ARC Review: A Seditious Affair (K.J. Charles)

For the past year, gentleman official Dominic Frey meets his brute every Wednesday and embraces his submissive nature — of wanting to be dominated and controlled with pain and rough sex. For the past year, Radical idealist Silas Mison meets his Tory every Wednesday and gives in what they both what in a darker kink side of sex. They don’t share each other names. Until Dominic’s job to capture the pamphleteer who wrote sedition under the pseudonym of Jack Cade brings Dominic into Silas’s bookstore…

K.J. Charles opens this book with a bang! That first chapter alone, my GOSH *fans self* Personally, I thought this book was better than the A Fashionable Indulgence, the first book in this series, in both characters and story-line. See, I’m a very character-driven kind of reader. Once I feel emotional connection with characters and their inner struggle (of romance, of family, of life, of dreams, of everything) I will be easily pulled in by their story.

For me, Dominic and Silas have that compelling struggle — their job and principles basically make them enemies of sort. Dominic is a Home Office official. He believes in rules, order, and laws, because without that, it will be riot and chaos. Dominic doesn’t believe that people can govern themselves. People needs government. Meanwhile for forty-year-old Silas (I love older men in my romance, don’t you?), he wants to see people to have a choice, to have a voice. He will fight for that, writing his pamphletes, sharing his thoughts to the people of his class. On the other hand, they also have their Wednesdays, where they connect intimately (despite the strong D/s nature) and not just intellectually, where they start to care for one another in the matter of the heart. I found both their politics and sex to be stimulating and captivating at the same time.

Then, we also have the backdrop of the Cato Street Conspiracy as part of the story, which for me was more exhilarating than Julius trying to teach Harry about the importance of garments and the color puce in book #1 (yes, the PUCE made strong impression *laugh*). Although I’m not very much aware about the event (thank you Wikipedia for all your help!) but I found the progress to that final climax of the Spencean Philanthropists’ attempt to murder all the British cabinet ministers and Prime Minister to add the thrill of the story. Even if sometimes, the real history/politic part still feels a little too distant for an Indonesian like me (and my eyes started to glaze over) but I was literally biting my nails near the end because I fear for Silas’ fate, him being friends and part of this group. I know that this is romance, and it will end happily, but I still couldn’t stop worrying. It is a proof of the mighty talent of Ms. K.J. Charles, to make me feel so involved and cared with the life of this fictional characters.

Simply put, I found A Seditious Affair to be a mesmerizing and satisfying romantic fiction entwined with real historical events. Despite the differences of their social class economy or the dominant/submissive nature of their sex life, Dominic and Silas are both strong characters, equals in every other thing that matters. It is one of my best reading experience of the year for sure. Now, I cannot wait until April next year for the conclusion of the trilogy, in which it will be with delight to see how Cyprian finally takes that stick out of Richard’s (lovely) arse *laugh*

RATING: 4.5 out of 5
4.5

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:
25241403Title: A Seditious Affair
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Society of Gentlemen #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 251 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: December 15, 2015

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ARC Review: Status Update (Annabeth Albert)

I discovered Annabeth Albert late last year when I read her short stories contribution to a couple of anthologies. I find that she writes romance that I enjoy. While not all of her stories are winners but I tend to mark her releases as auto-read. Sometimes I don’t even check the blurb for it. The same with this one. I saw the title, the author name, and a dog on the cover, and I just knew that I needed to read it.

Well, Status Update is another Albert’s book on my winner column. The moment that 25-year-old Adrian Gottlieb and his dog Pixel get stranded after his six-month of a boyfriend leaves him at snowy RV campground, and the 35-year-old geoarchaeologist professor Noah Walters along with his people-challenged dog Ulysses offer Adrian to stay for the night — I was hooked. I couldn’t help it; it had the idea of close-space intimacy and a promise of road-trip (because of course Noah also offers to drive Adrian home) which I always love.

The winning factor for me in this case was Noah. Sure, Adrian is the more outgoing between the two. He is the one who flirts first, who gets into Noah’s space, who pushes Noah’s boundary, and in the end challenges Noah about his way of life while offering the love, understanding, and support that Noah needs … but Noah is the one grabbing my heart. Maybe because I saw myself in Noah a number of times.

Whenever Noah admits that he is not very comfortable around a lot of people, that he is the world ‘worst comforter’ (I also don’t do well with extreme emotions) … it felt like Noah and I shared some traits. Because of that, Noah’s inner struggle to deal with his sexuality, his fear, his doubts … ALL of those spoke volumes for me.

I couldn’t help feeling jubilant with how Noah progressed in the book. From being scared to take that step of admitting his sexuality to his family and his workplace. To take those possibilities. I was so proud of Noah that I had tears in my eyes when he made that significant call to his sister. I loved Adrian but Noah was the soul of this book for me.

The book had several sex scenes but I wasn’t bothered that much. Duly noted, I skimmed them but I thought they didn’t overpower the characters and most importantly it didn’t outshine the plot nor the romance. I did HATE the “baby” endearment though (my ‘thing’ not yours), thankfully I could just deleted those words to make my reading experience bearable.

I did think that near the end, the story became a bit preachy with the kind of stereotypical thinking from the Christian school that Noah works at — complete with the whole ‘sinner’ and ‘giving in to your demons’ speech. I was expecting that the book can rise above that.

However, in overall, I found Status Update to be charming and sweet. A definite treat.

PS: I must complain about the lack of Pixel in the cover though!! Why just one dog! We have two dogs in the story!!

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:
26162169Title: Status Update (gaymers #1)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 64,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: December 07, 2015