Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Stuck with You by Jay Northcote

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42930903-stuck-with-you?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Patrick has been single since he broke up with his cheating ex almost a year ago. With Christmas looming, he’s resigned to spending it alone with only memories of happier times for company. When a business trip with a co-worker leaves them stranded in the Lake District due to heavy snow, it seems Patrick will have company for Christmas after all. It’s a shame his companion is Kyle, who’s undeniably attractive, but annoying as hell.
Aware of Patrick’s reluctant admiration, Kyle basks in the attention even though Patrick isn’t the type of man he normally goes for. Averse to relationships after being hurt in the past, Kyle enjoys the occasional hook up, but has given up on seeking anything more meaningful.

Stuck together, their antagonism escalates along with a heavy dose of sexual tension until it finally ignites. What starts as a Christmas fling soon feels like something special; but will their tentative connection melt away as the snow thaws? If they’re going to take a chance on finding happiness together, they’ll have to put their differences aside and learn to trust one another.

Review: This is one of the few times I didn’t fully like or connect with a character, in this case, Kyle.
The two men, Patrick, (older, somewhat staid) and Kyle, (younger, bratty) do not get along at work. Their boss sends them on a business trip, telling them to work out their differences. They get stranded near a small village and have to cohabit while waiting out a snowstorm. During this time, all the two MCs do is snark and bicker back and forth, until they admit their attraction to each other. They go from enemies to intimate in 5 seconds flat, with a little spanking thrown in. I have to admit that I didn’t feel that there was much chemistry between the Patrick and Kyle, at least not until near the end. There were some nice moments when they weren’t being defensive – both men have been hiding past hurts – especially when they celebrated Xmas.
This is not my favourite by Jay Northcote, but the author is a master at his craft, making it an overall good story.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Too Hot For Santa by Helena Stone

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Jonah Walsh’s fledgling acting career in Dublin comes to an abrupt end when a video of him in a compromising position goes viral on social media. The offer of a part in a Christmas play in Sydney, Australia arrives at exactly the right time, although he isn’t sure about celebrating Christmas in the scorching heat. Nick Claseman isn’t happy that the actor he and his sister have hired will be occupying his granny flat. As for Jonah’s enthusiasm for Christmas, Nick doesn’t get it. He hasn’t decorated or celebrated in years. When Jonah turns out to be anything but a stuck-up starlet with delusions of grandeur, and Nick proves he’s not usually grumpy and borderline hostile, the two men gravitate toward each other. Their attraction morphs into something more when Jonah reacquaints Nick with the pleasures of Christmas and Nick shows Jonah the beauty of Australia. But Jonah is only Down Under for a few months. It would take a Christmas miracle for them to have a future together

Review: Another good story in the collection. For a short story, it reads more like a novella.
The story is aptly described in the blurb, but what it doesn’t tell you is how really good it is. It includes a transition from ‘enemies’ (one-sided really) to lovers, humour (especially with the language difference – Oz to UK English), attraction, a description of Sydney and an epilogue. I loved it!

4 stars out of 5

Copy generously provided by publisher

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: Hidden in Darkness by Alice Winters; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Hidden-in-Darkness-Audiobook/B07HJBJND9?qid=1541961109&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=C88ZHS34SJ9AVYKBKM4Z&

Blurb: When Felix lands a job taking care of a man recovering from severe injuries, he thinks his life may have just turned around. Anything has to be better than the place he’s leaving. There’s something about Lane that draws Felix to him and makes him question if this place could finally become a home for him. But when someone begins stalking Felix, he is left to question who Lane is and what actually happened to him. Together, Felix and Lane will be forced to see just how far they will go to protect each other. Being chased by cops, kidnapping a man, and breaking into a drug operation seems to be his normal since arriving in Lane’s life. Felix may be out of his element, but one thing he is sure about is that he doesn’t want to leave, even if it costs him his life.

Review by Dee:

Book previously reviewed here https://openskyebookreviews.com/time-to-laugh-hidden-in-darkness-by-alice-winters/

When I read the book the first (of many times), I was startled by the lack of ‘kid glove’ treatment Felix gave Lane. Don’t get me wrong, it was funny as hell, but wow!, it’s rare to read a story where the disabled MC is treated as they deserved; in this case, a bit meanly (Lane was a bit of a dick at first).
The sarcastic humour and banter is genuinely funny and the crime/suspense kept me engaged.
The audio, as performed by Joel Leslie, does not disappoint*. He continues to wow his listeners with his talent. In this case, he brought Felix to life, capturing his snark perfectly. Joel also captured Felix’s vulnerability and, at times (few), his sensitivity; especially when dealing with Lane. It goes without saying that the overall performance was great, but wow, did he nail the essence of Felix.
This will be an audiobook that I’ll re-listen to often. Loved it!

*(except that there were very slight pauses between sentences due to the ‘I said”s – an editing issue)

5.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

I agree with Dee that Joel Leslie did a wonderful job as always with his narration.  He manages to convey humor and romance as well as give us a variety of well developed characters.

His narration is definitely a 5 of 5 stars for me.

I’m not a fan of the story however.  I don’t like mysteries and I found Felix tedious rather than charming but I know others like Dee really found him hysterical.  He just grated on my nerves and detracted from my overall enjoyment.  (It could be a mood thing… but it just didn’t work for me.)

The humor here is just not my style of humor so I have to give the story a 2 of 5 stars.  Overall a 3 of 5 stars.

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Santa Daddy by Keira Andrews

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42904546-santa-daddy?from_search=true

Blurb

Mall Santas aren’t supposed to be hot.

Hunter Adams is hopelessly adrift after college. He’s still a virgin, can’t find a real job, and has no clue what to do with his life. In desperation, he returns to his humiliating old job as an elf at the Santa’s Village in his hometown’s dying mall. The Santa on the job is an unexpectedly sexy lumberjack, twice Hunter’s size and age. He makes Hunter feel very naughty—too bad he’s grumpy and intimidating.

Years after the tragic death of his partner, Nick Spini has his beagle and long, hard days on his Christmas tree farm. That’s plenty. But he can’t refuse a loyal friend’s plea for help and finds himself filling in as Santa at the local mall. Despite Nick’s attempt to stay aloof, the beautiful, anxious young man playing elf brings out his long-dormant daddy instincts.

When a surprise blizzard traps them alone in Nick’s isolated forest home, their attraction burns even brighter. Will they surrender to the sizzling connection between them and find the release and comfort they crave?

Santa Daddy is a holiday gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring an age gap, steamy m/m first times, daddy role-playing and light spanking, Christmas romance feels, and of course a happy ending.

Review

This is just the right kind of book to get snowed in with! Nick is just the right kind of grumpy lumberjack you want to cuddle with and hunter is so awkwardly sweet and insecure- the work perfectly together.
I loved the emotional depth Keira put into Nick’s past, and it really emphasized his reclusiveness and unwillingness to be around people. That made him being roped into playing Santa in the mall so very funny and charming. He and Hunter have instant attraction that is off the charts, you can definitely save up on your heating bills with this books.
I usually do like light kink in books, but I shy away from the more structured BDSM club themes and plotlines. Full time alternative lifestyle is not my preferred reading material. What I liked about this book is the balance, the kink is there but it is much more about the dynamic between the two then the props and rules and contracts like in other BDSM/heavy kink books (not that there is anything wrong about them, just my personal preference). It made the sex between them smoldering hot without being the main focus of the relationship. It is the perfect balance in my opinion and I was kind of sad it didn’t go on longer so I could have more of their hotness (there is plenty there, I’m just greedy).

I also loved Hunter’s relationship with his mother, and his own struggle with fitting into the “adult role” he thinks society expects his to uphold as a collage graduate. It is something I think many people can identify with, and showed that not everyone have to walk the same pre-designed path.

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories this season, and you should definitely check it out (Keira’s Christmas story last year, In Case of Emergency, was also fantastic) if you are looking for some holiday cheer with a heaping dose of “Yes daddy”.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40862277-the-captain-s-ghostly-gamble?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

When a ghostly dandy and his roguish companion try their hand at matchmaking, things definitely go bump in the night.

For centuries, foppish Captain Cornelius Sheridan and brooding John Rookwood have haunted the mansion they duelled and died for. Now these phantom foes must join forces to save both their home and their feuding descendents.

But when Captain Sheridan sacrifices his afterlife for the sake of true love, will Rookwood risk everything to keep his companion by his side, or is it too late to say “I love you”?

Publisher’s Note: This book is related to the Captivating Captains series.

Review

John Rockwood and Cornelius Sheridan are 200 plus year old ghosts that haunt an old manor which was the cause of their dual many years ago. On the anniversary of their death two of their descendants, Jenny and Dan show up at the manor house. Dan, it seems, wants to sell the house while Jenny wants to prove the existence of the ghosts. The two ghosts find out that the pair are actually lovers but the constant bickering between them is causing a great rift in their relationship. To try and salvage the relationship between Dan and Jenny, the ghosts decide to manifest but there is a danger of this causing them to disappear forever. Before they do this John and Cornelius admit their long-standing love for each other.

I readily admit that I was skeptical about this story. A love story between two ghosts?!? I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem. The back and forth banter between the ghosts are snarky and funny. The fondness they have for each other was apparent to me as the reader, but the moment they reveal their love for each other was so sweet.

The human couple, Dan and Jenny were a bit annoying, since neither one of them seemed to really know what the other wanted out of life and just assumed that they each wanted to live a fancy life. One simple conversation would have solved that but then this story wouldn’t have had its dramatic climax.

I highly recommend this little story. Very enjoyable for such a short read.

4.5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recently Released: Captive Fire by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25437374-captive-fire?from_search=true

Blurb

Prince Ryuu hates his father, Emperor Midian. When he’s forced to buy a slave, he defiantly chooses Drakon instead of a woman. Because he’s determined to overthrow his father’s empire, he can’t afford to show vulnerability, but Drakon is more compelling than he’d anticipated. For an Arethuza warrior, affection is a weakness that can lead to death.

Drakon isn’t really a slave—he’s a black dragon, considered cursed by everyone. Despite his people’s distrust, he will do anything to keep them safe, even submit to an Arethuza prince. He never expected to find love, and that complication could ruin his plans to sabotage the emperor’s war campaign. Though Ryuu is his fated mate, their fledgling bond is a secret too dangerous for Drakon to reveal.

Will their duty tear them apart? Can honor prevail in a war that might be too violent for even the strongest dragon warrior?

Review

This was a surprisingly dark and heavy but still very hopeful and sweet dragon shifter story.

It’s high on angst and its sort of a dystopian flavor dragon shifter story but it has all the elements you’ll want if you like insta love/lust and fated mates, enemies to lovers story with some high adventure thrown in.

4 of 5 stars

 

Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Comfort: Belonging (Firsts and Forever #8) By Alexa Land

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25368856-belonging?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Can two damaged men build a future together from the shattered pieces of their lives?

Gianni Dombruso’s life was altered forever at the age of four, when his parents were murdered and he and his brothers went to live with their grandmother, the irrepressible Nana Dombruso. Now almost thirty, Gianni has spent his life bouncing from relationship to relationship, seeking but never finding the security and stability he so desperately craves.

Alexzander Tillane was one of the biggest pop stars in the world when he walked away from it all in the middle of a concert in 2002. Almost destroyed by the pressure of fame, Zan retreated to a life of quiet solitude in an effort to heal. But the cure backfired, leaving him with more issues than answers.

Zan knows he can’t give Gianni the stability he’s looking for, not with all his problems. He can’t even imagine why the beautiful younger man would want to get involved with someone so damaged, but the heat between them can’t be ignored. Giving in to it could be a huge mistake. Or maybe both men might end up right where they belong.

Approximately 98,000 words. Please note: contains explicit language and graphic sex. For ADULTS ONLY.

Review

First off this book is a part of a series, and while it can be read as a standalone, there are a lot of secondary characters that appear in previous books. I highly recommend reading the entire series for most enjoyment.

Zan is a former famous musician who walked away from everything when life became too much. He lives in complete isolation with only his son for company. Unfortunately, his son Christian is sick and unable to care for Zan any longer. Christian asks his good friend Gianni to fill in for him while he recovers. Gianni is a complicated character. He comes off as a very put together young man but in reality, he is a vulnerable, sensitive man who has poor self-esteem and is ok with being mistreated by past lovers because he feels like he deserves it. Zan has his own issues as well. He suffers from mental illness, which is now keeping him a prisoner in his own home and preventing him from living. When both men finally meet they are attracted to each other but neither one of them has any experience with healthy relationships and seem to be waiting for the other to make the first move. Gianni ends up thinking Zan hates him and his feeling of self-worth diminishes even further. He ends up leaving Zan in the care of one of his brothers and decided to go to New York to be with another man who treats him horribly. This is the push Zan needs to make the move. He ends up following Gianni to the airport and one of the hottest kisses happens here. Now Gianni is in an unfamiliar situation of becoming the caretaker in the relationship. With Zan’s mental issues, Gianni must become more aware of his moods in order to prevent Zan from sliding into darkness.

Belonging is a very much a fluffy enemy to lover sort of romance. There is very little angst and the romance between Zan and Gianni is sizzling. The character development in this book is amazing and you can’t help but falling in love with all of them. This is a beautiful story of two broken men overcoming their insecurities in order to be with each other. This is book is full of crazy, zany characters and it will have you laughing out loud.

5 Stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Czech Mate (Agents of C.L.A.W. #1) by Jane Wallace-Knight

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41958956-czech-mate?from_search=true

Blurb

Set in the Happily Ever After Mating Agency universe, C.L.A.W. is a secret subsection of MI6 dealing with shifter matters that the rest of the world can’t know about. Andrew Brady was proud to work for such an organization, working behind the scenes on his computer to help keep the world safe.

When the son of a prominent British politician, and a fellow fox shifter, goes missing in Prague, Andrew is forced to go out into the field for the first time. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact he was partnered up with Lane Roberts, leopard shifter, secret agent, and all round serial flirt.

The two men had been butting heads for two years, dancing around each other in a game of Lane’s making. Putting himself in danger, and having to pretend to be married to Lane Roberts would have been bad enough, but the deeper they go the darker their mission seems to get.

[Siren Classic ManLove: Alternative Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense Romance, MM, shape-shifter, HEA]

Review

I’m sad to say this was pretty unremarkable. 🙁  I’m a fan of the author and this just didn’t make me laugh as much as some of her other material.

The shifter stuff was nice, but after having separated from this for a book or two I find myself struggling to remember what even happened.

I like this author’s works but I think I felt the secondary story took more center stage than the romance in this one and I was underwhelmed.

Still worth reading but not my favorite shifter story or my favorite by this author. I remember the first books in the original series quite fondly and was glad to see the MCs from that story make an appearance. https://www.goodreads.com/series/136848-the-happily-ever-after-mating-agency

Recommended for fans of the author.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Review: The Enchanter’s Flame (The Ellwood Chronicles #1) by Michele Notaro

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41252355-the-enchanter-s-flame?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Strange things are happening all around Brinnswick. Things that remind me of a piece of my past I’d rather forget. Girls are being killed, drained of blood, and left with strange markings on their bodies. When I finally connect the cases together, a specialist is called in—though, what he’s a specialist of is beyond me.

When the chief assigns him as my new partner for the case, I can’t help but groan on the inside. Why of all people would I be assigned to Ailin Ellwood? The man is a disaster waiting to happen and a jerk to boot. A sexy jerk, but a jerk nonetheless.

What will Sebastian think when he discovers Ailin’s specialty? Will he make a run for it or will he stick around and discover a world of magic hidden beneath the city’s surface?

***The Enchanter’s Flame is the first book in the Ellwood Chronicles. It’s a paranormal romance that contains explicit material and is intended for mature adults 18 and over.***

Review

First, let me say I LOVE this cover – it’s so nice not to see the typical half -naked torso!

Second, I wanted to say that I really want to recommend this book. ( I can’t say the series because the first/prequel isn’t my type of book – but that’s maybe just me).  Ailin is a great character and this book is full of magic and humor and some UST!  I really enjoyed it!  The entourage of animals really cracked me up!

I’m looking forward to the next book and hopefullly more laughs and spells!

4 of 5 stars


Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Rivals (Gaymer Guys #1) by Alison Hendricks

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42183978-rivals?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Finn:
The Cyclones are more than just a team to me—they’re my family. As captain, I give my all to make sure they’re taken care of. Sure, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for me, but I’ve always been able to ignore my own needs. Until Ryker.

I know he’s all talk. But it’s such dirty, distracting talk that it costs me and my team qualifying points. I shouldn’t let him get to me, but I want him in the worst way, and a hookup at a gaming convention seems as good a place as any to get over him.

But when he earns a spot with the Cyclones, all my hangups over this guy are brought to the forefront, 24/7. I expected to give in to my attraction again, but I never thought he’d become an integral part of my team… and my life.

Ryker:
Beating the Cyclones isn’t just about bragging rights for me. It’s about proving to my dad—and myself—that I’m worth more than the internship he’s oh-so-generously offered me.

There’s only one problem: I’ve been low-key obsessed with their captain, Finn, for the better part of a year. He’s everything I want, and everything I want to be—driven, talented, passionate. He also hates my guts, which honestly only makes me want him more.

But it only takes one insanely hot encounter to tell me I won’t be getting him out of my system anytime soon. And when I finally have the opportunity to join the Cyclones and pursue my dream, the one thing I want most of all is him.

Rivals is the first book in a brand new series! While all these books feature gaming and geekery, you don’t have to be a self-professed gamer to enjoy them. If you like the idea of hot, adorkable nerds falling in love, you’re in the right place.

Review

Funnily enough… there was way too much sex in this IMHO. I had to bump this down a notch for that alone.  I wanted more relationship and less humping.  They thought about having sex.  Had sex.  Then thought about how they had sex.  It was too much.

I was very captivated by the enemies to lovers, but sometimes the ages of the MCs felt off – at times too young and others too mature. Inconsistent definitely.  But – maybe – some of that was them growing… hard to tell.

However, the gaming stuff sounded legit and fascinating and I’m stoked for a new series!  Sometimes I was overwhelmed by all the gaming jargon, but it was mostly done in a way that non gamers cold follow.

Recommended!

4 of 5 stars