Book Review by Gillian: Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance, by Jon McDonald

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Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance, by Jon McDonald
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Release Date: March 27, 2017

Rating: DNF at 46%


Spritzer Vallier is the manager of a large commercial jug winery in Northern California. The new owner, Spritzer’s great-aunt Del, wants to make a quality champagne as well as the cheap wine that is the bedrock of their business. Being a down-to-earth, no-nonsense guy, Spritzer resists Del’s fantastic idea. However, she insists and hires Michel, a French champagne master, to direct the setup of the new venture for four years until Spritzer can take over the running the winery by himself.

Spritzer and Michel must work closely together and right from the beginning it is clear there will be fireworks. Michel tends towards arrogance and control. Spritzer resents Michel’s authority and demands, and is a bit of a stubborn hot-head.

Keeping the two in check is Del—steady, caring, and wise, she directs the two toward the accomplishment of her dream.

Storms, accidents, and money problems plague the progress of the new winery, but eventually Michel and Spritzer work their way towards a successful conclusion to their efforts. But fate seems to have another destination for them as well, as they begin to fall in love with each other.

M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Bisexual Characters
Enemies to Lovers
Workplace Romance


Oh boy.

This was…a bit of a disaster. I’m pretty sure I eye-rolled from the first line and never really stopped. This was a tropey mess from beginning to end (or at least, until I ended it), and most of it either annoyed me or made me outright angry.

Spritzer Vallier (that name was eye-roll #1) is managing the family’s winery after his uncle dies. When his aunt Del decides to branch out into producing sparkling wine, despite a buy-out offer from her nephew, Nelson, she hires champagne master, Michel, to help produce their first batch. Although they get off to a rough start, Spritzer and Michel find themselves becoming attracted to one another.

Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Spritzer is an idiot and a bully –

  1. When his cousin Nelson unexpectedly brings a tour group to the winery, Spritzer pours a jug of wine over Nelson’s head in order to get him to leave.
  2. When the winery hosts a welcome party for Michel (the person they are relying on to turn a profit and make sure the winery doesn’t lose money), Spritzer gets drunk and pukes on him
  3. When Spritzer and on/off girlfriend Kan are eating dinner and watching tv, Spritzer dunks a bowl of spaghetti down Kan’s shirt when she won’t pay attention to him (it’s supposed to be funny).

Okay, okay, so maybe he’s not the greatest example of humanity. But he must have some redeeming features, right? Wrong.

After seeing him at a restaurant with another man, Spritzer wonders why Lorne, formerly one of his best friends, no longer speaks with him. He asks his aunt Del if she knew Lorne was gay.

“So you know?”

She nodded again

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought it was his place to tell you if he wanted to.”

Spritzer was sad. “But he never has.”

“Does he have any reason not to? Have you said things that might make him hesitate to be open with you?”

Spritzer thought about that. “I may have called a couple of guys fags when we were out together sometimes. But you know I didn’t mean anything by it…”

And then, not 2 minutes later when he finds out Michel is gay.

“Michel’s a fuckin’ fag too? Oh shit.”

And then the very next day when he confronts Michel about being gay.

“Do you find me attractive?”

It’s enough to make your head spin.

There were other things that flat out made me crazy too, mostly to do with a backstory concerning Spritzer’s Dad, being asked by his best friend, Francisco, to impregnate Francisco’s wife because they can’t have kids and don’t want to adopt or use a sperm bank because it doesn’t feel right. Oh, and they decide not to say anything about this to Spritzer’s mom because “she has a tendency to brood.” Right. Because most other women would be a-ok with their husband sleeping with their best friend’s wife so they can have a baby. Okay, sure.

Keep in mind, this all happens before the halfway mark. After all that, I just couldn’t put myself through this subpar soap opera anymore. By the time Spritzer is making eyes at Michel and they slow dance at a party (only weeks after the whole fag calling incidents), I had to stop. But not before I hit the part where Lorne and his boyfriend get beaten up by a couple of “thugs” and they both joke about how Lorne is going to handle things in the future by “learning to run faster.” Ha ha. Hilarious.

Needless to say, I’m not recommending this to anyone.


As an author, Jon’s mission is to provide readers with stories that delight and entertain so they can enjoy a pleasurable respite from their busy day to day lives. Readers describe turning the last page of McDonald’s books not only feeling completely satisfied, but also wanting more.

His adventure stories are exciting – fast paced and captivating. They are filled with intriguing plots, imaginative locales and storylines that make you think about real issues in an engaging way. His adventure readers are selective – typically enjoying the works of other notable peers in the field including David Baldacci, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and James Patterson.

His humorous tales delight and amuse – evoking the satire of David Sedaris, the laugh-out-loud humor of Ethan Mordden or the sly English observations of E.F. Benson.


You can purchase Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Love Story from:

Ninestar Press
Barnes & Noble

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


4 thoughts on “Book Review by Gillian: Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance, by Jon McDonald

  1. Wow. Just wow.

    And WTF does what’s his name ask whosit to SLEEP WITH HIS WIFE instead of just asking for his sperm for insemination!? (Not sure why that’s the detail I’m focusing on, but there it is)


    • IKR? That part floored me as well. They were all like “oh, we want our own children but don’t want to adopt and a sperm donor just doesn’t feel right, so please let’s just have sex…but don’t tell your overly sensitive wife about it.” As fucking if that would be okay in any way, shape or form. Ugh.


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