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REVIEW:  Provoked by Rebecca Zannetti

REVIEW: Provoked by Rebecca Zannetti

Dear Ms. Zannetti

I had high hopes for this book.  You are a new to me author and I was excited to dive into this series, even though I was starting with book 5.  I fully understood the world as was presented in the book as it is fairly simple.  Kane Kayrs and his family fight off the bad guys.

Provoked by Rebecca ZannettiThere are demons, shapeshifters and Kurjins.  Kurjins are essentially the vampires of legend – pasty bloodsuckers that fry in the sun. But Kane is from a line of vamps that don’t need much blood, aren’t endangered by the sun, and can stop a bullet with his chest but has a very human reaction to the old knees to the balls trick. Vamps must mate with females of a different species. The mating process increases the chromosome pairs until the mate is near immortal too. Immortal merely means hard to kill.  I thought it was interesting how the Kayrs’ vampires are stripped of any problematic vampire trait.  Instead, their enemies are the creepy undead. What the point was of even having them be some sort of vampires if their genotypes have nothing in common with the vampire of myth. Just make up a new species unless the intent is for the reader to impute all the sexiness of the vampires of literature. A literal example of having your cake and eating it too.

It wasn’t the light weight world building that was the most disappointing part of the book. Instead, it was the ridiculous, lust driven romance.  The story opens with Kane tracking down Amber Freebird, a woman who he senses is a demon slayer.  The Kayrs need her to free their captured brother.  Amber isn’t aware that she is a demon slayer. She is a peace loving, commune living, vegan eating hippie. (No, there are no stereotypes in this book. Not at all)

Kane goes to the bar where Amber works and hovers all night, frightening her.  He then essentially kidnaps her and starts mumbling about vampires and demons. He cold cocks two guys into unconsciousness with his fists. She is thinking of stabbing him with a pen and a moment later she ALLOWS him to stick his hands down her jeans and fondle her.

He peered down at her. “Amber?”

“Yes?”

“If you’re going to attack with whatever’s in your right hand, could you hurry it up? We need to get going.”

She started, her gaze slashing up to him. “How did you know?”

He shrugged. “What kind of a knife do you have?” Her cheeks pinkened, and she drew her hand forward.

“I have a pen.”

A blue ballpoint pen. He blinked twice, his gaze on the harmless tool.

Her flesh filled his hand and he squeezed, feeling her moan inside his mouth. The jeans were a hindrance. With a growl of impatience, he slid his palm beneath her waist- band and found silky smooth skin. No underwear—or she wore a thong. He slid his finger over. Yep. She was wearing a thong. Jesus, his head might blow off. As he kneaded her butt, awareness pressed in. She was cold. Or rather, her rear was cold.

He’s rounded third base and she doesn’t know his name, thinks he is a creep who stared at her too long at the bar? Amber, you are an idiot.  Are they both crazy? Am I supposed to be crazy? Frankly if I hadn’t committed to myself to review this book, I would have dropped it at that point, in the middle of chapter three.

But the lust driven ridiculousness is compounded by inconsistencies and general lameness of the story.  Kane calls Amber terms of endearment in Gaelic but curses in Latin. Why? Well, no reason is given but I think I’m supposed to attribute this to Kane’s intellectual stature. He’s the smart one of the Karys’ family. While a mortal blow to the sternum doesn’t cause him to even move,  a knee to the testicles causes him nausea from the pain. Why? Well, no reason is given for the disparity but I guess I’m supposed to believe that Kane’s got the sensitivity of a human in the genitals. After all, he’s one of those new fangled vampires.

Kane’s romancing leaves much to be desired as well.  A mated pair can share powers so Kane’s solution is to mate with Amber.  After all, he’s already stuck his hand down her pants and enjoyed her booty. It’s a logical step to tying oneself to a person for the rest of your immortal life.  The palm to bottom test is a well known arbiter of how compatible a couple is.  It’s a premium upgrade to OK Cupid. You scan your ass in and then it is matched to various suitors’ palms.

As for Amber, just once I’d like the human girl to be scared shitless and not wetting the gusset of her panties with arousal when she is kidnapped by a vampire, attacked by demons and seen a wolf shape shift into a human.  D

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Personal Demon by Susan Sizemore

REVIEW: Personal Demon by Susan Sizemore

Dear Ms. Sizemore:

Personal Demon is an extension of your popular Laws of the Blood series that I enjoyed quite a bit. What I recall enjoying about the series was the unromanticized version of vampires; there was a careless brutality and a seeming near constant jockeying for power amongst the vampires. It was more akin to Anne Rice than Christine Feehan and they weren’t really romances. The political power of those stories and the strength of the worldbuilding weren’t evident here. Instead, more traditional romance tropes seemed to be shoehorned in to make the story more palatable to romance readers but the blend of sex and mystery was hard to follow and hard to connect with.

Ivy Bailey is a vampire hunter in Chicago. There is evidence that young women in Chicago are being targeted by a vampire. Christopher Bell is a Vampire Enforcer, a vampire charged with policing the vampires. In the beginning, Ivy is unaware of Christopher’s intentions. She even believes that he might be responsible, but still has no problem with him making sexual advances toward her.

If I was to truly buy into the setup I would have to believe that this woman whose job it is to hunt and kill vampires would engage in erotic machinations with one she believed killed two young people.  She didn’t appear to have a self destructive dark desire for danger. So where is the revulsion? Or even self disgust? Sure those two things don’t fit in with the overall narrative of pretty ingenue falls in love with big bad strigoi but those reactions would be a natural extension of a woman who hunts vampires and believes them to be evil beings.

Jack the Ripper makes yet another appearance in fiction. In this incarnation he is a demon’s slave working for the enslavement of all for his master. His nefarious deeds are put to an end in 19th C but his master comes into new power and resurrects these once dead evil doers.

 Personal Demon by Susan SizemoreBut rewriting history doesn’t stop with Jack. Indeed the demon decides to reanimate the worst serial killers: Ted Bundy, John (whom I assume is John Wayne Gacy), and some guy named Dick (whose origin I was unsure).

To my mind, renaminating a bunch of sick killers who slaughtered women for perverse reasons makes little sense if you are trying to take over the world. Doesn’t Hitler or Napoleon make more sense? Ghenghis Khan? It is like choosing a bunch of orcs when you could have Sauron.

Much of the story is written as if everything is a secret. The heroine’s past, the hero’s past, both of their motivations. I understood that the attempts to obfuscate the hero in the mind of the heroine was to introduce some type of gothic tension. Was her really a Demon’s slave? I find this technique to be less than successful in romance books. The reader never buys into it so why should the heroine? Ivy is a psychic with lots of latent power. Christopher is a 19th Century vampire who tastes or sense things through their colors? I didn’t really get it but when they were having sex the first time, it was green.

Unfortunately, this was a less than successful reanimation of the Laws of the Blood series. It was too much lust and too little love; too much mystery and too little believable conflict. My color is kind of blue for disappointed. C-

Best regards

Jane

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