The Merchant and the Clergyman, from Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

(Alternative title: ALL THE FEELS FOR 184 PAGES IN A ROLLERCOASTER)

Hello, there! In case you haven’t notice before my break and still didn’t get it after my break, I’ll just go and say it: gay romance is my to-go genre when I want to get over any reading slumps or life problems. As I was facing both, you’ll realize that 80% of my read books on this weird period are gay romances. Today’s book is no exception.

The Merchant and the Clergyman, from Bonnie Dee & Summer Dee, was a book that I was crazy to read. They were awesome enough to send me a copy of the book as a gift, as I helped promoting their entry on Kindle Scout, but life happened and it slipped my mind.

SHAME. ON. ME

Then there I was on the bus on Tuesday, going to work, thinking about which book I should start and BAM: The Merchant and the Clergyman, OF COURSE! =O Needless to say that I finished it as soon as I got back home, right? Hahaha! Such a delightful read, it was physically painful to tear myself away and actually work. To be honest, I didn’t expect any less from my divas Bonnie and Summer ❤

But enough blah blah blah. Let’s go to this review! Once again, thanks to Bonnie and Summer for sending me this book ❤ Now you got an honest review in return, haha!

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the story

James Fletcher hasn’t many reasons to complain; fate was good to him. After finishing school, he was able to go back to his hometown, living along with the people that saw him growing up and his family. As a curate, it’s his job to bring spiritual peace and help people to find their own harmony. His only problem is that the God that he so lovingly serves also condemns his most secret wishes. James refuses to fall for sin again and swore he would keep the pervert part of himself locked and buried. Not even the hot and shady stranger that barged into his house would make him change his mind. Declan Shaw would have to seduce some other man into his delicious games.

Declan Shaw hasn’t many reasons to complain; fate also was goo to him. As the most successful member of his family, it’s his job to travel all the world, supervising their business and straightening the wrongs and living adventures. His only problem is the loneliness. As a man who prefers other men, Declan can’t build a life and his own family. He had made peace with this limitation long ago, but laying eyes on the angelic and adorable curate of his cousin’s small town made him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. Suddenly, all he can think of is how James would taste and feel with his body on his. Declan is sure that if he sets his mind into the matter, he can come up with a satisfactory solution for this impasse. The real question is: will James be willing to go along with Declan’s plans?

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the analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

OMG THE FEELS. Seriously, this book made me react so much that made me keep my fame as the crazy girl from the 15th floor, haha! I wanted to read it all the time. If you are looking for a book to read in one sitting, this is your chosen one. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN ON YOUR OWN! James was adorable and the way that Declan sincerely tried to be better to feel more worthy of James was SOOOO CUTE! *–* Seriously, 5 stars without blinking. Oh, but don’t misunderstand me. This is no sugar tale. Dee and Devon are always very realistic on her romances and life for a gay couple on 19th century was hell. I honestly never know if they will end well until they do – nothing compared to the easiness of an Ava March romance, for example 🙂

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me when the subject is Ava, Bonnie, Summer or Langley

The narrative was third person styled, with switching points of view between James and Declan. Risking sounding like a broken record, this is my favorite kind, so I was easily absorbed by both men’s consciousness. As in all the other romances that I read from this awesome girls, the guys are opposites on personality and that was explicit on their narrative skills. James was the naïve and good hearted one, always trying to believe that the world can be a better place, regardless of his love for God. Declan is the skeptical one, always sarcastic and intimidating people around, more worried about having his way and doing justice than with other people’s feelings. The only thing I have to admit it wasn’t that great was some of the metaphors used on the book on the romantic scenes. I unfortunately didn’t had the mind to take notes, but there were some passages that seriously bordered cheesy and in a really bad way 😦 It was kind of a mood breaker almost every time, oops!

nobody is perfect except for beyonce

The plot is simple with a touch of mystery. Besides the obvious romance between the guys, Declan also needs to find out what is happening to his dear aunt, who appears to be sick and not in a natural way. I left this part out of my own made blurb because it’s a weak mystery. Culprits and methods are clear enough, leaving the reader only wondering about the motives, as nothing is clear until the end due to simple lack of information, haha! Even so, I’m not complaining. This is a romance, not a mystery. Consider it a bonus and an excuse for Declan to stick around for so long 🙂 I also wasn’t impressed with the last two chapters, as I felt they were kind of random. I mean, I understand why they are there, but I don’t know. I think I’m spoiled by the other books from those brilliant ladies, oops!

Hmm, I kind of already babbled a bit about characters, so I’ll just say that I love how complex and developed all characters were. So may personality layers, so many small signs. I really love Dee and Devon ❤ ❤ The couple is another one that will be branded on my heart!

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Despite not highlighting any bad moments, I did take the opportunity to highlight the best moments of this book and here are some of them:

~*~

James: I didn’t hit Kip, I, ah, struck him with my knee.

Declan: That’s some muscular Christianity you have there, Mr. Fletcher.

~*~

“Invite me in. You might as well. I’m going to come in, and your invitation will make the situation more civilized.” – Declan

~*~

Oh, what polite gentlemen the pair of them were when the gloves were put back on. – Declan’s thoughts

~*~

Twilight was the most melancholy time of the day, (…) when one questioned if his existence really mattered to the world. – James’ thoughts

~*~

James: I was wrong earlier. You are not a good person.

Declan: No matter. You are good enough for the both of us.

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Declan: always smooth as f*

~*~

Declan squared his shoulders in what James had begun to think of as his “roll up sleeves and get job done” posture.

~*~

And wasn’t that a wonderful though – years of James giving him pained and chiding looks.

~*~

Loving could not be a mistake, even when it ended. – James’ thoughts

~*~

ALL. THE. FEELS.

its so beautiful

So, if you like heartwarming characters, gay romance, historical books, refined humor and light BSDM, this is the book of your life ❤ Once again, thanks to Bonnie and Summer for my copy and sorry it took me so long to read it!

5star

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Okay, I guess that’s it for now. Hope you all are having a great week! Thanks for reading this review and tell me what have you been up to so far in your month reading =D

Love you all and be back soon,

assinatura

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, from Anne Rice (Sleeping Beauty #1)

Hello! Another book down in the #12daysofbooksmas2 readathon!

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, from Anne Rice (under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure), it’s the first one in the Sleeping Beauty series. This review will be short and soon enough you shall understanf why 🙂

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from my Instagram

The Story

Once upon a time, there was a princess that had been granted with everything: beauty, kindness, money and education. Cursed from birth, the princess fell in a deep sleep after stinging her finger in a spinning wheel. A hundred years shall pass before a brave prince was able to awaken her from her fate.

This is the story that you know. What you don’t know is how Beauty was awaken.

Or how her real curse began in the moment she opened her eyes.

The Analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

I bet you were expecting my scandal gif after such a story, right? Oh, well. The perspective of the story is a scandal. The real thing, not so much.

You see, I bought this book in June of this year and was pinning badly to read it. I love the whole fairy-tales gone bad wave and didn’t even knew that Anne Rice already attempted that more than twenty years ago. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t what I got. I’ll be more specific in my disappointment during the review, but I don’t see the point of talking and talking about a book that I didn’t enjoy, so I’ll try to keep this short 🙂 I still love Anne Rice, but this was just… Wrong. Two stars that shall be justified in the following lines.

The narrative was third person, but only from Beauty’s point of view. There are two chapters were Prince Alexi narrates mostly of the events in first person, but it was for contextualization’s sake, not a rule. I like third person narratives, but it got boring not having a break from Beauty’s fears and sufferings. Scene and action describing is one of the strongest points of Rice as an author, for good and bad. There were several scenes where I’d rather have been left in the dark, but oh well.

The plot was simple and, in my humble opinion, awful. As I said before, nothing prepared me for this book and I had a completely misjudged idea about it. It’s partially my fault, as it was written in the back cover of my edition that this was a “polemic fairy tale”, with “a sensual world, made of forbidden dreams and dark desires, in which traditional notions of domain and submission and gender preference are tossed to the wind”*. Again, I should have seen it coming, as I read Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. Nevertheless, I MANAGED TO BE SURPRISED, UGH.

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It was totally the wrong book for me. I’m not a fan of BDSM on a regular basis, I don’t like books like 50 Shades of Gray, I can’t stand any book that says that is cool for an individual to humiliate themselves for the sake of pleasure. To see women to be beaten up, men being raped and liking it… This is not my thing. I’m too serious about both pleasure and pain to unite both. I have to see that I already didn’t like 50 Shades of Gray when I read it, but this book puts E. L. James and Mr. Grey in the nursery. I already mentioned here once or twice how I can’t stand vulgar sex scenes, the ones made solemnly for the sex itself, without any emotional attachment behind it, out of boredom (and I’m not even talking about love, you see, I’m talking about true desire). I hate them and this book, for me, was a giant almost non-stop sex scene with barely a story behind it. I’m sorry if you read this book and you liked it, or if you like this kind of genre.

I won’t lie, I had my moments with this book. The characters were an interesting part. I liked Prince Alexi, for instance. He is nuts, but who wouldn’t be after all of his “learning”. Beauty was a disappointment in her own way. What I really like is how Rice manages to extinguish gender preferences and prejudices about who will you love. This is an aspect that I already loved in Interview with the Vampire and it kept me captivated on this book as well, despite everything. This is how love should really be: just free. Why does it matter if it’s a boy or a girl? No one in Rice’s books bat an eyelash for two boys together or two girls together, because they are people before being males or females. Honestly, society should learn a thing or two with her.

On the other hand, Rice’s too free love gets on my nerves, as you can’t ship any couple together, because they change their minds about partners more times than they change clothes. They claim that they love them all, but Johnny Deep once said something on this line: “If you are with someone and falls in love with a second person, choose the second person. If it was true love with the first, you wouldn’t have fallen in love again.” I agree with him on this one. You have to admit, at least to yourself, what do you want.

I really wanted to tear this book apart, as it crushed so many of my personal beliefs, but I read it, had my good moments with it and intend to read the next book in the series. Why? For the same reason that the book got 2 instead of 1 star: it picked my curiosity. Things were so absurd when it ended that I felt the need for understanding. I need to read the next book to try to figure out Beauty’s mind. I should totally have gone to psychology school instead of Journalism, haha!

2star

That’s it, thanks for reading 🙂 Once again, I apologize if something that I said may look offensive, that wasn’t my goal while stating my opinion, haha!

assinatura

 

 

Ps: That was my fourth book on the #12daysofbooksmas2 readathon!

*this passage was translated from Brazilian Portuguese to English, as my edition was in my native language, haha!

The Bound Series, from Ava March

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.

from my Instagram :)
from my Instagram 🙂

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 Story

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.

The Analysis

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.

From left to right: Ian Somerhalder and Matt Bomer. Merge them and you have Vincent on my head ;)
From left to right: Ian Somerhalder and Matt Bomer. Merge them and you have Vincent on my head 😉

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!

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My relationship with Ava March’s work

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.

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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.

4star

That’s it, I’m so sorry for the really long and fangirling review, but sometimes is IMPOSSIBLE to behave, haha!

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what’s wrong with being fangirling? LOL

Thanks for reading!

assinatura

3 days