A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles

A Fashionable IndulgenceA Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles

Series: Society of Gentlemen, Book 1
Published by: Loveswept on August 11, 2015
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)


Harry Vane is a freedom fighter, seen as a radical, pushing back against the monarchy in favor of democracy. It’s what he’s known his whole life. His parents were leaders in the movement, and it follows that he would carry on their legacy.

But there’s a secret of Harry’s past that he doesn’t know. He is descended from nobility. And he’s the heir to a title and a fortune. Those aren’t things that Harry ever set out for in life, but it does seem better than being arrested–or worse–if he refuses to go along with it and someone looks more closely at his activities.

Julius Norreys is assigned to help Harry make his way into society life. He’s to teach him how to dress, how to act, and who to know. Although it quickly becomes clear that Julius may be more interested in working with Harry on how to undress. And Harry seems happy to oblige.

But there are a few obstacles in Julius and Harry’s path. For one, Harry’s grandfather expects him to marry the woman of his choosing. And Julius has made it clear he won’t be kept on the side. And there’s also the issue of Harry’s past–and his radical friends–that he just can’t seem to escape.


I have become quite the fan of historicals by K.J. Charles. There’s just something about the way the characters and the setting are written that pulls me right in. I can’t seem to put the books down (indeed, I read this one in one sitting).

This start of a new series is no different. There’s a rich world with a social context. There’s strong character backstory and even some unexpected conflict. I certainly give this one a strong recommendation.


Flux by Kim Fielding


Flux by Kim Fielding

Series: Ennek Trilogy, Book 2
Published by: DSP Publications on September 6, 2016 (re-release)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)


Ennek took a huge risk in saving Miner from Stasis. Even the son of the Chief must obey the laws of the land. But the thought of Miner spending more time suspended in a dreamless sleep troubled him too much. Of course, so did the idea of becoming the puppet of his mentor, a man who wished to see Ennek on the throne so he could control him.
And now, Ennek and Miner find themselves on the run. Their mission is to get as far away from Praesidium as possible. What they don’t realize right away, though, is that they may be in more danger from those they come across than anyone who might be following them. And if they have any hope of staying together, they will both need to be strong–in mind, body, and spirit.


This is an interesting follow up to the first book. The previous installment took place mostly in the castle, and largely in Ennek’s room. Here, we’re on quite a journey, both by land and by sea. And the cast of characters that Ennek and Miner run into are more varied, and in some cases more unstable, than anyone they’ve encountered before.
I did enjoy the journey aspect of this story quite a bit. And the uncertainty that Ennek and Miner face was rather apparent as the story went along. I did feel like they kept playing out the same scenario in different ways, however, so I would have liked to see just a bit more variation.
That said, it’s an enjoyable m/m fantasy romance, and I look forward to picking up the final installment in the series.
[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Published by: Riverhead Books on January 13, 2015
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)


“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts. Who was it said that following your heart is a good thing? It is pure egotism, a selfishness to conquer all.”

Rachel’s life is not in a place where she’d like it to be. She’s divorced from her husband, who found a new woman while they were still married. She was terminated from her job. Living with a friend, she’s trying to get things back on track. But until then, she goes through the motions, taking the train into London each day, staying there for the work day, and returning home.

But the train goes right past her old neighborhood, making it hard to leave the memories behind. Interestingly, though, it’s not Rachel’s husband and his new wife that catches her attention. It’s a new couple who has moved in down the street. Rachel sees them almost every day, and the love they share for each other is clear to her. They are, as she describes them, a perfect couple.

One one of her trips, however, Rachel sees something that shatters her image of this couple. It hits home in a way that she never expected, and she finds herself returning to her old neighborhood, despite her husband’s pleas that she stay away. But drunken courage and impaired judgment prevail. When Rachel wakes the next morning, everything changes. The woman from Rachel’s perfect couple has gone missing. The husband is a suspect. And while Rachel can’t exactly remember what she saw, she knows he wouldn’t hurt his wife. She’s certain of it. But should she rely on what is nothing more than an incomplete memory? Should she trust her instinct, even if she’s not sure why her belief is so strong? And if the police don’t believe her, why should she believe herself?


I enjoy a good mystery. I adore a well-written thriller. And I love stories where we, as readers, get the chance to really understand the protagonist. And The Girl on the Train is all those things and more. It’s a well-paced, thought-provoking read that is deceptive in that it tackles a number of issues that one may not expect when looking at the synopsis or the story from a very high-level perspective.

There’s a part of me that wants to list through the various issues, but I also want to be mindful of spoiling what I consider is one of the best aspects of this story. But I think I can summarize by at least saying that one key theme is that relationships aren’t always what they seem from the outside. And they also aren’t always what they seem to the people in them. To know someone and to trust them is to have faith in both our own judgment and perceptions. It’s a matter of giving ourselves over to something and someone else and hoping we made the right decision.

My only qualm with this book is that I started to suspect the resolution a little earlier than I think the author intended. As I watched the final clues roll out, I had already placed a very high suspicion on who I thought was responsible. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; I just really like when an author can keep me guessing until right near the end. But there was still some new information that came out as the last few scenes played out.

There’s no question for my why this became such a hit so quickly. And I am absolutely looking forward to seeing the film adaptation.

The Midnight Gardener by R.G. Thomas

The Midnight Gardener

The Midnight Gardener by R.G. Thomas

Series: The Town of Superstition, Book 1
Published by: Harmony Ink Press on November 12, 2015
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Thaddeus Cane’s mother died when he was a baby. He’s spent as much of his life as he can remember with his father, moving so frequently from town to town that he’s never really made any friends. But when they arrive in Superstition, Thaddeus hopes they might be in a place where they can stay for a while.

One evening, Thaddeus looks out his window and sees a young man tending to the garden next door. There’s something intriguing about him, and Thaddeus finds himself paying attention whenever he sees the man out there–though he’s curiously only out at night. And when Thaddeus finds himself running from a wild animal a few nights later, he crawls over the fence and into the presence of Teofil. From there, things begin to get really strange and Thaddeus soon learns there is much more to his life and his history than he ever could have imagined.

I love young adult fantasy. Toss in a light m/m element, and I’ll read it up as easily as drinking a cup of tea. While this one is a bit slow in the beginning (though it’s necessary for readers to connect to Thaddeus), it picks up quickly. And the backstory is definitely very interesting.

I look forward to the next book in this series. I need to know what happens between Thaddeus and Teofil, and I also need to know if Thaddeus and crew are successful in their quest.

Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall

Waiting for the Flood

Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall

Published by: Riptide Publishing on February 23, 2015
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Edwin Tully is still getting over his breakup with Marius. Still living in the house they chose together, he hasn’t been able to move on in the past two years. But the annual flooding of his neighborhood might just be enough to make him reexamine his life this time around. As he bands together with his neighbor to make it through, for now all he can hope for is limited water damage.

Adam Dacre is a civil engineer dispatched to help minimize damage from the flooding. He expects it to be a challenge, but he never expected to run into Edwin. And the moment he does, Adam feels drawn to the man, though he’s not aware of the pain that Edwin still carries with him.

Edwin has to admit to himself that he likes Adam. But it can be hard to open yourself up to someone when you’ve been so closed off for so long. Can Edwin reach a place where he’s ready for something new before Adam leaves his life forever? And does Adam possess the patience that Edwin needs from him?

I really liked the way that each chapter started with a description of one of the rooms of the house. Since part of the story is watching Edwin work through some of the grief for his last relationship that he’s still carrying with him, I feel it helps readers get into the moment right there with him.

Part of me wonders about the way things play out in the end. If Edwin has been brooding for two years, I’d be skeptical about it all turning around in a single night. But it may just be that we as readers don’t see everything he’s been working through before the book begins.

Bear Among the Books by T.J. Masters

Bear Among the Books

Bear Among the Books by T.J. Masters

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 2, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Ben Thompson has been a bit lonely since the loss of his partner, but he’s invested his passion into the library he manages. A lover of books, he enjoys being able to share them with his community. And he has a great team of staff to work with. When a new young man shows up at the library, piquing the interest of Ben’s shrewd assistant, Ben finds himself more than curious. What’s even more interesting is that the new patron spends hours in the library, but he never checks out a book.

Jason Barnes loves books. So he relishes his daily trips to the library, where he finds so many readily at this disposal. But there’s something that makes Jason a unique library patron–he can’t read. It’s not something he’s proud of, and he’s found many ways to cope so most people don’t even know. But when the head librarian shows him some kindness and manages to figure it out, Jason decides to let Ben give him some lessons. It’s just that literacy skill isn’t Jason’s only secret. And as the two become fast friends–and maybe more–Jason wonders if Ben can handle Jason’s past and who he’s become as a result.

The obvious issue this book throws out from the beginning is age. Ben is forty-eight; Jason is nineteen. But the author doesn’t dwell on it. It’s addressed–some people would definitely have an issue with that age gap–but it’s handled respectfully and with tact. And even if you might have an issue with that as a reader, I think you’d find that it’s not as big of a deal in this book as it may seem.

Where things get more challenging is Jason’s history of abuse and the issues of his illiteracy. It sounds like what Jason went through was pretty horrific, yet it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal in the end. And while I understand everyone works through their issues differently, it just seems odd to me that there’s not as much worry or discussion on Ben’s part as I would expect before they jump into any sort of a relationship. And while people can find many ways to hide that they can’t read, there are moments when I wonder how Jason would have made it as far as he did in school without anyone noticing. Unless they did and didn’t care. But the author doesn’t really give us that, so it’s hard to tell.

Slight issues aside, this is an interesting read. The supporting cast of characters is incredible. Daisy, the shrewd assistant, went from someone I didn’t like to one of my favorite characters by the end. And Alice, Jason’s grandmother, is a riot all her own. I suppose that helps balance out some of the heavy stuff Jason is going through.

An Unsettled Range by Andrew Grey

An Unsettled Range

An Unsettled Range by Andrew Grey

Series: Stories from the Range, Book 3
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 8, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Liam Southard may be at the end of the line. He ran away from his abusive father for the promise of a job. But when he got there, he was sent away. And he hasn’t been able to find work since. Hungry, thirsty, exhausted, and overheated, he passes out on the side of the road. But he’s fortunate when two men find him and bring him home to get cleaned up and back on his feet. He’s even more fortunate when he learns they’re willing to give him a job on their ranch.

Troy Gardner needs some time alone. So he’s gone to his uncle’s cabin to live with his thoughts for a while. When he’s startled by a young man wandering onto the property, he turns a gun on him and tells him to leave. And within moments he regrets his action. Because not only has the man done nothing wrong, he is one of the most beautiful men Troy has ever seen. And so he sets out to apologize and make things right with Liam.

But even though there’s a mutual attraction between Troy and Liam, both men have baggage from their pasts that might threaten the chances of a lasting and meaningful relationship.

If you know the formula that Andrew Grey’s stories tend to follow, you’ll see it in this one. As is typical, both men come to the relationship with an issue that needs to be sorted. And they work together to eventually try to solve it. In this one, though, the supporting cast (all the guys from the previous books in the series) provide a different sort of backdrop for the story. And it has that much more of a hook as a result.

You’re Saying It Wrong by Ross Petras & Kathryn Petras

You're Saying It Wrong

You’re Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words and Their Tangled History of Misuse by Ross Petras & Kathryn Petras

Published by: Ten Speed Press on September 13, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

We all know those words or phrases that people say wrong and it gets on our nerves. And we also have those words that we say, and we’re just not sure if we’re saying it’s right. And where do some of these seemingly nonsensical words and idioms come from?

Ross and Kathryn Petras have assembled 150 commonly mispronounced words and phrases in the English language in one comprehensive resource. In addition to providing the common mispronunciations and the correct way to say it, they provide historical context and anecdotes to go along with it. In a nonjudgemental fashion, the authors present the correct way to say it and why.

So whether it’s those misstatements that bug you (mine: anyway, bruschetta, Daylight Saving Time, for all intents and purposes, irregardless, mascarpone, utmost) or the ones you didn’t know you were staying wrong (mine: electoral, homage, spit and image), it’s all here. It’s also a quick read, so why not pick it up and give it a chance. It will validate your pet peeves and teach you a thing or two in the process.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]

Owning Corey by Maris Black

Owning Corey

Owning Corey by Maris Black

Published by: newBIGmedia on August 11, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

From the outside, Ben Hardy appears to have it all. He’s a medical chief of staff. He has a large house and a nice car. He has a beautiful girlfriend. But what no one knows is that he’s planning to break up with her tomorrow. And he’s still trying to find himself.

When his girlfriend approaches with Corey, the mysterious new EMT, Ben is intrigued. And that intrigue reaches a new height when he learns that her goal is to invite Corey into their bedroom. The idea is shocking to Ben at first, but as he considers it some more, he realizes he might be interested in the idea.

Learning that Corey is living in a dicey part of town, Ben invites him to move into his pool house. There’s something about Corey that Ben appreciates, but when they make good on their threesome, he slowly begins to realize that something might not be what he imagined at all. But is Ben gay? And is Corey? And if they are, could Ben really be with a guy?

These questions are all interrupted by secrets from Corey’s past that haunt him. And those secrets just might put both Corey and Ben in danger.

It’s interesting how one little request can turn someone’s life upside down. Although Ben knew he wanted to make a change, he never expected to have the catalyst to do so that showed up in his life just a few hours later. But sometimes it is those things that shake us up that help us see that we haven’t really been living as we should.

The relationship builds quickly here, but there are things that happen that this can be attributed to. And although I would have liked to see these two together a bit more, that seems like more of a personal preference than anything else. Definitely an interesting read for sure.

Guardian by Carole Cummings


Guardian by Carole Cummings

Series: Aisling, Book 1
Published by: Prizm Books on December 15, 2010
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Strange crimes aren’t new to Constable Dallin Brayden. But as he sits across from Wilfred Calder and hears the story of the incident he was involved in, something doesn’t add up. And Wil’s reaction to Dallin leaves him even more surprised.

The truth of the matter is that there’s an entire history that Dallin doesn’t know. At the same time, the truth that Wil has been given isn’t exactly accurate. What is certain, though, is that Wil is on the run. And Dallin is more connected to him than he could ever have imagined.

I enjoyed the world that Carole Cummings created here. There’s a rich history, and the unexpected connections between Wil and Dallin makes for an interesting set up. And it gives us, as readers, some great insight into Dallin’s character.

What I would have liked to see, though, is a bit more of the relationship development between these two. I’m guessing this is a set up for more in later books in the series, but there’s just not that much to find in this first book.

But if you’re looking for an interesting and engaging fantasy story with intrigue and rich world building, you’ll find it here.