The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal #1 and #2 by KJ Charles and some drinks…

Jordan L Hawk and KJ Charles, two very clever, and saucy ladies have hooked up to write  a story. Very exciting news indeed! They got two of their couples together for a London adventure. Simon Feximal and Robert Caldwell vs Whyborne and Griffin. Seriously I’m not one to SQUEE, but just the fact that these ladies collaborated on ANYTHING was exciting. Now, I must admit I had not read the Feximal and Caldwell stories until I heard Remnant was coming out. Whyborne and Griffin are awesome, and I LOVE KJ Charles, so naturally I read those up. Both stories were wonderful and I wanted to do a quick review of them before I posted my review for Remnant.

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For this post I decided to go with aperitifs, pre-dinner drinks. For Caldwell Ghost I chose an Artisanal hibiscus flower liqueur I discovered recently and is a current obsession. Sorel Liqueur is handcrafted in Brooklyn, New York. It is a sweet and spicy drink, with lots and lots of flavor. It is very exotic, and it has a darkness to it that just BEGS for a ghost story! Some of the flavors that will hit your tongue include, Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg, Moroccan hibiscus. and Pure cane sugar.  If that list won’t get you curious, I don’t know what will! A bottle of Sorel is about $25.00 a bottle, but it is well worth. If you take it slow it can be enjoyed little by little for quite a while!

As for Butterflies, I wanted something a little more…sparkly, with a bitter edge. Campari and Soda with a twist of lime. This drink is mainstay for me when I host dinner parties. I always have it on hand to get my guests going. It’s delicious, different but definitely not for everyone. With Campari (as with Ms. Charles) it takes a knowing palate to appreciate that you are taking something truly special.

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About the books…If you have not read these two short stories The Caldwell Ghost and Butterflies, you REALLY REALLY should. They are both very fast reads, but they pack incredibly rich tales. KJ Charles really brings a sublime beauty to her horror stories. The way she constructs a scene is really something to admire. There is SO MUCH to enjoy in her stories. From the characters, to the imagery…The mysteries are so imaginative too.  In The Caldwell Ghost we meet Robert Caldwell, he is a young man who has inherited a house which is apparently haunted. He has secured the services of Simon Feximal, ghost hunter to take care of the problem. Mr. Feximal is a serious man, his business is clearly no laughing matter. As soon as Robert sets his eyes on Simon, he notices that the man is burly and delicious…Alas, there is not much time to socialize. The house is pissed off, and that ghost is coming for them…And when I say coming…I mean that in more ways than one! *ahem*

The second story Butterflies, which you can get free on Smashwords is in two words, horrifically beautiful. Some months after Simon and Robert’s very intense initial meeting, they end up together again, when they are both looking into two suspicious deaths in a village outside of London. Two bodies have been found in the woods, the strange part is that they were both covered by thousands of butterflies. So many butterflies of different species, colors, sizes. Where are they coming from? Something is obviously amiss, Simon and Robert set off together to uncover the mystery. They quickly discover that the a old local tale might be at the center of the problem. They also find out that there is a lot more to the connection they share than just a one night tryst.

This one was also short, but what a FABULOUS story. KJ build a beautiful tale bore the story Robert tells us.  I also really enjoy how she weaves the ghost hunting with the physical and emotional connection Simon and Robert share. I love Robert’s voice, the emotion in his tone when he talks about Simon, the excitement with which he recounts their adventures. His eyes are clear and loving, but the man has a knack for making the sordid VERY enjoyable, and humorous…Hey if you’re gonna have a talent.

I completely recommend these before moving on to Remnant. They are well worth it. The Caldwell Ghost is for sale here and Butterflies is available for download free on Smashwords.

Make sure to check back in tomorrow for my review of Remnant and the recipe for one of my FAVORITE mixed drinks ever. The Negroni. Talk about a winning combination!

Cheers and Happy Reading

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