Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil, by Barbara Monajem - Review

Publisher's Pledge
In Dorchester's press release about their new marketing program, the Publisher's Pledge, there's a quote kind of buried in the middle that makes me really happy:
“Our strength has been identifying emerging voices and trends in the industry rather than chasing bestsellers. Our intent is to reestablish ourselves in the market as the publisher authors and agents turn to first to introduce new talent. " (Brooke Borneman, Director of Sales and Marketing.)

I just really like that there are publishers out there that are specifically looking to give aspiring authors their big break. The bottom line on the Publisher's Pledge is YOUR bottom line: according to the note in the review copy,
Dorchester's Publisher's Pledge program is our way of identifying particularly special books by giving readers a risk-free guarantee. We feel so strongly about Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil, we're willing to pay a full refund to anyone who doesn't find it everything they want in a paranormal fantasy.

Well. That's promising, isn't it?

I don't know if I've been getting burned out on paranormals or what, but I've been finding myself reluctant to try out new authors lately. Ho hum, another vampire. Does this one sparkle, or poof? However, I put aside my reservations and cracked this one open.

Which is all it took. One page, and I'm hooked. It's pretty hard to resist a female vampire named Ophelia Beliveau, whose chief challenge in life is fending off hapless human men who fall under her pheremone spell. Monajem manages to make this aspect of vampirism feel truly inconvenient and occasionally tragic, yet leavened with laugh-out-loud slapstick.

There's plenty of chemistry and conflict between Ophelia and Gideon and they work through it while untangling a couple of related mysteries. Plotting is tight and fast paced. I tend to think of it as a good sign when the guy I'm pretty sure dunnit turns up dead just when I'm starting to be sure. (That might sound like I'm calling it predictable, but that's not what I mean.)

I think my favorite piece of this book is the way the cast of secondary characters come alive. No doubt there will be sequels, but it really didn't feel like sequel-baiting. It felt more like Season One of a new show with a great ensemble cast, and I'm already looking forward to next season.

There's a second "moral of the story" in this post -- I need to take a page from Dorchester's book (so to speak!) and bust out of this new-author-reluctance I've fallen into lately. I'm not always like this, and I should snap out of it already! Truthfully, I love more new authors than I hate, and I like lots more. And the last couple that I've taken a chance on have been really really excellent.

Who have you discovered lately?

Other Reviews:

Patricia's Vampire Notes
The Deepening
Vampire News

Note: if you have reviewed this book, feel free to leave a link in comments!


Mary Marvella said...

This vampire soooo rocks. Go, Barbara!

Josie said...

Hurray, Barbara!

Nightingale said...

The title is fantastic and the cover mesmerizing. I'm sure the reviewer had it right all the way.

Nicola O. said...

I'm sure the reviewer had it right all the way.

Do you mean me? I confess I'm a bit puzzled at your comment, Nightingale.

Thanks for stopping by, ladies -- it's great to see such a strong support system!

Kaetrin said...

I'm having a historial phase at the present having recently discovered Rose Lerner and Janet Mullany. I'm reading Kinsale's Lessons in French right now. It's that and contemporaries that I seem to be gravitating toward lately.

I tried to read Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh and I just couldn't get into it. I'm convinced it's me and I'll try again later, because I've really loved her other Psy series books and have read great reviews of this one. But, I think trying to "force" a book that I'm really not feeling just creates unnecessary angst.

I've been "burned" by one or two new to me RS authors lately - I know it's not (just) me when I really want to read the book and like it but just can't. (Now I'm regretting that I bought all 3 in the series because I hated the first one. Seems I'm in the minority though, there are plenty of people out there raving, even though I honestly can't see why.) :(

I may just bookmark this one for when I'm in a paranormal mood again though. Thx for the review.

Nicola O. said...

I know whatcha mean, Kaetrin. I ignored a few paranormals back in january and deliberately spent almost the whole month concentrating on historicals and a few contemps.


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