Tag Archives: vampires

Awakening

Book Review: Awakening, by Jennifer Leigh Pezzano

 

I accepted a copy of Awakening from the author, Jennifer Leigh Pezzano, for review.

Awakeing by Jennifer Pezzano

Jezebel is a solitary woman with a haunted past. Running a business in a small coastal town, she clings to the predictability of her days, seeking refuge in the silence. When an enigmatic new client comes into her life, she is drawn to him, unaware of the link she holds to his own tangled history.

He offers her a seductive proposal, and she is propelled into an entrancing world of pleasure that shatters her reality, and deeply alters her sense of self.

But underneath all his magnetism and power lies the human complexities of a grieving man running from his shadows. Will August surrender his centuries of pain and allow Jezebel fully into his life? And will Jezebel be able to navigate the landscape of what he has to offer?

Delivering a new meaning to the vampire archetype, Awakening is a multi-layered, sensuous, paranormal love story that reaches through the curtain of time. The intricate ties that connect these two to one another will forever transform the course of their lives, stretch the fabric of their reality, and awaken within them something deeper and more profound.

my review

This didn’t work for me. Certainly, the writing and the editing are fairly clean, though I think the writing won’t work for some people. It’s very purple. I don’t personally mind that, as I think it’s pretty. The writing here is quite lush. My only complaint being how frequently Jezebel’s name is said (too frequently). But anyone sensitive to purple prose will likely be put off. And I liked the idea of connecting to greater, collective energies. Plus, look at that gorgeous cover! But so very much of the rest of the book bothered me.

First off, I was bored breathless. This book rambles on and on, with literally entire seasons passing in a matter of pages and more time dedicated to describing the weather than whatever actually happens in that section of the book.

What’s more, if you include the Embrace, which isn’t actually sex but is quite sexual, I think a LITERAL third of the book is sex. And not extensive, erotic sex scenes, but instead sex that’s meant to be sooo meaningfulllll. We’re told about the look in someone’s eye (or what was read in someone’s eye), how badly it’s wanted, and thenBAMpenetrative sex, orgasm, and post-coital ‘you are so amazing’ pillow talk….multiplied by a million. I mean it was endless.

But what really bothered me was two-fold. It was the dismissive way that the whole middle section of the book is dedicated to August’s dead wife and then she’s just dismissed, a place-holder, existing solely to affect August and to gift the future Mrs. August a gift. Of no real importance on her own.

And it was the way everything centers on the all-knowing, perfect man. Jezebel meets him, learns from him (because he’s sooo much more worldly and knowledgeable), is improved by her association with him, and gives up her whole apparently meaningless life to run off with him…TWICE. Two clueless Jezebels come to him, fall in love, run off into the sunset, and learn to live because of how amaaaaazing August is. Men apparently hold the key to meaningful knowledge and a satisfying spiritual and emotional life, or at least this one does.

This was exacerbated by how quickly the relationships developed. They went from meeting to sex at light speed. Then there’s some lag and separation, and then they went from sex to love immediately. But the reader never really saw why, when, or how either party fell so desperately in love. August especially had some pretty big hurtles to get over and, even having finished the book, I still don’t know when or why that happened with Jezabel², as opposed to any other Giver.

All in all, I don’t think this is an inherently bad book. It, no doubt, will find its audience. It’s beautifully written and does have a gratifying moral it’s trying to impart. I’m just not the reader to appreciate it.

 

Leather and Lace Magen Cubed

Review of Leather and Lace (The Southern Gothic Series, #1), by Magen Cubed

Leather and Lace Magen Cubed

I did a cover reveal for Magen Cubed‘s Leather and Lace over on Sadie’s spotlight. I thought it looked interesting. So, later, when I saw it on Netgalley I requested a copy.

about the bookFalling in love with a vampire bites—and sometimes loving a human bites back.

Dorian Villeneuve is an unlucky vampire from the slums of Devil’s Row. He makes ends meet for himself and his emotional support Chihuahua by working sleazy bars and nightclubs, doing what it takes to get by. Cash Leroy is a monster hunter from East Texas with a golden voice and an unrivaled devotion to Stevie Nicks. Hunting does not leave time for friends, let alone love.

When their paths cross during a bloody run-in with the vampire mob, Cash upends Dorian’s life—and takes Dorian under his wing to teach how to hunt monsters.

The unlikely pair become partners, and soon, best friends. However, their deepening bond grows complicated when Dorian falls in love with Cash. Their friendship is too important to throw away over an interspecies attraction, especially in a career that is already nasty, brutish, and short.

And things become even more complicated when Cash finds himself returning the vampire’s affections.

When an unusually deadly case lands in the hunters’ laps, their ill-fated affair takes a backseat. A pair of man-eating weredeer are on the loose taking victims’ hearts. With the pressure on to end the killing spree, Dorian and Cash must set aside their feelings and hunt down the blood-thirsty deer.

Can Dorian and Cash’s friendship survive this monstrous romance, or will they lose their hearts in the process?

 my reviewThe first thing you need to know about Leather and Lace is that it is Dean Winchester and Castiel fanfiction…or was at some early point in its life. I’m not assuming here; the author says so in the introduction. The fact that the characters’ names start with D and C is even a nod in that direction, she says. I mention this because I think it’s interesting, but also because I haven’t watched all of Supernatural (please don’t stone me). I have seen just about enough for Castiel to appear as a character, but not enough to understand Destiel as a ship yet. So, I’m a little behind the game coming into the book. But if I’d not been told about the love of Dean and Castiel prior to reading the book, I wouldn’t have known. It’s not something necessary to enjoy the story. I can attest to that.

Outside its Supernatural connection, I thought this was a super sweet, high angst book. Dorian and Cash are both wonderful characters that you want to care about and see get their happily ever after. I did think Dorian’s push-me-pull-me went on too long without explanation and, honestly, I didn’t wholly buy his hesitation in the end. But I could still appreciate it. Similarly, I didn’t think the investigation/monster hunt held enough significance to move the plot as needed. But I still enjoyed the book and will happily read more of Cubed’s writing.

 

 

Lore and Lust

Review: Lore and Lust, by Karla Nikole

I purchased a paperback copy of Lore & Lust directly from the author, Karla Nikole, after seeing an Instagram post about having some for sale.

            
The slow burn vampire romance you didn’t know you needed…

Haruka Hirano is alive, but not quite living. Surviving but not thriving. As an elite purebred vampire in the twenty-first century, he is broken. Content in his subpar existence.

He is done with life. But life is not finished with him.

When he receives a formal request to oversee an antiquated vampire ritual at Hertsmonceux Castle, Haruka grudgingly leaves his home to meet another purebred. The vampire is not what he expects. Truly, he is unlike any vampire Haruka has ever encountered: cautious, innocent and with the warmth and gravitational pull of the sun.

Lore and Lust is an exploration of cultures, contemporary society and romance. It puts a whimsical spin on traditional vampire lore, while also creating a vivid new world where love is love. No questions asked.

I’m not sure how to rate this one. It’s a perfectly fine book. If I had to choose one adjective, I’d say it’s nice. It’s a nice book about nice people (vampires) getting together to form a nice, supportive relationship amongst their nice families/friends. The only thing missing is the inclusion of nice little babies.

And there is nothing wrong with any of that. It is a lovely, squishy, feel-good, slow-burn romance that was actually great as an election night distraction. The problem with all that nice, squishy, feel-goodness though, is that it leaves little room for tension, which combined with the third person present tense writing leaves the reader feeling distant and slightly bored. But more importantly, it isn’t what that absolutely stunning, but honestly dark and brooding cover led me to expect. In fact, I don’t feel it represents the tone of the book at all, as much as I love it. And I do; I bought the book on the strength of my love for it alone. So, how do you rate a book that’s perfectly lovely, but misrepresents itself? I don’t know. Right down the middle, I guess.

Outside of the mismatched tone and cover I only had one real complaint, the lack of significant female characters. There are only three females in the book, all relatively minor side characters. Two of them are grasping and manipulative and the third is dangerously close to being the cliched sassy, Black BFF (and I’d bet the love interest/heroine of a future book). Though Nino‘s Italian, so maybe that stereotype is somewhat ameliorated.

The editing is clean. There’s one point when Hau is sitting on the Tatami but gets up from the couch. But other than that, which might have been a misunderstanding on my part, I didn’t notice anything about the editing. Which is what you want in editing, right? And the mythos around vampires is a fresh one, which isn’t easy in a genre as well-trod as sexy vampires.

All in all, the book wasn’t what I expected, but also pointedly wasn’t bad. I’d certainly read more of Nikole’s writing and of the Lore & Lust series.