Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Double Review of Other Side of Night: Bastian & Riley by S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet

S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet
Other Side of Night: Bastian & Riley (Other Side of Night #1)
Storm Moon Press, September 23, 2011

Links: website S.L. Armstrong | website K. Piet | Goodreads | buy book here

Vampires walk among us. For centuries, they have adapted, learning to pass undetected in our world. They no longer fear the day, only the sting of direct sunlight. They are students, bankers, lawyers, and even actors. But when the sun goes down, they are all united by their eternal thirst. We do not see them from our safe and comfortable side of the night. But sometimes, one of us is drawn away from the light and we cross into their world. Into the other side of night.

Sebastian Rossi's second year at the University of Tennessee began much differently than his first. He rushes to and from his classes, covered head to toe in thick clothing. Parties are a thing of the past, and dating hasn't been high on his list of priorities. No, high on his needs is blood. Lots of it. Adjusting to the changes no one even told him would happen following one great night of partying and sex has been hell for Bastian, but he's managing.
Riley Lynch's dream is to be a veterinarian. He works hard to pay his tuition, reads in every spare moment, and tries to forget the nightmare of his sophomore year. Summer has washed away all the bad, leaving him refreshed and eager for his junior year at UT. Life is finally looking up for him, and he has no intention of sliding back down into the depression that had consumed him during his last relationship.
A chance meeting brings their two worlds into alignment and passion sparks between them. When Riley learns of the changes Bastian is going through, he has a choice to make: walk away or embrace the night.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, Discovery, University, Abuse, Acceptance, Blood, Biting, Independence

- Warning: this review might contain what you consider spoilers -

Lis’ review:

In this character-driven story we meet Bastian and Riley. They are two very different persons who meet and fall in love, but there is more to this story, than just two people meeting. For one, Bastian is no longer human. Riley on the other hand, is, but has some issues to deal with before he can commit to a relationship.
Other Side of Night is not an easy book for me to review. There are several issues I have with this story. If I look at it objectively, I can see why people would like this story, so I’ll try and refrain from rambling.

The characters
This story revolves around (Se)Bastian and Riley. There are very few others to be considered a regular cast, which makes this very much a two man story. As mentioned this is a character-driven story and it’s told in four parts, switching from Bastian to Riley and back again.
Both Bastian and Riley are very different from each other. Bastian was once very much the party boy, hopping from one party to another and from one man to another. That is, until he’s bitten by one of his hook-ups and turned into a vampire. A fact that eludes him for a long time. In this, I found Bastian to be very naïve. Even if you didn’t think vampires are real, the need for blood, the aversion to sunlight and growing fangs might have given him some clue. However, he redeems himself throughout the story and he grows through his caring and love for Riley.
Riley on the other hand, goes from a confident, sweet, likeable character to an annoying little fuck. Riley has a few insecurities, left over from a bad break-up with an abusive boyfriend. He slowly learns to trust Sebastian. Trust is very important to Riley as is independence. Throughout the story I found him overdoing it a little on the trust and independence to a point he comes across as unreasonable.

The story
As said, the story very much revolves around Sebastian and Riley. It moves from just after Sebastian is bitten to where it sort of just ends after a big conflict that is left unresolved, something that might have to do with this book being a part of a series. Still, not the best ending ever.
I did very much like the lack of instant love. While there is a connection between the two the love grows over several months. Very refreshing.
There are some conflicts, so reasonable others didn’t quite fit, but it mostly rotates around Bastian being a vampire and Riley’s acceptance of that fact for the first three quarters of the book.
The last quarter is set around Riley’s accident and the consequences of Bastian’s actions. It was something that didn’t quite fit into the story for me and was a turning point for Riley’s character, as it goes from bad to worse after this.
The narrating suddenly becomes very rushed and while I have no problem with cheating spouses, it wasn’t handled well as part of the whole story.

The writing
This might just be my biggest issue with this story. The writing is very scene-like and lacks continuity. We simply move from scene to scene that are important to Bastian and Riley’s story. This left me feeling left out and not at all part of the story. It almost felt like I was reading a fiction-like diary.
While the writing in itself is quite good, the style is something you have to like.

Overall conclusion
My guess is The Other Side of Night is a story you either like or you don’t. For me it didn’t quite turn out as I expected and especially the last quarter annoyed me greatly. I always like something different in my stories, whether it’s a shifter story about a pink elephant or a tutu-wearing werewolf, just so long as it’s worked out well and believable – even when it is in a fantasy world. This wasn’t the case for me in The Other Side of Night. It could be due to the scene-like style or the lack of connection to the characters. However, while I don’t like it, it might just be your cup of vampire erh coffee!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3


Sharon’s review:

Sensual. That is the word I would use to describe this novella. I guess I should explain what sensual means to me, so we are all on the same page. It is when the story is about more than two people coming together in a well written sex scene. There are deep passionate emotions tied to the act, which for me means a lot of slow, deep, drugging kisses! The authors did this very well. I was envious of what Sebastian and Riley have. It doesn’t matter if this was a story about mermaids, hockey players or vampires. I would still love this story based on the character interactions.

The story started out a little slow, but became a page turner once Sebastian had completed his change and decided to peruse Riley. Sebastian had led a promiscuous life style and ended up on the wrong side of some vampire’s idea of a joke. He was changed and then left to figure things out for himself. He had just met the guy of his dreams, another student named Riley. Riley just came out of an abusive relationship and had trust issues and a need to be independent. I loved watching them work things out and deal with everything that comes their way. The story is told from alternating POVs of Sebastian and Riley and focuses on their relationship. There is very little world building, which was fine with me. Did I mention the passionate kissing? There are some secondary characters that make brief appearances and I think we will see more of them as the series progresses.

The story ends with a twist I wasn’t expecting and has me worried about Sebastian and Riley’s future. They have unknowingly become a part of a vampire world with rules and expectations that even the readers don’t know yet.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3


  1. isn't that funny how we both had a different take on it. I like the fact that there are two reviews. Cause what works for some doesn't work for others!

  2. Hi Lis *waves*

    Hi Sharon :)

    So fun to read both of your views on this one

  3. I love that even your "heat" ratings were different. :)

  4. Hahaha yeah we had very different opinions on this story. Could have something to do with the fact that I've become very critical of the books I'm reading. ;-)

    So cool though that we have different reviews! :-)

  5. Well, I still suck at the heat ratings. I can't separate the acts from the emotions so if the sex scene is highly emotional it will up my rating a bit. Plus I am relatively new to m/m and still a little fuzzy about what is considered hot VS not . Should the heat rating reflect how much sex is going on or what type of sex is going on?

  6. Good question. I depends on the book for me and how it is written. Sometimes you have the more basic scenes that are almost the same in all the other books and not any different. Those don't rate high in my opinion, because I don't feel the author put any thought in it.

    However, sometimes it is tied with emotions and and the scene as a whole might be basic but written very sweet.

    Mostly for me, heat rating goes up if the scene is inventive. The use of attribute, the characters thought process, emotions, surroundings, use of magic (hot damn), multiple partners or what not. The more creative and well written, the more the rating goes up.

  7. what about how "descriptive" the act is . I am not an erotica fan because of all the slang words used. The word 'pucker' just makes my skin crawl .

  8. Hahaha I like descriptive, but it all depends (for me) how well it's written. Some works make the act sound repulsive or clinical, but that's also personal. A good author know his or her way with words


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