When I was a kid I loved the classic vampire stories. As I grew up the stories changed until these days, they’re all about eternal love and how best t...moreWhen I was a kid I loved the classic vampire stories. As I grew up the stories changed until these days, they’re all about eternal love and how best to woo the heart of a teenage goth chick. Or, as Diana Trees puts it, they’re sparkly. In short, I have come to hate the vampire novel with a passion that rivals the depths of the emo self-pity felt by the average character in said books.
With that said, I happened across Diana Trees on Twitter and was immediately taken by the blurb on her account: “Vampires do not sparkle. They eat people.” How could I not dig deeper after reading that?! And so I did – for $.99 it was worth taking the risk.
I’ll admit I wasn’t sure right off the bat. The story felt a little odd at first, but not in a bad way. It had a nice flow to it and other than 1 or 2 exceptionally minor typos near the end of it, I was very satisfied with the mechanics of it. Sadly that is a rare thing in most interdependently published books, I’m sure even a few syntactical errors exist in some of my own books and those went through a publishing company.
The only problem I had with the book, if you can call it a problem, is how difficult it was for me to establish a rapport with the main character. After all, the main character is a vampire in a more traditional sense. She thinks and feels but she doesn’t pine away for some long lost love who has just been reborn into his or her great great great grandson’s body. The main character feels alien and vicious – and rightly so. Near the end I saw a bigger glimpse into her personal life that opened her up some. It was a good thing that showed character development. It made her feel a little more human without reducing her to glitter and sparkles.
Loved the introduction of some other supernatural beings without reducing it to the same old vampire vs. werewolf crap too. A fine job, Ms. Trees!
But there will be blood – and lots of it. Divine Wine does not lack in the blood and gore fest. I even contacted the author to mention I enjoyed her extremely gory book and she told me she appreciated the feedback and assured me I wasn’t to worry, the next one she’s working on has even more violence. Tuck the kids to bed and read it with the lights on and the doors locked!
It’s a novella and something I finished in a few minutes while waiting for the babysitter to arrive. Get it on Kindle or Nook – I recommend it for anyone who wants to spit in the face of the current trend in undead romanticism!(less)
Either because of my testicles or because I'm just that way, I avoid romances. They seem to only be possible when incredibly stupid people are the cha...moreEither because of my testicles or because I'm just that way, I avoid romances. They seem to only be possible when incredibly stupid people are the characters. The main character in A Previous Engagement (a clever title, by the way), fits the category perfectly. I thought the male paramour did as well until I was most of the way through the book. Then I realized he wasn't suffering from a series of major concussion, he was just overly sentimental and emotional for a man. Definitely not a man's man, but perhaps he fits with the modern metrosexual kind of guy that's become so popular. I prefer the 80's action movie hero kind of guy. Or The Duke.
One other thing bothered me - the book leaves the impression that it's unfavorable for a woman to have a successful career. The main character strives to do so, but she's not complete without a partner and family in her life. I find that a flawed lesson. Why should a person be required to have a family to be complete?
That's the bad, here comes the good.
The book was very well written. The main character amused me time and again (when she wasn't aggravating me by being oblivious), thanks to the author's skill with putting words together. I faintly remember one chapter starting with a sentence that was too long and made no sense, but I was able to move past it easily and find no other flaws. Coming from another writer, that's a major success.
I read the book in a matter of hours, another feather in Stephanie's hat. I abhor the genre yet she kept me reading. I wanted to reach in and strangle the characters because they seemed to be inexplicably stupid from the very beginning, but still I read on. I say 'inexplicably stupid' but that does not mean they are without precedent. Virtually any romance movie available or even some distant relatives of mine have displayed similar or near exact levels of ignorance and dumbassery. So yes, I thought they were dumb but it's a dumb that I've seen many times before in fiction and in fact.
For someone who enjoys the genre, I recommend the book highly. (less)
The Capable Man was an insightful and almost powerful book. It kept me reaching for the next page, anxious to find out what would happen next. Definit...moreThe Capable Man was an insightful and almost powerful book. It kept me reaching for the next page, anxious to find out what would happen next. Definitely a must read for a futuristic sci-fi lover. I was even reminded of some of Heinlein's style when I read this.(less)