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    REVIEW: Maniac by Onley James

    Necessary Evils: Maniac – Onley James

    Thomas Mulvaney was just a child when an error in judgment cost him everything. He vowed then that he would do anything to atone for his mistake. And he did. He never strayed from the right path. Until Aiden.

    Aiden Mulvaney doesn’t exist. He’s a lie created by the father who disowned him and by Thomas Mulvaney, the only man Aiden had ever begged to love him. But that was years ago, when he’d still believed in fairytales. Before Thomas rejected him.

    Thomas has spent years trying to have Aiden in his life while keeping him at arm’s length, but Aiden’s done with half-measures. He’s done with Thomas the martyr. He’s just done. So, he’s kept his distance. Trouble is, now, someone is threatening to expose a secret that affects them all.

    No, not that one. A secret so shameful, Thomas won’t even utter it out loud. Can he and Aiden revisit the past and keep the family name intact, or will they both be buried beneath the weight of their memories as their old feelings resurface?

    Necessary Evils started because of Thomas Mulvaney’s brainchild, and it was only fitting that its finale circles back to the Mulvaney patriarch. 

    The infamous Mulvaneys are a bunch of gorgeous, overachieving, secret vigilante psychopaths adopted by billionaire genius Thomas. Among their many accomplishments are making dysfunctional, borderline toxic, if not outright toxic relationships, work spectacularly with the love of their lives, people they latched on to the minute they laid their eyes on.

    And to my surprise, Thomas, their rock-solid, level-headed leader and father, had the most toxic relationship of all. Thomas and Aiden go way back. We have been teased with their pairing early in the series, and mini-developments scattered throughout the other books, such as Aiden’s decision to un-adopt himself from the family. The brothers also didn’t shy away from teasing their brother about his feelings for their father.

    Thoughts of Thomas doing a Woody Allen were dispelled as the author went the usual way of age gap romances where the younger man does the pursuing. The amount of push/pull here was maddeningly frustrating, not to mention heart-wrenching levels of mutual pining, when it was revealed how Thomas habitually uses Aiden as a crutch only to push him away again and again. And poor Aiden can never say no when Thomas calls because he just can’t. Guess how long this has been going on.

    This angsty sad sad drama dominated the first parts of Maniac giving us the backstories and setting the plot for the mayhem to come. Once Thomas pulled his head out of his ass and Aiden got his Tommy, the fun and games begin.

    At this point, the family had expanded into a village, and Onley James did that thing she always excels at. One of my favorite parts of the series is the war room scene where she juggles the entire army of cast into hilarious dialogues that highlights everyone’s particular brand of crazy. Sometimes, all a character need to say is one line, one word, and boom! She’s the only author I’ve read so far that can pull it off effectively with so many characters in one room.

    Every character made an impression, and even from the beginning, I could easily name all the brothers in order because that’s how well their personalities stood out. Their significant others, plus Calliope and Jericho’s boys, are just as distinct. All in all, an unbeatable group dynamic! My faves are August and Lucas.

    The plot followed the usual Mulvaney mission. A hunt for a serial killer on the loose, this time threatening to destroy the family. Calliope did her magic, and the brothers and their friends heckled each other while puzzling out who knew Thomas well enough to know what he had been hiding for decades. Extra puzzling because his entire family died when he was a teen and the man had no friends.

    All the signature Mulvaney shenanigans are showcased more extra, with Jericho’s boys and the ladies adding to the chaos. I loved all the books so much that they have become my comfort reads. The subject may be dark, but the humor and found family magic gave me cozy feels. Maniac amps that feeling with a sense of belongingness and familiarity because everyone feels like old friends.

    I’m not ready to say goodbye to the Mulvaneys, and I am thrilled it’s not the last we see of them. The resolution to the mission might felt anti-climactic, but the boys thrived and even multiplied, with future little Mulvaneys and young vigilantes being spawned as we speak. That means spin-offs!

    Starting with Jericho’s boys. I am ecstatic because we get more of Atticus, my grumpy Freckles! I have a soft spot for the man because I feel he’s the underdog of the family.

    Necessary Evils is one of the most memorable series in my entire reading history. Maniac is the bestest, most fitting finale to a family saga that has always been crazy good, crazy fun, and just plain crazy!

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Thomas
    Artist: A Perfect Circle
    Album: Mer De Nom

    Necessary Evils should be read in order. The first brother to fall is Adam and one by one the rest followed like dominos. Reviews below:

    Mad Man

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    ManiacUS | UK

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    REVIEW: Lunatic by Onley James

    Necessary Evils: Lunatic – Onley James

    Every psychopath in the Mulvaney family has a role to play. Archer Mulvaney is the gambler, a drunken reprobate making his living as a high-stakes poker player. Very few people know the real Archer, not even his brothers. But there is one man who knows far too much.

    Mackenzie Shepherd spends his days photographing endangered wildlife. He’s also the brother of a psychopath and son to the woman who literally wrote the book on raising one. When his mother asks him to head a secret government project, it seems like the perfect excuse to run away from his life.

    But running from his past has Mac colliding straight into Archer. And that’s a problem. For this project to be successful, Mac and Archer have to agree on every decision, and the two see eye-to-eye on nothing. Except, maybe the sex. The sex is off the charts.

    When Mac’s old life comes back to haunt him, Archer insists on putting their differences aside to help keep him safe. But Mac, like Archer, is used to solving things on his own. Can they finally stop fighting each other to find the truth, or is their relationship the next thing on the endangered species list?

    Lunatic is a filthy hot, enemies to lovers, psychopath romance with an HEA and no cliffhangers. It features a sexy, roguish degenerate and a hunky bleeding heart ginger who love how much they hate each other. As always, there’s gratuitous violence, very dark humor, more blood than a slaughterhouse, and enough heat to melt your metaphorical undies. This is book six in the Necessary Evils series. Each book follows a different couple.

    The Mulvaney family continues to grow as another brother falls. At this point, it is a circus, with four brothers married, one engaged, two baby girls, a baby mama, a genius hacker, an ex-brother, and the formidable patriarch with BIG secrets. It is a testament to Onley James‘s talent that with all these larger than life personalities, she made Archer, who barely say more than two sentences and in a drunken stupor most of the series, a very intriguing character I’m most eager to read about.

    Lunatic sheds light on the enigma that is Archer Mulvaney. He is a man who lives triple identities. Archer is publicly known as a professional poker player and raging alcoholic. Unknown to his brothers, Thomas entrusted him with a super secret government project. Privately, he was something else entirely, a delightfully complicated and hella endearing creature, Mackenzie Shephard, was lucky to discover.

    He and Archer co-head the project, and it didn’t take long for their clandestine hook-ups to turn into baring of souls and word-vomiting of feels. Mostly on Archer’s part because Mac was already 101% all in for this Mulvaney brother from their very first hook-up and is patiently waiting for the skittish Archer to stop running away.

    The first parts of Archer and Mac’s romance were the best and most delicious chaotic disaster of Mulvaney proportions and totally perfect for the infamous drunken reprobate gambler. I was wishing for a very particular event to happen given their current location and squee-ed so hard when it did! Mac has perma-heart eyes for Archer because heart eyes are how one should look at this oddly vulnerable psychopath.

    Unguarded Archer was lethal, his words landing with maximum force on Mac’s heart.

    Mac’s a fantastic addition to the family, a calm, grounding presence for Archer’s wilder energy. The guy’s no stranger to crazies since his brother is a sociopath who stars in another series. Publicly, he’s ex-military and an award-winning wildlife photographer who one day stumbled upon three armed men at the Texas border. Later, the couple learned there was a hit on him, and Archer, desperate to save his person, asked his family for help.

    The plot follows the usual Necessary Evils pattern, meeting in the war room, hazing the newcomer, digging up evidence, Calliope doing her magic, vetting the kill, extracting the bad guy, and then the fun part. The author did a great job keeping things exciting. There’s Noah’s reaction to Archer’s big reveal which added extra family drama. Also, major teasers on the spin-off, The Watch, that had me super hyped for the series. 

    However, I wished the latter parts gave more focus on the main couple. At this point, the romance lacked the intensity of the other books. And I’m not a fan of “Katniss” as Mac’s nickname for Archer. Also, the story juggles a huge cast, plus cameos and new characters, so it’s tricky giving everyone page time. Sadly, it took some away from Archer and Mac.

    I deliberately kept details to a minimum because Lunatic is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible about Archer beforehand. It’s a story of secrets and revelations, and I was completely riveted watching things unfold. The most enigmatic Mulvaney brother has a quite a tale to tell. Not exactly a bullseye, but you can bet it hits right in the kokoro.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Arrows
    Artist: Trevor Hall
    Album: The Fruitful Darkness


    Necessary Evils is best read in order because there’s a joyful kind of madness in how each psychopathic brother finds the person who matches their crazy. Don’t we wish we can find one too? And aren’t we are all dying for that last book?!!!

    Check out my reviews of the previous books:
    Mad Man

    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Necessary Evils. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    Necessary Evils

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    REVIEW: Blood Boss by Davidson King

    Black Veil: Blood Boss – Davidson King

    Vampires, mermaids, and witches…oh, my! Black Veil is full of them all, but at the end of the day, it’s The Blood Boss who has the last word. Ever since The Final War, Vampires rule Black Veil, and with The Blood Boss in charge, peace reigns.

    Keeping the vampires under control is a task Cain takes seriously. Humans have accepted his rule, and anyone who seeks to destroy his territory is given swift punishment. His promise to keep Black Veil safe comes with great sacrifice and selflessness; never does he dare hope for more in life. Until one day, a man walks through his front door and changes everything.

    Jayce has a happy life. His adopted parents love him, he wants for very little, and he lives every day to the fullest. But when a normal evening turns into a nightmare, and Jayce is forced to come face-to-face with The Blood Boss, the world as he knows it feels like a lie.

    Then a great secret is revealed, and nothing is what it seems. Cain and Jayce must work together to stop the forces uniting against the vampires. Life and love are in jeopardy as they fight those who seek to destroy them. Can Cain and Jayce keep Black Veil from crumbling into the sea when every attempt to do so seems impossible?

    Black Veil is an exciting new paranormal series from Davidson King. We best know the author for her contemporary romantic suspense, Haven Hart, and, its spin-off, Joker’s Sin.

    The setting is reminiscent of Haven Hart, taking place in a city ruled by the mysterious Blood Boss. It’s a time after humans nearly destroyed themselves and supernatural creatures stepped in to save Earth. When things settled, vampires were on top of the food chain.

    The vampire lore has little interesting twists that I liked, such as the blood magic and the custom of treating the humans they fed from with reverence instead of livestock. Apart from vampires, there are dragons, creatures of the sea, witches, and perhaps, shifters and whatnot in the future books.

    Jayce is an adopted son of a kind-hearted couple who loved him as their own. He was forced to work off their debt from the Blood Boss after his dad failed to pay. I didn’t warm up to Jayce. He has a temper that tends to flair in inappropriate times. It was supposed to make him feisty, but IMO, but he lacked the charm to pull it off.

    The Blood Boss is Cain, the first vampire. I liked him better. He’s a strict leader, but he’s fair and just. I suspect he’s the biblical Cain since it was mentioned several times that he was accused of killing his brothers.

    Sadly, the romance didn’t work for me. The progression of their relationship wasn’t convincing. And I didn’t feel the chemistry.

    The rest of the book was much more entertaining. It’s a story of a young man who discovered his voice is more powerful than he realized and that his real parents sacrificed so much so that he lives. There were so many things to unpack here, and I was super hyped when secrets were revealed. This was more than just vampire romance! This was cosmic!

    However, sometimes it felt like things were crammed and shortened to fit the required page count. The plot could have benefited from a longer book. The narrative suffered from too much tell versus show.

    But even with these issues, I was fascinated with all the goings-on. Also, this is just the opener, so we can expect some of the juicier threads explored further.

    Blood Boss is the beginnings of an epic urban fantasy series. It’s a story about secrets, sacrifice, power, loyalty, and families lost and found. It might not be perfectly composed but it still hit the right notes to make me look forward to the next piece.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Blood Sings
    Artist: Suzanne Vega
    Album: 99.9F

    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Blood Boss. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    Blood Boss: US | UK

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    If you like my content, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi or PayPal. Your donations will help keep this website going. Thank you so much!