Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Christmas Dystopian Fated Mates Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Historical Holiday Hurt/Abuse m/m Magic Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Shifter Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

A Christmas Hex (Hexworld #2.5) By Jordan L. Hawk

Jordan L Hawk Presents

http://jordanlhawk.com/books/hexworld-series/

Blurb

A Hexworld Short Story

Roland knows he will never find love. Everyone views wolf familiars like himself as dangerous beasts, unable to rein in their savage impulses. He’s resigned himself to his fate—or so he thinks, until he meets the dashing Augustus Cao. His witch.

Gus is on the trail of a gang of thieves, and Roland holds an important clue. Even though they can never bond, Roland can’t pass up the opportunity to spend a night with his witch.

Can Roland conceal his secret, while helping Gus catch the thieves? Or will the handsome detective be the one to steal his heart?

 

Review

Another tremendously sweet, full of magic and adventure, wonderful story from Jordan L Hawk’s hexworld!

I think I love the variety of familiars the best. They’re not quite just shifters but they have those elements. I thought it was a lovely tool, the way the author used the bias against wolves as a way to demonstrate another type of bigotry. It’s all the same, no matter the originating belief.

Jordan is an amazing writer and this was really fun!

Highly recommended to fans of the series, but I’d read them in order to really enjoy this, though it could probably(?) be read on it’s own.

 

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Audiobook Book College/University coming of age Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Established Couple Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased

Who We Are (BOTK Book 2) Audiobook by TJ Klune Narrated by Charlie David

audiobookreview 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/who-we-are-by-tj-klune-3724-b

 

Blurb

Sequel to Bear, Otter, and the Kid Bear, Otter, and the Kid survived last summer with their hearts and souls intact. They’ve moved into the Green Monstrosity, and Bear is finally able to admit his love for the man who saved him from himself. But that’s not the end of their story. How could it be? The boys find that life doesn’t stop just because they got their happily ever after. There’s still the custody battle for the Kid. The return of Otter’s parents. A first trip to a gay bar. The Kid goes to therapy, and Mrs. Paquinn decides that Bigfoot is real. Anna and Creed do… well, whatever it is Anna and Creed do. There are newfound jealousies, the return of old enemies, bad poetry, and misanthropic seagulls. And through it all, Bear struggles to understand his mother’s abandonment of him and his brother, only to delve deeper into their shared past. What he finds there will alter their lives forever and help him realize what it’ll take to become who they’re supposed to be. Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole-those who make us who we are.

Review

So…  This is not a standalone. LOL. It’s book two of 4? – for now 3. And it must be read in order.

We met everyone in book one and Bear and Otter had just gotten together and told Creed and Anna. Now it’s time to tell the parents. (I gotta tell you that scene made me laugh out loud so often my husband had to Shush me!)

There’s more angst regarding the Kid and his mother. We also meet Dominic (who is one of my favorite characters in this series!)

Anna and Creed have some important news and we are faced we a HUGE crisis near the end of the book – HUGE.

I liked this story a lot more than I liked book one because it felt more grounded, to me was funnier, it had a more emotional and physical connection between Otter and Bear and seemed to address what felt like actual issues than just the stuff in Bear’s head. (Also it’s shorter and felt more tightly edited – but that could be in my head.)

That being said, I really liked book one, too! And I think I liked Sean Crisden’s narration a lot better than Charlie David’s. It’s not that Charlie does a bad job, he’s an amazing voice actor/actor/narrator but to me Otter needed the deeper voice and Bear’s should have been less growly. Also I wanted something a lot different for Dominic than we got. I thought his Mrs. Paquin was hysterical though and the family dinner scene with “dranken” Bear was SPOT ON!

So… it’s not that he didn’t do a good job, it’s just that I liked Sean’s a bit better.

In any case, if you’re a fan of audiobooks you’ll still want to listen to this because it’s great and funny and sweet and tear-jerking and wonderful! Also, the book is good too if you don’t like audiobooks.

Highly Recommended.

(While I didn’t LOVE the cover for book one, I HATE this cover.  The faces look kinda “off”, especially the Kid’s… I hope TJ Klune does a re-issue with a lovely set of new covers by Reese Dante 🙂 )

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level BDSM Book Boss/employee class difference Cop/Crime Enemies to Lovers Fated Mates Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Historical Homophobia m/m Magic Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat Shifter Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Hexmaker (Hexworld #2) by Jordan L. Hawk

Jordan L Hawk Presents
http://jordanlhawk.com/books/hexworld-series/

Blurb

A straight-laced policeman.

A lighthearted thief.

A murdered millionaire.

Fox shifter Malachi steals for one of the biggest crime rings in New York City. But when he witnesses the murder of a millionaire, the only person who can keep him safe is Dr. Owen Yates, forensic hexman for the Metropolitan Witch Police—and Malachi’s witch.

Owen is horrified to discover his familiar is an uneducated thief. Even worse, Malachi threatens to unleash Owen’s deepest desires…desires Owen can’t act upon, as he’s destined for an arranged marriage to secure the Yates family fortune.

Their agreement: Malachi will be Owen’s lover as well as his partner, until the day of the wedding. But as their hunt for the murderer carries them from teeming slums to Fifth Avenue mansions, Owens begins to realize Malachi commands his heart as well as his body.

With dark forces drawing ever closer around them, Owen must decide whether to bow to the demands of duty, or to risk everything for the man he loves.

Review

Jordan L Hawk can really immerse you in a different world!

(This is book two in the series and I do think it’s best read in order, though you could probably read this on its own and not be lost.)

What I loved about this was the sense of time and place. The language, the tools, the actions, all of it felt very authentic without feeling hokey.

I’m not a fan of BDSM, and for that reason only, was this less enjoyable to me than book one, but what I did like about the BDSM aspects was that Malachi was the Dom. Instead of the typical power play, we get Mal – the uneducated, smaller, less powerful guy – in charge. It totally made sense given Owen’s personality and his life and in that sense, it really worked and was pretty awesome.

As a couple these two are really cute together. I loved seeing Mal open up to Owen and watching them both learn to trust one another.

The action/mystery stuff was just present enough to move the story forward, and while it definitely does occupy a good portion of the plot it didn’t feel overwhelming to the romance.

All in all I think this is an excellent addition to the series, and for fans of the author, paranormal/magic/steampunk romances and even historicals will find this a romance to fall in love with.

4.5 of 5 stars

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A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz

Cover Reveal for Pipelines in Paradasie by Foster Bridget Cassidy in the States Of Love Series

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OS:  Welcome to  Foster Bridget Cassidy author of Pipelines in Paradise!  She’s got an exciting new cover to reveal!

FBC:

This is Foster Bridget Cassidy and I’m excited to visit Open Skye Book Reviews to show off the beautiful cover designed by Maria Fanning for my debut novel Pipelines in Paradise. The story is part of Dreamspinner Press’s “States of Love” series, and the state of choice is Hawaii. This cover is very telling of the story line because much of the plot centers around surfing. The main character, Palmer Simpson, suffers from a broken heart and takes refuge among the waves of Oahu. While doing some soul searching and soul surfing, Palmer seeks to emulate the easy-going flow of the waves.

With captivating beach locations, Hawaii was the perfect setting for this romance. The friendly rivalry that arises in competition also plays a role in shaking up Palmer’s new life. With friends, and fun, and even some of Mother Nature’s fury, Pipelines in Paradise offers a glimpse into the life of a man who learns how to live again.

Thanks again!

Sincerely,

Foster

OS:  And with no further ado here we have it!

Cover Art Designer: Maria Fanning

Blurb

One is trying to heal a broken heart, the other, a broken family.

After separating from his partner of nine years, Palmer Simpson flees to the island of Oahu to pursue a carefree life of surfing.  There, he meets Riku Usami, a more skilled surfer—but one with a bad attitude and a boatload of family drama. A contest between the two men leads to friendship and the possibility of something more meaningful. When a tsunami threatens the island, a friend is stranded out on the waters of the deadly Banzai Pipeline.  Palmer and Riku must face the dangers of the barrel waves and the looming forces of nature in order to get their friend to safety. If they survive, they’ll have to contemplate what their future together will look like after the storm blows through.

Buy link:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/pipelines-in-paradise-by-foster-bridget-cassidy-8116-b

Author Bio:

Foster Bridget Cassidy is a rare, native Phoenician who enjoys hot desert air and likes to wear jackets in summer. She has wanted to be a fiction writer since becoming addicted to epic fantasy during high school. Since then, she’s studied the craft academically—at Arizona State University—and as a hobby—attending conventions and workshops around the country. A million ideas float in her head, but it seems like there’s never enough time to get them all down on paper.

Her main support comes from her husband, who reminds her to laugh. Mostly at herself. Their partnership may be difficult to grasp when viewed from the outside, but seen from the inside they are a perfect match. He’s helped her though surgeries and sicknesses and is always willing to wash her hair when she can’t do it on her own.

Their children have four legs and fur and will bite them on occasion. One snores loudly.

For fun, Foster likes to take pictures of her dachshunds, sew costumes for her dachshunds, snuggle her dachshunds, and bake treats for her dachshunds. In exchange for so much love and devotion, they pee vast amounts on the floor, click their nails loudly on the tile, and bark wildly at anything that moves outside. Somehow, this relationship works for all involved.

While not writing, Foster can usually be found playing a video game or watching a movie with her husband. While not doing any of those things, Foster can usually be found in bed, asleep.

 

 

 

Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Demi Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Single Parent Unrequited Love Virgin

Bear, Otter and The Kid (BOTK Book 1) Audiobook by TJ Klune Narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bear-otter-and-the-kid-by-tj-klune-3212-b

 

Blurb

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living. With a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that – until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world … something or someone. 

 

Review

This is a re-read/re-listen for me, as I originally read and listened to it in 2014. When I first read it, I was absolutely blown away by the humor, the angst, the feels and the quality of the representation Sean Crisden brought to the characters. In a world where not all narrators are the same, and some really don’t do much to ADD to a reading experience, I still hold Sean as one of the ones that shoot for excellence and shape the characters for the readers/listeners.

I’ve read/listened to this a few times, though never all the way from start to finish as I did this time – it’s too long for that! It’s 350 pages and that can take some serious commitment when you’re listening as that’s over 12 hours.

There are people who will always be “new” to the genre and stumbling across this title in their forays, but I’d say most of us who’ve been reading this genre have read (and loved) this or at least know of the series/author, etcetera – so, I’m not going to go into any sort of plot summaries – there are lots of reviews out there that cover that.

As I was listening to this again, I wanted to remember how it FELT to experience this story. I think TJ does an amazing job of getting into Bear’s head. One of the first things that I thought about this is how I FELT Bear’s tension/anxiety/stress. This book was published in 2011 (so probably written way before that) and it’s amazing how much has changed in those five/six years as far as gay acceptance in our world. Sure, there are still lots of hurdles to overcome, but we’ve made some big strides. In reading Bear’s anxiety about being “like Otter” – aka gay – I think TJ captures beautifully that original questioning of one’s sexuality and in Bear’s case, probably not even really having a proper label for his specific situation. (Maybe he’d be Demiromantic? I don’t know that it matters…)

In any case, Bear’s sexual identity is really just one piece of this story. He’s also dealing with his ex-girlfriend, his best friend and his brother – most importantly – his brother and how his role in their lives is how he defines himself. (In book two I think we see this even more – but that’s for later. J ) Back to how it made me feel – well I kept wanting to feel calm! Bear is so tightly wound that I kept wanting him to find some solace with Otter, with Creed, with Anna. Something so his monkey-brain would settle down and just BE.

I also really appreciated Anna and her role in this with this re-listen. She definitely got the short end of the stick in that her boyfriend who loves her really didn’t trust her enough to confide in her and that really had to hurt.

There are some other things I noticed this time around that made me eager to complete the series again – how Ty says “I’m going to still like girls” and how together Ty was in comparison to Bear and when does that change? I know he still has anxiety but – at least here- he seemed more together than Bear at times.

The love between Bear and Otter felt really poetic and if I have a complaint is that, even with 350 pages, I still don’t know that we got a lot of their relationship building.

For me, this is where TJ’s writing style really shines. He mixes in the angsty with the humor so well here. The smexy times aren’t so much hot as they are heart-felt and that’s well-suited to the book itself.

4.25 of 5 stars

Audio

As I said at the beginning, Sean does an amazing job with this. I LOVE his Otter and his Creed and think he does a great Anna, Ty and Bear as well. But mmmm Otter’s voice is Delish!

There is no doubt that listening to this is the way to enjoy this. Sean is wonderful and he makes the 12 hours fly by!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Contemporary Cop/Crime Dystopian Fated Mates Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Insta Love m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased

The 13th Hex (Hexworld #0.5) by Jordan L. Hawk

Jordan L Hawk Presents
http://jordanlhawk.com/books/hexworld-series/

Blurb

Romance.

Magic.

Murder.

Dominic Kopecky dreamed of becoming a member of New York’s Metropolitan Witch Police—a dream dashed when he failed the test for magical aptitude. Now he spends his days drawing the hexes the MWP relies on for their investigations.
But when a murder by patent hex brings crow familiar Rook to his desk, Dominic can’t resist the chance to experience magic. And as the heat grows between Dominic and Rook, so does the danger. Because the case has been declared closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.
Note: The 13th Hex was originally published as part of the Charmed & Dangerous anthology. Only minor details have been altered for this reissue.

Review

This is a prequel to Jordan L Hawk’s Hexworld series. (Book one is reviewed here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/hexbreaker-audiobook-by-jordan-l-hawk-narrated-by-tristan-james/)

So, depending on how you look at this, you’ve either already met Rook and Dominic and know a little about their story – in which case this just explains it in more detail – or this is your first exposure to them and you’ll see more of them again real soon!

I guess you’d call this contemporary? They use phones and cars and things, but it feels more like something from the 20s than anything more modern. Dominic and Rook both work for the police in the Witch department. Rook is a detective and a familiar with no witch. Dominic is a hexmaker (he can draw the hexes but it needs a witch to make them actually work with magic).

Rook gets Dominic involved in a case and then opens his eyes to the world of magic!

**

This was so sweet! If you read book one, you already knew where this was headed, but even so it was a fun ride. They’re both great characters and it was fun learning their back story which mirrors Cicero’s and Tom’s so much.

I think if you started with this you’d be fine, but it can also be read after book one.

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Author Provided Billionaire Book coming of age Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia lawyer m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Switched by NR Walker

NR Walker Presents

(Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

https://www.amazon.com/Switched-N-R-Walker-ebook/dp/B01N7M3PBW/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1482973907&sr=1-3&keywords=switched

Blurb

Israel Ingham’s life has never been easy. He grew up in a house devoid of love and warmth. Nothing he ever did was good enough. The fact Israel is gay just added to the long list of his father’s disappointments.

Then a letter from Eastport Children’s Hospital changes everything.

A discovery is made, one of gross human error. Twenty-six years ago two baby boys were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.

Sam, Israel’s best friend, has been his only source of love and support. With Sam beside him every step of the way, Israel decides to meet his birth mother and her son, the man who lived the life Israel should have.

Israel and Sam become closer than ever, amidst the tumultuous emotions of meeting his birth family, and Sam finds himself questioning his feelings toward his best friend. As Israel embraces new possibilities, he needs to dissect his painful relationship with his parents in order to salvage what’s left.

Because sometimes it takes proof you’re not actually family to become one.

Review

WOW. NR Walker has done it AGAIN!

When I read the blurb I was a little leery, not that it wouldn’t be good, not that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I was worried that this was going to be a story about Israel and his family MORE than about Israel and his new romance with Sam.

But, I should never doubt the master!

NR manages to move the story forward about BOTH Sam and Israel’s family – effortlessly! And I mean that she does it in a way that neither side felt less than the other and instead both seemed to work BECAUSE the other was moving forward.

This is an absolute fairy-tale of a story. Who hasn’t – at least once! – thought about if they were adopted/switched/belonged to another family at one time or another? Well, in this case I think the author gives a very plausible (if vague) reason for it and a way that opened up the story to the crux of the issue, which is how Israel feels and how his parents react.

The sexual tension in the story is WONDERFUL, and the release, even better! I loved these two together and thought they were not only adorable and sweet as a couple but HOT, too.

For fans of the author, fans of friends-to-lovers romances, anyone curious about how it would be to find out you were switched at birth, or anyone looking for a seriously-heart-warming story about finding your family, this is for you!

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas class difference College/University Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort lawyer m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Rent Boy Unrequited Love

All I Want For Christmas Is No Christmas by Colton Aalto

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-no-christmas-by-colton-aalton-7971-b

Blurb

Alec Ryder’s arrest in Aspen, early on the morning of December twenty-fifth, is the latest disaster in his series of unhappy Christmases. He’s dreaded the holiday since being subjected to endless church services as a child. Being kicked out on Christmas Day after he came out to his parents, followed by an improbable series of yearly yuletide trips to the emergency room, haven’t made his Christmases any merrier. But getting busted for prostitution is the worst catastrophe; it means Alec’s dream of a college degree is gone, replaced by the specter of jail time.

Just when Alec thinks things can’t get worse, Hayden Adler shows up to interrogate him. Hayden is a glamorous attorney who also happens to be Alec’s college roommate’s cousin. Alec’s had a crush on Hayden for years, but whatever miniscule chance Alec might’ve had is now history—just like the life he’s been trying to build for himself.

But things aren’t quite what they seem. In a long line of miserable Christmases, Alec will never forget this one, although not for the reasons he suspects.

Review

Alec is about to finish college but is still having to pay for it by turning tricks and when he’s arrested coming out of a hotel room over Christmas he feels sure his future is all going to go down the drain.

Hayden is Alec’s roommate’s cousin and has been crushing on Alec for the last four years but Alec thinks the Harvard Law grad is way out of his league.

**

This was an odd short story that sort of zigged and zagged all over the place. It wanted to be about rent boys and class differences and secret crushes and yet was also about intrigue and the mob. I think it took on a few too many “issues” to be a cogent short story and ended up not really addressing anything very well.

It was cute with a nice HFN but it didn’t do much for me overall.

2.5 of 5 stars

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