Tag Archives: vampires

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Book Review: Steele’s Salvation, by Leeah Taylor

I picked up a copy of Steele’s Salvation (by Leeah Taylor) as an Amazon freebie.

Hi, I’m Lilith Boudreaux and I am a super magnet for trouble.

New regent to my mother’s coven? I’m the girl.

Secretly more than meets the eye? Yep, that’s me.

The Vampire Conclaves long awaited Queen? Crap… that’s trouble.

I came home to take my mother’s place as regent to the Blood Crescent coven following her death. How hard can it be to smile, nod, and lead the witches of Rivercrest?

Should be easy, right?

If easy is finding out I’m also mate and Queen to the Greystone brothers—the most powerful vampires in Rivercrest—then this will be a piece of cake. There’s just a teensy little law forbidding me, a witch, from consorting with vampires. Oh, and it’s punishable by death.

The secrets I keep will suffocate me.

The pressure to be something I’m not will crush me.

My sanity hangs by a string.

And my only salvation may very well be my demise —Steele Greystone.

my review

OK, look, I’m going to go ahead and acknowledge that I know some things that I hate in a book are the same that others will love (and vice versa). But I don’t feel like giving this fact a lot of space in my review. So, I’m going to go ahead and write my review in the declarative, with the overarching caveat that it’s my opinion. I know others will feel differently, and that’s ok. No one needs to come argue with me if they love the very things I hate. You do you, Boo.

I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. Honestly, for the first 1/3 or so, I thought I was going to love it. The blurb starts with, “I came home to take my mother’s place as regent to the Blood Crescent coven following her death. How hard can it be to…lead the witches of Rivercrest?” I was down for it.

Let me now give you a quote from the last paragraph of the book. (And, yeah, obviously, it’s going to be a spoiler.) “I came as the Blood Crescent coven’s Regent, only to become the vampire Conclave’s queen but really, I became a mate, wife, and mother.” Let me just pry my eyeballs out of the back of my skull from where I rolled them so damned hard.

Let me also lay this out. I was promised a woman large and in charge, with power and authority in her own right. What I was given was yet another patriarchal fairytale of a woman who would rather give up all of her own power, authority, ambition, and success in order to play second fiddle to her man (men, in this case). Because obviously, being someone else’s wife and mother is going to bring her more satisfaction and joy than setting and achieving goals of her own.

And let me be really clear. It’s not being a wife or having children that are at issue here. It’s the fact that women in such books always have to give up everything else. The message is very clear about how wrong she is for wanting anything else. Under her man, bearing his children was the only true and proper place for her all along. She just needed whatever obstacle the plot provides her to overcome in order to learn this truth. That’s the lesson of such plots.

Why must women always give up their own lives to find happiness with men? Why, exactly, can’t women be socially powerful and have a family/children? I mean, men get to do it. All. The. Time. In fact, all three of her mates do it in this very book. What’s more, they not only get their family and keep their power, they gain by virtue of tying themselves to a queen. (And let’s be clear, she is their queen. The importance of the role is tied to them, not the administrative duties or social position.) Have women really not had enough of this exact same message yet? I know I’m beyond sick of it.

I am not only just exhausted with being endlessly force-fed the idea that the only true place for a woman (the only place she can really find happiness) is popping babies out at the behest of men, but I just find the lack of imagination almost insulting. This story has been written and written and written and written and written and written. And frankly, it doesn’t even make a lot of sense to me in the why-choose genre. If I wanted to bask in stereotypically traditional family gender roles, I sure as hell wouldn’t be picking up a polyamorous vampire romance book. Get out of here with that shit.

steele's salvation photoI’ll grant that the writing is fine, the dialogue especially. But the editing does start to deteriorate past the halfway mark. And I very much appreciated that, since we got the men’s internal dialogue, we were privy to a lot of their fears and vulnerabilities.

I guess if you like this book will come down to if you like this sort of plot. I just really, really don’t. And I feel like this book promised me so much more, only to then serve up the least imaginative drivel Western (misogynistic) society has to offer.

Other Reviews:

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Book Review: Kingdom of Blood, by Callie Rose

Last year, I picked up a copy of Callie Rose‘s Kingdom of Blood omnibus through Amazon. It includes Blood Debt, Dark Legacy, and Vampire Wars.

I picked it up to read now because I’m really enjoying paranormal Why Choose romances, and I’m trying to focus on reading only series that I already have all of the books. My fun reading time is so limited right now that I’ve decided not to give my attention to anything that I don’t have a guarantee of reaching a conclusion.

kingdom of blood cover

I’ve dedicated my life to slaying vampires. Now I’m about to offer up my blood. When my brother gets into some serious trouble with the Vampire Clan of Baltimore, there’s only one thing I can do to save his ass.

I decide to offer myself up as a blood tribute, infiltrate their underground palace, and find a way to get him out.

But playing the part of a simpering blood bag is harder than I expected, especially when my first impulse is to put a stake through the heart of every vamp I meet. To make matters worse, I’ve somehow caught the eye of three dangerous vampire men:

Bastian, an ancient prince with features as cold as ice and eyes that burn like fire.

Rome, a darkly sexy rebel who just returned from a hundred-year banishment.

And Connor, a newly turned vampire whose lopsided grin is so devastatingly human that I almost forget he’s the enemy.

Even though I want to hate them all, they keep getting under my skin in ways I can’t explain. But if I let myself lose focus for even a second, it won’t just be me who pays for it. My brother will suffer too.

I’ve danced with the devil plenty of times…

But this time, the dance might kill me.

my review

I don’t usually use star ratings here on the blog. But sometimes, giving something a numerical score really is the best way to make a point. If I were going to rate this series, I’d reluctantly round it up to a three. The first book was weak. But I stuck with it, hoping it was just first-book syndrome and the series would improve. Book two coasted on about the same. But by the third book, I was skimming, at best.

I didn’t care about anyone or anything and only finished it to have finished it. If I were rating them individually, I’d give books one and two low three stars and book three a two-star rating. Not so much because the quality dropped any lower, but because the author just wholly failed to bring the series into anything worth having stuck around through all three books.

The world is barely fleshed out. The plot is simplistic and stretches over far more pages than needed. The romance is instant and doesn’t even particularly make sense. Three times, in fact, kingdom of blood coversthe romance is instant and doesn’t even particularly make sense. The sex scenes might have been considered fine if I cared about any of the characters. But I didn’t, so they didn’t have any emotional impact. The heroine is oh-so-special for no apparent reason, while the heroes are characterless cardboard cutouts. And the narration is overblown, though I’ll acknowledge that the mechanical writing is fine.

All in all, this was tolerable. I’m just glad to be finished.

Other Reviews:

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Book Review: The Serpent and the Wings of Night, by Carissa Broadbent

Carissa Broadbent‘s The Serpent and the Wings of Night was on Sadie’s Spotlight’s Instagram page a few months back. I was given a copy of the book for participating in the book tour.

The Serpent and the Wings of Night cover

For humans and vampires, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always – always – guard your heart.

The adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, Oraya carved her place in a world designed to kill her. Her only chance to become something more than prey is entering the Kejari: a legendary tournament held by the goddess of death herself.

But winning won’t be easy amongst the most vicious warriors from all three vampire houses. To survive, Oraya is forced to make an alliance with a mysterious rival.

Everything about Raihn is dangerous. He is a ruthless vampire, an efficient killer, an enemy to her father’s crown… and her greatest competition. Yet, what terrifies Oraya most of all is that she finds herself oddly drawn to him.

But there’s no room for compassion in the Kejari. War for the House of Night brews, shattering everything that Oraya thought she knew about her home. And Raihn may understand her more than anyone – but their blossoming attraction could be her downfall, in a kingdom where nothing is more deadly than love.

my review

I quite enjoyed this. I don’t think there’s anything particularly new or discursive in the plot. It never really departs from the expected. But the writing/editing is good, and I had fun with it.

I liked both main characters. There was humor, grit, an interesting world and politics (even if it focused pretty narrowly within it). There are platonic cross-gender friendships and exploration of characters who are both loved/loving and monstrous. Plus, I was so invested in Ibrihim (a side character). I cannot tell you!

I’ll be looking forward to book two. In fact, had I realized it’s due out next month, I probably would have held off on reading this one so that I could read them together.

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Other Reviews:

The Serpent and the Wings of Night by. Carissa Broadbent | Book Review

The Storied Blog: Review The Serpent and the Wings of Night