Open Road by M.J. O'Shea

M.J. O'Shea - Open Road CoverTitle: Open Road

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Genre: Contemporary  

Length: Novel (200 Pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 25, 2016)

Heat Level:  Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: Angus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery.

Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love.

Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.

ISBN: 978-1-63477-316-4

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Reviewer: Lisa

Review: Angus’s boyfriend dumps him on birthday and then announces his engagement to a very much younger man.  He has lost his long-time partner, then his job and his apartment.  Can anything else go wrong for one man?  Thank god his best friend decides to help the man.  However there is something to say about a sexy best friend stuck in a car with you.  Things are about to heat up.

Now one would think that things would heat up just a bit faster than they had.  The first kiss was about three fourths into the book so I was a bit bored.  It is a very entertaining drive to say the least though.  These two are just driving and learing about each other in ways one would never had expected, well except a reader who wants something to happen.  Angus can’t believe he never noticed how sexy his best friend was though, so his eyes were opened.

Now Brad is an ass, which is not surprising to say the least but there was something off about him.  Then there is Reece who left me with more questions never answered.  You never really get an insight into his life at all.  You don’t find out if he was gay or straight in the beginning so Angus had no clue either it would seem.  It is very odd to say the least.

Now this book is a very cute story about two best friends who find out that they might just be more than best friends.  The sex is sweet and tender, but I don’t feel the passion at all.  So I guess it fits with the book at least. 

I guess I am just not into friends turned lover’s type of reader.  I want more heat and passion, plus some action and danger.  I am afraid that I lost interest before we even got to the kiss.  The first sex scene was close to the end which was a drag for me.  I just couldn’t connect with this book.  I am afraid that this was one story that was not for me.

The Light of Winter by Jane Denardo

Jana Denardo - The Light of WinterTitle: The Light of Winter

Series: Dreamspinner Press’ 2014 Advent Calendar: Celebrate

Author: Jana Denardo

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Short (25 pages)

ISBN: 978-1-63216-738-5

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2014)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts

Blurb:  Dr. Gareth Evans and his medical doctor partner, Warun Jones, are having trouble making time for each other between end of term craziness for Gareth and holiday-related injuries pouring into the hospital for Warun. Gareth has planned what he hopes will be the perfect recipe for relieving the tension and bringing them back together. While Warun wants Gareth to partake in Plygain, a traditional dawn service of hymn singing for Christmas, Gareth plans to take Warun to Bryn Celli Ddu and introduce him to the Druid ritual of Alban Arthan, the celebration of the winter solstice.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package “Celebrate!”.

Reviewer: Cat

Purchase Link:

Review: Gareth has a trip planned for him and his lover to show Warun some of his culture. They are going on trip to celebrate Yule or Alban Arthan.

This is a very lovely story of two men very much in love and learning each other’s very different customs and cultures. I loved both of these men and the descriptions and explanations were beautiful. However, for me this really needed to be a longer book. To me this felt like a chapter of a book and not a full story. I would like to see more of these men in the future.

If you like, other cultures, beautiful descriptions, and sweet committed love this is for you!

Breaking News by Michael Murphy

BreakingNewsLGTitle: Breaking News

Author: Michael Murphy

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (178pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (26th December 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Coleman Young sacrificed his personal life to achieve his professional goal: chief White House correspondent for his network. While others his age have spouses, children, and personal lives, Cole has only his faithful dog, Riley, and his lonely closet, so his producer hires a matchmaker to help him find Mr. Right.

Forced to do something radical—leave work at a reasonable hour to prepare for his first date—Cole is shocked to walk into his house and find someone there: Marco, the grad student who walks and feeds Riley. It’s too bad the matchmaker hadn’t set him up with sweet, caring, adorably cute Marco—it would have saved him from a string of disastrous dates. But Cole doesn’t know if Marco is gay, and he’s not sure how to ask.

Then the biggest news story of the political year breaks and Cole gets a unique opportunity to make a stand—one that could break his career and maybe do his asking for him.

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Review: Cole is at the top of his game as the chief White House correspondent for his network, but even he admits that maybe he needs more to go home to than his dog Riley, his producer hires a matchmaker to find him Mr. Right but it doesn’t go quite as planned. When Cole gets home early from work to get ready for his first date he finally meets his dog walker of four years Marco, who he finds incredible attractive, but his luck wouldn’t swing to Marco being gay, would it? When the biggest political news story of the year breaks, Cole faces the biggest decision of his career and of his personal life.

This is a story that is very focused on the career and personal life of Cole with his main love interest very much in the background. Cole’s professional life is perfect, he loves his job and is good at it, and unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his personal life, which is barren of any love other than that of a dog for his master. After admitting how bleak his personal life is to Sarah, his producer, she charges in and sets him up with a date through a matchmaker. Meeting Marco on the evening of his first date makes Cole wish Marco was gay, but as the weeks pass by and more dates that are disastrous follow, Cole and Marco become friends.

I really enjoyed this story with its disastrous dates, growing friendship and political slant, the way the story is all about Cole and his career and limited personal life. Although we do see Marco quite a few times throughout the book he is more on the peripheral, they do spend time together but it is more of an easy friendship, and although we are given hints that there may be an attraction between them it isn’t until near the end that it is acknowledged because both characters though the other was straight. The political storyline was really good and you never know what will happen in the future.

The detail that was given for a political correspondent is well drawn out, the descriptions of the dates were great and Edward the waiter was a gem, Sarah was a great supporting character who was battle-axe and sweet grandmother combined and I can’t fault any of the other characters at all. My only regret is that we didn’t get more background details other than the basics for Marco, and that we didn’t get to know him better. What you won’t find in this story is an out of control romance and tons of sex, what you do get is a great story of a man trying to find someone special while juggling his high pressure, high demand job.

I will recommend this to those who love fumbling bumbling dates, political news, growing friendship into more and a very happy ending.


Running Away From Sunshine by Gwynn Marssen

RunningAwayFromSunshineLGTitle: Running Away From Sunshine

Series: 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play

Author: Gwynn Marssen

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novelette

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: Nobody knows why ER resident Jake Nichols left California to move to cold and dark Calgary, Canada. Nobody knows Jake hasn’t always been a silent loner. Nobody in his new home knows he is gay, and nobody needs to know, since he doesn’t plan to let anyone in… until he meets Gabriel Montgomery, the carefree hockey player with the big blue eyes who just won’t take no for an answer when it comes to opening up and accepting the possibility of love.

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Review: This story was a bit overflowing with events and things happening in there that the short length didn’t quite support for proper development, however I did like it. It was sweet and the hockey character, Gabriel, was charming.

An adrenaline junky and a devil-may-care attitude has Gabriel almost too frequently in the ER, where his doctor, Jake, is having a difficult time maintaining a solely professional face. But Jake isn’t out and nobody here knows anything about him. not that if he was there would be a chance with young Gabriel, for all he knows Gabriel is straight albeit with a body to die and drool for. However a friendship starts growing between the two men and Gabriel takes it upon himself to teach the good doctor the fun one could have watching/playing hockey. After all, no one lives in Canada and hasn’t even seen a hockey game before. A torture for Jake being so close to this perfect specimen of a man, but he simply can’t resist Gabriel’s puppy-eyes and that lovely one dimple in his face.

It looks simple enough, romantic even as the two men get to know each other and appreciate one another’s company, until Jake’s past catches up and thing he doesn’t want to reveal and relive and share simply drop by. As I said, the details in the plot get a bit too much and while it would be ok in a longer story, here it simply didn’t have the space to develop feelings and events happening between the characters.

In the end it was a sweet story, quite romantic and even a bit fun.

Moonlight, Tiger and Smoke by Connie Bailey

Title: Moonlight, Tiger and Smoke

Author: Connie Bailey

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Publisher:  Dreamspinner

Heal Level:  Moderate

Rating: ♥♥♥3.5 Hearts

Reviewer:  Natasha

Blurb:  Taken from their families and raised to be assassins, Moonlight and Tiger are the perfect weapons and secret lovers. Even when they are sent into service with different clans, their love remains pure and strong until a more insidious threat divides them.

When Moonlight realizes his master is manipulating people for his own ends, the discovery threatens not only Tiger, but their entire society. Betrayed by a fellow assassin, the men are tortured and broken. If their love and their people are going to survive, one of them will have to defy everything he knows and stand up for the only thing he believes is real: Love.

Review:  I’ve read some books by the author before so I knew it was risky choosing this book. And I was right.
I will not lie. The first chapters were difficult to read. There is a lot of information to assimilate, powerful scenes that brought many emotions to the surface. But that was really what made ​​me love this book.
The story begins with the kidnapping of six children by Kagehito. Just to clarify, Kagehito is not a person (out of curiosity: this part reminded me of the movie Wanted with Angelina Jolie). These children are taken to an island and there they start a training that will destroy them and molded them to serve a purpose. I know that the summary is very vague but I do not want to spoil the book.

The story is quite interesting. The existence of different clans and their roles were well developed and I caught my attention early on. Add to that the complex characters and you have the reason I like Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke.

As for the characters, Moonlight is my favorite. Even after all the trials and sufferings he endured, he still retained his humanity. The final placement was perfect for him. But that does not mean I do not like the Tiger or Smoke (actually Smoke won additional points for his altruism at the end).

If you like intrigue, action, paranormal elements in your story, I recommend you give Moonlight a chance.  Give  Tiger  and Smoke a chance.   I did  and I do not regret it.