An Ali Release Day Review: Michael, Reinvented (Delta Restorations #2) by Diana Copland

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Cute hipster and interior designer Michael doesn’t do love—not after his ex screwed him over. Sex is a different story, though, and the gentle giant who’s painting the mural in the old mansion they’re restoring might be perfect hookup material. Gil is just Michael’s type with his solid muscle, wicked sense of humor, and the hazel eyes that seem to see into Michael’s soul.

Trouble is, Gil does do love. He wants romance and forever, and he’s set his sights firmly on Michael. Michael’s not going there again.

Yet when Michael is the victim of a vandal who’s been plaguing the men working for Delta Restoration, Renovation, and Design, Gil is the first person he tells. No matter how he fights it, it’s becoming harder and harder to deny he’s crazy about the guy—even if that thought terrifies him. But the true fear sets in when the criminal behavior escalates, and Michael realizes he might have lost the chance to tell Gil how he feels—forever.
This was an enjoyable second installment in the Delta Restorations series.  This picks up a few months down the road from the end of book one.  The guys have put their company together and have worked a few smaller jobs.  At the start of this, they land a big job of a grand old house.  It’s the kind of job that could really make them a successful company.  
If you read book one, you will remember Michael was David’s close friend and assistant at work.  Michael has continued to be a part of the company and this new job puts him in constant contact with Gil.  Michael says Gil annoys him but he’s secretly attracted to the man.  They snark and banter back and forth with each other but everyone can tell there is more between the two men.  A series of series incidents cause Michael to need to rely on Gil for some help and they become friends of a sort.  As the story goes on though, Michael realizes he may lose Gil forever and he needs to make some serious decisions.
The mystery part of the book was a big piece of the story.  It actually over rode the romance which I didn’t necessarily mind.  It was fast paced and entertaining and I enjoyed it a lot.  The work on the house as well as the mystery gave us an interesting plot and it gave a us a good chance to see all of the other characters for much of the book.
 
The romance part was not as good for me.  I liked the two men together but it felt very insta-love.  They’d apparently gotten to know each other during the time from when the last book ends to when this one starts.  They problem for me was we don’t see any of that.  They’re snarking at each other and then they’re pledging their undying love.  I didn’t really understand how we got from one point to the next.
 
Overall though, I did like this.  I liked the mystery aspect and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  This book could technically be read as a standalone but I think it’s best if you read book one first.  They background of the characters as well as the mystery part were set up in book one.  I think a reader would like this book more if they had all that background.
 
 The cover was done by Anne Cain.  I liked the cover and I think it is a really good representation to the plot of the book and how they book physically describes the MC’s.  I also like the colors.  They really catch your eye and draw you to it.
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Book Details:
ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: May 19th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleMichael, Reinvented
ISBN 1635336414 (ISBN13: 9781635336412)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDelta Restorations #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Rancher’s Son (Montana #2) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The Rancher's Son by RJ ScottA man without memories, and the cop who never gave up hope.

When he wakes up in hospital, the victim of a brutal beating, John Doe, has no memories of who he is or who hurt him. The cops can find nothing to identify him and he can’t remember anything to help… except the name Ethan and one recurring place from his dreams. Three words, and they’re not much, but it’s a start. Crooked Tree Ranch.

Cop, Ethan Allens has never stopped searching for his brother and his brother’s best friend who vanished. When a report lands on Ethan’s desk that may give new leads he jumps at the chance to follow them up. The man he finds isn’t his brother, but it’s someone who could maybe help him discover what happened ten years ago.

What neither man can know is that facing the very real demons of the past could very well destroy any kind of future they may think they have together.

This was an emotional drama with a beautiful romance that surpassed the erosions of time apart.  When Ethan got a lead on his missing brother, the Montana cop rushed to Chicago to identify the John Doe who had suffered such a bad beating that his memory failed. The only two words that seemed to mean anything were Ethan and Crooked Tree.  Ethan’s family owned Crooked Tree Ranch, so he had put in the family names and the ranch name as a flag for any missing persons throughout the US.  After waiting twelve years to hear anything, his hopes are dashed when he realizes the young man isn’t his younger brother, Justin.  But after a closer inspection of the bruised and swollen face, he realizes the man is Adam, Justin’s best friend, and Ethan’s one true love.

Last seen when they were nearly sixteen and Ethan was nearing eighteen, the young men disappeared without a trace.  It quickly becomes evident that being in Ethan’s presence is helping Adam heal in more ways than one.  Their feelings for each other have never been forgotten and are flaring strong again, despite the difficulty Ethan faces in trying to keep from pushing Adam and Adam’s difficulty in trying to keep from hurting Ethan when he remembers snatches of what might have happened to Justin. 

Let’s just say that it’s a very well-developed story line, complete with danger and intrigue, and heavy on the romance, but not on the sex.  It’s the perfect combo, and I loved it so much I went right out and picked up book one and am hoping that after I devour that one, I can get book three.  I’m hooked on this series, and most definitely enjoyed the ending to this story though it isn’t a complete resolution to the mystery.  It did intrigue me enough to salivate over the need to get into book three quickly. Thankfully, the time frame between releases was short and it’s already out. 

I highly recommend this one to all who love MM romance, cowboys, cops, mysterious amnesia victims, and of course, an RJ Scott story. 

The cover by Meredith Russell depicts both MCs set against a scenic Montana background. Just right for this story. 

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Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Love Lane Books Limited
ISBN139781785640445
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series: Montana  – add to your Goodreads list here

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review:The Merchant of Death (Playing the Fool #2) by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The merchant of Death coverA continuation of the story started in “Two Gentlemen from Altona”, this story is even better. There’s more humor, more angst, more drama, more complexity in the connections between Henry and Mac and most importantly, more romance.

The story opens with Henry reuniting with his twin sister, Viola, a young woman who suffered brain damage in her teens when she attempted to remove a violent man from Henry’s bed, thinking he was hurting Henry. When he flung her against a wall, she struck her head and nearly died. She didn’t understand what had been happening, but Henry did. He was allowing his mother’s boyfriend to have sex with him for the money the man promised his mother. Because he failed to keep quiet and that caused Viola to investigate, Henry blames himself for her injury. Now with a reduced mental capacity and the inability to care for herself, she’s been confined to a “care home” ever since, at a cost of over $5,000 a month— a cost paid by Henry through whatever means he can find. When Mac ultimately learns a bit more of this story, his attraction to Henry and his admiration of Henry’s inner strength grow exponentially.

Viola claims that a “bad angel” has killed her good friend Mr. Crowley at the home and begs Henry to find the angel and send it away. When Henry investigates, dressed as Viola, It satisfies not only his need to have a viable disguise to get into the facility, but his own inner desire to dress as a female. He finds evidence to suggest that the director and a volunteer have been conspiring to get some patients’ wills changed to their benefit and that Mr. Crowley may have been a victim of this death benefit scam.

In the meantime, Mac has been missing Henry, wondering where he could have gone after Mac had been shot, and he sets out to find him. After all, Henry is his missing witness in the arrest of a known gangster. Mac has also been under pressure by investigators into the brutal force supposedly used when that gangster and others in the past have been arrested by Mac. In addition, there are rumors that Mac may be a drug user and he may be implicated in the recent death of a police informant. He’s happy to take sick leave and just go to find Henry. When he tracks Henry’s sister, Viola, to the care home, imagine his surprise to find that it’s Henry, not Viola, who is in residence there. And when Henry explains his reasons for being there, Mac doesn’t know whether to kiss him or kill him for getting involved in another crazy scheme.

Mac is determined to get behind the façade of Henry Page to the real man, Sebastian Hanes, within. We see glimpses every once in a while, and Henry himself is now struggling to keep Sebastian contained. He’s never put his trust in anyone other than Viola, but he senses that Ryan “Mac” McGuiness is so very different from anyone else that Mac will protect his fragile inner child and keep him safe amid the shitstorm his life has become.

From this point on, Henry gets in deeper trouble at the care home, Mac gets in deeper trouble at work, and neither is aware that there are common threads between them in the form of certain people who have been negative influences in both their lives.

I love the way the authors are taking their time with this romance and the dynamic between Henry and Mac is outstanding. At times humorous, or poignantly romantic, their dynamic is often irritating or filled with sexual tension. And when the two finally do get together, with Henry in the guise of a female, it’s over-the-top, explosively hot. The storyline and subplots are complex and so intricately woven that I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the series so that I can view the finished product as a whole. I suspect that this is going to become one of my all-time favorite series.

Of course, this book does not end on a final conclusive note, but the promise of the next installment is much clearer in this book than in the last and I liked the way the authors left this couple. I’m definitely going to be first in line for the next book.

Cover Art by L.C. Chase depicts a partially full syringe indicating either the drug addiction of Henry’s good friend, Remy, or something far more nefarious. It’s cute and fits with the cover of the previous story.

Sales Links:  available for pre-order at Riptide Publishing now     Other links to follow

Book Details:

ebook, 205 pages
Expected publication: February 2nd 2015 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626492219
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/merchant-of-death
seriesPlaying the Fool #2