We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Flashback post!

Bibliographic Information

Audiobook $19.60
Paperback $6.43
Hardback $120.00
Kindle $12.99
Associated ISBNs 9780140071078
9780143039976 — Paperback
9780143129547 — Paperback
9780606039505 — DEMCO Turtleback
9780141191454 — Paperback
9780891906230 — Hardcover
9780899685328 — Hardcover
9781448719518 — Glued Binding
9781435262225 — Glued Binding
9780822212263 — Paperback
9780445083219 — Paperback

Readers Annotation

A family tragedy has isolated two girls from the village that hates them.

Rating (VOYA)

3P, 5Q

This is an older novel, and it is a Gothic novel. While Gothic is more approachable than Horror, this still isn’t something some people are going to want to read.

This is a beautifully written novel full of feels.


Here we go. This isn’t really a spoiler, considering it’s been out since the ’60s, so I’m not trying to hide the summary today.

So the set-up is thus: Merricat, her sister Constance, and their Uncle Julian live in Blackwood manor. The rest of their family was tragically killed via arsenic poisoning.

The booke opens with Merricat needing to go to the village to get library books, groceries and stop to get a coffee (because routines are good). The whole time she’s running her errands she is thinking about how much the villagers hate her (and her family) and how much she would like to kill them all. Merricat stops for her coffee in the diner and gets cornered by one of the villagers who starts talking about how horrible the Blackwoods were, and how no one likes them, and how Constance murdered them all. When Merricat is finally able to escape she dashes home.

Constance never leaves the manor. Uncle Julian is half-infirmed due to the poisoning. Merricat keeps promising to be nicer to him. Constance gets two visitors. The second visitor asks about the poisoning. Uncle Julian starts telling her all about that fateful day. How everyone was sitting for breakfast except for Merricat (who was sent to her room with no food). The arsenic was in the sugar. Constance had washed the bowl because she had said there was a spider in it. The police could never convict her of the crime. The women visitors leave.

Merricat runs wild through the manor’s grounds, checking on her tailsmans which ward away the villagers and the bad things, in Merricat’s mind.

Soon, their cousin Charles comes to the manor. He insinuates himself into their lives. He starts to monopolise Constance’s time, starts wearing the girls’ father’s things, starts talking about money and more. He starts saying that Uncle Julian should be in a home. And he starts to try and punich Merricat for her behavior. He suggests she go to a bording school.

Somewhere between Charles arriving and the end of the book Constance brings up Merricat murdering the rest of the family.

Merricat gets so mad that she goes up to their father’s (now Charles’) room and knocks his cigarette (still smoking) in the trash, setting a fire. Soon the whole second floor of the manor is on fire. Charles keeps trying to get the safe out of the house (only concerned with the money). Constance and Merricat get out. The girls run from the manor. The villagers have come and have started wishing the manor would burn down. Eventually they convince themselves to put out the fire. They start pulling things from the manor and destroying things inside. The chase the girls and find Uncle Julian dead. They then realise they should leave.

The girls never leave the manor again. They don’t fix the manor. People start leaving them appology food on their doorsteps and time passes. The girls are happy in their home.


Ok people, here it is: We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I was on a old school horror kick when I got into Shirley Jackson, and here we are. I listened to The Haunting of Hill House while on vacation, and wanted to try another of the Gothic Queen’s books, and so enter We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

I don’t think I ever really read Gothic fiction before Shirley Jackson. I don’t know what I expected from Gothic fiction, but it wasn’t this. I think I had a more horror mind-set then Gothic, and they’re not necessarily the same thing. Gothic is this disquieting mood… it can be scary but its more about that feeling of quiet horror, of something not quiet right. This whole book is disquieting. Its not necessarily about the twists and turns (in fact they are pretty predictable in some ways) but it is about the characters and their feelings and the feeling that the story itself provokes.

Our characters are very fleshy. Merricat is a disquieting sociopathic-ish girl, who wants all the villagers to die and loves her sister. Her sister Cathy is a recluse (not by choice) and longs to be part of society but has embraced this secluded life they lead now. Uncle Julian is addled from arsenic poisoning, and Cousin Charles has come to prey upon their naivety and seclusion to get to their money. Some villagers have individual personalities, but for the most part they’re all lumped into the “they hate the Blackwoods” camp.

The mood of the book is visceral. You can feel Merricat’s dislike of the villagers and you can feel the villager’s hate for the Blackwoods.

The Blackwood home is a character in of itself. Its old, majestic and depressing. Home to the girls, memories and terrible tragedy.

Really, Jackson’s prose is on point here. This is some well crafted fiction. Its dripping with creepy vibes. This is a more accessible read than The Haunting… was, at least for me. I didn’t get lost in this story (though maybe that was the point with The Haunting…). I was absorbed in every word and every moment. I knew what was going on, I knew where it was going, but I was still riveted to see what was going to happen.

This isn’t a story of twists and turns. This is a story of feeling. And those feelings are exquisite.





Tresspass by Rose Tremain

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

(Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier)


Shirley Jackson’s last novel, and her only non-paranormal novel. (Arguably her best novel)

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Discuss the villagers and their feelings about the Blackwoods.

Talk about Cousin Charles.

Discuss how the girls/villagers reacted to the fire.

Author’s website

Shirley Jackson


none (Won Time’s best novels of 1962)

YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Unreliable Narrators: Don’t Believe a Word (2016)



Kirkus (if working)

Why I Chose It

I had listened to The Haunting of Hill House and found it intriguing (and entirely unexpected) and wanted to try this one (toted as Jackson’s other great work).

Other Information

Coming to a theater near you! (2017 release date?)


Oath of Office

Bibliographic Information

Audiobook $25.70
Paperback $7.96
Hardback $8.74
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780312587536
9780312587543 — Paperback
9781410447470 — Hardcover

Readers Annotation

There’s something making people kill and Dr. Lou Welcome is on the case.

Rating (VOYA)

3P, 3Q

Its not super well written (there are character flaws and plot flaws).

Its not everyone’s cup of tea (medical thriller?).


Ok here we go…

Dr John Meacham has just seen a patient. He knows that everyone in his office heard and saw what happened. He needs to take care of it. There needs to be NO WITNESSES. So he loads his gun and kills everyone in his office before turning the gun on himself.

Dr Lou Welcome works for an office that evaluates Dr.s down on their luck, or who have had their licenses temporarily revoked. Lou had evaluated Dr Meacham and found him fit to practice. So when Lou finds out about Meacham’s shooting spree, he’s shocked, and knows that this will get his own license put on pause and his job suspended (since they’re going to blame him since he was the one who said Meacham could go back to work).

Lou finds Meacham’s behavior strange and out of character. He goes to the hospital where they took Meacham (who was not killed when he shot himself). He watches as the doctors in the hospital act weird and do things he wouldn’t do and which ultimately leads to Meacham’s death. Lou finds Meacham’s distraught wife and offers to take her home. She insists on driving. She’s acting strange, super focused and crazy, saying she needs to catch up to a cat in front of them because his taillight is out. She’s driving erratically and dangerously, and Lou keeps trying to talk her down and get her to pull over. They get pulled over by the police, the chief of police of Kings Ridge. He’s heard about Meacham, and knows Meacham’s wife, and doesn’t give them a ticket.

Meanwhile, Darlene is the first lady. Her husband is in a spot of trouble because the Secretary of Agriculture had to resign because of a scandal with an underage prostitute. Darlene and her PA are at a bar when the former Secretary (whom Darlene has known most of her life) approaches. He says that he was framed, but he isn’t asking her to get his job back. He’s asking her to see if her husband can move some of the legislation that he was working on through because it is important to the country. Darlene says she will.

Darlene’s husband completely blows up at her for even talking to the former Secretary, and makes her swear to never bring up the subject again.

Lou starts talking to the police chief and talks about his theory: that something is making people in Kings Ridge act nuts. The chief says he’ll help Lou however he can. They go to the home of the woman Meacham had examined before his breakdown and talk to her. She tells them that Meacham just got upset about her eating habits again. Lou asked if she saw him anywhere outside of the office and she said: Millie’s diner.

Lou meets up with his father for dinner at Millie’s diner. They order and chat about Lou’s case and his father’s latest scheme. And then the kid behind the counter tries to cut off his hand. They rush him to the hospital (not the one in Kings Ridge at Lou’s insistence) and the doctor’s there are able to save the kid’s hand. Millie is super grateful to Lou and the two talk about the diner and the people in the town.

Meanwhile, Darlene is approached by someone she starts calling “double M,” he plays the tape of the girl getting contracted to set up the Secretary and tells her to meet him. Darlene and the PA set up a clever scheme for Darlene to sneak away from her guards. Double M tells her to find the girl. Darlene’s personal guard guy knows that she snuck off, and tells her he doesn’t care what she’s doing, but to make sure he’s there. So, he uses some connections to find some girls the girl used to work with. Darlene learns about the girl, and then does some research. She finds that the girl is dead in Florida.

Lou boxes. Lou finds that he’s being tailed. With some advice from his boxing coach, he slips out of his apartment. Coach, George, Lou and the dumb guy, trail the tail. They end up in a corn field. They notice the corn is weird. Then get attacked. The dumb guy gets killed, George and Lou get chased by a killer combine. They escape.

The next day, Lou, Coach and George bring the police out to the field. They meet the guy who runs the place (who’s super suspicious) and the guy’s son. They get the brush off.

Lou talks to the kid who tried to cut his hand off, and finds that the kid has giant man-eating termites as pets. He finds this disturbing and suspicious. Lou gets contacted by Darlene. Lou and Darlene go to talk to an entomologist. He says “yeah those aren’t natural.” He dissects the queen Lou brought. Lou gets some equipment from the entomologist to help him search for the hive.

Darlene talks to her husband about the mutant corn and the termites. He gets pissed and says he’s not going to do anything about it. And that he’s made a deal with the Chinese in exchange for that corn. Darlene wonders who this man is and where her husband has gone.

Lou tracks the termites back to an old looking shack in the woods, near the farm with the mutant corn. He surmises that this is the place where they’ve been experimenting on the corn/termites. He calls the police chief. The chief is ranting to Lou as he opens the cabin with a key and continues ranting as he leads Lou down into the lab. Lou finally grasps that the chief was in on it the whole time (too late). The chief attacks. Lou escapes. The farmer’s son ends up being “double M.” Double M and the chief end up going over the platform above a pit of termites and getting eaten alive. Lou manages to escape.

Lou tells his ex-wife, her new husband and daughter to go hide for a little bit since powerful people are trying to kill him and may try to hurt him by hurting them. He then gets a call from the farmer saying he has Lou’s friends (Coach and George). Lou must go meet with him.

Lou jumps on a moving train thinking he can get to Coach and George before they’re to be killed. He gets Coach and George free, but then all three get captured. They’re put in a silo and the farmer starts interrogating them and pouring corn on them. They’re about to suffocate when they’re rescued by the army. Darlene had convinced her husband to do something. He now needs to resign.

Lou and Darlene agree that though they have feelings for each other, Darlene is staying with her husband.


Now that I’ve thought about it, I am reminded of that time I read Prey by Michael Crichton. Science gone wrong! But medical science this time. I hadn’t even made the connection before… I blame Goodreads and putting a Robin Cook book in the Readalikes (note to self: finally read a Robin Cook book).


This was a good way to spend 10.5 hours. It wasn’t revolutionary, it wasn’t super awesome, but it was a pretty good book that I liked listening to.

Look, there’s a pretty forced love story (because what book doesn’t have a love story, and all female characters need to be involved in one you know…), the plot has some issues, and it wasn’t super thrilling. But, despite that overwhelming praise, it was a nice book.

I like Lou Welcome. He’s a doctor bouncing back from some tough times. He’s got strained family relationships, and he’s got good family relationships. Its nice to see two divorced characters getting along. His relationship with his daughter is great. And other than the forced love interest, he’s a really well formed character.

Darlene (the first lady) isn’t a very compelling character. She is a flawed character for sure (super trusting, faithful to her dumbass husband), but her flaws don’t make her interesting. She’s flat and one dimensional, as are her friends and even her husband.

Lou’s boxing buddies were pretty well thought out. They, while not completely 3 dimensional, were at least fun characters with personality.

D.C. is a big part of the book, and has some good description. Kings Ridge, however, is much more fleshed out than the nation’s capitol. Its got that small town vibe, and it really shows how small town people interact.

Its not the best mystery, for sure. Its not super thrilling. But it was a good way to spend some time (though I may have had a moment when I said aloud “you dumbass,” and I haven’t done that since the Dan Brown incident).


Medical Thriller



Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline

Cell by Robin Cook


Modern science gone wrong book with a mystery.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

How believable is evil super corn?

Is what Millie did so wrong? What would you have done if you were in her shoes?

Discuss President and his decisions.

Author’s website

Michael Palmer






Why I Chose It

I kept seeing the third book in the series (Resistant) and wanted to read that one, so I thought I’d start with the first.

Other Information

The Refrigerator Monologues


Bibliographic Information

Audiobook $18.99
Paperback $10.11
Hardback $14.11
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9781481459341
9781481459358 — Paperback

Readers Annotation

They died pointless deaths and are mad about it.

Rating (VOYA)

3P because its an off-shoot of comics. Not a comic, but addressing comics issues. Plus, lady-anger.

4Q because its written well, but could be dry at times.


Paige Embry is a long time resident of Deadtown, where the dead go. Deadtown gets everything that is forgotten (Paige laments at one point that they’ll never get Harry Potter because it will never die). Paige was in college studying music. She met the superhero boyfriend in music class with the one-handed professor. They started dating. She decided to show him what she was working on (hyper-mercury). He got transformed and became Kid Mercury. He did the superhero thing (super-fast) but the professor figured out that Paige had accidentally made him and made her change him as well. Paige followed the two to the bridge where they were having their big showdown, thinking she could help somehow, and got shoved off the edge. The kid caught her before she hit the ground, but he ended up breaking her spine, killing her. She’s been in Deadtown ever since, in the clothes she was buried in,  stuck loving the boy who hasn’t tried to save her.

Julia Ash was a telepathic, and a powerful one. She was taking to the special school for “mockingbirds” (mutants) (by a Dr X pun lady). She grew close to the fire throwing guy. She got more powerful, soon becoming more powerful than everyone at the school and on the superhero team. One day they take on their (Magneto) arch-enemy and he has a new mockingbird with him. The mockingbird kills the man she loves, and then sends them to a parallel universe. He talks to her and convinces her its better this way. They spend time in a world without her team (and the USA). They become involved. Then she ends up back where it all began, with him killing the man she loves. She grows super powerful, eats a sun and is killed. Then her life starts over again. Doomed to live in the same loop forever. Flickering in and out of existence in Deadtown forever.

Pauline Ketch is mad. Her father is abusive (Bad Daddy). He eventually has her committed, where she sees Mr. Punch. She somehow cons her way into giving him his meds (she says her superpower is that she can get anyone to like her for five minutes). She starts not giving him his meds. He eventually reveals that he was playing her all along. He threatens her. She reveals that she knows the identity of Grimdark (Batman) so they break out together. She keeps him hooked to her by not telling him what he wants to know (revealing that he’s impotent). Eventually she tells him and he kills her after screwing her. She is adamant that her man is coming for her.

Blue Bayou is a princess of Atlantis. She doesn’t want to be though. She shacks up with her boyfriend and joins a band. She gets drunk on air and rebels against the authority. She goes up to the surface one night with her boyfriend and stays there after he swims away. There she meets (Aquaman) Surge *I think*. They have sex. She gets pregnant. They’re married. He goes back with her to Atlantis (and feels less special because down there he’s just like everyone else). Her ex has taken the thrown. He kills her son (who she could telepathically communicate with). Her husband has her committed. She comes to Deadtown to search for her son.

Daisy Green gets involved with her superhero. She finds him disconnected. She becomes disconnected. She leaves him and starts starring in porn. Then she starts hooking. And then is killed.

Samantha Dane is the girlfriend of Chiaroscuro (Green Lantern). She knows all the supers in the group and her boyfriend is just learning to superhero. One of the boyfriends super friends gets manipulated into killing her and the cat and stuffing them in the fridge.

Paige tells us that they all meet up, but that she’s the only one who’s always at the meetings, the other girls come and go. They’re at the cafe when the gargoyle who runs the place tells them that one of theirs just showed up in the fridge. The girls pull Samantha out and bring her to their table.


FYI, this book just came out a month or so ago. There are spoilers!

So…. I wanted to love this book. Addressing the issue of friging in comics? (AKA killing the wife/girlfriend just to propel a male character’s storyline) Looking at the women who were killed for that guy? Sounds like a winner to me! Alas, it left me cold. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good book and well written. But, I just didn’t connect to it emotionally.

Sure, we’ve got all the different women : Paige Embry (Gwen Stacy), Julia Ash (Jean Grey), Pauline Ketch (Harley Quinn), Blue Bayou (Queen Mera), Daisy Green (Karen Page), and Samantha Dane (Alexandra DeWitt). Each woman’s story is horrible and tinged with the anger that woman feels for having to end up like this.

Out of the six of them, I found Blue Bayou, Julia Ash and Daisy Green’s most compelling. Honestly, I found Pauline’s story boring. Samantha’s was pointless (and yes, that is the point) and Paige is the one that everyone already knows.

Pauline was just…. I don’t know. Didn’t grab me. Yes, she was unstable. Yes, she had a shitty dad. Yes, she latched onto the wrong person and ended up in an abusive relationship that clearly was one-sided. And yes, she was killed right after she gave him the info he wanted. But… its an old story. It wasn’t compelling. Pauline wasn’t compelling. Maybe it was the mindset, or maybe it was the story, but she wasn’t a sympathetic character and her motivations weren’t really believable (but maybe that was the point? Meta fiction is complicated).

Paige was perhaps the most disconnected of them all. She’s been there the longest and she knows she’s never going back. Her guy moved on, and she’s stuck there, stuck in love with him. Her story was what you’d expect, but unfortunately left me shrugging. I get it, I know why she’s there, but that doesn’t mean she’s a character that I latched onto.

Samantha was just so pointless. Its an obvious parallel to her DC counterpoint. Pointlessly killed in a shocking way just to invoke a reaction out of the male superhero.

Blue Bayou was a compelling case of madness and frustration with her life and how it turned out. Julia was a powerful woman that no one (man) could control, and was punished for it. Daisy slipped into prostitution.

The characters are definitely where its at for this one. Deadtown, and the various cities that the women’s lives take place in are secondary. We get some good description of Deadtown and how it works, but the other settings just aren’t as important as the women’s stories.

There are really seven separate plots. Each of the women’s stories and the story of them meeting up at the cafe and meeting Samantha. The plot’s work if the characters are compelling (and if you know comics, you know their stories).

It wasn’t the greatest thing I read, but it was an interesting take on something that’s prevalent in comics (even today).


Short Stories

Superhero Stories


There is nothing like this book. I could give you superheroines or strong female leads, but there is nothing else that shows the anger of these types of characters after they’ve been friged, or just the concept of friging.


Showing the other side of ‘friged superheros girlfriends.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Which woman’s story did you find most compelling?

Do you think killing the woman/girlfriend/wife is a legitimate way to progress a man’s story?

How are these women’s stories reflected in real life?

Author’s website

Catheryn M Valente


None (yet?)




Why I Chose It

This is a prevalent Trope in Comics (or everything really) and this sounded like an interesting take on the concept.

Other Information

Check out:The Original Women in Refrigerators siteTV Tropes page on Women in Refrigerators

Cry Wolf


Bibliographic Information

Audiobook $12.99
Paperback $6.00
Hardback $3.98
Kindle $2.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441016150
9780441018482 — Hardcover
9780425261323 — Hardcover
9781841497945 — Paperback

Readers Annotation

They may have mated, but there’s still trials ahead.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

Pretty well written with no glaring plot holes, though the feel can get wonky with all the different POVs.

It’s a paranormal romance! People love those!


Here we go!

Okay, so this book picks up immediately where the novella Alpha & Omega leaves off. Bran and Anna are going to Anna’s apartment to pack up her stuff to take to Oregon, and Charles is locked up with the Chicago pack’s doctor in a werewolf proof cell in the pack HQ. Anna and Bran are being escorted by some of Anna’s old pack. Anna’s apartment is sparsely furnish (what with her being poor and all). Anna and Bran manage to pack up like 2 meager boxes before they get a call to go to Charles because he’s being a surly injured werewolf.

Anna and Bran get over to Charles at Chicago pack HQ and Bran warns Anna that hurt!Charles in wolf form is pretty vicious. Anna goes in and Charles gets all defensive of her but is otherwise fine. Bran decides that they all need to fly home that night (to get to a funeral). Charles stays in wolf form the entire flight as Bran (literally) flies them home to Aspen Creek.

Bran, Anna and Charles go to Charles’ home. Anna feels like she doesn’t belong in such a nice place with Charles, and Charles senses her anxiety and changes back even though it will slow his healing. Anna freaks out a little and eventually they calm down and go to bed.

The funeral is awkward. The man was a werewolf gone wrong and Bran had had to kill him. The town was angry that Bran had killed him. So there were glances and a general mood of discontent as Bran and his family showed up. Sam, Charles’ brother, gives a soliloquy and the family does a song. Anna, sitting in the pew watching, gets confronted by Asil, a semi-mad werewolf sitting behind her. Charles gets defensive. Asil says Bran should have killed him when he asked him to.

Bran tells Sam to look at Charles’ wounds (from before) and discovers there was still some silver in there, which is why it was taking him so long to heal. Bran tells Charles there might be a thing that he will need Charles to look into when he’s better (and more settled with Anna).

That night Bran summons Charles because a ranger has been attacked by a were. The situation cannot be left alone while Charles heals. Bran tells him he needs to go investigate. Anna tells Charles she’s going with him. Charles tries to protest, but Bran says it might be good for them, and a good way to bond.

So they pack up all the winter gear and head up the mountain to find the lone wolf. They camp in the snow and eat a lot of food. They eventually get attacked by a large werewolf. Charles chases after the were. Anna meets Mary, a “ranger.” Then gets attacked by a were. Charles comes back and acts all lovey and backs up Anna’s story. Charles and Anna get caught up in a witches spell (the witch is Mary, formerly Mariposa). Anna manages to free them and Charles drives the witch away. 

They meet up with Walter in the woods that night when they try to stay warm despite losing all their gear. Walter instantly latches onto Anna, and Anna to him. Charles and Walter do their wolf thing to keep Anna warm that night.

Asil realizes that the witch up on the mountain is the witch that’s been stalking him nearly all his life. So he heads up the mountain to help Charles and Anna.

In the morning Walter takes Charles and Anna to the cabin he knows of that he used to stay in, figuring that was where the witch had holed up. Asil gets tricked into helping Mariposa (because her wolf guardian is his former mate’s soul, sort of). Charles sets the cabin on fire and the three start down the mountain. 

Bran realizes what’s going on and heads up to help Charles. He gets caught by the witch and cuts off his pack ties so that she can’t get to his pack through him. Charles, Anna and Walter find Asil’s car and head back up the mountain following his tracks.

Bran worries that if Mariposa tries to make him kill Charles that he’ll go beserker again (like he did when his evil mother tried to make him kill Sam once upon a time). Asil lures away his wife. Charles takes on the witch. Anna tries to help. Charles has to fight Bran. Walter takes a hit from the witch to save Anna, killing him. Anna kills the witch. She worries Bran has killed Charles, but he’s still alive. She’s able to use her omega abilities to calm Bran and Charles. Asil’s mate disappears. Everyone’s ok. And Bran buries Walter as part of the clan.

Everything basically works out.


So, like a lot of other people (apparently) I made the mistake of thinking this was the first book in the series. Technically it is, and we didn’t have too much figuring out what was going on, but really the first story in this series is a short story titled: Alpha and Omega.

This may be a controversial opinion, but I may like this series just a bit more than Mercy Thompson’s series. I think that mainly boils down to Charles. Charles is a badass (but a total puppy when it comes to Anna), but he’s also pretty quiet and can keep things close to the vest. I also love the aspect of Brother Wolf. Plus, Charles just has this way of just deadpan saying things…. I just really like Charles you guys.

Anna is sweet, if a little beaten up. Its clear she’s had a rough time of it (boy does her last 5 years or so suck). So naturally she’s pretty meek and her life feels a bit out of control. She did just meet Charles and their already mated. The poor girl is struggling to re-find herself. So, she’s sympathetic character. I think the way Patricia Briggs handles Anna’s past is pretty good. There are some moments where I found myself wondering how Anna isn’t worse off with all the past brutalizing and all, but it all seems to work out mostly.

I almost forgot our favorite Vietnam Vet Walter! And that would’ve been bad. Walter is the tragic hero we deserve. I don’t know what it is about Walter, the ‘Nam vet with serious PTSD, but we loved him (even though Vietnam Vet with PTSD is a huge cliche and we’d always sigh and say “‘Nam” every time). There’s something about Walter.

There’s Bran (Mr. Mysterious aka Charles’ dad aka leader of all the North American werewolves) and Asil (the half mad seer running pretty literally from his past). Plus all the side characters and the big bad witch.  All of whom had their own flavor and personality.

Setting= pretty darn good. Though really you only get a feel for Charles’ home and the side of the mountain.

Plot? Not bad. Semi-mystery, action-y, romance-y tale. I can’t say it was unbelievable (because paranormal romance), but it didn’t have super gaping plot holes (which is always nice). Didn’t super appreciate the random chapters in other characters heads always, but it was interesting to get their side of the story at times.

I liked it a lot, and we really enjoyed the narrator for the audiobook (even though he changes the way he voices people in the second book).


Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance


The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson


… Half native american werewolf?

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think of the way the author handled Anna’s past?

What do you think about the way Bran runs his pack?

Discuss Charles and his abilities.

Author’s website

Patricia Briggs





Why I Chose It

Wanted a Paranormal Romance for a trip.

Other Information


Soldier’s Scoundrel


Bibliographic Information

Paperback $6.29
Kindle $1.99
Associated ISBNs 9780062642493

Readers Annotation

Jake and Oliver try to solve a mystery and resist each other.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 3P

This is a really well written regency romance, and the characters are well thought out.

This is a LGBTQIA+ book, that means a lot of people don’t want to read it.



London, nebulous Regency time after the Napoleonic Wars. Jake is a “scoundrel.” He helps ladies. He lives above his sister Sarah’s dress shop. He gets a gentleman caller, even though he doesn’t see gentlemen. The man is good looking. This man is Oliver the son of a duke. Jake recognizes him from a time when he saw the other man in a compromising situation with another man. Oliver wants to know what Jake did for his sister. Jake won’t tell her. His sister tells him he has a lady to see him. Jake tells Oliver he’s welcome to sit and watch. The woman tells Jake that some letters from an old beau have gone missing from her jewelry box. She needs to get them back before her husband sees them. Jake tells her he will help her, but that he may not tell her anything and that he’ll do it however he sees fit to proceed. She agrees. Oliver, doesn’t like how Jake is approaching this situation, he believes the lady should have gone to the police.

He interviews her ladies’ maid, who gives him the lowdown on the lady and her husband (she’s new money, he’s from the gentry, they got caught in a compromising position forcing him to marry her). Jake decides to break into the lady’s home to see what’s what.

Oliver makes friends with the lady’s husband at his club. He also spends a lot of time thinking about Jake’s questionable methods and straddling of the moral line.

Oliver’s sister’s sister-in-law calls on Oliver to tell him that his brother-in-law is back and to get Jake. Oliver waits for Jake at Jake’s place. When Jake comes back Oliver fusses because he’s hurt. Oliver eventually remembers to tell Jake about the brother-in-law. Jake arranges for a man to watch the sister and brother-in-law while he finds someone to take care of the problem.

Oliver and Jake travel to the country to track down leads for their case (flirting all the way). Oliver has trouble taking off his boots at the first way station they stop at and Jake happens to come in and helps him. Sexy-times ensue. When they get to their destination, they hook up again. They question the ex-beau’s new wife, and the former governess. More sexiness.

Oliver decides that they should stop and visit his father. Oliver’s father then tries to malign Jake’s name. Jake gets summoned because the brother-in-law is dead.  Oliver feels torn.

Oliver goes to a party being thrown by the lady in question. Jake goes as his valet (and is not happy about it). Jake puts everything together and works everything out and gets shot for his trouble. Oliver and Jake break up because Jake won’t ruin Oliver’s reputation.

Oliver decides to ruin his reputation with Georgie’s help, in order to be with Jake. Jake catches wind of this plan and stops Oliver from completely ruining himself, saying he’s just low enough on the social ladder for them to associate with each other. 

They buy a flat together.

The end.


Oh man, Regency Romances are a semi-secret favorite of mine. They’re like the epitome of Harlequin romance. This is a gay Regency Romance. The combination of two things I really love. What could possibly go wrong?

I’ll admit it, the only negative comment I have about this book is that it can be a little slow sometimes and the juggling of the romance and the mystery can get in the way of each other. There were a few times where the romance between Oliver and Jake was heating up and the plot would interrupt and vice versa and it would frustrate me (sometimes in a good way).

The plot isn’t too terribly unique, but it is a nice little mystery that drives the story quite well. There’s a lady in trouble and our dashingly handsome (and sarcastic to boot) hero needs to help her out (this time by breaking and entering, questioning people and definitely not falling in love with her). Then you have the beautiful brother of one of the women who has hired our hero, who is initially trying to save her honor. Things happen, boys fall in love.

I like that the author didn’t shy away from the fact that this romance was definitely NOT COOL in regency days. She never lets the reader forget that even though these boys are in love, that society just won’t let them be together (openly).

Jake was definitely my fave. He has his eyes on the prize (both solving this case, and winning over Oliver for a roll in the hay). He’s pretty down to earth, and understandably wary of “gentlemen.” He was sarcastic, badass, and just vulnerable enough to let Oliver in (no matter how many times the man was an idiot).

Oliver is just as flawed a character. Fighting to stay in a black and white world after being in a very grey war, and having to realize that the world isn’t black and white no matter how much we wish it to be so. He’s pretty haunted by his past, and fighting his nature because he’s in love with Jake.

The supporting cast is pretty interesting as well, the sisters (both Jake and Oliver’s), the evil brother-in-law, Georgie, Oliver’s dad, and the married couple at the center of the investigation. I’m glad to see that some of these side characters are going to get their own books.

The setting is, naturally, London. I like the way the seedier side is shown, and the contrast to the more upper class end. At odds with both sides of London was the countryside. Each setting had their own flavor and feel, which really worked for the book, clearly delineating between different parts of the story.

This was a good romance, one that I enjoyed even though there were some slower parts. The characters were interesting, and I would be interested in reading some of the other stories in this universe.



Regency (Historical) Romance


Wanted, A Gentleman by K.J. Charles

A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries


M/M romance published by mainstream publisher.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Discuss Oliver’s way of coping with reintegrating into society (Black & White outlook).

Discuss Jake’s soft spot for ladies.

Discuss being LGBTQIA+ in Regency times.

Author’s website

Cat Sebastian






Why I Chose It

It’s a legit romance novel (with the cliche cover but with 2 dudes) from a legit publisher (Avon Impulse, which traces back to Harlequin itself). I’ve never seen a legit published, not horribly covered m/m novel before. (Don’t get me started on crappy covers for LGBTQIA+ books)

Other Information