Dreamspinner Press, In My Heart: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) are loosely based on Joe’s high school and college years. His popular, heartwarming Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories are A Home for the Holidays (which takes place on the gorgeous and romantic island of Capri), The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel (releasing 12/7). There Joe goes again writing about the holidays!

And Joe has two award-winning mystery series with other publishers.

I’m not in those either. Reviewers called his Nicky and Noah mysteries “the funniest books ever written,” captivating mysteries,” and “The Hardy Boys meets Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart.” Adorable couple, college theatre professors Nicky and Noah, solve murder mysteries on their Treemeadow College (named about gay couple Tree and Meadow) campus and on tour in Drama Queen, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle (releasing 2/1/19). His popular Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press) feature an ex-child movie star making a movie comeback and solving murder mysteries on set. Jana has a gay agent and gay best friend who provide lots of gay humor. The five novels are Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll.

Joe also wrote the Cozzi Cove series published by NineStar Press.

I’m not in those either! Cal Cozzi runs a gay resort on the New Jersey Shore. We get his story and the sexy, entertaining, and often surprising stories of his gay residents each summer. The novels are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings.

How does Joe, a college professor/department chair, find the time to write all these books?

Characters like me tell him what to write.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

Reviews for Holiday Tales from Fairyland have all been good so far. If/when bad ones come, reviewers, as the expression goes, “Careful what you put out there, karma’s a bitch.”

You have a hot love scene with Prince Anton. How did you handle that?

The expression of our love under a time of incredible trial for us was beautiful and magical. We are a true Fairyland love story.

What frustrates you?

Witches who use conversion therapy, torturing gay people in an unsuccessful attempt to try to turn them straight.

How can your readers contact you?

Through Joe. He loves hearing from readers. They can contact us at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

HOLIDAY TALES FROM FAIRYLAND
the second Tales from Fairyland e-book novella
by JOE COSENTINO
$3.99
http://mybook.to/HolidayTales
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/886272
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holiday-tales-from-fairyland-joe-cosentino/1129229032?ean=2940155760795
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/holiday-tales-from-fairyland

Blurb

It’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? On Christmas, hunky Cavalier P.I. receives a visit from a new client, handsome young Fritz. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. But he seems more interested in the bulge in Cavalier’s tights than in getting himself off the hook. When Cavalier turns sweet on Fritz, it’s time for the private investigator to question his old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s other sister Louise, and Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer to save his intended and find out: Who Killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, young Vasily falls in love with a mysterious, handsome man who rides by his orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, Vasily discovers the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can Vasily rescue his tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day?

and

THE TALES FROM FAIRYLAND ANTHOLOGY
The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland paperback
by JOE COSENTINO
$12.99
http://mybook.to/FairylandAnthology

Blurb

Welcome to Fairyland, a magical place where your favorite fairytale characters come out on the other side of the rainbow. Poor and beautiful Cinder offers his clothes to a naked prince in the woods in a twist on the classic Cinderella tale. Eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three irresistibly burly men on Bear Mountain. Romance ensues between that stringy guy with a growing appendage and the character with a thing for giants. A handsome but cold-hearted prince bewitches young Kieran into being his captive. Can Gaelen thaw the ice palace and save his love?
Then it’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of Sleepy Hollow balk, the headless horseman rides into town teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. When hunky Cavalier turns sweet on sweet Fritz, it’s time for the dancing private investigator to question everyone involved with Clara and the Nutcracker to find out who killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, can orphan Vasily rescue a tortured prince from Baba Yaga, releasing him from the witch’s conversion therapy, and dance around the prince’s pole on May Day?

Praise for The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, the first Tales from Fairyland novella, published by Dreamspinner Press:
“This is a brilliant work, filled with imaginative twists and sly asides. This is adult literature, overflowing with sometimes gentle but often biting humor, and these fairy tales take on a new edginess without ever losing the morality underpinning each story. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland gets my highest recommendation! If I could give it more than 5 Stars I would. Bravo, sir, bravo!” GGR Reviews
“Sometimes you are lucky enough to find an author that ticks every box you want as a reader, today I’m that lucky reader….a great saucy, fun collection and highly recommended.” Three Books over the Rainbow

“the stories are all well done and smart, engaging, funny and sweet.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“The Naked Prince and Other tales from Fairyland is a fun, hilarious collection of stories. Joe outdid himself taking old favorites from our childhood and putting a grown-up spin on them….If you like gay princes, sexy bears, giants, reporters, fairy tales, comedy, suspense, and, sweet, fun man-sex, this is for you.” Cathy Brockman Romance
“If you haven’t read anything by Cosentino, you don’t know what you are missing. His humor and penchant for drama bring these old favorites a new life as he ventures deep into Fairyland….If you love fairytales, you’ve got to read the naughty versions – they are even better!” Joyfully Jay Reviews
“I was most surprised by the author’s sense of humor and his ability to get me to not only laugh out loud, but actually to “belly laugh.” I highly recommend this to audiobook lovers, and especially to those who loved fairy tales in their childhood.” Hearts on Fire Reviews
“In this wickedly entertaining take on classic fairy tales, Joe Cosentino gives us four short stories full of all the characters you remember from storybooks – Cinderella, Pinocchio, Goldilocks, Captain Hook, Jack and the Beanstalk, Prince Charming and many more – but fair warning: This ain’t your childhood Cinderella. Welcome to a world where it isn’t Pinocchio’s nose that grows when he tells a lie. Goldilocks discovers three sexy daddy bears in the woods and ‘someone’s been sleeping in my bed’ takes on a whole other connotation. Jack is ‘very nimble’ but sadly also ‘amazingly quick’ and Prince Charming dons ‘palace protection’ for hot sex with Cinder. Extra bonus points for this wonderful quip: ‘I always suspected he had more down his throat than a frog.’” Gay Book Reviews
Joe Cosentino is the author of six novellas published by Dreamspinner Press: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Audiobook of the Month); the In My Heart series: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; and the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel; the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Favorite LGBT Mystery), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college professor/department chair residing in New York State. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Excerpt of Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Tales from Fairyland Book 2, by Joe Cosentino

The sun streamed in from the window and covered Vasily’s olive-colored face. He ran to the window, jumped onto the stool, and leaned out as far as he could. As he had done every day that week, he gazed at the mysterious young man on a horse who rode by at sunup as if to announce the morning, at noon to proclaim midday, and at sunset to warn of the darkness of night.
Vasily felt his heart race as he gazed at the mystery man’s wide shoulders and muscular frame housed in a white tunic, britches, and flowing cape. His long jet-black hair flew behind him and his cherry cheeks seemed to burn in the frozen air as the man’s white horse sped him along the road past the orphanage.
Vasily cried out as the horse jumped over a frozen tree stump and came crashing down onto its side with its rider toppling onto his back nearby. He leapt off the stool, ran out of the kitchen and down the long, echoing hallway. Since everyone else was in the dining room, he flung open the heavy metal front door, and raced across the icy front lawn to the road. Though the horse had risen on shaky legs, the young man lay prostrate on the icy ground. Vasily tied the horse to the post. Then he struggled to lift the unconscious man into his arms and carried him inside the orphanage. Once in the kitchen, Vasily gently rested him on the rocking chair near the stone fireplace. After retrieving his blanket from the basement and quickly returning to the kitchen, Vasily covered the rider, and brought some hot tea from the fireplace. Then Vasily sat next to him on the stool and stroked the young man’s cold cheek until it was warm.
The stranger’s emerald eyes opened.
“You’re safe here,” Vasily said in a soothing voice. “Have some tea.” After the man drank the tea and Vasily returned the cup to the table, he said, “Are you feeling well?”
“I am now.”
Vasily couldn’t help noticing the man’s vacant, melancholy gaze. “You’re in the orphanage. Your horse is tied up outside.”
He started to rise but then sat again.
“You can rest here as long as you like. Are you hungry?”
He nodded. After Vasily served him breakfast, the man said, “That was delicious.”
“Thank you.” Vasily rested the plate on the table. “You took a nasty fall.”
“Yes, I guess I did.”
“Why do you ride your horse past our orphanage every morning, noon, and night?”
“I am following my instructions.”
“From whom?”
“Baga Yaga.”
Vasily had heard of the witch who lived at the tip of Yagaville. He wondered why she didn’t get a sundial. “What else do you do for her—besides riding to signal the morning, afternoon, and night?”
“I live in her cottage.”
“Do you like living there?”
“No.”
“Then why do you stay?”
“I must.”
Vasily’s heart went out to the man who was clearly bewitched. “Why do you go back there?”
“It is Baba Yaga’s will.”
“Why not stay here? I’ll ask Father Boris if we can use another worker at the orphanage. If he meets you, I’m sure he’ll say yes.”
The man stood. “I must go.”
“Please stay.”
A tear stained his eye. He hesitated a moment. “I can’t.”
Vasily reached for his thick forearm. “At least tell me your name?”
“Anton.”
“It has been a pleasure to meet you, Anton. I’m Vasily.”
He took Vasily’s hands and stared blankly into his eyes. “Thank you. You are a source of warmth for someone buried in ice. I hope our paths cross again.”
“So do I!”
When he was gone, Vasily hurried to the window and watched him ride off.

Giveaway: Post a comment about why you love fairytales. The one that sets us off into Fairyland will receive an Amazon gift code for The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Tales from Fairyland Book 1 audiobook, by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press, performed by Joel Leslie (Favorite Audiobook of the Month on Open Skye Book Reviews!). http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Naked-Prince-and-Other-Tales-from-Fairyland-Audiobook/B01M667L7A/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1477080276&sr=1-1

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Recent Release Review: Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott ,V.L. Locey

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35559022-ryker?from_search=true

Blurb

This New Adult book is the first in the Owatonna U Series, a spin off from the best selling Harrisburg Railers Hockey Series.

Ryker is hockey royalty, Jacob is a poor country boy. Can two vastly different people find common ground and become the men they want to be?

Ryker comes from a long line of championship-winning hockey players. Playing college hockey to develop his game is his only focus, and nothing will stand in the way of him working to become the best player. He has no room for relationships, people that point out his flaws, or anyone who calls him on his dreams. He certainly has no place for love, and meeting Jacob is nothing but a useful distraction on the side. After all trying to get his Owatonna Eagles teammate into bed is less work and more play. When tragedy rocks his family, his charmed life crumbles, and the only person he can turn to is the same one who claims to hate him.

Jacob Benson has only known hard work and stifling conservative values his whole life. Born and raised in the small rural community of Eden Crossing, Minnesota, he’s the only son of a hard-working but struggling dairy farming family. Jacob is using his skills in hockey to finance his way to an agricultural science degree. These four years at Owatonna U. will probably be the only time he has to enjoy life, gain acceptance about his sexuality, and live openly before his inevitable return to the farm. Running into a pretty rich boy like Ryker Madsen is putting a damper on his enjoyment of life away from home. Ryker’s flip, conceited, carefree attitude grates on Jacob’s every nerve. So why, if Ryker is everything he dislikes, does he want nothing more than to explore the sinful dreams that his annoying teammate stars in every night?

Review
I really loved this book! It’s definitely a YA/NA – it has a lot of angst that is age appropriate (and therefore a little frustrating) but still fits the ages of the MCs involved.

I think this can be a standalone but you’re definitely missing a lot of subtext if you don’t read these in order.

There was enough steam to keep things feeling hot but again – age appropriate.

I was pretty mad at the authors – when the hurt Ten in the last book – but I am hoping he seems on the mend and will hopefully be back up and skating soon 😉

I’ve really been enjoying this series and can’t wait for the next installment!

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Posted in 4.5 stars, Book, Christmas, Contemporary, Enemies to Lovers, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, High but not hopeless, Hockey, Homophobia, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mild/low level heat, Morgan, New Adult, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Opposites attract, Part of a Series, Purchased, Sports, Standalone, Virgin, young adult | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Time to get scared:Blood Veil (Mission book 2) by Megan Erickson

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34741287-blood-veil?from_search=true

Blurb
When Celia is attacked at her apartment by one vampire, and rescued by another, her life turns upside down. Idris, Athan’s brother and the one who was supposed to be the king until their father’s cruel lies were exposed is Celia’s unlikely rescuer, dark and brooding he scares her as much as he intrigues her.

Idris is surprised by the seemingly human female he has been following for a while at his brother’s, the new king, command. After the events of book one and the fall of their father, their clan is at potential war with the Valarian clan. Celia, the Valarian king’s daughter, is taken as ransom in exchange for peace between the clans. Unaware of her bloodline or family, having grown up as an orphan, Celia faces the discovery of a family she always craved, only to have that dream shatter in blood and violence. Stuck in a web of lies and on the run, Idris must protect her at all costs despite his hate for her father.

Review:
Another great book in the Mission universe!
This book has all the clichés of vampire books you can think of plot wise, and it works so well anyway! Just like her Werewolf shifter novels: ‘The Silver Tip Pack’ series, Megan combines wit, humor and geekiness in her writing for an action packed, smoldering hot read you can’t put down!
Ever since I read the first book in the series I was anxious to see what happens to Idris, Athans’s brother. And like all her heroes, Megan wrote so much emotion and tenderness into his big strong body you can’t NOT fall for him. Celia is sweet, sassy and feisty, just like Tendra from book 1, and her compassion for others shines through every action she makes.
Megan created a believable, working vampirical world, and I like her ability to combine fantasy and supernatural into everyday life. She always brings a small twist to the story that truly makes it unique.
Enjoyed it very much and am hoping to hear more about the vampire shenanigans in Mission City.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5

Posted in 3.5 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Fantasy, m/f, Mild level angst, Monthly Theme, Neta, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Purchased, Race/Species Difference, Scorching/high heat, Standalone, Time to get scared, vampire | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog Tour: Heart Unheard by Andrew Grey

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OS: Welcome Andrew Grey!

AG:

I am going to let you in on a secret. Whenever I am writing and I come to the part of the story that gets difficult… or when the story just sin;t coming to me, I sit back and pull up You Tube. There is particular video that I will watch over and over again. Its Mam Cass singling Make Your Own Kind of Music. Because that’s what I’m doing when I write. I’m not only making my music, but I’m allowing my characters to make their kind of music and that’s the very best part of what I get to do. And what I love most is when you read what I wrote, listen to my song, and then make it yours. There is nothing better than that. So in the words of the indomitable Mama Cass, Please Your Own Kind of Music, Sing Your Own Kind of Song…

Here’s a link if you want to listen to the rest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEQxEJ5_5zA

Blurb

An accident crushed Duncan’s Olympic dreams and landed him in a chair, but he knows it’s time to get his life back on track—and he has a plan in mind. Working with his friend Todd, an Olympic skeleton racer, on a promotional campaign will not only help Duncan regain some direction, but it’ll give Todd the financial boost he desperately needs. The sport Todd loves is draining his resources—so much so that he’s thinking of giving up racing just to make ends meet.
As the two men work together, their friendship blossoms into much more, and suddenly the future is looking brighter than it has in a long time. But just when love, happiness, and success seem within their grasp, the USOC steps in with plans to stop their campaign. That’ll mean an end not just to Duncan’s business, but to Todd’s dreams… and Duncan isn’t about to let that happen to the man who means everything to him.

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

DreamSpinner Press

Excerpt

Duncan sighed. “Great. You’re taking me to church.” He closed the laptop and set it aside. “Wonderful. Maybe Henrietta Blodgett will be there, and she can tell everyone again what a shame it is that I got hurt and how you got stuck caring for me.” The old lady had been running her mouth in the community center kitchen when Duncan had gone out there to use the restroom because it was bigger and easier for him to get into.
His mother whirled around, her hands coming to her hips. “First thing, that woman is a menace and an old battle-ax. She can go to church all she wants, but her gossiping is going to send her straight to hell. And no matter what happens, you can’t let people like her get to you. There will always be folks who talk and give you the ‘poor little thing’ face. You think I haven’t seen it a million times since your father died?” She plated the eggs, set them in front of him, sat down, and patted his hand. “No matter what, you have to go on.”
Duncan took a bite and set his fork down. “If we aren’t going to church, then what are we doing?” It was Wednesday, and his mom usually had her ladies circle prayer group at lunch. She’d gone for years.
“Just finish your breakfast and clean up. Shave too. You’re all scruffy, and that isn’t a good look for you.”
She went about straightening up the kitchen as Duncan ate slowly. His appetite had been hit-or-miss for weeks, and it looked like today was one of those days where nothing seemed to taste very good. Not that he said anything to his mom. The eggs she made were good usually, but just not right now, not to him. Still, he finished them and put his plate on his lap to carry it over to the sink.
“Thanks, Mom.” He rolled out of the room and back to the bathroom. In the mirror, he saw he did look awful, his spotty red beard only adding to the disappointment in his eyes and demonstrating the fact that he didn’t really care about anything.
Ten minutes later, after washing up and brushing his teeth, he wheeled himself to his room and went about the daunting task of getting dressed. He was determined to do it on his own, dammit, and he did it. Granted, it was only sweatpants and a T-shirt, but they were on correctly. Duncan even managed shoes and socks, though that took a little more doing. Finally ready to go, he glided back into the living room, where his mother was dusting. “Let’s get this over with.”
His mom ignored the comment and picked up her purse.
Duncan left the house, rolling down the ramp and out to the car. He would have liked to be able to get a van that was equipped with a lift so he could get in the car and drive it himself, but that was way outside their budget. His mom had put in for one, but it was taking a lot of time to get approved. There were grants and things that would help with the cost, but they hadn’t come through yet.
He got into the passenger seat with help from his mom, and she put the chair in the back. Then she climbed in and pulled away from their small ranch-style house in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, heading out toward the main road.
“Mom, what’s the big secret?” he asked, turning toward her.
“No secret. I thought you could use some time to visit some friends.” She slowed as they approached a light and then turned into the drive of an auto repair garage.
Todd stepped out of one of the bays, smiling brightly.
As soon as she came to a stop, he hurried to his side of the car and pulled open the door. Todd leaned right in, hugging Duncan tightly even with the odd angles. “I came to see you after you were hurt, but they wouldn’t let me in. And then I had to go out on tour and to competitions and….”
Duncan returned the embrace, inhaling deeply as Todd’s rich scent, tinged with work and a touch of grease, filled his nose. Heat washed through him, and Duncan’s breath hitched for a second. He almost didn’t know what to make of his reaction. They stayed that way for longer than was necessary before Todd pulled back.
“I know. But you called, and that meant a lot.”
His mom, who had already opened her door and gotten out, came around the car and pulled Duncan’s chair out.
“What’s the deal?” Duncan asked.
“You remember when you and I used to work together on those old cars I brought home in high school? Well, I still work on them, you know that, and I was hoping you’d help me.”

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

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Time to get scared: Laurent and the Beast – Kings of Hell MC’s #1 – K.A. Merikan

Good Reads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33959435-laurent-and-the-beast?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself.

1805. Laurent: Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.
2017. Beast: Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse.

Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.

Review
Holy cow! There are so many different tropes involved in this book yet it all fits together seamlessly with the fantastic K.A. Merikan’s writing. They’ve created yet another book and series that draws you in right from the start with strong characters, a gripping story line and fantastic interactions.

Laurent is living in 1805 and working as a servant in a bookstore. A late night delivery leads him out to a house of what he thought was an admirer but turns out to be so much more. In order to escape, he makes a deal with a demon.
Beast exists in 2017, living in a crumbling Asylum with his father’s motorcycle club, the Kings of Hell. His own story keeps him pretty quiet and apart from the world after he was left with body and facial scarring which he covered in tattoos to protect himself from other’s pity. When he stumbles across Laurent late one night, he has no idea what he’s in for.

This story has so much and yet our focus remains on Laurent and Beast, and yes we do eventually discover his actual name. Laurent is looking to survive and save himself from certain death back in his time as well as trying to adapt and learn about where he suddenly finds himself as well as carrying out his deal with the demon. Of course, he never counted on Beast. Though scarred and tattooed, he is caring, gentle and endearing to Laurent. All Beast wants is somewhere better for the club than the health hazard that they currently reside in yet his father refuses to move for unknown reasons.

The two men together are frustrating, adorable, tense yet hot. It’s Beast’s acceptance of Laurent and the way he is that makes you like him even more. There are a few different sides we see to all of the characters but when you can imagine a 6ft 5″ man covered in tattoos taking a man like Laurent shopping, it’s completely adorable! These balance out the intense scenes that are the bread and butter of motorcycle club books. There’s not as much violence as you would think with a name such as Kings of Hell but there is a lot of debauchery and partying that goes on.

The story line about the demon and deals that have been made causes underlying tensions to run but with no one knowing the full truth until later on in the book, it’s interesting to read what the characters are doing to ensure their part is played.
There are many secondary characters with the series being set in a club, several we like with a couple we don’t. All make the book much more interesting offering support or trying to pull them apart.

I loved this book, pretty much everything about it drew me in and made me want to know more. I’m interested to see what other stories come with the other men in the club and what supernatural forces they get involved with. It’s great having these different elements come together in one book and these authors are fantastic in bringing the story and characters to life.

I received an ARC from the author and am happily giving a review.

Number of stars out of 5
5

Provided by author for review

 

 

Posted in 5 stars, adult - 18+, Author Provided, Book, Bullying, Contemporary, Demons, Gay, Gay, High but not hopeless, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, May/December, May/December, Monthly Theme, Motorcycle Club, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Scorching/high heat, Time to get scared, Virgin, Xanthe | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Audiobook: Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennett Narrated by Colin Darcy

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
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

(Book reviewed here previously)

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.

 

Audiobook

I found the narrator, Colin Darcy, to be good but not great.  He definitely makes the attempt to give everyone a unique voice and does his best to “act” out the emotions.  However, there are times when his narration is rather sing-song and while I appreciate his attempts, he doesn’t always give a good match in terms of tone or tenor to the emotions that he is reading.

Those are definitely “icing of the cake” type issues and the main body of his narration is good and solid and easily a perfectly fine way to enjoy this story.

Overall 3.75 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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

Recent Release: The Coercion of his Mate by Charlie Richards

Extasy books

http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2104-5-the-coercion-of-his-mate/charlie-richards/?search=The%20coercion%20of%20his%20mate&sub_category=1

Blurb

Out of the Cage: A simple errand to the city causes a wolf shifter to bump into his future…if he’s strong enough to coerce his mate into embracing it.
Gracen Robicheaux felt his petition to fight for the beta position of the Stone Ridge, Colorado wolf shifter pack was a sign from the gods. After over two hundred years, he could finally openly express his desire for a male mate. When Gracen runs into the human Lance Coracans, he changes his opinion. The gods are laughing at him. His worst fear has come to pass—kids. Lance has a very young daughter for whom he’s fighting for custody. Still, Gracen reminds himself that Lance is his mate. Embracing change will be worth it. However, between an injured babysitter, a sick daughter, and pack challenges, their missed and rescheduled dates are piling up. Can Gracen convince Lance that he really is serious? Or will finding out he’s a wolf shifter be the straw that sends Lance running?

Review:
Gracen has left his old pack and come looking for a place in the Stone Ridge pack. He longs for a pack that he does not have to hide his true self from and no more bigotry to deal with. As he waits for the chance to join the pack he begins putting down roots and to his surprise he finds his mate on a trip to buy supplies. Coincidence brigs these two men together but is that enough. What will Lance do when he finds out just what Gracen is hiding.
Gracen and Lance’s story is a sweet and sexy read. The two men are instantly drawn towards each other and begin a tentative relationship. I enjoyed watching Lance and Gracen find their way to a happy ever after. The attraction that the two feel begins to deepen as they spend more time together but when Lance learns what Gracen has been hiding from him is it enough to save the bond that they have begun to build? The romance between Gracen and Lance is sweet, and they are on fire in the bedroom.
With the help of friends and pack the two are able to work towards happiness. Not only do we get a look at the different sides of Gracen and what a good man he is, but we also get to see the pack circle around and Lance and Gracen when they need it most. The author has built a wonderful world with strong characters and I was quickly immersed in their story and engaged all the way to the end.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 4 stars, adult - 18+, Book, Extasy Books, Gabrielle, Gay, Gay, m/m, Mid level angst, Mid level steam/heat, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Shifter | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Audiobook: My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley narrated by Joseph Morton

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-fair-captain-by-jl-langley-9628-b

Blurb: When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:

Book reviewed previously: http://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-my-fair-captain-by-j-l-langley/

Joseph Morton (new to me), had a nice voice. He didn’t attempt to ‘act’ out the different characters. Unfortunately, it also made the narration rather emotionless (to me); any emotion portrayed by the characters was delivered in the same (mono)tone.
Ovearll, the narration was okay – it was more reading, (which isn’t bad), than performance, but I liked it enough to get through the book. I will likely listen to the narrator again.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Posted in 3 stars, adult - 18+, Book, Dee, Dreamspinner, Fantasy, Gay, Gay, Little to no angst, Mild/low level heat, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Speculative Fiction, Standalone | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with narrator Nick J Russo!

Morgan: Help me welcome Nick J Russo!

Nick is a narrator whom you’ve all heard (probably) by now and whom we’ve reviewed here on Open Skye. He’s done many titles you are familiar with like:



and many, many more.

You can find his complete listings here:
https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=nick+j+russo&ref=a_search_t1_header_search

He’s been so gracious as to stop by and answer some questions for us!

MS: Can you tell us a little about your background, training, experience, etcetera?  How did you get into narrating?  How did you get into narrating for Dreamspinner and Dark Night Sound?

– I’ve been narrating for almost five years now, having landed my first book at Falcon Sound Company in the winter of 2013/2014. My friend, fellow narrator John Solo, was looking for new narrators and I immediately auditioned. Other than various school productions over the years, I hadn’t had too much prior experience in acting/narrating. I was more of a musician than an actor. But almost five years and 130+ audio books later, what started as a fun side gig has morphed into a full time dream job. Not only do I voice for Falcon Sound (doing mostly Dreamspinner projects), but I also opened up a studio of my own, Dark Night Sound, which my wife and I run together.  

 

MS: Do you have a process that you go through to find the right voice for a character?  How do you keep track of voices when there’s a series?

– Certainly! Our process includes an initial pre-read of the book to get an idea of what makes each character tick. Often times, a voice just comes out of my preread and works organically with the material, other times I try to imagine a famous actor or actress I would cast in the role if it were a TV series or movie, then model my voice accordingly. For any given title, (but especially for series), we record a generic line for each recurring character to ensure consistency – you can imagine the challenge of keeping track of a series with 20+ voices! So keeping recordings to rely on is important.    

MS: Do you still audition or are you inundated with requests at this point?  Do you read the book before hand?   How long is your typical work day?

 – I still audition from time to time if I see something that piques my interest, but more often than not I have a pretty full schedule I’m focusing on instead! It’s very flattering to be approached by an author or publisher to voice their hard work. 

My typical work day is about four hours of booth time, and another four hours of post production work. That usually includes things like cleaning, (removing hard P or B sounds, tongue clicks, pops, etc), mastering, and rendering completed chapters. 

 

MS: I know you can’t pick a favorite story or author – that would be too hard I’m sure 😉

– It is! At this point I have about two dozen favorites! 😀 

 

But was there one character or another that was more fun to portray or more difficult or more unique… something about them that made them stand out in your mind?  One that took a lot of effort and planning for?  Something like that?

 – I have the pleasure to work with so many talented authors: they’re so good at writing such unique, fascinating characters! They are all fun in their own ways though. Whether it’s voicing a stoned vampire for LA Witt,

a steampunk caped crusader for Amy Lane,

or a down on his luck phone sex operator for Quinn Anderson,

there is ALWAYS a layer of enjoyment. One of my most recent collaborations with Lane Hayes, Leaning Into Forever,

was quite the emotional journey in the character of Geordie. He is such a layered and broken character, and an absolute thrill to voice. In one of his climactic scenes, I was so enthralled with the material that there wasn’t really any “acting” involved – I had to stop myself and wipe away some tears! 

 

MS: How many “takes” do you usually need to get through an hours worth of narrating (finished product).

– I’d say an hour chapter takes me about an hour and a half to record. I typically do a few takes on any given line of dialogue until I feel like I captured the tone that the author was going for in that moment. If I’m lucky, I nail it on the first take, but other times I’ll be sitting there saying the same line a half a dozen times until I get ‘the one’. 

 

MS: Where did you grow up? I know I saw a post from you in Oregon…   Sometimes you have what seems like an accent but other times you don’t!

– I actually don’t live in Oregon – but my wife and I eloped there last fall and LOVE IT out there! We’re actually from the Midwest and live in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve heard before that mid westerners have some form of accent, but I couldn’t tell you what it sounds like! 

What does your partner/family/coworkers think of your books?  Do they listen and critique or not? 

– Since my wife runs Dark Night Sound with me, she actually is in charge of our Quality Control, so she listens (and critiques) to every book we produce! My coworkers are other narrators, so we all try and support each other the best we can. Overall, my family and friends are very supportive and encouraging of my career! 

MS: Thank you so much for stopping by Nick and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future!

Thanks for having me, Morgan! Have a great week and thanks for listening! 💘

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Audiobook: The Garden (Lavender Shores book 2) by Rosalind Abel (Author), Kirt Graves (Narrator)

audiobookreview

Audible link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Garden-Audiobook/B07818317C?qid=1537258121&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=9ZY4F78NEJRAWW7GD50X&

 

Blurb

Beautiful Gilbert Bryant designs jewelry for the rich and famous, and he made his escape from his gossipy little hometown of Lavender Shores. However, with so many friends and family, he keeps getting pulled back. When he attends his best friend’s engagement party, Gilbert can’t help but sample one of the new men in town. It’s just some innocent—or not so innocent—fun. Nothing that will even cross his mind once he gets back to his everyday life.
Walden Thompson dreamed about living in Lavender Shores since he visited as a child. He finally gets his chance, and he embraces the opportunity to start over, to become someone new. He leaves both hurts and dangerous habits in the past, where they belong. When Gilbert crosses his path, Walden gives in to his baser instincts. He can indulge in the carnal pleasures this once and still be okay.
Their few hours together haunt Gilbert, the two-hundred-mile buffer from home no longer shutting out the past or the sexy man he left behind. Walden is just beginning to recover from the smoldering encounter with Gilbert when they are thrust together once more. This time, neither of them can walk away, no matter how hard they try. But when their pasts crash into each other as surely as the magnetism that pulls them together, walking away may be the only option.

Review

Overall: Very emotional hurt/comfort story that gives you all the feels. Even more so thanks to the wonderful narration, which really adds an extra layer of intensity to an already deeply moving romance story. Blissfully satisfying HEA.

Story:
Local manwhore meets & corrupts innocent new teacher. That’s how Gilbert, and the local busybodies, first perceive what happens between him and the cute teacher with the adorable red glasses. But of course, there’s so much more to this story…

I loved that Walden saw through Gilbert’s carefree, love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude to the wounded bird hiding beneath all that. The Gilbert we meet in the first chapter, desperate to keep his vulnerable heart safe, seems miles removed from the man that falls in love with Walden. Gilbert really is the perfect human embodiment of Walden’s secret garden, a hidden, closed-off wilderness just waiting for a loving hand to help him blossom once more. I absolutely loved that analogy.

I also adored all the references to beloved children’s classics like The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables, Disney even. It made me like Walden even more. He can no more stop himself from falling in love with his Gilbert, then Anne with an e could keep herself from loving hers.
There’s no bickering, however, between Gilbert and Walden, like there is between the happy couple in the Anne of Green Gables series. Walden and Gilbert are careful with the other’s emotions from pretty early on, and whatever hurt they feel is more due to their own painful histories and an understandable hesitance to risk heartbreak again.
They are so great together, providing the comfort and acceptance that each man so desperately needs, even when they are trying to hold back. So scared of being hurt again.

Walden has suffered a horrible betrayal, and still carries a lot of shame with him for how he dealt with his pain in the aftermath. Him opening up to Gilbert about his past made for a deeply touching scene. My heart ached for him.

We know from early on that Gilbert has been in therapy for years, so we know something awful is hiding in his past to leave such scars. But oh… when that revelation finally comes… I wanted to punch something. I hated that he took on all the responsibility for “his” wrongdoing , when in fact it was he who’d been wronged, not to mention betrayed by a person who should have looked out for him.

I felt relieved and almost giddy when they finally felt free to truly choose each other, and to choose happiness together. Not a moment too soon and very much deserved.
What an amazing couple, sigh. Talk about a book-hangover.

Narration:
Kirt Graves did an outstanding job at narrating this story, making me feel as if I stepped right into the lovely world of Lavender Shores. He has a wonderfully pleasant voice and I loved how he brought alive the characters. I think he did absolutely amazing in giving a voice to Walden and Gilbert.
Luckily no over-acting, but bringing just the right amount of emotion and tension to each scene.

Number of stars out of 5: 5

Reviewer Name: Karen M.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Posted in 6 stars, adult - 18+, Audiobook, Author Provided, Book, Gay, Gay, High but not hopeless, Karen, m/m, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, Scorching/high heat | Tagged , | Leave a comment