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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.

Blog Tour: Tit for Tat by JS Harker!

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Hi there! I’m JS Harker. Holidays are an exciting time of the year, but this one’s extra special for me as I’m releasing my first ever holiday novel. Wow, the year’s really flown by, hasn’t it? Who else is ready for 2019? I’m not entirely sure I am.

I really enjoyed writing this story, and I totally used it as an excuse to play holiday songs way after Christmas. Derek’s family has some of the same traditions mine does, where his mom makes far too many cookies and he makes the fudge. There is a lot of stirring that goes into my family’s recipe. I also relate a lot to Derek’s insecurities, so imagining someone who didn’t have them, like Flynn, for Derek’s romantic partner seemed natural. They’re a fantastic pair that want to figure out how to be together.

One element that I added to these stories that I haven’t really seen in other fairy stories is the idea that our global climate will affect theirs. Winter being strange, shorter, and warmer in the Midwest than it used to be causes issues for the Winter feylands, limiting its power. Queen Mab worries about her fairies, which is why Flynn’s not even supposed to be hanging out in the mortal world. But Flynn’s too curious to stay out of our world. He’s a huge fan of sugar (if you get a craving for candy canes, fudge, or cookies while reading, um, whoops? ☺ )and he has this urge to explore everything he comes across. When Derek’s a little shy, that just encourages Flynn to get to know him.

Tit For Tat has inspired me to write two more novels set in the same universe so far. Each will be themed around a different season and feature a new couple. I’m excited to share their stories too. Be sure to follow my FB page or keep a look out on my webpage for updated info.

Here’s an exclusive excerpt featuring part of Derek and Flynn’s first conversation. They’re outside the mall, talking in the parking lot.

Excerpt:
“You don’t take those off?” Derek asked.
“Take what off?”
“Your ears.” Derek touched one of his own. “Those are prosthetics, right?”
Flynn touched the tip of his ears. They hadn’t grown longer. According to Lulu and the elders in Queen Mab’s Court, they could grow to an exaggerated point or round into humanlike ears if a fairy stayed too long in the human world. Older fey had longer ears, too, but Flynn was young, and his ears were the same as when he’d woken that morning. He didn’t think the points were obvious compared to a human’s. He must have miscalculated.
“Crap,” Derek said softly. “Those are your actual ears, aren’t they?”
“Yes.”
“I’m an insensitive jackass. I’m sorry.”
Flynn wasn’t quite sure where he’d committed a fault. The observation? Had he been too blunt? He stopped tugging on his ear. “It’s all right?”
“Okay. I should probably get going.” Derek shoved his hands in his pockets and turned away.
He seemed so miserable. Flynn had to change that somehow. “Wait.”
Derek spun back. He had a little hopeful smile. Yes, definitely an attractive man, with the way his eyes widened in surprise and his cheeks reddened in the winter wind. “Yeah?”
“I have something for you,” Flynn said.
Flynn reached into his jacket pocket. It was empty, but with a little magic, he conjured two candy canes. They were imbued with magic. Anyone who ate the candy would ingest a tiny bit. Flynn held them out to Derek.
“Thanks,” Derek said. His smile broadened as he twirled them in his fingers. “Will I see you tomorrow?”
“I work the afternoon shift.”
“Same.”
“Then it’s likely we’ll see each other.”
Derek seemed in a better mood. “Great. Have a good night!”
“You too,” Flynn said, a smile breaking out on his lips. After a long work shift, it was nice to share a pleasant moment with someone new.

Author Bio:
JS Harker loves stories. She was one of those kids who always had a book in her hands and spent many hours adventuring with her siblings. These days she wanders into her imaginary worlds and conjures up tales of magic, passion, and happily-ever-afters. She currently lives in the part of the Midwest that makes Tatooine look interesting by comparison (not that she’s ever obsessively thought about becoming a Jedi or anything).

Website: www.jsharker.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JS-Harker-236521747017598/
Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tit-for-tat-by-js-harker-10043-b
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tit-Tat-Dreamspun-Beyond-Book-ebook/dp/B07L7STR44/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1544629454&sr=8-4&keywords=js+harker
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tit-for-tat-js-harker/1129691655?ean=9781644051078
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tit-for-tat-18

Audiobook: Dawn and Dusk by Dirk Greyson Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dawn-and-dusk-by-dirk-greyson-6765-b

Blurb

Sequel to Sun and Shadow
Day and Knight: Book Three

For Scorpion agents Day and Knight, their relationship is slow to develop, and trust is hard to build. Then Day’s brother, Stephen, goes missing, and Day finds out more about him than he ever dreamed. Day’s first reaction to Stephen’s disappearance is to try to get to him as fast as possible.

Knight initially holds him back, so they can attempt to find out what they’re walking into. But when Knight sees Day’s desperation, he steps in to help and tries to calm the man he’s growing to care about, even though the trail is cold, and clues are scarce.

When Day witnesses his brother being shot live on television, he loses the last of his control. Despite the lack of answers, Day is more determined than ever to find out what happened. Stephen was all the family he had left.

Bone-deep fear and adversity threaten to tear Day and Knight apart but facing unimaginable hardship together might finally cement the bond between them.

Review
Dawn and Dusk picks up almost immediately after book two. Knight is trying to come to terms with his feelings towards Day. Day on the other hand is ready to have relationship based on more than sex. Throughout the series, Knight struggles with moving on from the death of his wife and child. It isn’t until the end of this book that he realizes that he can have true feelings for Day without pushing his wife and son out.
The story line of all three books were very action packed and full of mystery. Book three revolves around the disappearance of Day’s brother. This story travels into the deserts of Arizona and deals with human trafficking and the coyote runners.
I highly recommend reading/listening to the first two books before this one. There is a lot of development in the relationship between Knight and Day that you will miss if those books are skipped.
While this story ends on a high note between Knight and Day, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Hopefully there will be more books eventually released.

The series is narrated by Andrew McFerrin. He is a decent narrator, who has a very pleasant voice that keeps me drawn into the stories he voices. My only issue is that he doesn’t seem to have a large range of “voices”. The two main characters are easily distinguished from each other, but a lot of the secondary characters sound alike.

5 stars for story
4 stars for narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Geoffrey Saxon is in his forties, a bit plump, a lot fuzzy, and rather boring in bed—and thanks to a very public breakup, everyone in his street knows it. However, what they don’t know is that Geoffrey sometimes watches his hot young neighbor, Vaughn, in the pool. Vaughn has invited Geoffrey to join his pool parties, but Geoffrey knows it’s only pity.
As if things can’t get worse, Geoffrey’s air conditioner breaks during a heat wave in Western Australia—and just before Christmas. In search of some relief, he camps out in his backyard, where he also has a prime view of Vaughn swimming… naked. When Geoffrey’s injured falling from his spying post, Vaughn comes to his rescue and Geoffrey doesn’t think he can be more horrified.
But he could be in for a sweet holiday surprise. Is he ready to take the dive?

Review

This is awesome! So cute. So funny. So sweet and so sexy!

It’s short – so you have to buy in but we get the long lead in via another method so it totally works.

It’s pretty steamy and totally adorable – highly recommended! (Of the 4 I read it’s the second best!)

4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Recent Release: Rough Trade (The Woodbury Boys #3) by Sidney Bell

Carina Press

https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488097195_rough-trade.html

Blurb

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

Review

Amazing action-filled story, the suspense nearly killed me! I also loved the sly humor that snuck in when the MC’s weren’t running or fighting for their lives.
This is a gritty romance between two heroes who have both been beaten down by life and aside from the suspense plot, it has some heavier themes too, like sexual abuse and its resulting mental health issues. So not a lighthearted read, but definitely an amazing, insightful, original and gripping story.
The two MC’s could not be more different.
Ghost takes a very dim view of the world and the people in it, and doesn’t trust easily if at all. He’s experienced some horrible things in his young life. But he survived. He’s very much a fighter, never giving up and using whatever means possible to get through another day, stealing, lying and cheating as he goes along. He needs every bit of his resolve and strength to fight for his life (literally) and for his chance at happiness with Duncan.
Duncan is the quintessential strong, silent type. He’s a firm believer in justice and made a brave choice to do the right thing in a difficult situation, only to be betrayed by the very people who were supposed to have his back. Now he’s struggling to find a new path, slowly realizing he can’t return to his former life. And then he meets Ghost!
The connection between Duncan and Ghost builds up slowly, with ups and downs, but it is beautiful to see the trust between them grow and to see them get closer, however tentatively at first. Ghost has serious mental health problems, and I was glad to see him reach out for help, going to therapy and building a life for himself. Love was not an easy fix for him, though it was an important motivator. I really liked that extra little bump in the road, the realism it brought to the story.
I very much enjoyed this book! I was so caught up in it, just couldn’t put it down once I started, which doesn’t happen to me all that much anymore.
This book is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone.

Number of stars out of 5:5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Twenty-Nine Hours to Eternity (2018 Advent Calendar Daily – Warmest Wishes) by Elizabeth Noble

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Being gay and pagan can make for a lonely holiday season, as Ian knows well. He’s used to celebrating alone. The last place he expects to meet a like-minded guy is at LAX during a twenty-nine-hour layover.

Ian’s never felt so comfortable or compatible with another man, even if there is an air of mystery to Race.

Race is no stranger to holiday isolation, and he decides they should seize the opportunity they’ve been given and observe the Saturnalia the way it was meant to be. A grand celebration ensues, where every moment is special and every meal a feast. The ancient traditions take on new meaning as the men find meaning in each other. But each of them has a destiny and for their paths to continue together, it’ll take a kind of magic that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

Review

 

I like my holiday romances sweet, mushy even, with a lot of family and friends surrounding the MC’s and most of all, with an optimistic, if not realistic, outlook on life. It’s the season of hope and peace for all. Sappy as that may sound. So a terrorist attack wasn’t really what I’d been hoping to find…

The story centers around Ian, a human, and Race, an enigmatic stranger, slightly less human. Both men are pagan, though exactly what that means, is left a bit vague. They meet at an airport and spend a day together waiting for their flights. They fall into like, into lust,… and then things take a turn for the worst. Not just for the characters, but sadly also for the story.

I find it very strange that Race lets the man he supposedly loves walk away from him straight into a violent and painful death. Doesn’t scream love to me. Perhaps a clearer explanation of what being a “timekeeper” entails would have helped to make sense of that. So they get to spend eternity together, yay, not so the other people who died in the attack. Where is their silver lining? Ian and Race don’t spare them a second thought but immediately go on their merry way to their happily-ever-after.

Though this wasn’t badly written per se, the plot and the MC’s did not appeal to me at all.

Number of stars out of 5: 2

 

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Cole audiobook by BG Thomas narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-cole-by-bg-thomas-6184-

Blurb
Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he’s also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he’s been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole—instead of coal—for Christmas

Review
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I quite enjoyed this take on the beauty and the beast / it’s a wonderful life type of story. It’s also a moral lesson of judging people by looks rather than who they really were. And how shallow he had become. It took a harsh lesson before he was able to see what he had become. He didn’t really understand until he went home to see his family and meets Cole again. Javier’s partner Mark is a horrible person especially the way he treated Javier after he was transformed.Quite a message in this story but it is heartwarming. The love and acceptance of family and of oneself.
The narrator, Paul Morey, does a fair job but I felt that the emotions were missing. After all Javier did suffer his worst nightmare and was deserted by Mark at Christmas. The characters were portrayed well enough. I could make out who was who and there was some characterisation.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

One morning close to the holidays, Nolan wakes up to two surprises: a distress call from his younger brother and a beautiful man in his bed. Nolan, an art gallery owner, has always been discreet about his sexuality, but when his baby brother plans to come out at the annual family gala, Nolan wants to have his back—and that means showing up with a man of his own on his arm. Nolan knows just the man for the job.

Skylar, who owns a karate studio in St. Augustine, can’t get his one-night stand out of his mind. When he runs into Nolan at his gallery he is more than happy to volunteer his services as arm candy. Out-and-proud himself with his striking blue/green hair, Skylar is all in. Their adventure means a fancy salon, family drama, lots of sex, a ninja hippo, and palm trees lit up in a very suggestive way. By the end of it, what started as a hookup might become much more.

Review

What started out as a hook up ended up turning into a whole lot more. Nolan and Skylar end up meeting again after their hookup and both men can’t take their eyes off each other. When Nolan decides to show up at a party with another man to try and take the heat off of his little brothers coming out, Skylar agrees to be Nolan’s date. Nolan is very protective of his brothers and immediately jumps in to take the wrath from his step father. While this is a very short story I feel that the ending and admission of love was rushed. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

4 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Recent Release: Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42960918-old-acquaintance?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb

 

There are two sides to every story, even those buried in the past.

 

When Sam spots the hot guy moving in next door, he’s all for going round to introduce himself. That soon changes when it turns out his new neighbour is Charles Whitmore, an old school acquaintance. Sam didn’t like him back then, for good reason, and fifteen years haven’t altered that.

 

Splitting up from his long-term boyfriend means a move across the city for Charlie. As luck would have it, his immediate neighbour is a guy he went to school with, Sam Gellar. While Sam is less than welcoming, his best mate is more than happy to invite Charlie into their social circle. Whatever problem Sam has with him, Charlie resolves to get to the bottom of it because, frosty beginnings aside, Charlie likes him.

 

With Christmas just around the corner, fate pushes them together, and they get on much better than they ever did at school. Despite his efforts not to, Sam develops feelings for Charlie, and they appear to be reciprocated. If Sam wants to take things further, he needs to either confront Charlie about their past—a past Charlie seems to have forgotten entirely—or let it go and move on. Sam knows deep down that he can’t let it go, but can’t find the right time to bring it up either.

 

Review

 

Old Acquaintance is a short and sweet novella about two former schoolmates who end up neighbors. Sam has despised Charlie since high school after Charlie attacked a good friend of his. Charlie ends up moving in next to Sam after his long-time relationship dissolves. Sam and Charlie grow close while Sam does construction on Charlie’s sister’s house. Sam fights his attraction towards Charlie due to what happened in high school. When Sam finally confronts Charlie there is the inevitable fall out. No need to fear the guys make up and live happily ever after.

 

This book has a good cast of characters. I liked Charlie and his sister and Sam’s friends but for a good part of the book I didn’t really like Sam. He just irked me, but his reluctant acceptance of Charlie’s cat Storm redeemed him in my eyes.

 

4 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Guess Who’s Coming to Karamu by Cy Blanca

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Grant Cary, a twenty-eight-year-old grad student, has let his Kwanzaa shopping go to the very last minute. In his rush to get home, he quite literally bumps into Will Sheritan, a fortysomething software developer, in the elevator. But luck favors (or curses) the adventurous, because their elevator shuts down due to a blackout. Grant and Will learn about each other’s pasts and find more than just a casual interest.
Will has never celebrated Kwanzaa, and he’s reluctant to enter into a relationship, but exploring a new tradition—with a new friend—might brighten his lonely holiday. And if Will accepts Grant’s invitation to join his family for the Karamu feast, Grant might get his Imani gift early.
Review

Waiting until the last minute to buy his gifts has always gotten Grant in trouble, this time it gets him stuck in an elevator with a stranger during a store blackout. Could this be a blessing in disguise? Grant finds a new friend in Will but will with this friendship last past the elevator?

This story is a cute read. We have all wondered what we would do if stuck in an elevator and Grant gets to find out first hand. Grant is an interesting character with a painful background who finds something with Will. It was nice to watch the two men begin to connect as they wait for the elevator to begin working again. Grant has some interesting inner dialogue and keeps readers engaged to the story. Their adventure is open-ended and makes you wonder just what will happen next. It is a light and fun read with a touch of angst to it. Grant and Will begin to learn that life is what you make of it and for life to get better you have to try again.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Fearing Fate By C.C. Dado

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fearing-fate-by-cc-dado-10033-b

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Three
He is a fearless protector by nature and in his heart. But nothing’s ever simple with love… or fate.
At nearly seven feet tall, Zeus’s role had always been to protect the pack—but his newest charges need him more than most. Kimber and Kron are transplants from another pack, and they have a dangerous stranger on their tails. Zeus is determined to do his duty and drive the human out of town. But when he confronts Toren, his wolf has other ideas….
Something isn’t right, but should a huge, tattooed wolf with a secret soft heart fear his fate—to love a man with secrets of his own?

Review

This was my favorite book of the three in this series. It’s plot was less meandering and since all the world building had already occurred it felt more like a story should be with more showing and less telling.

The romance was super cute and at the same time touching and full of warmth and humor.

I really enjoyed this and I think you can definitely read this on it’s own – no need to read the others necessarily.

Highly recommended for fans of shifter romance.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review