A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Beautiful Trauma (Queen City Rogues #3) by Aimee Nicole Walker

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Henry is homeless, rejected by his parents for being gay and HIV positive. When he arrives at Ryan’s Place, set up to help teens like him, he finds his potential, and eventually, with a lot of hard work under his belt, he begins classes at community college toward a degree that will ultimately help him pay back all he’s been given. There, teaching his class on Human Sexuality, is the silver fox professor he spent a one-night stand with on his 21st birthday that summer.

Professor Ezra Meyer never expected to see the young man of his dreams again but there he is, front and center, and though Ezra long ago determined he’d never date or fall in love again, he finds Henry hard to resist. The story encompasses their push-pull, on again-off again move toward a lasting relationship with extra drama provided by an old friend of Ezra’s who wanted to be his lover and does everything he can to break them up—including telling Ezra’s department chair—a move that will cost him his job.

Henry is a sweetheart, strong, smart, driven to make it on his own but with a heart as big as he is and that heart is determined to love Ezra. I enjoyed Ezra’s character too, but he did an about-face midway through the story, and I’m not sure if that was on purpose or how the character evolved as the author wrote. He started out somewhat domineering, strong, determined to be alone, all-knowing of the principles of human sexuality and willing to demonstrate. And along the way, he became softer, more romantic, committed to helping Henry and staying with him through the turmoil created by their relationship. In other words, he was soft and mushy by the end and that had good points and bad.

All in all, I enjoy this author’s writing, and though I haven’t read more than 50% of her work, each story has been enjoyable, with great characters, sexy times, and a HEA, and some days that’s all I need. 

A word about the cover by Jay Aheer: not only is the guy on the cover, who is taking off his shirt and tie, a smokin’ hot silver fox who’d catch anyone’s eye, he just happens to be my favorite narrator in disguise as a model. Go, Joel!

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 234 pages
Published July 18th 2019 by Chasing Rainbows Press LLC
ASINB07V8K98PP
Edition Language English
Series Queen City Rogues #3

Queen City Rogues Series with links to Goodreads

Broken Halos

Wicked Games

Beautiful Trauma

A Lucy Review : Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.

Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.

Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.

This story is told from Aiden’s point of view and I have to say I liked him immensely.  The whole “wow, it’s really been that long since I’ve been to the gym?” was all too familiar for me.  It is only a night of tequila with coworkers, specifically Liz (who I also liked so much), that got him roped into do the Mad Mucker obstacle course.  Since I also have completed something similar, I felt his pain as he tried to get out of it.

The team is comprised of coworkers of Aiden and Liz, in addition to Liz’s cousin, Matt.  Matt is super fit, hot and as a personal trainer he knows what he’s doing.  Since he’s so into running and fitness and Aiden is, well, not, Liz teams them up together for training purposes. Aiden is pretty laid back and lighthearted while Matt is much more serious and remote.

They start out being just training partners, moving on to friendly and then friends with benefits.  String free, no hearts involved ever.  Matt isn’t out to anyone (he’s bisexual) while Aiden is out (gay) but has no intention of commitment to anyone, let alone a relationship. 

Both of these guys have baggage from their past but it seems to affect Matt’s life and actions the most.  There were times, especially after they started sleeping together and FEELINGS were starting to happen, that I was so aggravated with Matt.  As Aiden starts hiding his feelings – I mean, come on, Matt changes plans because he’s going on a date with a woman from work and then is “…formal and icily polite” when Aiden says he’s going to see Pete, another friends with benefits. “Aiden felt a flare of irritation.  Did Matt honestly think he was such a sad case that he didn’t have anyone else to spend time with?”   I was glad that Aiden has Pete, though.  Even without the benefits, Pete is a friend and about the only one Aiden can talk to about Matt.  Pete calls him out on it, too as Aiden denies what Matt means to him.  “You falling for someone.  Nobody’s immune.”

It is complicated and it gets awkward at times, with both men fighting their feelings.  The struggles they were both going through were interesting, especially as past history was part of the problem.  They had both been hurt and didn’t trust easily.  It was so heartbreaking at times to see Aiden trying to make himself believe he was okay with casual with Matt, particularly since Matt just doesn’t want more than sex with a man. 

I liked this very much and the whole Mad Mucker just added to the interest for me.  It was somehow fitting that things come to a head at the race, since that’s what started it all.  I would recommend this highly.

Cover art, a running man, in my mind was Aiden and fit the story very well.

Sales Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Ye6AFm

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2LGRciK

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/NothingVentured

Book Details:

ebook, 142 pages
Published November 12th 2014
Original Title Nothing Ventured
ISBN 163216423X (ISBN13: 9781632164230)
Edition Language English
URL http://jaynorthcote.com/coming-soon/

An Alisa Review: The Midspring Rebellion by Doreen Heron

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Rating:  2.5 stars out of 5

Things are amiss in the fairy court, made worse one spring morning when King Oberon’s wife decides to leave him. His decision to gather his thoughts in the human realm lead him into the path, and arms, of workaholic human Nick Chandler. But when Oberon’s throne is threatened, will he be able to retain his kingship and his newfound love?

I liked how this book first started and the interactions between Oberon and Nick.  Oberon wants to get away after his wife leaves him while Nick is still trying to bury his grief and guilt in work.

Oberon and Nick just seemed to click and both opened up well with each other.  However, the story quickly went off track with the whole Oberon kidnapping and rescue.  I just didn’t get the point of it and it wasn’t cohesive with the first part of the story.  I just felt confused and when the story ended I didn’t feel like anything was resolved because it just jumped ahead and seriously how is King Oberon living in the human world and not in the fairy realm.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and I like the visual of Oberon, even if I don’t think it exactly fits him.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 25,100 words

Published: July 22, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-951057-08-4

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review:Sword Dance (Sword Dance #1) by A.J. Demas

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Five years ago, Damiskos’s brilliant military career was cut short, leaving him with a permanent disability and scars that are not all physical. Adrift and still grieving, he tries to find meaning in an unsatisfying job.

Work takes him to the remote seaside villa of an old friend, where, among an odd assortment of guests, he meets the eunuch sword-dancer Varazda. Enigmatic and beautiful but distinctly prickly, Varazda is the antithesis of the straightforward and serious Damiskos. Yet as they keep getting in each other’s way at the villa, their mutual dislike is complicated by a spark of undeniable attraction.

Then the villa’s guests begin to reveal their true characters and motives—no one here is what they seem—and Damiskos finds himself at the centre of a bizarre web of espionage, theft, and assassination. Varazda may need Damiskos’s help, but not as much as Damiskos, finally awakening to a new sense of life and purpose, needs Varazda.

Sword Dance is the first book in the Sword Dance trilogy, an m/m romance set in an imaginary ancient world, with murderous philosophy students, sex acts named after fruit, and love blossoming in the midst of mayhem.

The first story in a planned trilogy, Sword Dance (Sword Dance #1) by A.J. Demas is an engrossing novel that just happens to encompass the beginnings of a relationship between a eunuch and a retired ex warrior, political intrigue and rebellion, religious intolerance, racial purity factions, and even  same sex love condemnation and slavery differing perspectives.  Not enough?  Add in characters each dealing with their own issues of PTSD.  And this is a fantasy novel.

And an incredible one at that.

The only thing missing here is a map and I sort of wish the author had supplied one of those so I could geographically place the various countries in my mind, otherwise the world building, which I suspect the author will continue into the next story, is superb. From the different cultures to the cities and towns discussed/or used as a setting, it all has the feel of an authentic, well thought out world.  It feels familiar, although it’s a place we will never step foot in. And its peopled with nuanced characters as vivid and believable as the locations they inhabit.

It all starts with our weary, hurting traveler,Damiskos.  His history will unfold along with the story, and as we find out, everyone here has multiple layers to their personage.  Even down to the slaves that serve the Mistress and owner of the Mansion that he has traveled to, their hidden depths appear as the book progresses.  But none so great as with the eunuch Varazda.  His complexities are equal to those of Damiskos, perhaps surpass it.  Their pasts full of anguish, their present full of surprises.

Even with that blurb there are many twists and turns here within this story that I just adored.  It’s full of action and a relationship that’s introspective as well as passionate on its own terms. The author treats the element of Varazda being a eunuch with respect as well as within the culture of this world.  That turns out to mean Varazda’s emotions and feelings about  his physical state and much more.  It’s a sensitive and beautiful portrayal of a person who’s undergone an horrific act of mutilation and survived.

What A.J. Demas does is create authentic, connectable people.  Strong, flawed, wonderful characters, men and women,  who pull you into their lives and this story and make you wish you had the next novel right in your hands when Sword Dance is over.

Because as it ends on the precipice of another journey.  One I can’t wait to take with them both.   If it’s half as splendid as this one, it will be a magnificent tale.

If you love fantasy stories, ones with high adventure and twists and turns you don’t expect?  Pick up Sword Dance (Sword Dance #1) by A.J. Demas.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art: Aud Koch, Cover design by Lennan Adams. Love this cover.  It’s different yet I can clearly see both characters within the moving artwork. Gorgeous.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details”Kindle Edition, 265 pages
Published July 31st 2019 by Sexton’s Cottage
ASIN B07VPDNCRG
Edition Language English
Series Sword Dance #1

 

Love Contemporary Romance? Check Out the Blog Tour for Beautiful Trauma (Queen City Rogues #3) by Aimee Nicole Walker (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Beautiful Trauma

Queen City Rogues Series, Book 3

Aimee Nicole Walker

M/M Romance

Release Date: 07.18.19

Beautiful Trauma Cover

Cover model: Joel Leslie

Photographer: Christopher John

Cover artist: Jay Aheer

Beautiful Trauma Graphic

Blurb

Does trauma define or motivate a person?

Homeless and rejected, Henry Sullivan arrived on the doorstep of Ryan’s Place with nothing but the clothes on his back. Life as he knew it was over. Within those walls, Henry found the encouragement and love needed to turn hopeless into hopeful. Enrolling for summer classes at his community college was the first step toward achieving the dreams he thought were lost to him. There was just one little snag: the professor standing in the front of the room taught Henry the true meaning of human sexuality.

After a crushing breakup, Professor Ezra Meyer moved to the Queen City for a fresh start where everything was new—job, home, and friends. His first challenge: prove the benefits of his biology of human sexuality course outweighed the controversy. Ezra agreed to teach the class during the summer semester at a community college associated with his university to gauge interest. There was just one little problem: Ezra had personally demonstrated the unit on Sexual Technique and Behaviors with one of his students.

Random or Fate?

It was supposed to be a harmless hookup on a night when Henry was celebrating his birthday and Ezra was trying to ease his loneliness. Fast forward six months later, the attraction blazed hotter than ever, but acting on it could have dire consequences neither man was willing to risk. Or were they? Could true love be Henry and Ezra’s ultimate reward, or were they destined to become just another sad lesson learned?

Beautiful Trauma is a story about triumph over tragedy, embracing the unexpected, and a reminder that family is more than biology. Are you looking for a feel-good romance with witty banter, toe-curling passion, and a story that stays with you long after the final page? Look no further. Beautiful Trauma is the third book in the Queen City Rogues series but reads as a standalone book. It contains sexually explicit material and colorful language and is intended for adults 18 and over.

http://mybook.to/Beautiful_Trauma

Beautiful Trauma Teas 3

Excerpt

Ezra lifted his head and smiled down at me. “I like the way you think.”He started to lower his head to kiss me but jerked back. “Fuck!”

“What is it? A muscle spasm?”

“Hey now,”Ezra said, sounding offended. “I’m not that old.”

“There’s no age requirement for a muscle spasm. Remember my limp earlier tonight?”

Ezra nodded to acknowledge my point. “It wasn’t a spasm; a mosquito bit me on the ass.”

He looked so outraged that a mosquito would dare take a bite of his ass. I couldn’t stop the laughter building inside me. “I-I’m sorry,”I managed to say before the dam broke and it burst from my chest. “I’d bite your ass too if I were her.”

Ezra tried not to laugh, but he joined me until he got bit a second time. “That’s it,”he said firmly, leaping to his feet. “It’s time for a bath, then you need to get some sleep.”He blew out the candles and crooked his fingers for me to follow.

On our way to the bathroom, I watched in puzzlement as Ezra stopped by his bedside table and picked up his phone.

“Checking your messages?”I asked.

“Adding citronella candles to my shopping list before I forget,” he quipped. He looked at me with a raised brow. “Not a single smartass joke out of you about faulty memories at my age.”I

held up my hands in surrender. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”My lips quivered and threatened to give way to laughter yet again.

“Get in the bathroom,”Ezra said, pointing to the doorway.

“Yes, sir,” I said cheekily then gasped when Ezra’s hand landed soundly against my bare ass. I spun around to face him. “Spanking wasn’t in the lesson tonight.”

“Keep it up, and you’re going to get a firsthand lesson in spankings, Henry.”

The idea thrilled me to the core, and I suddenly wanted to be naughty—very, very naughty.

Aimee Nicole Walker Logo

Ever since she was a little girl, Aimee Nicole Walker entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day. I’d love to hear from you

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For Your Next Fantasy, Check Out the Book Tour for Sword Dance (Sword Dance #1) by A.J. Demas (giveaway)

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Length: 82,000 words approx.
 
Cover Art: Aud Koch
 
Cover Design: Lennan Adams
 
Blurb
 

Five years ago, Damiskos’s brilliant military career was cut short, leaving him with a permanent disability and scars that are not all physical. Adrift and still grieving, he tries to find meaning in an unsatisfying job.


Work takes him to the remote seaside villa of an old friend, where, among an odd assortment of guests, he meets the eunuch sword-dancer Varazda. Enigmatic and beautiful but distinctly prickly, Varazda is the antithesis of the straightforward and serious Damiskos. Yet as they keep getting in each other’s way at the villa, their mutual dislike is complicated by a spark of undeniable attraction.


Then the villa’s guests begin to reveal their true characters and motives—no one here is what they seem—and Damiskos finds himself at the centre of a bizarre web of espionage, theft, and assassination. Varazda may need Damiskos’s help, but not as much as Damiskos, finally awakening to a new sense of life and purpose, needs Varazda.


Sword Dance is the first book in the Sword Dance trilogy, an m/m romance set in an imaginary ancient world, with murderous philosophy students, sex acts named after fruit, and love blossoming in the midst of mayhem.

 

For Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ 5 star review, visit here.  We highly recommend it.

A.J. Demas is an ex-academic who once studied and taught medieval literature. Now she looks after her two-year-old daughter and writes romances set in an imaginary world that is sort of like the ancient Mediterranean with the serial numbers filed off. She also publishes fantasy and historical fiction with a metaphysical twist as Alice Degan. She lives in Toronto.


Newsletter: http://ajdemas.com/list/
Website: http://ajdemas.com/
Twitter: @ajdemaswriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajdemas/

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Check Out the Review Tour for Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Ye6AFm

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2LGRciK

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/NothingVentured

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Mud, sweat, and reluctant romance. Can Aiden and Matt sort out their feelings before race day?

When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.

Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.

Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.

 Check out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here. We highly recommend it.

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

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