books

Joanna Chambers

Books


Winterbourne: Mr. Winterbourne’s Christmas (2018), The Labours of Lord Perry Cavendish (2021)

Capital Wolves Duet: Gentleman Wolf (2019), Master Wolf (2020)

Anthologies: Another Place in Time (2014), Gifts for the Season: Winter & Christmas MM Charity Anthology (2020)


Winterbourne


Mr. Winterbourne’s Christmas
(2018)

Set in England in 1823

Lysander Winterbourne has spent the last year and a half being Adam Freeman’s estate manager, and although both are happy with the situation, neither truly knows how the other feels, and thus fearing an inevitable end, is unable to let the other know how he feels.

This is a straight-up romance. The story is how the two work out their feelings.

It’s fine, but I found myself more interested in the secondary characters.

Like Lady Winterbourne.

Lady Winterbourne somehow managed to give the impression of rolling her eyes at that without actually doing so or being in any way offensive, which Adam thought was a neat trick.

And great-aunt Maud.

“Here we are, Mrs. Winterbourne,” Simon said. “This is the gentleman you were asking about— my brother, Mr. Adam Freeman.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Freeman,” Mrs Winterbourne said, in a high, twittering sort of voice. She offered her hand and as Adam bowed over it, added in the same polite tone, though directing her comments to the young woman this time. “Isn’t he handsome, Anne dear? And he appears to have a very sizeable co—”

“I’m Anne Greenhill,” the young woman interrupted brightly. “Mrs. Winterbourne’s companion. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Freeman.”

It was a totally fine story, it was just a little bit too much with everyone seeming to find their true loves.

Published by the author
Rating: 6/10

Reread: September 2021
Rating: 7.5/10

The Labours of Lord Perry Cavendish (2021)

The Labours of Lord Perry CavendishSet in England in 1824

Six months ago, Perry Cavendish had been shocked to discover his best friend–Lysander Winterbourne had the same inclinations he did–and was in love with the man he was working for. After several months of drowning his sorrows, Peregrine finally takes Xander up on his offer to visit Edgely Park, because Xander accepts him as he is–despite Perry’s doubts about his own worth.

Perry wasn’t clever and handsome like Adam Freeman. He was just Zander’s hulking friend— Gogmagog, as old Warner, their housemaster at Fletcherfield, had called him.

Unfortunately, Xander is busy with the harvest, and when Adam returns, it is with his best friend in tow.

Jonny Mainwaring has a penchant for throwing himself at the wrong men–and getting his heart broken in the process.

the horrible truth was, being with Stephen had exposed things about Jonny’s character that had made him dislike himself.

Perry is a completely cinnamon roll, partially because it is his nature and partially because he worries constantly about his shortcomings.

It always took him ages to read anything, but especially any letter from his mother. He was glad the only other occupant of the breakfast room was Zander, who knew, and didn’t care, that Perry was a shamefully slow reader.

Despite being charming and witty and an excellent artist, Jonny has a hard time believing that anyone would want to tolerate him for any length of time.

(H)e had to admit, he could be demanding company. He craved affection and reassurance.

They two are sweet, however, their own insecurities get in the way of their ability to actually communicate. Which is actually understandable given their pasts. I frequently dislike it when problems could be easily resolved by talking, but in this case their insecurities and histories are the reason they can’t talk to each other about what is really going on.

I also think this is easier to present in MM relationships, since men are taught not to talk about their feelings, so of course they’re going to hide their weaknesses.

“Sometimes people don’t see what you are. They only see what you’re not.”

It’s a sweet novella.

Rating: 7.5/10


Fantasy

Capital Wolves Duet

Gentleman Wolf (2019)

Gentleman WolfSet in Scotland & Europe in 1682 and 1788.

Lindsay Somerville spent years as the prisoner of a man who turned and then tortured him solely because Lindsay looked like the man who turned him–a man he cannot disobey any more than Lindsay can disobey him.

The Eunuch. Duncan’s name for Francis, the one man who could bend Duncan to his will. The man he desired above all others but who recoiled from his very touch. Who would always reject Duncan… but could not bring himself to harm him.

After his rescue Lindsay spent the next century working with his rescuers and become part of their pack, but when it is rumored his master and torturer is coming to Paris, Lindsay flees to his old home, Edinburgh, on business from the head of their small pack.

I absolutely tore through this book, unable to put it down. (In fact, husband got yelled out. “You’re IN THE WAY OF MY BOOK. GO AWAY.”)

Despite everything, Lindsay is a fairly happy and positive person. He hates fleeing Duncan, but far prefers to remain safe. So he goes to Edinburgh to search for papers that might be related to the disappearance of Alys–the maker of the current head of his pack.

The mythology here was very interesting. Wolves are created through a mortal bit–one that has a specific will behind it. Wolves must turn during the full moon but are able to change at other times. And their wolf half gives them healing and thus immortality.

But the story focuses on some of the downsides of that immortality.

The truth was, every time he made a friend of a mortal, he planted a seed of future grief.

Although the main story arc is Lindsay falling in love with Drew, and the repercussions from that, but the story is also very much about Francis and Margeurite. The horror and regret Francis feels for creating Duncan.

Francis had little notion of how truly horrific Lindsay’s years with Duncan had been. Lindsay could not— simply could not— speak of what had been done to him, and Francis was too gentle to imagine such senseless cruelty.

But it is also about Marguerite’s search for her maker, Alys.

This book does not end on a happy note, just to be clear, and I immediately started reading the next book.
Rating: 8/10

Master Wolf (2020)

Master WolfSet in Europe in 1820 with flashbacks.

Gentleman Wolf ended with Lindsay all but being sent away from Drew. Master Wolf picks up thirty years later, as Lindsay has tried to stay away from Drew, and Drew has tried to come to terms with his wolf, and his relationship with Lindsay, believing that he is drawn to Lindsay solely because of the master-wolf link.

Drew is an idiot and it goes very badly for Lindsay.

Lindsay said, “Isn’t this the part where you tell me this was a mistake and that I made you do it?”

Drew flushed. “I’m not blaming you,” he said. “I accept responsibility for my actions.”

“Well, that’s very big of you,” Lindsay replied.

It’s a good thing this story is written from Drew’s point of view, because as it was I had a very hard time feeling a lot of sympathy for him–especially knowing what Lindsay had been through with Duncan. And what Lindsay was willing to do to free himself from Duncan–and Drew.

As with the first story, although the main arc is Lindsay and Drew, Francis and Margeurite and even Wynne had a huge part, and their arcs are just as important.

I actually had to do something I almost never do–read ahead to see how things were resolved, because I desperately needed to go to bed, but couldn’t stop reading. I then went back and read the parts I skipped.

This story was extremely well done. I hated seeing what Lindsay was doing to free himself from Duncan, but also Drew from him. It’s quite clear to you, the reader, that Drew is being a complete idiot, but it’s also true that the relationship between Lindsay and Drew is uneven (even if it is not what Drew thinks it is).

This is an excellent series, and I highly recommend it.
Rating: 8.5/10


Anthologies


Another Place in Time (2014) by Tamara Allen, Joanna Chambers, K.J. Charles, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, Aleksandr Voinov

This is an anthology of historical M/M romances.

“Office Romance” by Tamara Allen
“Introducing Mr. Winterbourne” by Joanna Chambers
“The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh” by K.J. Charles
“Unfair in Love and War” by Kaje Harper
“Carousel” by Jordan L. Hawk
“Deliverance” by Aleksandr Voinov

“Office Romance” by Tamara Allen is set in NYC in 1920.

Both characters had fought in Europe during the war, but their injuries were quite different–Casey Gladwin was wounded in action, while Foster Weatherly barely survived the flu. The two were the last hired in their office, and are pitted against one another when an efficiency expert decides that only one of their jobs is needed.

The world was changing so quickly in the 1920s, it’s little wonder that everyone went a little bit mad after the end of the war.

I quite liked this story.

“The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh” by K.J. Charles

I’d read this previously, as part of another series.

“Unfair in Love and War” by Kaje Harper is set after D-Day but before Germany has surrendered.

Warren Burch has finally returned home, having stayed away after the death of his younger brother in the war. Polio killed his sister and left him with a shortened leg, but he wants to move home and do something for war effort, rather than just having a job. He discovers that a handsome young Swiss emigre has moved next door to his mother, and that the youths who haven’t gone off to war are convinced the man is a German spy.

I also liked this story, with the war looming in the background as it was, and mistrust rampant throughout the country (and world).

This was another period of tremendous change, and although this story doesn’t address most of those changes, the feel of the time is there.

“Carousel” by Jordan L. Hawk is a short story featuring her characters from here Widdershins series and is an historical supernatural fantasy.

This story rather aggravated me, because the boinking was literally tacked onto the end of the story. The mystery of the missing boy was resolved, and then the two went home and boinked. It aggravated me because it didn’t need the boinking at all, and would have been a stronger story without that bit tacked onto the end.

“Deliverance” by Aleksandr Voinov is an historical about a knight Templar.

This story was not for me.

Published by the authors
Rating: 7/10

Gifts for the Season: Winter & Christmas MM Charity Anthology (2020)

Gifts for the SeasonThis is an anthology of short stories, which are always to have some stories that don’t work for me. The issue with this anthology is that there were short stories–most of which were quite good–and there were tales that could not stand alone outside of the stories from which they were obviously pulled. Which for someone who loves short stories was aggravating, and I ended up skimming the worst offenders.

A.E. Via – An Unworthy Gift
Lane Hayes – Out for the Holidays
RJ Scott – Single Dad Christmas
Eli Easton – Twelve Days of UPS
Annabeth Albert – Must Be Santa
Joanna Chambers – The First Snow of Winter
Clare London – Five Gold Blings
Posy Roberts – Sojourn for Christmas
Suki Fleet – Sometimes, Always
Garrett Leigh – No Place Like Home
Felice Stevens – The Gift of Forever
VL Locey – Dressed in Holiday Style
Annabelle Jacobs – Driving Home For Christmas
Amber Kell – A Santa for Trin
Alex Jane – Homestead for the Holidays

The First Snow of Winter by Joanna Chambers was another good short story.

It’s an historical, second-chance story. Sam has returned from the Army missing an arm and still trying to figure out what his new normal is. When his mother tells him the Huxley family are coming for their Christmas visit, Sam wants to run away–because before he left for the army he had an embarrassing kiss with Jasper Huxley and doesn’t know how to apologize.

It’s a sweet story and it was not just Sam and Jasper patching things up, but also Sam continuing to come to terms with his injury and loss.

This anthology had a couple of good stories, but also had some that actually mad me mad a wasted time even skimming them. But then anthology is for a good cause (The Trevor Project) so get it and just skip the stories that don’t stand on their own.

Publisher : Love Lane Books Ltd
Rating: 6/10