Monday, 25 June 2007

Blood Secrets by Vivi Anna

Beautiful stylish cover to this novel. Lovely lyrical name for the author. Shame the story is such a stodgy piece of dross.

There is absolutely no point to this being a paranormal. It is basically a very lightweight, research-free police procedural. Unlike the author I don't like cop shows (anymore). What is worse, with the creation of a separate city for paranormal beings there is a strong whiff of nasty ghettoisation throughout the whole plot.

I'll be honest. I didn't care about the victims and I didn't like either the heroine or the hero. Every character is a cardboard stereotype of some sort or another. The heroine is NOT the whore her former lover says she is. But, by her own admission, she is the next step up, a groupie. She likes banging her work managers despite the fact that she knows it has compromised her career. But she still takes precedence in the investigation over the long-serving 'otherworld' team members. Because the manager hero has the hots for her. Yuk. There is nothing 'charismatic' about the hero. He reads like the usual over-fussy team manager. His being a vampire is completely irrelevant. In fact he spends much of the novel anally supressing his vampire characteristics. Why? Walk tall Sonny.

The only thing that gave me enjoyment in this story was the one or two pages where the chief baddie looks forward to doing lots of naughty sexual things with the captive heroine. I so wanted them to happen. But in actual fact the reader never gets to meet the baddie...he seems just to vanish into thin air. And there's another scene where the heroine fantasizes about being raped. How sweet. There is no romantic feeling whatsoever between the main couple. They just have sex.

The strongest images that came into my mind as I read the novel were of people snapping on their latex forensic gloves and striding down corridors from one room to another. The trouble is that I need more than that to be entertained by a story. As for that stupid scene where the main couple have an argument about who should go into the dumpster to look for the victim's severed head. DO ME A FAVOR! God knows how they would manage to co-operate if there was really any danger around.

Although this book was a complete waste of money it has made me appreciate anew the alpha-male vampire warrior. Of which there are absolutely none in Blood Secrets.

You will notice that I haven't named any of the characters. That's because the author's only talent, imo, is to give strong names to the drippy people featured in the novel.

The whole point of reading a series romance is that it is a quick read. This turgid mess took me days to finish seeing how I could only put up with a few pages at a time.

Basically. It's boring.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Dark Lover by J R Ward

This was the first of the series and also the first BDB novel that I read.

First thing. The Lessers should be the good-guys. I mean. They kill vampires don't they?

And these are not nicey-wicey vamps.

There is a really good scene in this novel. When Wrath rescues Beth from Mr X and Mr R. The scene is told from the pov of Beth. But when I thought about it from Mr X's pov I realised that Wrath is a very very scarey vampire. He has no trouble locating Beth. He announces his arrival with ominous rumbling, blasts open the barn door with the force of his anger and takes more than one direct hit from a weapon....and lives! Meanwhile Beth is able to attack and disable her kidnapper despite having a pit-bull tearing at her thigh. Both Beth and Wrath are horrific (but beautiful) creatures. Despite being the heroine and hero of the story. Weird.

And why on earth did Wrath allow the traitor, Havers, not only to keep his life but to maintain his position in the vampire community?? Defies belief and shows that Wrath is weak when it matters most.

Still. There's quite a lot of clues as to the state of the brotherhood in this novel. The SV tell Wrath, 'The Brotherhood is cursed. There are none left in it who are not strong.' Which is true. No wonder they have such difficulty in overcoming the Lessers. Wrath believes in his brothers' abilities however. We shall see. I wonder who will be the first brother to D.I.E.

From what I remember, the romance between Wrath and Beth forms the majority of the novel. Unlike some of the later books where the romance is almost irrelevent. I think that is such a shame. But I know I'm in a minority.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

This book starts off with the author boasting about her upmarket lifestyle. I'm so glad my money's going to a worthy cause.

What defines a paranormal romance? Basically soft-core and bloody violence. After reading Crimson I felt quite nauseous from so much of both.

What is missing from this novel is a sense of peace. There is so much going on. On every page. Busy, busy, busy. Much too busy. In the end I didn't care about any of them. Including the main couple. Still. That's better than when I spent a whole week obsessing about Z and Bella after reading LA.

A word about mind control. Vampires who use mind control on their intended female 'mates' are all pussy. Because it takes away free will. Mind control is not violent so it's not rape but it comes a close second. In Crimson the heroine frequently has sensual images of herself and the hero. But the reader could be unsure if those images are the due to the hero's psychic abilities or not. Just a thought. Plus. The hero, Dante, also lies his fucking head off in order to ingratiate himself with his intended. But he apologises nicely towards the end of the story. As if that excuses his behaviour. Personally I prefer the moral code of humans. Not only about telling the truth. But also about not going out and personally killing people who are different.

On the other hand I have to ask. Why are so many female authors, including this one, using a child abuse theme to entertain their readership? That is the reason why I stopped reading Eve n Roarke stories. Mind you. I've read dozens of books which feature murder but never questioned the ethics of those authors. Maybe I should have.

But at least the drug-dealer gets what he deserves in Crimson. We can only hope the same fate awaits Rhevenge. However. imo Ben's is the most interesting story in the novel. He started off with such high ideals and then descended into a complete hell. His mother truely has a loss to mourn. Unlike the cardboard Elise. I wouldn't be surprised if Ben is based on a real-life incident.

Usually I'm not a fan of novels where the reader is subjected to the POVs of several minor characters in addition to those of the main couple but the technique works quite well in Crimson.

This novel is primarily about the romance between Dante and Tess. However we also meet the newly scarred vampire warrior Rio. A civilian vampire called Sterling who will probably get his own novel sometime. I quite liked the Gen One warrior Tegan but it looks like he’s going to get it together with the extremely wimpy Elise. Pooh.
Although I expect she will have totally changed her character by the time Tegan's story is published in December. Also I'd love to read how 'blonde' tech wiz Gideon and 'mocha' Savannah became a couple. Is there a chance for Marek to be rehabilitated?

Best scene; because so much of this type of novel is told from the vampire's pov the reader doesn't always realise how truely scarey these creatures are. So for me the best scene was when Tess met Rio in all his vampire glory.

Most gross scene; the tattoo sucking sex scene with Tess n Dante ( I thought I was long past the stage where an oral sex scene would get me going..but the imagery of blood and tattoos was just...); the orgy sex scene with Chase; when Dante hears the Rogues feeding on Tess. All totally gross.

A reason I find it very hard to like this type of paranormal romance is that essentially the heroine falls in love with a person who she knows is a multiple murderer. But in Crimson the heroine was a murderer herself long before she met the hero. So really, Tess and Dante are a good match.

What I'd really like is for one novel in this series (or Ward's or Kenyon's) to feature a female human who forces a vampire warrior to be her mate and he then falls in love with her. Would this work? On the other hand. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Next. Ann Stuart.

Oh.My.God! My reviews of Crimson over on and have been deleted. That is exactly why I created this blog. Amazon can't take less than gushing reviews of the books they sell. It's pathetic. (I wonder how I upset them)

Genre; paranormal smut. Movie rating 18; animal abuse, female brutalisation, gore, murder, violence, use of knives, use of guns, child abuse, mysticism, cursing, explicit sex, group sex, voyeurism, substance abuse.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

This is a surprisingly terrific read. For a paranormal romance. I actually got a feeling of suspense and danger whilst reading it. The novel has some great ideas...vampire suicide bombers for one...the gay bes'friend for another. I particularly enjoyed how the heroine used her past issues to help the hero and move the plot along. Very clever.

Best of all the main couple spend lots of time and chapters together as they develop their relationship. (Unlike in the Ward series.) And the heroine gives as good as she gets from the hero. No doormats allowed. (Unlike in the Kenyon series) Although Gabrielle and Lucan have sex before they acknowledge their love for one another it seemed entirely appropriate seeing how they were both emotionally mature adults. Also Lucan actually gives Gabrielle a choice about becoming his 'mate.' See what I mean about this story featuring adults? Having said that I have to admit that the hero does behave like a doofus a couple of times. Happily there is very little "I'm not worthy" rubbish from either of them. A word about the tatts...boootiful.

Basically Kiss of Midnight has a welcome linear plot. Such a refreshing change from the chaotic mish-mashs that form both Wards and Kenyon's series novels. That's probably because Kiss was written by a single author and the BDB and DH are so obviously produced by a committee of disparate hacks. At the same time it also displays the disadvantages of a one author novel...the struggle for words and the slow start being two.

Now listen up. This novel is recommeded by J R Ward on the fantasticfiction website. Can you believe that? Particularly when Kiss of Midnight is in many ways a simpler carbon copy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And even the cover art imitates the original covers of the BDB. So we all know exactly who really wrote Kiss of Midnight don't we? And if you look at the synopsis for the follow-up, Kiss of Crimson, it's a story of an (animal) doctor meeting a vampire warrior which is exactly what happens in the extract from Lover Unbound. Except that Crimson will obviously have a happy ending and LU may not.

We shall see.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Maybe I prefer middle-class romance authors.

This is a horrible and difficult read. It reads like the wish fulfillment of some fat, ugly, working-class serial girl-friend.

Basically its a romance between a barman and a shop owner. Being a Kenyon novel however, the barman Vane is also a blindingly handsome, rich, Were-Hunter (daylight killer of vampires) and his predestined mate, Bride, the shop owner.

They have full intercourse and oral sex about 20 minutes after they first meet. Just after Vane has bought a $600 necklace for Bride and told her he thinks she's beautiful. This happens on the same day that Bride is dumped by Taylor, her partner of 5 years. From one to the other. For much of the 5 years, Bride recalls that Taylor has treated her with not much respect, and continually let her know she's fat, ugly and he only stayed with her because Bride has relatives that work at TV studios and Taylor wants to get on in show-biz. So why on earth did Bride put up with a cunt like that for 5 years? Because she's trash that's why. And just so incredibly grateful when handsome men want her for sex. Yuk. Throughout the whole story Bride is completely subservient to the power of Vane's money. So gross. Basically Bride is a true doormat.

There's a particularly horrible wish-fulfillment fantasy near the beginning of the novel. The former partner, Taylor, threatens to dump Bride's belongings on the pavement. But the handsome hero Vane roars up on his Harley and pays the moving-men $2000 to put Bride's stuff in her shoe-box 'apartment'. It's like this experience really did happen to the auther except there was no Vane to prevent the former partner from humiliating her. Do I want to read shit like this? Not really.

But I persisted. About half-way through the adventure kicks in which makes for a much more interesting read. What I like about the Dark-Hunter world is that its basically a very sociable world. The guys go to bars, drink, have fantastic tatts, live in each other's houses and all know Ash and Simi. But Bride doesn't get any better. And actually I'd like the DHs a lot more if they weren't all so very very handsome.

It turns out that Bride is actually a daughter of the state's most successful veterinarian. (!!!) And she tries to justify her relationship with her former disrespectful partner like this; "...sometimes we let other people treat us wrongly because we want to be loved and accepted so badly we'd do anything for it." Crap. That is the philosophy of criminals, doormats, women who like to victimise themselves and hookers. If you have self-esteem you don't 'do anything' for some idiot's 3 minute love. By the end of the novel Bride is still fat and ugly. Nothing wrong with that. But her self-esteem is still totally dependent on another person; Vane. Get therapy sister.

Please Amazon. Hurry up and deliver my Lara Adrian. It's got to be better than this unromantic drivel. If I really wanted to read stuff about people like Vane and Bride I'd buy crap like Take A Break or watch late night repeats of Jerry Springer. I would say that that is exactly the target audience for Night Play. Unfortunately the target audience doesn't read books. So why inflict this nastiness on an aspirationally middle-class reader like myself? The heroine has minimal self-respect or dignity. (btw I have no trouble reading crimmies or thrillers by working-class male authors...I think)

However there is something interesting in this novel. The author quotes a little saying: "No good deed goes unpunished." Now what is that all about? I've never come across it before. Very negative and miserable. Actually I'd be more interested in what happened in Kenyon's life that makes her use that sad quote than continuing reading Night Play. (According to Wiki, Kenyon is a working-class dyslexic who went through some very tough times before she struck publishing gold with the Dark-Hunter series.)