A Teacher and a Poet by Cy Blanca Guest Post


OS: Welcome to Cy Blanca author of A Teacher and a Poet!  Thanks for stopping by and telling us a bit about your new story!

Hi there, everybody! My name’s Cy Blanca, and I’ve just released my first ever story with Dreamspinner Press—A Teacher and a Poet. Before I begin, I just want to thank Morgan and the Open Skye readers for inviting me to talk nonsense for a little bit. I especially want to thank Morgan for being so amazing and letting me write for her after being so… tardy with my post. I really appreciate your patience so much!
Now, I suppose the best way to get you all to understand a little bit about me is to explain exactly how I even got to this point where I managed to write a story. Honestly, I keep asking myself this question every time I realize I’ve got something published. Think to myself, “How in the biscuits did I even get here?!”
For as long as I can remember words have had an impact on my life. No matter what form they came in—song, poem, story time—words were always around me and always made me feel a certain level of happiness and excitement nothing else ever could. I think I can trace it back to my earliest memories of music. Sounds… all of them different and all of them with a purpose and meaning. Most certainly, music is what made me fall in love with words because they made sounds, and those sounds were all fun and different and exciting. I fell in love with the idea of words dancing together, words talking to each other. Word sounds are some of the most magical things ever placed on the planet. A series of words could get you to dance, but said slightly differently or moved around a bit they could make you want to cry. It wasn’t until I reached high school that I realized that words and their proximity to each other literally created shapes and meaning on a page.
After that, I knew there was no way I was ever not going to write. So that’s what I’ve been doing—mostly music reviews and editorials for various websites. However, this was only the second time I ever actually considered writing a story, then asking it to be published. The first time… we won’t talk about. But when I got it in my head to give A Teacher and a Poet a shot, I never actually expected it to go anywhere.
And here I am now, having a therapy session about my obsession with words with people who I don’t know and who don’t know me. All this to introduce my little story to you wonderful folks. So I suppose this guest post is really a thank-you. Thank you all for accepting my story about two men so in love with each other and the music around them they have a hard time holding that love back… even during work. (Bad boys!)
This is a thank-you to Dreamspinner Press for first introducing me to romance and all the ways their writers manage to make their romance sparkle. I didn’t realize before reading DSP books that romance could be honest, real, tragic, poetic, and political in ways that I’d only related to the authors I’d grown up with and loved—Roald Dahl, Aldus Huxley, James Baldwin, L Frank Baum, to name a very small few. The next chapter in my addiction to words was all thanks to DSP, and I can’t thank them enough for giving me a chance to make some of my own music to add to their symphony.
This is especially a thank-you to the teachers and poets who’ve entered my life and taught me—either firsthand or through their stories—how much power words actually have. Not just the power to influence, but actual superpowers! Poets and writers like Jeff Oaks, Lynn Emanuel, Toi Derricotte, Terrance Hayes, and Dawn Lundy Martin—all creators of music, all different in scope, experience, and background. Each of them added a new line to the score of my journey as a writer. Then writers like Carl Phillips, James Baldwin, Harryette Mullen, Junji Ito, Roald Dahl… gosh there are so many! All of them writing from different perspectives and turning even the simplest words into an aria! Just…! (Cue keyboard smash!)
Ultimately I wanted to take this time to say thank you to everybody. I know this is kind of odd, writing a guest blog and spewing my fangirl feels all over the place. But I was inspired by Morgan’s generosity, and the generosity of all the blog owners who’ve given me a little bit of space on their sites, to show an enormous amount of gratitude. As this is the last stop on my blog tour, I think there’s nothing better than looking back and saying thank you for all the kindness. So that’s exactly what I did!
Now to end this before it gets too sappy and too long. Thank you all, really, for letting me spew rainbows all over the place. I hope you all enjoy A Teacher and a Poet. And even if it’s not your cup of tea, at least thank you for giving it a chance! Bye, everybody. Love yourselves and love one another ^^


Shawnee County, Kansas, might not be the most accepting place for a gay couple, but boyfriends Antony James and Curtis Ramírez have made it their home. Both of them work at Pauline Central Primary School, and while Antony is content teaching, Curt would rather pursue his passion: poetry. He plans to resign, but he doesn’t get the chance.

Working together has its risks, and when a student witnesses Antony and Curt sneaking a kiss in the workroom, they’re reprimanded. The school board’s punishment is mild, but some members of the community aren’t willing to let the indiscretion go. That small mistake could cost Antony and Curt their home—or it could remind them that home is in the heart, and as long as they stay strong in their love, they’ll always have a place to belong.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.


Cy Blanca has enjoyed words since she was in elementary school. They hold magic powers for her, and she loves playing with them to see just what they can do. She got her degree in English poetry, but she’s been doing mostly editorial work for online magazines YAM Magazine, Rock ’N Seoul, and SeoulBeats (yeah… she loves Korean music and gets to interview folks and write about it). She’s exceptionally blessed to actually be able to do exactly what she went to school for, and fiction is a new avenue she’s trying to explore. Hopefully she can make some magic happen with the words she’s been in love with since she was in elementary school.

She’d love to hear from people who want to know a bit more about her, or just want to become homies.

You can reach her on Twitter: @madcywhite

You can also reach her on Instagram: @mindless_cy

(For K-pop related fangirling, venture over to @mindlesscy if you dare.)

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-teacher-and-a-poet-by-cy-blanca-8285-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Teacher-Poet-States-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B06WWHK9JY

B&E: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-teacher-and-a-poet-cy-blanca/1125834569?ean=2940157213251

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-teacher-and-a-poet

At Attention (Out of Uniform #2) by Annabeth Albert

release day review

Carina Press Presents



Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.


Book 1 Reviewed Here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/off-base-out-of-uniform-1-audiobook-by-annabeth-albert-narrated-by-tyler-stevens/

Sigh. This is just what I needed! I’d been in a bit of a slump – either the books weren’t hitting me right or they were too angsty or too short or too silly or… But this one was Just Right!

Annabeth Albert is fast becoming one of my top-tier-favorite authors. I’ve yet to be disappointed and I’m really enjoying this series (as I’d LOVED the gaymers series from which this is a spin-off).

Things that pinged my radar: Hot, alpha, military man with a tremendous soft side and a great father to boot. Equally hot, younger guy with confidence coming out his ears and determined to do the right thing – whether it’s in his personal or professional life. (Men who like kids – so, so sweet!)

While I worried for awhile that the pining would get to me, I realized that Apollo had been deeply in love and that needed to be honored. I did wish he’d have cut the crap a bit earlier than he did – but – I loved how Dylan handled it. He didn’t settle for second best and he knew his own heart enough to ask for what he wanted.

As for the smexy times – Whoooeee. So. Hot. Lots of dirty talk and sex in front of a mirror! Way, way, way smokin’! But the feels were there, too. There was definitely an emotional connection that went beyond the sex.

So… all in all this just hit the spot for me. Sexy. Sweet. Touching. Great writing. Fantastic!

(And these covers…. YOWZA!  So HOT!)

4.5 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley For Honest Review

Bru Baker’s Tall, Dark and Deported Guest Post


OS:  Welcome to Bru Baker the author of Tall, Dark and Deported!  She’s here to tell us about a character’s first sight of his “love”.  Thanks for stopping by!


Hi, everyone, I’m Bru Baker. Many thanks to Open Skye Reviews for hosting me on my tour for my upcoming release, Tall, Dark, and Deported. It’s part of the Dreamspun Desires line, which means you can rest assured there’s a fluff galore and gooey, trope-y romance fun ahead.

No category romance would be complete without that electric moment when one of the characters sees the other for the first time. In Mateus and Crawford’s case, it’s Mateus who first scopes out the hunky businessman while they’re at the airport. Crawford is a study in contradictions, from his sharply tailored designer suit to his hipster messenger bag to the developed biceps that aren’t generally found on the average business traveler. With his salt-and-pepper hair and the way he practically radiates authority, he’s exactly Mateus’s type.

Crawford is drawn into Mateus’s boyish charm and his delectable accent. Even though Mateus isn’t that much younger than Crawford, he’s carefree in a way that Crawford has never been, and that’s a turn on to a stick-in-the-mud like Crawford.
Both share a devotion to their families, which is part of the reason they click so quickly despite sharing not much else in common. Mateus is willing to risk deportation to stay in the country and help his brother Duarte get an apple orchard up and running, and Crawford’s entire life revolves around being there to support his brother’s family. They’re both selfless and gallant, which means it takes much too long for each of them to realize they’re perfect for each other. Ah, tropes. Gotta love ‘em.

I’ll be on My Fiction Nook on March 31 reading the scene where Mateus first sees Crawford in all his suited glory at the airport. I hope you’ll check it out!

Crossing the border into love.
Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.
Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.
Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.


Pre-order links:


Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play




Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Scenes from Cloverleah (Cloverleah Pack #9.5) by Lisa Oliver

Amazon Link



Cloverleah Pack Book 9.5
This is NOT a standalone.

There have been a lot of things going on in the Cloverleah pack, and if you have been following the series, you will know there were a couple of things that happened that didn’t quite make it in the story line. These four short stories are my way of filling in those gaps.

If you want to know the back story for these characters, the titles are below:
Griff and Diablo – The Runaway Cat
Josh and Vadim – Watching Out for Fangs
Kane and Shawn – The Reluctant Wolf
Kurt, Luke and Tobias – Tangling with Bears




Griff and Diablo: Our two men have finally got the chance of a three-day break before they are due to get married in New York. Diablo wants Griff to meet his mom, but they’d only been there long enough for lunch, and Diablo starts to think he’s made a huge mistake.


Really cute, explains a little – nice and sappy 😉

Josh and Vadim’s wedding had Josh crying in the aisle, but Vadim’s the planning expert and he has a wonderful holiday planned for his mate. Unfortunately, it seems Vadim can’t go anywhere without his past coming to haunt him, and this time Josh is under threat.


A little excitement, a little smexy times, a little romance – fun!

Shawn knows Kane has a bee in his bonnet about something; he just doesn’t know what it is. It’s time for some serious talking, and maybe, just maybe these two men will find a sliver of hope among the darkness that’s been surrounding Cloverleah.


Poor Kane. But… there’s something exciting coming up!

Kurt, Luke and Tobias: Tobias always said that once the pack was safe he was more than happy to entertain the idea of having children. But the Fates had another plan in mind and when a baby cub rescued from Roland’s lab has trouble settling in with the San Antonio pack, Luke makes a plea that can’t be ignored.


Absolutely my favorite of the bunch! I love, love, love Luke so much! This was adorable. I really hope we see more of these guys in the future!


Overall, a must for fans, not a standalone – fun!

4.5 of 5 stars


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Copy Purchased for Review

Bolt Hole Audio Book by Amy Lane Narrated by Nick J Russo


Dreamspinner Presents



Terrell Washington’s childhood was a trifecta of suck: being black, gay, and poor in America has no upside. Terrell climbed his way out of the hood only to hit a glass ceiling and stop, frozen, a chain restaurant bartender with a journalism degree. His one bright spot is Colby Meyers, a coworker who has no fear, no inhibitions, and sees no boundaries. Terrell and Colby spend their summers at the river and their breaks on the back dock of Papiano’s. As terrified as Terrell is of coming out, he’s helpless to stay away from Colby’s magnetic smile and contagious laughter.

But Colby is out of college now, and he has grand plans for the future—plans Terrell is sure will leave his scrawny black ass in the Sacramento dust until a breathless moment stolen from the chaos of the restaurant tells Terrell he might be wrong. When the moment is shattered by a mystery and an act of violence, Terrell and Colby are left with two puzzles: who killed their scumbag manager, and how to fit their own lives—the black and the white of them—into a single shining tomorrow.


Review previously posted here: http://kimichanexperience.com/bolt-hole-audio-book-amy-lane-narrated-nick-j-russo/

Bolt Hole is one of my “comfort listens”. I can literally listen to it once a week forever and I don’t think I’ll tire of it. There are a few things in this story – with the narration – that really move me and keep this near the top of my “all time favorite audiobooks” list.

First, we have the amazing story itself. It jumps right into the relationship part of the story while teasing us with the mystery that propels the plot forward. Terrell is bitter and angry and resentful, but he finds comfort in his friendship with Colby.

Colby is too good to be true and so, so patient. When he finally makes a move on Terrell neither knows what to expect but both have a lot of hopes – some more secret than others. This – that secret desire – is an amazing hook. The readers know right from the start how much these two guys want their relationship to work but there are hurdles and almost all of them are in Terrell’s mind. But those aren’t insignificant. He’s spent a lifetime being told he can’t be gay and in fact had a few instances where that “lesson” was violent.

Colby, on the other hand, has never been told “no” – all he knows is “work hard and achieve what you want”. So – that’s what he aims to do.

One thing that I have to applaud Amy Lane for is her willingness to use atypical MCs in her stories. I know she’s gotten a lot of flak for some of her stories – people seem to find an insult in anything – but it’s a hard position to be in – trying to represent societal prejudices without seeming to be prejudiced yourself. I really like the diversity and the look into different communities and I love the broad, open heart both these guys show – despite their differences.

In addition to the amazing story- we also get an absolutely fantastic narration. I sometimes can’t believe it’s not 2 people speaking – Nick J Russo does such a tremendous job of giving Terrell his own voice and Colby – mmmm- God Colby’s voice is oh so delicious. That’s part of why I can listen to this so often. It “feels” like I’m listening in on real conversations and sneaking a peek at these two guys’ lives. It feels that intimate.

In addition to the greatness that is both Nick and Amy’s portrayal of the two MCs, both also have given us secondary characters that are well developed and well voiced.

I absolutely loved the HEA – it was dramatic without being angsty and so full of hope.

Amy tells us she’s going to give us a cross over story with Terrell and Colby AND Patrick and Whiskey (my other two favorite book boyfriends) and she’s given us this teaser: Link to Crossover:

I really, really hope she does – that would make my year!

In any case – if you haven’t looked into this audiobook (or e book) I really recommend that you do. It ranks higher than a 6 of 5 – and I can’t recommend it highly enough!


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Copy Purchased For Review

The Alpha’s Claim by Holley Trent


Carina Press Presents

Publishing May 15 2017


Jim West, the New York Coyote pack alpha, has successfully defended his territory from external threats for almost fifteen years. Pack politics may be a pain in his ass, but his command has never been doubted, his authority never questioned.

Until Teddy, an argumentative pancake-house server, challenges more than his patience. The lithe, pretty human calls to Jim’s baser instincts. He knows instantly Teddy is his mate – but the timing couldn’t be worse. Tension within his pack is growing, and adding a human mate to the mix could spark an uprising, with Teddy as the target.

Teddy’s smart mouth may heat Jim’s blood, but with a full moon only days away, getting Teddy to let down his guard and accept him – the man and the beast – is his main priority.

There’s no fighting the pull of a mate, but learning his lover is a literal predator might make Teddy run right into the danger Jim’s desperate to control.


I do love me some shifter action! I was excited to see a new shifter book by a new-to-me-author. Especially since it was coyotes and that means a little somethin’ different, right?

Well…. Hmmm. If you read the blurb you can tell that the basic premise is Jim “thinks” Teddy is his Mate, but his pack isn’t stable and that could be a problem.

What it doesn’t say is that there is a vague “mate pull” but it’s nothing like what you’ve seen in other books. It also doesn’t tell you that until the 80% point we don’t even begin to CONSIDER how to tell Teddy – the human! – about being a shifter – and that the push/pull between them seems to drag on and on and on and on.

If this were a short story – heavily edited- it might work. As it stands it felt far too long without nearly enough conflict or “problems” to resolve and the problems that are mentioned are either still present or somehow disappear without much fanfare.

I didn’t particularly like either MC nor did I feel an attraction to them. I was even disappointed by the mating itself. (See spoiler if you want more info.)

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

In any case, I was kinda confused, a little bored and not very connected to this story. I won’t say I’d never read anything by this author again, but I’d need to wait for reviews I think, first.

2.25 (rounded to 2.5) of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley For Honest Review

Rescue Me by KM Neuhold Blog Tour


#newrelease #kindleunlimited
Rescue Me (Heathens Ink, 1)

Amazon U.S: https://goo.gl/PfIV3k
Amazon U.K: https://goo.gl/LihG4z
Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/tTm1wO
Amazon AU: https://goo.gl/0tcOEG

Free preview: https://instafreebie.com/free/3Dg65

Free prequel: https://instafreebie.com/free/hAKYP
“Your life can change in an instant”~ Madden
I never thought a night out could change everything. All I wanted was to dance, drink, maybe take a cute guy home for a night of fun. I met the guy, but the night ended as a nightmare. Screams, and blood, and tragedy haunt my dreams. I’m alive and I owe it all to the gorgeous marine who refused to leave me for dead. But how can I start a new relationship when I’m not even sure who I am anymore?
“I’ll always save you” ~Thane
After a long work week all I wanted was to let my hair down and to meet a nice guy. When I laid eyes on the gorgeous, tattooed man at the bar, I had to have him. I never would have thought the night could end in such horror. I saved his life, and I swear I’ll save him as many times as I have to. Even if it means saving him from himself.
**This is the first book in the Heathens Ink series in which every book can be read as a stand-alone.
CAUTION: this book is recommended for readers 18+ and does contain one scene of graphic violence that may disturb some readers. And, in case it wasn’t clear from the description, this is an M/M romance, man parts will be touching.

Rescued Audiobook by Felice Stevens narrated by Charlie David

Audible Link



Ryder Daniels is all too familiar with rejection. His parents cut off contact because he’s gay and his boyfriend left him, choosing drugs over love. Aside from his rescued pit bull, his only joy is hanging out with his younger brother. Then his mother does the unthinkable and forbids them to see each other, leaving Ryder devastated and alone. His friends urge him to date, but Ryder would rather throw himself into working at the dog rescue and figuring out a way to see his brother again.

When Jason Mallory’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum to get married, he shocks everyone by breaking up with her instead. He believes he’s too busy for a relationship now that the construction company he started with his brother is taking off. When he discovers a group of abandoned pit bulls and calls the local dog rescue group to pick them up, an uncomfortable encounter with Ryder causes Jason to question feelings he’s hidden deep inside for years.

Jason and Ryder build a friendship, until an unexpected kiss sparks the attraction they’ve been fighting. Jason gives Ryder unconditional love and helps him reconnect with his brother while Ryder shows Jason the passion he’s always missed in relationships. Together they must battle through their family differences and ugly prejudices. Only then can they prove that once you find the right person to love, there’s no turning back.

This has been re-edited and revised from the original release of 2014


Jason and Ryder started off as friends. Jason, who’d only ever acted on his attraction for a man once in his life, mostly identified as straight when they first started their friendship. But, over the months, Jason’s feelings deepened and he couldn’t deny them any longer.

That’s one of the things I really appreciated about this love story – it took place over months instead of days or weeks, and it really felt organic. The two MCs are definitely good as friends first and it shows.

While the flip from friends to lovers felt a bit quick and the slippery slope to “I love you” happened very quickly, the original part of the relationship happened smoothly and slowly.
I definitely appreciated John’s viewpoints about love and loss and family and I thought that was a nice way to open Liam’s mind to a different way of thinking.

The smexy times with these guys was very hot and while I thought Jason was definitely more bold than I’d have predicted, I do think it fit his personality.

All in all this was a tremendously sweet and sensual GFY/OFY, friends to lovers story that will really warm your heart.



Charlie David is one of my favorite narrators.  His voice is just so easy to hear and he knows how to infuse emotion into his narrations, so well!  He didn’t do a lot to differentiate the different characters and I was kind of expecting New York accents, but it was still a nice way enjoy this story and you can absolutely fall into their lives through his narration.

4.5 of 5 stars


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Copy Purchased For Review

Rescue Me (Heathens Ink, 1) by K.M. Neuhold

release day review

Amazon Link

Free on KU!



“Your life can change in an instant”~ Madden
I never thought a night out could change everything. All I wanted was to dance, drink, maybe take a cute guy home for a night of fun. I met the guy, but the night ended as a nightmare. Screams, and blood, and tragedy haunt my dreams. I’m alive and I owe it all to the gorgeous marine who refused to leave me for dead. But how can I start a new relationship when I’m not even sure who I am anymore?

“I’ll always save you” ~Thane
After a long work week all I wanted was to let my hair down and to meet a nice guy. When I laid eyes on the gorgeous, tattooed man at the bar, I had to have him. I never would have thought the night could end in such horror. I saved his life, and I swear I’ll save him as many times as I have to. Even if it means saving him from himself.

**This is the first book in the Heathens Ink series in which every book can be read as a stand alone.

CAUTION: this book is recommended for readers 18+ and does contain one scene of graphic violence that may disturb some readers. And, in case it wasn’t clear from the description, this is an M/M romance, man parts will be touching.


It wasn’t clear to me from the description, and it doesn’t say so in the book, but this book “felt” like it could be about any of the survivors from Orlando’s shooting. Thane and Madden hadn’t ever met before the night in the club when they end up sort of forced together after the tragic shooting injures Madden.

But… this story is more than that. Madden has a past that makes this particular crisis all the more scary and Thane has to slowly learn about it – even though they are thrown together as though they’ve been dating a long time.

I’m going to put some triggers in a spoiler so that people who have them can look and people who don’t mind can skip it, but there are SEVERAL in the story.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

This was a far darker story than I had anticipated and far more complex. In a way we get a bit of “insta love”. Both Thane and Madden are very interested in the other and jump very quickly into a relationship that defies explanation. It evolves as it can while the two are essentially living together as strangers and it’s a very unique situation.

The steam level is mid-level, I’d say – and sometimes it felt out of place. More than anything, this is a hurt/comfort story and though I know the two guys are attracted to each other, I think focusing on the serious issues – which were HUGE – was the main story and the sex only a side bit. For the most part, I felt this was appropriate, but there were a couple of times where I thought – “Would he even want sex now?” ‘

This was the first I’d read by this author and I’d definitely look to something from her again. I think there are some compelling new stories in store from Madden’s work crew and they look really interesting!

If you’re in the mood for dark, hurt/comfort, sorta insta-love – this is the right book for you!

4.25 (rounded to 4.5) of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

Lord Mouse (Lords of Davenia #1) by Mason Thomas narrated by Joel Leslie


Dreamspinner Presents



Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.

But that could change.

When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin—enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.

Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.


So clever!

My first impression of this is that I get the same feeling listening to this that I did as when I listened to Family of Lies by Sam Argent. So, I think, fans of that title will love this! It also sort of felt like Jordan L Hawk’s “Hex” series.

Where this story fails in those comparisons is the polish. Mouse is fully fleshed out but does change a bit near the end in such a way that he lacks the same “oomph” with which he started. The romance, while secondary, isn’t as well done as it is in Hawk’s books, and the ending neither promised a sequel nor felt completely satisfying.

It’s a sort of historical/fantasy piece where the thief has all the smarts and runs his mouth constantly and befuddles the bad guys and in the meantime falls for the good, and “proper” royal.

Joel Leslie is amazing at giving us all the various characters – including multiple voices for some characters. (I don’t even KNOW how he can manage all those voices!) I was really glad I’d listened to this rather than read it, because he definitely kept me engaged when I might have lost some of my impetus.

In any case, this is fun, funny and a little bit romantic. This is a fairly low steam (fade to black when it comes to “sex”) romance, but our characters have plenty of feels between them. Most of this is fantasy with lots and lots of action and twists and turns as Mouse outsmarts all the “bad guys”.

If I had to make any complaints it would be the ending. We have a tremendous amount of build up and climactic moment of separation and then an all too easy and rushed reunion and finale.

I’m not sure if our MCs have more coming but I’d love to see more of them and what all kinds of trouble they can get into.

I was grateful to have listened to this and highly recommend this in audio format.

4.5 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review