I love these Bustle lists.
Dark Wine Beth Tashery Shannon
Pub March 1st, 2015 BearCat Press
Rating 4.5/5 Stars
“Catherine has left her career and friends to accompany her artist husband to Egypt, but his work engrosses him, leaving her rootless and lonely in the mystifying city of Cairo. A chance encounter with a stranger plunges her into a dangerous affair. Passion wars with terror when the man who loves her intensely and tenderly claims his love will kill her.” Summary, Goodreads.com
I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley. I know this sounds terrible, but I didn’t expect much going into it. The cover and the title weren’t great and it was a little known press/author (I know, I prejudged). But, it was a vampire love story and as you have all gathered by now my year goal is to read ALL the vampire books. Well anyway, I LOVED it. Here’s why:
This book was well written. The author, Beth Tashery Shannon, has clearly traveled to Egypt and done her research. There was Arabic language and nuances of culture thrown in. My husband is Iranian and I’ve traveled there before so I certainly appreciated the nods to an Islamic culture. Most notably I was intrigued by the tension between the old vs. new generation, sociopolitical issues dealing with imperialism and the Western influence in Egypt. Lastly, her language is very poetic, I’ve read that Shannon has published some poetry and it shows. On the other side of that coin I will say that sometimes it was a little bit over the top.
I also liked her little characterizations within the details of their language and actions. It was obvious that she really loved creating Geoffrey. I often found myself rereading his dialogue, it was intelligent and usually held a double meaning. I was certainly envious of her skill here. However, I felt that Terry got a little less love (literally and figuratively…). In terms of character, he was a bit flat and just seemed like a background piece, something to create tension. Even if they technically had an open relationship.
It was refreshing that the characters were older. They were in their 30s, so this was no angsty vampire book (not that I have a problem with those). This was certainly a book for adults. A big reason why this wasn’t five stars for me, besides the small things mentioned above, was the sex scenes. There is never a reason to use the word cock, nor do I need a lengthy description of balls. We know what balls look like, and they certainly are not deserving of the description given in this novel. There were a few grammatical issues with quotations, but I think the version I had was a Kindle ARC so I won’t hold that against her.
This book was an exciting, wild ride until the end. It builds like a mystery and I loved it for that. I had to force myself to put it down some nights to go to bed. It’s a good exploration of passion and giving in to it and what possess you. Emotionally and physically. I also had a blast watching these two characters fall in love and the lust that held between them from the beginning. That’s always my favorite part. I definitely recommend!
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Pub. Feb. 28 2014 by Swift River Media Group
I got this book after the author, V.M. Black, followed me on Twitter and I saw that she had a free vampire e-book on Amazon. I couldn’t pass that up. I think there’s something like six of these books. As a disclaimer, I’m not a fan of romance, I don’t usually read them.
Mr. Thorne is your typical vampire: tall, dark, handsome and extremely wealthy. My biggest problem with this book is that it was way too short. I read it in a few hours. All of the reviews said it was a novella, so I think it was really meant to be a setup to read the other books. I prefer longer books and not series, so that I can get more into character development, which as you guys know, is my thing. The writing was not great. I got tired of the amount of times the main character, Cora, kept saying things like “heat pooled deep in my center” and “traveled to my center” and “warmth between my thighs”. This is why I’m not a big fan of romance, the sex scenes are cheesy and cringe-worthy.
But, I have to hand it to Miss. Black. This is definitely a guilty-pleasure type read. For that I’d say 3 stars because you want to keep reading and I probably will buy the next book. (She also sets it up to end on a cliffhanger). I think if I wasn’t so into vampires I may feel differently. Also she said on her Goodreads page that it gets more into S&M territory and is similar to 50 Shades of Gray, so I don’t imagine I will keep reading beyond that point.
Overall, if you are looking for a quick, fun and dirty read then this is definitely it. I am hoping for some more character development in the next ones so I will let you know.
ADD: Hey guys, so I’ve never added something to a review before, but sexual education is extremely important to me and should be to everyone. Providing our youth with correct information on sexual health is imperative. There is some serious misinformation in this book series regarding birth control pills that needs to be addressed. The main character gets BC (in the pill form, AKA oral contraceptives) when she becomes sexually active. Albeit, he is a vampire and doesn’t know if she can get pregnant, but that’s neither here nor there. In her inner monologue, more than once, she says oh we’ll probably have sex tonight so I’ll take one (and she does not take them regularly otherwise). NO no no no no. This is not how oral contraceptives work. Birth control takes time to get into your system to be effective and it is imperative that you take it as close to the same time every single night for it to work. It also takes about two weeks to get into your system, I’ve seen less online but of course check with your doctor. During that time use back up modes of protection. Continue to use back up modes of protection if you’re concerned about the spread of STIs, and of course it is important for you and your partner to be screened and to have that sexual history conversation. Sorry for the PSA guys but I didn’t want to promote any misinformation. If you’re sexually active and start the pill it takes on average, two weeks to kick in, and must be taken regularly, not just when you have sex.
Enchanted is really a fairytale mashup. It’s a bit of 12 dancing princesses, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc. There’s faeries, enchanted frog princes, and evil kings. It centers around the youngest Woodcutter daughter, Sunday, who is part fae. She meets an enchanted frog in the woods and falls for him. Their family and their village has many secrets and enchantments and we follow the Woodcutter’s as they try to break through these.
This book is OK. My main problem with it is that there isn’t much depth. It’s a YA/midgrade book (ages 7 and up) so of course I wasn’t expecting a literary masterpiece. But, the author doesn’t spend much time giving the characters depth or explaining each new element. All of a sudden there’s this concept of “sewing shadows” or this whole piece that’s similar to Jack and the Beanstalk, but it isn’t explained. It seemed like a lot of concepts and fairytales thrown in just for the sake of being there. However, this book did win the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012, and was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013 so there is something to be said about it. I think it’s a light-hearted story and if you’re really into the fairytale genre you should check it out. If you’re buying this as a gift for your child there was some subtle sex/drinking jokes thrown in but it may go over their heads. This is the first in the series, there are a few other books that center around Sunday’s sisters. I don’t think I will be checking them out anytime soon because I want to read some other books on my shelf first.
Overall, if you aren’t into the fairytale genre I would skip out on this one. There isn’t much there in terms of an in-depth or touching storyline. If you’re looking for something similar I would read Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier which is a retelling of 12 dancing princesses and also involves an enchanted frog, but the writing is much more beautiful and she creates these gorgeous, haunting worlds.
Here’s a little fun for your day. Let me know if you try any of these and how it goes.