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Gerry Bartlett

REVIEW:  Real Vampires Know Size Matters (Glory St. Clair #10) by Gerry Bartlett

REVIEW: Real Vampires Know Size Matters (Glory St. Clair #10)...

Real Vampires Know Size Matters (Glory St. Clair #10) by Gerry Bartlett

Dear Ms. Bartlett,

Every time I see your heroine’s name, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” starts playing in a continuous loop through my brain. Granted, in no way, shape or form can Gloriana Sinclair be compared to the deity to which this song is sung – though, given her predilection for falling into trouble and finding her way out of it, it might be a close thing. The poor vampire’s world IS rather like a war, with skirmishes and battles won and lost so that the greater war can be decided.

When Glory Sinclair was made a vampire, thin definitely was not in. Thin meant you were either poor, dying, cursed or all of the above. Unfortunately, as society progressed, so did ideals of beauty – and her big hips became a big no-no. But our intrepid protagonist has quite a bit more to worry about than the lush sweep of her curves. Not only has her mother, a goddess from Olympus, found her again – but she’s saddled her with a junk food addicted, snarky recovering Siren who’s searching for the meaning of her diet in the bottom of a Ben & Jerry’s pint (which Glory can’t eat). Glory’s boyfriend of decades, the fangalicious Blade, suddenly reveals that his ex, a powerful voodoo priestess, wants him back – and won’t take no for an answer. Then, to top all that fun off, Glory has to clean up another of Israel Caine’s messes, putting herself deeper in hock with various entities, deities and bottom feeders than ever before.

All I can say is that this book was busier than a K & W Cafeteria on half-price senior citizens night. Most of the current story was overshadowed by endless repetitions of everything that went before. It wasn’t enough that one friend or set of friends had to be told about some part of the plot or situation, there had to be on-screen repetitions, repeatedly. The Department of Redundancy Department called and wanted their plot back. They sent an email to follow up, just in case readers didn’t get the phone call. For every step forward the story took toward developing the lives, characters and plot, it took two steps, a backflip and a cartwheel in another direction that vaguely resembled “back.” It could just have been me missing the point of how interconnected everything was, but I somehow suspect that, yes, Glory’s back story is just –that- convoluted and packed with insanity that I’d need a flowchart, a relationship guru and a native Sherpa just to keep up.

All that aside, however – this was a wonderful story that thrived on character development and solid storytelling over flashy writing tricks. I loved how we got to see Glory develop a bit more, discover her confidence and power within herself even as she tried to put out every fire that cropped up. With each book in the series, readers have been able to watch her grow as a person, gotten to see her self-confidence build just a bit more. That’s not to say she’s an island who needs no one – she depends on her friends and loved ones, leans on them in times of need. They’re her support system, even though she’s the one who has to do all of the heavy lifting.

The secondary characters and their development truly help the story pop. The characters have become friends of the reader over the series – each one is as rich and lifelike as Blade and Glory. They aren’t treated as extensions of the story or props, but as the story themselves. As new characters are introduced, their relationship with the reader grows naturally through their relationships with the other characters. It’s almost like we’re standing on the fringes of this awesome group of people, watching and listening in, but not expected to contribute.

There’s such an amazing joy and beauty in Glory and Blade’s relationship, despite all of their hardships and trials, that it makes persevering through some of the repetition worth it. Granted, there were a few times it felt as though Glory’s romantic life was getting a touch, shall we say, Anita Blake-ish, but she got pulled back from the edge of that bed and tossed right into the arms of the man she loves in a realistic manner that had me cheering and bouncing in my seat – until she got pulled out of those arms. Again. I’m convinced Blade needs to develop a new vampire superpower of rubber arms, just so he can keep up with all the directions his beloved is pulled in.

I’m definitely going to give this book a thumbs up. Despite the redundancy and some minor niggly bits with slightly unrealistic reactions, overall it was solid and well-written. Now, however, I have to go back and reread everything that came before. While not wholly inaccessible to new readers, I’d definitely recommend tackling the others in the series before curling up with a glass of wine (red, of course) and this one. C+

Wishing MY Mother was from Olympus,

Mary Kate

 

As a reader who’s old enough to know better and young enough to not care, I’ve breezed through the gamut of everything books have to offer.  As a child, I used to spend summer days happily ensconced in one of the Philadelphia public libraries, reading everything and anything I could get my hands on, thanks to the love and support of my parents and aunts – teachers, mothers and/or librarians all.  One aunt started me with Nancy Drew books (whose pages are worn from hundreds of re-reads) while another thought I needed introduced to C.S. Lewis’s land of Narnia.  By the time I was 8, I’d read everything the library’s children’s section had to offer and had “graduated” to the adult room downstairs.  Fortunately for my very supportive parents’ sanity, I didn’t discover romances until college.  My days are currently spent working in law enforcement (dispatchers unite!), working with first responders, and trying to dig my writer/editor/reviewer husband out from his latest pile of books.  I’m a devoted fan of all manner of romance (though I prefer my romance to have a hint of laughter and self-awareness), mysteries, and urban fantasy.

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REVIEW:  Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett

REVIEW: Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett

Dear Ms Bartlett,

I have to be honest and tell you that if this hadn’t’ve been a review book, I wouldn’t have gotten more than 1/2 way through it. As it was, I kept trying to think positively and flipping pages. At the halfway mark, I started skimming. By the end, I knew I would not be continuing on with you in this series.

Gloriana Eloisa St. Claire is a vampire and has been for almost 400 years. A sexy Highlander converted her backstage at the Globe Theatre in London where she was scandalizing her parents by acting in an age where women didn’t act. But then she’d already disgraced them by marrying a (now dead) actor in the first place so there wasn’t much lower she could go. At least she thought so until she met Jerry, well that’s what he goes by now, Jerry Blade and he’s still one hot, sexy vampire. Currently they’re in the off cycle of their on/off romance and Glory is finishing up a stint in Vegas before moving on to Austin, TX. During the trip, Jerry phones her to warn her that an old friend of theirs has been taken by a vampire hunter. Stunned, Glory gets the details on this new hunter who is treating vampires like big game trophies and who has access to new and sophisticated technology which allows him to stalk them better.

After she arrives in TX, Glory sets up her new business with an apartment above the shop, both provided at a nominal rent by the vampire brother of her new vampire employee, Florence da Vinci (well he did paint her numerous times in Italy). Over the years Glory has aquired quite a collection of vintage clothing (which will happen when you don’t want to throw much out) and she’s decided to clean her closets and pay the rent in one fell swoop by opening a vintage clothing boutique. But will she be able to fend off the overprotective urges of her old lover Jerry, her new wannabe lover Damian, deal with her telepathic over protective dog, run a business and stay unstaked by the hunter?

The first problem I had with the book is the person telling the story. A reader has to like a first person narrator and Glory started getting on my nerves by the end of chapter one. Her Vamp Lit style was never ending yet grating. This is one book which will not age well, I’m afraid but then I think that about most books which use Sex and the City as a guide. I also do not like it when authors describe their characters by telling me which celebrities the characters are supposed to resemble. To me that’s lazy. Describe the person and if I get a mental image, then fine but don’t just say “he looks like Hugh Jackman” or “she looks like Angelina Jolie.”

If you’re going to create your own fantasy/paranormal world, then do the work and don’t just tell me that Glory’s hair still grows by some kind of vamp magic. This is also lazy. Ditto on the shapeshifting. Explain this world or leave these aspects out.

I’m sick of faux Highland dialogue. Don’t go there even in jest.

I never liked the telepathic dog. Not for a minute. Nor the two ghosts who haunted Glory’s store and wrote messages in the dust. And how did Harvey write some of his messages on the counter after the dust was dusted away? Things like that pulled me out of the story trying to figure out.

You have a very large cast of characters and after a while, I started to get all the secondary vampire characters mixed up. Plus the shapeshifters and mortals….

I knew that Glory’s store sold vintage stuff. I knew that she had a lot of vintage stuff of her own she sold and that she bought to be sold. Therefore, I didn’t need to be told that each item she wore or that got sold in the store was a “vintage” something.

Glory has had almost 400 years to get used to her size. She was converted in an age when curvaceous women were the norm and desired. This has been true for most of her vampire existence. Why is she so hung up on her weight? After a while, I just wanted her to shut up about it.

After finishing this book, I realize that at least for now I’ve had it with vampire books. If I had read your book last year or two years ago, the grade might have been higher but when I don’t particularly enjoy the character telling a first person book, when every vampire cliche in the genre gets tossed in plus a telepathic dog and ghosts, when nothing new is done with the genre and when it’s an effort for me to finish a book, then I’m afraid I can’t grade higher than a D.

~Jayne