Any Old Diamonds by KJ Charles

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Any Old Diamonds is the first book in KJ Charles’ Lilywhite Boys series of Victorian m/m romance novels. I had been looking forward to reading this book after Charles mentioned a “more sociopathic than usual hero”. Good golly, if that’s not a stunning endorsement!

Alec Pyne wants to hire some jewel thieves to steal from the Duke and Duchess of Ilvar. He’s rather cagey about his motivation for this scheme, but the thieves are professional and have done their research. They shock Alec when they tell him that they know he’s Lord Alexander, the duke’s younger son. And then they ask him why he wants to hire them to steal from his parents.

Alec is rather firm in his declaration that the duchess is NOT his mother. There’s clearly a story here, and I shan’t say anything more on that note because it is quite a dreadful tale, filled with schemes and machinations.

Speaking of which- part of this jewel stealing scheme involves striking up a friendship with Jerry, one of the thieves. This is part of a long con- basically, they want to establish that Alec was tricked by his new friend. And this segues into Alec telling Jerry that he just wants someone else to be in control.

And that’s when things really get interesting. Alec cedes all control to Jerry, and the result is absolutely scorching. There is, consent, of course, which is important, but the evolution of their relationship is riveting because I never knew what was going to happen next.

Which brings me back to the main plot- there are secrets that have been mouldering and festering for twenty years, and although there are revelations here and there, it’s impossible to gather a full picture what transpired until the very end.

Everything about this book is amazing. The characterization was brilliant- from the arrogance of the Duke and Duchess of Ilvar to the despondency of Alec’s siblings. The setting is rendered with detail, and everything flows together so nicely.

I would absolutely recommend Any Old Diamonds to fans of m/m romance. This is the first book in a series, but fans of Charles’ other books will appreciate the return of characters from the Sins of the Cities series as well as allusions to the Society of Gentlemen series. This is a compelling story, full of surprises, and I can’t wait to find out what’ll happen next in the series.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

 

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All is Fair by Dee Garretson

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All is Fair is a historical fiction YA novel written by Dee Garretson. This book is set during World War I, and while there have been a few titles in recent years, it’s not a very common setting. So right away, my interest was piqued.

When Mina receives a telegram at boarding school, she is initially confused by the odd message contained within. She quickly realizes that the message is actually a code, and returns home. The war has already taken a toll on her family; her brother Crispin is already missing in action, and Mina wants to do whatever she can to help.

She reunites with family friend Lord Andrew and meets Lucas, a handsome American. The young men are participating in flight training at a neighboring manor, but there’s something more going on- something they can’t talk about. Can Mina prove to them that she is capable of helping them? Read more

Something Human by A.J. Demas

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Something Human is a m/m historical fiction romance written by A.J. Demas. I heard quite a bit of chatter about this book; I don’t have any prior experience with ancient world historical romance of any kind, but my interest was sufficiently piqued. I picked this up on Kindle Unlimited and dove right in.

Adares and Rus come from completely different worlds. Adares is an aristocrat in a highly advanced society, and Rus comes from a nomadic tribe. They meet during a battle; Rus saves Adares’ life, even though they are supposed to be enemies. This proves to be fortuitous because Adares is able to save Rus’ life. They are both injured, and have no choice but to recuperate together in an abandoned temple. Their conversations are awkward at first, but they quickly discover common ground. And then a tentative friendship grows into something more. Read more

Glitterland by Alexis Hall

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Glitterland is a contemporary m/m romance novel by Alexis Hall. I spent most of December reading just about all of Hall’s books. I think this was the third book I read, but after reading it, I bought the Audible edition solely for the Essex accent. Okay, and also for the angst.

Ash Winters has been dragged to a stag party in Brighton, which is where he meets Darian from Essex. Darian is not his usual type at all, but their encounter is only supposed to be a once night stand, so it doesn’t really matter.

When they meet again, it’s only supposed to be a hookup, but Ash finds himself enjoying Darian’s company. But his anxiety and depression make him doubt that what he’s feeling is real. Ash and Darian come from completely different worlds, but can they possibly find happiness together? Read more