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    REVIEW: Taking His Confession by P.J. Friel & Saffron Hart

    Cloth & Stone: Taking His Confession – P.J. Friel & Saffron Hart

    Sparks fly when a man of the cloth teams up with a cursed creature of stone to save a troubled teen from a ruthless drug lord. 

    Gideon Fawkes longs to meet the handsome young deacon who teaches at St. Anthony’s Boys Academy. There’s just one problem. Gideon is a gargoyle, and he’s pretty sure Deacon Cruz only dates humans.

    Cordero Cruz knows a lot about forgiveness. It’s the cornerstone of his calling. Too bad he can never offer it to himself. Because of him, people died, and there’s no redemption for that kind of mistake.

    But a lack of humanity and a heart filled with guilt are nothing compared to a young man’s life. When a merciless criminal threatens Cordero and one of his students, Gideon will have to risk more than his stony hide to protect them. Cordero must do the unthinkable to prove he’s deserving of the gargoyle turned guardian angel. But when their road to hell is paved with good intentions, they must learn only trust and redemption can pave the way for love.

    Among the various supernatural boyfriends found in paranormal romance, gargoyles are a rarity. The Cloth & Stone series immediately grabbed my attention because of its gargoyle MC.

    Taking His Confession opens the series from the 1st person POV of Deacon Cordero Cruz. He just saw the little brother of his late best friend talking to the city’s most notorious mob boss. Alarmed, he tried to get answers from the young man and learned he owed the mobsters a huge sum of money for a failed drug run. Money they couldn’t afford, barely having any to support his mom and siblings.

    Unknown to the people in St. Anthony’s, a watcher sat perched on its rooftops. Gideon Fawkes was cursed to be a gargoyle for almost a century. He has a special interest in the young deacon. Special enough for him to break cover when mobsters were out to get the Cordero.

    I have had this on my TBR since last year. I was hesitant to start on this because I usually steer clear of religion-themed books. Cordero’s internal dialogues are examples of why I do.

    Most of it boils down to “I am not worthy. I don’t deserve to be happy.” I wasn’t too keen on the self-flagellation, but happily, the authors managed to avoid crossing over to miserable. They were still able to let Cordero’s brighter personality shine through.

    And Cordero might angst over his so-called unworthiness, but there was no angsting over his sexuality. I loved that he was totally comfortable with it and had no hesitations about sleeping with Gideon.

    The deacon is the kind of man who bears all the world’s troubles on his shoulders. A selfless individual who prays for everyone else’s well-being except for himself. It’s why he stood out among the sea of prayers that the gargoyle hears everyday.

    Gideon used to be a rum runner back in the 1920s. He turned into a gargoyle one day after committing a crime. I found some of his thoughts on a divine being echoing some of my own. I wondered why he still believed. But then, turning into a stone at sunrise and back into a man by sunset is divine punishment if ever there was one.

    The plot interweaves the romantic development of Cordero and Gideon’s relationship with that of them teaming up to to protect Cordero’s students from the mobsters. Cordero and Gideon are compelling characters who very effectively drove the story forward, sweeping me along effortlessly with their woes and insecurities, joys and triumphs, and the occasional streak of humor. Usually from Gideon. I love this gargoyle! His POV is more fun than Cordero’s.

    The romance was sweet. I would even say it was kinda cute. It was a tender and fragile relationship filled with fears, misunderstanding, and also, love. Alas, it imploded after Gideon’s ridiculous decision to storm the mob boss’s mansion by himself without careful reconnaissance.

    Cordero was a complete mess for a while there, plus an even more ridiculous decision by Gideon to push the love of his life away. Fortunately, the two came to their senses and started working together for real. The story moved faster at this point, more action-packed and suspenseful with lotsa things going bang!

    Even with the negative thoughts and the bad decisions, Taking His Confession is a well-written book that kept me riveted. It ends with a cliffy HFN, so it’s best read when you have all three books on hand. This dramatic tale of the deacon and his gargoyle boyfriend is dark and full of heartache, but it’s also sweet, even hopeful, and most definitely gripping.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Holy Trouble
    Artist: Christian Cohle
    Album: Holy Trouble

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    LAST YEAR I WAS READING…(June 1, 2022)

    Here are the rules:

    Take your current read and compare it to what you reading this exact time last year. Which one do you like better? What is different about the books? Any special facts/things you want to make note of or bring attention to?

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    FIRST LINES FRIDAY 56: A Living Darkness

    First Line Fridays” is by Hoarding Books and is all about the first line of a current/upcoming read. Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you turn to page 56 (or 56%) in what you’re reading a find a snippet that jumps out at you. The idea to combine the two came from Kat @ Here There Be Dragons

    I found this meme on The Writerly Way. And I’m doing this on a Thursday just to be difficult.