It is in this fourth book that the boys finally get their wish for indoor plumbing, but for the first time since their jA Joyfully Jay review.
It is in this fourth book that the boys finally get their wish for indoor plumbing, but for the first time since their journeys began, Grant and Ash are separated — Grant as a prison officer and Ash as an inmate. While they both have to figure out how to relieve Public Enemy Number One, Al Capone, of a locket he never takes off, they also have to navigate the notorious Alcatraz prison with its corrupt guards and threatening inmates. Grant and Ash soon discover that indoor plumbing does not mean that their lives will be any easier when time traveling!
As with the other books in the Repeating History series, Chase chooses to tell Alcatraz! using a dual narrative. In my opinion, this is all the more important in this story because Grant and Ash are not together and they are both dealing with their own separate dramas with Ash avoiding a prisoner called Billy Ray who has taken a dislike to him and Grant dealing with unwittingly become the Warden’s snitch. I never find the jump from Ash to Grant’s narrative jarring in Chase’s stories and in Alcatraz! I felt she succeeded in keeping the pace moving at a fast speed because there is no time for our characters to relax.
Mammoth! is the third book is Dakota Chase’s Repeating History series and though these can be read as a stand-alones,A Joyfully Jay review.
Mammoth! is the third book is Dakota Chase’s Repeating History series and though these can be read as a stand-alones, I would definitely recommend that readers begin with The Eye of Ra, where Grant and Ash’s adventures traveling back in time start.
As in The Eye of Ra and Hammer of the Witch, one aspect I really enjoyed about this story is Chase’s attention to historical detail. Immediately, Grant and Ash are aware that they are in a time where they could easily become prey, particularly without weapons at their disposal, but Chase does not allow her reader to forget how resourceful her protagonists can be. This is perhaps best seem when the boys find Rabbit, a young member of the Bison Clan, who has fallen and broken his leg.
Cinderella Boy is targeted perfectly towards Meister’s young adult audience, but remains thought provoking for olderA Joyfully Jay review.
Cinderella Boy is targeted perfectly towards Meister’s young adult audience, but remains thought provoking for older readers like myself. Meister not only explores romance and friendship, but relationships within families and her characters are vividly imagined, allowing the reader to form connections that last after the book has ended. Cinderella Boy is a commendable story, which I definitely recommend to readers of all ages.
The Werewolf’s Fae Mate is a short read, but Liv Rider has successfully packed her story full of mystery, danger, romancA Joyfully Jay review.
The Werewolf’s Fae Mate is a short read, but Liv Rider has successfully packed her story full of mystery, danger, romance, and paranormal action.
Oscar is a fun character. He is young and after a childhood spent in the foster care system, is desperate not to feel the “aloneness” that plagues him. Rider is able to combine Oscar’s vulnerability with the immense fae power he has unknowingly acquired from both of his biological parents. Oscar is faced with a variety of challenges throughout The Werewolf’s Fae Mate, but he never exhibits any fear, although he is understandably wary of the paranormal world he is now a part of. I think the fact that Oscar is such a natural and amicable character helps to make his journey all the more engaging.
The Recruit is a short story and therefore I did not expect the character arc I prefer in novels, but Albright stillA Joyfully Jay review.
The Recruit is a short story and therefore I did not expect the character arc I prefer in novels, but Albright still provides her readers with solid personality profiles of her protagonists. Albert does not display the cruelty that is so often associated with fictional vampires; he is loyal to his faction and his kindness and pragmatism make him a good leader. Despite the fact that Albert can feel the potential of a blood mate bond when he first sees Phillip, he knows that the decision to recruit the sick human must be put to a vote once the research on Phillip’s background and current life has been carried out.
Though The Recruit is a contemporary paranormal novel, Albright’s representation of vampires is unique as she has allowed them to evolve with the modern world. The vampires are described as being “progressive,” “organized,” and “vastly diverse” and as Albert explains to Phillip, his immortality means that he will not age at the normal rate or die of natural causes, but unusually these vampires can be killed by any means that would instantly kill a human being. I read a lot of paranormal fiction and so, for me, any changes that an author can make to a species and still keep their story entertaining, is always welcome.
The blurb for Bones and Bourbon immediately had me requesting the book for review. Dorian Graves successfully managesA Joyfully Jay review.
The blurb for Bones and Bourbon immediately had me requesting the book for review. Dorian Graves successfully manages to build a unique urban fantasy world, introducing originally created beings within a story, which at its heart, is about familial love.
Retz and Jarrod alternately narrate Bones and Bourbon and Graves is able to give them both individual personalities and voices. Jarrod is the more selfless of the two, although he is not without his flaws, an alcohol problem being one of them. Just like Retz is never without Nalem, Jarrod is emotionally attached to his human boyfriend, Farris. For me, Farris was a great addition to the story because his recklessness is endearing and his humor is, at times, much needed! It is definitely a change to read a story in which there is an established relationship and this is the only romance that Graves includes within Bones and Bourbon. This does not mean that the story has lots of sex. There is, in fact, none. Jarrod is also transgender. In one scene, Jarrod is captured and tied naked to an examination table and Graves conveys how difficult an experience this is for him.
Kevin Klehr’s latest release is a novel set fifty years into the future, yet it is the premise that interested me. IA Joyfully Jay review.
Kevin Klehr’s latest release is a novel set fifty years into the future, yet it is the premise that interested me. I have lost count of the number of times that I have sat around a table with family or friends and we have all been on our phones rather than engaging in conversation. There is no doubt that we live in a digital era and there are positive aspects to that, but the power of social media in our lives cannot be denied.
In Klehr’s story, Madeline, Shaun, and Connor have all gained their notoriety and fame on Social Media Central: Madeline as as fashion blogger, Shaun by chronicling his sexual conquests on Lovers Net, and Connor by photographing their every move. Dressing in the latest fashion and attending the lavishly arranged parties has become their life and occupation. Here Klehr reflects so much of our contemporary reality with his fiction and it reminded me of the current fame of stars like the Kardashian family, who are supposedly able to break the internet with their posed selfies. Klehr’s imaginary world, run by Social Media Central, is so close to the lives we currently live that it is thought provoking and the power that the online world has in his novel is frightening and eye-opening, making the reading experience not just an escape, but a lesson for us all.
At under 100 pages, A Love To Remember is short and sweet, but also addresses an important social issue. Caring for famiA Joyfully Jay review.
At under 100 pages, A Love To Remember is short and sweet, but also addresses an important social issue. Caring for family members or loved ones who have any illness is a brave and difficult decision for any person to make and this is exactly what Graham does in A Love To Remember. Perhaps it is convenient in this story that he has a suitable home to move to and he is able to work remotely as an author and editor. However, he still decides to care for his father despite the difficulties that his Alzheimer’s presents and I think Sarah Hadley Brook documents these appropriately and sensitively. The reader is able to understand the unpredictability of his father’s mental state, his forgetfulness, and the affect upon his physical capabilities. When Graham talks to his sister and she suggests a home care nurse, I never found myself condemning Graham for seeking help. As a full-time carer myself, I empathize with the need for self-care and often this means seeking support from outside sources, whether this be family members or professionals.
As readers, the touching part of A Love to Remember that Sam’s presence adds is that we see more of Thurston’s character. Pre-Sam, Graham’s father barely speaks, whereas with Sam around, in his more lucid moments, Thurston expresses his love and concern for his son, even presuming that Sam is Graham’s boyfriend, a fact Thurston is very happy about.
I have a love for anything to do with angels so I was really excited to read Angel’s Fall. I really liked that despitA Joyfully Jay review.
I have a love for anything to do with angels so I was really excited to read Angel’s Fall. I really liked that despite the fact stories about angels generally have religious connotations, Liv Rider chooses not to include any here. In my opinion, this is less likely to alienate some readers. For me, there is also a significance in the fact that no one in Rider’s novel is perfect, even the two angel factions we encounter, the Malachim and Elohim. The Malachim are particularly shady, which is perhaps unusual for a group of heavenly beings, though I very much like Rider’s insinuation here that there is light and shade within everyone, no matter how sanctimonious someone may appear.
Dashiell is jaded by events that have occurred, making him wary and distrustful. However, behind the hard exterior he presents, Rider shows that Dashiell is touched by more than just Cael’s physical beauty and is prepared to risk his life on more than one occasion to save Cael’s. Unlike Dashiell, Cael is open and trusting, particularly of the Malachim edicts he has been raised with. It is Cael’s character that has the greatest arc as he not only learns more about the human world Dashiell is part of, but also the darkness that exists, surprisingly not only within Illan Kane, but also his own species. His speech and actions near the end of the story fully reveal his enlightening.
Volume One of Kell and Scott’s End Street Detective Agency series is unlike any other paranormal story I have read. IA Joyfully Jay review.
Volume One of Kell and Scott’s End Street Detective Agency series is unlike any other paranormal story I have read. It is not unusual for novels in the genre to feature multiple species of paranormal creatures, but their roles are generally minor and in some cases the different species lose their individual characteristics. In End Street Vol. 1, I actually lost count of the number of paranormals I encountered, but from the brief appearance of the witch in The Case of the Cupid Curse, to Smudge, to Trawl the troll, and Springlilly the Naiad, each character remains true to their species –not only in their physical representation, but their actions and motives too.
Yet, at the center of these novellas is Sam, who has always presumed that he is 100% human and whose prejudice against paranormal beings is quickly becoming neutralized. I wouldn’t say Sam begins as the most likeable character, perhaps because of his repeated dislike of mixing with anyone supernatural, but actually, Kell and Scott use Sam’s close-mindedness as a way of introducing the reader to characters, including Bob.
Lost Boy, Found Boy is a queer sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan. Peter lives with other boys in a home, sleeping in oxygen-A Joyfully Jay review.
Lost Boy, Found Boy is a queer sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan. Peter lives with other boys in a home, sleeping in oxygen-preserving pods at night that are programmed to randomly choose the boys to join the war. In the pod next to Peter’s sleeps his enbyfriend, Mir, whose desire to fly has led them to ask to be chosen as a pilot. Heartbroken by the news that Mir will be leaving, possibly to their death, technologically-clever Peter enters the refuge he created for himself and Mir. Peter starts programming to create a VR world, which he calls Neverland, in the hope that he can save Mir from the war.
Polish conveys the relationship between Mir and Peter with intense emotion and I think that despite the fact that the characters are only sixteen years old, the significance of their relationship does not feel diminished. Peter’s love for Mir drives all his actions, even though it makes him unlikable at times because of his mistreatment of Gwen, Tink, and the “lost boys.” Peter’s desperation to have Mir in Neverland is palpable, but sadly, we see him rebuff the friendship of others and ignore their needs and wants. Though we empathize with Peter and the period of grief he appears to be in, I think his inability to bond with the group had an effect on me as a reader and it made me feel detached from them.
Captive Hearts is the first book I have read by A.E. Ryecart and I am extremely impressed by her writing and abilityA Joyfully Jay review.
Captive Hearts is the first book I have read by A.E. Ryecart and I am extremely impressed by her writing and ability to capture the emotions of her characters. In Captive Hearts, Ryecart conveys the angst and range of feelings that Dashiell and Billy experience by using first-person narration. Billy and Dashiell have alternate chapters, which are respectively titled to guide the reader. Ryecart places the reader in the fortunate position of seeing behind the masks both of these characters wear and it is this insight that compels us to hope that these two men may have a future together.
Until Dashiell, Billy played the roles of obedient “toy” around Frankie and spoilt diva when driven around by the “zombies.” In return for unexpected kindness and friendship, Dashiell sees beyond Billy’s facade and so do we. Billy is not only extremely vulnerable, but there is also no doubt in my mind that he is actually one of the most emotionally and mentally strong characters I have ever come across in fiction. It would be easy to presume that Billy stays with Frankie for the nice house and open-ended credit card he has access to, but actually Billy suffers the horrendous physical abuse, pressure to starve himself, and emotional manipulation for the sake of his Gran. For me, this brings a real sense of humanity to Captive Hearts. Billy is captured in an impossible situation because of his love for his Gran who has dementia and requires specialized private care that Frankie can afford.
Dead Wrong is the fourth and sadly, final, book in St. Kevern’s Thorns and Fangs series. If you are new to my reviews A Joyfully Jay review.
Dead Wrong is the fourth and sadly, final, book in St. Kevern’s Thorns and Fangs series. If you are new to my reviews, I will remind you that it is essential that this series be read in order as characters are established and events are preordained by things that have happened in previous books.
The end of Life After Humanity left us wondering ‘what now?’ and St. Kevern does not immediately answer this question when Dead Wrong begins. Instead, the reader is distracted by the supernatural drama which, in truth, has always driven the Thorns and Fangs series. This does not mean that St. Kevern is dismissive of Ben and Nate’s relationship in Dead Wrong. It is still an important component of the story and readers will not be disappointed by the sizzling connection that still exists between Nate and Ben, but I like the way in which this develops again in line with the story. In my opinion, the beginning of Dead Wrong almost brings the series full circle and it is the ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ that kept me turning the pages.
I think the aspect that touched me the most in Dead Wrong was that despite this being a paranormal story, St. Kevern still reminds us of the fragility of human life. In New Camden, where vampires, werewolves , demons, and magic exist, cancer is still an illness that kills. Though, ironically, we should wish a painful ending on this characters for their actions, I found myself feeling empathy and pity because their suffering was caused by such an emotive disease.
Rome and Jules are the star-crossed lovers in Lain’s story, but rather than being teenagers, they are young men in theirA Joyfully Jay review.
Rome and Jules are the star-crossed lovers in Lain’s story, but rather than being teenagers, they are young men in their early twenties. This means that they do not show the naivety or immaturity of the original Romeo and Juliet and both men are also hiding the fact they are Alphas from their respective families. This also means that Rome and Jules have physical alpha advantages, but also that their family circumstances dictate that they reveal an emotional strength. In Jules’ case this is because he is the only son of Gerard Havilland and though Jules sexuality is accepted by the pack to some degree, it also means that he is expected to enter into the forced marriage to bring money and power to the pack. Though Jules is under his father’s and Anderson’s control, I enjoyed the fact that he stands up to the men in his life, even questioning Rome and his proclamations of love.
Sadly, Rome lives in a household where homosexuality is considered a deviance. At times, I found myself wincing at Benedetto Siracusa’s angry vocabulary and his use of the word “faggot.” Rome is also the third Siracusa son and much is expected of him. Rome wants his father’s approval and there are several occasions on which we see him happy to receive this, though I think this seems strange to us because of Benedetto’s attitudes. We also understand that Rome has considered running away, but he does not see himself as a lone wolf. I think Rome’s strength is revealed because he stays in Dark Harbor and hides his sexuality, and along with that he is willing to sacrifice his own happiness to marry Yolanda and save Jules.
Life After Humanity is the third book in Gillian St. Kevern’s Thorns and Fangs series and I would strongly recommendA Joyfully Jay review.
Life After Humanity is the third book in Gillian St. Kevern’s Thorns and Fangs series and I would strongly recommend that these books by read in order. In fact, I wish I had had time to re-cap on Thorns and Fangs and Uprooted before I read this latest installment. As much as I enjoyed Life After Humanity, for me it was probably my least favorite of the theee books. This is literally by a margin, as my relating shows, but St. Kevern’s tightly knitted plot reflects the current chaos in New Camden. Not only was I confused about the significance of this supposedly rogue werewolf, but also concerned about the threat of the Final Register placed on Ben, as well as wondering whether Nate and Ben will make their relationship work, despite all the outside influences.
Life After Humanity is definitely not slow paced and I found I had to completely envelop myself in Ben and Nate’s world to keep track of events — and with two children also fighting for my attention, this wasn’t easy! St. Kevern references events that took place in the first book of the Thorns and Fangs series regularly and since I read that book a year ago, even I felt clueless at times! St. Kevern does an excellent job at tying the series together, though, not just by connecting events, but with her characters. In Life After Humanity, we are introduced to new characters like Councilor Wisner, Grant, Charlotte, and Vazul and recurrent characters like Gunn, George, Hunter, Kenzies, and Aki also play a role in the story.
As the title of Lousie Lyons’ latest release suggests, this is a collection of three short stories: In Darkest Peru, OA Joyfully Jay review.
As the title of Lousie Lyons’ latest release suggests, this is a collection of three short stories: In Darkest Peru, One Snowy Night, and Lost and Found. These are three very different stories, but all have protagonists in their mid-twenties and feature the power that random acts of kindness have upon our lives.
The Short Stories Collection is a very enjoyable way to spend an hour’s reading time. These stories are drama and angst-free and instead are concerned with human behavior. Lyons has done well to focus on her characters, rather than events, which is an element that can be missing in some short stories. The Short Stories Collection receives a recommendation from me!
5 stars Although the blurb of Swarm was interesting, I did not know what to expect from de Hart’s dystopian novel, yet Swarm comA Joyfully Jay review.
5 stars Although the blurb of Swarm was interesting, I did not know what to expect from de Hart’s dystopian novel, yet Swarm completely captivated me. I found de Hart’s writing compulsive and when I reached the end of a chapter, I just wanted to continue reading.
Swarm is original, though still with familiar elements that will not alienate readers. The romance between Isaiah and Zayne is slow-burn and de Hart gives her readers the opportunity to connect with these characters.
Swarm also has the ‘shifter’ aspect, but it is unlike the majority of shapeshifter novels. Hunger, Cognizant, Pestilence, and the Swarm are separate entities and de Hart does an amazing job of creating these spirits as characters in their own right. Hunger and the Swarm, in particular, are hardly ever quiet and their voices punctuate Isaiah and Zayne’s respective narratives. I did not find that this interrupts the story; instead, their presence adds a depth to Isaiah and Zayne’s profiles and the plot itself.
Alpha’s Law is co-written by Sara York and H.L. Holston and as seems to be the current trend in the genre, the story isA Joyfully Jay review.
Alpha’s Law is co-written by Sara York and H.L. Holston and as seems to be the current trend in the genre, the story is told alternately by the two protagonists. The narration is third person, which I personally feel detaches the reader from the characters and events. I was never emotionally invested in Max and Jamie because of this detachment and though events in the story are dramatic, I did not feel that Max and Jamie are ever in danger.
Holston and York’s writing styles do blend together and this allows Max and Jamie to retain their individuality. Initially, it is Max who appears to be the weaker of the pair and this is not only because he is viewed as an inferior Alpha, qualified by his smaller stature and infertility. Max and Jamie seem to exist for one another and it is simply being together that drives their actions. Yet, it is Max who sacrifices the most and risks his own life more than once to save Jamie.
Southernmost Murder is the first book I have read by C.S. Poe and though there are mentions of the characters from her SA Joyfully Jay review.
Southernmost Murder is the first book I have read by C.S. Poe and though there are mentions of the characters from her Snow and Winter series, this did not spoil my enjoyment of the story in any way.
In Southernmost Murder, Poe’s characterization is vivid and I could easily visualize Aubrey and Jun. Poe excellently captures the energy of her protagonists in her writing and though I was also swept along with the drama of events, Jun and Aubrey completely captivated me, individually and as a couple. In my opinion, this is very much aided by Poe’s decision to use Aubrey as Southernmost Murder‘s first-person narrator. Aubrey’s voice is natural and candid and it often feels that his questions are directed at the reader.
Not only does this style of narration involve the reader in the story, but I felt as though I was linked to Aubrey’s thoughts and emotions because I was clearly seeing events as they happened.
Grant and Ash accidentally started a fire while fighting in Professor Ambrosius’ office, destroying the history teacher’A Joyfully Jay review.
Grant and Ash accidentally started a fire while fighting in Professor Ambrosius’ office, destroying the history teacher’s collection of artifacts. Grant and Ash’s punishment is to return back in time to retrieve each of these important objects. After they reacquired the Eye of Ra from King Tutankhamen, Merlin, as Professor Ambrosius is otherwise known, is sending Grant and Ash back to sixteenth-century Germany to collect the Malleus Maleficarum or Hammer of the Witch. This is a book which “purports to be a definitive definition of witchcraft.”
The boys arrive in medieval Germany in appropriate clothing and able to speak the language, but with no idea where the Malleus Maleficarum is or how to retrieve it. What follows is a story of adventure with horrifying and enlightening moments, as Dakota Chase transports her characters and her reader back in time, as she did with The Eye of Ra, the first book in her Repeating History series.
When I read the blurb for Officer Charming and the Prince Who Wooed Him, I was assuming that the story would be a sweA Joyfully Jay review.
When I read the blurb for Officer Charming and the Prince Who Wooed Him, I was assuming that the story would be a sweet romance. Yet, this is not exactly what Sarah Hadley Brook delivers to her reader. Sure, there are moments of romance, like Chad and Jeff’s official date, but Brook develops both mens’ characters as they get to know one another. Oh, and also there are several very steamy episodes between them! For me, the sex scenes fit within the story. Both men are passionate and Brook makes Chad’s sexual attraction towards Jeff is very clear. Importantly, this adds to the character profile we have of Chad. He has never been in love; he is used to dating without strings and even wonders “if love was real or something manufactured by humans to convince themselves they belonged to someone.”
It is the first time the men have sex that Brook gives her reader an inkling that Chad may have deeper feelings and though I was certainly not surprised by the outcome of Officer Charming and the Prince Who Wooed Him, I did enjoy the characters and Brook’s story-telling.
The Cupids Do Christmas is the second book in Riza Curtis’ Public Limited Cupids series, but I did not realize this whA Joyfully Jay review.
The Cupids Do Christmas is the second book in Riza Curtis’ Public Limited Cupids series, but I did not realize this when I selected the book for review. However, not having read the first book did not affect my enjoyment of Curtis’ holiday gay romance.
I think my favorite aspect of the book is that Curtis is able to capture the magic of the festive season. She does this in several different ways, but the fact that the characters are shifters, cupids, a demigod, and a vampire helps. The species of the characters she mentions is not so significant as Curtis asking her reader to open their minds to the possibility of magic and suspend our beliefs just for the short time that we enter her world. I think, particularly at Christmas, adults do become children again and the holiday can be made better if our innocence is reawakened, and that is exactly what Curtis accomplishes here.
There are parts of The Cupids Do Christmas during which Curtis injects humor, making the reading experience all the more enjoyable. The whole idea of Father Christmas taking paternity leave at all made me laugh. When this announcement is followed by comments like, “turns out the law doesn’t exclude Father Christmas!” and “It never occurred to me that Father Christmas was real before!” I felt that Curtis was really satirizing her own fictional creation.
Paranormal fiction is probably my favorite genre and in Curses, Foiled Again, Sera Trevor fulfills her promise to theA Joyfully Jay review.
Paranormal fiction is probably my favorite genre and in Curses, Foiled Again, Sera Trevor fulfills her promise to the reader of everything in the blurb. I was compelled by the idea of a romance between Felix, the naive vampire, and John, the stubborn and guarded witch; along with Richard’s manipulation and unpleasant actions; Lo’s training as a new witch; the presence of a helpful ghost; and of course, the curses that not only John, but also Felix and Cat, are trying to lift.
Unusually, in Curses, Foiled Again, it is not Felix and John who were the characters I enjoyed the most. I think that John is difficult to connect with because he appears to just be waiting to meet the man that will end his life and he refuses to allow anyone close to him. This is something that changes as the novel develops, but actually because of Richard’s influence, John becomes even less likable for a short time.
I am a huge fan of the Sons of Anarchy television series so finding a novel focused on a motorcycle club was excitingA Joyfully Jay review.
I am a huge fan of the Sons of Anarchy television series so finding a novel focused on a motorcycle club was exciting for me. I really like the way B.D. Roca builds the threat level in Broken Sun. I read the first half of the story on the edge of my seat, concerned not just for the safety of Morgan and Luc as individuals, but also for their relationship. From the beginning of Broken Sun, Roca establishes that Luc is in a precarious situation because he is protecting his sister, who has run away from her Legion member boyfriend. This results in his beating, which could have been much worse if Morgan had not stepped in. Luc then further compromises his safety by asking to leave the Legion. Roca communicates the air of tension in the clubhouse when Luc asks his question and the reply he gets compounds the difficulty of the position he is putting himself in:
Holding On is a friends to lovers romance story. I really enjoyed the fact that during the first part of Holding On, SarA Joyfully Jay review.
Holding On is a friends to lovers romance story. I really enjoyed the fact that during the first part of Holding On, Sarah Hadley Brook takes time to establish Aaron and Jeff’s friendship. Brook builds a very solid picture of the two young men and their closeness; Jeff is the one who stays beside Aaron at the hospital when his mother is admitted; Jeff holds Aaron through his nightmares and, as a witness, Jeff involves himself in the investigation to prosecute Aaron’s father. As a reader, I found myself comforted by Jeff’s presence in Aaron’s life. Aaron is dealing with loss, grief, and confusion, as well as attempting to continue at school and keep his job. I think I empathized with Aaron more because of the guilt he feels. He was aware of the abuse his father inflicted and did nothing previously. I, however, could not blame Aaron. Brook leaves her reader with no doubt that Aaron loves his mother and sister and that ultimately, Aaron thought his past actions were for the best.
From the beginning of Holding On, we are aware of Aaron’s feelings for Jeff, although Brook allows the anticipation of their romance to increase as the story progresses. I do not think the clues she gives her reader are subtle, though Aaron does not seem to pick up on Jeff’s hints.
Backdoor Politics is dark, gritty, and contains scenes of torture, rape, and murder, which may be a trigger for someA Joyfully Jay review.
Backdoor Politics is dark, gritty, and contains scenes of torture, rape, and murder, which may be a trigger for some readers. This was an uncomfortable story to read and C.L. Mustafic does not shy away from her use of detail — even when I wished she would. An example of this is following Kamal’s cold-blooded murder of his lover and fellow hired gun when he dismembers the body to dispose of it. Mustafic’s description made me want to turn my head away, hoping that when I looked back, it would be over, but I think it’s more important that Kamal’s ruthlessness and immorality are revealed. As much as I detested the many acts which Kamal commits, I found I could not hate him in the way I thought I should. There are times during which he has Zijad in captivity that even he questions the plan of depravity, but this does not stop him.
The only breaks that Mustafic allows her reader are when Kamal’s memories overcome him — but these are not always good. In choosing to set her stories in Bosnia, Mustafic cannot ignore that her adult characters would have grown up in a war zone, experiencing horrors that many of her readers will not be able to comprehend. Kamal’s memories remind us that at a young age he was starving, watching people from his own village die daily, and witnessing stuff of nightmares. Matched with losing the man he loved, I think this is the main reason why I could not hate Kamal. I hoped for some redemption from him though — but I whether this comes or not, I won’t say.
Backdoor Politics is written in third-person, but focused on Kamal, apart from the epilogue. As much as I enjoy first-person narration, Mustafic’s choice of writing style worked for me because it means that the story is driven by actions rather than emotions. As readers, we do not want to connect with a character like Kamal and as Mustafic comments in her author’s note, “the story’s focus would have changed had I switched point of view to include (Zijad’s) experiences.” I also think that to have given us Zijad’s reactions would have made Backdoor Politics even more traumatic; the information we already have enough to know that this young man is in pain, humiliated, and confused.
I only finished Disease an hour before writing this and the tears are still drying on my face. To try and put my feelingA Joyfully Jay review.
I only finished Disease an hour before writing this and the tears are still drying on my face. To try and put my feelings about Disease into words is going to be difficult and I know that I will fail to do Hans M. Hirschi justice. To call Disease a story seems unfair. At no point did I feel that I was reading a piece of fiction and perhaps this reveals Hirschi’s talent as an author. Hunter’s memoirs deal with a very real subject matter and his journal, which he does not believe anyone will read, chronicles his good and bad days and his fears. For me, the most emotional sections are those during which Hunter talks about assistive suicide and when this no longer becomes an option, he lists the means by which he can kill himself. Admittedly, this is depressing, but there are also hundreds of thousands of people suffering from dementia at the moment – in the UK alone – and this number is set to rise to over 1 million in the next ten years. For all of these people, the thoughts that Hunter expresses could be a reality; the thought of death more comforting than losing their dignity and identity.
I think it is really important that during Disease, Hunter’s narrative is punctuated at intervals by Ethan’s retrospection. Ethan gives the reader a deeper insight into Hunter’s demise and Ethan’s own struggle with losing his loved one adds a genuine emotional context. Ethan is sharing Hunter’s journal with us after finding it in 2017 and sadly makes us aware of Hunter’s death early on. This did not have any impact on my reactions and the tears still flowed freely during the latter stages of Disease. For me, Hunter’s death is just another stark reminder of the reality of dementia and that no matter how rapidly medical science progresses, there is still no cure for this cruel illness.
With the title, Blood Drop, Flores neatly connects this novel to Blood Tied, the second book of the series in which AideA Joyfully Jay review.
With the title, Blood Drop, Flores neatly connects this novel to Blood Tied, the second book of the series in which Aiden and Thad met. Every time I read one of these books I do not think they can get any better and yet every single time, Flores proves me wrong! Blood Drop is edge-of-your-seat-can’t-put-down-reading and Flores manages to build tension and engage my emotions, as well as continuing to develop the plot of this already intricate series.
For me, the characters have always been the stars of these books and Aiden is no exception. Aiden is empathetic and I think his ability to sense the emotions of others makes him more open to us. At no point does Flores allow us to forget the depth of the connection between Aiden and Thad, but we also understand that it is not only Aiden’s love for his boyfriend that drives his actions, but his love for the Blackmoor family as a whole. It is not just the fact that he refers to them frequently as “my family” that indicates this, but more so, the fact that he is willing to give up everything to save them. Aiden’s journey in Blood Drop is a dark one, taking him to an even more dangerous place than his vampyre nature takes him. Aiden sacrifices everything he is and has and he does this so unselfishly and readily that we cannot help but admire him.
This would not be a Warlock Brother of Havenbridge novel without the cast of secondary characters we expect and Flores delivers, as well as one or two surprises. The revelations in terms of characters were not entirely unexpected, but I think that I was so involved with the story that I was caught up in the shock of Aiden and the Blackmoor family and consequently, I was overcome with the emotions they felt.
Honey and Heat is a novel I struggled with. On my first two attempts, I was convinced that I would have to leave it asA Joyfully Jay review.
Honey and Heat is a novel I struggled with. On my first two attempts, I was convinced that I would have to leave it as a DNF, but on my third try, I completed it, if a little unwillingly.
I do not want to judge Rian Durant’s writing style too harshly and there were no obvious grammatical errors that deterred me. Instead it was the flow of the story that I felt was too busy and at times hard to follow, particularly when group conversations were taking place. Durant chooses to let these conversations happen naturally, without the interrupting ‘he said’, ‘she said,’ and although some readers will like this, I found it hard to keep track of the characters’ thoughts and opinions.
Linden and Brice are supported in Honey and Heat by more than a handful of secondary characters. Some, like Auntie Jane and Mr. Stevens who I liked for their generosity and humor, and others like Jerry, Kai and Ash who yes, were part of the story for a reason, but I felt complicated the situation unnecessarily.
In all honesty, Brice is a d**k! He is egotistical, self-centered, and only happy when life is going his way. I was concerned that his relationship with Linden bordered on abuse and their’s was a happy ending I just did not want to see. Linden spends his time in Honey and Heat either feeling hurt and upset by Brice’s words and actions or standing up for himself and leaving Brice to his own devices. The story would have worked better for me if Linden’s strength had lasted and he did not return to the man who broke him.