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A Summer of Smoke and Sin, by T.J. Nichols

A Summer of Smoke and Sin, by T.J. Nichols

 
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A Summer of Smoke and Sin, by T.J. Nichols

Book Info

About the Author
TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer, TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels, it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the every day.

T.J. also writes gay action/horror as Toby J. Nichols.

After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

You can find TJ on
patreon: https://www.patreon.com/TJNichols
twitter @TobyJNichols
Publication Date
February 28, 2020
Available Formats
Mobi
Pages
282
Content Warning
 mild on page drug use, off-page violence
ISBN
978-0648722809
ASIN
B07Y831T2F
To stop a serial killer a detective will need to explore his own vices…

Nathanial Bayard wants nothing more than to find the nobleman creating snuff pornography. If he fails, his career in the recently formed nobility taskforce will be over and as the youngest son he’ll be forced to obey his father and join the church. But a life of celibacy doesn’t appeal. Nathanial has never even kissed another man, fearing for his soul and his reputation.

Jericho Fulbright has never lived a wholesome life. After behavior unbecoming he was discharged from the army and sent home in disgrace. His inventor and nouveau riche father refused to have anything to do with him, so Jericho turned to what he knew best: opium, gambling and sex.

As the owner of the Jericho Rose, a club for gentlemen who like men, he enjoys a certain notoriety. Some would say he has a golden tongue, but the truth is a succubus lives within him feeding on souls. Once he needed her help, now she is a burden that keeps him from getting close to anyone.

After the unfortunate death of a young noble man in Jericho’s bed, Nathanial is sent to investigate. He is scandalized and intrigued by Jericho, but soon realizes that Jericho could be exactly who he needs to help break the snuff case. Together they are drawn into a web of lies that will result in Jericho facing prison unless Nathanial can unmask the real creator of the snuff, a man with rank and privileges that reaches almost to the King.

Editor review

1 review
Beautiful Story
Overall
 
5.0
 ** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
 POV: 3rd person, dual POV (one page of 1st person)
Themes: steampunk, historical, succubus, club owner, alt history, uniform, politics, nobility, possession, opium/recreational drug use

 A Summer of Smoke and Sin is a unique steampunk story about love, justice and self-discovery. It is clever, hot and takes you through a world full of secrets, lies, and deception while navigating a beautiful love story worthy of the perfect ending it was given.

 The story dealt with some hard topics, but in a smart and sensitive manner. It had political intrigue, family drama, and a world prejudice against same-sex relationships, while also revolving around the murder who created snuff photography. While there was a lot going on, it all came together beautifully and I felt that the story was both well paced and well rounded. It didn't fail to address any of the questions or curiosities I had along the way.

 When it comes to character, Nathanial was adorably naive and innocent, stupidly loyal and faithful. I rooted for him to grow up, free himself, and find his independence every step of the way. Watching him find that strength and curiosity to explore was beautiful. It was a true journey amongst the chaos of his investigation. On the flip side, Jericho came across as a smart, independent and well put together individual, until you discovered that it was all a mask to protect himself. Watching him unfold, trust in Nathanial, fall in love and admit his vulnerability was equally as beautiful. While she wasn't a central character, I was very intrigued by Eulalia and her place in it all. The final revelations about her were a nice twist that I didn't see coming.

 In a book that is both steampunk and paranormal, it can be hard to find a balance between the two. But I felt the world building was handled with the usual skill I expect of the author. Clever, good pacing, and smart twists kept this story running on track. It also managed to keep the steampunk at an acceptable and almost-familiar level, for the historical time period, while letting the paranormal aspect sit comfortably within that world. Neither side drowned out the other.

 When it came to the big revelation, for Jericho to tell Nathanial the truth about his curse, I loved that he'd already begun to put the pieces together. You saw him trying to figure it out long before it became something to talk about. Then he turned his logical Detective brain to the matter.

 Honestly, it's like one of my favourite authors has read two of my favourite books – the series, Gentleman Demons by Jasper Black and the solo novel, Innocent and Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp – because, while completely unique and different, A Summer of Smoke and Sin is what would happen if those two books had a book-baby. This would be it. The perfect blend of historical horror and steampunk romance against all the odds.

 Was it perfect? No. I'd say my rating is more a 4.5 than an outright 5*, only because there were a lot of editing issues throughout, in my final version from Amazon and I felt that the continual interruptions – newspaper articles, letters/notes from friends/family – could have been more seamlessly introduced to the story. For me, they broke the story up at important intervals, right in the midst of the drama, and took me out of that tension and suspense. Add on the editing issues – wrong words, spelling and punctuation issues – and it wasn't flawless. But, in the end, the story was beautiful, clever and brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. For that reason, I've rounded up instead of down. This is definitely a story I'll be reading again, and I'll be buying it in paperback, too.

 I've been a fan of T.J. Nichols for a very long time, and I've loved everything of theirs that I've read. This book is no exception. Despite the minor flaws, I still fell madly in love with Nathanial and Jericho.

 For fans of: paranormal twists, steampunk adventures, and sweeping romances with some drama.

 ~

 Favourite Quotes

 “Was anyone ever truly free or were they all birds with programmed orders they had to follow?”

 “With the soft click, the heart he'd pieced together after Liang's murder fragmented. It would take more than a demon to put it back together.”
EW
#1 Reviewer 185 reviews
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