Tag Archives: published: 2016-07

The Photographer’s Truth by Ralph Josiah Bardsley

The Photographer's Truth

The Photographer’s Truth by Ralph Josiah Bardsley

Published by: Bold Strokes Books on July 12, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Ian’s life seems to be on track. He has a wife and two intelligent, well-adjusted sons. He’s a key part of a software startup that looks to be going nowhere but up. There’s nothing he feels is missing. This is what he’s worked for all his life.

But when a long-term assignment in Paris takes Ian away from his family and his life, his perspective begins to shift. Especially after he meets Luca, a former fashion photographer with a skill that leaves Ian in awe. As the two become closer friends, Ian’s memory of a brief one-night encounter with another young man in college brings him to a “what if” moment. Yes, Ian has what many would call a perfect life waiting for him back at home. But is that really the life he wants, or is it just the life he expects? While he knows he can go back and continue in his role as husband and father, would he then be true to himself?

This is the second Ralph Josiah Bardsley book I’ve read, and I’m always impressed by this author’s ability to capture characters who are on the brink. A character like Ian is dealing with a lot in this story. He’s confronting truths about himself–some of which he’s buried and some of which he’s never seen before. He’s trying to reconcile the responsibilities of his life and how they might fit into a possible new truth. But it’s all done in a way that feels very real and authentic without simply piling on the angst as so many authors would do.

The only reason this doesn’t pull a higher rating from me is that I would have liked to see a bit more in the resolution. But this is still a great read, and I give it a strong recommendation.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Softpaw by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus


Softpaw by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

Series: Smilodon Pride, Book 1
Published by: Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus on July 14, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

A serial killer is targeting male prostitutes on the streets of Paris. And the grisly nature of the crimes earned the perp the moniker “Jacqueline the Ripper”. At a complete loss for leads, the police are set to send Michel in undercover. The hope is he will make connections easily, since he used to work the streets before he joined the force. And as much as he never wants to fall back into that life, he knows that they need to do everything they can to catch a killer.

Connor seems to have what he considers a dream life. He lives on a house boat and spends his time in the gay district surrounded by art, culture, and beautiful boys. He teaches youth about art by day and plays piano in a bar by night. And he takes the time to look out for the young men who are working the street–even offering them a place to stay when they need it. But his dream life is shattered by the fact that so many of his friends are dying–and the rest aren’t safe.

When Michel walks in the door, Connor’s dream feels like it might have repaired a bit. Although he doesn’t really want a relationship–especially with someone in Michel’s line of work–he finds him hard to resist. And when Michel takes up Connor on his offer for a place to stay, proximity brings temptation and desire. Connor doesn’t know Michel has ulterior motives: Connor is one of the chief suspects in the police investigation.

But Michel doesn’t know Connor’s secret: he seems connected to the murders because he is hunting the killer. Of course, Connor also has a much bigger secret. He’s a werecat–and that’s just the tip of the supernatural iceberg that might stand in the way of the two of them having an actual relationship. Of course, first they have to track down a killer who is much more difficult to kill than anyone could have imagined…

I very much enjoyed the juxtapositions that are present within this story. Michel worked to get away from his past but now he’s fallen right back into his old haunts. Connor is trying to catch the killer, but his connection makes him the prime suspect. Michel isn’t being completely honest with Connor; and, well, vice versa. The number of opposing issues and forces could make this an unwieldy story to tell. But in the hands of these storytellers, they’re used to effortlessly build a web that is engaging, interesting, and thrilling.

This is the first book in a series. And I’m absolutely looking forward to the next installment.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.]

Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran (Ed.)

Beyond the Woods

Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran (Editor)

Published by: Night Shade Books on July 5, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Who didn’t love fairy tales as children? And for many of us that fascination has never died. There’s something about the possibilities and the lessons that these stories provide. And even when we’ve heard a story time and time again, it can still keep all its magic.

In this anthology, Paula Guran has collected some of the best re-tellings of our favorite fairy tales in recent memory. These twists on old standards and adaptations breathe new life into these classic stories. You’ll find yourself lost in the pages of this book, and it will be well worth it when you come out on the other side.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.]