A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

As is typical of Jay Northcote’s work, this romance is between everyday people going about their everyday lives in the UK—something I always appreciate. In this story, the setting is Wales, and the characters have disabilities unseen to the naked eye. Yes, anxiety, depression, addiction, and recovery from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. A tough subject, but the author does an outstanding job showing all facets of both of their diseases and their work on recovery from past traumas.

Stephen is finally on the road to recovery from the Guillain-Barré Syndrome that has left him too weak to do more than work from home doing small bookkeeping jobs. That suits his reclusive nature, but he deeply hates the fact that his once beautiful garden and lawn is now a tangle of weeds, and he uses his blog to bitterly relate his distress over his loss of mobility. 

Luke is recovering from a breakdown after overuse of drugs and alcohol sent him into a decline. He’s fairly wealthy from the IT company he established, but that intense work is something he can’t currently face and he debates whether he even wants to return to the pressure. His assistant sees an opportunity to link Luke with his old college friend Stephen in the hopes that Luke can assist Stephen around his house while getting a heavy dose of country fresh air and Stephen will get someone who can perhaps help him with his garden.

As evidenced by the wording in the blurb, “a seed of hope is planted,” the author uses garden similes to move the story forward. Luke grows, changes, blossoms under Stephen’s pride in his work on the garden. Stephen, in turn, becomes more outgoing, flowering under Luke’s watchful eye and helpful hands. The bottom line is they grow closer, eventually have sex, then more sex, then friends with benefits, and then when Luke realizes he wants to stay, he puts his big foot in his mouth and causes enough turmoil to get booted back to London. 

Their internal conflicts, past experiences, family issues, and Luke’s history with addiction, as well as Stephen’s slow recovery from the disease that weakened all his muscles provides the meat of the story. It’s slow-burn, sweet, packed with the flavor of the UK, and ends on a HEA. I very definitely recommend it to lovers of MM romance.

The cover by Garrett Leigh is a black-and-white photo of a shirtless man standing in a dejected pose. It’s a bit dark to attract attention; however, it does nicely depict the emotional burdens the men in the story carry. 

Buy Links:
Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Jaybird Press
ASINB07YCL8YD5
Edition Language English

Check Out the Review Tour for Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links:
Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.


Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.


Luke is more used to a concrete jungle. He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.


A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.


This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.

 

Check out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ review here.  We love it and 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 self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press.


Website: https://jaynorthcote.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jay_Northcote
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotewriter
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction
Facebook author group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jaysplayground
Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers
Jay’s books: http://author.to/JayNorthcote

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Check Out the Release Blitz for Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: 
Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.


Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.


Luke is more used to a concrete jungle. He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.


A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.


This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.

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 self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press.


Website: https://jaynorthcote.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jay_Northcote
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotewriter
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction
Facebook author group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jaysplayground
Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers
Jay’s books: http://author.to/JayNorthcote

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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/

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.

Website
Twitter
Facebook profile
Facebook author page
Facebook author group
Newsletter
Jay’s books

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Release Blitz for Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
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.

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.

Website
Twitter
Facebook profile
Facebook author page
Facebook author group
Newsletter
Jay’s books

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An Alisa Audio Review: Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

What happens when “nothing serious” turns into something more complicated?

Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over, and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.

Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.

As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close and “nothingserious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?

This is a story I read years ago and enjoyed it and I always love listening to the audiobooks of those stories.  Mark and Jamie are adorable together form the very beginning.  I loved the instant connection they had which is what caused their non-relationship actual develop into a real relationship.  Though as always I hate when it takes till the very end of the story for the characters to see the truth.

I always love Michael Pauley’s narration and this story was no different.  The voices for the most part the different voices he used help keep track of the story.  I felt connected to these characters and loved the sex scenes.

Cover art by Anna Sikorska is nice and I like the visual of Jamie.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 4hrs 3mins
Published: April 4, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: The Little Things by Jay Northcote and Matthew Lloyd Davies (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A different sort of story from Jay Northcote than I am used to, the early parts of this book deal with the relationship between Joel and his three-year-old daughter, Evie, and her mother Clare. Clare and Joel were friends when younger, and when one drunken experiment too many led to pregnancy, Joel agreed to joint custody. There was no need to discuss marriage because Joel is gay and not interested in more with Clare. In fact, as the story opens, he and his young boyfriend Dan are the primary focus when Evie is not around. It’s evident that Dan is not the love of Joel’s life, as Joel is undisturbed by Dan’s side sexual encounters, but quite a bit of page time is devoted to the period in which they are together. Eventually, Joel and Dan lose interest in each other and the relationship fades.

I really thought we’d never get to a point where Joel gets involved with the second MC of the story—Liam, a nurse at the hospital where Clare is taken after a tragic accident leaves Joel with permanent custody of his daughter. Though they met the night of the accident, it’s ages before the two start dating, and well past the time Joel breaks up with Dan. The latter segment of the story involves not only dealing with Joel’s grief but also being with Liam, flirting, dating, breaking up, and then finally finding something more lasting. It may have been because I listened via audio, but I never really got invested in Joel, never mind in both of the men he dates in the story. This felt like more of a family drama with his parental relationship with Evie as the primary focus and much less about romance.

This is an audio review so a word about the narration: I generally enjoy this narrator, Matthew Lloyd Davies, but this time his reading was a bit stilted and made the story sound like he was reading from a children’s book. Granted, it’s possible it was the way the book was written, but in either event, it was not an exciting audio so I don’t recommend the story in audio format.

The cover by Garrett Leigh @Black Jazz Design is a black, white, and gray photo of a young man in a thinking pose, his head in his hand. It’s okay, but the dull tone is not something that would attract viewers.

Sales Links:  Amazon Audible

Audio Book Details:

Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes
Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Audible Audio
Published April 17th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 21st 2013)
Original TitleThe Little Things
ASINB00WA8Q55E
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Mud & Lace (Rainbow Place #4) by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A delightful romance, Wicksy, whom we met in previous Rainbow Café stories, learns that love comes in all sizes, shapes, and sexes when he falls for Lady Gogo, the drag queen who first caught his attention during a talent show held at the café.

Wicksy is one of the rugby team members who showed up in book one to help Seb clear the vandalism from Rainbow Place just before it opened. He’s always been straight, but ever since he learned more about the LGBTQ inclusive café, he tags along with his friends and enjoys the ambiance.  When Lady Gogo is offered a chance to perform at the café, after her successful premier during a talent contest, Wicksy is intrigued. For some reason, that beautiful feminine face and figure pique his interest. He knows the drag queen is a man, but doesn’t care. He wants to get to know him better.

Lady Gogo is Charlie, a sweet fem young man who lives with his mom and loves dressing in women’s clothing—from lingerie to outerwear.  His mom is accepting and loving and fully onboard with Charlie’s journey of self-discovery.  Charlie thinks it’s too good to be true when Wicksy seems interested in him and then goes further and gets to know him better.  Wicksy appreciates Charlie’s gender fluidity and eventually comes to realize he must be bisexual to be so into Charlie and accepting of him as he is. 

The author did an outstanding job in building not only a slow burn romance but also a slow burn awakening of sexuality in Wicksy and a slow burn awareness of sexual identity in Charlie. The secondary characters were just perfect, some of whom we met in previous books, others we met in this one. My favorite was Charlie’s mom, who was really wonderful, showing care and concern and total acceptance of who he is and who he wants to be.

I’m impressed by the writing, the creativity of the story, the attention to detail, the sensitivity to the subject and the characters themselves. To me, this is the best of the series, and though some characters have been seen previously, this book can be read as a standalone.  I very highly recommend this satisfying romance.

The bright, colorful cover by Garrett Leigh features a handsome, shirtless, smiling man. The rainbow-colored bar across the bottom of the cover ties the story to the others in the series. This one is so colorful it “feels” happy and made we want to pick it up to read. 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 226 pages
Published April 25th 2019 by Jaybird Press (first published April 22nd 2019)
ASINB07QZL99YK
SeriesRainbow Place #4

Rainbow Place Series

Book #1 – Rainbow Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Safe Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Better Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Need A New Contemporary Romance? Check Out the Review Tour for Mud & Lace (Rainbow Place #4) by Jay Northcote

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Length: 240 pages
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Rainbow Place Series



Book #1 – Rainbow Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Safe Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Better Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK

 
Blurb



When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.


Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.


Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.


When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.


Although this book is part of a linked series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

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.


Website
Twitter
Facebook profile
Facebook author page
Facebook author group
Newsletter
Jay’s books

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here.  We highly recommend this wonderful story!

 

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