Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Catch Me When I Fall by John Wiltshire


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Catch Me When I FallJake, a forest ranger and former Army Ranger, is shocked when what he thought was a meteor landed in his front yard. He was more shocked to discover that it wasn’t a meteor, but a man. In fact, it’s not really even a man—it’s an angel named Gabriel, not THE Gabriel, but it turns out to be Jake’s personal guardian angel, and he’s been kicked out of heaven for killing another angel in defense of a human—his human.

It seems Gabe loves Jake and, unfortunately, he let that be known up there so he’s gotten on the wrong side of the gates, so to speak. Actually, this is a great love story with both humor and angst and it caught me off-guard when I was expecting it to be very light and fluffy. It is, but it also has depth and character and becomes a gripping drama before it’s complete.

When Gabe forces Jake to remember an event that happened with a fellow soldier during the time he was deployed, an event in which the other soldier made a sexual advance and Jake rejected him, Jake starts to question his sexuality. Jake wants no part of being gay, no matter what—at least, that’s what he keeps saying. And even though it’s evident Gabriel is attracted to Jake, Jake refuses to acknowledge a reciprocal attraction.

Gabe arranges for Jono, the man who made the sexual overtures to Jake years before, to come to visit Jake for a hiking trip and to bring his boyfriend along with him. When the foursome hit the woods, things change, and Jake starts to see that his outsides haven’t matched his insides in a number of years. He is attracted to Jono, but it turns out that it’s Gabe he wants. And he can’t have him. Gabe has to go back. He’s inhabited the body of a young man who’s being kept in a dream state, and Gabe knows that’s wrong.

What happens and how it all works out makes this a story well worth reading. It’s fun. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s magical. I have to add a side note here about Bob, the dog. Gabe’s conversations with Bob were classic! Between those, his earlier conversation with a bear, and later conversations with other critters, I couldn’t stop smiling.

I’d recommend this story to all those who enjoy a visit from the angels and those who love to see true love overcome all obstacles—earthly and otherwise.

Cover art by Deanna Jamroz – I found the cover to be very bland and not representative of the story. It would have been much better if there were at least angel wings or a representation of the forest since Jake is a ranger. At the very least, Bob or the bear could have been pictured as they spoke to the angel.

Sales Links:   MLR Press LLC      All Romance (ARe)        Amazon       Buy it here

Book Details

ebook, 110 pages
Published October 2014 by MLR Press
edition languageEnglish

Note:  John Wiltshire is a STRW Down Under Author.

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – Blue Days by Mary Calmes


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Blue Days coverFrom the moment Dwyer Knolls is called into the conference room early on a Monday morning, fearing that he’s about to lose his job, his life takes an unexpected turn for the better. He’s not fired— instead he’s praised for his work, despite the fact that his former boss had criticized him for creating a huge mess on one of his projects. But his former boss is the one who is fired and when he meets the new Managing Director, Dwyer is praised for that job he once thought he screwed up. The Managing Director and others who will now be part of his team were brought in directly from Japan to bring life to their company, Sakura Industries. Among them is Hiroyuki Takeo, a stunning young man who will later become Dwyer’s friend, his boss, and the man he eventually falls in love with.

These relationship dynamics take place over the course of three years and nothing comes to a head between them until one day when Dwyer unexpectedly finds himself alone on a plane with Takeo. They’re heading to Florida to make the final decisions on a huge real estate deal which could make or break their careers. Despite how much he loves being in Takeo’s company, Dwyer knows that this long weekend will be excruciating for the simple reason that he’s grown to love the stunning, slender, young man and he’s afraid he’ll tip his hand. He’s one of the few people who know what Takeo is really like— that he’s competent and caring, smart and dedicated, but just so worried about making sure that everything is perfect for everyone else that he’s perceived as a negative perfectionist who is never happy.

Dwyer knows Takeo inside and out and he also knows that he cares deeply for the man, maybe too deeply. When the two find themselves staying at a bed and breakfast and sharing one room, Dwyer nearly turns back. He’s shocked when it becomes evident that Takeo has been harboring lustful feelings toward him, and presented with the opportunity to act on their lust, the two go at it hot and heavy.

This story is fairly short, definitely sweet, with a bit of a reverse on Mary Calmes’s usual formula. Dwyer is a big guy, friendly, smart, competent and a huge support to his supervisor and teammates. Takeo is small and slender, socially inept, and the son of the company’s owner who can’t seem to do anything that pleases his father. Yet he’s the boss, the supposed alpha of the pair. Their chemistry flames when they do finally get together and their HEA is secured in a warm and loving partnership. The book takes its name from Blue Daze, a flower that grows in the Florida Panhandle, and from the fact that in Japanese culture, blue represents purity, calmness and stability.

I recommend this to fans of Mary Calmes and those who enjoy a sweet, simple M/M romance. And for those who love epilogues, there’s a brief mention of Aaron Sutter and his love, Duncan Stiel from “Parting Shot”.

The cover art by Reese Dante depicts a young man wearing a suit and gazing out over a body of blue water with a field of blue daze flowers in the background. It depicts the sweetness of the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook          All Romance (ARe)      amazon              Buy It here

Book Details:

book, 98 pages
Published November 5th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review : Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay #3) by Z.A. Maxfield


Rating: 5 stars out of 5BWBlogo_Web

Hell On Wheels coverI am totally hooked on this Bluewater Bay series! Each book is better than the previous one, and that’s saying a lot, considering the amazing list of authors Riptide has engaged for this series. In this story, Spencer Kepler-Constantine comes to Bluewater Bay to renew his recurring role in the Wolf’s Landing television series being shot in the town. He arrives on the heels of the sensational breaking news that his husband of six months, Peter Kepler-Constantine, has impregnated a famous Hollywood actress and left him for her. To make matters worse, his rental Mercedes has broken down outside of town.

Nash Holly is out riding his Ducati, enjoying the speed and the feel of the breeze along the Washington coast when he comes upon the parked car. Aside from nearly crashing into it, he’s intrigued by what it’s doing there. Nash happens to be the manager of his dad’s auto repair shop, a shop that specializes in foreign cars so he decides to step up and offer assistance. One look at Spencer and he’s lost in those gorgeous gray eyes. Convincing Spencer that he’s not a maniac, Spencer invites him in out of the rain and while sitting together, waiting for the tow truck Spencer had called, the two find themselves immediately attracted. Nash decides to help the uptight guy relax with a quick handjob. Thinking no more of it, he takes off when the tow truck driver arrives.

To make a long story short, the attraction between the two men develops further, and during the time that Spencer is in town filming, it escalates. But it’s more than just sex for both of them, and despite the fact that Spencer is estranged from his husband, Nash and Spencer create a safe space for each other while the beginnings of a relationship form without them even trying.

During this same time, other events in Nash’s life seem destined to throw him into upheaval. First, he finds out his widowed father has been seeing someone, and it’s getting serious. Then, his sixteen-year-old sister, Shelby, who has been wheelchair-bound since she was three, decides that she wants to exert her independence by applying to the Students Abroad Program. It’s bad enough that his twin is away at college and Nash already feels the hole in his life, now Nash finds it harder to cope with the fact that both his father and his sister don’t seem to need him anymore, and taking care of them has been his primary purpose for years. How can a caretaker exist without someone to take care of?

When Peter pulls a spectacular stunt to get Spencer back during Spencer’s late night television interview, Nash happens to be watching. He’s disgusted by Peter’s grandstanding, but he also knows in his gut that Spencer is going to allow him back into his life. Just what Nash needed—one more hole to fill.

The author gives us a wonderful wrap-up to this story and provides Nash with a perfect HEA. But before we get there, we get to know a man with so much character, so much life, that I became immersed in his story and invested in his future happiness. I loved Spencer as well, but my emotional investment was with Nash. And somewhere around the 75% mark in the story, it occurred to me that the feelings I was having were the same feelings I experienced when I read “St. Nacho’s” for the first time. I was left with that same warm emotional attachment to the character as I was in that original story, one that I read nearly three years ago. I haven’t felt that with any of Ms. Maxfield’s other works since then, and I’m so happy to have found it again because she was one of the authors who originally hooked me on this genre.

I highly recommend this series to lovers of M/M romance. Each author is uniquely talented and brings a new perspective to the series. This one is perfect for those who enjoy a hero with a heart of gold. As Spencer put it when describing Nash’s role in his life: “You’re necessary because you make my heart lighter and my mind clearer and my work meaningful, as long as I get to come home to you at the end of the day.” Aww, what more could I ask for than that?

Buy this book. You won’t be sorry. Oh, and it’s not necessary to read the others in the series. Each can be read as a standalone, though you’d be missing out on a great series.

The very nice cover art by L.C. Chase depicts the two young men who are the MCs in the story.

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

Book Details:

book, 225 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Riptide Publishing (first published November 29th 2014)
original titleHell on Wheels (A Bluewater Bay Story)
edition languageEnglish
seriesBluewater Bay #3


Bluewater Bay Series-written by different authors:

Starstruck (Bluewater Bay #1) by L.A. Witt
There’s Something About Ari (Bluewater Bay #2) by L.B. Gregg
Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay #3) by Z.A. Maxfield
Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) by Aleksandr Voinov
The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5) by Heidi Belleau