Tag Archives: Samhain Publishing

Book Review: Blow Down (The Plumber’s Mate, #4) – J.L. Merrow

Blow DownPublished July 12th 2016
Date of Publication: July 12th 2016
Theme & Genre: LGBTQI, Crime, Mystery, Supernatural
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Format: 249 pages, ebook
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Characters: Tom Paretski, Phil Morrison

Blurb: Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.

The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, Book 4

The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents.

Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancé, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer—and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself.

As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.

Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.


I thought I was already done with this series but remembering my fondness for Tom’s character won me over so I decided to give this another go, and you know what, I totally enjoyed it! I easily remembered why I was so charmed by Tom’s character from the get-go. He’s still funny, charming and good-hearted. He’s just too fascinating a character that I didn’t mind that he’s about to get hitched with Phil – not a big fan of the guy but I am starting to “really” like him here. I just wished that he’d stop being so uptight. I think his abrasiveness is what I don’t like about him in the first place. It also feels like we’ve got so much to learn about his character whilst Tom being Tom is just an open book for everyone to feast on.

 I thought the murder angle was just the side-ploy of the story and the central focus was actually on Tom and Phil’s impending wedding. I loved seeing Phil’s “romantic” side. It’s actually a bit refereshing coming from him. And there’s the rather complicated linage of Tom. I mean, I honestly don’t see the big deal about it but Tom being the nicest guy ever was stressing over it. Oh, who wouldn’t love this guy?

Here’s a nice J.L. Merrow book I’ve been dying to read since the first book off the series and that oh-so-perfect Muscling Through. I hope the next one is as good as this! Ta!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


About The Author
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 was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.

JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: http://www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

Book Review: Cold Fusion – Harper Fox

Cold FusionKier Mallory is a tree-hugging poet who made a fatal decision on one of their anti-whaling missions that took the lives of his two crewmembers. Disgraced and with everybody turning him away, he found himself heading to Spindrift. The place that is once a lair for artists and such is now deserted and dilapidated save for its lone inhabitant.

Vivian Calder is the son of a local laird. With Asperger’s syndrome, it leaves the young scientist emotionally and socially awkward. His lonesome existence however led him to perfecting cold fusion – a clean, free, and limitless source of power.

With this groundbreaking discovery and their unlikely friendship blossoming into something unexpected, uncertain instances clouded above them that may threaten it and their lives.

At first, Mallory’s character was highly unlikable. I thought he was a real douchebag snapping on Viv all the time. It’s obvious that he’s got some anger management issue or perhaps it’s everything that has happened to him prior to meeting Viv but it doesn’t excuse his behavior towards Viv whose detachment over emotional things made him a clear target for such attitude – I didn’t like it at all. Then when things started to unravel between them, post-Allan’s betrayal – everything seemed perfect and they just easily complimented each other. I liked that despite the insta-love (10 days of knowing each other and love is in the air) in the story, the romance does not feel forced at all.

Viv is a real riot at times. His awkwardness is way too adorable and I loved his forgiving nature. I also loved how he felt comfortable with Mal disregarding all his inhibitions. Love is the ‘cure’ after all. *wink*

“Do you get erections?”

“Yes, at awkward times. Over some things you’d find strange.”

“Let me tell you something I never thought I’d share with anyone. When the discovery of the Higgs boson was confirmed in the LHC at CERN, I went upstairs, lock myself in my room, and I came so hard I thought my eardrums would burst. Does that answer you question?”

The science aspect of the story didn’t bother me at all. There was ample amount of explanation that didn’t go beyond info-dump-zone and I loved that the author eventually veered off from it at the latter part of the story.

I thought Alan deserves more than a bruiser. I don’t care if he’s the one who got in contact with Viv’s sister – he’s still a criminal. And a douchebag. Period.

The semi-twist that was conveniently laid out at the second half of the story was a bit surprising to me. I mean, the guy has Asperger’s syndrome (nothing wrong with this but he’s been alone all his life) and then he’s got to suffer that. Poor guy, really.

As usual, the story ended with a very solid conclusion. Harper Fox is one of those authors that does not know how not to write beautifully. Cold Fusion is another wonderful piece of literature! Highly recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 297 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

About The Author
Harper Fox is an M/M author with a mission. She’s produced six critically acclaimed novels in a year and is trying to dispel rumours that she has a clone/twin sister locked away in a study in her basement. In fact she simply continues working on what she loves best– creating worlds and stories for the huge cast of lovely gay men queuing up inside her head. She lives in rural Northumberland in northern England and does most of her writing at a pensioned-off kitchen table in her back garden, often with blanket and hot water bottle.

She lives with her SO Jane, who has somehow put up with her for a quarter of a century now, and three enigmatic cats, chief among whom is Lucy, who knows the secret of the universe but isn’t letting on. When not writing, she either despairs or makes bread, specialities foccacia and her amazing seven-strand challah. If she has any other skills, she’s yet to discover them.