Sunday, May 13, 2012
Under a Vampire Moon, by Lynsay Sands - Review
I tried one of the Argeneau vampire stories a couple of years ago, and I liked it well enough, but for whatever reason, never managed to dive into the series. This month, the Addicts received a copy of Under a Vampire Moon, along with a beach ball, some margarita mix, and recipes for snacks. Hmmm. What is Avon trying to tell us?? There was a Twitter party last week to talk about the story but I was unable to attend, so I'm attempting to make up for it here.
At this point, the series is on to the SIXTEENTH story, with a seventeenth due out later this summer. I'm glad I gave the series another try because it was a lot of fun.
Unlike many vampire romances, this story was not terribly dark or angsty (it's like Sands didn't get the memo, heh). It's paced like a straight contemporary, moving lightly from one scene to the next. It's a quick, fun, perfect-for-the-beach read.
Series Handicap: 0.5 on a scale of 0 to 5
I just made that up. But you have to wonder if you're going to be completely lost if you jump into a series at book #16. In my opinion, this is not a worry. I can't speak for the rest of the series (obviously) but this book stands pretty well alone. There were a few references that seemed to assume prior knowledge, but they were minor and were explained by the end. If you haven't read 1-15, don't let that stop you from giving this cute story a whirl. The only aspect that I would like to understand better is Christian's relationship with his mother. There was definitely a backstory there, and I would've liked a little more on it. It didn't keep me from enjoying the romance, but prologue, maybe, or something might've been nice.
Christian... ah, Christian Notte. He's a 500 year old Italian vampire who plays rock violin and does ...something businessy... as a day job. Which made his internal vocabulary somewhat mystifying. His voice is pretty much indistinguishable from Carolyn's or anyone else's in the story, right down to the choice of "Cripes" as a swear word. Really? Cripes? That was a headscratcher for me.
I did enjoy Carolyn quite a lot, and I identified with her age concerns and some of her general outlook. I have to say, it wasn't really clear to me exactly what it was about these two that made them perfect for each other, but luckily there are nanos, mind-reading relatives, and a super-nova white-hot attraction so there was no real need to wonder. OK, that sounds slightly snarky, and it kind of is... the pacing and the humor propel the story forward but I wasn't completely wowed by the characters.
The secondaries-- this was a colorful and entertaining crew. Marguerite and Julian are on their honeymoon, when Marguerite suddenly realizes that Carolyn is the life-mate for her son Christian. How does she know this? I don't know, apparently it's a vampire thing. Er, immortal thing. Vampires are a myth. Anyway, she gets things rolling and between her and Julian and Gia (Christian's cousin), they keep Christian on the right track, not letting him get too far wrong with Carolyn. If you think too hard about your mom and dad being able to read your and your mate's mind about your explosive sexual attraction, you might... OK, don't think too hard about that. As long as you stick to the light and funny, which is certainly where this whole book is targeted, it works OK.
Basically, the whole story is set up as a farce, with the entire Notte family conspiring to reel Carolyn in. In order to give Christian time to get to know Carolyn, and keep her from bolting, Gia tells her that Christian is gay and needs a beard. The story wears suspiciously thin to Carolyn at times, but judicious application of alcohol, special (IYKWIMAITYD) dreams, and mind reading, the goal is pretty much achieved. If you liked the Friends episodes featuring Ross and Rachel, this story is right in that pocket.
The big reveal is also fairly painless, as those "mortal realizing new boyfriend/girlfriend is a vampire" types of scenes go. The book in general is rather low-conflict, and more about Carolyn coming out of her shell than a high-drama roller-coaster, which is an unusual choice for a vampire romance IME, but it works.
On The Whole
Under a Vampire Moon probably won't rock your world, but it's a perfect companion for a beachy afternoon with sunglasses, hot sand under your toes, and an icy-tart margarita close by. Check it out if you're in the market for a beach read.
Around the Blogosphere
Buckeye Girl Reads
Fellow Addict Amy at Unwrapping Romance
The Book Pushers
Helyce at Smexy Books
Fellow Addict Lisarenee at Seduced by a Book
As always, if you have reviewed this book and would like to be added, just let me know in comments or email and I'd be happy to edit you in.