Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Memories and Marco by Hollis Shiloh

Title: Memories and Marco
Author: Hollis Shiloh
Purchase or read on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon 
Cover Artist: Wicked Knight Designs
Genre: fantasy
Length: 42K words, long novella
Formats Mobi

Jace is a washed-up ex-boxer living with daily pain and bad judgment in boyfriends. Then his best friend Jeff reintroduces him to the gentle healing magician he used to work with.

Marco is everything Jace could want—and everything he can't trust himself not to break. Nobody has ever loved Jace, not properly. And Marco is so warm and caring and tenderhearted, he could have anyone. How could they possibly be together—even if Marco did have a crush on Jace all those years ago?

But not everything is as it seems, and there is darker magic at work than anyone has guessed so far. Trusting Marco is no longer the hardest thing in Jace's life…but rather, keeping him safe. No matter what it takes.

Heat level: low-medium

This story stands alone, but takes place in the same world as Jude's Magic, Magic for Lee, and Through the Window.

This was another Bookbub find, so it’s been out for a bit, and since it’s in Kindle Unlimited, non-Amazon buyers don’t have access. Might as well tell you now, huh?

I’m on the fence about this story. I liked the premise, the ex-boxer and the magician, but the execution was off for me in several ways. Part of it was the characterization of Marco, a nice guy who’s been carrying a torch for the boxer since his days in the ring, but whose life has gone in other directions. As Jace encounters him, he’s a timid little rabbit of a guy, prone to bursting into tears and so anxious to please he becomes a doormat. There’s a reason for this, but it raises the questions of “what do you see in this guy?”

Jace, the POV character, alternated between annoying and admirable. He’s been living in pain from old boxing injuries, and he’s grown in character since then. He’s hesitant about getting involved with Marco and when he does, it’s with so much ambivalence that I really wanted to smack him.

The world and the conflicts the guys have twine together. This is a world of subtle magics and apparently no real restraints other than not getting caught. Placing curses is illegal, and the curse remover is a wealthy man. Basic precautions don’t exist.

This is a sweet story with next to no onstage sex, which is fine. Marco does talk about doing plenty of raw stuff with other people. I found this unsympathetic.

I have very mixed feelings about this story, I enjoyed some aspects, such as Jace’s decisive actions in resolving the major problem, something that wouldn’t have worked out the same with any other man, but I found other aspects annoying, such as Marco not really doing much beyond begging and sniveling. The plot was set up with a reason for this but the way it played out didn’t make Marco very appealing. That and certain ideas and situations that kept repeating (got it the first time, thanks) left me not enjoying this book as much as I had hoped to.

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