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review 2017-04-19 10:54
The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal - K.J. Charles

It has taken me forever, but I finally read The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal. It's been a long time coming. I wanted to read this so bad since it came out, yet I never got around to it, despite promising myself several times. Well now, I can finally move it from my TBR to my read list. And it was more than worth the wait.


I feel like I need to kick myself when I put off reading a book I really want to read. It happens from time to time and 99% of the time, I end up adoring it. Like with this one.


As with all other KJ Charles books I've read, I loved both plot and characters. She is my go to for historical books and she does paranormal in a way that I enjoy, too, despite being more of a contemporary girl. 


This book spans over twenty years, with each chapter telling the story of a different case. It isn't just about the cases, though. It's about the toll it took on both Simon and Robert and the ups and downs of their lives. Certain cases impacted their lives, both as a couple and individually.


It wasn't smooth sailing for these guys. They had bumps along the road. Robert learned that fairly early on and saw what getting into this life would bring, but it only brought him and Simon closer together. And then there was a chapter near the end that brought one of the biggest bumps in the road. But they overcame it together and I like how it was handled by them. I understood Simon's anger at what Robert had done, but I also understood Robert and why he did what they did. It made sense for him to do it in my mind and I liked how he brought up something Simon had said in an earlier chapter of the book.


A few cases were more intriguing than others and after reading the acknowledgements at the end of the book, I think I understand why. One chapter in particular made me a little more wary of butterflies.


The ending was ugly and sad, but also beautiful in a way that was befitting this story and these characters. It felt so very final, which is why I was able to find closure when I finished, because even though it was not your traditional happy ending, I was able to find the happy in it.

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review 2017-02-24 04:16
An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles - My Thoughts
An Unseen Attraction - K.J. Charles

A new KJ Charles trilogy!!  WOOT!

No one does historical m/m romance better than KJ Charles, in my honest and humble opinion.  That this trilogy also holds a mystery plot line makes me very happy.

As always, the main characters are distinct and different from the norm.  And as often as not, they aren't the nobility either, which I find fascinating. I always learn something when reading KJ's books.  This time, we have a taxidermist and the manager of a boarding house.

Rowley, the taxidermist, is a quiet man.  His childhood was violent and somewhat hopeless and these days he's most happy to spend most of his time by himself, working on his art or doing commissions for his customers.  I found many of his life observations to be quite true and really enjoyed getting to know him.

The boarding house manager, Clem, is part Indian and has ties to the nobility.  He also appears to be what we call 'on the spectrum'.  Asperger's?  Highly functioning autistic? It's never really stated because, well, these diagnoses didn't exist back in those days. I really enjoyed how Rowley was able understand him and let his true self show.  That Rowley's sexual preferences seemed to dovetail quite nicely with Clem's personality and needs... well it was really well done.

And Clem's friends and co-workers... delightful!  KJ does characters so well.  :)

An Unseen Attraction is a sweet love story wrapped up in a mystery and tied with a lovely historical bow and I totally enjoyed it!  I can't wait for the next book, coming in June and then the final book which I believe comes out in October.  They are pre-ordered.  KJ is one of the few authors I will preorder.

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review 2016-10-13 06:35
A Case of Spirits (A Charm of Magpies)
A Case of Spirits (A Charm of Magpies) - K.J. Charles Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! Great characters... writing.... historical premise. As usual.
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review 2016-04-17 23:14
#CBR8 Book 44: The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
The Magpie Lord - K.J. Charles

Lucien Vaudry, Lord Crane, has returned to England after a twenty year exile in China because he's inherited an earldom he never wanted. He's not at all sorry his father and brother are dead, his brother Hector was a particularly nasty character, and their father covered up all his grievous misdeeds. There appears to be a curse on the Crane family, however, and having claimed the lives of his father and brother, it's Lucien's turn next. He needs magical assistance, and fast, before he commits suicide like his male relatives.


Magician Stephen Day owes powerful people some favours, but still intends to walk up to the new Lord Crane and tell him where to stuff it. Hector Crane and his father did their very best to absolutely destroy Day's family and blacken his father's reputation and now he wants to tell Lucien to go to the devil. As a magical justiciar, he also has a responsibility to deal with supernatural threats, however, and the killing curse that's working its compulsion on Lucien is a particularly nasty one. Besides, the new Lord Crane is not really behaving in a very aristocratic manner, and makes it very clear that he loathed his father and brother probably as much as Day does. Stephen is persuaded to help him, and when it becomes clear that there is not just one nasty spell aimed at Lucien, but that his family home also seems affected by sinister forces, he agrees to help, even against his better judgement.


Having been exiled to China at seventeen with only his trusty manservant Merrick at his side, Lucien survived starvation as a dock rat in Shanghai and eventually established himself as a trader. In China, not only is magic quite common practise, but Lucien's homosexual proclivities are seen as nothing out of the ordinary. He finds England stuffy and restrictive and pretty much just wants to settle his finances, sell his estate and return to China once and for all. Instead he finds himself the target of a vindictive curse, his evil brother's headless corpse is haunting the estate grounds and terrifying the servants and the angry little man he's hired to help him clear the matters up is growing more intriguing and attractive with each passing day. Of course, if Stephen doesn't figure out who's targeting the Cranes, the two are never going to survive long enough to act on their attraction to one another. 


I know very little about K.J. Charles, except that she's written a number of m/m (male/male) romances, either straight historicals, or historical fantasy, and that her books are really very popular. Every so often, one will pop up in the Smart Bitches/Dear Author March Madness competition and I will remind myself that I really need to read some of them. Then this book was selected as the April pick for Vaginal Fantasy, and I finally got around to actually reading one. I'm glad I did. It's certainly not a perfect book, there are a few too many occasions where intriguing information about the characters backgrounds are skipped over, or conversations they have to get to know one another better are told about, rather than shown to the reader, much of what dialogue there is, especially from Lucien, is very funny. 


The book is quite short, and I would have loved for the author to spend some time letting the reader get to know the character and see their relationship develop more gradually, but I guess we can't have everything. As it is, the story is really quite action-packed, with each new dangerous event following on from the previous at a rather exhausting speed. While the book is classified as a romance, this is clearly the first book in a series, and the story barely reaches a HFN (Happy for Now) before it fades to black. I'm assuming there's a lot more to come in the sequel books and novellas, and based on this first taste, I will probably be seeking them out at some future point.


Judging a book by its cover: The snooty-looking blond guy on the cover is clearly meant to be Lucien Vaudry. When I'd seen this cover in passing on Goodreads or various e-book sites previously, I'd always assumed that this was some sort of butler or head footman or something, having never really taken the time to examine it too carefully. Looking closer at it, I can see that he's wearing what looks like a rather fancy suit (which is entirely in keeping with the character) and the background is also suitably period appropriate. I doubt the hatclad gentleman with his back turned in the background is meant to be Stephen Day, as he seems unlikely to own anything as fancy as the coat said man is wearing. I like the sepia tint to the cover as well, giving it a more historical feel. 

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/04/cbr8-book-44-magpie-lord-by-kj-charles.html
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review 2016-03-07 18:46
Rag and Bone by KJ Charles - My Thoughts
Rag and Bone - K.J. Charles

KJ does it again!  Over the past 18 or so months, she had become one of my favourite authors. I enjoy her voice so much, her books are just delightful to read.


Rag and Bone is set in the Magpie Universe and there are plenty of Magpie cameos which works just fine for me.  And none of them are forced either.  They are an integral part of the plot.


I think I've also found a new fave in Ned, the waste-man.  Trust me, he's not a waste at all!  *LOL*  I like his steadiness, his down-to-earth simplicity and his determination.  


The story of how Ned and Crispin, the magician/warlock come to terms with their relationship and their distinct talents and their future is a good one.  It kept the pages turning and allowed the characters to grow.


Rag and Bone is one of those books where I read the final words and sigh happily because it's so ultimately satisfying.  :)  

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