GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: Blackmoore (The Blackmoore Legacy Volume 1) by Marcus James + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Paranormal reviews of books, movies, comics with author interviews and giveaways we love urban fantasy, romance, science fiction, horror, fantasy, mysteries

Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: Blackmoore (The Blackmoore Legacy Volume 1) by Marcus James + giveaway

Blackmoore (The Blackmoore Legacy Volume 1)
by Marcus James
Genre: Gothic horror/paranormal romance/
M/M romance/supernatural
Publisher: Candiano Books
ISBN: 1547266651
Number of pages: 416
Word Count: 127,046
Cover Artist: Ransom Graphics
The Devil shall come for his witches...

Welcome to South Hill, a neighborhood of wealth, secrets, gracious Victorians, and austere manor homes overlooking the port of Fairhaven and the dark waters of Bellingham Bay. Seventeen-year-old Trevor Blackmoore has lived here his entire life, shunned and feared, along with the rest of his clan, by the elitist and superstitious families that surround them and who regard the Blackmoores as the devil's concubines.

As a young clairvoyant dealing not only with the dark secrets of his family but also with his homosexuality-two things which have made him an outsider-he struggles to find normalcy. Trevor's life is made extremely difficult by his tormentors and former childhood friends Cheri Hannifin, Greg Sheer, and Christian Vasquez; the school gods of the prestigious Mariner High School. His only saving grace is Braxton Volaverunt, a captivating young man with secrets of his own.

A diabolical plan sets in motion a chain of events that will fulfill the doomed prophecy of the Blackmoore family. A centuries-olde comes to an end, releasing an ancient and bloodthirsty evil, set on wiping out the family, and Trevor learns that he is at the center of it. Realizing that he is all that stands between this darkness and his family's survival.

"2017 E-Festival of Words award winner for Best Literary Fiction"

Reviewing Blackmoore presented me with quite a conundrum. I could hardly put the book down, staying up until 3 a.m. to finish it for reasons I'll talk about. But there were some strange story-telling consistency issues.

Let's talk about why I couldn't put it down, first. I was immediately pulled into the mysterious and dangerous world of Trevor Blackmoore. The reader, as well as Trevor, had no clue that a serious evil was lurking in their midst, but the author did a masterful job of conveying a gothic tone in the writing. The reader and Trevor know there is something supernatural about his family but not the details. It is when Trevor's, once best-friends, decide to play a trick on him, their own version of Les liaisons dangereuses, that the curse on the Blackmoore family starts to unravel.

This story has a strong coming-of-age theme. The reader experiences how Trevor and those close to him are molded by friendship, loyalty, betrayal, fear, and love. There is a love triangle that realistically portrays those raw teen-age emotions of a first love but it gets resolved fairly quickly. A deadly centuries-old family curse and prophecy sweep Trevor and anyone associated with him into a fight for life and love. I was completely invested what was going to happen to Trevor and the hows and whys of the curse. The author took me by surprise with how the romance played out and even had me shook!

I did have some issues with the story. The writing was clean and set the tone well. But I felt like I was dropped into different versions of the same story. Blackmoore is a YA, but there was a flip-flop between writing geared towards an older YA reader and a younger one.

The author uses heavy Regency novel style descriptions for some settings such as the wealthy Victorian homes, but only for those parts. They didn't fit the description style throughout the rest of the story. I found myself skimming those descriptions because it didn't add to the part of the story I was interested in.

There are two stories going on. Trevor's romance and all the feels it ripped from me and why I couldn't put it down. And the more action-oriented one of solving the mystery of the curse and battling the big evil to free his family from it. But the two stories aren't blended so they both resolve about the same time. The first half of the book is 80% focused on Trevor's romance. There is a big climax and then a resolution that trickles into the second half of the story which is 80% focused on the action and mystery and its own climax and resolution. There is nothing wrong with doing it this way, it just felt like two books were combined after they were written. Also, the second half of the book had too much story was stuffed into it. There is a lot of information and things going on.

I had trouble keeping straight all the Blackmoore family names. A lot of character names are brought up since the Blackmoores have been cursed for multi-generations. I got confused about how everyone was related and if they were past or present people. I could have used a printed family tree.

So my problem with reviewing is, do I put more weight on the emotional impact the story had on me or the storytelling inconsistencies that acted more like a buzzing fly I had to bat away while I read?

Story and emotional impact 4.5 Sheep

Technical aspects 3.25 Sheep


The last rays of light pierced through those familiar parted drapes, rich and green, the light like a beam, piercing the air of a particularly dim room, particles of dust visible in the bright intrusion, causing Trevor’s eyes to squint closed, the corners of the lids creased, lines running together. He hated reflecting on the school day, hated having to reflect on the people there—the same people that had played in his backyard all throughout childhood, those same people who now looked down on him and considered him to be nothing more than an infringement on their privileged world.

He closed his eyes, ignoring the gentle brush of vibrating air, hot and somewhat moist, caressing his forehead. It was simply Jonathan, his childhood friend, the only one who continued to stay by his side, the only one to truly know Trevor inside and out. Like all things in one’s secret world, everything breathes the air of your own life.

He drifted back into dreams: dreams made of memories, dreams of a time when Trevor belonged, dreams made strictly for childhood.

“...Three, two, one, ready or not, here I come!” Little Trevor Blackmoore opened his tiny lids, his delicate lashes fluttering like moths’ wings, adjusting to the bright summer light, standing in his back courtyard, the red flagstone reaching from one end to the other, leaving no room for grass. On the flagstone were two black wrought-iron benches and three sets of black wrought-iron tables, with four chairs each, decorated with tiny white candles inside little glass candle-holders, the Fourth of July party preparing to start.

Kathryn was inside of the house, most likely in the sun room chatting with friends, all of them with drinks in hand, laughing and speaking of adult things while their children played hide-and-seek in the back. Four maple trees reached out strategically in the back, no more than twenty feet in height, and strung about with Chinese lanterns; no doubt someone was hiding behind the trees.

Trevor was determined to catch one person in particular: Christian Vasquez, who always made it to home base, which was the carriage house along the road, now his mother’s secret place, a place that was secured with three padlocks, a place that Trevor had only seen once and could only vaguely remember.

It was a place that had smelled wonderfully and sat illuminated with firelight, a place of plaster eyes, and a place that filled him with fear and peace all at the same time. A strange combination that was often confusing, even now, even though he at this point was intimately aware of the mirrored world, the place of trance-words and things named Jonathan—the most familiar place in all the world.

‘I know where they are...’ he said to Trevor in the secret language of the mind, in the voice that only Trevor could hear, touching him with the flesh that only he could feel.

“Where’s Christian?” Trevor was scanning the courtyard, trying not to look conspicuous, wanting to be as nonchalant as possible, well aware of the danger of people knowing too much of him. He felt that vibratory hand graze his shoulder and grasp his arm, directing it to the appointed area just behind the drapery of Virginia creeper along the thin wood fence, slowly rotting away with erosion and the growing weight of the plant.

‘There....’ Trevor nodded casually and made his way between the trees, running lightly along the flagstone, his little tennis shoes tapping on the brick, seeing the others pop out of hiding. Cheri Hannifin brushed past him in her blue jumper and brown pigtails, giggling inanely to herself. Little Greg Sheer was not far behind, wearing a pair of jean shorts and a black t-shirt with the Batman emblem on the chest, his golden hair bright like the sun, and his blue eyes were not unlike his mother’s: steely and cool.

But he could care less about either one of them. Trevor only wanted Christian, and with his specter’s help he was going to get him.

The air smelled of the sea and barbequed meat from the back kitchen, as well as from the fire pits in the surrounding yards. The collective clouds of smoke and the fragrance of charred flesh filled the warm summer air and carried itself on the cool breeze. Trevor crept behind the carriage house.

“I found you, I found you!” he called repeatedly, his little index finger pointing at the little Hispanic boy crouched behind the green and rope-like plant. A little smirk spread across his face, followed by a wink, and then he was off, both boys laughing as Christian made his way to home base, confident in his success and spotless hide-and-seek record.

Trevor watched as the vibratory form of Jonathan moved in front of the little boy and stood his spectral ground, pulling energy from Trevor as well as the earth, making himself as firm as possible, causing Christian to run right into his phantom gut, bringing the little boy to a halt and not allowing him to move.

For a brief moment Trevor just stared, fearing that Jonathan would become visible to the others. Normally he looked like nothing more than the heat that vibrates from metal, looking wavy and somewhat like gas, but in this new solidity Trevor feared discovery. He realized rather quickly that no one could see him, so Trevor ran.

“You’re it!” Trevor declared, placing his hand on Christian’s shoulder, causing the boy to look at him in brief disappointment, but like all things with children, this disappointment was passing. The four children continued to play, as other kids began to arrive.

Trevor’s cousins and fellow classmates from Lowell Elementary arrived, ready to join the existing game or form a new one altogether.

Trevor was wary of Jonathan’s presence, knowing that he wasn’t the only one who knew about spirits. In fact, it was a well-known thing in his family, and his cousins had their own strange secrets much like Trevor, but completely individual in their form.

The soft whisper of his name forced Trevor back into the present.

The light of day was fading fast, and his room was becoming darker by the minute, and Jonathan was growing desperate, commanding attention. The curtains were pushed open by male hands, visible in the dark; in fact, all of Jonathan was visible in the dark.

Standing at a steady six feet and three inches, dressed in a tweed suit made of shadow, a strong face with prominent cheekbones stared out on the front lawn. Translucent white skin, like well-polished marble, big oval black eyes deep and endless, absorbing all of the light, his dark hair well-groomed, styled much like Trevor’s and making this specter, this familiar, look incredibly beautiful, sharing secret desires with Trevor Blackmoore, desires named sinful by any God-fearing human being. Thankfully Trevor had no fear of God; in fact, God was a foreign concept to Trevor.

‘You need to be dressed for dinner....’ His voice always seemed like a whisper, trailing off, and never with question. That was one of the things Trevor adored about Jonathan.

“I know.” Jonathan nodded and went to Trevor’s closet, pulling it open and removing a crisp white shirt and fine black slacks draped over a wood hanger, laying it before Trevor on his bed. The spirit went to his chest of drawers and pulled out a pair of white briefs and his black dress socks, laying them out atop the shirt and slacks.

Trevor stood and lifted his shirt from off his head, his nipples becoming erect at the moment of Jonathan’s touch, those spectral hands moving along his body, those ghost-lips upon his flesh, slowly moving down his chest, trailing along defined abs and pulling open his jeans. Trevor’s eyes rolled into the back of his head as his exposed body found its way back onto the mattress, indulging in the familiar routine.

About the Author:
“Some writers have great ideas, but fail with the delivery. That is not the case for our author. He has clearly developed his craft and whittled it to perfection”-Wesley Thomas, bestselling author of Nightmare Fuel

Marcus James is the author of five novels, including The Blackmoore Legacy series. He has contributed to a dozen anthologies from Alyson Books, has been a featured writer for the Seattle Gay News, is the host of Brews and Books at Ravenna Brewing Co. and is host of Queerly Spoken. When not writing he’s cooking, drinking champagne like water, and watching horror films with his husband and their Staffordshire terrier, Nikita. He is 32 years old and lives in Seattle.

1 The Blackmoore Legacy set (includes signed copies of Blackmoore, Symphony for the Devil, and the prequel; Rise of the Nephilim).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment