Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: A Murder of Mages

A Murder of Mages (The Maradaine Constabulary, #1)Author: Marshall R. Maresca
Maradaine Constabulary, #1
Released: July 7th 2015
Publisher: DAW
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

A Murder of Mages marks the debut of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s novels of The Maradaine Constabulary, his second series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.
Satrine Rainey—former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.
Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage—almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.
Their first case together—the ritual murder of a Circled mage— sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets. 

A Murder of Mages is an excellent new fantasy novel with a distinct urban fantasy feel, a rich and imaginative police procedural that tries to do so much and for the most part succeeds. It is a very dark novel set in Maradaine, a poverty-ridden city in which violence happens at every corner. We follow Satrine Rainey as she struggles to find her footing after an accident which leaves her husband unable to provide for their family.

Monday, July 27, 2015

LGBT Monday: Fated & Fragmented

Fated (Shadow Mountain #1)Author: Indra Vaughn
Series: Shadow Mountain, #1
Published: December 21st 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 284 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Two towns flank the looming Shadow Mountain. A dark myth of the Predator drifts through the dense trees, a tale Police Lieutenant Hart never paid much attention to. When one unresolved death follows another—some people dying without discernible cause while others are clearly, and often brutally, murdered—he can't ignore it any longer. Truth may lie in myth, but this one is spread to deceive everyone. The Predator exists, but he's not entirely human. Hart will have to find the connection between the mysterious figure and victims with only one thing in common: a faint tattoo on the backs of their necks, a mark left when someone healed their incurable diseases.
Isaac Lasko has been in love with Hart since he moved in across the street seven years ago. He’s been helping Hart renovate his home, and their friendship grows more intense with the years, but Isaac can't help wishing for a deeper bond. When he finally breaks through the lieutenant's armor, the mystery surrounding the Predator threatens them both. Help will come, but at a price.

Fated by Indra Vaughn came my way completely accidentally, recommended by author John Inman in the comments of a Facebook poll no more than a few weeks ago. To this day I haven’t figured out how it went unnoticed by me until that moment. What’s more, it seems to be somewhat overlooked by its intended audience, which is a crime, to be honest. The characters Vaughn has created deserve to be celebrated and talked about, they should inspire people to start discussions and street teams, and yet, they haven’t just yet. Why? Mostly because their beauty is quiet and unassuming, complex and deeply felt. They’re not instantly likeable or wildly entertaining, they just are… human, vulnerable and often wrong, just like everybody else.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Damage Done

Damage DoneAuthor: Amanda Panitch
Series: Standalone
Released: July 21st 2015
Publisher: Random House
Length: 304 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.
Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.
After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.
Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.
One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

Damage Done is one of those books that push us far outside our comfort zones, making us feel confused, scared and completely disgusted. It was a considerable feat for Amanda Panitch and a huge risk to take for a debut novel, but being courageous enough to stretch the boundaries or even erase them altogether can certainly pay off, and it did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Influx

Influx (Clandestine Daze Book 1)Author: Tim Marquitz
Series: Clandestine Daze, #1
Released: June 30th 2015
Publisher: Ragnarok
Length: 199 pages
Source: Author for review
Buy: Amazon

For Theodor Crane every day is a lie.
A doppelganger, Theo is trapped in the role of the man he murdered. Tasked with safeguarding the secrets of his homeland his loyalty is torn between his new life and his mission when an influx of militants stream to Earth. A pawn of both sides, he's given just days to bring the terrorists to heel. Failure means war, but success comes with its own consequences.
Either might see Theo dead. 

Here are the three things that can lift my mood any day of the week: 1. bacon; 2. Nutella; 3. anti-heroes written by Tim Marquitz… and not necessarily in that order of importance. The very simple truth is that no one writes foul-mouthed underdogs better than Tim. First came Frank, the charming bastard, and now there’s Theo, a doppelganger and a hot mess with a moral compass that points every which way but north and a dry, self-deprecating, wicked sense of humor.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Q&A with Sean Kennedy, Author of Tigers on the Run

Hey, everyone!

Today, I am beyond thrilled to welcome Sean Kennedy to The Nocturnal Library! Just last week I reviewed Sean's new book, Tigers on the Run, the third in his wonderful Tigers and Devils series. These books are my all-time favorites, which makes this opportunity to chat with their author a truly special experience for me. It's Christmas in July!

Welcome to The Nocturnal Library, Sean. This is such an honor for us. (Wow, that went well. You can’t even tell that I’m having a total fangirl moment, right? Right?!) 

Hi, Maja! Um, I’m so not somebody to fangirl over.  I’m sitting here in my trackies and waiting for Coronation Street to finish downloading.

Before we even begin talking about Simon, Dec, and Tigers on the Run, let me ask you this: how do you usually describe your series to potential readers or just people wanting to know more about what you write?

I guess you could reduce it down to a scintillating expose of the relationship between fame and privacy, and the compromises that occur when one has to navigate between two very different worlds… or, you can just say that it’s about two likeable guys who are lucky enough to find one another and find that they complement each other and are very happy about it.  It’s probably much more likely the latter.

You are famous (oh, all right, infamous) for not keeping up with your blog, which can easily be forgiven if you’re actually spending that time thinking or writing about Simon and Declan. Or if you send us chocolate. Yeah, that should do the trick. But tell us this: who is Sean Kennedy? What do you enjoy doing, or even reading, in your spare time? 

Monday, July 20, 2015

LGBT Monday Minis: Breaking and Bare For You

Breaking (Fall or Break, #2)Author: Barbara Elsborg
Series: Fall or Break, #2
Released: July 28th 2015
Publisher: Samhain
Length: 321 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Archer Hart is on the move before the man he’s just killed is found. When a bullet whizzes past his ear, he realizes hunter is now hunted. So much for his retirement plans. Someone wants him dead and all he can do is keep running.
Downed by a hit and run driver, barrister Conrad Black is certain the ‘accident’ was deliberate but he has no proof or support. In recovery, struggling to work out of partial paralysis, he has plenty of time to wonder who regrets not striking him harder. At this point, running anywhere is a distant dream.
The confidence, determination and stamina of two alphas males will mean little if neither is willing to bend—seize the love offered—and work together to understand why they’re suddenly both marked men. Not easy for either when Archer has broken the law in the worst possible way and Conrad is the law. 

I truly enjoyed the first book in this series, even though I'm generally unaccustomed to Barbara Elsborg's level of angst. I loved Harper and Malachi and their dynamic and I wholeheartedly believed in their romance. The same did not hold true for this second couple, no matter how hard I tried.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tracer Blog Tour: Q&A with Rob Boffard

Hello, hello, my favorite nocturnal readers! 

The heat wave has been getting the best of me for days now! If you don't hear from me, it's likely that my head overheated and exploded all over the place. And now that I've put that amazing picture into your heads, I can safely introduce my guest today. 

According to both Orbit Books and yours truly, Tracer is the most exciting thriller set in space you'll ever read, and it's only Rob Boffard's debut novel. He set the bar sky high with this one, my friends! I was so excited about this chat with Rob that it took me a week to come up with somewhat coherrent questions. I wanted to know everything there is to know about him and his amazing novel.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review: Stone Rider

Stone RiderAuthor: David Hofmeyr
Series: Stone Rider, #1
Released: July 14th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte
Length: 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

In the vein of The Outsiders and the early Western novels of Elmore Leonard, this inventive debut novel, a cross between the cult classic Mad Max movie series and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, blends adrenaline-fueled action with an improbable yet tender romance to offer a rich and vivid portrayal of misfits and loners forced together in their struggle for a better life.
Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive.
The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury.
And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything. 

I find the distinction between boy books and girl books to be discriminatory and a tiny bit offensive, and yet Stone Rider undeniably aims towards young adult boys as its intended audience. Heavy on the action, violence and technical description and very light on any kind of emotional development, it often reads as a videogame on paper. But by no means is it a bad thing – whatever it tries to do, this book does exceptionally well, and the end result is an unusually written story that has a lot to offer to its readers.

Monday, July 13, 2015

LGBT Monday: Tigers on the Run

Tigers on the Run (Tigers and Devils, #3)Author: Sean Kennedy
Series: Tigers and Devils, #3
Relesed: July 13th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 260 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner

Young Australian Micah Johnson is the first AFL player to be out at the beginning of his career. Retired professional football player Declan Tyler mentors Micah, but he finds it difficult, as Micah is prone to making poor life choices that land him in trouble. Nothing Dec can’t handle. He’s been there, done that, more times than he’d like to admit. Being Simon Murray’s partner all these years has Dec quite experienced in long-suffering and mishaps.
As usual, Simon thinks everything is going along just fine until his assistant, Coby, tells him a secret involving an old nemesis. Simon and Dec’s problems mash together, and to solve them, they must undertake a thousand-kilometer round trip in which issues will have to be sorted out, apologies are finally given, and a runaway kid is retrieved and returned to his worried parents.

Simon and Declan are finally (finally!) back, stronger and more entertaining than ever. After a three year break, we’re holding a new adventure in our hands, a delightful, Aussie-flavored, heartfelt and family-oriented romance unlike anything I’ve ever read.

Friday, July 10, 2015

#GayIsOk Campaign

In the four years since I started The Nocturnal Library, I've written about some lighthearted topics and some very difficult ones, but none have been as important to me or as close to my heart as the one I'm writing about today.

I am (and always have been) a very determined LGBTQAI ally. It's one of the things I feel most strongly about. We've come a long way, but there's still so much to be done. Being gay is illegal (yes, ILLEGAL) in no less than 75 countries, and in some of them, it's even illegal not to report someone else who happens to be gay. Simply knowing that a family member or friend is gay and not turing them in can get you a one-way ticket to prison. The very idea is heart-wrenching and, quite frankly, despicable.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ruthless Blog Tour Review

Hey guys!

It's been a bit quiet around here lately, for which I apologize. I got a bit overwhelmed with work for a while there, but things are finally calming down.
I don't do many blog tours these days, but I was so drawn to Ruthless at first sight, I jumped at a chance to participate in this tour. I'm glad to say my instincts were once again right. (I'm also happy to report that I'm making plans to build an additional room for my ego. Just in case you were concerned.)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

LGBT Monday: Crossing Borders

Crossing Borders (Crossing Borders, #1)Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Series: Standalone
Released: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Samhain
Length: 271 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Two dudes walk into a bookstore…
Tristan knows he’s got issues. His latest ex-girlfriend knows it too. He can’t blame her for dumping him—even though she gets her brother to do it for her. Since he can’t stop staring at said brother’s package, he figures it’s about time to put a label on those issues. He likes guys.
He heads to a local bookstore with what he’s sure is a foolproof plan to find someone to show him what he’s been missing. But who should crash his little adventure? Officer Michael Truax, who gave him a really expensive ticket back in high school for skateboarding without a helmet.
Michael has been trying to catch Tristan for years...to give him a second ticket. Suddenly faced with “Sparky”, all grown up and looking to get laid, Michael’s protective instinct kicks in—and presents him with an opportunity that’s hard to resist. After all, the kid must know what he’s getting into, so why not?

But when a man with a plan connects with a man with a hunger, the result is nothing short of explosive.

Product Warnings: Contains high-octane hair, a clawfoot bathtub, and a story that will make you believe in love at first sight. Okay, second sight, but who’s counting?

Crossing Borders was first published in 2007, with a different publisher and a very different cover. As ZA Maxfield pointed out in the Author’s note, the world was a much different place 8 years ago. People could still meet and fall in love in Borders and being gay often meant living without things like marriage and children. What’s more, being gay and a police officer was far more dangerous, although it still isn’t something to be taken lightly.