4 Stars, Ariel Tachna, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: The Partnership in Blood Bundle by Ariel Tachna

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Partnership in Blood Bundle: Volume One

Author: Ariel Tachna

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:  1285 Pages

At a GlanceA massive and interesting take on wizards and vampires.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Book One: Alliance in Blood. Can a desperate wizard and a bitter, disillusioned vampire find a way to build the partnership that could save their world? In a world rocked by magical war, vampires are seen by many as less than human, as the stereotypical creatures of the night who prey on others. But as the war intensifies, the wizards and the vampires forge an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Two: Covenant In Blood. The wizards and the vampires have forged an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. A few wizard-vampire bonds are as successful as Alain Magnier’s and Orlando St. Clair’s, but some are much less so, leading to arguments, resentment, and outright fights between the allies despite their mutual goals. Following his best friend Alain’s example, Thierry Dumont determinedly forms a partnership with vampire Sebastien Noyer, despite the wizard’s discomfort with being so close to a vampire a man so soon after his wife’s death. But they find that desperation may be the key to forming a covenant that works: Thierry and Sebastien are almost immediately devoted to one another’s safety. With new strength behind it, the Alliance’s leaders move to announce its existence to the whole world, hoping to rally support against the dark wizards who threaten to destroy life as they know it. Struggling to find its way in the expanding war, the Alliance discovers that despite its advantages, the partnerships are affecting the balance of magical power in the world, which may be an even bigger threat than the war itself.

Book Three: Conflict in Blood. As the Alliance wizard-vampire partnerships grow stronger, the dark wizards feel the effects and become increasingly desperate to find enough information to counter them, unaware of the growing strain of the blood-magic bonds on the wizards and vampires alike.

The conflict is spreading. The strife of uncomfortable relationships, both personal and professional, is threatening to tear up the Alliance from the inside, despite the efforts of Alain Magnier and Orlando St. Clair, Thierry Dumont and Sebastien Noyer, and even Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche, leader of the Paris vampires, who is fighting to establish a stable covenant with his own partner so he might lead by example.

As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Four: Reparation in Blood. The war is at a fever pitch with both sides stretched to the limit, when the dark wizards score a shocking victory and capture Orlando St. Clair. Haggard with worry and grief at the separation from his lover, Alain fears that even if they find Orlando, the vampire’s heart and mind may be far too broken to save.

Knowing the Alliance teeters on the brink, Christophe Lombard, the oldest, most powerful vampire in Paris leaves his self-imposed seclusion to join the fight. Alain’s lost friend Eric Simonet, who betrayed him to join the dark wizards, is faced with a choice between revenge and redemption. And Jean, enraged by Orlando’s capture, faces the most agonizing decision in his unlife as the final battle looms: Will their actions lead to the shattering of the Alliance or the salvation of the world?

Dividers

Review: Partnership in Blood is an omnibus edition of four novels: Alliance in Blood, Covenant in Blood, Conflict in Blood and Reparation in Blood. In it, Ariel Tachna has created a massive world involving magic and the paranormal. The books are each rich in detail, and the world building is vastly impressive. There is also a fair bit of angst involved, and tolerance, acceptance, prejudices, sexual consent, and romance are themes throughout the series as well.

I enjoyed this take on the paranormal, and I like Tachna’s writing; however, there were so many characters introduced that I nearly got lost trying to keep all the relationships straight. Then I had a difficult time trying to remember the details of the war going on, too. I think if the author would have focused on one or two pairing per book, I wouldn’t have been so confused much of the time.

There are many pairings in this verse, not just the M/M, but also M/F and F/F couples. Each story adds more and more characters as the war progresses—this is one long story broken into very large and long chapters. If you enjoy detailed stories with a huge number of central characters, and you don’t mind f/f and m/f storylines and a good cry, you’ll find this series highly satisfying.

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You can buy Partnership in Blood here:

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3 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Lynn Townsend, Reviewed by Rena, Steampunk

Review: London Steam by Lynn Townsend

Title: London Steam

Author: Lynn Townsend

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 99 Pages

At a Glance: Two loosely related novellas and a surprise M/F ending in the second, make for an overall uneven read

Blurb: In a reimagined 1890’s London, where steam-driven airships rule the skies and monsters roam the streets, the Galileo Observatory’s Club for Gentlemen welcomes all — gwr, shape-changers, vampires, and lords. A high-stakes game leads more than a few men astray.

Poindexter Fitzhughes, renowned hero and scientist, learns just how much trouble a full-blooded gwr can be when he attempts to cure his lover, Lord Seth Maitland, of the disease. But when their backs are against the wall, the two must learn to trust in each other, and more importantly, in their true natures, to prevail.

Meanwhile, Duncan Farnsworth discovers being a vampire has not improved his social life, his chances of finding love, continuing the family line, or getting a bite to eat. Maneuvering his way around a sarcastic butler, his spinster sister, a run-in with an amorous werewolf, and a confrontation with a dead soldier and a French airship captain, Duncan finally finds exactly what he is thirsting for.

Dividers

Review: London Steam is actually two lightly connected, short novellas in one book. I say lightly because the main couple in the first novella make a cameo appearance in the second, but the plots diverge completely. Moreover, the first novella is clearly M/M, while the second is M/F/M with the M/F elements pretty much overriding everything else. More on that in a bit.

The first novella focuses on Dex and Seth, both of whom have fantastic – albeit tragic – histories that define their lives in pretty unpleasant ways. Dex was attacked by a gwr he was trying to save and consequently walks around with one blind eye and horrible scars on half of his face. Since this is steampunk London, he’s able to make himself a half-mask with its own artificial eye in order to function in society. Seth, on the other hand, is turned into a gwr in a moment that’s uncomfortably non-con. In brief, both men are forever reminded of their pasts, and when they meet, it’s a blessing for both since they can at least find comfort in each other, as well as use what influence they have together to help bring about social changes where non-humans are concerned.

The plot moves at a pretty brisk pace. The coming together of the two – emotionally, that is – happens off-screen following their initial coupling. But that’s not the point of the story, and I’m glad we’re not forced through romantic tangents at the expense of the main conflict. That said, the briskness of the pacing also applies to the conflict in some places that left me wishing for more. The climax scene is more evenly paced, and we get to see a pretty bloody battle from start to finish. The denouement, however, is largely summarized, with events whizzing past that, to me, somewhat diminishes Dex and Seth’s predicament and even the gwr community’s. Considering the long, angst-and-danger-filled buildup leading to the climax, the conclusion felt like a bit of a letdown.

The second novella was a little more problematic to me on a technical and personal level. On the personal side, I was somewhat blindsided by the M/F/M, and I confess to not being a fan of ménage – of any stripe. When I read the book blurb initially, I didn’t see any indications of ménages anywhere and so didn’t expect it to be a part of the story, let alone a significant one. It is a personal bias, however, and anyone who shares it might need to keep this in mind. For those who enjoy both M/M and M/F/M, you’ll find a nice diverse spectrum of relationships from cover to cover with this book.

The technical problem is a curious one. While it’s part of the same book, the second novella is less polished than the first in the sense that I found a number of typos throughout the story, while the first one didn’t have any. A couple would’ve been fine, but seeing more than that can be a distraction after a while.

While the entire book ended up being a pretty uneven read for me, I was glad I took it on, and I loved the setting. There are a number of original touches in the way steampunk London was fleshed out, which really added to the dynamic quality of the plot and character relationships.






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Deanna Wadsworth, Decadent Publishing

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Everybody Hates Fruitcake Blog Tour With Deanna Wadsworth

Naughty NP 4Books

Does size really matter?

Get your mind out of the gutter, folks!

I’m talking about the length of your holiday stories not wieners!!

LOL

So back to the question, does the size of a holiday book effect whether or not you purchase or read it? Do you like short stories, novellas, or novels? All of the above? Or do you not care at all? Continue reading

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Ashe Barker, Totally Bound

Guest Post: Characters With Four Legs by Ashe Barker

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Most of my stories feature animals somewhere. My characters tend to have pets, and often these creatures play an important part in the development of the plot.

In The Dark Side we meet Barney, Nathan Darke’s huge dog who lumbers around chasing rabbits across the Bronte moors. He is a benign, friendly sort, a likeable beast but he comes into his own in Sure Mastery where he saves Ashley’s life. Twice. Sure Mastery also introduces us to a couple of sheepdogs, and Ashley’s sweet little cat, Sadie. The four legged star of The Hardest Word is a horse. Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Drama, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Stay Tuned For More Of Jake Biondi’s “Boystown”

Title: Boystown: Season Two

Author: Jake Biondi

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 219 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: In the aftermath of the warehouse shootings, lives are forever changed and relationships are forever altered. As the families of the victims work to put the horrific event behind them, they find themselves at the center of an even larger plan for revenge.

Ciancio twins Marco and Gino are as handsome as they are powerful — and they arrive in Boystown with a scheme rooted in the bad history between the Ciancio and Mancini families. Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Drama, Erotica, Jake Biondi, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Prepare For A Drama Fix In Jake Biondi’s “Boystown: Season One”

Title: Boystown: Season One

Author: Jake Biondi

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 303 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: One of the most diverse and lively neighborhoods in the country, Chicago’s BOYSTOWN has something for everyone. So it’s no wonder that Jesse Morgan and Cole O’Brien chose to live there upon graduating from college. Ready go begin the next phase of their lives in an exciting new city, Jesse and Cole quickly find themselves at the center of a new group of friends.
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4.5 Stars, Amazon Digital Services, JP Kenwood, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

JP Kenwood’s “Dominus” Is Sex And Slavery And A Scintillating Mystery


“I fear that when it comes to you, cățel, I may have inadvertently opened Pandora’s box.” – JP Kenwood


Title: Dominus

Author: JP Kenwood

Publisher: JPK Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 285 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: In AD 107, after a grueling campaign against Rome’s fierce enemy, the kingdom of Dacia, Gaius Fabius returns home in triumph. With the bloody battles over, the commander of the Lucky IV Legion now craves life’s simple pleasures: leisurely soaks in fragrant baths, over-flowing cups of wine, and a long holiday at his seaside villa to savor his pleasure slaves. On a whim, he purchases a spirited young Dacian captive and unwittingly sparks a fresh outbreak of the Dacian war; an intimate struggle between two sworn enemies with love and honor at stake.

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Cleis Press, Mitzi Szereto

“The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray” Takes Oscar Wilde’s Creation To New Levels Of Sin



“The sin we had done once, and with loathing, we would do many times, and with joy.” ― Oscar Wilde


First off, let me say I feel obligated to start this review by warning readers this is not an LGBT novel. It’s neither gay nor bi fiction that aims to satisfy your romantic itch on any level, so if you elect to read it, don’t venture into it anticipating a story that portrays Dorian Gray as a man who searches the world over to find his soulmate, falls in love with him and then lives happily-ever-after. That’s not this book. The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray is not M/M fiction as much as it is a book which portrays men occasionally having sex with each other, and doing it violently: there are trigger tropes in this novel that might cross your personal reading boundaries, including non-consensual and dubiously consensual sex, so consider yourself forewarned.

This book also contains copious M/F content, so if that’s not your cuppa, don’t bother reading the rest of this review because this definitely isn’t the book for you.
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