After a dismal first year at college Aric s parents decide to take him Serbia to be privately tutored by Nikola Jovanovic They hope this time with the reclusive yet world renowned music master will set Aric on the road to success Unhappy to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with the eccentric Nikola at first Aric can see no good in his situation But slowly his interest in the older man grows and before long Nikola is teaching him much than music Passion, and love grows, but with it also comes danger and heartbreak Will Aric be able to understand and accept all of Nikola and when the time comes will Nikola accept who Aric s become for him Rachmaninoff started out really slow for me It took a while for me to connect with the characters and their relationship In fact, there were times I didn t really like either one However, the I got into their story the they grew on me Nikola represents the ideal of the classic vampire handsome if a bit moody and he even wears a cloak Aric for his part is a talented young man who deeply feels the lack of familial love in his life He s also a bit wild and loves to have sex but deep down he s a vulnerable, emotional man looking for love Neither man thinks he s particularly worthy of it but what starts out as a sex blood urge deepens and that s when the story really hooked me in.This story is well written although at times it did drag a bit The characters are interesting and their developing relationship kept me engaged I ve been a fan of vampire books for many years and was impressed with the way the authors presented them here especially that the turning or becoming a vampire wasn t glamorized or sanitized It read like I ve always felt it would be, scary and painful Nikola isn t perfect, in fact they both make mistakes throughout the story but that just added to the overall feel of the book I really enjoyed the good, bad, beautiful and ugly sides of love in a vampire relationship They both love and hurt each other deeply but in the end realize that to make it through eternity all they really need is each other. Nineteen year old Aric Reynolds becomes the less than willing student of the vampire Nikola Jovanovi , and he s pissed about his parents dropping him off in a castle in Serbia Nikola s lessons in music and history do start to grow on him, but don t satisfy his cravings to be anywhere else, doing anything else, trying to achieve the oblivion that would be preferable to his emotionally empty life Casual sex and drinking might shut down Aric s mind, but it only infuriates Nikola, who has watched Aric from afar since he was a thirteen year old child prodigy and senses the vast potential Aric carries That is creepy, but this is a vampire they take the long view The lessons turn from the strictly academic and musical, to lessons of the heart, taught in both directions Nikola both holds Aric at a distance and teaches him about intimacy, and Aric tutors Nikola, sometimes with very harsh lessons, about letting go and listening Nikola, unfortunately, is not a very good student.The story divides roughly into two sections, and the first, in set mostly in Nikola s stronghold, contains most of the emotional story arc The pair goes from antagonistic to lovers, and had the story ended there, I would have closed the book with a most contented sigh Aric both figures out Nikola s secret and accepts it, and shows some great emotional growth in learning to care about others and even to love, while Nikola engages in a real relationship for the first time in centuries And there really are very few things as sweet as a kiss in Paris in the spring.But those centuries of keeping his own counsel have left a mark Nikola slips into his old ways of making decisions without consulting Aric, creating multiple incidents of extreme havoc The first was both unnecessary and far too easily forgiven, and the others a minor character who wielded a cluebat did finally show up.The first section worked much better than the second, which divided its focus between emotions and the practical aspects of being a vampire, though it most certainly solidified the HEA Nikola kept repeating his earlier error, with variations, and while this might mirror the structure of Rachmaninoff s piano music, it unfortunately doesn t strengthen the story This writing team has done several things very well the emotional arcs for both Aric and Nikola are beautifully drawn, aside from the incident of easy forgiveness, and the incorporation of the music into the initial arc was well done, though possibly its accessible for someone with a little musical training The sense of place was vivid, especially during a section where the pair traveled extensively Aric s mind came through in lines like this He was in hell Without any extra batteries Some things didn t quite work the POV changed frequently and without warning, and the practical aspects of Aric s musical training and career didn t especially mesh with my understanding of the care and feeding of a serious musician.This is the first offering I ve read from Armstrong and Piet, and while the story had some issues, it had enough that really shines that I will gladly read. Rachmaninoff is a bit of a mixed bag It starts so slow that I almost gave up several times In fact if I hadn t really forced myself to continue I wouldn t have gotten through it Yet the story does pick up towards the second half, but by the end all I could think was that there is so much missed opportunity to the story I didn t particularly enjoy reading this and while there are some brief glimpses of good moments, overall this is not a book I d recommend sadly The story plays on some classical vampire themes, which I actually liked since I m a vamp fan of old Nikola is an ancient vampire in a spooky, creepy house in the far end of nowhere He dresses like he did when he was turned many centuries ago and no one seems to think that s odd Nikola s been obsessed with piano genius Aric for years and finally gets the boy as a student when Aric is older After a few months Aric and Nikola become lovers, travel the world together and prepare for a future The only question is whether Aric will remain living or become a vampire like Nikola Unfortunately, the plot is very slow to materialize and sort of meanders from the very start The beginning is filled with repetitious descriptions and scenes where Aric attempts to seduce Nikola, gets rebuffed and runs off to have anonymous sex with strangers Most of this sex is thankfully off page but the first 100 pages or so simply repeat the pattern with no real character or plot advancement Once the two men get together sexually, there is another cyclical pattern of sex, arguments about sex, resolution and repeat I wasn t sure what the point of all these repetitive scenes was, especially as the dialogue feels the same each time Perhaps this is to develop the opposites attract relationship but even that feels stalled and flat Part of the problem is that the writing and especially dialogue feels too stilted Aric is a modern 19 y o yet his speech has the same cadence, prose, and vocabulary as the 400 y o vampire This is both disconcerting and makes the characters blend together instead of highlight their differences A lot of Aric s dialogue and phrasing feel too formal and stuffy for a rebellious kid his age He s a cross between immature rebel kid and sophisticated young man who knows what he wants This back and forth is very jarring and never fully resolves Additionally neither man emerges as unique early on but instead the tone and voice of the writing tries too hard and overrides any individuality the two men could show As the story goes on the two feel slightly different and emerge as distinct personalities, somewhat Both Nikola and Aric are very melodramatic characters with strangely formal diction While I expect that of an old vampire such as Nikola, coming from Aric this is awkward at best Nikola never truly comes to life though and remains very two dimensional He has so much potential and the story gives Nikola the possibility for range with his background, fears, and desires but he never strays from the preset, slightly enigmatic role He remains seemingly ambivalent He says all the passionate words but his actions don t quite match the intent The most vibrancy Nikola displays is when he s drinking blood and those are some of the best, most energetic prose and descriptions in the story I loved Nikola s dream of bathing in Aric s blood I wish of that kind of energy had been imbued in the rest of the story Unfortunately I never warmed to Aric He comes across as a spoiled, arrogant, and totally immature young man that never changes much There is a scene halfway through when Nikola s makes a decision affecting Aric s life This could have been the turning point of the story There is so much incredible potential there to have Aric develop, stretch, grow, and really change yet the tension is totally wasted Instead the resolution is offered in the very next scene and I honestly felt cheated Any development and growth takes place off page and the reader is simply told it happened Not only did the story skip over the most dynamic tension offered but the plot returns to the repetition it mired in before Sadly I also never saw any change to Aric s character and he seemed exactly the same despite the characters repeated assertions that he was so different There are some technical issues such as really bad head hopping Although scenes are broken up by alternating viewpoint the writing can t seem to help throwing in the other viewpoint and head hopping Several scenes even change the POV in the same sentence The writing often feels very forced and manipulated While reading I was constantly aware of being led by the story instead of the narration unfolding naturally For example when it s time for Aric to discover Nikola is a vampire, Aric suddenly has that knowledge I can go along with this but at the same time it feels like a manipulated leap and without a lot of logical basis On the one hand I can see what the author was going for and there are a lot of interesting aspects The traveling, steeped in history and rich luxury, is a nice backdrop without the obvious, ridiculous wealth of vampire lore This feeds into the illusion and allure of vampires while keeping Nikola a tragic figure At the same though, the story feels incredibly predictable and lacks any real tension The characters repeat the same cycles and feel directionless This lack of strong direction and driving force definitely contributes to the slow pace and feel of the story The characters and story do have potential and some readers may be able to appreciate the subtly offered despite the issues Especially readers that enjoy stories without clear tension but follow the course of a relationship may like this I personally can t recommend it but that s just me. There are a lot of things that irked me in this book details are below.Overall, I will say that Rachmaninoff is an indulgent romp of a novel First, there s a vampire a la Alucard Long blond hair Check Cape Check Tortured soul Check, check, check Then, there are descriptions of riches, nobility, decadence, and several simmering sex scenes It s an over the top glut and there isn t much plot to speak of until you hit the second half of the book BUT simmering sex scenes Very simmer y The following are some of the issues that proved irritating as I ploughed through it Many of the issues have to do with poor editing Spastic POV changes sometimes mid sentence and a constantly changing narrator 3rd person character narration to 3rd person omniscient, etc Some wince worthy descriptions of music and piano playing I can understand that music and the playing of music is difficult to dramatize and put into words but, like the rest of the book, it was done in an over the top way that had me skimming those pages as quickly as possible.Extremely odd jumps in plot Example No sentences at all literally are devoted to Aric s suspicions about Nikola s vampirism or how Aric convinced himself that Nikola was a vampire Instead what we get is a sudden Did you ever drink his blood confrontation for the flimsiest of reasons woah, what It jarred me each time it happened sadly, it happened than once Clearly the author wanted to move very quickly from point A to point C but didn t really take the reader along for the ride so we ended up with bumpy landings instead.Like the many irritating ellipses that the editors left scattered everywhereThe drama queen dramatics Jumped from the page By page 55 I was skimming the book only to see how much ridiculous things would get. Nineteen Year Old Aric Reynolds Has Spent Most Of His Life In Boarding Schools, Summer Camps, Or On Tour As A Prodigy With The Piano His Wealthy Parents Have Never Had Time For Him, And After A Failed Year At College, They Have Decided On A Final Course Of Action Aric Is Brought To Nikola Jovanovi S Beautiful, Sprawling Manor In Serbia Nikola Is Known The World Around As A Master In Music, Unsurpassed By Any, But Terribly Reclusive For One Year, Aric Is To Be His Student, But In The Modern Day, It Is Easy For Aric To Learn Nikola S Secrets With A Dark Shadow Lurking From Nikola S Past And Aric S Stubborn, Promiscuous Nature, The Sexual Tension Between The Pair Simply Explodes, And Aric S Very Mortal Life Is Held In The Balance Have to admit i only read a couple of chapters then gave up completely Just cannot STAND the book, characters and the way the author writes Really not for me. I m not really an expert of vampire novels, but I think this one by S.L Armstrong K Piet is pretty much adherent to an old classic vampire novels There is an ancient vampire, Nikola, who not only was a feudal lord who was turned against his will, but he was, and still is, from East Europe At the time when Nikola was turned he lived somewhere in deep Russia, in the XVII century, when the land was fascinating but a little barbaric If I have to be true, Nikola doesn t appear to be a strong man, but someone of the intelligentsia, someone who is used to win his battle with his mind than his body And indeed he is now a renowned expert in historic and music, who is willingly taking a young pupil under his roof for an year of teaching him not only school lessons but also about life.Aric is a child prodigy, already touring in concert at 13 years old, and now at 19 he is burned he has no urge to learn, he feels as he has no strings, not with his country or his parents When his father plans to leave him in Serbia with Nikola, Aric has little choice, but it s not that he complains a lot, really One place equals another, and mostly Aric wants to loose himself, and his chosen way is to have sex with stranger, with whoever and whenever he has a chance.The secret of his tutor being a vampire is not really well kept, and it s not long that Aric confronts Nikola and as simply as that Nikola confirms that he is a than 500 years old vampire Aric turns his pursue of distraction from life from sex to Nikola he agrees to now have sex with strangers if Nikola tells him of his life Now, as I said, it s not that Nikola is really hiding he is a vampire he dresses like in the XVII century, he teaches his lesson from sunset to dawn, and he never eats or drinks and the secrets that he tells to Aric are or less what you can learn on East Europe vampires But for Aric is another game, another way to forget he has not really a life for him to come back or a family welcoming him Listening about Nikola s loneliness is a way to believe he is not the only one in the world with such emptiness inside him.The story moves along the usual path of the vampire novels, with even the European grand tour all by night that often you see in these vampire novels or movies I think the main difference is actually Nikola, and his weakness I m not saying he is weak in a derogative way, but he has not the usual strength you are used to read for vampire he has plenty of questions on his life and desire, he is unsure, often scared of his own feelings True, he makes some right moves regarding Aric, allowing him to grew into a man he can love, but all in all, I found Aric stronger than Nikola, in his loneliness, in his anger and in the end, in his love.http www dp 0982700830 I think I ve O.D d on vamp ficseither that, or maybe I m just looking for an original approach I adore the Anne Rice books, but maybe they ve spoiled me for life Either way, Rachmaninoff is no exception it s a good book, but it wasn t that original, breath of fresh air I d been craving view spoiler Nikola is a 400 year old vampire who lives in a castle like dwelling befitting Count Dracula He has set his sights on Aric, a young pianist whose playing inspires something in him Aric is young, talented, and a rebel his parents are happy to be rid of him and dump him on Nikola s doorstep to tutor the young man in the ways of the wealthy elite Aric, it turns out, is gay, and does not hesitate to seek sexual partners to pleasure himself, even while he is staying with Nikola But, of course predictably , Aric starts to develop feelings for Nikola, at the same time that the boy is realizing that his host is not human.Once together, Nikola and Aric travel the world, and their relationship grows by leaps and bounds Aric grows up at least to some extent , but eventually Nikola knows he must let the boy go, so that Aric can decide what he wants as in whether he wants to go back to Nikola and whether he wants to remain human, or have Nikola turn him The rest is pretty predictable hide spoiler Rachmaninoff by K Piet and S.L Armstrong is a very different yet interesting story At the beginning I did wonder just where Rachmaninoff, the Russian composer, came into the story he doesn t, other than apocryphally but I did enjoy the way that the authors worked him into the tale.In many ways I found this book to be a fascinating amalgam of history, character development, romance and just plain human interest and I was somewhat surprised, although pleasantly so, to find myself eager to just sit and absorb as I read.Aric and Nikola are about as different as any two man you can find but it made sense the I read Aric is young and, even for someone at the age for rebellion, he takes it to great lengths But, again, as the story progresses it is all too clear just why he acts as he does.Nikola on the other hand, is extremely old fashioned, to such a degree that, without understanding the whys and wherefores, it would seem to be ridiculous Personally I didn t find him in the least amusing or over the top again, the knowing makes all the difference and I m not going to say anything on that point It s probably not a huge stretch to figure it out, but a little mystery with a book can be a very good thing, and in the case of Rachmaninoff it s a wonderful thing Kathy K. 2,5 starsAric gets droped of in Serbia, by his parents in the mansion of his new tutor, who happens to be a vampire.Mostly the story featured only Aric and Nikola and they were not all that charming and fascinating, which made it harder for me to get through the book.While not without a merrit, this one story was not as engaging as the other books I ve read this month I got stuck in some places and I really didn t like one of the character all that much, while the other was too aloof and kind of cold Also I disliked all the drama and let s not forget the crying Sometimes I had a hard time to pick up the book again, because the dialogs were not flowing, they were repetitive and I got bored by the discussion of the same or similar issues Then again, years of separation were gone after a few pages A lot was described and not shown, which got boring and my attention wandered All in all not my best paranormal pick, good thing I wasn t reading this one for the paranormal elements.
Support S.L Armstrong K Piet on Patreon S.L Armstrong has been writing for as long as she can remember Art and reading have played a large part in her life since young childhood, but around fourteen, writing became her passion Voraciously consuming every book in front of her opened up hundreds of worlds in her head, and she soon wanted to create worlds for other people as well She has a particular fondness for gothic horror, horror, high fantasy, urban fantasy, and romance novels The authors she turns to time and again are Stephen King, L.J Smith, V.C Andrews, R.L Stine, and Anne Rice, among others She has no shame in picking up the young adult novels she loved as a child, and she will talk your ear off about grammar and punctuation.After she married her husband over seventeen years ago, she began to truly delve into the world of writing for public consumption It was sheer chance that she stumbled on M M fanfiction, and she s not looked back Though fanfiction will always have a fond place in her heart, she soon grew tired of playing in other people s sandboxes When she discovered M M romance, and how it was now a legitimate branch of romance writing, she knew her course S.L plans to release F F, M M, M F, and multiple partner books as she continues her writing career M M romance is where her heart lies, no matter what else she may write or read, and it s where she keeps returning to There is something about two men passionately in love that just makes her heart melt, and she has no intention of giving that up anytime soon.S.L Armstrong lives in Florida with her husband, partner, two dogs, and twelve cats She hates the heat and longs for a northern, snowy climate She writes with K Piet on a number of projects, but she also writes her own solitary titles as well.
- 256 pages
- S.L. Armstrong
- 04 February 2018 S.L. Armstrong