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Tales from Verania #1

The Lightning-Struck Heart

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This edition is out of print. For current Paperback edition see: The Lightning-Struck Heart

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King's Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.

405 pages, Paperback

First published July 20, 2015

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About the author

T.J. Klune

61 books39.8k followers
TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it's important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,780 reviews
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,369 reviews1,507 followers
December 22, 2016

No words. Should have sent a poet.

Okay, I lied. I may have a *few* words (I am still me after all,) but in all seriousness...

        I. Loved. This. Magical. Book.    (Literally)

From start to finish, I was never bored, not even for a single paragraph of its considerable 400+ page length.

Sam of Wilds is a 20 y.o. wizard's apprentice (to Morgan of Shadows,) with more blurty, unfiltered goodness in him than one could possibly imagine. And it was a (slightly blinding) sight to behold.

Sam's best friend is Gary, a hornless gay unicorn. And folks, he is a fierce, snarky BITCH, so watch out or someone's going to lose a testicle.

Gary's also a wee bit vain. Just a touch.

Sam's other best friend is Tiggy, a nine-foot-tall half-giant, who may not be the brightest marble in the bag, but he protects Sam and Gary with a fury best not tested. It's a good way to be wearing your insides on your outsides. And quickly.

Then we have Sam's would-be love interest, 25 y.o. Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart, who makes everyone in the kingdom swoon.

But Sam most of all, who very secretly attends meetings of the Ryan Foxheart Fan Club. That plot point was crazy funny.
“The one and only time that I went...”

“Of the four times that I've been...”

“On my eighth time there...”

“Of the twenty-six times that I've attended...”

But there's the small matter of Ryan's engagement to Prince Justin (who you will immediately want to junk punch at first sight) standing in the way of our two heroes' happiness.

The interactions between Sam and Ryan are freaking priceless. Price. Less.

They both seem to be vying for the coveted title of Most Clueless Where Attractions Are Concerned. Yes, I capitalized it, because it's a thing. ;- ) (Sam does that a lot in the book as well, which I found cute and endearing.)
“You capitalized that, didn’t you,” Morgan sighed.
“I did,” I said. “That’s how you know it’s epic.”
Gary’s rage glitter subsided. “The most epic there could be.”
Sam doesn't believe that Ryan even knows he exists (he's ooooh so wrong) and, without fail, squeaks and runs away whenever he sees Ryan, which had been happening for 5 years running.

But when a dragon kidnaps Prince Justin (yay and good riddance to bad rubbish, I say), the King requests that Sam accompany Ryan on a quest to rescue Prince Justin.

"Yaaaay." *slow-clap*

And thus Sam's Plan to Avoid Ryan at All Costs comes to a swift and abrupt end. Yes, again capitalized, because it's a thing.

God, their back and forth was a true thing of beauty, as spending week after week together begins to solidify the previously-uncharted longing in their hearts.

But, sadly, there's still Prince Justin, who they've been sent to rescue.
"Dear Dragon, I've heard Justin is quite delicious. Bon appetite! I'll supply dessert. *Kisses*"

So, yeah, while the book has an unending supply of longing and want, neither Sam nor Ryan are the home-wrecking or cheating type and they avoid revealing their true feelings at all costs.

I'm sure, that like myself, some readers will comment as to a lack of relationship building; however, as the story was written, I didn't see how that could have really come about -- without them cheating.

So I understood and just went with the happy, blurty, fairly-uncomfortable flow between Sam and Ryan, enjoying the ride and allowing events to play out.

And, Christ, how Sam was tested during that journey.
Now was Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart climbing slowly out of the river, water cascading down his body, dripping over miles and miles of muscle. He wore nothing but a thin, white undergarment that stuck and clung to his groin and thighs. He reached down, the muscles in his back flexing as he scooped up water in his hands and brought it up and over his head. His nipples were pebbled. His chest was covered in a smattering of wet hair. He was lines and corded muscle, definition and carved from stone. If I had let my eyes linger, I would have sworn I could see the outline of his cock through the wet fabric. My skin felt tight and flushed and I wanted. There was green and gold, and it was so fucking bright that I almost had to shut my eyes from the weight of it.

“I swear he’s doing this on purpose,” Gary whispered hotly.

“I swear I want to do him on purpose,” I breathed.

Gary choked and I didn’t care.

I would never have him. I knew this. It wasn’t meant to be.

But that didn’t mean I couldn’t be creepy and have this one fucking moment where I could pretend and wish and hope and dream and yes, now I had an erection and it was fucking awful.

Okay, that's all for possible spoilers, folks. I refuse to be "that bitch", so no more plot points, but I will lastly divulge that:
1.) Sam and Ryan do (as expected) get their happily ever after.

        -- and --

2.) The sexy scenes, once they finally, finally FINALLY get together, are almost worth the wait and very worthy of the rest of this very good book.

** I only say 'almost' because I tend to be an impatient bitch, but if they had cheated, it would've ruined the entire experience for me, so I'm truly thankful that they didn't.

In this book, the banter is non-stop, which I personally loved. For me, that was a good thing, keeping me fully-engaged.

But be warned, much the same as some readers felt that TJ's "Tell Me It's Real" was way over-the-top, there's much the same feel in this book.

So if I had to make a guess, if you loved Paul and Sandy's banter in "Tell Me It's Real," then I *think* you will love this one, too.

However, if you hated that type of humor, this book has *way* more of it than TMIR ever dared dream, so keep that in mind when deciding to read.

But honestly? I wouldn't have changed a thing and can't wait to read the next book, which there had better be or somebody's gonna die in a Shit Storm of Glittery Unicorn Rage.

Yes, I capitalized it, because it's an honest-to-God thing, people! ;- )

It's been a while since a book this long has kept my enrapt attention, so a full 5 motherfucking *Dashing-and-Immaculate* stars for this ridiculously fun, epic tale.


My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.


** UPDATE 10/2015:

TJ has a *FREE* 50'ish page Tina DeSilva follow-up story for The Lightning Struck Heart on his blog! *tingles*

Tales From Verania: The Tragic Life of Lady Tina DeSilva


Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,801 followers
March 22, 2018
*Kindle Freebie 3/22/18!!*

*3.5 stars*

Soooooo much to say about this one! First of all, I'm a MEGA T.J. Klune fan. I love his particular brand of humor and I think that he is an extremely talented writer. I preface with that because all of you should know that my rating and review is coming from someone who is a self-proclaimed T.J. fangirl.

So what do you need to know about this one? What is the deal with this story? I'll break it down for all of you.

The characters.

If you have read a T.J. book recently, you are already well acquainted with the characters in this book. No, these are not people who we've seen before, but they are strikingly similar to some of T.J.'s greatest from his previous books. In the same way that Bear, Ty, and Paul had no filter and sort of just blurted out ridiculous things, so does Sam, the main character here. He is the same funny, everyone loves him but sort of wants to kill him, person as we've seen before in many of T.J.'s books. That isn't a bad thing, but it rings very familiar.

I really liked Sam, even though he was willfully oblivious to the point of painful. It was also a little annoying how everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loved him, but I still found him to be a great protagonist. However, my favorite characters were Tiggy (I SMASH!! You'll see...) and Gary. I just LOVED the idea of a horn-less unicorn who was into some weird, freaky-deaky sex stuff. Gary, you bad boy you. He just cracked me up! I also loved Ryan, (aka Knight Delicious Face). I toootally got the appeal, and I also wanted to squish his sexy face and bone him.

The humor.

Now, this is where my warning comes into play: THIS BOOK IS FOR T.J. KLUNE FANS ONLY. The humor is non-stop, every page is just ON, and if you found previous T.J. Klune books to be over-the-top, you will not like this one. This book is even more over-the-top, with each page sort of getting more and more ridiculous. The banter is constant. I looooved the back and forth between the characters, I loved the nicknames, I loved the humor, but even I, a HUGE T.J. Fan, could see how it could becomes tiresome. In my opinion, it was incredibly enjoyable to read a book that was so light and fun.

The world-building.

I'd call this fantasy ultra-light. Though this is set in a fantasy world with knights, wizards, and magical creatures, there are a ton of pop-culture references (from our world), and the world-building is shaky at best. I think the fantasy realm is meant as another vehicle for T.J.'s imagination, and this book is not meant as a heavy-duty fantasy novel. For example, the King jokes around with Sam like he is Sam's bestie and not a ruler of the kingdom. There is NO formality in the castle, and everyone gets in on the puns, joking, and sexual innuendoes.

The plot.

Now this is where I found this book to be a little... sticky. This book is super long, clocking in at 400+ pages, and I think it could have been cut down a lot. The beginning, especially, is really repetitive. While there is a story arc, the book is mostly just one zany happening after the other. I also wish the editor had been a bit more careful because I found numerous grammatical mistakes, which always irks me.

The romance.

The romance element of this book grew on me more and more. For almost the entire book, Ryan is engaged to someone else. That made the relationship-building element a little difficult for me to get on board with. However, over time, I grew to be totally team HaveHeart and a big Foxy Lady (you'll see...), and I was SOOO ready for these two guys to just get their act together! I also understood the attraction between the two men a little more as the book went on.

Sex content.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is almost no sex in this book. Be prepared. Just one tiny scene with some nookie, but if you are looking for some detailed action, look elsewhere.

Moral of the story.

If you love T.J. and you can't get enough of his particular brand of humor, you will simply adore this one. It is lighthearted but heartfelt, and though I think it could have used some tweaking, it was a classically funny T.J. read with a beautiful HEA.

*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for T.J..
Author 61 books39.8k followers
July 15, 2015
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Amazon Pre-Order: http://www.amazon.com/Lightning-Struc...

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And so it begins again:

Coming July 20th, 2015 from Dreamspinner Press

The Lightning-Struck Heart

By TJ Klune

A romantic comedy of stupidly epic proportions.

(Or quite possibly just epically stupid.)

Cover by Paul Richmond



Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King's Wizards, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.


Profile Image for Maria✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
662 reviews2,462 followers
April 14, 2017

➦Oh, T.J. Klune, I'm sooo happy I discovered your books. This one here is just awesome. I laughed so hard. I will be listening to the audio book again in the future. I saved it. uhuh. Anywhoooo.

➦Oh yeah, so. Wizards, unicorns, a dragon? Sign me up! (Val, you heard that, right? Dragon. Just one. But he's fabulous.) The story follows Sam, who is an apprentice to the wizard. He does magic and shit.

“I don’t have time for all the relations and courting and wooing bullshit,” I said. “I’m a wizard. I have quests.”
“Uh, you’re an apprentice,” Gary said. “And you’re sent on errands.”

➦He has a best friend who is a hornless gay unicorn.

➦Oh, I'm sorry, that was incredibly racist of me. A zebra is a horse. And a unicorn most certainly is NOT.

“Horse?” Gary snarled. The pretty unicorn act dropped immediately. Red sparks shot from his nose. “Did you just call me a horse? Listen here, you two-legged bag of shit. I’m not a motherfucking horse. I am a unicorn, and I am magic and a beautiful creature made of fucking sunshine and rainbows and good feelings.”

➦Anywhooooooooooo. Sam is in love with a knight. Just one teeny problem. That knight is betrothed to the prince. HUUUUUUGE bummer.

➦Then there's a dragon. I will not name him because there's gonna be this huge reveal about his name. Apparently dragons are very VERY particular about names they pick for themselves. Yes, so this dragon comes and abducts the prince and now Sam and his friends along with the knight embark on a journey to save him.

➦I lurved this book hard. T.J. Klune's type of humor is just my thing. This book was hilarious but at times even touching and I couldn't help but fall in love with all the characters.

....Especially with Gary. #truestory GARY is my new imaginary friend.

....He whispers in my ear to go ahead and use rainbow colors on my book edits.

....Like, don't be afraid and select neon green today.

...meanwhile my blog buddy Arianna keeps telling me "BIOTCH, THAT'S UGLY!" when I show her my teasers. Thanks. You kill my spirit. And Gary will snort glitter all over you. #truestory

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Profile Image for Wendys Wycked Words.
1,560 reviews3,841 followers
February 1, 2020
It was time for yet another re-read. This book always manages to make me smile and feel better. Thanks TJ ;) 2/2020

FOTO BEWERKEN - makkelijk online je foto's bewerken of aanpassen:

I am not even gonna try and explain the whole storyline of this book. It is way too complicated and ridiculous to explain. What I will tell you, is that everybody should read this book !! I can honestly say that this book will probably be my favorite read of 2016...and the year has just begun. That's how awesome this book is.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor so awesome + gif

If you want to step into a world of magic and creatures and romance, all while laughing your ass off at every page, then you should start reading this one ..right now !!

This book is about Sam of Wilds a 20-year-old wizard apprentice and his two best friends...... Gary, a snarky and sassy gay hornless unicorn and Tiggy a sweet and very protective half-giant, who loves to smash things.

Then there is also the man Sam has been crushing on since he was 15 years old (and with crushing I mean jerking off while fantasizing about him). The dashing and immaculate Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart.

“Look. This has been… fun.” Lie. This had been nerve-racking and I needed to go masturbate. “But I have to go. I’ve got stuff to do before I head out again.” Masturbate. “Wizard stuff. Like… secret wizard stuff.” Masturbate.

Too bad Ryan is about to be married to the prince of Varnia, prince Justin...the same prince, Sam will serve in the future, when he becomes king.

When Justin gets kidnapped by a dragon, it's up to Sam, Gary, Tiggy, and Ryan, to go and rescue the man. Which is the start of one of the funniest "adventures" I have ever read about.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor i almost peed my pants + gif

Like I said...I can't go into the plot much further, because really....it's too much to explain and I probably wouldn't make much sense. It was sooooo good and it made me soooo freaking happy :) I think TJ Klune himself is magical .....

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor you are magical + gif

Can't wait for the other books in this series !!!!

If I could give this one 10 stars I would, but I will just give it the 5 well-deserved ones ;)

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time :)))

This review is posted on Wendy's Wycked Words

Profile Image for elena ❀.
304 reviews3,178 followers
January 31, 2023
This was a lot, to say the least.

But in a good way.

It’s a fairy tale if you put it on rainbow drugs, if that’s a thing. Klune wrote a creative story full of everything magic: wizards, knights, fairies, Kings and Princes. It has over the top humor, supportive and amazing parents, a mentor with a ridiculous amount of patience, a gay, hornless unicorn who is a sassy bitch, a gentle nine-foot giant, a dragon named Kevin, a dashing and immaculate knight, a misunderstood grumpy prince, an amazing king, and of course, a wizard with verbal diarrhea. There’s snarky banter that goes back and forth, so much pining and longing, delightful jealousy, and of course, an adventure worth following.

Full review? We don’t know her.

On to the next!
Profile Image for Susan.
2,222 reviews408 followers
October 20, 2020
Re-read October 2020
This is the one book I can read over and over again and never get enough of.



I freaking LOVED this book.

This book is hilarious. But it was also beautiful, sweet, and it broke my heart in the best way possible(because there is so much pining, it was awesome).

“It’s you,” I said, not able to look away. “It’s how I feel when I’m with you. How I think I’ve always felt. You’re my lightning-struck heart. Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve struck my heart, and now I have to let you go because you’re not mine to keep. I need someone that I can be strong for. But I need someone who can also be strong for me.”

I cannot express my love for Sam enough. Sam, a 20 year old wizard apprentice. The most powerful there is actually. Sam, who doesn’t know how to shut up, ever. And his pining for Ryan was just EPIC.

Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart was climbing slowly out of the river, water cascading down his body, dripping over miles and miles of muscle.
“I swear he’s doing this on purpose,” Gary whispered hotly.
“I swear I want to do him on purpose,” I breathed.
“You okay, Sam? ” Ryan asked, and his voice was husky.
So I blurted out, “I’ve got wood.” Gary turned his head slowly to gape at me.
“Oh dear gods,” I muttered. Then louder, “Wood. I brought the wood. I’ve got so much wood. Wood. Fuck. Firewood. I’ve got firewood. For the fire. Because it’s going to get nipples out tonight. Cold. It’s going to get cold out tonight. Sweet molasses.”

And Ryan, I loved Ryan. He was awesome.

I’ve heard of you… people.”
Oh gods. Mama cocked her head at him. To most, it wouldn’t have seemed like anything. But for those that knew her, Mama was coiling to strike.
“What do you mean by you people?” she asked.
I had to stop the bloodshed before it could start. “He means—”
“Pimps,” Ryan said. “Is that what you’re called? Pimps? Brothel owner? Whoremaster? Queen of the Fuck Palace?”

And how can I express my love for all the other amazing characters..

Gary, the gay hornless unicorn.

“When were you tied up? ”I asked again.
“It was that centaur we met last year. In the elf realm.”
“You said you were just friends!”
“We were. We were just the kind of friends that tied each other up and pushed our penises together.”

Tiggy, the half giant.

“You want mouth full of knight,” Tiggy said. “Knight take your flower and eat it.”

Kevin, the dragon.

“Why are we even out here!”
“Bonding,” Kevin said. “ You said that we needed bonding.” Then he leered at me, his lip curling, tongue snaking out between his fangs. “Or perhaps you meant bondage? Is that what you meant, pretty? You need me to tie you up and choke you on my dick? Make you scream as I twist your little nipples? Make you—”
“That’s not what I meant at all.”

The king.

“Okay, so, how would you feel if you looked like you had boobs?”
“Is that a hypothetical question? ” the king said.
“Hypothetically… no. More like that’s what I painted somehow and will now be a part of the finished product because I don’ t know how to fix it. Nor do I know if I want to.”
“Am I busty?”
“Very. You also have three of them.”
“Good. Proceed.”

I have so much love for them all.

Yes, the romance mostly consists of pining for each other without any sexy times (there are sexy times, don't worry!). It took Ryan a while to get his head out of his ass. Especially since Sam had no idea how Ryan was feeling.

Until the truth corn of course. No way around it after that.

”When you do anything, I get hard, really. Even your ridiculous sex puns. You remember when you wrapped those Dark wizards in stone at the restaurant?”
“Yeah,” I managed to say.
“I wanted to tell you that you gave me an e-rock-tion.” Ryan bent over and banged his forehead against the table. “Why, why, why did I say that out loud? Please. Someone. Anyone. Kill me.”

It takes a long time for these two to get together, but it was worth the wait. I sighed, I swooned, and to steal Gary’s words, I got a heart boner.

This book had everything I ever wanted in a book. A fairy tale with a magical hero who is socially awkward yet also very awesome in his ramblings, cool sidekicks, extremely funny situations and a lovely HEA.

Profile Image for Meags.
2,178 reviews415 followers
January 21, 2023
5 Stars

The Lightning-Struck Heart is a grand fantasy-adventure, featuring an adorably hilarious wizard's apprentice, his epically awesome parents, his best-friends in the form of a fabulous and fierce gay unicorn and a sweet half-giant, a kind-hearted King and his petulant (but redeemable son), two wizened older wizards, a sex-crazed vegetarian dragon, and a dashing and immaculate young knight. You couldn’t ask for more.

It’s TJ Klune so the writing is obviously of the highest standards. In my eyes, this dude can do no wrong. His stories speak to me, with their perfect blend of heart and humour, and choc-full of the most outrageously fantastic cast of characters the literary world has ever seen.

The fantasy elements were also stunning, showcasing a rich and detailed fantasy land, full of mythical creatures and magical beings that effortlessly captured my heart, yet also provided a laugh-a-minute with their ridiculous antics and sassy banter.

I laughed hard, to the point of tears on several occasions. I certainly highlighted more than in any book I’ve ever read (112 highlights at last count), re-reading passages over and over again just to absorb the hilarity and genius as much as humanly possible. It was comedy brilliance, pure and simple.

But don’t be fooled, as laugh-out-loud funny as this story is, there are also some great feels. The romance between wizard's apprentice Sam Haversford and Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart is the slowest of slow burns, with lots of not-so-subtle flirting and not-so-secret longing. There is frustration and heartache—on my behalf as well as theirs—but in true fairy-tale fashion, there is also the most magical and epic of happily ever after in store for these two oblivious idiots.

I feel like The Lightning-Struck Heart was personally tailored to meet my every bookish want and need. Seriously, I have not a single complaint or wish for change in any way, shape or form. To me this was the perfect book, and I have no doubt it will remain a favourite for the rest of my days.


Re-read: July, 2020 (Audio Edition)

In this audiobook, The Lightning-Struck Heart is an already 5 star read made even more magnificent with Michael Lesley’s sensational vocal performance.

There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary for me to lay adequate praise on Lesley’s narration.

It’s comic perfection.

It’s pure genius.

It’s 100% my favourite audiobook of all time.
Profile Image for wesley.
223 reviews235 followers
December 15, 2015

First of all, I just want to let it be known that this book deserves to have a sequel, no matter how obvious it was that it certainly will. But just so there’s no sliver of doubt and I can have peace of mind, I’ll say it again: The Lightning-Struck Heart must have a sequel. No, scratch that. The Lightning-Struck Heart cannot not have sequelssss. You hear me T.J. Klune? Huh? Huh?! (I’m not really good at taunting authors.)

Give it to me

Now that I’ve finally let it out, onto the review!

If you are a hardcore fan of fantasy books, magic, wizards, and medieval kingdoms, you may think, “Pffft! Puh-lease! I’ve seen (or read) it all.” But if you haven’t read this book, I can assure you that you haven’t seen it all. And that’s probably my cue to throw the book right on your smug face. Although, I’m not really a fan of violence and that’s kind of cruel to the book, and I only have my iPhone for a reading device so that would be unwise and stupid. But you get the point, yeah?

To say that this book is epic and awesome would be an understatement. So to give it justice, I’ll follow Sam of Wilds with the whole capitalization thing such that this book officially is The Most Awesome and Epic Fantasy Book of All Time! God, that felt great.


In all honesty though, I’ve never had the pleasure of reading a book of this caliber. It felt like being high all the time. Okay, not a good metaphor but still! Everything was just amped up – like every time your favorite song comes on the radio and you can’t help turning the volume to max.

And I dare ask: How does T.J. do that? This was beyond any normal level of hilarious and witty. I was worried I’d have bad gas from the nonstop laughing. I was practically crying and wheezing. It was like this book was written especially for my generation. Make no mistake, the book was set during the medieval times but it was more like being in an alternate universe where the medieval people are updated with everything happening on social media and the contemporary gibberish of our era.

“You mad, bro?”

“Love you, boo!”

“Dat. Ass.”

“Baby. Look at me. Hey. Baby. Listen.”

“Ooooh, girl!”

“Don’t need no mens.”

And the sarcasm? The banter? The cursing and the dirty talk? The sex puns? Never forget the sex puns.

Genius and uncensored! Exasperatingly funny, but genius nonetheless. I think this broke all literary conventions. It was practicing poetic license at its finest.


And I see where your mind is going. I know you’re thinking, “If the 171K of words is mostly this kind of shit, where’s the story? Is there any substance at all?” Yeah, I read your mind, buddy. I’m also a wizard. No, I’m not. But if you’re worried there’s no concrete plot, I’m quoting Sam when he reflected on the many (and I say that exaggeratedly) twists he went through:

That night, I lay on my back on the roof of the keep, watching the stars above, wondering just how in the hell my life had gotten to this point.

Then I realized it was mostly my fault, and that made me sort of depressed and happy all at the same time.

I told myself that it was because I was extraordinarily complex.

I’m stopping there because you don’t want to know the rest of what he said (spoiler: he contradicted the whole thing). But I do agree (before he contradicted himself). Despite the shenanigans and the madfuckery that this book contain, the story was extraordinarily complex. It was unpredictable and unconventional. Each chapter practically a subplot of epic proportions. And the characters? Dynamic and non-stereotypical. All of them, even the secondary characters, were unique and bursting with vibrant personality. Reading their banter was endearing. Well, in the case of Sam and Ryan – frustratingly arousing and coated with deep sexual tension. I never expected to be affected by it so much, I had the case of blue balls for 3 days. Yes, imagine! Or don’t imagine. But foreplay with just words? Talk about enlightening!


Okay, I got a little sidetracked there. But yeah, if you’re worried about the storyline, don’t. I assure you, this has the right mix of humor and a great plot going on. You have to hand it to Sam though. I was mostly drawn to him. Yeah, he was badass and all kinds of awesome but that’s not the reason you will love him. Even though he will probably be the greatest wizard of all time, I was warmed by his vulnerability. He is an underdog through and through and I can't help but empathize with him. He is the epitome of martyrdom and the face of unrequited love. He is a walking irony – powerful and helpless at the same time. He is the heart of this story because it’s his very humanity for which you will feel that deep, resounding connection.

sam of wilds

We’ve all been down that road at one point in our life. The endless pining and the insecurities? Been there, done that.

“There’s someone out there for you. Someone who will love your hair and your words and your eyes and the way you scrunch up your nose when you’re thinking hard on something. He will love you for all of the things that you are and all of the things you aren’t. He’ll love you beyond all reason and will be convinced that you hung the sun and the moon. He will see the stars and wish for only you. Someone will love every single part of who you are, and my gods, I can’t wait for the day to meet him to tell him thank you.”

As much as this book made me laugh, I can’t count the number of times I also cried because don’t we all deserve that love? I realized we were (or are or will be) Sam of Wilds at some point in our also badass lives. We also wish the same things he did. We also give it everything we’ve got. Because of this, Sam will probably be one of my most favorite protagonists of all time.

T.J. Klune, you are my new hero! Thank you for sharing your literary gift to the world. If there are Sam Girls, then I can unabashedly say that I am most definitely a T.J. Girl from here on. Secret fan meetings? I'm so down with that!

Profile Image for Bibi.
1,288 reviews3,230 followers
July 15, 2017
Extremely funny book except I found it farcical and stereotyped; like a 400+ page slapstick SNL impersonation of the LGBT individual. I'm sorry but I was not amused and had it not been for the presence of Kevin- the dragon- this would have been rated one star.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,801 followers
March 22, 2018
*Kindle Freebie 3/22/18!!*

My original review from 2015 of the book can be found here.

Previous rating: 3.5 stars
Audiobook re-read rating: 3.5 stars for the story, 5+++ stars for the narration = 4.5 stars overall

*I'm going to focus the majority of this review on the audio portion. If you want to read a more detailed review on the story then check out my previous review of the ebook.*

Now, I've said this before and I'll say it again- I'm a HUUUUUUGE T.J. Klune fan. HUGE. I've read nearly everything he has written (I might have missed one book), and I've never given him less than 3.5 stars. He is one of my favorite authors of all time, but this series... yeah, it didn't quite work for me the first time around.

Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but I found the characters too similar to those from Tell Me It's Real and Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and the plot to be too long with too much meandering. Of course, I adored the humor (as all die-hard TJ fans would), but I felt exasperated by the end by how long it took the MCs to get together.

I was ready to put this whole series aside with a shrug, but all of my friends have NOT STOPPED TALKING about the audiobook narration of The Lightning-Struck Heart.

When the audiobook first came out, I was not familiar with Michael Lesley so I wasn't willing to take the chance. I hate giving bad ratings to authors that I personally like, so I didn't want to hate the narration and give the book less than 3-stars. However, I decided to take a chance with the audiobook of Tell Me It's Real (also by Michael Lesley), which is a comfort-read of mine, and see how it went. And it was awesome. So, I figured, what the hell.

I've listened to a LOT of audiobooks (over 250), and I can safely say that Michael Lesley's narration of this book is among the best I've listened to. He was just outstanding, like he OWNED this book, and I am truly stunned as to the quality of the work. Michael mastered no less than 20 separate and unique voices (there are a LOT of side characters!), and put his ALL into the narration.

It also helps that Michael has just the right cadence, the right delivery, and the right vibe for this story. He sounds young enough to pull off the younger characters but can pitch his voice just so for the older ones. He can do sexy voices, creepy voices, and funny voices. His voice for Tiggy was GOLD (<---my favorite of any of the voices in the book)!

When I met Michael Lesley in person, he told me that he likes to do accents. I was a little dubious, because a bad accent can be... sad... but his accents were so perfectly done. Sure, it helps that this book is a fantasy so the people don't actually have to be from anywhere in particular, but he made those accents feel natural.

TJ Klune hit the jackpot with him, and he should be thanking his lucky stars that such a perfect-fitting narrator came his way.

My final rating is a full star higher because I really enjoyed the book in audio and Michael Lesley deserves heaps of praise for his work. Still, narration aside, the book is funny, charming, and romantic, even if it won't rank up there in my favorites from TJ. I'm hoping A Destiny of Dragons wins me over even more.

*Copy provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for BWT.
2,171 reviews222 followers
December 16, 2017
There aren't enough stars for this...

The Lightning-Struck Heart or, as it was originally titled, Unicorn Star Fucker, is a fantastic story of love, friendship, longing, loss, and hope.

Is this funny? Yes. Yes, it is. It's fucking hilarious. Straight up - I was obnoxiously laughing so hard and so loud for so long that I actually began to feel sorry for the people around me. Sorry they were being subjected to my overt hilarity and sorry they were not reading this magnificent and wondrous book so they too could laugh uproariously.

Does this book make your heart ache? In part. Yes, it will, a little. What can be more sad than wanting someone so desperately, but knowing you can't have him?

"...I’m sorry I made an oath. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do. And I’m sorry that I can’t break it. But you have to believe me that it’s always been you. I promise. I promise." His voice cracked and my hands shook. "I promise, because when I look upon these stars, there is nothing I wish for more than you."

Is this just an OTT Fairy-tale on crack? No. No, it's not. Or, well, it's not only that. There are so many nuances to this. It has humor, heartache, and, most importantly, lessons to be learned about life, love and sometimes letting the things you love go even at the expense of your own heart and soul.

And, oh, the characters!

Wizard Apprentice Sam Haversford aka "Sam of Wilds" is maddening, fantastic and wonderful in all his blurty over-the-top goodness.

Sir Ryan Foxheart, is dashing and wonderful and...an asshole. But not an irredeemable asshole. Which is good.

The sidekick characters are utterly sublime! (Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, Tiggy, the half-giant, Sam's parents, Morgan and Randall the wizards, Kevin the dragon, Mama, Sam's fairy drag mother, the King, Pete, the guard...gods I could go on and on...) They all steal the spotlight every time they appear on page again and again.

I literally loved every single minute of this.

If you are a fan of Monty Python, Mel Brooks, Top Gun, and The Princess Bride - then you will love this book. You will want to have this book's babies.

If you are a fan of T.J. Klune's, and love his characters Derrick "Bear" McKenna (BOATK), Paul Auster (TMIR), and Sandy Stewart (TMIR) - then you will love this book. You will beg for more ( by the way, T.J....MORE PLEASE!!! ) Literally.


Never fear, dear readers! You get an HEA, but it's also left open for more adventures. And, oh, how I want them. I literally want them so much. Literally.


Belens Audio Book Review

I didn’t think I could love this story anymore, then I got the audio.

Michael Lesley takes this funny, makes your heart ache, cracktastic fairy tale and made it infinitely relatable to anyone who loves humor, sarcasm, sassiness, and even sadness.

This is fantastic in all senses of the word. Run, do not walk, to buy this audio!


coll story bro

This review has been cross-posted at Gay Book Reviews

Audio Review Gay Book Reviews

Read: 07/2015, 08/2015, 09/2015 (2), 12/2015 (2), 02/2016, 08/2016, 11/2016, 01/2017, 03/2017
Profile Image for Barbara.
433 reviews88 followers
September 30, 2015

5 HaveHeart4Evah Stars

A absolute winner for me! Love evey single minute I spend reading it.

An epic storyline awesome, silly, sweet, constant sarcasm, a sense of humor that makes me nearly pee my pants laughing!

It's a beautiful story and I recommend this book to everyone. EVERYONE.

Thanks to my friend Isabel for the rec because she is Awesome like that, and to T.J. Klune who is an Absolutely Extreme Talented Writer!

YEAH! I capitalize it … now it´s forever!

Note : I´m a Samgirl, also a GarKev4evah!

Thanks to Todd for telling me about:

Tales From Verania: The Tragic Life of Lady Tina DeSilva

Profile Image for Mary.
Author 117 books4,681 followers
January 26, 2016
It's simply a brilliant book. You fall into the world on the first page and it grabs you and holds you and you're riveted for the entire 382 pages and when it's done you wonder where the time went. I can't wait to read it again and I hope there will be many, many more. Wildly recommended.
Profile Image for Tara♥ {MindforBooks}.
1,421 reviews114 followers
March 15, 2016
BR reread for Christmas with Susan, Marte, Doodle, Elsbeth, Heidi and Julie. Perfect holiday reading. Next up the audio! This book is just the best fun and pure comfort reading!

1st read - 20-23 July 2015
2nd read - 18- 28 December 2015


“You know I captured you and you’re my prisoners, right?"
“Did he?” I asked Gary.
“Well, we are tied up,” Gary said. “And not in the fun way.”
“I don’t want to know when you’ve been tied up in the fun way,” I told him.
He rolled his eyes. “Sam, you are such a prude.”
“Guys?” Lartin said. “I have a plan? That I need to tell you about? You need to listen.”
“I am not a prude,” I said to Gary. “Just because I don’t talk about… you know. Sex stuff. That doesn’t make me a prude.”
“Your face just turned red when you stuttered on the word sex,” Gary said. “I almost believed you.”
“I didn’t stutter.”
“You kind of stuttered,” Lartin said. Because he was an asshole who I was totally going to kick in the balls before the day was up.

Ridiculous, over the top, non stop punning and racing dialogue and I. LOVED. EVERY. SECOND.

About a quarter of the way through this I got very Monty Python feelings, Monty Python on crack. So you know? Mental. Almost 400 pages of mental. Is it too early for a reread do we think?

So Monty Python. Specifically The Holy Grail, hence the giffage. I couldn't get it out of my head especially when the gang came upon monologuing villains or argued with each other or even not using horses (cause it's racist don't you know?) made me think Python and I really think there should have been coconuts, the lack of coconuts was disappointing.

“My name is—”
“Don’t care,” I said.
He glared at me. “Don’t be rude.”
I sighed. “Sorry. Go ahead.”
“My name is Wan the Dark Hunter,” he said, squaring his shoulders.
I waited.
He looked at me, clearly expecting a reaction.
I waited some more.
“So,” he said, “that name should have inspired fear in you. You don’t look very fearful.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know who you are.”

Also very disappointing that no villains got their limbs cut off.

Sam, Gary and Tiggy are my new favourite everything. Their adventures are adventures I really, really want to go on but I'm way happy to just be a causal observer. For reasons. But really all the characters make this the over the top joy that it was. The only one that I wanted to be killed with a ball of hell fire was Justin and he served a purpose. A ridiculously UST purpose.

If you have read any TJ Klune before you will recognise some similarities between the cast of this and previous book characters, but because of this setting, we get to see characters with absolutely no leashes and therefore they get to be totally outrageous. Outrageous like Gary the gay hornless unicorn. I can't even with Gary. I loved everything that came out of his mouth, even when he and Kevin were being utterly inapropro and scarred my brain he was still full of awesome.

“Oh calm the fuck down, Griselda,” Gary snapped. “We’re the only ones here, you ancient she-beast. You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

Quotes like that made me lose my shit laughing. Gary is highly quotable and I have an urge to drop random quotes of his into real life conversations. That is one such quote. Replacing the name obviously! I have literally highlighted most of this book. It is literally the most highlighted book I've ever owned.

So The Lightning-Struck Heart is funny as all get out but as is TJ's way, there were ninja feelz and these ninja feelz felt more ninja than usual. This is many things, it's mainly comedy yes, it's comedy romance and a frustrating comedy romance at that. But it's also about loyalty and friendship and family and a lot of the time, the moments where Sam is hurt it was friends and family who brought the feelz and it was really very beautiful.

“There’s someone out there for you,” he said. “Someone who will love your hair and your words and your eyes and the way you still scrunch up your nose when you’re thinking hard on something. He will love you for all of the things that you are and all of the things you aren’t. He’ll love you beyond all reason and will be convinced that you hung the sun and moon. He will see the stars and wish for only you. Someone will love every single part of who you are, and my gods, I can’t wait for the day to meet him to tell him thank you.”

But mainly this has made me think about the logistics of a dragon and a unicorn doing the nasty. It's pretty much all the nookie we get until like the last 5% so it stays with you. I really need to stop thinking about it. Like I need to stop bad. Stupid Kevin. Stupid Gary.

I can't wait for more from this world and it has, for sure, been set up for more but to tide me over I need a TMIR reread and a Monty Python and The Holy Grail rewatch.

“Spaghetti face!” Tiggy cried. “Wizard Spaghetti Face.”
“He capitalized it,” Gary said. “Now it’s forever.”
“That’s a stupid fucking rule,” I grumbled.

Profile Image for Connor.
694 reviews1,660 followers
March 22, 2021
My Video Review:

So this book is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's definitely not for young readers, so avert your eyes, kiddos. It is nonstop sexual innuendos and sex jokes with a very casual, dialogue-heavy writing style... now that I think about it, it would be weird if this hadn't had a very casual writing style.

I thought it was hilarious though and was actually laughing out loud while reading it. I'll definitely be continuing on in the series! It is probably the wackiest book I've ever read.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,245 followers
May 11, 2018

This book... why did no one tell me about this book? I thought you guys were my friends! I thought you knew me! You had to know that it would be like magical rainbows made of the best chocolate ever to me. You all let me down.

Okay, well for those of you who DIDN'T know about this book - you know - my GOOD friends - you need to read it. It is the funniest, craziest, sassiest, most original story ever! I'm not over-selling this at all.

I knew from the first line in this book that I was going to be enchanted:

The Villain Monologues
“AND NOW, I will tell you of my plans to take over the Kingdom,” the evil wizard and total douchebag Lartin the Dark Leaf said with a cackle.

Yeah, love at first sight for me and this baby.

Our hero is Sam, a wizard's apprentice. His best friend is Gary, a gay hornless unicorn. Don't even think of calling him a horse. He gets pretty angry about that, and you don't want to see Gary angry.

“He’s lucky I don’t have my horn back yet,” Gary muttered. “There’d be so much goring, it’d be unreal. It’d be like Gore City up in here."

Their third faithful companion is a half-giant who likes to smash. Consider him like Hulk. To start the story, Hulk smashes an annoying bad guy who monologues for way too long. This smashing will come back to haunt our friends over and over again as they adventure through magical forests and stuff.

Their quest: Saving the jerk-ass prince in time for his gay wedding to Ryan, the knight. Ryan is not just any knight, he's Sam's crush, so this wedding thing kind of sucks for him. To help Sam, the king sets up a party where he invites a bunch of gay bachelors to meet Sam in hopes of hooking him up. That's what you call a cool king. The king is awesome in so many ways. Here is where Sam is painting the king's portrait:

King regally posed next to a stained-glass window. I had the easel set up a few feet away from him as I studied him closely, wanting to make sure I got his likeness just right.
“Oops,” I said.
“Oops,” the King said. “What oops?”
“Okay, so, how would you feel if you looked like you had boobs?”
“Am I busty?”
“Very. You also have three of them.”
“Good. Proceed.”
“So, hypothetically. Okay, that was a lie. It’s not hypothetical. I painted you to be as big as the Great White and you’re destroying Meridian City like a giant monster. My muse is obviously a surrealist and I must follow her into the artistic abyss.”
“Am I breathing fire?”
My eyes widened. “You could be. I have so much puce.”
“Make it so.”

Lol! Now I get why Gary and Sam call him a KILF.
He's a total KILF.

As opposed to this king, the KIRFS
(King I'd Run From Screaming).
It's been years and yet still... seriously, Burger King, WTF?

Sam meets one guy that he likes a bit, Todd, so he goes to dinner with him. Unfortunately, there is not one thing in the restaurant that Sam can eat because it's Duck and Blueberry night and he's allergic to both. He doesn't hold that against Todd.

“So. Todd.”
He nodded, throat working.
“How is your… life?” Smooth, that. And all encompassing.
(Did I mention Todd's a nervous wreck too? This date wins for most awkward of all times, but Sam wants to reassure Todd)
“You’re off to a good start. Mostly. Maybe not the Food of Death thing.”
Better. That's some good encouragement.

Okay, so quick story:
We used to go to this one restaurant a lot and to get there, my husband would always take this shortcut through an alley and I would get all weird about it because it was (in my mind) sketchy. We nicknamed the alley "the alley of death" and the kids still tease me about it today. Mostly because I was nervous about a perfectly safe passageway in an affluent area that was well-lit and short. But, hey, in my defense, there could have been ax-carrying killers there, behind the Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I swear, my family are a bunch of assholes. Anyway, we use the "___of death" expression at my house a lot. I know you wanted to have this information.

But anyway. If there is still someone reading my rambling thoughts at this point...
The majority of the book is about the journey that Sam, Gary, Ryan, and the giant take. They meet up with a bunch of hilarious side-characters including a dragon named Kevin. And, sassiness is on every page.

“I like your eyebrows,” I told him. “Way to buck societal norms of how eyebrows should normally look. Down with the system and all that.”


So, to wrap this thing up, let me just say that if you are into sassy-gay-buddy-adventuring-fantasy-romance novels, this is the one for you. Oh, and there is some explicit gay sex involved, so either beware or be excited - it's up to you.
Profile Image for Dia.
534 reviews139 followers
February 14, 2019
5 HUGE stars

Loved loved loved this one SO much!!! I just couldn't stop!! I've read it at work pretending I was working. I've read it on my way home from work. It was unpundownable!

This is the funniest book ever!!! I have laughed SO hard ALL the time while reading it!! It was the best banter I've ever had the pleasure to read. I mean, I couldn't stop the laughter even if I tried. SAM was the funniest character, but also the cornless unicorn and the half giant made this story unforgettable!!! And Ryan *sigh* Ryan was sweet and amazing!!! We get only a few hot scenes but I swear I am more than OK with this. I can't believe it. But we get SO many emotional moments and there were also some sad scenes. I expected my heart will get broken for Sam, only to explode with happiness the next moment. Amazing ending!!!

This is without question the best book I've read this year and I am amazed by the writing! I already loved this author but I had NO idea he's that good. I adore his Wolfsong and Ravensong books. I adored all his books so far, but here we get so much delicious banter and crazy dialogues. Crazy, I am telling you!!!

I've highlighted so much and only rereading some of them makes me snore with laughter. It was that good!!!

Looking forward to reading the next books!!!
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,154 followers
December 9, 2016
Big call...but I will say this is my favourite audio for 2016

When a brilliant author teams up with a brilliant narrator, The Lightning-Struck Heart is what you get. It was brilliantly, awesomely, fantastically magical. I loved the characters, storyline and setting for the story. It was easy to follow and the only times I had to rewind were when I missed a bit from laughing so hard.

I'll be honest (and hopefully not offend), this was the campest story I have ever read/listened to. The humour is rude, crude and socially unacceptable...I LOVED IT!

So, the story is about Sam the apprentice wizard his best mates Garry the hornless unicorn and Tiggy, the half-giant. Sam is set to be the King's wizard but is still in training. The group spend a lot of time being kidnapped and having to escape from the clutches of men who fall in love with Sam.

Poor Sam, if only he could be kidnapped by his one true love Ryan...but alas Ryan the King's Knight, is betrothed to the yucky Prince Justin.

The Lightning-Struck Heart is a fantasy romance about two men who want and need each other but have every obstacle in their way. The journey towards their happiness is filled with humour but also a little heartache.

We are introduced to some very interesting characters, especially the dragon (with a deep Scottish accent that I loved), Morgan of Shadows, the Dark Lords and Big Momma - the drag queen brothel owner.

T.J. Klune writes a brilliant story and Michael Lesley is one of the most entertaining narrators I have ever heard. His ability to change his voice, act like a horse...I mean unicorn and be the characters was awe inspiring.

I loved The Lightning-Struck Heart. I don't read a lot of m/m and I know it is not for everyone, but there is only one intimate scene right at the end. If you don't mind campy humour this is definitely worth a try and I suggest you give the sample a go.

T.J. Klune...I'm a fan. Onwards...

***Sorry, this review is a bit dodgy. I'm on holidays at the beach and my motivation is pretty low to non-existent but I HAD to tell you about this story.***

To buy The Lightning-Struck Heart from Amazon - http://amzn.to/2h94EKt

I’m an Aussie chick who loves to read and review romance, drink coffee, be a Style Setter and stalk David Gandy. To see more of my reviews, fashion, food and pervathons -

Profile Image for Lisazj1.
2,072 reviews155 followers
October 17, 2020
Re-Read Audible version 2.23.17: Even better the 2nd time around *as unbelievable as that may be* and that is without a doubt due to the brilliant audible performance of Michael Lesley! The huge array of characters and absolutely distinct personalities he had to give voice to was staggering and he delivered genuine perfection. I can't stress enough how stunning it was to hear these so-loved characters given life through their own voice, each one so completely what I imagined them as. Except for the ones that were unimaginable. *looking at you Dimitri* As stunning as it truly was, it was of course screamingly hilarious as only Verania and all its inhabitants can be. The only thing that was different for me here was how much more emotional the last part of the book was than I remembered, getting to hear everything in Sam's voice. I definitely got teary-eyed more this time around. But for all that, most of the tears were from laughter and I'll never be tired of this world.

If you love this story, or even if you've never read it before, please treat yourself to the audiobook. It's not to be missed! Kisses to Josy for talking me into it! xxx

*Original review*

This was the most batshit thing I have ever read. It was like T.J. Klune won a bet to write the most over the top, outrageous and ridiculous thing he could possibly come up with. And he won BIG , baby. It was The Most Awesome Thing Ever *and it's capitalized so it's official* *I swear I've laughed so much I've lost it*.

Let me be clear. I am not in the least fond of over the top humor. For example, I'm the only person I know who doesn't like Will Ferrell. Not a fan, at all. But every damn thing about this got me. Sam the wizard apprentice and his best friends, Gary the hornless gay unicorn and Tiggy the half-giant, the gay fairy King, Kevin the sexually aggressive *and perverted* dragon, the fan club meetings in disguise *don't ask* and of course Knight Delicious Face. And that's not even close to everything that was so awesome. *sigh* This is excepting my sore abs, because throughout the whole book, I laughed so hard, the kind where your whole body shakes and you don't even make a noise, while tears run down your face and IT WAS GLORIOUS! *also except for the times I couldn't draw breath*

I loved this so hard, my first T.J. Klune book and I'm an instant fangirl.
Profile Image for Gail Carriger.
Author 55 books15k followers
January 5, 2018
For those who know my taste you will know this has many things I like. Adorable snarky gay boy main character. Lots of awesome magic. Really fun fantasy setting. But honestly...
It's hilarious.
No seriously, I was reading it last night and actually crying with laughter. I haven't laughed this hard since Ridiculous!. Possibly not even then.
The Lightning-Struck Heart is really that funny.
Profile Image for Teal.
608 reviews201 followers
June 10, 2019
I can understand why some people loved this book.

I can understand why some people found this book unreadable.

Klune is a clever and maybe even brilliant writer, and this book had some clever and brilliant moments. And some genuinely funny moments as well. But in general, his sense of humor is incompatible with mine. Most of the non-stop barrage of banter and joking was so crude and crass and gross and cringe-inducing, I'm probably lucky my face didn't freeze into an expression of horrified distaste.

I already own the second book. But the prospect of reading it seems exhausting. Unless someone promises me that the unicorn dies at the very beginning, I don't see myself picking it up.

😖 <-- My grossed-out expression got quite a workout while I was reading this.
Profile Image for ~Mindy Lynn~.
1,399 reviews592 followers
October 24, 2015
Thoughts after reading the first page:

There were plenty of times while reading this I thought out loud:

SO many times! The book is full of those moments and they were amazing. I have never read anything as unique as this book was. The story was pure genius and I am not at all surprised it came from TJ.

Because his writing is:

I love his books.

The characters in this book were:

Gary and Tiggy being my absolute favorites after Sam of course. But the rest of the side characters where just as awesome. So many different personalities in one book and they were all written extremely well.

But what had me thinking:

Was the banter between the characters and the humor that had me laughing out loud. The permanent smile this book kept on my face until my cheeks ached. But also the friendship between Tiggy, Gary, and Sam. I loved how close they were and how much they adored and loved each other. Loved it!

Feelings after finishing the book:

And then there were hints that there will be more books!

That needs to happen!
Profile Image for Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -.
689 reviews43 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
May 3, 2021
DNF @15% and no rating

*waves white flag* I'm admitting defeat. For good this time. This was my fourth try and as much as I love TJ Klune, this is just not my kind of crazy. I'm literally the only one of my friends who didn't love this book, so please just ignore me. :(
Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) on-hiatus.
1,106 reviews838 followers
August 30, 2017
They say laughter is an instant vacation, and my sweet gods did I have an amazing one thanks to TJ Klune.

People just get the audio it is the best narration Ever! Worth every penny. I am now a Michael Lesley girl I fell in love with his voice.

Sweet Molasses.This Was Awesomely Funny (yes i capitalized.) Think Friends, Will & Grace, all rolled into 19 hours 49 minutes of laughter.


And now the award for the clueless MC goes to SAM.. yoo-hoo...


I loved this book so much. This book is about the friendship, Love, Loyalty and adventures of Sam the awesome wizard apprentice, Gary the sassy sidekick and Tiggy the gentle giant. Their journey is epic and so funny.

Oh Sam I loved him so much he was this clueless sweet boy with a heart gold, awesome and quick with a joke, very loyal to his friends and family.. oohh! and he is in love with a Knight named Ryan. (who is unavailable,.. bummer) and he has no filter.. Sam was an amazing MC not once was i bored with his story..

“Did I tell you he knew my name?”
“Sixteen times.”
“Oh. He said it twice.”
“Holy fuck on a stick.”
“He is.” I sighed.
“You want to lick his balls,” Gary said, just to see me sputter and flush brightly.

I loved Ryan too though sometimes I just wanted to shake him and tell him to stand up for himself and Sam.

“I’m going to do so many spells,” I said, because it seemed impossible for me to stop. “You
won’t even believe how many spells I can do. Flora Bora Slam, motherfucker.”
“I want you to Flora Bora Slam me,” Ryan said.

Gary the hornless gay unicorn was sassy and a very pleasant character .... I laughed so hard at what he said and Michael Lesley brought the character to life by giving Gary a fitting voice.. Like Sam he too has no filter and says things like:

“Hey, Ryan?” Gary asked. “If you’re so concerned with Sam’s… virtue and importance to the
Kingdom, why don’t you volunteer to be the chaperone? As Knight Commander of the King’s
Guard, no one is more qualified than you to ensure the safety of his butthole.”


“I remember when you were a prude. My little boy who got flustered even saying the word
sex is now talking about rimming. Kids. You grow up so fast. Pretty soon you’ll be getting
fisted and I won’t know where the time has gone.”

I want my own Gary

Tiggy, Sam's parents, the King and Morgan were amazing secondary characters. As for Justin I still have not decided how I feel about him.

There was also a very pervy dragon called Kevin..

"Is that what you want, pretty?" the dragon asked. "I'm a dragon, and maybe, if you're lucky,
I'll be dragon my balls across your face later."

As much as it was a funny book there were some heartfelt moments and at times my heart broke for Sam, he covers his pain with humor and sass but it was right there for those who were keen to see.

“Because you’ve built up this shell around yourself. This exterior made up of sass and wordplay. You wear your heart on your sleeve, but you’ve disguised it so that only those that are close to you can ever hope of seeing it. You show so much without actually showing anything at all.”- The king to Sam

I need someone that I can be strong for. But I need someone who can also be strong for me.”- Sam

I Loved

To Mervin:
Don’t worry.
I’m a Sam Girl too.
Our secret?
Ryan Foxheart


Sam and Gary lusting after Ryan that scene was hilarious..

Now was Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart climbing slowly out of the river, water cascading down his body, dripping over miles and miles of muscle. He wore nothing but a thin, white undergarment that stuck and clung to his groin and thighs. He reached down, the muscles in his back flexing as he scooped up water in his hands and brought it up and over his head. His nipples were pebbled. His chest was covered in a smattering of wet hair. He was lines and corded muscle, definition and carved from stone. If I had let my eyes linger, I would have sworn I could see the outline of his cock through the wet fabric. My skin felt tight and flushed and I wanted. There was green and gold, and it was so fucking bright that I almost had to shut my eyes from the weight of it.
“I swear he’s doing this on purpose,” Gary whispered hotly.
“I swear I want to do him on purpose,” I breathed.
Gary choked and I didn’t care.

The sex jokes

“What happened?” Tiggy asked.
“The King wants Sam to get covered in man juice,” Gary said.
“Oh,” Tiggy said. “Your flower gonna get eaten?”
“Nobody is taking my flower!
“And no one ever will if you keep calling it that,” Gary pointed out.”

The truth spell OMGs I literally laughed so hard. Like literally.

When you do magic, it turns me on,” Ryan said, shaking his head frantically. “Ah gods. I can’t—stop. Just stop. Ahhh, I get erections when you cast spells. Oh shit.”
“Sweet molasses,” I managed to say.

The chemistry between Sam and Ryan.. Umm.... wow just wow.. and when they got together it was Hoooot!.


Let’s just say I loved it! Loved it .. ohh! And let me stop, I might end up quoting the whole book.
All the stars to Tj Klune and Michael Lesley. You made me laugh

Profile Image for Lau ♡.
416 reviews345 followers
March 12, 2022
Hilarious, crazy and a real fairytale, The Lightning Struck Heart made me laugh out loud in the middle of the street, in class and in the public bus. Who said reading was not a dangerous sport?


Nothing is missing in this story: princes, dragons, fairies, dashing knights, sassy wizards, giants and even an unicorn without his horn. T.J. Klune managed to create the perfect little world to immerse yourself into. The humor was over the top and a bit repetitive, but if you enjoy it, you’ll spend the book laughing and rolling your eyes while smiling. It was so ridiculous it was enchanting.

“This is just fascinating. Please continue to waste my time.”

Our hero Sam is a very talented wizard with a propensity to get kidnapped. Sam is in love with Ryan, a handsome knight who is dating his prince. But he doesn’t let it bother him; Sam loves adventures and has two great friends to live them with: Gary the hornless unicorn or Tiggy the smash-lover.

Ryan grinned at me before turning around and bending over to pick up his discarded clothes.
“Dat. Ass,” Gary and I said at the same time.
“Bite it,” Gary whispered.
“My mouth is not worthy.”

Besides the great set of characters and the humor, there was a lot going on in the story. Sam & Co. kept traveling trying to save the Kingdom and running into trouble every step of the way. The scenes were as unrealistic as entertaining and they always managed to save the day in the craziest way possible.

“You are way too pretty to exist in the world with us mere mortals.” I somehow managed to stop myself from calling him Knight Delicious Face.
And he smiled. Like I had amused him.() “Think you hit your head,” he said.

My only critique is that the final part was a bit static. Sam and his love interest were walking in circles and everyone was waiting for an event to occur, when it was obvious what was going to happen. Then it happened and I still smiled a bit.

Profile Image for Loulou .
1,000 reviews
July 11, 2023
8th Relisten
Am I obsessed with this series? Yes
Do I care? No.
"I’m a dragon, and maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll be dragon my balls across your face later."

7th relisten
RL sucked again and I needed the book again.

6th relisten
RL Sucked and I needed this book.

5th Relisten
Not two months ago🤣🤣
I'm hopeless I know. But book 5 is coming soon!

4th relisten.

Never gets old.

Title: Tales From Varania by Tj Klune

- Light epic fantasy; a bit of historical with a splash of urban

- An Epic Love story. Sam and Ryan are soulmates but the road to their HEA is very long and FILLED with obstacles.

- The HUMOR! Seriously, this book is hilarious and will let you laugh out loud with no regard to where you are or who you're with!

- The plot, the character development, the world building, and the writing style... It all comes together to create a magical story.

- #FriendsToLovers Trope

As for the audiobooks, if you're into that, Michael Lesley's performance is pure gold.
Profile Image for Line.
1,082 reviews177 followers
April 10, 2019
My gods, he does it again.
By now TJ Klune is among my absolute favorite authors, the man can write a dialogue, he can write a love story, and he can make you feel for the characters like no one else. Also his style is so distinct, that you have no doubt it is one of his books you are reading. If you are a fan of Bear, Otter and the Kid-series you will love this as well. Just be aware that some of the characters in this book is a tad bit more inappropriate (in the best possible way) compared to the other works of Mr. Klune.
I am absolutely positive that this is a book I will read again and again. I have not laughed as much as I did, reading a new book as I did reading TLSH.
Profile Image for alyssa.
857 reviews149 followers
February 8, 2022
i have never taken drugs before but i imagine this is what being on acid feels like 🤣🤣🤣

Tell Me It's Real OTT humor + fantastical creatures and magic = premium quality high fantasy acid 🐉🦄🪄

this was more of a 4-star story for me but the PHENOMENAL audiobook (as in i can’t imagine experiencing this book without the voice effects and Michael Lesley’s charismatic narration—a literal masterpiece!!!) and countless laughs that spontaneously burst out of me throughout the course of this adventure (mixed with Sam’s ache, longing for what he can’t have) convinced me to round up with little hesitation.

can’t wait to keep listening!
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