An Unsuitable Heir – KJ Charles

Well, wow. I loved this book so completely that I’m not even sure how to start reviewing it.

First – we knew, didn’t we, that Mark’s book would be great. Second – Pen. Pen is everything I’d hoped for but also so much more. He is that perfect mix of arrogant and terribly fragile; he is fierce and beautiful and terrified. He’s a wild and untamed thing.
KJ Charles’ eloquent, poignant portrayal of Pen’s gender-queer identity hit me like a literal blow to the chest. I know this is something a lot of people are working their way through right now. In my own case, people close to me have children who are struggling for acceptance as they are. Seeing this struggle put into writing – how completely assured Pen was of his identity, how wrong he felt when forced into a societal gender role – really brought it all home. I won’t lie, there were more than a few spots in this book where I had to break out the tissues.

More than any other book in this series, the two leads had to work through some serious hurdles to get to their happy ending. For starters, Pen had some justifiable anger at Mark that they needed to get through. But aside from that – there were more external barriers, such as Pen’s status as a peer, his rather protective sister, and of course the villains out fouling things up for all our characters in this series.

I would gladly stay in the Sins of the Cities world and spend more time with all these characters – there are so many more stories I’d like to hear. I hope KJ Charles indulges us with a novella or two at some point. In the meantime, An Unsuitable Heir was a satisfying conclusion to one of my absolute favorite series.

**I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review of this book.**

Too Scot to Handle – Grace Burrowes

Oh, what fun this book was! 4.5 stars.

Grace Burrowes’ books are what I turn to when I’m feeling a little ragged. To me, they’re the equivalent of a nice, civilized cup of tea; particularly after I’ve been drinking too much coffee (or whiskey). Her writing is woven together as precisely as a lace-knit shawl, and the basic decency of her characters is generally a balm to my nerves.

This book covered all those bases for me, but it also managed to be a little sharper, a little livelier than some of her recent books (I’m looking at you, True Gentlemen). In this story, we got Burrowes’ usual likeable, intelligent main characters who used their words, had nice adult reactions to their physical attraction, and dealt with their interpersonal issues in mostly un-frustrating ways. But we also got a compelling side plot complete with fairly three-dimensional antagonists, not-too-cute kids, and a little bit of action.

The only thing keeping it from being a true five-star read is that Colin and Anwen fell for each other SO quickly, SO easily… it was just so convenient. On the other hand, the lack of angst between them is part of what I enjoyed!

Overall, I found this to be one of Grace Burrowes’ most balanced and enjoyable reads, and look forward to revisiting it in a year when I need that soothing, settling, slightly adventurous just-right tone.

An Unnatural Vice, by KJ Charles

It’s no secret to readers of my reviews that I love KJ Charles’s writing. In fact, I’m fairly convinced KJ Charles has never written a bad book; that in fact everything she’s written is spectacular. So when I tell you that I’m pretty sure this is her best yet, that should mean something.

An Unnatural Vice has all the grittiness of her Charm of Magpies series and all the class conflict of the Society of Gentlemen series, rolled into one perfect package. We get to revisit characters from An Unseen Attraction while also meeting Justin Lazarus, the Seer of London, a man of infinite talents and insecurities. The plot thread begun in An Unseen Attraction about the Earl of Moreton’s bigamy and its consequences continues here, with more violence and mystery as the heroes and secondary characters frantically seek the missing heir.

The ending is a delight, and I find myself desperately hoping that the next book (as indicated by the “to be continued…”) will be about Mark Braglewicz and the young man he’s in such a twist about as this story ends (no spoilers here).

A 5-star, must-buy.

AN Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles

5 stars because KJ Charles can do no wrong.

I absolutely loved this unconventional m/m historical.
Clem was a very untypical hero, and Rowley had a delightfully creepy occupation, but the two of them really worked well as a couple. The crime element of the story added an interesting edge. And as always, there was plenty of spark and steam between the two lovers!

Also, Clem was every bit as hot as this cover might imply. Maybe more so.
Don’t miss this one; and it’s worth your while to go get the rest of K.J. Charles’ stuff while you’re at it.

*Free ARC provided by NetGalley – review in no way influenced by this!*