Book Review – Blood Ruby by Kiernan Kelly

Tin Star Witches: The Witches of Ruby Gulch #4
Publisher: Evil Plot Bunny Publishing
Pages: 89
Characters: Finn/Ishago
POV: 3rd
Genre: Western, Paranormal, Series.

Finnian is an Irish folk healer, a witch who specializes in healing magic. He’s new to America and is going west to seek his fortune in a place rumored to be steeped in magic — a town called Ruby Gulch, deep in the New Mexico Territory. When he meets Ishago, an injured Navajo on the trail, their lives become inexorably entwined. They risk their hearts and lives to steal a magic stone from a sleeping dragon, and in the process set events in motion that may destroy them all.

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One thing I’ve enjoyed about this shared world is how different the stories and characters are. This story has the setting and dragon in common, but explores a very different kind of magic and familiar. This author is new to me, but I’d love to read more.

I loved how Finn and Ishago came from very different backgrounds, and how their upbringing was reflected in the way they reacted to what happens, and each other. I also liked how the story doesn’t shy away from how many white people reacted to with a different background and skin colour. I loved how they worked together to make things right, both with the dragon, and then later with Ishago’s people.

Póg is adorable and steals every scene he’s in. I love his and Finn’s relationship as witch and familiar. The scenes with him and Ishago are cute, especially with the way they bond so quickly.

Although this final story in the series is quite short, it still feels very rich in character and world building and I was left with a very strong sense of time, place, and magic. I found the ending very satisfying, and would love to read more about Finn and Ishago, and Póg, in the future.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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