dealing with mapinguari and dogged engineers coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel


Hugh Quartermaine fell hard for Adrien Danvers when the sorcerer was helping Hugh solve a tricky problem with his mine on the Isle of Man. Hugh knows he wants more with Adrien, but Adrien seems to be oblivious to Hugh’s feelings, even with some prodding from his adopted teens, Julian and MacMallin. But with the group headed to Brazil to tackle a new case, Hugh hopes to have a chance to confess his attraction to Adrien.

Hugh has secured rights to a manganese mine deep in the Amazon, but it is being plagued by threats — both human and supernatural. There are fierce mapinguari — huge, ferocious, stinky beasts — that are attacking all the workers Hugh hires to staff the mine. And a group of Americans have taken over the site right out from under Hugh, despite him having fair claim, and have set up magical wards to keep Hugh and his men out. Adrien is determined to help Hugh and, along with the boys, they head to Brazil.

Despite Hugh’s best efforts, he hasn’t found a time to tell Adrien the truth about his feelings. And Adrien has too much self doubt to even consider that Hugh might be interested. But with untold dangers ahead, Hugh may be running out of time. Now, Hugh must find a way to let Adrien knows how he feels, and hope the men have a chance to be together once the crisis is over.

Dealing with Mapinguari and Dogged Engineers is the second book in A.J. Sherwood’s engaging Sorcerer’s Grimoire series. The last book teased this new adventure at the end of the story, and we jump into things here. Before the group heads to Brazil, they make preparations at home, which gives us a chance to catch up with everyone. We also see Adrien’s cousin, George, make good on his promise to legally adopt the boys, giving them the Danvers name. It allows Julian and MacMallin to have a standing in society they could never otherwise attain, and it helps to further restore the bond that had been damaged between the cousins when Adrien came out.

The group then spends time aboard a ship from England. Hugh confesses to Adrien that he knows about Adrien’s interest in men, but doesn’t get as far as sharing his own feelings. I enjoyed seeing some down time for everyone, and particularly both men working with their young apprentices. But the most fun came for me when they get to Brazil and face both the rogue Americans and the dangerous mapinguari. The final battle is resolved super fast, which was a little disappointing only because I was hoping for more after all the build up. We spend a lot of story getting to that point, and the ultimate fight is so fast that it doesn’t quite live up to the set up. But I did really enjoy all the adventures along the way and I think the magical world Sherwood has created here is a lot of fun.

On the personal side, I did feel the wait for Hugh’s confession drags on a little overlong. I am not sure I really understand why it was so hard to find a time to tell Adrien how he felt. Even if they didn’t have time to jump into bed, Hugh didn’t even have a free moment in the three weeks together on the ship to tell Adrien he also likes men? And Adrien is just so oblivious to Hugh’s affections, almost absurdly so. Hugh has told Adrien he knows Adrien likes men, and Hugh is acting all affectionate with Adrien. AND the boys have told Adrien that Hugh likes him. Yet Adrien is still completely uncomprehending that Hugh is attracted to him. I know Adrien is supposed to have been burned in the past and it has made him cautious. But I think we needed more detail or background to Adrien as a character to really understand how this otherwise brilliant man is incapable of seeing the flashing light signals all around him that Hugh is into him.

Once the guys get together, their relationship is really sweet and lovely. They are both so delighted with one another and all in for a relationship. They are a good match, both smart and brave, as well as powerful in their own ways. They each have an inner circle who knows their interest in men, which allows them some freedom to be open about their relationship. The ending comes together nicely, as we get a quick dash to Thailand and a chance to see the other side of Adrien’s life. And it all wraps up with a little taste of what is to come in the next book.

I am finding this series a lot of fun. I really enjoy Adrien and Hugh, along with MacMallin, Julian, and the other side characters. I am looking forward to the next installment.

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