Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

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Wayward Son came out in September, but I am woefully behind with my book reviews. My middle schooler and I actually had the chance to meet her when she came to the Boston area, and that was an amazing evening.

I was excited when I first heard there was going to be a sequel to Carry On, but I’ll admit to some skepticism when I found out that Simon and Baz and Penny were going on an American road trip. But my fears were unfounded; it turns out that the United States was exactly where the gang needed to go.

Readers should start with Carry On in order to understand the plot, but needless to say, everyone is trying to move on from the events of Carry On, and this is something Simon has been struggling with. What does the Chosen One do once the job is done? Penny decides that they all need to go visit Agatha in San Diego, and what starts out as a visit turns into a rescue mission. Along the way, they encounter a variety of personalities: some are friendly, and some are hostile—but the fate of the world is at stake again. Read more

Jackdaw by KJ Charles

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Jackdaw takes place in Charles’ Charm of Magpies universe series of Victorian-era queer paranormal romance novels. It isn’t a strict perquisite to read the first three books in the series, but readers will benefit from a better understanding of the larger story arc.

Jonah Pastern played a supporting role in Flight of Magpies, the third Charm of Magpies book. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will say that Jonah appeared as one of the villains of the piece, so right away, it’s interesting to see him as the protagonist in a romance.

Once upon a time, Jonah met Ben, and they were very happy together.

Until they weren’t. Read more

Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall

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This is the second book in Hall’s Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator series. The Kate series first appeared a few years ago, but has been republished by Carina Press.

Readers should start with the first book—Iron & Velvet—which introduces Kate and her world, but I’ll offer a brief spoiler-free TLDR for readers who want to read this review. Kate lives in contemporary London, all the fictional supernatural entities are real, and just like ordinary people, they require the services of a private investigator.

Shadows picks up three months after Iron, and concerns the fallout from the end of Iron, as well as a new threat. What starts as a search for an almost-hookup’s missing brother escalates into something bigger, and once again Kate is forced to deal with vampires, werewolves, faeries, and more— when all she really wants to do is relax at home and spend time with Julian, her girlfriend.

I should mention that Julian used to be a nun… and that she’s an 800-year-old vampire… 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

Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk

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Hexmaker is the second book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series of m/m paranormal historical fiction novels. I’m pretty sure I started reading this almost immediately after finishing Hexbreaker– the first book in the series.

Dr. Owen Yates appeared in Hexbreaker, and he’s ready to take on a more central role. Owen comes from one of the wealthiest families in the city, but he enjoys working for the magical police force as a forensic henchman. He first crosses paths with fox shifter Malachi when the latter is implicated in a murder. Malachi didn’t do it, and Owen is probably the only person who can help him prove his innocence. Read more

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.

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

The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles

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The Magpie Lord is the first book in KJ Charles’ A Charm of Magpies series of Victorian-era m/m paranormal fantasy romance novels. I have read and enjoyed many of Charles’ books, so when I saw that I could purchase Kindle editions of the trilogy and pair them with audio for a ridiculously low price, I jumped at the opportunity.

Lucien Vaudrey expected to spend the rest of his life in China. But the deaths of his father and older brother mean that he has inherited an earldom. As if returning to a country he hates is not bad enough, Lucien finds himself plagued with something beyond his control.

Stephen Day is a magical practitioner. His family has a long history of acrimony with Lucien’s, but he still agrees to investigate the matter. He does not, however, expect to find Lucien’s home surrounded by malicious magic. Nor does he expect to be attracted to a man that he is supposed to hate. The plot against Lucien runs deeper than either of them expected, and it will consume them both if Stephen fails to find a way to stop it.

Read more

Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch

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Salt Magic, Skin Magic was written by Lee Welch. This is a Victorian-era m/m romance novel with elements of fantasy and magic. I found out about this book in one of my Facebook groups, and it sounded like the perfect book for me.

Lord Thornby had a pleasant life in London, but after being summoned home by his father to their remote estate, he finds that no matter what he does, he is unable to leave. He is physically trapped on the estate with no hope and no one to help him.

John Blake is a trained magician who arrives at the estate as a favor to a friend. Thornby’s young stepmother believes that she is the victim of dark magic and that Thornby is the one cursing her. Blake is prepared to eliminate the threat, but he realizes that while the house most certainly is cursed, Thornby is as much of a victim as his stepmother. Read more

Mages & Mechanisms by Devin Harnois

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Mages & Mechanisms was written by Devin Harnois. This is a m/m romance novel set in a steampunk fantasy world. I picked up this book on Kindle Unlimited after seeing a few recommendations for it on Facebook.

Leander is a gifted craftsman, but business has not been very prosperous lately. He decides to hire a mage to bring his mechanical creations to life, and as soon as Jak arrives at the shop, it’s clear that there’s no one better suited for the job. Jak is quite different from anyone Leander has ever met before, and their odd partnership yields spectacular results. Their creations catch the eye of a wealthy aristocrat who offers a large lifechanging amount of money to build a mechanical dragon. They work so well together, but this would be their most ambitious project to date. And as if that weren’t challenging enough, Leander and Jak are finding it increasingly difficult to deny the attraction building between them. Read more