Best Laid Plaids by Ella Stainton

In 1928, Joachim Cockburn travels to Scotland to meet Ainsley Graham, his colleague’s younger brother. Ainsley Graham was laughed out of academia when he insisted that ghosts were real; Joachim studies delusional thinking, and intends to prove that ghosts are most certainly not real.  

The effervescent Ainsley offers to drive Joachim around Scotland to various haunted places, and while I don’t want to give too much away, I will say that Joachim’s hypothesis is wrong and that he finds it difficult to resist Ainsley’s charms.

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The Sugared Game by KJ Charles

This is the second book in the Will Darling series of 1920s queer pulp action/adventure novels. It is absolutely imperative that readers begin with Slippery Creatures, the first book in the series. There won’t be any spoilers for The Sugared Game, but I’ll be discussing some of the events of Slippery Creatures over the course of this review, so please proceed with caution.

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The Woman Before Wallis: A Novel of Windsors, Vanderbilts, and Royal Scandal by Bryn Turnbull

A couple of days ago, I was chatting (via text) with a friend, and I told her that I was reading a book about “the woman before Wallis”.

My friend said, “Freda Dudley Ward?”

I said, “No, she’s in this book, but this one is about the other “Other Woman”.

Like my friend, I was also not aware of Thelma Furness’ involvement with David, the Prince of Wales, but having read this book, I am much more aware—not only of Thelma’s story, but of the Gloria Vanderbilt custody battle.

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Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

Saul Lazenby lost all his credibility during the Great War, and now works for a wealthy eccentric gentleman who sends him to various sites on “hunches” about magic. At each of these places, he encounters the same man, and then something strange happens.

Randolph Glyde has every reason to suspect Saul of sinister intentions. After all, he’s an arcanist, and he knows that magic is real.

It makes sense for them to trust each other, but that isn’t a virtue that has ever come easily to either of them, but they’re going to have to team up because, as I mentioned, magic is real, and there’s something evil afoot.

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Starcrossed by Allie Therin

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This is the second book in the Magic in Manhattan series and readers ought to start with Spellbound, the first book, so they have a better idea of the way magic works in the storyverse, as well as understanding the threats the characters find themselves up against.

Arthur and Rory are still dealing with the fallout from the events in Spellbound and trying to figure out how to make their relationship work. It’s 1920s New York, so they can’t be together openly and then there’s the added layer of their socioeconomic differences: even a friendship between the two men raises questions. Read more

Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles

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Do you like the friends to lovers trope? What about the enemies to lovers trope?

What if I told you that this was a book that combined these two tropes so thoroughly that you won’t be able to tell whether the two protagonists are friends or enemies or lovers?

Well, you’re in luck because Slippery Creatures will be available on May 13th for your reading pleasure. This is the first book in a trilogy of 1920s queer historical romance featuring Will Darling and Kim Secretan.

Will went to war at 18, stayed there for the duration, and found hard times upon his return to England. As the story begins, he has just inherited a bookshop from an uncle he barely knew. This ought to be the end of his financial woes, but it turns out to be the beginning of Big Trouble. All sorts of men turn up at the shop asking for the information/papers. Will has no idea what they’re talking about, but these men don’t seem empathetic to Will’s earnest declarations of innocence. They want the papers and they want them now. Read more

Spellbound by Allie Therin

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Spellbound is the first book in Allie Therin’s Magic in Manhattan series of m/m historical romance novels. As soon as I heard about this book on Twitter, I made a request on Netgalley, and was thrilled to pieces when it was approved.

First of all, most of the m/m historicals I’ve read have been either Regency-era or Victorian. I don’t think I’ve read anything else set in the 1920s, so my interest was already piqued based on setting alone… but then Therin is throwing MAGIC into the mix?

Sign me up!

Rory and Arthur come from completely different worlds. Rory is a scruffy orphan who works in his aunt’s antique shop, and Arthur is the wealthy son of a congressman. There’s also a bit of an age difference- Rory is 20 and Arthur is 28. Their paths cross when Arthur discovers that Rory has the ability to “scry”; he can touch an object and see its provenance. They don’t get along very well, but they are going to have to work together if they are going to defeat the magical threat before it destroys the city. Read more

Zombie Abbey by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

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Zombie Abbey is a young adult novel by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. I read this book a few months ago, but I am just getting around to reviewing it now. I found it on the new release shelf in the young adult section of my town library. It looked interesting, so I added it to my book pile.

As the title suggests, this book is a mashup of Downton Abbey and zombies. Basically, you have an aristocratic family in 1920s England with three teenage daughters facing a zombie outbreak. Unfortunately, this is a brand new scourge, so no one knows what to make of the mysterious happenings. The town doctor, in fact, insists that nothing is amiss, and any reports to the contrary are due to hysteria. The family and their guests- because of course they’re having a small house party- must join forces with the folk belowstairs before they are overwhelmed by the fast-moving outbreak. Read more

Diamonds of Death by Vivian Conroy

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Diamonds of Death is the second book in Vivian Conroy’s Lady Alkmene mystery series. I enjoyed reading the first book in the series, so I was looking forward to this book.

Lord Winters was murdered in his manor house. Logic and reason dictate that the perpetrator of this heinous act was the burglar who was found standing over the body, but the man claims that Lord Winters was already dead and the precious gems he came to steal are nowhere to be found.

It just so happens that Lord Winters’ late wife was Lady Alkmene’s aunt, and the burglar is a friend of Lady Alkmene’s friend Jake Dubois. This is a little too much of a coincidence, but this provides Alkmene and Jake with the opportunity to go to the manor house to visit her cousins. Alkmene plans to offer her condolences to these cousins she has never met, and Jake will pose as her chauffeur.   Read more

A Proposal to Die For by Vivian Conroy

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love historical fiction and mysteries, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read A Proposal to Die For. This is the first entry in Vivian Conroy’s new series featuring Lady Alkmene Callender, a young socialite in 1920s London.

When Silas Norwhich, a wealthy man, dies under suspicious circumstances, Lady Alkmene feels compelled to investigate. It doesn’t really matter to her that she has no experience or much of a connection to the deceased; she knows that something is not quite right, and she is determined to uncover the truth.

Alkmene crosses paths with a reporter named Jake Dubois, and at first, he sees her as an annoyance, and that she sees detective work as something to do to pass the time while her father is out of the country. Alkmene quickly realizes that he is not entirely incorrect; there is a great deal that she does not know about the way the world works. However, Jake must admit that Alkmene’s status provides her with admission to places that he would not be able to reach on his own. The two form an unlikely partnership. Read more