Jul 15, 2014

Posted by in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade (Cornerstone Run #1)

blackrook4 star

Paranormal Romance
July 15 2014
334 pages
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Rook McQueen
Kick Ass Chick – Brynn Atwood

From Goodreads – .
Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.


Black Rook is the first book in a shiny new series by Kelly Meade. For those of you who don’t know, Kelly Meade is actually Kelly Meding, author of some of my favorite urban fantasy tales. If you are wondering why the name change, tune in tomorrow at the same time and same place. I interviewed Kelly and my first question is about this very topic.

The Cornerstone Run trilogy is about a group of loup garou but mostly focuses on the McQueen family. This is slated to be a trilogy and each book will focus on a son of the Alpha. We have Rook, Bishop and Knight. Black Rook is, you guessed it, Rook’s story.

Oh, and I was forgetting to mention that this is a paranormal romance series so where the overall story will be continuing from book to book, each installment will have its own HEA. In this case, her name is Brynn and she is a Magus.

The story starts off with Brynn traveling to visit Rook and his family because she foresaw in a vision that her father was going to be murdered and it looked like Rook is slated to be the killer. What a way to meet someone, eh?! Where sometimes wolf shifters are portrayed as being rash and violent, I enjoyed how logical and intelligent Kelly’s were. Rook and his family trusted Brynn and helped her decipher what she saw. And in turn, she helped them. It’s a nice relationship and it really made it easy for me to like the loup garou of the Cornerstone Run.

I enjoyed Brynn. It’s easy to think of her as weak or meek when you first meet her as she is shy, way out of her element and used to being told her abilities are unreliable, but as you read on you see that there is definite strength there. And the twist about her background and her link to the villains was well done. Can’t say I saw much of that coming when I cracked open this book.

Rook was an alpha-male but not too hardcore and I appreciated that. I think if he were too gun-slinging-action-movie-hero it just wouldn’t make sense with Brynn. Rook is not sure of his future. Not only is he the youngest McQueen boy but he is also technically slated to become the next Alpha. But his brother Bishop has been training to be Alpha his whole life where Rook has been a musician. Rook has to decide whether or not he truly wants to be in charge and ‘take’ the position away from Bishop. The reason Bishop would not really have a say is because Rook is a black wolf where Bishop is a gray wolf…and I’ll get into the color thing in a bit.

I found the story to be very interesting and very…Kelly Meding/Meade-ish. Meaning it was quick and crazy and people died and things came up that made you wonder where the hell the idea for such a thing came from. When I finish one of Kelly’s books my first thoughts are usually muffled by my head banging on a wall and it was no exception this time around. Of course I mean all this in the very best of ways. But I will say that it was maybe a bit less severe seeing that there was a romantic HEA thrown in. That made the story have a sense of closure, even amid the chaos of the ongoing storylines.

Kelly did put her own spin here and there on her shifters to make them her own. My most favorite thing was how she used the color of the wolf to indicate where he or she stands in the pack and his or her strength. You have black wolves who are enforcers and Alphas, gray wolves who are considered common and white wolves who are calming and a huge asset to any run. The white wolf was the most intriguing of them all to me and in this case, that would be Knight. His book is last and I can’t freaking wait. But I don’t feel I will fret too much because Bishop’s book is up next and due out in October 2014. I am very curious to see how his story will pan out. We have already met Bishop’s HEA and right at this moment I can’t see how the hell they are actually going to be able to have a happy ending. But such is Kelly’s way – twisting and turning our brains until it is inside out only to fix everything back into place after telling one hell of a story.

So overall I really enjoyed Black Rook. The McQueen family is wonderful and I look forward to spending a couple of more books with them. This series is a PNR series but it reads a bit more like an urban fantasy story with a side of romance. And seeing that UF is my favorite genre, I was completely okay with that. Kelly shows us that, no matter what name she writes under, she is an exceptional storyteller, layering characters, stories and action like a dream. Fans of shifter, fans of Kelly Meding, fans of urban fantasy and fans of romance with a side of kick ass should give this series a try. It’s well worth it.

4 stars

Books in the Cornerstone Run trilogy –
Black Rook
Gray Bishop
White Knight


  1. I have seen this book around a lot… and you liked it… that means I need to read it.
    Great review.

  2. Sounds interesting! And like I commented on one of Anne’s reviews, I need some new PNR/UF series since so many of my beloved ones are ending!

  3. Michele says:

    This one of those ones that leave me scratching my head. I read your review right before I bought the book. I already planned on purchasing it because Kelly Meding’s Dreg City series is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even finish the book. I made it halfway and then finally gave up. It wasn’t BAD per se, I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters and was really meh about all of it. I was disappointed to say the least, because again, Dreg City series ROCKS! As to why it leaves me scratching my head, it just always amazes me how people can read the same book and feel so different about it. There is another blog I read that they gave this book 5 stars, their highest rating. So clearly people are loving this book. So I scratch my head at how I didn’t. Weird.

  4. Bookaholic Cat – Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    Lizzie – I know! So many are ending soon! It’s almost sad…

    Michele – I know what you mean! There are a couple of series out there that are SO popular, I mean people take the day off work when a new installment is released, but I just can’t seem to get into! And look at a bookstore! There are thousands of books there but only a small percentage are books you and I would actually enjoy. It’s just incredible how it works.
    I’m sorry this book didn’t click with you. 🙁

  5. Kelly Meade says:

    “But such is Kelly’s way – twisting and turning our brains until it is inside out only to fix everything back into place after telling one hell of a story.”

    I want this on the covers of all of my books from now on. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *