Friday, September 28, 2018

Blog Tour: Counterpoint by Anna Zabo (Series Review+Excerpt+Giveaway)

Counterpoint, Twisted Wishes #2

Release Date: September 24, 2018

Publisher: Carina Press

Book Synopsis: Twisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.

When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.

Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.

Pre-order/Buy Links: Carina / Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Google Play / Kobo / universal link

Genre: m/m contemporary rockstar romance (with a bit of kink)

Quirks and Warnings: Contains D/s and bondage. Also discusses anxiety and depicts a panic attack.

Tropes and Themes: Secret identity. Geeks in love. hurt/comfort. Finding yourself behind the mask you wear for others.

Excerpt: (NSFW)

Fingers traced his chin and caressed his lips. “Fucking hell, babe,” Adrian murmured.

Dom knew from experience that this wasn’t the end of the night. He didn’t expect Adrian to drop down to his knees, though, to take Dom’s face between his hands and kiss him like he was the only man in existence.

But that’s what Adrian did, and Dom moaned into him, every nerve on fire.

Adrian wiped away the wetness on Dom’s face. “I love tasting me on your tongue.”

“Fuck my face more often, then.” His words were whispered and hoarse.

A deep rumble of amusement and a pat on the cheek. “We’ve only had two nights.”

Felt like so much more. Everything with Adrian was hot and fast, and yet somehow so slow and perfect, too. Like now, when Adrian pulled him up from the floor and took him to the bed.

Adrian unclasped the cuffs from each other. “Lie down on your back. I’m going to tie you to the headboard for a little while. See what you think of that.”

Dom exhaled, a strange heat running through his body that had nothing to do with the ache of his cock. “Yeah, okay.”

Adrian took each arm and swung it up, murmuring how Dom should move, how he needed to position his body. Gentle voice, gentle touch. He was still in all his clothing, too.

“Wanna see you naked,” Dom said. Everything was heady and light again.

Adrian smiled and touched his face. “Do you?”

“Yeah. I mean, if you want? ’Cause I guess I’m not supposed to demand anything, am I?”

He couldn’t even name the emotions that flickered over Adrian’s features, but there was such a weight to them, and in his gravelly voice. “You, Dominic, can always ask me for anything you wish.”

What he wished. He wanted everything. This moment. Wednesday. Whatever happened tomorrow. He wanted the band and Domino. He wanted Adrian to make the world go away so only Dom existed. Dom and Adrian.

“I’m in way over my head.”

“Shh.” Adrian’s brow furrowed. “So am I.”

Dom closed his eyes. Oh fucking hell. He was gonna fall in love with Adrian. After two damn dates. That wasn’t safe and it wasn’t fair at all.

A touch on his arm had Dom opening his eyes again. “You’ll miss the show,” Adrian said, and pulled off his tie.

He stripped the rest of his clothing off, watching Dom the entire time. Soon that amazing body was exposed once more, in every mouthwatering detail. It was everything Dom remembered, and so much more. “You’re fucking hot.”

“Why thank you.” Adrian got his quirky, wicked grin and picked up a bundle of rope. “And as a reward, I’m going to tie you up. If it’s too much, tell me and I’ll cut you free.”

“It’s not gonna be too much.”

Adrian shook his head. “You don’t know that yet.”

But he did. Because ropes didn’t scare him. The thought of being bound only made his blood hot and his mind relax. What terrified him was the looming future, his guitar, and how much he’d have to give up to have everything he wanted.

Adrian tied his right wrist first, stretching his arm in the process, and it felt so damn good he arched his back. “Fuck, babe, you do like this, don’t you?”

Dom met Adrian’s stare. “Yeah it’s…” He huffed out a breath. “It’s like soaring.” Or being onstage. The thrill, the heat and charge, and the utter security. “I’m safe.” He relaxed into the bed. “I’m safe here.”

Adrian stroked his arms. “Makes me want to tie your legs down, too.”

Oh hell, that sent a bolt of lightning down his body. “Yeah, please.”

“Not tonight. Partly to tease you—because I love that—but mostly because I think you can hold yourself still for me.”

A different heat flowed and settled in his balls and dick. The cuffs might calm him, but a hit of Adrian’s command sent lust racing into every part. “Fuck.”

For that he got a smirk, and Adrian stroked himself a few times. “Not quite there yet. But I bet once you’re tied down and listening to me… I will be.”

“I’m listening.”

Fingers danced up his left arm, and that too was tied to the headboard. Same warm touch swept over Dom’s lips. “You’re talking, not listening.”

He couldn’t resist opening his mouth and sucking those fingers in. Adrian hissed, then grunted. “Your mouth is always trouble.”


5 Stars

Who doesn’t love a good rockstar romance? This is one of the best I’ve ever read. Hard-working, dynamic, and raw talented, Ray Van Zeller, and self-possessed and protective Zavier Demos are fascinating characters with complex personalities individually. Put together, not only do they just make sense, but their chemistry is hot. I was captivated while “watching” Ray fall deeply in love with aromantic Zavier, who clearly cared very intensely for Ray. This was not a traditional romance by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt like the emotions/caring were genuine, believable, and well-written nonetheless.

I very much enjoyed getting to know the rest of Twisted Wishes - Dom and Mish - as well. These two round out Ray and Zav’s family and were incredibly important pieces of the story. “Split personality” Dom, who has an onstage persona that is not allowed to show in his day-to-day life. Comforting Mama Mish who tells it like it is and truly wants the best for her boys. The deep friendship/made family dynamic was both heartwarming and touching.

Carl - Ms. Zabo you created a character that I literally hated. Eww… That’s all I have to say about that!

The plot and storyline were not predictable, but the ending was satisfying and realistic. It was not overly done or super dramatic. I especially appreciated how it ended with a HFN, showing how these two lovers still had obstacles, but were invested in working through them.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***


3 Stars

I was very excited for this follow-up to Syncopation by Anna Zabo. In that first book, we saw glimpses of Dom/Domino/Dominic and he was witty, intellectual, and interesting. Exactly the type of character I love. This book starts off with Dom meeting Adrian. A computer programmer for a bank who is his perfect match. So it’s a famous person/regular joe romance trope.

These two love the same things like books and museums, enjoy their time together and the sexual chemistry is off the charts hot! Only problem, Dom isn’t upfront about his famous rock star status and worries about (1) Adrian not being willing to sign up for the famous lover lifestyle and (2) Adrian “diming him out” to the press. In the end, as we all expected, their love for one another guaranteed their HEA.

The book was ok, but I swear it could’ve been half as long. It seemed to go on and on and on. As the reader, you knew Dom’s cover would be blown and test his relationship with Adrian. The author sets it up with quite a bit of foreshadowing. I even started to wonder when it would happen about 20% into the book and it was past 60% when it did. In between, it was all hot sex and lovey dovey couple times. And that peak tension moment lasted all of like a chapter! Then it was back to more hot sex and lovey dovey couple times and foreshadowing about Dom’s identity being revealed. Again, the big thing happens, and it’s not such a big deal, and the book is over. I kind of felt like it wasn’t meaty enough… This book was a tease of angst but it never put out…

After some thought, I realized it’s because the tension was almost one-dimensional and serialized, not complex and parallel throughout the book. It felt as if there was really only one storyline for nearly 300 pages. This is particularly disappointing when comparing Counterpoint to Syncopation. The latter was a complex, engaging read with many twists and turns. I felt like Counterpoint was on a single train track with precious few turns or engaging scenery that chugged along at a snail’s pace.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

Author Bio: Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Anna uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

Author Links: (newsletter)

Giveaway: Enter to win 1 of 2 e-copies of reader’s choice of back catalog books by Anna Zabo. Must be 18 to enter and win. Open internationally.

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