Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Permanently Legless by JL Merrow


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Permanently Legless newChris came home from Afghanistan when he was severely injured and lost both legs. Finally released from medical care and adjusting to civilian life, with his sense of humor intact, he sets out for the local gay bar where he met a guy the week before he shipped out. Josh has been on his mind a lot, and he hopes to at least get to see him there, though he’s pretty sure Josh has forgotten him, and even if not, Josh may be turned off by Chris’s disability.

When Josh gave his number to Chris, he really hoped he’d hear from him again. It’s been close to a year but the man was truly unforgettable. Now, when he turns around and spots Chris, he’s shocked but finds himself still attracted. Can there be any hope for someone Chris probably filed away as a one-night stand?

I hope all readers enjoy this story as much as I did. Though brief, it packs a lot of punch. And it’s also full of humor, much of it from Chris and his light-hearted view of his circumstances. Both characters are sweet and seem genuinely suited to each other. A nice tidbit to make me wish for more about these guys in the future.

Cover art on this new edition, by Written Ink Designs, depicts a fully armed soldier in uniform looking skyward. There’s a British flag superimposed at the bottom of the cover with a small wheelchair in the left corner. The cover captures Chris’s spirit.

Sales Links:  JMS Books |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 23 pages
Published June 4th 2016 by JMS Books (first published January 22nd 2012)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: The Fitzwarren Inheritance by Chris Quinton, RJ Scott and Sue Brown


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Trilogy Cover for The Fitzwarren InheritanceThis book is actually three books in one, all with a common theme: the curse on the Fitzwarren family, a curse made by a distraught Jonathan Curtess as he was about to be burned at the stake by Sir Belvedere Fitzwarren in the 1600’s. “I curse you and your children’s children, that you shall all live out your allotted years, and that those years shall be filled with grief and loss and betrayal, even as you have betrayed and bereaved me.”

The first book, The Psychic’s Tale is by Chris Quinton. When his grandmother’s new interest in genealogy reveals that Mark Renfrew, a psychic, is a descendent of Jonathan Curtess, she urges him to investigate the Fitzwarren family curse personally, hoping he’ll be able to bring it to an end. It seems that this curse isn’t just folklore; the Fitzwarren family has lost more than their share of family members to death over the centuries, and the family coffers have virtually run dry.

Mark not only meets one of the surviving family members, he also meets an archaeologist, Jack Faulkner, who is doing preliminary research in the area for a potential dig. Intrigued by the man, their plans are aborted when the rest of the Fitzwarren clan discovers he’s in town, and they virtually run him out of town. Intrigued, his research shows that there’s a possible cure for the curse that starts as “When the one who reads the earth joins with he who sees beyond.” It’s apparent it could be a psychic and an archaeologist, so he contacts Jack, and the two head back to talk to the Fitzwarrens to attempt to convince them to let Mark try to help them.

This begins a tale in which Mark and Jack do make some inroads toward not only a lasting relationship with each other, but also toward lifting the curse, though there are further steps and more people to be involved, but at least the Fitzwarrens are now tolerant of Mark, and he and Jack can only wait and hope that the others needed to break the curse eventually show up.

The second story is The Soldier’s Tale by RJ Scott. This story focuses on Corporal Daniel Francis, a young man injured in the line of duty when a roadside bomb his demolitions team was working to defuse exploded, killing most of the team. He not only suffers from nightmares, PTSD, and survivor’s guilt, he lives in extreme pain from a knee which was so badly injured, it was almost irreparable. He hates taking his pain meds and goes to great lengths to avoid that sickening fuzzy-headed, loss-of-control feeling they give him. He prefers to walk off the pain, an action that gets him into trouble one night when he’s walking along a road and is nearly run over by Dr. Sean Lester who was speeding along in his Audi while trying to work off his anger with his father.

Having briefly met before, this accident gives the men the opportunity to talk and for Sean to see beyond the façade Daniel puts up—enough to reach out and help him in more than a professional way. Sean helps Daniel change the meds he’s on so that he can manage his pain but not feel so helpless and drugged up. They also find themselves drawn into the Fitzwarren family curse when it’s discovered that the old knife Sean carries—a knife handed down through his family for centuries—is the knife that someone threw at Jonathan Curtess as he was being burned at the stake so he wouldn’t suffer the agony of the flames. When Sean and Daniel meet up with Mark and Jack from The Psychic’s Tale, Mark determines that this couple fulfills the second half of the prophecy: “when the warrior and the healer stand to seal a sacred bond.” Could it be that Sean and Daniel standing up for their best friend Will at his wedding to Diana Fitzwarren fulfills that requirement?

This was also a wonderful story in and of itself, but the way it entwined with the first book was seamless and added to the enjoyment of the romance and intrigue surrounding the curse. At this point, I could hardly bear to put the book down.

The last book, The Lord’s Tale, is by Sue Brown. Phil Fitzwarren, the family accountant and single gay man in the cursed family, is the most skeptical of the remaining Fitzwarrens. Both Diana and their older brother, Charles, have come to accept that what Mark has done so far to lift the curse seems to be working, but it’s far from finished and Phil is starting to resent the hope the others are carrying. He’s not going to fall for a psychic’s story like they all are. The one way he can safely work off his anger and his need for danger and adventure is by rock climbing. And of course, due to the damned curse, he can’t do it on a real mountain, so he goes to his favorite rock climbing facility where he meets a young man who supposedly has been watching him for weeks while Phil has been focused inwardly on his family’s circumstances.

Lee Curtis is far younger than Phil, only twenty-two to Phil’s twenty-eight, but he’s alpha all the way through and more or less manhandles Phil into a relationship, whether he wants one or not. And he does. He just always thought he’d be the top, but Lee is the one to inform Phil that they are together and always will be. During dinner at Lee’s family home one evening, it’s revealed that Lee’s first name is Jonathan. Phil, realizing that Lee is a descendent of Jonathan Curtess, starts to freak out until Mark and Jack, who happen to be there, see the connection to the curse and the possibility of having found the last key to breaking it. The final phrase, “when the one who seeks in danger is sworn to the landless lord” fits the couple perfectly.

I really enjoyed this segment as the author instilled a bit of humor into the relationship between these men, and it was easy to see how happy they made each other. The final chapters of putting all the pieces together and finding the final clues which lead to not only resolving the curse, but also restoring the family fortune were exciting and fast-paced.

It’s evident that these authors worked closely together to match personalities as they brought characters from one story into the next, and they worked together to create an intriguing action/adventure that didn’t slow or lag at any point. I devoured this story, and I highly recommend it to all who enjoy a multi-character MM romance with humor, intrigue, danger, and lots of loving.

Cover Art by Meredith Russell depicts three men who represent the MCs: the psychic, the soldier and the lord. I can easily imagine the MCs looking exactly like these men. I love it when cover artists create an authentic representation of the characters in a story.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published October 29th 2015 by Love Lane Books Ltd (first published December 14th 2011)

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Ruin Porn (Resonator #1) by S.J.D. Peterson and S.A. McAuley


Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★
Ruin Porn coverKevin Rene can’t believe his luck when he’s personally “recruited” by Miah Thade, lead singer of Resonator, a rock band on the fast track to fame. He met Miah when his band was set to be the opening act in Resonator’s first tour, Made in Americana, but when his own band members showed up drunk and high, the deal was off, and Kevin and the guys were left to languish in LA. What Kevin didn’t know is that his songwriting talent and his musical abilities did not go unnoticed and Miah wants him as the group’s fourth.

Miah Thade, Finn Reese, and Ritchie Meyer are the three young men who grew up together in Detroit and together formed the band, nicknamed Rez. Also known as the Detroit 3, the friends rely on Miah’s good judgment and welcome Kevin, now renamed Evin by Miah, into their lives.

Not willing to rely on others for promo, Miah, always the leader and most ambitious of the group, spearheads efforts to use social media to move his band to stardom. They stir up their fans in each city they visit by tweeting and using other social networking sites and getting the crazy Rezors worked up to fever pitch. But as their popularity grows, the boys start to see the lack of privacy as one of the major costs of success. At times the close quarters and differences of opinion create havoc among the guys. Miah, an outspoken homophobe, can be the worst offender sometimes, picking on the guys unmercifully.

Ritchie, the peacemaker of the group, and the man who considers Miah his best friend, takes any negativity to heart. Flinching every time he hears a homophobic remark from Miah, Ritchie worries that Miah might some day find out that he’s gay, and if that happens, he’ll lose his best friend and the man he secretly loves.

Finn, a musical genius, has been raised by Irish immigrants who only want the best for their talented son and have given him every opportunity to learn all instruments and all musical genres. Extremely talented, Finn can play anything he hears one time, and coupled with Evin’s songwriting genius and ability to play bass to Finn’s guitar in the group, it makes for a dynamic musical partnership. It also provides the opportunity for the duo to spend extra time together, and considering how hot Evin finds Finn, it eventually leads to an explosive opportunity to satisfy their lust for each other.

As time goes on, and the secret gets harder to hide, the band members realize that if Miah had any idea that Evin and Finn couldn’t keep their hands off each other, he’d flip out. And if he ever found out that Ritchie was not only aware of the attraction between the others, but had also participated in a ménage with them, the friendship between the Miah and Ritchie would be destroyed and the future of the band would be in jeopardy.

So why can’t Evin and Finn and Ritchie just say no? Why take a chance on being together? And why can’t Evin and Finn communicate their true feelings to each other? Ritchie seems to be the only one who can see that Finn and Evin have moved beyond mere sex. And what transpires if someone happens to see them? The pot is stirred with enough ammo to cause a nuclear explosion within the group, and if it blows up, will the band survive?

I appreciated the way the authors engaged the reader with the characters and created the conflict among various members of the band, first with each other, and then with the band vs the outside world. I also appreciated the setup for a sequel (and I’ll be the first in line to buy it!), and I loved the resolution of the conflict, or at least the resolution for some of the band members’ conflicts by the end of the story. Any remaining conflict will make an enticing sequel.

I certainly recommend this book for those who enjoy rocker/musician stories, but even more for those who like a story where readers get engaged in the lives of the characters, unable to predict how they’ll act, but can laugh with them, cry with them, and be happy for them when they finally work their way through the crisis and come out the other side a better person.

The cover design by Paul Richmond shows a photo of downtown Detroit with the title Ruin Porn across the bottom of the cover. Ruin Porn is a term given to photos taken of a downtown area which used to be vital and now lies forsaken in the face of the decline of the auto industry in Detroit. The term was chosen by the Resonators to be the title of their first album because it represents their hope that everyone can learn from what appears to be ruin and destruction and, rather than wallow in it, use it as a catalyst for change.

I very highly recommend this story. These two talented authors have created something special that I won’t soon forget.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

eBook, Paperback, 252 pages
Published August 28th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Ruin Porn
ISBN 1634764676 (ISBN13: 9781634764674)
edition language English
series Resonator #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Other Side of the Line by Marguerite Labbe


Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Other Side of the Line coverThis was a sweet, nostalgic walk down memory lane as Caleb Hudson and Hal Zimmer recall the first day they met sixty years before, and with the urging of their children and grandchildren, relate the long, sometimes painful road they traveled to find the balance necessary to merge that friendship with love and long-term commitment.

In 2023, at a family reunion held in honor of Caleb and Hal, who are now husbands, their children and grandchildren presented them with a memory book filled with photos, letters, and other memorabilia that symbolized the time they spent together and apart in their early years. Prompted to tell tales of what happened at various points of their lives, readers are treated to what is surely one of the best stories this reviewer has read all year. I must admit, though, it may be partially because the story encompasses my own history, taking place over the course of time in which I grew up and grew old. But from that perspective, I can also guarantee the authenticity of the flavor of the times.

In 1963, when Caleb Hudson first attended what used to be an all-white elementary school in Charleston, South Carolina, his early days were fraught with negativity and racial prejudice—from both the students and the teachers. Though he dreaded going to school each day, he knew that he and others like him had to step up to the task so segregation would be something others would read about in history books and not experience in real life. Fortunately, a new kid—a Northerner—joined his class, and some of the attention was diverted from him onto this new kid. Hal Zimmer, an adorable, friendly redhead, couldn’t understand why his parents moved from New York to a place where he was not only an outsider, but was shunned for not being a native. When the bullies cornered him after school, he thought he was a goner until another kid showed up to help him and scared the bullies away. Caleb was that other kid and from that moment on, they became best friends for life, and neither of them ever dreaded going to school again.

As the boys mature, Hal comes to realize that he is gay, and shunned by his father for his “sissy ways,” he acts out by joining the antiwar movement, hanging out with hippies and others in the Village once he gets to college in New York. In the meantime, Caleb is becoming aware that he has feelings for Hal that are more than brotherly, but rather than embrace those feelings, he denies them. But when he’s drafted and sent to Viet Nam, he extracts a promise from Hal that Hal won’t protest against the soldiers returning home. If he must protest the government, that’s fine, but not the men who have no choice but to go to serve their country.

Once Caleb is back and the two are reunited, sparks fly between them, Caleb confesses his attraction to Hal, and they have their first look at how hot they can be together. But it doesn’t last, and circumstances separate them yet again as Hal decides to join the Peace Corps and serve two years in Ghana. It’s not until he returns from there that the two men finally face their demons, but they have to fight against outside forces, former lovers, family, and friends to be able to forge their way to what they really want and need.

Thank you, Ms. Labbe, for ending this story, not with a tragedy, but with hope for a long future together as the men look forward to making good use of their time in retirement. There are few stories in which the MCs grow old together, and even fewer in which the seniors look forward to a happy future. Twenty-four hours after completion, my emotions are finally settling into a warm and fuzzy ball in my tummy after having been on a rollercoaster throughout the book. There are heartbreakingly poignant moments in this story, periods of worry and concern, and times of angst-filled distress, yet there are times of joy and happiness as well, and I’m left with a feeling of awe from having just read a book that will live in my memory for a long time to come.

I highly recommend this story to all lovers of M/M romance. If you love a good tale, or a story of an interracial couple, or if you simply enjoy a walk back through history, please don’t’ miss your chance to read this story.


Cover Art by Catt Ford depicts an interracial photo of two young boys, one with his arm around the other, another photo of two hands being held—the same young boys—books, and various memorabilia collected throughout their lives. The cover is perfect for the content of this story which spans this couple’s love and friendship over the past sixty years.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon |  Buy It Here

Book  Details:

ebook, 330 pages, also in paperback
Published September 18th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Other Side of the Line
ISBN 9781634765
edition language English

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review : Running With Scissors by L.A. Witt


Rating: 4 stars out of 5    ★★★★

RunningWithScissors_600x900When Jude Colburn receives a call from his former band’s manager, asking him to come back to the band, this time as their bassist, he doesn’t hesitate to agree. He’d left the band, Running With Scissors, after a breakup with his lover and longtime friend, Connor, a year and a half-ago. He was their drummer, but Jude is one of those gifted musicians who can play anything, so he’s okay with switching.

But, as he finds out when he gets there, most of the band members are not okay with him coming back. The turmoil they’d lived with as Jude and Connor fought was unnerving, but the fact that he’d walked out on them just as they were going to sign a recording contract, makes him #1 on their shitlist. Since his actions nearly broke them up, he’s persona non grata for quite a while when he gets back. One of the only people who is open and friendly with him is AJ, the man who replaced him as the band’s drummer. It doesn’t help that AJ is sweet, quiet, friendly and hot. Jude knows he can’t screw around with any bandmates ever again. After all, the reason he was invited back is due to the fact that Wyatt, another band member and friend, also stormed out after he and Connor broke up. Two disastrous flings with band members is two too many, and no one will tolerate another.

All is well during rehearsals, but when the band takes the stage for a live show, Jude is blown away by AJ’s outstanding performance. He’s not only dynamite on the drums, he’s become a completely different, absolutely hot and sexy wild man, and Jude virtually melts when, after the show, he stumbles upon AJ, and AJ, still hot and high on adrenaline from the show, grabs him and tongue-fucks him as if his life depended on it. Needless to say, Jude is hooked after that, and though they manage to refrain from acting on their attraction, they are attracted and are also fast becoming friends.

So what happens when one irresistible force meets another once the tour is over, and they are living at home while working on the album? And then what happens when their bandmates and manager find out? Heartache, angst, and an unexpected catalyst to start the process of healing unresolved issues.

This is more than just the usual rock band story. It’s really an introspective look at how one man makes the journey from selfish, immature bad boy to loving, supportive partner and friend. And it both explores and resolves underlying issues and problems which can escalate when a group of people who know each other so well for so many years suddenly find themselves faced with coworkers and friends who have grown up when they weren’t looking.

I really enjoyed this story for all the reasons stated above. It was deliciously hot and it was angsty, but I enjoyed Jude’s journey as he finally changed the way he reacted to emotional issues and became a mature man worthy of lasting love and friendship. I highly recommend this one to lovers of contemporary romance, musicians, hot tattooed men, and to those who want to explore more than just the surface of the romance when two men fall in love.

Cover art by L.C. Chase depicts the faces and upper torsos of two handsome young men, a blond in profile and a brunette, with upper arms covered in tattoos, facing forward. Below the title banner is a concert crowd scene. The cover a beautiful depiction of two rock star MCs.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 313 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published August 29th 2015)
ISBN13 9781626493315
edition language English

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Throwback Thursday Review: The Summer House (English Hearts #1) by R.J. Scott


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

English 1 the summer house jpgThe last thing veterinarian Connor Lawson needs in his life is a sexy, rich playboy like Ashby Sterling-Haynes. Connor once had a relationship with a wealthy playboy, and once was enough. In fact, not even his best friend knows the dark secret and emotional pain Connor carries from that encounter, but it is still affecting his life, and if he has any hope for a future with a man, he has to find a way to deal with it.

Ashby Sterling-Haynes is the youngest son in a wealthy, titled family. Currently the chief of the accounting department at the corporation’s headquarters in London, he’s staying at the country estate while his brother Ben, who manages the estate, is on his honeymoon. A mild flirtation with the vet leads to so much more, and a summer in which Ash thought he’d be bored, turns into a journey of self-discovery when he apprentices with a local carpenter to indulge his creative side and his itch to work with wood. Once only a dream, he discovers that his “hobby” may indeed turn out to be his career, at the same time he discovers that his flirtation with Connor is leading to a rich and fulfilling friendship and a deep and abiding love.

There are both struggles and poignant moments as Connor and Ash interact in the community. And there’s both humor and heartache as Connor works through his past fears, and Ash discovers what love is all about and realizes that he’s not only willing to fight for Connor, he’s eagerly looking forward to it.

I loved this couple. I haven’t loved another couple so much since I first met Jack Campbell and Riley Hayes in The Heart of Texas. Their chemistry was spot-on, and both their individual personalities and their behavior as a couple were genuine and exciting. The secondary characters, especially Landon and Rachel and Mick were all vital to the story and complemented the whole.

I highly recommend this one to those who love their M/M romance with a nice mixture of humor, angst, hurt/comfort, and sexy times all rolled into one very enjoyable package.

Cover design by Meredith Russell depicts two young men with an English estate in the background. The men look exactly the way I would picture Connor and Ashby after having read the story, so IMHO, it’s perfect.

Sales Links:  RJ Scott  –  All Romance (ARe) Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

A standalone, English Hearts story

Published May 29th 2015 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published May 27th 2015)
seriesEnglish Hearts #1

Bluewater Bay is Back with When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel) by G. B. Gordon (contest)


When to Hold Them cover

When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel) by G. B. Gordon
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L. C. Chase

Sale Link: Riptide Publishing

BWBlogo_WebThe Bluewater Bay  series from Riptide Publishing is consistently one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 star reads,  When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel) by G. B. Gordon is another.  You can catch Barb, our Zany Old Lady’s review of this novel also today.  Trust me, its not to be missed!  Love your contemporary M/M romance?  Love a whole series of outstanding stories?  Its Bluewater Bay and When to Hold Them by G. B. Gordon!




Doran Callaghan doesn’t know when to fold ’em. His gambling has landed him in debt and in jail, and now it’s got him stuck in the sticks in a reintegration program. He wants to turn his life around, but old habits come knocking, and some creditors are harder to shake than others.

Xavier Wagner cares more about the National Park he works in than the people around it, until a stranger awakens desires he didn’t know he had. Doran’s natural submissiveness turns Xavier’s ideas of how to treat a lover upside WolfsLanding_transparentdown. But Doran doesn’t seem to know about boundaries—or even to have any—and Xavier’s not sure that Doran will say no if he needs to. Which means someone’s going to get hurt.

While Xavier struggles with his principles, Doran’s past comes calling. Trusting each other is suddenly a matter of life or death, but Doran has to decide whether counting on Xavier—or himself—is a gamble he’s willing to take.


Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $15 Riptide store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 22. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes provided by Riptide Publishing.

About Author G. B. Gordon

G.B.Gordon  is Riptide’s Featured Author for August!

G.B. Gordon worked as a packer, landscaper, waiter, and coach before going back to school to major in linguistics and, at 35, switch to less backbreaking monetary pursuits like translating, editing, and writing.

Having lived in various parts of the world, Gordon is now happily ensconced in suburban Ontario with the best of all husbands. Santuario is G.B. Gordon’s first published work, but many more stories are just waiting to hit the keyboard.

Connect with Gordon:

Website and blog:
Twitter: @gb_gordon

Bluewater Bay Series

Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield, Aleksandr Voinov, Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, and Jaime Samms. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Bluewater Bay page.


Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: The Harder They Fall by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Harder They Fall coverTad, a spoiled and neglected rich kid, has been raised with money and privilege but not much else. His parents barely know he’s around, but keep his allowance coming—an allowance that Tad uses to show off what a big shot he is at the expense of others.

When Tad revisits the brothel where he humiliated a young, inexperienced whore the last time he was there, he asks for an older, more experienced man. He’s looking forward to another night of domination and dishing out humiliation—actions that make him feel good about himself.

He does get an older man, but instead of getting an old, washed-up whore like he requests, he gets “Daddy”, a big, strong, gorgeous, older man with a major domination streak. And Daddy doesn’t care what Tad wants—Daddy is going to give Tad what he needs. And what he needs is punishment—to be forced into obedience and subtly enlightened about his real and underlying issues. A little humiliation in front of the young whore he previously abused, an opportunity to be Daddy’s good boy—to be with someone who seems to actually care about him, and Tad suddenly isn’t interested in leaving.

Daddy-kink lovers, this one is for you! It’s an enjoyable M/M story, with subtle undertones that address Tad’s psych issues and the resolution a D/s relationship might bring him. I would definitely like to read more about these MCs.

Book Cover: Simple, but contains an element of the story.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages
Published July 20th 2015 by Smashwords Edition (first published July 18th 2015)
original title: The Harder They Fall
edition languageEnglish

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review :Not Safe for Work by Ingela Bohm


Rating: 5 stars out of  5  ★★★★★

Not Safe For Work coverJakob is turning 34 and his best friend, Leo, isn’t there to help him celebrate. He’s gone to a software conference in London to unveil his revolutionary new software. This program gathers info from a PC and calculates the truth, filing in the blanks so a person doesn’t have to do more than give it the basics, and it will compose the rest of a thesis, story, or other document for the user.

Jakob is close to finishing his own work on his dissertation for his PhD. His doctoral thesis is on the slash fiction phenomenon from a linguistic perspective. But that isn’t foremost in his mind on his birthday—he has other priorities to focus on, especially when he receives an odd text message from Leo which leads him to start reading an unbelievable NSFW story penned by him to Leo! It’s on both Tumblr and Facebook and is quickly being picked up and reposted by users all over the world. The story is erotic and apparently establishes him and Leo as a couple, something that will be a shock to all of their friends and acquaintances who believe them both to be straight. Wait! They are straight. Or aren’t they?

The explosion of stories, which now have gone viral on multiple social media sites, causes Jakob to doubt his own reality. And, to top off the worst birthday ever, it looks like his advisor, a well-known professor who pioneered research on the slash fiction phenomena, has also seen the stories. The biggest problem is the writing style is Jakob’s, and when confronted, he finds it impossible to deny that the stories are completely untrue because of a tiny grain of truth in each. But the professor offers Jakob an exclusive research deal which would allow Jakob to go to London and confront Leo whom Jakob thinks is really behind the whole mess.

In the meantime, Leo, who truly loves Jakob but knows his love is unrequited, has no idea of the scope of the media explosion. Or so he says.  When the two finally meet and compare notes, It seems unbelievable that anyone could have possibly have had enough knowledge about them to write these stories, all of which seem to be based on true events, but with distorted facts.

While in London with Leo, Jakob gives in to his underlying sexual desires, desires that he only recently came to realize, and despite Jakob’s supposed heterosexual identity, they have sex. Unfortunately, when it’s done, instead of remaining behind with Leo, Jakob says something stupid and hurtful and then leaves after completely breaking Leo’s heart.

The story is quite brilliantly executed. The author took reality and stretched it and then twisted it, smoothed it out, and stretched it again to the point where I thought I might never be able to figure out which end was up, but she came through in the end and provided a plausible explanation for the whole mess. But did the guys really get together, or was it a dream? And do they have a HEA, or is it in the reader’s imagination?

This is an absolutely unique plot. Be sure to have fully functioning brain cells before you start to read this story because you are going to need them. I love the twist on RPS— real person slash fiction—a phenomena created by this generation. Instead of telling the story from the perspective of the fans or authors of the fiction, this story is about the characters, the real life men who are affected by the social media explosion as their love story becomes viral. The more it’s denied, the more it appears to be true. Of course, the author does throw in a few dream sequences just to keep readers on their toes. So, as I said, be sure you are fully functional before you start this one.

I highly recommend this to those who enjoy something completely different. Toss in some GFY and some first time virginal scenes, and you’ve got the recipe for a story you won’t be able to put down.


Cover Art by Ingela Bohm shows the silhouette of two men standing face to face against a red-lighted background. The pound sign before the title, written as # Not Safe for Work in bright yellow print, depicts the tag for which those interested in a slash fiction story would search on social media. Very cleverly done.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published July 7th 2015 by Smashwords Edition (first published July 6th 2015)
edition language English

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Just Desserts (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Mary Calmes


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5:

Just Desserts coverWhen Scott Wren meets Boone Walton, he knows that this man is going to be an important part of his life, but since Boone seems aloof and uninterested in him sexually, he pursues friendship as the way to Boone’s heart instead.

Scott is a chef and has his own restaurant, which Boone helps him decorate and create the perfect ambience for dining in style. Boone owns an art gallery in New Orleans, and he’s renovated and decorated the building it’s in, the gallery itself, and his upstairs apartment with his own two hands. He knows what he’s doing. At least, he knows what he’s doing when it comes to business, but when it comes to Scott, he flounders.

Boone seems to be the only one who doesn’t realize that Scott has come to mean more to him than just a friend. He knows he’s attracted to Scott sexually, but is afraid to make a move because Scott sheds lovers like other men change clothes, and Boone couldn’t bear to lose him.

It isn’t until Scott tries out a new recipe for chocolate mousse from “Recipes for the Heart: Mystical Meals and Dangerous Desserts” by Granny B, that “things get sorted” as the cookbook stated they would. Scott and Boone are the only ones who enjoy the taste of the mousse. Scott’s boyfriend and Boone’s blind date think it tastes lousy. It doesn’t help that the ghost who haunts Scott’s apartment keeps flicking the lights on and off and filling the apartment with malodorous scents which are definite appetite suppressors.

They manage to get through dinner and afterward, at Scott’s request, when Boone removes his shirt to show the others his tattoos Scott suddenly realizes he’s jealous and loses his temper with both his boyfriend and Boone’s date. They need to get their hands off Boone! He literally kicks them out of the apartment, and it’s then that Scott and Boone realize that everything has been sorted, and they belong together.

Of course, nothing runs smoothly, and when Boone is visited by his former Japanese lover’s father, a man Boone both hates and fears, it looks like he may not live long enough to be with Scott after all.

I really enjoyed this story. There is so much drama, love, and heartache packed into this hundred plus pages that it’s unbelievable. I always enjoy Mary Calmes’s stories, with her clueless males, loved by others but unable to see how cute they are and how much they mean to others. This one, in a way, is stereotypical, in other ways it is not. The backstory on Boone was incredible, with his involvement in the Japanese mob, actively and inactively, his Japanese lover, and his survival of torture and imprisonment. The characters were well-developed, the plot plausible, and the ghost charming.

If you enjoy this series, don’t miss this one. It’s the best so far. It can certainly be read as a standalone and would make the perfect story to read at the beach or in front of a cozy fire on a cold day.
Cover art by Reese Dante features the same color-themed background with cookbook as others in the series, with the addition of two servings of chocolate mousse complete with spoons. This is the dessert around which this story is built so the cover suits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAll Romance (ARe)Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 102 pages
Published April 29th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleJust Desserts
edition languageEnglish
seriesTales of the Curious Cookbook

Tales of the Curious Cookbook series:

6 works, 5 primary works.
Five fun and fanciful stories about a rather curious cookbook!

Authors and Their Stories:

RJ Scott – For a Rainy Afternoon (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by R.J. Scott
Amy Lane – Food for Thought (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Amy Lane
Marie Sexton – Lost Along the Way (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Marie Sexton
Amber Kell – Cookies for Courting (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Amber Kell
Mary Calmes – Just Desserts (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Mary Calmes
RJ Scott – Tales of the Curious Cookbook by R.J. Scott