An Even More Beautiful Lie – Kei Kanai
Painter Yukari Yohito will soon realize that despite all that he’s been through, leaving his umbrella on a train will be the one thing that changes his life. Completely in tune with his paintings, Yukari is a genius at the canvas; however he is completely useless at living life. One day fellow art student Kurosu Keiichiro realizes Yukari has forgotten his umbrella on the train and quickly tries to return it– having been a huge fan of Yukari’s work, he strikes up a friendship. Keiichiro begins coming by to take care of things for the neurotic artist. However, the more he involves himself in Yukari’s complex life the deeper Keiichiro’s feelings begin to run. It’s no longer mere friendship or even admiration that moves him, but just what should he do about it?
Unfortunately wasn’t feeling this. Got tired of Yukari’s tortured artist schtick really fast. And why do artists always like drawing nudes? That shit’s boring, people!
Lords of Discord: Claiming Marcus – Jocelynn Drake
Vampires slaughtered my family.
No one believed me until I met some new friends, who promised to help me get justice.
But nothing prepared me for Marcus Varik.
Tall, dark, and mind-numbingly sexy.
But he’s also shy, protective, and adorably eccentric.
Oh God, I should have never agreed to betray him.
Hopefully, it’s not too late to fix my mistake before I lose more people I love.
Claiming Marcus is the first book in an MM paranormal romance series that has vampires, betrayal, annoying brothers, music, heartbreak, hope, sexy times, and a raven named Ozzie.
I love vampires. I love Jocelynn Drake. The combination of the two is an irresistable gift that happily had many good things to give.
Drake did not really go out of her way to reinvent the lore. But she came up with a version that felt fresh and definitely far, far from boring. Her vampires felt less paranormal creatures, more different specie of humanity. The kind that drinks blood and is allergic to sunlight.
Each vampire also has a special ability unique to them. For example, one could control the weather. However, their otherworldly abilities were almost downplayed. Superstrength, durability and endurance were mentioned but not often demonstrated to extreme superheroic levels. Smells were smelt but in an almost normal capacity. Even the super intrusive super hearing ability was hardly ever mentioned. And there’s no fated mate thing. This could be good or bad depending on your preference.
There were different factions with different opinions on their relationship to humans and the world at large. Some view humans as nothing more than blood slaves and pets, others would rather be on top of the food chain out in the open, some seek to live a quiet life while keeping up to date with the changing times. This being a book written by a human, there is an emphasis on equality for both vampires and humans. I imagined a book authored by a vampire might have a different worldview.
That’s the world built around Lords of Discord, which the author was able to skillfully weave around a riveting story without too much info dumping or losing momentum.
Marcus’ story opens the series. Admittedly, the first couple of chapters were slow for me. Ethan applied as a personal assistant to Marcus Varik, who was moving to Connecticut. Unbeknownst to Marcus, Ethan was a spy for a group who were out to kill vampires because he was looking for the vampire who killed his family 16 years ago. Once, Ethan got things going with his packing, the story hit its stride and I was completely into this whole Varik business.
There are four Varik brothers, Marcus, Rafe and his twin Beltran, and their little brother, Winter. Drake has always excelled at creating memorable characters and building strong bonds between them. The tight-knit Varik brothers plus Ethan were a great addition to her collection of unbreakable boys. They all made the story stood out for me.
Each Variks has his own quirks. Marcus is the straightlaced one. Being the oldest, he takes the most responsibility. He tends to be serious but has a shy, totally adorable awkward side. His unique ability is to absorb light. Rafe is the hedonistic, playful twin. He owns a night club, sleeps with anyone he fancies and tells everyone he’s a vampire. He’s living his undead life to the fullest. Aptly enough, his ability is to charm people. Bel lives for science. He has a laboratory that double as a panic room. He has the coolest gadget and the deadliest weapons. He can talk to animals. He’s my favorite Varik. Winter loves sneaking about. He’s the brother with the most secrets. We still don’t know much about Winter. Can’t wait for his book.
Ethan came into Marcus’ house all ready to take down the big bad vampire when he found himself questioning all he knew about the creatures. He felt himself drawn to the very endearing vampire with the shy smile. I loved that despite all the horrible things that happened in his past, Ethan managed to keep his sass and genial nature. He’s smart, brave and loyal. He went above and beyond his duty as a personal assistant and became a steadfast friend to Marcus.
I really enjoyed the parts where they became friends. They were totally adorbs!!! I’m a fan of slow burn so I loved how things developed between them. Their relationship was one of the best things about this book.
I wished there was more page-time on the angelic Juliana, their mother. She came on scene and went too soon. There’s another Varik out there. Aidan. He’s their Sire and their father figure from the time they were humans. Will he get his own book too?
This wouldn’t be a Jocelynn Drake book without some action and suspense. Vampire deaths threw the Variks into a bigger game of power and blood, forcing them to sow discord among their kind. This is the overarching thread that gives the series its name. I would love to see the brothers win their way to the top through Marcus’ force of will, Rafe’s deadly charm, Winter’s cunning tricks and Bel’s cool gizmos.
Rafe’s book is next. I know I will love it because Rafe. Winter’s personality is so mysterious I know his story will have the most big reveals. Bel’s book is the one I’m looking forward to the most. There’s something so damn cute about a nerdy vampire with a sense of humor as wicked as his ‘evil’ twin. The thing with Bel, he’s actually serious about it.
Great. Now I want to be a Varik.
Jocelynn Drake books here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
I feel light, even in my darkest hour,
The weight of this truth, it calms me.
To be light, grounded by a heavy heart,
And by the deeds they have done.
Then let the night show me the way,
Will darkness complete me?
Even invite shadow to stay,
As I gift the Lake each silent ache
That burns endlessly.
Lovely Lake, well-spring of all living things,
This paradise on earth, she calms me.
Water of life, give me my eternal sleep;
Oasis of blue, my grave.
So let the night show me the way,
Let darkness complete me;
I now invite shadow to stay
As I gift the stars my silent scars
That burn endlessly.
I feel light, even in my darkest hour.
I feel light.