Tricked | Kevin Hearne

Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4) by Kevin Hearne published 24 April 2012

Druid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.
But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he’s got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won’t be fooled again. Famous last words.

How was it? Sweet sweet Oberon, Oh have I missed thee.
Tricked isn’t the large scale level event story I expected after Hammered. It’s more of a street level story – the Daredevil to the Avengers if you will – more grounded and tone down. It has greater implications of course but remains lower scale.

Reminiscent of Hounded we learn more about Atticus – his life, relationships, the extend of his power – and the people who surround him. The Iron Druid Chronicles world is expanded to include more information on other gods and pantheons relevant to the story. Tricked also gives a bigger purpose and meaning to A Test of Mettle, which I didn’t see coming. The character interactions are entertaining as ever. Oberon’s constant commentary is gold, the pop culture references are precious, it’s fun and hilarious at times.

Like his apprentice Granuaile, most of the time I forget how old Atticus is – because he acts like an impulsive broey idiot sometimes – but then the enormity of millennias of life struck me at times. There is an emotional depth and a weight to all of his experiences that is showcased here. Hearne navigates Atticus’ regrets and bouts of depression quite well.

However, regarding the lact of permanent consequences for Atticus, that I raised on my previous review. I think it’s funny how it’s only Leif who suffered major consequences for battling and killing a god, when Atticus has a few under his belt but only temporarily lost a few ears.

Also Hearne plants the seeds for a budding romance. Well, there were hints of it before but it’s a bit more in the forefront now; and that might be my least favorite thing about the series.

After Hexed, and mostly Hammered, I was afraid that The Iron Druid Chronicles were losing steam but Tricked restaured my faith it’s a fun read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Hounded | Kevin Hearne

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne published 3 May 2011

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

How was it? I will read anything whatever the genre. I will give a book a fair shake, more so if it’s a book series. I’m so thankful to the person who recommended this series to me via the blog. It took me months to start it but now, I so glad I did. I started the series in chronological order of the stories and not the publication.

I was apprehensive, wondering if the tone of the characters would be the same as in prequel novellas – Grimoire of the Lamb, Clan Rathskeller, Kaibab Unbound – Because I really started to like Atticus – and still love the young broey but kinda wise way he comes across to me – but the secret sauce of this book, and probably the series, is Oberon. I like him even more in Hounded, every time he was there, it made everything better, at this point I’m mostly reading this book for a dog! – And I’m not really a dog person, I love plants, Cacti, so I don’t have to much work to take care of them.

The back and forth between Oberon and Atticus is very entertaining, it’s one of the strength of the book. Whether it is these two, or Atticus interacting with other characters in the book, it’s fun. Atticus himself is a good dude – I appreciate how he does not discriminates with his violence – but I knew from page one that he’d be fine – not because there’re like a zillion books in the series – because he’s over 2100 years old and cunning. Besides he never really seems to struggles, he gets worried yes, but somehow you know the odds will be in his favor.

So what makes this book entertaining and worth checking out is the interactions between the characters, but mostly, it’s Oberon. That dog is hilarious and very well written. It does feel like his words are striped right off of a dog’s mind. The story is fine too but the talking dog is where it’s at.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Mainly by Moonlight | Josh Lanyon

Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks #1) by Josh Lanyon published 1st August 2019

Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. Thanks to a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s arrested for allegedly killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…
Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith never believed in love until Cosmo came along. Falling head over heels for the elegant antiques dealer is an enchantment he never wants to break. So when all fingers point to Cosmo’s guilt, John races to prove his fiancé’s innocence before they take their vows.
As Cosmo hunts for the real killer among the arcane aristocracy, John warns him to leave it to the police. But with an unseen enemy threatening to expose Cosmo’s true nature, the couple’s blissful future could shatter like a broken charm.
Can Cosmo find the lost grimoire, clear his name, and keep John’s love alive, or will black magic “rune” their wedding bells?

Buy links

How was it? This is my first exposure to Lanyon, and I find myself in that weird place where Mainly by Moonlight is not a book that I will remember fondly or am likely to revisit, but might read the sequel of. In other words this book is average, passable is the word that comes to mind, but it has something.

Some kind of “it” factor, or maybe I’m bewitched? Because I don’t see a lot of things that I like in this book. The world building is confusing at times, Cosmo behaves in ways I don’t understand or can’t make sense of. He’s sort of likable – and that’s about it. As for John…I don’t know what to say, we’s suppose to feel bad for him at some point but I didn’t. He comes across as controlling and a bit selfish. I can’t event say that there’s a love connection between the two because like everything it’s a little foggy.

However, I’m impressed with Lanyon’s ability to give me hope through this muddy mess. Giving me the impression that it will all make sense and be worth it at the end. I might be too optimistic but I think enough seeds have been planted for the making of an attention grabbing, exciting overall story arc.

My best guess is that Mainly by Moonlight is like a bad pilot of an otherwise great TV-Show, only time will tell.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Mainly by Moonlight is available on The Book Depository, Smashwords, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Bitter Pill | Jordan Castillo Price

Bitter Pill (PsyCop #11) by Jordan Castillo Price published 20 January 2020

There’s a new drug on the streets called Kick. The side effects are so brutal, most folks only try it once…unless they’re psychic. Then they do it until it kills them.

Psychic medium Victor Bayne is well acquainted with pharmaceuticals, from the Auracel that blocks his ghosts to the Seconal that offers him a blissful nights’ sleep. But he’s managed to steer clear of street drugs…so far.

Jacob Marks has a medicine cabinet filled with every over-the-counter remedy known to man, but none of them are doing much for his mood—and his long, fruitless days of combing through records at The Clinic are taking a heavy toll.
But their lackluster investigation does have one silver lining: a front row seat at The Clinic when the first Kick overdose comes in. And as scary as the drug might be, if it truly does augment psychic ability, the appeal is not lost on Vic.

Because the very first hit never killed anyone.

Where did Kick come from? Why is it so addictive? And why is everyone at The Clinic acting so darn shady? That’s what Vic intends to find out. And if he’s lucky, he can also expose a shadowy figure from Camp Hell.

Unfortunately, the demons of his pill addiction might prove just as deadly as his long-buried history. He thought he’d managed to ditch that pernicious habit. But what if it was only lurking in the shadows, waiting for the best time to rear its ugly head?

How was it? From Among The Living to now, Vic’s growth is as endearing to read and appreciate as it is masterfully thought-out. He’s opening himself up to things that he wouldn’t have been caught dead doing before. He challenges himself more and has evolved as a result. Bitter Pill flirts with the idea of a setback for him that had me worried every time that subject came up. It was a great way to portray his struggle with addiction and convey that he is in no way “cured.” Jordan Castillo Price used Vic’s struggle as an opportunity to further develop Jacob’s character arc.

The author is not afraid to depict the menial tasks that goes into investigative work (leads that do not pan out, research, trials and errors). It could have been boring but it grounds the story in reality amidst the paranormal. There’s just enough of it that it doesn’t slow down the pace, or make you feel like you wasted time on those pages.

As usual it’s a well crafted story with an interesting case to investigate, intriguing mysteries, and great call backs to previous books that take a deeper meaning in this one. I wonder how great it would be to marathon read these books and experience the subtle complexity of the PsyCop series, as all of those stories are fresh on your mind.

I’m eagerly waiting for the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Runebinder | Alex R. Kahler

Runebinder by Alex R Kahler published 14 November 2017
When magic returned to the world, it could have saved humanity. But greed and thirst for power instead caused mankind’s downfall. Now, once-human monsters called Howls prowl abandoned streets, their hunger guided by corrupt necromancers and the all-powerful Kin. Only Hunters have the power to fight back in the unending war, using the same magic that ended civilization in the first place.
They are losing.
Tenn is a Hunter, resigned to fight even though hope is nearly lost. When he is singled out by a seductive Kin named Tomás and the enigmatic Hunter Jarrett, Tenn realizes he’s become a pawn in a bigger game. One that could turn the tides of war. But if his mutinous magic and wayward heart get in the way, his power might not be used in favor of mankind.
If Tenn fails to play his part, it could cost him his friends, his life…and the entire world.

How was it?

I was looking for something to start the year with and I chose this one. The first thing I immediately liked about the book was the unapologetic way some characters were introduced and treated. It’s not justified, they are who they are, and do what they do, it’s refreshing. What happens to the main characters doesn’t necessarily raise the stakes right away but does give you a healthy fear for the ones you start to like. It also makes the story feel realistic while stirring away from the archetype/ stereotypical characters in a group dynamic.

Tenn, the main protagonist, is a little winny and a bit of a reluctant hero but he never gets annoying. The more time I spent with him the more I liked him. He was smart, daring, and cared for the people around him. Runebinder is entertaining and worth the read, but I doubt that the story will have a lasting impression on me, anyone else feels this way?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My year in books (2018)

Some of the books I read in 2018

Why am I looking back at my year in books now?

Because when I looked at my year in movies, I was shocked at the number of times I went to the movie theaters last year. It was much lower than previous years and much lower than what I thought. What changed? The number of books I read last year. I read 217 books last year, yup this number is for real, and I feel into a romance novel pit.

I had planned on supporting LGBT+ movies by trying to watch any of them that played in theaters but then I thought why not books. So with a help of a few friends and a serious hit on my wallet I discovered an array of original, fun, and…sexy stories. I have new favorite stories and book series but mostly I found new favorite authors. So on this Valentine’s day I want to thank them for entertaining me. 😘

In the dead of night

This short story is very special to me. It came easily, naturally, and effortlessly. I like the difference between the person depicted in the story and the one who actually inspired it.

In a dark corridor, in the middle of the night, he was waiting for the right time. The distraction, which would allow, the chink of the door opening, to go unnoticed. He waited, his heart pounding hard against his chest. He didn’t want to fail so close. He fought for this moment, that’s probably what kept him alive until now. He was alert, waiting for the right time…and there it was, not what he was expecting, but something equally as useful to him. Someone in an adjacent corridor opened a door; the sound was loud enough to drown the chink of the master keycard being swiped and the one of him closing the door behind him. Once inside he got wary for a split second, wondering if the door was rigged to send a signal to those he knew were watching the place. But that was unlikely.

Sweat, cigarettes, and an alcohol stench filled the room. The smell was kind of reassuring and familiar but the intensity of it let him know that the person sleeping on the bed – that he was just starting to make out in the dark – was not well. The intensity of the smells told him how sad and depressed that person was. This knowledge gave him a pleasant warmth in his chest. He walked soundlessly the short distance separating him from his goal, taking in the messy state the little room was in. He grabbed the pen and the notebook he saw on the desk by the bed then knelt by the bed looking at his target’s face for the first time. His boxer-like face seemed puffy and angular at the same time. The skin under the eyes was so intensely dark that they looked like two black eye, making the reddish skin around the eyelashes look bright red. With the notebook on his lap he carefully wrote something on it before poking his friend on the ribs with the pen.

David jolted awake, as soon as his upper body was up he had the pen to his lips to silence him. David didn’t know what had just happened but he knew to shut up. David’s eyes widen at his assailant’s face, he looked on his right and saw the notebook his friend held. On it, was written “Fucking nightmare!” in big enough letters for him to read in the dark. David’s eyes were wide with shock, grief and disbelief but he kept quiet.

“Fucking nightmare!” David said aloud then looked at his friend who punched the side of the bed right after David had spoken while turning a page of the notebook that now rested on the bed. David looked at his friend’s face and mouthed “Paul”, he could not believe his eyes but the hand Paul, now placed on his reassured him that this was not one his drunken dreams. Paul lifted his index finger between them as a warning to David not to say a word. Paul gently tapped his ear then made a circular motion with his finger. David nodded his eyes filled with tears he was trying to hold.

David then took notice of his friend, his ragged clothes, his hallow cheeks, the dark bags under his eyes, and wondered what terrible things had happened to his best friend.

Tears were running down Paul’s face as he scribbled on the notebook.

“I had to see you,“ Paul wrote, “I might not have had the chance if I had let them know first.”

David read the words and grabbed Paul’s arm. Paul threw his other arm around David’s neck and they held tight, silently crying. Once they parted, David opened his palm, asking for the pen.

“I thought you were dead” David scribbled, tears dripping on the page. “I didn’t know what to do.” Then he looked at Paul and mouthed something intelligible. Paul guessed what it was but pointed to the notebook for his friend to write it.

“I’m sorry” David wrote, “about before, you were right”

I know” Paul mouthed. “It’s ok” grabbing the pen back from David.

“I wish I hadn’t been so pig headed and scared. The truth is that I love you so much that I would rather have you in my life as a friend if not a lover. You mean so much to me that the thought of losing you is killing me.” Paul wrote and gave David space to read.

Paul’s heart was tight, he has never had the guts to admit it to his best friend. At first because he thought it was so cliché, the gay friend in love with his best straight best friend but enough time had passed for Paul to realize that David just happened to be his best friend. Even if, they hadn’t spent so much time together, live through so many things during their teens, he still would have fell for the tough guy that’s nicer than he seems.

After David read the note he was about to speak but Paul’s hand came right up to cover his mouth to prevent him to make a sound. So David grabbed the pen and wrote, for what seem impossibly long to Paul – who couldn’t bear to watch what David was writing or David’s eyes. Paul had come here to tell his truth, no matter what David’s was. The end of the pen poking Paul’s forearm brought his attention back to David, who was handing him the notebook. Paul took a deep breath and read.

“When I first met you, you intrigued me. You were different and it bothered me. But for some reason I wanted to get to know you. Once I did, I liked the annoying little prick that you were and still is.

When you were hurt, I was hurt and wanted to make things better for you. When you were happy, I was happy.

I hated it when you left a few years ago but kept in touch.

To me there was nothing to it, but every time it seemed that you were in a serious relationship, I felt threatened, I told myself it was because I was afraid that life would pull us apart.

But that was not it. My heart broke when you said that you’d choose Christian over Allan. It made me angry, that is why I was so awful to you before. I considered Allan as a real threat, I knew that if you ended up with him I would lose you. Realizing this, it became clear to me that you are not my friend or my brother from another mother. You are a guy that I fell in love with. And that was extremely hard to wrap my head around.

I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU.”

Reading this both pleased and broke Paul’s heart. His mind was racing thinking about what to do next. A last surge of hope. Paul Stood up and grabbed the remote and turned on the small T.V. that stood in the left corner of the desk then went to the small kitchen sink and took a glass bowl. Paul went through David’s jean pockets until he found a lighter. The notebook in hand he gently ripped most of the pages of it and put them in the glass bowl.

David’s tears were running down his checks harder than ever. He knew what was to follow.

Paul carefully lit the written pages first and put the blank ones over for good measure. He covered the growing flames with the notebook while maintaining enough air to keep the paper burning completely. Once it did burn completely and the fire was out he walked to the sink, poured a little bit of water in the bowl and threw the ashes in the drain.

Paul knew that to anyone listening in it would sound like David got up, turned on the T.V., lit a cigarette and took a glass of water. When he walked back to David the pain in his teary eyes were unmistakable. Putting one knee on David’s bed, Paul bent over, his checks brushing against David’s. His lips to David’s ear.

“I love you, too.” Paul said in a low voice, strained by pain. When he pulled back he gently brushed David’s checks then they locked lips. Kissing for the first time ever. Paul then got up and backed away his eyes locked on David’s. his hands to his head kneeling down he said “I’am here.”

Less than 30 seconds, was all it took for the door to blast open, for a gun to be put to the back of paul’s head, while another armed man knocked David out. Losing consciousness, blurry vision, the last thing David saw was Paul being dragged out of the room.

The end.

So what did you think?