A MelanieM Review: Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Re-Inventing LoveEngineer and assistant inventor,Maximilian Grun is in love with his employer, but he daren’t reveal the truth. It’s 1910 and if Canadian authorities learned of his homosexuality, they’d deport him back to Germany where the country of his birth would become the country of his death.

When promising young inventor and mathematician,Dr. Jasper Hamilton expresses his own feelings for Max, the young German regretfully declines. He cannot risk their partnership, their reputations” their very lives!

Then a rival inventor sabotages their inventions. Jasper is caught between the physical and the metaphysical, reduced to atoms, and transported to the spirit plane! Max is devastated, deeply regretting his lost chances.

But Jasper manages to communicate across the aether, telling Max he must reverse the machine’s polarity. But without Jasper’s talent for mathematics, the calculations defeat Max.

Can the would-be lovers bridge the gap between life and death to finally be together?When a ghastly lab accident blows a respected inventor away, his loyal assistant must devise a way to bridge the gap between the planes of existence to reunite them in life and in love.

I was not sure what to expect from Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant.   The premise was intriguing and the author was completely new to me.  Two things I liked.  Plus it was historical, another bonus.  The story  turned out to be so much more than I ever  imagined.  It was a wonderful historical novel, rich in elements from that era.  It was a paranormal tale, filled with inventive touches real and imagined.  The author’s note where Grant’s give’s a nod to the inspirations behind the story should not be missed. Finally, its a sweet, touching romance, still in keeping with the era, noting that such same gender love is forbidden, likely to lead to imprisonment and death.  And on every level that it explores and incorporates into the story, it works beautifully.

The story starts off in Germany,  with a young apprentice and his older mentor working on a special invention and things go very badly.  We follow the the young man’s recovery through various scary scenes and months which I won’t spoil here.  They are of high importance in making the character of Maximilian Grun feel authentic, as both a scientist and as a damaged man.  We get the full history on Max…his troubles, his pain, everything.  Even his naivete’.  And Grant surrounds him in the elements of the era, from laws to major points in the history timeline.

When the story lands in Canada, and the household of Dr. Jasper Hamilton and his forward thinking sister, Octavia, I was throughly entranced.  Then became even more so.  Dr. Jasper was already an inventor who along with his trouser-wearing sister (and house servants/assistants) had filled his house with his inventions from toasters (that burnt toast if you weren’t careful) to washer tubs for washing clothes.  A marvel indeed and based on inventions present at the time.  Octavia, a widow, is a bright, sparkling presence, whose personality leaps off the pages alongside that of her brother and their other household occupants (cat included).  Really, be prepared to fall in love with this entire household.

How Max comes to find employment and a home here with Jasper and Octavia is a neat twist of tale and villain.  Yes, the author has engineered a believable villain for this story.  His actions are both plausible and reprehensible, thoughtless and based on self gain, no matter the cost.  So you get a layered and understandable man to cringe at his every appearance.  Its wonderful.

There is also the paranormal element here, ghosts, another plane of existence to explore.  Its deliciously done.  Storm Grant is clearly having fun here, from the name of the device (see the author’s notes again) to the racket, explosions, and results that occur).  Most are mind boggling, all are marvelous and great for the story.  I enjoyed each and every scene, right up to and including the unexpected final one.

I often watch a series here called The Artful Detective. I believe the author refers to the same show as the Murdoch Mysteries in her notes.  A Canadian detective in the 1900’s who uses science (often ahead of his time) and inventions to solve crime.  It was one of the inspirations behind the story as both incorporate actual history and real inventions into their storylines.  Both the series (I bet the name difference is due to the country where it airs) and this story are charmers.

Whether you are a fan of historical novels, this is one story you won’t want to miss out on.  Its got a little bit of something for everyone.  But mostly?  Its just plain wonderful.  I highly recommend Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant.  Now I need to seek out and read other books by this author.  What a treat.  And while you’re at it check out The Artful Detective as well.

Cover art by Deana Jamroz.  I liked this cover.  A bit old timey true in keeping with the paperback mysteries and dime novels.

Sales Links

MLR Press LLC

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by MLR Press, LLC
ASINB01ENHDG6U
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

In Our Spotlight: Andrew Q. Gordon on his latest release, Purpose (guest post and giveaway)

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PurposeCover400x600

Purpose by Andrew Q Gordon
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date:  October 6th

Edition: Second (Re-written, re-edited, new cover)
Goodreads
Genre: Paranormal, Gay Fiction

We are happy to have Andrew Q. Gordon here today to talk about his latest novel, Purpose.  Welcome, Andrew.  Tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story and the characters.

Vengeance. Revenge. Vigilante justice. None of these are especially positive words, especially not to law enforcement officers. But think of all the anti-hero heroes; Batman, Wolverine, for those older like me, the Walking Tall movies [The Originals from the 70’s or the Rock’s remake in 2004, or Charles Bronson in the “Death Wish” movies. (for those who don’t know these, click the links). Everyone loves the bad guy who is taking down the real bad guys. It’s a very Machiavellian approach where the ends justify the means.

“Thanks. There is more than a bit of that in Purpose. William Morgan is the human host to the spirit of vengeance. He deals out ‘justice’ to those who have killed an innocent person. And while the innocent victims are avenged, Will kills a lot of people. Regardless of how we feel about the original crime, how many of us would really sanction killing the killer? Maybe a few, maybe more, but that is probably not the position most of us would take in polite company. Why? Because civilized society is built on laws that don’t allow us to take the law into our own hands. And yet…

Among the themes I’ve tried to weave into Purpose, is whether or not the law is willing to turn a blind eye to these events. Certainly Commissioner Gordon didn’t exactly object to what Batman did. Same in Death Wish. There seems to be this tendency among the top brass—at least in movies and comic books—to look the other way and secretly applaud the ‘bad guy protagonist’ for doing what law enforcement couldn’t.

I can’t say if that is truly the view of those in charge, but from my twenty plus years working with law enforcement officers I can say it is certainly an unspoken feeling among the rank and file frustrated by what they perceive as the lack of consequences. That said, I don’t think they would turn a blind eye to someone who killed another, even if it were in retaliation. I’ve never met anyone who would welcome a full on vigilante in the community.

In Purpose there are two different law enforcement characters. Detective Daniel Griffin is a homicide detective who firmly believes in upholding the law. Will is a vigilante, at times Det. Griffin calls him the devil. Dealing with Will, however, upends his world. Will offers him the chance to always get the right person. But Griffin isn’t quite able to reconcile the good with the cost. One of the journeys in the book is Griffin’s as Will forces him to question his beliefs.

The other is Agent Barrington. His worldview is clear: Will is bad and must be caught. He has no interest in dealing with the devil.  Where Griffin quickly realizes he has no chance of catching Will, Barrington takes a different approach. His methods, however, demonstrate how similar he and Will are—or not.

As the three interact, decisions are made, perceptions change and motives are revealed. The cover reflects the duality of the entire situation and hopefully that is reflected in the story.

Enjoy— Andrew

Blurb

2nd Edition

Forty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can’t understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.

Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn’t done in decades: care.

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.

Buy Links: DSP Publications |Amazon | Omnilit | Barnes & Noble

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Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter Link or Enter on the RC below for a chance to win one of the following.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and tour organizer.

First Prize: $25 Giftcard to Dreamspinner Press
Second Prize: Autographed Paperback copy of Purpose

The tour organizer will select a winner from entries received as of close of business 21 October. Be sure to leave a thoughtful comment on each stop on the tour for additional chances to win.

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General Excerpt

He turned where he saw the others disappear and understood why they had stopped: dead-end alley. Ryan stood with his back to the brick wall, wide-eyed and pale. Gar noted the uncontrollable shake in Ryan’s body as the four jackals slowly inched closer. White knuckles surrounded the small bag he’d carried off the train.

The one closest to Ryan inched closer. “You know what time it is.”

“Police!” Gar didn’t wait for them to react to his command. He tightened his leg muscles and moved the moment everyone turned toward the front of the alley. Using the split second before they could focus on him, he leaped over them, twisting in the process.

The space between them and Ryan wasn’t much, but he managed to avoid contact with the kid, landing a foot to the left. He reached into his coat and removed a collapsible metal baton with his right hand and a pair of brass knuckles with the left.

One step right, and he completely covered Ryan’s shaking form. Not risking a glance back, he kept his eyes on the startled thieves in front of him.

“Stay behind me, Ryan.”

A muffled grunt, barely audible, told Gar the kid heard him. He dropped the police officer illusion, staring calmly at his prey. Assessing his adversaries, he ignored the hint of a thought that said they were not the guilty. Too late for that—they would have been had he not stopped them.

“I know what time it is,” he hissed, tossing the slang for street robberies back in their face. “Time for vengeance to collect its fee.”

In the recent past, Gar had taken to finding a way to take out the guilty without doing it himself. This time he couldn’t risk it; Ryan was too close. One of them had a gun. He could smell it now.

He definitely didn’t have time to make it look like an accident.

Spinning on his left foot, he kicked the kid with the gun so hard his skullcap flew off when his head hit the wall. Allowing his movement to carry him around, he brought the metal baton down on the arm of a robber with a knife. Metal on flesh and bone was no contest. Gar saw Ryan flinch when the kid let out a scream of agony and fell to the ground.

At least he would live, Gar noted. The first kid was probably dead already. The other two were rooted in place, stunned into inaction. Two seconds ago, they were about to rob a defenseless kid. Now they were being taken apart. Before they could run away, Gar lashed out.

Using the palm of his left hand, he struck the one closest to him. Even using the inner part of his hand, he heard the brass knuckles crack the kid’s sternum when he connected. The last kid finally moved and made it three steps before Gar swept his feet out from under him with the baton.

The face looking up in terror was that of a kid, a juvenile. They were all kids. Reaching toward the teen’s head, he heard movement behind him.

“Gar.” Ryan’s timid, urgent tone caused him to turn. “Don’t kill him.”

“I won’t.” His voice was a cold hiss. Instead, he touched the sweaty forehead, inserting confused thoughts. He quickly repeated the process with the others. The first kid still lived, but probably not for long. The other two, he left sobbing out their pain.

“Come on.” He grabbed Ryan’s left arm. “We need to go.”

Ryan resisted the pull, but Gar was prepared for this. “Either you come with me or I leave you to explain this.”

Author Bio

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting to the times, he now writes with a shiny new AQGAuthorImage300x300MacBook that he sets on the same desk as his manual typewriter and vintage adding machine.

Long a fan of super heroes, wizards and sports, Andrew’s works include high fantasy, paranormal spirits, magic as well as contemporary fiction. He is still trying to find the perfect story that will include all his favorites under one cover.

He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his husband, their young daughter and dog.  In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and occasionally sleeping.

THE LAND OF MAKE BELIEVE:  “http://andrewqgordon.com/
FACEBOOK:  “https://www.facebook.com/dominic.andrews.7568

PurposeTourSidebarTour Schedule

6 Oct – Elin Gregory
6 Oct – Jessie G Books
7 Oct – Divine Magazine
8 Oct – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
9 Oct – Hearts on Fire Reviews
9 Oct – MM Good Book Reviews
10 Oct – Author Susan Mac Nicol
10 Oct – Wake Up Your Wild Side
11 Oct – The Purple Rose Tea House
12 Oct – Love Bytes Reviews
12 Oct – Queer SciFi
13 Oct – World of Diversity Fiction
14 Oct –  Prism Book Alliance
15 Oct – Diverse Reader
16 Oct – Loving Without Limits
17 Oct – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
18 Oct – BFD Book Blog
18 Oct – Wicked Faeries Tales and Reviews
19 Oct – Molly Lolly
20 Oct – Drops of Ink

Review: Captive Magic (Sentinels #3) by Angela Benedetti

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Rating: 3.75 stars

Captive MagicBreckenridge “Breck” Bayes is both a telepath and teleporter.  And it his last gift that brought him to the attention of a demon in search of an object.  Normally Breck would have said no but nothing in Breck’s world was normal at the moment.  His kid sister is dying of cancer and there is nothing the doctors can do for her.  But if Breck agrees to work for the demon, then his sister will be cured.  But the demon’s demands keep growing and each time Breck fails, the demon makes his sister sick again.  Breck is desperate to finish their deal but he can’t find the object the demon wants and he is getting desperate.

Manny Oliveira, owner and operator of the bookstore the Grove, is a seer and Sentinel.  So it makes perfect sense that when someone sees a man teleport in and out of a local shop, the first one they report it to is Manny.  When Manny chases Breck down mid robbery, Breck’s explanations for his thefts tug at Manny’s heart.  Manny understands totally about family and love for the youngest members.  So  he decides to help Breck get free of his obligation while leaving his sister healthy, a huge undertaking and one he is not prepared for.  Because the demon Breck is working for wants Manny’s talents as well.

With both men in trouble and a demon holding them in peril, what happens when you add love to an already unstable mixture?

Captive Magic is the first book I have read by author Angela Benedetti so I was unaware that it was the third book in a series that is five stories deep including this one (see list below). I found out about the series after the fact and that explained some of the lack of back history associated with Captive Magic and the Sentinel group. Clearly the author has provided the Sentinel backgrounds in previous books (or so I assume).  So I am going to exclude that issue from my review except to say I wish that a minor recap had been given and continue on as though it is a stand alone.

I did find much to admire about Captive Magic on its own terms.  Angela Benedetti has a marvelous imagination and ability to craft an ingenious story plot.  Captive Magic combines those elements with terrific and appealing characters and you have the makings of a great story and certainly a series.  I found all the characters here, with the exception of the “demon” likable, realistic, and certainly capable of holding their own against the weight of the wild elements found within this story.

Benedetti supplies both men with heartwarming and recognizable families, from the heartbreaking Amanda, Breck’s sister, who is dealing with her cancer and the strain upon her family, to the bright, and incorrigible Anita, Manny’s niece, and Amanda’s healthy opposite. “Manda” especially tugs on our heart strings with her brave but realistically tough outlook on her illness and her future.  Breck’s mother, weary, strained, and doing what is necessary to keep her family together is a portrait of a mother under incredible pressure and the fractures are beginning to show.  By placing both men within a strong, and loving family structure, Benedetti makes us understand Breck’s agreement and subsequent stealing.  When forced to choose between a child’s life and a theft of an object,, who wouldn’t choose the child, especially when the medical world has failed her?

Less successful is her choice to have Manny assist Breck on his own, without any help from the other Sentinels. Sentinels, who (by the events that occur later in the story), are clearly better equipped to have handled this situation as a group.  Manny has this whole cadre of magic users at his disposal.  One even asks him at the beginning what is going on “with the teleporter” but Manny lies about his knowledge and involvement.  For no discernible reason other than the author needed him to do so for her plot to work.

At one point in the story Breck tells Manny “this is pointless” and so it is.  With so many other incredible elements here, why would you not have a better, more reasonable, more logical explanation for Manny’s actions then the nonexistent one Benedetti supplies the reader and Manny with.  This is a huge missed step, one of several that pulls the story (and the story’s ratings) downward.

Another aspect of this story, that of another dimension brings out the best and the worst with Benedetti.  The best includes a wildly imaginative world that combines elements of math, physics, Harry Potter and the unknown into a simply stunning new dimension.  Here is an excerpt:

 The passages wandered all over, around corners, up and down slopes, through doorways and in and out of huge rooms or caverns or whatever. Breck never spotted an obvious light source; it was like the photons were just sort of bouncing around at random, keeping everything generally lit, with no shadows and no bright spots. It was like a maze full of water; water didn’t pile up in one place or leave a hole someplace else, and the light was behaving the same way. It was weird.

They climbed over a raised lintel, sort of like the hatchways on ships, and into a medium-sized cavern. There was a cluster of… sculptures? growing out of the wall to the left, or maybe they’d been stuck there for some reason? Breck hauled Manny over so they could get a look.

“Is this what you saw?” Manny was squinting at one of the little thingies, then another. “They’re weird, man. It’s like a Klein bottle or something — or two or three of them stuck together.”

Breck decided not to ask what a Klein bottle was; he just checked out all the weird sculpture-things and shook his head, trying not to follow their loops and spouts too far ‘cause they made his eyes water. “No, none of these. It was bigger, I think. Hard to tell size, but there was more to it, and there was a bigger smooth part on one side — these all have handles and knobs and stuff all over them.”

The more she describes it the weirder it gets.  And that’s great because if we are confused it helps us understand what the characters are feeling as they stumble through the passages in this dimension.  But then it becomes too much of a good thing, as they start popping in and out of the action, most of which is occurring back in their original world.  Soon all the little details the author used to embellish this dimension and her story start to bog down the narrative and disconnect the reader from the characters and their mission.  You know the story is in trouble when one character is left to sit on the floor while the other “pops” out to confront the demon and the pov stays with the person on the floor, whiling away the time until the other man reappears to explain things.

At this point several things have occurred to undercut the momentum of the story and the anticipation that the author has built up.  The readers never really get their “aha” moment with the so called “demon”, that just kind of melts away, undeserving of the huge buildup of “dark, nauseating” descriptions of what it feels like when they interact with the demon and its demands. It’s almost like getting Pooh Bear under the sheet instead of Freddy Kreuger.  Instead of giving the first part of her story its due with a satisfactory conclusion, the author manufactures a secondary trauma and expends all her energies and exposition on it, another miscalculation in my opinion.

Mixed in with everything else that is going on is a “instant love” story that lacking a believable romantic time frame gets it own jump start that once again asks that the reader suspend their disbelief and accept the author’s explanations for a deep and abiding love between Manny and Breck.

Unfortunately this is not the first time the author has called on the reader’s goodwill and ability to believe in her story and then treated that gift somewhat shabbily.  Towards the end of the story, Manny (and Breck) easily accepts the aid of the other Sentinels, the same aid he rejected at the beginning, with no reasonable shift in attitude.  For the reader to have accepted Manny’s lying and avoidance of any assistance from his other Sentinels, the author would have had to supply a better justification than the shallow ones given.

In the end, all the great characterizations, wonderfully inventive world building, and catchy dialog have a hard time surmounting the detail overkill, as well as a story that bogs down under its own cleverness and abundance of plots. In fact Benedetti’s inability to bring the major plot to a satisfactory close, sacrificing it to put into motion another more angst driven secondary story line is such a huge error, in my opinion, that it almost negates the goodwill and expectations that came before.

Even with all my frustrations and issues with Captive Magic, I will still recommend it with reervations.  If you are a fan of the series and Angela Benedetti,, I know you will want to pick this one up. If you are a fan of fantasy and the paranormal, then this has enough terrific elements to make it worth reading.  But if you are in it just for the romance alone, then this is probably not the book for you.

Cover illustration by BSClay is a marvel, perfect for the story.

Book Details:

ebook, 307 pages
Published September 4th 2013 by Torquere Press
edition language English
series Sentinels #3
Books in the series include:
A Hidden Magic (Sentinels #1)

 Unfinished Business (Sentinels #1.5)
Reach Out and Touch (Sentinels #1.6)
Chasing Fear (Sentinels #1.7)
Emerging Magic (Sentinels #2)
Captive Magic (Sentinels #3)

Review: Enigma by Lloyd A. Meeker

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Enigma coverSingle, fifty and gay Rhys “Russ”  Morgan is also a psychic empath, something that both helps him in his job as a Private Investigator and hurts when the contact is with someone whose thoughts and actions are less than honorable.  And his latest job is making those hidden gifts twitch and ache.

Russ has been hired to find out the identity of a blackmailer.  The blackmailer’s target is the high-profile televangelist whose son was supposedly “cured” of his homosexuality fifteen years ago in front of the televangelist’s congregation.  Now the blackmailer, using the songs from an Enigma’s album, The Cross of Changes, is sending notes and demands to the televangelist and the law office representing him thinks that “vengeful homosexuals” are behind the scheme.    Their solution?  Hire a homosexual to catch a homosexual.

Russ takes the case but not exactly for the reasons his clients think.  Justice wields a two sided sword and those cut by its blade are not always the ones you would expect.

The book Enigma was a lovely discovery for me.  I found a new author, new publisher and hopefully a new series to follow.  Lloyd A. Meeker is a find, and according to his acknowledgements, he is new to the mystery genre as well.  In my opinion, he did a great job.

I really enjoyed the character of Russ Morgan.  Older, currently sober and a psychic empath, he clearly has a huge story to tell.  I found him fascinating and the “voice” given to him by the author is intriguing. Its perfect in tone and vocabulary, as Russ’ age and experience just rolls off his tongue.  This holds true for Russ’ inner monologue, the reader’s companion throughout the story. In fact, I liked Russ Morgan so much that the tantalizing bits of information that we are offered about his past and his gift left me a little frustrated and wanting more, a good thing when laying out a series.

The other characters involved in the mystery are nicely fleshed out, very realistic human beings.  I believed in them and others will too. Colin, James, even the parsimonious Andrew Kommen capture and keep your interest as Russ winds his way through a labyrinth of lies fabricated by the reverend to protect  himself and his interests.

As a huge fan of the mystery genre, I will admit that I guessed the identity of the blackmailer early on.  However, that did not take away from my enjoyment of the story and the final reveal.  And I loved, loved, the use of songs from that Enigma album.  That was such a great element and it should send anyone not familiar with that band and their songs scrambling to iTunes for a listen to the compelling melodies and lyrics.

I recommend Enigma and Lloyd A. Meeker and can’t wait to see where he takes this series and detective next.

Cover art by Adrian Nichols, Art Director of  Wilde City Press.   Beautiful cover.

Book Details:

ebook. 18.000 words
Published August 28th 2013 by Wilde City Press
ISBN13 9781925031409

Review: The Hanged Man’s Ghost (Night Wars #1) by Missouri Dalton

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Rating: 4.75 stars

Hanged Man's GhostFynn Adder’s life is on a downward spiral and he is doing his best to speed it up.  Since the murder of his longtime lover, Flynn has spent his free time in a drunken haze,  the alcohol contributing to his frequent sexual hookups and increasingly disastrous personal decisions. Only his professional life is currently stable, but that is due more to the efforts of his partner, Jack Winchester,  than to his own discretion.  Flynn Adder is a detective with the Chicago Police Department, and a son of a famous Chicago irish police family.  And because of his family name and reputation, Fynn’s actions and career are under greater scrutiny, a fact not lost on Fynn.

When a girl is murdered, the case is muddied immediately when the trail of clues point in the direction of Fynn’s family and the death of his lover.  That case went unsolved and now it appears the two are connected. With his Captain,partner and family expressing their concerns about his erratic behavior and drinking, Fynn tries concentrating on the strange clues he is unearthing, they just aren’t making sense.

As more murders occur, all the clues point to a supernatural rather than rational explanation. Then Internal Affairs agent Daniel Voight enters the picture.  Voight is determined to prove Adder a dirty cop and will let nothing, even the truth, stand in his way.  The only aspect of Adder’s life that brings him happiness is his relationship with his police partner, Jack.  Fynn has had a crush on his married partner for years and been happy to just be included as a friend in Jack’s life.  But even that aspect of Fynn’s life is undergoing a major change.

With all the clues pointing back to Fynn’s past and the murderer taunting him with mysterious messages he can’t decipher, the stress and unnatural events push Fynn past the breaking point.  If the murderer  is to be caught and the killings stopped, Fynn will need to reach out for help and support in places he never expected and soon before he and those he loves are caught in the Hanged Man’s noose.

I loved this book and fell under its spell immediately, as I should have.  But I didn’t come to this series in a straightforward manner.  I started with The Night Shift (Night Wars #2), than the 3rd installment, The Hellfire Legacy, and by doing so, did this series a real injustice.  Trust me when I say this is an addicting, enthralling series with something for everyone to love.  And I would have known that sooner had I read them in the order they were written and should have been read.  Mea culpa indeed.  But let’s get back to the beginning and The Hanged Man’s Ghost.

Missouri Dalton’s characters are a wonder.  Fynn is especially surprising.  He comes from a large irish family in Chicago whose members have always been part of the Chicago PD rank and file.  But unlike his father and brother, Fynn is not your burly Irishman but rather a slender blond with a penchant for knitting and booze.  He is also gay, out with a large supportive family behind him.  Not that it seems to matter when we first meet him.  The author has created a back history for Fynn that is incredibly complex and is only slowly revealed over the length of the book, both to the reader and to Fynn.  He has been existing in an alcoholic fog since the murder of his longterm lover.  Dalton’s treatment of Fynn’s alcolholism is realistic and grim without giving up any of the character’s wry, and sometimes caustic personality.  It’s a personality you will come to love as much as for it’s power of survival as it is for its wry, self effacing facade.  Here is a taste of Fynn for you:

“You need a lift to the station?” Jack raised an eyebrow.

I shook my head. “Nah, I see my bike.” It was parked three feet from a hydrant. Jack eyed the bike. It was sort of a death trap.

“You were at the club last night.”

“Yeah.” I backed out of striking range.

He stepped closer and grabbed my arm. “Were you drinking?” I looked away. “Damn it, Fynn, were you?”

“Yeah.” He usually managed to make me feel guilty about these things.      He shook his head and let go of my arm. “He could suspend you, take you off this case.”

“I know.” At least he didn’t hit me, but from the ache in my arm, I’d bet it was bruising. Sometimes it sucked to have pale Irish skin.

“At least tell me you’re still seeing the shrink.” My silence was answer enough. “If you want to kill yourself, Fynn, that’s your business. But don’t you dare think it doesn’t affect the rest of us.” He stormed off. Good old Jack, still trying to save me from myself.

The weariness of that  voice gets inside of you, and the force of the personality behind that voice makes the reader want to help him out of the gutter he has tossed himself into.  And this is just the beginning.

Dalton starts bringing in Fynn’s large family, each a well drawn character, and the mystery that surrounds them.  We also get to know Jack, his wife and his precocious daughter too, and come to care for at least two of them just as the author intends. And as Dalton grounds Fynn with his family and Jack, she connects the reader intimately with them and we become invested in their survival.  A survival that becomes increasingly precarious as the murderer starts targeting people around Fynn. Piece by supernatural piece starts to position itself in the story, as the plot lines start to crisscross, and some surprising and chilling twists arrive around each plot corner.  Make no mistake, there are some truly haunting and suspenseful aspects to this story, beautifully conceived and written.

The tough thing about this story is that it is so complex and every little nuance will take on greater import as the story and the series progress.  Things I would have overlooked as inconsequential here had I read this book first, now took on a larger role because I knew what lay behind the slight descriptions so casually thrown away inside this book.  The narrative reminds me of that magazine Hidden Pictures.  There are clues and small stories to be found everywhere as the author is constructing a much larger story outside of The Hanged Man’s Ghost.  This just absolutely delighted me with its complexity while never forgetting that the story and the series has a  very human heart, that of Fynn Adder and those he loves.

Another thread that weaves itself through Fynn’s life and the story is his knitting, a subject near to my heart as a knitter as well.  Here is a little taste of Fynn the knitter:

Cassie’s knitting was in a basket on the left side of the chair I had claimed and I needed a distraction from the tension.

A half-finished pink scarf. Probably for Tara. Cassie would likely not finish it in time for Tara’s birthday.

I picked it up and started a new row. It looked like a simple purl knit purl. Jack raised an eyebrow, I kept knitting. He couldn’t knock my knitting; I’d fixed his sweater the day it got caught in the drawer. With pencils no less.

I intend to track down the author and ask about a certain pattern for a scarf that Fynn knits for himself.  It’s perfection but not one that  can be included in this review.  It is just one more insightful and delightful element that is incorporated into a story that just keeps surprising the deeper into it you go.  The Hanged Man’s Ghost is a cop thriller, a supernatural mystery and a love story.   It chilling, and humorous, and filled with angst. And for the many angles and subject matters that are being juggled here, Missouri Dalton does them all justice and then some, pulling them together for a terrific ending that will leave the reader looking for more.

The editing could be a little tighter and the narrative gets away from itself a  tad towards the middle, otherwise this would be a 5 star rating, My love for the characters and plot far outweigh those  issues, so it really comes close to being perfect. Now the series has become a new favorite of mine.  It will become yours too.  Just don’t make my mistake and start in the middle.  Go right to the beginning, and succumb to the many charms and chills of the Night Wars series and Missouri Dalton’s characters.  You won’t be sorry.

Here are the books as they were written and should be read:

The Hanged Man’s Ghost (Night Wars #01)

The Night Shift (Night Wars #02) – please note revised rating and additional comments at the beginning.

The Hellfire Legacy (Night Wars #03)

Alessia Brio is the cover artist for this book and the series.  I think the artist did a great job in branding the series while keeping each cover true to the story within.  Great job.

Book Details:

ebook, 276 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Torquere Press
ISBN 1610407091 (ISBN13: 9781610407090)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=97&products_id=3507
seriesThe Night Wars #01

Mourning and the Week Ahead In Reviews

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Winston has been gone for less than a week and most of the time I can’t wrap my mind around that fact.  I still turn expecting him to be there and fixed his special breakfast yesterday morning and put it on the floor before I once more realized he wasn’t there to eat it. It was not a good  morning.

And I am not alone in my grief.  Willow and to a lesser degree, Kirby are with me as well.  When Willow arrived, Winston was already king of the house and it took him a while to get used to her but when he did, they were frick and frac, four pawed companions in everything.  He slept on top of the pillow on the bed and she slept under it, they shared meals and water bowls and even their opinions of the mouthy parrot in the family room.

So when I put Winston’s food down my mistake, Willow just sat and looked at me with sad eyes.  When Kirby thought that it was a shame to let it go to waste and went to get his share, there was Willow in his face, refusing to let Kirby near Winston’s bowl.  She is pensive and unusually quiet, staying Velcroed to my side.  Nights are the worst, listening for his snorts and snores that never come.  Both of us toss and turn all night long.

Went to the South River yesterday to meet up with some of our DC Metro M/M group for some much needed distraction.  Those that knew were wonderful but I just can’t talk about him yet.  Write yes, talk no.  Sitting there by the water, listening to the laughter and friendly banter, seeing friends and meeting new ones made me feel lighter in spirit and let me smile when I thought of Winston watching the ducks go by.

I know it was his time to go, and that Willow and I will find a  measure of peace soon.  We will always miss him , he is such a huge part of us, he will always be close by ,in our hearts and memories.  Nothing can take that away, and nothing will.

I have to admit I wasn’t very functional last week and my reading somewhat abandoned.  So I hope you all will forgive me if this week’s list is more of hopes projected instead of reviews already written.  I have good days and bad so only time will tell.  This is what I hope will happen this week.  And thank you all for your support and comments.  They were needed and loved.

Monday, June 10:                  Prelude (a Blue Notes book) by Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes

Tuesday, June 11:                   The Jouster’s Lance by A.J. Marcus

Wed., June 12:                         Flawless by Cat Grant

Thursday, June 13:                Hangman’s Ghost (Night Wars #1) by Missouri Dalton

Friday, June 14:                      One Breathe, One Bullet by S.A. McAuley

Sat., June 15:                           Stonewall by Martin Duberman

So have a good week and wish for me, Willow and Kirby a better one.  I will leave you with the Goodread Quote of the Day, a favorite of mine.

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings”
― John Gillespie Magee Jr.

About this quote:

June 9, 1922: An aviator and a poet, John Gillespie Magee Jr. was born to missionaries in Shanghai, 91 years ago today. His poem, High Flight, is still memorized by cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy today.
John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Review: Damned If You Do: The Complete Collection by J.L. Merrow

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Damned If You Do collectionWhat does a male succubus (yes, you read that right, a male succubus) do when he is set free on Earth by an accidental summoning? Why, go looking for his next delightful meal and loads of hot, sexy fun of course.  That is exactly what Rael does after being set free.  But there is another succubus in town, one that is killing the people it is feeding upon, not just enjoying them and leaving them happy.  On the trail of the succubus killer is Detective Lars Thornsson of the Paranormal Enforcement Agency. Lars is half human half Valkyrie and all around gorgeous gay male.  When Det. Thornsson and his hard as nails partner, Chelle Rochelle,  show up at the nightclub looking for the killer show up at the nightclub looking for the killer, Lars has all the club boys drooling. This fact not lost on Rael who decides the detective is just the man for him. Then Lars and Chelle  find Rael instead of the true killer and take him in to headquarters for questioning.  Almost immediately lust and mutual attraction sets in and when the killer sets her sights on Lars, there is nothing Rael will do to keep his man  safe and at his side forever.

The Damned If You Do collection includes all four of the Rael and Lars stories that chart their relationship from beginning to HEA, which is saying a lot when you consider one is a sexy male succubus and the other a half Valkyrie half human. .Listed below is each story and a mini review of each wild zany romp:

Damned If You Do: The Complete Collection is composed of the following four stories which were all initially released separately:

A Calling for Pleasure cover1.  A Calling For Pleasure: The first in the Rael and Lars series.  We see how Rael makes it into our universe, his immediatel impact on Lars and his investigation as well as the start of their relationship.  Wild, wacky, and great fun.  Rael is a charming, sexy and endearing character as his beloved Lars.  Lars is huge and hugely vulnerable, with a sarcastic hard as nails partner  Chelle Rochelle and a wise and wry Police Captain, perfect for keeping within the stated genre and having fun with it.

At 25 pages, it is the shortest story and it shows in the lack of depth in the characterizations and plot.  Its cute, funny and fast.  Really, it just sets the stage for the longer and more involved stories to come and that’s fine when it is in a collection.  You can move on and still be satisfied that you read the first in the series.  It also has my least favorite cover as Rael is described as lithe, gliding and sex on two legs.  That model is just too muscular to be Rael.

Rating: 3.75 stars

Blast From the Past Rael and Lars22. A Blast From The Past: Lars and Rael are living together much to the chagrin of his cop partner, Chelle Rochelle.  Lars continued involvement with Rael is also kept hidden from his captain and coworkers.  Both Lars and Rael are afraid that Rael will be banished back into Hell, something Lars and his squad do with regularity to supernatural offenders.  But this is Rael and trouble is his middle name.  So of course, Rael’s ex boyfriend, Lev, enters the picture, determined to get him back, no matter the cost.  At the same time, someone demonic is setting fires all over the city and its up to Lars and Chelle to find the perpetrator and send him home.

This is such a cute story.  Its short at 68 pages but is still longer than the first story. The plot is more involved, the action swift, and the resolution perfect for the story setting and characters.  Everybody here is over the top in characterization, almost into the parady column but somehow is all works together.  I especially appreciate that with each new investigation, the characters increase in complexity along with the case the book revolves around.  Merrow gives us more back history for each person as the story progresses.  And as we learn additional facts about them, the more fully realized each character becomes.  Also each story also sets the framework for the next in the series.  Great job, and great little story.

Rating: 4 stars

3. A  Wish Too Far Lars and Rael 3A Wish Too Far:  Someone is peddling little pink pills out on the streets.  Those pills, called Wishes, are exactly what the Chinese philosopher has in mind when he said “Be careful what you wish for” because the wish always comes with a painful twist.  Det. Lars Thornsson and his partner Chelle Rochelle of the Paranormal Enforcement Agency  need to find the pill pusher and fast before someone is seriously injured. Rael thinks he knows the drug dealer but why would his cross dressing childhood friend do something like this?  Lars and Chelle’s case goes off the tracks quickly when Rael gets involved but the outcome will shock everyone in the case.

This 73 page story has a little more depth and pathos to it.  The cross dressing being, Shax, is a more vulnerable character with a darker past then we have seen in the previous stories.  The author manages to bring a more fully realized character into the fold while still keeping the humor intact.  Again the story is fast paced, the action and plot threads twisting around  faster than you can shake a canister of salt at it, and the ending is one I didn’t see coming.  My  second favorite story of the group.

Rating 4.25 stars.

Damned If you Do Glutton for Punishment4. A Glutton For Punishment: Once again Rael is the center of attention and it gets him nothing but trouble.  Rael and Lars relationship remains in the closet.  Unhappy with hiding, Rael takes to cooking for his man and is soon discovered as Rael’s talent for gourmet cooking lands him a job on the popular show Devon’s Plate as a guest chef.  But when the show’s host, Devon LaGrande goes missing, all suspicions land on Rael as the cause. With Rael being the center (again) of one of Lars’ investigation, Rael has to move out of their apartment and pretend to be his coworker’s partner, much to his and Lars chagrin.  Then Rael starts to receive threatening letters and the search is on to find the person responsible before Rael disappears too.

At 136 pages, this is the longest and most complicated story of the group.  There are several plot threads being juggled here, and the author does a great job of keeping us involved and in the loop, no matter how crazy a direction the story takes, and it takes quite a few.  Rael has become more than a sexy caricature of a succubus by this time and the reader is more invested in his and Lars future.  Lars and Chelle also have more dimension to them and as the story brings all the threads together in a happy ending, the reader leaves more than satisfied that Rael and Lars have a wonderful future ahead of them.  My  favorite story of the group.

Rating: 5 stars

I think this group of stories works best as a  collection than as separate books.  Had I purchased them separately and read them that way the individual story ratings might have been lower.  But because I was able to read them one after the other, the plots and increasing character depth flowed smoothly together and made for a very satisfactory read.  This is not a collection to be taken seriously.  It is to be enjoyed as the lighthearted fun romp that it is and who doesn’t need one or four of those?

I love J.L. Merrow as an author.  She has the ability to write this lighthearted romp and then pull us into the darker stories like her wonderful Pricks and Pragmatism without so much as a blink of an eye or should that be flick of a key?  If you are a first time Merrow reader, enjoy this paranormal series for the fun it represents and then start in with her other stories, perhaps Trick of Time, another favorite of mine.  I am sure you will be adding this author to your must read list shortly thereafter.  She is definitely one of mine.

Book details:

Ebook, Paperback, 280 pages
Expected publication: June 24th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626490236 (ISBN13: 9781626490239)
urlhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/collections/damned-if-you-do-complete-collection
series

Review: The Hellfire Legacy (The Night Wars #3) by Missouri Dalton

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Hellfire Legacy coverWith one horrific explosion, psychic Investigator Flynn Adder’s world turns to rubble and the lives of everyone Flynn loves is put in the greatest peril he has ever known.  And that is saying a lot, considering that Flynn Adder works for The Night Shift, a secret paranormal agency that keeps the lid on the activities of the weird, supernatural and Fae. From werewolves to ghouls to trolls as well as all magical objects,  they all fall under the jurisdiction of The Night Shift, a world wide organization created to keep humans safe and oblivious to the magical and mythical beings all around them.

But the Chicago Night Shift headquarters has just exploded, killing most of the psych corps, witches, and other beings that made up the Chicago squad.  Only a few escaped, including Flynn, his husband Jack and a few of their colleagues.  With the supernatural side of Chicago now left to their own devices and impulses,the City is helpless and defenseless. Added to the conflagration,  the murderous culprit is on the loose and soon strikes again. Flynn, Jack, and the rest need help in order to survive and hunt down the person responsible for killing so many of their friends and colleagues.   When the investigation start to lead back to Flynn and his family history,  Flynn starts to realize that this case might cost him everything he has worked so hard to achieve, his sobriety, his lover, and their family.

Well, this was a surprise.  I loved this book and the entire Night Shift crew.  The Hellfire Legacy is the third (and possibly last) book in The Night Wars series by Missouri Dalton.  I had reviewed book #2, The Night Shift and found it wanting, primarily due to the last of back history and its cliffhanger ending.  This book displays none of the issues I had with The Night Shift, and while it is part of a series, I found that this book could be read as a standalone and totally enjoyed as such.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Let’s go back and look at the exposition of histories and backstories of the characters and events as related in The Hellfire Legacy.

Missouri Dalton has done a remarkable job of folding the back stories of the characters with the history of The Night Shift agency into the current storyline in such a way that the reader will feel absolutely up to date on all prior events that occurred in the previous books without actually having to go read them.  I missed this element in The Night Shift and was thrilled to see a much more substantial world building here.  In fact the entire book is more complete, more layered in every aspect.  The storytelling is taut, the action suspenseful and fast moving, and the emotional content will keep the reader on a constant level of high expectations and excitement.

Even the characters seem more fully alive and have more depth than I remember from the previous story.  Flynn, Jack, Simon, Howl, and the rest are all put to the test are they become not only the hunters but the hunted as well.  Flynn’s personality and character is under such duress that his sobriety is threatened as is his stability to act as an investigator.  He is operating on no sleep, pain medication and shear desperation and the author makes us feel every bit of his anxiety and exhaustion as Flynn stretches his physical and emotional resources to their limits. Really, the vivid descriptions of each character and their actions not only help to engage the reader but to bring the story home to a deeply emotional level because we have come to care for them all.  In addition, we are given new characters to connect with that hopefully we will see again in future stories because they are that interesting and quirky.  I loved Lu and the vulpe Remy and Granda Adder, a ghost.  In fact we get more of everyone’s history, the Adders, Jack’s, and more.  It’s wonderful, it’s fascinating and it makes the reader want to learn even more.

The locales from Chicago to Ireland are given the same attention to detail and depth that the characters display. Moving the setting from their home base of Chicago to various locations serves to keep not only the characters off center and uncertain but the reader as well.  Each new city brings an uncertainty and anxiety to the plot while heightening our interest in each area.  I loved this aspect of the novel too.  Dalton’s research and knowledge of each location shows.  Clearly, the author knows Columbus, Ohio and the Columbus College of Art and Design.  Here is an excerpt from Flynn’s travels to Ohio:

“Fynn, that’s the third time we’ve passed that giant red A.” “It’s says art,” Simon corrected Jack. “Why is there so much construction around here anyway?”

“Who knows?” Jack said. I gritted my teeth and pulled over into the road the giant letter A straddled. Oh, it did say art. Huh. “Okay. Simon, Lu, you look young and college-ish, go get directions.” We appeared to be on a college campus — an art school given the giant sign and random pieces of modern sculpture. The two gave me a look. “Sure thing, boss,” Simon replied. “Come on, Lu.” They got out of the van and started for the largest, closest building. It was concrete, modern, and possibly the ugliest piece of construction I’d ever seen. I looked away before it burned into my memory. There were two churches within sight, and a few more ugly concrete and glass buildings.

Simon and Lu quickly returned with a very short-haired, svelte girl in tow. She reminded me a bit of a pixie. I rolled down my window. “Well?”

“Fynn, this is Liz. Liz, Fynn. She’s got directions for you.”

“Awesome.”

Liz smiled. “So you’ll want to get back on Broad Street and go West to 315 North, that’ll take you right to the Kinnear road exit. That should get you out of the construction.”

“Sweet, simple and easy to remember, thanks, Liz. You’ve been a big help.”

“No problem, happy to help.” Lu and Simon got back in the car, we bid goodbye to Liz and took her directions — and finally ended up in the right place.

In case you were wondering, here the giant A they were talking about   The author is spot on and accurate in every detail.  I loved this aspect of Columbus, Ohio artinspringThe Hellfire Legacy and appreciated the richness of detail the authors adds to each scenery change.

The story is told from Flynn’s point of view and I like his dry, sarcastic voice.  Here is a example:

I noticed immediately that we might have a slight problem. The language I overheard most frequently was Gaelic, something I had only passing familiarity with. I mean, I once knit Connor an illusion scarf that read Pog Ma Thon, but beyond telling people to kiss my ass, I really didn’t know any useful Gaelic.

Very telling. You get a sense of Flynn’s dry humor, and the fact that he knits gifts for people he cares about (and that he is a constant knitter). All of this just adds that wonderful creative, caring layer to his personality.  It’s a lovely surprise and one among many.

And finally, the thing that really puts me over the edge (not in a good way), a cliffhanger, is missing here.  The ending is fulfilling and yet leaves open the possibility of more fun and  quixotic adventures to come.  I mean, he made a deal with a leprechaun for God’s sake.  Who does that?  Hopefully we will find out how that whopper of a mistake gets resolved in a future story.

What does this all mean?  Well for me, it means that I will go back to the beginning of the series and read The Hangman’s Ghost, the book that started it all and then revisit The Night Shift (and perhaps offer up a mea culpa or two).  For you, it means you should head out and buy this book.  If you want, get all three and read them right through for a Flynn Adder and The Night Shift triple feature.  Either way, it works.  Live on the wild side!  But no matter how you approach it, buy the book.  You won’t be sorry and might even leave addicted.  Just as I did.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events:

The Hangman’s Ghost (The Night Wars #1)

The Night Shift (The Night Wars #2)

The Hellfire Legacy (The Night Wars #3)

Cover Illustrations by BS Clay work well for the series and this book.

Book Details:

ebook, 171 pages
Published April 3rd 2013 by Torquere Books (first published April 1st 2013)
ISBN 9781610404
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=78_85&products_id=3854
seriesThe Night Wars #03

Attack of the Planked Salmon and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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This year we have had a real, honest to God or Goddess spring.  The weather has been seasonally cool, with light  winds and rain as appropriate.  No snow (sorry, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan), no heatwave, just spring and we are not sure how to deal with this phenomenon.  How quickly we have forgotten that it is not safe to plant annuals before the first week of May.  And board shorts and flip flops won’t be needed really until the end of May or June.  But one thing is always constant. And that is that spring and summer always herald is the advent of  the grill season.

We started grilleing a week or two ago just as the weather started turning lovely and the ponds and small spring in the backyard called to us to come out and sit a while.  And up until yesterday, all of our grilled dinners were delicious and uneventful.  Then we decided that planked Salmon would be just the thing for Saturday’s dinner.  Off we went to Harris Teeters to buy our fresh salmon and asparagus, then home to soak the planks and get everything ready.  I had gotten another flat of red double begonias for the bed in the front yard (needed some extra pop of color), and the cedar planks were in the sink, soaking away.  We had the glaze mixed and ready to go.  When the time came, the salmon and asparagus cooked beautifully and perfectly on their planks and the meal was wonderful.  We sat outside, with our wine, salmon and Bogle Sauvignon Blanc, and dogs of course  and basked in the serenity of the gardens and afternoon sun.  Then my own special hell hit me with a ferocity that would make the Hulk blink.

You see I keep forgetting that salmon hates me or that my insides hate such a rich and fatty fish.  I can eat it about once a year but no more and I already had my one salmon meal earlier in March.  Oh the idiosyncrasies of my aging mind , yeay, that’s what I keep telling myself it is but really, I just wanted that darn salmon.  It started ominously just a  few hours later.  A slight twinge and a “oh no, maybe it will pass” thought.  But I knew I was not to be so lucky and by early evening, I was commode hugging, Bluto frat boy sick.   I mean I haven’t been that nauseous since my college days of Old Frothingslosh and cemetery running.  Don’t ask.

By 10:30pm I was actively praying to the gods of Bacchus or anyone else that would listen, to let me just die in my bed before I had to race back to the bathroom, hoping desperately to make it there in time for some more porcelain worshiping.   Willow was hiding under the bed, watching with great fascination, Kirby was racing with me, thinking it was a game and Winston of course was sleeping off his bits of salmon.  Oh to be a dog, eat some grass and go on about one’s business.  And finally it passed, leaving me a wreck in the bed, and thinking “never again”.  Sigh.

So that was the great salmon attack.  But for those of you lucky enough to eat salmon with a nonchalance I admire, I have included the recipe at the end of the post.  Try it out and let me know what you think.  We used honey and it was delicious but the maple syrup would be great too.

So here is the week ahead in book reviews:

Monday, May 6:                      Fire Horse by Mickie B. Ashling

Tuesday, May 7:                      Leaving Home by T.A. Chase

Wed., May 8:                           Shy by John Inman

Thursday, May 9:                   The Hellfire Legacy by Missouri Dalton

Friday, May 10:                      His Heart To Reap by Erin Lane

Saturday, May 11:                   City Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov

So there you have it.  It looks to be a great week.  Now if I can just stay away from those oysters……

Here is the Planked Salmon Recipe from Epicurious.com:

yield: Makes 6 servings
active time: 30 min
total time: 2 1/2 hr
Ingredients:

2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons mild honey or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 (2-pounds) salmon fillet with skin (1 1/2 inches thick)

Equipment: a cedar grilling plank (about 15 by 6 inches)

Cooking:

Soak cedar grilling plank in water to cover 2 hours, keeping it immersed.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure . Open vents on bottom and lid of charcoal grill.
Stir together mustard, honey, rosemary, zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Spread mixture on flesh side of salmon and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
Put salmon on plank, skin side down (if salmon is too wide for plank, fold in thinner side to fit). Grill, covered with lid, until salmon is just cooked through and edges are browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Let salmon stand on plank 5 minutes before serving.

Glorious Books, A Web Hunt and Glorious Weather Too! What A Week It’s Going To Be!

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The weather is perfection today so I am getting ready to pull on the gardening gloves, turn the water for the outside faucets back on and prepare to spend the day getting down and dirty.  I have ferns, some grasses and even an English Daisy or two to plant and weeds to uproot.  To say the least, I am grinning like crazy in anticipation.

Also this week I am reviewing some books that are not only on Scattered Thoughts “Must Read” lists, they have made my Best of 2013 List as well.  Among them are Sarah Black’s The General and the Horse-Lord, T.J. Klune’s Into This River I Drown, Abigail Roux’s Touch & Geaux and Jay Kirkpatrick’s Freedom.  I can’t remember when I had so many wonderful books to read and recommend that released almost at the same time.  A surfeit of riches for us all to enjoy time and time again.

And on Monday, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is participating along with many other websites in Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for ???????????????????????????????????????Abigail Roux’s Touch & Geaux, book 7 in the amazing Cut & Run series.  On April 8, 2013, all participating book blogs will be joining the party by posting about the book and including one of their favorite quotes from any book in the Cut & Run series. Readers who collect each quote and submit their findings to marketing@riptidepublishing.com will be eligible to win one of two runner-up prizes and one grand prize.  More about this Cut & Run fun will be posted tomorrow along with my blog of Cut & Run favorite moments in the afternoon.

What a week!  So here is the full schedule, don’t miss a day!

Monday, April 8:          Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for Touch & Geaux,

Scattered Thoughts Favorite Cut & Run Moments

Tuesday, April 9:          Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) by Abigail Roux

Wed., April 10:             Freedom by Jay Kirkpatrick

Thursday, April 11:      The General and the Horse-Lord by Sarah Black

Friday, April 12:           Brute by Kim Fielding

Saturday, April 13:       Into This River I Drown by T.J. Klune

Really, just turn this week’s lineup into a shopping list because you won’t want to miss a single one.  Now the flowers and worms are calling me, really I can hear them right now.  So off I go or should I say Geaux in keeping with the books this week.  Have a wonderful Sunday everyone and I will see you right here on Monday.