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March 8, 2008

Dark Thirst



Dark Thirst, by Sara Reinke

This one is by Sara Reinke and yes, it's another vampire book.

However, this one was in the romance section so I normally wouldn't have picked it up at all, but it intrigued me because the vampire is deaf.

But, since it's a "romance" it has all that ridiculous over-written sex scene nonsense that does less than nothing for me. I ended up skimming all those parts waiting for it to get back to the story. It's not that I don't want any romance/sex/whatever in my books, but I don't need, or want, to read about it in excruciating detail.

That issue aside... the story itself was really interesting. There's this teenage vamp who was severely hurt when he was a child before he was able to heal so he ends up deaf and unable to speak. However, this shouldn't have been too much of a problem because these vamps have telepathic ability and he can talk to his family that way except that he's not allowed.

And just to push all of my buttons, they don't let the kid learn ASL until he's at least 8 or 9, and none of his family learn it. They require him to write everything down instead. That royally pisses me off when it happens in real life and it gets me just as rilled when it's in a book. I just do not understand how parents can refuse to communicate with their children. How do you go through life being unable to tell your kid you love them? Grrr!!

I'll get off my soapbox now...

The vamp rules are a little different than the norm, they can eat regular food, but they need blood too. It helps them heal faster if they get hurt, that kind of thing. And sunlight isn't an issue. This specific family is raised with the idea that feeding equals killing.

So, our main character is in his upper teens and he hates what his family is, he thinks they're monsters (and I have to agree with him on that one) but he clearly isn't so it seems to be that they're raised to be that way, not that they have to be. He doesn't want to live like them so he runs away and goes looking for the man that was his tutor when he was younger. And finds his sister instead.

The family doesn't want to let him go and they come hunting for him, and he ends up learning a lot more about who he is and what he's actually capable of doing. Which things are part of who he is and which things are just what he's always been told.

I liked the story itself a lot, she did a lot of interesting things that aren't normally part of vampire stories. I just wish the graphic crap hadn't been there.

edited August 2008 to add: this falls somewhere between examples 2 & 3 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 2, 2008

High Stakes



High Stakes, by Erin McCarthy

This is the first of the Vegas Vampires series by Erin McCarthy.

First off... this is another one that I started reading before I realized it was a "romance" book and once I've started a book it has to be spectacularly bad to get me to stop reading it. So I did my standard "skim the crap parts" and just read the actual story parts.

I just don't understand the hormonal stuff. I have absolutely no frame of reference for that and I just don't get characters who give in to their urges and all that. It seems so unbelievable to me. Do normal people ever really feel like that? Are they ever so completely driven to distraction by someone else's body? That honestly never happens to me. I have to be told to look at someone before I'll notice if they're cute/hot/whatever.

I want to know what's wrong with all of them! Why on earth are they behaving that way? Do they really have that little control of themselves? See what I mean? No frame of reference. I have zero ability to understand this stuff. It just confuses me.

However, between the skimming and it not being a very long book in the first place and a very easy reading one at that I read this in a day.

On to the actual plot...

First off, the vamp rules: they can be in the sun but it wears them out, they only drink blood, but almost always from blood banks not from "live donors", they have some telepathic/compelling abilities, and can fly. They get stronger as they get older... I think that's most of it. They also have a democratic government system and the main dude is the current Vampire President. (the term of office is 40 years)

The main female character is mortal and trying to get her sister away from the crazy rich guy (who is Mr. Pres but she doesn't know that at first) and ends up falling for him. Someone is trying to kill him and he's in the midst of a re-election campaign so she starts off as a political girlfriend since it'll look good to his constituents to have a mortal girlfriend.

Good grief, there really isn't much in the way of plot. They don't even find out who's trying to kill him by the end of the book (the reader knows, the characters don't). Of course she gets attacked near the end and the only way to save her is to do the obvious. And since it's cheesy romance land she's his "chosen one" so they end up getting married after knowing each other for all of two weeks.

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 7, 2008

Bit the Jackpot



Bit the Jackpot, by Erin McCarthy

Second in the Vegas Vamps series by Erin McCarthy...

I'm not going to rehash my romance issues from the first book, just assume that everything I said there is still true. I'm just going to do a little plot business...

This one is more about Seamus the campaign manager and the woman he turns near the beginning of the book. They do finally figure out what's going on with someone trying to kill Mr. Pres so that gets dealt with.

And that's all I have to say about that!

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 26, 2008

Bled Dry



Bled Dry, by Erin McCarthy

3rd in Vegas Vamps series by Erin McCarthy...

Clearly I have issues, I don't particularly like the romance nonsense in this series and yet I keep reading it. Oh well.

This one focuses on Brittany and Corbin (the Frenchman) and their baby, and all the political ramifications of said baby.

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

April 27, 2008

Sucker Bet



Sucker Bet, by Erin McCarthy

Fourth in the Vegas Vamps series by Erin McCarthy...

Again... I have issues... but I think this is the last one available (at least right now, no idea if there's more planned) so I should be able to stay in genres I enjoy more than this one.

This one is mostly about Gwenna (sister of Mr. Pres) and Nate (mortal cop) and the two of them meeting and falling madly in love within days and all that ridiculousness. There's also some business with a "slayer e-mail ring".

edited August 2008 to add: This falls under example 1 in the Romance Disclaimer

July 8, 2008

Dark Hunger



Dark Hunger, by Sara Reinke

Second in the Bretheren series by Sara Reinke...

First off I have to say how thrilled I was to be able to read this when I was. It isn't due to be published until September and the author very graciously offered to send me an ARC of it after she read my post for the first book in the series. All of which is just way cool.

Honestly, I liked the first book better. But I think a huge part of that is because I was incredibly pissed off at Rene by the end of the book. Also, what really attracted me to the first book was the idea of a deaf vampire. That's just an incredibly intriguing concept, and that character really wasn't the focus of this book at all. I do find Rene interesting in his own way, just not quite as much as Brandon.

Since I do like Brandon a lot, everything that Rene does at the end of the book got me rather upset! I can't quite get my head around how he thinks that's going to make things ok. Does he really think Brandon's twin is going to be ok with what he did? Even if it keeps her safe, I just don't see her letting that go.

I kind of want to tell Rene to get over himself, he seems a lot more concerned about what other people are thinking about him than they are. I realize that's a lot easier said than done! He has this image of himself that isn't true any more and that's a hard thing to deal with. And that has to be harder since he knows he probably would have been fine if he'd just been left to feed and heal.

I've said this before, I figure a book that has characters that are real enough to piss you off is a well done thing. Otherwise they wouldn't make me mad, I just wouldn't care! And much as it irritated me, the ending makes it fairly clear that there'll be more to the series and that can't be a bad thing.

edited August 2008 to add: This falls somewhere between examples 2 & 3 in the Romance Disclaimer, leaning a bit towards the "2" side of things.

August 5, 2008

Dead Until Dark



Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris

First in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris...

This wasn't bad, kind of light "popcorn" reading.

Since this is a new vampire series for me I'll do my standard and start with the vamp rules. Sunlight kills them pretty much right away and they're unconcious during the day, garlic and silver don't kill but will weaken them. They drink blood exclusively, and can feed without killing, however there is a synthetic blood substitute available that provides everything they need but apparently doesn't taste very good. Maybe like diet pop compared to the real thing. And they have the ability to put a "glamour" on people so they won't remember things or will do whatever the vamp wants.

The main character isn't a vamp, but she isn't strictly a "normal" human either. She's a telepath and has spent her entire life trying to figure out how to deal with hearing things she doesn't want to hear. She calls it her "disability" and people treat her like she's slightly nuts, they all know there's something different about her, but none of them really want to believe it.

This is also one of those series where at least some of the supernatural creatures are "out", in this case it's the vampires but that's about it. There are other beings, but only the vamps are known to the world at large.

There's a really interesting scene with the main vamp (Bill) talking to a group of people about the Civil War, about what happened to him during it. It's something that is so far removed from people now and the reactions to what happened are completely different. He was there, he has an emotional connection to it, it almost seems crass the way people ask him about it.

And some basic plot stuff so I remember which book this is... women who have a past of associating with vampires are being killed, but it doesn't seem that a vamp is responsible. There's also a small group of vamps being obnoxious and making it difficult for Bill to "mainstream".

This falls under example 3 in the Romance Disclaimer

The Romance Disclaimer

I've talked about this a little bit before, but I figured I should have it all in one spot so I don't have to repeat myself every single time I read a book that has any kind of a "romance" angle to it.

The romance genre isn't one I tend to enjoy as a rule. The "bodice rippers" with Fabio clones on the cover are something I just do not understand. Physical attraction isn't something I grok. If people are talking about some cute new person at work or in a bar or wherever I have no idea who they're discussing. Once someone says something and then I look at whomever, then I'll maybe notice if they're cute/hot/whatever, it isn't something I notice on my own.

On TV or in movies I tend to be attracted to personalities, to attitudes, and honestly to geeks. Charlie on Numb3rs, Reed on Criminal Minds, Michael on Prison Break, etc... now, yes a lot of them (*cough* Wentworth *cough*) are also hot/cute but they're actors so they mostly all are anyway, and that tends to be very secondary. Aside from the geeks there's also those characters that have some kind of strength, an attitude about them. These tend to be the non-human guys... Superman, Duncan MacLeod, Henry Fitzroy. I don't start thinking about any of them as attractive right off the bat, it's something they become.

Reading sex scenes in excrutiating detail makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I don't want to know every little detail of who put what where. It is not hot, it does not turn me on. Similarly, I don't enjoy explicit sex scenes in movies and tv. It is more than enough for me to know it happened. If it simply must be there, keep it to a PG-13 level.

Every now and then I end up in a position where the story of a book intrigues me enough to pick it up even though I know it's a "romance" book. Or someone recommends something and I start it without knowing exactly what kind of book it is. Books in general have to be spectacularly bad for me to not finish them. And since I keep track of what I read I then have to explain why I've read something that I didn't enjoy!

So this is my solution, I'm going to list some examples or groups and then when I read things in the future I can just say "this falls under example 1" and leave it at that. If you click on the "romance" category you can see where I put which books.

So!

Example 1 - These are the ones that I understand the least, there tends to be very little plot, characters fall instantly in love and are driven completely to distraction by each others' bodies. The purpose of the book isn't to tell a story, it's to write about sex. There is no way to skim past the parts that make me squicky because that's most of the book.

Example 2 - I think I would call this the "skimmable" category. There's an actual story and characters that can do things other than think about sex. However, sex still shows up a lot and when it is there it's quite graphic. Characters maybe don't fall in love quite as quickly as in Example 1, but still rather fast and inexplicable. These are books that I'll put up with if the story is good or interesting. I can skim past the stuff I don't like and just enjoy the actual plot of the book.

Example 3 - These are approaching what I'd consider a "normal" book. Still romance-y, but leaning more towards relationships instead of just physical attraction. Characters actually learn a bit about each other before hopping into bed. Not books that I'll seek out, but I'm ok reading them if I come across them.

Example 4 - And we've arrived at what I'd call a "normal" book that happens to have characters who have physical relationships. The focus of these is on the plot and characters, there's reasons for what they do beyond the physical. Sex scenes are kept to the afformentioned PG-13 level. We get enough details to know what happened, but it isn't explicit.

I think that covers most of it, I may expand this or change it a bit as I continue, but it should serve its purpose of keeping me from repeating myself every time I read something outside of my normal reading areas.

August 6, 2008

Living Dead in Dallas



Living Dead in Dallas, by Charlaine Harris

Second in the Southern Vamps/Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris...

As is obvious from the dateline on the post, these are easy reading!

There are a number of plotlines going in this one. First off, the cook of the bar where Sookie works is murdered, and then she gets sent to Dallas to use her special talents to help the vampires there figure out why one of their own has disappeared.

The business in Dallas gets complicated by a group of anti-vampire fanatics. Which makes sense. In a world where vampires are a known thing, I would assume there would be people who would want to get rid of them. It really underlines the vulnerability of the vamps (at least this kind, where they're asleep during the day). If someone who wants to do you harm can figure out where you hide during the day, there's nothing you can do to protect yourself from them.

We also get to learn just a bit more about some of the other supernatural creatures, the shapeshifters mostly.

This falls near example 3 in the Romance Disclaimer

About Romance

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Sunidesus Reads in the Romance category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Novels is the previous category.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.