Tag Archives: vampire

Review of Bound (The Silverton Chronicles #2), by Carmen Fox

I won an Audible copy of Carmen Fox‘s Bound. I read and reviewed book one of The Silverton Chronicles, Guarded earlier in the month.

Description from Goodreads:
Florian has it all: excellent fashion sense, a kickass job with his best friend, and a hard-won place among Silverton’s werewolves. When a pack of females pads into their territory, Flo’s alpha dispatches him to handle a merger. Total cakewalk. Except Keely, their alpha, has no intention of submitting her wolves to Flo’s larger pack. Worse, a single glance from her baby blues sends his eloquence on vacation and his heartbeat into overdrive. His flirtations seem welcome too, but there’s a snag. She doesn’t know he’s a vampire.

While Flo struggles with his conflicts—obey his alpha or win over Keely—his estranged sire blasts into town with a catalog of radical ideas. And hanging out with unsophisticated werewolves didn’t make the list.

With violence in the air and all sides testing his loyalties, Florian must bite back, even if showing his fangs costs him the girl.

Review:
Look, I realize that not every book is going to be a feminist masterpiece. But there are times when a reader who is even remotely aware of stereotypical representations of women in fiction reads a book and can’t help but notice when a woman is pigeonholed in a patriarchal way. And there are times when this is done so drastically or repeatedly that it becomes an all-encompassing distraction for said reader. That is the case with me and this book. I was so often side-eyeing it with a ‘why does that female character act that particular way’ or ‘why is that women treated this way’ that it blotted out most of the rest of the story.

This book was infuriating. As far as I was concerned it’s basically a litany of ways to subtly to say ‘subservient to a man is a woman’s true place.’ Everything from the older female vampire who couldn’t stand up to her maker, while the younger brother was a “full grown male” so he could, to the ultra powerful Guardian who could only do her duty because her husband allowed her to, to the female alpha who didn’t really want to be an alpha, but “just a girl” (not woman mind you, but girl) who gives responsibility to someone else (a man). And of course she also happened to like to be tied up and spanked, another way to give away her power. And of course she was treated as unreasonable because she didn’t want to submit. And of course the solution the book comes to in the end  was actually subservience to a male dressed up as something else.

But there’s more. There’s the vampire sister who really liked to clean up after her brothers and iron the clothes and domestically slave away for them, instead of pursuing her own career. And a whole boatload of victimized women who are treated as a commodity. But mostly, it’s just a ton of subtle little snipes that put men above women. And that’s without my getting into how dehumanizing I thought their constantly being referred to a ‘the females’ was. None of whom had names or personalities. They might as well have been ‘the vases’ or the ‘vehicles’ or ‘the incubators.’ It drove me crazy.

But stories that paint women as secretly wanting to place themselves in the hands of a man, instead of being responcible for themselves isn’t uncommon. The thing in this book that irritated me, but isn’t so common was the treatment of Ollie (maybe Ali, can’t tell with an audio version). Unless he gets an M/M book next in the series, I’m going to have to call that whole thing nothing more than queer bating. There is just no reason for Florian and Ivy to be bound to ‘mates’ in the same ceremony and one lead to a romance without readers expecting the same from the other. And there isn’t any reason to set this up with a man except queer bating. You might say it was so that Florian could get out of it to meet his mate here, but it simply wasn’t necessary in the first book, so it’s not necessary here. Queer. Bating.

Lastly, the whole thing was very predictable. I found it annoying that no one was supposed to see the obvious machinations. And I found the little bit of bondage and spanking irrelevant. It wasn’t well incorporated and felt unnatural in the sex scenes.

The thing is, this is a second book in a series and I had a lot of the same sort of problems with book one. So, I can’t say I’m surprised. But I really wanted to have this read and off my TBR. The mechanical writing seems fine, but the authors version of what should make women happy makes me gnash my teeth. The narrator, Brian Callanan did a fine job with it though.

Review of Guarded (The Silverton Chronicles #1), by Carmen Fox

I bought a copy of Guarded, by Carmen Fox.

Description from Goodreads:
When everyone’s existence depends on the lies they tell, trust doesn’t come easy. 

Ivy’s neighbors have a secret. They aren’t human. But Ivy has a secret, too. She knows. As long as everyone keeps quiet, she’s happy working as a P.I. by day and chillaxing with her BFF Florian, a vampire, by night. When a routine pickup drops her in the middle of a murder, her two worlds collide. While Florian knows how to throw a punch, deep down he’s a softie. His idea of scary? Running out of hair product. It’s time Ivy faced facts. Even with a vampire on stand-by, one gal can only kick so many asses. 

For help, she must put her faith in others. A human, who might just be the one. A demon, who will, for a price, open the doors to her heritage. And a werewolf, who wants to protect her from herself. 

Torn between these men, Ivy must tread carefully, because one wants her heart, one wants her body, and one wants her dead.

Review:
Sigh, mechanically the writing and editing in this book seem fine. Unfortunately, in my opinion the plot is totally useless. The book is all over the place, but more to the point, I hated it.

As a romance it fails on SO MANY levels. Let me put it like this. She has a condition that after her 25th birthday (because apparently magic knows your b-day, y’all) she literally lusts after every man she sees, even though she actively doesn’t want to. She then goes on to try and date one man, have sex with another (several times), almost have sex with a man in an alley, and love a man. Unfortunately, she doesn’t do any two of those things with the same man. That’s right, she’s trying to date one man, while having sex with another (and lusting over everyone) and then on the last page, last paragraph basically we’re told she loves another. WTF? There was no development on that. But what kind of satisfying romance do you think a book can have if the heroine trying to give her body to every man she meets,?

But, for me personally, the biggest issue is that this idea that women can’t control their own sexual urges is an old, painfully patriarchal one. It’s one of the reasons why they can’t be trusted to own and have authority over their own bodies. We still fight this stupid idea to this very day, in real life. And the book had the perfect patriarchal ending, she pretty much ended up with a man who had the power (extra power she gave him) to control her. She goes against her own natural inclinations to be with him. You know what, author, write historical if you want to write this kind of trite. I ended the book steaming.

The whole thing was only made worse by there being exactly 3 women in the book, other than main character and some background victims (who were raped, because of course they were). Two were characterless sisters, basically just names to fill in the cast. One was the cliched jealous harpy who will probably sell the heroine to the villain in future books, because that’s what the jealous harpy always does in such books.

I bought and read this book because, somewhere along the way I ended up with an audible copy of book two (Bound), and wanted to listen to it. Now, I’m kind of regretting both.

Review of Blood Guard (Mission #1), by Megan Erickson

I received a copy of Blood Guard, by Megan Erickson, through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change mydestiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.


Review:
Sooo, I was not impressed. I swear I’ve read this book before. I’m not throwing out the big P word or anything. Good lord, nothing like that! But it just felt like a common plot, with a pretty common heroine and a fairly common hero and noting about it felt particularly new or fleshed out. When you really boil it down, this was a bog standard paranormal romance with nothing (good or bad) to make it stand out in any way.

What’s more it was about as subtle as a sledge hammer. Nothing had enough time to develop or for me to become invested in it. The book isn’t bad. It’s just not overly good either. But for a quick, you’ll-know-exactly-what-to-expect kind of read it’ll fill the bill.