Tag Archives: m/m romance

Review of Witchmark and Stormsong, by C.L. Polk

I purchased a copy of Witchmark (by C.L. Polk) some time ago but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. Then Netgalley offered a copy of the sequel, Stormsong. I accepted a copy so I could read the whole Kingston Cycle together. How could I not want to with those covers? So gorgeous.


Description of Witchmark:

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen. Description of Witchmark:In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

Review:

I don’t know why I held onto this so long, reluctant to read it for some reason. But it was a mistake. I really enjoyed it. Admittedly, I was confused in the beginning. It took a while for the magic and political system to untangle itself enough to make sense. Once it did, however, I was hooked. Then I was outraged. Then I felt vindicated.

The world is an interesting one, with some electronic gadgets (run on aether), early cars, carriages, and complex bicycle etiquette. Men and women seemed to hold equal positions of power (and victimization). And, while not deeply explored, there appear to be several species of ‘human.’ For a small book, it packed a lot in.

I loved Miles and Turner as characters and appreciated the difficult position Grace was in. Though, I only appreciated that in the end. At the middle mark, I was wondering why Miles wouldn’t just let her die. (That would be my extended moment of outrage on his behalf.)

All in all, I’m really looking forward to reading book two.


Description of Stormsong:

Dame Grace Hensley helped her brother Miles undo the atrocity that stained her nation, but now she has to deal with the consequences. With the power out in the dead of winter and an uncontrollable sequence of winter storms on the horizon, Aeland faces disaster. Grace has the vision to guide her parents to safety, but a hostile queen and a ring of rogue mages stand in the way of her plans. There’s revolution in the air, and any spark could light the powder. What’s worse, upstart photojournalist Avia Jessup draws ever closer to secrets that could topple the nation, and closer to Grace’s heart.

Can Aeland be saved without bloodshed? Or will Kingston die in flames, and Grace along with it?

Review:

I must admit that I didn’t love this as much as Witchmark. It was still enjoyable, mind you, but not as good IMO. The reasons being that it ended quite abruptly—with a lot still in the air (pending you don’t simply assume everything will work out as planned, nothing else has)—and I didn’t feel the romance AT ALL.

The problem with the romance was that though you know in advance who the romantic interest is (it’s in the blurb), for half the book any affections she showed Grace felt like manipulation to get a story. I didn’t believe for a moment a woman as astute as Grace would see all the touching and soft words as anything else, given their limited acquaintance and the circumstances. What’s more, when later Grace makes decisions, stating they are to be with Jess, it feels like a leap. She wants to be like Jess, her brother, and Tristan. She likes who she is with them. But that’s not the same as being in love with someone, especially since it’s not limited to one person. So, I didn’t make the connection to love, be it romantic or otherwise. All of which left me pretty cold on the romance front. I liked them both, but I didn’t feel a romance bloomed between them.

All in all, however, I’d be happy to read more in there series (if there is any) and certainly more of Polk’s writing.

Review of Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (Big Bad Wolf #4) by Charlie Adhara

I received a copy of Charlie Adhara‘s Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing through Netgalley. I reviewed book one here: Wolf at the Door. Books two and three (Wolf at Bay and Thrown to the Wolves) I read by only commented on, didn’t actually review. Honestly, as a fourth book, I don’t have a lot to say about this one. But I’m posting all the same.

Description from Goodreads:

Agent Cooper Dayton is almost relieved to get a phone call from his former boss at the Bureau of Special Investigations. It means a temporary reprieve from tensions created by house hunting with Oliver Park, his partner both in work and in life. Living together in a forever home is exactly what Cooper wants. He’s just not keen on working out the details.

With a former alpha werewolf missing, Cooper and Park are loaned to the BSI to conduct the search at a secluded mountain retreat. The agents will travel to the resort undercover…as a couple in need of counseling.

The resort is picturesque, the grounds are stunning and the staff members are all suspicious as hell.

With a long list of suspects and danger lurking around every cabin, Cooper should be focusing on the case. But he’s always been anxious about the power dynamics in his relationship with Park, and participating in the couples’ activities at the retreat brings it all to the surface. A storm is brewing, though, and Cooper and Park must rush to solve the case before the weather turns. Or before any more guests—or the agents themselves—end up dead.

Review:

I think this has been my favorite of the series so far. I have always loved Cooper and Park. But here we finally see them be sweet and loving. They are so wonderfully supportive of one another, without ever being saccharine. I look forward to reading the next one NEXT YEAR.

Review of The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, by K.J. Charles

I purchased an ebook copy of K.J. CharlesThe Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal and then later bought the audiobook. In the end, I listened to it.

Description from Goodreads:

A story too secret, too terrifying—and too shockingly intimate—for Victorian eyes.

A note to the Editor

Dear Henry,

I have been Simon Feximal’s companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.

You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.

So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.

I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.

Robert Caldwell
September 1914

Review:

So good. So So good.

I bought this audiobook some time ago on the strength of being written by K.J. Charles. Then put off listening to it, uncertain if it was actually a series of short stories (a format I’m not overly fond of). As it turns out it is a series of cases, but there is enough of a plot flowing through them that I still consider it one story. And I loved that story! Robert and Simon ae characters I could get behind and the reader could absolutely feel how they became important to one another. But mostly I just adored the narrative style. The way Robert told the story. No doubt part of my love was because Gary Furlong did such a wonderful job bringing it to life. But it was such a good story, to begin with. I really struggled with wanting to listen more and get to the end and listen less so it never actually ended.