LAST YEAR I WAS READING…(February 16, 2022)
Here are the rules:
Take your current read and compare it to what you reading this exact time last year. Which one do you like better? What is different about the books? Any special facts/things you want to make note of or bring attention to?
This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.
This Year I Am Reading…
Roan Sinclair’s life is perfect, just ask anyone. Set to graduate college and bound for grad school at Georgetown, Roan’s life has been all planned out for him. Except, he doesn’t want it. Dedicated to his music, he dreams of a life free from his parents’ expectations. Those dreams are gone the minute he’s kidnapped by a group of Russians, led by the tall, dark, and broody Sasha — a man ripped straight from Roan’s fantasies. Determined to make it out alive, Roan will do whatever is necessary to secure his freedom, even if that means seducing his captor.
Aleksandr Vassiliev doesn’t care about anything except surviving in a merciless world. Known as the Wolf of Verkhoyansk, Sasha’s reputation for brutality is far-reaching and well-deserved. When a bank robbery goes wrong, he’ll do whatever he can to fix it — including kidnapping the bank owner’s son. Instead of complying like he should, Roan defies Sasha at every turn. Worst of all, he makes Sasha want things he can’t have, things that are a death sentence for men like him. Things like Roan Sinclair.
Content warning: This book contains references to alcohol/drug use, sexual assault, graphic violence, self-harm, ethnic and homosexual slurs, and a lot of profanity. Reader discretion is advised.
I only read this because the series is called The Solnyshko Duet and I love the Russian term of endearment. Little did I know the book made me stay up until 5:30 AM so I could finish it in one sitting. THAT. GOOD.
Last Year I Was Reading…
Smart men never dabble with demons. I never claimed to be smart, but at least I’m powerful enough to control them. When I bound Havoc to me nearly three hundred years ago, I never realized how difficult he’d make my life, although “accidentally” lighting him on fire every now and then does bring a smile to my face.
Havoc is handsome, mysterious, and somehow my closest companion, even if we don’t always get along. He’s more interested in bedding attractive women than protecting my life, which defeats the main reason a mage like me would have a demon. I even had to fight off swordsmen alone once because he was too busy betting on who’d survive.
When fifteen people are found dead with messages from a long-extinct cult, Havoc and I are forced to face our past and sort through our differences. We start to realize that there’s something more to this relationship, something that has kept us by each other’s sides for so long. Maybe it took three hundred years to finally understand my feelings for Havoc and realize that I can’t imagine being with anyone but him. Havoc and I will do everything we can to stop the evil that is threatening the lives of the people I care about. Or destroy everything—we haven’t quite figured that out yet.
Happy Endings is a 73k word novel that has an immensely powerful mage, a shapeshifting demon with a strong libido, a dark mage that just won’t stay dead, a spray bottle put to unusual uses, armor that is most definitely not made of dragon skin, blackmail involving an unfortunate slow-mo video, a detective being pursued by a determined minotaur, unprofessional use of illusions, and an epic walk into battle.
Amazon Buy Links: Kindle| Audiobook
Amazon UK Buy Links: Paperback | Audiobook
This one’s a near-miss with the usual gags for gag’s sake style the author is fond of. It has some redeeming qualities so it still passed.
My 3-star review here.
Today we have a dark contemporary romance and a humorous paranormal that dabbles in black magic. Both books tackle the complicated relationship between captive and captor.
The current is a young son of a banker who seduces his Russian kidnapper. This is set in the world of the bratva where being known as gay is almost a death sentence. The tone is serious and gritty, the consequences grim and on-page. The romance happened in a month or so.
Last year’s is about a mage who is secretly in love with his contracted demon. This is set in some nebulous place where every other character is queer. There is a consistent focus on the comedic with heavier aspects, such as abuse and indentured slavery, glossed over. The romance is very slow-burn if you count the hundreds of years of unrequited feelings.
The Kidnapping Of Roan Sinclair is about a banker’s son and aspiring musician, Roan, who was abducted by a group of Russian mobsters led by Aleksandr Vassiliev, a.k.a. Sasha, a man known for his brutality even by mob standards. The young man sensed a spark of attraction from Sasha and set about seducing the Russian in the hopes of being released.
The mobsters were waiting for the ransom, but Roan knew his dad was an asshole who’d rather leave him to rot than give the kidnappers what they wanted. Then one day, Roan did escape…then went ahead to do the last thing people expected him to do.
This is a Stockholm Syndrome romance that doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to pain and torture. Sasha’s reputation is well-earned. The homophobia from the antagonists reached extreme levels, but the author smartly left the more graphic details off-page. The connection that blossomed between Roan and Sasha is a rare and precious thing that must be protected at all cost. It was a joy to witness it flourishing in such a harsh and dangerous environment.
Happy Endings is the first book of Demon Magic. Miles, possibly the most powerful mage in their world, and his contracted demon, Havoc have been together for 300 years. One day, the mage was contacted by the police to investigate a dead body with markings similar to a group Miles encountered years ago. Unfortunately for him, it dredged up his painful past.
Havoc is a womanizer. Miles puts up with it despite secretly pining for the demon. The investigation revealed how the two forged their connection. Miles’ old master abused him and even used him to summon Havoc, who was then held prisoner in a magic circle.
I love the trust Miles and Havoc had with each other. Even if Havoc’s turnaround from chasing skirts to getting into Miles’ pants seems to come from nowhere, he had always been dedicated to the mage. Sadly, the story was overshadowed by too many silly gags and lack of world-building.
Between captive demons and kidnapped humans, magic and humor light up the dark, love and freedom shine brighter than the sun.
I’m ending the post with a book I’m looking forward to reading.
A boss. His employee.
And a scandal that’s about to change everything…
As an operating partner at Jade Harbour, Raymond Chao prides himself in fixing even the most disastrous of portfolio companies—no matter the cost. While his colleagues might not always like his methods, they love his results. But his latest business partner isn’t cooperating, and what’s worse, Raymond’s underhanded tactics have landed him in hot water with the law.
Elvin Goh has been Raymond’s assistant for years, and he’s been in love with the charming, ruthless playboy for just as long. There’s very little that Elvin won’t do—or hasn’t done—for Raymond. Impossible crush aside, it’s his job. But this time, even Elvin can’t see a way out.
When long nights in the office lead to whispered confessions and a newfound intimacy, it seems like a dream come true—for both of them. But with the prospect of failure on the horizon, can this dream team beat the odds and come out the victors in the office and in their hearts?
Amazon Buy Links: Kindle| Audiobook
Amazon UK Buy Links: Paperback | Audiobook
I love the cover even more than the first book! Ray was introduced as the hotshot corporate raider/easy-going playboy. The man intrigued me right away. Can’t wait to start on this. Hopefully, it’s not as long as Hard Sell.
What were you reading this time last year?
(I hope it’s as riveting as Morticia’s book)
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