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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An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles

KJ Charles is one of my favorite authors. I’ve had the books in her Victorian-era queer romance/mystery Sins of the City series on my TBR; I read the second one first a couple of years ago, but now I’m going through the series in chronological order.

Clem Talleyfer’s work has a boarding house manager involves a great deal of predictable routines, which is a good thing, because adapting to changes isn’t easy for Clem. His most favorite part of the day is sharing a cup of tea with Mr. Rowley Green, one of the lodgers.

When one of the other lodgers turns up dead on their doorstep, Clem and Rowley are determined to figure out what happened, it becomes apparent that it was not an isolated incident and they are both in danger.

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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Here’s the TLDR version of my review: I liked Boyfriend Material so much that as soon as I finished, I pre-ordered a paperback copy, and I intend to get the Audible edition too. In the interest of full disclosure, I pre-ordered the Kindle edition back in December, but buying all three versions of a book is a rarity for me and something I only do for my most favorite books.

If you want an actual review, here you go:

Luc O’Donnell is a bit of a hot mess. He’s always been vaguely famous because his parents are famous, but now that his estranged rock star dad is back in the spotlight, that means there’s more of an interest in what Luc is doing.

And that’s a problem because, as I said, Luc is a bit of a hot mess. He needs a boyfriend to help give him the appearance of normalcy. His friend sets him up with Oliver, who is super super normal and the complete opposite of a hot mess.

Fortunately for Luc, Oliver also needs a boyfriend to take to a big event, so they agree to be fake boyfriends until both of their big events are over, and then they’ll “break up” and go their separate ways.

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The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

I loved The Royal We, so I was very excited to find out there was going to be a sequel and even more excited to receive an ARC of The Heir Affair.

NB: If Royal Family alt-history interests you, but you have not read The Royal We, I suggest you proceed with caution because it’s almost impossible to properly discuss The Heir Affair without mentioning key details from The Royal We.

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To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman

Alex and Emmy first met at a masquerade ball several years prior to the main events of the book, and Alex has been thinking about the mysterious young woman with the unique scent ever since that night.

Now, Alex is working as a Bow Street Runner, along with his friends, and Emmy is the elusive jewel thief that he’s trying to catch, so a romance between these two personalities seems impossible.  

The irony of the situation is that Alex and Emmy encounter each other socially in addition to the cat-and-mouse game they’ve been playing. Naturally, the lines between these two worlds begins to blur as the stakes increase.

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The Tutor by Bonnie Dee

I’ve had The Tutor on my list for a long time, and I finally listened to the Audible edition a couple of months ago. Once again, I am woefully behind with my non-ARC reviews, so I only now getting around to writing down my thoughts.

Graham has scammed his way into a tutoring job at a manor house, and he can tell that something is “off” from the moment he arrives. His two pupils, twin boys, run wild, and one of them doesn’t speak anymore.

Graham certainly has his work cut out for himself, and then there’s the issue of the enigmatic Sir Richard, the boy’s father, who is haunted by the past and reluctant to let anyone get close to him, especially not another man.

And what would a good gothic romance be without a ghost?

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Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox

A couple of months ago, I ended doing a joint reading of Seven Summer Nights with my Twitter friend Vicky because the book was on both of our TBR lists.

Rufus was once a promising archaeologist, but he has returned to England in relative disgrace, and is obligated to take a commission examining a church in Droyton Parva, a small village in Sussex.

Archie is the local vicar, and he’s surprised to see such a prominent archaeologist assigned to his little project, but he’s even more surprised by Rufus.

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Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian

I have been waiting for this book ever since hints were dropped at the end of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score almost two years, but I can assure you that it was 100% worth the wait.

Will Sedgwick and Martin Easterbrook have been friends for their entire lives. Their paths diverged at some point, but as the story begins, Will has essentially kidnapped Martin and brought him to recuperate in an abandoned gamekeeper’s cottage. At first, Martin is quite ill, but Will manages to bring him back to good—well, decent—health.

So, there they are, living together in a small cottage. There is plenty of time to reacquaint themselves with the men they have become, and of course, to acknowledge the feelings that have always been there.

Did I mention that there’s only one bed?

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Her Lady’s Honor by Renée Dahlia

Lady Eleanor “Nell” St. George has returned to England from France after The Great War, but before she returns home, she needs to stop in Wales to return Tommy—her captain’s horse—to his home. She does not receive the warm welcome she expected; the competent captain she worked alongside in her veterinary duties has become callous and bitter. Nell intended to drop Tommy off and return to her own home, but she feels compelled to stay.

Beatrice Hughes is the captain’s oldest daughter, and her family has experienced unspeakable tragedy—their three oldest sons died during the war, and while the family patriarch has always been harsh, he is even worse now that he has come home. Bea is drawn to the elegant Nell, and doesn’t understand why she insists on staying at the farm now that Tommy has been returned.

The romance, however, is shadowed by another tragedy: the disappearance of Bea’s mother. I thought this mystery part was very well done, and while the resolution was not unexpected, it still came as a shock when the details finally fell into place.  

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