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review 2018-12-02 21:38
If you liked the book...
Service with a Smirk - Ariel Tachna,Jeff Gelder

Than why not check out the audio...it seems to be a thing with me. I find that while I'm rarely a fan of re-reading a book because nothing ever changes and for the most part I tend to get bored unless a book is like really, really amazing for me and yet somehow when it's on audio I don't have that issue. I've got some audio books that I've listened to 3, 4 even 5 times and no, nothing ever changes, i know what's going to happen and yet I love listening to them as much the third or fourth time as I did the first. It just works for me...who am I to question these things.

 

So I read this book called 'Service with a Smirk' and I enjoyed it. It's a cute May/December story set in the Canadian city of Montreal...I've been there it's a gorgeous city and maybe the home of my hubby's favorite hockey team (Go Canadians!) it's allowed, they're mentioned in the story and can I just say there really is nothing to debate when it comes to which team is better the Habs (Canadians) or the Toronto Makes Me Laughs (Maple Leafs) the stats say it all...but back to the more important subject this audio book.

 

As far as the story goes...nothing's changed, the story remains the same, so I'm going to borrow from my original review in regards to the my thoughts there...so here's what I liked...

Pascal is a waiter at a high end restaurant and he likes his job. He takes pride in what he does and he does it well. So I'm going to just stop here and say this alone made me a fan of Pascal. I loved reading a story where it was ok that one of the MCs was just an average guy doing a job that is so often overlooked and undervalued. Honestly that was what attracted me to this series in the first place the fact that for me it felt like a tribute to a part of the workforce that is highly under appreciated.

Mathias is in banking he's on the fast track training for a management position but in the mean time he's got bills to pay so he works as a waiter at a local gay bar to enable himself to live in on rue Sainte-Catherine because like it or not when you're in a profession such as banking 'image matters'. 

As coincidence would have it these two men live in the same apartment building. Two men, with a considerable age gap between them, at different stages in their lives and yet both wanting the same thing...someone to share their lives with. 

Pascal had that once and then he lost it when the man he loved died. He's learned to be content with life as it is or he was until Mathias came along. Watching as these two juggled their conflicting schedules and maneuvered their own insecurities and that of the other was quite the challenge. I loved that they talked and yes, there was some miscommunication so they talked some more because in life that's what can happen. Things get said that seem clear to you and are clear as mud to the other person...so you keep talking and eventually you get to the make up sex...hot, steamy make up sex. Ironically though the best part of this romance was in their conversations. Seeing them get to know each other and find out about each other. I loved that it never felt like Pascal had an attitude of always being right because he was the older one in the relationship and if Mathias made a mistake that came from his youth or lack of experience Pascal neither embarrassed nor chastised him for it he simply acknowledged that when we are young we all make such mistakes and moved on.

Oops, I almost forgot one of the other things I really, really loved about this book the friends. Both of these men had friends who wanted them to be happy, who saw that they made each other happy and encouraged them to pursue the relationship because that's what friends do. When they see that something is good for you the support you and encourage you to pursue it because they're your friend and they want you to be happy.

Back when I read this book age gaps were a bit of an issue for me and while I had my reservations about the age gap in this one and much more a year ago than I do now. It turned out that it really wasn't a problem for me back then and still not this time around either.

 

Jeff Gelder was the narrator for this story and while I've listened to a few of his audio books already with varying results. I was pleased that this one was one of his books that resonated with me on a better level than others have...not to say that any of them have ever been a total fail for me but this time around I really liked Pascal's voice and found that it suited the person that I have envisioned he would be. While there were some moments when Pascal's voice sounded a tiny bit stilted for me it was more a case of the characters insecurities coming through in his voice, so it added to the emotional depth of the character rather than detracting from the story.

 

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An audio book of 'Service with a Smirk' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-10-07 02:20
I'm pretty sure that this one gave me whiplash...
Out of Bounds - Nicki Bennett,Ariel Tachna

First off, I'd like to say if you loved this book good on you and feel free to ignore me and carry one because I truly don't think that this is about anyone being right or wrong it's just a case of it worked for you and not for me and we all know that  happens. I'm pretty sure if I compared books with all of my friends I'd find at least one book that I loved and they didn't and vice versa...it's part of the beauty of free choice we all get to decide what's good for us and what's not.

 

Now, I'm going to try and be brief and to the point here...I'm good with a nice slow burn and a nice solid relationship build that gives me more than just some down and dirty, hot, steamy sex that's suppose to make me believe that two people who have barely done more than say hello are suddenly soulmates.  But when I get approximately 182 pages of 'oh no we can't have a relationship because...' and suddenly with only 12 pages left in the book it takes less than 5 pages for things to do a 180 and 'oh no we can't' becomes 'I love you, I can't believe I almost lost you, I want to spend forever with you' and to top if all off there still hasn't been any sex...sorry, but no, just no, forget slow burn I'm not even sure there was ever even a fire and then things go from zero to 100 so fast that race car drivers everywhere are green with envy!

 

Prior to all of this there was in fact one kiss between the MCs, albeit a supposedly hot and steamy kiss that left one of the MCs feeling more than a little confused and frustrated and the other MC needing to 'get out of dodge' and sober up! and that's it seriously for the first 182 pages there was that kiss. Sorry but some personal hand action in the shower doesn't count as romance.

 

Anyways, you win some, you lose some and for me this one just wasn't the winner that I'd hoped for.  There were some other issues with this one for me but I have to admit this was the biggie...the iceberg that sank the ship...yes, there's a cruise that happens in this and it's towards the end of the story and was definitely the beginning of the end and with that I think I've reached the end of my little babble about this one as well. 

 

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A copy of 'Out of Bounds' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-01-08 04:08
Alliance in Blood by Ariel Tachna
Alliance In Blood - Ariel Tachna

I was working on my “Best and Worst of 2017” post and realized I still needed to review this because it’s definitely going to end up on my “worst” list.

This is one of the Dreamspinner Press books I bought before I decided to boycott them for knowingly publishing P2P fanfic and then just sort of shrugging and doing nothing when they were called on it. I had given Tachna’s The Inventor’s Companion 3 stars when I read it back in 2011 and liked it just enough to give her books another shot. This turned out to be a mistake on my part.

I finished this a month and a half ago, so apologies if my summary has some issues. Alliance in Blood stars Orlando, a vampire, and Alain, a wizard. Vampires and wizards have been at war for a long time. Although wizards view vampires as dangerous monsters, they’ve decided that they need to try to form an alliance with them because the wizards are also at war with dark wizards and could use some help. The vampires agree to the alliance 1) because it would give them a chance at having the same rights as wizards and 2) because Alain and Orlando accidentally form a bond and discover that wizard blood might allow vampires to walk in the sun again.

My issues with this book started in the author’s introduction and just got worse from there. In her introduction, Tachna writes: “I can very proudly state that I've never read a vampire story. Not Anne Rice, not Laurel K. Hamilton, not Bram Stoker. The closest I've ever come was a monologue I read in seventh grade called ‘Dress of White Silk.’” (4) I’m pretty sure that Tachna intended this as evidence of just how original her vampire story was going to be. However, as someone who has read and enjoyed a lot of vampire stories, I just found it insulting. Not having read a subgenre’s foundational works isn’t something for someone writing in that subgenre to be proud of, and it also isn’t necessarily an indicator that the work is going to be original, just that the author will have absolutely no clue whether it’s original or not. I also wasn’t encouraged by Tachna’s misspelling of Laurell K. Hamilton’s name.

The introduction went on to say that Alliance in Blood was originally just the first part of one very long novel that Tachna was forced to break into separate novels in order to make it more likely that a publisher would accept it. This brings me to one of Alliance in Blood’s many problems: its poor pacing. Most of the book is devoted to Orlando and Alain testing the effects of Alain’s blood and the blood of other wizards on vampires, all while angsting and panting over each other like horny teenagers. Sometimes characters recounted events for other characters’ benefit, which readers had to suffer through even though these events had already happened on-page. I have a feeling that Tachna’s one long book could have been much stronger if she had just ruthlessly edited it and cut out any unnecessary scenes.

Well, it might have been better. Pacing wasn’t the book’s only problem. Another huge issue was the way it missed all emotional notes that weren’t directly related to Orlando and Alain wanting to have sex with each other. Relatively early on in the book, Alain’s best friend Thierry’s not-quite-ex-wife was killed by dark wizards. Hardly anyone seemed to care or remember that this had happened. I could sort of accept Thierry’s reaction as his way of trying to keep it together and continue doing his job. I was disgusted by Alain, however. Instead of worrying about his best friend, he could barely keep his hands and mind off Orlando, a guy he’d only known for maybe a day.

Orlando and Alain’s relationship moved unbelievably fast. If I remember right, the whole book took place in the space of maybe three days. In that time, Orlando and Alain declared their love for each other, Alain allowed Orlando to brand him, and they ended up with a bond that put Orlando completely at Alain’s mercy. They had one absolutely ridiculous argument where Alain was supposedly in the wrong, and all I could think was that Orlando was expecting someone who was almost a stranger to basically read his mind and know automatically how he felt.

After many chapters of almost nothing new happening, the book ended with sequel bait (a bunch of vampires and wizards pairing off, with varying degrees of willingness) and a wooden and boring big battle. I’m glad that this was the only book in the series that I purchased, because I have no desire to continue on with this series.

Additional Comments:

I have no idea if this was a formatting problem or if it was intentionally done, but there were no scene breaks - the book moved smoothly from one scene to the next in the space of a paragraph. In one instance, this had the unfortunate effect of making it look like Orlando was calmly drinking espresso at the edge of a bloody battle like it was no big deal.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2017-11-02 20:00
Reading progress update: I've read 86 out of 210 pages.
Alliance In Blood - Ariel Tachna

This is a terrible book. Two days have gone by since it began. In that time:

- Orlando and Alain met.

- Orlando told Alain he would trust him if Alain would let him taste his blood. Alain agreed to let him. There was no indication that this act generally had any emotional significance for vampires - it was done for purely pragmatic reasons.

- Magical connection! Alain's blood allows Orlando to safely be exposed to sunlight. They literally spend chapters testing this. They technically haven't finished their tests yet.

- Another wizard arrives. Alain doesn't trust him and

tells Orlando to taste his blood to see if he's telling the truth. Even though this is exactly what Orlando did to Alain when they first met, suddenly Orlando feels betrayed. Drinking blood is like sex! Alain is whoring him out! How could he!

- Alain wants to make it up to Orlando and asks what he can do to make things right. Orlando says "Accept my mark." Meaning, "let me brand your neck." (I think it was his neck. I don't feel like going back to check.)

- Orlando hadn't actually expected Alain to allow himself to be branded, even though it had basically been framed like an ultimatum. He is beside himself at this evidence of Alain's trust in him.

- Alain thought that by accepting Orlando's brand he was marking himself as a submissive in their relationship. Orlando is shocked and dismayed. No, no, he never meant that!

- Whoa, wait. In reality, Orlando just put himself under Alain's power by branding him. Alain can now kill him simply by withholding his own blood, since Orlando can no longer tolerate anyone else's.

(spoiler show)


- Do any of these characters remember that Thierry's wife died less than 24 hours ago?

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text 2017-10-22 22:24
Reading progress update: I've read 63 out of 210 pages.
Alliance In Blood - Ariel Tachna

The good:

 

- This is going to be a quick read, as long as I don't let myself get distracted by another book.

 

The bad:

 

- This book is missing pretty much every possible emotional note that isn't directly related to Alain (wizard) and Orlando (vampire) angsting over each other. Technically they've spent the past few chapters testing the ability of wizard blood to allow vampires to walk in sunlight unharmed, but it comes across more like Alain and Orlando are two horny teenagers who can't keep away from each other. There was a battle just a few hours ago that killed Alain's best friend Thierry's wife (estranged, but still). No one seemed to be very affected by all of those deaths, even Thierry. He got a little angry, and there was one line about him telling himself to keep it together, but that was it.

 

- There are chapter breaks, but no scene breaks. This has mostly just been a little jarring, but at one point it had the unfortunate effect of making it seem like Orlando was calmly drinking espresso at the edge of a bloody battle like it was no big deal.

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