A MelanieM Review: Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.

Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.

Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

The books in this series are not meant to stand alone but rather read with the understanding that you already know Robin, Adam, and their wonderful Newfie Campbell and all the events and history that has gone on before.  Trust me, that’s considerable, both in their backgrounds and in the small village in which they live and work. Or did work.  Now the cozy cottage where they live (it was Adam’s) and the village is both a distance from their new jobs and they are planning both a move and wedding when the new story opens.  How I love this series!

 

So yes, a lot has gone before Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane  and quite a lot is beginning to happen.   For things are never dull for long for these two who have just gotten back from a long needed holiday before the school year starts up again for Adam and the criminals start a wave for Robin and his crew.  Plus there is that wedding to be planned, pesky details and all.

For those new to the series, I do recommend heading back to The Best Corpse for the Job, the first story in the series. 

That is where Adan and Robin meet, and it all begins, including our love affair with Campbell, Adam’s Newfoundland.  There are many secondary characters that appear , in varying stages of narrative importance depending upon the plot, book after book.  So meeting them and being able to identify them early is a great thing.  Then seeing them again is like greeting old friends, ornery or otherwise.  In these villages, the personalities swing widely!

Cochrane’s characters are so beautifully crafted that it’s  sometimes hard to tell which way the plot will fall, who will be the villain or the victim?  Sometimes both have the same personality traits!  You can emphasize with both or neither, an element I really love.  It makes them so human.

Here once again Robin’s tortuous childhood is involved, one he is still dealing with and this case brings it back with an immediacy he never expected.  Plus a connection to Adam, as it always happens with these cases.  Throw Campbell into the mix, and things turn frightening, mysterious, and downright murderous.

I will admit to guessing part of the plot (the person partially) but got the motive all wrong!  No, the author kept me guessing on the twists and turns on that until the end.  There was a couple of things I wanted more neatly tied up  but that’s just me.

On the whole, I found this extremely satisfying, it took Adam and Robin’s relationship to a deeper place, and at least moved their wedding plans forward ! lol  Plus i got more Campbell which is always a wonderful thing.

If you love cozies like I do, this is one mystery series for you.  Start at the beginning and make your way here!  i highly recommend them all.

Cover art: L.C. Chase.  I really like the covers for the series.  I wish it had Campbell on the cover, but that was the last one.  Oh well.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 209 pages
Published February 11th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Old Sins
ISBN 139781626498723
Edition Language English

Series Lindenshaw Mysteries :

The Best Corpse for the Job

Jury of One

Two Feet Under

Old Sins

Spotlight on: Lock Nut (Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) by JL Merrow (giveaway)

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Lock Nut (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #5) by J.L. Merrow
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Christine Coffee

Sales LInks: Riptide Publishing

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Lock Nut, the fifth of my MM mysteries in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery Series.  In Lock Nut, a simple hunt for a missing husband turns into a chase after a murderer when a body turns up in a local canal—and slightly psychic plumber Tom Paretski ends up with his face on TV as the prime suspect! Meanwhile, wedding bells are ringing all over the place…

 

About Lock Nut

 

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.

About The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries

 

A plumber with a hidden talent and an ex–school bully who’s trying to atone for his past. This unlikely crime-solving duo could be the worst thing that’s ever happened to the murderers of rural Hertfordshire, England.

 

All his life, cheeky plumber Tom Paretski’s had a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Mostly it’s brought him nothing but grief, but ever since tall, blond, and broody Phil Morrison stomped back into his life, Tom’s been using his psychic talents to track down killers. He’s shocked to find himself falling for the man he used to hate.

 

Phil’s an ex-cop turned private investigator who can’t forgive himself for the pain he caused Tom in their shared schooldays—especially his part in an accident which left Tom with a lasting limp. Finally able to face up to his feelings for Tom, Phil’s determined to make amends. Just as long as the murderers who won’t stop crossing their path don’t rob him of the chance to do so for good.

 

The path of their investigations may not run any smoother than their love life, but with the help (and hindrance) of a motley crew of friends and family—including the world’s campest campanologist and his ex–porn star lover—with any luck Tom and Phil will continue to get their man.

 

Publisher’s note: Each book in this series stands alone as a murder mystery, but the series as a whole follows Tom and Phil’s romantic journey from enemies to lovers, and beyond. It’s recommended, but not essential, to read the books in order.

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.

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

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

 

Connect with JL:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Lock Nut, JL is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 19, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Ali Release Day Review: Model Exposure (Haven Investigations #4) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
After being rescued by Ollie, Kade continues to suffer the aftermath of his ordeal, both physically and psychologically. Not knowing how else to clear his head, he pours his energy into Ollie—the love of his life—and Haven Investigations, but neither Ollie nor Kade can continue to ignore what they learned from their last case: Ollie’s brother, Nathan, might have betrayed Kade.

As they dig into Ollie’s past, secrets are revealed. Was Nathan’s death a suicide? Were Ollie’s parents much more than they seemed? Is someone out to kill Ollie, or is it Kade’s past coming back to haunt them again?

Amidst questions and uncertainties, one thing is clear: after everything they have been through together, Kade and Ollie have never been more in love and they want to get married. But first, they’ll have to deal with the continued threat of Kade’s past, the emotional wounds Kade fears are drowning him, and the possibility that everything Ollie believed about his family was a lie. A beautiful happily ever after awaits them—as long as they can survive long enough to make it to the altar.
 
This is the fourth book in the Haven Investigations series.  This is a continuation of the story from the third book and this should not be read as a standalone.  This story is told from Kade’s point of view.  He’s having a very hard time with his depression and anxiety which are fall outs from the incidents that happened previously.  
I have mixed feelings about this book.  I really love these two as a couple.  One of my favorite things about them is they’re not a traditional couple or traditional type people.  I always love when authors branch out and give readers something outside the norm.  I also like the fact that they’re pretty co-dependent and make no apologies about it.  Now I personally would never want to be as enmeshed as these two are, but again, I like that it’s different.  It’s actually something that the characters take note of and discuss.  I like when people are bold and unapologetic in their life choices (both is real life and in books).
On the flip side, I’ve not really enjoyed the overall plot in both this book or the last one.  They’ve been really over the top in my opinion and I feel like I have to suspend too much reality to follow along.  I prefer books that are a little more gritty and realistic.
If you’re a fan of the series you will probably enjoy this installment.  A few big relationship things happen between Ollie and Kade and the mystery of  Nathan is finally all wrapped up.  Despite my average feeling about the book as a whole I have to say there were some really touching scenes between these two men.  The date at the beginning was just fantastic.  
These covers are done by Garrett Leigh and I just love them.  They are some of my favorite covers in this genre.  I think they are very attractive and eye catching.  I love the artistry of them.  All the books in the series are complimentary of each other and they stand out.  As soon as you seen one of them you know they are all in the same series.
Book Details:
ebook, 256 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339789
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHaven Investigations #4

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.
Sales Links
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. 

Sales Links

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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