Review of Brook Street: Thief by Ava March

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Rating: 4 stars

Lord Benjamin Parker has always thought that he might be gay but never put it to a test.  Until now.  One evening at a gambling hell known to be frequented by men who discretely prefer the company of other men, he sits at a card table next to one of the most attractive men he has ever seen.  That man turns out to be Cavin Fox. Cavin Fox has come, not to gamble, but to pick up a wealthy mark to take home and fleece, leaving the mark’s pockets empty come morn.  But he is enjoying their flirting and conversation and the even drags on more than it should.

When the men do leave the establishment together, the night turns into a evening of sexual exploration that neither man will forget.  And Cavin leaves, taking nothing from Benjamin as being with Benjamin has affected him deeply.  Benjamin feels the same and wants nothing more than to see Cavin again.  When events conspire to bring them together  again, Benjamin vows to keep Cavin with him just as much as Cavin feels he cannot stay and take advantage of Benjamin’s feelings.  It takes a dramatic rescue and confrontation to bring about a solution they both can accept in order for a thief and a lord to live happily ever after.

Brook Street: Thief is the first of a trilogy by Ava March that captures the historical feel of the times and still delivers an emotionally rewarding romantic story of love found among the gutters.  Both main characters are easy to love.  Lord Benjamin comes across as an affable fellow, good natured, and generous hearted.  His story of how he determines he actually may be gay will bring smiles to your face as it did to Cavin’s.  The youngest of five children of a Marquis, he doesn’t stand to inherit the title or lands so he is free to be a “confirmed bachelor” all his life, a quaint way of saying he prefers the company of men.  But it is with Cavin Fox that my sympathy and love were quickly seated.  A guttersnipe who was plucked out of the streets by a man named Hale who prostituted him out as well as trained him to be a thief, Cavin still retains a gentle soul and good heart.  When in his anquish he determines not to see Benjamin again, the reader hurts as badly as he does.  Ava March does such a terrific job with them both, that I never felt they were anything less than real.  A young man named Sam also figures into the story as a young brother figure for Cavin.  I hope to see more of him  in the latter stories.

And there is the setting here.  It is 1822, London, England.  March’s descriptions of the hellish nature of the place where Hale, Cavin and the boys live gave me the shivers.  From her vivid descriptions, I could see the rats and urchins vying for garbage scraps as the consumptive whores with their dirty feet watched from their doorways.  Never was I go glad to be living in 2012 America.  March did a beautiful job of conveying time, place and atmosphere and all in a mere 112 pages.  Quite a feat.

If I have a quibble it is that the ending came about a little too fast and the solution Benjamin and Cavin found seemed too pat an answer for the times they live in.  But considering the happy ending and the promise of more to come, I will leave my quibbling there.  I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Cover.  What a gorgeous cover! Stunning in its emotional appeal and  coloring.  Fantastic job.

Olympic Games, the Week Ahead in Reviews and The Michelada Cocktail

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So many things going on to talk about today.  First let’s get right to the Olympics.  Closing ceremony is tonight, bringing to an end one of the best Olympics I can remember.  I have been glued to the television watching this incredible spectacle unfold from the beginning, from the high drama of the swimming pools and gymnastic mats to the cross country course of the Equestrian events to the river and glistening rowers then to track and field, and all the sports in between.  So many athletes, so many stories, so many tears of sorrow to match the tears of joy.  How not to feel a part of something bigger, to feel connected to other nations and nationalities when you see people cheering the athletes on regardless of the colors they wear or the countries they represent.  Oscar Pistorius? Who wasn’t cheering that man on?  Some of my favorites? Katie Ledecky, Misty  and Terri, Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis, Michael Phelps, Gabby and the rest of the US gymnastic womens team,  Misty Franklin….so, so many.

And what will the closing ceremony look like?  Who knows?  After the dancing nurses and their twirling hospital beds, massive shrubbery moving, the Tor, and best torch ever, I am waiting in anticipation to be confounded, baffled, and touched beyond measure.  I know we will all be watching it together.

I am also going into this week with a working generator (dances for joy) so once more I am able to enjoy the rumble of thunder, the darkening skies, the sound of pounding rain for their beauty and music, secure in the knowledge that a storm no longer equals loss of power, food and appliances!  Take that, Pepco.  Now only if I could send you the bill.

Finally, Monday brings my review of Stars & Stripes, the latest in the Cut & Run series from Abigail Roux featuring Ty and Zane.  So many people were trying to download their pre-ordered copies at midnight on the 11th that they crashed the servers over at Riptide Publishing.  Wow.  So was the wait worth it?  Read my review on Monday.  So here is what the week is looking like in books:

Monday:                                Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6) by Abigail Roux

Tuesday:                                Synchronous Seductions Trilogy by Haven Fellows

Wednesday:                         Inertia (Impulse #1) by Amelia C. Gormley

Thursday:                             Brook Street: Thief by Ava March (rescheduled from last week)

Friday:                                   Mending the Rift Series by Valentina Heart

Saturday:                               Word Play Anthology by the Story Orgy authors

And finally our summer cocktail of the week. The Michelada, perfect for grilled foods and watching Olympic closing ceremonies!

The Michelada

Ingredients:

1/4 teaspoon piquin pepper
1/4 teaspoon salsa picante
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) can Mexican lager, chilled

Garnish: lime wedge

Directions:

In tall beer glass, stir together pepper sauce, salsa, lime juice, salt, and lager. Garnish with lime and serve immediately.

Happy viewing and have a great week!

Olympics Addiction Continues, the week ahead in Reviews and a new Summer Cocktail

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It’s August, it’s hot and dry here in Maryland.  Normal right?  Well, except for the 100 degree days, but the dryness?  That’s becoming typical too.  We are down about 8 inches here from our normal rainfall, but compared to some of the other states now experiencing record drought conditions, that is nothing.  As we hear of farmers and ranchers selling off stock they can’t feed and the Mississippi is down 20 ft in places,  along with Lake Michigan recording a water temperature in the 90’s,  I think Maryland is getting off easy comparatively speaking.  But we will feel it, make no doubt about it.  Higher food prices, higher costs in transportation, we are all woven together.  A small ripple here becomes a tidal wave there.

So I would like to think that the Olympics in Great Britain are generating tidal waves of good feelings that are crashing upon the shores of many nations.  I love watching athletes from all over the world competing and (mostly, what was with those badminton teams?) giving it their best.  Did you see that rower from Niger?  Never been in a boat, never rowed  before, came in dead last and grinned like crazy! And then there is Michael Phelps putting on a show of remarkable  physical ability, great team spirit and a happiness that I will remember for some time to come.  So many wonderful moments this week from the women competing whether it was gymnastics, swimming, Judo, weightlifting, or women in head scarves running like the wind.  I am just glued to my set and don’t see that changing until the very last whistle is blown and the torch goes out.  How about you?  Are you watching?

So this is what I have been reading in between watching the Olympics:

Monday:                       The Druid Stone by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane

Tuesday:                        When Forever May Not Be Long Enough by Mychael Black and Shayne Carmichael

Wednesday:                  The Florist by Serena Yates

Thursday:                       Priceless by M.A. Church

Friday:                            Suicide Point by Georgie Leigh

Saturday:                        Brook Street: Thief by Ava March

Now on to this Sunday’s Feature Cocktail.  In a nod to the British Olympics, here is the recipe for a Pimm’s Cup.  This recipe is  for one drink. Make as many as you like!

 

 

 

 

 

Pimm’s Cup Ingredients:

About 1 cup ice cubes
1/4 cup (2 ounces) Pimm’s No. 1
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ginger beer or ginger ale
1 cucumber slice
1 sprig fresh mint (5 to 6 leaves)
Directions:

Fill highball glass with ice. Add Pimm’s, then top with ginger beer, garnish with cucumber slice and mint sprig, and serve.

Now I am off to watch the Olympics and finish Megan Derr’s Poison, the 4th book in the Lost Gods series.