Time to Celebrate the Holidays: A Soldier’s Wish (The Christmas Angel #5) by N.R. Walker

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/series/242950

Blurb

The year is 1969…

Gary Fairchild is proud to be a hippie college student, and he protests the Vietnam War because he believes in love and peace. To him, it isn’t just a counterculture movement—it’s a way of life. When tickets to the Aquarium Exposition—3 Days of Peace & Music, or Woodstock, as it was better known, go on sale, there’s no way he isn’t going.

Richard Ronsman is a sheltered farm boy who lives in the shadow of his overbearing father. He’s hidden his darkest secret to earn his father’s love, but nothing is ever good enough—not even volunteering for the Vietnam War. And with just a few days left before he’s deployed, a striking hippie invites him to join them at a music festival.

Three days of music, drugs, rain, mud, and love forged a bond between these two very different men that would shape the rest of their lives. They share dreams and fears, and when Richard is shipped off to war, they share letters and love. For Richard’s first Christmas home, he is gifted a special angel ornament that just might make a soldier’s wish come true.

Review

Wow. This was so amazing! I have to admit – having grown up in the 70s and 80s I never really thought much about Vietnam. I mean, I learned about it as a general piece of history, but I never thought about what it meant to these men who truly believed it was the “wrong” type of war or to whom they never wanted to kill a human and they get drafted based on their birthday – ugh! How horrible – NR Walker really helped me to put it in context of today and I am amazed at how many men even went on without draft dodging.

In any case, this is a tremendously sweet story with a great look at history and a very sweet ending. If I have any complaints its that there was way too much sex in relation to the emotional connection that she usually gives us. IMHO.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert book and audiobook narrated by Sean Crisden

Audible Link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Better-Not-Pout-Audiobook/1488206163?qid=1544021897&sr=sr_1_2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PRD1FWTW48ZYY2KE8E7Z&

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40242604-better-not-pout?from_search=true

Blurb
One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

Review
This holiday romance is cute and uplifting, befitting the holiday spirit, but it also has that typical emotional intensity that I’ve come to look for in any book by Annabeth Albert. I was expecting something light and maybe a bit mushy, an easy read to get into the right frame of mind for the holidays. This was so much more than that, though.

I adored Teddy from the beginning and his good cheer and positive attitude to life make him a perfect match for Nick, who very much needs what Teddy has to offer. Even if he doesn’t realize it.

Nick is also a great character, very steady and competent, though somewhat emotionally closed-off and grumpy at first. He’s not really feeling the holiday spirit, santa claus suit notwithstanding.
Nick’s at a point in his life where he needs to find a new direction, and is feeling a bit lost.
Enter Teddy… who makes Nick feel again and pushes him to reassess how he wants to live his life. Go Teddy!

Nick and Teddy are very different in age and outlook, but they have both known loss and as a result are similarly playing it safe in some way or other. Nick more obviously so than Teddy. These two characters are just so right together, they complement and inspire each other in the very best of ways and have a great connection, both emotionally and chemistry-wise.
I felt like knocking some sense into Nick though, because he seems hell-bent on throwing away his chance at love and happiness. Stubborn man.

I love May/December stories and this was an exceptional take on that trope.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Provided for Review

Review by Morgan – audiobook

I totally agree with Karen about the story and Sean Crisden’s narration was perfection! A totally enjoyable holiday experience! Highly Recommeded!

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41718469-christmas-homecoming

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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to comfort the hurts: Falling for the Omega (Hobson Hills Omegas #1) by C.W. Gray

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42396684-falling-for-the-omega?from_search=true

Blurb

Story takes place in the Omegaverse. Book One in the Hobson Hills Omegas series:

Carter Benson is a lonely, scarred mess of an alpha. Honorably discharged from the army after being injured, he is left with very little that really matters. All he has is a Trust fund he refuses to touch, burns on his face, and a brand new prosthesis. He doesn’t have his family, he isn’t near his friends, and his face makes small children cry. So, he goes to Maine, finds a tiny town, and starts a business as a plumber. It doesn’t help his loneliness, though. Until a little girl hunts him down and forces him to be her new best friend.

Elijah Wilson has lived in Hobson Hills his whole life. So what that most of the townspeople think he’s a whore because he’s a single omega and got pregnant at eighteen? So what if they think he takes advantage of his grandparents by living on their property? Elijah and his large extended family know better. They know that he hasn’t dated anyone since before Olive was born. They know he works hard in the family business and is great with investments. They know the truth, but it can be hard living in a town that doesn’t care about the truth. It can also be really lonely. Until his daughter makes a new best friend.

When the two men meet, sparks fly. Their lives change for the better, but life isn’t always easy. Narrow-minded townspeople and greedy parents can cause a lot of trouble. But there’s always hope. There’s always love.

Author’s Note: 30,000+ words. This is a m/m, non-shifter, mpreg love story with no angst and no cheating, just a HEA. There are a few potty mouths, so beware. 18+ readers only, please.

Review

This book is set in the Omegaverse. You meet Carter, an Alpha military veteran. He’s a plumber and due to an accident in the military is disabled. He’s left with a prosthetic limb and scarring. Next you meet Omega Elijah. Single dad to an adorable girl that makes you smile every scene. He works on an apple orchard for a family business. Carter and Elijah hit it off right away, with less than subtle pushes from his daughter. The progression was very fast between them. The families were so funny to read, loved the banter. Good drama from meddling individuals that involves gossip, phone threats, and some arson. You feel for Elijah by the end. A few minor grammar and incorrect names used, but not enough to be distracting. Fast paced romance, family shenanigans, adorable kid, mpreg, and an omega that giggles and dances a lot.

Number of stars out of 5

4.5

 

Purchased for review

 

 

Recent review: Course Correction (Rogue Rescue #1) by Mia West

Good reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42377594-course-correction?from_search=true

Blurb

Playing it safe has gotten him everything – except the one guy he’s always wanted.

As leader of a covert unit of rescue swimmers, following the mission plan is a matter of professional survival for seal shifter Nate Landry.

But recent closure on a colleague’s death has Nate recalculating his own trajectory.

It could use a little nudge and a whole lotta juice, and he only has to glance across the cockpit for just the right source of turbulence.

Following orders has kept him sane – until the guy giving them goes full throttle.

Chopper pilot Gil Espinoza has successfully kept his thing for Landry on cruise control for eight long years.

That the guy once chose a fellow shifter over Gil stung like hell but kept him on course.

Problem is: the good lieutenant just laid down new coordinates, a radical turn into uncharted waters.

And if there’s one thing Gil can’t do, it’s ignore an order from Nate Landry.

Review

I LOVE the series from which this is a spin off. https://www.goodreads.com/series/156186-grizzly-rim

I mostly adored this book as well and cannot wait for more! However, there were times when I was a bit lost as to why these two waited 8 years and until the end of the book to hook up… I was never convinced of a good reason and their actions didn’t match their thoughts and that kinda made me frustrated.

There is lots of dirty talk. Lots of feelz some cool shifting and lots of UST.

This can be a standalone but I don’t recommend it.

There is a fair bit of “action” but most of this is about the relationship which I love!

4.5 of 5 stars


Purchased for Review

Time to Comfort: Score (Men of Hidden Creek) by A.E. Wasp

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39680434-score?from_search=true

Blurb
Home is where you make it.
Beau Hopper is good at goodbyes. A minor-league hockey player, he goes where the league tells him. Single and estranged from his family, Beau drifts without connections or commitments. He makes a living, not a life.

Former Marine Connor Casey’s life revolves around his siblings. After Hurricane Harvey took their home and a car-crash claimed their parents, Connor is determined to rebuild their house and their lives.

When Beau learns Connor might lose custody of his siblings if he can’t finish the rebuild in time, he volunteers to help in exchange for a place to stay, and it isn’t long before he finds himself in Connor’s bed. It takes more than passion and plywood to build a home, so when the league comes calling after Beau, Connor can’t ask him to stay… but how can he ever let him go?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains eye-rolling teenagers, stolen kisses, and fewer noogies than you’d expect.

Review
This was an incredibly moving romance, it really got to me. The MC’s were lovable to the extreme, the kids were absolutely wonderful, and the other, more minor, characters were also really great (okay, most of them, not the dreaded Walrus of course! And I hope Youngblood will get a chance to redeem himself).

Connor is a former marine who has given up his career in the military to take care of his siblings, after their parents died in a car crash. He is self-sacrificing and hard-working, always giving to his loved ones, never asking anything for himself.
Beau is a hockey player, who has never been in a real relationship and spends his living running away from big emotions like love and commitment. Until Connor…

I love how their relationship developed. Starting with an instant reaction, and with very little opportunity to act on it, they almost naturally become an item and Beau fits into Connor’s family seamlessly.
Beau falls in love with Connor, but at the same time gets to know and love Connor’s four siblings as well. Which is so beautiful and touching to see happen.

We get to know Sean, Fiona, Micah and Benji really well. They are an important part of Connor’s life, and as such, also of this story. They are not just props in the background. I loved that! Reading about the dynamics of this little family was very touching and heart-warming.
There was one scene in particular that stood out for me. It revolved around Sean, Beau and Connor, where Connor had a PTSD-related “episode” that was very emotional and gripping.

The epilogue was wonderful!! Both romantically sweet and funny. How could anyone not fall in love with Prince Connorette and his knight in shining armor, Beaumeo? Impossible!

This book really drew me in. My heart ached for Connor and Beau, especially near the end, because of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way through to their HEA.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Provided by Author

Release Day Review: Nova Praetorian by N.R. Walker

release day review

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42271990-nova-praetorian?ac=1&from_search=true

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 realises the gods have favoured 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

Wow!!! What a read!!! I have always been drawn to ancient times, add in romance and its absolutely perfect. The language is the most difficult part of this book but luckily N.R. has a glossary at the beginning of the story that really helps.

Quintus is a kind yet stern man who ends up getting sort of blackmailed by Senator Severius into becoming his personal guard against an unnamed threat. Kaeso is a newly captured slave who has trouble accepting his new circumstances. The Senator gives Kaeso to Quintus to train and keep under control. Quintus is a man who prides himself on his control yet with Kaeso he struggles to reign in that control. Kaeso can tell that while a hard task master, Quintus is also a kind man who treats the slaves like people.

The attraction between the two men grow strong but Quintus refuses to make any unwanted advances toward Kaeso, due to his circumstances of being a slave. Eventually the two men figure out that the attraction they feel towards each other is mutual.

This book really kept me wondering what the Senator was up to. Is he up to no good?? Or is he really just that much of a jerk. I loved how the story all came together in the end. I believe that Nova Praetorian is one of those books that each time you reread it you will pick up on something you missed the first time. This isn’t an easy read by any means, the language is pretty confusing but stick with it because it is an amazing story!!!

5 Stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

 
I really enjoyed this epic action packed new book by N.R Walker, if you liked watching Gladiator and Spartacus you will LOVE Nova Praetorian. This book has everything a history romance lover will enjoy, with well researched and well-rounded world building, writing style fitting the time period and a thrilling story of lovers facing impossible odds. Kaeso is owned by the slippery senator Servius, a man that Quintus despises and knows better than trust. Placing him temporarily in Quintuse’s care as his slave while he guards the senator is a move meant to weaken him, and he must stay alert if he wants a future with Kaeso by his side.

Kaeso and Quintus banter and quip at each other, they are a great couple and fun to read even if danger lurks at every turn. Quintus also has a group of 20 men and women trained at his Ludus, and they are almost like family. Their connection is lovely to read and some of them are so well rounded as they take center roles in the story I enjoyed reading about them immensely. As the plot twists in unexpected ways, it is both thrilling and intriguing, and keeps you at the edge of your seat as it SLOWLY unfolds and reveals its depths.

If I have to say anything I would change in this story is a slight dragging in the halfway mark, the days seem endless and similar, and considering the amount of times Quintus and Kaeso have sex (nothing wrong with that on its own) I felt like maybe that part of the story could have moved faster. Yes, there is A LOT of sex in this book as passion burns and scorch these men to the bone! Again, no issue with it on its own, but at some point it was slightly repetitive, and I applaud their stamina and ability to train a full day after each night, but maybe we could have gotten to the excitement at the end a bit sooner.

Once you get to the ending though, you are not going to put it down! The odds are against Quintus and his men (and women) yet they manage to save the day with honor and skill. The ending was very satisfying, providing the epicness you crave and a HEA that will leave you smiling.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley narrated by Joseph Morton

audiobookreview

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:

Book reviewed previously: https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-my-fair-captain-by-j-l-langley/

Joseph Morton (new to me), had a nice voice. He didn’t attempt to ‘act’ out the different characters. Unfortunately, it also made the narration rather emotionless (to me); any emotion portrayed by the characters was delivered in the same (mono)tone.
Ovearll, the narration was okay – it was more reading, (which isn’t bad), than performance, but I liked it enough to get through the book. I will likely listen to the narrator again.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: When Love Surprises – When The Mission Ends #6 by Christi Snow

Good Reads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41447350-when-love-surprises

Blurb
Raised in a religious household, being gay was never an option for Steven, but when an injury left him incapacitated, he was forced to face those urges that he’s been able to ignore for the last thirty-eight years of his life…

Lost…

Three months ago, Major Steven Hardesty’s life sat on the precipice of perfection. Now he’s trying to come back from a life-threatening injury and a devastating romantic loss all while trying to figure out what he’s going to do after separating from the Air Force.

Alone…

Billy Starr never planned on running his family ranch by himself. He was supposed to be doing it with his sister, Whitney. But when she died in a freak accident, it sent his life in a tailspin of despair and alcohol.

Healing…

Steven and Billy were friends. Billy offered the ranch as a good, private place where Steven could recover, but as their friendship deepened, so did other feelings. Is it possible that a love affair between the two of them could heal them both? Or break them even more?

Review by Xanthe
This is book six in the When the Mission Ends series but this is the first one I have read and I will definitely be going back to work my way through them. Christi Snow offers a good story line along with well developed characters and a wonderful connection being built.

We follow Major Steven Hardesty, who is recovering from just being shot, heading to the ranch of his friend Billy Starr where it will be easier to recover. Never mind that each man is secretly lusting after the other.

Steven is very much in the closet. Leaving the Air Force and spending so much time with Billy may have him rethinking his life plan but it’s not just himself that he worries about.
Billy has trauma in his past that made him pledge to live the lonely single life out on his ranch. Until he got to know and like Steven. But it seems that someone is out to get him and it soon becomes even more important to keep the ranch a safe space as it’s not just Billy and Steven anymore.

I loved this story, Steven and Billy both going on their own, separate journeys as well as the one that they are on together. We start with a traumatic event that we come in on the aftermath of. During Steven’s recovery, the two men learn more about themselves and each other when together and it’s lovely to read their developing relationship. The hard part being Steven being closeted and why. His family link is surprising to everyone and there’s a reason Steven keeps it away from them all. I do think that this part of the story is also relevant to today’s political climate and how things are going in the US at the moment. It’s interesting reading from Steven’s POV and his feelings towards it.
Their relationship develops at a good pace though I was slightly surprised how quickly and how well Steven decided on his relationship with Billy. Especially with the added tension of the danger around the ranch and a new development in Steven’s life about half way in the book.

With everything going on in Steven’s life, Billy’s troubles don’t seem to impact as much but they are just as important. His alcoholism is a constant battle and lessens his self worth. His moments of introspection tug on your heartstrings and it brings to light the lifetime fight that people face when they live with addiction.
There is a bit of mystery and suspense throughout the book also. There are separate things happening that can be put down to different things but all together it could be far more sinister. Trying to think through the book who may be doing this keeps your interest even more with it running alongside the romance.

The writing has a good pace to it. We move through events with the necessary attention to detail but not lingering for no reason. The ranch sounds like a wonderful place with the vista being described so well by Christi. The secondary characters, both good and bad fully enhance the story, offering friendship, support, and bad guys we all love to hate.
The last 20% of the book felt a little rushed as though we were hurrying to get through everything that needed to happen for the story to work out but I still enjoyed it and the ending is what all of the characters deserved.

I recommend reading this story and I will be working my way through the rest of the series which I am sure I will enjoy just as much as this one.

I received an ARC from the publisher and am happily giving a review.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Rebecca
This book is a standalone, but part of a series. Steven and Billy have been through so much in what has seemed like such a short amount of time. I just want to give them a hug. The two have been friends for years, but gave in to their mutual attraction. I was cheering for them. Love the hot chemistry between them and how they helped each other despite their own internal struggles. A few spots in the book made me tear up, when you read you will understand what I mean. Great read.

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon! Loving a Warrior by Melanie Hansen

NOV 26!

Carina Press:

https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488036194_loving-a-warrior.html

Blurb

BUD/S: six months of the most intense training there is. It’s survival of the toughest, and Matt Knytych is determined to come out the other side a navy SEAL.

Distraction is life or death. And just the sight of former marine Shane Hovland is enough to shake Matt’s concentration.

Shane came to BUD/S training ready to prove himself—again. Semper Fi is forever, but he needs a new start. Not this dangerous heat with a man he barely knows.

Everything they’ve ever wanted is riding on a thin, punishing line. And they’ll have to fight for more than just each other if they want to make it through intact.

After all, the only easy day was yesterday.

Review

First I need to warn you that this is a HFN and that this is a book one. I didn’t know that and had I known I’d have waited for the series – just because that’s how I am.

It doesn’t diminish how much I liked this but it does make me want to warn people.

Melanie Hansen’s stories are FULL of ANGST with a capital A – I knew that going in. However, this was less about the Angst and more about the slow burn and – really – the completely untenable situation.

I don’t know how these two are going to make it last – and I’ve finished book 1. I know they want to but I’m concerned about what it’s going to take to make this happen.

The other thing you should know about this is that it is VERY detailed in it’s description of BUDs training. Very.

If you are not interested in what it takes to become a SEAL – you might want to skip this – as it (easily) takes over most of the story. I found it interesting and it definitely helped shape these guys and their relationship so I can’t say it wasn’t needed for the story.

One thing I really liked was that neither of these guys is perfect. Even by the end. They are still making mistakes, not popular, full of ego and bravado… just what you’d expect from the military. That felt really authentic.

I also really loved their chemistry together because it was so antagonistic and based on competition. It was very HOT. But… they did have their moments of feelz – they were just… less often.

All in all I am bummed I have to wait til NEXT SPRING!@#$% for the next book but I’ll happily read it when it comes out.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review