Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries by Marshall Thornton

4 stars

Boystown 1 Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries by Marshall Thornton is the first book in this well-written and gritty detective series that is reminiscent of hardboiled crime fiction. The book is a compilation of three novella-length mysteries all set in Chicago, circa 1980-1981. The mysteries are engaging, and the writing features a captivating main character and sets an excellent overall mood for the stories.

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No Deadly Thing (Twisted Tree #2) by Tiger Gray

4 stars

No Deadly Thing by Tiger Gray is the author’s debut novel and the second book in the Twisted Tree series published by Hard Limits Press. The story is set in the American Pacific Northwest and the author fuses the tenets of good and evil of the ancient Zoroastrian religion and philosophy with the theme of environmental contamination to write an elaborate urban fantasy tale that also interweaves strong elements of action/adventure and mystery. The writing is refined and textured and well serves the plot, world building and characterisation.

Ashrinn Pinecroft has spent a lifetime trying to forget his Anglo-Persian family’s expulsion from his native Iran. He’s a career soldier serving in Iraq as the leader of the elite American anti-terrorist unit, Delta Force. When a sniper’s bullet cuts Ashrinn’s career short, he wakes up in an infirmary tent not sure of his reality or whether he’s hallucinating the silver-haired man standing at the foot of his bed. The man is named Randolph and he is the leader of the Order of the White Eagle, a group of magicals on a mission to rid the evil that is infecting the Pacific Northwest. Randolph enlists Ashrinn to lead a group of paladins (warriors) in the fight against this evil force.

The Zoroastrian myths Ashrinn’s mother entertained him with as a child have found new, twisted life in the streets of Seattle, and he has a central role to play in the fight against destruction, whether he likes it or not. Ashrinn must use his newfound divine powers to save the Pacific Northwest from an evil snake-handling cult that is contaminating the waters with its magic, killing both magicals and humans. The cult is also hell bent on sacrificing Ashrinn to their demon god. With a ragtag group of warriors that call themselves The Storm, that includes a half crazy werewolf, a psychic sniper, and his equally blessed best friend and former Delta team mate Malkai (Mal) Tielhart at his side, Ashrinn will do everything in his power to combat the corruption. But sometimes the greatest horror imaginable and the things held most dear are one and the same, and corruption is not so easily spotted when it hits close to home.

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Tales From Foster High #1-3 by John Goode

John Goode’s Tales From Foster High #1-3 is a compilation of the first novella that kicked-off this well written young adult series Maybe With A Chance of Certainty and the two books that followed: The End of The Beginning and Raise Your Glass. I initially read and reviewed Maybe With A Chance of Certainty as a single title and immediately fell in love with Mr. Goode’s writing and in particular his characterisation. While this is a review of the compilation as a whole, it also incorporates some of my thoughts from the review of the initial novella.

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Lover Eternal: A Novel of The Black Dagger Brotherhood (Book 2) by J.R. Ward

3-5 Stars

My retrospective of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series continues with a review of the second book, Lover Eternal, which features the story of the Brother Rhage and his human love interest Mary Luce. I began reading this series out of sequence starting with this book and recall being intrigued enough with J.R. Ward’s take on vampire lore, the close relationship and camaraderie between the Brothers and the fusion of paranormal romance with darker urban fantasy elements to back track and read Dark Lover (Book 1) and the rest, as they say, is history. In Lover Eternal, Ms. Ward begins to hit her stride with this series.

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Dark Lover: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (Book 1) by J.R. Ward

There are probably only a handful of devoted readers of mainstream paranormal romance that have yet to read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. Although I’m not an exclusive reader of romance (whether paranormal or other), I began reading this series in 2006 and while I enjoyed the early books, my interest in the series began to wan and I easily let go of the series in 2008 following the release of Lover Enshrined (Book 6). But, with the recent publication of the tenth book, Lover Reborn, which features the story of Tohrment the last of the original Brothers, I’ve picked up the books once again to catch-up on the newer storylines and characters in anticipation of reading Book 10. As I’ve never reviewed any of the books in this series I thought it would be interesting to post my thoughts on some of the stories in retrospective, starting with the first book Dark Lover.

  As the first book in the Black Dagger Bortherhood (BDB) saga, I consider Dark Lover foundational to the series as a whole and the book upon which the author springboards the BDB world and introduces many of the characters that are set for stories in future books. While it’s not the strongest written book in the series, it is a solid beginning.

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Maybe With A Chance of Certainty (Tales From Foster High #1) by John Goode

I’m going to deviate slightly from my usual first paragraph summary format in beginning this review to admit that John Goode was not an author on my radar. I stumbled upon Maybe With A Chance of Certainty, well, by chance, as I was perusing the Internet for new book releases. What immediately caught my attention was the title, specifically, the contradictory terms it contained. I found the play on words quite clever and wondered what the significance was to the actual story. Although the story summary outlines a commonly written trope in gay young adult and romance fiction I nonetheless remained intrigued by the title and purchased this book on a lark. I’m glad I did so because within the one hundred pages of this novella I fell in love with Mr. Goode’s writing and in particular his characterisation.

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The Art of The Delaneys by Anne Brooke

Liam is determined to prove to the Delaney twins that he’s more than just a good bed-partner for them. His chance to show them what he’s worth comes unexpectedly soon when his boss at the art gallery, Melissa, is asked by the Delaneys to take part in an art scam, and Liam agrees to help her.

When the Delaneys turn up with their henchmen on the night of the scam, Melissa and Liam are startled to discover that it will involve a painting by one of their best artists.

Can Liam make sure the gallery doesn’t get too seriously involved and keep the Delaneys satisfied, in the only way he knows how, at the same time?

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Reading Round Up: NYC Road Trip, Meeting Online Friends and Books!

This year’s road-trip season kicked-off early on May 13 when I boarded a train from Montréal to New York City. My partner was attending a conference at the United Nations, so I though it a perfect opportunity to tag along and visit one of my favourite cities, next of course to the city I will always consider home – Montréal.

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Entertaining The Delaneys by Anne Brooke

Since his initial encounter with the Delaney twins, Liam’s thoughts have turned back to them time and time again, and he can’t help hoping for another meeting. His chance happens one night when Mark Delaney rings and tells him to get into the car waiting outside. Liam does so at once, eager to see the twins again.

Once at the Delaney estate, Liam is at first overawed by the grandeur and style of his surroundings, the lush gardens replete with nude statues and the opulence of the residence itself, but seeing Mark, together with Johnny, focuses his mind on the entertainment to come. And it looks as if entertainment is certainly what’s in store. A business associate of the Delaneys, Mr. Buchanan, has agreed a deal with the twins, and part of that deal is Liam himself!

How will the evening end, and will Liam be able to handle the salacious challenges thrown at him this time?

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StarCrossed 4: In The Blink of An Eye by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine

StarCrossed 4: In the Blink of an Eye takes us back to Salem, Massachusetts, where the town is evolving from openly making amends for its witch-burning past to something darker. While some people choose to lock their doors and pretend those who are Other don’t exist, some decide to use them to turn a profit.

For years the home of vampire Gennady Zaitsev has been a refuge to wayward supernatural boys. Taken in at the age of four, werefox Fallon Demeter has grown up with the love and caring of his blended, surrogate family. As the fragile peace enjoyed by the supernaturals begins to break down, Fallon draws the unwanted attention of a vicious enemy from Gennady’s past. Plunged into a harrowing adventure that brings his forgotten past back with horrifying clarity, Fallon becomes lost and alone in the brutal outside world.

As the buffer the supernaturals have enjoyed for so long continues to erode, Salem may no longer be their safe haven.

The secret is about to get out…

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