Recent Release: Playing The Point by Ashley K. Broome

 

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36113607-playing-the-point?from_search=true

Blurb

In hockey getting traded was never easy. Henny knew his trade was coming but he wasn’t prepared to go from the Seattle Thunder to playing for what used to be his biggest rivals on ice, the Dakota Crusaders.
He planned to hide everything about himself that prompted the trade. With the preseason over and the regular season in full swing, Henny can only hope that the Crusaders will think he’s worth what they paid for him.
He wasn’t expecting the current captain of the Crusaders, Matthew Doherty to look past his former team and welcome him onto the team. The way they clicked on ice and how the entire team worked together made the trade easier. Now if he could stop starring at Doherty and focus on hockey, that would be great. He didn’t need a repeat of what happened in Seattle. He just wanted to play hockey.

Review

This is a fun hockey series. It’s got a lot of hockey feel to it with some medium steam romance and a lovely HEA.

I think this would be better as a short story – it would carry more punch – but it was an easy read and I was engaged throughout most of it.

I really hope the author gets an editor who can help them with the basic writing and some grammatical errors as there is a lot of potential there but the flow is a little ragged and there were some pretty obvious typos and other mistakes.

I’ve enjoyed reading from this new author and look forward to more from them.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Chance at the Impossible (The Men of Canter’s Handyman #2) by J.M. Dabney

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43329992-chance-at-the-impossible

Blurb
Brent Canter lived forty-seven years content with his life to have it all disappear with one life-threatening diagnosis. Cancer without hope of survival, yet he’d beat the odds. He had a successful business and a family he loved, yet he was missing something. That something was an adorable, younger man, and he didn’t know what to do.

Miller Andrews loves the silver fox, Brent Canter. The older man is everything he’d wanted in a partner. Brent was smart, caring, affectionate, and sexy. He is damn near perfect. When he needed a favor, Brent was the only person he thought to ask.

Can one pretend kiss turn into the love of a lifetime for a man who thinks he only screws up and the other who questions if he can have a second chance at love with a younger man?

Review

This is a daddy kink book and I just wasn’t into it.

There was a lot of potential – sweet older guy who is befriended by his son’s friend while recovering from cancer – but it doesn’t always feel good and sometimes feels a little too much like a real father and son – to me.

I didn’t like how delicate Miller was and the chemistry just didn’t feel right.

Normally I’m a big fan but this was a miss for me.

2.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Frostbite (The Gifted Ones #1) by J.M. Wolf

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42433191-frostbite?ac=1&from_search=true

Photo of a men body

Blurb

Cyrus Winters, an omega wolf and an ice mage is dangerous to others. After running away from his birth pack at an early age, Cyrus traveled from place to place in hopes of finding a pack that would accept him. But once they realized that he was no ordinary omega wolf, they quickly turned their backs on him. Alone and shunned as a monster, Cyrus has kept himself hidden at the top of the Wichita Mountains where nobody would reach him. That is, until he hears the song of his fated mate.

Dorian Lovell once had the family he’d always dreamed of, but after the death of his son, his whole world fell apart. When he begins having dreams about a white wolf at the top of a mountain, howling for him, Dorian realizes that he may have found his fated mate. Joining his friend Tobias’ pack in the Wichita Mountains, Dorian sets out to find the wolf from his dream; but once he meets Cyrus, he quickly realizes that mating with the frosty omega won’t be as easy as he thought it’d be.

An omega with a heart of ice, and an alpha who’s destined to thaw him out. With a threat to Cyrus’ life approaching, the two must learn to come together as one. Can Dorian’s pack accept the gifted omega, and can Cyrus trust his life and future to his new pack, and the alpha the fates paired him with?

TRIGGER WARNING:
This book contains sexual and verbal adult content, MPREG, violence, bloody gore, death, and talks of loss and heartache. No babies were harmed in the making of this book.
*** This is Book 1 in the series, but can be read as a standalone story – no cliffhangers ***

Review

This is another great new (to me) author with an exciting new series! It’s very engaging and creative and I was grabbed from the first page!

I’m a sucker for the “ugly duckling” type trope where the seemingly bad stuff in one’s life turns out to be awesome and that’s what we’ve got here. I thought this was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to this series!

What kept this from being 5 of 5 stars was that sometimes the world was a bit harsh and sometimes I wasn’t always sure about the “rules” for this world … but I’m hoping it’ll pick up steam as the series progresses.

4 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Broken by Jenny Wood

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43184114-broken?from_search=true

Blurb

Dalton Davis answers his phone, expecting it to be a prank call from a number that’s eerily similar to his. When the man pretends he knows him and has a one-sided conversation that proves his suspicion correct, he almost ends the call. The fast thinking of the stranger on the other end of the line likely saves his life, but what will Dalton find when he gets there?

Kannon Butler is an old soul. Working at an old folks home, his friends are his clients and he’s okay with that. Being attacked in broad daylight just doesn’t happen in their small town, except this day, it does. To him. Quick thinking and a prayer, he ends up on the line with Dalton Davis, who quite literally saves his life.

Healing and living are a struggle after being attacked, but Dalton can’t seem to stay away and Kannon doesn’t want him to. With an amazing family who takes him under their wing, and a gorgeous private investigator that makes it his mission to find out who hurt Kannon, what do you think happens?

Review

Jenny Wood is really good at giving us very broken men and helping them heal.

This is a really touching story of a sweetie who endures something horrible – read all the warnings for this one – lots of triggers- and with the help of a big alpha type ends up finding his happiness again.

Very sweet.

3.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Prince For Sale by Caroline Gibson

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43130391-prince-for-sale

Blurb

Freed from slavery, trapped by magic.
Vell once was a powerful sorcerer and a prince of Otharn. By the side of his father, King Covl, and his beloved brother, Lonn, worlds fell at his feet. Now, he is a slave, cast out by his father, sold, used and abused. Being delivered to Earth may be his last hope for freedom.

David Thomen, scientist, inventor, defender of Earth, is living a lonely life with his inventions. Responsible for opening the gateway from Earth to Otharn, he must come to terms with his role as Vell’s newest owner, and face up to Otharn’s plans for Earth.

Forced into an intimate relationship against both their wills, can Vell and David break the bonds of magic joining them together? And when the time comes, will they want to?

Note to readers: This book is for a mature audience, it contains dubious consent, memories of past rape, as well as consensual sex scenes. No graphic violence, mild descriptions of injuries.

Review

I definitely need to warn the readers that the “ little bit of possibly non-consensual sex” is actually the whole book. I’m not sure the prince ever consented until the very end. This made me incredibly uncomfortable.

The only reason I kept reading is that the story itself is unique and imaginative and I wanted to see what happened – but in the end I’m not sure I can recommend it as a “good” romance because it really isn’t. It’s an interesting paranormal story. I’ll leave it at that.

If you’re looking for rape fantasies then this will definitely appeal.

2.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf audiobook by B.G. Thomas narrated by Donald Tursman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/grumble-monkey-and-the-department-store-elf-by-bg-thomas-1071-

Blurb
Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George.

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit.

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle

Review
The story was part of the 2013 Dreampinner Press “Heartwarming” Advent Calendar.
Nick is such a grump, love him. He is trying to get to San Francisco before Christmas Day when he meets Kit at a rest stop. He is so dismissive and judgmental of Kit. Nick is so angry at the world and takes it out on Kit. Kit seems to be everything Nick despises about being gay. Kit and his positive attitude gets through to Nick. Although I had my suspicions Where the story was heading to it was still bit of a surprise. On seeing the cover picture I thought the story would be humorous but I don’t think it gets there. Nick and Kit’s story has a happy for now ending and overall left me feeling thoughtful rather than buoyed up in Christmas spirit.
The narrator gives some attempt to voice the characters but it does sound more like Donald Tursman is just reading the story. If you don’t listen closely it’s hared to distinguish which character was speaking. Initially there was a hollow sound to the recording but either that got better or I got used to it.

3 of stars out of 5 for the story
2 of stars out of 5 for the narration

Reviewer Name: MaryD

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Cole audiobook by BG Thomas narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-cole-by-bg-thomas-6184-

Blurb
Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he’s also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he’s been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole—instead of coal—for Christmas

Review
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I quite enjoyed this take on the beauty and the beast / it’s a wonderful life type of story. It’s also a moral lesson of judging people by looks rather than who they really were. And how shallow he had become. It took a harsh lesson before he was able to see what he had become. He didn’t really understand until he went home to see his family and meets Cole again. Javier’s partner Mark is a horrible person especially the way he treated Javier after he was transformed.Quite a message in this story but it is heartwarming. The love and acceptance of family and of oneself.
The narrator, Paul Morey, does a fair job but I felt that the emotions were missing. After all Javier did suffer his worst nightmare and was deserted by Mark at Christmas. The characters were portrayed well enough. I could make out who was who and there was some characterisation.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

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!

 

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

audiobookreview

Audible Link

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

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

Review by Dee:

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

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

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

5.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

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

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

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

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

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Time to comfort the hurts: Blind Faith (Blind Faith #1) by N.R. Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17450677-blind-faith?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Starting a new job in a new town, veterinarian Carter Reece makes a house call to a very special client.

Arrogant, moody and totally gorgeous, Isaac Brannigan has been blind since he was eight. After the death of his guide dog and best friend, Rosie, his partnership with his new guide dog, Brady, isn’t going well.

Carter tries to help both man and canine through this initiation phase, but just who is leading who?

Review

This was one of my first N.R. Walker books and I’ve reread it multiple times. This is a sweet, slow burn romance between Carter and Isaac, who is blind. Carter is the new vet in town and while doing a house call he meet Isaac and his seeing eye dog Brady. Isaac is noticeably cold towards his dog which is a big issue throughout the book but eventually he discloses why he is having a hard time excepting Brady, which is just heart breaking.

The story is told from Carter’s point of view. He seems like a very optimistic person, which is probably why he puts up with Isaac’s bad attitude. Isaac is a complex man with a lot of issues that all seem to revolve around his fear of being abandoned. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the two men and I also liked that they don’t immediately jump into bed with each other. Watching their relationship slowly progress was both beautiful yet frustrating due to Isaac’s hot and cold attitude.

There are some great secondary character who provide some comedic relief. One of the reasons I love this book so much is because of Brady. Even though his owner Isaac doesn’t have any faith that Brady will be as good as his previous dog, Brady is unshakable in his loyalty towards Isaac.

4.5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review