Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bite (Anthology) by Clare London, Ruby Moone, Sue Brown, Joanna Chambers

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48272713-bite?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Vampires old and new, strong and sensual, with desires both predatory and protective. Their attraction is fierce and fascinating, and their love is eternal. We believe they deserve a very special kind of man—and their own happily ever after.
Four best-selling authors bring you their own take on the vampire lover’s story.

In Out of Time by Clare London, the ancient vampire Ambrus tries to protect Edward, a newly-turned young man, hoping to bring him comfort, acceptance of his fate, and eventually love.

In Christmas for a Vampire by Ruby Moone, grief-stricken vampire, Ellis Davenport, faces a miserable, lonely life when it seems the love of his life prefers death to eternity with him.

In A Tale Told in Darkness by Sue Brown, Lee comforts his lover with the tale of Brook, a vampire who falls for his neighbour Michael. When the young man is pursued by someone far more dangerous, only Brook can save him.

In Lamb to the Slaughter by Joanna Chambers, there is very little Lucien St. Villiers enjoys more than hunting for beautiful young men who are eager to learn all that Lucien has to teach them.

Review: Four well written, vampire-themed novellas in one collection.
Here are my thoughts about each story (in no particular order).

A Tale Told in Darkness (Sue Brown)
This is a story in a story. The main story, (with Lord Brook and Michael), has a bit of suspense, but a satisfying end. Brook, the vampire, meets his neighbour, Michael (human and is his fated mate). However, someone seems to be stalking Michael, and when he disappears, Brook has to find out who and why.
Nice little mystery here.

Lamb to the Slaughter (Joanna Chambers)
This was definitely a tale of the hunter being the hunted ☺
Lucien, our undead person, is a love/feed them and leave them creature. Until he meets Marcus, who gives him a run for his money. I enjoyed the twists in this story.

Christmas for a Vampire (Ruby Moone)
This story was a bit sad. Set during the winter holidays, Ellis is heartbroken that his lover, Quinn doesn’t want the same things he does. The holidays remind Ellis of his lost love. Liked the story overall.

Out of Time (Clare London)
Younger Edward as not had an easy life (or afterlife after being turned). Ambrus, an older vampire offers to help Edward. Ambrus travels through time, not forming any connections with anyone … until Edward. The story of how Ambrus helps Edward overcomes his resentment against his situation, (as a reluctant vamp), spans several decades. Sweet story with a touch of angst.

All 4 stories were enjoyable, there were a couple I wished had been a bit longer, but all were entertaining.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47948494-the-lion-and-the-crow?from_search=true

Blurb

In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.

Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.

Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.

Review

Set in 1300 The Lion and the Crow is a wonderful tale of knights in armor, facing enemies known and hidden. It has the flare and feel of old tales, Walter Scott type of stories or Robin Hood, with M/M romance. The writing fits the time period well, it was witty and full of charm. There see,ed to be a lot of research put into the story and it shows in the richness and flow of the plot-line.
I really liked Crow- Christian. He reminded me of Loki from the MARVEL franchise, cunning and beautiful and with a heartbreaking backstory. The Lion-William is so honorable, and he was very much the knight you imagine when you think about the crusades and the Middle Ages. They share an interesting bond, starting off as sort of enemies and evolving into friends with great banter and humor. William’s sister was also a great supporting character and the solution to her situation was an interesting, clever twist I was not expecting.

The Epilogue is bittersweet but, as a re-release you still have the old Epilogue as well. It’s gentler, and I would recommend it to readers who want the sweeter ending, though it is still a HEA both ways.

Number of stars out of 5
4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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!

 



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Hexhunter (Hexworld #4) by Jordan L. Hawk Narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Hexhunter-Audiobook/B07VDMBP71?qid=1564959434&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=ZG720NFKW4X0EN0B2FPV&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

Detective Bill Quigley fell in love with the familiar Isaac the night they met. But after more than two years, it’s time to admit to himself that Isaac doesn’t return his feelings.

Isaac knows he’s too broken by his experiences for anyone to fall in love with. Especially someone like Bill, who deserves a partner unplagued by Isaac’s nightmares and doubts.

When children go missing from an orphanage, Bill and Isaac must work together to find them. And as years of yearning threaten to ignite into passion, they must decide once and for all whether to take a chance on love.

Review

Just as I’ve come to expect, Jordan Hawk brings us another amazing installment in her Hexworld series!

What I love about this series is how clearly she brings to life the flavor, sounds, colors of her world with her words. Having listened to Tristan James’ narration of her characters helps – of course – but honestly – she does such a terrific job of painting the picture that it’s like being in a painting or watching a movie as I read.

The mystery is exciting but doesn’t overshadow the romance and the new “twist” we see here between Bill and Isaac is lovely and just as rewarding as the previous MCs in the series.

Highly recommended and I can’t wait to listen to this as well!

Audio
Gah! I LOVE listening to Tristan James do accents! Mmmmm He did a tremendous job differentiating ALL the different characters and the British/Irish/Bronx… all of them were fantastic! It must be SO HARD to do but it comes off as effortless.

I still think my favorite is the cat- Cicero. He’s so catty! And snarky and funny and Tristan truly does him justice. He did a nice job with Bill and Isaac too – but Cicero holds a special place in my heart.

This is ABSOLUTELY the best way to enjoy these – you won’t regret it!

6 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Gentleman Wolf (Capital Wolves Duet book #1) by Joanna Chambers

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47167640-gentleman-wolf?from_search=true

Blurb
An elegant werewolf in Edinburgh…

1788. When Lindsay Somerville, the most elegant werewolf in Paris, learns that the man who held him in abject captivity for decades is on his way to France, intent on recapturing him, he knows he must leave the Continent for his own safety. Lindsay cannot take the risk of being recaptured—he may have been free for a century but he can still feel the ghost of his old chains under his fine clothes.

… on a mission…

While he’s in Edinburgh, Lindsay has been tasked with acquiring the “Naismith Papers”, the writings of a long-dead witchfinder. It should be a straightforward mission—all Lindsay has to do is charm an elderly book collector, Hector Cruikshank. But Cruikshank may not be all he seems, and there are others who want the papers.

… meets his match

As if that were not enough, while tracking down the Naismith Papers, Lindsay meets stubborn architect Drew Nicol. Although the attraction between them is intense, Nicol seems frustratingly determined to resist Lindsay’s advances. Somehow though, Lindsay can’t seem to accept Nicol’s rejection. Is he just moonstruck, or is Nicol bonded to him in ways he doesn’t yet understand?

Note: this is the first book of a duology – the story continues and will complete in the second book, Master Wolf

Review

Chambers skillfully and masterfully weaves a story of fantasy in a delightful historical setting. This is one of two books and has a HFN/Open ending that is not a cliffhanger but you would have to wait for January 2020 for the second installment in the series.

Much like in her Enlightenment series, the research put into this book is meticulous and her language rich. This is one of the things I like most about historical romance, and when done well it can pull you centuries back in time. Chambers paints a vivid picture of 18th century Scotland, alongside a werewolf tale that feels both mainstream and uniquely different. Her choice of cover art is by the fabulous artist Felix d’Eon, who does lgbtq+ art in his unique old school, humorist style and representation of ALL the letters (check his out, you will not regret it). An artist I have been following for a few years and admire, just goes to show how meticulous Chambers is in her world building and authenticity.

I rather enjoy shifters when they are well written, and I find there are so many that follow the same well-worn path I have to be very picky about what I choose to read. This story has all the classical elements yet keeps it fresh and intriguing. Lindsey is a very relatable, yet surprising character, and I was rather fond of him from the start. His miserable beginning at the hands of a cruel master is contrasted by the happy, almost vain man he became a 100 years later. His meeting with Drew Nicol is a perfect clashing of wills and passions and the opposites attract in an almost painful way. They are raw and sensual, extremely HOT together, and Drew is the most soulful character you just want to sooth and hug. They both fight against their most secret wants and instincts, and ultimately have to make some very hard decisions.

Lindsey is on the run from a dangerous individual, and in their game of cat and mouse Drew inevitably gets tangled up. Nothing is what it seems and no one can be trusted, they have to face the consequences of Lindsey’s actions, and I cannot wait for the second book to bring this story to its conclusion.

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Recent Release: The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived by Daniel Errico, Illustrated by Shiloh Penfield

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42181480-the-bravest-knight-who-ever-lived?from_search=true

Blurb

Knights, dragons, and princesses are the things all good fairytales are made of, but what happens when the tale has an LGBTQ ending? Follow Cedric on his journey from his days on a humble pumpkin farm to the adventures that lead him to become a full-fledged knight. Once a knight, discover how he uses his cleverness and courage to vanquish a fire-breathing dragon and rescue a beautiful prince and princess. It is only then does Sir Cedric face his most difficult challenge. Will he follow his heart, and prove that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is choose for yourself how your fairy tale ends?

Review
Super cute!

First, I think this is fantastic that the world is beginning to have alternate reading choices for kids. Second, the art in this is gorgeous and really well done. Third, the story itself is tremendously cute!

I didn’t love the rhyming – it didn’t always flow really smoothly and that was jarring sometimes, but the overall story and message was wonderful!

I loved the idea that the boy had an idea about who he was even when he was young and that manifested for the adult. Just like real life! This gives LGBTQ kids that idea that their feelings are “normal” too.

FWIW – my LGTBQ kid loved this too and was really energized by having read it!

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: On Wings of Passion (On Wings Saga 0.5) by M.D. Grimm

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/on-wings-of-passion-by-md-grimm-10629-b

Blurb

A Story from the On Wings Saga
Prequel to On Wings of Thunder

Every story has a beginning….Dragons. Angels fear them and demons follow them. Formidable beasts of incredible power, they fight each other to the death for dominance. But dwindling dragon numbers cause alarm among the angelic ranks. Surely when the dragons have finished killing each other, the victors will search elsewhere for conquest… maybe even the Upper Realm.

Roland, an angelic artist of significant talent, doesn’t know what to believe. Part of him longs to see a dragon in person, and his peaceful life of contentment is wearing thin. He wants passion, desire, adventure, and love. He gets more than he bargained for when he and his sister are ambushed and captured by demons, and they bring him to a creature who surpasses Roland’s wildest imaginings.

But the mighty dragon Asagoroth is not all that he seems. Something sparks between him and Roland. Something neither anticipated. Something that will shake the cosmos to its core.

Review

If you’ve read Wings of Thunder you know that Roland is later reincarnated into Trystan and Trystan and Asa fall in love all over again in another life time.

This is their back story and it is as dramatic and full of angst and love as the – first? – second? – book.

I think even people who’ve not read the series will appreciate this book and want to read the original.

It’s definitely a lot of drama and angst and you really need to like angel stories for this to appeal.

Recommended!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Christmas-Homecoming-Audiobook/B07L19L69S?pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=KYRG2KSZ1VAF4HGX7H26&ref=a_library_c4_libItem_B07L19L69S

Blurb

August 1939. Roger Miller and Jack O’Brien have been close since childhood. By the time they realize there’s more between them than friendship, Jack is leaving their sleepy Iowa town for college. But they console themselves knowing he’ll be home for Christmas. Right?

It is Christmas before they see each other again, but that Christmas comes six years and a world war later. Aged, beaten, and shaken by combat, they’re not the boys they were back then, but their feelings for each other are stronger than ever.

Neither know the words to say everything they’ve carried since that peacetime summer kiss, though. Even as they stand in the same room, there’s a thousand miles between them.

But maybe that’s some distance the little angel in Roger’s rucksack can cross.

The Christmas Angel series books are standalones and can be read in any order.

Review

This was so sweet! Although this was a bit hard to swallow –I still loved it and was so glad for their HEA. LA Witt really did a nice job imagining the hardship of war for these boys and how it would affect their future decisions. I loved the line “We can be some other town’s ______ bacherlors” – such a lovely outcome for them!

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick is a great choice for this sweet Christmas story. A joy to listen to.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Summerfield’s Angel (The Christmas Angel #2) by Kim Fielding Narrated by KC Kelly

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Summerfields-Angel-Audiobook/B07L4C112L?pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=KYRG2KSZ1VAF4HGX7H26&ref=a_library_c4_libItem_B07L4C112L

Blurb

After the hard winter of 1888 ended Alby Boyle’s work as a Nebraska ranch hand, he returned to New York City in search of his long-lost family. His mother and brothers are nowhere to be found, however, and after Alby’s years of absence, Five Corners no longer feels like home. His prospects seem as dim as the nighttime alleys.

When Alby pauses to admire an angel ornament in a department store window’s Christmas display, he meets Xeno Varnham-Summerfield. Wealthy, handsome, and enthusiastic, Xeno brings Alby some temporary cheer. But for Alby to achieve his dreams of love and a real home, well, that may take a bit of holiday magic.

Review

Kim Fielding is such a great writer! She excels at giving us less than charming situations with guys who probably shouldn’t be together and finding a way to make it appealing and possible nonetheless!

I learned some stuff about New York’s Cowboys in the 1800s! That was fascinating! Also – a bit about the YMCA – which was also cool.

I loved the HEA our guys got and I was so touched by the angel’s work in this story.

This was very sweet and highly enjoyable.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

KC Kelly was the perfect choice to narrate this! He does a great job with both the “aristocrat” and the “country” inflections and is a joy to listen to!

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review