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    SERIES REVIEW: Enlightenment Books 2 & 3 by Joanna Chambers

    Enlightenment: Beguiled – Joanna Chambers

    A fleeting pleasure is the sweetest seduction…

    David Lauriston couldn’t be less interested in King George IV’s first visit to Edinburgh. But with Faculty of Advocates members required to put on a minimal show of patriotism, David makes an appointment with his tailor for a new set of clothes-only to run into a man he hasn’t seen for two long years.

    Lord Murdo Balfour.

    Much has changed since their bitter parting, except their stormy attraction. And when Murdo suggests they enjoy each other’s company during his stay, David finds himself agreeing. After all, it’s only a temporary tryst.

    Amidst the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit, Murdo’s seduction is more powerful than David ever imagined possible. But when other figures from David’s past show up, he is drawn into a chain of events beyond his control. Where his determination to help a friend will break his body, threaten his career, and put at risk the fragile tenderness he’s found in Murdo’s arms.

    Warning: Contains a lowborn Scottish lawyer with no love for the aristocracy, but more than enough passion for this highborn lord. Political intrigue, kilts, explicit m/m trysts, and men who epitomize “knight in shining armor.”

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Show Me The Wonder
    Artist: Manic Street Preachers
    Album: Rewind the Film

    Enlightenment: Enlightened – Joanna Chambers

    The cruelest duel may not spill a drop of blood…but it could break their hearts.

    Five months ago, David Lauriston was badly hurt helping his friend Elizabeth escape her violent husband. Since then, David has been living with his lover, Lord Murdo Balfour, while he recuperates.

    Despite the pain of his injuries, David’s time with Murdo has been the happiest of his life. The only things that trouble him are Murdo’s occasional bouts of preoccupation, and the fact that one day soon, David will have to return to his legal practice in Edinburgh.

    That day comes too soon when David’s friend and mentor takes to his deathbed, and David finds himself agreeing to take on a private mission in London. Murdo is at his side in the journey, but a shocking revelation by Murdo’s ruthless father leaves David questioning everything they’ve shared.

    As tensions mount and the stakes grow higher, David and Murdo are forced to ask themselves how far they’re prepared to go—and how much they’re prepared to give up—to stay together. And whether there’s any chance of lasting happiness for men like them.

    Warning: Men in love, men with secrets, and men armed with dueling pistols.

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Light
    Artist: Kinder
    Album: Light

    I don’t know what the heck I read in 2017, but I remember not being too impressed with Provoked, Book 1 of Enlightenment. The series was a huge fan-favorite, so what was I missing? 

    The story is from the POV of young lawyer David Lauriston. He’s a man with strong opinions about right or wrong. He will go through extreme lengths to protect his friends, especially Elizabeth, who married a rich but abusive aristocrat. David is stubborn, but I liked that he’s loyal and kind to a fault.

    My main gripe was Lord Murdo Balfour.

    Murdo is a villain name. Also, he was supposed to be this mysterious rakish figure who seduced the then-virgin David Lauriston, only to leave him high and dry. Apparently, there’s a thing as too enigmatic because he came across as a faceless, featureless, one-dimensional entity.

    Cue Books 2 and 3, Beguiled and Enlightened, and I was spectacularly flabbergasted to discover the very same Lord Murdo Balfour, not just a living, breathing entity, but a swoony, generous, considerate, and attentive love interest so obviously smitten with our boy David. How the hell did I not see that before?!

    And Murdo, chafing at the bit to free himself from his father’s evil grasp, and single-mindedly defiant of the Earl’s machinations to have him marry a woman to further their family’s political power. Also, him doing everything to protect David and his friends at the cost of his reputation, family, and wealth. This man, OMG!!! My jaw dropped to the floor!

    My, ahem, enlightenment in this aptly named series gave me a high while reading the 2nd and 3rd books. I had better appreciation of what turned out to be an very-well thought out plot running through the first three books, with nuanced characters navigating tricky political and social rules and a high stakes forbidden romance culminating a daring all or nothing bid for an HEA.

    I also complained before about the POV being solely from David’s as too one-sided. It didn’t matter anymore. The storytelling felt more balanced now that I have a better grasp of Murdo’s character. Also, the rest of the supporting cast, David’s mentor Chalmers, Elizabeth, Euan who is David’s friend and Lizzie’s lover, the Earl, and Lizzie’s abusive husband, now stood out individually and playing their parts effectively.

    I have never been more glad to give a series another chance. The fans were right!

    From the eye-opening characters, the compelling threads of kindness, trust, and care in a world of power and abuse, to the clever, clever way it sliced through the Gordian knots that bind Murdo and the hard-won happiness for him and David, Enlightenment is a brilliant historical romance. 

    A true classic!


    Enlightenment should be read in order. Decide if Murdo was indeed cardboard or I was too blind to see his true nature in Book1, Provoked.

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    REVIEW: Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles

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    Lilywhite Boys: Any Old Diamonds – K.J. Charles

    Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, with a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary—so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.

    The Duke’s remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: he’ll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec’s new best friend.

    But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman’s most secret desires, and soon he’s got Alec in his bed—and the palm of his hand.

    Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what’s between them…all without getting caught.

    This is the story of the wicked thief who taught a lord to lie and how the lord undone him with his truths.

    Jerry Crozier was all that was advertised and more. Controlling, remote and devastating. He is unapologetic about what or who he is. The man was as compelling as the sweet whisperings of Lucifer. Alec stood no chance of resisting.

    Lord Alexander ‘Alec’ Pyne-ffoulkes has the kind of innocence that begs to be ruined. And he was very much willing to be so. His submission belies an inner strength capable of tapping into his baser nature and going against everything he loves just to get revenge. All without losing said innocence at all.

    Alec gave Jerry complete control to do whatever he pleases. Jerry is a man who LOVES control. In all fairness, the whole thing was beautifully done. I’m just not a fan of BDSM so the plaything aspect wasn’t something I go for in romance stories.

    It started as physical. As the story progressed, we see subtle hints of finer feelings. This was my favorite parts. The gestures were so simple, a tighter grip or a change of breath, and so casually mentioned you’d missed it if you don’t pay attention.

    The story focused more on the relationship between the two main characters. The progression was flawless. Jerry taught Alec how to play the long game. All throughout, we see the master thief in control until… he wasn’t. Because Alec SAW him.

    I see hints of Gabriel ‘Ash’ Ashleigh (Society of Gentlemen) in Alec. Especially in how his naivety could be so effective in making him the best kind of liar. The kind who tells the truth. This particular characteristic was masterfully put to good use all throughout the book.

    The heist plotline, while secondary, was still top notch in its execution. We meet another Lilywhite Boy, Templeton Lane and private detective, Susan Lazarus. Suzy, who we first meet as a child in Sins of the City, is all grown up and ready to kick some ass. She and Temp has some pretty interesting history going on. They have their own book.

    The family drama was as sordid as to be expected. According to the author, this was based on a real life couple. And since the author does not write one-dimensional characters, she even made the stepmother and Alec’s father vile yet sympathetic enough to make Alec think twice about his revenge.

    The big twist! I totally didn’t see it coming. The author really outdid herself with how this particular scene was written. It was a tricky thing making us see a character from another’s perspective while still writing in the first character’s POV. The result? I was as flabbergasted by the whole thing as Jerry and Temp.

    Any Old Diamonds is one of K.J. Charles best written books. The character portraits were some of the best I’ve come across with. It’s very twisty and unpredictable. And so very clever!


    The Lilywhite Boys takes place 20 years after Sins of the Cities. It is not necessary to read the earlier series to enjoy this but why miss out on meeting the deliciously devious Justin Lazarus and his friends? Sins of the Cities review here.
    K.J. Charles books here.

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: The Long Game
    Artist: Johnathan Rice
    Album: The Long Game