A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Contraband Hearts (Porthkennack #10) by Alex Beecroft


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

His future depends on bringing the smuggler to justice. His heart demands to join him.

Customs officer Peregrine Dean is sent by his patron to investigate rumors of corruption in the Porthkennack customs house. There he is tasked by the local magistrate to bring down the villainous Tomas Quick, a smuggler with fingers in every pie in town. Fired with zeal and ambition, and struck to the core by his first glimpse of Tomas, Perry determines to stop at nothing until he has succeeded.

Tomas Quick is an honest thief—a criminal regarded by the town as their local Robin Hood. He’s also an arrogant man who relishes the challenge posed by someone as determined and intelligent as Perry. Both of them come to enjoy their cat-and-mouse rivalry a little too much.

But the eighteenth century is a perilous time for someone like Perry: a black man in England. Two have already disappeared from the wrecks of ships. Tomas and Perry must forsake their competition and learn to trust each other if they are to rescue them, or Perry may become the third victim.

Back to that historic seaside village of Porthkennack again we go in  Contraband Hearts (Porthkennack #10) by Alex Beecroft, one of my favorite ongoing series by multiple authors.  Only this time, we journey way back into Porthkennack’s history which is rife with smuggling, ship wrecks, profiteering, and in this case, it seems the mystery of the missing slaves who ought to be free men once they reach the shores of those rocky cliffs outside of their owners reach.  How I love this series and small complicated township, no matter where the story falls on its timeline.

Laid atop a maze of tunnels and small rooms dug into the ground that lead directly  to the caves and shoreline (read all the stories written for the series), Porthkennack only looks tidy, and, seemingly normal at first glance.  But the truth of Porthkennack often lies beneath the surface of things and people, as it has been shown from story to story, whether it be from Porthkennack’s convoluted and twisted past to it’s present, who’s ties to it’s past are almost iron clad.  Especially with its ancient families.

I love the historic stories and here Alex Beecroft has crafted one both timely and timeless.  Due to it’s location atop the perilous cliffs, riff with caves perfect for hiding smugglers and “misplaced” goods, Porthkennack’s citizens are a tightly knit village who survives based on cooperation, their wits, and floundering ships lost upon their shorelines.  Oh and wonderful harvests of fish too.  Beecroft builds this gritty, down to earth community with authenticity, heart, and verve.  At the top of Porthkennack is the Quick family who rules over all, leaving little for the township and most for themselves.  Tomas Quick, who’s relation to the family is uncertain is beloved by the town and not so by the local magistrate and Quick family.  Which is why Customs officer Peregrine Dean is sent to the seaside town.

Ah yes, the outsider sent to investigate corruption and smuggling.  In the 18th century.  Made all the more fascinating because Peregrine Dean is a black man who has never been a slave.  An Englishman with a mentor, he hopes for grand things for himself with the service.  So it’s with a certain zeal that he’s going to approach this  job.

Again, the characterization of Peregrine is perfect.  As is the shocks that await him. For in some respects,  Perry has been insulated away from the realities of what it actually feels like to be black and have your freedom taken away from you, to be considered a “product” to be traded and sold.   Beecroft works that element and the essence of the slave trade in here fluidly and subtly.  Plus you can see why that aspect of Peregrine’s personality fights so hard against what is before him.  Reality is a hard truth here for him to accept.  He has never seen himself as anything other than an Englishman and has thought that to be true mostly of others.  He is about to find out that the world outside of London is not as expected.

Tomas Quick is another wonderful character complete with mother and support of his community (equally made up of believable villagers and seafaring scoundrels as the reader will discover. Tomas has his own agenda here, along with established businesses.  His attraction to Peregrine (same sex attraction) and his acceptance of it is based on his mother’s attitude and background.  So the author’s case for their relationship is grounded and seems realistic.

There is also a delightful twist at the end that I throughly enjoyed!

Taking another journey to Porthkennack’s past for a romance, some mystery, considerable suspense and hijinks, and just plain grand storytelling makes me recommend Contraband Hearts (Porthkennack #10) by Alex Beecroft all the more.  I just adore this series and this book (and author) is just one more reason why.

Cover art:  L.C. Chase is exquisite.  This is  Peregrine Dean at his finest.  Love that cover.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

ebook, 270 pages
Published April 30th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626498040 (ISBN13: 9781626498044)
Edition Language English

May Is Happily Underway and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.


May Is Happily Underway!

The mailbox is yellow, coated with pollen, azaleas are in full bloom, and bluebirds are busily nesting. Yes, that picture above is mine. And it’s raining today.  Happy May indeed.

Remember when we were talking about what’s old is new again?  One of the books this week is a prime example. The Prisoner of Zenda was a novel by Anthony Hope, written in 1894.  It was also several black and white movies including one made in 1937 by Ronald Coleman, Raymond Massey, and Douglas Fairbanks for those of you who love old movie classics.  This week I will be reviewing The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles.  Ah, yes!  The familiar turned new!

If you have noticed some familiar titles reappearing lately, it’s due to authors getting their rights back and self publishing their stories.  We support their efforts and hope you will tool  Enough said.  Or maybe not enough.  Let me know.

Lately, I’ve had fantasy and science fiction on the mind with all of the MCU movies and Star Trek movies out there that I adore so much.  I’ve always read both genres growing up and even now grab them up left and right.  I feel a fantasy and SciFy binge coming on…

Be prepared!

In the meantime, I hope you are all out enjoying the wonderful May weather (if you have any where ever you may be).    Let me know what May activities and books have you in thrall.


Here’s our schedule this week….


This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 6:

  • A MelanieM Review: Contraband Hearts (Porthkennack #10) by Alex Beecroft
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

Monday, May 7:

  • Harmony Promo Jeff Adams
  • Review Tour and Giveaway – The Sinner & The Saint (EM #8) by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour – Sarah Hadley Brook’s A Love To Remember
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Sinner & The Saint (EM #8) by RJ Scott
  • A Stella Review : A Love To Remember by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Valor On The Move (Valor #1) by Keira Andrews
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Infamous (Famous #2) by Jenny Holiday and Michael Fell (Narrator)

Tuesday, May 8:

  • Release Blitz – Amy Aislin’s  On The Ice
  • A Chance at Love by Silvia Violet Release Tour
  •  Release Tour and Giveaway: Detour by Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore
  • This Time Around by Aimee Nicole Walker Release Blitz  and Giveaway
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review Rebel by Rhys Ford and Tristan James (Narrator)
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Plummet to Soar by  Z.A. Maxfield
  • An Alisa Review : Beholden by Kris T Bethke
  • An Ali Audiobook Review:  Leaning Into Touch (Leaning Into #4) by Lane Hayes and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Wednesday, May 9:

  • DSP Promo BA Tortuga
  • Review Tour – Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay
  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote’s  Second Chance
  • A MelanieM Review:  Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay
  • An Ali Review:Contraband Hearts (Porthkennack #10) by Alex Beecroft
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Second Chance by Jay Northcote

Thursday, May 10:

  • Release Blitz – Owned by the Sea by L M Somerton
  • DSP Promo Z.A. Maxfield on Plummet to Soar
  • An Ali Review:  Restraint (Power Exchange 4) by AJ Rose
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Love in Spades (Four Kings Security #1) by Charlie Cochet
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Test Of Valor (Valor #2) by Keira Andrews
  • A MelanieM Review: Magic Ties Together by Nina Begonia

Friday, May 11:

  • Book Blast – Survivors by Jessie Pinkham L
  • ELI EASTON on Robbie Riverton: Mail Order Bride
  • Review Tour –Hawk In The Rowan (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #4) by Sam Burns
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Fox and Birch (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #3) by Sam Burns
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Hawk In The Rowan (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #4) by Sam Burns
  • An Alisa Review : Five Dares by Eli Easton

Saturday, May 12:

A MelanieM Review: The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen