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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.

Recent Release: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45285747-anthony-earl-of-crofton

Blurb
A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.

Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.
When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.
It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.

Review

First off, I have not read any other the connecting stories in this series, so I felt a bit lost in places. However, I did like the main characters Sebastian and Anthony. I found Sebastian and Anthony to be a charming couple. There is an interesting mystery plot involving the King that I enjoyed. This book really reminded me of the Harlequin Romances I used to read when I was younger. I think this book would be better enjoyed if the previous books are read first.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Stalking My Mate (Assassins Inc. #5) by Stormy Glenn

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45454417-stalking-my-mate?from_search=true

Blurb

Stalker

I was stalking my mate and I had good reason. He was bonded to someone else, but that didn’t absolve me of my duty to him, or my obsession. Making sure he was happy and safe, even if it wasn’t with me, was just something I had to do. When I discovered he wasn’t, all bets were off.

Jojo

I’d given up the dream of a mate in exchange for the life of my son. It was an exchange I willingly gave to have Tommy with me. When our lives were threatened, escaping with Tommy was my only option. I just wasn’t sure where we were going to escape to or who could help us, but someone had to. I’d already lost my mate. I couldn’t lose my son.

Review

This is a fun series.  Each story is pretty quick with some hot smexy times a little action and usually a fair dose of humor.

 

In this case the comic relief comes from Bob – he’s a great character! – rather than the two MCs. 

 

I wish there was more shifting in these stories – it feels more like a reason to have fated mates more than anything else – but overall it’s still enjoyable.

 

3 of 5 stars


Purchased for review

Recent Release: Splintered by Tal Bauer

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44669567-splintered?from_search=true

Blurb
Everything in Ben’s life was perfect. He had it all. The good career. The perfect partner, Evan. The happy home. They were even talking about turning the extra bedroom into a nursery.

But things start to splinter.

Evan begins missing time, not knowing where he was or how he got there. Terrors in the night rip them both from sleep, and Evan’s suddenly violent outbursts cost him his job and his reputation.

And voices in his head turn from whispers to screams, commanding him to act.

To turn on Ben.

How far will Ben go to save his partner’s life? How far is too far?

Should he have just… run away?

Review
I love Tal Bauer’s writing. The first part of the book is suspense the second is supernatural thriller. This story begins at a tense time between Ben and Evan which was conveyed so well that I felt uncomfortable. I never do well witnessing fights between people and this story starts with Ben thinking it’s the end of his relationship with Evan. The tension is palpable. Ben’s description of his feeling of dread as ‘an ice cream scoop to his guts’ is so evocative. But Evan is hiding his own problems and they are a lot more terrifying than possibly splitting up. As the situation between them increases the tension builds the story becomes a fantastic thriller. No matter how unsettling I just can’t stop reading. I felt like I wanted to read peeping through my fingers. As you can tell I’m not a horror fan but this story was compelling. I am happy with the ending and I’m so glad I read it during the day and not before bed.

number of stars out of 5. 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Falling Down by Eli Easton Narrator: Michael Stellman

audiobookreview

Audible:

https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=falling+down+easton&ref=a_typ_t1_header_search

Blurb
Josh finds himself homeless at 18, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Review
Oh boy the emotions this book pulled out of me. I had not read falling down before listening to it so it was completely new to me. The empty sorrow Josh is feeling is so well conveyed that I felt for him. It’s a bit disconcerting starting to cry whilst listening on train. I wanted to console Josh and encourage him not to give up. This to me Illustrates the power of Eli Easton’s writing. As soon as Mark saw Josh I was keen for them to meet and get together. They both have things they have to come to terms with and the story is about how they do this together without realising that they are actually helping each other. Just working and being with each other They start to see things differently. This comes hurtling to a head towards the end when circumstances make Mark understand how much Josh means to him.
I liked Michael Stellman’s narration he connected me to the emotions of both Mark and Josh. Making them feel real. The only problem I had was with the production. There are gaps between chapters I kept checking the to see why it had stopped but it hadn’t it was the long gap. This pulled me away from the story. But on the whole I enjoyed it, despite the heartbreak.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: The Mage on the Hill by Angel Martinez

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-mage-on-the-hill-by-angel-martinez-10435-b

Blurb: The Web of Arcana: Book One
A young magic user who wants desperately to live. A jaded recluse who has forgotten what living means. They’re each other’s only chance.

Toby’s wild magic is killing him. The mage guilds have given up on him, and it’s only a matter of time before he dies in a spectacular, catastrophic bang. His only hope is an exiled wizard who lives in seclusion—and is rumored to have lost his mind.

The years alone on his hilltop estate have not been good for Darius Valstad. After the magical accident that disfigured him and nearly drowned Pittsburgh, he drifts through his days, a wraith trapped in memories and depression. Until a stricken young man collapses on his driveway, one who claims Darius is his last chance. For the first time in fifteen years, Darius must make a choice—leave this wild mage to his fate or take him in and try to teach him, which may kill them both. The old Darius, brash and commanding, wouldn’t have hesitated. Darius the exile isn’t sure he can find the energy to try.

Review:
I really liked this book! The story is well written, fun and very interesting.
Toby has ‘wild’ magic and is about to be placed in mage hospice and left to die. However, Toby has other plans for his fate, leading him to escape and seek help from Darius, an outcast mage.
Darius has been living as a recluse and has very little in the way of social skills, which by no means deters Toby.
These two men are polar opposites – one chatty, the other not; but both men work so well together – well, after Toby wore him down! There is a lot of humour, a bit of adventure and romance. The romance is slow, in that it sneaks up on both men without them realising it – it’s rather sweet.
I liked Darius’s friends and hope there will be more books in this world.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Chained (Bureau #4) by Kim Fielding

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44769520-chained

Blurb

An agent for the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs? That’s the best job in the world. And it’s enough for Terry Brandt, who doesn’t need personal relationships complicating his life. His newest assignment puts him undercover, investigating a Hollywood agent who may have some evil tricks up his sleeve.

Edge is not the man he appears to be. Although he’s a member of the Hollywood agent’s security staff, his true situation is darker and deeper than that. Ordered to seduce the new prospect, Edge finds himself caught in conflicting loyalties.

Haunted by their pasts and tied up in secrets, neither Terry nor Edge can afford to allow passion to interfere with duty. And with danger dogging them, it’s impossible to envision a future together.

Review

I’m coming into this series a bit late in the game, but I’m absolutely hooked now. I always love the atmosphere and writing style in Kim Fielding’s stories, this one was no different.
She has written this paranormal story from a very original angle, mythology-wise, than we usually get, with a different power-balance.

I really loved enigmatic Edge and seemingly naïve Terry together. They’re drawn to each other, but can they trust each other? Their feelings get quite intense quite fast, but it absolutely works.

There’s such a sense of hopelessness and sadness when we read from Edge’s point of view. His world is so small, his life limited to existing, surviving even, and he sees no way out for him or his brothers. I loved his interactions with Terry, the unexpected connection they feel and how it starts to slowly, dangerously, change Edge’s view of his life.

The mystery about all the goings-on at the mansion, and even at the Bureau, is very well-written and keeps the reader on his toes. Loved the suspense and the surprises the author had up her sleeve at the end!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
I have not read the previous books in the Bureau series but in my opinion it’s not necessary as this story stands on its own. Terry Brandt is undercover trying to find out how a Hollywood agent can guarantee fame and fortune. What he didn’t know was that he would find so much more. My heart went out to Edge being singled out from his brothers and abused by the boss. Even though there is very little back story for Edge got more more invested in him but not so much Terry. That might be because I thought Edge was in a Stockholm syndrome situation. Terry is the only person, apart from his brothers, to show him kindness both as a dog or a man. But it is dangerous for Edge to get too close. I liked how this story was set 1989 with all the references to the music and social situation at the time. This story has intrigued me so much that I’m tempted to read or listen to the first three books, available in an omnibus edition.

Number of stars out of 5 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Mud & Lace by Jay Northcote

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44770380-mud-lace?from_search=true

Blurb

When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.

Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.

Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.

When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.

Although this book is part of a linked series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

Review

I was really into the couple in this book, and the dynamic between them was complex and interesting in many ways. Already realizing in the previous book that Wicksy had a crush on Lady GoGo, I was looking forward to their romance and in that sense I was not disappointed. The chemistry they share is explosive, and the development of the sexual relationship between them was smoking hot.
I liked how, much like in Jay’s other books, the dramatic moments are very easily solved, things that in other books make a big deal of small things are quickly talked over and dealt with. It kept the story real, and very relatable in my opinion, yet I was missing one thing.
I think throughout the book Wicksy and Charlie go through many stages in discovering and exploring their sexuality, they both have their ‘coming out’ to do both internally and externally. Yet most of the interaction between them was more on the physical side. The story flowed so well it didn’t bother me while reading but after I was done I could not help thinking that there was little emotional romance and connection between them- when compared to the sexual aspects. Again, I enjoyed the book very much, but in retrospect think there should be more emotional buildup to the relationship. In a way they end the book with just deciding they want to be together, being boyfriends, and then you get and Epilogue to show that they did get to the emotional connection and not just the physical in the passing months. So in a sense it’s not that the story was lacking something and was unbalanced, just that I wish we could see them talking more, sharing things that did not revolve around them being together, will Wicksy come out or not and so on.

I am very curious as to who the next couple in the series will be,

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey Narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/pd/First-Season-Audiobook/B07QYBM3GC?qid=1556388993&sr=1-2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=JJV5HF5ZYJNWAR02CD01

Blurb

Layton Foxx works hard for what he’s achieved. The condo, the career, the chance to make his mark…it’s all down to the sacrifices he’s made. With tragedy in his past, he doesn’t want or need love. Then he meets Adler Lockhart, the extroverted, sexy winger for the Harrisburg Railers, and abruptly he can’t avoid love even if he wanted to.

Adler Lockhart has had everything handed to him his whole life. Cars, villas, cash, college tuition at the finest Ivy League schools. The only thing he doesn’t have is parents who care, or the love of a good man. Then Layton walks into his privileged life and shows him what real love can be like.

Layton wants success, Adler wants a family…how can love make both these things possible?

Review

This was hysterical! I loved Adler so much! I think this was even better than book 1 and I can’t wait for book 3!

If you love those quirky characters who can’t seem to filter their thoughts – this is totally for you. We get humor, hockey and smexy times! Perfect!

Audio

Sean Crisden does it again! He gives Adler just the right amount of goofiness and Fox the right amount of angsty hero! I love listening to his voice and found his narration boosted this right up to a perfect 5 of 5 stars!

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release : Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44790632-wounded-soul?from_search=true

Blurb

One night can change everything…

Jesse Sykes has lived far longer than his youthful appearance suggests. Becoming a vampire after tragedy struck seemed the only option when his soul was shattered, after all he’s no stranger to having to hide what he is from the rest of the world. But eternal life isn’t without problems or heartache.

With a good job and great friends, Ian Moreton’s life would be almost perfect—if only he wasn’t in love with his best friend. His feelings are unrequited, and in an effort to move on, he takes a chance on a one-night stand with the handsome stranger he meets in a bar.

Jesse knows the risks of becoming attached to a human, but with neither of them looking for anything serious, where’s the harm? At least, that’s what Jesse thinks until his chemistry with Ian proves off the charts.

A second hook-up solidifies their connection…and brings Jesse to his senses. He scrambles to protect Ian from danger, but it’s already too late. With Ian unwittingly drawn into a world he knows nothing about, events are set in motion that will change both of their lives forever, and it’s up to Jesse to steer them safely through it.

Review

A vampire romance done right! I loved this one from start to finish.

Ian and Jesse really did it for me. The angst was great, the pull and banter between them wonderful to read. Of course, something would have to go wrong for our lovebirds, because love never comes easy… As if Ian and Jesse don’t already have enough on their plate, with one of them human and the other definitely not, there is also a villain to contend with. A power-hungry, purist villain as devious and dangerously unhinged as you could wish for. Absolutely gave me the creeps.

As with Annabelle Jacobs’ shifter series, I again really like the almost realistic feel to the world-building as well as the action/crime element in this love story. The uneasy dynamics of the cooperation between the humans (those in the know) and the vampire covens bring an added level of tension to the story and make it about more than just this couple.

The stage has definitely been set for other stories to follow, with the author delivering us an intriguing, perilous world and several well-rounded and likeable secondary characters. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Cate and Lys, and if Blake could end up falling hard for a vampire too that would be awesome!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Promises (Coda series #1) by Marie Sexton

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/promises-by-marie-sexton-10444-b

Blurb

Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be
Jared has simple goals for his freshman year of college: make friends, lose his virginity, come out, and maybe fall in love. He doesn’t anticipate getting caught between his friend Bryan and Bryan’s flamboyant ex. Through the awkwardness, Jared learns love doesn’t always mean sex and the most meaningful connections might have nothing to do with romance.
*****
Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?
Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.
Then Matt Richards moves to town.
Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.
Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.

Review

This is to me one of the defining OFY romances out there.
A wonderful love story with amazing depth to it and well-rounded, authentic and utterly lovable MC’s who are put through the wringer while reaching for their HEA. It also has a remarkable cast of secondary characters, though not all of them are equally likable. But then the bad guys rarely are.

The angst and the sensual build-up of the attraction between Jared & Matt made this a very enthralling read, to say nothing of the genuine friendship and humor they share. What also stood out to me, is that out and proud Jared still has issues and fears of his own to overcome too, requiring Matt to suddenly take on the role of strong and decisive partner. It does bring a balance to their relationship though.

I think Marie Sexton did a marvelous job at writing the friends to lovers angle and I loved the subtle and ever so slow way in which it dawns on Matt that there’s more to his feelings for Jared than he ever expected there could be. His internalized homophobia and struggle to accept himself are written so grippingly, making my heart ache for him and Jared both.

Matt’s father is absolutely awful and I was glad to see the last of him, even though it took a while to get to that point. His colleagues at first aren’t much better, which sadly is probably quite a realistic take on things, though they at least did improve on closer acquaintance.

Jared’s friend Cole is a great secondary character, flamboyant and intriguing, and I enjoyed finding out more about him in the series prequel novella that’s included in this edition of Promises. He gets his turn at a HEA in Coda #4.

This is a brilliant start to a great series.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review