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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.

Audiobook: Recent Review: The Enchanter’s Flame (The Ellwood Chronicles #1) by Michele Notaro narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Enchanters-Flame-Audiobook/B07LC44TC4?ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_11_B07LC44TC4&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=0ZAHTHRQJHPC89EKEXYP&

Blurb

Strange things are happening all around Brinnswick. Things that remind me of a piece of my past I’d rather forget. Girls are being killed, drained of blood, and left with strange markings on their bodies. When I finally connect the cases together, a specialist is called in—though, what he’s a specialist of is beyond me.

When the chief assigns him as my new partner for the case, I can’t help but groan on the inside. Why of all people would I be assigned to Ailin Ellwood? The man is a disaster waiting to happen and a jerk to boot. A sexy jerk, but a jerk nonetheless.

What will Sebastian think when he discovers Ailin’s specialty? Will he make a run for it or will he stick around and discover a world of magic hidden beneath the city’s surface?

***The Enchanter’s Flame is the first book in the Ellwood Chronicles. It’s a paranormal romance that contains explicit material and is intended for mature adults 18 and over.***

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

First, let me say I LOVE this cover – it’s so nice not to see the typical half -naked torso!
Second, I wanted to say that I really want to recommend this book. ( I can’t say the series because the first/prequel isn’t my type of book – but that’s maybe just me). Ailin is a great character and this book is full of magic and humor and some UST! I really enjoyed it! The entourage of animals really cracked me up!
I’m looking forward to the next book and hopefullly more laughs and spells!
4 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Kenneth Obi is not my favorite.  He does a fine enough job but I don’t enjoy his narrations as I do others.  He’s a nice way to listen to this story if you can’t read it or want a hands free method – but he didn’t necessarily add to my overall enjoyment.  There is something about his character voices that I just don’t love.

In any case it’s still a great book and a nice audio.

 

3 of 5 stars

 

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Inside Out (Road to Blissville #6) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43580798-inside-out?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Romeo Bradly and Julius Shepherd moved to Blissville for the same reason: a fresh start. Romeo was looking for a school district where he could make a real impact in the lives of students and faculty, and Julius was eager to teach one of his passions to the best and brightest at a school with a nationally ranked science program. But the sleepy little town offered them much more than they’d bargained for—quirky people, unlikely friendships, and an all-consuming attraction that turns them inside out.

When unexpected circumstances threaten to cancel the school play, Romeo’s theater background and Julius’s musical expertise make them the perfect pair to save the day. Working together so closely makes it harder for the men to ignore their growing feelings. After all, the heart knows what it wants and doesn’t care about age gaps, race, or professional conflict of interest. Romeo and Julius will learn that they have far more in common than they realize, and their differences will make them stronger if they give love a chance.

Their commitment to each other and the play will be tested when outside forces target them as a couple and exert pressure to cancel the production. Romeo and Julius vow to prove their love can conquer any challenge and will burn strong well beyond the curtain call.

Inside Out is a whimsical, May/December romance featuring a man learning to love again and a man falling in love for the first time. It is the sixth book in the Road to Blissville series and can be read as a standalone book or part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Review
Inside Out is the 6th book of the Blissville series. This one can easily be read as a standalone. This book is very light hearted, funny. Romeo and Julius are both well developed characters. The two men come together after fighting their attraction, to help a trio of kids bring their school musical to life. As a huge musical nerd, I thoroughly loved this plot line. Julius ends up composing the music and the scene when Romeo hears it for the first time is absolute magic. When word gets out about this musical, a homophobic faction arises to try and shut the production down. Even with the threat of a homophobic group on the rampage, this story has very little angst and still comes off as a very sweet and swoon worthy read.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Like Smoke (Vikings #1) by Catherine Lievens

Blurb
Trygve is used to being on his own. His wife rejected him when he became a draugr around the year 800, and he hasn’t trusted anyone but his best friend, Thorvald, since then. He lives and works alone, and he has no intentions on changing that.

Then he meets Isaac.

Isaac’s life has been rotten—he was kicked out by his parents when he was sixteen, he was kidnapped from the streets at twenty, and he spent the last eight years chained to a wall and being abused. So when a tall blond man, appears out of thin air and kills the man who’s been torturing Isaac for so long, he begs for death—or to be taken away.

Trygve knows he should dump Isaac in a hospital and go back to his solitary life, but Isaac needs help, and for some reason, he seems to trust Trygve, so Trygve lets him stay with him. Neither of them expects their unlikely friendship will become more, and they take things slowly, for both their sakes.

But someone is after Isaac, and Trygve knows he will do anything to protect the first person he’s loved in more than a thousand years.

Even if that means killing people he’s not being paid to kill.

Review

This had some really interesting world building.  The Berzerker/Viking as a Vampire type is new to me but- of course – the Alpha male falling for the small guy is not new and one of Catherine’s hallmarks.

If you are a fan of the author’s other works you’ll probably like this as well and if you haven’t read her but you like the big guy dominating the small guy and rescuing him all the time – this will be up your alley.

I enjoyed it for the humor, the unique world building and the predictable HEA.  I also LOVE the cover!


Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Relase: Moonlight Kiss (Vampires of Silver Creek #1) by Kensie King

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43514703-moonlight-kiss?from_search=true

Blurb

We only have one rule: don’t tell humans who we really are. Vampires. But what if the one you’re destined to be with is human?

Jonathan Monroe has been part of his clan of vampires since they settled in Silver Creek. He honors his leaders’ wishes about keeping their secret from humans, though he doesn’t see humans as a threat. They intrigue him. Flesh and blood with real lives, real worries—real heartbeats. But he keeps his distance even though he feels like he’s missing something. When he sees a car slide off the road one night and rescues the man inside, he’s sure he’s found the person he’s meant to be with—even though it goes against everything their kind stands for.

David Reynolds has always taken care of himself. A job, a home, a new start. But coming to Silver Creek left him with a hole he can’t seem to fill. Until he meets Jonathan Monroe. Since Jonathan saved him from near death, he feels a special connection to him he’s never felt with another person in his life. Nothing can deter it—not even Jonathan’s secret. But when he finds out the truth about his savior, his entire existence is put in jeopardy.

Jonathan is willing to do whatever it takes to keep David safe, but it might mean risking everything to stay with the man he’s fallen for.

This steamy M/M romance is set in a contemporary world with vampires. Each book in the series is a standalone story, with a sexy romance and a HEA.

Review

This was good, not great.  I enjoyed the human finding out about vampires thing.  I didn’t enjoy the “keep it a secret or make him a vampire” thing.

The smexy times were good, the drama predictable but not distracting from the romance.  I thought it was funny that the one rule was immediately broken! 

My biggest complaint was that it was not full of typical vampire “fun powers” and biting etcetera and it made it seem like being a vamp is super boring and not fun.  I’ll investigate the second book in the series but I’m not very hopeful.

2.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Familiar Demon By Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/familiar-demon-by-amy-lane-10187-b

Blurb
Familiar Love: Book Two
For over a century, Edward Youngblood has been the logical one in a family of temperamental magical beings. But reason has not made him immune to passion, and Edward’s passion for Mullins, the family’s demon instructor, has only grown.
Mullins was lured into hell through desperation—and a fatal mistake. He’s done his best to hang onto his soul in the twisted realm of the underworld, and serving the Youngblood family when summoned has been his only joy. Edward concocts a plan to spring Mullins by collecting a series of items to perform an ancient ritual—an idea that terrifies Mullins. He can’t bear the thought of losing Edward and his brothers to a dangerous quest.
But every item in their collection is an adventure in brotherhood and magic, and as Mullins watches from the sidelines, he becomes more and more hopeful that they will succeed. When the time comes for Mullins to join the mission, can he find enough faith and hope to redeem himself and allow himself happiness in the arms of a man who would literally go to hell and back—and beyond—to have Mullins by his side?

Review by Mary

When I started Familiar Demon I wondered if I should have read (or listened) to Familiar Angel first but its not necessary. It became clear as I continued that everything was to be explained. Although I think I will listen to it because I liked the characters.

This is the story of Mullins a demon and Edward a familiar. Their friendship and love has spanned more than a century. There are a lot of twists and turns involving gods and elves and all manner of other mystical creatures. Which gives the story a good pace. During the search for ingredients needed in the spell to free him Mullins tells his story. Explaining to Edward how he ended up in Hell and it only endears him further.

With the help of his family Edward manages to gather almost everything he needs to release Mullins from Hell. Into this story comes characters from some earlier books set on Greens Hill, the Little Goddess Series, and they form a key part of the story. I am tempted to look into them.

There are some aspects that didn’t seem clear but maybe they are destined to be explained in the next book. I wouldn’t say this is one of my favourite books by Amy Lane but is different and if you like fantasy it might be right up your street.

 

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

I bet I’m going to be in the minority again. Sigh.

This was just too complex for me. I had such a hard time understanding what was going on with all the Green’s Hill people and the “sphincters of hell” kept bringing me out of the story. I also did not understand the Other at all and the end result was this hodge podge of fantasy that just didn’t make me feel like I was as “in” the story as I wanted to be.

I adore those 3 boys. I loved the Angel story from book 1 and by comparison I was underwhelmed with the connection between Edward and Mullins.

There was just too much going on and I’m sad to say this just didn’t work for me as well as many of Amy’s other books did.

Now, that being said, it was still an Amy story – so parts of it were still really good – but parts of it felt discombobulated and rushed – but that could just be me. I have read the Green’s Hill stuff – once – awhile ago – and maybe if it was fresher in my mind – but I didn’t care for it – one of the MCs dies! – and it wasn’t one of Amy’s best – IMHO.

So – for fans of Amy, for fans of her Green Hill, and for fans of Familiar Angel this will definitely be a must read – but if you aren’t in one of those categories you might be terribly confused.

3 of 5 stars



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster, narrated by Seb Yarrick

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-missing-ingredient-by-brian-lancaster-9738-b

Blurb: It can take losing everything to realize what you had all along.
Up-and-coming London chef Marcus Vine is poised on the edge of success, but the only men courting him are investors. That leaves Marcus with some free time—which is fortunate, because his godchildren need him.

A year ago, a horrible accident killed Marcus’s best friend, Raine, leaving her children without a mother and her husband, Tom, without a partner. Consumed by grief, Tom has been going it alone, refusing help, but when Marcus sees him out with the children, it’s obvious that Tom and his two daughters need someone. His persistent caring finally wears Tom down, allowing him to accept the comfort Marcus offers. Soon Marcus is up to his elbows in homework, home-cooked meals, and after-school activities. Over time he helps them rebuild their world, until soon their lives are approaching normal.
Then the unexpected happens: Tom confesses he has romantic feelings for Marcus, and nothing can ever be the same.

Review:

Story 4 out of 5: Marcus, a successful chef is still reeling from the death of his best friend, Raine.
Raine left behind, Tom and their 2 children; all of whom are trying their best to cope with life without her when Marcus reconnects with the family. Marcus starts to help Tom with the day to day running of Tom’s house and his old attraction (to Tom) begins to grow again. Tom for his part, is beginning to see Marcus as more than a godfather/friend helping out; he’s beginning to feel an attraction as well.
This is the first time that Tom has non-platonic experienced feelings for any man and at first, he seems OK with it. Then he starts to second guess himself, he wonders what others will think, so he pushes Marcus away. The latter is understandably hurt, but he lets Tom figure it out and eventually, they do get their HEA.
The story is well written, with memorable characters – I really enjoyed the story, and hope to read more by this author.

Narration 4 out of 5: I quite enjoyed Seb Yarrick’s narration. He had a down to earth tone and he was good with the accents (I was pleased at how made Marcus’s Nigerian-born assistant sound ☺).
His pacing was good, giving a solid performance. I would definitely look for more of his narrations.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Vampire’s Determined Mate by Alice Cain

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43783897-vampire-s-determined-mate?from_search=true

Blurb

Dominic has lived more centuries than he cares to count. He’s seen empires rise and fall, watched humanity grow and evolve and explode into war time and time again. He’s seen the best and the worst that the world has to give, but the past century has been the hardest.

Faced with an unknown illness, Dominic is running out of time to reconcile with his sentinels—the werewolves he considers his sons—but getting sidetracked by his deliciously sexy neighbor for a few years won’t hurt. He believes that excuse right up to the moment his empathic link to one of his sentinels goes haywire.

Pierce didn’t mean to fall for the sweet, much younger man across the hall, but he sure isn’t going to say no to their developing relationship when Dominic is the one seducing him.

Yet when the young man disappears, tracking Dominic by his cellphone might just be the weirdest experience of Pierce’s life. Can a human with an adult daughter, a responsible job, and a secret kink for biting really be dating a vampire?

Surely Dominic’s belief in the supernatural is simply a personality quirk…because there’s absolutely no way vampires and werewolves can exist. Right?

Review

Ugh! Remember how glowing I was about book 1? Well – this was very disappointing. First, it’s only a little about Dominic the rest is the folks from book 1 – which is fine but we really get almost none of Dominic’s romance and that’s very disappointing.

Also there is a huge plot hole in how Dominic blurts out his Vampire status.

Plus even now that I am done I don’t know why he was sick – so if it was explained it didn’t stand out.

Also the side story of Mac is now officially convoluted and all the lovely simplicity and thoroughness I was excited about in book one has gone. This book is too short for all the twists and turns and it did not make me very happy.

Also who picked the cover? It’s about a millennia old vampire or a 42 year old human – the colors, the model, the pose – all wrong.

2.75 rounded to 3 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: The Dragon Boss by Anna Wineheart ; Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Blurb

What happens when you send an accidental dick pic with your resume?
On the run from dark-web criminals, Lucian Bolt has given up on a permanent safe place – all he needs is a temporary one, so he can earn some quick cash and run again. Better to flee than linger in the truth: Because of his electronic whispering abilities, his family has been murdered. A person like him doesn’t deserve happiness.
Then Lucian meets Knox, and things change.
As the boss of Whole Fish Seafoods, Knox has everything – except a family. Fifty years ago, wolf-shifters murdered his mate and child. Believing himself a failure, Knox has sworn off taking another mate…until he meets the job applicant that stumbles into his office.
Lucian smells like wolves. Suspicious, Knox frisks him and plants his seed in Lucian. Only to find out a week later that Lucian’s not the non-magic human he claimed to be. And that Lucian is now pregnant… with a dragon child.
With Knox, Lucian glimpses what a happy future could be like. And with Lucian, Knox has someone to protect again. As the sparks between them grow, and as the dark tendrils of their pasts coil ever closer, can Lucian and Knox find their way to a future together?
The Dragon Boss is a stand-alone dragon-shifter novel with sentient shopping carts, a kraken, and a dragon who will not fail his mate. No cheating, no cliff-hangers, but there definitely is a happily ever after.

Review

On one hand this was really creative with a sort of “normalized” magic in society setting but there are still plenty of secrets.  I really thought the computer whisperer idea was fantastic and the “alive” shopping carts interesting.

On the other hand there some pretty big plot holes that kept me from loving this more.  The computer whisperer can’t figure out a way to get his dick pic back and he sent it in the first place.  Then the Dragon Boss doesn’t take precautions even though he knows the guy is magic.  And they sleep together right away and often despite not really liking one another and being in constant danger.  Then there is the kidnapping… that plot line made me crazy.

So… I did read all of it and was happy for the HEA – but I was bothered by these plot issues that kept this from being unique and well crafted.  I’d definitely take a look at the next book in the series.  Dragons are awesome and Lucian’s magic was cool.

Audio

John Solo is just not my favorite. He’s fine. He’s acceptable but I don’t enjoy him like I do some of the others. It might be just a personal thing.  He does a fair job of telling the story and it’s a nice way to enjoy this if you can’t read it.

Overall for both the story and the audio 3 of 5 stars.

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Eye of the Beholder by M.D. Grimm

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/eye-of-the-beholder-by-md-grimm-10154-

Blurb
Is it better to risk it all… or never know what could have been?

After surviving an abusive childhood, Vulcan remade himself upon arriving in Los Angeles, California. He became a blacksmith for the paranormal community and strives to earn the respect of the vampire covens and werewolf packs that call LA home. He also prevents the pain of loss by keeping everyone at arm’s length.

But he never planned on meeting a former Roman soldier by the name of Marcus Cassius Vespillo. Something sparks between them and turns into a friendship he never considered possible. He can’t deny his intense attraction to the intelligent, courteous, ancient vampire. And it scares him.

Though Vulcan is wary of seeking more with Cassius, an attack leaves him at death’s door and forces him to reexamine his priorities. But Cassius has his own secret, one that promises tragedy and loss. And if that wasn’t enough, a slayer arrives in the States, one with a bloody connection to Cassius… and Vulcan himself

Review
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The world building is great. Only a few humans know that vampires, werewolves and gouls exist. Those who do work for them in someway. The story started by setting the scene for Vulcan then jumped forward. Cassius is a wonderful character. A very ancient vampire who falls madly in love with Vulcan. Theirs is a slow paced love story and it needs to be slow to get the most from the building romance. Due to his past Vulcan is hesitant to get involved with anyone let alone an ancient vampire. Running alongside the romance is a mystery one that climaxes just as Vulcan let’s Cassius past his defences. All in all I loved the new take on this trope. The epilogue is a wonderful ending.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: Don’t let Go by Andrew Grey; Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-let-go-by-andrew-grey-9792-

Blurb
Avery Rivers is a country music sensation, selling records by the millions and playing to sold-out crowds. But behind that persona is Robert, a burned-out musician cracking under the pressure. He’s unable to write any new songs, and he wants out of the business—at least for a while. He changes his appearance and finds honest, hard work in Jackson, Wyoming. Maybe getting to be a regular guy for a while will get him past his block.

Hy Whitely was a championship bull rider until he watched his best friend thrown in the arena and decided the rodeo circuit was no longer the place for him. He wants to be plain old Zeke for a while, and when he returns to his family ranch, he bumps right into Robert—a one-night stand from his last rodeo appearance who is now working there as a ranch hand.

The heat between the men could sear the grass off the range, but each one is hiding a secret. Robert and Zeke, the men behind the public images, fall in love, but can they hold on when Avery and Hy are pulled back into the spotlight

Review
I remember reviewing the book when it came out and saying how much I enjoyed it. Well that hasn’t diminished at all. I love the concept of two people who both had secret identities, neither realising the other is someone famous. Both of them living in the moment enjoying each other’s company. Both Zeke (Hy) and Robert (Avery) have reached a turning point in their life and need to make a decision. Although it does seem in their heart they already knew what they wanted it just took meeting each other to make it happen. Their idyllic life is put in jeopardy when Robert is identified as Avery but the family and friends rally round to protect him.
I’m not completely sold on Jeff Gelder’s narration. To me it sounds flat and not paced very well. He does provide some level of characterisation that suits the characters making them distinct. The story kept me listening though.

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
3 of stars out of 5 for the narration
Overall 3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review