Review: Slippery Creatures

Two white men are pictured. One is blonde, thin and seated in a yellow suit on a chair. The other is thin, with dark hair and sideburns and is wearing historical evening wear and standing in front of him holding a book.

Hello happy readers! Its good to see you, even if the world is a dumpster fire these days. But books are good and that’s why we’re here. Cause joy is lovely.

We’re on to KJ Charles new masterpiece of twists and turns, ‘Slippery Creatures’! But first, some content and trigger warnings. They will be in italics below if you wish to skip them.

Trigger warnings: Described graphic violence, torture scenes, discussions of trench warfare, use of improvised weapons, near death experiences, imprisonment, denial of food and water, fear for safety in home environment, use of guns.

Content warnings: Unclear motivations of one main character, some deception around motives around sexual encounters, period specific homophobia and legal consequences thereof.

Can’t say too much more without spoilers, but if you have any need for more specific CW or TW, feel free to ping me on twitter @ShivaniSWriting and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

So, with all that out there, let me tell you how much I loved this. I’ve been having the worst time reading new books. I’m sure many of you have been in the same boat. The only ones I’ve managed to get through so far are Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series, Cat Sebastian’s ‘Two Rogues Make a Right’ and this one. But they’re all of such variety that I found myself wondering why. Part of it was just the realization that I trusted the authors to not hit me with more than I could handle.

But part of it was just that I never seem to get bored with their plots.

For example, this book is a great example of some of what K.J. does best, which is work within tropes and still manage to surprise the reader. I continuously think I know exactly what’s going on and find myself surprised by motivations, character choices and the commitment K.J. has to having her characters be fleshed out, real people. Even her minor characters, like Phoebe and Maisie in this book (please, let them get their own book, it would be so good) have lovely bits and pieces of their own world brought in.

I especially loved that Phoebe, while being femme and young, is not placed in some kind of lower position but is seen as having her own value. She’s not a project for someone, nor is she helpless.

While it is slightly stereotypical for Maisie to be of a lower class than Phoebe, I loved that she was a suffragette and highly devoted to her family. She’s also clever and loyal. I would love to see more of Maisie as I am never satisfied with the amount of time women of color get in historical works but hopefully that will be addressed later in the trilogy.

The one caution I will give is that this is a 3 book trilogy and the HFN at the end of the book is distinctly complicated. We have a lot more to learn and unpack with these characters, which is utterly thrilling but may not be what some are looking for in a lighter read.

However, if you want an utterly engrossing book, with twists and turns all over and romance that makes your spine tingle, I cannot advocate for this one enough.

I read it in one day and I think I might need to go back over it to find all the little reveals and tells. I can’t wait for the next one.

And if you’d like to support my work and Not Just a Buzzword, feel free to purchase the book through the link band we’ll receive a small percentage of the sale. Thank you as always for your support!

https://books2read.com/u/4NLQJx

Review: Two Rogues Make a Right (Spoilers!)

Ok, its been a while due to the upheavals of Romancelandia and many other unfun things we will not address in this blog, cause no one wants that. But we’re back here at NJB and we have an amazing book for you. This ARC came in the other day and it promptly jumped the line and demanded to be read and who am I not to listen?

(A person with bad impulse control at the moment, clearly.)

But my failing is your gain, because you get to hear about this book way before it comes out in June and you can preorder it because oh my god, its like a kitten cuddle in book form and you are going to want this.

But first, content warnings and trigger warnings: Discussion of addiction and recovery, long term parental neglect, trauma, abuse of power against a MC by an authority figure mentioned after the fact, scarring, period typical medical conditions, possibility of death, and sexual abuse committed by a relative of one of the MC’s. 

Though the warnings sound bad, Cat is a master of putting tough things on the page without pulling them straight into your subconscious and messing you up. She’s gentle with it and its more of an explanation of what the characters have been through than gritty, gory details. But your mileage may vary.

Will and Martin are two characters we’ve been circling around for the Sedgewick series, hearing bits and pieces about and meeting in spurts. I’ve been waiting for their book since Cat said she was writing it. If you read ‘A Gentleman Never Keeps Score’, you will have seen a bit of both of them and some of the events referenced in this story. Though it could be a standalone, I definitely recommend reading at least that book as there is a lot of reference back and forth between the two.

(Its also fantastic.)

Martin and Will have been friends for a very long time, through a great deal of struggles. Finally though, they are figuring out through their thickheaded, horribly communicating ways that they really actually love each other as more than just friends.

The problem is, they keep being maudlin, self sacrificing, not communicating and even have one great trope of a badly worded letter to confuse everything before the HEA. Its nearly Austen-ian levels of misunderstandings and I loved every minute of it.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but the pining is distinctly present, as is the lovely trope of the grumpy one loves the sunshine one. I never expected to like Martin much but I really warmed to him in this book. He makes so much sense in the context of Will and you really start to understand his decisions and his manner so much better through this book.

This book also has a particularly delicate and beautiful dedication to discussing the importance of choice, both in bed and out. Will and Martin navigate how to express consent without hitting any of each other’s personal difficulties and its honestly beautiful and feels so natural. If you loved Courtney Milan’s ‘A Governess Affair’, and its dedication to active, informed consent, you will find this to be a new favorite to put alongside that one.

So in conclusion, its adorable, gorgeous, bumbling, slightly frustrating in the best way sort of romance between two people who’ve known each other forever. If you need a small slice of comfort in your life, I intensely recommend this book. I will promptly be rereading it, because frankly, the world is short on comfort right now and I need fluff.

Until next time,

NJB

p.s. If you want to preorder the book, (sadly not out til June), follow the link below and NJB gets a small percentage of the sale. Thank you for your support!

https://books2read.com/u/b550M6

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review and I don’t think they were prepared for the level of squeeing I planned.