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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.

Categories
adult - 18+

School and Rock (Arizona Raptors #5) by R.J. Scott , V.L. Locey

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54398484-school-and-rock

Blurb

When Colorado Penn finds an unexpected package on his front step, his life will be changed forever.

Colorado Penn is living the dream. Starting goalie for the Arizona Raptors when in season, lead singer for a hard rock band when summer rolls around. He’s the quintessential free spirit who’s making sure he enjoys all the carnal blessings of his athleticism, and gritty singing voice. Now the Raptors are moving into their first playoff appearance in years, but the arrival of an unexpected package means that hockey may have to take a backseat to something way more important. Instead of the usual undergarments from adoring fans, he finds a newborn baby with a small note tucked under her carrier, naming him as the father. He refuses to give up his daughter and is determined to be the kind of father he’d dreamed of having. But to keep Madeline, he’ll need help, and he’ll need it fast. Enter handsome emergency manny, Joseph. They may be opposites, but Colorado starts to see that Joseph’s stable, calm influence makes his chaotic lifestyle choices seem less appealing. There’s something about the man that soothes not only his infant daughter but also the wild child inside Colorado.

Joseph is one year away from getting his degree in planetary science, working cover shifts at the planetarium, and pulling in income with short term manny gigs. Stars collide as he provides emergency childcare for the wild man of hockey, a man who moves so fast through life that he doesn’t know how to stop. Homeless, and caring for his niece, Emma, fate brings Joseph into Colorado and baby Madeline’s life. Madeline is a sweetheart, and Colorado is trying his hardest to make the best decision for his baby girl. He offers his home and an indecent salary, to keep Joseph in his life until summer’s end. Colorado brings mysticism and metal to Joseph’s sanctuary of science, but somehow Joseph needs to tame this shooting star and create a family. Nothing in the contract said Joseph had to fall in love to make that happen, but when it’s time for him to leave, will the void in his heart ever heal, or will it remain as cold as space itself?

Review

I have to admit I was disappointed. Colorado is SUCH a great character and I was really looking forward to the nerd meets crazy musician and it just didn’t pan out.

There was SO much going on in this story – a baby, a diabetic sister, the band, the playoffs… it was really quite jumbled and led to a mediocre story.

The only thing that really saved it is the characters, which are quite good.

The romance was AWFUL. It was incoherent and very unsatisfying with the two MCs really only getting together in the end with very little to make that seem plausible.

I gave it 3.5 stars for the world building and characterization, but it was very forgettable and disappointing.



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Title: Gifts for the Season: Winter and Christmas MM Charity Anthology by RJ Scott

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55844350-gifts-for-the-season?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=L2hifpndml&rank=1

Gifts for the Season: Winter and Christmas MM Charity Anthology by RJ Scott with Annabeth Albert, Joanna Chambers, Eli Easton, Suki Fleet, Lane Hayes, Annabelle Jacobs, Alex Jane, Amber Kell, Garrett Leigh, V.L. Locey, Clare London, Posy Roberts, Felice Stevens, A.E. Via

Blurb: A charity anthology from your favorite MM romance authors featuring fifteen brand new stories.

Review: A really good collection of Christmas-themed stories from a great group of authors. Let me start by saying I enjoyed most of the stories, they’re short in length, (all under 40 pages). Some stories are new romances, but many have established couples, so the stories were more of a glimpse into their lives.
I didn’t add individual ratings because I wouldn’t have been able to fairly rate the non-standalones.

The standalones
An Unworthy Gift (AE Via): 2 men who don’t have a reason to celebrate the season find each other and create a reason to. For a short story, it really felt like a novella. And more importantly, as an AE Via story it had a lot of steam 

Dressed in Holiday Style (V.L. Locey)
Fun story  Jakob, a diva-esque window dresser is a bit stressed due to being behind at work. He spots another window dresser at a rival shop, Chet and thinks that Chet is copying/stealing his ideas. This is a humourous story with a snowball fight and other incidents. Jakob and Chet are quite different but suit each other well.

Single Dad Christmas (RJ Scott): Short, sweet pining age gap story. Austin is the Dad pining for Paul. Paul, the manny looking after Austin’s triplets, plans to leave the household. Austin has to find the courage to ask him to stay. Really good story.

The First Snow of Winter (Joanna Chambers): A really good story. It’s a historical take on the trapped together trope. Sam and Jasper revisit their past, set the misconceptions straight and make a path for their future. Including Jasper accepting Sam as he is, disability be damned.

Driving Home for Christmas (Annabelle Jacobs)
Jared is stranded on the motorway and unable to get home for Christmas. He’s saved by his estranged friend, Tom. They end up stranded with one bed and time on their hands to resolve their issues. Enjoyable second chance story.

Homestead for the Holidays (Alex Jane)
CJ and Jace are college buddies who are at CJ’s family for the holidays. Jace is in love with CJ, while the latter is clueless. This is a sweet best friends to lovers story.

Twelve Days of UPS (Eli Easton)
Really good! A variation of secret santa – Dan is a UPS delivery guy who delivers packages to Paul, however, Paul doesn’t know who’s ending the gifts and he’s starting to fall for Dan. The feeling is mutual and things progress. It was nice to see the slow build between both men 

Five Gold Blings (Clare London)
A meeting between Gray (a delivery guy) and Alec, a vlogger in a bind results in a whirlwind of a relationship, from becoming business partners to moving in together in short space of time. Cute story.

Sojourn for Christmas (Posy Roberts)
Sawyer has been kicked out from home for being gay. Gregg, an older guy whose dog he walks, offers to let him stay at his place. Sawyer is attracted to the older man, but despite that, their relationship is that of friendship. Not sure if this is a prequel to another book, but seemed like there could be more. Wasn’t one of my favourites.

The non-standalones
Out for the Holidays (Lane Hayes)
Derek and Gabe are from Out in the Deep (which I have not read). Derek is planning to establish a bistro. Apparently his mum has not always been supportive so Gabe helps bridge the gap between them. A really lovely story of support, love and family.

Must Be Santa (Annabeth Albert)
Another established couple – Better Not Pout (which I loved) – but is great as a standalone. Nick and Teddy want to try fostering kids. This is their story of balancing being parents and partners. Sweet and heartwarming.

A Santa for Trin by Amber Kell
Apparently, this is about the Moon pack members, but it works well as a lovely holiday story. Incorporates the celebration of Christmas from both sides and kids 

Non standalones better if the previous story has been read.
Sometimes, Always (Suki Fleet)
This did not work as a standalone (for me), and since I haven’t read Sometimes There’s Stars, it didn’t resonate with me. For fans of the book (and Peri and Echo), you’ll be in for a treat.

No Place Like Home (Garrett Leigh)
Another story that’s better if one has read the prior story (in this case Circle; Roads series). Great for fans of Ash and Pete.

The Gift of Forever (Felice Stevens)
MCs Torre and Frisco (from Never Say Never) are spending their first Christmas together. A bit hard to follow unless you’ve read the book.

Overall 4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

How to Make the Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon, Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55290261-how-to-make-the-perfect-man

Blurb

PART OF THE SOME LIKE IT HAUNTED COLLECTION

Love isn’t science. It’s alchemy.

Needing a date for the hottest Hallowe’en party in town, scientist Aubrey Waldegrave sets to work creating his perfect man. Unfortunately, the Adonis who emerges from his laboratory is a free spirit who has no time for Aubrey’s brogues and tweeds.

Alchemist Trismegistus Nimlet can turn anything into gold, but when his apocathery’s alligator starts talking back and his werewolf allergy leaves him sneezing, it looks like Halloween might be a washout. Worse still, is Tris really about to lose the chap he secretly loves to a manmade surfer dude who’s more flash than Frankenstein?

With werewolves leaving fur in the ornamental fountains and a banshee making enough noise to wake the dead, Aubrey’s Halloween is going from bad to worse. All he wanted was to make his perfect man, but what if he was right there all along?

Review
This was a delightful story. It starts out a bit like Frankenstein, Aubrey creates “Adam”, a perfect man to be his date for the annual Halloween party. Things don’t go the way he plans. His perfect man ends up being a surfer boy who had an aversion to clothes and who wants to be called Kai. They are joined by Tris, Aubrey’s long-term friend, and the man Aubrey really pines for. The great mixture of characters and creatures really make this story. There are werewolves, banshee’s, sequin wearing frogs and a reanimated talking stuffed alligator. This is a very short story but so worth the read!

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Bad Habits (Wages of Sin #1) by Onley James , Neve Wilder

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55601709-bad-habits

Blurb

Jonah taught Cas a million ways to protect his body but not one to protect his heart.

Smart-mouthed hacker Caspian escaped an abusive home at 16. Now he’s one of the most sought-after black hat hackers in the world.

Jonah is a ruthless contract killer with only one weakness, the vibrant runaway he took in years ago: Caspian.

But Cas bailed when he turned 18 and Jonah has maintained a steady diet of eat, kill, sleep since then.

Jonah had always been the fatal flaw in Cas’s code, the bug that froze the part of his brain separating logic from emotion.

A threat to Cas’s life brings him back years later—not as the boy Jonah remembers, but as a hardened computer hacker with a price on his head and a list of names everybody wants.

The chemistry between them is as undeniable as it is dangerous.

In a world of secrets and murder, trust is a liability and feelings can get you killed. But Jonah let Cas go once, and he’s not willing to do it again. Even if it means confronting his past, solving a twisted puzzle, and taking out half of New York city’s seedy underbelly to keep Cas safe.

Bad Habits is a steamy, action-packed thrill ride of a romance with a HEA and no cliffhangers. It features morally ambiguous men, dirty, dirty lovin’, pancakes drizzled with snark, chosen family, drive-in movies, and the kind of love that drives a guy to murder in order to protect. In short: all the emo, heat, and sarcasm you’d probably expect from an Onley/Neve collab. This is book 1 in the Wages of Sin series. Each book will follow a new couple.

Review

This had a lot of potential. The set up is dark and angsty with lots of violence and crime and mystery.

The pay off isn’t there (for me).

When our MCs get together it is weird and not very romantic and it exploits a lot of rough sex that didn’t feel particularly loving and is not my taste.

I’m sure others loved it. But it was not for me.

I skimmed through this and was satisfied enough by the ending but never really saw the relationship develop in a meaningful way.

If you’re interested in a lot of angry sex – this might appeal more.

3 of 5 stars


Categories
adult - 18+

Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case (Jon’s Mysteries #1) by A.J. Sherwood

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44577241-jon-s-downright-ridiculous-shooting-case

Blurb

A psychic without an anchor. A student in trouble. A shooter on the loose.

I’m Jonathan Bane, a licensed psychic who consults for the police. I routinely help the police put the bad guys away and, for that reason, the criminal world doesn’t like me much. People like to take a swing at me, or go stabbity, or try for a gun. It makes for interesting times. My psychic ability prevents me from handling anything electronic—and I do mean ANYTHING, I fry it in seconds—so calling for help isn’t always a possibility.

I need an anchor, a partner, but I’m resigned: it’s just wishful thinking.

At least, I thought so until he walked through the door.

Donovan Havili looks like a thug and has the soul of a superhero. He shines so bright in my vision it’s like watching a supernova. He definitely has the right mindset and skills for this crazy job. But asking anyone to take me on long-term is a bit much. And now we’ve got multiple cases to handle, a Chinese exchange student falsely accused who needs our help, and someone taking random shots at me. It’s a bit much for any new guy to handle and I’m half-afraid that my new partner will run for the door.

But in Donovan Havili, the criminal world has met its match. And maybe, just maybe, I have as well.

Trigger Warnings:
Your average cop show violence and criminals.

Tags:
Companionable snark, Flirting, Kissing, Jon needs a hug, Donovan gives the best hugs, Getting together, Self-esteem issues, Explicit content, Anal Sex, Romantic Sex, Random shooting, Which Donovan isn’t happy about, Donovan is a gentleman, Sort of, Jon just makes it REALLY REALLY HARD Okay?, Bisexual character, Public displays of affection, Muscles, Communication, Healthy relationships, The fluff might kill you, Supernatural elements, Modern with Magic, Feels, All the Feels, Mostly accurate medical stuff, Multiple electronics died in the creation of this story, blame Jon.

Review

I adored this! So much fun! I love Jon and his quirks and how Donovan just rescues him and supports him and is adorable.

The mystery is pretty ok (I despise mysteries so that is saying a lot!)

Mostly I enjoy the psychic stuff and the relationship and that was very satisfying – I am enjoying this series!

4.5 stars

Categories
adult - 18+

Marked by Death (Necromancer #1) by Kaje Harper

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55691192-marked-by-death

Blurb

Asking a necromancer for help is scary; falling for him may be downright terrifying.

Darien Green’s afraid he’s going insane. The voices in his head are getting louder, weirder, and more numerous. But tattoos appearing on his skin say that there might be a magical reason, something other than his own brain going around the bend. He’s worked up the nerve to ask the local necromancer for help. Now he just has to survive his encounter with tall, dark, and talks-to-ghosts.

Necromancer Silas Thornwood doesn’t appreciate being woken out of his bed by a stranger pounding on his door. But when that stranger turns out to be a half-frozen young man with an unexpected appeal, Silas can’t turn him away. Even Grim, his cat-familiar, agrees— in a world of death and demons, protecting gorgeous, ghost-ridden Darien is Silas’s next difficult job.

Review

I super duper loved this! This was full of magick and had a very quick moving plot and a lovely romance.

I hope we might see more from this world!

Grim was hysterical and I love it when the underdog ends up on top – so – highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Categories
adult - 18+

Lacuna by N.R. Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55703944-lacuna

Blurb

A boychild swathed in green, a distinct tree-shaped birthmark on his wrist. A girlchild enveloped in red, marked with the three lines of the desert winds. A boy bundled in white, the koi mark on his wrist as defined as his shock of red hair. And a boychild wrapped in black, a raven his mark to serve his fate.

~ ~ ~

Twenty-five years ago, the hand of fate marked four newborns and sent them to the four corners of the Great Kingdoms. They were schooled and trained as rulers of their lands in preparation for the Golden Eclipse ceremony: a festival to celebrate a thousand years of peace and prosperity since the Great War.

Crow, ruler of Northlands, a skilled swordsman and expert tactician, is as reclusive and stoic as the mountains that surround him.

Tancho has spent his life in strict discipline, governing the Westlands with a fair mind and gentle hand. Quiet and unassuming, yet lethal in combat, he is the embodiment of the waters he lives by.

Yet the same hand of fate unknowingly linked Tancho to Crow in ways they cannot comprehend. Ruled by the stars, the brother sun and the two sister moons above them, and marked by an alchemical sorcery as old as time, their destinies were never their own.

As the eclipse draws near and the festival begins, word comes of another threat. Invaders from unknown lands bring a war no one was prepared for, and Crow and Tancho must decide on which side of the battle line they stand.

In life or death, their destinies will see them joined either way.

Review
This was interesting but not my favorite from the author by a long shot.
It reminded me a little of her series Cronin’s key only it wrapped things up (thankfully) in one story. It is VERY involved and there are a lot of moving pieces.

I loved the world building and by the end I appreciated the romance, but there were times in the middle I had to take a break.

There is a definite focus on the fantasy and less on the romance. That’s kinda how I felt with Cronin, too.

In the end it was a good story – NR doesn’t write bad stories – but not my fav.
(I loved the tatoo bits though  )

4 of 5 stars

Categories
adult - 18+

Rueberry Orchard (Beyond the Realm: Remember #1) by Michele Notaro

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55522885-rueberry-orchard

Blurb

“There’s no time. Remember Rueberry Orchard.”

A beautiful man in strange clothing starts invading my dreams, and even though I know he isn’t real, the dreams—mind-links, according to him—are so vivid it’s hard to imagine this man doesn’t exist. After a few of these nightly visits, I start looking forward to meeting him and listening to his smooth voice as he tries to convince me to go to Rueberry Orchard.

To my surprise, the place really exists, but I know it would be crazy to go there when it’s ten hours away… right?

When the visits don’t stop, some deep desire inside me knows I have to listen to this dream man, even if it’s absolutely insane. I follow his instructions to Rueberry Orchard, and nothing in this world could’ve prepared me for what I find. Or for the wild adventure I’m about to embark on.

Rueberry Orchard is the first book in the multi-author series, Beyond the Realm: Remember. Each book is set in its own world and can be read as a standalone novel. Join eight authors on eight very different, romantic, and magical stories as each one writes their own take on the same concept.

Review

I love this new world! I love the hidden aspect to the story, the mind link, the lacunas, the UST between Joz and Bray (I hope their story is next!) and I thought the amnesia aspect was pretty well done.

There were times when things were a little tedious – there’s a lot of hand-wringing and crying and emotions all over the place – considering they’re together I’d have thought a lot of that would have been mitigated …

The action is good and the final battle was epic!

I am really looking forward to more in this series!

4.5 of 5 stars

Categories
adult - 18+

Fix It Up (Torus Intercession #3) by Mary Calmes

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55757786-fix-it-up

Blurb
How will a man who doesn’t believe in fairy tales ever hope to recognize when he’s found the love of a lifetime?

Locryn Barnes knows what it means to be a fixer for Torus Intercession. Torus is the place that people in need turn to for everything from bodyguards to chaperones, and God knows Loc is the kind of man who’d rather play human shield against a bullet than spend even a moment of his life as a glorified babysitter. Which is why he tells a prospective client, in no uncertain terms, that he’s not the right fixer for the job when Torus is tapped to play what amounts to a life coach for a spoiled, burned out, fresh-out-of-rehab rock star.

Nick Madison has been living on the edge since he was seventeen—drugs, booze, men, women . . . you name it, Nick has done it. Now, at twenty-six, aimless and on the verge of losing everything, he can’t seem to give a damn. When he wakes up one afternoon, hungover and strung out, to find a stranger in his house ordering everyone around like he owns the place, Nick is sure he’s woken up in his own little corner of purgatory. When he realizes why Locryn Barnes has invaded his life, Nick is determined to prove he doesn’t need anyone’s help, least of all from the walking, talking definition of infuriating.

Through weeks of recovery, of rebuilding his life and facing his past, Nick comes to realize that Loc is not the enemy. Nick has met every challenge and is finally ready to spread his wings and fly, but not alone, which means another daunting challenge to face. Now, Nick needs to convince the fixer that the rock star is his happily-ever-after. Which could prove to be Nick’s biggest challenge yet.

Review

I liked this a fair amount, which surprised me a little. I’ve been a little off the “Calmes wagon” lately though I do religiously re-listen to several of her books as they are some of my favorites ever!

Locryn is funny and the tension between him and Nick is great. There is a fair amount of nonsense in the book, but it mostly moves forward at a good pace with good UST and a satisfying HEA.

I wanted to punch Nick’s family – which means Mary did her job correctly 😉

I honestly don’t think there was a pea coat in this story and minimal waggling eyebrows.

All in all really enjoyable and definitely fine on it’s own, no need to read the previous two stories.

4 of 5 stars

Categories
adult - 18+

Heart by Garrett Leigh; narrated by Dan Calley

audiobookreview
Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23288462-heart?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=wQNrPwx1xl&rank=4

Blurb:
Cornish pastry chef Seb Wright dreads the summer tourist season. The cash injection to his artisan fudge pantry is more than welcome, the extra work, less so. Then one summer, a shadowy Good Samaritan catches his eye. Irish Traveller Dex is bewitching, a beautiful sullen enigma who turns Seb’s world upside down until he disappears in the night, vanishing like a mystical summer rain.

Twelve months later Dex is in the midst of a dark storm. A slave to his master, ‘Uncle’ Braden, he spends his days cleaning caravans and his nights working in Braden’s other businesses. His short summer with Seb seems a lifetime ago. Lost in the savage violence of the murky underworld, he doesn’t dare dream he’ll ever find his way back, until one night, a brutal crime opens the door for a chance escape. A new life beckons, old faces emerge, and immersed in the heady vibe of London’s East End, new love begins to heal his fractured heart.

Story: Seb and Dex, the journey to their HEA is mix of hurt/comfort, love, acceptance and hot intimate scenes. There is a fair bit of angst – Dex’s home life is a very unhappy , sometimes horrific life – but ultimately these men get to fall in love and be together. Garrett Leigh writes beautiful stories that pull at your heartstrings, make you tear up, and ultimately give you a warm, fuzzy feeling at the end. Lovely story!

Narration: Dan Calley made this an awesome listen! He got Seb’s slightly gruff demeanour and Cornish burr. Dex’s Irish lilt was not overdone – just enough that you know it’s there, but not overwhelmed by it. I loved how he captured the slow burn romance, the love and patience that Seb had for Dex, and Dex’s vulnerable, but not completely broken, spirit.
Highly recommend listening to this, it’s really a great way to enjoy the book!



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review