Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bibliovile: Bespoke Literature

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Sex, Lies, and Vampires, by Katie MacAlister

              S, L, and V is not the worst book I’ve read as a part of this ongoing project. It is, however, perhaps the most eyerolling. The pure Hot Topic-edness of this novel is unending. It never once ceases to make you groan at it. Frankly, I admire its tenacity.

              It begins early, with hamfisted mentions of the main character, Nell, and her huge knockers. They’re overstuffing her bra you see. This was written by a woman, you’d think she’d have a better idea about when to include knocker-based details. Maybe during one of the several sex scenes.
              Oh, and there’s also vampires. And just like every other vampire novel, this author gets to make up her own fun interpretation of vampires. Why are vampires the only mythical creature we allow to just be all sorts of crazy crap? It’s not like we rewrite a wolfman every full moon! Heyo.
              There’s also imps. And poltergeist we never see. And sylphs. That we never see. And unicorns. Hints at ogres and giants. We don’t see any of these things. Why include their mention? To us, they don’t really exist?
              The most groanable moments were, at the very least, consistent with an awful character, and unfortunately it’s our love interest. Our two lead characters love each other because, um, my publisher told me this book had to have sex in it. Adrian, a Dark One (ugh), is also the Betrayer (ugh ugh) because he’s cursed by a demon lord to sacrifice his people, or something, we don’t ever see him do that.
              You might notice a running theme about telling and not showing. It’s why this book is really hard to sum up- all the stuff you want to bring up doesn’t actually happen in the book. It’s just talked about in the book. It’s an incredibly confusing book, but without all the complexity or intricacy that would make that a good thing. It’s just we don’t every really get ANY SORT of bead on anything, like a small breasted nun during Mardi Gras. We simply groan and move along with the story as our characters do exiting things like... I’m sure there was something.
              The entire romance is based around “I need to fix this broken man!” which is never a good place to start. Adrian himself is just so very eye-rollable. “My Beloved does not exist because I am not allowed to have one. TO have a Beloved would imply that there is hope for me, and I can assure you from many centuries of experience, hope is one grace that has forsaken me.”
              He also, at one point, wears a fedora, because of course he does.
              The female protagonist is no better.

              “I have a question for you.”
              “You should not be out of room,” he said in a heavy German accent. “What is question?”
              “What’s the difference between a bird and a tractor?”
              He blinked at me. I smiled as I swung the statue down on his head. “They can both fly… except for the tractor.”
My reaction to this joke
              I… What? Shoot, now I’m mad and groaning again. This book took forever to read, even if it wasn’t that long. You may notice this book report has been all over the place, but like I said, that’s because the whole friggin thing is so disconnected and shoddy, it’s like my cable company’s Christmas lights. Now there’s a joke.
              At the secondary climax (that we miss, as if the book didn’t have the budget to record it), the secondary antagonist shows up with a bunch of neo-Nazis, totally out of the blue. Just wanted to mention that. They’re quickly turned into slugs and then forgotten about.

Midnight Sins, Cynthia Eden
Midnight Sins II: This Time It’s Supernatural
Mick found another book called Midnight Sins and I had to read it. Thankfully it was slightly better than the OG Midnight Sins, otherwise my insides might have melted, and then there would have been no one to write this blog post. That would have been a travesty.

Would you like to know what else is a travesty? Cara Maloan’s life. Her twin sister was brutally murdered by an ex-lover years ago, and Cara still misses her terribly. Not to mention Cara’s terrible luck with men. She can’t get one to stick around for very long, and her recent string of breakups has led her to the decision to permanently give up sex, which might be a problem, given that Cara is a sex demon who feeds on sexual energy. That’s right, this Midnight Sins is paranormal. This world is populated by vampires, succubi, charmers, and -- of course -- shifters.
Of course, most of the population of Atlanta (of course it’s Atlanta, where else could this take place) lives in blissful ignorance of the presence of the Other. For the last thirty-some-odd years of his life, so did Detective Todd Brooks, until the night he saw his partner transform into a wolf. Now he’s trying to come to terms with the presence of otherworldly beings in his city, as he works to unravel a series of brutal murders that someone is peskily trying to frame on his new ex-murder-suspect-turned-girlfriend, sex demon Cara Maloan.
Yep, you got that right. The new Midnight Sins has all the murdered sisters, gross sex scenes, and weird power dynamics of Lora Leigh’s classic, but this time with police drama, an other-worldly psychiatrist, and level-ten demons thrown in for good measure. The large majority of this book was bonkers, because demons can apparently do some crazy stuff like start fires inside a person’s heart and burn them to a crisp from the inside, but there were actually some pieces of the book that were pretty entertaining, which I did not expect from a book that has the misfortune of sharing a title with the biggest heap of word garbage ever written.
              This new Midnight Sins has a plot that is exciting and contains a few twists, but is actually decipherable and able to be followed, unlike Lora Leigh’s calamity of the written word. One of our main characters is framed for murder, the actual killer is kind of a surprise, the final action scene is really good, and the scary parts actually gave me the shivers. The biggest flump in this book was the romance, which didn’t really do much for me. The characters seemed really one-dimensional and it was hard to believe that they were madly in love with each other because they didn’t seem to have much in common, and when they spoke to each other, they never really seemed to say anything.
              That complaint aside, however, I was pleasantly surprised. When Mick announced that he had found another book called Midnight Sins in the bargain bin at the Dollar General, I thought I had been given a one-way ticket back to the woeful fiasco that was Cami and Rafer’s sex grossness. Instead, I got to read an over-the-top paranormal romance that was essentially fine. Which is the best you can hope for with that title. So, in closing, a word of advice to author Cynthia Eden: The next time you write a book, do some research to make sure you’re not giving it the same title as the worst book of all time.

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