A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Devil’s Hour (Zero Hour #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

I usually enjoy this author’s work but my enjoyment of this one couldn’t even climb to 3 stars. I first met Detectives Locke and Key in book one, which I enjoyed, but in this story they spent a lot of time having sex, and I didn’t feel the emotional connection. Yes, they spoke of their feelings and making a commitment, but their behavior was more like a teen’s and far from what I’d expect of mature men in a professional situation. 

An example of that is how (very) many times, they thought about having sex with the other or thought about their ass or other body parts, even when they were in serious or dangerous conditions. Somehow I just couldn’t dig deep enough to believe experienced detectives would toss all their caution to the wind to ogle their partner when they should be working. And there were one or two times when I actually made a note on the kindle app that their comments or behavior was inappropriate for the scene.

As to the case—the case that was constantly put on the back burner while the guys took time for sex. To be honest, the plot wasn’t cohesive and it wasn’t interesting enough to follow. With so many interruptions for sexy times, I lost interest in the case that involved a threat to the mayor by a group of religious zealots. The mayor was an ass right from the start and the group claiming to hold her and others accountable for the sinners and criminals in the story wasn’t even remotely interesting and certainly not unique.

As the story closes, Locke and Key have more work to do on their relationship, and Locke has more work to do to prove himself mature and capable in his new position as sergeant on the force. Their romance will continue in the next book but I don’t plan to continue following the series.

The cover, by Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art, features a handsome bare-chested man with a superimposed bullet hole in glass over part of the picture. Done in shades of red and black it’s attractive but a bit dark to attract attention.   

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 261 pages
Published December 16th 2019 by Chasing Rainbows Press LLC
ASIN B082KDRS31
Edition Language English
Series Zero Hour #2

Love Fantasy? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Lord of Thundertown by O.F. Cieri (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Lord of Thundertown

Author: O.F. Cieri

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 64800

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBT, fantasy, monsters, magic, New York, contemporary, urban fantasy

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Synopsis

In the movies, Thundertown was depicted like a real town, with boundaries, Folk-run businesses, and a government. In real life, Thundertown was a block here or there, three businesses on the same side of the street, an unconnected sewer main, or a single abandoned building.

When an epidemic of missing person cases is on the rise, the police refuse to act. Instead, Alex Delatorre goes to Thundertown for answers and finds clues leading to a new Lord trying to unite the population.

No one has seen the Lord, and the closer Alex gets to him, the farther Alex gets from his path home.

Excerpt

Lord of Thundertown
O.F. Cieri © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
Sam was tired. All day long, she moved furniture in a small, dirty room in a warehouse in Brooklyn. She got on the train to go home. The conductor announced service delays, and Sam got as comfortable as she could in the glossy plastic seat.

There was no flash of lightning to signal a change. The insidious thing about the Aether was that humans were ill-equipped at handling it. Children had a better chance of being aware of it during a power surge, although they usually experienced it in migraines and blurred visions. The Folk handled the Aether best, and usually very judiciously, because the Aether was a force of nature that couldn’t be reasoned with to respect private property or the sanctity of life. It activated when called and filled the parameters set out for it, and any gap in logic released a flood of unintended consequences. The only sign of something going wrong came from the lights in the subway shutting off abruptly.

Even then, Sam didn’t panic. There were electrical surges all the time, and the lights usually came on in seconds. Instead, she remembered taking the subway with her elementary school class and shrieking with the other girls whenever the lights flickered, thrilled by the shock.

The train hit a hard bump, but rather than rocking back onto the track, the train lurched and tipped erratically. She couldn’t see the other passengers, but she could hear the impact as they thudded against the far wall. Sam managed to hold her grip as a long-empty soda can flew past her head and empty sunflower seed shells rained past. Her heart gripped in her chest as she came face to face with the fact that she’d cast her shot and landed the one-in-a-billion chance to climb aboard a train as it tipped into the river. She was only surprised by how dark the sky was.

The Aether, according to scientific inquiry, does not exist. It can not be touched, seen, smelled, tasted or heard, nor can it be weighed or measured in any other way with tools. The Aether is completely undetectable by any means except the brain; and not clearly.

The train twisted, and so did Sam’s grip. Her wrist popped as gravity wrenched it in an unnatural direction, and she fell, landing feet first on the seat she’d flown out of. Pain shot up her ankles, but the sharp jolt barely distracted her from the rattling of the carriage shaking across a hard surface. The high-pitched scream of sharp edges scraping across metal echoed throughout the train, and then suddenly ceased.

Humans have always shared the earth with Folk. There are records as early as the Kingdom of Ur, which mentions Other Lands that exist parallel to the common one. There are records as early as the written word of Great Beasts and supernaturally gifted nobility.

Sam turned on the flashlight of her phone. The windows were broken, and the foot of the train punctured through the floor near the door to the back. Someone was on the floor, trying to pull themselves up by climbing the train seat but not finding the friction, somehow. Another body sat upright, one shoe off. Slowly it raised its head and looked down at a hand that dangled lifelessly off their wrist. There was a guttural sob of pain.

When ancient kingdoms annexed new territory, they would often discover hostile members of the Folk. The ruler of the invading army would have to choose whether to destroy them, or bribe them. Soldiers throughout history have been immortalized for slaying Great Beasts in the service of their King, and similarly, simple farmers and fishermen were elevated to nobility by accepting the ruler’s authority, and recognized as the Lord of the Forest, or Lady of the Lake.

“Are you ok?” Sam asked. The words slurred in her mouth. She couldn’t be sure she was understood. She tried to stand, but her weight pitched in a direction she didn’t expect and she stumbled. She pocketed her phone and dug out a small keychain light instead. More durable, she thought. Better use of battery power. “Are you ok?”

The Lords were meant to be the arm of the state regarding the Folk, any Aetheric or ‘magical’ phenomenon. However, reports of erratic or unpredictable behavior lead Government officials to tap more amiable outsiders for traditional Lordship roles.

It still sounded like she was drunk. There was a click behind her, and the rattle of the door between the train cars sliding open. The carriage was bathed in a dim orange glow. When Sam looked behind her, she saw the train conductor holding a construction lantern. She was an older black woman, gold braids disheveled.

“Is anybody hurt?”

None of this affects the quality of life for everyday Folk. Many preferred to live in the country where private property and building laws allowed them to maintain their own standards. While cities serve as hubs of commerce, the practical effect leaves many at the mercy of a standard of living, including enforced daytime activity, above-ground dwellings, little access to fresh or saltwater, and little tolerance for symbiotic parasite bonding. As a result, many of the Folk engage in creative means to maintain their health and well-being.

“Yeah–” Sam began.

A voice cut her off, shrill and panicked. “What’s going on? What’s happening? Why aren’t we moving?”

The conductor raised her hand and tried to quiet the shouting passenger. “Calm down, please. I don’t know, but before we find out, I want to get everybody off the train. Is anybody hurt too bad to walk?”

“No,” said the person with the broken wrist. They sounded like they were in tears, muttering through chattering teeth; “No, no, no, no, no–”

“Good,” the conductor spoke slowly and calmly. “Everyone, please follow behind me in an orderly line.”

Thundertown is a well-known example, arising from an illegal settlement dug into an outcropping of Manhattan Gneiss in New York City. According to records, the Thundertown population was predominantly immigrant, with few English speakers in its first few decades.

The conductor walked down the aisle of the train, balancing against the wall for support. She led a trail of dirty and terrified people behind her, inching along as if huddling for warmth from the glow of the lantern. As she passed, Sam saw her holding a twelve-year-old girl to her waist, clutching her hand tightly. The small girl looked calm and supported the older woman’s elbow as if carrying her gently above the crowd.

The City of New York has repeatedly dissolved the Thundertown settlement.

A pair of doors hung open a few carriages in. The conductor dipped her light outside and pressed her toe down, testing to see if it was safe to leave. She clutched the side of the train door as she lowered down, her foot swinging out blindly for something to anchor itself to. Slowly, she touched down on something, and slowly she shifted her weight off the train and onto the ground beneath. The ground was flat, uniform, and unremarkable.

Unfortunately, the area is too well-known to remain closed for long.

There were no train tracks.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

O F Cieri lives in New York, where she spends most of her time thinking about anything but what she’s doing at the moment. Her favorite parts of history are the fight scenes. Lord of Thundertown is her first published work.

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Love Hockey Romance? Check Out the Reveal Blitz for Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3) by Amy Aislin (excerpt and giveaway)

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Release Blitz: SHOTS ON GOAL by Amy Aislin

Series: Stick Side #3

Publisher: self-published

Release Date January 7, 2020

Length (Print & Ebook): 84,600 words | 330 pages

Genre: contemporary/new adult romance

Tropes: opposites attract, made family

Cover artist: Natasha Snow

Order now:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shots-on-goal-amy-aislin/1134804933

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/shots-on-goal-2

Amazon: https://geni.us/ShotsOnGoal

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/shots-on-goal/id1487229069

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47968323-shots-on-goal

Book blurb:

Recently traded to the newly formed Vermont Trailblazers, professional hockey player Roman Kinsey needs to focus on helping the team win games and filling the stands, not on the blond, bespectacled part-timer who works at the library he volunteers at. He knows all too well that outing himself equals heartache and ridicule…or worse.

Cody Evans, psych major and grad school hopeful, notices everything and thinks too much. But he doesn’t know what to think when he sees Roman reading to kids. The rugged hockey player just doesn’t look like the type. But it stirs something in him, something he’s never felt before.

When the library is threatened with closure, Cody enlists Roman’s help. As they get to know each other better…much, much better…they realize that they have more in common than books. But Roman’s keeping a big part of himself from his team, and giving in to his feelings for Cody might be more than he’s willing to risk.

Reviews:

“With lots of hockey, delicious food, and the sweetest couple ever, Amy Aislin scores a hat trick with Shots on Goal.” — Kelly Jensen, award-winning author of Block and Strike

Shots on Goal is a great wintertime read. Like a warm blanket and a mug of hot chocolate! Huddle up by the fire and enjoy this cozy story!” — Allison Temple, author of The Seacroft Stories series

“I love hockey romance, and this book delivered all the romance I needed alongside awesome hockey.” — RJ Scott, USA Today bestselling author

“I’m already a big fan of Amy Aslin’s Stick Side series, so I was thrilled to get an early read of Shots on Goal. Cody and Roman’s story didn’t disappoint. Shots on Goal is the perfect blend of the beloved sports and small-town romance tropes. Roman’s gruff, strained interactions with his ice hockey team play well against Cody’s heartwarming relationship with his fellow library lovers. As these two men inadvertently team up to help save the historic library, Roman realizes there just may be someone worth opening up to, and at the same time, Cody learns that sometimes falling in love brings with it tough choices. Shots on Goal is a strong addition to Aislin’s delicious world-building surrounding the sexy, competitive world of hockey. We get to visit old friends from previous books, but it is not necessary to have read them to enjoy Shots on Goal.” — Lucy Lennox, Bestselling author

Excerpt:

“You read?”

“Why do you say that like I’m an unintelligent jock who’s never seen a book in his life?” Roman asked. He didn’t sound insulted, merely curious.

“No, that’s not what I meant.” Or was it? “I guess I figured you wouldn’t have enough time to read.”

“I’m a hockey player, not a doctor. I do get downtime.”

“Enough downtime to come watch my friend’s game sometime?”

Roman finished off his coffee and set his mug on the table. “I suppose. Don’t know why you want me to so bad, though.”

You look like you need friends was not the way Cody should answer. He tried for nonchalant and shrugged. “Why wouldn’t you? The Mountaineers are awesome, Glen Hill isn’t too far from Burlington, and it’s a great way to spend an evening.”

“The University of Vermont has a hockey team. I could just go watch them.”

Cody scowled at the mention of the Glen Hill Mountaineers’ rivals. “Traitor.”

It made Roman laugh and little creases formed at the corner of his eyes, which, for some reason, made Cody grin back at him.

Author Information:

Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter here.

Website: https://amyaislin.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amyaislin/

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amyaislin

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amy-aislin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amy_aislin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amy.aislin  

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyAislinAuthor  

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ddvWFv

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amyaislinauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16693566.Amy_Aislin  

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/amyaislin    

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/amy-aislin/  

Release blitz giveaway:

Winner’s choice of ONE signed paperback from Amy’s backlist!

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**The Nature of the Game (Stick Side #2) is on $0.99 sale from January 7-13, 2020!**

Cover Reveal and Giveaway for Fade In (A Tales of Bryant Romance) by V.L. Locey

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Release Date: January 22 2020
 

Cover Design: Meredith Russell



Length: 34,000 words approx.


Tales of Bryant Series


Book #1 – Tales of Bryant – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #2 – Nine Small Sips – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Blurb


Will Devon and Caiden discover that their new love is a wrap after the filming ends?


Weddings, champagne, and slow dancing. It’s a lethal combination and one that has led film student Devon Maxwell into one awkward predicament. Brought in at the last minute to help his friends Isamu and Brian during their Bryant Park wedding, Devon was not prepared for Caiden Dell to sweep into his life. The spark of attraction between him and the hip film executive was instantaneous. That spark led them right into Caiden’s big bed for a night of pleasure that Devon will never be able to duplicate no matter how many takes life gives him.


To make things even more complicated, Caiden offers the recently vacated job of office intern to him. He’d be a fool to turn down an offer to work at Budgie in the Dell, the hottest LGBT film production company in the Big Apple. Looks as if Devon’s hopes of working in film are about to come true. He’s ready for days filled with tiring shoots, long hours, and irate actors. He just never dreamed his nights would overflow with passion, laughter, and whispers shared with a gorgeous, older lover.

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

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