A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Pansies (Spires Universe) by Alexis Hall

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

pansies-by-alexis-hallWhew!  I’m emotionally exhausted from following just a few weeks in the lives of Alfie and Fen as they rediscover each other and move their relationship forward from enemies to lovers.

When Alfie leaves his posh London apartment, secured with money he’s made while working as a financial guru for the past seven years, he drives in his equally posh sports car back to his hometown of South Shields in Northern England where nothing is posh.  It’s rundown and depressing, and yet he feels hopeful and renewed by getting in touch with his roots.  A night out has an unexpected result—he spies a hot twink with long hair and a gorgeous ass in the local bar, but when the two end up in bed together he learns this isn’t a stranger at all.  It’s the guy he knew as James in high school—a guy who he bullied and tortured to the point where James’s life was so miserable he went by his middle name, instead of his real name of Fenimore, nicknamed Fen.  And Fen is shocked when he learns Alfie doesn’t recognize him at all, but he sets Alfie straight when he gives him the tongue-lashing he deserves—and not the kind of tongue Alfie may have been hoping for.

Though the story was long, I enjoyed the fact that the author took the time to explore each man’s personality and psyche individually and then together, weaving memories of their pasts with the present, unfurling Alfie’s feelings of his discovery of being gay, and then of falling in love, and finally, of realizing what love really means and of coming to terms with who he is.  At times heartbreaking, at times infused with humor, each man’s story is unique, and yet the stories are easily intertwined to bring the couple to the present where they discover a love neither had envisioned and neither is willing to give up.

I was swept up in their story, at times rooting for Alfie, at times crying for Fen, and once—wanting to smack Alfie upside the head for listening to advice from Fen’s father.  Thankfully, the story ended with a HEA—always the best ending in my opinion.  I recommend this to those who enjoy MM romance, especially a romance that takes the time to fully develop between two men who were at odds previously and now learn to appreciate the best and worst in each other’s lives.

The cover by Simoné is fantastic!  In fact, I chose the book based on the cover. It clearly depicts Pansies, the flower shop around which the story is based, and it shows the couple in a joyous moment—big, muscular Alfie, holding a smaller, lithe Fen as they laugh together in front of the shop.

Sales Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Riptide Publishing

All Romance | iBooks | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 376 pages
Published October 8th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitlePansies
ASINB01M8FV8RB
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSpires Universe

In the Spotlight with Pansies (Spires Universe) by Alexis Hall (giveaway)

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Pansies (Spires Universe) by Alexis Hall
R
iptide Publishing
Cover art by Simoné

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

About Pansies

Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.

It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn’t met anyone like Fen before.

Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.

Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.

Available from Riptide Publishing: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/pansies

About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Connect with Alexis:


Website: quicunquevult.com
Blog: quicunquevult.com/blog
Twitter: @quicunquevult
Goodreads: goodreads.com/alexishall

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Pansies, one lucky winner will receive their choice of 3 ebooks from Alexis Hall’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 15, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Stella Review: For Real by Alexis Hall

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

For Real coverLaurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

Usually I don’t read books this long (this one is 437 beautiful pages), cause they always dragged at some point during the story. Not For Real by Alexis Hall. I was caught in the MCs’ lives till the end, there wasn’t one little moment of boredom. I didn’t want to put it down and I could have going on for another 400 pages. I felt everything Laurie and Toby felt, almost if I was there in their amazing world.

Of course I didn’t expect anything other than perfection from Alexis Hall. Recently I realized that he could simply write my favorite pie recipe and turn it in a masterpiece. He not “just can write”, there a lot of authors that can really write, he writes magically, everything is so poetic, even the smallest and stupid description of something you could have thought useless for the purpose of the story. The use of words in the descriptions and the reality of this story were two elements that made this book a winner to me. Even if the story flows easy, still I found it complex and that was what I appreciated more.

For Real is definitely not the usual BDSM story, the way in which the roles were defined plus everything was one continuous discovery. And not just for the young Toby, too young to know how to express himself in his desire of dominate Laurie. This was a dynamic I hadn’t read yet, at first it almost sounded strange to me but then I got it. I understood that the author gave me Toby and Laurie, two real characters, both full of flaws but true in their feelings. Their story was complicated, sweet and hot. Moreover I so appreciated to be able to know every little detail that went on in their minds.

As I said a complex book with a beautiful happy ending. I already know I’m going to reread it very soon because the positive, happy vibes it gave me are addictive. For Real deserves absolutely a spot on my fave shelf. Not a crumble less than 5 stars!

Cover art by Simoné. I love this artist style, it’s magical and dreamy. This cover is perfect and fitting in every detail. I especially love the colors and all that light coming from the windows. Just like the book, it’s real.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing  |  All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:
Published June 1st 2015 by Riptide Publishing
ebook, 437 pages
ISBN13 9781626492790
Edition Language English

Spires Universe:
Glitterland
Waiting For The Flood
For Real

What’s this “Spires” thing?

Author Alexis Hall: My feeling is that even contemporary-set romance stories to an extent take place in imagined worlds. So even though they’re not direct sequels to each other, my contemporary romances often have overlapping characters, ideas and settings. Spires is how I refer to this collection of thematically linked but otherwise standalone stories.