Band Sinister by K.J. Charles (audiobook) – Narrated by Cornell Collins

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Sir Philip Rookwood is the disgrace of the county. He’s a rake and an atheist, and the rumors about his hellfire club, the Murder, can only be spoken in whispers. (Orgies. It’s orgies.)

Guy Frisby and his sister, Amanda, live in rural seclusion after a family scandal. But when Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at Rookwood Hall, where Sir Philip is hosting the Murder.

Guy rushes to protect her, but the Murder aren’t what he expects. They’re educated, fascinating people, and the notorious Sir Philip turns out to be charming, kind – and dangerously attractive.

In this private space where anything goes, the longings Guy has stifled all his life are impossible to resist…and so is Philip. But all too soon, the rural rumor mill threatens both Guy and Amanda. The innocent country gentleman has lost his heart to the bastard baronet – but does he dare lose his reputation too?

Rating: Narration – A- : Content – A

Another 2018 favourite lately come to audio, K.J. Charles’ Band Sinister is, quite simply, a total delight. The author made no secret of the fact that it’s an homage to the works of Georgette Heyer, who practically invented the ‘modern’ Regency Romance single-handed, or that she employed a number of favourite tropes in terms of the characterisation and plot – and yet in spite of all that, there is no doubt whatsoever that this is a K.J. Charles book, through and through. On the surface, it’s the story of the country innocent seduced by the wicked lord, but in reality, it’s so much more than that, conveying important ideas about the nature of love and friendship, social responsibility and the importance of being true to oneself and of living as one’s conscience dictates.

Guy and Amanda Frisby were born into the landed gentry but have come down in the world. When their mother ran off with her much younger lover, their father took to heavy gambling and heavy drinking and died leaving them with nothing but scandal to their name. When the story opens, Guy is reading – somewhat apprehensively – the gothic novel Amanda has written and sent to a publisher, and in which she has modelled her villains on their near-neighbour, Sir Philip Rookwood (whose older brother was the man with whom their mother ran away), and his close friend, the devilish Lord Corvin, a man with quite possibly the blackest reputation in England.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Jackdaw by K.J. Charles (audiobook) – Narrated by Cornell Collins


This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

If you stop running, you fall.

Jonah Pastern is a magician, a liar, a windwalker, a professional thief…and for six months, he was the love of police constable Ben Spenser’s life. His betrayal left Ben jailed, ruined, alone, and looking for revenge.

Ben is determined to make Jonah pay. But he can’t seem to forget what they once shared, and Jonah refuses to let him. Soon Ben is entangled in Jonah’s chaotic existence all over again, and they’re running together – from the police, the justiciary, and some dangerous people with a lethal grudge against them.

Threatened on all sides by betrayals, secrets, and the laws of the land, the policeman and the thief must find a way to live and love before the past catches up with them…

Rating: Narration – A- : Content – A

In an effort to prevent withdrawal symptoms after finishing K.J. Charles’ A Charm of Magpies trilogy, I jumped eagerly into listening to Jackdaw, which is set in the same universe and which tells the story of Jonah Pastern, who appeared as an important secondary character in book three, Flight of Magpies. Jonah – a type of practitioner (magician) known as a Windwalker because of his ability to manipulate air currents and to literally walk on air – was instrumental in the revenge planned by an evil warlock against Lucien, Lord Crane, and Stephen Day. Jonah came across as amoral, charming and irresponsible; he may have been coerced into co-operating with the warlock, but he had his own agenda and didn’t care who got hurt in the crossfire as long as it wasn’t him.

Jackdaw opens with disgraced former policeman, Ben Spenser (using an assumed name), trying to find his erstwhile lover, the man who upended and destroyed his life. Meeting the handsome force of nature that was Jonah Pastern some six months or so earlier, and falling in love, secure in the knowledge that the feeling was returned, had been the happiest time of Ben’s life – until it all fell apart when he witnessed Jonah in the midst of a burglary at a local museum. Jonah escaped, leaving a confused, furious and brokenhearted Ben to face the consequences, not only of having shared a home with a thief, but of having had an illegal relationship (i.e. a homosexual one) with him.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Flight of Magpies (A Charm of Magpies #3) by K.J. Charles (audiobook) – Narrated by Cornell Collins

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Danger in the air. Lovers on the brink.

A Charm of Magpies, Book 3: With the justiciary understaffed, a series of horrifying occult murders to be investigated, and a young student who is flying – literally – off the rails, magical law enforcer Stephen Day is under increasing stress. And his relationship with his aristocratic lover, Lord Crane, is beginning to feel the strain. Crane chafes at the restrictions of England’s laws, and there’s a worrying development in the blood-and-sex bond he shares with Stephen. A development that makes a sensible man question if they should be together at all.

When a thief strikes at the heart of Crane’s home, a devastating loss brings his closest relationships into bitter conflict – especially his relationship with Stephen. And as old enemies, new enemies, and unexpected enemies paint the lovers into a corner, the pressure threatens to tear them apart.

Warning: Contains hot-blooded sex, cold-blooded murder, sinister magical goings-on, and a lot of swearing.

Rating: Narration – A+ : Content – A

So compelling was K.J. Charles’Flight of Magpies that I listened to all six-and-a-half-hours of it in one sitting. In the third book of the A Charm of Magpies series, the author has crafted an engrossing story full of intrigue, magic and danger which pits our heroes, Lucien, Lord Crane and practitioner (magician) Stephen Day, against some truly evil old enemies bent on revenge while at the same time exploring the effects of, for want of a better expression, ‘real life’ on a couple in an established – although illegal – relationship.

Please note that there are spoilers for books one and two in this review.

By the end of book two of the trilogy, A Case of Possession, Lucien and Stephen are a couple; ILYs have been exchanged, Lucien has decided to remain in England with Stephen – at least, until such time as he can persuade his lover to go to Shanghai with him – and they’re in it for the long haul. Stephen has always been a bit elusive, but he’s now spending several nights a week at Lucien’s flat and their lives are becoming more and more intertwined, and not just because they are inextricably linked together by an ancient and potent magic. Lucien’s ancestor, The Magpie Lord, was the most powerful sorcerer England has ever seen, and although Lucien has no magical abilities himself, the supernatural power that runs through his blood can somehow amplify Stephen’s already considerable abilities and together, they are a force to be reckoned with.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) by K.J. Charles (audiobook) – Narrated by Cornell Collins

This title may be purchased from Audible via Amazon.

A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell.

Exiled to China for 20 years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry.

Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude…and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.

Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it – they’re both going to die.

Rating: Narration – A : Content – A-

Last year, when K.J. Charles announced that many of her backlist titles were going to appear in audio format, I may just have jumped for joy. I’ve listened to and reviewed almost all of those titles now and had been anxiously awaiting the release of her A Charm of Magpies series which, luckily for listeners, was released in one fell swoop at the end of January. There are three books in the main series – The Magpie Lord, A Case of Possession and Flight of Magpies as well as two books that are set in the same universe, Rag and Bone and Jackdaw, AND the audios also include the short stories that come between the Magpies books, which was a lovely surprise. (Now all we need are the audios of The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh and the short stories from the Society of Gentlemen series, and I’ll be an extremely happy bunny!)

Lucien Vaudrey, Lord Crane, has recently returned to England from China, where he’s lived for the past twenty years. Exiled by his cruel, dissolute father, with nothing more than the clothes on his back and a manservant – Merrick, to whom the old Lord Crane made it clear he’d be happy if his son were to disappear overboard on the way – Lucien survived the voyage, and endured horror and privation as he struggled to survive. Twenty years on, Lucien has made his fortune as a trader, and even though he is now Earl Crane – following the deaths of his father and brother, both of whom were hated and reviled in the village near the Crane country estate of Piper – he doesn’t intend to stay in England, having come home only to assume the title and sign paperwork before heading back to Shanghai.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.