Sleight of Heart by Aisling Mancy ~ Book Review by Brandilyn

Sleight-of-HeartTitle: Sleight of Heart

Author: Aisling Mancy

Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing

Cover Artist: Louis C Harris

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 03/15/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: M/M Romance, Paranormal


Lord Taliesin Solitaire was born albino, cursed mute by the fey, and betrayed by a vampire lover. For two hundred years the vampire mage has vowed never to love again and has only used sex as a means to a meal. Until a palm-reading gypsy finds himself in peril and Taliesin can’t resist rescuing the beautiful young man.

In Sleight of Heart, Pesha is the eldest but smallest son of King Vaida Sinclair, the oppressive ruler of the Kåle RomaniCompania. Deemed impure by his father, Pesha is shunned and mistreated by his band and four half-brothers, and one brother in particular wants him dead. His pale, silent savior gives him safety, security and a love he never could have imagined. As Pesha falls in love with his handsome white knight, his half-brother does the unthinkable.

Can Taliesin rescue Pesha from the cruel clutches of his half-brother a second time?

My View:

I am having trouble writing this review. I will say that Sleight of Heart is different from most of the books I have read in the genre. For that, I must applaud the author. Taking risks within the confines of the romance formula is not something I see enough in M/M romance.

I don’t know that I am in love with either Pesha or Taliesin, but I like them together. I think they both bring something to the relationship that the other needs. I appreciated how the author integrated the Romani customs into Pesha’s character without having overly long information dumps about the subject. I welcomed how he built Taliensin’s past through his interactions with Pesha and his daughter.

Where the story lost some points for me, however, was threefold. First, I can not stress enough how much good editing and proofreading can help a story and how much the lack of it can hurt a story. Sadly, there are expository passages that should have been reigned in and language that was over the top. I mean who uses the term “repining”? There are also errors on almost every page. Simple things that should be trivial to correct are overlooked or ignored.

Second, the fact the Pesha never moved past saying “I need to return” and “I need to go back” got a little old. I understand that returning to his family was ingrained. I understand that he needed to return. I understand that the author wanted us to know this without a doubt. However, I would have like a little more dimension to Pesha. He was a one-trick pony so to speak. I needed more depth to his character.

Finally, I didn’t feel the story was complete. There are times I felt like huge chunks of the story were left out. Going from Pesha in Taliensin’s arms almost directly to him trussed up over a rock almost gave me whiplash. There was no time for an emotional connection with the characters or the situation. No time to feel Taliensin’s loss. Heck, the gaps made it almost impossible to feel Taliensin and Pesha’s love for one another.

Overall I enjoyed this world and the story. I think there is a lot of potential here. I wanted it to be something great, but I think it needs more of a few things to get there.

Note: This review is based on a pre-release ARC.  As such I have removed my comment about the proofreading issues.  I don’t know if they have been corrected in the final version, but I will give the publisher the benefit of the doubt.   As such I have raised my rating from 3* to 3.5*.  I stand behind my comments about the editor needing to reign in parts of the story, as that should have happened before the final proofreading pass. 


Sleight of Heart on Goodreads
Cool Dudes Publishing
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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2 thoughts on “Sleight of Heart by Aisling Mancy ~ Book Review by Brandilyn

  1. I read Sleight of Heart and didn’t quite have the reaction that you had. I love the diversity of reader’s tastes. I know that there are things that some will like and others won’t. That said, I found Taliesin charming. His speech and mannerisms are formal, which I thought the author pulled off very well. Pesha was terrified of being caught, poor guy. His anxiety was tangible. Oh, and the sex. *fans self* lol I really enjoyed the world building and as I understand it, this is the first of a series. I can’t wait to see where the author takes us next.

  2. I can understand that not every story appeals to everyone and that is your prerogative as a reviewer, but frankly I find some of your criticism over the top, to use your own words. If you followed any of Ash’s blog posts you would know that the use of classical English prose was intentional; hence the use of words that are not typically seen in this genre. This is a classical piece, not a contemporary work. We are talking about a 200-year-old vampire mage here.

    I’m not going to go into the world building aspect because I’m having trouble reconciling the appreciation of no ” overly long information dumps” with the “huge chunks of the story left out.” I will only say that this is a novella and there is only so much world building one can do in under 50,000 words. Having read Sleight of Heart, it is my opinion that it had an incredible amount of depth for such a short work. Any author who has ever written short stories can tell you that it is much more difficult than writing a full-length novel.

    I also want to make clear that I know a thing or two about this author and I know that he does not take his craft lightly. He is extremely meticulous with his work. He has a team of beta readers who double as proofreaders (no, not one, two, three, four, or five, but a team). I can assure you that his manuscripts are combed over more than any other in this genre.

    While you may have found some of the passages “expository”, I reiterate that the writing style was intentional. If classical English prose does not appeal to you then perhaps you are not in a position to judge the book fairly. And I cannot conceive what you mean by “errors on almost every page.” Surely you are not referring to the use of British English, which was also intentional on the author’s part.

    So if you don’t like the book, that is acceptable and fair to say, but please be honest in your representations and do not make claims that are unfounded. The work should be judged for what it is and not what you wanted it to be. I loved the fact that this book took us off the beaten path a bit with a return to old-style classical writing. I think the approach was risky and very courageous on the author’s part and in my opinion he pulled it off brilliantly.

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