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Review: The Southern Magicks – Ashton K. Rose

The Southern Magicks - Ashton K. Rose

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Trans Man, Bisexual, Achillean Bisexual, Pansexual, Non-Binary, Lesbian, Homoromantic Asexual, Poly, Gay, Aromantic Asexual

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

A month ago, a demon tore the thin veneer of a normal life I’d crafted apart when it almost killed me. Revealing my husband, Eli, as the prodigal son of a powerful magic family.

When I grew up, I walked away from magic. Left my remote hometown and pretended the ghosts Gran taught me to see weren’t there while I went to university to become a librarian.

Our one secret tightly held to my heart.

Never let them know!

Two years later, with no other financial option, I moved back to my small hometown.

It was easy to pretend the fuzzy gaps in my memory weren’t there as I got a job under the strict woman who almost killed my childhood love of books.

I thought everything was perfect when I married my dream guy.

Then the attack happened.

The “good” folks at the local magical law enforcement agency knew about me the whole time. They’ve pressured me to work for them as an exorcist because they’re convinced I was a vigilante who committed multiple murders. My odd, intriguing mentor Cory watches for any misstep as I avoid the seduction attempt he’s been asked to perform.

Now they’ve accused my estranged older brother of taking over my “crimes.” I know I was framed, despite the gaps in my memory.

The worst part?

The only people who seem to believe me are my friend June and my journalist cousin Kat.

Eli, filled with spite for the local magical rulers, seems to know something I DON’T and thinks I should play them at their own game and seduce my mentor, so we can interrogate him together…

The Southern Magicks is a small-town paranormal urban fantasy/mystery series with a M/M/NB menage romantic subplot. For fans of “The Dresden Files,” “Rivers of London,” “Southern Vampire Mysteries,” “Alex Verus,” and “The Laundry Files” who enjoy LGBTQ+ characters and stories.

The Review

Dexter is a librarian who works at the Dunn Public Library, and his boss is Mrs Gregory. His marriage to Eli Lacy seemed to be arranged at the time. Dexter’s a nice guy, a little naive on occasion, but he has a secret. Since the age of seven, he’s had the ability to see ghosts, just like his Gran. But something new has just developed with his ability = ghosts can now see and touch him. He really needs to talk with Gran about it, but she’s in America with Aunt Myrtle.

His first experience was bad enough with Mrs Rowe, and now at the library witnesses two men breaking into the basement. He comes face to face with Dark Matter and Nox, who are looking for valuable books of spells. Before they depart, Dark Matter pulls a safe out of the wall.

Departing the basement in a rush, Dexter runs into June, his co-worker. She has accused Mrs Chastain of stealing hardcover Victorian Era Encyclopedias. How could this happen?

When Dexter removes a precious book from the shelf he finds the alarms are no longer working, and when he looks up the alarm company’s number, he finds the alarm company is owned by Mr Chastain.

As if all things weren’t bad enough, a call comes in from Mayor Chesterfield, and Dexter thinks that he will be fired by his boss. His life descends into a tangle of lies, betrayals and a secret no one will tell him.

Dexter’s Grandfather and Gran, no longer together, have different views of magick. The Agency, Nate’s Island, and some detectives are all after him for a crime he didn’t commit. And even his husband Eli is suspicious of him.

From Grandparents to siblings to supposed friends, no one seems to be willing to tell Dexter the truth that he seeks. All he knows for sure is what everyone believes – that magick is a death sentence for those not good enough to master it.

“The Southern Magicks” is Ashton K. Rose’s debut novel. I like that they took an interesting subject – magick – – and wove it into a suspenseful mystery, full of secrets and danger.

But there’s a lot here, and it was a bit overwhelming for me at times. This story could easily have been expanded to two books, giving the author more room to introduce the wide variety of characters, families and disagreements of organizations.

The story has great energy, but it also feels a bit rushed at time.

I would lobe to see all of the characters fleshed out more. I really liked Dexter, but I did not warm to his husband, Eli Lacy. He doesn’t seem to really love Dexter and never seemed very supportive of him. Their mutual friend Cory Covin, on the other hand, was a very well defined character and I actually liked him more than Eli.

This is also a tale of a chaotic mix of family feuds: the Arkwrights, the Lacys, the Thorntons, and various siblings, relatives and spouses, all caught up in their differences of the use of Magick. The Agency, Nate Island, and Templars are also in the mix, and the story delves into topics of prejudice, homophobia, hatred, bigotry and greed.

I liked the whole idea of The Southern Magicks – this budding author, Ashton K. Rose, has high potential. I can’t wait to see what they continue to create with the sequel, Mistakes & Bellyaches.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 

 

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