Friends to Lovers: Step by Step Audiobook by KC Wells narrated by Connor Goff

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Step-by-Step-Audiobook/B074Z3JZCH?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_8&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=797B0C8X1J0PC9WTH9W3&

Blurb:

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested…or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/step-by-step-by-k-c-wells/

I enjoyed the story and the narration.
Conner Goff is a new narrator to me. He has a ‘comfortable’ voice, cadence. His narration was well paced, and the characterisations of the older Guy and younger Jamie, nuanced. The narration is not dramatic, (the story is mostly drama free), just even keeled. It was right for the story – warm, fluid, and fun.
Overall, I liked the story a bit more – because Conner added warmth to a sweet, May/December romance.

3.75 stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Release Day Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-little-library

Blurb

Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.

In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

Review

Kim Fielding is a terrific writer, you can trust that any of her stories are always going to be an amazing journey with well-developed characters and a well-planned plot.   This is a very gentle love story about two men who’ve had some struggles in their romantic pasts but are still willing to try.

I love the imagery of the little town bonding over books and the idea of book sharing as a community. (I wish things like that would happen!) While e-books are fantastic that is one major down side to the technology – fewer paper books to share. L

There wasn’t anything earth shaking in this, but the love between these guys and their personal growth was sweet and easily captivating.

This is the perfect book for people in the mood for something light, sweet and easy.

Highly recommended!

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Friends to Lovers: My Summer of Wes (Wes & Mal #1) by Missy Welsh

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8646908-my-summer-of-wes

Blurb

I didn’t know. How could I? All through high school, I was beaten up and teased for being gay. But I wasn’t gay. Or didn’t think I was. Now Wes, the guy across the street who’s taken me under his wing and been the best friend I’ve ever had, won’t stop invading my dreams, hell, my every waking thought. Am I gay? Because I’m thinking I’d like to kiss him. Actually, I’m thinking there’s a lot more I’d like to do with his mouth and the rest of that tall, confident, muscular body. Ah, man… I’m so gay!

But what if he doesn’t feel the same way about me? And, Jesus, what about my parents? And those bastards from school are still around. And I’m supposed to go to college this fall… Shit, I need to sit down. I can’t breathe and I’m about to shake apart. Then Wes puts his hand on the back of my neck, gives me one of those encouraging squeezes and his bright smile, and everything’s okay again. Yeah, I’m hooked. Oh, boy…

Review

This was such a sweet book! It’s been years since I read it and I’d forgotten how dang cute it is – and sexy!

Mal is still trying to figure out who he is when a new neighbor moves in. They start as friends but it’s soon that they realize they want more from one another. Together they explore their first love and for Mal, first sex.

At times it’s a bit sappy, but in an adorable way. The smexy times feel appropriate and not just for sex sake.

If you like new adult, coming of age stories, give this a try!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Friends to Lovers: Lessons in Love Audiobook by Charlie Cochrane Narrated by Phil Mayes

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Lessons-in-Love-Audiobook/B01AO7MOFW?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=KH0GYNMFVNQKRQJMBH41

Blurb
St. Bride’s College, Cambridge, England, 1905. When Jonty Stewart takes up a teaching post at the college where he studied, the handsome and outgoing young man acts as a catalyst for change within the archaic institution. He also has a catalytic effect on Orlando Coppersmith. Orlando is a brilliant, introverted mathematician with very little experience of life outside the college walls. He strikes up an alliance with the outgoing Jonty, and soon finds himself having feelings he’s never experienced before. Before long their friendship blossoms into more than either man had hoped and they enter into a clandestine relationship. Their romance is complicated when a series of murders is discovered within St. Brides. All of the victims have one thing in common, a penchant for men. While acting as the eyes and ears for the police, a mixture of logic and luck leads them to a confrontation with the murderer can they survive it

Review
I don’t normally read or listen to period romance or drama but I wanted to give this one a try. The setting and the time period intrigued me. There is charm to this story which reflects a world in its own bubble. The high morale code of behaviour and traditions which exclude anyone not in academia. The burgeoning friendship and later romance between Jonty and Orlando has such an innocence around it that cute feels like the wrong word.
I do like the way Charlie Cochrane introduced and kept the murder mystery side going. I certainly didn’t have a clue who could be doing it. Not to mention that the police didn’t seem to know what to do either. The conclusion of the mystery was enthralling.
The only fly in the ointment was the narration. Phil Mayes tone was slow and methodical. Whilst I appreciate that there needs to be narration that reflects the slower way of life in 1905 and to get the accent right for level class in society reflected in the story, I don’t think it works. I think I’ll stick to reading this book in future.

3 of stars out of 5

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Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Touch by Remmy Duchene

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/touch-by-remmy-duchene-9404-

Blurb
One can’t walk the path of darkness and expect to escape unscathed.

At eighteen, Foster Erickson stepped out of the closet into a world of homelessness, prostitution, and drugs. Years later, he’s pulled it together and is ready to rebuild.

Determined not to let the demons win, Foster starts university with a plan to keep others from making the same mistakes he did. The last thing he expects is Sylvester Roberts.

After years of working with his father, Sylvester decides to step out on his own. University at his age is strange, but for him, failure isn’t an option. After flunking a few tests, Sylvester’s professor assigns him a tutor—Foster Erickson. The moment they meet, Sylvester knows Foster isn’t like other guys.

As the darkness hovers and Sylvester begins falling, he will have to decide if helping Foster fight his demons will be worth it in the end

Review
This book intrigued me. At the start I wondered where it would go with the very difficult subject of rape. Foster has had a hard life. Strict parents, betrayal by his ex, homelessness, prostitution, drug addiction. We meet Foster when he is getting his life back together and the struggles he still has. The highlighting of his rare phobia of being touched is described very well. I got a good sense of the intricacies of his condition. Sylvester seems to be his opposite in many ways. He comes from money and doesn’t seem to have to struggle for anything until now. I liked how their relationship develops, with Sylvester building Foster’s trust and confidence in himself. I enjoyed the story but I felt there was something missing. I just can’t identify what. Maybe it’s because there wasn’t any conflict, Sylvester was very patient, possibly too patient. This positive story of overcoming adversity to reach the if that should always have been for me fell flat to wards the end.

3 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Waking Oisin by Grace Kilian Delaney

release day review

Releases Tomorrow: February 26, 2018

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38235138-waking-oisin?from_search=true

Blurb

Oisin Harrison blames his fiancée’s distrust for ruining their relationship. He blames his father for pushing him into law school. But more than all that, he blames himself for letting other people’s expectations stop him from going after his dream. But dressing in drag with his best friend is the one thing Oisin refuses to compromise.

As Sin, he meets handsome Trenton Fisher, a man who appreciates Oisin’s cross-dressing. Trent upends his world by doing things to his body no one ever has, making him want more than just one night together. That is, until Oisin discovers his hot hookup works at his father’s law firm and is angling for a promotion.

To complicate things, Trent doesn’t seem to recognize Oisin out of drag. Or does he?

Will Oisin and Trent’s magnetic attraction grow to something deeper, or will it threaten to jeopardize their careers and futures?

Waking Oisin contains characters from Seven Minutes but can be read as a standalone.

Review

I am not a fan of BDSM or other forms of power/control and though it is not a huge factor in this story it absolutely influenced my enjoyment of this.

I was thinking this would be about coming out of the closet and getting out from an oppressive family – and it sort of was – but it was also a bit disjointed and kind of all over the place.  Oisin is sometimes matures, sometimes a brat, his dad is sometimes supportive, sometimes a jerk, and Trenton is sometimes supportive and sometimes a user.

Oisin isn’t what his dad wants him to be and he rebels and ends up meeting one of his father’s lawyers. When it comes time for them to work together, Trenton is just kind of “blah” about it all and Oisin isn’t as freaked out as I’d have thought he’d be. He’s a bit whiny and petulant and that made the whole power dynamic even more distasteful to me.

I ended up skimming the rest of this because it just wasn’t my thing and had the blurb been more specific I’d have probably skipped it. This is one of those cases of personal preference so I won’t rate it.

Though it can be a standalone, I think it’s better having read book 1, first.

No rating.

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: How to Bang a Billionaire by A. Hall narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/How-to-Bang-a-Billionaire-Audiobook/B078WYGKQY?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=8P85B8TYJXTYF39RF6EJ&

Blurb:
Rules are made to be broken….

If England had yearbooks, I’d probably be “Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire.” So far, I haven’t. I’ve no idea what I’m doing at Oxford, no idea what I’m going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he’s brilliant, beautiful…oh yeah, and a billionaire.

It’s impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he’ll be through with me.

I’m good at doing what I’m told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian’s shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it’s him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn’t have the power to give me.

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/how-to-bang-a-billionaire-by-alexis-hall/

What can I say about Joel Leslie that has not been said before? Stellar performance, check; brilliant execution, check; brilliant performance, check.
Even though I’m not a fan of Dom/Sub relationships, I can say that it is well worth listening to how Joel captures Arden – his humour, his vulnerability. Joel Leslie’s personification of Caspian is spot on.
Highly recommend this outstanding performance!

6 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day! Teaching Ben by Shae Connor

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/teaching-ben-by-shae-connor-9302-b

Blurb

Learning to love means a study in patience.
Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.
David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing.
As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….

Review

I just couldn’t get into this book.

I wasn’t every really captured by the “romance” though the set up seemed “ripe” for a perfect hidden romance or slow burn. I guess I didn’t want everyone to make such “good choices” and “do the right thing”. (I admit this could totally be influenced by current mood – so be warned.)

In any case, it’s not a bad story and the writing is good, it just wasn’t something that pinged on my radar. Maybe too tame? Anyhow…

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Valentine’s Day Read: Lessons in Love: A sparkling tale of mystery, murder and romance (Cambridge Fellows Book 1) by Charlie Cochrane

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5942455-lessons-in-love?from_search=true

Blurb: A dangerous crime and a thrilling romance

It’s the turn of the century, Queen Victoria’s reign is over, it’s time for a new beginning. In Cambridge, Jonty Stewart takes up a teaching post, acting as a catalyst for change within the archaic institution. But he also has a catalytic effect on Orlando Coppersmith.
Orlando is a brilliant, introverted mathematician with very little experience of life outside the college walls. He strikes up an alliance with the outgoing Jonty, and soon finds himself having feelings he’s never experienced before. Before long their friendship blossoms into more than either man had hoped and they enter into a clandestine relationship.
Yet their romance is complicated when a series of murders is discovered within St. Brides. And all of the victims have one thing in common: a penchant for men. A fact that only puts Orlando and Jonty in greater danger, when they are enlisted to act as the eyes and ears for the police…

Review: This is a good murder/mystery with a gentle romance woven throughout the story.
Jonty and Orlando are almost polar opposites, one upbeat and the other, somewhat staid, but they work well together. The story is set in Victorian times, at Cambridge University and the prose reflects this. In other words, perfect.
I liked that the romance between the 2 men was a slow build up, totally fitting given that homosexuality could result in being jailed and ruined.
The mystery was interesting – definitely kept me engaged. I’ve already got the next book in my library ☺

4 stars out of 5

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Copy purchased for review

 

Chasing Thunderbird (Shifter U #2) by j. leigh bailey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/chasing-thunderbird-by-j-leigh-bailey-9270-b

Blurb

A Shifter U Tale

A legendary love.

Ornithology professor Simon Coleman’s reputation is at risk, and the only way to save his name is to prove thunderbirds are more than creatures of Native American myth. Grad student and part-time barista Ford Whitney has a lot on his plate, but it’s also his duty to make sure the resident bird nerd doesn’t discover shape-shifters—like himself—live on campus.

When a series of incidents related to Simon’s search put him in harm’s way, Ford’s instincts kick in, and they become closer than is strictly proper for student and teacher. Ford is forced to reveal his secrets to Simon, and their relationship is put to the test—Simon must choose between salvaging his reputation and protecting the man who protected him….’

Review by Morgan

This was terrific!  The world building is excellent.  The humor is great!  The romance could use some follow up, but what we get is sweet.

I loved the chemistry between the MCs, and I ADORED Ford’s shifted form!

If we’d gotten to see our guys together longer this would have easily been a 5+ star read for me.  Understanding that the genre is lower steam, I still wish we’d gotten more smexy times.

The action was fast paced, the dialog witty, the magic wonderful and the conclusion fairly to mostly satisfying.

Though I wanted more time with our guys as a fully fledged couple, I appreciated their version of HEA.

(I was disappointed not to see  Buffalo Bill again, but was glad to see some of the other characters from book one.)

4.5 of 5 stars

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Review by Beth

 

This was such a wonderfully different perspective on shifters. Yes there were wolves, foxes etc… but the main focus was on birds.  Mythical birds as the story progresses.  I loved how Simon was looking for facts not for the notoriety but because of his grandfathers reputation. A family secret/non secret that although couldn’t be proven, couldn’t be denied either.

 

I liked how conflicted Ford got. Trying to downplay everything academically while becoming more and more emotionally involved. I wish the story would have been a little longer so we could have seen more of Simon and Ford as a couple, because what was shown was really sweet and caring. Many of the secondary characters could have been more involved just to show more of story setting. Again a good book that I just wished was longer.
4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review