Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1)
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Dec 2013: Guilty Pleasures > Official Discussion Thread for Guilty Pleasures *SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
This is our official discussion thread for Guilty Pleasures, our December (and Veronica's) main pick!

Shannon (shannonrepine) | 48 comments I am so excited. I love these books.

Lila Lockhart (lilalockhart) | 62 comments I bought a copy of this just yesterday! I am thrilled by the timing. :D

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Super excited to hear you guys (or rather, ladies) will be reading this book because it's one of the first vampire books I've read and I loved it soo much! These books totally jump started my appetite for reading. And I'm a slow reader so can actually be a part of this Vaginal Fantasy party and get what everyone's on about. Yay!

Clare Agrippina (clareagrippina) | 12 comments I haven't read this one in years, I remember really enjoying this book but that was more because I felt it was funny how clichéd it was.
Anita always felt more talk than action, a lot of people talking about how bad-ass she was but not really any action to back it up. I have heard this really gets fixed in the later books though. I may give it a re-read this month.

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Amanda (amandapearl) Awesome! I've been wanting to read this for a long time and now I have a good excuse!

message 7: by Tamahome (last edited Nov 27, 2013 08:23AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tamahome | 18 comments There's no orgies til book 5 though... But I think it's a good noir type urban fantasy. The graphic novel is nice too.

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments So I first read this as an audio book, and maybe that changed the feel, but I got really tired of how almost every time Anita is in danger of physical harm that someone at least indicates they are going to try to rape her (or actively try to). For me the threat of rape in a book shouldn't be done lightly, so for a book to make me go "come on, really? are you kidding me?" because of threatened rape AGAIN...

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Rebecca Whaley (beckers77) | 80 comments I have read this book several times and I love it. I was hooked the minute I started reading.

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Kamil | 938 comments @Tegan, whenever there is a rape threat, I keep thinking of the reavers, and that's the only time the threat didn't de-evaulate the badgus

MJ Codename: ♕Duchess♕ (mjsgamingblog) I've read quite a few of these books. I'm not sure what number I left off on but it was whatever book started off with Anita getting bitchy at someone during some kids concert or play with her whining about being "mind raped". It wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't for the fact that LKH cannot write a book without Anita almost being "raped" in some way or another.
I take Anita as seriously as I take Bella Swan. If she were to kill of Anita, the books would be fantastic. I care more about what happens with Jean Claude and the shape shifters then I do with Anita.

message 12: by Serendi (new)

Serendi I tried reading this once and didn't get very far, but I knew I owned it. Could NOT figure out why I couldn't find it; finally found it in the H's. I'd been trying to find it under "Blake."


Rachael (r4ch4elreads) This has been on my shelf for months, about time I read it. I've heard good and bad things about this series, trying to stay open minded either way...

Tamahome | 18 comments Btw there's a ton of these 'casting' videos for Anita Blake:

Kellios I love this series! I'm so glad that we are reading this.

message 16: by Viola (last edited Nov 29, 2013 03:57PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Viola I liked this book; the ending had me crying because it was so sad.

This series had such promise, it is such a shame that it took a turn for the worse.

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Camilla (repressedpauper) Checking Half Price for this one. I'm kind of unsure about it, but I've heard so much about it I have to try. :-) I learned about the series when I told my high school drama teacher's wife she should name her cat Jean-Claude, and she looked at me horrified and said, "Aren't you a bit young for that series?" I knew I had to try it then.

Erika Gill (invariablyso) | 2 comments I really like this book, and I've read it a few times, but LKH's style can be pretty overbearing once you've read enough of her writing. Especially since her characters tend to follow the same body and personality types. Still, there is something very engrossing about them, and I love Anita's profession.

Rachel (poppysocks70) I read this book a while ago and really couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. It just wasn't for me and I didn't enjoy the writing style.

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N (nkenzie) | 3 comments I read this book a while ago. I think this is the one were LKH is obsessed with what Anita is wearing all the time. Even the color of the swoosh on her sneakers. That bugged the heck out of me. The detective story though was great and even though i wasn't a fan of Anita i think thought the world building and mystery made up for it.

Erika Gill (invariablyso) | 2 comments N wrote: "I read this book a while ago. I think this is the one were LKH is obsessed with what Anita is wearing all the time. Even the color of the swoosh on her sneakers. That bugged the heck out of me. Th..."

She does this SO much. It gets to the point that in the later books, pages and pages are devoted to everyone getting dressed for battle. It's something that never really bugged me until I realized I was spending like 5 minutes just reading about clothes. I never minded hearing about the weapons, except for being curious about why she was so particular about the specific kinds of guns Anita carries. Never any explanations about attributes, just fierce brand loyalty.

Kellios There are a few snippets in later books that explain the brand loyalty (i.e. grips for smaller hands, ease of drawing, that kinda of thing). As for the outfit descriptions they're not that bad. You want bad you should check out the pages of descriptions that Anne Rice can dish out. I got so tired of them I just stopped reading her books.

Tamahome | 18 comments So who prefers the later more explicit books?

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Alicia | 1 comments Ooh, I'm glad these are finally up after them being mentioned so many times. These were definitely the first urban fantasy adult books I read years ago. Unfortunately I wasn't engaged enough to follow along past about 6 or 7 books. Interested to see what the opinions are.

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N (nkenzie) | 3 comments I think i got to circus of the damned. Had it as an audio book. Got so bored started fast forwarding through it during rush hour. That was my sign i should move on to another series.

message 26: by Corrina (new)

Corrina Lawson | 54 comments This is one of the series that inspired me to write, so I'm glad to be able to discuss--though I have to admit I started with book 5, loved it, and then had to go backwards to this first in the series.

However, I bailed about book 10 because the tone just...changed.

message 27: by Gary (last edited Dec 03, 2013 12:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary I liked this one more than I had expected I would. Honestly, when I read "vampire" at this point and roll my eyes. I liked that the vampires were villainous, (almost) entirely evil, and basically depraved. Cute, sparkly teenage vampires I can do without.

I understand Jean-Claude becomes a romantic interest in later installments... which makes me not want to continue with the series, because the vampire love story is so played out.

I can't say there was a heck of a lot of NEW material in this one. The vampire lore is pretty standard. She throws in zombies and weres, but again the kind of thing we've seen before. Maybe not quite in this permutation, but still not a lot of new dynamics to the lore. Vampires have all the standard powers. Their age determines their relative strength. Etc. For some reason they are interested in "mainstreaming" into mortal society, but have their own shadow government and rigid social hierarchy that they really remain loyal to--another theme that is at this point a trope.

I did think the main character was spread a bit thin. She has a job raising/resting zombies, she consults CSI style for the police AND she's a veteran vampire hunter! As my grandmother used to say when she felt people were asking a lot of a person: if you strap a broom on her foot, she can sweep up as she walks around the house. In this case, though, I think a broom would have turned her into a full-on witch, and she'd have career/profession #4!

I'm not a gun nut, but I know enough about guns to know when someone doesn't know about guns, and it was clear that Ms. Hamilton had done a little reading and research, but wasn't really familiar. I thought it odd that she has to ask the master assassin/hunter to get her a shotgun. They don't have a K-mart in her town? Heck, you can get a shotgun same day in a lot of states. Besides, buying a gun for a lady is not unlike shopping for an engagement ring... you really should let her pick it out, or keep the receipt.

Then he needs to show her how it works? Mmmmm. Personally, I wouldn't be confident go hunting (regular hunting, that is) with anybody I just showed how use their firearm.... Hunting vampires, though? That's not the prey to go a-learning on. According to the character, she's killed fourteen vamps. A shotgun seems like something one should have thought about six or ten vampires ago.

I did think it was interesting that she went into the psychology of the vampire fetishist human. That is, it's always been a sexual proclivity, but in this case she makes it clear that part of that mindset in at least one character was a history of having been bitten by a vampire as a child. The cycle of self-destructive behavior that sometimes happens in sex abuse cases being a rather broad reference. Still, that's an analogy I had not heard before. I also like that she gave that character a few little triumphs but didn't give him a kind of "all better now" happy ending. That would have been too pat. (view spoiler)was a more interesting choice.

message 28: by Kellios (last edited Dec 03, 2013 01:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kellios This book is a great introduction to Anita's world. Many of the issues that you are having with the first book are addressed in later books. The reason she asked Edward to get her a shotgun is because she knows he's the best (he trained her) and comes fully prepped with all his toys. This also becomes a thing in later books. Also, the toys he has to play with are not necessarily legal. You cannot get a modified shotgun at Walmart. If you are not familiar with a gun, you should have the owner show you all the features of a weapon before you use it. Also, LKH does get more in depth with the gun mechanics in later books because she starts to consult more with local law enforcement.

The psychological aspects become more in depth in later books as well. I liked this series because the character development is so well thought out and the characters themselves are so endearing. I also like the fact that this series is gritty. There is no "all better" button/powers. Everything has consequences and I think they're really well done.

message 29: by Gary (last edited Dec 03, 2013 02:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary I remain unconvinced. Like I said, I'm not a gun nut, but I was brought up with them around, so it struck me as odd that someone who spent their free time trying to hunt creatures far more dangerous than the average hunter would be so unfamiliar with a very standard kind of weapon. Yeah, if one is unfamiliar with a gun you should have someone show you how to use it... but why would someone who'd already been out using guns be unfamiliar with one of the most basic types that exist?

It wasn't just that, though. The way she talked about the guns Anita did use seemed mannered. It's a subtle thing, but the way someone talks about guns is not unlike the way someone holds a cigarette or a cigar. There's a certain casual air to it that you can sense. A casualness that comes with familiarity. Hamilton's descriptions of her character's seemed just a tad forced.

But why wouldn't she already have one in the first place? I have shotguns... and I've never hunted a vampire. (I may have dated a few, but that's a different thing.) If I knew vampires actually existed, I'd make one of those doomsday preppers' houses look like the nursery of a Sunday school.

Jamie (scarlettmoonlee) | 18 comments I read this back in high school and can remember loving the shit out of it, but I'm about halfway through the book now, and I can definitely tell that I've done a lot of growing up over the years.

The biggest issue for me so far is Anita's attraction to Jean Claude. I cannot understand why a woman that kills vampires and essentially hates them would be attracted to one? Especially one that participated in Aubrey being able to control Catherine (which, by the way, makes me feel completely disgusted - what a horrible thing to happen to her).

Maybe it'll get a bit better going further, but so far I don't understand why I liked it so much at 15...

Kellios I'm sorry, but not every weapon is the same. I grew up around guns too, but that doesn't mean I know how to handle them all. Out of all the weapons that my dad had I personally only handled two. I would still have to be shown the features of a weapon before handling it. That being said, I also don't think Anita started carrying a shotgun as part of her usual hunting kit until later. I think this book in particular is the reason she does. She usually relies on her browning and a boatload of ammo to get the job done. As I said before, your issues with the gun familiarity are addressed later. This was the first book after all.

As for the attraction that Anita feels toward Jean-Claude, there are reasons for that. As you delve further into the series you find out that there are vampire lines, and that vampires created from those lines can have certain gifts. I can't go further into it than that without getting all spoilery.

message 32: by Jamie (last edited Dec 04, 2013 04:52AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jamie (scarlettmoonlee) | 18 comments @Melissa - I have read up to, at least, Narcissus in Chains, but it has been a little over nine years ago, and I have forgotten most of the detail...

(Edited to add... Iphone responding is dangerous with accidental posting)

Anyway as I was saying...

So yeah, I have read most of the books and I know there is a lot of explaining further on. However I was mostly trying to explain reactions to this book alone. I just don't think it's very good... And I am finding that Anita's actions seem to be unrealistic.

Regardless if there are more details later into the series, at first glance I cannot seem to suspend my belief long enough to enjoy the story as an adult versus when I was a teenager (which is when I first read this book and loved it). It all seems abit ... silly, honestly.

Chriss Mk | 14 comments I've only read through chapter 1 so far, but I have a question/comment. Am I missing something before this book? I can't help but to feel like I've entered at about a third of the way in. It's ruining my concentration in regards to the world being created.

Deborah Cornette | 18 comments In answer to your question, Anita and Jean Claude met prior to "Guilty Pleasures" in "The First Death" which was put out in graphic novel format that was put out by Marvel. Hope that helped.

Deborah Cornette | 18 comments Deborah has a book recommendation just for you.
Check out Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death on Goodreads.

Chriss Mk | 14 comments That so helps! I'll have to look for it.

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments So, as many problems as I have with this book and the series, I think it is worth keeping in mind that it was first published in 1993 when making arguments about how played out or over used certain paranormal tropes in fiction are.

message 38: by Jenn (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jenn | 26 comments I've read it already and I have to say I liked this book alright....but I didn't love it. I just plain hated 90% of the characters including Anita. But the world building was good and some of the descriptions of scenes, clothing, ect was really enjoyable for me. The humans with the vampire fetish was one scene I specifically remember as being really good. I should love this entire series but didn't make it past ch4 of the next book before I lost interest entirely. I'm inclined to think that LKH's writing style just doesn't work for me as a reader.

Melissa I've been avoiding these books for years. Vampires just aren't my thing (aside from Buffy, but who doesn't like buffy?). I have picked up the books and read the descriptions and then set them back down several times. It just didn't...feel right.

Well, I read this one, just to say I have. I was right in NOT reading them to begin with. It was a fast read, easy. I never really liked Anita, in fact, I found her annoying. It made it really hard to worry about her and what happened to her. I think it was because she seemed like a...know-it-all, I guess? Superior, definitely. All the, "yes, I'm small but I can still kick your ass" stuff got really bothersome toward the end.

That being said, I LOVED the other series Hamilton wrote beginning with "A Kiss of Shadows." I don't quite know what was different about it, but I got into it and loved it. Same author, but I am not an Anita fan. I even gave reading book two a shot, to make sure it didn't get better. I hasn't so far. I think I'm done. Maybe I'll go re-read Kiss of Shadows...

message 40: by taranova (new)

taranova | 25 comments I'm only 30 pages in, but so far I kinda hate everything. I'm surprised. I thought I'd like this one. I guess I will keep reading and see how it goes.

Sophie Anderson (shinimegami23) | 39 comments I started reading LKH with her Meredith Gentry series and I loved them. I wasn't sure about starting the Anita Blake series but I finally gave them a try about four years ago and I love this series. I did kind of lose interest in them about 3/4 of the way through the series because it did become so much of an "orgy fest" in my opinion. However, the most recent three or four books have really been back to the action and adventure that the series started with. I miss Jean Claude being a really active character though, he is on my top 5 literary characters list. I can't wait to see the discussion on this one.

message 42: by Beth (new)

Beth (bethodactyl) | 84 comments Back in high school, I bought and read the first two books of the Anita Blake series because all my friends were obsessed with the series (and I did not want to be left out!). The first books were alright, but I lost interest in the series by book four and gave my books away. I have no interest in rereading the first book, but I will tune in for this month's episode (as always) to see what the ladies thought of it. :)

Still waiting on BDB being a VF pick, Felicia. /rubs her copy of Dark Lover

message 43: by AJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

AJ (ayjayuk) I'm excited to see what the girls have to say on this book. I've read all of them and yeah they went downhill but I still like them.

Ronel | 8 comments The book was interesting and I liked reading something with a mystery thriller feel to it. What intrigued me most is the feel of what vampires always used to be: scary and dangerous. I was so tired of all this "We have souls and don't hurt humans". I was also intrigued by the old fashioned zombies.

They were not that big a part of the story, but there has been such a big craze the last few years of the zombie outbreak kind I almost forgot there are these types of zombies. The ones brought back to life by 'voodoo' (or animators) to do their bidding. It reminds me of movies I have not seen in a very very long time.

This made me wonder why this kind of zombie isn't really used in fiction any more? Are they not scary enough? Have the newer zombie lore evolved from them? I'm not that knowledgeable of zombie lore and if someone knows I'd appreciate a comment explaining it.

Back to the book, I generally liked most of it. Anita is a fun character to follow and I really liked Edward. But at times the story felt a bit superficial, but I cannot place my finger on why it felt like so much was missing. The writing also felt fragmented at times and it could definitely do with much much more sexy times.

Despite this, I still enjoyed following Anita's narrative and figuring out the murder mystery. The book was still well paced most of the time with quite a lot of action. But ultimately what kept me reading at the end of the day was Anita's weird and witty character and the need to figure out the mystery.

Finally, Nikolous is one heluva scary vampire. My hat off to the author for making a little girl give me a chill down my spine.

Ronel | 8 comments Chriss wrote: "I've only read through chapter 1 so far, but I have a question/comment. Am I missing something before this book? I can't help but to feel like I've entered at about a third of the way in. It's ruin..."

The exact same thing happened to me. It was like the author threw all these new fact in at once leaving you wondering what you are missing.

Jamie (scarlettmoonlee) | 18 comments Ronel wrote: "Chriss wrote: "I've only read through chapter 1 so far, but I have a question/comment. Am I missing something before this book? I can't help but to feel like I've entered at about a third of the wa..."

Same here even though I've read 10 of the books (granted it was over tens years ago but still.... I had a hard time remembering what was going on and if I had missed something).

I can remember reading a lot more about her being an animator but that didn't seem to play into the first book at all... Perhaps the second book? I remember liking that part of the story a lot.

Jessica | 38 comments I feel I am in the minority here. I'm not a picky reader and can usually find enjoyment in most things. I've even liked a lot of the ones many of you didn't. Having said that, I really disliked this book a lot.

The naw this and bully that irritated the crap out of me. I couldn't get into Anita as a character. I was far more interested in the side characters but they didn't get much play.

This is Sookie Stackhouse all over again for me. I was really excited going into this cause I have a friend that is nuts for the series. I didn't expect it to be amazing but I did expect fun. I just didn't get it I guess.

Deborah Cornette | 18 comments Think I linked this before to answer the question, here is the back story behind "Guilty Pleasures" where Anita first met people mentioned in this month's pick.
Hope this helps. :)

Check out Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death on Goodreads.

message 49: by Jordan (last edited Dec 08, 2013 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jordan (jordan_lusink) I'm about halfway through, and felt compelled to stop in the middle of a chapter. I'd been taking mental notes about a couple of other things, but this really bothered me. I'm at the point where Anita goes to the party with Phillip. Now, she's referred to herself several times as a very small person, petite, skinny. I don't understand what this obsession with the physical description was. And then at this party, Anita describes an overweight girl, saying that her thighs were "incredibly white, like beached whales." Seriously?! That's the only way you can think to describe how white her thighs were? If she was a petite little thing like you, would you have described your own thighs the same way, if they were also white? Perhaps I'm overly sensitive because of the few extra pounds that I'd like to lose, but why is it that a girl who has a few extra pounds is described as some kind of disgusting blob?

And while I'm here, I'll concur about the whole confusion at the beginning of the book. I knew nothing about this series, and felt completely lost for the first 20 or 30 pages.

Meanwhile, amongst those 20 or 30 pages where I was trying to decipher what in fact was going on, there was an almost rape by a ratman.

Also, especially towards the beginning, some of the structuring of the dialogue and writing was confusing, to the point that it would often take me re-reading a couple lines to figure out who was actually speaking.

So, I'm going to finish the book, because I can't not, but I have to say, not only am I not impressed, I'm kind of offended.

Lauren Part of my issue with the Anita Blake books was always that you could see the author's insecurities bleeding through. That's fine, we all have them and anyone who writes is going to include their issues but the AB books are a special kind of terrible with it. We hear a thousand times how petite and pretty Anita is, how boys love her, how her mixed blood makes her not perfect enough for her ex-fiance, etc., etc. Really old after a few books. Then she tears people apart for weight, or not being perfect in x and y ways. But, god forbid anyone point out Anita isn't perfect, then they're jealous bastards

One of many pet peeves actually. It was almost a relief when the books got so boring and terrible and I could stop having any excuse to buy the damn things.

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