A Bite to Remember
Author: Lynsay Sands
Series: Argeneau #5
Tags: Cheerful vampires, bodyguard, actor
Sigh, there is something so soothing about Sands novels. They are not, like, GOOD, but they are just so pleasant and pretty. Like staring out the window on a sunny day. You’re just like, “that’s nice.”
Beware, this has Heinously Simple Mystery Syndrome. You have already guessed the bad guy, and you haven’t even read it yet. A huge part of the plot hinges on a major theater company not having records of their staff. How is that possible? A gross negligence of management, no doubt. I mean, this dude doesn’t even know what his employees look like. They are probably all embezzling from him.
LOL to asking someone to “fax” a copy of the staff list to a home (does he have home fax??) in 2006. I’m not exactly sure if Lynsay Sands knows how computers work. Everything tech sounds slightly foreign in the mouths of these vampires.
“I am on my cell phone. Fax me a copy of the list. I will check my computer.”
I made up excuses for the book to get by. Maybe this book’s “present” is 1996?
The only thing I had a problem with is that a side character showed up and was like, “y’all are life mates” WAY early in the game. Uh, buzzkill much?
Sands, you DO know that the the will-they-won’t-they part is the ENTIRE PURPOSE OF ROMANCE NOVELS, right? I mean, especially since you have nothing else (such as mystery) going for you.
Sands is the queen of Low-Stakes-Nice-People Fluff.
The Accidental Vampire
Author: Lynsay Sands
Series: Argeneau #7
Tags: cheerful vampires, soul mates, matchmaking contest, classifieds ad
So, in the Argeneau world, vampires are perfectly nice and cheerful human beings that happen to live forever. They also know when they have found their soul mate by finding out that can’t read the potential soul mate’s mind.
One would think that a vampire intent on finding a soul mate would just go to, say, Times Square, and just try to read the mind of every woman passing by. Or, at the very least, scan every woman they come in contact with in the first two seconds of meeting her.
But, they don’t. For reasons.
So what does one fill an entire novel with when the entire conflict can be resolved within 5 seconds of the characters meeting?
Shopping trips, of course!
And don’t forget those food-porn moments about chocolate!
Our heroine accidentally becomes a vampire, and then decides that every mass marketed piece of fictional trash about vampires is true. She sleeps in a coffin, wears black lacy dresses, avoids garlic…
Haha, what an idiot.
Her friends put out a classifieds dating ad for her, and have a whole bunch of “vampires” (some real, some not) show up to see if they would be a good match.
None of these vampires seem to take the first two seconds to read her mind. None. So, growly competition! Late night bed shopping sprees! Cheesecake! These are the things that fill their days.
For some reason, though she is getting all her vampire knowledge from media, she doesn’t know that to turn someone they need to drink your blood. Seriously? That’s like vampires 101.
Hmmm this paper thin plot device is even too much for me. Every hero is afraid of trying to read the heroine because they don’t want to be disappointed. Man up, dude. And for some reason (which is often the case), men usually do the reading.
You know what I realized? There is a reason why Sands’s vampires are possibly the nicest, most cheerful, least aggressive vampires in romance novel history: THEY ARE CANADIAN.
Howl For It & When He Was Bad
Author: Shelly Laurenston, Cynthia Eden
Series: Anthologies, Pride #.5, Magnus Pack #3.5
Tags: shifters, paranormal romance, short stories, back stories, strong and silent type, wolf shifters, more animal than man shifter, marriage under false pretenses, hasty marriage, spies dating spies, paranormal huntress, locked up in a cage together, socially abrasive genius, filthy rich restaurateur, forced together for protection, chef, sexy neighbor, jaguar shifter, former Navy SEAL, contract killer, school teacher, serial killer vampire
Rating: Howl For It: Yay! When He Was Bad: Meh.
Both of these books are anthologies, really just two stories from two authors that only obliquely reference their respective series. A fine marketing ploy. Since shifters usually have insta-love written in their DNA, I’m fine with short stories about shifters. Really, it’s more a wonder that the genre can produce so many full length novels, since the premise leaves so much room to be easily resolved.
I suppose that insta-love leave lots of room for action, and that’s why it is successful. Paranormal romances are very similar to super hero summer movies: flashy, improbable, and most often poorly written, but filled to the brim with danger, explosions, sweeping romances, and enough creativity to entertain you for a while.
Why watch a super hero movie, where you will be slightly bored, it will be all about men, and have dubious female and POC representation AT BEST, when you can read a paranormal romance??
That’s how I feel, at least.
Howl For It was definitely my favorite out of the two.
As much as I have a hard time with backstories, which feel more like pandering fanfiction than part of the story arc, I did enjoy Laurenston’s Like a Dog with a Bone It was about Eggy! Aw, Eggy. The man who is more wolf than man, who loves his wife, kid, and contract killing.
I enjoyed the dip back in time when Eggy meets his future mate. One of my favorite story lines from shifter romances unfurls: a primal, socially inept male with crazy emotions drags the slightly mystified woman through an unconventional courting.
The women’s reactions are always something like, “uh…okaaaaay…”
I feel like that’s how the female birds of paradise feel.
Look at her looking very closely (2:10)! I think she is saying, “hmm, is he confusing enough? Does his antics give me a headache? Am I not even sure he is an animal, much less a bird? No? NEXT.”
I also enjoyed the Cynthia Eden’s Wed or Dead. This is my first time reading Eden. She is darker than Laurenston. It feels more like J.R. Ward or Nalini Singh, both “serious” paranormal romance writers.
This short story was deeply mired in some universe. It sounded like we were supposed to know the various side characters popping in and out of this story. I couldn’t find any evidence that it was, though. I looked up Eden and HOLY FUCK she has 203 novels out there. And she seems to conquer multiple subgenres: shifters, vampires, angels and demons, military, billionaires, suspense, romance erotica…
Eden is the sort of powerhouse author that exactly fits into what I imagine Harlequin writers are like. I’m glad I’m not trying to read all her books, 203 would just get old…
Wed or Dead is about a wolf shifter and a paranormal hunter marrying under false pretenses. They have both been pretending to be in love so that they could learn about the other’s enemy organization. But, double trick!, he actually loves her. She leads him into a trap and she is taken as a prisoner as well. Of course, they are in the same cage together. And of course, they have freaky cage sex.
There’s an interesting element about some humans being genetically primed to be shifter mates (that’s her), some character development with her realizing she’s been bamboozled by a cult (shifters are not all evil, say whaaaat?), and a hot part where his claws come out while they are making out, and he has to hold his hands out to make sure he doesn’t hurt her.
I wanted to know more about a few side characters: there is some unrequited love going on between two shifters, and a demon pretending to be part of the anti-paranormal cult. But hell if I can figure out if there’s anything out there that expands upon the characters. 203 novels!
When He Was Bad was not as good.
I didn’t like Laurenston’s or Eden’s stories all that much. So far Laurenston is 0 for 2 in getting me to care about the Van Holtz shifters. I didn’t really care for Ric’s story (Big Bad Beast), and I don’t really care about Van’s either. Though I have liked Irene in the past, there was something kinda funky about their love story. She doesn’t like to be touched, doesn’t like sex, (*ahem* nebulous autism spectrum), but with Van she’s just like, fixed? Uh, okaay.
Eden’s story was about a jaguar shifter, a school teacher, and a vampire serial killer! So that’s a thing.
I am almost full up on Laurenston. I have read all the series except for the Viking Norse Gods Crow Shifters WhatevertheFucks, so I’m about ready to move on to something different. I’ll give the Crow Shifters a go, but I’m mostly excited about the next book coming out from the Honey Badger series. It’s about the high strung badger-tiger genius, and a PANDA shifter!!!
Shall I read her pseudonym, GA Aiken? Hmmmmmmuhhhhhh maaaybe? We will see.
I will probably not seek out Eden, since she seems stereotypically “serious” shifter, and I’m not that interested in that. But if she comes my way, I might read more.