A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Goalie Interference (Hat Trick #2) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

An incredibly interesting, exciting, hot and sexy story featuring two goalies—both playing for the same team. Competition? Yes, loads. Sexual attraction? Just as much. From the moment I picked this up and started to read, I couldn’t put it down. The excitement and tension surrounding not only the relationship between the goalies, but also the hockey games and potential to go all the way to the Stanley Cup, kept me riveted.

Both MCs are men of color in a traditionally white player’s sport. Not that pro sports isn’t changing, but for now it’s best to keep their sexuality to themselves. Both men show support for young persons of color to pursue their dreams in professional sports, with a special emphasis on their support for hockey.

Ryu Mori grew up with Japanese traditions as the son of a surgeon—his mother—and a skating coach—his father, who is also a former Olympic Medalist figure skater. From the moment he first tried hockey, he knew it would be his life. And though his parents didn’t actively encourage him in the sport, they did encourage him to be perfect at whatever he does. Emmitt Armstrong grew up as the son of a former pro football player who wanted him to follow in his footsteps and never acknowledged his preferred professional career in hockey. His only interest is football—for himself and for Emmitt. Divorced, both parents now live in different states, and Emmitt chose to live in the Chicago area with his mother, who supports his career wholeheartedly, cheering him on every chance she gets. But without his father’s approval… Let’s just say that one good word from that man would work wonders for Emmitt’s pride.

The two goalies are set against each other to compete for starting position when Emmitt is traded into the NHL Atlanta Venom team from the Marauder’s AHL team. Emmitt wants the starting spot, so from the moment he meets the stoic, quiet, focused Ryu Mori, he dislikes him and actively tries to get the starter position away from him.  But opposites attract, and it becomes evident they want each other, so when the chance arises, they decide to give in to sexual attraction but go no further.  Like that’s going to work, right? Of course, they become more than just sex buddies, and when the managers decide to use them in tandem during the course of the season, they allow their relationship to grow. 

And then playoffs start and they are once again pitted against each other and the relationship suffers. This story is so exciting.  I don’t want to give anything else away.  The guys are amazing. The secondary characters are fantastic.  The sport is awesome and the excitement the authors build is downright stressful.  I highly recommend this story and the first, Off the Ice.  Thank goodness, there will be one more in the series.  I can’t wait.  Oh, and by the way, though second in the series, this can easily be read as a stand-alone.

The bright cover features a goalie looking toward the opposing team. It’s uniquely done with a watercolor effect and definitely attracts attention and invites readers in. 

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: September 30th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488053804 (ISBN13: 9781488053801)
Edition Language English
Series Hat Trick #2
Characters Ryu Mori, Emmitt Armstrong
setting Atlanta, Georgia (United States)

Hat Trick Series

Off the Ice

Goalie Interference

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Terms of Service (The Heretic Doms Club #2) by Marie Sexton and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I highly doubt I can do justice to this story in a simple review. In one word: phenomenal. I listened to the audio version narrated by John Solo so much of my praise is due directly and indirectly to his outstanding narration.

On the surface, this is the story of River, an ER physician who’s just lost his husband to a fellow doctor and is struggling to come to terms with his own identity. Among his issues, besides being devastated by his husband’s infidelity, is his failure to be able to have penetrative sex and, in fact, his frequent failure to achieve an erection. Add to that the stresses of taking graveyard shift in the ER, which he’s chosen to do to avoid his ex who has day shift, and he’s just a powder keg waiting to go off. The unlucky victim of his latest blowup is the hospital pharmacist, Phil. But Phil doesn’t just stand still and take verbal abuse. He shows River his own errors, and ultimately not only does River back down, but he later seeks Phil out to apologize, something unheard of among that hospital’s physicians.

What he learns is that Phil is interested in him, but Phil doesn’t do regular relationships. He only does domestic servitude, and he never reacts emotionally—neither to sex nor to situations where others might expect some reciprocation.

Below the surface story lies the true depth found in this book (pun intended). It depicts an emotional, often painful journey to discovery for both River and Phil. This journey encompasses River’s acceptance of Phil’s domination, Phil’s own struggles with deeply buried emotions, the turmoil and upheaval of having River’s estranged husband hound him constantly to sign the divorce papers, and River’s deep-seated issues surrounding his twin’s death and his subsequent emotional separation from his family. Over and above all that, Phil’s grandfather, Pops, is in an extended care facility on the other side of the Denver metro area and suffers from dementia. Phil visits him weekly and loves him a great deal though he finds it difficult to express how deeply he cares for the man. Pops inadvertently plays a role in helping River discover some of the joy he felt in his childhood, when camping and fishing with his family, and that joy splashes over into a ripple effect that encompasses Phil.

There are appearances by Warren and Taylor, from Trailer Trash, and other members of the Heretic Dom’s Club, primarily Gray and Charlie. Each of these men is developing as a strong, supportive character in these stories, and I hope each gets his own love someday. For River and Phil, the struggle is long and real and fraught with undermining from coworkers, a theft from the hospital pharmacy, and an ultimatum by River’s ex who throws a major monkey wrench into River’s new developing relationship. The audio is over fourteen wonderful hours of pure entertainment. Compelling, riveting, dramatic, completely engrossing, I was literally unable to stop listening except for time out to recharge my cordless headphones and to sleep (but only one night because this book deserved my devotion for two solid days.)

I highly recommend this to anyone remotely interested in D/s relationships, with a focus on domestic servitude, and those who enjoy a long, slow journey to a highly rewarding destination. And most definitely, get the audio. It’s pure listening pleasure.

Cover art is dramatic and pulls your eye towards the book. Works.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Details:

14 hrs 20 mins

Audible Audio, 15 pages
Published August 13th 2018 by Marie Sexton (first published June 25th 2018)
Original TitleTerms of Service
ASINB07G9LRXMX
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Heretic Doms Club #2
settingColorado (United States)

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

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The minute I saw this book was available I grabbed it. Book one, American Dreamer, was so outstanding I knew I’d be in for a treat with more. Could the author top her debut book? Oh yes. Milo’s story is highly entertaining and fulfilled my fantasy of having everyone find Mr. Right to make them happy.

Am I sappy? Yes, I am. But the story made me feel so very good I simply want to share the experience with others.

Four young men grew up together in New York City. All sons of Caribbean immigrants, the men are of an age to strike out on their own. In American Dreamer, Nesto pursued his dream by taking his food catering business to Ithaca, where he met the man of his dreams. Now, in book two, we spend time with Camilo Santiago Briggs, or Milo to friends and family, a social worker and project manager in a nonprofit that serves victims of domestic abuse.

When he’s assigned as liaison to Thomas Hughes, a wealthy donor who is contributing to renovating the home for women and to funding future projects, he’s thrilled to be chosen. Until he meets the man and realizes he’s the guy he recently hooked up with at a friend’s wedding, and he wants to crawl into a corner and hide out. But Thomas isn’t going to let that happen. He’s smitten with Milo and plans to pursue him until he’s good and ready to walk away.

Milo is attractive, friendly, driven, and fiercely independent. He’s family-oriented, a hard worker, and takes his responsibilities to his mother, his friends, and his job seriously. Born in the Dominican Republic, Thomas is strong, wealthy, goal-driven, and totally head over heels for Milo. He values Milo’s individuality and refuses to give up before finding a way to make their lives mesh.

Just like with American Dreamer, there’s so much to like about this story—the writing, the pace, the interesting Dominican Republic cultural information, the relationship-building, the secondary characters, and the core message of drawing strength from family and friends.

I’m definitely looking forward to more from this author in future. I can’t wait to read stories devoted to Milo’s best friends, Patrice and Juanpa. I very highly recommend this book to all lovers of MM romance, and especially to those who enjoy stories so rich in cultural heritage that readers are inspired to learn more.

The cover features a close-up of a handsome Lantinx man wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt. It’s very appealing and similar in design to the cover of book one.

Sales Links:   Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 20th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488054061 (ISBN13: 9781488054068)
SeriesDreamers #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Gideon (Finding Home #3) by Lily Morton

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Gideon is a snarky, self-centered, self-destructive, talented, closeted, moody mess. And I loved him! Who knew how much I’d come to love him in just a few chapters? Eli is hired to nurse this temperamental mess back to health after a bout with pneumonia that resulted in a collapsed lung. Eli is the complete opposite—a sweetheart from the get-go.

What better way to remove a man from potential hookups, booze and other assorted vices than to put him on a senior citizen’s cruise? When Gideon is released from the hospital, his nurse Eli accompanies him, and with farewell hugs from his brother, Milo, who loves him despite his snarky comments, off they go on an adventure that will only be a peek at something new for Gideon—hope. A sunny disposition, optimistic, professional, and downright cute, Eli refuses to be cowed by Gideon and by the end of the cruise, both men have found much to like about each other.

Sticking to his professional ethics, Eli refuses to act on any attraction and insists on putting time and distance between them before any move can be made. He sets a four-month time out and heads to a new job overseas to assure they have what they need. And the moment that time is up, it’s very apparent neither has changed his mind, and they are drawn together like magnets. From this point until the end of the story, the author uses her talent to paint a vivid picture of romance, family, hugs, and unconditional love that leads Gideon to becoming a self-assured, self-confident, strong, and independent man—one who no longer kowtows to either his homophobic, underhanded manager, or to his potential loss of career by coming out. He heads out of the closet and does it spectacularly.

I love this author’s writing. She’s one of the highlights of the past year of my reading experiences. The characters are well-developed and cleverly find their way into my heart. Even someone as tough as the Gideon we met in Milo’s story and see at the beginning of this book found a permanent shelf in my memory bank. I very highly recommend this book as well as Oz and Milo, the first two in the series, and I’m looking forward to many more adventures with Lily Morton’s characters.

The attention-getting cover by Natasha Snow features a close-up of a handsome dark-haired man—Gideon in all his gorgeous glory.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published May 12th 2019
ASINB07RJ1LNXT
Edition Language English
Series Finding Home :

Oz

Ten Minute’s Peace

Milo

The Big Four-Oh

Gideon

When Gideon Met Asa 3.5

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the goodness that is bundled up in this book. Unique? Exciting? Interesting? Challenging? Amazing? Magnificent? Superb? Heartwarming? Heartbreaking? Educational? Eye-opening?

Full of both ahhh and ah-hah moments, this story emitted a sort of sticky substance that made my kindle adhere to my hand until the last page was complete. I haven’t read a book so difficult to put down in quite some time.

The characters had character—another trait not always present in stories I’ve read. They were also young, vibrant, intelligent, respectful of their parents and family, and knew their places in the world. But they fell in love and everything they thought they knew turned topsy-turvy.

The royal family was just that—decidedly royal—and the queen and the crown prince were remarkably stuffy traditionalists. Henry, our second-born prince who falls in love, was conscious of his role in the family and in history. He knew he was gay from an early age and was fearful that his grandmother, the queen, would never accept him as he was and would force a marriage to beget heirs—the royal lineage being of utmost importance. He was right. Her opinion seemed encased in concrete. But his mother, who has stayed in the background most of Henry’s life as she grieved her dynamic and carefree Hollywood actor husband who died when Henry was young, surprised him and became his staunch supporter when he needed her most. His sister, Bea, often referred to as the Powder Princess, due to her previous drug addiction, was his bestie. She rocked. She was an outstanding secondary character and helped Henry stay strong in the face of staunch traditionalism.

Alex was a remarkable young man. The son of a Latino father and Caucasian mother, both of whom were attorneys who knew their career path was politics, Alex grew to adulthood among politicians and idealists. Even when his parents divorced, he maintained his own objective in being elected the youngest member of Congress in history. He was bright, witty, and loving, and from the time he met Henry as a young teen, he hated the Brit with a passion. The only problem was that it wasn’t hate he felt for Henry at all and when the two finally overcame their animosity, the sparks started flying—in a good way.

Their letters and emails were a history lesson wrapped up in sweet love and the heartbreak of being a continent apart. I learned more from Ms. McQuiston’s snippets of letters sent between historical figures and authors and her tours of the White House and the Victoria and Albert Museum and other locations than I ever did sitting in a classroom. And yes, a few facts intrigued me so much I looked them up to learn more—something else none of my teachers ever induced in my lazy, history-hating teen self. It’s very evident the author did a great deal of research for this book and I absolutely appreciated every single snippet.

Catch me in a corner at a cocktail party and I will go on and on and on and…you get the picture. This book is number one on my Best of 2019 list. It is definitely in my top ten of all time. There aren’t enough superlatives to give it justice and even trying to describe the story in a way that captures the emotion in it is beyond me. The simple fact is that if you read this book, you will be giving yourself an incredible treat.

The very attractive cover features the title in the colors in the title words against a bright pink background. Two drawn characters are leaning on either side of the the word Blue. Unique and interesting, it not only represents the story but it’s as creative as the author’s imagination.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 425 pages
Expected publication: May 14th 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Original TitleRed, White & Royal Blue
ASINB07J4LPZRN
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Mud & Lace (Rainbow Place #4) by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A delightful romance, Wicksy, whom we met in previous Rainbow Café stories, learns that love comes in all sizes, shapes, and sexes when he falls for Lady Gogo, the drag queen who first caught his attention during a talent show held at the café.

Wicksy is one of the rugby team members who showed up in book one to help Seb clear the vandalism from Rainbow Place just before it opened. He’s always been straight, but ever since he learned more about the LGBTQ inclusive café, he tags along with his friends and enjoys the ambiance.  When Lady Gogo is offered a chance to perform at the café, after her successful premier during a talent contest, Wicksy is intrigued. For some reason, that beautiful feminine face and figure pique his interest. He knows the drag queen is a man, but doesn’t care. He wants to get to know him better.

Lady Gogo is Charlie, a sweet fem young man who lives with his mom and loves dressing in women’s clothing—from lingerie to outerwear.  His mom is accepting and loving and fully onboard with Charlie’s journey of self-discovery.  Charlie thinks it’s too good to be true when Wicksy seems interested in him and then goes further and gets to know him better.  Wicksy appreciates Charlie’s gender fluidity and eventually comes to realize he must be bisexual to be so into Charlie and accepting of him as he is. 

The author did an outstanding job in building not only a slow burn romance but also a slow burn awakening of sexuality in Wicksy and a slow burn awareness of sexual identity in Charlie. The secondary characters were just perfect, some of whom we met in previous books, others we met in this one. My favorite was Charlie’s mom, who was really wonderful, showing care and concern and total acceptance of who he is and who he wants to be.

I’m impressed by the writing, the creativity of the story, the attention to detail, the sensitivity to the subject and the characters themselves. To me, this is the best of the series, and though some characters have been seen previously, this book can be read as a standalone.  I very highly recommend this satisfying romance.

The bright, colorful cover by Garrett Leigh features a handsome, shirtless, smiling man. The rainbow-colored bar across the bottom of the cover ties the story to the others in the series. This one is so colorful it “feels” happy and made we want to pick it up to read. 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 226 pages
Published April 25th 2019 by Jaybird Press (first published April 22nd 2019)
ASINB07QZL99YK
SeriesRainbow Place #4

Rainbow Place Series

Book #1 – Rainbow Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Safe Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Better Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Play Hard (Glasgow Lads #4.5) by Avery Cockburn

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

If you’ve read Playing with Fire, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to your e-book retailer and purchase this story immediately! It’s a fantastic continuation of the love story between Robert and Liam which started in that book. But it’s also so much more. Filled with humor, love, friendship, romance, and sexy times, reading this story is like looking through a one-way mirror into the heart of Glasgow, Scotland, and coming away with a picture of everyday life.

As the blurb states: “Play Hard is the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now!” So very true! Liam and Robert were friends from the time Liam got into trouble with a teacher in grade school and Rabbie decided Liam was the kind of kid he wanted to hang with. Fifteen years later, they are still besties but, now, also deeply in love.

Liam still hasn’t decided what he wants to do career-wise while Robert is deeply enmeshed in his startup tech company developing an app to improve the health of Glaswegians who die at an earlier age than others in their country. Liam has the potential to be a massage therapist but is concerned it will be boring and not half as demanding and fun as his role as a bartender. We learn the real reason for his hesitance later in the story when he shares his fears with his lover.

Robert is a workaholic. He knew it before he took the online test to confirm it and their relationship is feeling the effects of their different shifts and Robert’s work ethic. To help them overcome the strain, Robert invents a game that takes them to new heights of pleasure in each other’s company. No, not a sex game. It’s more of a push-our-boundaries-in-new-ways game, and it’s not only enjoyable for them, it’s also delightful for readers as we get to know the characters much more in-depth than in the original story. In short, this book endeared these characters to me, and I won’t likely forget them for quite some time. The author’s wonderful sense of humor is woven throughout the story, as is their appreciation for their homeland.

As I said before, if you’ve read any of these books, don’t miss this one. And if you haven’t, read this anyway. It can stand alone and it can spark your interest in reading the series. I not only want to meet these men and watch a game of footy with them, I purely want to revisit this beautiful city in my grandda’s homeland.

The cover by Damonza features two young men, smiling adoringly at each other, obviously in love. Having read their original story in which their body types were described as big and bulky, I would not recognize them as the young men on this cover.

Book Details;

Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published April 23rd 2019
ASINB 07QZG2HB4
Edition Language English
Series Glasgow Lads #4.5

Book 0.5 – Play On – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book 1 – Playing For Keeps – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 2 – Playing To Win – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 2.5 – Play It Safe – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 3 – Playing With Fire – Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Book 3.5 – Play Dead – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Throwing Stones (A Glasgow Lads On Ice Novella) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 4 – Playing In The Dark – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When I saw that Heidi Cullinan was writing a new series I had high hopes and jumped on the chance to read the first book. And I was not disappointed at all. This story had engaging characters, substance, depth, an appreciation for K-pop music and Asian drama. In fact, I was so intrigued by the description of actor Aaron Yan I had to spend some time cruising Google. There was also a wonderfully complex cast of hospital-based characters and all the medical terms and info one would expect when one MC is a surgeon and the other a surgical nurse with two besties who are also doctors.

I have a Korean friend IRL whose personality is remarkably like that of Hong-Wei, the Taiwanese doctor who takes a position in a small hospital on Wisconsin’s northern peninsula. My friend comes across as somewhat aloof due to his upbringing—expected to overachieve from the time he was a child so he looks around in wonder when he sees others aren’t behaving the same way. Hong-Wei could have been my friend’s twin. Self-confident in his medical decisions, smart, honorable, respectful of elders, he has all the behaviors I have seen in my Asian friends.

Hong-Wei, also known as Jack, had his choice of hospitals after residency as he’s a highly sought after surgeon, however, he wanted to find peace and quiet so he could lick his wounds and recover from a traumatic hospital experience. It’s a total bonus that here at Copper Point he finds Simon, a handsome surgical nurse who’s smart and fun and totally into Asian drama and K-pop music.

It’s a match made in heaven—or at the keyboard of a highly creative author—and it worked well for me. Hong-Wei is brilliant and somewhat socially inept. Simon is intelligent and most definitely social as he’s known throughout the hospital and the town as a reliable, friendly guy. Their attraction is immediate—maybe a bit too instant, but considering I was engaged within a month, it’s certainly possible.

There’s plenty of action to keep readers interested with an underlying menace from the hospital board of directors who seem to have hogtied the hospital director and the HR director, who want to bring innovative change (and are likely future MCs). The most obvious issue that causes problems from the beginning is the rule prohibiting two staff members from dating. But there’s more and much of it involves the daily hospital operation and the reveals about Hong-Wei’s surgery specialty and reason for leaving Houston.

I totally enjoyed this story from Heidi Cullinan and I’m looking forward to more in this series. There’s a rich sense of culture and family and definitely an appreciation of Asian culture. I’m hoping secondary characters Owen and Erin take their hostility behind closed doors and that Jared and Nick quit their cold war. Tasty little teasing nuggets were dropped throughout the second half of this story. Now let’s hope we get the gourmet meal in future installments. This series promises to be yummy.

The cover by Kanaxa features a handsome Taiwanese man who bears a striking resemblance to the description of Hong-Wei in this story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | AmazonBarnes & Noble |

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Secret
ISBN 139781640808546
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #1
setting Wisconsin (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Party to Murder by John Inman

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wow! As a longtime fan of Agatha Christie, I am completely impressed with the quality and pace of this mystery. In my opinion, it’s worthy of sitting on the same shelf as Christie.

Both Jamie Roma and Derek Lee have been friends since childhood but they’ve recently discovered that their feelings evolved to more—their chemistry reached a flashpoint, and they’re now lovers. As the story progresses, each man realizes that the man they called best friend all their life is now the man they want to finish that life beside. It’s fun-loving Jamie who prods them to accept an invitation to a weekend house party that each received separately. In a very rural area, neither man counted on the raging thunderstorm, complete with lightning and a flash flood that adds to the creepiness of the isolated location.

Their hosts seem to be absent—that is, until they discover the corpses of an elderly couple in the basement. While the storm rages, they also find their cell phones missing, their tires slashed and the car engine wires cut. The lightning, thunder, and high wind add just the right ambiance to this grisly tale as one by one, the murders continue. Reminiscent of And Then There Were None by Christie, but with a modern-day twist, I was totally caught up in the story from the beginning. 

The author set up the personalities of the main characters with words, memories, and dialogue about their current circumstances right from the beginning, and I realized by the second chapter that I liked these guys and didn’t want anything to happen to them. Getting me on their side early in the story was key to my enjoyment and kept me glued to my Kindle as I turned each page.

I enjoyed the romance between these two really nice guys whose friendship and love is tested under duress, and I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery as the author revealed more and more about each person within the spooky old house before the deaths started to pile up and there weren’t many characters left to pick from.

There’s nothing quite as good as an outstanding story that can take me away from my day-to-day world and transport me to a place where I can enjoy someone else’s drama. Add MM romance to that and then give me a mystery and I’m sold. I very highly recommend this book to those who are looking for a challenging mystery with romance and the spooky ambiance of a high-energy thunderstorm at night. 

The cover by Paul Richmond, done in a spooky nighttime gray tone, depicts two young men, one with his head on the other’s shoulder from behind, the other with his head tossed back and his torso naked. They’re set against the backdrop of a darkened house with one tiny light showing in the gloom. The title is in white fading to dark red and the whole piece just screams murder. Perfect for this outstanding story within.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644051368
Edition Language English