Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Exit Through the Gift Shop by Kim Fielding

 

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb

Alex’s traditional family Christmas Compromise means spending the holiday at a second-rate theme park, Poseidon’s Planet, but Alex doesn’t mind. He enjoys the rides and the company of his family, and it’s a good break from his going-nowhere existence back in Indiana. Then he meets a certain sexy employee in a pirate costume, and Alex’s vacation gets even better. But thrill rides last only a short time, and sooner or later everyone has to return to real life. Alex long ago gave up on marrying a handsome prince—will he have to give up on his pirate as well?

Review

I loved this story, the characters are fantastic and have a very tight familial bond. I enjoyed Alex’s family and their Christmas compromise vacation. Each character had a very distinct voice in the story, quirks and in such a short story I admire Fielding’s ability to write such well-rounded characters in a short.
Alex meets Rory in Poseidon’s Planet theme park and they have an instant attraction. With time against them (Alex’s family is only there for a few days) Rory reaches out to Alex and they have a very sweet, short date the next day. There is just something so captivating and charming about both of them, and the banter they share is both sexy and incredibly funny. I loved the sense of family found in the story, and how Alex’s family really embraced Rory from the first moment.
This is a super sweet, smile inducing short you do not want to miss out on!

Number of stars out of 5
4

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Audiobook Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon Narrated by Noah Michael Levin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ps-i-spook-you-by-se-harmon-8565-b

Blurb
SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales

Review
I reviewed the book when it came out and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad that I didn’t remember the story at all. Good in the sense that I was able to come to it fresh, but bad that it obviously was not memorable in the least. Having said all that I completely enjoyed this story which was mixture of ghost and reluctant medium with a good dose of second chance romance. Paranormal stories have always intrigued me. This one was about Rain both coming home and coming to terms with his powers. The ghosts, particularly one called Ethan, are hounding him to help them find peace and cross over. However returning home means meeting with his ex Danny. Rain never got over Danny despite being the one to break up with him. Rain and Danny do get their happy ever after but for me it felt like the medium side of his story was just beginning. I would love a second book, or even a short story about how they are getting on. Especially as Rain’s family are wonderfully quirky characters and would certainly make the story very interesting. But at this stage I doubt a sequel will be forthcoming. I mustn’t forget the mystery side of the story which turns out to be a murder. This kept me guessing until near the end when it all fell into place.
I’ve not listened to anything by Noah Michael Levine before. He has a smooth voice very easy to listen to and absorb into the story. He acts out the story line well ensuring all the characters stand out with their own voices and personalities. Overall a good listen but I’m not sure if it’s going to stick in my mind.

Number of stars out of 5
4 out of 5 for both the story and narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Time to Comfort the Hurts/Release Day Review: Strays and Lovers by John Inman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/strays-and-lovers-by-john-inman-10003-b

Blurb

Forty-six-year-old Eddie Hightower has a problem. He’s all alone. The only thing that saves him from facing that stark reality is the fact that he isn’t really alone at all. He has a house full of pets and a refuge full of stray unwanted animals he spends every waking hour trying to place in homes. While he loves what he does with all the joy in his heart, that same poor aging heart is still missing something. And Eddie knows exactly what it is. Romance.
But wait. Cue the music. Suddenly, beyond all hope, it happens. In the small desert town of Spangle, California, where Eddie lives, comes a sad young stranger with piercing gray eyes. They are the palest, most stunningly beautiful eyes Eddie has ever seen. Poor Eddie Hightower is swallowed up in their silver depths and disappears without a gurgle. The stranger’s name is Gray Grissom. Gray, like his eyes. Without hesitation Eddie opens his doors—and his heart—to the lost young man. After all, that’s what Eddie does. He finds homes for strays. But this is one stray Eddie intends to keep for himself.

Review

Eddie is a lonely man who spends his days caring for the animals at his rescue. He longs for the love and companionship of another person. He ends up meeting an unknown man named Gray at the hardware store he used to work at.

After a less than warm first meeting, Gray comes out to the animal sanctuary to help Eddie with building a new dog run. The two men spend the day working together and feelings start to form but then Gray leaves and Eddie is again alone. The next meeting between the men has Gray acting cold and callous once more.

Eddie leave Gray alone feeling rejected once more. Time passes and Eddie still thinks about Gray but instead of happiness, he feels considerable sadness at the loss of a potential friend.

Eddie eventually breaks down the walls Gray has built up around himself. Gray finally opens up about his past and both men admit to the attraction that had been stirring between them.

While their romance slowly starts to develop, Gray also starts opening up to Eddie more and more.

Eddie is a character that you can’t help falling for. He has devoted his life to helping unloved animals. Gray on the other hand was harder to get a feel for. His attitude changes are abrupt and at first, we don’t know why he is acting out that way. A lot of the secondary character are animals and they are all just as interesting as the humans in the story. This is a great, low angst love story!

4 Stars



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Santa Daddy by Keira Andrews

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42904546-santa-daddy?from_search=true

Blurb

Mall Santas aren’t supposed to be hot.

Hunter Adams is hopelessly adrift after college. He’s still a virgin, can’t find a real job, and has no clue what to do with his life. In desperation, he returns to his humiliating old job as an elf at the Santa’s Village in his hometown’s dying mall. The Santa on the job is an unexpectedly sexy lumberjack, twice Hunter’s size and age. He makes Hunter feel very naughty—too bad he’s grumpy and intimidating.

Years after the tragic death of his partner, Nick Spini has his beagle and long, hard days on his Christmas tree farm. That’s plenty. But he can’t refuse a loyal friend’s plea for help and finds himself filling in as Santa at the local mall. Despite Nick’s attempt to stay aloof, the beautiful, anxious young man playing elf brings out his long-dormant daddy instincts.

When a surprise blizzard traps them alone in Nick’s isolated forest home, their attraction burns even brighter. Will they surrender to the sizzling connection between them and find the release and comfort they crave?

Santa Daddy is a holiday gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring an age gap, steamy m/m first times, daddy role-playing and light spanking, Christmas romance feels, and of course a happy ending.

Review

This is just the right kind of book to get snowed in with! Nick is just the right kind of grumpy lumberjack you want to cuddle with and hunter is so awkwardly sweet and insecure- the work perfectly together.
I loved the emotional depth Keira put into Nick’s past, and it really emphasized his reclusiveness and unwillingness to be around people. That made him being roped into playing Santa in the mall so very funny and charming. He and Hunter have instant attraction that is off the charts, you can definitely save up on your heating bills with this books.
I usually do like light kink in books, but I shy away from the more structured BDSM club themes and plotlines. Full time alternative lifestyle is not my preferred reading material. What I liked about this book is the balance, the kink is there but it is much more about the dynamic between the two then the props and rules and contracts like in other BDSM/heavy kink books (not that there is anything wrong about them, just my personal preference). It made the sex between them smoldering hot without being the main focus of the relationship. It is the perfect balance in my opinion and I was kind of sad it didn’t go on longer so I could have more of their hotness (there is plenty there, I’m just greedy).

I also loved Hunter’s relationship with his mother, and his own struggle with fitting into the “adult role” he thinks society expects his to uphold as a collage graduate. It is something I think many people can identify with, and showed that not everyone have to walk the same pre-designed path.

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories this season, and you should definitely check it out (Keira’s Christmas story last year, In Case of Emergency, was also fantastic) if you are looking for some holiday cheer with a heaping dose of “Yes daddy”.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


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Time to comfort the hurts: Through These Eyes (Blind Faith #2) by N.R. Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17569368-through-these-eyes

Blurb

Six months after we last met Carter Reece and Isaac Brannigan, they’re still very much in love. Moving in together, moving forward, life for these two is great until some life changing events occur.

Isaac has a frightening setback and Carter’s world starts to unravel. Things become even more complicated and start to change for both men when Isaac’s new colleague enters the picture.

As Isaac struggles for what he really wants, it might just cost him what he needs the most.

Review

I found Through These Eyes to be even better than the first book in the series (Blind Faith). The author digs even deeper into Isaac and Carter’s relationship.

The story picks up 6 months after Blind Faith. Carter has moved in with Isaac and Isaac’s bond with his dog Brady is growing stronger. Unfortunately, things between Isaac and Carter aren’t going as smoothly. The relationship is very one-sided. Carter is the one who has to keep comprising so he can fit into Isaac’s life.

Isaac meets this guy Josh through his work and Josh is nothing but trouble. Carter is insanely jealous of the budding friendship between the two men and feels that there is something about Josh that just isn’t right.

Josh starts putting ideas into Isaac’s head about this operation that’s been having success down in South America and it could restore Isaac’s sight. This is a big contention between Carter and Isaac. Carter believes that this surgery is some sort of scam and he doesn’t want Isaac to go through with it.

This book is more angsty than the first one. There were times when I really wanted to smack Isaac in the head. He is a jerk throughout the book but at the end of the book he ends up baring his soul to Carter which I found to be such a beautiful moment.

We get a good epilogue, which picks up three months down the road. I was pretty satisfied with how the story ended. Even though one of the main characters was pretty unlikable throughout a good portion of this book, I couldn’t put it down. This book made me feel all kinds of emotions from laughter to anger and even some tears but the real theme through this whole book is hope. Hope is a very powerful thing and both our characters have it in spades!! I cannot recommend this series enough!!!!

4.5 stars


Purchased for Review

 

 

Audiobook: Hidden in Darkness by Alice Winters; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Hidden-in-Darkness-Audiobook/B07HJBJND9?qid=1541961109&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=C88ZHS34SJ9AVYKBKM4Z&

Blurb: When Felix lands a job taking care of a man recovering from severe injuries, he thinks his life may have just turned around. Anything has to be better than the place he’s leaving. There’s something about Lane that draws Felix to him and makes him question if this place could finally become a home for him. But when someone begins stalking Felix, he is left to question who Lane is and what actually happened to him. Together, Felix and Lane will be forced to see just how far they will go to protect each other. Being chased by cops, kidnapping a man, and breaking into a drug operation seems to be his normal since arriving in Lane’s life. Felix may be out of his element, but one thing he is sure about is that he doesn’t want to leave, even if it costs him his life.

Review by Dee:

Book previously reviewed here https://openskyebookreviews.com/time-to-laugh-hidden-in-darkness-by-alice-winters/

When I read the book the first (of many times), I was startled by the lack of ‘kid glove’ treatment Felix gave Lane. Don’t get me wrong, it was funny as hell, but wow!, it’s rare to read a story where the disabled MC is treated as they deserved; in this case, a bit meanly (Lane was a bit of a dick at first).
The sarcastic humour and banter is genuinely funny and the crime/suspense kept me engaged.
The audio, as performed by Joel Leslie, does not disappoint*. He continues to wow his listeners with his talent. In this case, he brought Felix to life, capturing his snark perfectly. Joel also captured Felix’s vulnerability and, at times (few), his sensitivity; especially when dealing with Lane. It goes without saying that the overall performance was great, but wow, did he nail the essence of Felix.
This will be an audiobook that I’ll re-listen to often. Loved it!

*(except that there were very slight pauses between sentences due to the ‘I said”s – an editing issue)

5.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

I agree with Dee that Joel Leslie did a wonderful job as always with his narration.  He manages to convey humor and romance as well as give us a variety of well developed characters.

His narration is definitely a 5 of 5 stars for me.

I’m not a fan of the story however.  I don’t like mysteries and I found Felix tedious rather than charming but I know others like Dee really found him hysterical.  He just grated on my nerves and detracted from my overall enjoyment.  (It could be a mood thing… but it just didn’t work for me.)

The humor here is just not my style of humor so I have to give the story a 2 of 5 stars.  Overall a 3 of 5 stars.

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40862277-the-captain-s-ghostly-gamble?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

When a ghostly dandy and his roguish companion try their hand at matchmaking, things definitely go bump in the night.

For centuries, foppish Captain Cornelius Sheridan and brooding John Rookwood have haunted the mansion they duelled and died for. Now these phantom foes must join forces to save both their home and their feuding descendents.

But when Captain Sheridan sacrifices his afterlife for the sake of true love, will Rookwood risk everything to keep his companion by his side, or is it too late to say “I love you”?

Publisher’s Note: This book is related to the Captivating Captains series.

Review

John Rockwood and Cornelius Sheridan are 200 plus year old ghosts that haunt an old manor which was the cause of their dual many years ago. On the anniversary of their death two of their descendants, Jenny and Dan show up at the manor house. Dan, it seems, wants to sell the house while Jenny wants to prove the existence of the ghosts. The two ghosts find out that the pair are actually lovers but the constant bickering between them is causing a great rift in their relationship. To try and salvage the relationship between Dan and Jenny, the ghosts decide to manifest but there is a danger of this causing them to disappear forever. Before they do this John and Cornelius admit their long-standing love for each other.

I readily admit that I was skeptical about this story. A love story between two ghosts?!? I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem. The back and forth banter between the ghosts are snarky and funny. The fondness they have for each other was apparent to me as the reader, but the moment they reveal their love for each other was so sweet.

The human couple, Dan and Jenny were a bit annoying, since neither one of them seemed to really know what the other wanted out of life and just assumed that they each wanted to live a fancy life. One simple conversation would have solved that but then this story wouldn’t have had its dramatic climax.

I highly recommend this little story. Very enjoyable for such a short read.

4.5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Comfort the Hurts: Oz by Lily Morton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42840413-oz?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb: What happens when temporary becomes forever?

Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.
However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He’s also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.
Oz banks on the fact that they’re from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he’s finally home?

Review:
This book ticked all my boxes: snark/banter, engaging characters in Silas, Oz and old friends – Henry and Ivo and potentials for a future story –Niall and Milo.
It’s a hilarious story right from the start, when Oz comes home to find his soon to be ex BF in bed with someone else. The snark starts there and pretty much continues through the whole book.
Lily Morton has a talent for making her characters fun, yet flawed and a bit vulnerable, but not overwhelmingly so. Oz has a penchant for well-to-do blokes who tend to look down at his working class roots. He fully expects that things will be the same with the earl, (his new employer), but he’s so wrong ☺
Which brings us to Silas, Henry’s brother (and no, you don’t have to read Risk Taker, but why wouldn’t you?). Silas (aka the earl), is a veterinarian. He doesn’t stand on ceremony and is currently preoccupied with saving his ancestral home. When he and Oz meet there is an attraction that they both try to ignore, (considering their track records), but they fail epically!
What I loved about the story is that it’s a straightforward romance – the MCs meet, they get to know each other, and while they may have doubts about their feelings, they don’t give up trying to make their budding relationship work. There’s no drama –except with Silas’s mother, no stupid misunderstandings. And the epilogue is so good –loved seeing them in their future.
I do hope that we get to see Niall and Milo have a story and see more of Oz and Silas.

I highly recommend this story.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: A Light in the Darkness by Alice Winters; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Link:
https://www.audible.com/pd/A-Light-in-the-Darkness-Audiobook/154144759X?qid=1543000021&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=SJ717YXMZSWR7R1K4JYX&

Blurb: Felix and Lane are trying out their new normal. Normal means no more car chases, no more drug lords, and definitely no more kidnapping bad guys. All of that is a thing of the past in this new, normal(ish) life style filled with family get-togethers, torturous jogs through the park, and the occasional romp in the parking lot. Felix is done stealing (all but for the cat). He is actually enjoying the boring side of life, especially with Lane by his side doing what he does best: looking handsome. But when Felix’s brother wants to repair their relationship, he brings with him a secret that could cost all of them their lives.
Lane isn’t complaining because the thrills of life-threatening situations are right up his alley. They may think they have a handle on the situation, but what they do not know is that someone has been working them from the shadows. Forcing them to do exactly what he wants as he drives them closer to his sick game of life and death.

Review:
Hands down, this is one of the best sequels I have ever had the pleasure of reading and listening to!
Lane and Felix are still very much in love and are settling into the new home that *they’ve just bought, (*well, Felix did contribute $5, lol!), when Felix’s past rears up. It starts with his long lost brother, Darian and soon escalates into a convoluted mind game that tests both Lane’s and Felix’s sleuthing skills. Through it all, the banter, the sass and shenanigans kept me highly entertained.
But, the narration ….
Joel Leslie owned the story, lock, stock and barrel!; especially Felix. You will understand exactly what I mean when you listen to the opening wail “Lane!….”. I don’t know what else I can say about Joel that is not already known – brilliant narrator, versatile performer, excellent for knowing what a character needs and how to portray said character. Joel was born to do this series ☺
What made this a truly an excellent performance is how he minimized the impact of the repetitive “he said”, “I said” that peppered the story. The author may not have realised the impact of this for people listening to the audio. I hope that, (if there is a continuation of the In Darkness series), Joel will be able to give his considerable wealth of knowledge and advice on the editing of the audio.
I absolutely loved the narration and story!

6 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to Comfort the Hurts: Edge of Living by H.L. Day

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42102036-edge-of-living?from_search=true

Blurb
Sometimes, death can feel like the only escape.

It’s been a year since Alex stopped living. He exists. He breathes. He pretends to be like everyone else. But, he doesn’t live. Burdened by memories, he dreams of the day when he can finally be free. Until that time comes, he keeps everybody at bay. It’s been easy so far. But he never factored in, meeting a man like Austin.

Hard-working mechanic, Austin, has always gone for men as muscular as himself. So, it’s a mystery why he’s so bewitched by the slim, quiet man with the soulful brown eyes who works in the library. The magnetic attraction is one thing, but the protective instincts are harder to fathom. Austin’s sure though, that if he can only earn Alex’s trust then the two of them could be perfect together.

A tentative relationship begins. But Alex’s secrets run deep. Far deeper than Austin could ever envisage. Time is ticking. Events are coming to a head, and love is never a magic cure. Oblivious to the extent of Alex’s pain, can Austin discover the truth? Or is he destined to be left alone, only able to piece together the fragments of his boyfriend’s history, once its already too late?

Trigger warning: Please be aware that this story deals with suicidal ideation. If this is a subject you find uncomfortable, then this book is not recommended.

Review
Okeeehh.. rubbing my hands over my face… that was a….harsh, devastating, heartbreaking, breath stopping story.

I was on the edge of quitting, but of course not really because I just couldn’t stop.. Alexander deserved it to be heard… and to finished his story…

We get to know Austin and how he is intrigued by Alexander.
Alexander decided to let Austin into his life… but also hold him and the whole world at bay.
Austin was very protective but oblivious to the extent of Alexander pain.
It was an almost unbearable journey to go through. Really really hard.
Alexander’s life is difficult … more than difficult… he exists only.
He deceived everyone around him… e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. to let them think he had sort of a normal life.
He has one goal… o.n.e.

This story was more than overwhelming. At times I had to remind myself to breath… I was just holding it in because it was all so devastating.
Amazingly written in a tentative but also almost unbearable realistic way. Very well done.
The heavyweight topic was palpable throughout the whole story.

This story has some serious triggers so be aware of the content and read the blurb.

Read and reviewed for Open Skye Book Review

stars 5 out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review