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The Magpie Lord

5 stars
6,825 (35%)
4 stars
7,831 (40%)
3 stars
3,594 (18%)
2 stars
806 (4%)
1 star
226 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,829 reviews
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,643 followers
July 25, 2013
I like m/m. I like fantasy. I like Victorian Gothic. I wrote an m/m Victorian Gothic fantasy. Well, someone had to.

If you're wondering what's the deal with the magpies...

British people count magpies. There's a rhyme everyone knows, of which the most common variant starts, 'One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy.' This book began its life when I pointed to three magpies in the park and told my daughter, 'Look, three for a girl,' and she said, 'But how did they know I'd be here?' Which got me thinking about what would happen if the magpies did know, and what magpie magic would entail, and what sort of things might happen to a man haunted by magic he didn't understand, and where he might turn for help. Because there are some fairly creepy magpie rhymes out there...

One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth
Five for rich
Six for poor
Seven for a witch, I can tell you no more.
Eight for a babe buried in the earth
Nine for a feasting
Ten for a dearth

I hope you enjoy it! Crane and Stephen's story continues in A Case of Possession.
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,014 followers
February 2, 2014
riotously funny—and also hot.

bless my molly little stars—this was hysterical.

the joy i found in this pulled me right out of my hermit-hole and onto a keyboard to go write things.


because this one passage had me chortling so hard the cat sleeping on my belly had to stab me in four places at once to keep from being undulated right off the bed.


these characters are marvelous. dialogue like oscar wilde on absinthe.

never mind the sexual congress always being interrupted by the inconvenient appearance of some random crofter or parson or hedge-witch—the sexual tension was off-the-chain.

my sex drive goes to hell when i'm down, but with this?

i sprung a boner for the first time in, like, hundreds of years*.

so recommended i can't even—

—just go. quickly. enjoy.

it's AU-victorian ridonk madness, and i loved every word.


*hours. and it was wicked haaad, too.
Profile Image for carol..
1,576 reviews8,238 followers
December 29, 2020
Written better than all of my QB™ reads, this is a fun palate-cleanser between more demanding books. Books that I’ve been avoiding, for instance, including finishing Romano’s well-done one on zombies (too long, too end-of-the-world depressing-people), Carter and Lovecraft (too creepy horror), The Light Brigade (too wartime), Indemnity Only (too 1980s sleezy Chicago crime couched in women’s rights). Idk, I really don’t, because I also hate rainbows and kittens.

“This is the drawing room. It probably wouldn’t be so bad without the panelling, or the chairs, and if it was in a different house.”

Anyway, this is fun, fast break from all that. Sure, it opens with an almost-suicide which is a bit of an emotional slap, but we quickly find out that is unusual behavior from our extremely self-confident lead.

“But if I can’t find him through any of the clubs, we can just hang around all the filthiest opium dens in Limehouse till we meet him.”
“See?” said Merrick. “Things are looking up already.”

I burned through this on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the porch, because that’s just about the perfect time and place for a read like this. Great atmosphere with the growing threat of danger, but there’s some snappy dialogue in there to also provide humor. There is an instance or two of questionable relationship behavior, but it’s interesting because the characters call themselves out on it and–this is crazy, here–have a discussion about it. I don’t know what these modern authors are coming to, actually talking out relationship stuff.

“I don’t think anyone is entitled to exploit his fellows because of an accident of birth. You’re an earl, I’m a practitioner, both of us were born this way, and neither of us is entitled to feed off other people because of it.”
Crane considered that. “I’m bloody glad you’re here.”
“Really? Because I wish to God we were both somewhere else.”

Anyway, decent mystery, interesting dynamic duo, very interesting lead characters (including Merrick). I’d read more from this team, and that’s saying something, because I’m not usually a fan of this setting. Highly preferred over something like Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, etc.

Thanks to Nataliya for trying and sharing this gem. I highly recommend her review.

Three and a half spirits, rounding up.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
785 reviews12.5k followers
July 4, 2022
Sometimes books trick you, delivering something you did not expect and therefore did not know you wanted, exceeding those expectations by a lot. When I picked up this one on a whim, all I expected was a couple of hours of mindless and easily forgettable steamy-romancey entertainment, but I underestimated K. J. Charles.

What I got instead was a ridiculously entertaining historical quasi-Victorian paranormal fantasy/mystery with a healthy dose of humor and, yes, a generous helping of steamy romance. But it’s really NOT a romance novel - the romance does not overwhelm the plot and certainly isn’t the plot. It’s there as a fun side action and not the main dish of this paranormal fantasy story. Which is exactly what I like.
“There are a number of recommended methods of dealing with ghosts—salt and iron, harmonic resonance, some people swear by exorcism, and not just the priests—but that's the fist time I've seen anyone try a left hook.”

Lucien Vaudrey, () is a new Lord Crane after sudden and suspicious deaths of his father and brother (both professional assholes), and ends up very reluctantly returning to England (stuffy puritanical morals are not his jam) with his manservant/ henchman Merrick () to get his inheritance in order. There he runs into a bit of trouble — you know, a tiny matter of a deadly curse. And so, naturally, he employs the service of a magical practitioner to help with that pesky curse.
“Is there a reason you’re making this a private compartment?” Stephen enquired warily.
“Yes,” said Crane. “Is there a reason your sleeve is soaked in blood?”

The problem is — the practitioner, Stephen Day (), has long-standing issues with now dead members of the Vaudrey family and therefore is inclined to view Lucien not too favorably. But it’s a job, and Stephen plans to get it done. While at it, the reluctant allies discover that the mystery goes way beyond just revenge, and that their lives are in much more danger than expected.
“I do a job that makes me hated by quite a large number of my peers, including many who aren’t even warlocks, because I don’t think anyone is entitled to exploit his fellows because of an accident of birth. You’re an earl, I’m a practitioner, both of us were born this way, and neither of us is entitled to feed off other people because of it.”

In this quite short book the pace remains quite snappy, with no unnecessary dilly-dallying. There is an interesting magic system, magical bureaucracy, creepy Gothic manor, magical ancestors, headless ghosts, judgmental aunts, rude butlers (), a bit of body horror and physical violence, power-hungry revenge cult, preconceptions that need to be cleared up, and an undeniable attraction between our two leads,with Lucien’s irreverent contempt of societal norms. And, of course, magpies. You get intriguing plot, clever humor and snappy dialogue, and (luckily) minimal angst.
“What the fuck, what the fucking, bloody devil-shit, what in the name of Satan’s swollen cock was that?”
“Do you speak in the House of Lords with that mouth?”

4 stars.
“Anyway, the point is…power is addicting. It’s hard to drag it out of the ether, but it’s so easy to tap people. Easy, effective, evil. And once one begins, terribly hard to stop, because the sensation of being without power is such a very horrible one. And of course it’s tempting for any practitioner to see the unskilled as lesser—less talented, less able, less worthy of consideration—and if you tap them for power, you start to see them as lesser beings altogether. Cattle, they call them—you,” he amended hastily. “There to feed on. There to use and discard. And that’s a warlock, more or less.”

Recommended by: Richard
Profile Image for Vio.
677 reviews
September 8, 2013
What do I say and how many times can I say I loved it. I was enthralled with Magpie, its a sensational story. Lucien and Stephen are gorgeous MC's and their sizzling *hot and bothered loving* is so passionately, perfect. Eerie magpies, brilliant and fresh writing, creepy, gripping witchery! Best of all, is the unforgettable and awesome tattoos, damn fascinating and magically twisty, I never saw that coming and it surprised the hell out of me. Can't wait for the sequel, if it was available now I would have pounced, its that bloody good.

Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,553 followers
June 27, 2018
This was my first M/M Romance and I can’t believe how much I enjoyed it. I would never have tried this genre or this author it weren’t for my 2 GR friends MsSmartarse and Roxana who convinced me to give The Magpie Lord a try after praising this series like two teenage fangirls. After I read it I understood why and I think I might join the fanclub. I am not usually a fan of romance but if you throw in some fantasy and a set the novel in Victorian London then I might catch the bait. Which I did.

Lucien Vaudrey returns to London from his forced exile in Shanghai in order to assume his role as Lord Crane after his father and brother died in suspicious circumstance. Soon after his return he starts to have suicidal tendencies and is stopped in the last moments by his loyal valet. Realizing something unnatural is going on, the new lord hires a local “shaman” to help him survive. Magician Stephen Day hates Lord Crane’s family for food reasons and struggles to put his duty first and deal with the supernatural threats. To his surprise, his client does not resemble his despiteful family and will realize with surprise that they are start to become very attracted to each other.
I enjoyed the relationship between the two of them and the smut. I appreciated that there was a good balance between the plot and the love story. The length was also perfect. A guilty pleasure to which I’ll come back to.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,865 reviews496 followers
September 11, 2013
4.85 stars rounded up to 5-stars

This is another book that I will not even consider without the reviews from my Goodreads friends. Historical is not my genre of choice; so any titles with historical tag will be low priority for me. However, I am a huge fan of mystery and paranormal. Contemplating the positive reviews and the fact that this story had paranormal mystery element, I decided to take the plunge.

And what a delightful surprise it was...

The story opened with Crane trying to commit suicide -- it wasn't because he wanted to do it, he was persuaded by force of evil. Merrick, Crane's manservant, told his Lord to look for help from a shaman. Entered Stephen Day, a magic practitioner who had every reasons to hate Crane for the sins of Crane's father. But Stephen realized that Crane was not his father and he ended up helping Crane to find out the root of evil that had almost took Crane's life.

From the first page, I was immediately hooked. This story had PLOT people! It also had witty banters, engaging horror mystery infused with magic and tales and ghosts, BAMF!manservant (yes, you, Merrick!), captivating characters, and DELICIOUS sexual tension between the two men.

The sex scenes were amazingly hot too. Crane and Stephen seemed to prefer NOT using beds! There prefer using vertical surface and one memorable desk (Oh, the story that desk can tell). They were RAWR-kind of scenes and it made me all melty and tingly and wanted to fan myself despite reading this in an centralized air-con room.

The words, the words were pretty too; I was in love with it.

And THAT climax of an ending, I wish ALL books end like that.

I do have FEW trivial complaints:

First, regarding the reveal of the bad guys. In mystery/suspense, I do love being surprised. However, at the same time, I would like to be 'guided' in the process. Throw in some clues and then red herrings along the way and I will be one happy girl when I come to the finish line. In here though, few of the major villains are disclosed in the 11th hour; without any prior introduction. It reduced the fun of deducing -- even if I wasn't a detective.

Second, some of the teaser information is not fully explained in the end. We got the tease on Crane being "forced to have a very large and expensive tattoo". He was about to tell but he stopped and the issue wasn't raised again. It will be nice to have it told -- it will give me a deeper understanding about Crane and his background, similar to when Merrick told Mrs. Bell on why he was so loyal to Crane. We also got the cheeky tease of what happened with the champagne in China. But also never fully explained (I wanted to know!). Having said that, this is quite trivial because I assume we can still get the teasers explained in book #2.

Third, this was definitely MY personal issue -- I could be annoying like that -- I wasn't too fond of Crane referring to Stephen as "little man". Maybe because Stephen and I shared the same height. It made me want to straighten up my spine, and defended my height to all you tall people!!

So in conclusion: engaging, arousing, at times frightening, and most definitely entertaining. In the grand scheme of things, the minor complaints can't stop me from giving my rounded-up perfect 5-shining stars. Because this is what an excellent story is made-of -- a combination of well-prepared idea, well-plotted execution, and well-written characters.

Simply one of my favorites from a debut author this year. I am definitely looking forward to book #2 coming in January.

PS: Thanks for bringing this up to my timeline Vio (and others). Thanks for doing buddy read with me, Kate, Jenn, Sunny.

Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

3.5 stars. I deeply regret to announce that this review is probably going to be all over the place. Not (all) my fault, though.

Because, confidence : I wanted to write a "charm recipe review" for this book, because obviously, this hysterical story called for it (or, made me think it was a good idea) so as I'm not expert on witchcraft (understatement of the year), of course I thought : Hey, Google is your friend on this! So I gently typed something along the lines of, "love spell recipe", and bloody hell!

Let me tell you, Google knows its job. Anyway, more I clicked on links, more I started forgetting why the hell I was looking at this rubbish (no offense for those who believe in that - that's not my fault, my mind is Cartesian by essence). All of that is to say that unfortunately I won't be able to write a spell review, whatever that means.

They lost me at - [incoherent crap] Repeat this in rhythmic pulses as you stir and combine the ingredients so far. Yeah, how about no.

But! Good Lord, the first adventures of Crane and Stephen were just insanely delicious. Keyword being insanely. Or delicious. I don't really know. There's just something so terribly appealing in a story that allows you to escape the real world so quickly. In all honestly, I struggled to understand what the hell was going on at first, but thanks to Crane's wonderful sarcasm, it was never a bother. Guys! GUYS! That man's sardonic humor is just fucking perfection. Seriously, after two pages I knew that I would make a feast of his deadpan retorts. As for Stephen, except for the fact that the endless repetition of his short and boyish stature annoyed me (I GET IT! The guy is 5"! I KNOW! You said it already! This is NOT attractive to make him weak! GAH), well, I have to admit that he was full of surprises and I'm eager to discover more about him in the sequel. If the character development was a little lacking, I'm feeling lenient because it was so very short and only the first book. I guess we'll see.

The growth of their relationship was well-handled and never overwhelming, but quite the opposite : there's a curse to unravel, after all, and a very captivating at that. Completely unputdownable. This said, the villains lacked depth in my opinion : I didn't feel anything towards them, because I didn't have the time to.

Now, I do have complaints about the sex-scenes, and it happens in so many books that I'm starting to think that I must be in the minority on this. Things go like that :

Crane : I'm going to f*ck you senseless
Stephen : Oooh yes
Anna : ...
Crane : But I want you to beg

This puts me off EVERY. TIME. Look, I'm obviously glad that consent is sought and all, but all that talking during sex throws me off. Less talk, more action please.

Moreover, I didn't like at all the first "rapprochement" of Crane and Stephen, sexually wise : the quick switch between anger and lust made me feel uncomfortable because it is not something in what I believe. I know that many, many books love relating how close these feelings are but the fact is, I genuinely don't get it. When someone is mad at me, I do not feel desire. I am pissed-off, plain and simple. Scared, maybe. Never, ever, excited. Granted, the situation was well-handled and that's why I'm not raging. But still, I'm forever baffled by this concept and I never completely bought their attraction - Although I enjoyed their interactions, when it comes to sex I wasn't convinced.

What's the purpose of the magpies, then? Ah, wouldn't you want to know.

Told you, this review is all over the place. Oh well.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
April 12, 2020
Actual rating: 3.75 stars.

Okay, let's get a few things straight before we begin:

YES, I did read this book semi-willingly.


YES, I nearly almost practically rated it 4 bloody shrimping stars.


YES, I am actually going to read the next book in the series.

So please go ahead and do all the gasping and fainting you need to do right now, so that we can move on and stuff. Thank thee kindly.

Nicely done! A question, though: what's with the feathers, my Little Barnacles? I mean, last time I checked arthropods didn't look like chickens and stuff. You're a weird bunch of decapods, you know.

So. I didn't DNF or hate the fish out of this book because:

① It's a delightfully improbable mix of paranormal stuff, Victorian stuff, mystery stuff and M/M romance stuff. All things improbable are slightly awesome, ergo slightly awesome this book isLogic is me, you say? Yes, I am well aware of the fact.

② It's light but deliciously entertaining and fun and enjoyable and delectable and stuff. It's also fast-paced and there's magic and ghosts and villains, oh my! Okay, so the mystery isn't of the perplexingly baffling kind, and I'm sure my old pal Hercule would have solved it in less time it takes to say "unleash the crustaceans, Fleet Admiral DaShrimp!" BUT. One cannot read ALL profoundly deep material ALL the time. One has to let the little grey cells rest and relax once in a while and stuff. Otherwise they might viciously retaliate by going all "we've had it! We're on bloody shrimping strike!" on your ass pincers and stuff. So this book is the quite perfect destination when an Over Heated Little Head Holiday (OHLH™) is in order.

Yes, this book is definitely the ideal candidate for days when you feel a teensy little bit like ↑↑

Ha ha bloody HA. I'm not the smiling type. Much less the laughing type (I find the habit to be quite repulsive, to be honest). But this little book right here had me chuckling and giggling and snickering and cackling and chortling and guffawing and snorting in the most elegantly gleeful way. Yes it did. The Positively Edible Lord Crane (PELC™) is exquisitely sarcastic and witty and funny and stuff. He jests and quips and gibes so lusciously it makes my pincers click uncontrollably. Not to mention the Outrageously Rambunctious Heating Effect (ORHE™) his mere presence has on my exoskeleton. TPEMC™ is a lord with the body and mouth of a sailor, you see. Hence lots of yummilicious swearing to be expected. And tattoos. Lots of, um, intriguing tattoos. And a hot body, too. But it's his titillating mind I'm in love with, undeniably. I couldn't care less about his physical appearance. Or the fact that he can get quite creative with desks, walls and rose gardens. And I certainly don't give a fish about his undying charm. Or his take no prisoners attitude towards flirtation. It's his brilliant intellect is what I'm lusting after here. So Poof, Gone, Harem (PGF™) and stuff. Obviously.

Sorry, what? Lord Crane is gay, you say? So what? I'm an equal opportunity kind of girl and I don't judge. I don't share, either. Not sorry, Tiny Stephen! Besides, I'm pretty sure he'll embrace his bisexuality with merriment the moment he meets me, so there. Problem solved and stuff.

④ No, I did not kill this book dead despite the Disgusting Romance of Doom and Oblivion (DRoDaO™). No no no no no, my Little Barnacles! Lose consciousness on me again you shall not! We're done with the fainting epidemic, remember? Now get a grip and stop interrupting me, will you? So. Since finishing this book, I've been trying to figure out why to this romance wasn't quite as allergy-inducing as its colleagues. A fact that is most puzzling indeed, you have to admit. The following conclusion finally reach I did: M/M Romance is not as ridiculously lovey dovey as M/F Crap. Also, slooooooooow burn. Also, also, bloody shrimping hot sex.

» And the moral of this No Need to Contact GR Support The Fluffy Siberian Bunnies Have Not Hacked My Account Again and This is Really Nefarious Little Me Writing this Crappy Non Review Crappy Non Review (NNtCBRSTFSBHNHMAAaTiRNLMWtCNRCNRCNR™) is: magpies = Kaldar = YUM. QED and stuff.

· Book 2: A Case Of Possession ★★★

[Pre-review nonsense]

Don't look at me, the MacHalos forced me to read this. And threatened to put a bullet in my lovely little head if I didn't rate it more than 3.5 stars. What a cunningly vicious little bunch they are.

Historical Paranormal Mystery M/M Romance. Yes, that is a thing. And quite a scrumpalicious one at that.

My thoughts exactly.

➽ Full Magic and Magpies and Tattoos and Champagne Fingers and Hahaha and Well that Was Slightly Hot Oh My Crappy Non Review (MaMaTaCFaHaWtWSHOMCNR™) to come.
863 reviews231 followers
October 1, 2013

OMG...tardiness is my pet peeve and I'm SO LATE to the party!!!!! I've seen you all read and rave over this book and I really wanted to read it...I swear I did. But, you know...I just...don't love historicals. And I don't love paranormal. And and....all this other fluffy stuff was calling out to me.

*boink* <-that's me hitting myself upside the head.

Silly girl. Silly, silly girl!!!!

What a FUN read! And not just fun, but CREEPY. And not just fun and creepy, but HOT. And not just fun and creepy and hot, but HILARIOUS.

I loved the story premise.

I loved Crane...Crane, he makes me laugh, and he's sexy as all get-out, but there's something...sad...about him...that makes me want to shower all my affection onto him.

I loved Stephen...the little man (ok, honestly, I could have done with a few less "little man" descriptions. It made me feel defensive for him.) This guy is STRENGTH and POWER personified. And his "I will not leave you" / "I won't let anything happen to you " declarations make me SWOON!

I loved Merrick. Scratch that. I LOVE Merrick. Mine. He's mine. And I wish I could get more of HIS story.

I felt the mystery portion of the story did a fantastic build-up but I was slightly disappointed at the resolution. It felt a little out of left field, and I was slightly confused. But, me not so smart. So, it's my issue.

I'm so excited to find out there will be books 2 and 3 in the series! There's such a charm to this book and to the characters. What a treat. Oh...and speaking of treats...Crane...and the tattoo reveals? HOLY MUTHER OF ALL THAT IS SEXY AND YUMMY IN THE WORLD!!!! ...

Ami reviewed this for the blog along w/ a great interview of the author KJ Charles. Check it out here:
284x139 photo BioBbanner_zps0e04ffd3.jpg

Profile Image for SheReadsALot.
1,838 reviews1,205 followers
July 13, 2014
Love. Sex. Magic.

*sigh* love that song. And this book totally put me in the mood for it.

But in context to this book, it's more like Magic, Sex...Love, maybe?

I'm sure by now you've read and seen multiples of people losing their minds for this book. Body parts and fluids in awe of this book. Buzz, buzz buzz! The overtaking of everyone's news feeds, I secretly dubbed it Magpie-gate.

When books are super popular, so soon since it's release and everyone lays 5 star reviews like free candy, I usually go:

and plan on reading said buzz book later (months later if possible)

But I was nudged to read this sooner. And I am so happy that I did.

Cause it was really good.

I'm a story girl. I'm not one to look for literary masterpieces because it just leads to disappointment. I love a good story, I like telling it, hearing it and reading it. "The Magpie Lord" is top notch. It's word porn, book crack, literary sugar with $10 words.

My second favorite historical time period for romances: Victorian! (especially done well)

K.J. Charles did a wonderful job tying in a paranormal/ magical edge to this time period. It's not typically a period one thinks of as sexy. But the story oozed sexual tension, fast paced twists and memorable characters. It was magical suspense meets Victorian England meets a secret world meets adventure meets man-on-man sexual intensity. And interesting world and magical culture building.

I've read MF romances with big blonde haired sardonic rakehells that seduce all to get their way, verbally or sexually, makes no difference. I enjoy heroes like that. You can find one in Lucien, Lord Crane, the tradesman earl. Lucien embodies my favorite silver tongued hero. Plus he is a connoisseur of men and is unapologetic about it. Score!

“When I fuck you, Mr. Day, it will not be briefly. It will be long and hard and extremely thorough. I'm going to take pains with you.”

C'mon, that's a trouser dropper if I've ever read. I can not blame poor little ginger haired Stephen Day, magician not to be underestimated, for succumbing to the the Lucien steam. That man is lethal with his tongue.

And Stephen?

Adored him. I always root for the quiet MC's because they usually have something up their sleeves to surprise you. Stephen definitely did. And even when staring in the face of doom, he kept a clear head and faced his battles head on.

Loved Stephen.

Want Lucien.

And to the author, for an excellent debut:

I highly recommend. If you're on the fence, embrace this buzz book. It's actually worth the read. Ends with a HFN (?) could be ending with the promise of more.

Now I have wait until January for book #2?

Profile Image for Lucie V..
1,014 reviews2,076 followers
September 25, 2023
✅ Magic-system
✅ Smut (MM)
🆗 Characters
🆗 world-building
🆗 Plot
🆗 Pace
🆗❌ Romance
❗️❗️ Trigger warning: mention of suicide

Am I broken? Because I don’t get why this book got such high ratings. It’s not a bad book, but it’s definitely not the best M/M romance I’ve read. I was bored for most of it, the world-building is minimal, the plot is predictable, the romance is weak and the characters are bland and unoriginal. There was potential, and the ideas were good, but I was not hooked by that story in the end.

After spending 20 years out of the country, Lord Crane is finally back in England to take care of the family estates and businesses after his father and older brother killed themselves. Only, Lord Crane seems to be cursed and has been trying to kill himself too lately, even though he has no recollection of it. That calls for help from a shaman or a British equivalent, and here comes Mr. Stephen Day to save the day (pun intended). He is kind and tiny. That’s about all we know about him. And I mean like, really tiny, according to the descriptions.

This book is about Crane and Day trying to figure out who cursed Crane’s family and trying to pretend that they don’t want to sleep together until they do sleep together. And there are some magic and magical assassination attempts. And that’s about it.

The writing and the plot are quite simple, but the ideas are there and the concept of curses and ghosts in a Victorian setting is interesting. The magic system is also intriguing, and I liked it, but the rest of the story is quite predictable and the pace felt off at times. Let’s just say that I read it all because it’s such a short book, not because I felt compelled to continue.

I found that things between Day and Crane seemed rushed, mostly because there was no real build-up of their relationship, and I did not feel a real sexual tension or even a kind of “hate-to-love” development since Day started the book hating Crane’s family. He just saw for himself that Crane was different, and a few chapters later they were already almost kissing and almost having sex. The fact that the book is so short does not help honestly, I am sure I would have enjoyed it much more with a few extra chapters to help build the characters and relationships.

The fact that Crane called Day “Boy” a few times was just weird to me. Not sexy. Weird. Talking about weird, anyone else is weirded out by the magical lube? Maybe it’s just me being too picky with my M/M reads now that I’ve read so many great M/M series…

It is a very quick read at least, easily read in one sitting, but I did not enjoy it enough to read the next book though.

On a side note, was Shanghai really okay with men being gay back then? Or is it something that the author added so the story would make more sense? I’m really curious…

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Profile Image for Kat.
940 reviews
October 26, 2014
Team Magpie!

The thing with Goodreads hypes is that I usually end up a little disappointed. Not this time. I'd started The Magpie Lord months ago, but at the time had a little trouble connecting to the steampunk-ish chaos of the opening scene. And I hesitatingly admit that -- despite GOT's Tyrion sexy thing Lannister totally rocking his 4.5 ft -- discovering that one of the protagonists is a 5 ft scrawny shrimp didn't exactly help upping my excitement level.

Then her HOT short story in the anthology Another Place In Time happened (all proceeds of this anthology are donated to! Please check it out if you haven't already! :).

So of course I just HAD to give this book another chance....and got completely hooked on the amazing writing. And on the fact that when you'd strip away the M/M factor, the story would still hold its own. I realize that it's a little sad that I feel like mentioning this, but I do think that it's the gay guys that often save many otherwise mediocre writers. Anyway, I had such a blast simply enjoying the ride and the humorous and nifty writing, that the occasional bouts of heat flaring up, though neither plenty nor very lengthy, were more like the icing on the cake. And to think that most PWP leaves me absolutely cold, whereas Charles' knocked me right out with a few lines of dirty talk, her British wit and a preference for tables...

And you know what's the best thing about being late to the party? The many sequels, MWAAHAHA!
Profile Image for Lois Bujold.
Author 167 books37.8k followers
August 3, 2015
Well, that was fun.

It got off to a good quick start with the hero's life-threatening dilemma, with not a lot of time spent Explaining Things viz the worldbuilding. This worked rather well. One absorbed the idea of a late Victorian world with magic, with many possible literary antecedents -- I'm thinking a cross between Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Harry Potter deep background, and who knows what else (though perhaps not The Lustful Turk), but the summed effect seemed fresh to me. The plot stayed tightly focused on a limited cast and setting, which is pretty much what one wants for a romantic melodrama.

I will likely end up reading more of these, just to see where it goes with the ideas and characters. The nice thing about adding suspense elements to a romance is that one can pull more than one plot out of a particular couple, rather than just person-gets-person, boom, done for all time.

Ta, L.

(The Lustful Turk, for those unacquainted, is a piece of real Victorian porn much discussed in the course of a hilarious mystery novel -- I think it was one of the Jacqueline Kirby series. Sorry I can't remember the title, because it -- the mystery, that is -- might be worth reccing, but I'm sure someone will chime in. The Victorian porn was passed around long ago amongst my circle of friends in the form of a tattered paperback, but I'm sure the new and less deprived generation will have it online somewhere. Very high WTF values, as I dimly recall.)
Profile Image for Lau ♡.
417 reviews349 followers
December 21, 2022
Warning: dear lovers of historical accuracy, you may want to know before continuing that Victorian Shanghai is a queer paradise in KJ Charles universe.

There is nothing Stephen hates more than the Vaudreys. They destroyed his parents and may as well have been their murderers. When an old friend asks him to help the only member left, Lucien Vaudrey, who is suffering a strange spell that makes him want to kill himself, Stephen only goes to laugh at his face. Until he meets Lucien, and everything changes…

Lucien Vaudrey hates England almost as much as he hated his father and brother. He has lived in Shanghai since his father kicked him out at seventeen, with the only company of a servant instructed to murder him as soon as they go on board. But when his father and older brother commit suicide and the title of Lord Crane lands on him, he’s forced to return to London to settle his affairs. It was supposed to be a quick visit, but now he’s suffering attacks that make him want to kill himself the same way his father and brother did.

There is only one person who can help him. And he wants all the Vaudreys dead.

Note: I couldn’t help myself and binge read the trilogy, so I’m reviewing the entire series-no spoilers.

Stephen is a magician practitioner whose job is to make sure magical people stick to the law while Lucien Vaudrey lacks morals, knows what he wants and always gets what he wants. Although they were into each other from the beginning, it’s not going to be easy for Stephen to ignore Lucien’s last name and, specially, let Lucien take the lead on the privacy of a room as Stephen secretly craves.

I absolutely adored Stephen Day and Lucien Vaudrey power dynamics, how dominant Lord Crane let Stephen have all the control he wished outside the bedroom, how a magician as powerful as Stephen loved feeling powerless inside it, how they went from very independent gentlemen to shape themselves until they fit.

Besides the romance, I also enjoyed the bond formed between Lucien and his manservant Merrick after twenty years of shenanigans together. They were so alike: didn’t care about the path of doing things, just the result; never took no for an answer-although they had different methods to make the victim change their opinion-, and reprimanded each other for their questionable taste in lovers. I believe more in them staying together forever than most of the HEAs I’ve read.

Although both paranormal/urban fantasy and MM HR are not my cup of tea and I found this series maddeningly predictable, listening to the audiobook was a lot of fun-I never realized how many magpies were wandering on the university campus until I started listening to this on my way to class! The narrator’s accent definitely helped enhancing the HR vibes, everything sounded so polished and fancy. Tbh, I’m not sure whether I would have finished the series had I read the story instead, but it’s not like I’m the correct audience for it either.

PS: the tattoos were the coolest 🦉

A Charm of Magpies
1. The Magpie Lord: 3 stars
2. A Casse of Possession: 3.5 stars
3. Flight of Magpies: 3 stars

🎶Audiobook: 4 stars

Sequel (features other couple): Jackdaw: 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,982 reviews1,992 followers
July 18, 2018
Real Rating: 4.5* of five

Yep. Big winner, this book. Big. Liked everything about it. Yeup. Everything.

I'll come back for a normal, articulate review soon.


Careless of me to lose sight of this really very enjoyable tale. The problems I still have with books featuring majgickq are lessened when, like Author Charles, one goes to the trouble of thinking the actions and reactions necessary to make the manipulation of the world work consistently. The Magpie Lord, ancestor of Lord Crane, our main character, is never explicitly described nor is his codification of majgickq's workings explored. I nevertheless was convinced by the fussiness and sticklerishness of Day, the judiciary of magical crimes hired to deal with the Magpie Lord's various magical issues, that the system of this world was well thought out and believable enough for me to move on.

And move on I did. I enjoyed the sexual heat between the men. I approved of the sheer unbothered indifference of Lord Crane to social disapprobation. Day's history with Crane's family lends this story a lovely enemies-to-frenemies-to-lovers dynamic that more often than not works well for me. It affords me the opportunity to size up characters in their rounded, 3-D being, which is an index of how well I will respond to a given author's thought processes.

Author Charles, in this outing, comes through my maze of mishegas and misanthropy with nary a hair out of place. Another series to follow with eager gratitude for the pleasures I am confident I will receive.

PS it's a laugh riot on top (!) of everything else.
Profile Image for Steelwhisper.
Author 5 books403 followers
June 26, 2015
1.5* rounded up for GR

No, I don't like it. I don't exactly hate it either, I'm between "really meh" and "bored to tears". I also do not at all and that is emphatically not at all, get the hype this book is getting.

I'll be frank, please don't bite my head off!

Firstly, it's a rip-off. It's a rather badly disguised concoction of:

1. LaMont Cranston (Lucien and Crane? Even the same initials) is "The Shadow". Which used to be a pulp novel series in the 1930s, was then put on radio (Orson Welles cut his teeth on it), and then made a movie in the mid-nineties with a still very cute Alec Baldwin as Cranston. An American ex drug-lord, ex-junkie, ex-criminal, ex-smuggler chief of mafia-don standing, stationed somewhere close to or in China, who gets abducted by a "tulku" (shaman) and turned into a good person through magic.

He learns to master the magic, can telepathically control people, is capable of superior physical feats, can telekinetically influence magical items, gets accosted in dreams, and fights crime in his home country America using the magical powers he was taught by the shaman (by the way, if you like Baldwin, watch the movie, it's quite lovely and dark, downright steampunkish, without being too gruesome).

2. Batman, the early pulp and later Christian Bale versions, right along with a Merrick instead of an Alfred (Merrick is as good as exchangeable with Alfred), and a Stephen instead of a Robin. Batman by the way was very much influenced by the "The Shadow" novels...

3, The Persuaders!, starring Roger Moore as Lord Brett Sinclair (toff English lord, blond, tall, very smart and self-assured) and Tony Curtis (American playboy of low origins and no sophistication, but quite capable of mayhem if needed). The series was characterised by a constant banter and classism between the protagonists. Which is rather identical with what takes place between Crane, Stephen and Merrick.

Add some spoonfuls of Wooster and Jeeves, a bit of Lord Peter Wimsey, mix and stir, sprinkle some Harry Potter and Jane Austen on top, and there you have The Magpie Lord! Funnily many think this is a Sherlock/Watson derivate, now that I can't see at all. There's absolutely nothing of that dynamic in this book (except that both belong into the same era), but lots of the above-mentioned others instead.

There is nothing really new, fresh or not regurgitated a few times in that story, plot-wise and characterise. That's not bad per se, all of us tell and re-tell the same stories just slightly differently, but to call this something "original and rare"? That's what all the 5-star reviews state. Okay, okay, maybe the state of m/m-writing is so dismal that anything halfway literate and having a plot might stand out, but truth be told, I don't grade against bad books, I grade against the better ones in a specific field. I also grade romances more or less together and there are lots of m/f romances around that I read during the past year or two which easily surpass this here.

Secondly, this is a "chick with a dick" or seme/uke romance.

Stephen is so very much the girl (or uke) in this pairing. Never mind his magical abilities, he lets loose a stream of consciousness which screams "I'm a hapless swooning maiden! Rip my bodice! Rip my bodice!" practically without interruption.

Just imagine a 5' guy, described as so tiny and thin as to look like a schoolboy (!) beside one who is brawny, broad-shouldered and has 6'3" in height! Just to put this into some relation--Michael J. Fox, who really comes over as tiny, has 5' 4". Now place him beside Clint Eastwood, Liam Neeson or Kyle Secor. Ouch.

And he is constantly on his knees, gets his red lips moistened and "broken" open by Crane, he is breathy, nearly faints half of the time, reacts like a Harlequin lady to Crane, is snippy, in the end gets f*cked like a girl (tried several times and f*cked in the end like that as well) and it's just not a femme who is described there. It's a "male girl".

Plot-wise absolutely not needed. He could have been weakened by the prior fight without being reduced to looking like a child and be smaller than an average woman of the era.

Heh, and trying to disguise a "chick with a dick" mishap by clothing it in some completely idiotic D/s allusion is truly the opposite of endearing me to a story. Every single sub or bottom I have ever come across had more "male" in their little finger than this Stephen all put together.

Again, nothing unusual. So many m/m romances are nothing but m/f re-written into an m/m version. But people expressly maintain that this is a superior m/m novel, and that's where I scratch my head. To me an m/f story in disguise or seme/uke-dynamic sure as hell is not a shining sample of m/m.

And lastly, the writing itself is nothing I would write home about. The prose is flowery, downright purple with such an insane amount of adverbs, adjectives and qualifiers thrown in, that I'm sure few nouns and verbs have escaped being modified. In fact, Charles is not satisfied with a single qualifier, she regularly uses two or three. The abundance of adverbs would make Stephen King have a shitfit and even I got antsy over them.

There was a load of melodrama, I can't say either that I detected any UST, or anything erotic. I'm not at all into tattoos (so they didn't move me any which way), and magic lube is, heh, tacky. The blow-job was described in a to me unerotic, turning-off manner and throwing "the little man" over desks or against trees is sort of, well, unsexy and so reminding me of bodice ripping. The final act was a rip-off of "Wallbanger" (that's the het romance I'm talking about).

So, this is not meant as a take-down of those who like this book.It IS a solidly written piece of fluff and entertainment. Like a well-made blockbuster summer movie, a lot of very hot air. But it has no real depth, no real elegance. I get it that it is something people can like and squee over, but it's nowhere close to the hype it is getting. And I bought in to the hype, so now I judge going by it. I can't help that.

If I had thought this is just some fluffy inconsequential fantasy, I might have been less disappointed. I expected much, much more after reading all these reviews.

I most identify with Crispy's review, he or she nails it:

I loved the cover by the way, though both it and the blurb are extremely misleading. They make one expect some sort of Victorian steampunk or gaslight tale, but in all reality nothing in this novel even suggests historical accuracy. There's not a whiff of Victorian era in this.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,191 reviews1,078 followers
January 9, 2014
I've got some conflicted feelings about the book. I can see why everyone loved it so much. The dialogue between the MCs is snappy and made me chuckle more than once.

Can you let me go, please, I’ve got some sort of atlas in my back.

At the same time, here are the most annoying 54 words I've read in the last 12 months:

It was an involved story, veering between farcical and exciting, and Crane knew he told it well. He couldn’t see the smaller man’s face as clearly as he’d have liked, but the shaman was rocking with laughter in the darkness as Crane reached a height of absurdity, making the old stone bench wobble alarmingly.

Laugh? I nearly started.
Is there anything more frustrating than being told that there's a hilarious story, and you're not going to hear it?

The very end, in the library, was so marvelous that it almost dispelled my annoyance at the poorly structured denouement. You're not supposed to From 72% I experienced a series of strong negative emotions around the unraveling of the main plot.

I'm not clear why Stephen had to be 5' tall. Okay, yes, props for non-traditional masculinity, but particularly when Crane lifts him up against the wall, I had the feeling that Stephen was a female character that had been re-gendered. Did not like.

I found the sexual tension uneven. There didn't seem to be any actual UST between Crane and Stephen, but then Crane would suddenly have these insanely sexy lines, and boom! It was all on. So while when immersed in each (almost)sex scene, it was believable, the relationship as a whole wasn't convincing.

But then there were some utterly lovely bits, like

So, yeah, conflicting emotions happening. Certainly looking forward to book 2, though.

3.5 stars, rounded up for the ending.
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
604 reviews259 followers
April 14, 2022
In case you didn't know, I have an extremely well maintained "want-to-read" shelf. I take it out at least every few months, dust it off, move books around, ensure that there's enough variety in there... that sort of thing. But most importantly, it helps me keep up my regular German reading. In theory, that is.

In practice, rigid reading lists often cause me to fall into severe reading slumps. So when a Victorian Gothic murder mystery with liberal MM flavoring gets waved into my face I cave. Hard. Especially when by "waved" I actually mean "purposefully scoured my friends' reviews for some guilty pleasure material".

Searching for recs

I was seriously hoping that the story would never end, looking forward to every single aspect of the fantastic mystery to unravel. So much so, that the lack of out-of-context-quotability didn't bother me. Heck, I was ready to rate it 4 stars even without the shmexy aspects. *shock*

As much as it pains me to admit it, I care about length a LOT. (Yes, I'll wait until you finish your giggling bout.) For all that I may say that good authors can make even the briefest of writing interesting... I haven't actually found any book that fits this criteria. Until The Magpie Lord. My Kindle edition boasts of 180 pages, with the last 10% being ads for other novels. I finished the whole thing in 3 hours, and that included several re-readings of the more... scintillating passages. And the novel (novella?) didn't feel incomplete!
Not to say, that I was ready to move on after just one book. But I definitely had a new favorite author on my hands!

excited fangirling

All I can reproach it really, were the few passages that left me increasingly confused. Not even subsequent re-readings helped clear them up. And when these scenes are supposed to be some of the more heart throbbing, throat tingling, stomach butterfly inducing ones... I just can't forgive that.

Score: 4.4/5 stars

Go for the ghosts, creepy Victorian artifacts, ancient English mansions with plenty of history to wade through. Stay for the absolutely adorable/alluring will-they-won't-they banter between the frivolously handsome Lucien Vaudrey (aka Lord Crane) and the uptight Stephen Day with the (literally) magic fingers.

As for the scoring: it's times like these that I feel incredibly petty, because I just don't really give full marks to romance novels. With such a niche reader-base, I feel like it would necessitate way too much explanation just to make a few "outsiders" give it a chance. That said, I'm happy to announce, that you have a new fan Ms. Charles. *cue demented sparkly smile* I promise I'm not crazy. Meaning... no one's certified me, so far.

Review of book 0.5: The Smuggler and the Warlord
Review of book 1.5: Interlude with Tattoos
Review of book 2: A Case of Possession
Review of book 2.5: A Case of Spirits
Review of book 3: Flight of Magpies
Review of book 3.5: Feast of Stephen
December 14, 2014
4.5 stars

This is a brilliant novel by K.J. Charles, her first apparently, which is hard to believe. Dickens meets Harry Potter meets sexy m/m romance. We have magic, magpies, mystery, intrigue, witty dialogue, friendship, and love.

I loved the juxtaposition of arrogant, cool Lord Crane (who tops 6 feet and has magical blood in his veins) with neurotic, kind-hearted Stephen (all 5 feet of him, who is a judiciary, a sort of judge and jury, for the magical Victorian community). Stephen hates Crane even before he meets him, and he has reasons to do so; Crane is less than awed by Stephen, whom he considers scrawny and scattered. But sparks fly as the two men get to know each other and try to figure out who wants Crane dead and why.

The second book in the series is already on my to-read list. I paid $3 for this on my Kindle, but it's worth much, much more.

(Edited to upgrade my rating to 4.5 stars: 4 stars just wasn't good enough. This book has staying power, people! Read it and get sucked in!)
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 76 books2,539 followers
November 17, 2013
Some books strike me right from the start with the uniqueness of their world-building, the vividness of their characters, or the pleasure of the writing style. This story did all three.

This is about a Victorian England in which the practice of magic and warlockery is an ominous undercurrent to life. Against this imaginative backdrop, the author brings together two wonderful MCs. Stephen Day is a magician, small in stature and unassuming in appearance, but powerful enough to take on warlocks and wreak justice upon them. Unless they turn out to be unusually strong... Lucien Vaudrey is now Lord Crane, an inheritance from his deceased loathed father, and subsequently deceased even more loathsome brother. After years in China, he intends to be back in England just long enough to wind up the affairs of his estate. Unfortunately, it appears that someone is trying to kill him by magic. And Stephen Day, his one hope of survival, is the son of a man ruined by Lucien's father.

Lucien's dry wit is one of the joys of this book. There are so many great lines in his comebacks, with comments scathing or trenchant or self-mocking in wonderful ways. I would like to quote a dozen, but will refrain because they have the most impact in context. His manservant, Merrick, is a great foil for him. And Stephen is honorable and strong in most ways, and weak in some interesting ones. The sexual attraction between Lucien and Stephen smolders nicely, and occasionally flames, while their gradual meeting of the minds is satisfying. This book isn't perfect - for instance, I lost the action thread slightly in the climactic moments - but it is damned good. I'll buy the sequel as soon as it releases, and will happily reread this before plunging on in the adventures of these characters.
Profile Image for Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰.
173 reviews2,749 followers
July 19, 2017
"The past was dead. They were alive. He wanted this man so much. Right here, right now, exactly like this."



I devoured The Magpie Lord in less than a day and in one sitting. This is one of my highest guilty pleasures and it was so so so close to 4 stars!

The World
*raises a toast*
To K.J Charles, for creating a world so damaged and lovely and bittersweet. A world which has all the literary ingredients for a reader to get magnetized into it. A world where if you close your eyes, you can picture exactly what is happening around you, down to all the senses.
Cheers. You fucking broke me.

The Characters
“No, I am not. What the fuck, what the fucking, bloody devil-shit, what in the name of Satan’s swollen cock was that?”
“Do you speak in the House of Lords with that mouth?”

I fell in love with each and every character as I flew past the chapters. These characters sold the book for me - they were multi dimensional and so real that I couldn't help but feel for every single one.
Each character had an aspect that was going for them, be it humor, or malice or even tingling champagne hands. The author has without a doubt created a story that has a beautiful world, a beautiful plot, a beautiful theme and although it was not a character driven story - I couldn't help but feel the characters were the heart and soul of it. At par with the whole story-line.

“Was that Chinese for goodbye?” Stephen asked.
“See you again,” Crane said. “Not goodbye."

Public Service Announcement: Frank Merrick has my heart. No refunds or exchanges.

The Vibes
"...or you can sit there and go mad for thinking you’re going mad."

I had some serious analytical and doctor who-sical vibes coming off from this. And I lovedddd it
I enjoyed reading the way the mystery opened itself so that we got to understand only the things that the characters understood as the story unfolded. We got to make our own theories and the excitement was palpable enough to touch.

“You know,” he added, “there are a number of recommended methods of dealing with ghosts—salt and iron, harmonic resonance, some people swear by exorcism, and not just priests—but that’s the first time I’ve seen anyone try a left hook.”

I also loved the family vibes we were getting. Not the Crane family nooooo. The family that a group of misfits built for themselves. I'm talking about a trio that were born for each other.

“I am, but I’m not sure what,” Stephen admitted. “There’s something very old and odd and quite unpleasant about this house.”
“Yes, it’s Graham.”

The Romance
"Why don’t you tell me what you think happened last night?” Crane’s lips drew back in a snarl. “What I think is that I was about to have you right there in the garden. I think you were about two minutes from being flat on your back in the grass.”
more detailed

WOooooooweee.. This is it.
This is why I gave this marvelous book a 3 star rating.

I felt like the romance aspect lacked enough for me to wonder if the author intended it to be like that or if it was cut out in efforts for the focus to stay on other themes running through the story.
Don't get me wrong, there was some hot and heavy man on man action - but I just wish it could have been more detailed, more build up, more getting to know each other. m.o.r.e

"He pushed his thumb further into the warm mouth and felt a flicker of tongue against his skin, a tentative taste."

I loved The Magpie Lord to bits and I hate that it was so fucking close to being a 4 star! But onwards and upwards to the next in the series :)

“Have a drink,” recommended Merrick, who was finding minor tasks around the room.
“You have a damn drink, this is your fault,”

Profile Image for Macky.
1,864 reviews232 followers
July 24, 2019
Edit: 24/7/19 Re-read/Listen to Audible Edition
Story ⭐️5⭐️
Narration ⭐️5⭐️
Original review:
Fabulous, unusual, wonderful, magical, different creepy, funny, witty, quirky, Sexy, scary, awesome.... I want more!

I want more charismatic Crane, I want more mysterious unassuming yet powerful Stephen, I want more Merrick, more magical magpies, more tattoos, more warlocks, witchcraft , simmering sexual tension, sizzling chemistry and edge of your seat tension.

WOW! That's what I call refreshing! There has to be more..... I liked this A lot!!
Profile Image for Amina .
406 reviews232 followers
June 13, 2023
✰ 4 stars ✰

“It’s like what you said, before. There’s no good doing the right thing unless you stop people doing the wrong thing. Is there?”


Sharp writing, hyped action scenes, sizzling chemistry, witty repartee, mystical magpies, and oh-so sensual attraction between two very fascinating characters made The Magpie Lord capture my attention entirely when I finally decided to begin the historical paranormal series A Charm of Magpies by K.J Charles.

It reads more like a light-hearted novella, but such an addictive one; the writing engages you right from the start - throwing you into a situation that has to be acted upon as instantly as it is to save someone's life. I liked how it immediately pulls you into the plot - how the author stages it that Crane and Stephen have no choice but to meet, despite Stephen's obviously apparent disdain for him due to their familial disputes. The mystery, itself, intrigued me enough to see how it would progress and in what manner they would be able to solve it. And once you've been gripped by it, you just have to continue reading - and that's exactly what I did. 🥰🥰

“Crane was watching him, with that lazy, speculative smile broadening on his tanned, aristocratic, handsome face, and Stephen realised that he was watching him right back, staring at the man like an idiot girl.

Oh, no. Absolutely not. Don’t even think about it.”

Lucien Vaudrey aka Lord Crane was the embodiment of suave and sexy, and at the same time he carried the air of someone who cracked sardonic quips to cover the hint of sadness in his heart. He and Stephen Day were polar opposites in the entirety, but he was so very captivated by him right from their first connection. 🤭🤭 Stephen Day - justiciar, judge and jury - who had magic up his sleeve, passion in his fiery retorts, and intense desire for the man he swore to scorn, but somehow captured his mind and heart with his rapturous words and strangely enough, helplessness against his own follies and enemies. It's such an insanely bizarre mystery that he finds himself involved, but it was just written so incredibly well that I had to continue reading! 💜💜

“Crane had said, “Then we will speak later,” but as he spoke he had taken Stephen’s chin in one hand and stroked that thumb over his lips, opening them with a firm, deliberate touch, so that Stephen found himself standing receptively, obediently, waiting.

That was all. It wasn’t much. But they both knew that Crane could have him at the crook of one long, slender finger.”

What's so charming about this story, yes, *pun intended*, is that it is ridiculously funny at even the most extreme situations - that Stephen is so determined, at first, to only treat this case as his job requirement, fending off any conceivable attraction he may have for Crane. While Crane, himself, is at his own wit's end as he finally discovers how deep his family's history is rooted into the paranormal and how much it's going to affect his everyday life from now on.

It was a great read - very entertaining and equally creative - wonderfully witty that promises a maddening swell time. Merrick was a badass supporting character who stole the scene wherever he appeared; the action scenes were brilliantly done. 😍😍 I always love when writers can capture the intensity and fluidity in their descriptions that so clearly help readers envision the scene. And that banter could be charming and sardonic at the same time amazed me - I was riveted! The hate to love romance was a little too instant for my taste but it made up for some seriously sensual sexy times that were never completely limited to just the bed. Well, if you know, you know. 😏

“He could still feel those powerful hands on his shoulders, slamming him back against the bookshelves, throwing him onto the desk, holding him down. It had been humiliating, of course—his own arousal and Crane’s bitingly accurate assessment of it. It had also been painfully, dangerously exciting, and Crane had known it, had identified Stephen’s desires, and was quite evidently a match for them.

I’m in charge. I’ll take it out on you.”


And lest I forget, I internally screamed and then cackled when I learned the truth behind the meaning of the magpie lord - just knocked me off my senses with that one! 🤩🤩 Because if handled right it can make for such deliciously spicy times between the two, which while alluded to plenty of times here, we didn't have that much of it - but, I hope that will be remedied soon! 🤞🏻

The fact that I immediately had to read the next part of the series, rather than trying to space it out, as I usually do when I read a series, just goes to show how engaging a read it is. 🌟🌟🌟
Profile Image for ȷαεlα.
714 reviews
May 23, 2016
Oh my God! OMG! This was perfect! Absolutely amazing. I have no words! Why did it take me so long to read this??

Where do I begin?

Crane is a wealthy 37 yo English Lord. He has been living in China for the past two decades. He is very a charismatic person. Handsome, eligible, smart. But when he returns to England, after his father and brother were found dead, he has a hard time adjusting and his life is in danger. To help him with this matter, there's a ordinary little man, barely 5 feet, a 28 yo, with his extraordinary personality and golden beautiful eyes. Stephan is the sweetest boy EVER! You would think that Stephan would be intimidated by Crane's charisma. This doesn't happen. Stephan may be a shy boy, but he takes his chances with Crane. And it is glorious. Their chemistry is OFF THE CHARTS!

“Do you want me?”
“Well, if I’m going to get talked about and screamed at and accused anyway… You can have me. Now. If you want.”

Stephan helps Crane to deal with his life threats and saves his life many many times. Their romance may not be the most detailed romance ever, but the feeling I get from their interaction (and more) is so powerful that any other descriptions would be pointless.

And then you stop hiding yourself for a moment, and your whole face lights up, and suddenly I can see just how you’ll look when I fuck you.”

I liked the plot. The secondary characters didn't grow on me, I can't even remember their names (they're all dead anyway).

Their story didn't end in this book. There wasn't a cliffhanger, but the characters have a long journey till they define what's going on between them.

"Let’s find out,” said Crane. “Because the hell with ghosts, the hell with families, I intend to have you, right now, and that’s not up for discussion or reflection.”

I enjoyed this so so so very much. I liked both the MCs, but Stephen is so so so sweet, he amazes me.

On to book #2.
Profile Image for Nemo ☠️ (pagesandprozac).
881 reviews414 followers
July 2, 2019
"What the fuck, what the fucking, bloody devil-shit, what in the name of Satan's swollen cock was that?"

things i like:
- mysteries
- birds (magpies being one of my favourites)
- victorian england
- magic
- gays
- good sex scenes

what this book had:
- all of those
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,361 reviews168 followers
October 13, 2014
4 1/2 Stars - cool, nicely done and addictive

I'd no idea what this novel would be. By the blurb and other reviews it sounded like a historical M/M with some paranormal element. Yes, and on that some thrilling suspense of course. All genres at the same time in a rather short novel (maximum of 200 pages or less). This is the first installment in a new series with recurring main characters. My friends (Vio mostly) convinced me that this was something extra good. And it was. I'm addicted!!

Lucien Vaudrey, the new Lord Crane is back in London after a 20-year exile in China. As a 17 year old young man, he was driven away by his cruel, now dead, father and he never planned to return to England. But after a fast-paced life in Shanghai as a smuggler, in opulence and decadence, he is now back with his faithful butler Merrik to clear up the heritage and try to get rid of the old estate Piler. Once home is Lord Crane suddenly afflicted by terrible suicide attempt and a magician is called in to see what's wrong.

Stephen Day is a young magician (or a Practitioner) who hate Crane’s old cruel family. But the new lord is good looking and nice and Mr Day take job to deal with the supernatural threats which are now afflicting Lord Crane.
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“Is there a reason you have seven magpies tattooed on you?”
“Seven for a secret never to be told.” Crane shrugged, making a magpie ripple. “Actually, I just ran out of useful space.”

A wonderfully exciting and so well made tale about two men who feel attraction and riddles with ghosts and magic to solve. Lord Crane's life is threatened and Mr Day becomes his sidekick and protector.

I really like these two guys. The tall, blond, well-dressed and so beautiful Lord Crane and the quite insecure, short, skinny, ten years younger magician Mr. Day. They got my heart and I want to see more of them together. It was exciting, spooky, fun, great dialogue and it bubbled with steam. There was admiring glances, peeping, thoughts, hands, dirty talk, and I longed for that kiss and a little more...

I will anyways throw me over and read the next part as soon as it is available *). Very good, a new great series to enjoy.

I LIKE - Cosy and spooky


*) The sequel, book two (A Case of Possession) will, according to rumor, be released in January 2014.
...and here is a free shortie to read when you're waiting:
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876 reviews230 followers
November 12, 2021
4 “You’re safe here“ stars

For once I don’t have much to say, I just had a really good time reading this book. This book was made for me so i’m really shocked at how long it took me to read it. Please don’t ask me why I hadn’t read this yet because I have no idea. This book is a lot of the things I love in books and yet I never picked it up before today. I really enjoyed it and I absolutely loved the ambiance of the book and I loved the main characters very much. I’m very excited to read more of this series.
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