Review Tour and Giveaway: Imago: N.R. Walker

Imago (Imago #1)
N.R. Walker
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Released February 21, 2017
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Cover: Harper By Design

Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bowties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bowties, and butterflies.

Now that I have read as many of N.R. Walker’s books as I have, I can say with confidence that she does well writing quite a variety of story types. Her latest release, Imago, fits in the category of light, easy, almost-zero-angst reads. My experience has been that the writing and storytelling in her books are nearly flawless, and Imago is no exception. It’s a lovely romance with little standing in the way to make it difficult or complicated, so the result is pure sweetness.

Jack Brighton works for the Parks and Wildlife Service in a small Tasmanian town. It’s an ideal situation for him, one he loves so much that it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have someone with whom to share it. After a work-related trip to the mainland, he meets Lawson Gale, who is in Tasmania with the task of finding a species of butterfly that only one person claims to have spotted. It isn’t long before their mutual attraction becomes apparent, and they want more than just to talk about butterflies and conservation. But Lawson will only be in Tasmania for a week, so the budding relationship could well prove as elusive as the butterfly he seeks.

The romantic plot in Imago is as uncomplicated as it can be, and that leaves plenty of room for the fluffy sweetness to shine through. Like the story, the characters are not particularly complex either. In many ways, Jack and Lawson are opposites: Jack is the rugged, outdoorsy, everyday-man type while Lawson is a nerdy, well-spoken, bowtie-wearing genius. Jack is confident and comfortable around people while Lawson is awkward when he’s not in his element. But the two men have much more in common than they first realize, and that’s where the beauty of the pairing lies. There is definitely heat between them, and the emotional connection is just as strong once the story hits its stride.

Behind the romance is an equally interesting backdrop story filled with convincing scientific discussions between the two men—I’m certainly no expert in lepidopterology or Tasmanian ecology, but I was convinced the author had done her homework to make it as realistic as needed for the story—and these discussions are presented in such a way that it was not an encumbrance to the storytelling. In fact, the interactions between Lawson and Jack during their day-to-day tasks in the field add to their connection behind closed doors.

To be honest, though, these warm and fuzzy, conflict-free stories often aren’t my favorite because I don’t get the big feels from them the way I do with stories where the characters have to work harder for their happily-ever-after (HEA). There is a dramatic sequence to wrap up the story, but it isn’t based on internal conflicts within the characters, nor is it based on any strife between Jack and Lawson. As such, even though it made for an interesting conclusion, for me it didn’t add much to the feels I got from the couple. It’s also worth noting here that there isn’t exactly a HEA in the story, but the sequel to the book appears to be a continuation with Lawson and Jack rather than introducing a new couple, so I’m hoping that they will get to that point in the next volume.

As a whole, Imago is ideal for a lazy, don’t-wanna-think-hard day or perhaps a day with other distractions preventing close attention to reading. In spite of being lighter on the impact than I normally prefer in my romances, N.R. Walker beautifully interweaves a compelling scientific story with a simple romantic plot containing plenty of heart and fuzziness, and the result is an enjoyable and recommendable read.

The author generously provided me a complimentary copy of Imago in exchange for this fair and honest review.

This is a sweet, heartfelt, unexpected love story between two apparent opposites. 

Jack Brighton is tall, burly, sexy and handsome. He's a rugged outdoorsman who works for Parks and Wildlife. He is well liked, easy going, and loves his small town life, dog, and friends. 

Lawson Gale is a nerdy, uptight, brilliant, sassy researcher. He is a Lepidopterist and studies butterflies, and he takes his research very seriously. He's more unsure, more socially awkward, and thinks most people do not like him. But when it comes to things he believes in, he is opinionated, outspoken, and not a doormat.

Lawson came to Tasmania looking for a new species of butterflies, but Jack was an unexpected bonus find. He is not used to being the subject of someone's attraction, so he is surprised he catches Jack's eye. But Jack has no problem pursuing Lawson and reveling in his bow-tie wearing, geeky sex appeal. And Lawson's work trip becomes much more exciting and fun. The more time they spend together on sweet dates set up by Jack, the more common interests they find and the more their chemistry heats up. Their interactions were fun and  they balanced each other in various ways.

But Lawson is only supposed to be there a week on his special project. What happens when their time is up? Will Lawson make his discovery? What other drama might get in their way?

This is fairly short, light, romantic, and fluffy for the most part, but does have a bit of adventure and drama mixed in. The premise was unique. The scientific info about wildlife and butterflies provided an interesting backdrop. It was told in dual points of view and they had different personalities.  I really liked both Jack and Lawson, and they were fun together. Near the end, I would have liked for some scenes to have played out with us still watching versus being told what happened. But it did provide a resolved ending and no cliffhanger. I am curious to see what the sequel, Imagines, will bring. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Imagines (Imago #2)
Possible release April 2017

N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way. She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words. She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

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