A Case of Possession by KJ Charles

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A Case of Possession is the second book in KJ Charles’ A Charm of Magpies series of Victorian-era m/m paranormal romance novels. Charles has become one of my favorite authors, and I’m pretty sure I started this book almost immediately after reading the first book in the series.

The story picks up almost immediately after the events of The Magpie Lord. Having dealt with the threat on Crane’s life, Stephen and Crane return to London. But, as they say, there is no rest for the wicked. Stephen returns to work as a magical police officer, and Crane…. Crane drifts around a little aimlessly. He’s still not happy with the title he’s inherited, and he wants nothing more than to return to China. But now there’s Stephen to consider.

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How to Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall

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How to Bang a Billionaire was written by Alexis Hall, and it is the first book in the Arden St. Ives series of contemporary m/m romance novels. I initially read this book last December, but since then, I’ve read the book a second time and I’m currently about ¾ of the way through the Audible edition. I think all of Hall’s books are 5 star reads, but this is one of my absolute favorites.

Arden St. Ives is about to graduate from St. Sebastian’s College (Oxford). As the story begins, Arden’s has agreed to participate in a telethon because his best friend has laryngitis. Everyone hangs up almost as soon as he says why he’s calling, but then Arden inadvertently calls Caspian Hart, a reclusive billionaire- and St. Sebastian’s alumnus. Caspian doesn’t hang up on him, and Arden invites Caspian to a fundraising dinner before he realizes exactly who Caspian is. Arden doesn’t expect Caspian to actually show up, but he does.

And thus begins the absolutely riveting story of Arden St. Ives and Caspian Hart: the bright-eyed university graduate and the emotionally detached billionaire. Read more

Standish by Erastes

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Standish is a historical fiction novel written by Erastes. I’d seen this book mentioned in various places, so when my library network purchased a digital copy, I knew it was finally time to check it out.

The first thing you need to know about Standish is that this is not a conventional m/m historical romance. If that is what you’re expecting, then you’re going to be disappointed.

Ambrose Standish is a sickly young man who lives in the English countryside with his sisters. They spend their days in genteel poverty in the shadow of Standish- the great country house that their grandfather lost in a card game.

Ambrose’s life changes forever when Rafe Goshawk returns from Europe to take up residence at Standish. Rafe is looking for a tutor for his son, and sees hiring Ambrose as a way to apologize for the whole losing-your-birthright thing.

There’s a minor amount of resisting forbidden urges, but eventually Ambrose and Rafe give in to temptation. How lovely! Sounds great! Happily ever after? Not so fast!  Read more

Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

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Hexbreaker is the first book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series of m/m paranormal historical romance novels. I’ve been a fan of Hawk’s Widdershins books, but after hearing about the Hexworld books in a Facebook group, I knew that I had to read them as well.

Hexbreaker takes place in the 1890s in an alternate version of New York City. Magic plays an important role in everyday life. Hexes are spells that can help or harm people. Witches are aided by familiars- assistants who have the ability to shift into an animal form. A witch needs to bond with a familiar in order to achieve their full potential, but bonding is a serious undertaking that can’t easily be undone.

Tom Halloran is a police officer with several big secrets. He has built a new life for himself, but his newest case is reminiscent of the terrible crime similar to the one that sent him into hiding, and he’s one of the only ones who can stop it from happening again.

Cicero is a cat familiar whose friend has been kidnapped. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to find his friend, including working with Tom, who has revealed that he is a hexbreaker. It’s unclear why somebody with a rare and powerful talent like that would be working as a nonmagical police officer, but they need to work quickly because Cicero’s friend is in grave danger. Read more

For Real by Alexis Hall

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For Real is the third book in Alexis Hall’s Spires series of contemporary m/m romance novels. This book was my first experience with Hall, and if you don’t want to read the rest of the review, all you need to know is that I loved this book so much that I spent the rest of the week buying just about everything else that Hall has written.

Laurie has been in a slump since his boyfriend broke up with him. They were together for over a dozen years, but the relationship ended eight years ago, and Laurie is still not over it. He’s been going through the motions of normalcy for years, and he feels extremely pessimistic when his friends drag him to a specialty club.

But something is different- Laurie meets Toby, who is only nineteen years old, but knows that he has dominant tendencies, despite never having been in a relationship that explored that dynamic. Read more

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance by Madeline J. Reynolds

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The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance was written by Madeline J. Reynolds. I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately, so I was excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Elias Caldwell is a young man in the Victorian era who simply doesn’t fit in. He sees no escape from the future his parents have laid out for him, but then his grandfather presents him with an opportunity: a pocket watch that allows him to time travel.

Elias ends up at an American boarding school, where he meets Tyler Forrester. Ty, an aspiring filmmaker, manages to catch Elias appearing out of thin air. The story is too fantastic to be believed, but Ty suspends his disbelief and agrees to help Elias acclimate to the 21st century.

It’s certainly a culture shock, but Elias quickly sees the benefits of modern life. He doesn’t feel as stifled as he did in his own era, and he is pleased to discover that it’s okay to be gay. Even better, he finds friendship and more with Ty.

Ty knows that sharing Elias’ story would almost definitely lead to his big breakthrough in the film world. But what about the ramifications of time travel being real? And what would happen to Elias if everybody knew that he was from over 100 years in the past?

This was a fun story. It unfolds from both Elias and Tyler’s points of view. The plot moves along at a fairly brisk pace, and sometimes it would have been beneficial to slow down for full effect. This is especially noticeable when examining the “relationship” that develops between Elias and Tyler. It’s almost instantaneous, and I would have loved to see the tension drawn out a little more.

I would recommend The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance. This will definitely appeal to the target demographic. Readers should know explanations behind the “science” of time travel are fairly light, but there’s a nice balance between the other elements of the plot. Overall, this is a fairly light book and a quick read. I’m looking forward to reading more from Reynolds in the future.

 

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

 

Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen

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Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) is a YA novel by L.C. Rosen. I found this book on the YA new release shelf at my town library. The TLDR version of this review is that I read this book in one day, and I loved it so much that I bought the Kindle edition AND the Audible editions as soon as I finished reading.

Jack is an openly gay high school student in Manhattan, and while he enjoys an active social life, it is not nearly as salacious as the rumors swirling around the NYC private school scene.

But still, because of his perceived expertise, his friend Jenna persuades him to a sex advice column for her blog based on readers’ questions. Jack is reluctant at first, but finds that he enjoys answering questions.

Around the same time, Jack finds a letter from a Secret Admirer in his locker. He doesn’t think much of it, but then he receives a second letter. And then a third. There’s a gradual shift in tone, but it quickly becomes clear that Jack is dealing with a stalker. Read more

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.

 

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