In The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, a journalist recounts his relationship with ghost hunter Simon and some of their paranormal experiences. In Guardians of the Haunted Moor, Gideon and Lee struggle with family matters, a murder mystery in the village, and possibly the Bodmin Beast, on top of their usual goings on with Lee’s psychic abilities and married life. In Third Solstice, Gideon and Lee spend their third solstice together and prepare themselves for whatever weird things may come their way. Enjoy my mini reviews for these three m/m paranormal/urban fantasy books!
The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles
This was a different kind of book. Rather than a single plot, it was more a collection of connected stories about Robert's relationship with Simon and their experiences hunting ghosts and solving paranormal mysteries. It was also different in that the stories were told by Robert in a series of letters. Neither of these things are super unique, but they're not what you usually find. It suited the story being told and gave it a certain tone, a kind of gravity it wouldn't have quite had otherwise. I dig it that the author tried something a little different. That being said, it wasn't my favorite KJ Charles book. It was just kind of slow, and I struggled to stay focused on it. There was also a lot of focus on sex, rather than the other aspects of the relationship. The magic was interesting though---especially the way the ghosts' stories would write themselves out on Simon's skin. And the individual tales of hauntings and whatnot were cool. The audiobook narration by Gary Furlong was great; the way he narrated suited the feel of the book perfectly, he had a nice voice, he sounded natural, and he made characters sound different enough. Overall, this didn't blow me away, but I still think it's a good book. If you like sex and ghost hunting and want a sort of unconventional m/m romance book, you might like this.
Guardians of the Haunted Moor by Harper Fox
This book wasn't as strong as some of the previous ones in the series. I still loved the characters, their sweet relationship, and their emotional moments. I still loved getting to see the trials and tribulations of a relationship beyond the initial romance. I still loved Gideon's adorable mom who wasn't supportive most of his life but has been trying to make up for it and become a champion of LGBT+ rights and acceptance. I still liked how this author wove paranormal and mystery aspects with the contemporary struggles of normal life things. But the mystery in this one was confusing; I still don't fully understand it, and I feel like a few things were left unexplained. Also, one of the side characters had schizophrenia, and though I have no experience with the illness myself, I feel like it was maybe not the best or most accurate portrayal. *SPOILER* He turned out to be a murderer, and I know violent, dangerous portrayals of people with schizophrenia are a harmful stereotype. *END SPOILER* It might've also been mixed with paranormal stuff, so that makes it even harder to say. My thoughts on the audiobook narration can be found in my review for the first book. Overall though, I still enjoyed this book and the time I got to spend with these lovely characters.
Third Solstice by Harper Fox
This was another mild disappointment in the series because I was mostly just confused, about the paranormal stuff, at least. But I don't want to be too harsh because I'll be the first to admit I can be a bit dense with making sense of plot intricacies, and I'm also just a reader who gets easily annoyed by vagueness. It was also a short book though, and overall, for me, it kind of had the effect of me finishing and wondering what I just read and feeling like nothing much actually happened. That being said, I enjoyed the parts I did understand. I don't think I've ever read about a married couple raising a baby, and although that's not a type of story I seek out, these characters and their slowly expanding family are just so cute that I love it. Seriously, Gideon and Lee are just the sweetest dads, and the repaired relations with other relatives has become a lovely part of the series too. And some of the paranormal aspects add a whole new layer to things, all sorts of new marriage, family, and parenthood struggles. My thoughts on the audiobook narration can be found in my review for the first book. I guess I've had some ups and downs with this series, but I'm still enjoying it. These lovable, good-hearted characters and their adorable relationship and family have hooked me.