The Demon Barker of Wheat Street | Kevin Hearne

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4.6) by Kevin Hearne published 8 September 2014

The ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan gets more than greasy corn dogs and flat soda when he visits a carnival in Kansas to which his apprentice, Granuaile, drags him. He runs across a barker with a strange power over the crowd: attractive women leave their men and disappear into an unmarked tent, never to be seen again, and the men wander away, forgetting that they ever had girlfriends or wives. When Granuaile falls under the barker’s influence and enters the tent, Atticus isn’t about to forget it and move on. He and his Irish wolfhound, Oberon, pursue her and discover the horrifying secret to the carnival’s success.

How was it? Featured in the anthology Carniepunk and, in an extended version, in “Besiege” this Iron Druid Chronicles novelette comes right after Two Ravens and One Crow chronologically. This might be this short story’s biggest hurdle, it sort of pales in comparison of the previous one. I had to read this twice to even muster a shred of interest in this story. Althought there is some action in this one, it will not be story that will make you want to keep with the series if you’re slowly losing interest. Fighting demons and ghouls can be fun but not here, it’s just O.K. I’d advise to skip this one, and maybe circle back, wouldn’t you agree?

Rating: 2 out of 5.

You can get or check iut the book here: US | EU

Tough Guy | Rachel Reid

Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid
published 13 January 2020

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.

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For some reason reading the Blurb, I knew Tough Guy would be a very different story. Game Changers and Heated Rivalry have little in common if you count out the hockey and M M; but what I mean is that I was interested in reading this book but not overly excited – which I should have been after reading book 2.

It turns out that Tough Guy is a nice read. It’s a slow burn with a lot of quiet moments and angst, but it was never boring for me. I did not struggle to read through those passages because they gave depth, relatability, and an uncanny realness to the main characters. Ryan and Fabian are the first pair – in this series so far – that I felt I could meet and/or hang out with. There is a grounded way about them that makes it so.

Ryan is such a sweet heart, he does the majority of the heavy lifting in this book. He’s the one I liked, the most real. And with that realness came heavy subjects like mental & physical health, addiction, and the darker side of pro sport. The gloves are off and the Rose-tinted glasses are put aside but there’s enough levity to counterbalance it all.
Fabian is a nice enough main character but as the novel progresses be learned

Although I love some heat in my romance, I like books that showcases different types of struggles when it comes to that type of intimacy. It’s done very tastefully here, it’s not a P.S.A. Or patronizing it’s very organic to the story and the character.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Though Guy is available on Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Two Ravens and One Crow | Kevin Hearne

Two Ravens and One Crow (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4.5) by Kevin Hearne published 04 September 2012

Six years into the training of his beautiful apprentice, Granuaile, a large crow swoops down and transforms into none other than the Morrigan, a goddess who insists that Atticus come with her at once. He must leave his apprentice behind, along with his Irish wolfhound, Oberon—and he must also leave his sword. The Morrigan has always taken extreme pleasure in pronouncing the Druid’s mortal danger and imminent doom, so the fact that she won’t reveal the purpose of their journey makes him very nervous. Of course, any time the Celtic Chooser of the Slain drops in unannounced, it’s never good. When she does let slip that she’ll be saving his life in the near future, Atticus is left to wonder . . . will he soon be giving his legions of enemies something to crow about?

How was it? Set 6 years after Tricked, this interlude is legit, unlike Goddess at the Crossroads but kind of like The Eye of Horus, this story moves the Iron Druid Chronicles forward. It has character development and action.

Nevertheless, I groaned when it started to be about his attraction to his apprentice. He’s sharing his creepy thoughts with us, great 😒 – because they did come off as creepy to me – but at least Oberon’s commentaries made it much better. Besides, is it just me, or was it never really established that the Morrigan could hear Atticus’ thoughts? It was mentioned she could infer them by listening to Oberon’s not outright hear him.

Hearne briefly tried to sale us on a celibate Atticus, maybe in an attempt to clean up his image, to make him prince charming materiel? It gave me a good laugh. I’m not dissing the piece, in fact it’s a tightly written short story. In less than 100 pages Hearne manages to bring mystery, tension and action in an entertaining short story that also closes a story-line or two.

The action here is very visual and like most of the series might warrant an animated adaptation since the male and female nudity would hinder a live-action adaptation, at least in America.

For some reason, I always figured that Atticus stayed young, never really got to be old and gray so I loved learning more about him. Two Ravens and one Crow felt like a progression over filler, worth the time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You can check out or get the book here: US | EU

The Iron Druid Chronicles: Short Stories | Kevin Hearne

Taking place between Tricked and Trapped, and before the novella Two Ravens and One Crow, these novelettes sheds more light on Atticus’ long life.

The Eye of Horus (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4.1)

Follows an adventure of a much younger Atticus – he’s simply over 300 years old here. This stroll down memory lane is quite directly related to the Grimoire of the Lamb. The stpry is a fun quick read, interesting because it showcases another pantheon and some of the politics between Gods of different faiths. We get to meet an Atticus who didn’t have some of the tools he now has at his disposal. It’s the mission impossible: Druid edition, and a round about way to learn how Atticus came up with one of his greatest weapon.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Goddess at the Crossroads (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4.2)

Another amusing anecdote about Atticus’ life. This one stands alone though, unless you count the fact that it has a connection to popular culture. The story itself is entertaining but the fact of real tether to the main storyline is a bummer for me. At least my favorite character, Oberon, is featured and the double entendra about the lack of French puddles in that time affecting Oberon made me cackle.
Goddess at the Crossroads is still a nice appetizer before diving into the fifth book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kaibab Unbound | Kevin Hearne

Kaibab Unbound (The Iron Druid Chronicles #0.6) by Kevin Hearne published in 2011
A short story in The Iron Druid series that occurs two weeks before the events of the first book.

How was it? The short-story really hammer in the fact that Atticus is old 2100 years old and in hiding. Two facts that were already touched upon in the past two shorts [1, 2], except here some lights is shed on who he’s hiding from and why. The world building continues though, as we’re getting acquainted with witches. We also learn about one more – a hound – of the four animal shapes Atticus can bind himself to.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Clan Rathskeller | Kevin Hearne

Clan Rathskeller (The Iron Druid Chronicles #0.5) by Kevin Hearne published December 2010
This is short story that takes place ten months before the events of “Hounded”, the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, coming 2011 from Del Rey.

How was it? If like me you’re starting off the series with the prequel novellas, this one like The Grimoire showcases the tone and humor of the series while expending Atticus’ world with creatures, gods, and background on the Druid. We get to know more about Atticus’ character and see his bond with Oberon.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Grimoire of the Lamb | Kevin Hearne

Grimoire of the Lamb (The Iron Druid Chronicles #0.4) by Kevin Hearne published 7 May 2013
There’s nothing like an impromptu holiday to explore the birthplace of modern civilisation, but when Atticus and Oberon pursue a book-stealing Egyptian wizard – with a penchant for lamb – to the land of the pharaohs, they find themselves in hot, crocodile-infested water.
The trip takes an even nastier turn when they discover the true nature of the nefarious plot they’ve been drawn into. On the wrong side of the vengeful cat goddess Bast and chased by an unfathomable number of her yowling four-legged disciples, Atticus must find a way to appease or defeat Egypt’s deadliest gods – before his grimoire-grabbing quarry uses them to turn him into mincemeat.

How was it? This short story is my introduction to The Iron Druid Chronicles. An appetizer, one might say, not to a broader story because it would seem that this one stands alone but it introduced me to Atticus, the world he operates in, and the general tone of the series.

Atticus is funny, resourceful, and skilled. The way he speaks and behaves at times makes him seem young, almost broey. So reading here that he looks around 21 didn’t come as a surprise, but his skills and knowledge shows his true age. He’s much smarter and experience that he first comes off, which is briantly done.
His dog, Oberon, read like a some kind of demon at first but then quickly it was like what you would imagine a dog to sound like. He helps with the comedic tone of the novella, filling it with funny and endearing moments.

I like the structure of the story, important information are given seamlessly before they become relevant. It has a good rhythm.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You can checkout or get the book here: US | EU