DOUBLE REVIEW: Tj Klune // The Lightning-Struck Heart & Bear, Otter, and the Kid

Alright, so recently I read a couple of m/m novels by the same author, so I thought I’ll just add them both to one post. The author I speak of is Tj Klune, who looks to be a very popular m/m writer! The 2 books I speak of are The Lightning-Struck Heart and Bear, Otter, and the Kid; the only ones I’ve read by him, but I already have several others on my TBR list that he is releasing soon. They sound intriguing!

These books do contain sexual content, so I caution the young and I caution the people who just aren’t comfortable with full on sex stuff. Though, TLSH really only contains one steamy moment, but perverted humor everywhere else.

So without further ado, the 2 books!

  • The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales from Veranie #1)

Genres: m/m romance // fantasy > magic, dragons, mythical beasts // comedy

This. Book. Was fuckin’ hilarious. Oh, so sassy, too. I cried in laughter several times. Now, if you do not like perverted, gay humor, don’t read it. It is perverted, it is gay, and it makes up 80% of the humor. I loved it, though. I had so many quotes I would’ve loved to share, but there are so many and the funniest moments encompass whole pages, so….yeah. Also, the original title for this was Unicorn Star Fucker! Like, what?? hah! Plus, a sequel is coming!


the lightning struck heart cover
Click through to Goodreads details

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King’s Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.


Alright, so Sam, our main hero, is such an awkward, caring person who puts such importance in friendship. He is also made of my favorite kind of humor: stupid humor. He embraces his awkwardness (even acknowledging it before it occurs as a forewarning) and spouts off the best lines ever. And throughout the whole book, you want to smack him out of his obliviousness. (He’s not the only one oblivious…just the most oblivious.)

“’I’m about to hug the crap out of you,” I warned him. “Like, full-on feelings hug where it goes on for a bit too long and becomes slightly awkward and we both clear our throats and shuffle our feet when it’s over.’” -Sam

Then there’s Gary. Gary… He is a very sassy unicorn that also spouts off some of the funniest things in the book. Him and Sam make an excellent team, even if Gary makes fun of Sam, directly, quite frequently. He is a diva and is prone to Unicorn Rage (yes, that is capitalized as it is a very big thing). He is made of many things you’d expect a magnificent unicorn to be made of (lots of glitter), but he is also cheeky and loves sex. Yeah.

“’Horse?’ Gary snarled. The pretty unicorn act dropped immediately. Red sparks shot from his nose. ‘Did you just call me a horse? Listen here, you two-legged bag of shit. I’m not a motherfucking horse. I am a unicorn, and I am magic and a beautiful creature made of fucking sunshine and rainbows and good feelings.’”

Ryan Foxheart…sometimes I wanted to strangle that boy. He’s a sweetheart and has his own sassy moments. Big heart, but overprotective. Loved him. The other characters were funny even in their smaller moments in the spotlight. Though I did want to stab Justin in the eye with my fist at one point, but it’s OK.


The story was your basic fantasy plot (I think that was intended), but with all that comedic flair, it was so much better. I loved that Klune made the writing into how modern people might talk sometimes with the cursing, the awkward lines, even phrases like ‘kill a bitch’ thrown in there. It contains sudden moments of bloody violence, too. Fun! But it also has some sudden heart-moving moments…that scene at Kevin’s keep…phew. It has lessons of life, family, friendship, and how sometimes you may have to let something so as not to hurt someone else. Wanting someone else, when you can’t have them, but sharing beautiful moments.

Okay, but my absolute favorite scenes, which if you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about, consist of the fan club, the river scene, and Tarker Mills (laughed so damn hard). In order of occurrence, too.

“‘There is beauty in the written word.'” -Kevin

Amazon | Dreamspinner Press

my rating of 4.5/5





  • Bear, Otter, and the Kid

Genres: m/m romance // contemporary // family

Drama. Angst. Drama and angst everywhere. But a really sweet love story. So sweet of a read. And I think their nicknames are adorable!


bear otter and the kid cover
Click through to Goodreads details

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world… something or someone.


I’ve had this for quite a while, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it, yet. I was still wary of contemporary stuff because contemporary books are just usually not my thing. Rarely does this happen. HOWEVER, I discovered that if they are gay novels, I handle contemporary way better. As in, I’m reading several, right now…*ahem* Let’s see how that goes.

So I finally started reading this and found it to be a really great story. There was drama; poor Bear and the Kid, havin’ it so rough early on. But thank goodness they have such awesome friends. I’m proud of how far they made it on their own.

Bear is an amazing big brother. Loves the Kid with all his heart and would do anything for him. I’m pretty sure Bear must have some mental issue (not meant to sound harsh) that causes him to have such severe reactions to intense situations. He has internal anger he tamps down, he has ‘quakes’ and his own method to deal with them, and can’t stay calm to talk and think rationally. It’s never stated, so I could be wrong, but that’s how it felt. Like severe anxiety or easily depressed. Which presented an interesting perspective from his mind.

I love the Kid‘s (Tyson/Ty) level of smarts. And level of sass. He’s such a sweetheart and I see him as that balance for Bear, the calmer, more rational half. I’m pretty sure I just played with dolls and rolled in mud when I was his age.

“The Kid told me that he thought gay people were supposed to be classy, but then he looked me up and down and said that even nice stereotypes can be a detriment to society because I obviously wasn’t classy.”

I feel like Otter should be the one called Bear because he’s a large fella that’s so cuddly, am I right? Though, I do love the irony, so it shouldn’t be switched. He’s such a kind and patient man. I liked Anna and Creed, too. Always there for support, even though they had some ups and downs along the way, as well. I wanted to smack Julie McKenna so fuckin’ hard, though. I know she had problems, too, but she made bad decisions. Oh, but Mrs. Paquinn was one fun old lady!


Klune writes very well (my expert opinion from only 2 books). He creates such heart-warming and moving scenes, quotes, characters. And I enjoyed all the humor peppered everywhere. It was babbly sometimes, for my preferences, but I liked the characters and sweet romance well enough to gloss right over that. Plus, the babbling is more a portrayal of Bear’s own mind. Thus, it seeming a bit more realistic helped, too. I really did enjoy this book!

A wonderful representation of strong friendships, love, and what a bad hand in life can do to someone. But also how it can make them stronger.

Amazon | Dreamspinner Press

my rating of 4/5





QUESTION: do you have a favorite Tj Klune book? Looking forward to any upcoming ones?

Thanks for reading!

Did you read any of these books? What did you think of them? (Careful of spoilers, though)


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