We’ve Moved!

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 10:49 am

The Brazen Broads Book Bash has moved to a new home.  While we loved our home here on WordPress, our new home at Blogger has some extra features we really like.  We hope you’ll come visit us there as we begin a new chapter in our book review blog (you didn’t think we could leave without a bad pun, did you?).

Brazen Broads Book Bash new home:  http://brazenbroadsbookbash.blogspot.com/

Alexandria and Moira
Brazen Broads Book Bash

Roman Games-Bruce MacBain

In Book Reviews, historical fiction, mystery on November 22, 2010 at 12:18 am

Detective Thriller In The Reign Of Domitian

One of the emperor’s main snitches is dead–murdered–and Domitian wants to know who to kill for the crime.  While he may choose many men of the Senate who had served with Verpa to investigate the crime, he chooses Pliny The Younger to conduct the investigation, despite the fact that he’s not a trained crime investigator but a vice prefect.  Pliny is a man who has spent his adult life dealing with the law, but he’s more of a probate lawyer than any policeman.  But he’s got a lot of people to suspect: Verpa was disliked by many, including his concubine, fellow senators, his slaves, and even his son, who like all Roman males from good families stood to inherit a fortune when his father died.

Roman Games, by Bruce MacBain, is an interesting story about life in Roman times.  His descriptions make the reader feel like they can imagine being in Rome during the rule of Domitian.  In addition, the story is full of well-written characters.  Pliny transforms from a bookish man of the law to a man bent on finding the murderer and exposing the reasons for the crime.  What he finds in his investigation is not only the motives for Verpa’s murder but a conspiracy that stretches all the way to Domitian himself and involves senators, those closest to the emperor, and even the Vestal Virgins. Rome will forever change because of it.

MacBain weaves a tale that stretches from the lowly slaves who tend to every Roman need through the Senate to the seat of power in the Roman empire itself.  A murder mystery/detective thriller at its heart, Roman Games has the added layer of life in Rome, which makes it unique and quite interesting.

Roman Games was provided for review by the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, through NetGalley.

The Gargoyle-Andrew Davidson

In fiction on November 15, 2010 at 12:10 am

A Haunting Story

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson is a touching love story of a man horribly burned in a car accident and a woman who comes to him in the hospital claiming they were lovers in medieval Germany when she nursed him back to health the first time he was burned.  Full of flashbacks and painful descriptions of a life considered lost but then found anew, Davidson’s story is one that stays with you long after you finish it. 

The narrator, a nameless man who is the center of the story, is a lost soul before the accident.  Born to a mother who died in childbirth and an absentee father, he bounces from relative to relative, through meth users and extended family members who don’t want him around.  By the time he enters adulthood, he’s good at two things:  sex and doing drugs.  He has to choose one to make a living at, so he becomes a porn star.  By the time of the accident, the narrator is in his early thirties and a coked up mess.

The accident changes his life, and for many months after he comes out of the coma from his massive third-degree burns, he thinks of little else but ending it all.  The life he’d been forced to leave behind, one of health and excess, is gone to him forever.  He has nothing to live for.  But a woman named Marianne Engel visits him one day and begins to tell him the stories that will make him fall in love with her.  A sculptor, Marianne tells him that she has lived since the middle ages and knew him then, the first time she nursed him back to health from burns.  Marianne’s constant caring of him continues when he is released from the hospital and into her care.  It’s then that he realizes that she is mentally unstable, but he doesn’t care.  Her stories of their love in ages past give him what he’s never had before:  a real relationship and the only real love he’s ever experienced in his life.

The Gargoyle is at times a painful story to read.  The descriptions of the care that burn victims must endure are difficult to get through, and they are plentiful in this story.  The details of what his body experienced in the crash and afterward during his recovery are at times simply too much.  But the reader is rewarded with a love story that is tender and memorable, and even heartbreaking at times.

This story may not be for everybody, but I can promise you that if you read The Gargoyle, it will touch you and stay with you.