Review: Delsyn’s Blues (Vasquez & James #2) by Lou Sylvre

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

DelsynsBluesLGAfter the deranged events of last summer, things should have gotten better, less complicated for fiber artist Sonny James and security specialist Luki Vasquez. Instead, it all sort of imploded.  Sonny sent Luki away while his nephew Delsyn recovered from his ordeal at the hands of his kidnapper.  And while Luki roamed Chicago wondering where it all went wrong, Sonny hid in his house, haunted by guilt and plagued by his fears.  Both separate, alone and missing each other.

Then the unthinkable happens and Luki is called back to Port Clifton, to help Sonny deal with his grief, and a police investigation that points to Sonny as their main suspect.  Sonny is drowning under the depths of his feelings of guilt and remorse.  He has raised a barrier between himself and Luki that Luki is finding hard to pull down.  But just as those barriers seem to be shattering, a man from Sonny’s past comes between them and their future.

All around Luki and Sonny is shrouded by the mists from their past and the uncertainties of their present.  As more violent acts occur and the investigations widen, Luki and Sonny aren’t sure who they can trust, even each other.

A voice singing the blues points the way, but will Sonny and Luki hear the sad refrains in time to save them all?

Delsyn’s Blues is the second book in the Vasquez and James series from Lou Sylvre.  The first story, Loving Luki Vasquez, pulled me into these amazing characters with their haunted pasts and complicated lives.  Each character is so different from each other and others that I have read about.  Especially Sonny Bly James, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama and a fiber artist whose weavings are highly sought after.  The minutiae of Sonny’s craft is intriguing, especially his dyes.  It gives him an unexpected depth of background and unique quality to his character.  Sonny is grounded by his art, his mind awash with colors, designs and fibers of all types.  He is a person who seems scattered by those who don’t know him.  And Lou Sylvre is slowly revealing Sonny’s depths and complications book by book.  What an amazing journey we are on with these characters.

But Luki Vasquez, of Basque and Hawaiian roots, is Sonny’s equal with his Hawaiian ethnicity a large measure of Luki’s personality and family support system.  Luki’s past is one he wears on his face, but the scarring inside goes much deeper than the one that bisects the side of his face.  He too has a past full of pain and trauma, only some of which we know about. Both men find strength in their native heritage and that is so important here in Delsyn’s Blues where both Sonny and Delsyn are/were tribal dancers each in their own manner of style and dance.  This element of Delsyn’s Blues and the series are one of its highlights for me.  Luki and Sonny’s close connections to their heritage provides a foundation for each man and a support system if they choose to use it.

Around these two multidimensional characters flow plots of great intricacy and deceit.  And it reverberates from one story to the next, the past like a river who continues to overflow its banks and cover all the events to follow, its dirty waters touching everything and everyone in its path.  Delsyn’s Blues opens one year after the end of Loving Luki Vasquez.   The men are separated and Delsyn is in a wheelchair due to his prior blood loss.  What a painful beginning for all, readers and characters alike!  From that moment on, we are in for one shock after another.   And it won’t stop until the book is over.

Are there things here readers will have issues with? Certainly, but Sylvre’s books have always had that element of realism and sometimes life just sucks to put it bluntly.  And once you get past the first shock, the rest of the story is gripping, suspenseful, and yes, frustrating.  I had a few more issues with this story than I did with Loving Luki Vasquez.  One issue?  I figured out almost immediately who one of the villains of the story is.  While I wish the author had made that a little harder to guess at, I found the anticipation she built around that person’s identity reveal  rewarding.

But my honest issue here?  Totally inconsequential but it bugs the heck out of me.  A drug dealer’s dog appears and goes along for the ride for about 1/3 to 1/4 of the story.  He becomes a real character.  He’s important until he totally disappears from the story, at least as much as I can figure.  He’s there then he’s not.  What happened to the darn dog?  Continuity!  It makes even the smallest things important when it is flawed.  So, if someone out there can tell me what happened to Bear, please I beg you tell me.  Did I miss something or did he really disappear?  (Note: I heard from the author, the dog is still around and latched onto  Luki.   We will see more of him later.)

Disappearing dog notwithstanding. I still highly recommend Delsyn’s Blues.  It’s an absorbing  story and its characters continue to grow in depth and backstory.  I love it when that happens.  Now on to Finding Jackie (Vasquez & James #3)!  Remember, please to read all these books in order.  It’s important for  character development and for understanding the events that occur.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  I love these covers, so beautiful and perfect for the stories and series.

 

Buy Links:     Dreamspinner Press        All Romance eBooks (ARe)     Amazon      Delsyn’s Blues

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 309 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB006SBC6KM
edition languageEnglish
seriesVasquez & James #2

Books in the Vasquez and James series to date in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events that transpire:

Loving Luki Vasquez (Vasquez & James, #1)
Delsyn’s Blues (Vasquez & James, #2)
Finding Jackie (Vasquez & James, #3)
Saving Sonny James (Vasquez & James #4)
Yes (A Vasquez and James Novella)
Because of Jade (Vasquez & James #5)

OutWrite in DC and the Week Ahead at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords!

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Soooo…..I spent Saturday at the OutWrite LGBT Book Festival at the DC Center in Washington, DC.  That was great fun!!! It’s going on today so if you have a chance stop by, check outwriteLGBT Book Fairout all the books and authors who are happy to talk to you after the panels or at the tables set up for them.   This is a  wonderful festival that happens every year.  Just look at the various panels,  Author Readings and Workshops available to attend!  This is the complete schedule for the weekend! Today there is the Flicker and Spark Poetry Brunch going on.  It started on Friday with a keynote speech by Martin Duberman  and continued with so much more, including a panel with David Pratt who wrote Looking After Joey!

So a shout out to David Pratt and Rafe Haze, Wilde City Press authors!  Augusta Li, Rowen Mcallister, Pearl Love, Marguerite  Labbe, authors at Dreamspinner Press, Ellis Carrington, Michael Murphy too! Shout out to Madeleine Ribbon, Andrew Q. Gordon of Wayward Ink Press and authors of many wonderful books.  If you are in the area next year, make sure to add it to your calendar of things to do!

If you live nearby, put this on your list of things to do each year.  It’s definitely on mine!

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There are a few winner announcements to make:

  • Winners of Angel Martinez’s Endangered Fae books are:Jenf27 for Finn and Lee Todd for Semper Fae!
  • Winner of Mickie B. Ashling’s Forget Me Not Tour is A. L. Boyd!
  • Winner of Tara Lain’s Audio Book of The Panther or the Pack is Wendy Hoffman.
  • Winner of S.A. McAuley’s Damaged Package contest is Paula L.
  • Winner of Charley Descoteaux’s Nesting Habits of Strange Birds Contest is Serena

Congratulations to all the winners.  Happy Reading and Happy Listening!  Thank you to all who participated in the blogs and contests.

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This Week at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords…

Monday, August 4:

  • Book Blast for Sean Michael’s Blue Collar Tour and contest
  • Review:  dr.a.g  (a bookthefilm photography book)

Tuesday, August 5:

  • TB Book Tour for Morticia Knight and Rockin’ The Alternative (contest)
  • TB Book Tour for Carol Lynne and her CV latest, Snake Charmer (contest)
  • Lillian T. MacGowan’s Smoke and Mirrors Book Tour and Contest

Wednesday, August 6:

  • The Flesh Cartel’s Final Episode by Rachel Heimowitz and Heidi Belleau Tour and Contest
  • Laura Harner’s Prevailing Winds Book Tour and Contest
  • Review:  Moving Mountains by Laura Harner

Thursday, August 7:

  • Book Blast:  Cain Berringer’s tour was cancelled.
  • Review:  Prevailing Winds by Laura Harner

Friday, August 8:

  • Review:  Delsyn’s Blues by Lou Sylvre
  • Review:  Bottoms Up Anthology

Saturday, August 9:

Review:  My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton

 

And my call is still out for another reviewer.  If you would like to review for SCTW, send me an email and let’s talk!

Review: Loving Luki Vasquez (Vasquez & James #1) by Lou Sylvre

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Loving LukiFrom the moment weaver and fiber artist Sonny Bly James spots cool charmer and security specialist, Luki Vasquez, leaning against his ice-blue Mercedes in town things started to spiral out of control for both men.  Sonny Bly James lives on the outskirts of an island in Washington state and spends his time creating woven pieces of art.  He’s a bit of a recluse,socially clumsy, whose smart mouth is his first line of defense when approached. A gay native american, in a small island town, that doesn’t happen often.

Luki Vasquez?  Well, he’s an ex-ATF agent who wears his scars from life and his childhood inside and out, especially out.  Based in Chicago, Luki is in town with his employees on a job.  But one look at that tall gorgeous man gazing back at him and Luki makes additional plans.

All it takes is “What are you looking at?”, followed by one meeting, and then another at Margie’s coffee shop, its clear that Luki and Sonny ‘s attraction for each other is only getting stronger each time they get together.  But a relationship?  That’s not something Luki is looking for and Sonny’s idea of commitment is rock solid.  Not a great combination to start with.

As they tentatively find their way with each other, an old evil comes to Port Clifton.  Soon it appear’s that Sonny has been targeted by a violent  stalker.  And its not just Sonny at risk but those he cares about as well.   When the evil spreads over the lives of young boys and Sonny’s nephew, the investigation goes deep into the past for Luki as well.  Turns out loving Luki Vasquez is a potentially deadly affair.  Will Sonny and Luki survive the past that haunts them?

After finishing the  first story in the Vasquez and James series by Lou Sylvre my first thought was why have I never read anything by this author before.  The second thought? To reach for the second story, Delsyn’s Blues, and keep reading.  Which I did.  And then to keep reading some more.  One Vasquez and James story right after the other (reviews to follow).  And all are just so amazing that I am astonished that this is my first introduction to the author and this series!

What struck me first?  The beautiful writing with its elegant, almost lyrical descriptions.  And it ebbs and flows with a pattern that ripples along at its own pace and style.  Once you find the rhythm and pacing, you are pulled in and the outside world forgotten.  This is how Chapter 4 begins:

 

Not the kind of person to worry, Sonny put yesterday’s crime and related events out of his mind, letting only sweet sex and the man he’d shared it with flicker through his thoughts. He concentrated on the sheen of dawn newly broken over the straits of Juan de Fuca. He never tired of the scene, every day unique, every morning a study in the possibilities of color and movement, light giving form to everything it touched. Sometimes he watched from the water’s edge; sometimes he ducked nearly naked into the always-frigid water and emerged in a corona of jewel-colored waves.

Then come the  characters Lou Sylvre has created for the Vasquez and James series. Luki and Sonny, those compelling, fascinating damaged characters.  From their initial glances at each other, the reader becomes hooked on them separately and then later as a potential couple.  Sonny, the textile artist, is captivating with his long hair and casual getup. Whether it is his odd, startling sentences or his bemused outlook on life, his social inadequacies and artistic nature comes through on an almost cellular level.  He is grounded in family and the land, with his head  filled with projects, colors and fiber.  There is something so approachable about Sonny despite his sometimes disjointed thoughts and defensive mannerisms.

Then there is Luki Mililani Vasquez, a scarred, self armored Nebraskan of Basque and Hawaiian descent.  Luki has more layers to him that an onion flower.  At the heart of the man Luki has become is the child Luki that was brutalized and left traumatized back home.  That memory is never as far as the scar on Luki’s face and its the key to who Luki has become.  If asked to choose between the two, I couldn’t do it. Both are such emotional and memorable people.  They engaged by affections and interest from the beginning and have continued to hold it through several books and counting.

Then there is Margie, and Uncle Kahalo, and so many others, good and evil.  Their impact is huge and lasting even if their time within the story is not.

The evil of  the story is deep, wretched and raw.  It spills across the pages like so much dirty waste water, a slow trickle that spreads until it washes over everything and everybody.  From one small instance , it grows exponentially with each reveal and the accompanying suspense, angst, and anticipation builds at the same pace.  My shoulders were one tight mess when I finished the story, hunched over my Kindle in the wee morning hours.  This element is so well done that I couldn’t put the book down until it was over.

I loved this story, these characters and this series.  I feel the same way about the author as well.  It’s gripping, absorbing, and a totally great read!  I will be reviewing the rest of the stories throughout the next month or so as I want to spread them out.  Consider Loving Luki Vasquez and all the rest among ScatteredThougthsandRogueWords most highly recommended!  Pick it up and start reading today!

Buy Links:      Dreamspinner Press         All Romance eBooks (ARe)       Amazon     Loving Luki Vasquez

Cover artist:  Reese Dante.  Love that sepia colored cover.  It’s subtle and so very beautiful.

Book Details:
ebook, 1st Edition, 220 pages
Published June 19th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleLoving Luki Vasquez (Vasquez & James, #1)
ISBN 1615819142 (ISBN13: 9781615819140)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2377
seriesVasquez & James #1

Books in the Vasquez and James series are to date:

Loving Luki Vasquez (Vasquez & James, #1)
Delsyn’s Blues (Vasquez & James, #2)
Finding Jackie (Vasquez & James, #3)
Saving Sonny James (Vasquez & James #4)
Yes (A Vasquez and James Novella)
Because of Jade (Vasquez & James #5)