Categories
3 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book class difference co-workers to lovers Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Gay Heat Index m/m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Opposites attract Part of a Series

The Dusk Parlor (World of Love) by S.A. Stovall

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-dusk-parlor-by-sa-stovall-8421-b

Blurb

Former soldier Hugh Harris is a “hāfu”—half-Japanese, half-American—and, after his father’s death, he returns to Kobe, Japan, in order to connect with his mother and her family. Confused and feeling out of place, Hugh finds work as a waiter at an upscale nightclub. The other employees, an odd and eclectic bunch, quickly make him feel at home, especially the bartender, Ren, and the club host, Kaito.

But the tranquility doesn’t last forever. As Hugh gets deeper into his relationships with both men, he finds they may have dubious connections with the yakuza in town… and when the local street leaders send their enforcers to the Dusk Parlor, Hugh, Ren, and Kaito may be in for a storm of trouble.

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

Review

As far as I can tell – this is the first book I’ve read by this author. It was very interesting and I definitely felt like I experienced a different culture.

On one hand I liked this – it was unique- moved along quickly and kept me guessing.

On the other hand, I felt like it tried to do way too much without accomplishing any one specific thing.

We have the issue of xenophobia and Hugh’s feelings of isolation due to his heritage, we have the yakuza and it’s drama, we have not one but two very different men who aren’t in a relationship with each other and who might?- be willing to try something with Hugh. I wasn’t sure what the deal was with these three and I felt more of a bond between Hugh and Kaito than Ren and very little with the triad as a whole.

It’s a very vague HFN and only tepid at that.

While the smexy times were very hot, the relationship building was not there and the plot kept dancing from one “issue” to another without a solid cohesion.

I enjoyed it for the culture and the smexy times, but wish it’d been longer or something edited out to be a more tightly drawn story.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
3 stars 4 stars 5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anna Audiobook Author Provided Bi-Sexual Book co-workers to lovers College/University coming of age Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Humor m/m Mild level angst Mild/low level heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Thanksgiving Unrequited Love Valentine's Day Virgin

Author Spotlight: Cardeno C! Walk With Me Audiobook narrated by Alexander Collins Dual Review Anna and Morgan!

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Walk-With-Me-Audiobook/B014JYSDYC/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1492126504&sr=1-2

Blurb

When Eli Block steps into his parents’ living room and sees his childhood crush sitting on the couch, he starts a shameless campaign to seduce the young rabbi. Unfortunately, Seth Cohen barely remembers Eli and he resolutely shuts down all his advances. As a tenuous and then binding friendship forms between the two men, Eli must find a way to move past his unrequited love while still keeping his best friend in his life. Not an easy feat when the same person occupies both roles.

Professional, proper Seth is shocked by Eli’s brashness, overt sexuality, and easy defiance of societal norms. But he’s also drawn to the happy, funny, light-filled man. As their friendship deepens over the years, Seth watches Eli mature into a man he admires and respects. When Seth finds himself longing for what Eli had so easily offered, he has to decide whether he’s willing to veer from his safe life-plan to build a future with Eli.

Review by Anna

(Previously reviewed on this site by Morgan here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/walk-with-me-audiobook-by-cardeno-c-narrated-by-alexander-collins/)
When you pick up a book in the Home series you know what you’ll get: Love at first sight from one partner, whilst the other one will take a little longer to get with the programme, some scorching hot sex scenes and tender love similar to what you’d find on websites like Watch My GF, interspersed with a conflict and topped with a deeply satisfying happy ending.

And in many regards this book does not disappoint. Except on one count: there was no conflict! Eli falls in love with Seth as a pre-teen, it takes Seth many years to acknowledge that he feels the same, but when he does come around, at around 60% into the book, nothing else happens. They are just happy! Which is great for them, I guess, but doesn’t make for a riveting last 40% of the story.
The fact that we had to wait so very long for our MCs to get together also meant, that the intimate scenes were quite few – for a Cardeno C book, at least. And horror of horrors: the author cheated us out of the first time the two did anal, which is just not ok! Seth was a ‘gay virgin’ and Eli had had issues with anal sex in the past, which meant he really didn’t enjoy bottoming much – how can you not give me that sex scene? I actually had to jump back, to make sure I hadn’t missed a chapter, when the narrator suddenly said: “3 years later”.

We follow the two for 13 years, through Eli’s crush, him trying to move on, Seth trying to come to terms with his bisexuality and their ongoing friendship. Which is great, but at 50% I was begging for some action, any type of action really, just something!

Even if I am normally not a fan of the ‘love at first sight’ thing and prefer my MCs to be friends first or at least get to know each other before they spout the magic words, this just went on for too long, with too many mundane details. And too bloody many disastrous weddings for Seth to officiate. The slapstick comedy of the weddings was cute at the beginning, but by the 3rd it was getting tiresome and by the 7th I was kind of really really over it!

However, this is still Cardeno C, so the writing flows nicely, the story is engaging enough, despite the lack of action and the happy ending is very very sweet.

The narrator, Alexander Collins, has a bit of an odd way of narrating, which needs to grow on me every time I hear it. I always start out not liking it, but by the end of the book I am really enjoying him. And I did enjoy the special effects, like ‘phone calls’ and ‘talking from another room’.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

Eli fell in love with Seth when he was just a teenager attending a Jewish summer camp where Seth was a counselor.
Years later, Seth is now an associate Rabbi at Eli’s father’s synagogue. Eli is now 18 and shameless in his devotion to the new Rabbi.
Seth, who is several years older, doesn’t feel comfortable accepting Eli’s feelings and in fact doesn’t really seem all that attracted to Eli at first.
Over the next few years, Eli both torments Seth with his constant come-ons and frustrates him with is seemingly poor decision making skills regarding sex and love. Eventually, Eli gives up on Seth as a love interest, keeps him as a dear friend, and tries to move on.
Now that Eli has graduated from college and he has moved home to work on his Master’s. He’s spending a lot of time with Seth as a friend and as part of their “wedding team”. (Seth performs the ceremonies and Eli does the music.) Now it’s Seth’s turn to finally see Eli as more than the boy who pestered him for so many years.
Once the blinders come off, it’s a brief trip to convince Eli to give their relationship a try and then a very, very satisfying HEA.
**
This was one of my favorite of the series. I ADORED Eli. He was precocious and snarky, hilarious and blunt, funny and sweet – all rolled into one. Seth kinda bugged me at first. He seemed to either just be oblivious to how hard he was making things for Eli or didn’t care.
But – when Seth finally figures things out – YOWZA – the man did surprise me! He turns out to be quite the experimental and daring lover and I loved their interactions in the bedroom.
I also loved the funny wedding stories and thought it was so clever how each chapter started with an invitation and ended with… well – you’ll see!
Again I really appreciated the glimpse into Jewish culture and loved learning more about it.
Audio

Alexander did another amazing job – talking on the phone, around corners, acting as a jewish mom and dad – LOL. He was funny and sweet at all the right moments. Highly enjoyable!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased For Review

Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Basketball Book co-workers to lovers Contemporary Cop/Crime Dee Gay Heat Index m/m May/December Mild level angst NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat

Cask Strength (Agents Irish and Whiskey Book 2) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Carina Press Presents

http://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488024399_cask-strength.html

Blurb

 Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.
Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the courts brings more than old memories. As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.
Review

Cask Strength is a continuation of Single Malt and the heat and excitement ratchets up! Like the previous book, the story was engages one from the start. Both Jamie and Aidan are still navigating their personal relationship – their working relationship is just fine, (except for the secret Jamie is keeping from Aidan).
There are situations that occur along the way- Aidan ‘dating’ other people in order to keep Jamie at arm’s length, Jamie trying to keep his cool in the face of this and both still trying to get a lead on the investigation involving the terrorist (Renaud). The latter taking another deadly turn.
Now both agents have a target on their back, so they’re sent undercover to work on a case that is close to Jamie’s heart – basketball.
The story is well written, interesting. Again, I had to suspend by belief at some of the things that happened, (but this is fiction, so anything goes). All in all it is a really good follow up and I’m looking forward to the next installment.
This book is not a standalone and it ends on a slight cliffhanger, but if you’ve come this far, you’re in it to the end ☺

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book class difference co-workers to lovers Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Established Couple Fated Mates Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Hurt/comfort m/m Mary D Mid level steam/heat Misunderstanding Mystery Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Reconcilliation second chance at love Secret Identity Shifter

Darkest Hour Before Dawn (THIRDS #9) by Charlie Cochet

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/darkest-hour-before-dawn-by-charlie-cochet-8399-b

Blurb

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.

Review

I must admit through out the series as small bits of Seb and Hudson’s story was revealed my heart went out to them. So I was excited to know more but apprehensive because nothing in the world of THIRDS comes easy. This book is not a standalone, each book builds on the previous one.

Sebastian Hobbs (Team Leader) and Hudson Colbourn (Medical Examiner) bonded as mates but were pulled apart. We finally get to know the details of what happened to split them up and why Hudson blames himself. (It’s been explained before but if you don’t want to know right now – it’s hidden 🙂  )

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Now there is a danger to Hudson and Seb needs to be there to lookout for him. The push pull of their attraction to each other is palpable. They are just reconnecting when Hudson happens to meet the boy’s mother and pulls away again. Hudson is carrying a lot of misplaced guilt and I can understand why he reacts this way given his family history. But he is a bit of a martyr. I got so frustrated with him and the way he was hurting Seb.

But….The make up scenes are powerful and romantic.

I really like that the story is told from both Seb and Hudson’s points of view it feels like a more rounded picture of events. The direction the series is heading in with TIN and what it will mean for Destructive Delta is both exciting and concerning.

I still don’t trust Sparks and nothing in the stories so far has changed my mind, the jury is still out over the way she gets what she wants.

I love how Charlie Cochet keeps the tension building with each book and this one though slower in pace is no exception. I am looking forward to the audiobook book coming out.

Highly Recommended! 5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher For Honest Review

 

Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book co-workers to lovers Contemporary Dee Gay Heat Index m/m Mid level angst NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Scorching/high heat

Single Malt by Layla Reyne – Review by Dee!

Carina Press Presents

http://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488024382_single-malt.html

Blurb

The heart’s a resilient beast

Eight months after the car crash that changed everything, FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work. New department, new case and a new partner. Smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker is twelve years his junior. Even if Aidan was ready to move on—and he’s not—Jamie is off-limits.

Jamie’s lusted after Aidan for three years, and the chance to work with San Francisco’s top agent directly is too good to pass up. Aidan is prickly—to put it mildly—but a growing cyber threat soon proves Jamie’s skills invaluable.

Jamie’s talents paint a target on his back, and Aidan is determined to protect him. But with hack after hack threatening a high-security biocontainment facility, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack. They’ll have to filter out distractions, on the case and in their partnership, to identify the real enemy, solve the case and save thousands of lives, including their own.

Review

This is the first time I have heard of/read this author, but I’m glad I did. The story was engaging right from the start – the opening conversation between Aidan (‘Irish’) and his sister in law, Mel was laced with humour and a touch of heartbreak that is a central theme through the book (but not overwhelmingly so). We meet Jameson (‘Whiskey’) a little later and he slips into the story seamlessly J. The chemistry between the 2 MC’s developed quickly- but I realized that they had both been admiring/lusting each other for a while before actually meeting.

There were a couple of FBI procedures I had issues with in the story- e.g. allowing a non FBI employee/civilian assist in the middle of a sting operation. Granted, the character butted his way in, but…. Anyway, this is fiction and the author gets to suspend everyday rules if it helps the story along (which it did). Overall, I liked the book and the continuation the underlying mystery. The writing was tight, engaging. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review