A MelanieM Review: Killer Reunion (Donald Strachey Mystery #16) by Richard Stevenson

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

It’s a family reunion in the era of American tribal politics, and what could go wrong? Plenty, including murder, when the Callahan clan convenes at a New England country inn and one of the most politically outspoken relatives is the victim of a bizarre poisoning.

Timothy Callahan and his long-time spouse, Albany PI Don Strachey, contend not just with dampened spirits but with injustice when a misguided local cop zeroes in on an innocent Callahan. PI Strachey has to unearth a complicated family’s hidden history, nail the real killer, and expose an act of long-contained violent rage in this disturbing tale of the way we live now.

Richard Stevenson is now on his sixteenth novel in his Donald Strachey Mystery series and he has this character, his husband, and the series that revolves about them down to a fine or make that slightly gritty, occasionally comical, and always delectable piece of art!

I’ve been a huge fan of this author and series from the beginning and in multiple formats.  From the first novel, Death Trick, to the four movies made for here! tv from four of the series stories (which were incredible btw), I watched the character of Donald Strachey grow with the times, his personality mature, find love with Timothy Callahan, marry and settle with said Timothy into a happy established couple.  What an absolute joy it’s been!  All while solving some stuplying and some downright horrific mystery cases.

In Killer Reunion (Donald Strachey Mystery #16), author  Richard Stevenson has given Timothy and cousin Beth the daunting task of assembling the Callahan clan for a family reunion.in a picturesque, read old, inn in the country.  Half the family is rabid Trumpites with their MAGA hats, the other half rabid liberals with their Bernie pins.  One rule of the gathering?  No politics!  There’s also a funeral, broken promises, an ex con, and more twists and turns then you can imagine when a dead body (a relative shows up and Donald is enlisted to help solve the mystery.

Killer Reunion is a good old fashioned page turner in the very best way,  The police thought they knew who done it, Donald knew better but  had to find the real murderer. And in between?  Some honest to God chortling, huge surprises, great twists and plot turns, and more of the layered, marvelous characters I have come to love and expect from this series and author.  The non-judgemental quality that shines from Donald is one of the nicest elements in the series and something I have always enjoyed about this character.  Here it has never been on display more.

If you are a fan of mysteries , grab this one up and start reading immediately.  You will love it.  No real romance.  For that return to the previous stories and see how Donald and Timothy met and fell in love.  Killer Reunion is all mystery and a great one at that.  Enjoy!  I highly recommend it.

Cover art:  Very fitting for the story and location.

Sales Links:  MLR Press Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 25th 2019 by MLR Books
Series Donald Strachey #16

Check out the Goodreads link to the entire series:

Donald Strachey (16 books)
by Richard Stevenson

A Chaos Moondrawn Review : Tarragon (Rise of the Symbionts #4) by Jo Tannah

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

This is the fourth book in the series, but it’s a prequel. The first three books mention Tarragon, the first and greatest of the technomage kings of Oryon. He became king at 18. This is the story of how he came to have a symbiont, and planned for the survival of his family, setting the stage for everything in the last three books. Yet, this can also be read as the first book without any problems: the other three must be read in order. Having said that, this ends abruptly leading me to believe this will also be a trilogy about how the symbionts in the first book came about.

Although there is a Council of Kings, the Capricis and Zaruthrans attacked the Dacrons, leading to years of war. Tarragon is the last of his line, becoming king on his eighteenth birthday. While his father insisted that he fight his magic, when they are close to being defeated, he embraces it. Not trained to either be king, or to use his magic, he turns to the mountain mages to help him and learns history of his world that was lost to his kingdom. With his Guardian, Brenn, he finds the will and allies he needs to fight his enemies and save his vassals. He plans to change Oryon so mages are no longer shunned due to fear.

The loss, deaths, and Tarragon psychically comforting his clan in their grief, is heartbreaking. Tarragon and Brenn becoming lovers, while a huge complication, was inevitable. The characters are cast about from one entertaining emergency to another, but that doesn’t hide some of the issues. The broken trust, not once but twice, between him and Brenn is never addressed. The fact that no other king has kept tabs on Kayel, for both their technology and their mages seems astonishing to me. After all, they do sell the technology to other kingdoms. There is never a good explanation for how the magic and technology work together (in any of the four books). The reader is just supposed to accept these things work because they are told they do. I would have liked to avoid the cliche of phrases like “once in every generation” and the idea that Tarragon is the being of a long held prophesy. There are abrupt shifts of mood between scenes on occasion, as well as the emotions and responses of the characters are sometimes uneven. Still, the whole thing is imaginative. There is something about these books or else I wouldn’t keep reading them. I have to know what happens, flaws and all, so I would recommend trying them if you want an easy science fiction romance without too much world-building or hard science.

The cover art by Angela Waters matches the other book covers. It establishes the magical and science fiction nature of the story whilst showing Tarragon how I pictured him except for that strange fur collar.

Sales Links: Extasy Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, First, 160 pages
Published April 12th 2019 by Extasy Books
Original TitleTarragon
ISBN139781487424589
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesRise of the Symbionts #4

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Single (Single Dads #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Finally, an RJ Scott novel that gave me feels similar to those I got when I first read Heart of Texas. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but this refreshing story of a young man who moved forward with surrogacy after his life partner left and is now the proud—and exhausted—father of seven-week-old Mia gave me all the feels. Sleep deprived, his nerves shot, when he answers a pounding on his front door in the middle of the night, little does he know his life is going to take an upswing. And no, it’s not the guy who pounds on the door who sets his heart on fire—it’s the sweet doctor who is the man’s roommate and bestie who eventually convinces the frazzled single dad that there’s more to life than the little bundle of joy he’s fiercely protecting.

The main and secondary characters in this story are a delight. Ash, the single dad, and Sean, the ER doc neighbor, took a very slow route to romance. In fact, they didn’t even kiss until the 50% mark. This book is more about family and relationships—both of family and of friends—and less about a quick jump in the sack. And I loved every minute. The secondary characters, including Ash’s twin sister and Sean’s two roomies and besties—Eric, a firefighter, and Leo, a cop—along with their dog, Cap, and a host of online single dads Ash meets through a forum, added so much depth and dimension to the story that I didn’t want to put the book down.

Now, I’m totally looking forward to the next installment in this series where big, strong firefighter Eric, will be matched with sweet, shy Brady, Ash’s online friend. I have a feeling I know what Brady’s back story is and I can’t wait to read to find out if I’m right or wrong. In any event, if it’s half as good as this one, I know I’m going to love it. I highly recommend this book, the start of what promises to be a terrific series. 

The photo cover designed by RJ Scott features a young man, holding an infant and looking off into the distance. It’s very attractive and beautifully depicts Ash’s early weeks with Mia.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 12th 2019 by Love Lane Books Ltd
ISBN139781785641701
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://rjscott.co.uk/books/single
SeriesSingle Dads #1

Love a Slow Burn Romance? Check out the Book Blast for Impossible Things (Star Shadow #2) by Beth Bolden (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Title: Impossible Things (Star Shadow series #2)

Author: Beth Bolden

Publisher: Beth Bolden Books

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Genre/s: Contemporary MM Romance. Friends to lovers. Slow burn. Rock star romance.

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 80,000 words

Release Date: June 10

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US |  Amazon UK 

 

It’s never the end . . . it’s only the beginning.

Blurb

For the last ten years, Benji and Diego have not only been members of Star Shadow, one of the biggest boy bands in the world, but best friends. During the years of fame and fortune they’ve also held a front row seat to the callous cruelty of the music industry. As much as they’ve both wanted more from their relationship, it never felt worth it to trade what they have for something hot, heady and completely impossible.

But is it really?

After welcoming back their long lost member and making it through their reunion tour with a new lease on fame, life suddenly seems too short to continue settling for safety.

Benji and Diego could have everything they’ve ever wanted, but can they figure out how to choose each other? Despite every impossible thing the world intends to throw at them?

It’s never the end . . . it’s only the beginning.

 

Excerpt

“Are you okay?”

Benji glanced up and of course it was Diego. Of course it would be him who’d know that something was wrong.

He cleared his throat, his tongue suddenly thick in his mouth. The panic hadn’t faded entirely yet, and he felt too close to the edge still, but Diego reached out and cupped his shoulder with his hand. The fear retreated a little more.

If he couldn’t be honest with Diego, could he be honest with anyone?

“I was just thinking of the last bow, the one we took when we didn’t know it was the last one,” Benji admitted.

After a moment of hesitation—which Benji understood entirely, their friendship sometimes seemed like a walk through a minefield—Diego pulled him into a hug. His hands hovered over Diego’s shoulders before giving in and gripping him tightly.

They stood there together for a long moment, holding on to each other. Benji let his head fall down to Diego’s shoulder, but otherwise they didn’t move.

“It was hard, because we didn’t know it was over, but it was over,” Diego finally said, the sound of the stagehands beginning to take down the stage around them punctuating his words. “But it turns out that it’s not really over after all.”

Benji didn’t want to say that some mornings he woke up and for a split second he still thought it was over. That he sometimes had to remind himself that he wasn’t on his own again, that he wasn’t struggling with a career that didn’t fit quite right, that he didn’t miss his boys so much he ached, that he hadn’t ultimately crashed and burned.

“It’s hard to forget, sometimes,” he said, even though he hadn’t really meant to say anything at all.

Diego pulled back, and even in the dim of backstage, Benji could see the empathy in his eyes. “You know, you’re more than your achievements,” Diego pointed out softly.

It wasn’t like he hadn’t been told that before, but something about the earnest belief in Diego’s voice made him want to believe this time. The problem was knowing, with crystal clear clarity, what he was capable of. And never being able to settle for less than that, without that ugly voice yelling in his ear that he’d failed again.

“I know.” Benji’s smile was wry. “Theoretically.” Reluctantly, he let go of Diego. Too long holding him, too long of them holding each other, and he was going to want even more than he already did.

Diego laughed. “Yeah, that’s the whole problem. Theoretically. You’re rich and famous. You don’t need to work so hard all the damn time. You’ve made it, Benji.”

All theoretically true.

If only that voice would shut the fuck up sometimes.

“Yeah,” Benji said, rolling his eyes. “I know.” He paused. He and Diego had been practically inseparable this tour, but it was ending tonight, and they had two weeks in LA before the recording sessions on the new album started. Even though they’d spent so much time together already, the idea of a two-week break from Diego hurt. It had never hurt before. Somehow, Benji knew, they’d crossed that point of no return. Friendship alone would never be enough again. Had it been the kiss? He could barely remember it, it had been so short and brief. Nothing like he’d always imagined. He’d wanted a do-over for the last six months, but maybe they needed more privacy for that.

“Hey,” he started again hesitantly, “we should get together when we get back to LA.”

Diego was leading the way back to the green room and didn’t look at Benji. “I’m not sure. I’ll probably be busy with Ana.”

Benji knew how much he loved his daughter, and how much he’d missed her on this tour, even though his ex, Vicky, had brought her to as many tour stops as she could. So he didn’t know what to say to that. Even though it was probably true, it was hard not to see it as a brush-off. Diego was good with people; he wouldn’t give a brush-off that felt like one. He’d make it sound legit, all to spare Benji’s feelings.

The question was why was he brushing him off, right after hugging and reassuring him? Benji didn’t know, and didn’t know how to bring it up, because they were walking into the green room, and Max was spraying the walls with a bottle of sparkling apple juice and Leo and Caleb were dancing to the Black Eyed Peas, their favorite post-show soundtrack.

 

About the Author

A lifelong Oregonian, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. She still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to start a chapter of Keeping Durham Weird.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eleven novels and four short stories, with Impossible Things, the next book of the Star Shadow series, releasing in June 2019.

 

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Single (Single Dads #1) by R.J. Scott

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Length: 54,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: RJ Scott
 
Blurb



Reeling from the painful rejection of a man he thought he loved, Asher is left holding the baby.


Ash wants a family, and is determined to continue with a surrogacy he’d begun with his ex. Bringing baby Mia home, he vows that he will be the best father he can be. Nothing in this world matters more to him than caring for his daughter, not even accidentally falling in lust with the doctor next door. Challenged by his growing attraction to Sean, and confronted by painful memories of his family, Ash has to learn that love is all that matters.


When ER doctor Sean moves in with his friends next door to sexy single father Ash, he falls so quickly it takes his breath away. The sex they have is hot, but Ash is adamant
his heart is too full with love for his daughter to let anyone else in. Why is Sean the only one who sees how scared Ash is, and how can he prove to his new lover that he desperately wants the three of them to become a family?

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.


RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

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Release Blitz for A Foreign Country (Mr & Mr Detective Story #2) by Alex Jane

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Length: 68,000 words approx.
 
A Mr & Mr Detective Story Series
 
Book #1 – Gazes Into You – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
Blurb
 

Private Detective John Right’s life is pretty good.


He loathes paperwork and could do without wasting his weekends catching out cheating spouses, but business is booming and he’s sharing his life with Jason, a man he’s still crazy about after three years.


The only downside is his lover’s baffling choice of friends and the fact that John is convinced Jason is keeping secrets from his dark past.


When a late-night phone call leads them to a kidnap victim with amnesia, and a dangerous man from Jason’s previous life suddenly resurfaces, they have much more than just secrets to deal with.


And after their mysterious house guest starts to show more than a passing interest in the detective couple, John is left struggling when his relationship, as well as his detecting skills, are put to the test.


Are they strong enough to resist the temptation of an enigmatic stranger?


Maybe. If they don’t get killed in the meantime.

After spending far too long creating stories in her head, Alex finally plucked up the courage to write them down and realized it was quite fun seeing them on the page after all.


Free from aspirations of literary greatness, Alex simply hopes to entertain by spinning a good yarn of love and life, wrapped up with a happy ending. Although, if her characters have to go through Hell to get there, she’s a-okay with that.


With only a dysfunctional taste in music and a one-eyed dog to otherwise fill her days, Alex writes and walks on the South Coast of England—even when her heart and spellcheck are in New York.


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