Tag Archives: Paranormal romance

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Book Review: Club Blood, by Sarah James & Cassandra Celia

I accepted an ARC review copy of Club Blood (by Sarah James and Cassandra Celia)  through Pride Book Tours.

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Sin City just got extra bloodthirsty… Welcome to Club Blood.

Vampires no longer hide in the shadows and humans have adjusted, learning to coexist with the Known. But in a city filled with sinful acts and lustful affairs, it’s not uncommon for mistakes to happen.

Cecelia agrees to visit Ambrosia, a notorious nightclub run by vampires, on the night of her birthday. But as Cece stumbles across the murder of one of the Known’s most feared council leaders, she is thrown into terrible danger.

For Mercy, being at the top and conquering her kingdom has always been above all else. It doesn’t bother her when she has to rip the heart out of her boss in order to get what she wants, though she does find it inconvenient that there’s a human witness.

Mercy and her coven hold Cece captive in order to secure Mercy’s quest to reign. Soon, Cece finds it hard to separate fear and attraction, being drawn to the enticing danger of Mercy’s life, and Mercy discovers that there might be just one person she’s willing to protect more than herself.

Just being together is enough to upend both of their lives, hurling them towards a war neither of them ever wanted to start.

Mercy must decide whether having Cece could be worth losing her kingdom, and Cece must endeavor to survive in a world of danger and darkness that was designed to kill her.

Their lust might be worth the bloodshed.

my review

I’ve got to admit. I didn’t resonate with this book. The writing is quite readable, and even though I had an ARC, the editing felt competent. So, any complaints I have are really just of the how well the book did or didn’t gel with me sort. And I’m afraid I leaned more toward didn’t.

I liked the idea of the book. A female vampire, fighting the patriarchal vampire culture to rise to the top of her bloody and cut throat career/society. And I appreciate that James and Celia were playing with gender tropes a little bit. But I also felt the plot and characters was super cliched. I’m afraid making it an F/F romance, but keeping all of the characteristics of a M/F romance isn’t transgressive. It’s lazy.

[Spoiler] Here we had the villainous jealous ex. The jealous ex that is contrasted against the innocent love interest by her aggressively sexual presentation (in her clothing, attitudes, and actions). How many times have readers seen this same thing? Too many. There’s both the sassy (and promiscuous) BFF who tempts the pure main character to leave her safe bounds. Her promiscuity gets her killed, BTW. We’ve seen this a million times too. Then she’s replaced with the sassy gay BFF. This one is male, but still a character we’ve all seen in just this character position many times before. Let’s just stop there. But I could go on. The big shark who smiles to Mercy’s face but really duplicitously seeks to re-subjugate the woman who dared leave her subservient place? Yep, not new or interesting.

Really the cliched characters were more than I could handle. But the real reason this didn’t resonate was that it was inconsistent. Mercy is said to be so merciless, but if that was true she never would have let the events of the book go as far as they did without solving (or even acknowledging) the problem. Her very actions undermined the primary characteristic we’re given for her. Further, the whole reason she breaks character club blood photo(separately than the preceding point) to keep and eventually fall for Cece is a mystery. I mean it’s a mystery in the book. So, again, her supposed ruthlessness is undermined by her actions. Then there is Cece. She has a convenient personality shift that allowed for the happy ending. But it didn’t feel believable. It was too abrupt.

All in all. I had complaints. Several of them. But they are things that bother me. They don’t bother a lot of other people. I suggest reading the book and deciding for yourself.


Other Reviews:

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Book Review: Vampire Tower #1-3, by Kelly St. Clare

I picked up a free Amazon copy of Kelly St. Clare‘s Blood Trial about this time last year. (Actually, a year ago tomorrow. LOL) Then I purchased Vampire Debt and Death Game in order to finish the series. I read them all back to back. So, I think I’ll just write a single review for the series, instead of for each individual book. But here is the blurb for book one, to give you an idea of what the series is about.

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The dice are rolled at midnight.

As the twenty-one-year-old heiress to the Le Spyre fortune, my life should consist of strawberry mojitos and golf carts.

Right? But I’m determined to forge my own path. Desperate to escape the meaningless games of the rich, I flee my family’s estate.

Secret alias—check.
Place to sleep—uh, kind of?
Job—crap!

I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but that’s the least of my worries. My city is a giant board game. The players are supernatural— freakin’ vampires—including an overbearing crown prince whose unwanted attention could spell my demise.

Now, I must play their deadly game, or my grandmother and best friend will pay the ultimate price.

my review

As I said, I purchased and read all three books (well, the first was a freebie). So, I can’t claim I didn’t enjoy the series. Otherwise I wouldn’t have continued. But this is one of those series that I enjoyed on the surface. I liked the characters. There’s some humor. The writing is engaging. The female main character had a backbone of steel and a sharp wit. The male romantic lead was forced to grovel in a satisfying manner and I liked how he let his heroine lead in so many situations. I was invested their outcome. I enjoyed it…so long as I didn’t think too deeply about it.

Because there just isn’t any getting around the fact that the hero owned slaves, saw nothing wrong with owning slaves, and had not changed his opinion about owning slaves by the end of the book. It’s gets awful hard to keep the ‘romantic’ in the ‘romantic male lead’ in such cases.

Similarly, there just isn’t any was to ignore the fact that (as is so often the case in romance books), by the end, he had gotten everything he wanted without sacrificing anything for it. While she had to go through hell and willing give up almost everything she valued in order to earn her man. Why are women so often expected to suffer for love, while men just have to exist?

And lastly, there’s just something a little classist and elitist about the way she was made out to be so exceptional because she grew up wealthy and was therefore trained to be more. Sure, she avoided her wealthy friends’ snobbish fate because she had and valued a poor friend. But the whole thing was just icky.

All in all, as I said in the beginning, this is a fun (if slow) series, so long as you don’t think past the surface plot.

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Other Reviews:

Mini Reviews | Vampire Towers Series by. Kelly St. Clare

Book Review: The Unseelie Prince, by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

I received a copy of Kathryn Ann Kingsley‘s The Unseelie Prince in last month’s Supernatural Book Crate.the unseelie prince coverThe throne is Valroy’s for the taking…but first, he needs a queen.

As the son of the Morrigan and heir to the vacant Unseelie throne, Valroy itches to shed the mantle of prince and take his place as King. To his great regret one ancient tradition stands in his way, demanding he first take a bride. With all the members of the Unseelie court proving to be insufferable, what is a prince to do?

Steal a human, of course.

Abigail often wonders if the townsfolk aren’t right in calling her cursed. Abandoned by her husband and with no family to call her own, everything in her life hangs by a thread. Never did she except her downfall would come by taking pity on an old hermit. Abducted into the dangerous world of Tir n’Aill, Abigail is thrust into a terrifying maze that defies all logic. There, she finds herself at the mercy of an Unseelie prince with a strange offer—survive his maze and he’ll give her the solution to all her problems…

If she can live that long.my reviewI am 100% torn about how I feel about this book. On one hand I love old-school fae who don’t conform to mortal norms and morals. They’re basically my favorite kind. And that’s Valroy in a nutshell. However, on the other hand, this is supposed to be a romance. And the romance aspect of this fell really flat for me.

Sure, I get anti-heroes. I understand dark romance. And I saw that Valroy’s attitudes were changing over the course of the book. But the fact remains that he legitimately didn’t care if she lived or died for the majority of the book. And that does not equal any sort of romance in my mind. So, for me, it was a fail on that front.

But there is the undeniable third hand in which I am curious to see where the story goes from here. So, I’m going to call this a middle-of-the-road read and hope that the romance strikes my fancy a little more in book two. the unseelie prince photo


Other Reviews:

The Unseelie Prince Book Review

February 2022 Wrap Up