Archive for March 8th, 2017


The Holver Alley Crew (The Streets of Maradaine – 1) by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, The Holver Alley Crew is the first novel of Maresca’s third interconnected series set in the fantasy city of Maradaine– The Streets of Maradaine

The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax’s service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery. They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life. Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.

With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land. Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti’s crumbling sanity, the brothers lead their crew of amateurs and washouts to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.

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 Marshall Ryan Maresca

Author’s Bio

Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State. He now lives Austin with his wife and son. His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef. His novels The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages each begin their own fantasy series, both set in the port city of Maradaine.

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My Review

5 stars

Asti and Verci Rynax were raised by a conman and have been surviving with those skills. But they want to turn legitimate and start their own business. Both brothers invest everything they have for their little shop. But a fire destroys the street, including their shop and house. They create a gang with several other shop owners and intend on robbing a carriage. But Asti stumbles upon some information that the fire was set intentionally so the land could be bought out. Now all bets are off as the crew plans a heist against the gambling house that took everything from them.

Ten people come together to heist a carriage initially then the gambling house. All ten are introduced in a way that you are not overwhelmed and all pay a specific role in the heists. I love how between the seriousness of the heists they all joke around and mesh well together. But I really enjoyed the locations. There is almost a shop for anything you could think of and the neighbors and willing to help out each other.

This is my first book from Marshall Ryan Maresca and I loved it. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next books in the series. I will be on the lookout for Maresca’s other books too.

I receive The Holver Alley Crew from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.


“Do it!” she said. He let go of her hand, and she slid off to the ground. Her landing was sloppy, almost falling on her face before Asti caught her. Raych gasped and clutched  at Asti. A moment later  she was fumbling  at the straps, desperate to get the baby out of his pack. Verci slid down, land- ing on the ground  with practiced grace.

“That’s  the whole place,” Asti said. The locksmith  shop and the apartments above it were all burning.

The  shop  next  door  was burning  as well. And  the  one next to it. The fire spread  down Holver Alley as far as Asti could  see. Every  building  was wood  and  plaster,  pressed next to each other, nothing  to stop it all from catching.

An old man grabbed Asti’s shoulder. “Look  at that, Rynax! That’s magic fire, isn’t it? Has to be!”

“No, no,” he said, coming up with an answer that was somewhere between fabrication and gut instinct. “Magical fire always burns  hotter, with blue and white flames.” Asti knew hardly anything about  magic, but that was more than anyone  else in Holver Alley. His word might be enough  to quell wild rumors  about  mages starting  this.

“Where’s Win?” Verci asked, looking around the crowd. “And the girls?” Asti glanced about. Winthym Greenfield wasn’t anywhere, nor were his wife and daughters.

“Did they get out on the other side?” Raych asked, holding her baby close to her chest.

“No chance,” Verci said. Asti knew the question was ridiculous,  but  bit  his tongue.  Greenfield’s  shop  was built right  up  against  a  solid  brick  wall, the  back  of the  row houses on Kenner Street.

“They  must  be trapped,” Asti  said. The  shop  windows were dark, covered  in iron bars. No way to see in or break through. Asti touched the door of the shop. It was still cool.

“Asti, what are you doing?” Raych cried.

Asti tried the door, but it was locked. Of course it would be. “Verci,  can you . . .” he called  out, but  his brother was already  at his side.

Verci looked  at the lock carefully. “Win’s very good,” he muttered. “It would take me at least five minutes.”

“No  time  for  that,”  Asti  said. He  scanned  the  crowd. Raych was in the center of his vision, screaming at them. Far behind her, towering over the crowd, was just the person he was hoping  to  find. Julien  Kesser,  the  biggest  bruiser on Holver Alley.

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The Sixth Window


The Sixth Window (DCI Tom Douglas – 6) by Rachel Abbott


After eighteen months of grieving for her husband Bernie, killed in a horrific hit and run accident, Natalie Gray has found love with her husband’s best friend – Ed Cooper – and has moved herself and fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, into his home. But Natalie begins to suspect Ed has a dark side – and even darker intentions.

Desperate to get her daughter to a place of safety, she and Scarlett move to a new home that holds secrets of its own. But has removing Scarlett from one potential threat placed her in far greater danger?

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth, as his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the peril they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?

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 Praise for The Sixth Window

‘I am in awe of Rachel Abbott’s plotting! The Sixth Window is Abbott at her best’ Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner

‘The tension that built throughout this book simply blew me away’ Angela Marsons, author of Silent Scream

‘Masterly and compelling. I couldn’t put it down until its heart-stopping conclusion.’ Robert Bryndza author of The Girl in the Ice


Author’s Bio

I lived most of life in the north of England, and worked for many years as the managing director of an interactive media company. I wrote every day – everything from creative proposals to user manuals – but most exciting of all was writing interactive dramas – including for the Cluedo (Clue in the US) interactive games. I was fortunate enough to sell my company in 2000 and we moved to Italy where we bought and restored an old country house.

I have just released my seventh novel The Sixth Window and now share my time between our homes in Italy and Alderney in the Channel Islands, where I write full time.

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My Review

5 Stars

Natalie Gray lost her husband, Bernie to a hit and run driver eighteen months prior. This has left her and her daughter Scarlett lost. She finds herself being comforted by Bernie’s friend and fellow police office, Ed. But Natalie finds something that has her questioning Ed and his intentions toward Scarlett. But Scarlett has no idea why the left Ed and she hates the new apartment, which she hears stuff her mother doesn’t and is irritated that she is treated like she is too young to be able to accept what is happening.

At the same time, Tom Douglas is investigating the suicide of a teenager. Her parents insist that she would never commit suicide but they didn’t know everything about their daughter. At the same time, there is more to her story and it looks like it may have something to do with Scarlett and her mother.

I loved this story. I was wondering what was happening the left guessing until the end. I never would have guessed what Bernie was involved in and a felt for Natalie and Scarlett. They were having a hard enough time trying to get on with their lives after he died. I loved Tom; he was a great detective and really drew me into the story.

I have not read other books in this series but I had no problem figuring out what was happening with this one. I loved The Sixth Window and will definitely be looking into catching up on this series from the very beginning.

I received The Sixth Window from Darcie Rowan PR for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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