Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: All in the Details by A.K.M. Miles

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

All In The Details coverAs this sweet romance opens we meet Beau Garner , a 31 year old man who has put his OCD into making a profit by running an event organizing company called Details. “It’s all in the details” claims Beau over and over again throughout the book. (Though meant to be humorous, it falls short after a while.) A last minute detail takes him to a rural convenience store to buy balloons, and besides being nearly sideswiped by a speeding vehicle roaring out of the parking lot as he enters, he’s also blindsided by finding a gun under a display case and then finding himself at the mercy of the police who’ve been called to “disarm” him. He only grabbed the gun when he heard two young children debating whether or not to pick it up, and as he tells the officers, “Do I look like the type of man who would have a gun?”, he catches the eye of the young good-looking cop.

Nash Tyler is a 31 year old cop in this rural town. He’s gay, and though his captain is aware, it’s not the type of thing he advertises to the rest of his co-workers. He’s a good cop, however, and he gives the cute guy with the gun a break and listens to his full story at the store, rather than haul him to the station as his homophobic partner wants to do. Since the situation is easily resolved, Beau is released but not before he notices Nash’s blushes as he hands Beau his card in case Beau needs to get in touch with him.

This is a sweet, slow-building romance that’s very family focused. Beau lives with Alberta, his grandmother’s friend and companion, a black woman who would prefer not to live with her own family and who cares for Beau as if he were her own child. The main excitement and undercurrent to the story is an apparent stalker who is randomly harassing Beau. That starts with phone calls then goes to being shot at with rock salt as he and Nash are soaking in his hot tub, to having faggot painted on his car then escalating to acts which could result in injury or death. Readers know who the likely stalker is from the beginning, but the action doesn’t culminate until the end of the book.

Another odd thing that happens, which is totally non-reality based, is that Beau helps a young woman at the airport as she’s trying to decide what to do about her fatherless infant, and she ends up leaving the infant in the restroom with a note turning him over to Beau. He then gets through the foster process and is given the baby that night—a baby that he will ultimately adopt as his and Nash’s at some point in the future. Most of the second half of the story was about the baby and integrating the baby into their lives as he and Nash became closer romantically, and their stalker became increasingly more dangerous.

There was little in this story to make it outstanding for me in any way, yet it was well-written and was a sweet romance so I’d recommend it to those who are looking for something simple and family-oriented with not a lot of sex but a lot of love.

Cover Art by Winterheart Design features two men representing the characters. The cop is superimposed over the cute guy who depicts Beau in such a way that it’s evident the cover was cropped together and looks amateurish. It’s not as appealing as one that would have blended the two characters without the overlap like the cover used in the previous edition.

Sales Links:    MLR Press           All Romance (ARe)       Amazon          <a href=”Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published January 29th 2015 by ManLove Romance
(first published April 27th 2013 by Silver Press)
ASINB00SXN3PNA
edition languageEnglish

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

Standard

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
ISBN139781632163578
edition languageEnglish

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – The Two Gentlemen of Altona by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The Two Gentlemen of Altona by coverSpecial Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has no idea that when he meets Richard Falstaff, aka Toby Seacoal, aka Henry Page, that his life is never going to be the same again. Henry witnessed a murder in the kitchen of his patron’s home, a patron who had no idea he was a conman, but that’s okay because Henry had no idea that her nephew was an infamous mob boss.

As a witness, Henry is invaluable, but as a person, Mac finds Henry lacking in all areas except in his gorgeous body and handsome face. When Henry gets away from Mac, not once, but twice, Mac is not only humiliated, he’s incensed. Adding fuel to his anger is his withdrawal from caffeine and sugar. He’s trying to follow instructions from his doctor to lose weight and reduce stress, but that’s impossible with Henry around. Wise-cracking, donut-loving, Shakespere-quoting Henry just can’t help teasing Mac with both sweets and his body until he blows.

When Mac suspects a leak in his office, he and Henry take off with the blessing of Mac’s boss and former partner, Val. With Henry sharing how to evade capture and how to “borrow” a car in order to make their getaway in secret, Mac is ready to throttle him by the time they get to Mac’s parents’ remote vacation cabin. But within a few days, while taking advantage of their attraction and in the midst of a hot and heavy petting session, Henry breaks away when a clap of thunder scares him. Mac takes the opportunity to reevaluate his choices. He definitely isn’t ready to give up his career and jeopardize the case by having sex with the witness, but he can’t deny his fascination with this smart-mouthed, uber-talkative, sexy guy.

Disaster occurs when someone discovers their location, and to keep the concluding chapters spoiler-free, this reviewer will only say that this story is not typical of this writing team in that there is no D/s, no BDSM, no spanking, and no sex. There’s also no HEA, however we know the series will continue and the characters are so endearing and so attracted to each other that there’s no way they won’t get back together for another fun romp. And fun it was—there was just as much humor as there was chaos and the writing was fast-paced with fun quirks around every corner. Henry is witty, sweet, and sexy and Mac is gruff, taciturn, and powerfully male. We see Mac’s soft spot for Henry over and over again and we see that Henry, despite his current escapades as a con artist, has a deep soft spot for Mac, a man for whom Henry may be willing to compromise and change. We can only hope that’s true as we look forward to the next installment, “The Merchant of Death”.

I highly recommend this story if you are looking for an M/M action adventure with a couple who have great chemistry outside of the bedroom, and you’re willing to hang in there as their relationship develops into something more intimate, but undoubtedly strong and full of potential.

Cover Art by L.C. Chase depicts an almost empty donut box containing one single donut with a bite out of it. This represents MC Mac’s efforts at dieting in the face of MC Henry’s efforts to get him to eat the donut treats and lighten up. It’s a nice way to represent the underlying humor in the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing Pre Order       All Romance (ARe)         amazon         buy it here

Book Details:

Author: Lisa HenryJ.A. Rock
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-218-9
eBook release: Dec 29, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-219-6
Print release: Dec 29, 2014
Word count: 56,500, Page count: 228
Type: Part of a Series
Cover by: L.C. Chase

This title is #1 of the Playing the Fool series.