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Unholy Blue (Bannerman Boru) by Darby Kaye
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Unholy Blue (Bannerman Boru)

by Darby Kaye

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What a marvelous book. It is so rare to see relationships done so well as this between father and child, father and new lover, lover and child; it all feels utterly natural and true and believable. And it all serves to inspire affection for these characters. Grief is handled well, not that I'll go into any details about that for spoilers' sake, and also the surprise of joy; doubt and worry; battle and friendship.

It's a wild gallop of a book, this, hitting the ground running and barely letting up before the end. It starts with a father and young son on the run. From what, the reader is not told for a little while – but it's immediately obvious that this isn't any mundane danger, and when someone comes to the rescue it's pretty clear that she's not exactly mundane either.

The book is the sequel to Stag Lord, but stands on its own very well; the author is very skilled at telling what has gone before without irrevocably spoiling the previous book. The writing is beautiful; the characters are wonderful (including the young boy, which can be a tricky proposition); the secret culture and the evil enemies are engrossing. Love.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review. ( )
  Stewartry | Sep 21, 2016 |
Unholy Blue by Darby Kaye
Book #2: Bannerman Boru Series
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Review:

Um, I don’t even know where to start with the awesome that is this damn book!!! I didn’t think it was possible for Bannerman Boru to get any hotter but he does. Here we go . . .

Very little time has passed since Bann, Shay and the Doyle clan put down the mad god, Cernunnos. Trouble is, Bann knows the god is down but not out and protecting his family is of the utmost importance. First on the list, consolidating their living arrangements. The relationship is moving fast but Bann and Shay both know they are in it for the long haul. Now, all they have to do is convince young Cor to go along with the plan and ward the crap out of their property.

Bat-shit crazy ancient gods don’t wait long when it is revenge they are seeking and Cernunnos is definitely seeking revenge. Not always so covertly, Cernunnos begins to test the waters by poking around Shay and Bann’s property. In the body of Shay’s old dog, Max, Cernunnos is able to interact with Cor which terrifies Bann and Shay. As if a bat-shit crazy god weren’t enough, there is also the small matter of the rival Tully clan making noise about a clan war, and a new puppy in the house who likes to pee on stuff. Yeah, Shay and Bann have their hands full and this is all before the fighting even starts and his future mother-in-law comes to town. Yeah, that happens too 

At every turn, Bann and Shay are threatened by some knew fresh hell. Cernunnos is allied with the Fir Bolgs who have no issues hurting humans, the threats from the rival clan are becoming more severe by the minute, and Cor seems to keep testing his boundaries. Oh, and he is apparently the only person who can touch the supre-badass warding without getting kicked back forty feet. Now, isn’t that interesting? Additionally, in one of his rare moments of lucidity, Cernunnons drops a tiny little bomb about just how special Cor is; in fact, Cor is the kid who can change everything.

You may wonder at the vagueness of this review up to this point . . . . keep wondering!! This book is chock full of crazy and if I’m not careful, I’ll end of spoiling to whole read for you. I like you, dear reader, I want to you to find out all the awesome for yourself. And awesome it is. There isn’t anything but heart pounding action and some serious bombshells from the front cover right on through to the back cover. The fighting is intense, there’s more than one kidnapping, some daring rescues, and bravery beyond all reason. Oh, and there’s a guest appearance by the totally lickable Gideon Lir because this book needed one more smoking hot man with an accent.

If you strip away all of the action and drama, Unholy Blue still packs a punch on an emotional level. Bann and Cor were accepted by the Doyle’s in the first book but Unholy Blue sees them well and truly brought into the fold. The Doyle’s are a fiercely loyal clan and when Shay claims Bann as her own, so do the rest of the Doyle’s. On every level, Shay and Bann evolve in this read: their relationship is tried and tested, they have to sort out co-parenting, and the sexual relationship also blossoms many times over  The banter between the two is sometimes sweet, sometimes sexy, sometimes sassy, and always totally and brutally honest.

The Bottom Line: I have been reading Darby Kaye since she released her first book as Darby Karchut and with every new read, I fall a little more under her sway. Unholy Blue is a triumph on every damn level and there is no other way to cut it. The writing is polished and tight, the characters are so freaking real you can damn-near reach out and touch them, and the plot is just complicated enough to be surprising yet not so much that it becomes convoluted. I dare you to try and find something wrong with this read. You won’t, but I dare you to try. Either way, you’re reading the book and you’ll thank me for that later :) ( )
  arthistorychick | Mar 4, 2016 |
What does the word family mean to you? For me, I see a mother, a father, children, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Perhaps your idea of family includes still others, someone that’s very close to you, that you can depend on when you need a friend or a hug.

Award-Winning Author Darby Kaye’s latest novel, UNHOLY BLUE, sequel to THE STAG LORD, is a story about many things: Celtic warriors, shape shifters, Goblins, dogs, and bravery, to mention a few. It’s also the touching tale of a family: a man, his eight-year-old son, and a woman who loves them both. And that’s one reason why I love this story so much.

I’ve been counting the days for Shay Doyle the Healer, Bannerman Boru (Bann) the immortal Celtic Warrior, and Bann’s son, Cormac, to continue their story. And boy do they. They still have Lord Cernunnos, the shapeshifter now in the dog Max’s body, the Tully clan, and those darned old Goblins and Fir Blogs to deal with. They have an additional problem, as well: to tell Cor about their forthcoming marriage.

Speaking of Cor, he’s my favorite character. He’s all boy, confused at his father’s and Shay’s behavior sometimes, brave when necessary, and friend and protector to his puppy, Sam. One of my favorite scenes is with Cor and Sam, where Shay tells him not to let the puppy sleep on his bed. So what does Cor do? Like most any boy, he solves the problem in his own way. He puts his pillow and blanket in the dog cage and curls up with Sam. I laughed when I read this: all boy. The relationship between Cor and his father is sweet and touching. There are funny scenes that made me laugh and also scary scenes when their lives are in danger, and I wondered if Bann and Shay (a great warrior herself) would survive. Some of the fighting got pretty bloody.

Darby Kaye/Darby Karchut has a way of creating characters that come to life. I can picture Bann and Shay as they fight together, make love together, and try to be good parents for Bann’s and soon-to-be Shay’s son. Speaking of the hunk, Bann is brave and fears little, yet he’s gentle with his son and Shay. He’s not perfect, however, and he and Shay, with her strong personality, sometimes clash.

UNHOLY BLUE has violence. It has romance. Most of all it has a family that will have you cheering for them when their future looks bleak. I’ve read all of Darby Kaye/Darby Karchut’s books, and they just keep getting better and better.

One thing I’d like to know. There is a third book in the series, Ms. Kaye, right?

Highly recommended.

### ( )
  beverlyjean | Feb 22, 2016 |
This second book in the Bannerman Boru series has Bann and Shay trying to plan a wedding around incipient clan warfare, an old god who isn't quite dead enough, and battles with both Amandan and Fir Bolgs.

Cernunnos was defeated in the first book in the series but managed to escape being destroyed by invading Shay's dog Max after he was killed defending them. Cor is only 8 rising 9 and can't quite understand that Max is gone. Cernunnos uses that uncertainty to try to kidnap him. Cor's American fey blood might be the key to turning Cernunnos into a god again if Bann and Shay can't protect him.

There is lots of action in this story. Between battling Amandan and the rival Tully clan, there is a kidnapping, an invasion of Fir Bolgs who threaten Clan Doyle, and a guest appearance by Gideon Lir.

What I liked most about this story was watching Shay and Bann build their new relationship. Both are warriors and strong people. Compromise isn't really part of either of their vocabulary until they fall in love with each other. I also loved watching Shay's relationship with Cor grow. He's as stubborn as his father and as loving.

Fans of urban fantasy will enjoy this story and be eager for more. ( )
  kmartin802 | Dec 3, 2015 |
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