The Magpie Lord

(A Charm of Magpies, #1)

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

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

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

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

Warning: Contains hot m/m sex between a deeply inappropriate earl and a very confused magician, dark plots in a magical version of Victorian England, family values (not the good kind), and a lot of swearing.

“Two death sentences? Really? I mean, you look very well, considering.”

 This book was definitely something I was in the mood for after the serious and depressing trail of another series that was emotionally wringing me out.

This book definitely exceeded my expectations and I can understand the high average rating - the story is a good one. True mystery to boot, following clues, being led astray, and a great battle at the ending. Top this with personal drama from past issues playing in the current situation at hand on the side of both parties, and the story gets even better.

Besides the interesting story, I loved the magic built into this world and regency time period. Difference between sorcerers, warlocks, and 'practitioner's, all with their personal legal system. The magic used was subtle but unique and I'm curious about seeing more of it. The background of stiff London society, then small town countryside prejudice, with the speeches of her time in China and the differences then, well...all of it added to it.

Besides the story, I seriously laughed out loud more than once. The humor works naturally - the two mains are perfect. You have the one practitioner who is not the traditional hunk - he is barely five feet, poor, dresses terribly, feels insecure and shabby, and not in social standing. He's up against an English Lord with a horrible reputation who doesn't want to be back in London, but must for a time to tie up estate issues. He's attractive, desirable, tall, and each of his suits would cost more than the others complete wardrobe. Besides that, he has foul language and tattoos hidden underneath his 'proper attire.'

His companion Merrick is a delight, and I kept laughing about the rude butler Graham. Really, it's just awesome. I loved all the playing characters. The ghost scene, investigations, all worked. I did think some of the remorse was overdone on Vaudrey's part, but otherwise that is the only flaw I can fine.

“There is something very old and odd and quite unpleasant about this house."

"Yes, its Graham."

Besides finding the story actually romantic - they didn't care for each other at first, progressed into having fun at friends, then small attractions despite their differences, I found some of it steamy as well. It wasn't overdone and worked well, saving the best for laugh.

High five to the author for her dialogue skills, natural humor, steaminess that's different, and convincing, non-conventional personalities. Definitely will get the next two in this series ASAP.

   Book Quotes:

“Heroic," Crane told Baines contemptuously. "Old women, idiot children, bound men, you'll take on all comers. There's a three-legged stray dog hangs around the lanes here. Perhaps someday you could work up to kicking that.” 

“When I have you, sweet boy, it will be because you want me to. Not against your better judgement, not in spite of my surname, and definitely not to annoy your aunt.”