Barb, A Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Moment of Truth (Moments in Time #2) by Karen Stivali ~ Audiobook narrated by Robert Neiman


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

moment-of-truth audioCollin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

This story picks up where Moment of Impact leaves off as Collin joins Tanner for a good summer job, complete with beach house living on Fire Island. When they arrive, Collin is disappointed to learn that Tanner is being transferred to the bar business owned by the same woman who owns the restaurant where Collin will be assigned. Collin is still not 21 so he can’t even hope to work with his boyfriend; all he can do is observe from a distance as some of the female summer crowd continually hit on Tanner—especially a hot little number named Amy.

Most of the story takes place at various locations around the island and involves Tanner and Collin having sex. There are a few times when they aren’t having sex, but while listening to the audio, I felt as if I was perpetually eavesdropping on their private time. Things run smooth until the last half hour of the book when jealousy rears its ugly head, and the guys have a major falling out. To be honest, I found it quite trite and totally expected, so it didn’t feel like anything more than self-inflicted unnecessary drama.

The narrator was good in that he gave the MCs young voices, but on the other hand, it was difficult to differentiate between the two. Overall, the narration didn’t add or detract from the story, but to be honest, if I had the e-book, I may have skipped some of the sex scenes. It pretty quickly became boring to listen to the repetitive action.

Those who enjoyed Moment of Impact will likely enjoy this as well as it continues the story of the couple who first fell in love as college roommates. I understand there is a third book that will pick up where this leaves off, so it should definitely be read for those who plan to complete the series.

Cover by Anna Sikorska is a headshot of a very handsome young man, likely Tanner, since the first featured Collin, the blond. It’s attractive and links the series by the similar background and style.

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Dreamspinner Press

Release Date Jul 11, 2016
Type Novellas
Length 3:47

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Big Love by Rick R. Reed


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Big LoveWhen Dane Bernard, a teacher at Summitville High School, gets a call from the police telling him that his wife has been killed in an accident, he’s devastated. He and Katy were married for twenty years, and were, in fact, high school sweethearts. Breaking the news to his children was difficult but not as difficult as what he decides to tell them after he’s had some time to come to terms with his wife’s death—he’s gay. And he chooses to tell them now because he’s going to go forward as a gay man out of the closet.

He has no idea how to be with a man, and when new teacher Seth Wolcott arrives at the school several months later, he finds himself attracted in a way he’s never before experienced. But before they even have a chance to get to know one another, and before Seth finds out Dane is gay, one of Dane’s students, a gay teen who has been the victim of school bullies one too many times, is spotted on the ledge at the top of the roof of the school and Dane is the only one outside who might possibly help him. He gets an unexpected assist from Seth and together they manage to get the boy down, but not before Dane shares that he’s gay—and he does it in front of the whole school.

Truman Reid is an effeminate gay teen. He has a wonderful sense of fashion and can put together innumerable outfits from thrift shop finds, but not a day goes by that the jocks and others in the school don’t bully him, laugh at him, trip him, and often beat him up. When he arrived at school that morning and discovered the main bulletin board covered in photos of him in drag, it was his last straw. People might say it gets better, but Truman didn’t think he could wait for that to happen, so he headed for the roof.

Dane and Seth volunteer to spend extra time with Truman to help his mother out. Dirt poor, she doesn’t have enough money to pay for counseling for him, but with the guys offering to act as big brothers, it helps her breathe easier. And after Truman turns the corner, he decides that no amount of hiding or wearing other clothes or acting butch is going to help him, so he takes the opposite stance and flaunts his flamboyance by wearing makeup, T-shirts with hand-printed slogans, and bright, colorful outfits he puts together from thrift shop finds. Though they initially worry about him, Seth and Dane back off when they see he’s doing well and they focus on enjoying their own budding relationship.

This is a sweet story, with the lives of the three men entwined, and lessons to be learned by all. No one—man or boy—is the teacher. Each contributes to the other so that they all take away positive life lessons. There’s no explicit sex, though there is mention of it, and no on-page sex for the underage character. It’s just a romantic story, a coming of age story for both Truman and Dane, though at least twenty-five years separate their age. And the romantic ending provides a happy situation for each of the three characters.

I’d recommend this to those who enjoy tags like coming out, older men, teens, men with children, and those who simply like a romantic story about real people because each of the situations in this story could have really happened to someone we know.


Cover Art by Reese Dante beautifully depicts the two adult MCs as we would imagine them to be.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published April 4th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634769775 (ISBN13: 9781634769778)
Edition Language English

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) by Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt


Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Lone Wolf coverThe creators of the Bluewater Bay series pulled out all the stops when they lined up a highly talented group of authors to write the series. For this book, #4 in the series, the amazing team of Voinov and Witt come up to bat and they bring in a home run. “Lone Wolf” is very different from the others in that it features the writers, rather than the actors of the highly successful show Wolf’s Landing, a show set in the tiny town of Bluewater Bay, Washington. But “Lone Wolf” is very similar in that it’s another outstanding example of M/M romance at its finest.

The premise is simple, the execution exceptional. Hunter Easton, author of the Wolf’s Landing series, has writer’s block—the worst he’s ever had, and he can’t seem to get book eight done, despite having already passed his deadline. He spends more time on his favorite form of relaxation—participating in the Wolf’s Landing fandom, bantering with his principal ally, Lone Wolf, who happens to be one of the administrators of the site. Lone Wolf and Hunter, aka Wolf Hunter on the site, have been online friends for two years, and recently started to share short stories and slash fiction they’ve written, some of it very erotic, but the one piece which tips the scales is the huge 250,000 word novel, “The World Tree”, which Lone Wolf pens and asks Wolf Hunter to critique.

Hunter finds the work outstanding and although he knows an author shouldn’t get involved in reading the work of a fan, he’s so amazed by the piece that he asks Lone Wolf if he’d like to meet for a coffee. When Kevin Hussain, aka Lone Wolf, lays eyes on Hunter Easton coming through the door of the coffee shop, he’s ready to faint. Imagine seeing the author of his dreams and getting to meet his online friend all in one night. But when he finds out the two are the same, he’s left speechless. Not surprisingly, the two hit it off very well in person. They’ve been online friends for two years and now they not only pick up where their conversations left off, they find they are also sexually attracted to each other.

But the surprises for Kevin haven’t ended, and when Hunter tells him that he’s sent the book to his agent and that he wants Kevin to allow him to use the ideas in the book and come onboard as a co-author, Kevin’s world begins to spin out of control. The story revolves primarily around Kevin’s reactions to being thrown into the world of a successful author, both the ups of getting paid and enjoying your own working hours, and the downs of being dissed on review sites and being harassed by fans, never being out of the spotlight.

The banter between the two is witty, the sex divinely hot, and the melding of their worlds well-done. Watching their relationship develop is sweet, with very little angst other than a few misunderstandings along the way—until the stress of being at a live convention as a celebrity for the first time proves too much for Kevin. He takes Hunter’s advice to go home and rest in peace and quiet, but he fails to tell Hunter what he really wanted, and he allows his misinterpretation of Hunter’s behavior to blow everything out of proportion. He wallows in angst and self-imploding hurt until circumstances finally allow the two to talk things out and ultimately find their HEA.

I highly recommend this series to all lovers of M/M romance. Each book can be read independently, but it’s so much more fun to read them one after another and enjoy the vignettes of previous characters. Don’t miss out.

The cover Art by L.C. Chase captures each of the MC’s descriptions perfectly. The library setting conveys their career as writers and represents Hunter’s work space where the men spend much of their time so the cover is perfect for the story.

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

Book Details:

Author: Aleksandr VoinovL.A. Witt
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-239-4
eBook release: Dec 22, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-240-0
Print release: Dec 22, 2014
Word count: 96,000, Page count: 358

– See more at:

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


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.

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


Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review –Third Eye by Rick R. Reed


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Third Eye coverA riveting, nail-biting, thought-provoking, frightening thriller, this story is much more than an M/M romance—it’s a brilliant tale worthy of recognition on the NY Times Bestsellers List.

Cayce D’Amico is just a regular guy raising his seven-year-old son on his own, holding down a job as a waiter at the local diner in the economically-repressed town of Fawcettville, Pennsylvania. He’s young, gay, divorced, and totally focused on his son, Luke. One evening, when he realizes Luke is no longer in his back yard, he sets out to find him just as a thunderstorm hits the area. At the edge of the woods, he’s struck by a broken limb as lightning strikes the tree next to him. Luke is okay, but Cayce isn’t.

Waking in the hospital, he finds it odd that he knows something personal about the aide who touches his arm, and next, he’s struck with images that he soon learns are from a missing girl—one who Cayce can see is dead. It happens again the next day—this time with visions of another kidnap victim. Frightened, but knowing that if it was his son who was missing he’d want help, he goes to the home of the latest victim to offer assistance in finding her but is promptly turned away. Later that night he receives a call from the mother of the first victim, who claims the other mother called her in warning, but that she’s willing to listen to him. The two set out to find the girl, following Cayce’s visions.

Dave Newton is a reporter, if you can call it that in this small town of very little news. A native of England, he followed his lover here years ago—a lover who left him here with only the company of a bottle and a handful of drugs to get by. He’s kicked the drugs but still toys with the booze occasionally—anything to get through the boredom of his life. He’s intrigued by the story of the man who was hit with the limb and when he went to the hospital to say hello, he became even more intrigued by the man himself. Cayce is a nice guy, one who could possibly thaw his heart if he allowed it. It’s Dave who Cayce turns to when he and the mother of the missing girl find her grave. And it’s Dave who offers a shoulder for Cayce to lean on as the story develops, and Cayce is hounded by the press and shunned by the police.

It’s also Dave who supports and assists Cayce as he tries to solve the most important mystery of his life when someone close to him is taken. And when the two rush headlong into an exciting, nail-biting search they get results, just not the results they were looking for.

In this story, the author leads us on an emotional journey fraught with danger and more ups and downs and hairpin turns than an out-of-control eighteen-wheeler. It’s completely different from any of his other works and absolutely brilliant in its execution. Seriously, this ranks right up there with any of the world-renowned mystery writers of our time. The complexity of the storytelling, the attention to detail and the hold-your-breath plotline make this story outstanding. The author keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with flashbacks via Cayce’s visions alternating with scenes of what’s happening in real time to Cayce, and then scenes of the kidnappers and their victims, telling us just enough in each chapter to make the move to the next chapter vital to the reader’s need to breathe. Seriously, this book is very difficult to put down!

The romance in this story is secondary to the major plot with no explicit sex scenes. The attraction between Dave and Cayce develops as more of a true support of one partner for another with some kissing and handholding rather than the hot and heavy sex “on page” that could have been portrayed but would have detracted from the core story.

I can’t recommend this story highly enough. To be honest, I’m not a person who normally reads thrillers, and I never watch horror movies unless I’m forced to do so, and even then I peek through my fingers. I desperately wished I could peek through my fingers at some points in this story, but I was compelled to keep going and I’m so glad I did. The ending was all I had hoped it would be, and the possibility for a happy future for Dave, Cayce, and Luke was set in place. All is well in my world. Don’t miss the chance to read this book.

Caution: This book contains graphic violence and hetero rape with some scenes through flashback and some in real time.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson. Cover depicts a bright light superimposed over the figures of a man and a clock. The light may have been meant to illustrate the visions the man had, and the clock would symbolize time running out. Although I can understand that, I did not find the cover particularly attractive or attention-getting.

Sales Links:               amazon     buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 266 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by DSP Publications (first published January 2008)

Barb, a Zany Old Lady Review: Wholehearted by Cate Ashwood – Audiobook narrated by John Orr


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw

Wholehearted coverWhen police officer Declan Grant goes to investigate the report of someone sleeping at the end of the town dock, he’s shocked to find a bruised, bloody, and unconscious man. And he’s even more shocked by his reaction to the man— under all the blood is a handsome young man who grabs Declan’s heart and won’t let go. Though he’s not happy with the hostile reaction he gets from the man when he finally wakes in the hospital, he finds himself offering a home and friendship to Lucas Hale and the offer comes from a deep and warm place in his heart.

Against his better judgment, Lucas accepts the offer of this stranger, a man who he feels safe with, and, we later learn, finds very cute and hot. The two grow closer together over the time that Lucas is recuperating and slowly Lucas begins to trust Declan until he finally tells him the full story of the homophobic attack that occurred while working on a lobster boat. He makes Declan swear to keep it confidential, and Declan, even though he’s a police officer, agrees to do that. But Declan didn’t agree not to investigate on his own, and he manages to gather information on all the men involved in case Lucas changes his mind someday.

Over time, Declan and Lucas grow stronger together and eventually declare their love and hope for a future together. But when Mack finds the file Declan had hidden, and arranges for arrest warrants, Declan is the one who has to tell Lucas of his betrayal. And that’s exactly how Lucas sees it. Broken-hearted over the break in his trust, Lucas leaves, telling Declan that he never wants to see him again.

The next few months are hell for Declan, but bring a happy surprise to Mack and Oliver, MC’s in the first book in the series, “Brokenhearted” in the form of a new addition to their family. Eventually Declan and Lucas get to see each other again while preparing for the trial, and after a long and heartfelt talk they begin to work their way toward their HEA. A large part of the story revolves around the separation period as we see it’s a difficult journey for Declan, one for which he has to travel alone for a while, and begin to see what he most wants in this world and what he’s willing to do to get it.

I loved the story and the narration was superb. John Orr’s narrator voice was different from the inflections he gave to Declan and Lucas and they were different from Mack, Oliver and Hayden who all return for a cameo appearance. He also brought reality to each scene— from panting to, crying, laughing, and sighing— all were done to perfection. I would normally give this story 4 stars but his narration is so good it moves the rating up to 4.5 overall.

I recommend this book and this series to all lovers of M/M romance, especially to those who love angst and hurt/comfort stories. The audiobook is outstanding so I recommend this format for not only this book but the entire series. Since I’ve listened to the other two books in the series, I can honestly say that they all have outstanding narration by John Orr.

Cover Art depicting a fishing boat with a blood stain on the side is by Aaron Anderson. I found that the art was a perfect depiction of the boat on which Lucas was hurt and the blood symbolic of the injuries he suffered there.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner audio book  iTunes   Audible   amazon

Book Details:

Cover Artist Aaron Anderson
Narrator John Orr
Length 6 hours and 18 minutes
AudiobooksCate AshwoodHope Cove Series by Cate Ashwood
Book Type Audiobook
Other Formats eBookPaperback

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Anchored by Rachel Haimowitz


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Anchored Riptide CoverDaniel Halstrom was born a slave, brutally indoctrinated into sex slave behavior before he even reached puberty, and then sold by his master to NewWorld Media at the age of ten. Fortunately, they wanted him for a different role and now, twenty-five years later, the handsome, blond news anchor who began his climb to fame as a field reporter is fairly secure in his role in the newsroom—or so he thinks. When NewWorld informs him that he’s been leased to Carl Whitman, a talk show host on a rival network, for the amazing sum of $6 million for the year, he’s seized by total and complete panic and frozen by fear as old memories of what it means to be a sex slave come back to haunt him. So much so, that he doesn’t recognize Carl’s attempts at being friendly and compassionate and it causes much unnecessary angst and frustration for the both of them.

Carl seems determined to include Daniel at the dinner table and as a companion while he watches television in the evenings. He doesn’t order Daniel around and fails to give Daniel the direction he’s come to expect from his masters. In fact, Daniel really isn’t capable of making his own decisions, having been born a slave and punished severely all his life for any attempt to do so. When Daniel fails to engage in any conversation with Carl, remaining mute and remote, in frustration, Carl reports his disappointment to the brass at NewWorld.

Once his bosses learn that Carl is not happy with him, they take Daniel to their punishment room. Spoiler alert. Continue reading