• book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Lords Of Discord Books 3 & 4 by Jocelynn Drake

    Note: long post so you can skip to the end for the tl:dr version if you wamt

    Lords of Discord is Jocelynn Drake‘s fabulous take on vampire lore with the most lovable brothers to ever be changed into creatures of the night.

    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.


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    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.

    Rating:
    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Wake Me
    Artist: Message To Bears
    Album: Folding Leaves


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    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!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Silence
    Artist: Before You Exit
    Album: 001_love


    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.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Lords Of Discord. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    Lords Of Discord: US | UK

    You can also use my Bookshop affiliate links to buy paperbacks and MP3 CD audiobooks and help support independent bookstores.

    Claiming Marcus | Saving Rafe | Waking Bel
    Embracing Winter | Healing Aiden


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  • Uncategorized

    LAST YEAR I WAS READING…(June 30, 2021)

    This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.

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    PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE (September 2, 2020)

    Found this tag on Chelle’s Book Ramblings . It’s simple and fun. I thought I would put my own spin on it and make it a weekly thing.

    Original Rules

    • Find a book published 10+ years ago.
    • Find a book that will be published THIS year.
    • Find a book that will be published NEXT year.

    Some slight revision of the rules:

    • Find a book published 10+ years ago
    • Find a book that will be published THIS month.
    • Find a book that will be published NEXT month.

  • Uncategorized

    PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE (Aug 12, 2020)

    Found this tag on Chelle’s Book Ramblings . It’s simple and fun. I thought I would put my own spin on it and make it a weekly thing.

    Original Rules

    • Find a book published 10+ years ago.
    • Find a book that will be published THIS year.
    • Find a book that will be published NEXT year.

    Some slight revision of the rules:

    • Find a book published 10+ years ago
    • Find a book that will be published THIS month.
    • Find a book that will be published NEXT month.
  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Saving Rafe by Jocelynn Drake

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    Lords of Discord: Saving Rafe – Jocelynn Drake

    Rafe Varik

    The troublemaker. The risk taker. The sexy club owner full of wicked promises.

    Rafe has devoted his immortal existence to pleasure and causing mischief.

    The only ones who can depend on him are his brothers. Of course, that’s very much a Varik thing.

    But when the leader of the Arsenault clan specifically requests Rafe’s help in tracking down a killer, he can’t say no.

    Sure, Rafe claims he’s doing it for his family. They’ve attracted too many enemies and could use a few allies.

    That’s not the whole truth, though.

    There’s something about Philippe Arsenault that draws Rafe in. He wants more of Philippe. The vampire leaves him longing for another second in his presence, another taste of his lips, another caress of those perfect fingers.

    Yet when it’s all over, what will become of Philippe and Rafe. Because Philippe will always be an Arsenault, and Rafe will always be a Varik.

    Saving Rafe is the second book in an MM paranormal romance series that has vampires, betrayal, annoying brothers, music, heartbreak, hope, sexy times, and a pair of star-crossed lovers.


    I am happy to once again sow chaos with the Variks in this second book of Lords of Discord, Saving Rafe.

    Vampire politics is something I’m keen on reading about and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. The story picks up months after the Variks defeated the Black Wolf clan. Other clans were getting antsy at what they thought was a power grab by the Variks. None were bothering to believe that it was the Black Wolf clan who attacked first.

    The Variks were approached by the Arsenault, a clan many knew little about, for help in looking for their missing member. Rafe was especially picked for the task because the clan leader, Philippe Arsenault, saw something more in him other than a self-proclaimed ‘purveyor of fleshly delights’.

    As much as I liked Rafe and Philipe, I wasn’t that convinced with their romance. It was all too insta. What I liked though was how the trust between them was built even if it sprung up too fast for two people who knew better. I also liked the comfortable companionship growing between them. I would have liked their friendship developed properly first before moving on to romance territory. That would have been more believable and would have strengthen the character development too.

    Even though I wasn’t that invested in the romance, everyone made the book worthwhile for me. Every Varik, from Marcus, Bel, Winter and Ethan were given ample page time. And I’m so happy Aidan’s back to properly take his seat as the head of the family. The supporting characters Lola, Gideon, Ryder and Julian were also great additions to the cast.

    What it means to be a clan was the main theme in the story. The Variks have always considered themselves family and not a clan. Now that their family has expanded to include Ethan, could they possiby accept other vampires into their fold? Would they finally take the step forward and be a clan? Would other clans take this as a sign of aggression?

    Meanwhile, Philipe shoulders all the responsibilities of keeping his clan and their secrets safe. Somebody is picking off his most vulnerable clan members one by one. There were dead giveaways as to who the bad guy is. At some point, they were even reduced to a cartoon villain. While I liked it that there are different antagonists per story, the giant spectre of the Ministry hanging over them and an imminent war brewing, I wished we can get more fleshed-out villains.

    This is a long book with the showdown reserved almost to the very end. This wasn’t as suspenseful as the first book with less action scenes. There were times I had that just-there-for-the-ride feeling but I wasn’t exactly bored.

    The highlight for me was when my favorite twin, Bel, stepped in to save the day with his army. I would love to see that on screen! Winter and his shadowy tricks is making me so very, very curious. The wee Varik is giving Bel a run for his money.

    I can’t wait to see what the youngest Variks are up to.

    P.S.

    review of book one, Claiming Marcus, here.
    Jocelynn Drake books here.

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: All You Did Was Save My Life
    Artist: Our Lady Peace
    Album: Somethingness

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Claiming Marcus by Jocelynn Drake

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    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.

    Aaaand Ethan.

    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.

    P.S.

    Jocelynn Drake books here.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Darkest Hour
    Artist: Tori Amos
    Album: The Light Princess