ARC Review: An Unnatural Vice (K.J. Charles)

An Unnatural Vice is the second book in K.J. Charles’ Sins of the Cities series; featuring Justin Lazarus, the Seer of London who is famous with his séances, and Nathaniel Roy, son of archbishop (he has left church though) who becomes a journalist. If I am not mistaken, the timeline starts almost at the time around the ending of An Unseen Attraction. Nathaniel himself is a friend of Clem, one of the main characters in book #1.

Nathaniel is dead-set in exposing Justin’s tricks and lies. He thinks that Justin is an amoral man, who makes fortune upon people’s griefs. However he can’t dismiss the attraction he feels for Justin, first time he feels that way for another man since the death of his partner five years previously.

I thought this book was slightly a bit lagging in the beginning with Charles setting up the background, confrontation, and burning attraction between Nathaniel and Justin. While Charles always EXCELS in writing enemies-to-lovers / people with different background — I found myself at times a bit bored with Nathaniel’s inner conflict of being attracted to Justin.

I did loved Justin though — what can I say, Charles’ morally ambiguous characters are always attractive for me *laugh*. Justin doesn’t regret his occupation. People who can afford his séances are not from poor class anyway.

The book picks up its pace when murder and mayhem happens, Justin finds himself in the path of a killer who takes no for an answer, and he seeks refugees at Nathaniel’s. This was when I started to feel fully engaged with the two as a couple.

I loved those times with the two of them conversed about their lives and expectations. My heart sometimes went over for Justin when his confidence was dwindling — when he questioned Nathaniel’s motive for helping him. Because Justin really did take advantages of people and he wondered why Nathaniel was able to look past that.

Aside from the romance, An Unnatural Vice also shapes up the mystery around the missing heir that will be fully concluded in book #3. I, for one, look forward to that one.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

 

11613309

 

 

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:

Title: An Unnatural Vice
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: June 6, 2017

Advertisements

ARC Review: A Gathering Storm (Joanna Chambers)

It has been more than a year since I last read anything by Joanna Chambers … so when I saw this one being listed by Riptide at Netgalley, I requested it without any second thought.

Sir Edward “Ward” Fitzwilliam comes to Porthkennack to continue his work — to scientifically experiment and to prove how the plane of spirits can interact with the real world — after his reputation is shattered among fellow scientists in London. In order to do this, Ward needs subjects, and he hopes with his money people in Porthkennack will be willing to participate. Ward doesn’t count on how people distrust him since his work involves electricity.

Nicholas “Nick” Hearn is a land steward to the Roscarrock family. He is a half Romany Gypsy (from his mother’s side) and Ward thinks Nick is perfect for his experiment. At first Nick refuses. However, after a slight misunderstanding — Ward sees Nick with another man; Nick thinks Ward is going to blackmail him upon this knowledge — Nick agrees to become Ward’s subject for a limited time …

Oh how I adore this story. It reminded me again how much I miss Chambers’ writing, characters, and stories ♥. This is a classic opposites-attract, in my humble opinion.

Ward is a scientist but he also comes from privilege, so some things are easy for him (like purchaing the land for his experiments, or offering money to attract the locals). At the same time, he is also sheltered due to a grave illness so Ward is not the most sociable person. For me sometimes he is either too ‘nerdy with his passion towards science (though nothing wrong with that!) or unable to get social cues.

Nick, on the other hand, is a half Gypsy and a bastard. Some people never really let Nick forget about that. He has a complicated relationship with old Godfrey Roscarrock — his employer, landlord, and to an extent, his family after Nick’s father left and his mother died. Nick distrusts Ward on sight and he feels that he is roped into agreement due to blackmail.

But then Nick gets to know more about Ward and vice versa, and how I devoured the progress. I loved their sessions. I loved how they exchanged things about their lives. I loved them together, period.

I also loved reading about them individually, these two men with their different baggage. Ward is still dealing with grief and unable to let his twin brother go, even if he tries to hide it by working on his project. While Nick tries to find a place he calls home as he feels like he never truly belongs in Porthkennack. Even if he loves the land.

I did have slight problem with the pacing. Somewhere in between Ward and Nick building their tentative relationship, to knowing each other better, to acting up on their attractions, to realizing their true feelings for one another … I felt sometimes the pace was off. Especially during the part where they go to Truro to see the séance all the way to the ending. It felt rather rushed for that moment of love declaration.

Still, it ends in a lovely way that made my heart soared *smile*

I think fans of both Joanna Chambers and MM Historical Romance in general will not miss this one, for sure. Next time, Joanna, don’t stay away too long, please?

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

11613309

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:

Title: A Gathering Storm
Author: Joanna Chambers
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Word Count: 82,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 17, 2017

ARC Review: An Unseen Attraction (K.J. Charles)

First book of a new Victorian series from K.J. Charles … that introduction made me really, truly excited. It’s a fact that I find Charles’ books to be solid read and most of the times, I find them truly enjoyable.

An Unseen Attraction is both a romance and a mystery, set in London at early 1870’s. Personally, I thought Charles was able to balance it both pretty well. The book introduces us to lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer and preserver (or taxidermist, in modern term) Rowley Green – one of Clem’s lodgers.

I honestly thought Clem as a very interesting character. See, Clem first came to me as a little slow. He gets easily nervous with too many stimuli (which is why he avoids crowd). He is gentle, kind, and avoids confrontations with others. When Clem goes up against a ‘louder’ men, he easily stutters.

However, Clem seems to flourish when he is around his friends at the Jack and Knave (a club for men who likes other men). And when it comes to the bedroom … Clem is the more dominant compared to Rowley. Even if during their first kiss, Clem is the one who forget to breathe! But as their relationship goes further, Rowley is the one more submissive — and interestingly Rowley also seems to be the one with less experience.

So you see, Clem’s contradictory intrigued the hell out of me! I thought Clem has more layers compared to Rowley; whose job is probably is the most interesting part about him. Clem is more than meets the eyes …

As for the mystery part, it circles around the murder of another lodger with connection to Clem’s family members. The ending of this one is a bit of a cliffhanger; we find answers but it the mystery develops into something bigger, which is why I think it will be the arc of the whole trilogy (the title of the third book, most especially, is the biggest hint).

UNFORTUNATELY, Clem’s way of handling issues that comes to him, especially in regards to the murder and his bully of a brother frustrated the HELL out of me. This influenced my enjoyment of reading the book because most of the time I wanted to STRANGLE Clem for being too naive and trusting. He refuses to think that there might be something amiss happening. In this particular case, Clem is like a child who puts hands on his ears and refuses to listen while people tells him about his mistakes.

I also admit that I was getting uncomfortable reading about the details of Rowley’s job. The part where Charles wrote about the stuffing process, it creeped me out so much I had to put the book down and switched to another title for a while. I think if I watch the process with my own eyes, I will get nightmares for weeks!

So I have to settle with 3-stars this time. Nonetheless, rest assured, I WILL be there for the rest of the series!!

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

11613309

 

 

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:

unseenTitle: An Unseen Attraction
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #1
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 247 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US
Release Date: February 21, 2017

ARC Review: The Wrong Kind of Angel (Ruby Moone)

Captain Charles Farrington has settled for the life of lonely man when a knock on his door on Christmas Eve brings a handsome young man running from trouble into his door. Harry Valentine knows that if he tells Charles about his secret, he will bring danger to his angel’s house and he’s not sure if there is a future in them afterwards.

I liked both men okay – Charles for opening his house to save a man in need, and Harry for getting into trouble because he also tries to save another young man. Both are noble in their own way. I would prefer for the resolution to be neater because I thought that the villain didn’t get what he deserved. But at least Harry finally gets his happy end with Charles.

Oh, and I really could do less with the numerous times Harry calling Charles “my angel”. Sorry, I’m not into too many occasions of endearments being used *shrugs*

While I wasn’t in favor for the short timeline for these two men to fall in love (I think it only happens within a day or two) but in the core of it The Wrong Kind of Angel is a sweet heartwarming story that fit the mold of holiday spirit.

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

11613309

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:


thewrongkindofangelTitle:
 The Wrong Kind of Angel
Author: Ruby Moone
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Word Count: 22,280 words
Publisher: JMS-Books
Purchase Link: Amazon US, All Romance Ebooks
Release Date: December 17, 2016

ARC Review: Wanted, A Gentleman (K.J. Charles)

First of all, I have to say BRAVO to Riptide Publishing, K.J. Charles, and anyone involved in making the blurb for Wanted, A Gentleman . Seriously, it is definitely one of the most creative blurbs I have ever seen!! I love the sub title, Or, Virtue Over-Rated; which kinds of giving a clue about what the story is all about, really.

The gist of the story is this: Martin St. Vincent ropes the help of Matrimonial Advertiser’s scribbler Theodore Swann in order to locate the daughter of Martin’s former master who is going to elope with a questionable gentleman. Then we have a rush of carriage pursuing the couple — and of course Martin and Theo getting attracted towards one another in between.

Since it was a novella length, I thought things happened pretty fast between both men. The relationship wasn’t as ‘deep‘ as I preferred it to be. There is a huge twist around 2/3rd of the book that I didn’t see coming. While in retrospect, after I finished reading, it sort of fit with the characters, I couldn’t help thinking that the twist made the story felt … well, less romantic for me.

Personally, I thought that the relationship felt like more like a business trade after that. I couldn’t help that maybe they getting together was pretty much helped by the pleasure of the flesh rather than attraction of minds and virtues.

But then again, maybe like the blurb says, virtue is over-rated

Charles’ writing is as delicious as ever; unfortunately Wanted, A Gentleman is not one of my top favorites from her. Even if it was still a quick entertaining read.

 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
35

 

11613309

 

 

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:


Title:
Wanted, A Gentleman
Author: K.J. Charles
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 157 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: January 9th, 2017

ARC Review: A Gentleman’s Position (K.J. Charles)

A Gentleman’s Position is the last book of K.J. Charles’ outstanding Society of Gentlemen trilogy; this time bringing the happy ending to Lord Richard Vane who is in a sense the patron of the Ricardians and his loyal valet, redhaired David Cyprian. For the past 4.5 years, David has been harboring sexual attraction towards Lord Richard, without completely knowing that the feelings are mutual. The intimate setting of a valet and his master just adds the delicious tension between the two men.

While in the first two books the historical context of Cato Street Conspiracy plays a significant role in pushing the other couple together, A Gentleman’s Position has rather different situation. The book primarily sets after the event that puts Silas Mason into Richard’s household; thus there aren’t really any urgent matters that Richard or David as his right arm have to deal with, at least until halfway of the story. Because of that, readers are initially treated with the passionate push and pull between Richard and David — especially after our foxy is bravely admit his feelings first. In which that nitwit Richard rejected due to his firm stance over relationship across social classes, between the privileged and less privileged.

I swear, I spent a number of times fuming over Richard and the giant stick up his ass!! This is probably why I will never be a good candidate for the upper classes. I am not good in following those unwritten rules about being a good gentleman (or in my case, lady). Of course, Richard’s situation is added to the fact of forbidden punishable relationship of that era regarding sodomites, but still, his views and values regarding the working class are too rigid and too narrow-minded. I was very proud of David, though, for reminding Richard that not being a gentleman doesn’t mean that he isn’t worthy. You GO, David!

As always, Charles’ writing is excellent. The second half of the book felt like a suspense thriller, with our gentlemen with David’s help trying to find a way to save few of their members from threats of blackmail and accusation of sedition. It was highly engaging and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It’s a wonderful and satisfying ending to the trilogy. Although I won’t mind if Charles offers updates about these characters in the future; short Christmas codas maybe? *laugh*

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:

25893424Title: A Gentleman’s Position
Author: K. J. Charles
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 246 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: April 5, 2016

ARC Review: Rag and Bone (KJ Charles)

Graphomancer Crispin Tredarloe and waste-man Ned Hall first appeared in a short story A Queer Trade (sold separately for $0.99 now). I am not sure whether reading that first is necessary but maybe it will give readers insights of how Crispin and Ned met for the first time. It might also makes readers understand why Ned really doesn’t like magic.

Unfortunately, because I’ve also read that one, I was a bit annoyed with how the story dragged for the first half. Crispin and Ned argued about Crispin wanting to learn magic and Ned not trusting magic. Crispin had problem with his magic because he used to do it one way, which was the wrong way, and he struggled to do it right this time. For Crispin, magic was who he was and what he could do and it was frustrating for him, not being able to do it as he was told. While for Ned, magic was dangerous, he saw evidences of it, and he didn’t trust magicians. Even if he knew that Crispin could do good with his magic.

So yes, the arguments (and sometimes Crispin’s whining) were tiresome for me..

At least after half way, the story picked up quite nicely when Ned’s life was in danger. However, I also thought the villain in this case was a little bit predictable. It was like he was using a huge neon sign pointing at himself with the words, “I’m up to no good!“, which took out the fun of trying to figure out who was responsible for the death of few rag ‘n’ boners, including Ned’s own neighbor.

For me, this one didn’t have the same magic as the other stories in the Magpie Lord universe, even compared to Crispin and Ned’s own short story. Nonetheless, I look forward to more adventures of Crispin and Ned. The offer from Stephen Day at the end of this book definitely opened possibilities for these two men.

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

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:

27210949Title: Rag and Bone
Author: KJ Charles
Genre: MM Historical / Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 51,090
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: March 01, 2016