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REVIEW: Bloodlaced – Courtney Maguire

Bloodlaced - Courtney Maguire

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Historical, Dark

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.

Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.

In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.

Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save his life.

Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.

The blood of the innocent.

Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.

New master, same threat.

With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what he loves most.

Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence

The Review

Bloodlaced is the first book in the “Youkai Bloodlines” series by Courtney Maguire.  I read book two Blood Pact and book three Blood Bound, which released in February 1, 2022.  It is possible to read Bloodlaced after Blood Pact because Bloodlaced is the story of Asagi’s life.

Asagi was abandoned by his mother when he was an infant. He was sold to a Master, and life for him had a cruel start. As he was traded from Master to Master, his prospects didn’t improve.

No one knew what to do with Asagi. He was always beautiful, and looked like a woman and wanted to be a woman. But he was both male and female, and it confused people. What people didn’t understand, they feared. 

Once again, Asagi is being sold. This time he meets a young boy, Tsukito, awaiting the same fate. Tsukito’ mother died and now at the age of nine, he is all alone. Tsukito resists going with this new Master and is dragged off by Yutaka. With orders from this new Master, Asagi now has the responsibility of being the boy’s mother.

Asagi prays that life for both he and Tsukito, will change for the better, but he knows it’s impossible. Tsukito remains in Asagi’ heart and he carries the guilt for not protecting him.

With heartbreaking results for Asagi, there is nothing he can do as Tsukito is left behind with the cruel Master. For Asagi, life is about to change again with his new Master, Arakawa Mahiro.  Mahiro is a good man and much more understanding than other masters.

Asagi meets Kira, Kaoru, and Haruko, and they become friends. As time goes on Asagi misinterprets what he feels is happening between Mahiro and Kira. Mahiro always takes the time to explain situations to Asagi and they grow close, and eventually Asagi will find out the truth about Mahiro and will struggle with what he knows.

But jealousy will bring Asagi close to death and force Mahiro to make a grave decision to save him. Asagi faces an unknown future – will he be able to accept and control where life will lead him?

Courtney Maguire infuses Bloodlaced with Japanese verbiage, giving the worldbuilding a beautiful, authentic flavor. There’s a dictionary at the end of the book, and I highly suggest you look it over first. She’s also very good an handling potential triggers in the story, never making them overly explicit. There are some violent scenes and some killing, but that’s the way of Youkai.

Bloodlaced has a dark theme, filled with a variety of emotions and layered with a unique love affair and unpredictable outcomes. It’s sad, heart breaking and at moments filled with happiness. It’s also colorful, conveying a beautiful picture of old world Asian culture.   

With this series, Maguire is a new author for me. I’m invested in the “Youkai Bloodlines” series, and am (not so patiently) waiting for book four!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 


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