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    REVIEW: Proper Scoundrels by Allie Therin

    Roaring Twenties Magic: Proper Scoundrels – Allie Therin

    Don’t miss this standalone spin-off in Allie Therin’s acclaimed Magic in Manhattan universe!

    Their scandalous pasts have left them wounded and unworthy—and hopelessly perfect together.

    London, 1925

    Sebastian de Leon is adjusting to life after three years spent enthralled by blood magic. The atrocities he committed under its control still weigh heavily on his conscience, but when he’s asked to investigate a series of mysterious murders, it feels like an opportunity to make amends. Until he realizes the killer’s next likely target is a man who witnessed Sebastian at his worst—the Viscount Fine.

    Lord Fine—known as Wesley to his friends, if he had any—is haunted by ghosts of his own after serving as a British army captain during the Great War. Jaded and untrusting, he’s tempted to turn Sebastian in, but there’s something undeniably captivating about the reformed paranormal, and after Sebastian risks his own life to save Wesley’s, they find common ground.

    Seeking sanctuary together at Wesley’s country estate in Yorkshire, the unlikely pair begins to unravel a mystery steeped in legend and folklore, the close quarters emboldening them to see past the other’s trauma to the person worth loving beneath. But with growing targets on their backs, they’ll have to move quickly if they want to catch a killer—and discover whether two wounded souls can help each other heal.

    Proper Scoundrel is the first book of Roaring Twenties Magic, Allie Therin‘s latest paranormal historical romance series. It’s set in the same world as her acclaimed Magic in Manhattan series, also narrated by the always fantastic Joel Froomkin, a.k.a. Joel Leslie. The author excels at creating fade-to-black squee-tastic romances, like my favorite, Liar City.

    I came into Proper Scoundrels blind, knowing only that this is a historical romance, so I was pleasantly surprise to learn magic is involved here. I highly recommend reading Magic in Manhattan first because the events in that series are heavily referenced here. I was scrambling a bit to piece together the events because early on, the names, concepts, and happenings were mentioned as if the reader is already familiar. Also, it might be spoilerish.

    Sebastian de Leon, of the renowned magical de Leon clan, is searching for a killer. The de Leons are guardians of magical artifacts, one of which was stolen and reportedly in the hands of the person committing the murders. The next person on the killer’s list is Lord Fine, who was friends with benefits with the MC of Magic in Manhattan.

    As far as the murder mystery goes, the mastermind is practically a given because you can suss out right away the moment they appear on page and very early in the story too. It was a matter of watching things unfold and come together in the action-packed climax. The fun is in watching Sebastian and his friends use their specialized magical skills during the investigation.

    While I live for spectacular magical displays, I also love that the magic isn’t always bombastic explosions. There’s the bad guy Jack Mercier and his pyrokinesis, and there’s also Sebastian’s cousin, Isabelle, with her magical paintings and tattoos. They’re the kind that stays hidden or unnoticed unless you know where to look.

    There’s ex-spy Jade and her telekinesis, very handy in a many situations, and her scholarly boyfriend, Zhang Wei’s astral projection, very useful in spying. I love worlds like these because they always make me imagine what kind of magic I’ll have if I am a character in the story.

    Sebastian’s magic is considered one of the most dangerous among paranormals. He can cancel any magic, and he can also affect normal people by absorbing their auras. Of course, this adorable man has to be a fluffy sunshiny marshmallow who beats himself up for crimes he’s forced to commit under the control of the blood magic.

    Lord Fine is a grumpy, cynical bastard who hates the world and loves only the fluffy marshmallow, Sebby. This trope is one of the swooniest tropes in Romancelandia, and while Wesley and Sebastian weren’t the most squee-tastic couple, their chemistry was sparks and fireworks!

    Watching Wesley’s character grow was a joy to witness! My favorite Wesley moments are him with absolutely no magic in his blood cockily taking on the high-level paranormals with just his wits and a gun. Peak Wesley moment is threatening to shoot Powder Puff, his 70-year-old neighbor’s dog, to make marshmallow Sebby spill his guts. This was when they were still enemies. Cold. Stone cold.

    Proper Scoundrels is an enchanting historical paranormal murder mystery centering around an international group of friends who keeps the world safe. It’s also a cute grumpy+sunshine romance between a sharp-shooting viscount and the cinnamon roll scion of an old magical family. All in all, thoroughly spellbinding, swoony, and fun!

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Before You Came
    Artist: Autoheart
    Album: I Can Build a Fire

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