Rag and Bone, KJ Charles
I love KC Charles writing, adore the Magpie books and it was great to read this, a new story that overlaps with Magpie. I’ve seen pleas for Magpie to continue, but I’m glad its not, sometimes books have a good end, and anything more just brings a series down. I’ve seen it happen with other series 😦 and its by far the best to stop at the right point, at the top, rather than drag out more that doesn’t really work. Well that’s my view anyway! I love meeting the characters from other books like this though, where we get references to Lucien and Jenny (Saint) and catch up with Mrs Gold and Stephen – I love his character and he’s at his competent Sternest best here. ( Its the mix of that and the other side that he shows when he’s with Lucien that so entrances me about him) Anyway, this is a new story so I’ll stop rambling there….
I didn’t realise at first there’s a short prequel out, A Queer Trade ( 0.5) so of course hadn’t read it, and a few chapters in it dawned when there were references to earlier events between the two. I carried on without reading it so I could review this way as others may make the same error. AQT is only 99 p though, I read it straight after I finished this, and its well worth buying. Though this can be read as a standalone events will be a lot clearer if you’ve read that one first. These books, like Magpie, are keepers for me and I’ve read all those several times now. They’re the type of story that doesn’t matter if you know the end, the events and characters are well worth a second ( and further ) reads.
I love being back in London, of times past, the mix of real history with imagination and magic. As a UK reader there doesn’t seem to be that many books of any genre set in UK so its a treat to get one, and a whole series and connected books, well, that’s like Christmas every day!
The characters are great, Crispin such a wonderful man, so self conscious about his magic and his inability to do what he’s supposed to, and yet he’s so clever but just doesn’t realise it. He was taken in – in more ways than one – by his old master from a very young age and its left its mark. He needs to get a grip on his magic now or face serious consequences, and he’s struggling. The events of AQT have left him in a bad position, and it seems its only Ned who sees the good in him. He’s afraid Ned’s going to get tired of the strain of their secret relationship, of waiting for him to gain some control of the magic he knows Ned is suspicious of.
Ned too is afraid, afraid of magic and the people who wield it – except for Crispin – scared of the grip it has on people, terrified of the awful things that can happen, that did happen last time and afraid for Crispin if he can’t get control as the Justiciary demand. He’s also worried that Crispin will get tired of being with a waste seller, their backgrounds are so disparate.
And then one night something happens, something that precipitates them both into serious danger and they have to find a way of stopping it or lose everything.
Its another fun story full of magic, and what I love is that KC doesn’t just make her characters murmur a few words… wave a hand and its all gone, but that the magic seems real, there are rules to it and it only works when they’re obeyed, its not an easy option, a quick fix solution, but one that has to be worked at. I hate quick fix redemies in all books, I need the struggles.
Stars: five, It’s a “stunner” of a read and one to join my treasured Keepers collection.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for honest review
Rescued Phoebe Rose
Soon as I started reading this it reminded me of one from another author I’d read recently, Amy Lee Burgess’ Top Dog. Both these books feature rescue charities, Kittens and cats for this one and dashounds for Amy’s book. they’ve the same light and easy to read style.
So, Thomas, wow – he’s living the dream, with his fitness app start up expanding so quickly its taking up all his time. He’s moved across the country to oversee it and left behind his friends – oh, and an ex….and there’s a story there. Its not like he imagined though, the huge, immaculate apartment doesn’t feel like home and work…well, in his new crew no-one seems to want or need him, they’re all older, all seem to be set in their ways and its as if Thomas is an interloper in his own company. the fun has gone, the enthusiasms that was there all through the start has just disappeared.
Then there’s poor Tessa. She’s got problems too – her studying and choices, her parents, her boyfriend ( ack!) and her flatmate. Nothing seems to really be going right for her but she throws all her love and enthusiasm into helping a small cat charity, and meets Thomas on a rescue.
Its a sweet story from there, with Thomas and Tessa being attracted to each other but cautious, neither planned a new relationship so they never really define it, just go along with each day (and night) as it comes. Of course Melon, the kittens mum plays a huge part in that. they’re trying to socialise her ready for rehoming, and its a long slow process. Cats teeth and claws are sharp and poor Melon was a young feral and doesn’t know people can be good as well as scary. She was a star in her own right. I so admired Tessa’s patience, and willingness to risk injury to help the cats. When i was about ten a kitten appeared at the end of out large untidy garden. Mum always had three or four cats so of course I tried to pick it up and take in indoors, got a hole through my finger for my trouble, but by didn’t of hours sitting each evening beside a saucer of food Egg Henry eventually joined the clan 🙂 ( and no- can’t recall how he got his name other than the obvious)
Its a sweet story, with some steamy sections and if you’re looking for a read with a HEA and one that’s relaxing and easy to follow tis book is for you. there’s no deep dark dramas and intensity but then not everyone wants that and even those like me who love it also like something simpler at times, a real feel good romance.
Stars: Four, a gentle and moving story
ARC supplied by author.