Tag Archives: m/m romance

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Book Review: Bloodlaced, by Courtney Maguire

Blood Bound, book three of Courtney Maguire‘s Youkai Bloodlines, was over on Sadie‘s Spotlight earlier in the year. So, when I stumbled across a copy of book one Bloodlaced—which was later on Sadie’s Spotlight as a BBNYA finalist—I opted to start the series.

Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.

Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.

In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.

Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save his life.

Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.

The blood of the innocent.

Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.

New master, same threat.

With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what he loves most.

my review

Oh man, this book was a rollercoaster for me. I took one look at the cover and the fact that it’s about vampires in ancient Japan (to use a western for them) and thought, “I am in!” I expected to love it. Then, I hated the first 25%. It’s basically trauma porn. Granted, the abuse is off-page, but it’s very clear what is happening, and the main character martyred themself more than once. So, I thought, “Oh, this isn’t for me, after all.”

Then, things balanced out, and I got a little bored. Then, at the 50% mark, the plot shifted, and I was interested again. Then, the romance (and the whole plot, really) went off in a direction I didn’t expect, and I was uncertain but invested. And THEN, I cried at the end before being given a little ray of hope on the last page. Rollercoaster of emotion!

As I said, I’m not into victimized hero(ine) plotlines. I’m not saying it’s bad in any objective way; I just don’t enjoy reading it. I did get a bit bored in the middle; the pacing is a bit off. And I have to admit that I’ve never really understood why, when a book is supposed to be happening somewhere that speaks another language (Japanese in this case), authors sometimes still throw the occasional that-language word into the English narrative, usually as expletives. It always stands out to me, breaking the flow. But overall, I will be looking forward to continuing the series.

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Other Reviews:

Review: Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines #1) by Courtney Maguire

Book Review: Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines Book 1) by Courtney Maguire



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Book Review: A Mage’s Guide to Aussie Terrors, by A.J. Sherwood

I accepted a review copy of A Mage’s Guide to Aussie Terrors, by A.J. Sherwood through Eliza Rae Services. It’s the sequel to A Mage’s Guide to Human Familiars, which I reviewed earlier this year. It was, in fact, the very first book I read and reviewed in 2022.

a mage's guide to aussie terrors coverCover
One ghost from the past.

Two unknown Australian monsters eating people.

Three men who won’t let either problem win.

my reviewI fell kind of middle of the road about this book. On one hand, I did like it. On the other, I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I’d hoped or expected. The throuple here is super cute. As with book one, I really liked the three men individually and together. I liked how they brought balance to each-other and each of the other’s relationship with the third. It did make me laugh and the writing is perfectly readable (though a few phrases got recycled a few too many times) and editing seems clean.

However, Sherwood took what worked in book one and turned it up until it was just too much and turned silly. I liked Nico (and Wicky’s) chaotic energy, but it’s turned into a schtick here and it just felt like a joke. I loved Garen in book one, but he’s a shadow of himself in this book…so is Bel for that matter. I thought the whole running into his ex and healing past traumas was ham-handed and lacked subtly and the sex scenes seemed more focused on the mechanics of three men together than any sort emotional connection.

All in all, it was cute and not a bad read. But maybe not the overall winner I had hoped for.

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Other Reviews:

Review: A Mage’s Guide to Aussie Terrors by A.J. Sherwood


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Book Review: A House of Blood and Gold, by Raven Abernathy

I picked up a copy of A House of Blood and Gold, by Raven Abernathy’s (who I think is also Joel Abernathy) as part of the Your Boyfriends’s Boyfriend Prolific Works event. I actually picked this up to read it thinking it was a short story. But my Kindle tells me it was 131 pages long and I deem that long enough for its own post.
House of Blood and Gold
Alphonse Blanchard took everything from me, but he gave me a purpose in return: vengeance.

The vampire’s very name strikes terror into the hearts of the monsters I live to hunt, yet he spared my life the night he slayed my pack, leaving me with a gilded dagger and a promise that one day–if I found him and proved myself worthy–I could have my revenge.

When the night I’ve trained all my life for finally comes, he refuses to give me the honorable battle he promised me. Instead, he humiliates me by sparing me once more and giving me yet another gift–his terrible curse. I now have no choice but to allow him to train me if I have any hope of overcoming the abominable bond his blood has forged between us.

But my wolf wants more than his life. It wants him.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this. It packs quite a punch for being little more than 130 pages (according to my Kindle). The emotions fly high here—love, lust and sharp edged hatred and grief all roiling together with two very different, but equally lovely main characters.

Being novella length, I do feel like the world is very thinly sketched out and all of the side characters lack much depth or color. I also think Alphonse’s character underwent a little too much of a shift. But mostly I just liked this a lot.

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