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review 2017-08-18 11:37
KJ Charles: Spectred Isle
Spectred Isle - KJ Charles

I was away on holiday when this dropped onto my ebook reader, as it had sounded like something that was right up my street and I'd pre-ordered it (not that common an occurence for me, given the amount I read!). What I didn't expect was to end up reading it in one sitting, doing the 'just one more chapter' thing and then needing to know how it finished. 

 

Spectred Isle is the first of a series, which is a torment in and of itself, set just after World War I and it's pretty much impossible to find a character in it who hasn't been affected by that conflict. Our main guys, Saul Lazenby and Randolph Glyde, had very different experiences but both suffered significant loss - Saul has lost his future career and good reputation because of a mistaken relationship, while Randolph's family has been destroyed, leaving him facing a future where he is literally the last of his line.

 

This is not quite our world, though, but one where a shadow war took place alongside the fighting in the trenches and Glyde and his family were active participants, tearing open barriers between our world and the 'other side'. Now, as a result, while Whitehall tries to pull magic practitioners into their bureaucracy, Glyde and his friends are left dealing with folklore and story come to horrible life. Saul, finding employment with an eccentric who has all sorts of odd ideas, keeps turning up in all the wrong places and then literally becomes part of what's going on. 

 

The only downside? Book 2 isn't out yet. This book definitely worked for me, really enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing how this series works out.

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review 2017-08-07 00:15
I can't recommend this highly enough
Spectred Isle - KJ Charles

Excellent.


The world building of a London a hairs-breath removed from our own, in a time just after the First World War is unobtrusive and perfectly constructed. The plot is excellent (seriously, I had plot-envy).


Saul and Randolph are the perfect couple, men so broken that they aren't sure they can trust their judgement, or indeed are worthy of the others regard and affection.

 

There were moments of, not terror per se, but suspenseful chills that made me scared to breath for fear that something bad would happen if I dared.


And to counter that there were moments within the relationship that were an absolute delight where I found myself smiling at the book like an absolute loon.

 

I can't recommend this highly enough.

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review 2017-08-06 20:59
Spectred Isle by KJ Charles - My Thoughts
Spectred Isle - KJ Charles

This book hits so many of my sweet spots.  KJ Charles - one of my favourite authors, the time period of the early 1920's, the setting of England and all its history, legends and folklore, magic tied to the land - practically perfect!

I love how KJ writes.  There's one scene, about 1/3 of the way through the book, where it gets really spooky and otherworldly and it was so amazing - it was in the humid mid-eighties temperture-wise and I swear, I was shivering as I read it! 

The two main characters of Saul and Randolph are lovely.  Okay, so Randolph can be a bit of a trial at times, but I love his British upper-class snark and his crankiness and being difficult just endears him to me because he really does have a mushy centre when he allows it to be seen.  And Saul, the everyman who has seen such horrors and been through such an awful time through no real fault of his own, the fact that he's still a functioning human being is amazing, and when he finds something to grab on to (Randolph) well, he is so stalwart and brave and human.  I loved him. 

This is the first book of a trilogy and as KJ likes to do with her trilogies, there is an over-arcing plot for all three books, the beginning of which we read about here.  And old evil, the historical figure of Geoffrey de Mandeville (Man-Devil, see?), the aftermath of the War Beneath (what we didn't see in WW1) versus the group of Green Men (there are women too) who are there to protect England - that's the big picture against which the love story of Saul and Randolph plays out.  For my taste, there was a really good balance between the love story and sexytimes and the paranormal mystical stuff. 

So yes, Spectred Isle is one of the best books I've read this year, proving once again, that KJ Charles never lets me down. 

Oh, and I have to say a word about the cover of the book, created by Lexiconic Design.  IT'S GORGEOUS! 

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review 2017-06-19 04:37
Finding love lifts them from despair
An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities) - KJ Charles

Dark and unusual story, second in a series with a common thread. This is Nathaniel's story as he tries to help find the people behind his friends' troubles. He encounters Justin when he attempts to debunk a seance. Justin is one of the most unhappy people ever. Their relationship is adversarial, touching, and just what they each need. Danger brings them closer and shows what is really important. I really enjoyed this story, and look forward to more from this author.

I received a copy of this story through Netgalley, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2017-06-12 05:28
An Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles - My Thoughts
An Unnatural Vice - K.J. Charles

I honestly have yet to be disappointed in a KJ Charles book.  An Unnatural Vice continues that positive string.  It was terrific!

In An Unnatural Vice, we get the story of Nathaniel Roy who we met in the first book of the series, a friend of Clem's, the illegitimate earl's son and a journalist.  He's out to expose a spiritualist, Justin Lazarus, who just happens to be tied to the over-arching plot of the trilogy.

Of course, the two men are drawn to each other despite their mutual distrust.  There's just some kind of spark that quickly grows into a bonfire and it works!  It's not insta-love, it's insta-lust.  And that's okay because the author is just that good that we can see why they're so drawn to each other and it makes sense.

Alot of the reviews etc... that I've read of this book indicate that Justin is a total bastard, but you know what?  I never saw him that way. Yes, he's not exactly an honest or upright man, but it's clear from the beginning, at least it was to me, that he had his own code of morals and while they might not be all pure and altruistic, they are constant and he lives by them.  Sure, he makes his living by bilking what folks would consider innocent people, but those were the cards he was dealt and what was the alternative?  So no, I didn't think he was a right bastard at all.

I will say that Justin was the more intriguing character of  the two men.  Nathaniel, the crusading journalist doesn't have many grey areas and at times he even came across as a tad snotty about being 'the good guy', but he's also charming and amusingly deprecating at times and this warmed me to him. He is really the perfect foil for Justin and the two of them falling in love was fun to read.

There is lots of action, both in and out of the bedroom and the mystery plot barrels along to an interesting and satisfying second act climax.  I am looking forward to Book 3 - already pre-ordered, something I very seldom do - and seeing what comes of Mark, another of the friends, the private investigator, excuse me, the private enquiry agent and Pen, the young man he's discovered.  I only have to wait until October.  :)

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