Audiobook: My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley narrated by Joseph Morton

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-fair-captain-by-jl-langley-9628-b

Blurb: When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:

Book reviewed previously: https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-my-fair-captain-by-j-l-langley/

Joseph Morton (new to me), had a nice voice. He didn’t attempt to ‘act’ out the different characters. Unfortunately, it also made the narration rather emotionless (to me); any emotion portrayed by the characters was delivered in the same (mono)tone.
Ovearll, the narration was okay – it was more reading, (which isn’t bad), than performance, but I liked it enough to get through the book. I will likely listen to the narrator again.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get Paranormal: A Time To Rise by Tal Bauer

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40526865-a-time-to-rise

Blurb

History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.

Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand against the darkness. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.

But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenburg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.

Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cristoph struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cristoph collides with Alain as both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican… and of the world.

Review

A Time To Rise is Bauer’s first steps into the paranormal world, but don’t expect romantic “vegetarian” vampires with a bit of sparkle, because that isn’t how he writes. The vampires in this story are ugly, evil and they smell. Really, really bad.

As with everything he writes, Bauer’s level of research and attention to the small detail is second to none and sets him far above, in my opinion, most other authors out there.

As always, this book is character led, but with the romance taking a backseat to the drama and mystery of the story.
Both Alain and Cristoph are interesting personalities, who help drive the story along at its fast pace. They are helped by a whole host of great secondary characters not least of which is Father Lotario, a cigarette smoking, vodka drinking priest who I would love to sit and chat with in a bar one evening.

The twists and turns of this book will leave you gasping for breath and worried what you will find at the next turn of the page. Its a lot darker than most paranormal romances out there, but worth every bitten nail.

5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Release Day Review: Love You So Special by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-special-by-tara-lain-9894-b

Blurb

Artie is a simple guy, a blue collar plumber, not smart, and still deeply closeted, the only thing special about his life are his colorful tropical fish. Artie is working in a concert hall when he hears the music for the first time. Intrigued and instantly enamored, he even finds an excuse to go back after hours to try and hear it again. The mysterious musician might be a figment of his imagination, but a few days after when he goes to the ritzier part of town for a job he hears it again. The source is the pianist and composer Francois Desmarais, international talent, beautiful and rich, and oh yeah, his boss.

Francois is a world renowned musician with fans all over the globe, too bad he can’t stand to talk to people and crowds petrify him. Secluded and barley making any public appearances, Francois is fascinated with the cute guy working in his property. He feels safe and at ease in his company, something he never though himself capable of feeling again, and they become friends. Just when Francois starts feeling more confident in himself his fear of strangers turns out to be justified and Artie has to decide if he will stay in the closet or stand next to this amazing man he grew to adore for much more than his talented fingers.

Review by Karen
This is a very cute romance, but definitely a whirlwind one.

Once the MC’s start to have feelings for each other, everything just goes incredibly fast. I feel like they skip a few steps in the whole let’s get to know each other process. I would have liked it better if the author had given them a bit more time to fall in love.
François and Artie are very sweet together though, and do have a great connection, however fast it came about.

I did really like that music was so important to both men. It felt almost like a third in their relationship and was wonderfully described. A piano and Chopin… what’s not to love about that combination? It gave François all the advantage he needed to woo Artie.

Danger lurks in the crowds of fans that gather to hear François play, however.
When it comes out of the shadows, it does so suddenly and unexpectedly.
A great way to add tension and suspense to the story and give both François and Artie a chance to prove what they’re made of.

Artie’s coming out felt a bit rushed to me, especially the conversation with his family. I feel this was a missed opportunity to add some more emotion and depth to the story, but it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of it.

This was a fun, quick read.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta
This was a true sweet read, quit funny and just all around pleasure. Both main characters were interesting, Francois with his elusive personality and mystic and Artie, the big tough plumber with the heart of gold and softness. I especially liked how each did not live up to the stereotypical expectations of similar characters, and managed to surprise me along the way. This book had all of Tara’s charm and sass with a surprisingly small amount of sex which was actually nice. It fit the story well and I was not missing it, even though Tara’s books tend to be on the lava side of hot this was a bit milder. I liked the pacing too, they formed a nice friendship before they moved to the romantic side and it was fun getting to know them.

This is a great palate cleanser after and emotional read or a really bad book you need to flush out (did you see what I did there?) full of funny moments that will make you smile and unforgettable characters.

Number of stars out of 5
3 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review by Dee

A really nice story about a regular, blue collar guy meeting and falling for a classical pianist. There is humour, a bit of hurt/comfort and a good bit heat in the story.
Artie is closeted, somewhat due to his job but mostly because he really hasn’t had a reason to declare himself. François had been subject to a traumatic incident (as a kid) and is quite wary of people in general. When both men meet, they feel a connection that trumps both their fears. Artie finds someone to protect and brave being out for; François finds someone (other than his mum) to have his best interests at heart.
This is another good standalone addition to the ‘Love You’ series!

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Get Paranormal: The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles

 

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34715150-the-magpie-lord?from_search=true

Blurb:
Lucien Vaudrey returns to England after two decades of exile in China following the mysterious deaths of his brother and father. With the infamous title of Lord Crane and an Earldom Lucian also inherited his family’s enemies. Seeking help of the magical variety after a string of self-harm episodes he did not expect it to come from on such enemy.
Magician Stephen Day had his share of reasons to hate the Cranes but cannot ignore the supernatural threat handing over Lucian’s head.

Despite the multitude of reasons to hate Crane, Stephan finds himself quickly falling for the unusual lord, with his colorful tattoos and disregard of social rules. But, danger to his heart is not the only thing Stephan needs to fear, there is Evil in Carnes house and a plot so thick you can drown in it slowly reveals itself the deeper they dig into the sordid history of Lucians ancestors. If Stephan can’t find a way to stop it, they would never leave the house again- alive or dead.

Review:

The richness of language and twisting plot is done beautifully, this book is just the kind of historical I like to read and when it’s a KJ Charles book you know it’s guaranteed to be amazing! KJ weaves intricate mysteries and unique characters into works of fiction that are just mind blowing. Her Sins of the Cities is one such perfection and this book is a promising start to another series. The setting is just the right amount of raw and gut punching with the flair and sophistication of the upper class and the magical supernatural elements were fascinating and seemed completely natural in this world- something I find many paranormal books lack.

Lucien is probably the wittiest, most charming, rakish, wonderfully horrible man I have had the pleasure of reading about. I absolutely adored him, he is seductive and controlling yet vulnerable at the same time. Stephen is as much a contradiction as Lucien is, and TO Lucian as well. He is such a fiery, compassionate little man and I loved his level of control and knowledge in his respective field. He is so competent and never backs down even when all hope is lost.

The way the plot unfolded and slowly revealed more of the sordid history of the Crane household and family was suspenseful and I found myself wishing for more time to keep reading when I inevitably had to put it , and once I was done reading I was anxious to get the next one and keep reading. I am so excited for the next books and how the story will continue for this couple.

Number of stars out of 5
5 stars.

Purchased for Review

 

 

 

Release Day: Nightfall John Inman

release day review

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nightfall-by-john-inman-9854-b

Blurb
Joe Chase and Ned Bowden are damaged men. They each bear scars from surviving the world they were born in. Deep scars, both physical and emotional.

When fate offers its first kind act by bringing the two together, suddenly their scars don’t seem so bad, and their lives don’t feel so empty.

Yet that kindness comes at a price.

Just as Joe and Ned begin to experience true happiness for the very first time, the world turns on them again.

But this time it turns on everyone.

Review
This story was utterly sweet, sensual, emotional, intense and intimate.

The story is about Ned and Joe are neighbors and have unspoken deep feelings for each other. At the same time they get, very carefully, closer and closer… the world is acting strange.
When the sky turns dark and the temperature’s dropping ugly, most of the people turn dark and ugly too. It becomes the ‘Survival of the fittest’
Joe will protect Ned at all costs.

Ned so fragile, precious and sweet funny… Joe lonely and very protectively hovering over Ned.
I was holding my breath.. it was so fragile. Ned has a history of abuse and is very vulnerable.

“There had been a vacant spot inside him all along, it seemed—a spot that needed caulking; a spot that Joe had never known was there. Had never imagined was there. Until Ned came along.”

The parts where Ned and Joe are together and exploring each other were excellent. The journey they went through was good and original and sometimes angsty.
It was not really my kind of thing. Some parts I scrolled through… I know others will love those parts. I was more fixated on the moments they explored each other. The way of writing was really wonderful.
The love they feel for each other and their lovemaking is sweet and delicate.
Those parts did something with my heart.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Love it Like You Stole it by Ki Brightly

Nine Star Presents

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40718985-love-it-like-you-stole-it?from_search=true

Blurb
Michal, or Meeko, is in trouble. Tearing cars for money to get his mechanic certifications and impress his day-job boss Ben who he has been crushing on for years, was supposed to be temporary. Now in dept to a dangerous man Michael is sucked in to crime and in fear for his life.
Ben has been in a routine for a long time, with his auto repair shop doing good and raising his niece right it seems like he is in a great place, and with a great boyfriend to boot. But Ben feels off, nothing is interesting anymore, except Meeko, his young employee, and the dream car he is fixing up. Michael is such and important par of Ben’s live that when he starts acting strange Ben can’t help but try to help him. Longing to be together yet so many things keeping them apart, will their bond survive and danger Meeko is tangled in? Can they even fix it before it’s too late?

Review:
I have to say the first thing I like about this book is the writing. It had such a distinct, lyrical and expressive style I honestly think it elevated the story for me and made it an emotional journey. It was written in such a way that I felt like every character is so tangible, I could picture them so clearly, especially Ben with his gestures and all the little details of how they move, it was almost like the book was animated through the words. The use of car related lingo was a nice touch, for me this book was, as Ben and Meeko often say, Cherry.
Ben is such an interesting character, gruff and gentle, and I loved how he and Meeko seemed to fit each other emotionally and just had the same vibe about them. Meeko being 19 did some stupid things, and to me it made sense, he had his childish bits and he had to deal with the results of some really bad decisions. I enjoyed not having their ages specified, I could probably figure it out but despite the obvious gap it’s not such a big issue in the story. It was the longing they had for each other, the craving for the other that was just captivating, with the writing I was drawn into the story and could not put it down.

All the characters were well rounded, interesting and quirky, the shared history, described or hinted was really developed, and I got the feeling like the author knows all these characters inside and out. The crime theme was interesting, not my go-to genre, not as glamorous and raw, I liked it and felt it was refreshing.
Plot wise I would say some parts did drag a bit and I could have skipped of rushed them, some things just seemed slightly repetitive.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to get Paranormal! Love and Payne (THIRDS Book 13) by Charlie Cochet

 

Dreamspinner Press Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-payne-by-charlie-cochet-9843-b

Blurb:

Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart… until he meets Osmond Zachary.

THIRDS Defense Agent Osmond Zachary has a huge, doting family, yet something is missing in his life. After meeting grumpy, foul-mouthed, jittery cheetah Therian Austen Payne, Zach knows exactly what that something—or someone—is. Unfortunately Austen seems determined to avoid Zach at all costs.

When Zach foils an assassination attempt, he ends up in the killer’s crosshairs, and Austen is Zach’s best chance at staying alive. Zach hopes the crisis will bring them closer, but Austen has every intention of walking away as soon as the danger is over.

Happily ever after isn’t for guys like Austen, but Zach is determined to show him it can be….

Review:
I have to confess I only read the first THIRDS book, Hell & High Water, so I read this book almost as a stand-alone. In regards to that I did not feel like I was missing too much information and even though I am sure reading all the previous books would have given me more background I can definitely say reading it on its own is no issue.
I do have to say that despite the popularity of this book series I did not get into it when I read the first one and # 13 did not change my mind even though I am a big Paranormal/Fantasy/Shifter fan.

I would say the biggest issue I have is believability, mainly in the world of the book. I like the background and evolution of Therians, as explained at the beginning, but when it comes to the various government agencies I feel like they are more prop then substance. I also think the mystery of the assassination attempt, and the subsequent hiding Zach was just not detailed enough. You have skilled agents, and advanced technology and yet the discovery of the perp is delayed and only comes as an afterthought. It’s almost like they intentionally miss the clues so it can prolong the ending. I feel the plot writing is underdeveloped and unbalanced, in a way that does not let me fully get into the story.

I enjoyed Austen and Zach as characters, but I feel the growing attraction between them took too much of the story. Sure it was fun and sexy at times but I felt the story needed more action and more emotional depth. They have known each other for four years, and while Zach is very interested, Austen has been keeping his distance but could not seem to stope checking in on Zach and coming to his aid whenever something happened to him. You do get the feeling of an almost Friends-To-Lovers (my favorite trope) vibe though they are not truly friends as Austen repeatedly pushes Zach away. I just kept going back to thinking I wish I believed the plot itself, and not have it as some sort of stage setting for Zach and Austen to get together. Because when you have these elements in a story they must work together with everything else. I feel like had the action and thrill been better and the world more complex this would have been a 5 Strat book for me.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: Be Fairy Game (Starfig investigation #2) by Meghan Maslow

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41003166-be-fairy-game?from_search=true

Blurb
When a simple ‘find & fetch’ case throws private investigator Twig Starfig and newly-minted wizard, Quinn Broomsparkle, into the middle of an EBI murder investigation, it’s just another day in the Elder Realm.

If murder were Twig’s only problem, he’d be the luckiest half-dragon in the land. Murder he can handle. Fulfilling his promise to his scheming, power-hungry father to run for a seat on Lighthelm’s city council? Meh, he’d rather face a demon with a toothache.

On top of their case going sideways, and Twig running for a council seat he really doesn’t want, Twig and Quinn are forced to face some unpleasant realities about their budding romance, while still learning how to handle the wizard-familiar bond they now share. Throw in a red fury with abysmal taste in boyfriends, a ghost pirate-parrot who drinks too much, a murderer who will stop at nothing to get what they want, a host of new friends and enemies, and you’ve got a situation where no one is safe and everyone is Fairy Game

Review
This book carries on from the end of the first book, By Fairy means or Foul. In my opinion you do need to read (or listen the audiobook book is great) to book 1. I’d forgotten how much I love these characters, and I do mean Characters. Twig is a dragon shifter, Quinn a Wizard and Bill the daemon Red Fury (he’s my favourite). In this book we have a murder mystery, political intrigue and family drama. There is so much going on in the story. It keeps quite a pace without losing it’s integrity. Meghan Maslow has built a wonderful world which just keeps on getting better with each book. There are a lot of new characters with their own quirky ways that make it so fun to read. As well as ones from the first book. Twig and Quinn’s complicated relationship is continuing to build, Twig is Quinn’s familiar and in this story they struggle with whether to mate or not. Such a difficult situation when you’re already bound together in a different way. The murder mystery is handled quite well. Kept me guessing, and I like that about it. Someone is also trying to kill Twig’s father (who I’ve slowly warmed to). That looks like one of the threads that will carry on to book 3, because for me there are too many loose ends for the series not to carry on. I do hope this story comes out on audiobook as well.

4 of stars out of 5


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: Sun and Shadow by Dirk Greyson Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sun-and-shadow-by-dirk-greyson-1303-

Blurb
Dayton “Day” Ingram is recovering from an injury suffered in Mexico—and from his failed relationship with fellow Scorpion agent, Knight. While researching an old government document, Day realizes he might be holding the key to finding an artistic masterpiece lost since WWII.

But the Russians are looking for it too, and have a team in place in Eastern Europe hunting it down. Day and Knight are brought back together when they are charged with getting to the painting first.

Knight wants to leave Mexico and everything that happened there behind, and return to the life he had—except it wasn’t much of a life. When he’s partnered up with Day, keeping his distance proves to be challenging. But Day is as stubborn as Knight and isn’t willing to let him walk away.

Their assignment leads them through Germany and Austria with agents hot on their tail—agents willing to do whatever it takes to get to the masterpiece first. If Day and Knight can live long enough to find the painting, they might also discover something even more precious—each other

Review
Whilst this story does stand on its own there are some references to the first book. They are mainly to do with Day and Knight’s relationship and in my opinion you can get a sense of the issues even if you haven’t read or listened to it, although it’s a good story so I think it’s worth it. Just like the first book Knight and Day are reluctant partners, although this time round it’s for different reasons. It’s in this story that Knight comes to terms with his feelings for Day and wrestles with his feelings about his wife and son who were murdered. The story is still in the old classic cop/secret agent vibe, which I enjoy. They get themselves into scapes and life and death situations against the bad guys and come out victorious. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, car chases and putting the puzzle pieces together to solve a 70 year old mystery If that isn’t enough there is a traitor passing information putting their lives in danger. Dirk Greyson (Andrew Grey) knows how to pack a lot of action in.
Andrew McFerrin does a fine job narrating the story. He keeps the action flowing at a good pace. Knight has a wonderfully grumpy persona and Day is up beat, suits them perfectly. Perfect pairing and he has portrayed extremely well, keeping true to the first book. The secondary characters all have distinctive traits and voices so it’s easy to follow who’s talking. Overall this book is very easy to listen to.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review