5 Stars, A.J. Marcus, Dreamspinner Press, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Throwaway Card by A.J. Marcus

Title: Throwaway Card

Author: A.J. Marcus

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: A.J. Marcus always does an incredible job and keeps me thoroughly interested in the story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Hugh Lafoux managed to survive the Civil War, but came out of it scarred for life and with an intricately crafted metal leg. Since the war ended, he’s wandered aimlessly, looking for the next card game and easy sex. He boards the Bayou Belle in Saint Louis, expecting a nice easy ride down to Memphis. But he runs afoul of Big Al Shank, the owner of the Belle, and ends up beaten and thrown overboard into the dark river.

Former slave Cotton Freeman spends most of his time hunting alligators along the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee. While looking for larger gators north of town one night, Cotton unexpectedly fishes a man out of the water. As Cotton nurses Hugh back to health, they realize a mutual attraction, and their love grows. But when Big Al Shank returns to destroy them, love might not be enough to win the battle.

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Review: A.J. Marcus creates a beautiful and sad story set in Memphis, Tennessee, after the Civil War, and slaves had been given their freedom. It’s also a time when many were not satisfied with the outcome of the war and the freeing of slaves. Marcus also shows us a time when some men of different ethnicity were willing to come together to modify and create inventions. The two main characters, Hugh and Cotton, come from different ways of life, but as they spend time together, their relationship grows to love. The sad part of this story is the murder, violence and hangings that takes place. Even in today’s world we are still seeing the similar violence that existed at this time.

Hugh Lafoux was a lieutenant who fought in the Civil War and lost his leg. After the damage from the war, he found nothing to go home for, so he traveled by paddleboat and became a gambler. His dream was to go West for a start at a new way of living, but he finds himself in hot water with Al Shank, the owner of the riverboat Bayou Belle, and is tossed over the side into the depths of the Mississippi.

Cotton Freeman lives his life as simple as possible, and away from people. He still is unsure where he fits in a world of coloreds and whites because he is mulatto. Growing up, his only friend was Timmy Birmingham, and both were abused while living on the plantation. Cotton is an alligator hunter on the Mississippi River, who has modified a raft and a spear to meet his needs for hunting. He rescues Hugh from the Mississippi, and with the help of Miss Cassandra, Cotton gets Hugh well and back on his feet.

Miss Cassandra is a mystery to all. She believes in the River and how it talks to her, and can change a person’s life. She is a help to all who need her. Her words of warning to many of the Negroes was to stay away from the Bayou Belle and Al Shank. Most of these characters have a tragic story to tell, all leading back to Al Shank, and they come together with a plan to sink the Bayou Belle and put an end to Shank.

Whether it’s a history lesson or facts about wildlife, I always find that A.J. Marcus does an incredible job and keeps me thoroughly interested in the story. I really liked the camaraderie and equality of the characters, and how Cotton had made his own modifications to fit his needs for the alligator hunting.

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You can buy Throwaway Card here:

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5 Stars, A.J. Marcus, DSP Publications, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Pia

Review: Eagle’s Blood by A.J. Marcus

Title: Eagle’s Blood (Mountain Spirits Mysteries: Book One)

Author: A.J. Marcus

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: A very enjoyable read I would recommend to anybody who loves animals and the men who work with them.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: Brock Summers is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer who loves his job and takes it very seriously. When he discovers a video of golden eagles being shot and learns of a nest in trouble, not even a blizzard can stop him from trekking up the mountain in an attempt to rescue them.

When Brock returns with the one eaglet he manages to save, Landon Weir, the local wildlife rehabilitator, patches up the bird and the injury Brock suffered during the rescue. Though they have been friends and colleagues for years, they discover a shared passion for protecting wildlife and vow to work together to protect the majestic birds from the criminals preying on them. It isn’t long before another video of eagles being killed comes to their attention.

They must face inclement weather, a dangerous mountain, and armed poachers if they want to ensure the eagles’—and their own—survival.

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Review: In A.J. Marcus’s book Eagles Blood, we meet Brock Summers, a parks and wildlife officer, and Landon Weir, a wild life rehabilitator, who work together to save a baby golden eagle and other birds that become targets of poachers who are shooting birds and posting videos online.

I really enjoyed this book, and one of the first things I noticed was just how well researched it was, so much so I feel like I’ve learned things about rehabbing large predatory bids and other wild life I didn’t know before.

Our MCs come across as believable, everyday guys who love their jobs and understand the ups and downs of the job they do, but love it enough to keep doing it even when it’s heartbreaking work. I liked that Brock and Landon had worked together a few years before anything developed between them. It’s nice to find a good friends-to-lovers story.

I liked the pace of this book, and I think Marcus did a great job of balancing the elements of this story. The book never lagged or concentrated too much on either the action or the romance.

Eagle’s Blood is a very enjoyable read I would recommend to anybody who loves animals and the men who work with them.

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You can buy Eagle’s Blood here:

OmniLit/ARe

OmniLit/ARe

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5 Stars, A.J. Marcus, DSP Publications, Literary Fiction, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Grizzly Discovery by A.J. Marcus

Title: Grizzly Discovery (Mountain Spirit Mystery: Book Two)

Author: A.J. Marcus

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I highly recommend Eagle’s Blood and Grizzly Discovery, especially if you are an animal lover.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Landon Weir and Brock Summers are happily settling into their life as a couple, easily balancing Landon’s work as an animal rehabber with Brock’s career as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer. When they find a bear shot and skinned, they set out to discover who’s behind the heinous act.

Events force Brock to come out to his boss, causing him and Landon to rethink how public they want to make their relationship. As more bear sightings – and more carcasses – show up in the area, Brock is attacked by a black bear he’s trying to release back into the wild, but his injuries don’t prevent him from helping Landon and their friends with the investigation. Despite leads being thin on the ground, the two men try to uncover the poachers before more bears are killed. But when the evidence points them in an unexpected direction, Teller County’s bear population may not be all the killers have in their sights.

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Review: Brock Summers is a wildlife officer working for the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. He gives his all to a job that he loves.

Landon Weir is a local wildlife rehabber, and he runs Mountain Spirit Wildlife Rehab, with recovery pens on twenty acres of land. He also gives his all to a job that he loves. Most of all Brock and Landon are true soul mates, and they give one-hundred percent to each other. Brock has just recently moved in with Landon, but not everyone is aware of their personal connection. Brock doesn’t want to lie, but is he ready to admit to his relationship with Landon.

Both Brock and Landon share a special bond with the eagle, Frigga, and Brock spends a lot of his time rescuing and relocating animals and dealing with poachers. Whenever an animal is injured, Brock takes them to Landon, who tries his best to rehabilitate them so they can be released back into the wilderness. Animals that are injured to the point they can’t go back into the wild he keeps or sends them to specialized rehabbers. The ones that he does keep, he uses for educational purposes at events where he introduces them to people. He educates people on what happens when the animal cannot go back to their habitat because of injuries that are caused by humans. In a day’s work, Brock and Landon could be dealing with lynx, moose, osprey, deer, eagles, raccoons, kestrels, elk and bears.

Carl Matz has come to town and wants to meet with Brock and Landon. He is doing research on the bear population in different counties by setting up eight-foot poles with game cameras on them. They discover a carcass of a bear that looks strange to Landon. Landon calls Brock, but it would take him some time to get to Landon. Once Brock and Dara show up, they conduct their investigation and take the carcass with them. Even checking out the photo files doesn’t give Brock and Landon any information. Brock seeks permission from his Captain to have the carcass taken to Dr. Angela Lanstrom at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to perform a necropsy.

Even with everything that’s going on, Brock has made time to give Landon an amazing surprise. When the time comes for Brock and Landon to get back to work, things get crazy. Brock facing a dangerous bear release, too many dead bears, and a human. What’s the answer to all the bear killings, and who is in danger next?

In 2014 I read Eagle’s Blood, the first book in this series and re-read it to refresh my memory before tackling Grizzly Discovery, and I have to say both books are amazing and informative. A.J. Marcus shares so much knowledge in Eagle’s Blood about birds (of course, he is a falconer). In Grizzly Discovery, you’ll find Brock, Landon, Dara, Bear and Frigga, but most of all, A.J. Marcus shares knowledge about different animals in the wilderness. Both of these stories show how greedy people can be. Land is not the only thing taken away from the wildlife; they are killed for their pelts and body parts too. I highly recommend both of these books, especially if you are an animal lover.

TNA_Signature_Maryann






You can buy Grizzly Discovery here:

OmniLit/ARe

OmniLit/ARe

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A.J. Marcus, Carole Cummings, DSP Publications, DSPP's Genre Talk

DSP Publications Presents: Genre Talk With Carole Cummings and A.J. Marcus

DSP Publications

Hi, folks! You may remember the last time A.J. was here, when we talked about Eagle’s Blood and nature and falcons. This time, A.J. is talking about the inspiration behind his upcoming (March 24th!) release, Grizzly Discovery, and since he’s more interesting than I am, let’s just turn the post over to him. :)

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Inspiration: Bears

by A.J. Marcus

With my second Mountain Spirit Mystery, Grizzly Discovery, I thought it was a good time to write about my inspiration for writing the book…bears. Not the muscular hairy guys that star in the book, but the huge animals that roam the mountains where I live. Although I haven’t had a lot of bear encounters while hiking or hunting in the mountains, I’m always on the lookout for them. Although none of us saw them, I did get blamed the last time the bears broke into the shed and threw garbage all over the place…long story but I was exonerated by a bent latch and deep claw marks in the door.

I’ve got friends, a couple of whom work for the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife. Around here it’s hard to go long without hearing something about what the bears have done. Many of those stories have been incorporated into my books. Officially the last grizzly bear in Colorado was poisoned by a government trapper in 1952, then another last grizzly was killed in 1979. With the amount of forest and open space in Colorado, the odds are there’re still a number of grizzlies in the state. A lot of folks talk about the grizzlies they see, they’re just careful not to talk to officials about them, so there are no official records. Also a lot of the officials don’t like to make a fuss because if they do, then they have to do something about it…like we see in Grizzly Discovery. Thanks to the internet, there are groups around, like the Colorado Grizzly Coalition that are out and gathering information about sightings.

More common in Colorado, are the black bears, which actually come in a wide variety of colors. Ironically, I’ve seen more black bears in the city limits of Colorado Springs than I have in the mountains to the west. Bears love garbage. Bears love picnics…Yogi, please stay out of my lunch. I honestly think that most of the bad encounters that happen between bears and humans are due to human stupidity. We were watching bears, from a safe distance, in one of the city parks one day when some guys in fatigues, probably from the nearby military base, came up and asked if we thought they might be able to pet the bears…a momma and two little ones. We urged them not to, they got bored and drove off. If my friends and I hadn’t been there, not sure how that would’ve ended. Unfortunately when those sorts of things happen they end badly for the bears.

As we explore in Grizzly Discovery there is a major black market trade in bear parts, particularly to the Far East for their traditional medicine. Poaching is a real problem anywhere there are bears or other wildlife that people believe can provide cures that modern medicine can’t. The problem with this is that a lot of the time no scientific evidence existsto support the idea. I’m sorry, the bear needs its gallbladder more than you do…and don’t even get me started on tiger penis soup. One of the many reasons I enjoy writing this series of books is I LOVE WILDLIFE. I think the animals we share the world with have as much, and in a lot of cases more, right to continue living as the humans do. I’m hoping that my readers get some of my love of nature through my words.

Grizzly Discovery will be available March 24 2015 from DSP Publications

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tna-dspp--aj marcus for 03-11Grizzly Discovery Blurb: Landon Weir and Brock Summers are happily settling into their life as a couple, easily balancing Landon’s work as an animal rehabber with Brock’s career as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer. When they find a bear shot and skinned, they set out to discover who’s behind the heinous act.

Events force Brock to come out to his boss, causing him and Landon to rethink how public they want to make their relationship. As more bear sightings – and more carcasses – show up in the area, Brock is attacked by a black bear he’s trying to release back into the wild, but his injuries don’t prevent him from helping Landon and their friends with the investigation. Despite leads being thin on the ground, the two men try to uncover the poachers before more bears are killed. But when the evidence points them in an unexpected direction, Teller County’s bear population may not be all the killers have in their sights.

Pre-order Grizzly Discovery HERE!

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aj-marcusAbout the Author: A.J. has been writing to pass the time since high school. The stories he wrote helped him deal with life. A few years ago, he started sharing those stories with friends who enjoyed them and he has started sending his works out into the world to share with other people. He lives in the mountains with his extremely supportive lover. They have a lot of critters, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and rabbits. When not writing, A.J. spends a lot of time hiking, tail riding or just driving in the mountains. Nature provides a lot of inspiration for his work, and keeps him writing. He is also an avid photographer and falconer, don’t get him started talking about his birds because he won’t stop for a while.

You can follow A.J. through his website, on Twitter, or by liking his Facebook author page. Or you can always email him at andy AT ajmarcus DOT com.

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Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Join us next time on Genre Talk, when Rick R. Reed will talk about his upcoming release, IM!

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Giveaways

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another look at what we have coming up in the week ahead! It’s a busy one, to be sure, and will feature some fantastic guests, great giveaways, and, of course, lots more reviews. Stay tuned and I hope you come back to join in the fun.

Now, here’s what’s on tap!

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MondayCleis Press kicks off our week with a giveaway of their new anthology Best Gay Romance 2015

Author Aimee Brissay also joins us today to do her part in helping to countdown to Euro Pride Con

TuesdayLisa Henry and J.A. Rock drop in on the Tempest blog tour

And we’ll also be featuring Rick R. Reed’s new DSP Publications release IM

Wednesday – We’re welcoming author Amber Kell today as she visits to celebrate Euro Pride Con

We’ll also have a new edition of Genre Talk with Carole Cummings and A.J. Marcus

Thursday – Today, Ana J. Phoenix stops by with her contribution to the countdown to Euro Pride Con

Heidi Cullinan will also be here to offer the chance to win an e-copy of her new book Nowhere Ranch

FridaySue Brown joins us today on the Eddie & Marchant blog tour

Jaycee Edwards and Helena Stone also drop in on their Strangers in the Night tour

Saturday – Today we welcome author Suki Fleet on the Innocence blog tour

Sunday – And we close out the week with author T. Strange and a cover reveal of her new book My Zombie Boyfriend

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And that does it for a busy week ahead. Until next time, happy reading!

 

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A.J. Marcus, Carole Cummings, DSP Publications, DSPP's Genre Talk

DSP Publications: Genre Talk With Carole Cummings and A.J. Marcus

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GENRE TALK with Carole Cummings

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Hey, all! Lisa went and left the door unlocked again, so here I am! And I’ve dragged fellow DSPP author A.J. Marcus with me to leave cigar burns in Lisa’s furniture and drink all her beer talk about Mystery! (As in: who left cigar burns in Lisa’s couch and drank all her beer?!) And Suspense! (As in: will Lisa kill Carole with the candlestick, the rope or the poison?!) Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek BannerHappy Holidays to all of you, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have coming up in the week ahead.

I got a fantastic response to my call for reviewers earlier this week, better than I could have ever imagined, so I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce the newest members of the TNA review team:
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4 Stars, A.J. Marcus, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jackie

Get A Bird’s Eye View Of Love In AJ Marcus’s “The Falconer’s Lure”

Title: The Falconer’s Lure (A Ren Faire Romance)

Author: AJ Marcus

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Watching birds of prey soar gives Garret Nicholson a sense of peace. It’s exactly what he needs after his recent break-up. His ex never understood Garret’s work with the raptors, but the birds have been part of his life for years. Garret spends his time between The Sky’s the Limit Raptor Rehab Center and his dad’s falconry show at the Hawkwood Fantasy Faire, trying to prove to himself and his father he has what it takes to be a great falconer. Continue reading

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A.J. Marcus, Dreamspinner Press

Jackie Says “The Archer’s Arrow” Hits The Mark


“The shot will only go smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise.” ― Eugen Herrigel


Title: The Archer’s Arrow

Author: A.J. Marcus

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Former Olympic archer Robin Lockwood quit competing and now runs an archery booth at the Ren Faire. He enjoys his unencumbered life with few attachments but lots of casual friends. Traveling across the country from fair to fair adds spice to his life.
Continue reading

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