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the last vampire covers

Book Review: The Last Vampire 1-3, by R.A. Steffan & Jaelynn Woolfe

Somewhere around the internet I was given an Audible code for a copy of books 1-3 of The Last Vampire, by  R.A. Steffan and Jaelynn Woolfe.

the last vampire 1-3

Interestingly enough, several weeks back I listened to a book called Forsaken Fae and one of my biggest complaints about it was that it turned to be a spin-off of a spin-off. So, even though it was labeled book one, it didn’t really stand alone very well. I didn’t at the time know which of the several books in the series it was based on or needed to be read before it. As it turns out, it’s these books…and I had at least these first 3 sitting in my Audible account the whole time.


There’s a smokin’ hot dead guy locked in my garden shed.
That part’s bad enough. But now, he’s trying to get out.

Growing up, my father always told me that I’d come to a bad end, just like my mom did when I was a kid. Hearing that kind of shit when you’re little eventually gets to a girl, but I can’t say I ever expected my ‘bad end’ to involve an angry vampire with a severe case of iron deficiency and a panty-melting English accent.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Ever since my mother was assassinated, I’ve felt like there was something vast and frightening hidden beneath the fabric of the world. Something none of us are supposed to know about.

So far, finding out I was right hasn’t been nearly as satisfying as I’d hoped. I guess the trick will be staying alive long enough to shout ‘I told you so’ from the rooftops.

But before I can do that, I really need to figure out if the vampire who just bit me is one of the good guys or not.

my review

Meh, I didn’t hate this. The writing is fine and I appreciated some of the humor. But the relationships aren’t developed at all. The hero and heroine literally have two less than 10 minute conversations (she literally has a 10 min alarm set during the second one) and then he’s rescuing her, they’re jumping into bed, and they’re apparently a couple for life. And I don’t just mean that makes the sex feel rushed. Even the friendship feels out of nowhere. Then the book ends on a giant cliffhanger. So, I’m pretty “meh” on the whole thing. I also didn’t particularly care for the narrator. There was nothing objectively wrong with the performance, but I found it a little on the whiny side.


the last vampire 2My father has been kidnapped by my worst enemies.

Either that, or he willingly sold me out to them.

Whatever the case, I’m going to find him. Mind you, this would be a lot easier if every Fae in Chicago wasn’t already out for my blood.

They’re not getting it, though.

The only one who’s getting anywhere near my blood is the seven-hundred-year-old vampire who saved me. Yes, there are times when I’m convinced he’s not quite right in the head, but so far he’s the only supernatural being I’ve met who sees me as a person rather than a chess piece.

To the rest of them, I’m nothing more than the walking, talking evidence of a war crime. To him, I’m something else. He calls me a loose thread in the tapestry of his forgotten past, but he looks at me like I might be the key to his future.

The rest of them tell me I’m demonkin. They say I’m a succubus-human hybrid who shouldn’t exist.

One thing is very clear, though. My father is carrying a secret bigger than I ever dreamed, and I’m damn well going to pry it out of him.

I just have to get him back from the Fae first.
Because, hey—what could possibly go wrong?

my review

I’m finding that I don’t much like Zorah. I find her whiny and prone to too-stupid-to-live decisions (the narrator’s style might have something to do with this impression), and I’m finding that the woman-gagging-for-sex feels like it plays too closely into the subtle Western myth that woman can’t be trusted with their own sexuality because they’re just inherently weak to their own impulses. Plus, being part succubus was just really cliched and predictable. I do find some of the banter between Rans and her funny and there’s really nothing wrong with the writing itself. I’m just not much liking the main character and I’m a bit bored with the story as a whole.


the last vampire 3

I never thought I’d see home again.
Now, I almost wish I hadn’t.

After giving myself up to the Fae, I expected to become the latest casualty of a war that should have ended centuries ago. Instead, I ended up inextricably bound to the last vampire on earth.

My life since the Fae marked me has become unrecognizable. Inside, I’m still the 26-year-old waitress who struggled with working two jobs while being serially dumped by a parade of disgruntled boyfriends. Now, I’ve somehow become a figurehead, coveted and despised in equal measure by two warring supernatural races.

Can I trust the fragile bond connecting my heart to the unbeating heart of a vampire? Every instinct I possess tells me to pull back… protect myself… protect him. But every time I try to run away, I end up back in his arms.

Alliances are shifting. Old resentments are flaring. Both my father and I are now chess pieces in someone else’s grand strategy.

No more. I’m done with being a pawn.
It’s time to up my game.

my review

Having finished this 3rd book in the series (the last I have, since I was listening to the compilation of the 1st 3 books), I’m still pretty meh on the whole thing. Plus, I’m finding that I really resent that I’ve read 3 books (600+ pages, almost 21 hours of audio) and gotten no conclusions in any of the books. They each just randomly stop. Which, of course, means there won’t be any kind of satisfaction in book 4 or 5. So, I’d need to read or listen to a further 600 pages or another 20+ hours of audio to get a single conclusion. The simple fact is that I’m just not that invested. Hoopla has the audio of books 4-6, so they’re available to me (even if I didn’t want to buy them) but I don’t think I’ll bother. Which means I’ll never know how it ends and have just wasted 20+ hours of time listening to what is essentially half a story.

And let me tell you it is FULL of filler to stretch the story over 6 books; you especially feel that in this 3rd book. I was just bored with a lot of it, especially all the sex/succubus stuff. By which I don’t just mean the sex (there’s not actually that much of it, compared to what could have been), but all the testing this and trying that, the fetish club and play and requisite description of the outfits, her sexy shows, etc, etc. I was BORED. The whole thing drags like the middle of a book…like the middle it is.

I was also seriously tired of all of her “woe is me, no one could love me” doubt of Rans and the veracity of their relationship. It was tedious and silly. The man had already bound himself to her FOR LIFE. I think it was abundantly clear how he felt, so her continued doubt felt like the contrived plot device it was.

Again, the actual writing itself is fine and the audio versions seem pretty well done. It’s not an issue with quality I have, but with the style of breaking books into serials that have to be read as a whole. This is a personal preference kind of thing, but I’m pretty done with it.


the last vampire audio photo

Book Review – The Last Vampire – by R.A. Steffan & Jaelynn Woolf

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.

awakening pizzano

 

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.