by Karrie Jax
For more look here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/fan-art/
A collection of not-so-chilling tales of love and laughter from three of the genre’s masters of pulp.
Blurb for The Bone Orchard:
In The Bone Orchard, by Abigail Roux, Pinkerton investigator Ezra Johns and US Marshal Ambrose Shaw have a lot to learn about life—and the afterlife—in their quest to bring a vicious murderer to justice. Fortunately, they’ve got all the time in the world to figure it out.
Ambrose Shaw is after a serial killer in the old west when he gets shot and ends up haunting the spot where he died, trying to bring the killer to justice.
Ezra Johns follows Shaw to bring the killer to the gallows but then falls victim to the killer’s ghost.
In the time between the trial and his death, Ezra falls in love with Ambrose and then joins him in the afterlife, eternally fighting the ghost of the killer.
With a nice cross-over twist, we see some familiar faces as the relatives of Ezra facing danger and it’s up to Ezra and Ambrose to save them.
I loved this story. It was sweet and sentimental, funny and exciting, somewhat historical, a lot fantastical, and just a joy to read.
If you’re a fan of Abigail Roux you won’t want to miss this, nor will you if you love westerns and ghosts.
I give it a 4.5 of 5 dinging it a little only because I wanted a different ending for our boys. Was it still happy? Probably…depends on your way of thinking. ☺
Blurb for Horny
In Horny, by Anne Tenino, a group of supernatural law enforcers enlist the help of a human, Ryan Caulfield, to catch Zeus: the god voted Least Likely to Keep It in His Pants. But there’s more to Ryan than even he knows, and the satyr searching for Zeus is tempting him with far more than simple justice.
Ryan owns a bar in the middle of nowhere. One night a bunch of demigods shows up looking for Zeus. They set up a trap to catch him and stop him from selling erectile dysfunction potions. In the meantime a mysterious Oracular guides Ryan and Leander to become more than just a one-night stand and in fact shows Ryan that he may be more than just a barkeep.
Let me start by saying that in general I love Anne Tenino, have read most of her books and loved them. I started this story super psyched as a result. When I finished, I was left scratching my head.
The imagination is there. The characters are there. The plot is there. The execution… isn’t. I got confused by a lot and this is a short story.
I understood why Ryan was guarded and didn’t want to get involved with Leander, he was looking for permanence not a one-night-stand– but then when more of his history is revealed, it didn’t make sense, and his whole “too sensitive” thing never made sense.
Leander, who should have wanted that fast commitment and instant love, didn’t, and that didn’t make sense, given what we learn about his god house.
The other demigods’ characters were also a little confusing and I wasn’t sure there role in the story. They just muddied the water for me.
I think that this story would have come across better if the author had either edited it down more tightly, focusing on the main characters more, or elongated it to a full-length novel or long novella.
I give a 3.5 of 5 stars because it was funny and sweet and I really liked the idea, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations of what this author can do.
Blurb for: In City of Monsters, by Andrea Speed
An ex-investigator turned some-kind-of-shifter (he doesn’t know, but with his luck, it’s probably nothing cool) is hired to find a missing reverse tooth fairy in the hellish dimension of Dev. But even simple things aren’t easy for a guy with more vices than virtues, and his situation gets even more complex when a hot newcomer to Dev with a taste for danger joins him on the case.
Hunter is an unknown were who meets up with a newbie unknown were (humans who are infected with magic by an animal, sent to another dimension, Dev, and live out there lives as the wereanimal they were infected by.) Neither Sakari nor Hunter know what they are, but they find out and it’s hysterical.
Hunter’s job is to find things, right now he’s finding a reverse tooth-fairy’s twin brother to pay off gambling debts to a werehippo mob boss.
This is a hysterical short story, mostly about the city itself and a teeny tiny bit about Hunter and Sakari. There is like, one sentence of romance, and the rest is just hilarious world-building and nonsense.
Though I enjoyed the unique and funny nature of this story, I wasn’t exactly sure why it was included in this anthology, unless it’s meant to be a pre-cursor to a new series or something.
I liked it for what it was and give it a 3 of 5 stars.
Overall, the anthology was pretty dang funny, there were some ridiculously sweet parts (Bone Orchard), interesting worlds (City and Horny) and very creative uses of appliances (City).
I give it a 3.5 of 5 stars and I would definitely recommend it.
Copy provided by Riptide Publishing
As a rhino shifter, Tromp knows that he’s not the sexiest beast in the world. In fact he’s clumsy and he can’t see very well, and that’s whether he’s in his human or animal form. Still, he enjoys going to the bar and watching the other shifters hooking up, especially the dancers. Then he sees a slinky kitty dancing on the little stage and he’s immediately smitten. He knows a sexy beauty like that would never go for him, but he’s happy just to watch and fantasize about what could be.
For his part, panther shifter Pepper might be gorgeous on the outside, but he knows most people see him as nothing more than a piece of meat and he’s had a hard past. There’s something in the way the big rhino shifter looks at him while he dances, though, that makes him feel special. So when his stint on the stage is over, he heads right to the rhino’s table.
Can Tromp and Pepper ignore the world’s expectations and find what they need in each other?
Pages or Words: 10,500 words
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Tromp got his beer at the bar and made his way over to the table in the corner where he usually sat. It was an out of the way booth and afforded him a good view of the rest of the place. His thick bottle-cap glasses improved his poor vision enough that from here he could watch the pretty people hooking up—the slinky twinks finding each other or handsome older men to dance and laugh with. He was a bit too lumbering for dancing. Too clumsy and grumpy for easy pickups, too. In short, he didn’t really belong. Hence the out of the way table.
The music was loud and thumping, vibrating up from the floor, and his beer was cold. It was all he really needed after a long week of walking around the three warehouses he worked security on. He’d stay and watch for a while, then head home to the peace and quiet of his little cottage just outside the city.
Someone came out onto the tiny stage, one of the performers who danced in stretch jeans and open-front shirts. This guy had waist-length black hair, golden skin, and sharp features.
Tromp watched, utterly fascinated. He usually didn’t do more than admire the beauties who were out of his league, but there was something about this guy, something slinky and sexual that made him want in the best way. Or worst way, given that he never had a chance with the beautiful ones. Still, he could look his fill, couldn’t he? After all, that’s what the dancers were all about—looking but not touching.
Where to find the book:
Meet the author:
Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/
Publisher: Sean Michael
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
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Erik found his mate Lucas when he was only thirteen and in desperate need of help. Erik stepped in right away to save Lucas and his sisters, and his entire life became about caring for them.
But now Lucas is a man and wants Erik to see him as more than just someone who needs protection. As the ups and downs of life teach them all the true meaning of family, Lucas makes plans to show his vampire that he’s more than ready to be claimed.
In this short story, Erik a vampire lord, finds his mate when his mate is only 13.
His mate is the only boy and has 7 sisters, and all 8 children are being abused by their father. Erik takes in Lucas and his family and becomes their “father” while waiting for Lucas to grow old enough to be his true mate.
There is virtually no angst and not much happens in this story, but it’s a sweet enough vampire/mate novella.
I think that this opens up what might be a lovely series, though this particular tale was fairly uninspiring.
3 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review
Ace Hoffman is a home stager who is trying to escape his latest closet case heartbreak. Zane McDonnell is a chiropractor who has made the closet into a comfortable home. They meet in a dark back room one night and part just as quickly, never to see each other again…
Until Ace shows up at the door of Zane’s brother to work on his house. Now the guy who has sworn off closet cases can’t escape the man who is afraid to show the world who he is. When one tends to run and the other always hides, can they build any kind of future together?
Ace is a home stager who has been burned by closet cases in the past. Zane is a closet case. They meet at a bar, have hot sex, Zane leaves immediately after, “losing points on the dismount”.
Ace is working on Zane’s brother’s house and Zane treats him like a stranger, then gives him a blowjob in the bathroom. Needless to say, Ace is confused, but still very attracted to Zane, who is also confused but determined to stay in the closet.
Little matchmaking friends keep the two running into one another until the sparks burst into a roaring affair that nearly burns out when Ace’s evil ex returns.
But, the matchmakers come to the rescue again and everything ends up very happily ever after. With a juicy epilogue to boot!
I loved this book. Loved it! I thought the chemistry between Zane and Ace was fantastic. Though sometimes inconsistent, Zane’s desire to stay in the closet was tempered with his initial caveat, “until there’s a reason to leave it”, thus providing the opening for him to explore this relationship with Ace while still maintaining his secrecy.
The secondary characters are funny and sweet and the friend/wannabe boyfriend Erik was a really nice, realistically-imperfect touch.
I loved that the “gays” were not at all stereotypical, even though Ace did have the clichéd job as a decorator.
I am a total sucker for an epilogue that wraps it all up and this trumps it by still leaving a little room for our Erik to find his true love in a sequel.
I totally recommend this book and give it a 5 of 5 stars!
Copy provided by Loose Id
Death is in a lonely business. Since the beginning of time he’s been reaping souls then returning home to his little condo in the sky. It’s not a bad job. There are perks. But Death would kill to meet his soul mate, no pun intended.
Tommy Neilson is the next human slated for death. But when he can see Death, Tommy turns his whole world upside down. Curious, Death seeks Tommy out. The chemistry between the two is immediate and soon an unlikely romance starts to form. While Death may not be lonely anymore, he isn’t allowed to interact with humans. Consequently, he must make a choice: billions of souls or the one that makes being immortal worth it.
Death – yeah that’s his name – is supposed to kill Tommy, but something stops him. Instead of killing him, as directed, he stops and stares and is shocked when Tommy stares back! No one can see Death! (If they could they’d know he looks nothing like they’ve depicted him!) This freaks Death out and he leaves Tommy in the hands of the paramedics and returns to killing. Back on the job.
He can’t help himself and is compelled to go back to check on Tommy and he finds out that Tommy can still see him. What a find! He spends more and more time with Tommy and the two find they have a lot in common and end up being friends then lovers.
Of course, everyone has to die sometime, and Death is in charge of that so… you guessed it – dilemma time. Death has to choose between giving Tommy a few more years or saving maybe billions of lives…Luckily there’s a little more to it than that and we end up with a super HEA that is quite touching.
This is a quick, funny read from a new (at least to me) author. The secondary characters are as charming as the MCs and the premise is unique and fun.
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author.
I give it a 3.5 of 5 stars.
Copy from Dreamspinner
Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.
When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.
When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.
We met Eddie as the very flaming and kink friend of Ben in Double Up. Eddie runs off the road and is rescued by Wish – short for Aloysius – a 20 year younger road worker who happens to have the kink Eddie loves.
They start as a hook-up but it becomes clear fairly early that they are more than a one-night stand.
They have several hurdles: age, income, politics, Ben… But overcoming them is something that the two work out and the make up sex is phenomenal!
First – Eddie’s kink is pain. He loves receiving it and Wish loves giving it. If this bothers you – skip this book – because there is a LOT of it in there.
Second – The writing is excellent and Eddie is a great character. I didn’t get as good a feel for Wish as I’d like. We see everything from Eddie’s POV and so I can’t say I know too much about Wish. However, they really do seem to work as a couple.
I thought there was a bit too much sex (say it isn’t so!) but only because I wanted to see more of the men working as a couple when it wasn’t in the bedroom.
I loved seeing Eddie and Ben’s relationship evolve and it was great seeing Ben married off to Davis at the end – a nice tie in to the first novel.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and even though the sadism/masochism scene isn’t my cup of tea I thought it was handled really well. Eddie wasn’t a submissive and that was made very clear. I appreciated the distinction and how well it was covered.
4 of 5 stars
Generously provided by NetGalley for review