Tag Archives: vampires

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.

Review of The Order of the Dragon, by Scerina Elizabeth

I received an Audible code for a copy of Scerina’s Elizabeth‘s The Order of the Dragon.

Description from Goodreads:
“What if all the stories you heard about the infamous monster name Dracula were all lies? What if there was another side to the story that no one even knew of, a side where he was not a monster but in fact a savior? What if he was a vampire who had a soul? What if the monster had a heart and yearned to be loved? The story am about to tell, is the real story of Vlad Tepes and how he came to be this infamous so-called monster called “Dracula”, that everyone most feared. And I promise once am finish with this story, you will view him in a whole new light with a whole new respect and love. ” ~ Mina Murray ~

How far would you go to find a cure for an illness that could take your life at any moment that was incurable?

Would you sell your soul to the very Devil himself to prolong your precious life?

And at what cost are you willing to pay for such a priceless gift?

A secret society of the very wealthy and powerful of London, England who are terminally ill and would do just about ANYTHING for a cure for their illness. Including selling their soul to the very Devil himself, Dracula.

This is a version of the classic horror tale of Dracula but with a different twist. Retold with a different perspective on mortality and immortality.

What path are you willing to take when it comes to your mortality and soul? The right path or the wrong path. And would the choice ultimately be worth it in the end.

Review:
Bad, just really really BAD!

Please, authors, if you want to write in modern vernacular just go ahead and write in modern times. It DOES NOT WORK to write modern dialogue and narration in the 1800s! And even if that wasn’t true, the writing here is just sloppy. There are a ton of repeat words. Things like the word coffin being used three times in the same paragraph. The sex scenes are so cringe-worthy I fast-forwarded through them. And the plot is super inconsistent. There’s a twist at the end that just doesn’t work; it so contradicts everything up to that point. The audiobook narration isn’t all that great either, though it does improve as the book goes along. If I hadn’t been listening to it in order to get through folding a GIANT pile of laundry I’d have DNFed this for sure.