Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Tit for tat By JS Harker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tit-for-tat-by-js-harker-10043-b

Blurb

Cold has never been so hot.
College sophomore Derek is busy working over his holiday break—but his shifts at the toy store are no hardship if they mean more opportunity to dream about the sexy new guy working as an elf in Santa’s Workshop. When his mother gifts him a bag of cookies, Derek regifts them to Flynn as an excuse to get to know him. Flynn has presents to offer as well, and soon they’re dating, with Derek finding out his comfort zone is bigger than he imagined.
But Flynn is hiding a secret—he’s really a winter fairy whose magic is bound to the season. He can’t stay in the mortal realm, and Derek doesn’t want to lose contact with his family. Can they find a way to hold on to each other when the snow and sugar plums melt away?

Review by Morgan

This was sweet if kind of all over the place. I loved the first time/virgin thing, didn’t quite understand why Flynn was on Earth, thought the sugar fiending was hysterical and thought the workaround clever.

It was odd that everyone besides Flynn and Derek were assholes – including the fairy side kick, both families, and Derek’s co-workers. The only nice guy is the roommate.

All in all a fun holiday read.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Mary

 

I wasn’t sure what to make of this story at the start but as the story  progressed I grew to love it. Derek is not a confident young man. He is slightly overweight and a virgin. Flynn is strange but also alluring. Once Derek gets his courage up to ask Flynn out they realise they are made for each other. So self centred. The whole story is light and has the feeling of a winter fairy tale. Derek’s ex boyfriend, Gregory, is a great villain of the story, a pantomime villain, And there is even a pixie and fairy dust! What more could you want than love and magic at Christmas.

 

 

3.5of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Lover Behind Enemy Lines By Liv Olteano

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lover-behind-enemy-lines-by-liv-olteano-9940-b

Blurb

A Dreamcatchers Tale
True mates, together at last.
Claw—fearless leader of Seattle’s Team 32—has faced many dangers during more than a century and a half as a dreamcatcher. Yet nothing has ever scared him more than his obsession with Nathan Gallagher. Tormented by visions and dreams about the man ever since he first laid eyes on him, Claw now has to deal with living under the same roof with the object of his most ardent desires. And Nathan is so much more than a simple crush.
Brother of the caster who’s been plaguing Team 32’s area and less-than-willing houseguest of the team after a strange break-in attempt, Nathan may hold the key to finally apprehending his sister and putting a stop to the havoc she’s wreaking on Queen Anne…. Meanwhile, Nathan’s wreaking some havoc of his own on Claw’s heart.

Review

These stories in this series are just so…. Almost there for me – LOL. I love the blurb. I love the premise. I love the magic/paranormal stuff – but the romance always leaves me a little empty.

Claw has SUCH potential – he’s old, powerful, pining for a lost love… he meets a guy who shares an incarnation with his previous lover – this should be a slam dunk! But… he waffles and wavers and honestly Nathan is braver than Claw and far less ridiculous.

I didn’t find Nathan’s motivations to be always logical given his family history and I found Claw to be tedious in his reluctance to explore what is obviously there with Nathan.

The Spaga continue to be a mystery – both easy and hard to defeat – and the big boss at the end – way too easy… but still enjoyable as side stories go.

I give this a solid 3.5 stars – more than average but not terrific.

Recommended for fans of the author/series. I’d not read these as standalones – I think you need to read them all in order.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest 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

 

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

Release Day Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://riptidepublishing.com/products/vampire-with-benefits

Blurb

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

Review

This is a fun series! Lots of humor, a fair amount of magic and set in the same world as the Fae series.

 

We met the intendeds for these MCs in book 1 – and you could tell from the predicament that their story would be hilarious and it is!

 

It’s also surprisingly sexy and there are a fair amount of feelz as well.

 

I loved the way each MC has their own dilemma to overcome and that together they can do most anything!

 

I wouldn’t read this on it’s own, but you probably could.

 

4 of 5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day: His Consort by Mary Calmes

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-consort-by-mary-calmes-9995-b

Blurb

A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

 

Review by Karen

I don’t think anyone can bring the soulmate/fated mate vibe to a story as well as Mary Calmes can. There’s no doubting the all-encompassing, blissful feelings that well up between Jason and Varic. I loved that they are so drawn to each other from the first, but even more that it’s not just about chemistry or power, but true love and appreciation of the other person that makes them so strong together.

 

I’m impressed by the amount of detail that went into the world-building and the setting of this story, bringing into it such history and a great cast of secondary characters. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in a follow-up story! We get to know Jason really well from the first, whereas our prince remains far more enigmatic. It takes a while for him to make an appearance “on page”. The author sure understands how to build up anticipation!

 

Jason is an incredibly endearing hero, strong and capable, but with a soft heart underneath. Varic, he who has it all and has had it for what seems like an eternity, needs to swiftly adjust to what it means to have a modern-day man for a mate, and how vulnerable that makes him feel. It’s not as easy as he might have expected, but his devotion to Jason never wavers.

 

The story is excellently paced with various vampyr political intrigues to muddy the waters for our heroes. Danger lurks in unexpected places and it’s hard to know who to trust. I didn’t see the threat coming at all! It was brilliant! Though less so for our MC’s, of course…

 

This was such an enjoyable read, I was totally swept away by it. It was all so intense! Loved it!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

I’ll start out by re-iterating that I’ve been a huge fan girl of Mary for a long time… I was stoked to find out she’s writing paranormal again because I LOVE that part of her writing – more? – than her contemporary – it’s a toss up because Marshal’s really has my heart … But this story was all over the place.

There is a TON of world building so I hope we get a series out of this – there are certainly a lot of characters to play with – legions of them – but I couldn’t really tell you a lot about the prince because he does not play a big role in this romance about the prince of the vampyr.

Fans of the author will find her quintessential “aw shucks” MC in our human. He’s ex special forces so he can take care of himself, but he’s got a heart as big as the sun. He literally wants to save everyone and he charms his enemies along the way.

There are so many new words and rules and people and a new conflict between the made vamps and the royal vamps – a lot of it went over my head and once the story shifted from Washington state to New Orleans I admit to finding it hard to keep track of who and what and where and definitely why.

Our couple spends very little time together. I’m totally on board with the “mine” but I there was a lot of time that I was wishing they’d spend some time not having sex and get to know one another. The way the story is laid out I almost thought Hadrian or Tiago was going to be the other MC – we spend more time with them than the prince.

In any case, it was a fun story and definitely had all the Mary charm – but it felt a bit scattered and not as cohesive as some of her other stories.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Quenched in Blood By Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/quenched-in-blood-by-ari-mckay-9984-b

Blurb

Asheville Arcana
Will love mean rebirth… or death?
In the course of his work with the Asheville Paranormal Council, reclusive three-hundred-year-old vampire Julian Schaden discovers young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters—a legacy Thomas knows nothing about.
He also knows nothing about the supernatural world or the danger he’s in. As Julian convinces him and later agrees to train Thomas to use his abilities, he struggles against unexpected feelings. Thomas is too young and innocent to become involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian is fated to lose….
Julian and Thomas grow closer as the demonic menace advances. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: to save Thomas’s life, Julian might have to give up the only man he’s ever loved.

Review

This is an amazing series. It’s really rich and full of tremendous world building with lively and engaging characters and a bad guy really worth going after.

I loved the relationship building here – I felt like it went at a great pace and kept me interested without rushing it.

Of course the virgin aspect mixed with the “slut” as partner was really hot! But it was also really tender and Julian did a lot of growing along side Thomas.

The action/adventure was just enough without overwhelming the romance.

Overall I think this was excellent and I highly recommend it to any fan of the author, the series, paranormal romance and fantasy. I do think this is best read in order but you could muddle though if you really don’t want to.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Femme Faux Fatale By Susan Laine

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/femme-faux-fatale-by-susan-laine-9982-b

Blurb

Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up.
Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.
At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.
What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.

 

Review
The start of this story put me in mind of film noir, with the jaded PI meeting his dubious client for the first time. My initial reaction was that the characters were a bit caricaturist. This impression was strengthened the first time Camille Astor came into the picture. I think it’s intentional given that there are movie references included in the story. Once Cain met Riley that impression was less important and I put it to one side. Fireworks and good ole fashioned lust came into the story, yum. This is a tale that twists and turns. There are the obvious bad guys and the not so obvious worse guys which gave the story a pleasant edge. Some things I didn’t see coming and this kept me hooked. Overall good fast burn romance with murder-crime drama.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Comfort: Rend (Riven #2) by Roan Parrish

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38944629-rend?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

Review

This was not what I was expecting.

I’d really loved Riven – it had angst and pain – sure – but the overall feeling was lighter and definitely had a brighter outlook to it.

I’d thought this would have a similar vibe. Well – it didn’t. It was very, very, very, very angsty – drama at every turn and full of sadness and emotional upheaval.

If this is your bag- you will be psyched because Roan Parrish is a great writer. However, if you’re looking for something lighter in line with Riven – don’t read this.

I thought it was interesting that our MCs are already married in chapter 1 and the book is not our guys getting together but Matt getting over his low self esteem.

I really didn’t like the fact that Matt was a mental health professional with apparently no ability to manage himself – at all.

I think that was definitely part of the problem I had with this. I appreciated the idea of it, but I didn’t necessarily like that our guys were already together.

In any case – it was nice seeing the MCs from book 1 and – as I mentioned – Roan is a great writer – I was just over Matt and his self doubt pretty much from sentence one so this just didn’t tick any boxes for me.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: You’ll be the Death of Us (A Loving Nip #17) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42092262-you-ll-be-the-death-of-us?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Just a Little Love Bite: A long-awaited-for vacation ends in disaster, forcing one man to make the ultimate life and death choice.

Eric Young and Daren Creston met when both attended a pride parade in Denver with friends. They’d immediately hit it off. Three months later, city-dwelling Eric moved in with small-town living Daren, and they made their home in Colin City. Seven years later, they are still very much in love. After years of saving, Eric and Daren head to a dude ranch for a little sun, fun, and sexy cowboy roleplay in the bedroom. The place has amazing reviews, is run by vampires, and was recommended by their wolf shifter buddies. After a tragic riding accident leaves Daren’s life hanging perilously by a thread, Eric is willing to do anything to save his lover. Death, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, hears Eric’s cries. His interest is piqued. When Death makes the pretty human an offer–the price, Eric and Daren’s souls–will Eric take it? And if he does, will Daren ever be able to forgive him?
Reader Advisory: This is a M/M/M menage.

Review

Daren and Eric are a human couple who have appeared sporadically throughout the Wolves of Stoneridge series. They decide to vacation at a vampire ranch based on the recommendations of their paranormal friends. Sadly, while there tragedy befalls Daren and Eric not willing to his love begs for help stating he will do anything. Death, one of the Four Horsemen, over hears Eric’s pleading and decides to intervene and offer his assistance, but both men will need to tie themselves to Death for eternity.

Anybody familiar with this series knows that these books are easy, light reads. So far there are over 100 books in the connecting series and each story has managed to be unique (granted there are still a few I haven’t read). The one thing I don’t like about most of the newer books is that they tend to have very rushed endings. The same happened in this one. After searching for one of Death’s missing demons, they find him with the help of alpha’s Declan and Kontra and the warlocks Draven and Tim. The ensuing “battle” is over in a page or two but then so is the book. We still don’t really know who or what was behind the capture, but it looks like it will be resolved in future books. This series is still a favorite of mine. Death and his two human mates made for a great, steamy little story.

4 Stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review