Wednesday, December 26, 2012

REVIEW: "The Gravedigger's Brawl" by Abigail Roux

The Gravedigger's Brawl
The Gravedigger's Brawl by Abigail Roux

Male/Male Romance -- Paranormal
For Ages 18+
Steam Level: Hot

Riptide Publishing -- October 15, 2012
Ebook, 250 pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.

Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.

But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.


I just started reading Abigail Roux's male/male romances this year and am so glad I discovered her.  Like most readers, I began with the sexy Cut & Run series (who can deny Ty and Zane?), but have slowly been making my way through her other stories.  Therefore, when I saw The Gravedigger's Brawl on Netgalley, I knew I had to read it especially when I figured out that there was a ghost story component!

What I Liked
1. Both Ash and Wyatt were great characters.  One of my favorite parts of Ms. Roux's writing is her willingness to provide readers with unique, non-traditional heroes.  I liked how different they were even from each other with Wyatt as the scholarly curator of a history museum and Ash as the glamorous bartender.  I also enjoyed how much I as a reader was able to learn about them as the point that I found myself really caring about their futures.

2. Since I adored both Ash and Wyatt, it should come as no surprise that I really liked the way their relationship developed.  It was a nice balance between quick and slow with the immediate lust and then the getting to know you better scenes which are always so nice to read.  By the end, I completely believed that they were meant to be together and can easily envision a very happy future for them.

3. Another interesting aspect of this book is the side characters.  Besides Ash and Wyatt, readers are also introduced to Wyatt's colleague at the museum and the other bartenders at the Gravedigger's Tavern.  This allows readers to understand the world that the story is taking place in and giving some nice side scenes.  I particularly enjoyed the secondary romance that featured Ash's boss Caleb and Wyatt's friend Noah.  They were a true example of opposites attract and I would love to see Abigail Roux write a story about them someday.

4.  A key part of the plot of The Gravedigger's Brawl is the ghost story element which I found highly entertaining.  I am a bit of a scaredy cat so I was hesitant about this storyline at first, but thankfully my fears were for naught.  While the ghosts are appropriately scary and the book gets very dark, I never felt outrageously scared which worked for me.  In similar thoughts, I really liked how complex the mystery was and how much danger there really was in figuring out what was wrong with Ash.  Definitely kept me reading late into the night!

5. I am certifiable history geek so the whole historical aspect of the Gravedigger's Tavern and Richmond in general was extremely fascinating for me.  I loved watching Wyatt and the other characters research the bar and use that knowledge to figure out what is going on with Ash.

What I Didn't Like
1. The ending was a little anti-climatic for my taste.  I'm not talking about the action-packed climax where the truth about everything was revealed, but the aftermath.  I would like to have spent a little more time with these characters as they dealt with all the weirdness they experienced.  But, that was a minor detail, that didn't affect my overall enjoyment.

Overall Impression
I continue to be impressed by Abigail Roux's writing and how varied her stories are since this book could not be any more different than the Ty/Zane series.  The Gravedigger's Brawl is a wonderful combination of mystery and romance that kept me engrossed until the very end and really made me care about the characters even after I was finished with the story.


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