Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nomads-dream-by-august-li-10134-b

Blurb

Two men, each with a hidden destiny. Can they defeat a web of deceit and dark magic to ensure their fates intertwine?

Bedouin Isra al-Grayjaab’s dreams lead him to Janan, an amnesiac beggar on the street of Qena—one who steals his heart and starts him on a seemingly hopeless quest. With only their wits, Isra’s knowledge of the desert’s secrets, and the aid of a mercurial djinn, they must recover Janan’s past. But neither can predict his true identity or the lengths others will go to see that his mind remains broken and his true power out of his reach.

In a sweeping romantic adventure that takes them across the Eastern Desert to the modern streets of Cairo and on to the luxurious Red Sea Coast, Janan and Isra seek a truth that will either bring them into each other’s arms or tear them apart forever.

Review

To me this felt much more like a mystery/adventure story, and rather less like a romance. Though Janan and Isra fall in love and spend quite a lot of time together, I was left wanting more. As love stories go this one is rather more mellow than I like as far as feelings & passion go. It reads like an action-filled fairy tale and I prefer my romances a little grittier with MC’s who develop a deep emotional connection and build a life together as couple. We leave our MC’s before they get to do that.

This book has a peculiar mix of paranormal characters on the one hand and very religious characters on the other, which is certainly different from what I’m used to reading. I think the author did an amazing job in describing the Bedouin way of life and the beauty of the desert, and I also liked how she interspersed the story with Arabic terms & customs. Always with a light and respectful touch. I felt like I stepped into a tale of the Arabian Nights.

The story is set in modern-day Egypt which still has quite a way to go in matters like LGBT rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. These issues are important to the story and I was pleased to see our fictional characters come out on top and pursue a happy and hopeful life together. How that translates into their daily life stays vague, however, they are both still in the closet as far as I know.

The secondary characters are well-written. Flicker, the djinn who befriended and protected Isra, is intriguing and mysterious, and we also get two very strong and independent female characters, Sehrish and Nawra, which was a nice plus.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Audiobook: Tracker Hacker by Jeff Adams Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tracker-hacker-by-jeff-adams-10196-b

Blurb

A Harmony Ink Press Title

Codename: Winger One

Theo Reese is just an average high school student with a passion for hockey and an uncanny talent when it comes to computers… at least on the surface.

What his teammates, fellow students, and even his boyfriend don’t realize is that Theo leads a double life. When he’s not putting up his facade of normal, Theo is working as an agent for Tactical Operational Support, where his technical genius is more than just a hobby. At sixteen he is responsible for helping agents in the field and keeping the TOS network secure.

It’s a secret he has to keep—from everyone.

But secrecy becomes even harder when a hacker compromises the system TOS uses to track its agents and Theo’s dad goes missing. Theo must find him and stop the hacker, which means leaving the comfort of his computer screen and venturing into a very real and very deadly world.

And if that’s not enough to deal with, all the secrecy is really putting a strain on Theo’s love life.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Review

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Theo aka Winger is a 16-year-old technical genius. After hacking his parent’s phone, he finds out that they are a part of a covert organization. The organization brings Theo on board for a sort tech support role. Aside from that Theo seems to be a normal teenager. He plays hockey and has an adorkable boyfriend named Eddie. Theo struggles with keeping his two lives separate, especially with Eddie and I have a feeling that there will be a big blow up later on in the series.

The story was fast paced, and it held my interest the whole time. While I had trouble following some of the more complex technical lingo. Jeff did a good job explaining what was going on. I also enjoyed that hockey played a role throughout a good portion of the story. I eagerly look forward to reading the next book in the series.

John Solo did a great job with the narration. He has a great range and was able to give everyone a distinctive voice. One pet peeve of mine with YA audios are that the characters sound too old but John succeeded in portraying younger sounding voices for the teenagers.

4 stars



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: A Wish Upon the Stars By TJ Klune Narrated by: Michael Lesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-wish-upon-the-stars-by-tj-klune-10278-b

Blurb

Sequel to The Consumption of Magic
Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to follow the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed.
The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne.
But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name, led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. If he has any hope of defeating the villains who have taken their home, Sam must face the consequences of his choices—and the friends he left behind.

Review:
This has got to be one of the best series in all fiction, period!
I was going to compose my thoughts and write a somewhat regular (staid) review about how much I enjoyed it, how good the final installment was, etc. But screw that! I am going to say exactly how I felt about the story and narration.
It was absolutely, brilliant ☺ TJ Klune wrote a fitting series finale – with all the humour, all the suspense and all the feels! Small disclosure – I have not read any of the books in the Verania series – I have all as ebooks – but never got past the first chapter of The Lightning Struck Heart. And that is due to TJ’s ‘CORNERSTONE’ Michael Lesley (and yes, it’s captalised so it’s true!). He channeled the magic of TJ Klune’s book and made the audiobook a masterpiece of its own.
Michael Lesley makes it impossible for me to read the books. In the finale that is AWUTS, he holds nothing back. It’s a glorious performance with our favourite characters – Sam, Justin, Tiggy, Gary, Kevin, Randall; some bittersweet times as Morgan is remembered and suspenseful as Myrin and Sam square off at the end. The liberal use of sound effects serves to make the performance pretty much perfect ☺
I won’t go into the story, except to say that while Sam has grown, he is still the same and the end is spectacular, with events that I didn’t see coming.
I will happily listen to this book again and again – the 18+ hours fly by with this excellent performance.
Honestly, this is one of best books and performances out there – entirely due the magical combination of TJ Klune and Michael Lesley.

6 out of 5– Out of this world!


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

First off, I have to say FINALLY!!!!!! I was stalking audible relentlessly for most of November waiting for this release and I devoured it in less than 2 work shifts!!

Story wise, A Wish Upon the Stars goes back to light-heartedness that The Lighting Struck Heart had. It is ridiculously funny, while being sweet, sexy and surprising. Sam, while he is now a full-fledged wizard, is still as immature as ever. His on-going feud with Lady Tina is hilarious. One my favorite things about this series is Sam’s ever-growing bond with the dragons, especially Kevin. While 99% of what Kevin says is gross and over the top, he has these moments of pure brilliance. There is so much that goes on in this story but the message is one of love, friendship and sacrifice.

Michael Lesley’s narration of these stories is beyond amazing. Normally I’m not a fan of special effects and sounds used in audiobooks but listening to this series has changed my mind. The range of voices Michael has is outstanding. There has to be 80 billion characters in this book alone and I don’t think he reused a single voice. If you aren’t normally an audio listener, do yourself a favor and get these books, you will not regret it!!

P.S.
Do yourself a favor and don’t skip Michael’s sound effect credits, there are some hilarious moment there as well.
6 stars!!


Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Dawn and Dusk by Dirk Greyson Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dawn-and-dusk-by-dirk-greyson-6765-b

Blurb

Sequel to Sun and Shadow
Day and Knight: Book Three

For Scorpion agents Day and Knight, their relationship is slow to develop, and trust is hard to build. Then Day’s brother, Stephen, goes missing, and Day finds out more about him than he ever dreamed. Day’s first reaction to Stephen’s disappearance is to try to get to him as fast as possible.

Knight initially holds him back, so they can attempt to find out what they’re walking into. But when Knight sees Day’s desperation, he steps in to help and tries to calm the man he’s growing to care about, even though the trail is cold, and clues are scarce.

When Day witnesses his brother being shot live on television, he loses the last of his control. Despite the lack of answers, Day is more determined than ever to find out what happened. Stephen was all the family he had left.

Bone-deep fear and adversity threaten to tear Day and Knight apart but facing unimaginable hardship together might finally cement the bond between them.

Review
Dawn and Dusk picks up almost immediately after book two. Knight is trying to come to terms with his feelings towards Day. Day on the other hand is ready to have relationship based on more than sex. Throughout the series, Knight struggles with moving on from the death of his wife and child. It isn’t until the end of this book that he realizes that he can have true feelings for Day without pushing his wife and son out.
The story line of all three books were very action packed and full of mystery. Book three revolves around the disappearance of Day’s brother. This story travels into the deserts of Arizona and deals with human trafficking and the coyote runners.
I highly recommend reading/listening to the first two books before this one. There is a lot of development in the relationship between Knight and Day that you will miss if those books are skipped.
While this story ends on a high note between Knight and Day, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Hopefully there will be more books eventually released.

The series is narrated by Andrew McFerrin. He is a decent narrator, who has a very pleasant voice that keeps me drawn into the stories he voices. My only issue is that he doesn’t seem to have a large range of “voices”. The two main characters are easily distinguished from each other, but a lot of the secondary characters sound alike.

5 stars for story
4 stars for narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Recent Release: Rough Trade (The Woodbury Boys #3) by Sidney Bell

Carina Press

https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488097195_rough-trade.html

Blurb

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

Review

Amazing action-filled story, the suspense nearly killed me! I also loved the sly humor that snuck in when the MC’s weren’t running or fighting for their lives.
This is a gritty romance between two heroes who have both been beaten down by life and aside from the suspense plot, it has some heavier themes too, like sexual abuse and its resulting mental health issues. So not a lighthearted read, but definitely an amazing, insightful, original and gripping story.
The two MC’s could not be more different.
Ghost takes a very dim view of the world and the people in it, and doesn’t trust easily if at all. He’s experienced some horrible things in his young life. But he survived. He’s very much a fighter, never giving up and using whatever means possible to get through another day, stealing, lying and cheating as he goes along. He needs every bit of his resolve and strength to fight for his life (literally) and for his chance at happiness with Duncan.
Duncan is the quintessential strong, silent type. He’s a firm believer in justice and made a brave choice to do the right thing in a difficult situation, only to be betrayed by the very people who were supposed to have his back. Now he’s struggling to find a new path, slowly realizing he can’t return to his former life. And then he meets Ghost!
The connection between Duncan and Ghost builds up slowly, with ups and downs, but it is beautiful to see the trust between them grow and to see them get closer, however tentatively at first. Ghost has serious mental health problems, and I was glad to see him reach out for help, going to therapy and building a life for himself. Love was not an easy fix for him, though it was an important motivator. I really liked that extra little bump in the road, the realism it brought to the story.
I very much enjoyed this book! I was so caught up in it, just couldn’t put it down once I started, which doesn’t happen to me all that much anymore.
This book is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone.

Number of stars out of 5:5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Hero for the Holidays by Charles Payseur

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

 

Cody travels from Metro City to the Caribbean island lair of Dr. Devious to look after the place while the supervillain is in space for the holidays… and maybe to mend his broken heart. With Christmas fast approaching, Cody is desperate to avoid reminders of his recent disastrous breakup, and a few weeks of sun and relaxation sound perfect—until a drunk (but very cute) superhero crashes the party by literally crashing onto the beach.
And that’s just the start of Cody’s problems—angry shark-men, mysterious lava creatures, and a malfunctioning AI all make his holiday getaway anything but relaxing. Amid the chaos of his adventures in lair-sitting, though, Cody might find just what he needs—a new chance at love.

Review

When Cody agrees to lair sit for Dr. Devious, he thought he would be in for a nice relaxing holiday on the island. What happens will change his life forever. Trying to get over a bad break up Cody just wants to soak up some sunshine and forget his pain, but unexpected visitors and an artificial intelligence gone haywire is what he must deal with.
This story is a fast paced read that pulled me in right from the start. Cody’s adventure is full of comical mishaps and an engaging plot. Cody is a regular person and readers can relate to him and how he deals with what is happening on the island. It was fun to see all the misunderstandings happen throughout this story. This is a sweet and endearing read and look forward to more from this author in the future.

Number of stars out of 5: 4

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/romancing-the-undercover-millionaire-by-clare-london-10016-b

Blurb

Romancing The…
Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?
Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.
Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.
While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?

Review

Alexandre is your typical spoiled playboy rich kid. He gets the bright idea to go undercover to reveal who is causing trouble in the family business warehouse. He meets his boss Tate. Tate is essentially a single parent of his three siblings and occasionally his grandmother when her arthritis is bad . The twins add great humor to the book. The attraction is instant. It was funny to read how easily Tate sees through Alex. Both are guarded. Alex, because he’s never tried for relationships and wanting to keep identity secret until mystery is solved, and Tate, because he feels that anyone he loves will eventually leave him plus the responsibility he feels to his siblings. The mystery incidences added great drama to the book. I enjoyed reading the family dynamics and know personally how tough it is maintaining a family in poverty. Alex gets hurt and shortly after the truth about him comes out. The sex scenes were hot without being detailed. The bond between them was great to read. All background characters were fun to read also. Overall fantastic read.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: A Light in the Darkness by Alice Winters; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Link:
https://www.audible.com/pd/A-Light-in-the-Darkness-Audiobook/154144759X?qid=1543000021&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=SJ717YXMZSWR7R1K4JYX&

Blurb: Felix and Lane are trying out their new normal. Normal means no more car chases, no more drug lords, and definitely no more kidnapping bad guys. All of that is a thing of the past in this new, normal(ish) life style filled with family get-togethers, torturous jogs through the park, and the occasional romp in the parking lot. Felix is done stealing (all but for the cat). He is actually enjoying the boring side of life, especially with Lane by his side doing what he does best: looking handsome. But when Felix’s brother wants to repair their relationship, he brings with him a secret that could cost all of them their lives.
Lane isn’t complaining because the thrills of life-threatening situations are right up his alley. They may think they have a handle on the situation, but what they do not know is that someone has been working them from the shadows. Forcing them to do exactly what he wants as he drives them closer to his sick game of life and death.

Review:
Hands down, this is one of the best sequels I have ever had the pleasure of reading and listening to!
Lane and Felix are still very much in love and are settling into the new home that *they’ve just bought, (*well, Felix did contribute $5, lol!), when Felix’s past rears up. It starts with his long lost brother, Darian and soon escalates into a convoluted mind game that tests both Lane’s and Felix’s sleuthing skills. Through it all, the banter, the sass and shenanigans kept me highly entertained.
But, the narration ….
Joel Leslie owned the story, lock, stock and barrel!; especially Felix. You will understand exactly what I mean when you listen to the opening wail “Lane!….”. I don’t know what else I can say about Joel that is not already known – brilliant narrator, versatile performer, excellent for knowing what a character needs and how to portray said character. Joel was born to do this series ☺
What made this a truly an excellent performance is how he minimized the impact of the repetitive “he said”, “I said” that peppered the story. The author may not have realised the impact of this for people listening to the audio. I hope that, (if there is a continuation of the In Darkness series), Joel will be able to give his considerable wealth of knowledge and advice on the editing of the audio.
I absolutely loved the narration and story!

6 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

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