Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Based on the blurb, this book wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, so I struggled to rate it and review it without spoilers. This is billed as a paranormal erotic romance, and while that is true, it is so much more. Tags are spoilers, so as per usual, I will only give them when I think stories could be triggering to people. This book contains multigenerational family trauma, sexual abuse, incest, attempted suicide in first person, suicide, bipolar and OCD mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and ghosts thrown in with kinky sex. Since this is told in a single first person point of view, I got very attached to this character, but talking about him is a spoiler. This story is not told in linear time, so it might be difficult to get into the first two or three times it goes from the present to the past, but then it seems very natural as he shares his life through memories. The characters become complex and multifaceted the more the book goes on–one minute I might hate a character and the next I felt sorry for them even though that doesn’t absolve them of their awful choices.
Let’s start with the erotic romance, which I think worked very well. He meets a Dom named Devon in a club and everything goes sideways. Luckily another Dom named Mike helps him when he needs it, allowing the reader to get to know more about the main characters before any sex actually happens. The trust comes when the paranormal aspects are believed by everyone involved, which helps the romance move forward. I think this was effective. All the characters here are likeable and believable. The sex scenes are hot. With an 11 year age gap, the huge disparity in circumstances, and the added D/s aspect, there is plenty of the hurt/comfort trope in play. Devon ends up being compelling as a Dom and very endearing as a person.
There are so many great secondary characters in this book: Officer McBride, Devon’s sister-in-law Maya, Dom Mike, and the medium Maxine are the obvious favorites. There are also well written characters that evoked very negative emotions for me like Uncle Barry, Mom Dana, and Vern. Barry seemed confused about right and wrong without ever trying to figure it out. Dana deserves credit for doing the best she could at the time, she made an effort…but not enough of one to actually heal, so that saddened and frustrated me. She had plenty of opportunities to get help from mental health professionals, but just didn’t. That may seem like victim blaming to some, but she had children to raise and could have done better by them. As for Vern, I hate him. At its heart, this is the story of two brothers and their tragedy, as well as how everything got to this point–it’s a story of an American family tragedy.
As for the paranormal aspects, occultism is treated with respect here, not as a party trick. I believe in energy work, in cleansing, in the benefits of ceremony and feel like this is a really good idea for anyone who wants to find closure for grief and trauma…we have funerals for a reason. Often, the difference is at a funeral people focus on the good, forgetting the bad…and that might not help people find any sort of resolution, especially with the ridiculous notion of not “speaking ill of the dead,” which is just a whole layer of guilt people get wrapped up in. I don’t agree that intention matters most. For many, this will be a lot of woo but this is based in what some people actually practice, so either the author does believe or has done excellent research on the topic. It does walk a fine line…and then gets preachy at the end. I would have rated this higher, but I don’t like being prostalitized to. Also, evoking Robert Monroe and the Matrix Control System is strange in an LGBTQIA book because he believed one reason for his theory is because all mobiles are split into two genders, ever seeking reunion with each other. Ugh.
This book is a rare gem–entertaining and packs an emotional wallop without wallowing in emotional pornography. I like how the ideas of Platonic solids, sacred geometry, and reincarnation are synthesized together, yet the New Age ideas used to explain the phenomena were a bit offputting for me. There is a lot to unpack here, but I’m not going to get into spiritual arguments about an erotic fictional book. Finally, there is an epilogue about 4 years later than the main events of the book. I liked the range of reactions to what happened because in the end, people still choose how to process things. Having or creating an opportunity for closure doesn’t mean everyone will let go and move forward in a positive way. I’m glad theirs is psychological work with a therapist, rather than only relying on New Age ideas.
The cover design was made by Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com. At first I thought the images combined with the title were a bit misleading, but the more I think about it, I really like them for the metaphorical imagery. The main character is trapped until he gets to see the bigger picture and find his asylum, his safe place where he is free.
Cover Art:= is dark and works for the story.
Published January 2nd 2020 by JMS Books LLC
A Twin Peeks Bookstore Romance
Release Date: 08.01.19
I’ve escaped a past that would have destroyed most men: used, abused and sold for sex from a young age by those who should have protected me, an unexpected moment of compassion from a stranger gives me a chance at a new life.
Though I’ve started over, my scars run deep; I’m an LGBTQ fantasy graphic novel writer and artist with a huge following, but I’m terrified of the world. When I discover that the stranger who saved me from a life of abuse is the same man who has finally awakened my body to desire, I realize the truth: Can I ever really be free if I’m still afraid of my past and the people who shattered me?
Serving as a medic in the Middle East, I felt the life of my fiancée slip away under my hands and was powerless to stop it. Discharged with physical and emotional wounds I can’t heal, I go home to my crazy, geeky family and try to learn to live with the damage.
Pain and grief lead me to some acts I’m not proud of, including paying strangers for sex. I’m determined to keep it strictly business, no emotions involved, but when I discover that Mason Malone isn’t a high-end escort, but a battered young man forced into a life of pain and degradation, I’m frozen in indecision. Then the man with the raven curls and blue-gold eyes whispers “”Please…”” and the barriers I built around my heart shatter.
Years later, fate brings us back together. He has a new name and career, but I could never forget those eyes. Mason, unfortunately, doesn’t recognize me. Every day I find myself more and more drawn to him, but I’m terrified of what will happen when our secrets are discovered.
As both of our pasts threaten our future, can we find a path to redemption? Can love and forgiveness overcome soul-shattering pain? Or will the discovery of our shared past create a chasm too wide to bridge?
Warning: PTSD, major anxiety issues, and sexual abuse, including rape, the aftermath of child molestation, and human trafficking.
“Well, who knew? All it took was a little murder to get him back,” I said, digging my fingers into my head, trying to get rid of the headache that was growing.
“It wasn’t murder, Lee,” Bishop insisted, his voice brooking no argument. “And you know it. You were saving that him. That’s what you do: defend the helpless, protect the innocent, just like you always swore to do. Like you always did for me.”
I looked up at him and shook my head, even if he wouldn’t acknowledge it, I knew it was different.
“It wasn’t the same, Bish. There was no ‘brotherly’ love involved,” I said wryly. “Just lust. I went there to use him, just like all the other men had.”
Series: Breaking Free #1
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Briggs-King Books
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Length: 67,000 words
Genre: Romance, non-shifter Omegaverse, alternate universe, mpreg
He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…
Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.
Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”
The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.
NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 67,000 words.
“Would you be able to describe exactly what you saw that night in detail?” Tarek pulled a notepad and pen out of his front pocket.
Braun’s entire body went rigid. “Why? Who are you really?”
“I really am Tarek Bloom.” For a moment, he actually seemed contrite. “What I didn’t tell you is that I’m also a constable.”
“Shit.” Braun bolted out of his chair and toward the front door, fork still in his hand.
In a flurry of movement, Tarek was in front of him, blocking his path to the door, and Braun lashed out with the fork. Dex grabbed his wrist and plucked the fork out of his hand, but that didn’t stop Braun from swinging. He punched Tarek in the chest. Twice. Panic settled in, overriding his common sense, and he tried to push past the brick wall of a man.
“Let me go! I won’t go back, I won’t!”
Arms wrapped around his torso from behind, pinning his arms to his sides. Serge’s comforting scent settled his racing mind a bit, but it was Tarek’s hand on the back of his neck that settled Braun completely.
“Calm down, firecracker,” Tarek said. His deep voice soothed Braun’s frazzled nerves, and his touch sent his pulse racing with delight. “You’re still safe, I promise. No one here wants to hurt you.”
“Why do you care?” Braun snarled. “I’m just some useless omega you’ve known for twenty minutes.”
“You’re far from useless, little one.”
Tarek’s other hand rose, nearing Braun’s face. Braun snapped at his fingers. “I’m only a womb to you.”
“Far from it, my firecracker.” The hand on his neck squeezed. “Far from it.”
The grounding touch made Braun want to roll over and show his belly, but he was done being passed around. Done letting other people control his life. He didn’t want to feel this mating bond to Tarek, but he also couldn’t turn it off. Even with the heat block, Tarek was under his skin, doing funny things to his insides.
Angry and confused, Braun dared look an alpha in the eye.
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Meet the Author
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | A.M.’s Pot O Gold | Newsletter
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.
Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.
Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.
There’s no doubt: “Love Can’t Conquer” was absolutely, utterly brilliant. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down, which led to a couple of nights with very little sleep.
In case the blurb isn’t obvious enough for you: This story is rather dark and quite angsty. It deals with past alcohol and drug abuse, past child abuse and a bit of mental illness (mostly anxiety, but also depression). There’s also talk about attempted suicide. If that’s not your thing, back away slowly. You won’t enjoy this book.
Qay isn’t easy to like. He’s really struggling with his life, but tries his damndest to stay clean and sober. That’s not always easy and he’s not always nice. The things he’s gone through didn’t make him a nice, mellow person. They made him distrustful and full of self-doubt. Still, he was a very interesting character and my heart really went out to him. Definitely not your typical romance hero and I liked that.
He doesn’t even look like your typical romance hero: He’s skinny, he’s got scars and he’s pale. But I believed Jeremy when he said he found Qay beautiful.
Jeremy has had a less troubled life. He did have his struggles, sure, but life dealt him a better hand than it did Qay. I loved him just as much as I did Qay. Both of them had real depth and had a unique voice that I enjoyed reading.
There was also an interesting collection of side characters, each with their own depth and a potentially interesting history. I can definitely see the potential for a sequel there.
The two of them were very different and yet it felt like they were made for each other. I immediately felt the attraction between the two of them and it was easy to believe their feelings.
I loved the way Kim Fielding handled the sex. The MCs didn’t just tumble into bed, overcome by lust, without any thought or discussion, the way it so often happens in these books. Instead, both MCs made a deliberate decision to wait and really made their first time together a special occasion. They took time to savour each other and I felt like the sex really added something to their relationship.
Aside from the romance, there was also an element of mystery regarding Jeremy’s ex. Some minor parts of that were a little bit predictable, but the overall solution was definitely not expected.
Qay and Jeremy had to really work for their HEA. There was a lot of stuff for them to overcome and they had to really fight for it. I often dislike endings, but here it seemed to fit perfectly.
The way Qay’s struggle with his addiction was portrayed was very realistic. It didn’t just all go away magically because of love. He had to work to stay clean and sober every day. Some days that was harder and some days that was easier. But the struggle never just disappeared.
The whole book had a rather bleak feel to it, with a dash of hope. Kim Fielding did an amazing job portraying both MCs’ doubts and insecurities and made it easy to get caught up in the story for hours on end, without realizing how much time had passed.
If you don’t mind dark and angsty, and want your MCs to really work for their well deserved HEA together, read this book. It’s right up there with the best books I’ve read this year.
It’s the first in a new series by Kim Fielding and I’m already looking forward to the next books.
Cover: The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows a lone figure standing in the middle of a bridge. It looks a little sad and forlorn and fits the mood of the book perfectly.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon
ebook, 260 pages
Published June 3rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773217 (ISBN13: 9781634773218)
Series: Love Can’t
1. Love Can’t Conquer
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Interesting and slightly different premise to this novel by KC Wells. One man has had his heart broken when his long time boyfriend left. One man is trying to pay off the debt of his brother- by working in what is basically a brothel.
Nikko chose, in a way, to work in the brothel to pay off the debt to his brother’s employer- a known drug dealer. He thought he would be working in the kitchen or serving drinks. But really he is behind glass with other prostitutes waiting to get chosen by a john.
Mitch is talked into going to a club with a friend from work. To get himself out there and try to get over his heart break. After a drink in the innocuous bar downstairs, his friend leads him to the secret upstairs. A sex club that offers prostitutes for a price. Mitch has no interest in sex for pay, until he sees Nikko reading in the corner trying to be invisible.
Mitch falls for Nikko and Nikko for him. But…..
Like I said, this was an interesting premise which I really liked. And while Mitch was a character I’ve seen again and again, I really liked Nikko. His loyalty to his brother and his acceptance of the fate he chose was respectable. Mitch and Nikko together was very hot at times and very sweet and romantic at others. Even with all of the drama that surrounds the situation, I would still call it fairly low angst.
What I didn’t like was that Mitch kind of felt like the knight in shining armor. Swooping in the save the day. Nikko seems to have hero worship towards him and I worried that their love for each other wasn’t quite real because it grew out of such extraordinary circumstances.
A good read, generally likable characters and a tidy (too tidy?) ending that actually leaves it open for another book, either with them as the main characters or someone else taking the spotlight.
Cover art by Paul Richmond is gorgeous.
ebook, 254 pages
Published May 27th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634772865 (ISBN13: 9781634772860)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The fifth book in A. C. Katt’s Werewolves of Manhattan series is more of the same, which is a good thing for the reader. The leadership of the loup garrou and Garou Industries keep finding their mates in humans in trouble. These pairings find redemption for both men and bring gifts to the werewolf council. These will be needed as they fear an upcoming battle looms in the near future.
The human mate this time is Donal Berne. A runaway at the age of fourteen, Donal has spent the last seven years working as a call boy Vito Apuso, for an underling of Don Ferone. Apuso has abused Donal and gotten him hooked on heroin in an effort to control him. The only reason he has survived as long as he has is because of Julio, an independent call boy. However, Donal has decided that seven years of abuse from Vito and the johns he is assigned to is enough and decides to end it all with an overdose.
The Garou Industries executive this time is fifth in charge Alexi Davidoff. He was the second in command of the Russian Council. Three years ago, Alexi was arrested for protesting the inaction of the Russian police after his beta was murdered by gay bashing thugs, which caused the death of the beta’s mate as well. Having spent three years in a Russian prison nearly broke Alexi. After his release is negotiated by Garou Industries, Alexi immigrates to the United States and takes over the Colorado territory of the American Council, which is within his birthright. As he is travelling to his new home in New York City, he spots a young man on a park bench with a needle sticking out of this arm. He investigates and discovers the man is his mate and calls for help.
The resolution to Donal’s problems seems to have been solved a little too quickly but a further complication is thrown in shortly afterward. However, this threat is mostly talked about as a possible threat to both Donal and Don Ferone but is resolved almost as quickly and off screen like the first problem. The tension in the previous books just wasn’t there this time for me. The epilogue is a probably preview of the next book of the series, where unlike in the past, the future mate has already been introduced. As mentioned before, the characters mention a possible big battle that is coming in the near future. There are three more members of the Garou ruling board who are unmated, so this battle may be a ways off yet. I eagerly await the conclusion of this series.
The cover art by Winterheart Designs has Donal and Alexi above a New York skyline. Above the two men is Alexi’s wolf. It Is well done and fits the pattern of the rest of the series.
EBook, 217 pages
Edition Language: English
Published: May 20, 2016 by MLR Books
Series: Werewolves of Manhattan
- His Omega (Werewolves of Manhattan #1)
- Remy’s Painter (Werewolves of Manhattan #2)
- Scarred Mate (Werewolves of Manhattan #3)
- Marking Kane (Werewolves of Manhattan #4)
- Alexi’s Mouse (Werewolves of Manhattan #5)
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Two months after Mitch Jenkins had the rug pulled out from under him when his two-year relationship came to an abrupt end, he is still hurting. A colleague’s attempt to cheer him up brings Mitch to a secret “club.” Mitch isn’t remotely interested in the twinks parading like peacocks, until he spies the young man at the back of the room, nose firmly in a book and oblivious to his surroundings. Now Mitch is interested.
Nikko Kurokawa wants to pay his debt and get the hell out of the Black Lounge—where he is forced not only to have sex, but sometimes suffer abuse to please clients. Earning his freedom isn’t proving easy, especially when he starts attracting interest. Life becomes that little bit easier to bear when he meets Mitch, who is nothing like the other men who frequent the club. And when Mitch crawls under his skin and into his heart, Nikko figures he can put up with anything. Before long he’ll be out of there, and he and Mitch can figure out if they have a future together.
Neither of them counted on those who don’t want Nikko to leave….
K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.
And as for those men in love that she writes about? The list of stories just waiting to be written is getting longer… and longer….
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.
Local archaeologist James Summers is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.
As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.
There are certain books you approach with definite expectations of what you will find with the characters and plot. Sometimes those expectations are met, other times they aren’t. But on those rare occasions, something else happens, a book doesn’t exceed your expectations, it blows them all to hell, widening your horizons and smacking you in the face with your assumptions. That’s what occurred with Alex Beecroft’s Blue Steel Chain, the 3rd book in the Trowchester Blues series.
My love for the previous novels is apparent in the reviews I wrote and the author interview I conducted. Alex Beecroft brought alive the small village of Trowchester, with its canals, long boats, antique bookshops, Morris Dancers, historic reinactors and characters of every type imaginable, every type except boring and uninspired. Up until now Beecroft has ushered me into her world with such amazing details such as musical instruments of antiquity I yearned to hear, dances I wanted to watch and a place I desperately wanted to be real. Her characters, wounded, snarky, and amazing made me laugh, cry and nod my head in recognition and joy. Then came Blue Steel Chain and everything went topsy turvy.
Where to start when everything is unexpected and sometimes hard to understand?
Blue Steel Chain is beautifully written and thought provoking. And for me, it was also hard, emotionally, to digest at times. At the heart of all the thoughts and feelings whirling around in my head is the character of Aidan Swift. At sixteen, already thrown away by his family for his sexuality, he is fair prey for an older man hiding sick, abusive behaviors and deeds. Now eight years later, Aidan is a perpetually frightened, submissive, abused young man. Sometimes left chained and alone for hours as punishment, isolated from all around him, his state of mind is one of fear, chaos, an overwhelming need to please and much , much more.
Alex Beecroft makes Aiden so real your heart bleeds for him and your stomach churns during the scenes he has with his abuser. Trust me, those are hard to take because we have quickly come to love Aiden so. But Aiden has another secret. He’s asexual. That makes those scenes where he is being sexually abused even more problematic. Why? Because of the way he sees them. I thought I understood what asexuality meant. Apparently not.
I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a character (or author for that matter) recently that made me question my assumptions about sexuality and relationships as Aiden and Alex Beecroft have. We live in Aiden’s skin here. Every moment, every thought that occurs from his brief secret excursions away from the house where he is kept, out over the meadows, into the local museum where archaeologist James Summers is toiling over the latest batch of “finds” and having his own relationship issues. Aiden’s brief moments of joy, his initial fear of Jamie, his curiosity and ,man,, this makes me want to cry again, his love of pottery and the art he was forced to abandon…we are there inside him, listening and weeping. And hoping for a rescue.
Jamie too needs help. We’re let into his point of view as well, important in a story such as this one. His long term relationship has diminished to the point that he rarely sees his “partner, and when he does, he dissolves into a doormat for his rockstar lover to walk over. Jamie too is a believable human being, full of frailties, preoccupied with his bits and pieces of antiquity and his life in Trowchester. It takes the arrival of Aiden in his life to shake up the status quo and get him moving again. Jamie is not asexual but gay with a healthy appetite that’s been repressed by his current relationship and lover.
There are some incredibly scary scenes that involve characters from the previous stories who help Aiden escape and start a new life. These moments in the novel are heart-stopping, white-knuckle, “wap your head against the wall” exciting and frustrating, all at the same time. You know those bits where you are yelling at the actors on the scene to get moving? Yep, that happens here. But its what comes later that will blow your perceptions of romance and a relationship to bits. Some will like it, some will love it and others won’t get it at all. At times, I was all three.
Ever think what it must be like to be asexual and love someone who is not? What does it mean to be in a relationship when one partner loves sex and the other doesn’t? How does that work? If it does? Beecroft takes those questions and gives us some answers through the relationship dynamics between Jamie and Aiden. At times I found myself shaking my head, thinking this can’t possibly work But a conversation with a friend who is asexual basically confirmed that is does, more often than we think.
Can a relationship work when you must schedule times for sex because to do otherwise is an abuse of another’s wishes and needs? Can a sexual being truly understand how an asexual person feels and act accordingly? And visa versa? These are all issues Alex Beecroft brings into her characters and storyline. It made me rethink my own assumptions about relationships, what works, what doesn’t and Steel Blue Chain has left me with even more questions and jumbled ideas, making me revaluate what I thought I knew about people, recovery and love. And did so through the character of a wounded,yet resilient young man called Aiden.
Blue Steel Chain came very close to a five star rating but a few things still bothered me at the end. There was so much going on here that I thought the idea of all those years of abuse would leave mental, emotional scarring far wore than the physical marks Aiden wore from his time in captivity. Yes, it was mentioned he was seeing a therapist, but it felt a little glossed over and not in keeping with the realism of the rest of the story. Perhaps that would have made this a 600 page story, who knows?
Still, I find that Blue Steel Chain is the most ambitious and surprising of the three novels. Is it my favorite? No. Is it the most remarkable? Yes, I think so. Blue Steel Chain will challenge your perceptions of love and romance, it will make you rethink your definitions of love and long term happiness. And it makes me yearn for more of this remarkable village, its incrediblely human and addicting inhabitants, and the stories they still have to tell.
Cover Art by Lou Harper. I like the branding, the tone and design works with all three stories but I’m just not sure that model works for any of the characters within.
ebook, 250 pages
Published July 27th 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published July 25th 2015)
original titleBlue Steel Chain
Trowchester: it’s the fourth smallest city in Britain, and visitors sometimes think it hasn’t left the Middle Ages yet. There’s a Bronze Age barrow, a wide network of ley lines, the best tea shop in the county, and more morris dancers than you can shake a stick at. Trowchester attracts those who have been hurt and those who are looking for sanctuary from the modern world. But scratch the surface and there’s murder and mayhem aplenty. People come here to find love, but they’re forced to learn bravery first.
The release order of the Trowchester series is Trowchester Blues, Blue Eyed Stranger, and Blue Steel Chain, but you can start with withichever book catches your eye; they each stand alone. I highly recommend them all.