A VVivacious Review : Sky Full Of Mysteries by Rick R Reed

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Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Cole Weston returns home to find his boyfriend and first love, Rory Schneidmiller gone without a trace. Cole is devastated but he gradually puts his life back together and finds love once again in his now husband, Tommy D’Amico.

In the blink of an eye, twenty years pass for Rory and he can’t help but want to see Cole because in his heart Cole is his love but as he comes to realise circumstances have drastically changed for Cole.

Cole finds himself faced with an impossible quandary, what will he do?

I am really not sure of my rating for this book. This is one book in which I am pretty sure a rating can’t truly reflect what I think of the book. It was pretty out there. I don’t even know if I will able to articulate the absolute chaos of thoughts that I have after finishing this book but I guess I have to give it a try.

When I started the story, I had already read the blurb, as I suppose most of you would have as well. The blurb reveals most of the story. So, when you get down to reading the book you would know almost everything. You know where the story is headed after all I picked up this book to know the answer to that question at the end of the blurb, the choice between an idealized and passionate first love and the comfort of a long-term marriage. But, the truth is almost 85% of this book is setup, it is the story behind the choice or in better words, how the choice even came to be. While in hindsight, maybe there isn’t much of a dilemma between these two choices but while I was reading the first 85% of this book I couldn’t help but hope things would hurry along to the real question.

The dilemma that Cole faces is one that almost no one will face, but theoretically, he does face the dilemma. Now the choice depends on a lot of factors, even if he was in an unhappy marriage, Rory would hardly be the best choice, they are more than 20 years apart in age, it would be really difficult to account for his presence and why he looks 20 years younger than he should be and moreover there are going to be a lot of people interested in finding out why, so really the only thing Rory has going for him is that Cole might still be hung-up on Rory after all this time which he is, as the book amply demonstrates and which I felt was the only thing the setup of this book really wanted to achieve. To inform us that Cole still loves Rory and believes him to be his true love. Because what the setup fails to do is give us any substance of the kind of relationship Rory/Cole and Cole/Tommy share we just see the end of one and the beginning of another. In fact, I was so disconnected from these two relationships that the letter Rory writes to Cole feels like a different beast altogether and I still can’t conceive that this letter was written by the Rory we have come to know.

Also, there are obviously things that Cole is hiding from Tommy, we never do get to know how Cole deals with that particular minefield.

There are also aliens in this book. I was a little surprised by this, God knows why but even knowing the premise of this story the whole close encounters of the third kind thing caught me off-guard and I have no idea how I feel about the use of extraterrestrials in this book.

Well, this story gave me a lot to think about but I don’t know if it managed to answer it’s own question. I didn’t quite agree with the ending of the book. I can’t fully reconcile with Rory’s decision which appears to hinge completely on Cole’s.

The story is engaging and the setup doesn’t bog you down too much but definitely allows you to really get to know Cole and Rory. It raises a lot of questions and speculations but all in all, it truly is an interesting read.

Cover Art by Reese Dante. I liked the cover it tends to evoke just the kind of response that the story does though there is an almost criminal overuse of white dots on the cover.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: August 14th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640801585
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Shadows Fall by J.K. Hogan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Shadows Fall coverTitus McGinty is a natural-born chovihano, medium, witch, Shaman—a Romany who has the gift of seeing dead people everywhere he looks. To most people that may sound intriguing, but to Titus it’s a curse. Spirts don’t just hover, they reach out to him, speaking, calling or making eerie noises. Together, at any given moment, the cacophony is enough to drive him crazy, so he never leaves his home or his coffee shop, both warded to keep the spirits out, without his earbuds firmly in place as he listens to whatever music queues up next on his iPod.

Most spirits hover in the area where they lived or died, never leaving one place, but recently a quartet of females, all grotesquely maimed, are following him around, trying to get him to help them, and he knows there’s nothing he can do.

Homicide Detective Charlie Hale, closeted, handsome, and the type of guy Titus has a hard time resisting, shows up at the coffee shop Titus owns and slowly wins Titus over. The attraction is mutual, but it’s soon evident that Charlie has never acted on his desire for men until Titus rocks his world. The two act on their attraction, but Charlie is shocked when he finds out that Titus might be more than a material witness to a murder he’s recently discovered.

It’s not Titus’s fault that the spirit of a newly dead man leads him into the building where his body is lying shortly after he’s been murdered. The biggest issue is that he has the same markings as the four female spirits who have been haunting Titus and has now joined the others in their pursuit. Titus wants to help, but he also wants peace and quiet so he sends for his grandmother, the Shaman of their gypsy tribe and the only person who might be willing to help him figure out how to keep out the spirits he doesn’t want but communicate with those he does.

Between his grandmother showing up, and Titus’s discovery of that body, his life goes into chaos. Charlie is pressuring him to reveal how he found the body, Charlie’s cop partner is pressuring both of them by threatening to arrest Titus, and the spirits are threatening his sanity by continually trying to get him to understand something. By the time, the chaos is sorted, Titus is on the radar of the serial killer and may become the next victim before he can help Charlie solve the crime.

This is just a very brief summary of a story that was shockingly good. Shocking to me because I’ve never read this author’s work, and I’m not a huge fan of gruesome murder stories. However, this was very well-written, with rich detail and an intricate plotline that piqued my interest.

Both the primary and secondary characters were well-developed and captured my attention right from the beginning of the book. I like a story which engages me immediately, and this certainly did that. Titus was feisty and independent, yet so emotionally needy for close contact with another human being that when Charlie walked into his life, he soaked up the attention like a sponge. And Charlie, tough guy detective and closeted gay man, was so hard shell on the outside with a soft chewy center, i.e. tenderness on the inside, I found myself rooting for him to win Titus’s heart. Grandma Hester Faa was a hoot—picture Ester from the Golden Girls of yesteryear. She too was feisty and took no backtalk from anyone, particularly from some gaje cop who was sleeping in her grandson’s bed. Other support characters could easily constitute a recurring cast for future spinoffs from this story, and judging by the way the author ended the book, I’d say it’s highly likely there will be some.

Actually, the one thing that kept my rating from being five stars was the ending of the story. It felt rushed, with a few subplots left outstanding, including the fate of Titus’s missing employee, Titus’s own future standing with his family and grandmother—will it be closer now or go back to being estranged?—and Charlie’s relationship with his partner—a partner who was very on again-off again. I’m sure much of the reason things stand the way they are at the end of the story are to tie into a future book, however the transition wasn’t smooth and simply felt too rushed and incomplete.

I would recommend this to those who like a creepy mystery with a paranormal element along with some blood and gore all mixed in with their M/M romance. Throw in a little feisty granny and some mighty hawt sex scenes with a virginal cop, and you’ll likely really enjoy this one as much as I did.

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The cover, designed by J.K. Hogan, is a photo depicting a young man, with dark hair and dark complexion with a background of a graffiti-marked underground tunnel. Once the story is complete, readers will understand the symbolism of the tunnel, and the young man is an attractive version of Titus McGinty.

Sales Links:  Wilde City Press  | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 329 pages
Published June 10th 2015 by Wilde City Press
ISBN13 9781925313246
edition language English