Review: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb (Spoiler light)

Hey all! Welcome back to Not Just a Buzzword. Today, we have a review of the upcoming book by Cat Sebastian, ‘The Queer Principles of Kit Webb”. Its a lovely tale in Cat’s signature soft romance style, with a little bit of tension and a stage coach robbery to keep it lively.

But first, content warnings and trigger warnings: Discussion of past deaths, oppression based on class, loss of a child and a spouse off page, infidelity, family conflict, deceit, some period typical homophobic language, blood and injury of main characters (they do not die however).

We open the book with an introduction to our title character, a Mr. Kit Webb who currently operates a coffeehouse. However, prior to this staid and respectable life, Kit Webb plundered the pockets of particular aristocrats under the psuedonym Gladhand Jack. After a bullet wound goes untreated too long, he’s forced to make his front of a coffee shop into an actual business, but darn if he doesn’t like it. Along with his friend, advice giver and occasional fence, Betty, they’ve made it a going concern for the radicals of town.

As he tries to settle into this new life like a pair of shoes that are too tight, Edmund Percy sweeps in, scattering his vague thoughts of peace out to sea. Between his intense dandified attire, his fetching stockings and his winning conversation, Kit is far too interested for him to be comfortable. But he clearly doesn’t belong in this sort of place, so suspicion has to arise.

Edmund has found out some family secrets that are about to come to roost, courtesy of a oddly friendly blackmailer. Between him and his childhood friend, Marian, who has by some turn of events that is not explained, also become his stepmother, they are determined to find a way to save their reputations and skins, even if it means turning to a notorious highwayman to get a certain cherished green book of Edmund’s mother’s away from his father.

I won’t go too far into detail, because the fun of this book is also in its little twists and turns as they wander along the path to larceny and love. Its a fun romp, as I can usually be guaranteed with a book from Cat. Tons of witty banter, lots of heated glances and some truly inventive flirting. Also, watching Kit come to terms and find his way through his new life with a disability was a breath of fresh air and useful. Cat always does disability rep well and I’m glad to see this trend continuing.

The one critique I would say is that there seem to be a lot of loose ends in this book that make me hope we’re getting a book about Marian and her love interest next. There are so many questions about how Edmund and Marian found Kit, why she married Edmund’s father, and why some of the events towards the end of the book played out as they did. I found myself wanting to write down all my questions, so clearly, I am caught but I sort of wish there had been an answer or two more about Marian.

I hope we’ll get answers later, but I am definitely eagerly awaiting them. Until next time,

Not Just a Buzzword

UPDATE: After writing this review, I learned that Marian’s book is already written. Sooooo excited!!!

*I received an Arc of this book to read in exchange for an honest review.

Review: ‘The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting’ by K. J. Charles (Mild spoilers)

Its a beautiful day in Romancelandia and I’m here to review a book that has blue birds of joy tweeting all around me like I’m a fairy tale princess. Yes, its true. The new K.J. Charles is coming out soon and its glorious as ever. But first, the big things.

Content warnings and trigger warnings: Discussion of past physical, financial and verbal abuse of main characters and secondary characters, financial insecurity, deception between main characters and secondary characters, discussion of past deception between main and secondary characters, retelling of slurs used against main characters, internalized homophobia, periodic specific sexism, discussion of secondary character’s past enslavement and slavery in general and class disparity between main characters that results in some complex consent discussions. As always, feel free to reach out to me via twitter if you need more description or clarity on any of these before diving into the book.

I didn’t quite know what to expect, as K.J had said on Twitter that this book had essentially abducted her muse and run off with it while she was trying to write another book. But clearly, it knew what it was about.

Robin Loxleigh (obviously not his real name) and Marianne Loxleigh (also so not her real name) have come to London with one goal: to marry rich and finally be secure. By hook or by crook or by heated look, they will make it happen.

There’s just one problem: feelings. Those pesky things. Oh and consciences and also the fact that the wealthy person Marianne eventually ends up going for is an absolute turd of the finest water by the name of Lord Tachbrook, a wealthy marquess. Robin sets his eyes on a slightly less elevated mark of young Alice Fenwick, a plain girl with a secret fortune that will be bestowed upon her following her marriage. However, Robin begins to like Alice and finds himself somewhat conflicted about his decision to marry her, knowing that he is not attracted to women.

Enter Hartlebury, Alice’s uncle by marriage who senses that perhaps not everything is as it should be with Robin. Though a peer himself, Hartlebury manages the brewery for his sister after her husband’s passing and enjoys himself far more spending time with Cits and those of lower class than himself. He begins the process of finding out why a handsome, charming man like Robin all of a sudden wants to hover around his plain, bookish niece. In the process, he finds himself looking a bit closer at Robin than is really comfortable for both of them, until its quite comfortable.

I won’t go into too much more detail, because frankly the fun of this book is watching it all unfold, but its utterly spectacular. A true Happily Ever After at the end for all involved, with trouncing of classist jerks and freedom to be who they are for others. If you’re feeling a bit stifled by the world and wanting a way out, I can’t recommend this book enough. It hits all the right points and leaves one slightly unable to start another book afterwards cause you know it won’t quite live up until the book high wears off.

As always, I received this book in exchange for an honest review and cannot tell you how happy I am to own it. I’ll probably reread it later this week, just for fun, but snag a copy, you won’t regret it.

Until next time,

NJB

Review: K.J. Charles’s ‘The Sugared Game’ (Spoiler free)

I often say that the highest amount of praise I can offer a book these days is saying I lost sleep reading it in the wee hours of the night. What with having a toddler at home these days, sleep is the most precious of currencies, only outweighed by alone time.

I woke up 2 am randomly and decided to finish this book if that tells you anything. I am currently typing this review at 4:45 am.

Its really good. Like really good.

Ok, so some TW and CW: Death, dismemberment, period typical homophobia, deceit, conflict between family, misogyny, health difficulties, survivor’s guilt, discussion of prior self harming habits, and a great deal of lying on many people’s parts.

So, if you read the previous book, you will know that Kim Secretan, our erstwhile protagonist’s love interest, is the truest meaning of a disaster. At the beginning of the book, we find out that he has scampered off after a lovely time with Will Darling, our protagonist and failed to call.

Clearly, he has issues. But Will, while good naturedly stomping around his bookshop and attempting to take his best friend out for drinks, stumbles back into his world by chance and the whole merry go round starts again.

We’ve got Zodiac back in the picture, a lot of skulking about, smooching in shadows and, from my part, the intensely desperate desire to get Kim into therapy if it exists at this time.

The book is also a fascinating look at how damaging the Great War was to England and how it changed ideas of class and proper behavior. I always love K.J.’s attention to detail and period.

Its very much got the feel of some of the later Feximal books, so fans of that will likely enjoy it. I would say its blood and gore content is roughly equivalent to a modern mystery show, like Elementary.

However, if you love mystery, suspense, figuring out your sexuality on the run and being slightly too attached to your weapons for anyone’s comfort, you will love this book. I can’t wait to read the next one and god I hope someone gives Kim a nice holiday and some books on loving yourself or something cause he is going to make me cry at this rate.

Until next time,

Not Just a Buzzword

p.s. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.