Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Book Dreamspinner Gay Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal vampire

Release Day Review: Twice Bitten by Rayna Vause 

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/twice-bitten-by-rayna-vause-9731-b

Blurb

With a new species of vampire stalking the streets, the stakes are high. But that’s not the only reason hearts are on the line.

Danny Reynolds thought Kieran McCade was the one—true love and hot lust forever—until Danny found out Kier’s bloody secret and ran away screaming. Months later, Danny is facing his own paranormal crisis, and he needs Kieran’s help, but are there enough ways to apologize for breaking a vampire’s heart?

Nothing about Danny’s transformation is normal—not the attack that led to it, and not the symptoms Danny’s plagued with—but being in close proximity to Kieran is even worse than becoming a thing that goes bump in the night. Danny and Kieran aren’t the only things threatening to bump each other off, though. Secret organizations and clashing vigilante agendas want to get their hands on Danny. His only hope is to find a fix for his problem before he’s either captured or his abnormal transition starves him to death.

Danny and Kieran might have a real chance to repair their broken romance… but only if they keep Danny alive!

Review

These are hard reviews for me to write… when a story really impacts me – one way or the other – I have an easy time expressing how I feel about it. If I loved it – I have much to gush about. If I hated it – I have much to rant upon. But when I simply didn’t feel moved by it… I don’t have much to say.

The writing isn’t bad. The characters seemed ok, but I didn’t feel any connection with them. Some of this is definitely personal preference: I don’t like when the paranormal is “known” and I don’t like “reconciliation” stories so that’s two strikes against this story without the author having done anything “wrong”. Those are just things that don’t appeal to me.

When I read the blurb I was looking for maybe… humor? Drama? Angst? Some of that is there, but there isn’t much humor and – for me – that might have edged this from a “meh” story to something that grabbed me.

However, I am not the author and this isn’t my story. So, all I can do is report on my feelings and let you know that it was an okay vampire story wherein society knows about the paranormal and two lovers are reunited after a vampire attack.

As always, I recommend reading other reviews, but this was a 2.75 star story for me. Not bad, just not gripping.

I’d definitely be willing to look for more from this author in the future, but maybe with a more specific look at the blurb next time.

Rounded to 3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Audiobook Month Gay Hurt/Abuse Mary D Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Purchased

Audiobook Month: Leaning into the Fall by Lane Hayes Narrated by Nick J Russo

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Leaning-into-the-Fall-Audiobook/B079RM5MQJ?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=XQW1YNJPWTQ8CQM34PP8&

Blurb
Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He’s made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.

Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.

Review
This was the story I enjoyed the most. This can be a stand-alone whereas the previous two books follow on from each other. Nick intrigued me in books 1&2. He didn’t know what he wanted and came across as a selfish person. This of course is the portrayal of the Nick Eric knows. Here we get to know Nick better, as he sees himself. Such was his behaviour that early on I began to wonder if he had an undiagnosed syndrome. This is never confirmed one or the other although there is some speculation on Wes’s part. There is a slight power dynamic between Nick and Wes, which made a very interesting angle to the story. Nick certainly seems to need a strong person by his side. This is an excellent story of personal growth. Not only for Nick but also for Wes. Both of them had to face up to aspects of themselves and their past to be able to build a future together. By far my favourite.
Nick J Russo’s narration is excellent. All the characters have their own distinct voices and their personalities come through. This is especially important in this story. Wes needed the strength Nick J Russo’s interpretation gave him to do justice to the character. Equally his interpretation of Nick Jorgensen gave him a compelling mix of desperation and strength. Definitely one I’ll be listening to again.

5 of stars out of 5

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

Categories
6 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Audiobook Month Gay Gay m/m Mid level angst Monthly Theme Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat Shifter vampire

Audiobook Month: Prophesy (The King & Alpha #1) Audiobook by A.E. Via Narrated by Nathaniel Black

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Prophesy-Audiobook/B07DHRYQBZ?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=9RZC4B2GBMVBK6GPNEZT&

Blurb

Justice Volkov is the youngest Alpha Zenith to ever lead the wolf shifters. Following in his father’s large paw prints was a responsibility he met head on. Now at age thirty-three, he is alpha of the alphas. As a direct descendant of the original Siberian pack, his wolf is bigger and stronger than Justice, himself is sometimes able to control.

His wolf howled long and hard but Justice kept it inside. It felt like a bass drum beating against his rib cage. The harsh breaths, angry snarls and the determined pacing inside him was overtaking him.

Justice takes his role of leadership and his legacy very seriously. He has little time for romance, not to mention a true mate. His packs are his priority. With a human government trying to regulate them, an uprising of rogue shifters, and a violent team of scientists trying to experiment on them, Justice has his hands way too full.

Chadwick ‘Wick’ Bentley is not enthusiastic when the captain of his escort tells him he has to leave his comfortable London home and go back to the States. As the Vampire King, he has no choice but to get his species back in line before they cause anymore chaos. At over one-hundred years old, Wick is no one to trifle with, but his smooth, charismatic manner makes him quite unique, despite the negative reputation vampires have. Wick has had nothing but time up to this point. He doesn’t feel the need to make issues pressing. Nothing is urgent in his life. Until he meets Justice. His beloved.

“Natural enemies can’t be mates.” Or so Justice thought. He knows his skepticism and rejection is hurting his mate, so while he fights their connection, Wick gets help from a source very close to Justice to help him win his beloved’s heart. Wick is a force all on his own, but when he’s blessed with a special gift from the Mother herself, not even Justice’s powerful wolf can prevent the prophesy from being fulfilled.

This story DOES NOT contain/mention MPREG.
No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. It ends with a very HFN.

 

Review

I LOVED this! I am so psyched to see AE Via come to audio! I really hope she finds the ability to do more of her books in audio. This ROCKED. Nathaniel Black OWNED this! He is able to do ALL the accents as well as carry the drama in between the dialog with panache.  The story itself is wonderful, too.

 

We have two enemies, both alphas in their own worlds, who have no expectation of mating and yet find themselves not only drawn to one another but absolutely NEEDING the other. It was GLORIOUS! I love that uncontrollable passion and the feelings that come with it. Via is also gifted at giving us a good amount of action and adventure but not enough to detract from the base of the story which is our MCs falling in love.

 

There’s a good bit of humor, lots of hot mate sex, and LOADS of shifting and biting!

 

Absolute perfection, read by a true performer!

 

I cannot rate this highly enough!

 

6 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Dark Romance/ Bad Boys Gay Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Standalone

Time to go Dark: Verified Kill Audiobook by Patricia Logan narrated by Rusty Topsfield

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Verified-Kill-Audiobook/B00ZSYA7TM?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_19&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=35SRNT8TCC9854SQMTG9&

Blurb:

Walker Easton has chosen a life of solitude, and it’s always suited him well. When a young lover is viciously taken from him, he begins to reevaluate his connection with Emilio. Could he have saved the young man had he resisted the deep-seated desire to belong to someone? Lost and uncertain for the first time in his life, his bravado is slipping away.

When he’s given his next filthy assignment, he remembers Emilio’s final words to him…”Who will grieve for you when you are gone, Walker?” His next choices set him on a dangerous path where there is no turning back, and when an old friend gets in the way, he has an impossible decision to make.

Callum Tryst is a dangerous man in his own right. Young and cocky and undeniably one of the finest assassins alive, he goes after a target not knowing that there is one painted on his own back. When he crosses paths with a career sniper, he finally meets his match…or does he? Callum learns the hard way that perhaps the best weapon against his enemy is another enemy. He finds himself asking the question, “If I’ve never ever cared about anyone, did I ever really matter?”

Join the pair as they mete out justice as only they know how, in a desperate fight to the finish…and the discovery that the fight is not as they always assumed it to be. Assumptions get you killed…and dead men cannot love.

Review: I had listened to one of Rusty Topsfield’s narration a while ago and was not overly impressed with the performance, at least where he tried to sound English. But, I couldn’t find the time to read the ebook, so I took a chance and got the audiobook. I am so glad I did!
The story is about an assassin bent on revenge for his dead lover who meets another assassin. Unbeknownst to either of them, they have the same target in their sights. The story is a little convoluted, with a target that may be innocent, a hateful parent and characters from the Silver (BDSM) series, (although not necessary to have read said series). There is some D/D (not a lot); however I’m not a BDSM fan, so the story was just OK for me.
Rusty Topsfield was better (to me) this time around. I never had a problem knowing who was talking and he made both MC’s sound like the alpha men that they were. My only gripe is that during the non-narrative bits, he sort of had little to no inflection, so it sounded like some of the sentences ran without punctuation. But honestly, his narration definitely made it easier to enjoy the story, (sorry Ms. Logan!).
Based on his narration, I will probably get the rest of the series in audio format ☺

4 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased For Review

Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Book Dee Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Standalone Time to Laugh

Time to Laugh: Hidden in Darkness by Alice Winters

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38612013-hidden-in-darkness?from_search=true

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:
I really had a lot of fun reading this 🙂 Felix is a snarky, height-challenged man who has a heart-breaking past. Lane is a recently blinded, (in the line of duty), detective. Felix is hired to to be a companion (babysit) Lane, with hilarious and adventurous results!
Be warned- Felix does not treat Lane’s blindness with kid gloves- in fact, some of the things that Felix did to Lane, (like putting the toilet seats up and getting Lane to sit), were funny, and a little mean, (but mostly funny!). I liked that Felix did not pity or patronise Lane, (hence some of the things he said/did).
Both men eventually begin to open up to each other, providing the story with a bit of tenderness and heart.
This is a story to be enjoyed as is – don’t try to analyse how feasible some of the exploits are – just enjoy the ride!

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/volley-balls-by-tara-lain-8014-b

Blurb

2nd Edition

A Balls to the Wall Romance

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

A “pumped up” version of the Volley Balls story, twice as long as the original.

First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2011.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

I read the original edition and though this says it’s twice as long as the original, I can’t say that I noticed a heck of a lot of difference.

I love this series and though this wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, it’s still a lot of fun!
(I’m not sure if she’s redoing the entire series, but I see that there’s at least a new cover for book two so…) In any case, FAST Balls is my favorite of the series, reviewed here https://openskyebookreviews.com/fast-balls-balls-to-the-wall-5-by-tara-lain/) and I think that, though it’s not necessary, reading them in order helps to introduce the characters in a really nice way.

David is the owner of an art gallery who’s recently left an ex who abused him. He’s not really looking to date, but open minded when opportunity comes along. Edge and Gareth are Australian Volleyball players who are in town during a tournament. Gareth knows he’s gay but he’s deeply in the closet, Edge has some secrets of his own and some self-examination in his future.

To me, you have to just accept a lot on faith with this story. Don’t try to look at it too deeply- there are a lot of plot holes and amazing insta-love moments that aren’t terribly realistic. We don’t get a lot of relationship building here, as Gareth sees David once and is pretty smitten and makes some important life decisions with only a little bit of encouragement from David to go on.

The relationship between Edge and Gareth actually makes the most sense – given their history – and I guess the triad kinda makes sense – given that David is the only one with any real relationship experience at all. (This was the hardest for me to swallow. I could buy David and Gareth, Gareth and Edge and even David and Edge, but the three of them, coming together, and agreeing that this would work for them? I had a hard time seeing this given the brevity of their time together and the situation with Edge and… Well, it was a hard sell. The other thing that bothered me was the dialog – sometimes David and Gareth spoke in ways that didn’t always feel authentic. “Shall I …” etc. I just reminded myself this is fiction and kept reading. )

The sexy times are plentiful. Gareth’s mom is awesome. The art sounds fun. Seeing Edge switch gears and share with Gareth and David – super, scorching, hot and at times sweet, too. I didn’t really buy the triad, but found the guys fun to read about anyway, and I really enjoyed the other books in the series so…

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick is one of my favorites. Is his Australian accent good? Not the best. Is it good enough. You bet! I still loved this even though it wasn’t my favorite by this narrator. He’s still easy to listen to and fun. He’s great with the comedic timing and the smexy times and that makes this worth the money!

4.5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Book Dee Gay Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Standalone Time to Laugh

Time to Laugh: A Temporary Situation by H.L. Day

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36270848-a-temporary-situation?from_search=true

Blurb

Personal assistant Dominic is a consummate professional. Funny then, that he harbors such unprofessional feelings toward Tristan Maxwell, the CEO of the company. No, not in that way. The man may be the walking epitome of gorgeousness dressed up in a designer suit. But, Dominic’s immune. Unlike most of the workforce, he can see through the pretty facade to the arrogant, self-entitled asshole below. It’s lucky then, that the man’s easy enough to avoid.

Disaster strikes when Dominic finds himself having to work in close proximity as Tristan’s P.A. The man is infuriatingly unflappable, infuriatingly good-humored, and infuriatingly unorthodox. In short, just infuriating. A late-night rescue leading to a drunken pass only complicates matters further, especially with the discovery that Tristan is both straight and engaged.

Hatred turns to tolerance, tolerance to friendship, and friendship to mutual passion. One thing’s for sure, if Tristan sets his sights on Dominic, there’s no way Dominic has the necessary armor or willpower to keep a force of nature like Tristan at bay for long, no matter how unprofessional a relationship with the boss might be. He may just have to revise everything he previously thought and believed in a chance at love.

Review

This is a funny, sweet, low angst story. Tristan is a little too nice to be true, but such a darling. Dominic is snarky, clever and funny.
Dominic made a snap decision to dislike his boss based on an interview given by Tristan. He does his best to be obnoxious to Tristan, but finds that Tristan is genuinely a nice guy. Once the confusion is cleared up, it’s still not smooth sailing to a relationship – Tristan still has a girlfriend to get rid of and Dominic doesn’t believe he and Tristan can be in a relationship. There some great secondary characters- Paul and Martin.
The story is great fun; I’d love to see a story about Paul and the bartender- I’m sure it would be fun ☺

4 stars out of 5


Copy purchased for review

Categories
Gay Little to no angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series young adult

Release Day Review: Bad Attitude by KA Mitchell

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-attitude-by-ka-mitchell-9505-b

Blurb: Saving lives never used to be this complicated.

Gavin Montgomery does what’s expected of him by his wealthy and powerful family—look good in a tuxedo and don’t make waves. When a friend takes a leap off a bridge, Gavin tries to save him, only to fall in with him. At least at the bottom of the river he won’t feel like such a disappointment to his family. But he’s pulled from the water by a man with an iron grip, a sexy mouth, and a chip on his shoulder the size of the national deficit.
Jamie Donnigan likes his life the way it is—though he could have done without losing his father and giving up smoking. But at least he’s managed to avoid his own ball and chain as he’s watched all his friends pair off. When Montgomery fame turns a simple rescue into a media circus, Jamie decides if he’s being punished for his good deed, he might as well treat himself to a hot and sweaty good time. It’s not like the elegant and charming Gavin is going to lure Jamie away from his bachelor lifestyle. Nobody’s that charming. Not even a Montgomery….

Review:

Let me start by saying I really liked this book. It’s a curious mix of sweetness, humour (the banter is great), heat and some hardness; not unlike a hard-boiled sweet with a soft centre.
Gavin is a sort of trust fund kid who doesn’t have or seem to work. At first glance, he seems spoilt, self-centred and idle. Then there’s Jamie, a policeman on the marine search and rescue team. He has a ‘bad attitude’ to most people, (a prickly, don’t mess with me vibe). When Jamie saves Gavin from a watery grave they begin a curious hot/cold relationship based on lust and preconceived notions, (the latter based on Jamie’s thinking that Gavin doesn’t do anything except party). Slowly each man finds that there’s more to the other – Gavin is really a sweet young man who cares for others and is a bit lonely; Jamie is not as hard as he makes out to be, in fact he wouldn’t mind having a stable romantic relationship. Their relationship runs hot and cold but they finally get it together.
Although this is the 3rd book in the Bad series (I haven’t read the first 2), it can be read as a standalone (I’m going to get the first 2 books).
My only gripe is that the book ends rather abruptly – I would have loved to see a bit more of them as a couple.

4 stars out of 5

4-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review