Book Review by Kristie: Open House, by Mickie B. Ashling

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Open House, by Mickie B. Ashling
Series: Open, Book 2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 24, 2016

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


By the time Seth Wilder and Bryce McFarland return to Chicago after their UK cruise, they’re halfway in love. They decide to move in together to see if their feelings can survive in the real world.

Seth receives word that a mandatory autopsy was performed on his late partner because his death was a suicide. The medical examiner’s findings are disturbing and leave some doubt as to the underlying cause of death.

Because of the suicide clause, life insurance benefits had been denied, but in light of these new findings, Seth’s lawyer advises him to appeal. The insurance investigator turns out to be the man who broke Bryce’s heart twenty-five years ago. The guy has fallen on hard times, and when he sees how successful Bryce has become—and how large Seth’s potential payout might be—he decides he wants a piece of the pie. Bryce and Seth’s new relationship is severely tested in this second novel in the Open Series.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Contemporary Romance
Friends to Lovers


Open House picks up right where Open Seating, book one in this series, left off. Seth and Bryce are back from their cruise, and have decided to give their new relationship a shot by moving in together. Once moved into Bryce’s apartment, the fun time they had on their vacation comes to a screeching halt. The story moves fast, not just their love affair, but the sudden mystery of Seth’s husband’s suicide.

In this follow up, I have a few issues… I expected the plot to move quickly, and I honestly was not surprised to see how fast the relationship moved, but this is lighting quick. They’ve virtually known each other for a month and while that time was spent together in close-quarters, I still thought it moved too fast for my taste.

Seth and Bryce are both different from book one. Each of them have changed due to their relationship. Finding a partner that gets you will do that. But I had some issues with things they said, expressions they made, and their behavior. I’m not exactly sure what it means to be “acting like a couple of lesbians”, but it felt offensive when I read it. Their personalities are also dramatically different. Bryce’s friends even notice it… it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just felt like a big departure from book one.

I had issues with the bad guy insurance investigator, Owen. At first he’s just highly unprofessional. But then his obsession is horrible and when it becomes clear he’s got some serious issues. Then the way Seth and Bryce handle the situation, how they involve the police, and how the police deal with it is even more unprofessional, unlikely, and immature. There was a lot of WTF?, Come on!, Really?, and Are you kidding me?, in my notes.  I guess you could say I was yelling a lot.

The ending is also extremely abrupt. I turned the page and thought I was missing part of the file. I was so puzzled because while there is a cliffhanger, and I know the third book will pick up where this ends, this ending was just too fast.

While I’m not in love with this one, I do need to know what happens. So I’m off to read book three with the hopes the story is tighter, the characters don’t annoy me, and there’s a happy ending I can get behind.

My review for book one, Open Seating


Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Mickie discovered gay romance shortly after becoming a fan of the TV show “Queer As Folk”. After the series ended, she began writing QAF fan fiction to put her own HEA spin to the ambiguous ending. One thing led to another, and she submitted her first original manuscript to Dreamspinner Press in December 2008. Horizons was published in April 2009.

Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Author website:

You can purchase Open House from:
Google Play
Barnes & Noble

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I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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