Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Nova Praetorian by N.R Walker; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Nova-Praetorian-Audiobook/B07WS2N77M?qid=1569968539&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=Q1QT0RJF87DG33HJCM8E&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb: Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome. When Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he attends the Ludus Varus for purchase of the very best. He puts to Quintus an offer he cannot refuse, and Quintus finds himself in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards instead of gladiators.
Kaeso Agorix was taken from his homelands of Iberia and delivered to Rome as a slave. Bought by a senator to be trained as a guard, his fate is handed to the man who would train him. Absent free will, Kaeso knows his life is no longer his own, though he soon realizes the gods have favored him when he learns his new master has a kind heart.
Quintus and Kaeso forge a bond that far exceeds the collar at Kaeso’s neck, and together, they discover the senator’s move for promotion has an ulterior motive. Thrown into a world of politics and conspiracy, of keeping enemies close, they move against time to save Rome before traitors and the gods themselves see to their end.

And in doing so, see the dawn of the nova praetorian – the new guard – rise.

Review:
Story already review previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/?s=nova+praetorian

A historical romance from one of my favourite historical periods – Roman times, coupled with an absolutely epic performance by Joel Leslie! What’s not to love?? ☺
This story is a product of is time – one of the MC’s is a slave, there is blackmail, political back-stabbing and political villainy; but there are shining moments, like the fairness of Quintus, the affection and bond between Quintus and Kaeso and the backdrop of general Roman life (which appealed to my inner history geek ☺

The narration was nothing short glorious! Joel Leslie is one of the best audiobook performers in the business. He has the knack of knowing how to channel the characters, first by getting the right accent, then their personalities and then their emotions. This is all tied together in the overall tone of the story – in this case, a more somber tone – since some of the topics are serious.
Throughout Joel Leslie’s performance I could visualise the gladiator training area, I could ‘see’ the villas of the senators, feel the decadence of the time. I could also feel the treachery, and the love and affection between the 2 MCs.
This is a well crafted story, with a tour de force performance by Joel Leslie!

Narration: 6 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: I’ve Got This by Louisa Masters

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ive-got-this-by-louisa-masters-10788-b

Blurb:
A Joy Universe Novel

Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.
Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.

Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues placing bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.

Review: I loved Derek and his running commentary on things going on in his life and around him. He had a slyly snarky tone which made the overall story fun to read. The story is also told from Trav’s POV, so we get to understand why he’s the way he is.
Derek is somewhat of a workaholic, driven to excel at his job. He’s well-liked by all, so he’s pretty shocked when he meets one person who doesn’t (like him). On top of that, there’s a murder to solve and half the entertainment at the resort have fallen ill.
Trav is not impressed by Derek –at all ☺ But when Derek needs help, he offers his services and helps Derek out of a bind. As both men work together, they get to know each other – Derek loosens up about being work-driven and Trav learns to trust Derek.

This is a really good story with nicely developed characters, the humour (Derek ‘talks’ to the reader, breaking the 4th or 5th wall (I forget!)) and some description of the inner workings of a theme park. I would have like a bit more about the murder as an ongoing thread through the story, but as a romance, this was a really good story! I hope Dimi, (the PA), gets a story – I liked him ☺

4.5 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Evolution of Love by Phillip William Stover

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-evolution-of-love-by-philip-william-stover-10763-b

Blurb:
When a charming but misguided account manager gets stuck on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands with his hunky zoologist ex, he might rediscover his true passion—in and out of the bedroom.
After art school, Mike Davis gave up on his dream in favor of a stable job. But when he gets an opportunity to teach wealthy travelers how to paint stunning sunsets, it seems like the perfect break. Until he finds out he’ll be sharing a suite with his ex, charismatic Benton Aldridge—a British scientist cuter than the baby animals he studies. Mike makes it clear he has no intention of getting back together with Benton, but sharing a suite makes it almost impossible keep his distance.

As they climb over volcanic peaks and swim with manatees through sparkling jade-colored water, can they also heal past wounds and take the next step in the evolution of love?

Review: Mike has pretty much given up his dream of being an artist – he has a ‘proper’ job and this was one of the main reasons he and his then boyfriend, (Benton), broke up. When a chance arises for Mike to visit the Galapagos as the cruise artist, he jumps at the chance. Little does he know that his aunt Penny has a surprise – in the form of Benton being the resident scientist!
I really liked this second chance at love story. Benton was still trying to push Mike to be an artist, which still hurt Mike, but in the end, Mike realised that was where his true passion lay, (as well as with Benton ☺).
There’s not a lot of steam to the story, but it wasn’t really wasn’t needed. The story is fun, humourous and sweet, with fun characters like Penny, as well as some of the passengers.
I enjoyed the story and will look for more from this author.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Arrangement – A Homestead Legacy Story By: Alex Jane

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47326511-the-arrangement?from_search=tru

Blurb
Gabriel Webster’s pack is in trouble. His father’s failing health and his mother’s untimely death mean that the vultures are circling. It won’t be long before his family’s assets are stripped and his pack disbanded. When an offer of help arrives in the form of a marriage of convenience, he has little choice but to accept.

The arrangement would be the perfect solution, if not for one thing. Gabriel is to marry Nathaniel Hayward, the Alpha who was badly injured in the accident that killed his brother ten years before—and the man Gabriel has been in love with for as long as he can remember.

Trapped in a business arrangement masquerading as a marriage—in a strange, empty house with a damaged husband who barely tolerates him — isn’t what Gabriel expected from life.

But sometimes the last thing we want is the beginning of something more.
And an ending can be the start of something beautiful

Review: This is an enjoyable story with likeable characters and a good story line.
My only complaints are that there is not made of the shifter life and very little description of the century (19th) in which the story occurs (these are my personal peeves and they don’t detract from the overall story).
Gabriel is ‘heir’ to a failing pack when he receives unexpected help from his late brother’s best friend, Nathaniel. Nathaniel, an alpha who was injured in the same accident that killed Gabriel’s brother, carries both emotional and physical scars. He proposes a marriage of convenience with Gabriel, who agrees (he has harboured a crush on Nate for a while).
The ‘arrangement’ starts off with Nathaniel keeping his distance, being generally aloof and cold towards Gabriel. But Gabriel perseveres, drawing the stubborn man out of his shell. The men grow closer and things start to work well between them, but there a still few things that need to settled before the men get their HEA.
An enjoyable story!

 



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Review
What a wonderful addition to the world Alex Jane created with the Homestead series. An arranged marriage to save the Pack it’s not what Gabriel wants but it must be done. I love how the story slowly weaves in reconciliation and emotional healing for both Gabriel and Nathaniel. A second chance at love for them. It takes time for Gabriel to begin to understand Nathaniel and why he behaves the way he does. There is a gentle sweetness about the Homestead series which has been carried on in this book. I love that there is a small cameo part for Thaddeus and Samuel. The world Alex Jane creates is so vivid. a pleasure to read

5 stars out of 5



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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Gazes Into You by Alex Jane

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34880901-gazes-into-you?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb:

Ex-detective John Right likes to watch.
There’s no harm in it.

The latest object of his obsession—a twenty-something stranger who chains his bike outside John’s office—doesn’t feel the weight of John’s eyes on him, doesn’t know about the secret recordings or what John does with them in the dead of night. Except when the kid disappears, John finds himself doing far more that just watching.

Reluctantly, John has to start thinking like a cop once more as he frantically tries to track down his mystery man. Although when he finds him, John is left with more questions than answers. And the more he learns, the more he wishes he’d never started looking in the first place.
Can John get to the bottom of the mystery without giving away his own dirty secret? And without giving in to his urge to do more than simply watch?

Well…nobody’s perfect.

Review:

The story has an interesting premise: John, a former detective, works as a security guard; he also happens to be a voyeur. I was a tad put off by this at the beginning of the story, especially as he watches Jason and pleasures himself to Jason’s images. But when Jason disappears, I had to find out what happened to him (and see if John’s character could be redeemed).
When John tracks Jason down (at a hospital), the mystery really begins. Who wants Jason dead and why? John transforms into Jason’s protector and, as their friendship develops into more, his lover.

The story has good bones and the secondary characters were interesting, (especially Chris), but it needed to be edited a little better. There were missing words, misplaced commas and other punctuation issues; enough to pull me out of the story at times.
Overall, the story was good, and I would read the next book in the series.

3.5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Milo (Finding Home #2) by Lily Morton

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43971325-milo?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Once upon a time a brave knight rescued a young man. Unfortunately, he then spent the next few years bossing the young man around and treating him like a child.
Milo has been burying himself at Chi an Mor, hiding from the wreckage of his once promising career and running from a bad relationship that destroyed what little confidence he had. Niall, his big brother’s best friend, has been there for him that entire time. An arrogant and funny man, Niall couldn’t be any more different from the shy and occasionally stuttering Milo, which has never stopped Milo from crushing wildly on the man who saved him.

However, just as Milo makes the decision to move on from his hopeless crush, he and Niall are thrown into close contact, and for the first time ever Niall seems to be returning his interest. But it can never work. How can it when Milo always needs rescuing?
From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to write his own happily ever after.

Review:
This is another Lily Morton story that ticked all my boxes: snark/banter, engaging characters Niall and Milo and seeing friends like Silas, Oz (although kind of hard not to see the latter seeing as both MCs work for Silas ☺ )

But this story has a bit more of a hurt/comfort theme, although still quite funny.
Milo was always seen as a shy type, especially because he had a speech impediment as a child. Being in an abusive relationship also compounded that. Once he was able to escape that – Niall to the rescue – he started to show his true self; a sassy/pert, quick-witted and stronger-than-given-credit-for young man.
Niall is Milo’s older brother’s (Gideon) friend and occasional hook-up. At first, all Niall sees is the little brother that needs rescuing, but as Milo grows in confidence and snark (the latter thanks to Oz), he starts to notice that Milo is all man, grown up man, at that!
My heart stuttered for Milo when Gideon showed up unannounced, but they start to resolve their somewhat strained relationship and Niall makes it clear that his hookup arrangement is over. Niall learns that in order to have Milo, he has to let him go on to be independent.
Overall, I loved this addition to the series ☺
I highly recommend this story.


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The Eye and the Arm by Andrew Q. Gordon; narrated by Seb Yarrick

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Eye-and-the-Arm-Audiobook/1644057026?qid=1564951554&sr=1-5&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=JZKAH8H3VGQJY90SN952&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_5

Blurb:

Champion of the Gods: Book Two

After defeating Meglar at Belsport, Farrell returns to Haven to recover from his injuries, but Khron, the God of War, has other ideas. He gives Farrell a new mission: free the survivors of the ancient dwarf realm of Trellham from their three-thousand-year banishment. To fulfill Khron’s near impossible task, Farrell will need the help of his distance ancestor, the legendary wizard Kel. But Kel has been dead for a thousand years.
Farrell finds information hinting that Kel is alive, so he moves his search to Dumbarten, Kel’s birthplace. To reach Dumbarten unannounced, Farrell and Miceral disguise themselves as mercenaries on board a merchant vessel. Their journey is disrupted when pirates attack their ship. While attempting to subdue the attack, Farrell is struck down by one of Meglar’s minions.

Unconscious and trapped in his own mind, Farrell’s only chance for survival rests with Miceral and the peregrine king Rothdin entering his thoughts and helping him sort fact from illusion. To reach Farrell, they will need to rely on an untested spell from one of Kel’s spellbooks. If they succeed, Miceral can guide Farrell home safely. If not, Farrell will destroy not only himself, but Miceral, Rothdin, and everyone around him.

Review:
Story: This is the sequel to The Last Grand Master and a really good continuation of the adventures of Farrell, Miceral and their new quest – this time free some prisoners from exile. There is more character development in this story – we get to see that Farrell is not perfect, but when it counts he acknowledges his shortcomings. It’s an excellent sequel or a good story as a sort of standalone. But I highly recommend following the series from the beginning.

Narration: Seb Yarrick is a very good narrator in general, and this was no exception. He made this an enjoyable listen. He does quite well with distinguishing between the characters, so I always knew who was talking. One thing that did sort detract from the overall performance (for me) was that I wished he displayed a bit more emotion when warranted. What I mean is that when characters expressed a distinct emotion like anger, there was little difference in the cadence of the narration.
All in all, it’s a great way to enjoy the story.

Story: 4.5 stars
Narration: 4 stars

Overall 4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services Book 1) by Onley James

Good Reads

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46393099-intoxicating?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb:
Lincoln Hudson has just been handed the easiest job in the world. Babysit the spoiled son of a conservative senator, keep him out of trouble, and receive a six-figure paycheck, a paycheck he desperately needs. Wyatt’s father claims he needs Linc’s firm hand and discipline. One look at him and Linc agrees. Wyatt needs discipline.
Being the closeted gay son of a family values senator has left Wyatt Edgeworth with a reckless streak and a love of partying that just cost him eight months of his life and might cost his father his re-election. So now he has a babysitter. A very sexy babysitter.
When Wyatt drunkenly tells Linc he’d make an excellent Daddy, they reach an understanding. Wyatt gets a Daddy and Linc gets a paycheck, then they go their separate ways. For this to work, discretion is key, but with a reporter dogging Wyatt’s every move, that might prove impossible.

Staying together was never an option, but with each passing day, their feelings only grow. Will they risk it all for what’s supposed to be a harmless fling?

Review:

I requested to read this without completely reading the blurb, so I didn’t know this was a Daddy/BDSM story (now you know *smile*).
It’s a really well written story, Wyatt and Linc are very well defined characters – Wyatt a bratty ‘boy’ and Linc, a stern ‘Daddy’. Linc was exactly what Wyatt needed – someone to make him feel good about himself and his needs.
For those who love these kinks, you’re in for a treat; neither are my jam. However, I was able to enjoy the really good writing, the development of the characters and I understood why Wyatt was ‘bratty’ – he was really neglected by the people that were supposed to love him – his parents.
Anyway, while this book was not for me, it is a very good book ☺

4 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Embracing His Syn by A.E Via; narrated by Aiden Snow

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=embracing+syn&ref=

Blurb:
Sergeant Corbin ‘Syn’ Sydney had dedicated his life to becoming the best detective. So when he heard there was an opening on the notorious Atlanta Narcotics Task Force, he jumped at the chance. But, what he wasn’t ready for was realizing just how lonely he’d made himself, when he observed the loving and dedicated relationship between the two men he served under: Lieutenant Cashel ‘God’ Godfrey and Lieutenant Leonidis Day.
Syn prepared himself to accept his lonely fate until he walked into a small pub and met the long-haired, tattooed bartender, Furious Barkley. Before Syn can even understand why, he’s overcome with feelings he barely recognizes: passion, yearning, craving. And if the dark, lustful gazes are anything to go by, Furious might be feeling the same things for him.
Just two thing needs to happen before Syn and Furi can give each other what’s been missing from their lives for so long… Syn needs to find the evidence that proves Furi’s innocence of murder, as well as protect him from a past that refuses to let go.

God, Day, Ronowski, and Johnson are still as entertaining as ever…

Review:
Story: I read this story a while back – I liked it, a lot but it wasn’t my favourite in the series. It’s an interesting story – Syn transferred to God and Day’s team to forge his own path, separate from his family of policemen. Because he’s always been focused on his career, he has never been in a relationship, let alone with a man, but when he meets Furi, his feelings change. Syn is bent on becoming a part of Furi’s life, meanwhile, Furi is intent on keeping a low profile after escaping from an abusive relationship. There is a lot of heat and chemistry between the 2 men, and it was interesting to see how their romance developed. It was fun to see God and Day; Ro and Johnson and some new faces in their alpha and sometimes hilarious element ☺

Narration: Aiden Snow made me love the book! He has a gorgeous voice, so well suited for the growly, alpha men that dominate the story. He has been great for the series so far ☺ The only (minor) observation is that there is not that much distinction between most of the men, but the story is well written enough that you always know which character is talking.

Story: 4 stars
Narration: 4.5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Spark in the Stars by Foster Bridget Cassidy

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/spark-in-the-stars-by-foster-bridget-cassidy-10559-b

Blurb:
A case of mistaken identity could lead to love for an aloof starship captain and a brilliant if underappreciated mechanic from the sticks—if they can survive the dangerous mission assigned to them.

Ginnovi Oshwald just needs someone to give him a chance. He can keep anything running, despite the “spark” his body produces that sometimes wreaks havoc with electronics. Gin gets his chance when Captain Lian Hartford comes to Tallahassee in search of a mechanic. The trouble is, he’s looking for Gin’s sister. But since he only has a name to go by, Gin tells a little white lie. What could go wrong?
Lian loves his ship and his work as a diplomat but has difficulty connecting with others—only partly because of his mixed human and alien heritage. Something about the eccentric mechanic intrigues him, though, and their easy friendship could become more… if they live long enough to broker peace between humanity and a hostile race while pacifying a crew that thinks Gin belongs in prison.

Review:
It’s an interesting read at the start especially when Gin is mistaken for his sister and the dialogue switches between his and his sister’s name – I liked that, once I got used to it ☺
However, the story got to be a little confusing to me; how did Temina know what ship her brother was on? Then there were the secondary characters, they had been introduced but I had a hard time keeping track of many of them – Doc was also called Mother, but I wasn’t sure if she was really Lian’s mum and Pip turned out to be a deity.
Gin and Lian were likeable characters, but I didn’t feel that they any chemistry together.
It’s a good story, just not for me.

3 stars out of 5


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