I picked up an e-copy of Juliet Lyons‘ Dating the Undead when it was a freebie, way back in 2017.
Description from Goodreads:
Silver Harris is done with clingy men—maybe men altogether. But when she shares a toe-curling kiss with a sexy Irish vampire on New Year’s Eve, she decides maybe it’s human men she’s done with. Silver turns to the popular vampire dating site, V-Date. When the undead gentlemen come calling, soon she’s in over her head. And her mysterious hottie is nowhere to be found…
Logan Byrne can’t get that sassy redhead out of his head—or that kiss! When his boss assigns him to spy on V-Date members, he meets Silver again. Turns out, the police are recruiting humans to snitch on vampires through the dating site. As the snark and sparks fly, feelings between Silver and Logan grow deep. Logan isn’t sure he can go through with his mission to make Silver forget everything she knows about vampires…and betray her.
But in the tight-knit London community of centuries-old vampires, history and grudges run deep and dating the undead can be risky business.
Meh, not bad but also not anything to write home about either. I truly did enjoy that Silver and Logan’s relationship seemed to be based on joy and, though the sex scenes weren’t graphic, it was apparent that the two of them were genuinely enjoying themselves. Sex doesn’t always have to be some big, brooding, important thing. It can be laughing and teasing and light too. I appreciated that. I also appreciated that Logan wasn’t some big, uber-important alpha vampire. He was as close to a normal guy as a vampire can be. I didn’t dislike Silver. But it’s hard to get too excited about a girl who says about herself that her only hobbies are going to parties and shopping. I was a little limp about her. Plus, she didn’t have a single female friend other than a stepsister she could tolerate and an elderly neighbor. Every other female in the book is either catty or a villain. (Why do authors do this?) All in all, I’m not sorry to have read it and I would read another in the series. But I’m not rushing out to buy them all either.
I think I picked my copy of Mandy Rosko‘s The Vampire’s Curse from Smashwords. Though if I’m honest, I’m not 100% sure.
Description from Goodreads:
With this kiss… In a city that cannot be found on any map that is inhabited entirely by witches, warlocks, vampires, and werewolves, Kyle McKane is seeking a cure for a curse that turns him into a blood hungry vampire during the night, and leaves him an exhausted, sleep deprived human during the day. …she will cure him… Jackie Moore is probably the worst witch in the city apart from her ability to heal wounds and illnesses with a touch of her lips. She rarely sees outsiders and is stunned to come face to teeth with Kyle when he finally succumbs to his hunger and attempts to bite her. …whether she wants to or not… Instead she grabs him by the ears and kisses away his curse before he can sink his fangs into her. The problem is that the cure is only temporary until Kyle turns again the next night, and then goes out in search of Jackie so that she can cure him again, whether she wants to or not.
This simply wasn’t all that great. But more important in terms of my personal review, it didn’t push any pleasure buttons for me. So many times I stopped and asked myself, why do authors do that. Why do they never truly punish the villains? Why do they use the protagonist’s capacity to forgive to prove how good they are, even when the person doesn’t deserve (hasn’t done work toward) forgiveness? Why do they think sappy backstories make them forgivable? Why do they give the male half of a mystical pairing special powers, but not the female? Why do they make female characters so wishy-washy and internally uncertain? Why do they set the bar so low for male characters that they get credit for being wonderful for doing almost nothing? Why do they make twist so damned obvious? Why do some authors make the ultimate villain literally the only other named character in the book (not too hard to figure out when there is only one person on the board)? So many times I found myself asking why did this author have to ruin this book this way. Plus, it took me 3 whole days to finish it. So, it felt like it went on forever.
I picked up a copy of Gillian St. Kevern‘s Thorns and Fangs from the Nine Star Press website.
Description from Goodreads:
Nate is caught between two dangerously hot vampires who can compel people to do whatever they want and a ruthless necromancer who wants Nate for all the wrong reasons—and that’s only the start of his problems.
Escort Nate prides himself on two things: his ability to please his clients and his normality – living in the monster capital of the world, ordinary is rare. Hunter, a darkly charming vampire with more charisma than is good for him, decides Nate is just what he needs. Nate’s sympathetic nature and skill in the bedroom are put to the ultimate test. But Hunter wants Nate for someone else – his brother, Ben. Nate is immediately attracted by the control with which Ben holds his sensitive nature in force. Too afraid of becoming a monster to allow himself to feel, Ben struggles to resist Nate’s generosity of emotion. As a vindictive necromancer makes Ben his target of revenge, Nate discovers that making people feel good doesn’t compare to making Ben feel. As Nate’s normal world crumbles around him, and he desperately searches for a way to save Ben, Nate is unable to escape becoming the necromancer’s latest victim.
But Nate’s death is only the beginning. Coming back to life in the bathroom of Gunn, a Department Seven officer who hates the vampire family that Ben and Hunter belong to, Nate doesn’t know who to trust or even what he is. As the necromancer’s trap pulls tighter around himself and Ben, Nate is forced to let go of normal and embrace powers he doesn’t fully understand. In defiance of Ben’s vampire sire and hunted by Department Seven, Nate and Ben finally learn to trust and rely on each other. But when the necromancer succeeds in capturing Ben, Nate alone can come to his rescue.
I quite enjoyed this, but I’m not entirely sure it knows what it wants to be. It starts out quite erotic, heavy on the sex (including a 4-way ménage and double penetration). But then all that is set aside and most of the book is a paranormal thriller, with two leads who feel quite young. If not for the way it starts, I might call it a New Adult book. (The main character is 21, after all.) I had some similar complaints with pacing. The book feels longer than it is.
Having said all that, I did enjoy it. I liked the characters. I liked the paranormal world set up. I found quite a lot of humor in it, and the writing/editing is pretty sharp. I’d be more than willing to continue the series.