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When everything they’ve built is threatened, only their bond remains…

New York, 1925

Psychometric Rory Brodigan’s life hasn’t been the same since the day he met Arthur Kenzie. Arthur’s continued quest to contain supernatural relics that pose a threat to the world has captured Rory’s imagination—and his heart. But Arthur’s upper-class upbringing still leaves Rory worried that he’ll never measure up, especially when Arthur’s aristocratic ex arrives in New York.

For Arthur, there’s only Rory. But keeping the man he’s fallen for safe is another matter altogether. When a group of ruthless paranormals throw the city into chaos, the two men’s strained relationship leaves Rory vulnerable to a monster from Arthur’s past.

With dark forces determined to tear them apart, Rory and Arthur will have to draw on every last bit of magic up their sleeves. And in the end, it’s the connection they’ve formed without magic that will be tested like never before.

307 pages, ebook

First published May 18, 2020

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About the author

Allie Therin

8 books440 followers
Allie Therin is the bicultural author of the internationally acclaimed debut series Magic in Manhattan. She also is, or has been, a bookseller, an attorney, a Parks & Rec assistant, a boom operator, and a barista for one (embarrassing) day.

A longtime fan of romance, mystery and speculative fiction, she now strives to bring that same delight to her readers. Allie grew up in a tiny Pacific Northwest town with more bears than people, although the bears sadly would not practice Spanish with her.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 264 reviews
Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,225 reviews291 followers
April 14, 2020
Full review later when I'm at the laptop.

***

This series is shaping up to be among my favourites, not only on the historical front, but also the urban fantasy/paranormal side of things.

I absolutely love the world-building and sense of magic that Allie has created with her series, it's 1920s Prohibition New York but with a very definite twist in the tale (yes I spelt that one right 😉 )

This absolutely is not a standalone book, it picks up pretty much where book one left off with Rory and Ace still settling into their new relationship, dangers all around and the same sense of impending menace on the horizon.

This book does suffer a tiny bit from a lull in pace towards the middle part of the book as things become a little bit bogged down in the details of Ace and Rory dealing with the surprise arrival in New York of British peer Lord Fine. Who just happens to be Ace's wartime ex.

But once the bad guys show up, it rockets into an action adventure which, for me, had a very real sense of foreboding and menace which kept me up reading until the early hours so I could make sure all the characters I love survived the danger.

I also love how Allie is twisting around the actions of the villains from book one, who here turn up and act very much to the benefit of Ace and Rory's lives.

Finally, while I absolutely adore these books and I totally respect the author's right to craft a book in their own way, I really, really wish Allie would put more elements of the intimacy aspect of Ace and Rory's relationship on page.

There's lots of passionate kissing, and lovely sweet declarations of feelings, but for me, personally, I feel like I'm missing out on a key aspect of their relationship because there is zero heat on page.

I'm not asking for explicit, erotica, but I'd just love to see more of the trust element which comes from being sexually intimate with someone, reflected on page.

That's my one niggle and it's certainly not enough for me to be put off reading, and re-reading, this series, the rest of the narrative works hard to make up for the lack of emotional connectivity outside of the snogging 😁

Now I'm gutted I have to wait until next year for book three!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review
Profile Image for Elena.
823 reviews80 followers
February 13, 2021
At this point it’s safe to say that I’m not going to fall in love with this series or this author’s writing style, unless she’s going to show vast improvement in the future. There’s nothing overtly wrong with it, and I can see how so many other readers love both, it just hasn’t clicked for me.

The overarching plot of the relics is not bad, although nowhere as good and interesting as it could be, and the storyline with the villains in this second book was a bit better than in the first one, at least it made sense why the bad guys were acting as bad guys, and while one of the MCs had a TSTL moment at the beginning, it was an isolated case and they talked to each other even when the set up would’ve been perfect for miscommunication. I appreciated the author not going there, even though part of the merit goes to the female secondary characters pushing the MCs in the right direction when they were on the verge of—maybe, possibly—acting stupidly. At least they listened.
I also liked how the introduction of a new secondary character——was handled, it had the potential to bring drama and frustration and it didn’t, I’m glad for that.
I’m still not feeling the romance between the MCs, and by now it’s likely that I never will, but I liked learning more about Arthur’s life outside his quest for relics with his paranormal friends, both regarding his family and Of the two MCs, I think Arthur’s development has been the best so far. Rory has a more solid backstory, but his growth as a character has come in spurts and a bit out of nowhere at odd moments, Arthur’s character development feels more organic and realistic.

The thing I have more problems with is the author’s tendency to force the characters to act in a way that takes the story where she wants it to go, sometimes by making their actions incongruent with their previous characterization, making them change their minds for no discernible reason or by forcing that change in a too-small time frame, instead of taking the time to make it a realistic development.
It happened in the first book with the romance, with Arthur and Rory falling for each other almost immediately with very vague and feeble reasons behind all the unconditional and all-encompassing love coming out of nowhere, it happened again in this book when I liked the idea behind the character arc, but the execution was too instantaneous, it didn’t feel natural.
It happened again at the end of the book when
In a smaller way it happened when
When characters don’t act or think like I would expect any rational human being to do, I either have to accept that I’m reading about people with a limited intelligence, and I might be fine with it if that’s in line with their characterization, or I become very aware that I’m reading about characters and that the author is trying to put them where and when she needs them and that she didn’t find a better way to make that happen organically.

There might also has been a continuity issue at the end of the book regarding Arthur’s car and , but I couldn’t swear on it and I didn’t care enough to get back and reread to check if I missed something, so take that with a grain of salt.
I am sure that other editing issues have been missed, though, like a secondary character’s name being used twice before it was officially revealed, some typos, and some other small things that I would expect a publisher like Carina to not miss.

I’m not loving this, I’m not hating it, and my rating is the reflection of both. I keep having alternating reactions, wanting to give up during the slower parts and then getting interested again during the action scenes, but since I’m BRing it, I’ll give the third book a chance, just so I can see how the series ends.
Profile Image for Evie Drae.
Author 5 books137 followers
July 23, 2020
In case any of you are living under a rock and never heard of Spellbound—Allie Therin’s first book in the Magic in Manhatten series—I’ll let you know where my head was as I dove into Starcrossed. Basically, brimming with expectation and on the very edge of my readerly seat. And—can confirm—Ms. Therin did not disappoint.

I adore this author’s voice. She has such a delightful way of weaving wit and humor into her prose that leaves the reader unsure of what to expect next—in the best of ways. One minute I’ll be laughing out loud, the next I’m turning green with writerly envy at a clever turn of phrase. But on top of that, she is also a skilled world-builder and created a cast of characters to rival Game of Thrones. Each with their own unique part to play.

Arthur, or “Ace” to his friends, is a well-to-do WWI veteran with a dark past as a POW that haunts him to this very day. But he’s also a cinnamon roll who mother-hens with the best of them. Rory, also known by Arthur (mostly) in private by his real name “Teddie”, is a grouchy paranormal from Hell’s Kitchen with a heart of gold and his own troubled history. Together, they’ve formed a bond that quite literally holds strong and true across any distance, against any barrier, and through the very threads of time.

I’m a huge fan of stumbling across the title of a book hidden amongst the body of words. So, when I hit the moment where Ms. Therin slipped Starcrossed so eloquently onto the page, I immediately flagged the page so I could share it with you.

“You’re not the first man to fall for someone of another class, Arthur. It never works. You can’t keep him any more than Romeo kept Juliet. You and your antiques man are a cliche; a pair of starcrossed fools.”

I would recommend this book to every single MM romance reader out there, but I also believe lovers of paranormal and historical who might not be keen on romance as a major plot point would also fall head over readerly heels for this series. The primary focus doesn’t fall on the romance, although our lead characters’ motivations are highly entwined with the feelings in their heart and there are some mild, fade-to-black, innuendo-not-graphic-based love scenes. But this is one of those unique reads that can truly span genres and has just enough of each to please the avid readers in that area without too much of another to drive them away.
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,556 reviews229 followers
May 18, 2020
I was so excited to read this book! I truly enjoyed the first one in the series and thought that a second book would work out some of the kinks I found in the first. Unfortunately, I encountered a new set of strains and aches, ones that simply didn't go away the more I read.

Let's begin with what I liked:
-I LOVE the premise of the story: magical artifacts; a team of roaring age magical detectives; love between opposite social classes.
-The Roaring 20's!
-NYC & Harlem
-New scenes that had no need for background information.

What went wrong (IMHO):
-When writing a second book, author & editor, please be mindful that readers need REVIEWING/REVISING of the plot points & characters in the previous books. I had NO CLUE as to who was who and it took looking back at the previous book and my previous review to recall basic facts. But that wasn't enough! I still didn't remember relationships, plots, etc. REMIND ME!!! Authors of series do this very well and successfully. I SHOULD NOT NEED TO READ THE PREVIOUS BOOK IMMEDIATELY BEFORE reading the current to know what is going on. My brain should only need a gentle reminder. I HAD NO REMINDERS, NO MENTAL JOGS, and so I was left in the dark for the majority of the book.
-I was confused for 80% of the book (see above).
-Since I kept trying to remember who was who, what was what, etc., I was frustrated and pulled out of the story.
-Since I was pulled out of the story, I wasn't invested in neither the characters or the plot.

You may think that you still don't know what this book is about reading this far along in my review. You are right, because I have a hard time in knowing what the book was about. I'm still not sure.

While the writing was good and the premise interesting, I can't give this book more than 2.5 stars because I believe that this should only be read immediately after the previous book (which I liked). Is this a fair review? I think it's a fair review seeing that I read the first book 7 months prior to this one. I expect that this would have been a great read had I reread the first book immediately before tackling this one.

My rec? Read shortly after the first, otherwise you'll be as lost as I was.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for the purposes of an honest, unbiased review.**
Profile Image for Caz.
2,619 reviews994 followers
March 9, 2021
I've given this a B at AAR.

Allie Therin’s  Magic in Manhattan  series continues with book two, Starcrossed, which begins shortly after the climactic events of the previous book (Spellbound) and finds Rory and Arthur facing off against a powerful and terrifying enemy intent on forcing Rory to unlock the secrets of an incredibly dangerous relic.

Starcrossed is a direct sequel to Spellbound, and the author doesn’t spend much (if any) time recapping the events of the previous book, so it doesn’t stand alone. That’s not a complaint per se – long recaps of ‘previously on…’ can be tedious and I’m glad Ms. Therin doesn’t go there – but on the other hand, it’s been a year since I read Spellbound, and I think I might have been able to get into Starcrossed more easily than I did had I re-read it first.

After Rory single-handedly prevented the destruction of Manhattan by using the powerful relic to which he is now bound, a ring that can control the wind, Arthur took him out of the city to the Kenzie estate in upstate New York, ostensibly to let him rest but also in hopes of getting to spend a bit more time with him.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t really happened as Arthur’s family seems to have scheduled his every waking moment and his attention is almost always required elsewhere.  Rory is disappointed although not surprised.  He still finds it hard to believe that a man like Arthur – handsome, sophisticated and from a wealthy, well-connected family – could see anything in a scrawny, nameless nobody from Hell’s Kitchen, but he’s working on it.

A couple of days before they’re due to return to the city, Arthur receives news that a relic – a lodestone – is missing from the inventory of the possessions of the late Luther Mansfield (a business mogul who had traded in dangerous magical artefacts).  Arthur is eager to get back to Manhattan, but is obligated to attend his brother John’s fundraiser (John is an alderman looking to a Senate run) where he encounters Mansfield’s lawyer, who is nervous and cagey and speaks vaguely of seeing inexplicable things before clamming up and telling Arthur to forget it.  A day later, Arthur is disturbed when John tells him about a dream he’d had, of Arthur during the war in a situation Arthur has never revealed to anyone.  Someone is using magic on his brother and, as later becomes clear, on Arthur, too, when his dreams, ones he’s had since the war, take on a grotesque, nightmarish quality they’ve never had before.

Magic induced dreams, missing artefacts, a relic imbued with the worst, most vile kind of magic, and the reappearance of old enemies all combine to propel the story towards a tense, exciting climax as Rory and Arthur confront a terrifying figure from Arthur’s past – and receive help (of a sort) from a most unexpected quarter.

As in the previous book, the setting of Prohibition Era New York is evoked really well, and I enjoyed meeting Jade and Zhang again, together with Sasha and Pavel – a powerful alchemist who has become trapped in his own magic – about whom I grow increasingly curious. The author sets up her different story threads well and draws them skilfully together, although the pacing lags a bit in the middle with the focus on the sub-plot concerning Arthur’s wartime ex, an English viscount whom Arthur’s family want him to escort around the city and accompany to a society wedding. Rory is jealous (of course) and (inadvertently) destroys things because he’s unable to control his growing magical powers, while Arthur is obviously very torn between his familial obligations and his desire to live his own life. He’s forever having to rush off in the middle of important plot developments because he has to be somewhere else, and although his frustration at this is palpable, it cuts down on his page time with Rory to the extent that I sometimes felt they spent more time apart than together.

I like both characters, and am pleased that while Rory has left some of his brattishness behind, he’s still a quick-tempered adorable grump who will absolutely take down anyone who threatens Arthur’s safety. I like his straightforwardness, his determination and his vulnerability, and that he’s slowly starting to believe that Arthur really does see him as someone worth loving. I appreciated that Ms. Therin doesn’t sweep aside the issues affecting their relationship, which aren’t simply limited to the fact that homosexuality was illegal at this time. The class difference between them is just as insurmountable a problem; outside their small circle of friends, Rory and Arthur need reasons to spend time together in a way that, as Arthur’s ex quite rightly points out, Arthur doesn’t need in order to spend time with a man of his own social class.

But for all of their lovely, understated declarations and passionate kisses, I don’t really get a ‘lovers’ vibe from these two. As in the first book, it’s kissing and innuendo and then fade-to-black – and while I absolutely support an author writing their story their way, I can’t help but feel there’s something missing in Arthur and Rory’s relationship as it’s written. Love scenes can be valuable tools to show the development of trust that comes with being sexually intimate with someone, and sometimes actions really do speak louder than words. I’m not saying there should be pages and pages of explicit sex scenes, and I certainly don’t think an author who isn’t comfortable writing sex should be forced to do so because it’s ‘expected’. I’ve read books where I wish the author hadn’t gone there and have felt the story would have worked just as well without. I just don’t think that’s the case here, and that the opportunity to create a deeper connection between the characters has been missed.

The plot is complex and carefully constructed, and the big set scene at the end is vividly depicted; the writing is generally good overall, although Ms. Therin has the habit of using awkward contractions, such as Arthur’d said his parents had it built or Harry’d given paid work to him – which look odd and unnatural on the page.

Even with the reservations I’ve expressed, Starcrossed is an entertaining read featuring likeable characters, a strongly evoked period setting and an intriguing storyline. If you enjoyed Spellbound, then you’ll probably enjoy this, too, and like me, will be looking forward to book three, Wonderstruck, next year.
Profile Image for Cristina.
Author 23 books88 followers
August 17, 2020
Another beautiful instalment to Allie Therin's Magic in Manhattan series.

Set immediately after the events of Spellbound , the novel gives another turn of the screw to the overall plot of the series and provides at the same time further insight into all the main characters.

Needless to say it, Rory and Arthur are a real delight to read. Rory is an adorable combination of fierceness, grumpiness and shy behaviour and Arthur, a real knight in shining armour, is a wonderful protector, generous and noble to a fault.

The secondary characters provide a great network of support to our heroes and I'm looking forward to reading further development to the storylines of Jade and Zhang, Ellis and Gwen.

The way Allie Therin evokes the New York of the 1920s is delightful. The city is chaotic and dirty or glittering and elegant when the action moves within Arthur's social circle. I love the way magic is woven through the fabric of everyday society and life and how the two plans seem to intersect in the most unexpected manners.

Highly recommended!

Profile Image for aarya.
1,144 reviews
August 21, 2020
2020 Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo: ‪Bootleggers

I didn’t like this as much as the first book. I agree with the other reviews that say there’s not enough backstory/explanation about book one, thus making it hard to figure out what the hell was going on. I was confused at several points, especially the Gwen/Ellis backstory and how subordinate magic works. This was all explained in greater detail in SPELLBOUND and unfortunately my book memory is useless after a year.

I confess that I’m growing weary of this particular age gap dynamic (Rory acts SO young, almost childlike at times). It’s not my favorite dynamic because it doesn’t appear to be changing. I like the age gap trope in general, but I prefer it when the younger MC is extremely mature/confident.

Still, solid writing and interesting setting. I just didn’t love the sequel as much as the debut!

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rosa.
599 reviews6 followers
February 14, 2021
Along the same lines than the first one. It's enjoyable, don't get me wrong, but I feel like something is missing.
I don't understand some of the actions and reactions of the characters, it made no sense with what we know of them. And sometimes I feel like things happens because are needed to develop the plot, not because there's the natural progression of them. Still, I'm entertained enough, and the BR makes it up for the problems I've had with parts of the book.
Profile Image for CrabbyPatty.
1,553 reviews169 followers
April 2, 2020
Starcrossed is the second book in the "Magic in Manhattan" series, and you definitely need to read the first book - Spellbound - as this is not a stand-alone. I read and reviewed Spellbound in June of 2019 and struggled at first to recall all the plot points as I began this book.

Starcrossed returns us to NYC in the Roaring Twenties, circa 1925, with Arthur (Ace), Rory, Jade and Zhang trying to track down Baron Zeppler's operatives and the magical relics. As the story begins, Rory and Arthur are in the countryside at Harry Kenzie's estate, where Rory unwittingly unleashes the power of the Tempest Ring with terrifying results. Later, Ace reluctantly agrees to escort a titled British guest to the wedding of the Governor's son in order to help his brother John advance his political career ... and the guest is Ace's ex, Wesley Collins, the Viscount Fine.

There are a series of murders throughout and a terrifying paranormal villain with ties to Ace's WWI past, and the author does an excellent job of detailing these deaths in a very viseral bone-chilling manner. But in between the first part of the book and the "edge of your seat" ending, the middle drags a bit, as Rory and Ace ponder the nature of their relationship (which remains non-explicit as in the first book), Lord Fine intrudes, and Rory gets jealous, again and again and again.

Now, I realize others may not feel the same, but I ended up setting the book down quite a few times because it just didn't hold my interest. However, the author really pulls it together at the end, and we are left with a cliffhanger of sorts that really piqued my interest, and I will definitely read the third book in the series, Wonderstruck (no release date set.) 4 stars.

I received an ARC from Carina Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews
Profile Image for Roberta Blablanski.
Author 4 books62 followers
May 18, 2020
Another fabulous installment of grumpy Rory and cinnamon roll Arthur!

Once again, Therin transports the reader to 1920s New York City. The attention to detail, the fascinating settings, and in-depth world-building all make Starcrossed a fabulous read. I loved the insight into Rory and Arthur's evolving relationship., along with the introduction of new magic and magical devices.

I (im)patiently await the audiobook and the third book!


***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.***
Profile Image for Santy.
1,148 reviews60 followers
May 10, 2020
Since this series had quite a strong series-opener in Spellbound, I had reined in my expectations for this book when I started reading it . So, you can imagine my glee when I not only enjoyed this book but found it to be even better than Spellbound. I simply could not put this book down once I started.

The events of this book started a number of days after the events of Spellbound and just like that book, it once again pulls the reader into Prohibition-era USA and all the paranormal activities surrounding our group of heroes. With fresh, powerful, more terrifying bad guys doing terrible things and another powerful relic that was adequately shrouded in deep mystery, our group was left scrambling for answers to prevent the atrocities from continuing. This made for a fast paced book which went perfectly with the tone of the story.

However, aside this story being about action, adventure and the paranormal, it was about Rory and Arthur further growing and solidifying their relationship despite pressures from Arthur's family, high society and a pesky ex-lover(who you'll either love to hate or hate to love or both). Usually, I dislike exes coming in to "stir the pot" in books but in this case, it worked well to show Rory and Ace's strength of character as well as the strength of the bond they shared.

Looking back at Spellbound and how much I could not stand Rory, I was content to see his growth as a person from the prickly nineteen year-old frightened that the world was out to get him to this quietly strong young man who stood up for what he believed in and the people he cared about. My only wish for him was for him to have been less reckless(even though it came from a good place) and more willing to accept help from people who obviously wanted the best for him.I do not know whether it was pride or a need to prove himself over and over again but going forward in the series, I hope he comes to find that accepting help does not make one weak.

Ace once again was pillar of strength for everyone and although he went through some hell in this book, he still stood by the people who needed him. Some might say he was "perfect" but I just saw a man who tried to do his best at all time. I must add that as with Spellbound, this story had exclusively "Fade to Black" sex scenes with absolutely no explicit material but it took nothing from the story in my opinion so do not let it be a deterrent to picking this series up.

There was no epilogue as this was not the conclusion to Ace and Rory's story so this book ended as HFN with quite a number of things up in the air concerning the characters, the new relic and "The Big Bad". If the next book is the last in the series, then I expect that everything should be rounded off in that. If it is not, then it certainly wouldn't be a pain to go on this exciting, action-filled journey with these two men and their merry band of paranormals ending in a solid HEA for all.

***eARC Graciously Provided by Publisher In Exchange for An Honest, Unbiased Review ***
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,292 reviews412 followers
December 3, 2020
Updated for audio review:
Read Camille’s audio review in its entirety here.

A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars


Starcrossed is the second book in Allie Therin’s fabulous Magic in Manhattan series and picks up shortly after the end of Spellbound. The first book just blew me away and I was eagerly awaiting this next installment. The books build on one another and knowing the story from the first book is important for understanding events here, so you will definitely want to read the stories in order.

From an adventure end, this has a lot of the same excitement and great paranormal world building as the first story. We see the fallout from the first book, as well as their continued efforts to prevent the artifacts from getting into the wrong hands. There are new bad guys in the city and no one knows quite what they are after, but they are leaving havoc in their wake. And on top of that, Rory is dealing with figuring out his own magic and his abilities, which have ramped up now that he has possession of the ring, as well as a connection with Arthur. The story is exciting and has some really thrilling moments and it kept me on the edge of my seat, particularly later in the book when the action really takes off. I continue to really enjoy their circle of friends and watching the team all work together to save the world.

Read Jay’s review in its entirety here.
Profile Image for Amanda.
50 reviews19 followers
June 21, 2020
Starcrossed is the second book in the Magic in Manhattan series and it’s just as good as the first. Even though it took me a while to remember all the last events of the first book, I was a bit lost in the beginning so I’d say I liked Spellbound just a tiny bit more.

I really missed how adorable Arthur and Rory are with each other. They are equally so in love it’s amazing. And also ‘funny’ since they both have doubts about how the other feels.
Rory was always very insecure about his place in Arthur’s life, now, especially in this book with someone from Arthur’s past coming to town, he feels this even more strongly. While all Arthur wants is to be near his favorite paranormal. Arthur is also learning that he is probably in love with Rory and everything is just as new for him like it is for Rory.

Jade and Zhang were always amazing, I love both as characters on their own and as a couple as well.
The plot is full of magic and surprises! A new relic in town, murders, people they love could be in danger, so they are all desperate to find out what’s going on and protect their loved ones.
If you like historical paranormal romance give this a chance, you won’t regret!
Profile Image for Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight).
857 reviews120 followers
January 14, 2021
4 Stars

Review:
GAAAAAHHHH. These two are just. So. CUTE. Apparently that's how I start all my reviews for this series because it is the most accurate expression of my feelings. And what makes me love this cuteness so much is that it doesn't feel cheesy. It feels genuine. And it's just so adorable. That's my favorite thing about these books. I just love the romance so much. And I felt for them, having to sneak around and dealing with the struggles of living in a time when men couldn't openly love other men. Throwing in Arthur's ex added a bit of an interesting element too. But mostly they're just so damn cute.

I love both Rory and Arthur as individual characters too. Both such good people. Rory so hardworking, stubborn, feisty, and not afraid to tell off anyone who deserves it but sweet and caring to the ones who deserve that side of him. Arthur so compassionate and valiant, always wanting to help people.

The plot was great too. A plot involving magic and paranormals and a bit of mystery. It felt a little more complex this time.

The paranormal abilities were interesting again. Rory's psychometry and wind powers. Others with their telekinesis, astral projection, and other abilities.

I also still loved the Prohibition Era setting and how well the author infuses the book with the feel of it.

Just another really great book all-around! Great characters. Great setting. Great paranormal abilities. Great plot. And an especially great romance!

*Rating: 4 Stars // Read Date: 2021 // Format: eBook*

Recommended For:
Fans of Book 1 in Allie Therin's Magic in Manhattan series. Anyone who likes adorable characters and relationships, supernatural powers, and the Prohibition Era.

Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight
Profile Image for Cassandra.
386 reviews
July 12, 2022
Rory and Arthur's adventures with relics continue in this very un-steamy yet oddly adorable series. Its historical (the 1920s) , set in Prohibition-era New York and yet I love it anyway (you all know I HATE historical novels). As always, the attention to detail of the setting, the world-building and with just enough detail to make it accurate without being dull (Yes, Green Darkness I'm looking at you) roped me in and I read this one in a single sitting. Instead of working 🙄

Onto to book 3
Profile Image for Kathleen in Oslo.
234 reviews43 followers
February 17, 2022
Actual score 3.5

I could more-or-less copy and paste my (short) review of the first book here. This isn't meant as shade: the two books feel the same, read the same, share the same good and less-good attributes. I really enjoyed the first book and I similarly enjoyed this book, for (unsurprisingly) the same reason - the relationship between the two MCs, Arthur and Rory, and their Scooby gang/ found paranormal family. But after reading the first two books in the series now, I have a bit more to say about how magic is (or isn't) working in this world.

Because perhaps oddly for a book/series about magic, the magic part is absolutely the least compelling aspect of it. Partly this is me: even though I read a fair bit of fantasy/ magicky romance, whenever the magical worldbuilding or rules get too complex, my brain goes into "whatever" mode. I love political intrigue and worldbuilding and can get all up in the intricacies of that, but where magic is concerned I end up tuning it out past a certain point, like I will be reading the words on the page and all my brain hears is "insert magic here". (Tangent: KJ Charles's Magpies series is wonderful for many reasons, but one is that the magical universe she creates there is so easy to follow, magic-wise, but chock full of political intrigue. This is pretty much the gold standard for me for magical romance: gimme something with clearly defined magical rules and lots of political machinations, and I am a happy camper.) So yeah, I am certainly not the authority on magical worldbuilding as craft or anything. That said ... I got the feeling throughout this book, in particular, that the author was just totally winging it magic-wise. Like, the first book Rory was figuring out his powers, and there was a bit of magic stuff that didn't really make sense, but you could kind of excuse it because all this was still pretty new to Rory and Arthur and the scooby gang, and therefore in a way it makes sense that it doesn't make sense. And to some degree that still applies in this book, as Rory's powers are growing and evolving throughout. But at a certain point, there has to be some kind of internal logic to the magic that's going on, not just "oh, Rory and Arthur are in a scrape, but fortunately they get out of it thanks to a heretofore undiscovered dimension of Rory's seemingly vast and unprecedented powers."

I guess what it comes down to is that, while suspension of disbelief is built into any fantasy/ magic story, the reader has to believe what they're suspending disbelief about. And the only way to get the reader to believe their, um, disbelief is to make a comprehensible world for the reader that operates according to rules that both characters and readers understand because they are rooted in some kind of explicable logic and internally consistent. (And now I'm back to KJ Charles: she has a wonderful blogpost about this which I am utterly butchering in translation, so I might as well direct you to it instead: https://kjcharleswriter.com/2017/03/0...). And while the world Therin depicts (1920s New York during prohibition) is really immersive and interesting, that doesn't really have anything to do with the magic part. The magic part is what's happening within this immersive and interesting setting, and it just doesn't hang together very well. So you end up feeling that the (magical) resolution to all these scrapes they're in is kind of cheap, because it isn't necessarily rooted in what we think we know of the magic that's come before, and -- this is the key part -- therefore doesn't really cost the characters anything. If we know beforehand that there is a magical solution, but it entails certain (perhaps grave) tradeoffs, then we're invested in that and in how the characters weigh those tradeoffs and make the decisions they make. If instead, it's: "wow I did this thing I had no idea I could do, cool!", then the investment (and payoff) is necessarily less.

In my review for book 1, I mentioned that there was a bit too much "oh no, he would never like me, I'm unworthy" (on the part of both characters) for my taste. In this book, there's a bit too much miscommunication on the basis of "I must withhold this horrible knowledge from the other person for their own good" (also on the part of both characters) for my taste. Like, boys. Sit yourselves down and have a chat, please!

But this sounds overly negative. I actually did enjoy reading this book, loved Wesley (he has his own spin-off, yay!), and will almost certainly read book 3. Because I really like Rory and Arthur and Jade and Zhang and Mrs Brodigan (more Mrs Brodigan, please!), and I'm curious to see what happens with Gwen and Ellis. In other words, I'll keep reading because I like the relationships and the setting, even if the magic stuff is a bit of a wash.
Profile Image for Annika.
1,397 reviews88 followers
October 4, 2020
Audiobook review

4,5 stars

There’s something addictive with this series that makes me want to live in 1925 New York. At least in theory, I am spoilt with modern day amenities and conveniences that I think I’d have a difficult time living in the past. However, I love the adventures that Rory and Arthur always seem to end up in. I love the characters and the plot. I also really enjoy the time period; I don’t read or listen to enough historical romances.

Starcrossed is mostly character driven, and while I could feel the past while listening I kind of wished it had been more present. I mean the time and place is essential to this series as is the world they lived in, with paranormals and relics alike. I wanted to feel all of it and know more. I wanted to know how they all connect, paranormals and relics alike – what are their limits, and do they have a purpose? And so on. Then again that’s me being greedy. Allie Therin has crafted an amazing series with wonderful characters, and I just love the way of life back then – from a healthy distance of a 100 years. I love the closeness of the characters, the slower pacing life had – and I am drawn to the relics – and it seems I’m not the only one.

This isn’t a romantic book per se. The romance between Rory and Arthur is n ever full front and center. It’s there for sure, and you feel their connection but it’s not that intense, but that fits with the story and the time period. Sadly, same sex relationships were such a scandal that the odd furtive glance and secret longing for more is all we get – well at least in company of others. We see them grow stronger in face of adversity and a common foe. Said foe being an ex of Arthur’s but foe all the same. I did like that even though said ex did re-appear on the scene with his sights set on Arthur, the story never crossed into melodramatic, or even relationship drama. Nope that drama was all paranormal and dangerous – the best kind really.

I’m aware that Erik Bloomquist seems to be a hit or miss with most listeners. Personally, I do enjoy his narration. I like his pacing and the cadence of his voice. How he adds feelings that fits the story and characters. It makes it a great listen.

All I can say is, that I hope there will be more books with Rory and Arthur to come. I haven’t spent nearly enough time in this world.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Caz.
2,619 reviews994 followers
March 9, 2021
I've given this a C for narration and a B for content at AudioGals, so that's 3.5 stars overall

Allie Therin’s engaging  Magic in Manhattan  series sets an intriguing combination of supernatural relics, powerful psychics, romance and magic amid prohibition era New York. Starcrossed is the second book, and you really do need to have read or listened to book one, Spellbound, in order to get to grips with it. I read and reviewed it in print when it came out in May 2020, and even though I HAD read book one, I found myself a bit lost to start with because there’s hardly any recapping and I wished I’d done a re-read to refresh my memory. But once I’d skimmed a few sections in Spellbound, I was up to speed and able to enjoy the story in Starcrossed.

There are spoilers for Spellbound in this review.

It’s Manhattan in 1925, and twenty-year-old psychometric Rory Brodigan works as an antiques appraiser in his aunt’s shop, earning the place a reputation as the place to go to sort out the fake from the real thing. This is because Rory’s paranormal ability means he’s able to touch an object and be transported into its history (which can also be incredibly dangerous as it’s possible he could end up trapped in that history in his mind) – and he’s something of a recluse, staying very much in the background and taking care not to reveal his ability to anyone. In Spellbound, handsome, wealthy congressman’s son Arthur Kenzie brought some letters to Mrs. Brodigan’s shop for appraisal, and through the course of the story Rory met other paranormals (Jade, a telekinetic, and Zhang, who can walk on the Astral Plane), and learned that that while Arthur has no magic himself, he’s dedicated to protecting the world from supernatural relics that could destroy it. He and Arthur also commenced a romantic relationship – although that’s not the strongest part of the story.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .
Profile Image for Maria Rose.
2,454 reviews241 followers
January 3, 2022
Reread Update - enjoyed it as much if not more the second time (and now the 3rd time!)


I thoroughly enjoyed this continuation of Rory and Arthur's story. I did find it helpful to do a quick skim of Spellbound first as I'd forgotten most of the other characters and main plot points (really, Rory's magic was the part I remember the most, the ability he has to 'scry' objects to see their history is my favorite part of the worldbuilding) as this continues from the end of book 1. I wouldn't recommend this one as a standalone.

The setting in 1920's New York adds a special kind of magic all its own to the actual magic that involves amulets and rings, spells, and the surprising appearance of a paranormal (not a good guy). Rory has managed to hook his magic into Arthur's aura and this link helps him come back if he gets stuck in the past too deeply, but in this story there is also the appearance of someone who can break that magic link, thus causing a whole host of new problems for Rory and Arthur as they try to save themselves and their friends from more dastardly deeds. There's a blast from the past in more ways than one, with Arthur's time in WWI, some of which involved captivity, as well as a former flame. Arthur's family is involved in politics and knows nothing of magic so Arthur often finds himself torn between his duties to his family and his desires to hang out with Rory and his other magic laden friends. Add in society's attitude towards gay men and you can see the challenges for Rory and Arthur to maintain any kind of relationship. Yet somehow they manage.

There are some romantic scenes but they fade to black just when the sexual tension is building. It doesn't detract from the story but I wouldn't have minded a peek through the door, wink wink. I particularly liked dipping into the Harlem jazz club with Jade, Zhang's family diner (makes me want dim sum) and the ocean liner (think Titanic) that Arthur and Rory end up on as interesting settings. And I also noted that the author made a point of mentioning when the characters were white instead of assuming they were the default - a welcome change.

The story isn't over, and that's great news because I can't wait to dive back into this world again! It's exciting, fun, intriguing and action packed - a great escape read!

A copy of this story was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Profile Image for A.E. Bross.
Author 5 books36 followers
November 21, 2020
Ace and Rory are back in the newest installment of the Magic in Manhattan series, and I can assure you that Therin hasn't lost any of the enchantment, chemistry, or momentum that we saw in book one. In fact, one could easily see that she has instead built on the fabulous foundation from the first and not only show us more of the world, but give it even more depth and nuance than we had previously known.

Therin, I've learned, is good at this.

Starcrossed picks up not long after the end of Spellbound, and the reader is treated to a more complete view of Arthur Kensie. We see Ace's brother's family, and a lot of how Rory feels about them and him. In a very real way, the insecurity that Rory has at being romantically connected to someone from such a different set of circumstances seeps into the reader, and we're left to wonder about everything Rory worries about. We get to see more of Rory's soft side as well; his concern for Pavel is heart-wrenching, and the friendship he has with the siblings, as well as how he treats Arthur's nephews and nieces, is warmth in and of itself. Of course, he's still the grouchy psychometric we all know and love, but we get to see much more of the soft, gooey center this time around.

And, honestly, Ace could afford to show his own gooey center every now and again. While I love the character, this doesn't mean I have a high tolerance for his insistence on keeping things in to "protect others." One might argue that what he is actually trying to do is protect himself, whether he knows it or not. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but there's more than one occasion where him keeping certain aspects of his past to himself lead more to heartache than good. BUT this rather frustrating character trait didn't detract in the slightest from my enjoyment of the book.

Also, let me tell y'all, when the cavalry comes riding in at the end... now that's a twist, one which I can almost promise you that you will not be expecting. I literally gasped when I read it, and I can't wait to hear whether or not you did too. Regardless, Starcrossed was an amazing read, and I look forward with bated breath for the next installment in the series.
Profile Image for Tavis.
128 reviews20 followers
June 17, 2020
Rating: 3.5/5

Starcrossed almost picks up immediately where we left off from Spellbound with Ace and Rory. I'll admit that I did have a bit of trouble remembering some characters and details of the first book (it's been a while), but I did eventually get back into the groove of the story.

It starts off with a small lull in the beginning but soon kicks off into some paranormal action and mystery with our heroes trying to find out who's behind a string of gruesome murders in NYC. I'm a sucker for powers, so I loved seeing the different more of the paranormal abilities that were introduced, but to be honest, the magic system still doesn't feel quite as fleshed out to me.

Overall, this was still a light and fun read in the moment, and I will be continuing with series.

Thank you NetGalley and Carina Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review
436 reviews
May 25, 2020
some vague spoilers in the review, nothing really important



When everything they’ve built is threatened, only their bond remains…

1925 New York

Psychometric Rory Brodigan’s life hasn’t been the same since the day he met Arthur Kenzie. Arthur’s continued quest to contain supernatural relics that pose a threat to the world has captured Rory’s imagination—and his heart. But Arthur’s upper-class upbringing still leaves Rory worried that he’ll never measure up, especially when Arthur’s aristocratic ex arrives in New York.

For Arthur, there’s only Rory. But keeping the man he’s fallen for safe is another matter altogether. When a group of ruthless paranormals throw the city into chaos, the two men’s strained relationship leaves Rory vulnerable to a monster from Arthur’s past.

With dark forces determined to tear them apart, Rory and Arthur will have to draw on every last bit of magic up their sleeves. And in the end, it’s the connection they’ve formed without magic that will be tested like never before.


Dear Allie Therin,

I really liked the first book in this series and was looking forward to the further adventures of Arthur, Rory and their friends in the New York of 1920s where magic exists, even if it is hidden from the most people's view.

As we already know from the first book, and blurb reminds us about it anyway, Arthur and his friends are hunting down paranormal relics which should not get in the hands of the bad people because bad people will use it for their own means - be it power, money or whatever. Certain villains from the first book show up and we have some new ones, but frankly I find villains the least impressive part of these series at least for now. It is not as if they are drawn as caricatures, but they kind of are. I am not talking about Gwen and Ellis - clearly Gwen at least has motivations for what she does, even if I am not 100 percent sure I understand her motivations or support whatever motivations are revealed. However the new villains ( or I guess new to us till now villains - cannot say more without spoilers ), I guess the word "monster" is very appropriate at least for one of them and I thought the other one came close.

So overall as I said, I was not too impressed by villains, but I certainly liked both Rory and Arthur a great deal from the first book and wanted to see how their relationship will develop and where the new adventures will take them.

I still like them very much, but I am afraid that I did not like that Rory took significantly less active role in the adventure storyline in my opinion. Rory was not any kind of pushover in his dealings with Arthur - I know Arthur only had the best intentions, but I was glad that Rory was not eager to accept material things from him.

To Arthur's credit I thought he backed off just in time ( no, I don't think it is bad to want to help your less privileged lover, especially when things become even more serious between them, but that's for Rory to accept or decline such help). When I say that I thought that Rory became less active in their adventures I mean that twice when Rory was in danger, Arthur played a significant role in saving him and to my taste Rory did not do nearly enough to save himself. I fully understand that Rory's bravery and sacrifice was the reason why he was in the middle of both situations in the first place of course. I also understand that I am not being quite fair to Rory since he showed plenty of backbone throughout the book and if he needed help at the specific time, he needed help. I had to share how I felt though.

““Oh, sure, ’cause that’s gonna happen.” Rory dropped his voice to a frustrated whisper. “Are you telling me Ace could be a target and we’re just letting that magicless high hat walk up and down Fifth Avenue alone?” Her lips twitched at that, despite the worry in her eyes. “Zhang is keeping an eye on the city from the plane. But the plane has been strange, as of late.” She looked troubled. “Arthur thinks he’s just going to make a quick drop at the hotel, then come here.””

I liked that more of Arthur's war past was revealed, I loved that while he did not share everything right away, he shared at least some things with Rory and I get why he was having trouble sharing what he did not. I especially liked how open he was with Rory about his ex, that he was not hiding anything about past or present where his ex was concerned. You could see that their relationship was actually moving forward and not being static.

Grade: B
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for lauraღ.
1,342 reviews55 followers
August 31, 2021
“If my birth didn’t make me a sin, I think my heart shouldn’t either, and you, Ace, someone good like you could never be any kind of sin.”

3.5 stars. A pretty exciting sequel! Being a sequel, I'll keep this short, but I liked it a lot, if slightly less than the first book. I feel a lot more seated within the world now, and I was able to really start enjoying and getting invested in the plot. This one involved more machinations from the overarching villain, a blast from Arthur's past, and the deepening of the main relationship. I never really enjoy mean ex-boyfriend type plots, so that was a bit meh for me, but it didn't take up too much of the plot. And some of Rory's OTT jealousy was kind of cute. There were a few instances where Rory made some decisions that you would think he wouldn't, having learnt from past experiences? Which was a little frustrating. Buuuut that in turn created so many opportunities for Arthur to be the knight in shining armour, and ngl, I eat that shit up. He's SO protective, and he's SO gone for Rory, it's freaking adorable. I'm still a little confused on how a few things fit together plot-wise, but it does seem like everything is converging nicely and we should have an interesting finale on our hands.

Looking forward to the last book!

Content warnings:
Profile Image for Yara.
55 reviews2 followers
January 4, 2022
YES

And I want more!

Good thing there is still another book waiting for me, but damn I don't want it to end either, do you know that feeling?

Much like Spellbound, Starcrossed truly kept me bound to the story from start to finish. We see a lot of development between Arthur and Rory, but also our side characters. Although I would have loved to see a little more Mrs. B- but who knows, book 3 is already winking at me.

Something that I especially liked was the introduction of new villains. Allie could have chosen the easy route and continue with Gwen- but seeing where book 2 concluded she really gave the reader more and more reason to pick up the last book to find answers to the many questions we're left with. Ah yes, I absolutely love a good cliffhanger despite it not even being written like one.
May 23, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second book in this series and continues right where the first one left off with Arthur and Rory's adventures as they try to keep the world safe, depending on magic and their friends.

As the plots get deeper, an enemy from Arthur's past comes back and his family's in the crosshairs. Arthur's also trying to navigate his new relationship with Rory all while Rory's trying to maintain control over an ancient artifact and they're all trying to hunt down other dangerous artifacts.

I liked seeing how Rory's powers were evolving and his emotional and magical link with Arthur was growing. The 'north wind' he was also trying to control made for some comical moments when his emotions got away from him. I also loved Zhang and Jade as strong side characters.
Profile Image for Bookish.
51 reviews6 followers
October 15, 2020
5 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕
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The moment this book started the plot started shaping itself into this such a gripping story that i couldn't put it down at all. From the Start the action got into place not even a moment to breath and let the steam get low. And still in between all this we got to see how beautiful and in love authur and Rory were.
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Chemistry was soo on point in this book. As in book one i felt something was missing and this book just servers evrything that i missed from fantasy to secrets to chase to creatures to action and to conclusions they leaves us wanting book three sooooo badly..
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GOD I NEED BOOK THREE!!!!!
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