Friday, December 14, 2018

[40-ENG] Review: Blessed - Maggie Blackbird ||+Book Blast||

Maggie Blackbird
Series: The Matawapit Family
Volume: 1/?
Publisher: eXasty Books
Genre/s: M/M, Contemporary, Spiritual, Religious,
Multi-Cultural, Romance
Length: 92 784 words
Pages: 330

Read in: English
Review copy format: epub

Many years ago, Darryl and Emery crossed the line between friendship and love, but their newly formed relationship broke into small pieces, leaving behind pain, grudge and unhealed wounds. And although they both decided to run away from their feelings and leave the past behind, they weren't able to do it. Even now, although more than a decade have passed since that first puppy love, Darryl and Emery still are unexpectedly attracted to each other. The real problem, however, is that while Darryl lives according to the traditions and beliefs of his ancestors, Emery wants to devote his life to the Church and God, in whom he believes with all his heart.

The first of the advantages of "Blessed", which I would like to mention in this review, is the fact that the novel revolves around one of the indigenous tribes of America – Ojibwe. Thanks to Maggie Blackbird, the readers have the opportunity to learn a little bit about some elements of culture, religion and history of these people, as well as to see some of the problems the tribe members have to deal with. Let's also note that the story presented by the author is not embedded in the past, but in the present, which I consider to be extremely important, as nowadays a great attention is paid to having a strong and believable representation in literature or media. I also admit that for me, as for a Polish girl, this book is all the more valuable because it allows me to take a look at a world I know very little about, and which I would really like to know better.

I must admit that there is another important subject that have prompted me to read "Blessed", and that is the topic of conflicts related to religion that the novel touches. On the one hand, the author analyzes the internal struggle between Christian upbringing, faith and homosexual orientation, what I consider to be extremely important not only in the novel, but also in our real life world. On the other hand, the same conflict was presented in a very precise and extensive way in relation not to the individuals this time, but to the "outside world", all believers. And finally, we can also find here a small clash of believes, as the lead characters take turns accepting and rejecting their religious views, in order to finally be able to work out a single, permanent approach to the subject of religion of this other person. I admit that all these struggles are very interesting and are described with great attention paid to detail, deep analysis of the problem and insight into character's psyche.

In a few words, I would also like to mention the way Maggie Blackbird presented Emery and Darryl's love story. I admit that when I was reading "Blessed", the tragedy "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare came to my mind more than once. And this is because our characters belong to two different "faith camps", that are in opposition to each other, and what is more, their relatives are to some extent against any relationship between these two. I think it gives the novel a bit of melancholic and classic overtones, but this is where any similarities end. And it undoubtedly works in the author's favor, as she is not showing us two love blind young people who are ready to do anything out of love, just because they put feelings above rational thinking. Maggie Blackbird offers us a novel in which the characters are thinking beings with complicated psyche, who are struggling not only with those of the same faith, but also with themselves and with this other, significant person. In short, I love Shakespeare, but in this case I think that he could really learn a lot from Maggie Blackbird.

Another great advantage of "Blessed" are the main characters, and more specifically the fact that they are so different from each other. Let's be honest, the author has done something fantastic by juxtaposing two men who are at opposite poles in many respects. Believe me, Emery and Darryl are really like two different worlds. They differ in terms of personality, faith, upbringing, views, plans for the future. And yet there is something that connects them – both have big, loving hearts and love each other. It should also be mentioned that Maggie Blackbird not only made her main characters very different from each other, but also presented them in an amazing way by making them extremely expressive and strongly outlined. I think it's really significant because it makes Emery and Darryl very believable and thus they have an even stronger impact on us. What's more, thanks to their sometimes extreme personality traits, the reader can feel the sexual tension between them, that complicates their lives so much, even more intensively. The leads of this novel are therefore perfectly created in every respect, and thanks to this fact reading this novel is a real pleasure.

To sum up, "Blessed" is an interesting and intelligent novel about faith and love, acceptance and constant changes taking place in a man, as one develops in a spiritual and personal way. It's an electrifying and addictive story that I've read with real pleasure and to which I will definitely come back. "Blessed" is undoubtedly a book worth recommending.

Headcanon: Darryl easily becomes annoyed and angry, while Emery apologizes too often, what is the main reason why the boys often argue.

Fanfiction idea: Series: 101 ways to tame sulky Darryl.

AU idea: Science fiction!AU, Emery belongs to the elite who came to Earth from another planet and took control over it. Darryl is a servant in his house and a leading member of an underground group fighting for the liberation of the Earth.

Maggie Blackbird


Here's some more about:

Book Title: Blessed
Author: Maggie Blackbird
Cover Artist: Martine Jardin
Heat Rating: 4 flames


A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling: the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.


It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man. In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.
Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered: the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery. No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon. Darryl intends on using his power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and his church.
Hoping to save the church, Emery races home. But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery. Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life: please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.
An erotic spiritual journey…


The putter of a diesel engine carried to where they stood at the side of the house.
“Sounds like the priest’s clunker.” Clayton puffed on the cigarette.
Knots formed in Darryl’s stomach. Did Emery accompany Father Bennie? What the heck was the priest doing up at Long River? Darryl lived at the reserve’s most northern district, far from Grassy, where the Matawapits resided.
Don’t watch them go by.
The car slowed and then turned into the driveway. Black, wavy hair appeared in the windshield. Hot tingles shot through Darryl’s arms and legs. He’d better get himself under control. Running into the coward was expected. It was the reason why he’d raced around the reserve like a fool earlier, trying to figure out what to say when they eventually crossed paths.
Had Emery come to apologize? Maybe reconnect? Wait a second. Someone had probably sent him. In the past, he hadn’t possessed the testicular fortitude to initiate anything. Father Bennie and Deacon Matawapit were up to something.
“Is that Emery?” Clayton frowned.
“Yeah. Gimme a second.” Darryl marched around the side of the house. When the car door opened, he froze.
Emery’s long legs appeared. He straightened to a towering six-foot-something. His red lips, smooth, pale skin, and high cheekbones melted Darryl’s insides. Tight muscles filled out Emery’s blue polo shirt and white dress pants. His hair curled around his square shoulders. This wasn’t a skinny seventeen-year-old kid who’d favored worn jeans, hiking boots, and t-shirts, but a twenty-seven-year-old elegant man.
“Hello. I was hoping to catch you at home.” Emery doffed his sunglasses, exposing his thick black lashes and bright green eyes. He tapped his shades against firm thighs Darryl had caressed during the best time of his life.
Although Emery’s voice was deeper, the feathery tone still stroked Darryl deep inside his jeans. Quivering, he spat out a, “Hel—hi...” He cleared his throat of the damned frog making him sound like an idiot. “Hello.”
“I-I planned on stopping by sooner.” Emery’s gaze roamed in every direction. “I was busy... unpacking”
Darryl motioned to the side of the house. “I was heading out for a drive once I finish talking to someone.”
“Oh...” Emery’s gaze settled on Clayton, who appeared around the corner. “I’ll come back another day when you’re not busy.” Disappointment lined his voice. “Have a good night.”
When Emery turned for the car, Darryl’s frozen heart churned into overdrive. The question jumped from his mouth. “Where’re you going?”
Emery pivoted. “Back to the rectory. It’s where I’m staying during my visit.”
Darryl stifled his groan. Call him a sucker for asking. “You came here for a reason. Why?”
“Uh... I—” Emery held a fist to his mouth and coughed. “Do you have time for a walk?”
A shiver careened along Darryl’s spine. Instead of being prodded, Emery, of all people, had initiated something.
Clayton’s slim brows twisted downwards. “I guess we’re done?”
Everyone knew how tight Emery and Darryl had once been. The cunning coyote had better not think of Darryl as a traitor who’d lose focus on the Traditionalists Society’s mandate now that Emery was back. “We can finish our convo tomorrow. Stop by my office in the morning.”
“Never mind. I’m outta here.” Clayton stamped to his pick-up parked on the side of the road. He glowered at Emery, who returned the frown with a nod.
Fire crackled through Darryl’s veins. Hostility and rudeness to another wasn’t the purpose of the Traditionalists Society.
“We can meet at the Treaty Grounds.” Darryl used an even tone, though his pulse points raced faster than a bear chasing down dinner. “Right now my road’s pretty much the Trans Canada.”
A truck pulling a skiff rambled by.
“Everyone’s heading out for the evening fish.”
“Okay.” Emery’s mouth remained closed while his full lips moved upward. He had the same shy smile capable of melting Darryl’s limbs. “I’ll meet you there.”
“Sure.” Darryl slid on the four-wheeler.
Emery opened the car door and got in. He drove off and left a trail of dust in his wake.
Darryl turned the key. The machine’s engine roared to life. This couldn’t be happening. Someone must have plopped him in the middle of a dream. Who was the courageous man who’d come of his own accord?
He steered the four-wheeler down the driveway. People changed. Before entering St. Michael’s Seminary, Emery had lived in Thunder Bay to attend university. Being out from under his father’s thumb had probably given his confidence a much-needed boost.
His dad’s here and he sought me out.
Had Emery told Father Bennie his intentions for the evening? Where would their talk lead to? There was only one way to find out—drive faster to the Treaty Grounds.

About the Author

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.


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  1. Dear Kirhan: I couldn't find an email address on your site so I hope you don't mind me leaving my message here. I wanted to personally thank you for taking the time from your schedule to host my Book Blast for Blessed, Book One in the Matawapit Family Series. And an even bigger THANK YOU for taking the time to read and review my book. It's very much appreciated, and wonderful working with you.

    1. You're welcome :) I really enjoyed reading Blessed and I'm glad I took part in Book Blast for this novel. I hope to read more of your works in future <3