A MelanieM Review: The Lies That Bind (Boystown #8) by Marshall Thornton

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

 

The eighth book of the best-selling Boystown Mystery Series begins with a phone call in the middle of the night. Private investigator Nick Nowak is pulled into the troubled world of freelance journalist, and all around pain-in-the-ass, Christian Baylor.

When Christian can’t stop lying about the corpse in his bathroom things slip slowly out of control. Meanwhile, Nick’s relationship with former priest Joseph Biernecki takes an unexpected turn and the Federal case against Jimmy English proceeds toward trial.

Here we are, into the eighth book in the Boystown series, and  as a result of all the events he has had to go through,the character of Nick Nowak is showing some real growth and changes in his life.

He’s running (when the unrelenting heat of the Chicago summer permits), he’s turned his new lakefront apartment into a home, has established routines with Mrs Harker on Sundays, Brian and his boyfriend. He’s even  deepening his own relationship with the ex priest Joseph, which is different than all the others he’s had before.  Yes, Nick Nowak has become monogamous, a circumstance that has surprised him and happened without him realizing it. Or talking about it with  Joseph.  Even Nick’s bank account is flush with money…an even rarer oddity.

So of course, things get snarled and messy for Nick just as he thinks he may have some things in his life figured out.

I think that if you haven’t especially emphasized with Nick before, perhaps because of his infidelities and outlook on sex, this is the story, that brings you over to Nick’s side.  It will be in Nick’s relationship with Joseph, their dynamics, their  new relationship fraught with surprises for them both.  How the dynamics in the relationship is handled by both men over the course of the story is important because, not only does it feel real, grounded in the reality of the way people handle changes in their romances and perceptions, but because it marks a maturity and growth not seen before.

All the while that is happening between Nick and Joseph, Nick is heavily involved in two cases. One that is a carry over from the previous stories involving Jimmy English and Owen’s law firm.  The other is new involving an old acquaintance…Christian Baylor.  A pain in Nick’s proverbial ass, former friend of sorts of Harker’s, and somewhat yellow journalist looking to up his game.

Both mysteries are creative and complex.  Jimmy English’s keeps evolving over the series of stories.  Everytime you think Nick and the reader has a handle on where it’s going, Marshall Thornton changes direction and victim/culprits.  Its compelling, dark, and a puzzle you can’t turn away from.  And its not  over here.  The end is not is sight yet which makes me happy.  Jimmy English himself is a character that I’ve come to be addicted to as well (not a healthy thing in these novels with their high body count).

So is the one with Christian and the body in the hallway.  With Nick and his cases, nothing is ever straightfordward.  There are layers of deceit, links to Nick or people he knows to deal with, and emotions dredged up that Nick somehow must learn to deal with.  Also physical danger and tons of suspense.

How I love these stories.  So many outstanding elements and all handled expertly!

One last note on one of those elements.  That would be the 80’s factor here.  Marshall Thornton’s use of topics and elements from that era to bring the fact that these stories and Nick live in the 1980’s vividly alive is done so well.  Here AIDS has progressed throughout the US as has the research into how it is spread.  People are starting to talk a little more knowledgeably about it but the fear about blood contamination is rising as well (how well I remember that phase). AIDS, its growth, has been a common factor throughout the series.  You can chart the first whispers of it beginning with book 1, the chills making those early books all the more memorable because you know where it will lead you.

Other 80’s elements are mind boggling.  The double floppy disk Wang computer system that’s long disappeared from memory, COMPAQs, the appearance of IMB systems and a huge brick like mobile phone costing $4,000.  Amazing.  There’s more of course, but those made honorable mention in my mind for this review.  Thornton handles all the aspects of that era, big and small with equal respect and importance.  From sports scores, to newspapers, tech equipments down to music and clothes wear….the research is impeccable.  And folded into the narrative just as it should, matter of factly and not as an historic statement.

Yes, I love this, yes, I  recommend it and all the others that go before and should be read in the order written.  One of my top books/series of the year.

Cover art by Marshall Thornton

Sales Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published February 21st 2016 by Kenmore Books
ASINB019ZS0SHM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBoystown #8

Series:

Boystown Bundle 1 – 3 – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 A Time For Secrets – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 Murder Book – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 From The Ashes – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 Bloodlines – Amazon US | Amazon UK (ON SALE for 99c)
Book #8 The Lies That Bind – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #9 Lucky Days – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #10 Gifts Given – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #11 Hearts Desire – Amazon US | Amazon UK (PREORDER

A MelanieM Review: A Trust to Follow (Wild Magics #1) by Diana Waters

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Rating: 1.75  stars out of 5

 

Daymon is the second prince of a kingdom in which Evokers—those who possess intuitive magical abilities—have long since been treated with fear and mistrust. Marked as an Evoker himself, Daymon is captured by those who wish to take advantage of these powers. Now, the prince must put his faith in Rhyder, the captain of his guards—and the man Daymon has claimed as his own—to free him.

It’s never a good thing when the blurb gives you more world building than the actual story.  But that, and much more (or actually much less) happens in A Trust to Follow (Wild Magics #1) by Diana Waters.

I was drawn to the tale by the synopsis as this was a new author for me.  It has such possibilities.  All of which remain hard to find here because the reader will be scrabbling for anything to hold onto once they start into this disorganized mess of a story.

There is almost zero world building so you have little idea about the Evokers, the history of the kingdom although you will get some about Daymor’s childhood.  Wisps really.  All done in “memory flashbacks”.  Because for most of the story Daymor is a prisoner and the story/action is actually happening around him.

This means that the author need not describe anything int he story that would ground his “abduction/attempts to rescue/actual rescue” in any emotional or action worthy way or other characters.  Even on Daymor himself.  Yes, its all missing in “action”.  So the story is merely Daymor as a prisoner (floating in a narrative bubble) as nebulous “action” maybe occuring around him that you have no idea what it is and why is is happening.

The whole story just makes no sense. Neither do any of the characters.  Especially when they talk about making some difference with Evokers at the end.  Really?  When did that happen?

If you are a fan of Diana Waters, than this is a book for you.  For all others, I’ll leave the choice up to you.  It’s not one I would recommend myself.

Cover art: Erin Dameron-Hill. Cover art is lovely but would make one think its a space novel or involve more magic than this actually does.  Misleading but lovely.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 64 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by eXtasy Books Inc (first published May 26th 2016)
ASINB07DCK5BJ1
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWild Magics #1

Audio Tour for Someone to Call My Own (Road to Blissville #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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 Someone to Call My Own Audio Tour Banner

SOMEONE TO CALL MY OWN

Road to Blissville Series, Book 2

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

AUDIO RELEASE: 06.19.18

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Wander Aguiar

COVER ARTIST:  Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

NARRATOR: Joel Leslie

Listening Length: 8 hours and 49 minutes

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BLURB 

Psychic Emory Jackson and former black ops specialist Jonathon Silver are men from two completely different worlds with one thing in common: heartbreak. Emory still mourns the loss of his husband five years prior, and Jon is reeling with grief from the recent death of his twin brother.

Sparks fly when mutual friends introduce them, but it’s so much more than basic attraction. There’s an undeniable awareness and a sense of belonging that neither man can deny. Despite Emory’s premonition of a future with Jon, he has vowed never to love again. Jon is convinced that his tainted soul is the reason he will never have someone to call his own. What if they’re both wrong?

Maybe these broken men with their jagged edges could somehow align perfectly to form something whole and beautiful. But will that realization come too late for them?

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2ezOhtg

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2xIi2g6

 

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EXCERPT

 

“What are you doing here, Emory?”

“I think you know.”

“I have a pretty good idea, but what has changed since I left Blissville forty minutes ago?”

“Nothing,” I answered honestly. “I don’t love you, Jon.”

“Yet,” he corrected. “You don’t love me yet.” He reached for my hand and slid his fingers in between mine. “If you walk across that threshold with me, I’m going to push you up against the nearest surface and fuck you. Probably more than once. Can you live with that?”

His words sent an electrical current racing through my body. My dick hardened fast and almost painfully beneath my tight briefs. No one had ever talked dirty to me or tried to dominate me, but it ignited something inside me like he was holding a lit match near gasoline fumes. In Jon’s eyes, I saw the raw need that burned through him just as strong as it did me.

“Take me inside.”

Jon didn’t ask me if I was sure; he gripped my hand tightly and pulled me up the broad, stone steps to the front porch. I expected him to drop my hand to unlock the front door, but he hit a few numbers on a keypad with his left hand before twisting the knob to let us inside.

I had caught a brief glimpse of the living room beyond the foyer before Jon turned to me. He didn’t even bother shutting the door before he backed me up against the foyer table. Jon’s hands immediately went to my neck to loosen my tie while he swooped down and captured my lips in a hard, demanding kiss. He released a torrent of emotions he’d repressed since we met, and I tasted each one on his tongue.

 

 Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy

who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.

I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

FACEBOOK

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Joel Leslie/Narrator

Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth.  A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds.  His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.

He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre.  He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world.

His authors have praised him as “a narrator among narrators, a man whose ability to create different characters rests on the power of his voice and his impeccable delivery,” and a “true delight…” “his professionalism, good humor, and charm make him a dream to work with,” “Anyone else would only be second best”.

Joel has consistent access to his home studio for all production needs.  When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs.

http://www.joelleslienarration.com/

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