ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Counterpoint by Anna Zabo


39675785Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Received From: NetGalley

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.


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual, pansexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic, panromantic


TROPES: age gap, instalust / instalove, secret identity
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, BDSM, ownvoices
WARNINGS: sexual content, mental illness (anxiety, panic attacks), racism mention, queerphobia mention, queerphobic family, religion (Christianity/Catholicism), parental death mention, ableism, bullying mention, doxxing, vomiting, therapy mention


Twisted Wishes was his life, Adrian was his heart, and he was himself, at long last.

This book swept me away from the very first page and held me enchanted until the very last.

COUNTERPOINT features Dom, the guitarist from the band Twisted Wishes introduced in the first book, SYNCOPATION, and Adrian, a software engineer who approaches Dom in a cozy restaurant, and the two feel an immediate connection. From the very first scene they’re in together, I was hooked on their relationship. The easy and sincerity in the way they connect was so soothing to read, and I enjoyed reading the way they so quickly and comfortably fell together from essentially that first meeting. And this continues throughout the book. While there is some slight tension every now and then due to Dom’s secret, the large majority of the novel is pure, enjoyable domesticity and the ease and exploration of their new relationship, as well as the adventure of Dom’s journey to find himself both through submission to Adrian, as well as figuring out how to connect the two pieces of himself. This story is not nearly as tumultuous as the one in SYNCOPATION, but it is just as incredibly intense and breathtaking in its own way.

And speaking of Dom’s exploration of his submissive side, the D/s dynamic in this book was absolutely GLORIOUS. Both of them are so gentle but firm with each other and what they want, and are always willing to compromise with each other. They are so attuned to each other’s needs and desires, and the other’s safety and mental wellbeing are always of the utmost importance, not getting off. All the bondage and rope scenes were so carefully and well crafted that I found myself wanting to read more and more of them alongside the joy and calm and happiness that both Adrian and Dom received.

Also, the continued search for consent throughout the novel, in numerous different situations, was one of my favorite aspects. While I personally believe that consent is always sexy, Anna Zabo has the unique ability of making me feel warm and happy and like I can breathe in the way their characters always reach out for their partners’ consent. And I particularly enjoyed that there were a few instances in which Dom was so far into subspace that Adrian refused to go further because Dominic could not safely consent. Those moments meant so much to me.

Finally, I absolutely loved the anxiety representation within the novel  Dom’s emotional state is expressed with such poignant detail that it would be obvious, even if I didn’t already possess the knowledge, that this aspect of the novel is ownvoices. It just rings true in such an intense way, and I could see myself in Dom and his experiences with anxiety. In fact, one particular panic attack is so painfully realistic that I found myself beginning to hyperventilate with Dom as I was reading. While not an entirely pleasant experience, it just hit home once again how very real and true the rep is.

Without a doubt, I absolutely recommend this book, and I cannot wait for the next installment about Mish!


Headshots-Anna-Zabo-1defaultAnna Zabo (they/them) 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 is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

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.


Barnes & Noble


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