Fantasy Living reviews the entire Club Raven series! American historical psychics here she comes!
Happy Medium (Club Raven #1) by Julia Talbot
A Club Raven Novel
Max Bellame is working his way through 1870s Baltimore as a medium, even if he knows nothing about spirits. He uses the power of his mind to move objects, convincing his clients he's the real thing.
Andrew Meechum works for Club Raven, a gentleman's club that doubles as a paranormal research facility. He sets out to debunk Max, only to be fascinated by the man. Can Andrew convince Max to take a chance on love, and to find his true calling as a medium, or will their personal demons force them apart?
Set in 1870’s Baltimore, the first book in the Club Raven series follows Max Bellame as his business as a Medium is intercepted by Andrew Meechum, who works for Club Raven.
Club Raven is a gentlemen’s club that caters to men with paranormal gifts. Andrew is sort of a psychic ability debunker. His own talent is knowing when someone is using a paranormal gift. This is why he has been following Max, but instead of simply calling Max out on his lack of Medium ability and trickery, he is intrigued by the perceived gift Max has, and brings him to Club Raven to find out more about it.
I liked these two men together. I found Max to be a pretty gentle character. While he wasn’t exactly honest about his ability, he still had a moral code of honor. They fit well together, and had lots and lots of sex. (Lots!).
The mystery surrounding Max’s gift, and the passion Andrew and he share opens up a whole new world, and life for Max. Club Raven seems to have an endless supply of weirdly gifted men to be in the company of, and I have to mention Giles, because I heart him so hard.
While only a secondary character, Giles was pretty fascinating, and someone I would love to get a story. He was one of those weirdo’s I absolutely needed to know more about. Completely outrageous, and apparently a reclusive scatterbrain, the interactions with him were a joy for me.
This isn’t overly heavy on the historical detail or language. It is easy enough to read if you’re someone like me who isn’t particularly excited about historical romance. It was enough to read as authentic in a way that isn’t pinned down by stuffy details. I don’t really care about those, as long as it feels real enough to me. For someone who is more of a history buff, well, I don’t know how they would feel about it, because like I said, details aren’t really important to me (unless they are wildly inaccurate and I know it).
Maybe I’m not the best person to recommend this story to die hard fans of historical romance, so I’ll just say, for people like me, this was fun with the seance, pompous rich folk, and erotic content (there was a lot - did I say that already?).
I would recommend this to people who enjoy paranormal in their historical romance.
Find Book #1 on Goodreads!
Wishful Thinking (Club Raven #2) by Kiernan Kelly
A Club Raven Novel
Tony Brazzio, part-owner of Club Raven in Baltimore, is gifted with a psychic talent that allows him to influence the behavior of others. His first project, to rehabilitate hoodlums Bull and Dandy, fails when the lure of fat wallets ripe for the picking is too great for them to ignore. After Bull and Dandy fall into serious trouble beyond simple petty theft, Tony takes it upon himself to bail them out.
Charged with making a pair of blackmailing pickpockets “disappear,” Detective Thomas Arthur Clare is determined to get the job done. He doesn’t count on Tony’s interference, or his attraction to the mysterious, handsome man, to sway him.
This is book two in the Club Raven Trilogy and I would in no way call this a romance. It is definitely filled with erotic content though, so if this is okay with you, then go ahead and enjoy.
Told from multiple points of view, and sometimes what appeared to be omniscient POV this story jumps around a fair bit.
In the beginning we meet Tony who is a part-owner of Club Raven, but was once from a poor family. Tony wants to prove that bloodline does not make a gentleman, and that anyone, no matter how poor, can become someone if given the opportunity. He travels to Five Point, Manhattan, where his humble beginnings began, and finds a pair of thieves and compels them to come back to Baltimore with him to start his experiment of turning them into gentlemen.
Of course, Dandy and Bull don’t particularly want to be controlled by some rich snot, so they go out of their way to sabotage the situation by stealing wherever they can. Tony may have compelled them to join him using his gift, but once they are there, they are unwilling to continue to do his bidding.
There was a lot of problematic content, and it just didn’t seem to have a solid plot line. I spend more time reading about Dandy and Bull, and their mischief than Tony. While the basics of each personality was provided, I didn’t feel connected with any of them.
I think if it hadn’t have deviated so far from the original story line, by introducing what appeared to be an endless cast of side characters who got their own POV, and more focus and attention was given to Tony, the club, and the supernatural, this would have been a tighter story.
I wasn’t particularly engaged with the story, and the supernatural element of Club Raven, which made it a fascinating club in the first book, was sort of lost.
There is some light BDSM content, so if you’re looking for historical BDSM erotica then this would be something that may suit your tastes.
Find Book #2 on Goodreads!
Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by BA Tortuga
A Club Raven Novel
After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.
Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.
Patrick is an anomaly. After a head injury caused by a bullet on the battlefield, he seems to have developed telekinetic abilities that he is unwilling to connect to and which are wildly untamed. Finding himself at Club Raven, in the clutches of Remy, whom is anything but shy about his desire, is causing feelings Patrick has been taught is a sin, but the comfort he gets is something he longs for.
This was the sweetest. I really loved Patrick and the way he connected with Remy. Remy is equally charming, and exactly what Patrick needs to help him harness his powers. This story really brought together the mystery of the club, and familiar characters from book one, and dove into a deep, equally gratifying relationship between these two men.
This story appears to be set before Happy Medium. Max doesn’t appear in this book, but Andrew makes a small appearance. Other characters are present and accounted for. A small cameo of Giles (Giles!!!) and Samuel and Joseph, who have a brief appearance in the first book get more time in this one. I found that they are all richly unique, and well developed for the small amount of time they have on the page.
The feeling I got from the beginning of this story was a sense of magic and wonder. Patrick is, of course, in a pretty fragile state when he is brought to Club Raven for care, so from his point of view things are fuzzy and time disappears. This is really well portrayed by the author. There wasn’t any real time jump, as we switch to Remy’s POV to fill in the blanks, but the feeling came across in those moments strongly.
This is a D/s story, focused on sexual service from the submissive. Patrick is also a virgin, and was raised in a strictly religious household, so Remy has to take more care to introduce these elements. I thought the pace worked really well. Remy used submission as a focus to help Patrick control his telekinesis. He did things slowly, and allowed Patrick the room to get used to his own needs and wants before taking it up a notch. There is no real punishment in this story. It is mostly about praise and positive reinforcement, which is needed for Patrick, who is recovering from trauma and needs a solid foundation.
As always, this author makes me happy with her writing. I’m usually all over the contemporary western stories B.A. Tortuga writes, and this was a nice opportunity to see this author’s talent in other genres.
The erotica in this story is delicious, prevocative, and engaging. There is a fair bit of it, so readers who prefer there sexy stories on the sex-lite side may find this to be too much.
I would have liked a little more with discovering what Patrick can do, and I’m disappointed we weren’t given more background on Remy, and his talent, but since this is a romance, and is heavy on the sex, I’ll have to make do. There are still a lot of mysteries surrounding Club Raven, and I think it definitely has room for continuation with more authors or the current author trio to expand and fill in.
Recommended to readers of Historical Paranormal and fans of BDSM D/s and erotica.
Find Book #3 on Goodreads!