Kajitsu – Hachita Abe
Kyouichi and Shouma meet again on the beaches of Okinawa after parting nearly a year ago when their relationship as step-brothers ceased to be. Before their parent’s divorce, Kyouichi kept his feelings secret all this time for the sake of their family, but can he keep them hidden when he’s pushed to the edge under the sweltering summer sun.
Kajitsu has three meanings in the story. It means fruit, summer day and another day.
This manga is a very slow-burning and angsty step-brothers to lovers story of Kyouichi and Shouma. It is set in summer. Their parents married then divorced but the two maintained their close relationship.
Shouma is oblivious to the fact Kyouichi had long ago developed more than brotherly feelings towards him. Even after Kyouichi confessed, Shouma declared he wanted them to stay as brothers.
I love brotherly love stories and this one did a good job showing the conflicting feelings and Kyouichi’s longing for his stepbrother. However, it had a lot of unnecessary drama, making it longer than it should have been.
The story didn’t really bring anything new to the table. I felt things could have been resolved sooner had the two not been too stubborn. Also, the manga pretty much glossed over the parents so there wasn’t a strong sense that their relationship was forbidden. I didn’t see what was really stopping these two.
There was another boy in the picture, Hanashiro, who was rumored to have dated Kyouichi in middle school. I preferred him to Shouma because he treated Kyouichi better. Shouma was being an ass for some time while he was coming to terms with his feelings.
As for the art, the colored illustrations are pretty. The rest of the drawings were okay. The characters looked liked ordinary boys which gave the manga a more realistic feel.
Note: long post so you can skip to the end for the tl:dr version if you wamt
The Varik brothers, Marcus, twins Rafe and Bel, and Winter became vampires to protect the world and their mother from herself. Julianna Varik was changed by their adopted father, Aidan, because she was ill. Madness overtook her right after that. She can only be calmed by music. Each Varik brother plays a musical instrument. They each have their own unique powers as well.
The author’s version of vampires is typical of what we know with the addition of special powers. However, she made them stand out by making them very human. The vampires here get tired. They get dark circles under their eyes. There’s not much focus on hypersensitive senses and barely any mention of enhanced physical abilities.
Normally, authors tend to give descriptions of physical perfection. super strength, super speed, super smells, etc. I don’t think Jocelynn Drake‘s style is necessarily bad, just different from how others do it. I think it’s why this aspect of the writing made an impression on me.
The series is set in a world where vampires lived secretly among humans. They are ruled by the council. So far Marcus, their serious eldest brother, had done what he could to keep the Variks out of vampire politics. However, trouble always had a way of finding them. The upside to all of these was that he found his mate in the sunshiny Ethan.
Rafe, the pleasure-loving provocateur, found himself on a hunt for a killer with the leader of the Arsenault clan, Philippe. The French vampire saw there’s more to Rafe than the hedonistic side he shows to the the world. Unfortunately, the rest of the vampire world, the council in particular, saw their union as more of the Variks gathering strength for a takeover
And we’re on to the youngest Variks.
Lords Of Discord: Waking Bel – Jocelynn Drake
Beltran Varik believes in science.
It holds all the answers he seeks.
Except for one.
How in the world did he end up falling in love with two werewolves?
Of course, there was no way science could account for the beauty, warmth, and mind-blowing sexiness of Wyatt and River.
The two shifters are outcasts from their own kind and must seek the protection of a vampire.
Bel might take them in out of a need to keep them safe, but his feelings for them grow into something so much deeper.
Unfortunately, Bel might have to choose between his wolves and his family as a fight brews with the local werewolf pack and the Variks face a darker threat from the Ministry.
Waking Bel is the third book in the Lords of Discord paranormal romance series. This book is an MMM and contains vampires, werewolves, nosy brothers, music, science!, Ozzie the raven, so many first times, hope, dirty talk, and a love that will never end.
Right off the bat, I had a good feeling about Bel’s book. He is my favorite Varik. I was over the moon when I heard he’s going to get not only one but two werewolf mates!
And OMG!!! This is the most perfectly choreographed threesome dynamics there is! I think the author outdid herself with how well Bel, Wyatt and River played off each other. Wyatt and River were already a couple and the way Bel just naturally fell into place in their relationship, there was never any doubt that Bel was theirs and they were Bel’s.
Winter is technically the youngest but I’ve always thought of Bel as the baby of the family.. Probably because he seemed so fluffy and wholesome. Our sweet Bel is the mad scientist. His power is communicating with animals. He’s a mild-mannered guy whose life was wholly dedicated to his family and his experiments.
He’s also the most over-protective and the most dangerous. This is the man who invented a weapon that can reduce living creatures into a puddle of goo. It’s so deadly, he was banned by the council from ever making it again.
Wyatt and River are werewolves who were exiled from their pack for being gay. The shifters here are a bunch of homophobes who don’t approve of same-sex relationships because they don’t lead to procreation. This is probably my least favorite version of shifters.
Wyatt is more of the strong, silent type alpha and River is summer and sunshine. I loved these two! All the Varik mates are awesome in their own way but I think these two are the best thing to happened to the Variks in general. Not only did they give them shifter allies, their presence gave Bel’s story a lot of soul.
Unlike the vampires, werewolves are tactile and very affectionate and their warmth and care really resonated throughout the book. They also made the succeeding book more fun. So very apt title because Bel truly came alive with Wyatt and River.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
Lords Of Discord: Embracing Winter – Jocelynn Drake
Winter Varik believes in only one thing—protecting his family.Even from himself.
For nearly 200 years, he’s kept a dangerous secret from his brothers.
But Winter might have found his salvation in the form of a sexy witch named Fox.
Too bad this same witch was named in a prophecy foretelling the destruction of the Variks.
In a race to uncover the truth behind the prophecy and take down a vampire determined to kill all the Variks, Winter may have to choose between finally having his heart’s desire and the family he loves.
Embracing Winteris the fourth book in the Lords of Discord paranormal romance series. This book contains vampires, werewolves, witches, nosy brothers, music, lots of rope, sass, hope, dirty talk, redemption, and a love that will never end. And did I mention rope? Lots of rope.
I was as eager for Winter’s book as Bel’s. The youngest Varik is the most mysterious. Even his brother’s don’t know what he can really do.
I didn’t quite have a grasp of his personality in the previous books so I was surprised to learn that Wee Varik is a grumpy, grumpy bastard. I guess being the family spy and assassin doesn’t really leave much room for good cheer. Especially not one burdened with a secret such as his. The only other person who knows about this is their father, Aidan. Let’s just say, Winter’s world is very noisy. All he ever wanted is some peace and quiet.
This is why Fox is a great foil for him. The witch is super sassy and assertive, the type who talks a lot when nervous. Winter was supposed to kill him because he was the witch who will destroy the Variks, according to a prophesy. One look at the redhead and Winter had the sudden urge to protect him. Turns out, Fox was the gift he never realized he could have.
I didn’t warm up to Fox immediately. I found him a bit pushy at first. But later on, when more of Winter’s centuries-long struggle was revealed, I was glad Fox held on until the vampire’s walls came down. And that’s when we really see Winter the man.
I do think their dynamics is somewhat similar to Marcus and Ethan’s. The story was also longer than it really is. A lot of it spent cooped up in Winter’s house. I understand it was a way of letting the relationship develop slowly while also taking place in a matter of days. But I couldn’t help feeling things could have been resolved faster. The pacing picked up when the rest of the Variks became more involved.
All the Variks and their friends rallying to put an end to the bad guys gave this book one heck of a conclusion!. If the series ended at this point, I would have been already satisfied. Happily, there’s more because Aidan gets some love too!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
The two youngest Variks certainly had the most delicious tales to tell. Bel’s awakening is a threesome surprise delivered in the most delightful way. Winter’s story might have gone about things a bit too slow at some parts, but Wee Varik living his dream in the arms of a witch and the thrilling mega-boss fight are definitely worth sticking around for.
Lords of Discord should be read in order because you meet one Varik, you’ll love ’em all. Start with how a feisty human charmed the big bad vampire with food and some Tori Amos in Claiming Marcus. Witness how the self-proclaimed purveyor of fleshy delights met his match in one angelic vampire in Saving Rafe.
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