Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Book Bullying Dreamspinner Gay Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Neta Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series PTSD Standalone

Release Day Review: Love You So Special by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-special-by-tara-lain-9894-b

Blurb

Artie is a simple guy, a blue collar plumber, not smart, and still deeply closeted, the only thing special about his life are his colorful tropical fish. Artie is working in a concert hall when he hears the music for the first time. Intrigued and instantly enamored, he even finds an excuse to go back after hours to try and hear it again. The mysterious musician might be a figment of his imagination, but a few days after when he goes to the ritzier part of town for a job he hears it again. The source is the pianist and composer Francois Desmarais, international talent, beautiful and rich, and oh yeah, his boss.

Francois is a world renowned musician with fans all over the globe, too bad he can’t stand to talk to people and crowds petrify him. Secluded and barley making any public appearances, Francois is fascinated with the cute guy working in his property. He feels safe and at ease in his company, something he never though himself capable of feeling again, and they become friends. Just when Francois starts feeling more confident in himself his fear of strangers turns out to be justified and Artie has to decide if he will stay in the closet or stand next to this amazing man he grew to adore for much more than his talented fingers.

Review by Karen
This is a very cute romance, but definitely a whirlwind one.

Once the MC’s start to have feelings for each other, everything just goes incredibly fast. I feel like they skip a few steps in the whole let’s get to know each other process. I would have liked it better if the author had given them a bit more time to fall in love.
François and Artie are very sweet together though, and do have a great connection, however fast it came about.

I did really like that music was so important to both men. It felt almost like a third in their relationship and was wonderfully described. A piano and Chopin… what’s not to love about that combination? It gave François all the advantage he needed to woo Artie.

Danger lurks in the crowds of fans that gather to hear François play, however.
When it comes out of the shadows, it does so suddenly and unexpectedly.
A great way to add tension and suspense to the story and give both François and Artie a chance to prove what they’re made of.

Artie’s coming out felt a bit rushed to me, especially the conversation with his family. I feel this was a missed opportunity to add some more emotion and depth to the story, but it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of it.

This was a fun, quick read.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta
This was a true sweet read, quit funny and just all around pleasure. Both main characters were interesting, Francois with his elusive personality and mystic and Artie, the big tough plumber with the heart of gold and softness. I especially liked how each did not live up to the stereotypical expectations of similar characters, and managed to surprise me along the way. This book had all of Tara’s charm and sass with a surprisingly small amount of sex which was actually nice. It fit the story well and I was not missing it, even though Tara’s books tend to be on the lava side of hot this was a bit milder. I liked the pacing too, they formed a nice friendship before they moved to the romantic side and it was fun getting to know them.

This is a great palate cleanser after and emotional read or a really bad book you need to flush out (did you see what I did there?) full of funny moments that will make you smile and unforgettable characters.

Number of stars out of 5
3 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review by Dee

A really nice story about a regular, blue collar guy meeting and falling for a classical pianist. There is humour, a bit of hurt/comfort and a good bit heat in the story.
Artie is closeted, somewhat due to his job but mostly because he really hasn’t had a reason to declare himself. François had been subject to a traumatic incident (as a kid) and is quite wary of people in general. When both men meet, they feel a connection that trumps both their fears. Artie finds someone to protect and brave being out for; François finds someone (other than his mum) to have his best interests at heart.
This is another good standalone addition to the ‘Love You’ series!

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz

Book Tour: Glacier Gold by Crystel Greene and a Giveaway!

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OS: Welcome Crystel Greene!

CG:
Hi everybody, it’s lovely to be here at Open Skye Book Reviews! Thanks for having me, Morgan! I’m here to talk for a bit about my new release, GLACIER GOLD, and about my writing process today.

How to write and get it right? Or: Are you a plotter or a pantser?*

(*A plotter would never dream of starting to write a story without an outline. Their process is all about planning and structure. The pantser, on the other hand, dives right in when inspiration hits, developing their story as they go, ready to follow wherever their muse might lead.)

Most writers identify as either one or the other. I’m a recovering plotter. Yes, I avoid outlines at all costs these days. They are dangerous for me, potentially fatal even, and I’ve learned it the hard way.

After years (and I mean years) of planning stories and writing outlines, I found that my writing books had almost ruined my life. They offered a lot of clever insights, but also a lot of varying recipes and rules for writing the perfect story. And there were just so many of them. It’s my own fault, obviously. Remember Imelda Marcos and her shoes? That’s me and all those lovely titles called “Master your Story”, “How to Nail the Ultimate Novel”, and so on. I have this compulsion to buy these books when I see them (Amazon’s “customers also bought” is a real curse).

The problem is, you wouldn’t believe how much time it takes to try to make a story fit all the various formulas in all the various books. Because that’s what I tried to do. I moved my plot points around on multi-colored Post-it notes forever. Eventually I moved on to rolls of wallpaper to have enough space for that really detailed storyboard. I wanted to get it right, right? I wanted my story to have it all.
Plot point one, plot point two. Inciting incident, midpoint, crisis, resolution. Three acts, four acts, five acts. The Sixteen Story Steps. I’ve done it all. And I do think it helped me understand a lot of things about story structure. Only it didn’t help with the writing flow.
To put it mildly.
After years (years) of working like this, I was on the brink of despair, or probably insanity.

It’s Stephenie Meyer who saved me. One day, I was procrastinating again, fighting another bout of outlining fatigue. I was surfing the net, and there, half-hidden under the layers of old Post-it notes stuck to my computer screen, was a blog post about how she came up with Twilight. It’s gone down in history, but I’ll give you a quick recap: she saw the scene where Edward comes out to Bella as a vampire in a dream. Edward and Bella were on a clearing in the woods, and he was showing her how his skin sparkled in the sunlight. Apparently the dream ended with the two of them happily cuddling.
This is clearly the midpoint (defined as one of the main plot points before the crisis: The key conflict of the story is out in the open, and the protagonist is in the middle of his quest to reach their goal (―in Twilight, it’s Bella trying to convince Edward he can be her boyfriend in spite of his vampire needs, remember?). Anyway, at the midpoint, there is a sort of lull in the action; it’s all about the emotional core of the story, a scene that highlights the theme and is a preview of the resolution. See how I’ve read those writing books? ☺)
Well, I’m pretty sure Stephenie never bothered with any of this. She simply had this lovely dream, woke up the next morning, and proceeded to write Twilight. And it worked out just fine for her, I’d say.

I still think about story structure when I write. A lot. It’s kind of a personal kink I can’t shake, I guess. But I always start right in the middle now, just like Stephenie did. I write the midpoint, and then I move on to the scenes that I know have to be in the story, the scenes that carry the key drama. Those are typically the most fun to write anyway, and for the most part it’s pretty obvious where they need to go in the context of the story. And if I’m in doubt about a scene, or don’t enjoy writing it, I just skip it and move on to the next. It’s surprising how many story steps and plot points a story doesn’t really need in the end…
So, this would be my very own, very simple how-to guide to storytelling: Focus on the scenes that are fun to write, because those are the scenes that drive the story and will hopefully be fun to read too.

PS I wrote the first draft of GLACIER GOLD in just four weeks. No outline. I hope you’ll enjoy the read! (Can you spot the midpoint?☺)

*

BLURB

Up in the Alps, a single night can change your life.
Struggling college student and self-taught graphic artist Justin Bennet isn’t the most self-confident guy, but he knows he’s good at two things: snowboarding and sex. Why does Andi, the hot instructor at the Tyrolean ski resort, pretend Justin doesn’t exist?
Justin becomes all but obsessed with the idea of scoring with the young Austrian. Because for all the man’s reserve, he made it quite obvious he likes Justin—at least from the neck down.
When Justin books a private heliboarding trip with Andi as his guide, he thinks he’s one step away from striking gold.
But then the forces of nature take over, trapping the men in a snowstorm, and things get real. What was supposed to be about some freeriding fun and inviting a closeted guy to start exploring his options suddenly becomes about survival—and the hidden truths of the soul.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

*

EXCERPT

Here’s the moment leading up to the resolution in GLACIER GOLD:

The cold is seriously creeping up on me. My teeth have even started to chatter. I never knew they could do that.
Andi is watching me from under the hood of the sleeping bag, his eyes like two snippets of sky in the dark. For some reason, he has started chewing on his lip again.
I start walking about in the tiny space between the beds and the table, rubbing at my arms.
“Okay, you’ve got to get in here with me, Bennet,” Andi suddenly says, his voice shockingly clear, startling me. My brain seems to have slowed down somehow. It takes a few seconds for the meaning of his words to sink in. But then—
“No! No, no.” I vigorously shake my head. “No. No, definitely not, I won’t—”
“You don’t want to be dead by morning, do you?” he interrupts in that same clear voice. “Justin.”
It’s the most disconcerting thing to hear him call me by my given name.
Briefly, I think of how I heard him scream for me after I had fallen into the crevasse. Something shifted between us in that moment, I only realize that now. I don’t know what it is, but it scares me.
“I’m fine,” I say. “I won’t—”
“I won’t have a paying customer die on a trip.”
He’s cracking a joke. Or maybe it isn’t even a joke.
I utter a laugh that has an edge of hysteria to it and ends in another sneeze.
“Seriously, man. The thing is, I’m not really getting warm in here on my own.”
“Oh,” I say. Fuck, of course. I’m so dumb. Everyone has heard of how people suffering from hypothermia can be warmed up by another person’s body heat. He must think me such a dimwit, refusing to help like I did just now. This is about his health, obviously, nothing else.
“Didn’t think of that. Sorry. Sorry.”
Blanking out the awkwardness, I shimmy out of my hoodie without further ado, then yank off my snowboard pants. …
Then, my back toward the bunk bed, I strip down completely.
Andi has turned onto his side, facing away from me to give me space, I guess, and to make room for me. Setting my jaw, I start crawling into the bag behind him.
He feels like an icicle. Shit, he was right. He needed me in here much sooner. I shiver just from the feel of the cold skin of his back against my legs as I ease them down the bag behind him.
With a jolt of fear, I realize I haven’t yet saved his life. I’ve got to warm him up as fast as possible. Quickly I wriggle myself deeper into the bag until I’m fully inside, my front pressed flush against his back.
This is spooning. I would lie on my back so he’d just have to deal with the side of my body, but I have to focus on making sure he survives.
Trying to quash my worries about how much this must stress him out, I press up against him, focusing on willing what body heat I have left in my system to seep into his.
If only I knew where to put my hands. Eventually I cautiously rest one on his shoulder and the other on his clammy thigh, hoping my palms will work as heating pads.
Andi seems to have stopped breathing.
I try to do the same. Lying there, feeling every inch of the body of the man I’ve lusted after for a whole week, all I want is to not freak him out.
I keep as still as if he were a bomb that might blow up at the slightest jolt. The whole situation is so stressful that my groin is, like, switched off. The temperature is helping with that too. Instead of me warming him up, the polar cold he seems to have stored in his body is invading mine.
Minutes tick by. Suddenly the flashlight on the table starts flickering. A few seconds later, it gives out, leaving us in complete darkness.
Now that I can’t see anything at all, I can hear Andi’s breathing.
It seems to me his body is a little bit warmer. From a medical point of view, it would probably be a good idea to rub his arms and legs or something. But I don’t dare move as much as a finger.
The back of Andi’s head is right in front of my face. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I can make out a few strands of black hair curling above his ear.
It’s just a tiny detail of him, and it makes me ache with helpless tenderness. …
At least this whole bag-sharing thing seems to be working. He’s definitely warmer now.
His scent is coming back, crawling into my nose. It’s sharper than usual with all the dampness and sweat, and it travels straight to my cock.
Fuck no. Focusing what mental powers I’ve got left, I concentrate on making the stirring go away, trying to breathe through my mouth.
It doesn’t work.
Cursing in my head, I mumble an apology. Predictably, I get no answer.
Shit.
No way can I go on prodding my throbbing dick into his buttcheeks like I am. This has to stop, for his sake as much as my own. If we stay like this for even another minute, I’m going to implode and die from the strain of trying to keep my body in check. Or worse, come all over his backside. …

*

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Universal buy link:
https://books2read.com/u/bP5lJz

Dreamspinner Press buy link:
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/glacier-gold-by-crystel-greene-9859-b

*
AUTHOR BIO
The first man Crystel fell in love with was Beauty’s Beast. Next came Robin Hood, then Mr. Darcy. Two decades of married life later, she still loves fictional men—especially when there are two of them who are meant to be! She likes it best when she can create their plights and fights herself, and she can always be counted on to throw in some sizzling hotness and a lot of feels. Here’s her author promise: no fade-outs when things get steamy or emotional, and an ending that will leave you smiling.
Crystel is a lawyer by training, a lover of pastry, and a believer in Happy Ever Afters. Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, and a North Sea girl at heart, she lives in the beautiful Austrian Alps with her husband and four kids.
PS She loves reader mail!
crystelgreene@gmail.com
https://www.crystelgreene.com
https://www.instagram.com/crystelgreene/

https://www.facebook.com/CrystelGreene/
https://www.goodreads.com/crystelgreene
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/crystel-greene-1081
https://www.amazon.com/author/crystelgreene


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Categories
4.5 stars Bi-Sexual Book Bullying Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Magic Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Morgan New Adult Nine Star Press Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series Re-Release TIme to get Paranormal

Time to get paranormal: Equilibrium (Superpowered Love #1) by Katey Hawthorne

 

Less than three press

https://lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=123&products_id=1640

Blurb

Hansen has been hot for Sam since they first bonded over their secret superpowers—literally hot, since Hansen can produce fire from thin air. But Sam is always covered in girls, so Hansen keeps his feelings deeply buried and settles for being Sam’s best friend.

Then Sam’s electrical powers go haywire in public, and in the fallout a mutual attraction is forced to the surface—but bisexuality is new to Sam, and Hansen is afraid to admit he’s in love. And in the midst of trying to figure out themselves and each other, they have to face—and survive—the unfriendly witness to Sam’s explosion.

 

Review

This was really good! There is some amazing world building with really cool powers- the meet cute is absolutely wonderful! Our two MCs are at school when clueless Sam meets in the know Hansen but it’s Sam who is the jock and the popular kid – so Hansen having the upper hand is a lovely switch. This follows them throughout their lives and into exploring things sexually when it’s decided that they are more than friends.

There’s some frustrating “misunderstandings” that should go away with just some talking – but since these are two college-age-ish guys – it makes a bit of sense that they aren’t great at communication. (It’s still frustrating tho…)

I wasn’t super comfortable with Sam and the girlfriend and her family and all that transpired there. It kind of made things less authentic and more soap opera-y and I could have done without that.

Thus 4 of 5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it but it did have some areas that made it a bit less than perfect.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Author Provided Bi-Sexual Book DA Domestic Abuse Gay Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild level angst Neta Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Standalone Virgin

Recent Release: Safe Place- Rainbow Place book 2

Good Reads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41049130-safe-place?from_search=true

Blurb:
Almost 18, Alex is firmly in the closet and desperate to get out. Working hard to get the grades he needs to go to university, were he will be finally able to live out and proud away from his bigoted, homophobic father is his only hope. When Rainbow Place, the new café in town and LGBTQ+ safe heaven, is vandalized Alex can’t help but join the cleaning efforts. And there he meets Cam.

23 year old Cam can’t help but be attracted to the young, beautiful guy he meets at the café, and when Alex shows up on opening day he seizes the chance to talk to him, and maybe a bit more. He soon realizes Alex’s home situation is more complicated, and despite wanting him romantically, backs away in favor of being friends. When Alex fails to get the grades he needs he is devastated, and when he is outed by his father Alex finds himself homeless AND jobless. Cam steps in and offers his couch until Alex is back on his feet, but will they be able to keep their friendship without crossing the lines they drew? With so much sexual and emotional between them, how can they not cross them?

Review
The magic of Jay Northcote’s writing to me is the sense of community he creates. He has a wonderful touch for creating a group on friends were each is interesting and unique in his/her/their way. In this series, much like his Housemates books, you get the feeling of an ongoing story and enjoy all the side characters popping in again with an update. The other part of his writing I absolutely adore is how he describes sexuality and sexual acts. Jay brings a realness to every scene, both physically and emotionally, he shows situations that are not pure romantic idealism, and for that I admire his writing and storytelling.
I have to admit it took me a bit of time to get into the story of Cam and Alex, I was a bit put off by the fact Alex is not 18 yet even though it was just a few months and 6 years apart is not such a big age difference. I eventually learned to like them, when Alex grew and matured so did his story and it was an amazing transition to read. They go from casual almost hook-up to friends, to eventual lovers and it took the time it took because Alex needed to understand who he is first, stand up for himself and figure out how he want to live his life. Cam’s refusal to be more than a friend to him is frustrating but in the end it gave them the safe place to be themselves so they can find to courage to be a couple. It was a VERY satisfying ending to an emotional journey of self-discovery and growing up.

As always, Jay’s writing is funny, witty and sexy, with a bit of angst and a lot of self-restraint to make the fire burn that much hotter when they let lose.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz

Guest Post Xenia Melzer for A Dom and his Warrior


OS: Welcome to Xenia!

XM:

Interview with a character: Peyton

Interview with Peyton
X.M.: Hello, Peyton. It’s so kind of you to take some time for another interview.
P.: Hello back, sugar. And yes, it is kind of me, but that’s just the kind of person I am. Doing this interview with you is by now practically a tradition and who am I to shun it?
X.M.: Thank you – I guess. I heard your skills as an interior designer were put to the test once more in this story?
P.: You better believe it! I mean, there’s no ‘putting to the test’ with me, because I’m the best, but the problems I had to deal with… Jonathan is a good enough guy, but his taste is just so Expendables, if you get what I mean. Shudders delicately. All macho and big and blunt. Not that macho and big aren’t nice, oh no, Dolph Lundgren definitely has a place in my heart. Or Terry Crews, the muscles on that man, oh. My. God. I could climb him like a tree!
X.M.: Ah, yes, Peyton, back to the question at hand. You took care of Jonathan’s home?
P.: If you mean by ‘take care’ that I turned that eighties monstrosity with more rooms than a lab rat’s labyrinth into a modern, light filled, beautiful living space, then yes, I did exactly that. You should have seen the rooms! Small and boring, totally wasting their potential. Luckily for Jonathan I’m not a resentful person. Before he moved in with Leeland I had already told him what he should change about the apartment, but he chickened out and told me it was fine the way it was. Fine! Dark and gloomy, that’s what it was! And don’t even get me started on the kitchen! I can’t believe anybody could have cooked in that. Jonathan certainly didn’t. He enjoys greasy take-out too much. I did Leeland a favor when I threw that remnant of the Stone Age out.
X.M.: That was very nice of you. I also heard you’re now a fan of the UFC?
P.: Not the UFC in general, mind you. I think their system of deducing points and thus deciding the winner of a fight when there’s no K.O. is stupid at best and I don’t care for the latent and open homophobia some of the athletes and trainers show, but I can very much get behind ogling practically naked, heavily muscled men getting all sweaty. It’s what I imagine the ancient Greeks must have looked like when the Olympic Games were still done naked… Gets a faraway, dreamy look. They used oil, you know? To make it harder for an opponent to grab them. Imagine all the oil on all those muscles…
X.M.: Clears throat. You don’t care for the point system?
P.: What? Oh, yeah, I don’t. It’s almost as bad as in gymnastics or dressage or figure skating. A bunch of judges sitting around deducing points for things like timid fighting? Fouls I get, those are quite obvious and it’s clear an athlete has to be punished for those, but bad form? Timid fighting? That’s not something you can judge objectively. I could totally get behind a score for looks, though. They could make it the audience’s decision. Wouldn’t that be nice?
X.M.: I’m pretty sure the athletes wouldn’t want to be ogled like cattle on a market.
P.: Pff. Then what is the official weighing for? And why do they wear next to nothing? You can’t tell me there isn’t a strong aesthetic component to it!
X.M.: Well, yes, you’re probably right…
P.: Probably? I am right. Always. Well, most of the time. Anyway, they do have great bodies in the UFC.
X.M.: Thank you for your insights, Peyton. It was – as always – enlightening.
P.: You’re welcome. And don’t think I haven’t heard the sarcasm, Missus! You’ll see if I’m available for an interview the next time!

Blurb

Leeland Drake and Jonathan White are a committed BDSM couple and have just moved in together. Leeland has only one year left in college, and everything seems perfect… until Leeland’s uncle asks him to stand in for an injured UFC fighter.

Leeland wants to help his uncle, but he remembers all too well from his years competing in martial arts how strenuous life as an athlete can be. He doesn’t want to risk his relationship with Jonathan. After some discussion, they decide Leeland will go pro for a year.

As if the training and strict diet weren’t bad enough, the pressure skyrockets when Leeland encounters homophobic fighter Tommy Adams—especially when they end up facing each other in the championship

Between the bigoted rants of his opponent, the scrutiny of the media, the pressure from his sponsor, and a fire in his uncle’s gym, Leeland is close to breaking down. Only Jonathan’s support and love keep him focused enough to set foot in the octagon once more—and maybe even walk away a winner.
Buy Link

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-dom-and-his-warrior-by-xenia-melzer-9871-b

Biography Xenia Melzer
Xenia Melzer was born and raised in a small village in the South of Bavaria. As one of nature’s true chocoholics, she’s always in search of the perfect chocolate experience. So far, she’s had about a dozen truly remarkable ones. Despite having been in close proximity to the mountains all her life, she has never understood why so many people think snow sports are fun. There are neither chocolate nor horses involved and it’s cold by definition, so where’s the sense? She does not like beer either and has never been to the Oktoberfest – no quality chocolate there.
Even though her mind is preoccupied with various stories most of the time, Xenia has managed to get through school and university with surprisingly good grades. Right after school she met her one true love who showed her that reality is capable of producing some truly amazing love stories itself.
While she was having her two children, she started writing down the most persistent stories in her head as a way of relieving mommy-related stress symptoms. As it turned out, the stress-relief has now become a source of the same, albeit a positive one.
When she’s not writing, she translates the stories of other authors into German, enjoys riding and running, spending time with her kids, and dancing with her husband. If you want to contact her, please visit either her website, www.xeniamelzer.com or write her an email: info@xeniamelzer.com .

Categories
Halloween Holiday Monthly Theme Time to get scared

Introduction to October’s Spooky Theme “Time to get Scared”!

This October – since we just got done with Paranormal Month – we are going to focus on all things Spooky, scary, ghosty and Halloween-y!

 

Join us for these “haunting titles” and more!

 

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Dreamspinner Gay Hurt/Abuse Karen m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Stalker/Abusive Ex

Audiobook: Set Ablaze by K.C. Burn Narrated by Darcy Stark

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/set-ablaze-by-kc-burn-9520-b

Blurb

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”
Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously by Morgan – https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-set-ablaze-by-kc-burn/)

Overall:
Wonderful story with two amazing MC’s, both of whom have known serious pain and loss in the past.
It’s heartwarming to see how they handle this together, coming out so much stronger with the other’s support and love.
There’s also a very welcome cuteness overload, not in the least thanks to the “third” in their relationship…Fang.
Sweet and entertaining read with an immensely satisfying HEA.

Story:
The attraction between Jez and Hayden flares up hot and bright from the moment they set eyes on each other, but they each have their reasons for not immediately acting on it.

There are some obstacles in their way: Jez is Hayden’s best friend’s little brother, he’s also hiding something, Hayden makes some wrong assumptions, neither of them is winning any prizes as far as communication goes and then there are Hayden’s so-called friends, Vic and Jordan, who are continually spouting off homophobic, racist and misogynistic slurs.
Hayden’s so afraid of rocking the boat and losing his “friends” that he pretends, even to himself, that all of that is said “jokingly”.

Once Hayden’s blinders are off, he stands up for himself and for what he wants. I love how sweet he is with Jez, how accepting of his veganism, and he’s simply too adorable when he finds out Jez brought a stowaway into his house. Enter Fang…the cutest of all pugs in the history of pugs.

The stalker plot was very well executed and brought some welcome suspense to the story, the threat of creepy Jason hanging like a cloud over Jez’s new-found happiness and exacerbating his anxiety. Is he making it all up in his head, or is there really trouble in paradise?

Miguel, Hayden’s best friend and Jez’s older brother, is a very unlikely, though endearing matchmaker. He doesn’t make a good first impression on the reader, very much like his brother in terms of avoidance tactics, but he grows on you once he finally gets around to having a heart to heart with Jez and Hayden.
Hearing about what happened to Jez from his perspective was enlightening and heartbreaking at the same time.

I loved the writing style and the build-up of this story. The author brings us some beautiful and poignant imagery throughout the book to describe our MC’s state of mind. I was especially moved by Hayden’s painful realization he’s been bleeding from a thousand cuts without even knowing it.

Narration:
The narrator, Darcy Stark, was a revelation. He has great acting skills and easily draws you into the story, setting the right mood and making the characters come to life. He did wonderfully distinct and fitting voices for both MC’s, and also did a great job at differentiating the voices for the secondary characters.
I especially loved the narration in the scenes that were more emotionally intense, with heartbreak, pain, hope and fear each coming across so clearly in the narrator’s voice, making you feel all of it too, right alongside the MC’s. This book was truly a pleasure to listen to.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Aerielle Book Domestic Abuse Gay Gay Hurt/Abuse Little to no angst m/m Mild/low level heat Monthly Theme mpreg mpreg non-shifter alpha/omega Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased TIme to get Paranormal

Time to get Paranormal: Heard: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 3) by A.M. Arthur

 

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36589425-heard

Blurb
An omega who can’t speak meets an alpha who won’t listen….

Karter Jenks is a first-year constable who’s still trying to prove himself to his superiors, so he isn’t looking for a mate right now. Soon, sure, but he also knows he has work to do to change his alphahole tendencies around omega rights. The Kell Iverson trial opened his eyes to how cruelly some omegas are treated, and Karter doesn’t want to follow in his authoritarian father’s footsteps when he finds his mate. And he absolutely does not expect a homeless omega vagrant and burglary suspect to be his bondmate.
Jax Orris escaped a life of captivity and pain to save himself and his infant son. Living as vagrants isn’t ideal, but it’s better than trusting the authorities who landed Jax in hell to begin with. When their hiding place is discovered, Jax is shocked to feel the mating bond with the young alpha who’s been tracking him—and even more shocked when the constable doesn’t immediately arrest him for his crimes. It helps him trust Karter enough to accept his help in keeping himself and his son safe from the men Jax escaped.
Jax’s story horrifies Karter, and he vows to protect his omega from further harm—but first he has to get his stubborn, angry omega to trust him. Trust is no longer in Jax’s nature, but he can’t deny his connection to the young alpha eager to please him. Jax never thought he’d want another alpha to touch him, much less mate with him, but Karter’s gentle patience breaks down the walls Jax erected around his heart after the death of his first mate. As Jax’s next heat approaches, the investigation into his captivity uncovers surprising connections to several previous cases, and the danger to everyone involved increases. Can he trust Karter to protect him, or will Jax’s past destroy their chance for a happily ever after?

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse

Review

After his mate dies in a work accident, Jax is sent to stay in an omega rescue. There his is sold to a pregnant omega fighting ring. After giving birth to his son he runs away from the fighting ring. While investigating break ins Karter starts to think an omega may be breaking into these homes and something is pulling at him to find the man. Eventually he tracks Jax down and discovers that not only is Jax his mate but was rendered mute by the men who ran the fighting ring. The two men are immediately drawn to each other. Karter is determined to be a good alpha to Jax and his son. I really liked the dynamic of this book. Jax, even though he is the omega he is slightly bigger and stronger than his alpha. Karter doesn’t have an issue with that, in fact he seems to revel in having a non traditional omega. Karter is my favorite alpha in the series so far. He is still a young alpha, who was raised in a conservative home and but he is trying to adapt to a more liberal way of thinking. This book was a bit easier to get through than the the first two in the series. The abuse in this book is a little less pronounced than the first two, but there still is some discussion about what Jax went through during his time in captivity.
5 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Book DA Dreamspinner Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Shifter Speculative Fiction Standalone Xanthe

Release Day Review: Guarding His Melody, Enhanced World Book 4 by Victoria Sue

release day review
Dreamspinner Presents:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/guarding-his-melody-by-victoria-sue-9873-b
Blurb
A standalone in the Enhanced World

Deaf since childhood, Sebastian Armitage had a promising musical future until his dreams were shattered when he transformed at twelve years old. In a world where enhanced humans are terrorized and imprisoned, his life shrinks around him even more as he suffers the torment of his father’s experimental research to enable him to hear.

Gray Darling—struggling with the scars left by his experience in Afghanistan—agrees to provide short-term personal protection when anonymous threats escalate into assault on those closest to Seb.

As the lines between protection and attraction blur, Gray and Seb can’t ignore the intense feelings drawing them together. But secrets and betrayals might prove deadly, unless Gray is willing to risk it all. And Seb must find the strength to make his own future and sing his own song….

Review
Wow, Victoria Sue never fails to disappoint in her writing regardless of the genre. The Enhanced World series are a fantastic read and this just proves it even more.
This book is separate from the first three books though we do get a cameo from the MC’s of them.
In this story we follow Gray And Sebastian, Gray being hired as personal security for Seb after some threats and attacks on people he knows. He is hired as a precaution but there is so much more going on than Gray’s been told.
Sebastian has been deaf since a young boy due to meningitis and then evolved when h was twelve causing his world to shrink even more. With operations to try and help his hearing, his recent bodyguard apparently committing suicide and the constant vertigo, nothing is going right for him at the moment and the only way he has control is within his rooms at his father’s estate.
Gray takes on the new security role expecting a spoilt young man but he got something he never bargained for. When he witnesses Seb’s reaction and symptoms of vertigo he wants to do all he can to help. As well as keeping Seb safe, he wants to help him get better. But there is so much more going on than he knows and he needs all the help he can get to keep the man he’s coming to care for safe.
This book is filled with so much! We have action, mystery, a developing friendship into something more. The mystery going on throughout is well written, keeping us guessing as to the who and why of what is going on and how it involves Sebastian. As well as drawing our MC’s together, it also has the chance to tear them apart.
Sebastian and Gray are characters given good histories that we slowly learn over time. Allowing the readers and the MC’s to learn about them, grow to love them. I would say this is a slow burner as things between the characters mean so much more than just falling in love as there’s protection, care and friendship in there too. Both men also have trauma in their past and it’s treated with respect by the author. Afghan, loss of parents and friends for Gray and illness, deafness, the loss of a parent, becoming enhanced, subsequent operations and now threats for Seb. It’s a lot for anyone to handle but when you have the care of someone who truly cares, it’s not quite as bad as it was when alone. Whilst Gray is there because of a not so obvious threat, we are also treated to some positive, happy moments with Seb being a highly skilled piano player and Gray sharing his morning Tai Chi ritual. Gray opens up Sebastian’s world from the suite he has at home to the rest of his home, the garden and even some time outside of the gates. It all makes for fantastic reading.
Victoria is wonderful at world building and also including a wide variety of characters, both good and bad. We have several emotional moments, not just with our MC’s but with those around them as well.
I definitely recommend this book! And the series, and any books from Victoria Sue 🙂
I received an ARC from the publisher and am happily giving a review.

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ BDSM Book Dreamspinner Established Couple Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Little to no angst m/m Mary D MMA Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat sounding speciality kinks Sports Standalone

Release Day: A Dom and His Warrior by Xenia Melzer

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-dom-and-his-warrior-by-xenia-melzer-9871-b

 

 

Blurb

Leeland Drake and Jonathan White are a committed BDSM couple and have just moved in together. Leeland has only one year left in college, and everything seems perfect… until Leeland’s uncle asks him to stand in for an injured UFC fighter.

Leeland wants to help his uncle, but he remembers all too well from his years competing in martial arts how strenuous life as an athlete can be. He doesn’t want to risk his relationship with Jonathan. After some discussion, they decide Leeland will go pro for a year.

As if the training and strict diet weren’t bad enough, the pressure skyrockets when Leeland encounters homophobic fighter Noah Adams—especially when they end up facing each other in the championship.

Between the bigoted rants of his opponent, the scrutiny of the media, the pressure from his sponsor, and a fire in his uncle’s gym, Leeland is close to breaking down. Only Jonathan’s support and love keep him focused enough to set foot in the octagon once more—and maybe even walk away a winner

 

Review by Truus
Leeland and Jonathan

As a perfect fit D/s couple Jonathan and Leeland will move in together.

Martial arts is Leeland’s expertise and to help his godfather he has to go pro as UFC fighter for the next year. He don’t really want to, but family matters and he has to help his uncle.

It is harder than they ever could imagine, the stress, the bigotry and homophobia, the exhausting days. Leeland has such a hard time but he is lethal and vicious.
But opponents can be vicious too… and ugly.

A very captivating story with wonderful personalities. Smoothly written with a nice flow. Jonathan and Leeland are not in a typical BDSM relationship. They play in their own way and have their own rules. Deep rooted love is the what glued and hold them together. Between all the training and fighting we can enjoy some delicious hot and satisfying scenes and how they still learn from and with each other. Their friends who are all subs and Doms are irreplaceable and their stories woven into this journey are also awesome. And all this together made it to an entertaining story. I just love the dynamic between Doms and their subs.

4.5 of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Mary

A Dom and his Warrior is the third book in the Club Whisper series and can be read as a stand-alone. Having said that there are characters from the previous books with cameo roles in this book and it’s nice to know their story to give some context. To be honest I didn’t love this story as much as the previous two. I couldn’t find the hook, that something to pull me into these characters story. Both Leeland and Johnathan are lovely kind generous men. Maybe too bland? Leeland goes through so much to help his uncle with the training to be a UFC fighter but never has a tantrum. Yes he has a wobble which he comforts with a sugar binge but no drama. That’s what I think I was missing, the drama of Leeland being constantly under pressure and harassed by his homophobic opponent. On the other hand Xenia Melzer knows how to write hot BDSM scenes. In fact the book opens with a scene. One that completely fits in with both Leeland and Jonathan’s temperaments being such nice guys. It was a nice story, don’t get me wrong and I might be too harsh because we all need something mellow every now and again. The other aspect that distracted me was that Leeland wasn’t sure what to make of Emilio and Garrett’s relationship. This aspect kept being mentioned but wasn’t resolved. Possibly it was setting up the story arc for the next book.

 

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review