Categories
Uncategorized

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+

Recent Release: The Professor’s Green Card Marriage by Heidi Cullinan

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-professors-green-card-marriage-by-heidi-cullinan-11542-b

Blurb

I’ll marry you.

Professor Valentyn Shevchenko isn’t sure how to react when, after months of ineffective flirting, the cute barista’s first words to him are a proposal. In many ways, Peter Grunberg is the solution to all his problems. With his work visa inexplicably denied, Valentyn is running out of options to keep from being deported. But is a green card marriage really the answer? Is it still a marriage of convenience when he’s this attracted to his potential spouse?

Peter came to his uncle’s coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado, to reset his life after his struggles with selective mutism returned with a vengeance. He never meant his first words to the handsome ecology professor to be an offer of marriage, but he’s not backing out now. It doesn’t matter that Peter struggles to find words. He can say everything he needs to with his body.

Though this relationship may have started out back-to-front, Valentyn and Peter are determined to make their fake marriage real. But one misstep in their immigration interview could bring everything crashing down. They’ll have to hope that their love is enough to overcome all their obstacles and give them the prize they’ve both been dreaming of: a certified happy ever after.

Review

I wasn’t sure if I would like this book since the fake relationship/marriage trope is probably one of my least favorites. However, since this was written by one of my all-time favorite authors, I gave it a go.

This book was AMAZING!!!! The characters were great. Each one is dealing with very different problems. Val (no way am I trying to spell his full name) is scared of having to return to his home country. He comes off as almost paranoid a few times, thinking the government is reading his emails and listening to his conversations. Peter seems to be this quiet, shy guy but you find out that he is this passionate rabble rouser but due to his selective mutism he is stuck only being able to voice his opinions online or to those very close to him. This was a very fast pace story. Peter and Val were spouting “I love you’s” very early on in the story, which isn’t typical for a Heidi book. The two have crazy chemistry and it’s fascinating to see how they work out their relationship.
Highly recommend!!!!
5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Don’t Badger Me (Kontra’s Menagerie #27) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51205062-don-t-badger-me

Blurb

When Deacon Ferdmin learns his brother, Daevon, is transitioning into a new life, he decides it’s time to do the same. Plus, as a badger shifter, he’s tired of living in the city. Buying a motorcycle and heading cross-country to meet up with Daevon, Deacon enjoys the change of pace from his prior high-stakes job as a firefighter…until his motorcycle breaks down. There’s only a couple of mechanic shops in town, and the first one he goes to refuses to service his machine since he’s openly and obviously gay. As angry as it makes Deacon, when he walks into the second shop, he quickly turns grateful. He scents that somewhere within the depths of the dingy space is his mate. However, Deacon also realizes that approaching the man—Axel Spumoni—will take some finesse. Not only has Deacon already experienced discrimination, but he notices Axel is a burn victim. Can Deacon figure out a way to woo his reclusive, wary mate while dealing with the backwater town’s hostility?

Review

This was so good! Up until the end.

I was enjoying this so much. The underdog winning. The big bad bullies getting what they deserved. The gang swooping in to save the day – Awesome!

But just when our guys get together the story ends – pow! These are short stories and I know that – but this felt abbreviated even with that in mind.

It was a 4 star (or more) read til the end then I had to knock it to 3.5 stars.


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The Witch’s Blood (The Ellwood Chronicles #3) by Michele Notaro Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Witchs-Blood-Audiobook/B08424F8VD?pf_rd_p=6a5ce8e4-798e-4a64-8bc5-71dcf66d673f&pf_rd_r=CTDFBBHYFYFWE3S28MVZ&ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_B08424F8VD

Blurb

I’ve been living with this burden for years, but my secret has finally been revealed and I feel like I can breathe again. I’ve wanted to ask—to beg—for help, but the spell that’s held me captive wouldn’t allow it. With it out in the open, I’m more determined than ever to break the seal from my chest so I can truly be free.

But what if my seal has something to do with one of the most feared prophecies of the millennium?

“A broken seal breaks the fragile hold…”

What does that mean? How am I connected? And why do I find myself so deeply drawn to Julius when I know my viramore, my soulmate, is out there somewhere? It’s not fair to either of us for me to lead Jules on, but it seems that my vampire companion is fierce in his determination to help me.

The Witch’s Blood is the third book in The Ellwood Chronicles and is a continuation of the overall story as we follow Emrys, Julius, Sebastian, and Ailin on their journey. It contains explicit material and is intended for mature adults 18 years of age and older.

Recommended Reading Order:
The Enchanter’s Flame
The Witch’s Seal
The Enchanter’s Soul
The Witch’s Blood

Review

What a great series! I loved finally finding out the truth behind Emrys and seeing the story for the whole Ellwood clan come together.

Michele Notaro is great at combining humor, magic, smexy times, and feelz.

This is really not a standalone, but I never read “The Witch’s Seal” and I still feel like I’ve gotten all that I needed to from the others in the series.

Highly recommended to fans of the series.

Audio

 

I enjoyed Kenneth Obi’s interpretation of Julian and Emrys.  This was a great way to enjoy the story.

4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Rescuing His Heart (Reclaiming Hope, Book 2) By: Michele Notaro Narrated by: Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Rescuing-His-Heart-Audiobook/B0812BM9CC?qid=1574031391&sr=1-8&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=K4ZKHXM894GT0Z078SCS&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_8

Blurb

Kai
I’ve been dreaming of him for about a year, but I don’t know why. I have no clue who he is. But when a crazed shifter captures me and starts torturing me for information about the blond-haired stranger, I start to realize that he might be the only one that can save me…and I have no clue how to reach him from the prison I’m trapped in.
Patty
I can’t get that green-eyed stranger out of my head. I’m drawn to him…. I know what he is to me…but he works for the enemy, for the Ministry, so he’s off-limits. Or at least he was until my worst nightmare started using him as bait. But what can I do? I can’t let him die just because he’s connected to me. I can’t let him die just because that bastard Edward has gotten his claws into him…but what can I do to protect him?
Will Patty be able to save Kai from Edward’s clutches? Will they be able to move past their differences and come together to save not only themselves, but their loved ones as well?
Rescuing His Heart is the second book in the Reclaiming Hope series. Each book in the series will feature a different couple, but it is recommended that you listen to the books in order because you will get more enjoyment out of the story. It’s a paranormal shifter romance between two men and is intended for adults only.

Review

Review
I am including the novella that follows book 2, because it’s really sweet and you should absolutely read it if you’re a fan of the series. It gives some more back story and helps move the series along, though it’s not required I do think it helps.
I gotta be honest with you. I skimmed the entire first 50% of book 2 – it was just too dark/depressing/much for me right now. I had not been keeping track of this series and when the audio for book 1 came out it reminded me about how much I enjoyed it and I found 2 more full stories and 2 novellas I had missed! It was like Christmas in May! LOL
But… I’ve never been a fan of dystopian romances and this is that in spades. I simply could not read about all the dark times, the being separate, the evil bad guys doing evil bad things and so on. It was too much. But… I love these characters and I really wanted to make it to book 3 which was really calling to me – so I skimmed. It wasn’t that bad and when I got to (about) the 50% mark our MCs are finally back with one another and working together to solve their problems. Phew. That – at least – wasn’t too bad and I enjoyed reading it from there forward.
You have to be tenacious. These guys keep getting hit – over and over – by really bad things and it affects everything.
However, the author has done a really nice job of giving us a lot of happy to balance that. I will say that I super love the rumbling chests, the super over zealous “mine” possessiveness and the scenting, hugging, and other Wolfy type behavior. I could do with a bit less smexy times – they seem to happen a lot once our guys get together – but – like I said – it’s to balance the ugly so…
The little novella is a nice touch and helps to round out Felix a bit and I can’t wait for his story!
Highly enjoyable and recommended – with the caveat of “be warned – it’s dark and angsty as F.”

Audio
Kenneth Obi does a nice job with this. There are a lot of characters and he helps to keep them separated. This is a good way to enjoy this story.

Overall 4 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Promises Part 3 (Bounty Hunters #3) by A.E. Via Narrated by Aiden Snow

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Promises-Part-3-Audiobook/1515949990?pf_rd_p=6a5ce8e4-798e-4a64-8bc5-71dcf66d673f&pf_rd_r=5744V4AYNENGWCQ901VA&ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_1515949990

Blurb

A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story.
The hunt is on… and he’s the prey.

Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.

Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?

Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?

After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.

When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.

Review

This is another great story in AE Via’s series about bounty hunters. Dana and Duke are both “real” men – with imperfections and foibles and I love that the author doesn’t try to smooth those edges too much.

Via’s signature hot smexy times are in abundance, but so are her feelz.

The beginning was a bit rocky but once the story gained it’s feet and our MCs found themselves entangled, the story flew by. (Honestly, the girlfriend and Dana’s inability to see how terrible a person she was really bothered me. I wanted her gone right from the start. I wasn’t sure why we had so much time with her on page – and this kept me from LOVING this as much as I’ve loved others in the series.)

I always enjoy Via’s characters and her very satisfying HEAs.

Highly recommended to fans of the author, the series and bad boys!

 

Audio

I love this narrator!  He has really helped to solidify the characters in my mind.  Via has made a cast of rough and tumble Alphas with soft , gooey insides and Aiden voices them to perfection.

 

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased For Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Male/Female Review: Hero’s Haven (Dark Protectors #11) by Rebecca Zanetti

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45279009-hero-s-haven

Blurb

He’s her darkest fantasy. . .

After years of struggling, Haven Daly has finally accepted that she’s nuttier than a fruitcake. Why else would she see visions of a beautiful but tormented male every night . . . and actually believe she can talk to him, even feel his touch? But thanks to those dream journeys, she can paint images nobody else on earth can duplicate. In each brush stroke, she captures the blatant masculinity and raw desire in his eyes that promise he’s coming for her…and soon.

She’s the light that keeps him going. . .

Quade Kayrs has already suffered a lifetime of pain and torture. Completely isolated, he kept his sanity thanks to one beautiful female, a vision with kind emerald eyes. In the end, her soft voice led him out of hell. Now, naked and alone, he’s in a strange world that bears little resemblance to the one he left behind. All he knows is Haven. All he wants is Haven. His final mission? To protect her from the evil hunting them both—whether she likes it or not . . .

Review

I don’t read a lot of M/F romance anymore but Zanetti’s Dark Protector series is one that I’ve continued to follow because it is so good.

 

I moved away from M/F books because I got so tired of the female character being portrayed as weak, or needing a man to be fulfilled or feeling shamed for having sexual feelings or… you get the idea.  I loved the chance to break stereotypes that gay romance provided and a way for falling in love to have some “equality”.  (I know there are problems in that genre as well, but …)

 

In any case – Dark Protectors does try to give the female characters some depth, some strength and some power.  Now, the Alpha males are completely Alpha and they can be trying at times as a result.  However, I love the world Zanetti has built and the over arching fight of good versus evil (which isn’t always so clear) and the magic and the powers and the imagination involved in the series as a whole.

 

Quade and Haven are more traditional than some of the other M/F pairs in previous books, thus the 4 stars.  Quade is old school Alpha and Haven – though she tries – is pretty traditionally “saved” by Quade on numerous occasions.

 

The magic and adventure is off the charts, the smexy times are pretty hot and the story line is great.  You do have to read this series from the beginning to really appreciate it so I’m not sure you could pick this book up and really enjoy it.

 

4 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Retro Review: Jasper (Stone Society #6) by Faith Gibson

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28438879-jasper?from_search=true&qid=Lw32HkW0a9&rank=1

Blurb

Jasper Jenkins was a solitary Gargoyle, feeling like he didn’t truly belong to a clan, until he moved to New Atlanta and joined the Stone Society. Now that he’s finally settling in, his past has reared its evil Gargoyle head and is targeting those around him, including the quirky M.E.’s assistant who happens to be his mate.

Trevor McKenzie’s life is no stranger to heartache and loneliness. His insecurities began when he found out he was cloned just in case his brother needed spare parts. As danger closes in, his boss confides in him that the “badass club” of gorgeous men he is surrounded by is really a Clan of Gargoyles. When he finds out he’s the chosen mate of the man he considers his best friend, the most gorgeous of the badasses, his insecurities multiply. Trevor must decide if he can trust the love being offered him is real and not just a product of the mate bond.

Reaching back to his warrior roots, Jasper will stop at nothing to protect his mate as well as his Clan.

Warning: This book contains a relationship between a very male Gargoyle and a very male human.

Review

I was psyched when I found this series of gargoyle books!  It starts with an M/F book but several books in there is an M/M and later another couple of them.  I started the M/F but couldn’t really get into it – which isn’t surprising as it takes a lot for me to read M/F anymore – but what was surprising was how difficult it was for me to make it through this story.

 

First, I was frustrated by the fact that these guys are Mates – like fated mates – but Jasper was able to resist his guy for a long time and it didn’t seem to be a big deal. 

 

Second, the “big reveal” of the paranormal world was pretty lack luster – and that’s always one of my favorite parts.

 

Third, it took FOREVER for the couple to be a couple – like 75% of the book – and by the time they do get together I was pretty over it.

 

There is a LOT of stuff going on and TONS of characters and perhaps if I’d been a big fan and had read all the stories before this I’d have appreciated this one more – but I didn’t so I couldn’t and there you have it.

 

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: My Treasure to Keep by Lisa Oliver narrated by John York

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/My-Treasure-to-Keep-Audiobook/B083KC9G4H?pf_rd_p=1ae0e65e-ad09-4aa7-aa73-772cefb1b5e1&pf_rd_r=370HVTEPX9WB32FVKSW7&ref=a_author_Li_c19_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

Thomas, paid enforcer in the Cloverleah Pack, was carrying a lot of guilt. He still believed he was to blame for letting Wesley get targeted by the dark elves, almost causing a rift in Cathair and Marius’s mating.
The alpha Kane told him it wasn’t his fault, and Cathair and Marius came through the experience battered but not broken, but Thomas still felt as though he had to prove his worth to himself and the pack. He spends many hours patrolling long after the rest of the pack had gone to bed, determined to do something worthwhile.
It was on one of those patrol nights that he hears a ruckus outside the territory wards. Dithering as to whether he should help or not, he gets the surprise of his life when his true mate falls right through the magic designed to keep everyone not pack, out.
Ivan was carrying secrets, the main one tucked up in his battered backpack. After a six-month-long mission to find the Cloverleah pack, he was as surprised as the next man when he fell onto pack grounds and into the arms of his true mate. Unfortunately, other pack members, still emotionally scarred by Wesley’s betrayal, didn’t view his “break in” quite so favorably, and Ivan ends up in the Cloverleah cells.
Meanwhile, the dark elves are getting closer and more brazen in their efforts to ensnare the Cloverleah pack. Pack tensions are running high, and something needs to be done…and soon. Through it all, Thomas and Ivan have to navigate their mating and learn to trust in each other.
Secrets will hit the light of day, and life for the Cloverleah pack may never be the same. As for Thomas and Ivan, time is running out for them, too.
A chance arrow, a ray of sunshine – will it mean Ivan and Thomas will get their HEA? Or will they fall at the last hurdle along with the rest of the Cloverleah pack?

Review

This is another great addition to the Cloverleah pack. I won’t spoil the surprise but it is awesome!
I love how each story is it’s own tale but definitely builds on the stories that have come before it.

While I think you could enjoy this as it’s own story, I’m not sure how much you’d take away if you hadn’t been enjoying the series from book 1.

In any case, fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy this and for anyone who loves paranormal romance – you should check this series out if you haven’t already!

The narration by John York is solidly dependable and an easy listen. He has a monumental task of keeping the myriad characters separate and I think he does a terrific job!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Collide (Out for Justice #2) by Reese Knightley narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Collide-Audiobook/1541439392?pf_rd_p=6a5ce8e4-798e-4a64-8bc5-71dcf66d673f&pf_rd_r=Z347FVH5C21509W12TPD&ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_1541439392

Blurb

Ex hacker Seth O’Leary enjoys the hell out of being part of an elite team of operatives known only as Phoenix. In fact, he’s pretty much made it his whole life. When things go horribly wrong with his deadbeat boyfriend, Seth is surprised to find help coming from an unexpected source. The man he’s secretly fantasized about for years finally takes notice. Asher Grayson, code name Frost, is everything that Seth wants in a man but the player is gun shy about relationships. What will it take to capture the man’s icy heart?

Phoenix operative, Frost, thought he had it all figured out. Scratch an itch with the newly single and hot Seth O’Leary and the craving would be over. Best laid plans and all that, Seth gets under his skin like nobody ever has and without warning Frost finds he can’t seem to walk away so easily. Which is completely out of character for him. He doesn’t ‘do’ relationships because of his past. So, the question remains, will he let long-ago events drive him away from the best thing that has ever happened to him?

Mix in tragic turn of events and ruthless acts of violence, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. With evil forces hell bent on destruction, the pair are on a collision course that leaves them reeling. Will Frost get a chance to step up and be the kind of man Seth can respect or will a madman end any chance for a happily ever after?

*Collide is book two in Reese Knightley’s Out for Justice series. To get the most out of the variety of characters and storyline you may want to first read Ricochet, book one.

Author trigger warning: Violence.

Review

I didn’t enjoy this as much as book 1. The relationship between Seth and Frost is more tenuous and there was a lot of time when I didn’t really like Frost all that much and thought Seth put up with way too much crap.

The crime/mystery stuff occupies a LOT of this and maybe, since I wasn’t as into the couple, it bothered me more.

I enjoyed it, but less.

Audio

 

Tristan James is just so easy to listen to!  I love his tone and quality of his voice.  He does a great job voicing the many characters in this series including women and children.  Highly recommended!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Longest Night by Z. Allora

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-longest-night-by-z-allora-11472-b
Blurb:
The holiday season is lonely for construction worker Benjamin Morgan,
a big muscular guy who just wants to submit, obey, and serve. But the men
he’s attracted to usually don’t have a dominant bone in their bodies. He’s
done seeking his BDSM dreams with someone who isn’t interested in putting
him in his rightful place—on his knees at their feet.
When a friend sets up a meeting with Foster Ridgeway at the BDSM
club, Entwined, Benjamin has his doubts. Of course he is attracted to bookish
Foster, who works for the same construction company, but how will someone
so small and delicate-looking master Benjamin? But when Foster—the tiny
temple of dominance wielding a crop—heads toward Benjamin, he might get
what he’s always wanted, just in time for Solstice.
Review:
This is a sweet story about finding the love that you are looking for and keeping it. Benjamin longs for a man to control him and to give him what he truly wants. Benjamin is looking for a smaller man to take charge but that seems to be beyond his reach. Until a friend sets him up with Foster a man who may be small in stature but big where it matters. Foster is a Dom like no other and he is the man Benjamin finds himself longing for.
I enjoyed this story. Foster and Benjamin are good characters and their story progresses nicely. Benjamin is sure his dream man does not exist but after only a few minutes with Foster he realizes his dream is closer than he thinks. The two men complement each other well and make a good couple. It was nice to see their attraction blossom into something much deeper as the two spent more time together. This is a nice quick read that is full of emotions and will keep you engaged until the end.
Number of stars out of 5: 3.5



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review