Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ angels Audiobook Author Provided Bullying Dee Fade to black/No Steam Gay Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Standalone vampire

Audiobook: The Bureau by Kim Fielding narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Bureau-Audiobook/B07FB87WNZ?qid=1533351357&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=ZB9XMTGMAM0FQQVEZ38X&

Blurb:

This collection contains the first three Bureau novellas:

Corruption

Once a proud demon of the night sky who carried nightmares to humans, Tenrael has spent decades in captivity as the star attraction of a traveling carnival. He exists in miserable servitude to men who plunk down ten dollars to fulfill their dark desires.
Charles Grimes is half human, half…something else. For 15 years he’s worked for the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs, ridding the country of dangerous monsters. When his boss sends him to Kansas to chase a rumor about a captive demon, Charles figures it’s just another assignment. Until he meets Tenrael.

Clay White

Someone – or something – is murdering young men in San Francisco. Clay White has been fired from the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs, but he’s determined to track down the killer. When he comes across a vampire named Marek, Clay assumes he’s caught the perp. But the encounter with Marek turns out to be more complicated than Clay expected, and it forces him to deal with his own troubled past and murky psyche.
As Clay discovers, sometimes the truth doesn’t come easy – and the monsters are not who we expect.

Creature

Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who – or what – he is. Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.

When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream – to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs – all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him.
Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man – and what a monster truly wants.

Review

Book reviewed here previously

This is a collection of stories that introduce the Bureau of Tran Species Affairs.
The stories are a little dark, somewhat film noir-ish, but interesting. I read and enjoyed Creature, (my favourite of the 3), as a standalone, so when I saw that Joel Leslie was narrating the trio of stories, I was more than happy to experience the collection. The stories connect, but are definitely self-contained standalones.

What can I say about ‘a Joel Leslie performance’ that hasn’t been said before? He brings life, character and a wealth of acting experience to the stories he narrates; so much so, that one becomes personally invested in the characters. In this case, he made me want to take Tenrael (Corruption) home to care for. And John (Creature), you could almost ‘see’ how he bloomed under Harry’s care – I could feel the affection and emotion he felt for Harry, life (such as it was) in general.
Joel Leslie, simply put, is a pleasure to listen to.

5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book Bullying Fade to black/No Steam Gay Gay m/m Magic Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Purchased Re-Release Shifter

Audiobook: Consorting With Dragons by Sera Trevor

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Consorting-with-Dragons-Audiobook/B07F3BGR2N?ref=a_a_library_c4_libItem_3_B07F3BGR2N&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=XRAHEZ2Z33VXAZ7P1V4V&

Blurb

Lord Jasen of Grumhul, an impoverished young nobleman, has come to the Draelands to find a rich husband to help pay his father’s debts. To the shock of everyone, he ends up attracting the attention of King Rilvor himself and the dragons who control the magic in the land.
Becoming royalty wasn’t something Jasen either expected or wanted, but he can’t control his growing feelings for the kind and handsome king. Scheming factions at Court conspire to keep him from Rilvor’s side, and now, Jasen has to decide if the chance at true love with Rilvor is worth the burden of being the husband of a king.
Contains mature themes.

Review

 

First let me say, that I will absolutely be looking for this author in the future and second, that I had no idea Philip Alces had that accent (his own? Dunno… but it was wonderful!)

 

However, I didn’t love this story.

 

I did love the premise – Cinderella with dragons. I didn’t love that Jasen was a “slut” before we got to meet Rilvor and the steam factor in this is so low. Maybe that’s hypocritical – but my own taste would have been keep to one theme or the other. Keep Jasen and the sex scenes chaste or give us some hot smexy times!

 

I never read the “short version” and only listened to this, so I can’t compare, but I really do wish we’d seen more from Rilvor’s POV. I also hope that , since so much time went into world building, we’ll see more from this world in the future.

 

The writing was really good and as far as I could tell so was the editing.

 

As I mentioned before Philip Alces nailed all the accents and really put the listener in a great frame to appreciate this story/time in place. The secondary characters were good, though some of them I knew better than the 2nd MC.

 

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this and found myself happily listening without a desire to skip ahead. Well-done!

 

 

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars overall

 

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
Book Bullying Fade to black/No Steam Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Mid level angst Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Standalone Uncategorized young adult

Recent Release: Jupiter (States of Love) by Rhett Heath

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/jupiter-by-rhett-heath-9708-b

Blurb

For fourteen-year-old Jacob Thomas, a Christian and the smartest kid in class, Bobby Versailles is completely out of reach. Jacob wishes a girl named Allie loved him because he still doesn’t get that he’s gay, but he always keeps his eyes peeled at school, hoping to catch a glimpse of Bobby.

It’s Bobby Versailles’s senior year. Captain of his high school football team, he’s bound to win Homecoming King and hopefully a state championship, but he’s been miserable for years. His fear of somebody finding out he’s gay has brought isolation and loneliness. He has hidden that he’s gay by going on dates with girls now and then, and also by working out and excelling at football—which has also helped teachers look past his learning difficulties. When he first eyes Jacob, it’s possibly love at first sight. Bobby becomes a little obsessed. Jacob has got to be gay, and when Bobby makes a move, both of their worlds turn upside down!

It’s 1982, and while the Nebraska Cornhuskers are barreling toward a possible NCAA National Football Championship, everyone in a small town two hours away hopes Bobby can lead them to a state championship. Can two teens with vastly different lives find love amidst the fervor of Nebraska football?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review

This is going to sound bad – but – in general I’m not a big fan of football, YA or “historicals” so… but I was really intrigued by this blurb and was looking forward to seeing how it developed.
Well …. This is a YA story and I think that maybe Juvenile lit is more appropriate given that they don’t act terribly Adult. Not to say that they’re kids… well. They are.

This felt like a book for kids. I liked it well enough and I appreciated the fact that this was based on real events so that must have shaped some of the authors writing decisions but – for me – it just felt a little young.

Not my taste in general. But overall good for fans of: YA, football and recent history.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Audiobook Month Gay Ghost Homophobia Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal

Audiobook Month: The Bone Orchard by Abigail Roux, narrated by Nick J Russo

 

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Bone-Orchard-Audiobook/B076HCC2S9?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_13&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=5DJ273RTFPQ44P0Q23A7&

Blurb: After leaving a trail of terror and death in his wake, the notorious “Missouri” Boone Jennings finally meets his match in San Francisco when US marshal Ambrose Shaw catches up to him. The story of his capture, and the marshal’s bravery, has already become legend back east by the time Pinkerton inspector Ezra Johns gets off the train from New York City to testify in the murderer’s trial.

When Ambrose is unable to give witness to the evils he’s seen, Ezra becomes their lone hope for putting Jennings in a noose. But if Ezra thinks that’s his biggest problem, he’s got plenty to learn about life – and the afterlife – in the spirited West.

Fortunately, Ambrose is there to assist, and more than happy to oblige Ezra – in the courtroom or the bedroom. He spent his life bringing justice to the Wild West, and if he has a say in it, that’s how he’ll be spending his death too.

Review: A romantic ghost story with a bit of a twist; very well narrated by Nick Russo.
I enjoyed listening to Nick Russo’s characterisation of Ambrose as a gruff, older lawman and Ezra, as the younger inspector. Mr. Russo has a way of making an ordinary person or scene seem larger than life – I really forgot that I was not actually watching a western on the telly. He brought the characters to life, making a short story very enjoyable.
The story itself is engaging and the link to the present day, with some members of the Sidewinder team, was a treat.

4 out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Book Dee Dreamspinner Fantasy Gay Gay Little to no angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Standalone

Release Day Review: My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-fair-captain-by-jl-langley-9628-b

Blurb: When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:
I liked the premise of the story – almost a reversal of the female Georgian/Victorian romances; in this case, it’s the male virtue (snicker) that needs to be protected.
However, the main story got lost in too many threads.
The story starts with Nate fighting a duel. He is wounded, but kills his opponent, requiring him to flee his home planet. Fast forward 18 years later, Nate is now a captain in the IN and has a son called Trouble (aka Jeremy). Nate is tasked to investigate a situation involving a weapons cache, so he’s sent undercover to another planet where he meets the prince of the realm, Aiden.
On Aiden’s planet, the men are treated like Regency misses until they are of age; the society is based on a class system and is very male-oriented, going so far as to ensure that upperclass males have a preference for other men only. The 2 MC’s meet when Aiden has a mishap, leading to an instant attraction. Their romance plays out the same way a MF regency romance would (which I liked).
The story starts to falter when it tries to tie up the mystery of weapons cache – new characters are introduced but not fully explained, like the valets and their involvement. The whole premise for the weapons was glossed over in a few lines (and not to my satisfaction).
Then there’s Trouble and his backstory. I couldn’t get a grip on his age- sometimes he was written as a precocious youngster, then he seems like an older adolescent, (especially when he swore!). The circumstances of his birth, his current status were a surprise, but his eventual acceptance of being betrothed to a prince seemed a little far-fetched.
Overall, I liked it and will look for the next book in the hopes that the story line is better organized and fleshed out.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Book Fantasy Gay Magic Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Audiobook: Consumption of Magic by TJ Klune, narrated by Michael Lesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-consumption-of-magic-by-tj-klune-9026-b

Blurb:
Sam of Wilds faced the Dark wizard Myrin and lived to tell the tale. Granted, the battle left him scarred, but things could be a hell of a lot worse. It’s not until he reunites with Morgan of Shadows and Randall that he realizes just how much worse things could be. Because the scars have meaning and hint at Myrin’s true plans for Sam and the Kingdom of Verania. With time running out, Sam and his band of merry misfits—the unicorn Gary, the half-giant Tiggy, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart, and the dragon known as Kevin—must travel to the snowy mountains in the North and the heart of the Dark Woods to convince the remaining dragons to stand against Myrin. Along the way, Sam learns secrets of the past that will forever change the course of the future. A reckoning is coming for Sam of Wilds, and there is nothing he can do to stop it.

Review:
Book previously reviewed
https://openskyebookreviews.com/consumption-of-magic-by-tj-klune/

I cannot imagine this series without Michael Lesley. Period.
And just when I wondered how he could top his performance of The Lightning-Struck Heart and Destiny of Dragons, he blows me away with Consumption of Magic! There are a handful of narrators that produce stellar performances all the time, Mr. Lesley is one of them. Most of the time I forgot I was listening to one person! He transitions from one character to the other so seamlessly, it’s hard to remember that Sam, Gary, Justin, Tiggy and Knight Delicious Face (Ryan) are being voiced by one person and not by an ensemble cast of narrators.
TJ Klune has written a fantastic tale, but Michael Lesley, much like Dr. Frankenstein, has brought this body (of work) to life.
Listening to Mr. Lesley perform is the absolute best way to experience this book and the entire Tales of Verania saga.

PS: It was a real treat to hear one of my favourite lines:
“How much will we get for Sam’s dowry?” Kevin asked Gary. “I’ve never had to sell off one of my children before.” “I don’t know,” Gary said through his tears. “He’s a little defective, so we should probably be up-front that all sales are final.”

6 out of 5– Out of this world!


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Book Dee Dreamspinner Gay Gay m/m Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Release Day Review: Tomb of the God King By Julia Talbot

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tomb-of-the-god-king-by-julia-talbot-9594-b

Blurb

Englishman Christian Hewler travels to 1920s Egypt as the man Friday to an eccentric American millionaire, hoping to make history and establish his name in archaeology. What he doesn’t count on is meeting brash hired gun Eric Lawless, an American cowboy working for a rival team, or the paranormal mystery that draws them in and has them facing down crazy archaeologists, dark entities, and even ancient gods.
From dark tombs to the burning-hot desert of the Egyptian landscape, Christian has to prove his mettle. During this dangerous game of cat and mouse, the reluctant partnership between Christian and Eric blossoms into more—maybe even a love that can last beyond the deception and terror hidden deep in the tombs of the Valley of the Kings.

Second Edition
First Edition published by Torquere Press, October 2006.

Review

Historical books are one of my favourite reads, so I really wanted to read this.

It’s set in the 1920’s, at the height of mummy fever. Christian is an expert on archeological digs, but due to an indiscretion, he has to take a less than ideal job with an American ‘archeologist’. Christian is a bit of a ‘proper gent’, so when he meets Eric, a gun-slinging American (assigned to a rival team), there is a bit of a cultural divide J

The overall story is light but fun, complete with villains, ancient myths, some historically accurate facts – (if you want a factual story, that’s what history books are for!)

While I liked the overall story – the adventure, fun, humour – there was an aspect of the story that threw me a bit – .

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

 

Readers who like ancient history/mythology mixed in with a bit of fun and suspense will have a good time reading it.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ Book Bullying Dark Romance/ Bad Boys Fade to black/No Steam Gay Hurt/Abuse Mid level angst Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Standalone

Dark Romance: Creature (Bureau #3) by Kim Fielding

 

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39779972-creature?from_search=true

Blurb

Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who—or what—he is.

Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.

When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream—to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs—all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him. Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man—and what a monster truly wants.

Review: This is a total departure from what I usually read, in a good way. The atmosphere is decidedly 1950’s noir which is fit the theme of the story.
John is a being that has been held in a cell for an unspecified length of time. He thinks he is a man, but knows he is not quite human. He also knows that people – the few that he has met – are scared of him.
Harry is a man down on his luck, unable to be the one thing he wants, a member of the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs. He is made an offer of a trial assignment with the organization – bait a criminal into custody – and he would be considered for a permanent job. Harry finds out that John is the bait and has to overcome his initial revulsion. As he interacts with John, his initial revulsion turns to pity and then to a sort of friendship. Al the while, we see John become more human and eventually, lovable.
It is an interesting story. I liked the setting, especially like the lack of technology (no mobile phones, GPS, internet), I felt I was watching a black and white film. Even though it’s part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. I’ll likely check out the rest of the series.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review