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.