Audiobook: BFF by KC Wells narrated by Michael Mola

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Dreamspinner Link

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bff-by-kc-wells-9646-b

Blurb
I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.

I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.

Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever

Review
(Book reviewed here previously: https://openskyebookreviews.com/coming-soon-bff-by-k-c-wells/)
The basis of this story is a being written by one of the main characters, Matt, and is told from his point of view. He grows up with David as Best Friends and the book chronicles their journey. I can honestly say I’m not certain how I feel about this story. It’s cute, the story of young men understanding their feelings for each other. Navigating through puberty and all the pressures high school, college and first job brings. Each chapter is another stage in their life and relationship as best friends. I would say this is the ultimate slow burn story as it takes 90% before they realise their feelings are deeper than just close friendship. There is also no angst. Perfect for a light read. My mixed feelings are because I didn’t quite feel the connection between Matt and David, it felt like friends with benefits rather than lovers. This might have been the tone of the narrator and the level of emotions between Matt and David I took from it.
I have not listened to anything narrated by Michael Mola before. He has a young sounding voice appropriate for Matt and David’s age. They are the same age about mid 20’s. All the characters had a unique voice which made easy to distinguish between them. The one thing that I found annoying after a while was Matt’s ‘chuckle’, but don’t let that put you off.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Audiobook: Full Plate by Kim Fielding Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-full-plate-by-kim-fielding-9767-b

Blurb

Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.
Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.
But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?

Review

I’m not a big chef nor a big lawyer fan, but I’m totally a big Kim Fielding fan!

I’m also a Portlander so I absolutely loved all the trivia and locale references of PDX!

This was a low heat, slow burn romance. A Misunderstanding for these pair of Opposites was at it’s center and it was generally sweet and an easy listen.

While I was a bit underwhelmed by the beginning I thought the ending made up for it!

I’m not blown away by the narrator. He does a solid job but didn’t “wow” me, though he’s easy enough to listen to that he’s not distracting and it’s a good way to experience this – especially if you want to go hands free.

3.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get Paranormal: Denying Fate (A Series of Fate #1) by C.C. Dado

 

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/denying-fate-by-cc-dado-9837-b

Blurb

Fate is a funny thing. Some try to cut its threads, while others wrap themselves in it like a blanket.

Young wolf shifter Max is cocky and crass. Unlike others his age, he has yet to discover a talent that will serve his pack. Since childhood, he’s been convinced the pack alpha is his mate, but Alpha Christian cannot envision unfiltered and directionless Max taking the place of his elegant mother at the head of the pack. As Max begins to build a life with his best friend, he also begins to see that maybe what he thought was inevitable was all in his head, and it’s time to move on.

Or are they both denying fate?

Review by Xanthe

This is my first experience with this author and I’d be interested in reading more of this series, though I found this book to be a little hit and miss.
The basis of the story and the relationship between Max and Alpha Christian is intriguing.
All wolves have a gift and Max is yet to discover his. His main focus at the moment is getting the Alpha to notice him and the mate pull that Max is certain of. The Alpha is very reticent about Max. He’s always watching over the younger man but cannot see the two of them having a future.
To me, the story had a lot of promise but didn’t quite fulfill on it’s potential. There were, for me, some really good parts that, if fleshed out a little would have massively boosted my interest and involvement with the characters. Less is not always more.
One thing that confused me was that the POVs used in the book are Max and Max’s best friend Seth, we don’t actually read from Christian. Seth does play a big role for Max, has been supportive and important to Max, but having his POV didn’t quite make sense to me.
The connection between Max and Christian is clear to see from the outside but there wasn’t a lot of interaction between them making it hard to feel connected to, and involved with, the characters.
The setting itself is well described and a place I would definitely love to live in, sounding quaint and appealing.
I would ask people to give this book a go as overall, I enjoyed the story, but I’m hoping that book two goes a little deeper with action, conversation and emotions.
I received an ARC and am happily giving a review

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

This just wasn’t for me. I found the low steam to be very unsatisfying and though I can appreciate that this was a lot about Max finding his own way in the world, I wanted more about his relationship with Christian and less about Max’s friendship/bakery endeavors. Another thing that I didn’t like was the lack of “wolfiness”. I didn’t feel the wolf part of Max and I wanted to.

Though I’d read a blurb for the next book in the series, it’d really have to bowl me over for me to continue with this. I was simply underwhelmed by the romance.

2.5 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: 11 Seconds by John Charles

 

Blurb : In a world dominated by greed and political loyalties, the line between right and wrong is often completely blurred.

He wanted more than revenge. His was a vendetta, a vendetta that he was capable of carrying out. Tenodod was a cyber hacker who knew how to use the skills he developed while working for one of the most powerful systems developers in the world. Only now, he was using those talents to bring down Bertram Lynnworth, Chairman and CEO of ESTG, and would continue until his vendetta was fulfilled, no matter who got hurt in the process.

Mystery, romance, and intrigue in a suspense filled thriller that will leave you asking how to protect yourself and your family.

We Own You appeared on every monitor in every ESTG facility around the world. There Is No Escape voiced the laughing clown as Tenodod took over every system within the company.

Hackers can steal your identity, control your car, access your secret files. What if one had a grip on your beating heart? What if it only took 11 seconds?

Tenodod would make Bertram crawl for what he did to all those innocent people. Unfortunately, Marc Lynnworth, Bertram’s unsuspecting son, and hundreds of others, would become pawns in Tenodod’s evil plot. “I never wanted anyone to die; I only wanted your father to see the error of his ways.”

Review
I’ve not read anything by John Charles before and I’m always up for something new. I was surprised that at the beginning the author offers a free book which is I think a prequel to the series. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to read it before this book so I’m not sure how much information it gives. This is a well paced story which kept my interest. It’s set around cyber terrorism. An anonymous foe is creating havoc every 11 days. All the alphabet organisations are hunting him. one. Of the main characters, Marc, is a Robin Hood type hacker working with the authorities to bring him down. He is in college and deeply in love with Kylar. Asher is assigned to protect Marc. Another main Character is the NSA agent leading the investigation. She is a good strong female lead. I liked the way all the characters actions are believable, in that the pressures of being in the middle of in effectively being held to ransom by someone who has the ability to wreak havoc over the whole country, through controlling the network, would do. I was also surprised by how vilified Bertram was. He seemed more like someone in over his head and trapped working with the CIA rather than a deliberately crewel father or boss. But he is not given a chance of redemption at the end of the book.
Here’s the part that surprised me. Asher Redman was a background character. I’m so used to the characters series are named after taking centre stage that I kept waiting for it to happen but it didn’t. The story isn’t even from his POV. It’s from either Julie’s or Marc’s. Here I’m torn. I liked the story and the pace. It all takes place over about 6 weeks, from 11th November to just after Christmas. But something didn’t click for me and I was quite disappointed because from the blurb it sounded like my kind of book. Don’t let that put you off because n the whole it is an engaging story of young love and family in a very trying time.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Book Link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FZPKGSW

Audiobook: The Bureau by Kim Fielding narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Bureau-Audiobook/B07FB87WNZ?qid=1533351357&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=ZB9XMTGMAM0FQQVEZ38X&

Blurb:

This collection contains the first three Bureau novellas:

Corruption

Once a proud demon of the night sky who carried nightmares to humans, Tenrael has spent decades in captivity as the star attraction of a traveling carnival. He exists in miserable servitude to men who plunk down ten dollars to fulfill their dark desires.
Charles Grimes is half human, half…something else. For 15 years he’s worked for the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs, ridding the country of dangerous monsters. When his boss sends him to Kansas to chase a rumor about a captive demon, Charles figures it’s just another assignment. Until he meets Tenrael.

Clay White

Someone – or something – is murdering young men in San Francisco. Clay White has been fired from the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs, but he’s determined to track down the killer. When he comes across a vampire named Marek, Clay assumes he’s caught the perp. But the encounter with Marek turns out to be more complicated than Clay expected, and it forces him to deal with his own troubled past and murky psyche.
As Clay discovers, sometimes the truth doesn’t come easy – and the monsters are not who we expect.

Creature

Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who – or what – he is. Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.

When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream – to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs – all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him.
Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man – and what a monster truly wants.

Review

Book reviewed here previously

This is a collection of stories that introduce the Bureau of Tran Species Affairs.
The stories are a little dark, somewhat film noir-ish, but interesting. I read and enjoyed Creature, (my favourite of the 3), as a standalone, so when I saw that Joel Leslie was narrating the trio of stories, I was more than happy to experience the collection. The stories connect, but are definitely self-contained standalones.

What can I say about ‘a Joel Leslie performance’ that hasn’t been said before? He brings life, character and a wealth of acting experience to the stories he narrates; so much so, that one becomes personally invested in the characters. In this case, he made me want to take Tenrael (Corruption) home to care for. And John (Creature), you could almost ‘see’ how he bloomed under Harry’s care – I could feel the affection and emotion he felt for Harry, life (such as it was) in general.
Joel Leslie, simply put, is a pleasure to listen to.

5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Audiobook: Consorting With Dragons by Sera Trevor

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Consorting-with-Dragons-Audiobook/B07F3BGR2N?ref=a_a_library_c4_libItem_3_B07F3BGR2N&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=XRAHEZ2Z33VXAZ7P1V4V&

Blurb

Lord Jasen of Grumhul, an impoverished young nobleman, has come to the Draelands to find a rich husband to help pay his father’s debts. To the shock of everyone, he ends up attracting the attention of King Rilvor himself and the dragons who control the magic in the land.
Becoming royalty wasn’t something Jasen either expected or wanted, but he can’t control his growing feelings for the kind and handsome king. Scheming factions at Court conspire to keep him from Rilvor’s side, and now, Jasen has to decide if the chance at true love with Rilvor is worth the burden of being the husband of a king.
Contains mature themes.

Review

 

First let me say, that I will absolutely be looking for this author in the future and second, that I had no idea Philip Alces had that accent (his own? Dunno… but it was wonderful!)

 

However, I didn’t love this story.

 

I did love the premise – Cinderella with dragons. I didn’t love that Jasen was a “slut” before we got to meet Rilvor and the steam factor in this is so low. Maybe that’s hypocritical – but my own taste would have been keep to one theme or the other. Keep Jasen and the sex scenes chaste or give us some hot smexy times!

 

I never read the “short version” and only listened to this, so I can’t compare, but I really do wish we’d seen more from Rilvor’s POV. I also hope that , since so much time went into world building, we’ll see more from this world in the future.

 

The writing was really good and as far as I could tell so was the editing.

 

As I mentioned before Philip Alces nailed all the accents and really put the listener in a great frame to appreciate this story/time in place. The secondary characters were good, though some of them I knew better than the 2nd MC.

 

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this and found myself happily listening without a desire to skip ahead. Well-done!

 

 

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars overall

 

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Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Jupiter (States of Love) by Rhett Heath

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/jupiter-by-rhett-heath-9708-b

Blurb

For fourteen-year-old Jacob Thomas, a Christian and the smartest kid in class, Bobby Versailles is completely out of reach. Jacob wishes a girl named Allie loved him because he still doesn’t get that he’s gay, but he always keeps his eyes peeled at school, hoping to catch a glimpse of Bobby.

It’s Bobby Versailles’s senior year. Captain of his high school football team, he’s bound to win Homecoming King and hopefully a state championship, but he’s been miserable for years. His fear of somebody finding out he’s gay has brought isolation and loneliness. He has hidden that he’s gay by going on dates with girls now and then, and also by working out and excelling at football—which has also helped teachers look past his learning difficulties. When he first eyes Jacob, it’s possibly love at first sight. Bobby becomes a little obsessed. Jacob has got to be gay, and when Bobby makes a move, both of their worlds turn upside down!

It’s 1982, and while the Nebraska Cornhuskers are barreling toward a possible NCAA National Football Championship, everyone in a small town two hours away hopes Bobby can lead them to a state championship. Can two teens with vastly different lives find love amidst the fervor of Nebraska football?

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

Review

This is going to sound bad – but – in general I’m not a big fan of football, YA or “historicals” so… but I was really intrigued by this blurb and was looking forward to seeing how it developed.
Well …. This is a YA story and I think that maybe Juvenile lit is more appropriate given that they don’t act terribly Adult. Not to say that they’re kids… well. They are.

This felt like a book for kids. I liked it well enough and I appreciated the fact that this was based on real events so that must have shaped some of the authors writing decisions but – for me – it just felt a little young.

Not my taste in general. But overall good for fans of: YA, football and recent history.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Mystic Man by E J Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/mystic-man-by-ej-russell-9676

 

Blurb

When a series of personal crises prompt risk-averse research librarian Aaron Templeton to apply for a job on the other side of the country, nobody is more surprised than he is. He nearly runs home before the final interview except for one little problem: he has no home anymore. He put his condo on the market before he left California and it’s already sold. Only an encounter with free-spirited Connecticut native Cody Brown at the Mystic Seaport Museum staves off Aaron’s incipient panic attack.
Cody loves nothing better than introducing newcomers to the great features of his beloved home state, and when the newbie in question is a rumpled professorial type with the saddest blue eyes on the planet? Score! The attraction between the two men deepens as they explore Cody’s favorite spots, but when difficulties arise and Aaron’s insecurities threaten to overwhelm him, will Cody’s love be enough to keep him in Mystic?

 

Review by Mary

Such a sweet story. It was a pleasure to read. Perfect for the times when you just want a bit of comfort. That hallmark effect. Aaron and Cody meet when Aaron is starting to panic about all the drastic changes he has made to his life on the spur of the moment. Aaron’s knight in shining armour. I loved Cody’s gentle wooing of Aaron. Taking into account all his insecurities. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the part just before the ending. It felt unnecessary to leave Cody missing Aaron, but then again it made their reunion so much sweeter. Be assured there is a happy ending. Mystic certainly seems like a magical place.

 

3.5 of stars out of 5

 
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Review by Beth
This is a sweet story about taking chances. When faced with an unpleasant situation Aaron leaps feet first into change. Chance of a New job and new coast has him jumping on a plane to check it out. but once he’s there he completely panics.

Cody is a restless spirit, always running off for an adventure somewhere in the world. When he sees Aaron standing on the sidewalk it’s like “wow I have to talk to this guy!”

There is great give and take between them. As Cody takes Aaron around to see the sights, Aaron gets to see how much Connecticut has to offer. It’s a slow boil as the 2 get to know each other and off page sex keeps it PG.

A fun and easy story for a summer afternoon.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert Narrated by Greg Boudreaux

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

Blurb

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler and I think people would want to know and I think you should read this regardless – but… Mark is Gray Asexual.

Definition: From AVENwiki. Sexuality is not black and white; some people identify in the gray(spelled “grey” in some countries) area between asexual and sexual. People who identify as gray-A can include, but are not limited to those who: do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes.

This story was very touching, emotional and sexy despite it’s non-traditional characters. I was really rooting for the two of them and it made every physical encounter that much more resonant for what it meant to each man.

The family stuff gets in the way – and that too felt really “real”.

There were times when the story lagged and there were times when I wanted the guys to just “figure it out “ already – but for the most part this was a well-paced, very well-developed love story. (I have only a limited tolerance for angst and there is a fair amount in this.)

Highly recommended- esp for the HEA!

(I don’t think you need to have read the others in the series to appreciate this book.)

 

Audio

Greg is an absolutely amazing performer and there are not enough words to describe how important the difference is between what he does and simply “narration”.  I love the emotion he infuses as well as his ability to make each character feel unique and special both with accents and inflection/pacing/personality, etc.

This is the best way to enjoy this series and is highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

4.5-stars-small

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Copy Purchased for Review

Retro Review: The Gift of a Birthday by Amy Lane

Blurb

The short is from The Granby Knitting series, and it features Jeremy.
 
It’s Aiden’s birthday– but he’s the one who got Jeremy a very special gift. 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review:

This is a little ficlet from the Granby Knitting series (here is the original series https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16036359-how-to-raise-an-honest-rabbit?from_search=true ) that I found here: https://amberkell.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/welcome-birthday-guest-amy-lane-2/

I can’t believe I hadn’t read this until now!

I love this series so much and especially Jeremy and Aidan – Craw, Ben, Stanley, Johnny are all wonderful, but Jeremy holds a special place in my heart.

This little – flip – that Aidan manages to achieve is just so …. Perfect. Amy found the exact right “gift” to really emphasize how un-important age is to these guys (and in general).

It’s really sweet and if you’re a fan of the series you gotta read this!

5 of 5 stars

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