Hi, there! I’m sorry, I seem to be talking a lot about Ava March those last weeks, but what can I do? I love this woman, haha! Anyway, the book of the day is The Bound Series, an edition from Ava that contains three books and two short stories from the homonymous series. I thought about reviewing them separately, but it felt weird, I don’t know.
I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read this series, but the first time was back in 2012. Bound By Deception, the first in The Bound Series, was my first book by Ava and I became a hardcore fan on the spot. I remember to this day our first conversation: you see, I was 17 when I met her work and all of it is rated 18+ because of the hot sex scenes, so I asked her permission to enter her giveaway (I don’t need to tell you that she kindly denied it, right? Haha!). She was a doll and consoled me by saying that I was almost 18 and other giveaways were going to come. Boy, she was so right! But tell that to a freaked out teen, haha!
Anyway, this time I’m reviewing this book not as a fan, but as book blogger, so let’s go! (Or trying to…)
The Bound Series tells us the story of Lord Oliver Marsden and Lord Vincent Prescott, both very respectable gentlemen until the bedroom doors are closed.
In the first episode of the series, Bound By Deception, Oliver discovers that his childhood friend, Vincent, goes to a brothel once per month to request the services of a gentleman and their games are everything but usual. In love with Vincent since their school times, Oliver takes a chance and arranges to take the whore’s place in Vincent’s bed. Oliver just didn’t expect Vincent to fall for him – or, as Vincent sees, for Jake, the new guy in the brothel.
On the following episode, Bound To Him, Oliver and Vincent have established a very comfortable routine: Vincent visiting Oliver’s bachelor apartments, dinning and bed playing and Vincent leaving right after it is over. Or so thought Vincent, as Oliver is not happy at all with such arrangements. When Vincent’s father informs him that marriage is coming on his way, Oliver loses his temper and breaks up with him. Will Vincent be able to get his lover back?
The next episode is a short story, Deliberately Unbound. On the first episode, Vincent suggested a very wicked game to Oliver, but only now Vincent has everything ready for it. Is Oliver going to be able to play it until the end?
Fourth episode is another full book, Bound Forever (the title is such a spoiler that makes me laugh, haha! Sorry, going back to the serious blog mode now). Oliver and Vincent are in heaven. Now enjoying more often than not the advantages of a country home, both lovers are in complete peace with each other… Except that Oliver haven’t broke the last wall that separates him and Vincent: Vincent’s virginity. While Oliver works on accomplishing that, Vincent gets carried away after hearing the sad case of a young widow that lost her husband to an accident. What if the same thing happened to him? How Oliver would fare? Vincent couldn’t rest until he ensured Oliver would be protected and making sure Oliver wouldn’t cause trouble over that would be his worse headache until now.
The last but not least episode is a kind of epilogue to the series. In Deliberately Bound, the second short story, after a huge purchase for his bookshop, Oliver finds himself in the mood to make a game of his own with Vincent.
Oh dear, that was a long way to tell everything, haha! I’m sorry to spoil you a bit, but this is a general happy ending series and Ava told you so in the third book title anyway 🙂 I really liked Oliver and Vincent’s adventures, they always are a good pastime for me. However, my overall review for the series is four stars and I can say that of all the books and short stories. The Bound Series, as the name suggests, has a BDSM catch and I’m not really mad about it – sometimes is hot, other times, I just can’t understand how the people involved are feeling any pleasure at all. Also, I have some issues with Oliver to this day, but all in due time. For what I love, besides the fact that is a work from Ava (haha): Vincent, the feelings, the passion, the intensity. Have I mentioned Vincent? Because he is hot as hell. I always picture him as a mix of Ian Somerhalder and Matt Bomer (my favorite actors). If those two could merge, Vincent would be born #justsaying.
Getting over my fangirl obsessions (maybe not much, sorry), let’s go to the narrative. I love March’s style, as she mixes conscious thoughts with the events perfectly and switches third narrator’s points of view between the lovers, so we can get the picture as whole as possible – I’m putting this in such a way because there are no mysteries beyond Oliver and Vincent’s relationship problems. In other books from March such as Sharp Love (I own you this review, sorry! Maybe on January?), the lovers face a mystery beyond their relationship, so what we readers know is what both lovers know separately, you know? Honestly, I think her narrative skills are flawless. Don’t get me wrong, if you are looking for a deep historical fiction, you will be reading the wrong book. March writes in a perfectly believable England all time, on all her books (yeah, I am that kind of fangirl), but historical happenings are not important: the relationship development and its handling are. Particularly, I see nothing wrong with this, as my loved sugared historical romances do the exact same thing. Relationships are timeless and seeing their handling in other times and cultures is highly interesting for me. And, on this particular series, we can also see how BDSM plays could be made 😉
The Bound Series has a very simple plot, overall. Both characters lived their lifes, a problem appears, something changes, they have to handle it and their lives get their harmony back. There is no mystery to the endings, the magic relies on details, on how it was done. I like that about this series, as it is a light option with hot sex scenes (I’ll get there), real characters and a happy ending, which I value a lot. The fact that The Bound Series was constructed on “episodes” reminds me again of Frank Herbert’s quote: “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story”. The books and short stories can’t be read as standalones, as they are very connected, but March could release a new volume tomorrow with a new plot and it wouldn’t be weird to the existent books. Those stories share the routine of two male lovers in the 19th century and this construction, besides showing that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, also deliveries a very open closed ending (did I even make sense there?). The end has no holes, but can be continued, that’s what I meant, haha!
So, the characters. Oh, the characters. Oliver is a spoiled brat on the most peculiar things, it is amusing. I mean, Vincent is ridiculously wealthier than Oliver, but the spoiled one is Oliver. He is always complaining and suffering over stupid things, it gets on my nerves. Sometimes he is right, but I don’t like how he handles his problems with Vincent. He is too radical, too all or nothing: Oliver takes too long to realize that Vincent has his own time in accepting themselves as a couple, but not in a bad way. Vincent always suppressed his desires for other men and had a scheduled day to exercise them on the brothel, but after Oliver happened on his amorous and sex life, Vincent gets lost. He doesn’t understand how some of his actions can be rude or hurtful and Oliver never explains either, so things just blow up. But I miss my point again… Darn, it’s so hard to review a book series that you love and have been analyzing in silence for three years. Anyway, Oliver is a very strong man on his way and I admire his courage and humbleness. He knows his limits and this is so important in life; amusingly, this is a trait that Vincent doesn’t posses. He accepts nothing lower than perfection from himself and those who are under his watch (cof except Oliver cof), so of course he is a control freak. He also is very romantic and possessive, cute traits on a man on my opinion, and he would marry Oliver in the spot if Oliver only would accept to be called his wife (#truestory). Moreover, both men are real people. I have a friend that is just like Vincent with her relationships and I have another friend just like Oliver is. The capacity that March has to make her readers to connect with her heroes is astonishing and one of her strongest points.
Oliver reminds me of an Italian type, one that would rub well with my Bomerhalder image of Vincent. Hot.
Oh, and do you want to know another VERY strong point in March’s books? Sex. So much sex and hot at that. Usually, sex scenes don’t make my blood boil while I’m reading. The problem is me again, I can’t take vulgarity and people usually think that sex is vulgar. Spoiler alert for your life: sex is SO NOT vulgar! People make it so and, on the same way, they can change sex into a beautiful and magical moment. That’s what March does. Even if her characters aren’t in love, you feel in your skin that they are enjoying each other’s company, that there is not any place on Earth that they rather be at the moment and that their desire is real. With or without BDSM involved, it is steaming hot. With Oliver and Vincent, that’s not different ❤
Overall, this series is awesome, Ava is amazing and life is beautiful.
That’s it, I’m so sorry for the really long and fangirling review, but sometimes is IMPOSSIBLE to behave, haha!
Thanks for reading!