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This Charming Man

(Queen City Boys #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Will Seattle Make a Man of Him Yet?

On a night out in Seattle’s gay club scene, a chance encounter with an intriguing older man inspires Steven Frazier with visions of a more rewarding life. But when Steven abandons drugs and one-night stands, his loyal-but-venomous best friend won’t set him free without a fight. Must Steven sacrifice friendship—and forsake an unrequited l
ebook, 358 pages
Published November 1st 2014 by Jugum Press (first published October 31st 2014)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  148 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Julio Genao
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Julio by: Erika
the first 30 percent of this was spectacularly good.

honestly, some of the most lovely and balanced and sensitive writing i've read in motherfucking ages.

so good i went into raptures on twitter for a couple hours.

and if the book had continued on in that way, i'd have rated it a five-star stunner.

alas! things kinda got out of hand.

the hero basically spends the rest of the book explaining the story to date to a friend, asking the friend's advice, and then promptly ignoring it.

...and then he'd do i
I was in the middle of writing a review about how much I loved this book and then lost it while looking for a gif. :/
Needless to say, I'm a bit annoyed.

Anyway, I LOVED THIS BOOK! Read it ASAP! You won't regret it.

Warnings: this is more LGBTQ lit than your typical m/m. There's quite a bit of drug use and casual sex not between the main love interests in the beginning, and a long wait for the love interests to get together (aka farrrr from insta-love) so if that bothers you I'd skip this one.

Vanessa North
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of queer lit coming of age stories
This was a really interesting book, and one I enjoyed for its rich sense of setting. Though I've never been to Seattle, I was coming of age and discovering my own sense of self in the nineties, and there is a certain nostalgia to this story that really spoke to me. You can tell the author has a deep affection for both the city and the time in which the story was set. It's appealing, even charming.

There is also a definite sense of queerness--this is not a heteronormative story, this is not a stor
Alexis Hall
Hurrah! I enjoyed this very much. I don’t want to make sweeping generalisations about the genre (genrelisations?) but if we accept m/m is a complicated spectrum of voices and agendas and presumed/preferred audiences … this felt consciously queer to me. And, yes, I’m aware this is an arbitrary and entirely subjective judgement.

It’s a coming-of-age story set in … um … somewhere in America … um … Seattle in the 90s? Omg, I’m rubbish. We follow our hero Steven as he grows from aimless party boy to a
Delightful & charming!

It's more than a romance. This Charming Man is mostly about Steven and his journey to better himself. He finally realizes that the person who is most important to him is also the most hurtful. He tries to break his bad habits and break away from the toxic person that used to mean the most to him.

The book is split into three parts, all different stages of the road Steven is taking to become a person he can be proud of. In the first part, we meet him and his best friend, Adri
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Fantastic read to start the New Year!! This didn't read like a typical book romance, but more like a real-life romance of a guy in his 20s. Steven and John just meet in brief spurts over a one-year period but this is a good thing as Steven needed time to develop on his own before starting a relationship with the older, more successful man. Steven was a wonderful, believable character. He was passionate about his school work and computers in general, but also loved languages. He also spe
Kaje Harper
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comfort-reread, m-m
A lovely, very slow burn romance that is all about growth and character, full of the flavor of gay life in Seattle in the 1990s.

Steven begins the book as a student who has found a course of study he enjoys, but still spends more time out partying, hooking up and doing drugs than homework. He has a fairly toxic relationship with his narcissistic best friend Adrian. Steven's the kind of guy who yearns for more connection, a lover not just a fuck buddy, but he's been willing to settle for whatever
Leta Blake
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This charming book is chock full of interesting, lovable, and, at times, hate-able characters. First is Steven, the narrator and main protag, who has come to adulthood but hasn't really found his footing as an adult. For the past five years he's been happily lost in that place familiar to most readers--somewhere between dependant adolescence and independent adulthood. Sure, he's not living at home with his parents, but he's holding a retail job during the day and clubbing the night away with his ...more

This Charming Man is about Steven’s battle against self-sabotage. He decides to stay away from drugs and destructive people not only to achieve something in life, but also to impress John. Don’t let the blurb fool you - this is not a romance. And the lack of chemistry between the MCs is proof of that.

This story could have been told in less than 300 pages. I was tempted to skip whole chapters because nothing ever happens. Steven’s life is uneventful. His friends are boring. John flirts with Steve
Apr 29, 2018 marked it as to-read
Today is author Ajax Bell's birthday. Per author: ALL of my books for FREE, my birthday gift to you! If you're inclined, a brief review on Amz or GR would be a welcome present for me. (Please share this gift with everyone you know!)
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, freebie
DNF'd at 81% I tried, I really did. But by 40% I knew it wasn't for me, at 60% I rationalized I had come this far & by 80% I just wasn't interested enough to see it through. ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018, read-2019
A person who was 25 in 1991 would be 52 in 2018. Wild how stories set in the 90s are historical fiction.

Anyway, this is amazing. One of the best slow burn stories I've ever read. The chemistry between Steven and John is beyond off the charts. The simple conversations between them were hotter than some sex scenes I've read.

But mostly, this is a book about personal growth. Steven's journey is really satisfying to watch and see him grow. He learns a lot and changes, but you can tell there was alw
Jeannie Zelos
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This Charming Man, Queen City Boys, Book One, Ajax Bell
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Gay and Lesbian, Romance
This isn’t a typical romance, the A meets B type, where they fall in love, something bad happens, cue sadness and then – hurrah, all’s resolved. No, its more a voyage of self discovery, with a possible romance emerging along the way.
Its set back in 1991 where the world was a different place. Steven is a likeable boy/man? I’m not sure how old he is, he’s a student but has t
Joyfully Jay
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: michelle
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.75 stars

What a really captivating book with many captivating characters. The book is broken into three parts and at times reads almost as three connecting stories as Steven changes and grows throughout his journey. And, that’s what this is, Steven’s journey. We first meet him high and taking drugs from strangers in a club restroom. I will easily admit that public restroom sex is one of my least favorite venues to read about. But, Bell sets the scene of the relationship b
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve had this charming book on my kindle for a whole year, I don’t know why I didn’t I read it sooner! Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. I loved it! For me, the long, slow build from meeting to friendship to love was very satisfying. This is definitely one that I could go to again as a comfort read, it was soft and sweet with enough edge to avoid being saccharine or fluffy.
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To say this was a slow burn was an understatement. It was the slowest of the slow ... but by god was it good! The passion and tension built up perfectly throughout the book. It wasn't what I expected, much more about self discovery and building a solid foundation for yourself in love.

Really enjoyed it - full of slow-burn satisfaction :)
Indra Vaughn
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well this was delightful! I loved Steven and his journey into adulthood. The angst wasn't over the top and didn't feel contrived and while this is the slowest burn to ever burn, I loved it because it allowed Steven to become a better, more whole person while standing on his own two feet. Can't wait for the next book! I'm hoping for Adrian but would love Ryan just as much. ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. I loved the slow burn on this one. Anticipation is everything, just like my review, which I will write once I have a spare moment. But seriously, fantastic. I can't wait to read more. Like, maybe Marcus needs his story? Or.....? ...more
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars

I just can't. Honestly, I already wanted to put this down at 15% and go on with another book. But since I requested this title on netgalley and the publisher approved it. I don't wanna be rude by not finishing it and I can't just review it as it is. Because I never rate and review DNFed books.

"Do you believe in love at first sight?"

"Why? Did you fall in love with John when you first saw him? Or did you wait until you heard him speak French?"

"What? No. Ridiculous. I'm wondering if he
Bryan D.
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
72 of 75 for 2015. Let me state right off the bat that there is graphic male on male sex in this novel. In fact, some of the hottest sex I've read outside of outright pornography is included in the narrative. I must also say that the opening of this novel is so outside my comfort zone, that I almost closed the book and moved on. There is way too much drug and alcohol abuse in the gay community without reading books that seem to glorify that self-destructive activity. All that said, I am so glad ...more
Liz Dahl
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was a delightfully quick read. I honestly couldn't put it down and actually became annoyed when real life got in the way.This book was a flashback to my early teens during the nineties in the PNW. Steven is an appealing protagonist, young, vulnerable and desperately trying to find himself in a sea of drugs, flashy clubs and his manipulative best friend, Adrian. When Steven meets John, an older, attractive and more responsible man, he develops an instant crush. When Adrian becomes jealo ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

My thoughts in short: Really, really enjoyed this one! I decided to deduce a star because the book also feature intimate relationships with men other than the real love interest I was very much invested in.

My thoughts in more than two sentences can be found HERE.
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love a good slow burn romance and a nice pining protagonist.
Luís Felipe Mansur
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crystal Marie
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
For the first two-thirds of This Charming Man, I was certain it would be a five star read for me, but then the forward momentum of the drama ground to a halt and I wanted to throw my kindle against the wall. Fortunately, the very end (waaaay too close to the end) things were so wobbly-kneed amazing that I can still say I’m (mostly) satisfied with this book.

This story is set in the Seattle of the early nineties and focuses on one twenty five year old college student, Steven, who’s still caught u
T.M. Smith
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Steven Frazier is an openly gay college student in probably the most open minded city there is. He attends class during the day then parties with his friend Adrian at night. Their volatile relationship is the center of Steven's world in the beginning. You see, Steven is convinced that he's in love with Adrian, and Adrian uses those feelings as a way to hold sway over Steven. There is an occasional flirtatious smile that leads to something more, but most of the time Adrian is cruel and almost vin ...more
Gay Media Review
Blog Post:

This Charming Man-Queen City Boys Book 1 by Ajax Bell!!!

In 1991 we find Steven deep in the Seattle club scene with his hot but destructive friend Adrian. They are the envy of everyone who knows them as they live the high club life like no one ever has. Now things will start to change for the guys as Steven meets the older businessman John. He introduces Steven to the future of huge possibilities and more importantly he becomes a motivation for
Darrah Glass
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Steven is adrift, at a pivotal point in his life, and he seems on the verge of making wrong decisions. His best friend Adrian (horrible! I love him!) uses and subtly abuses him and diverts him from his studies with decadent nightlife adventures. It's on one such clubbing night that Steven first sees John, handsome and much older. Steven is interested, John politely friendly. Steven meets John again, as the friend of a friend, and he's still interested...but he doesn't know how ...more
Jeff Erno
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Do I love reading because I savor the craft, the artful construction of sentences, the poetic beauty, the cadence, the mastery of vocabulary? If so, I have to say this book is a very solid five-star read. But my appreciation for those writing craft skills is not the primary reason I read. I enjoy reading because I love stories. I love being entertained, swept away, moved emotionally.

If you're a fan of stories that dive into the mind of the main character and reveal every minuscule detail of the
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ajax Bell is an exciting new voice in the world of m/m literature, with her debut novel This Charming Man a delightful blend of coming of age, nostalgia and romance. Set in early 90s Seattle, this book is one that isn’t afraid to create flawed characters, and as such the journey they take is much more rewarding.

Full review here:
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A Seattle native, Ajax Bell writes queer fiction, including the Queen City Boys books, an interrelated series of standalone stories. Spanning four decades in Seattle, Queen City Boys tells the explicit adventures of an eclectic group of gay friends as they find their way through the ends and beginnings of their most important relationships.

According to Ajax the best thing in life is a perfect Paci

Other books in the series

Queen City Boys (3 books)
  • Bad Reputation (Queen City Boys, #2)
  • Just Like Honey  (Queen City Boys, #3)

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