Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book review: Love Bleeds by Maggie James

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Maggie James (May 26, 2011)

Blurb: There’s no such thing as vampires…

Straight-laced Katarina Renót is well educated, logical and doesn’t believe vampires truly exist. But when a well deserved holiday in Europe turns into a torrid game of cat and mouse with a handsome stranger and her best friend is exhibiting signs of being allergic to daylight-Kat doesn’t think her life can get any stranger.

Every man has a weakness…Even an immortal…

Joseph Markus is an arrogant, wealthy entrepreneur who spends his free time as the raspy lead singer for the rock band “Slang” and seducing beautiful women. After decades of mourning the tragic death of the only woman he ever loved, vying to save his best friend from an unrelenting death wish- now he is accused of being a murderer.

An undeniable twist of fate…

Kat learns her Prince Charming is actually the “Prince of Darkness” and though she can’t resist falling for this sultry vampire, she still lives in denial. But when the lines are drawn, and Kat finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly plot for revenge she has only one choice--trust the seductive vampire who has captured her heart.

Despite his own arrogance, Joe finds himself inexplicably drawn to Kat. Her stubborn will to resist his seductive charms coupled with her endearing naiveté prove to be more than he bargained for and Joe soon realizes he is in way over his head.

But will love be enough to save their immortal souls from the grips of a twisted obsession?

My review: My love of vampires began with watching Frank Langella, fangs lengthened, as he dramatically drew back his cape and stare wide-eyed at some damsel in the movie Dracula. My fascination with bloodsucking novels truly began with Anne Rice's Lestat. So when I saw the cover and read the blurb for Love Bleeds, I was immediately drawn to it.

This novel marks Maggie James' debut in the paranormal erotica market and Love Bleeds is the first title in her Only After Dark series. Fans of the genre may enjoy this work. I certainly did but felt there were some areas where the writing could have been tightened up, typos caught, and the characters better developed in parts. There was a dream woman angle with Phillip I didn't find a resolution for. The multiple POV's did confuse at times when one character's pov switched to another on the same page. I also had some early concerns about Kat. She was on vacation with best friend, Nina, and I was under the impression both were strong, independent types out to have some fun. Yet, it takes little time for both ladies to give up everything for the love of their new vampiric boyfriends. This confused me since Kat had expressed fear of vampires but quickly changed her mind without showing us more of her inner conflict before changing her beliefs (and I knew her attraction to Joe was instantaneous, as was Nina's to Phillip). Since this is the first novel in the series some of my concerns may be addressed later on.

As for the love story angle, James wrote some steamy scenes for Kat and Joe and also for Nina and Phillip. In some scenes I thought the physicality parts were slightly rushed. A little romance, an increase of feelings and a logical reciprocation by the other partner would have added more depth to these scenes to help us like these characters even more. One thing James did well was infuse her characters with personality. I liked the rocker vamps, especially Joe, Phillip and Julian. I did expect Joe and his family to speak with brogues or use more appropriate terminology to help create a better sense of setting. I was surprised with by the lack of brogues, especially by Joe, and the author did infuse Max, the human band manager, with warmth and believable diction. Bad vamp Slade was viciously cruel and oozed evil. His gang of marauding troublemakers were very realistic and vividly depicted. James also proved how adept she can be with scenery and dialogue. Her descriptions really gave you a sense of place and the characters related well to each other. It was refreshing to see a group of musician vamps treat each other like a family. Another endearing part I enjoyed was watching Julian fall in love. He had some wonderfully tender moments with Anya as they became a couple to root for (I would like to see these two have their own story in the series).

There may not be any new mythos here but fans of the genre may want to check out Love Bleeds and welcome Maggie James to the market.

Rating: I liked it.

Cover comment: Very blue and sexy.

Book source: Received during a Bewitching Books tour for an honest review.

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