Friday, February 17, 2017

fangjunkie27 by Lyssa Dering Blog Tour

One human. One dhampir. Seventy-two hours where anything goes.

Shameless vampire addict Eli spends every waking moment chasing pleasure, securing invites to vampire den after vampire den via the vampire/human social network FangFinder. This weekend, he’s signed up for his most extreme adventure yet, a 72-hour party where a legal contract serves as his voluntary consent to anything and everything the den members decide to do to him…

Strong and silent type Orion is the only member of his den without fangs, a dhampir who wears metal points on two fingers so he can give the human guests what they crave. What he craves is a release for the savage half of his nature; he wants to force a human into submission. When his fellow den members inform him that Eli has signed up for just this treatment, Orion lays claim to him for the weekend.

But Eli would never have agreed to spend three days with a half-breed, and he’ll fight Orion’s touch every chance he gets. Even if the pleasure he finds in the dhampir’s grip is more intense than anything he’s ever felt with a vampire…

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I signed up to review fangjunkie27 because I wanted to see if the author could pull it off. The blurb’s promise versus the novella’s page count meant that it would either be spectacular or bomb magnificently, with very little room in the middle for an “eh” response. So I queued it up, hoping for the best because I really wanted the author to have pulled it off. As it turns out, Dering delivered an extremely enjoyable read that gave me just enough detail to move the story along, keep me flipping the pages, and lament when I reached the end because I wasn’t ready for the weekend to be over either.

Rather than discuss the plot – the blurb covers what you need to know to dive in – I’m going to talk about the parts of the storyline I liked. While fangjunkie27 is classified as paranormal m/m erotica, there’s more depth to it than I expected. Obviously, Dering couldn’t dive into the characters’ psyches as much as I would have enjoyed, but it was very clear that despite how he presented himself, Eli is not the typical fang junkie the vampires encounter. Because of Orion’s preconceived notions about fang junkies and his own personal hang-ups about being a dhampir, we are well into the book before we learn that Eli has anxiety issues – anxiety issues which have driven him to extremes in the past. Due to my professional training, this is where I would have loved more background on both Eli and Orion because their issues impacted the storyline. With that said, the author does a nice job of balancing the information imparted about Eli and Orion’s pasts in a way that kept me wanting more, yet will likely avoid boring those readers who don’t want to delve into the “psychobabble.” The inclusion of Ross’s band-aid for Eli was fascinating and left me hoping that future installments will include updates on how Eli and Orion are faring.

Another aspect of the book I think Dering dealt with wonderfully is that she didn’t try to make this an insta-love romance. The events in fangjunkie27 occur over a 72-hour den party weekend. There is a definite attraction between Eli and Orion, and once they get past their judgments and Eli gets over his tight-lipped-ness due to his fear of rejection, they discover that their needs complement one another, almost perfectly. Yet there are still no declarations of love or romance, or even hints that either are on the horizon. The weekend ends with the start of what promises to be a mutually beneficial relationship that meets each of their needs, much like a dom/sub relationship would in a non-romantic BDSM novel. Of course, the romantic in me is left hoping that deeper feelings will develop as Eli and Orion spend time together, fulfilling one another’s needs, and for me, that’s the best way for a story to end – with hope for the couple’s future happiness. I will admit that I felt that the novella ended rather abruptly. It’s not that the author cut it off without ending the story, but rather that she left the ending open-ended for Eli and Orion while introducing a new plot point that I assume leads into the next installment. It’s what I call a non-cliffhanger cliffhanger, because while the events in fangjunkie27 came to a close, we’re given a teaser that left me ready for the next book. I can only hope that Dering will be publishing the sequel soon and that it will give me a chance to catch up with Eli and Orion, while enjoying a new set of characters’ story.

3.5 Stars

Lyssa Dering is a new-to-me author who hooked me with an intriguing blurb. I wasn't sure what I'd find on the pages of fangjunkie27, and I was pleasantly surprised. I read the novella in one sitting, with a feeling of wanting more, both to know where these characters end up, and from other characters who were introduced.

I found the novella fast-paced, with a full storyline. Eli is a junkie, needing the press of fangs and the bite of pain to clear his constant anxiety. He's homeless, going from party to party as a way of life. He signs a contract for no-holds-barred and gets more than he's bargained for.

Orion is a dhampir, a half-human/half-vampire. He only needs to feed every few months, and it doesn't have to be from the source. His den mates think he needs to socialize more, so he endures the weekend blood parties. His mates choose Eli for him. Intrigued with the young man's picture and profile on FangFinder, Eli chooses him for the 72-hour party.

As an addict to the pierce of fangs, Eli is more than disappointed that Orion has to use metal fangs on a ring to do the initial bite. He signed up for a vampire, and derogatory bigotry flows between him and the dhampir.

fangjunkie27 has a bit of angst due to the fact that Eli ended up with a dhampir, emotion with the anxiety attacks and the addiction angle, darkness with the BDSM elements explored and the lack of autonomy the humans have once they sign the contract, and heat from the sensual moments.

I enjoyed this novella and look forward to more in this series and by this author. However, I couldn't rate higher because I needed more background, more world-building. I don't mean hundreds of pages' worth, as I do love a well-written novella. But just a few paragraphs to go further in-depth into how Eli became homeless and background on where the anxiety stemmed, how dhampirs are made (half-human, half-vampire, which I assume is birthed, not made), how there are dhampirs when the vampires in the novella had to be created (how do half-versions exist at all if they are created, not born). Just a bit (adding less than a few pages overall) of world-building and character development would have made this intriguing read more fulfilling.

My issues aside, I enjoyed the novella and am looking forward to reading more.

This book left my head spinning. The blurb had me expecting 72 hours of blood and BDSM, but the reality was more vanilla. Eli’s addiction is dark but I didn’t fully understand what his needs were. Half-vampire Orion can’t completely meet Eli’s needs and most of the book focuses on Orion searching for a way to manage Eli’s addiction.

For me, addicts simply aren’t sexy. Eli’s addiction makes him weak and desperate. It was incredibly difficult for me to believe in the attraction or chemistry between Eli and Orion. Orion kept searching for ways he could be good enough for Eli, which really didn’t work for me. I wanted to see Eli change and become a better person – I thought Orion was fine as he was.

The storyline isn’t always clear here and I didn’t find many of the interactions between Eli and Orion sexy. There are some D/s moments, but I didn’t always feel that Orion and Eli needed the same things in a relationship. This is a short novella, and many of my questions remained unanswered at the end. There is some interesting world building in this story and I did find my imagination captured by the author’s descriptions of Eli and Orion’s world.

There are elements of this story that I enjoyed and I look forward to the author’s next work.

Avid Reader☆☆☆
This was just a short story, but for me, it lacked something, but I'm not really sure what that is. Eli is a junkie of being fed on because he has anxiety. We don't really get more than that. We know he's tried other outlets, but overall, he is simply a junkie, hence the name. He seems almost snively, whiny, and I had a difficult time liking him.

Orion is not completely vampire, rather he's half. No fangs, no enhanced senses. He still needs some blood, but not like a full vampire. He meets Eli because Eli signs up for a weekend being used however the house of vampires deems fit. Orion "claims" Eli and despite their strange arrangement, somehow ends up falling for him. He is the more developed of the characters. I do wish we knew more about him.

Since this happens just over a weekend, there was some time for development, but it seemed slightly forced for me. Despite there being an attraction, there was not a lot of miscommunication or non-communication. And even though their relationship is just beginning, the open-ended ending seems to hint that they will continue to a new story, which I can only hope will bring more communication.

Lyssa Dering is an author of queer erotic romance. She writes about damaged characters in impossible situations who, despite often horrifying struggles, will always get their happy ending.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of fangjunkie27 (FangFinder #1) by Lyssa Dering to read and review for this tour.

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