The Henchmen of Zenda

The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles: Reviewed by Lost in a Book.
Also reviewed on @BMBR.

Tag team with Adam

The Henchmen of Zenda

Blurb:

Swordfights, lust, betrayal, murder: just another day for a henchman.

Jasper Detchard is a disgraced British officer, now selling his blade to the highest bidder. Currently that’s Michael Elphberg, half-brother to the King of Ruritania. Michael wants the throne for himself, and Jasper is one of the scoundrels he hires to help him take it. But when Michael makes his move, things don’t go entirely to plan—and the penalty for treason is death.

Rupert of Hentzau is Michael’s newest addition to his sinister band of henchmen. Charming, lethal, and intolerably handsome, Rupert is out for his own ends—which seem to include getting Jasper into bed. But Jasper needs to work out what Rupert’s really up to amid a maelstrom of plots, swordfights, scheming, impersonation, desire, betrayal, and murder.

Nobody can be trusted. Everyone has a secret. And love is the worst mistake you can make.

A retelling of the swashbuckling classic The Prisoner of Zenda from a very different point of view.

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3.75 Stars

It’s official, I’ll absolutely read it if KJC writes it. The Henchmen of Zenda is an intriguing, snarky, ever changing ride with a psychopathic Duke, his hired swords, and never ending betrayals.

Please check out the warning KJC has issued on this book. It isn’t a romance but there are romantic-ish elements. There are smexy times and a very compatible pairing between the MCs. However, the romantic-ish elements should be classified as more of mutual understanding with open communication and a fond unconventional companionship.

Jasper Detchard and Rupert of Hentzau are working side by side as hired swords for Michael Elphberg, half-brother to the King of Ruritania. They immediately dislike each other as Hentzau is social with a zest for life that Jasper finds infuriating. Their wit and challenges soon turn to a partnership with benefits as they work under Elphberg and around the schemes to unseat a future king.

The plot shifts constantly throughout as circumstances change and alliances are made. I’ve never read The Prisoner of Zenda and will say that this version is definitely not for the squeamish. There is a trigger warning for abuse of a secondary character. There are also many murders that take place in detail.

The beginning and end of the story are fast paced and captivating. There was a lull throughout the middle that took a bit longer to get through but the quality of writing never falters. I appreciate the strong representation with the women characters and the support of them by the MCs. Obviously I would have liked more romantic elements because I like a side of *swoon* with my reads. However, that’s on me since we are clearly warned. I’m glad I took a chance and recommend it for those that love historical adventure.

Think of England

Think of England by KJ Charles: Review by Lost in a Book

Think of England (Think of England, #1)

Blurb:

Lie back and think of England…

England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.

Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.

As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.

As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…

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4 Stars

Well, this was gruesome with a game of Clue vibe. Was it Colonel Mustard in the study with a lead pipe?

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Not so much. But, it did have suspense, intrigue, and a side of romance. Captain Archie Curtis is on the hunt for clues after a military incident gone tragically wrong. He ends up at a country house full of other guests with seemingly gracious hosts. It’s there he meets Daniel da Silva, another house guest. Daniel is unapologetically campy with a poets heart and a badass set of skills. I LOVE him. Seriously, he has a Julius’-esque (from KJC’s Society of Gentlemen series) fierceness with a brand of snark that could be dressed up as something that sounded sweet, but only someone with at least half a brain would understand the razor sharp cut of his remarks. Brilliant.

Curtis and Daniel together is FIYAHHHHHH. The Captain has gone through life without exploring his sexuality and is able to have a glorious awakening at the hands of Daniel. There is some romance in Think of England but it isn’t the focus. It has a solid HFN that I believed with very likable characters. One more time for Daniel. *purrs*

As I mentioned above, this story is gruesome and with many parts that had me wishing for a Xanax with a side of wine. It took a tad longer for me to read because I *knew* something was going to happen and if I continued, I would need to sleep with the light on.

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Fine!! I did it and liked it… even if I needed some warm milk and a blanket to soothe my nerves and missing fingernails. It got intense. Thankfully the romance let me catch my breath. One thing I’ve noticed time and time from KJC is her ability write strong main and secondary characters. She doesn’t have to take away the women’s backbones in her stories to prop up the men. Just like she doesn’t have to have one doormat male to make the other seem more masculine or strong. Everyone is able to stand on their own but it’s always better to have people at your back. It’s absolutely refreshing to see this translate in her books every time. The non-villianous women and the MCs in Think of England were legit with steel backbones that left me smiling.

Definitely recommended for fans of suspense and historical romance.