Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton

The Hanged Man's Ghost

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton

Series: The Night Wars, Book 1
Published by:
 Torquere Press on January 31, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Detective Fynn Adder of the Chicago Police Department is about to embark on a case that will not only make or break his career but also change his life forever. Still reeling somewhat from the loss of his fiance, Robert, a few years ago, he’s drinking more than he knows he should and is engaging in meaningless sexual encounters. So when a series of murders occurs that seem to pulling in closer to Fynn, and then when he starts getting clues from the ghosts of these murder victims, it’s only a matter of time before everything could go completely off the rails. But as Fynn and his partner Jack start to dig deeper into the case, they learn there is a lot more to the crime spree that than meets the eye. And they uncover an Adder family secret along the way.

There are moments when I was reading this one that I honestly wasn’t quite sure where it was going. But it found its way back every time, and every time an additional layer of complexity was added to the story. This is an entertaining read, with a great paranormal element threaded throughout. The relationship development aspect seemed a bit glossed over, but it felt like such a minor point in the story (with an inevitable outcome) that I didn’t see it as impacting my enjoyment of the story.

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

The Fifth Petal

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

Published by: Crown on January 24, 2017
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

The mysterious death of a young man on Halloween night leaves Salem’s Chief of Police, John Rafferty, wondering about a possible connection to a triple homicide that occurred on Halloween night in 1989. Of course, one of the reasons they might be related is that Rose Whelan was present at the scene of both crimes, and in both cases she said something about a banshee being responsible for the killings. Rafferty believes Rose is not a murderer, and he’s set out to prove it. His quest is bolstered by the return to Salem of Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the original victims and a witness to some of that night’s events. But unearthing the truth proves to be potentially dangerous for them both. If the murderer was an evil spiritual force, are they prepared to take it on? And if the perpetrator is of the more mundane criminal variety, they’ve carried the secret and covered their tracks for almost 30 years–so they might just stop at nothing to keep it that way.

This is a tale of intrigue across decades that ties back across centuries. Questions abound about who can be trusted and who cannot. Some in town have been carrying secrets that they don’t want to get out, which in itself provides a recipe for danger and disaster. But the ways in which those secrets connect (and the possibility of a supernatural element thrown in) provide a path to figuring out what happened all those years ago. If Rafferty and Callie can stay out of the crosshairs…

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Outing the Quarterback

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Series: Long Pass Chronicles, Book 1
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on September 18, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Will Ashford wants to be an artist. And he’s good enough to make it. But it doesn’t fit into the life his father has laid out for him. He’s the quarterback for the SCU football team and a business major, with the expectation that he will continue to play professionally and eventually take over his father’s business. So he attends art classes in secret, even using an alias to help ensure he won’t be found out. But there’s something in his newest class that might make it harder to keep his other secret: Will is gay, and he has designs on his classmate Noah Zajack. Will is hoping he will be able to secure a prestigious scholarship so that he can leave his father’s life (and money) behind to pursue his dream. But Noah also hopes to get the scholarship, as he may not have the means to continue his studies without it. Will is torn, not only when it comes to living his truth (and figuring out exactly what that truth is) but also when it comes to his own designs on the scholarship and the direct conflict with the man he loves. But the fact that one can’t always have everything is a cliche for a reason, and there are some decisions Will must make.

I can’t say that there were a lot of unexpected twists and turns with this story, but I found myself glued to the pages from beginning to end. The situation is ripe for drama and conflict, and it certainly delivers. But there are some great moments between the characters (not just Will and Noah, but many of the supporting players as well), and I found Noah particularly endearing. Definitely worth a read.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Published by: HarperTeen on September 5, 2017
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

In a future where people receive a phone call on the day they will die to let them know it is their last day, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio happen to get the call on the same day. Total strangers to each other, they meet up on an app called Last Friend and decide to spend their End Day together. For Mateo, it’s an opportunity to step outside of the cautious life he’s lived to find some adventure and tie up loose ends. For Rufus, who has a number of his own challenges to work through, a day with Mateo provides a chance to be a bit more carefree on his last day while spending his time with someone who understands exactly what he’s going through. And both find that it truly is amazing how deeply a bond can form in less than 24 hours…

This is a moving and thought-provoking book. Of course, it raises the obvious questions about whether one would want to know they were going to die or simply let it come as it does. And there’s the question of how we choose to live our lives on a day-to-day basis–live every day as if it’s your last or save that for your actual last day? And what does living your life as though it’s your last day really mean? The chances we don’t take may sometimes be just as impactful on our lives as the ones we do. And even though the title tells you exactly where this book is headed, I found I was still completely gutted when I got there. These two characters and the world in which they live really comes to life on these pages, and I found myself lost in the book and hoping–even just for a moment–for an ending that I (and Rufus and Mateo) knew deep down wasn’t possible.

 

Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow

Muscling Through

Muscling Through by J.L Merrow

Published by: Samhain Publishing on July 19, 2011
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Al Fletcher never expected what would happen when he helped a drunk Larry Morton home. His efforts were not exactly appreciated as Larry sent him away and threatened to call the police. Though he came and apologized after he sobered up, it was still a bit of a jarring experience. But the two started spending time together, finding after a short time that the last thing Larry would want to do is send Al away. It might be too good to be true, though, as they come from two completely different worlds. And as much as they seem to click together, Al can’t help wondering if Larry can truly see past those differences in the long term…

This is a short read that moves quickly while managing to bring the reader right along for the ride. Without a lengthy exposition, the conflict that exists for these characters is made real rather quickly. Readers get a strong sense of both characters, even though the story is written from the perspective of only one of them. A well-written and entertaining story!

The Angel of 13th Street by Eden Winters

The Angel of 13th Street

The Angel of 13th Street by Eden Winters

Series: The Angel of 13th Street, Book 1
Published by:
 Torquere Press on May 12, 2010
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Jeremy Kincaid is hiding out. He loved his boyfriend, and he thought his boyfriend loved him. But he’s not willing to live the life of a hustler, selling himself on the street, even if it’s for love. And when he crosses paths with Noah Everett, a kind man who seems interested in helping him with no expectation of anything in return, he thinks he may have found his way out. But this is not Noah’s first entanglement with the men who want Jeremy to come work for them. He has a history of helping young men get out, and that history has not gone unnoticed. Their meeting may be what puts Jeremy’s would-be boss over the edge, but it also might be what sets the stage for both of them to finally be free of their pasts. If they can make it through to the end, that is…

Complex characters with storied histories and lots of baggage pepper this story from beginning to end. There are twists and connections that may not immediately be expected, but once they are explained they make total sense and are part of spinning together the web that is at the heart of this entire story. The characters are dynamic and easy to connect to, and I found myself lost in the world of this story a little more quickly than I had initially expected. It’s a relatively easy and quick read, sure to entertain while pulling at the heartstrings just a bit at the same time.

Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause

Extrasensual Perception

Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 5, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Christopher Vincent has tried his best to avoid drawing attention to his psychic abilities. That’s more of his mother’s thing, and he’d like to try to live a normal life. But when a bit of desperation leads him to accept a job as a psychic at his friend’s club, it looks like he may have no choice. And then there’s the issue of his friend’s brother, Jack. Chris can’t keep his eyes off the man, and they even had a brief encounter years ago, but they’re from two different worlds. Which is made even more apparent by Jack’s clear disapproval of Chris’s work in the club. But when a mysterious stranger begins to target the three of them, they may all have to rely on Chris’s abilities even more than any of them expected. And it just might be what’s needed for Chris to break down the wall between him and Jack once and for all.

I would describe this as a light and easy read, despite the fact that there’s a very dark character hanging out on the periphery for most of the book. There are some definite twists and turns that I didn’t expect while still keeping many of the elements one might expect from a romantic thriller. Enjoyable, entertaining, and recommended.