A Stella Review: Lock Nut (Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) by JL Merrow

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Still waters run deadly.

Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.

The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.

Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.

I’m crazy about this author works, I saw the name and pick every new book without even reading the blurb. That said, I have a confession to make: this time I screwed up. I was over the moon as soon as I received Lock Nut and like an osbessed I started reading it. From the beginning I realized something was wrong. I couldn’t remember Tom and Phil’s story and since Lock Nut is the fifth book in the series I wasn’t understanding how could I not. I went to Goodreads to check and realized my mistake: I mixed The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries with The Shamwell Tales series.  While I read all the titles in the second series, I completely and consciously ignored the first one because I’m not so into psychic abilities combined with mystery, it’s not my thing, I am a huge chickenshit. When will I learn to (at least) read a title and a series name and not just the author?

Anyway I decided to teach myself a lesson and went on with the reading, positive it was going to be a disaster. I found it impossible to not just like a story but actually understand the MCs, an established couple that met and told their stories in the last FOUR books of the series.

I had to change my mind, the author proved me wrong. And this is one more reason why I love her works, even if to me it’s so freaking hard to read her so British writing.

Not once I thought about giving up, there was nothing to give up, the plot was clear and I beautifully saw Phil and Tom, I knew them quite well, sure there is so much more to know, so many details and adventures I missed, but I learnt their natures and tempers, I saw their love. They “worked” (well, it’s more Phil’s job) so good together, throught moments of laughs and hotness, sweetness and banters.  And now I have to catch up on the series, hoping Lock Nut isn’t the last book.

The cover art by Chistine Coffee is not a winner to me, there is nothing special about it, sorry I don’t like it.

SALE LINKS:  RIPTIDE   |  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 330 pages

Published May 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ASIN B07D23W4Z6

Edition Language English

Series The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #5

A Stella Review: One Under (Porthkennack#9) by JL Merrow

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

London Underground worker Mal Thomas is staying in Porthkennack to recover from a traumatic experience. Getting some more bad news from home is the last straw—until big, blond museum curator Jory Roscarrock steps up to offer some comfort.

A doctor of English Literature, Jory should be in a prestigious post at a top university. But a youthful indiscretion has led him to abandon academia to come back to his home town, Porthkennack, and the controlling family he’s never really felt a part of. He’s delighted to find a kindred spirit in the young Londoner.

But Jory’s family hurt Mal’s best friend deeply, and while Jory’s desperate to repair the damage, his own mistakes threaten to keep them apart. Meanwhile Mal’s torn between his feelings for Jory and his duty to his friend—and his fears that a failed relationship could be more than his shattered confidence can take.

As always, JL Merrow stories are a pleasure to read. With time I learnt to love his writing style and although once in a while I have to google some of her “oh so British” words, I approach every new release with high enthusiasm.  One Under was no exception, I found the novel perfectly written, amazing second characters, the romance part felt pretty realistic to me. I particularly liked how well delined were Jory and Mal, I was able to know them and their minds very well.  They (and all the cast) were positive persons, it was clear from their actions and their thoughts.

That said, I gave this story a lower rating than the first book the author wrote in the Porthkennack series , Wake Up Call, and her books in general. I have to say I am having trouble trying to understand why. The only explanations I can give is, while on an objective POV (mine) I can list you everything that works here in the novel, through all the reading I felt a sort of detachment from it and couldn’t truly feel and not just see the emotions. I know they were there into the plot, I read the characters feel that emotions. It was me the one who didn’t feel them. And to adore a book I need to be involved and engaged. I missed this.

Still, I can’t not recommend One Under and all JL Merrow titles.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is nothing special, it fits and follows the series style but nothing more interesting about it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 281 pages

Published March 19th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published March 17th 2018)

ISBN 1626496862 (ISBN13: 9781626496866)

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Spun! (The Shamwell Tales #4) by J.L. Merrow

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

With friends like these . . .

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Another amazing book from JL Merrow! I can always count on this author writing, I have to say it was some time I didn’t open one of her books, so it took me awhile to get into her humor and British words, but when I did, it was a so lovely pleasure to read Spun! and I found myself again in the beautiful village of Shamwell.

In this new installment in the Tales of Shamwell series it was finally time for David to have his HEA, remember when we met him  in Out!? David is still the same, still flamboyant, still flirting with everyone. But he is in need of a new job and a place to live. Thanks to his friend Mark, he will find both of them, the first in helping Mark with his new business, the second in Rory.

Rory is a friend of Mark, he’s straight, divorced with two children and in need of some cash. Here comes the idea of renting a room, but he isn’t ready for the tornado David is. And for the feelings they will develop for each other till they will create a family.

As always the author created great characters, I’m a sucker for stories with children in them, the ones well done, and here the relationship between Rory and his children was real and believable, as the way David was able to create a connection with the two little pests, especially with the quiet Leo. I loved how they fell almost easily into each other lives and became the family all of them were looking for.

Spun! was so cute and well done it was impossible to not like all its characters, most of all because it has all the elements I often look for in a story: slow burn, divorced MC, age gap, children. Mix all these with the British humor and JL Merrow writing, what more could I request?

Highly recommended.

The cover art by Natasha Snow follows the style of the series’ covers, I like it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 316 pages

Published July 3rd 2017 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN 1626495882 (ISBN13: 9781626495883)

Edition Language English

Series The Shamwell Tales #4

Head to the Shore for Something New in Romance! Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow (Riptide Publishing Tour/Giveaway)

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Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy It at Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow today. Welcome, JL!

📚

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, the first of my contemporary MM romances in Riptide’s multi-author Porthkennack series.

About Wake Up Call

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

Now available from Riptide Publishing! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/wake-up-call

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex BeecroftJoanna ChambersCharlie CochraneGarrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! 

About JL Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Lovers Leap by JL Merrow

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

LoversLeap_600x900If they looked, would they ever leap?

Good-looking, confident, and doted on by his widowed mum, Michael is used to thinking only of himself. Getting shoved off an Isle of Wight pier by an exasperated ex ought to come as a wake-up call—but then he meets Rufus and he’s right back to letting the little head take charge. Rufus is cute, keen, and gets under Michael’s skin in a disturbing way.

Would-be chef Rufus can’t believe his luck when a dripping wet dream of a man walks out of the sea on his birthday, especially when Michael ends up staying at the family B&B. Life is perfect—at least until Michael has to go home to the mainland.

Rufus can’t leave the island for reasons he’s entirely neglected to mention. And though Michael identifies as bi, breaking his mum’s heart by coming out and having an actual relationship with a guy has never been his plan. With both men determined to keep their secrets, a leap of faith could land them in deep water.

I just  love JL Merrow and her ability to deliver characters that, whether you adore them, look at them with a little dislike and (yes, contempt for some), always feel downright real and human.   In Lovers Leap, Merrow delivers just such a story full of characters that are almost guaranteed to put readers down on one side or the other.  I fall firmly down on the side that sees this as a story full of characters that I understood, believed in and even when I was less then fond of their actions, I accepted them once I got the back history and foundation upon which they were based.  That’s wonderful storytelling.

The character in conflict, for the reader, himself and Rufus?  Michael, the man who came from the sea…the reason for which is one that is startling and is probably the basis for many readers dislike.  His actions that follow don’t help.  But there is something, as Merrow has written him, that draws you in, a certain vulnerability that pays off the more the story unfolds.  There are some very serious issues for Michael to deal with, his sexuality, his faith and family, and some are deeply shattering as the story unfolds.  Especially when it comes to his mother.  All his prior arrogance and obnoxiousness in words and deeds?  Well, there are reasons and a basis for all of them and Merrow lays it out for us like a very sad banquet.

Rufus is not without deep issues himself.  They too start at home with a father and stepmother whose fragile relationship with each other and perhaps Rufus is keeping them all tied in a knot that might be choking them in the B & B in which they all work and live.

Lovers Leap is all about twin needs that speak to each other without Rufus and Michael realizing how much at first, and then slowing pulling towards each other, with humor, with heartbreak, with passion…in true English form on the Isle of Wight.  I even adored the best friend, and her surprise coupling.  Definitely could have used more of them.

If you like your main characters with flaws that you can handle, you know a little gruff, nothing too bad, certainly not obnoxious or bi, perhaps this isn’t your story.  But if you love layered characters, people who need to work on themselves, and relationships that need just that bit of luck as well as love?  Don’t let Lovers Leap pass you by.  I highly recommend it and can’t wait to see what the Isle of Wight inspires JL Merrow to write next.

Cover art by Lou Harper is well done and indicative of the characters and story. Loved it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 202 pages
Published February 27th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleLovers Leap
ISBN 1626493820 (ISBN13: 9781626493827)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Two Lovers Take a Leap of Faith with J.L. Merrow’s Lovers Leap (author’s blog and contest)

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LoversLeap_600x900

Lovers Leap by J.L. Merrow
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by Lou Harper

Goodreads Link

Purchase/Read an Excerpt

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have JL Merrow here today to talk about Lovers Leap, her latest novel.  Welcome, JL.

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Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Lovers Leap, my fast-paced romantic comedy with a leap year theme set on my beloved, native Isle of Wight. Lovers Leap features two very different young men—each of whom will need to take a leap of faith if their love is to survive!

About Lovers Leap

If they looked, would they ever leap?

Good-looking, confident, and doted on by his widowed mum, Michael is used to thinking only of himself. Getting shoved off an Isle of Wight pier by an exasperated ex ought to come as a wake-up call—but then he meets Rufus and he’s right back to letting the little head take charge. Rufus is cute, keen, and gets under Michael’s skin in a disturbing way.

Would-be chef Rufus can’t believe his luck when a dripping wet dream of a man walks out of the sea on his birthday, especially when Michael ends up staying at the family B&B. Life is perfect—at least until Michael has to go home to the mainland.

Rufus can’t leave the island for reasons he’s entirely neglected to mention. And though Michael identifies as bi, breaking his mum’s heart by coming out and having an actual relationship with a guy has never been his plan. With both men determined to keep their secrets, a leap of faith could land them in deep water.

Lovers Leap is also available in audio from Amazon and Audible!

About J.L. Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.  Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:

LoversLeap_TourBanner

Giveaway

Leave a comment for a chance to win $29 in Riptide credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 5, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!