Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

About Shuzluva

Sydney (better known by her handle, Shuzluva) knew that she wanted to be Han Solo's copilot after seeing Star Wars at the tender age of 5. She fell in love with romance novels over 20 years ago when she got her hands on Sandra Brown's Texas! trilogy, and in the mid 90's was overjoyed to discover romance writers had branched out into the world of SciFi/fantasy. While she enjoys the occasional contemporary or historical novel, the world of SciFi holds an unshakable fascination for her. Some of her favorite authors include Nalini Singh, Catherine Asaro and Kresley Cole, and she's always interested in adding new authors to the list.

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REVIEW: Intervamption by Kristin Miller

REVIEW: Intervamption by Kristin Miller

There are possibly spoilers in this review. I have done my level best to avoid them. Apologies in advance.

Dear Ms. Miller,

Intervamption Kristin MillerI decided to pick up your book because it sounded cool and slightly different from other things in the Vampire/Shifter paranormal genre and I’m a sucker for cool and different. Slade is a Therian (shapeshifter) assassin that is sent to infiltrate a local Vampire group. His mentor, Dylan, is gorgeous and he knows he should hate her on sight, but he just can’t. Dylan mentors new vampires and teaches them the rules of the vampire world. But that’s only one of her many jobs. Dylan runs ReVamp, a blood center and sort of Vampire “Promises” treatment center aimed at getting vampires to give up biting humans. But Dylan’s been accused of poisoning the vampire’s blood supply. I like a star-crossed love story, especially one of paranormal ilk. Unfortunately, this didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped when I read the blurb.

Intervamption takes place in Crimson Bay, a fictitious part of San Francisco, and sets the stage for what seems to be the beginnings of a war between the Vampires and the Therians. The two species have hated each other for years, and Therians are tasked with keeping Vampires from getting out of line (read: no feeding on humans or the Therians will kill you). How did this come about? Beats me. Are the Therians actually stronger than the Vampires? Couldn’t tell ya that either. Also, for some reason, the Vampire population seemed less concerned about the Therian threat than vice-versa. Why? Again, no idea here. Humans (referred to as “mundanes” in the book) are generally clueless about both of these otherworldly species and the Therians and Vamps plan to keep it that way.

I felt like a mundane too…with every chapter there was some new, nonsensical rule or idea imparted in a very non-organic manner. I am making a major effort not to give anything away for anyone that want to give this a try, but this is a huge issue that didn’t make sense at all, unless the reader is willing to make some crazy assumptions. Slade has been told by Moses, his Sheik (or Therian leader, for those of you that hate to read definitions as much as I do), that he will shift into a Vampire and infiltrate the local khiss. And then there’s this:

Vampires had incompatible genes, different from any other living organism, which made shifting into them nearly impossible. Those who could fight through the delirium barely made it a few minutes in leech skin. It was a pain in the ass. Slow-motion shifting, wicked bouts of nausea, and sub-par strength made them easy prey for a leech who got wind of such a deception. Not to mention shifting into those parasites never lasted long. Therians who tried it in the past had shifted back to their original form without so much as a gut-clench warning.

Well. If that isn’t a recepie for disaster…but hey. It’s a paranormal. Worldbuilding rules were made to be broken, right? Er…not. Does any of this weakness/sudden shifting/only a few minutes as a vampire happen to Slade? Absolutely not. Oh, and Slade doesn’t know who his target is when he goes in. Somehow, they’re going to set up a newbie vampire with the high ranking officials and he’ll have all sorts of power. Now, trust me, this isn’t a spoiler: Slade isn’t given a high ranking. In fact, the only reason he has any interaction with the “high ranking” set is because Dylan keeps him around ’cause he’s hot. But does Slade find any of this odd? Nope…he goes on his merry way trailing after Dylan and occasionally pounding his chest if another guy gets too close to her.

Dylan is totally mission-focused. She needs to find out why the vampires are weakening and must find a way to strengthen their blood supply. Her gorgeous blond buddy Ruan sorta tries to help her but not really…hell, I couldn’t figure out what he was doing. But Dylan somehow gets sidetracked without anyone’s help because of all of the other crap she’s made herself responsible for. She’s going in so many different directions that I was getting dizzy. But with all of her running around, this is all I got about new vampires: They didn’t know any better. Ok…but how does one become a “new” vampire? Yeah, I know, at least one of your parents has vampire blood. But then what? How does one make the transition? Do they even call it that? What happens? I get that you’re hungry for blood and starved for sex after (hell, that’s a given regardless of the book!) but getting to that point is a giant blank. Now, is that something I need to know? No. But there are holes like this one all over the book. This happened it the beginning, so I’m running with it.

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t talked about Dylan or Slade much. Well, let me put it this way: tropetastic. It was hard for me to get into the characters when so much was going on that I didn’t understand. I was busy trying to fill in the gaps, and the personalities seemed to be overshadowed by a bunch of tropes. Dylan has a goal. The goal must be met. Slade has a goal. Same goes. Dylan is promised to someone in an arranged marriage she can’t get out of. But hey, the way the vampire marriage works, if the guy isn’t really meant for the girl, she dies. But Slade *knows* Dylan is his! Can you say fated mate? And his blood pressure goes up every time another male is in the same vicinity as her. Rar, Alpha Male. Slade knows it would never work with him and Dylan because of the whole therians want to kill vampires thing. Star-crossed lovers! Oh, and Ruan is in love with Dylan too. Ooh, love triangle! There’s the double cross, the fucked up family, the other fated mate, the hidden secret, a serious deus ex machina…I could keep going but I’ll stop here.

And the worst part? The vampires and therians were as clueless about each other as I was about them. How does that happen? You really have no idea that your enemy is so well organized and has a functioning society after hundreds of years of fighting each other? Are you kidding? I got tired trying to make sense of everything that was happening here. D.

~ Shuzluva

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Shuzluva Reading List, Week of August 13

Shuzluva Reading List, Week of August 13

Intervamption by Kristin Miller. This book is the first in the Vampires of Crimson Bay series and it’s a hot mess that I am going to expand upon in a longer review. Dylan runs ReVamp which is both a clinic and supply center for the Crimson Bay vampires and she’s dedicated her life to figuring out what’s screwing with the vampire blood supply. Slade is a therian (shape shifter, they’re the enemy of the vamps), sent to infiltrate Dylan’s khiss (her…er…vampire coven? nest? whatever?) to stop the supposed vampire uprising. Yeah, the whole star-crossed lover thing is happening here along with a shitload of WTF. Information comes out of left field every chapter and there’s a serious lack of organic evolution. I feel like I’m lost in a vortex of world building hell.

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An ARC of Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Surrender. This is the 10th book in the Lords of the Underworld series and I’m pleasantly surprised so far. Strider is hilarious and miserable (what a great combination for a hero) and Kaia is hilarious and miserable. Kaia wants Strider, Strider is afraid that he won’t be good enough for her…but he wants her…but she had a one nighter with his best friend. Oy. Strider’s demon, Defeat, will send Strider into a coma of pain if he isn’t as good in bed with Kaia as Paris was. For all of their winning ways and bravado, Strider and Kaia are both kinda loser-ish. I’m only 100 pages or so into it, but I’m enjoying the heck out of this installment and am anxious to see how they redeem themselves.

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Red Heat by Nina Bruhns. It’s The Hunt for Red October + utter romance ludicrousness. Captain Nikolai Romanov is slightly disgraced and is forced to captain a broken down sub that does scientific missions. He’s informed that a CIA spy will be part of the expedition team and is tasked with figuring out her mission. Julie Severin is a CIA analyst, now working as a spy and posing as a reporter. Totally ridiculous and far-fetched, but it’s a fun read and I’m frankly enjoying the absurdity.

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Wild & Steamy Anthology. Two words: Brooks and Crane. I have been so annoyed that there hasn’t been a follow up to Crane’s Disillusionist novels. Yeah, I know it’s bad form to push an author to write, but dammit, I love those crazy kids. Kitten Tiger & the Monkis a little snack to stave off my Disillusionist hunger. But when I finish this book it’s all over, and I’m really, really going to need another one. If that isn’t dropping a hint like a bomb I don’t know what to call it.

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Cowboy Up by Vicki Lewis Thompson. I’ve only read one other Sons of Chance novel, Claimed!, and enjoyed it. This is the story of Clay Whitaker, the foster son of the Chance clan, and Emily Sterling. Emily is the seemingly spoiled daughter of Emmett, the Last Chance Ranch foreman and father-figure to Clay. Thompson sets the stage for an enjoyable big reveal that Emily isn’t all the bad that Clay’s cracked her up to be. Thompson does a wonderful job of showing that as an outsider perception can be way off base from the truth in family relations. I am enjoying the familial back stories (just like I did in the other novel I read) and all of the secondary character interaction.

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