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    REVIEW: Peacemaker by Morgan Brice

    Sharps and Springfield: Peacemaker – Morgan Brice

    Secret agents, forbidden love, danger, and magic!

    Supernatural Secret Service agents Owen Sharps and Calvin Springfield meet on the train to their new assignment in St. Louis, and sparks fly between them. But it’s 1897, and they need to be very careful—falling in love can be dangerous for men like them.

    It’s their first case together, investigating mysterious disappearances—including the two agents who preceded them. Grim evidence leads them to look for a darker purpose. Old ghosts haunt the railroad line, zombie rise, signs point to ritual sacrifice, and they suspect someone is trying to open the gates of hell.

    Can Calvin and Owen stop the mayhem, thwart the vampires, and find true love, or will everything go up in smoke?

    Peacemaker is a high-stakes steampunk MM romance thrill ride filled with found family, paranormal Pinkertons, intrepid reporters, mysterious disappearances, nefarious land brokers, hellhounds, zombies, vengeful spirits, dark spells, absinthe magic, a ruthless vampire railroad baron and a love that won’t be denied.

    Before Colt and Winchester, there was Sharps & Springfield!

    Peacemaker is the first book in the new Sharps & Springfield series

    Finally, gay Pinkertons!

    I learned about Pinkertons from Whyborne & Griffin, the latter being a former Pinkerton detective. I haven’t encountered many MM stories about these detectives, so I was super excited for Morgan Brice‘s latest steampunk series, Sharps and Springfield.

    Peacemaker is Book 1, and while there are no cosmic apocalyptic threats here, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. The story opens with SSS Agent Owen Sharps’s anonymous meeting with his soon-to-be partner, Agent Calvin Springfield. The two somewhat hit it off, parted ways, met again, and were surprised to learn about each other’s identities.

    The new partners were tasked to take over a case from two missing agents. It involved a massive railroad construction by sketchy billionaires headed by an even sketchier vampire. Later, there were encounters with hellhounds, zombies, witches and gates of hell.

    As a means to lay the groundwork for future books, this opener built a fascinating world of magical secret agents, supernatural allies, badass non-magical humans, and enigmatic villains. As for the steampunk, it was sadly missing.

    A highlight was the Pullman, a historical equivalent of the trailers rockstars use on tour. This one, though, was incredulous. The way it was described, it has three bedrooms with full-sized beds for people over six feet. There’s a kitchen, a shower, and an honest-to-goodness fully stocked library, armament room, AND research laboratory.

    The exact size wasn’t mention, but the damned thing sounds like it’s bigger than my house. And it’s pulled by horses. HOW?!

    I’m on the fence with the storytelling. On one hand, it was consistently engaging, and I had fun. On the other, the investigation involved many interviews with contacts and witnesses. This is realistic, but then most of the key events were told rather than shown.

    Owen and Calvin danced around each other, trying to suss out each other’s gay vibes, but held back from openly pursuing their mutual interest. They practically just met, and with some homophobic folks publicly stirring trouble, they can never be too careful.

    Majority of the time, they spent it apart, individually pursuing certain leads. So it was a stretch when the two suddenly declared they were in love. I would have preferred that they took at least the second book to actually get to know each other before throwing around ILYs.

    Owen is a medium. It amuses me that he’s fan of Dracula the book. He has a Southern drawl and the charm, too. Calvin is a psychometric. He’s a bit more serious, but he loves comics. He used to run with a gang before being a Pinkerton.

    I like Owen, Calvin, AND Winston, the witch butler and the most important character, because the boys are lost without him. I would also love more appearances by the rest of the cast. There’s a wonderful found family forming here, and I’m all for it.

    Overall, Peacemaker has a great premise, the writing worked well for me, the characters are intriguing, and I loved this paranormal world the author created. I’m still wondering where this series fit in her multi-series universe.

    It might be a mix bag, but if there’s one thing I love about Morgan Brice, it’s that her series gets better and better with each new installment. Witchbane is an excellent example. I can’t wait when Sharps and Springfield finally hit its stride. 

    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: Peacemaker
    Artist: Animal Collective
    Album: The Painters

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  • book,  Uncategorized

    Timekeeper – Tara Sim

    I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

    An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

    A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

    A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

    A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

    A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

    Victoria Schwab describes the novel as “at once familiar and utterly original”. An alternate Victorian world ruled by clock towers does sound original but the automaton and principles used were familiarly steampunk. 

    In this world, time seems to be a very changeable thing which leads me to some questions. What is time in relation to the moon, the sun and other celestial bodies? If time can run fast them slow, does that mean the people in a town age faster and die faster or a town where people die sooner than another town? In a world where time is very erratic, what is their reference point? These things were not explained and I think the world-building needs to flesh out some of the finer details. 

    Danny is a skilled mechanic but he’s also the type who do not think things through and did some things that came biting him in the ass. There were moments when I thought he was unlikable but he pulled through at the end. Danny and Colton are a cute couple although I am only halfway convince that their relationship would work because a. Colton’s a clock spirit, he doesn’t age but he also very fragile, b. Colton’s emotions affect time so when things got hot and steamy between him and Danny, time ran really, really fast so I don’t think Colton should  be exposed to extreme emotions. However, there’s enough fluff to satisfy my fluff quota so I could deal.

    You’re everything. You’re… You’re chaos and order and everything between. Like sunshine kept back by clouds. Like the entire world’s imploded inside you, but all I see are the stars are sewn into your skin. You’re filled with soft, dark music. I hear it all the time. Your music. 

    This book was on my to-be-read list for a long time. Sadly, I was not as into it as I hope I would be. There were some predictable elements but I really liked the clock spirits idea. There is so much potential here that I hope the author might expand the concept and make the logic of the fantasy element a little more rigorous. I hope she adds more details to the world and make things a little more steampunk other than just mere mentions of automaton. I also don’t understand what the protesters were for and why exactly they are protesting the towers. I hope book two might make this plot point clearer.

    Timekeeper is an example of a book with an interesting premise but failed to deliver all the goods. The parts where it delivered were enough to convince me to pick up the second book though so I’m not giving up on Danny and Colton yet.


    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: Precious Time
    Artist: The Maccabees
    Album: Colour It In

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25760792-timekeeper)