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review 2020-05-25 19:44
Book Review - Gearheart by Maia Strong
GearheartGearheart by Maia Strong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steampunk meets romance meets lgbtq romance!

I have been a huge fan of Steampunk forever so when I saw there was an lgbtq book I jumped at the chance to read it. I wasn't disappointed.

The story was a good one, the world building was phenomenal. I loved the re-imagining of the world and North American maps. And being a Canadian I loved seeing Canada represented ;-)

The main characters were believable and I felt for them. The tertiary characters were delightful, the villain was a perfectly horrible person. The book itself was a slow build, something that sometimes made it seem to slow the whole book down, but all in all it was a good, solid read.

The plot was engaging, the ending was a happily ever after on multiple fronts. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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review 2020-05-23 15:47
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow - Natasha Pulley
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow - Natasha Pulley

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is the sequel to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, which I re-read in preparation for this book and I think actually enjoyed more than when I first read it - at the time, I said I didn't think I'd want to re-read that book but clearly was incorrect, so make of that what you will. It's pretty safe to say that the things I found a little vexing about that book are also present in this one, hence I've given it the same rating.

 

Instead of London, most of The Lost Future of Pepperharrow takes place in Japan - as we start the book, Thaniel Steepleton is now pretty much fluent in Japanese and gets told he's being sent there on behalf of the British government. Meanwhile Keita Mori has been in Russia and his country is more than a little suspicious of what he's been doing, which becomes even more reasonable behaviour on their part when his role as a spymaster starts to be revealed. Mori's knowledge of possible futures is a massive asset to that role and when he and Thaniel end up in Japan, Mori is walking into a trap to try and test and/or control his powers. 

 

The book is set at the time of massive naval expansion on the part of the Russians and the Japanese, with the latter buying a bunch of new ships for their navy from the British. On arriving in Japan, Thaniel discovers that not only has Mori been cagey about his past there, he's also married - struggling with his health, Thaniel decides the best thing to do is leave Mori behind and concentrate on his work. This is a particularly attractive option for Thaniel when it becomes clear that Mori is disturbed by his still being alive, since he can see a number of possible futures where that's not the case. 

 

All of this relationship drama is happening alongside all sorts of electrical experiments which are creating 'ghosts' of past and future events, mimicking what Mori can do with his mind and throwing the local population into turmoil. There's plenty going on here and Mori is at the heart of it, unsurprisingly, having set into motion a chain of events that we later discover is mostly aimed at preventing an all-out war Japan is likely to lose at that point and also helping find a cure for Thaniel. At one point, Mori is believed dead and a former friend of his tries to pin his murder on Thaniel, before fortunately everything is resolved (though not without loss of life). 

 

As with the previous book, the one area in which the author falls down a little is still the characterisation of the women in her stories. While Grace Carrow, who played a major role in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, also appears here, it's Takiko Pepperharrow who is the main female character - she's a little better fleshed-out than Grace was, so it's a shame how things play out for her when there seemed to be other directions it could have gone. Anyway, if you can get past the role of woman as barrier-to-relationship where our protagonists are concerned, then you'll probably like this book as well.  

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review 2020-05-17 08:10
New Release Blitz - Karma's A Bit*h

Title: Karma's a Bit*h
Author: Este Holland
Publisher: Self-publish
Release Date: May 15, 2020
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 50,000
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Gay romance, Boss/employee
 
 

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Synopsis

 

Jake Michelson plays it safe. All he wants to do is keep a roof over his head and graduate from NYU in a few months. He can count on three things in life: his job at Dinkin’s Donuts, his best friend Marri, and school.
 
Archer Ferraro plays by his own rules. The one thing he can’t stand is when bad people get away with doing bad things. He’s dedicated his life to righting the wrongs the police can’t or won’t handle.
 
When Archer accidentally upsets Jake’s life, he vows to make it right and hires him.
Together, Jake and Archer must work on a new case involving stolen jewelry and a womanizer, deal with a lawyer brother and a jailbird father, and stay out of the cops’ way.
 
Should be easy…right?

Excerpt

 

“Hey!” Everyone stopped to gawk at the smallish, drunk man with his glasses askew. Jake struggled from my hold and staggered off his stool. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He took a few steps toward the asshole cowboy. “We’re having a good time. You can’t ruin our fun with your <em>stooopid</em> face.” Jake hauled back and punched him.
 
“Shit!” I lunged and grabbed Jake around the middle, pulling him away before the cowboy retaliated.
 
The cowboys surged forward, but a piercing whistle ripped through the air and everyone froze. Titus crooked a finger at one of his friends, a guy as big as himself, and pointed at Jake who was once again asleep in my arms.
 
The biker smiled, revealing a gold tooth. I returned it with an aborted one of my own. He slid his arm under Jake’s knees, then wiggled his other arm between us. I held his head as the guy lifted Jake like a child. I grabbed Marri’s hand before she could attack, and I hurried after the dude. He entered a door behind the bar and deposited Jake on a sofa.
 
“Thanks, man,” I said.
 
“No problem.” He slapped my shoulders and my knees almost buckled.
 
Breaking glass and shouts came from the bar, and I winced.
 
A chuckle rumbled in his chest like one their motorcycles kicking on. “Don’t worry. This happens at least once a month.”
 
“Seriously?”
 
“Titus doesn’t like homophobes, racists, or conservatives.” He grinned and headed out the door.
 
Marri and I exchanged glances.
 
“Are your friends okay?”
 
“They left. That’s what I was coming to tell you guys.” Marri peeked out at the bar and shut the door fast as glass shattered.
 
“Shit. Does it lock?”
 
She pushed the little button in the knob, and I laughed.
 

Purchase at Amazon

 

 

 

Karma's a Bit*hKarma's a Bit*h by Este Holland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jake has stayed the course and will soon graduate. He is trying to stay on track, and is looking at the goal on the horizon. Then he meets someone who turns his world sideways and upside down.

Archer first comes into Jake's place of business and begs him to sell something unsellable. There are real consequences to this action, for both of them. Then realizing they can help one another, they make a new plan that takes them one step closer to the rest of their lives.

This book is fast paced and literally can go whizzing by. I found I liked the characters lack of steady under their feet as it made for a fun read. Poor guys never know what hit them. From attraction, to change of jobs, to learning to navigate friendships this story has the reader on thier toes just wishing to be in on the action.


***This ARC copy was given in excahnge for an honest review only.

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Meet the Author


Este Holland is a writer and reader of all things Romance. She's also a treasure hunter, a word wizard, a lover, and a fighter. She was born and raised in WV, and now lives in Virginia. She works in marketing during the day. She began writing novels in 2012.
 
 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail Instagram | Pinterest | Bookbub

 

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review 2020-05-16 20:22
The Deck of Omens, Four Paths #2 by Christine Lynn Herman
The Deck of Omens - Christine Lynn Herman

'Deck of Omens' picks up right where 'Devouring Gray' left off, with the Hawthornes and all of Four Paths aghast at Harper's vengeance.

 

Even in the peculiar world of this town the law doesn't touch magical actions, but there is a definite shift in power even as a new threat rises up from the Gray. Corruption is taking the trees of the forest from the inside out and, after Violet and Isaac try to strike at the Beast, the infection crosses over to people.

 

Further complications occur when other members of the Founders families begin to return to town. There is more family drama, surprise identity reveals, and so many feelings. Parents and kids just don't understand each other or their feelings.

 

This book gets to the heart of every mystery raised, but left me still wanting more. This series could easily have been expanded beyond two books, but its nice to see the series wrapped up.
 

Four Paths

 

Previous: 'The Devouring Gray'

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review 2020-05-14 14:32
Slippery Creatures - KJ Charles
Slippery Creatures - K.J. Charles

It has to be said, I don't pre-order a lot of books but the blurb for Slippery Creatures, as well as my experiences with this author's previous works, made me hit that pre-order button as soon as I hear about it...

 

Our hero is the eponymous Will Darling, returned from the war with a few scars and some dubious skills. There are things he's now good at, thanks to that experience, but it's decidedly unclear how he can make a living from any of them and he's heading towards penury when a long-lost uncle helps him out. A few months later, Will has inherited his uncle's bookshop and is set on learning the trade, only to be threatened by a stranger to hand over something his uncle was given or else. Will being not just competent but also as stubborn as they come, refuses to do so and has the same answer for an unpleasant representative of the War Office who comes calling soon after. 

 

Determined to figure out for himself what secrets his uncle was involved with, so he can make up his own mind what to do with whatever it is, Will finds himself an unlikely ally in the aristocratic Kim Secretan. They also pretty quickly become intimate, with qualms of conscience on the part of Will later, when he meets and very much likes Kim's fiancee. All, of course, is not as it seems both in terms of Kim's private life and his motivations, as Will is to discover during the course of Slippery Creatures (and on into the rest of the trilogy). 

 

If you're looking for a book that's just a number of sex scenes loosely held together by a wafer-thin plot, Slippery Creatures is not the book for you. The characters are well drawn and behave consistently with their character, while the overall plotting is well done. I guessed a couple of things before their reveal but it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment. I'm now looking forward immensely to the next book in the series, The Sugared Game (due out later this year), to see how the relationship between Kim and Will recovers from all of the revelations of this one, as we're confidently promised a HEA by the end of the trilogy.

 

This isn't the only book by KJ Charles has written that's set in this period, which makes the only downside about how entertaining this one is that she's surely delaying getting round to writing sequels for the others - if this book works for you, make sure you check out both Think of England and Spectred Isle.

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