Tag Archives: Kristen Painter

House of the Rising Sun

Review of House of the Rising Sun (Crescent City #1), by Kristen Painter

I borrowed an audio copy of Kristen Painter’s House of the Rising Sun through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs. 

But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia’s been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It’s time for revenge—and to take up the mantle of the city’s Guardian.


Gah, this was not good. One Goodreads reviewer called it lazy and another called it facile and boring. Both are accurate descriptions of the book and describe my opinion perfectly. The author has some interesting ideas, but just drops them all in willy-nilly, with no attempt to situate them in any sort of world building. 

Both “main” characters are just cardboard cutouts of PNR heros/heroines. He’s protective and she needs protecting. There isn’t really anything more to either of them. But Harlow is especially poorly sketched out. Augustine at least goes out and does things. Harlow just basically sits home and frets, waiting for someone else to solve her problems. Want to know how important she is to the story? She’s not even mentioned in the book’s description, despite her sexy image being used to grab readers attention. (And it should be added that the actual character lives in baggy sweatshirts to cover her physique. So the image really is just to sex the cover up.)

There is a semblance of plot. It has to be Augustine who protects the city, because reasons. Harlow hasn’t much spoken to her mother for decades, because reasons. She has to come home now, because reasons. Olivia has never told Harlow who her father is (despite it destroying their relationship), because reason. Olivia took Augustine in, because reasons. BUT NONE OF IT REALLY HOLDS UP TO THE LIGHT. And frankly a lot of it isn’t even believable. 

Lastly, the timeline is hinky. Ages aren’t ever stated, but they can be approximated with the information provided, and Olivia seems far too old to be Harlow’s mother. And all of Harlow’s childhood is basically glossed over with “sent to boarding school.” Despite this, there seems to be several missing years in there. And if 20+ years pass, am I to believe Olivia never mentioned essentially adopting a son? Again, it’s all a product of lazy writing. 

All in all, I’m very glad to be finished with this. By the end, Harlow’s intense unlikeable-ness was becoming too much to bear. Painter apparently couldn’t even put in enough effort on her behalf to make her palatable. The narration, done by Elijah Alexander was fine. But again, choosing a male narrator for a book with a female main character on the cover, should tell you who the focus of the book is really on. (I actually wouldn’t call Harlow a main character at all.)

Edit: As an amusing side note, there is a character named Zarah in this book. She’s referenced, but never makes an appearance. This is noteworthy because just the other day I wrote a Goodreads review in which I said how rarely I see this name in books. Now, I’ve come across TWO IN A ROW. What’s the likelihood? I’ll cross-post the review to the blog when I finish the boxset and post all the reviews together. But at least I got a chuckle out of it.

Blood Rights

Book Review of Blood Rights (House of Comarré #1), by Kristen Painter

Blood RightsI borrowed a copy of Blood Rights, by Kristen Painter, from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarré—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

Man I’m in a slump. I haven’t read anything I love lately and the best I can give this book is that I didn’t hate it, like the last two books I read. But I’m certainly not going so far as to say it’s good. I didn’t find anything particularly new or innovative in it; just yet another growly alpha male and a woman in need of rescue and protection. Sure, Painter made sure Chrysabelle said ‘I’m well trained and can take care of myself’ several times (often enough it got repetitive), but I didn’t really notice her doing much successful defending of herself. Add to that the fact that I didn’t even like either main character and you have a fail in the making.

What I did find was about a million ways to sexualize Chrysabelle to make the whole thing artificially more titillating, something that annoys me to no end. I mean she let herself get ‘blood drunk’ in a dangerous environment from a condition she’s had her whole life (so no surprise it was going to happen), stripped down to her smalls and sexily prowled around offering herself to the man. None of which was actually necessary or even remotely like her personality to date. Or lets not miss the fact that, despite being a 115-year-old virgin she was called a whore about a dozen times (as are most the women). The giving of blood was pretty clearly equated to sex and she was constantly either offering it up or having some random male laying claim to it. Ugh.

Then there was the identity of the villain….show of hands. How many readers saw that twist coming? Come on now, hands up. Let’s see, one, two, seven, ten, four hundred….Oh, I see, everyone. I guess we can call it predictable then. Plus, the use of the loss of a child to drive her insane was clichéd. Probably the second most common reason women in fiction go bad, just behind being scorned by a man. And the fact that she was prostituting herself for power (or maybe agreeing to regular gang rapes, not sure how to categorize that one, unpleasant as it was)? Oh, I see, one more way to make sure readers know women are just whores and only have one path to power, that just happens to start at the apex of their legs. Got it. Side-eyes hard.

Then there was the whole ‘pure’ thing and the ‘patron’ thing, neither of which are actually defined in any way. What makes her pure? Being a virgin? No, I don’t think so, though sex does apparently muddy the purity. Eating well, not taking drugs, some characteristic of birth, etc? No idea. What about the owning of blood rights and the patron thing? Was that a physical attachment or just a legal arrangement? Still no idea.

All in all, if you like this sort of Urban Fantasy, moving into Paranormal Romance you’ll likely enjoy this. It kept me busy for an evening, but I didn’t love it and I’m not interested in continuing the series. In fact, writing this review brought out how many ways I disliked it and I realize I liked it even less than I thought.

Book Review of The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride (Nocturne Falls #1), by Kristen Painter

The Vampire's Mail Order BrideI picked up a free copy of The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, by Kristen Painter, on Amazon. It was still free at the time of posting.

Description from Goodreads:
Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town where Halloween is celebrated 365 days a year. The tourists think it’s all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better.

Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.

After seeing her maybe-mobster boss murder a guy, Delaney James assumes a new identity and pretends to be a mail order bride. She finds her groom-to-be living in a town that celebrates Halloween every day. Weird. But not as weird as what she doesn’t know. Her groom-to-be is a 400-year-old vampire.

Hugh Ellingham has only agreed to the arranged set up to make his overbearing grandmother happy. In thirty days, whatever bridezilla shows up at his door will be escorted right back out. His past means love is no longer an option. Not if the woman’s going to have a future. Except he never counted on Delaney and falling in love for real.

Too bad both of them are keeping some mighty big secrets…

This was a cute, fluffy idea that turned out to be heavy on the fluffy and short on just about everything else. There’s an interesting set up, but that’s all it is, a set up. The situation that sends Delaney into Hugh’s arms pops up now and again, then drops away. It carries no tension and is never satisfactorily concluded.

Other predictable problems show up and resolve themselves with ease. Hugh has a pathological, phobic, paranoia-level fear that dissolves into thin air to such a degree that he goes to great sacrifice to obtain a magic to alleviate this fear and then starts the process in question before he even has it in hand.

Delaney is apparently a strong-willed woman because she speaks her mind (Yep, this is one of those he-loves-her-because-she-talks-back and isn’t feminine books.), but it’s never really believable because it lacks any sort of depth of character. All-in-all, that last comment kind of carries my opinion of the book in general. It’s cute, but lacks any sort of depth or character.

Oh, and there is no mail-order bride. There’s a vampire bride and a potential arranged marriage, but no mail order bride. It’s a cute title, sure, but maybe it should have been made relevant. It is a clean read though, if that’s your thing.