Monday, December 15, 2008

SLEEP Tula Neal

Tula Neal
Cobblestone Press
ebook: $3.99

Sleep is essentially the story of a man rescuing the woman he is destined to be with. In this case the man, Kai, works for a paranormal agency and the women, Gabrielle, is a vampire deranged by a century of captivity. The story is told from Kai's point of view. This was something I was pleased to learn as I happen to be a great fan of male POV romance fiction.

I found Sleep an effortless and entertaining read. However I felt that Kai was thinly characterised and exhibited rather little in the way of skill or intelligence. His research skills in finding Gabrielle (the main focus of the plot) seemed to be a combination of happenstance, rudimentary strategies like going to the public library, and relying on the vast resources of the paranormal society that employs him. It was difficult to find him a particularly admirable protagonist and he does not seem to develop as a character throughout the story.

His fascination with Gabrielle before they even meet is the most vivid and convincing element of the Sleep, but in terms of being a genre romance Kai first lays eyes on Gabrielle a full two thirds of the way through the book. In terms of being an erotic romance, the sex scenes would add up in total to about 1 and 1/2 pages out of 60. If you want a straightforward tale of boy wants girl, boy rescues girl, boys gets girl, Sleep may be for you. However I felt the romance and erotic elements were slight, meaning the novel rests largely on the appeal of Kai as a protagonist and a desire to see him win the woman (literally) of his dreams.

(On a minor note the italicising of zombies throughout struck me as unnecessary and distracting.)

*Ebook provided by the author. Disclaimer: I have fiction published by Cobblestone Press.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Currently reading....

The Vampire Oracle: Sleep by Tula Neal

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Some of our new banners

DARK THIRST various authors

various authors
Pocket Books Fiction

I have read a hell of a lot of vampire books and a lot of them, to be perfectly honest, are terrible. But I am always interested in seeing if someone can breathe new death into the old vampire cliches. 'Dark Thirst' is a collection of stories by African American writers, some of them established romance writers. Although this is not a romance anthology it certain does have more than a pinch of romance and a large dollop of erotica.

My favorite story was 'The Family Business' by Kevin S. Brockenbrough. This story basically drags the vampires and werewolves up to date by writing a rapid fire, action-filled story. The author also slides in a point about the true nature of monsters.

A close second would be 'The Ultimate Diet' by Monica Jackson which riffs on the Buffyesque vampire cliches. Jackson's story has a couple or truly delicious characters who drift palpably apart with the arrival of a vampire in the neighbour. The ending is telegraphed way in advance but the execution is pitch perfect and highly entertaining.

These two great tales bookend four other stories that were fun enough at the time but difficult to remember in retrospect. 'Vamp Noir' by Angela C. Allen throws together a gorgeous vampire vixen and the mafia, but an idea that seems promising at the outset never quite gels. 'Human Heat' by the Urban Griot is about a gorgeous man who becomes a vampire, has some sex, and kills some people (I found italicised sound effects like Uurrgghh!, Eeeaarrrkkkk! and Blooommm! impossible to take seriously). 'Whispers During Still Moments' by Linda Addison is about a gorgeous vampire who is hunted by a half-vampire. 'The Touch' by Donna Hill is a nice enough but unsubtle story about a gorgeous vampire's quest to find redeeming love.

Overall I think this book is certainly worth the cover price as an addition to my extensive collection--but if all the stories had been as deft and diverse as my favorite two 'Dark Thirst' could have been astounding.

The Fleam Main Website

The main website which has a list of scores of vampire books with thumbnail reviews, has currently been taken down for a redesign. It will be returning in a new and improved form.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

DESMOND Ulysses G Dietz

Ulysses G Dietz
Alyson Books

In Desmond a brooding older vampire has his life profoundly changed by a young unemployed museum creator. A Gaywyck-style gothic tone makes this a pleasingly predictable romance. Fine details in the descriptions reflect the author's 'day job' as decorative arts at the Newark Museum. Overall the book definitely has a first novel feel to it with some wordy sections and a certain self-consciousness of style, but if you like a vampire-with-heart-of-gold meets intelligent-twink-who-really-loves-him story this is an archetypal example.