Haunted by Lisa Childs

haunted.gifI think I need a new rule. I should not be allowed to read before going to sleep… or at least I shouldn’t be allowed to read Nocturne novels before then, ’cause they seem to have a 50% track record of pissing me the fuck off.

Lisa Childs’s Haunted has an interesting (albeit overdone) premise. There are three sisters, separated as children, who have different psychic gifts. The heroine of this book, Ariel, can see–and sometimes communicate with–ghosts. It’s both a gift and a curse (and is repeated ad nauseaum throughout the book.)

Oh yeah… and someone wants her and her sisters dead.

Ariel is involved with David, your average romance novel rich guy. Near the beginning of the book, he proposes to her, but she isn’t sure about it. See, she thinks that nobody can love her because of her “curse.” Or is it a gift? And she doesn’t trust David enough to confide in him. (Later on, she believes he might be the killer.)

Honestly, for a “romance” novel, there was little to no “romance” in this. Ariel is at least a two-dimensional character. David doesn’t even make it to that. There’s nothing more than hints about his past until the last fifty or so pages of the book, and he doesn’t show that he loves Ariel. Sure, he says it all the fucking time… like that’s supposed to mean something.

The characterisation in this book feels very wooden. For a book that’s supposed to be based around emotions, that’s not a good thing. I could sympathise with Ariel and her search to find her sisters, but it felt like David was more of an afterthought than anything else. This book would’ve been a heck of a lot better had David been left out entirely and it published as a paranormal “chick lit” (or women’s fiction, or whatever they’re calling it nowadays) novel. Yes, one of the major issues in the novel is Ariel learning to trust someone besides herself… but really, that does not equal romance, and that’s about all David and Ariel getting married boiled down to.

That and the constantly-shifting POV drove me bonkers. You know how people say that if you avoid head-hopping and stick to one POV per scene, you’re good? This book proves that ain’t true. It starts out with a brief scene several hundred years earlier, then pops forward to when Ariel was a kid, then hops to Ariel present, then to another person, and another, and…..

You get my point.

Except, David doesn’t have any POV scenes. But, of course, if you want the reader to suspect him of being the killer, then we can’t show inside his head, right!? Uhh, no. Skipping POV altogether is taking the easy way out.

This is one of those books that tries to be too many things. It tries to be a paranormal. It tries to be a suspense. It tries to be a romance. For me, it succeeded at none.

At this point, I’m debating whether or not to keep buying the Nocturne line. Might for awhile longer, but two wall-bangers in the first few months … doesn’t bode well.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

From the Dark by Michele Hauf

fromthedark.gif“Plain” Jane Rénan is a glass smith hired to design a stained glass window for an important client. Except she isn’t alone. Michael Lyndsay, lead vocalist of rock band The Fallen, is also staying there while on “break” due to his obsessive blood cravings. (Yes, you guessed it, he’s a vamp.)
Needless to say, one thing leads to another… πŸ˜‰

I have to say, I liked From the Dark. Most vampire romances these days are fairly standard. Anne Rice rip-off hero who haaaaaaaates himself falls in love with a woman who freaks out that he’s–oh noes!–a vampire. Frankly, I can’t stand that shit.

Jane doesn’t care that Michael’s a vampire. After all, her father’s one. Her biggest concern lies with her own blood. While her dad’s a vamp, her mum’s a witch, and witches’ blood is fatal to vampires. Think like stakes ‘n dusting in Buffy, and you’re not far off. Thing is, Jane she doesn’t know for sure that her blood possesses that quality; she’s never had a chance or reason to “test” that theory.

Let’s just say there’s quite a bit of conflict between Michael and Jane based upon her possibly toxicity and his bloodlust.

Overall, this is a very hot, intense book. The reactions of both the H/h aren’t what I normally expect, which was refreshing. My biggest issue is that some of the scenes felt… “over the top” and almost satirical as a result. It didn’t feel entirely “natural,” at least not to me.

That all being said, I’m looking forward to the next installment of Ms. Hauf’s “Bewitch the Dark” series. πŸ™‚

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Eternally by Maureen Child

eternally.gifI picked up Eternally despite my misgivings about the plot centering around a psychic bond (I have… issues with them, but I will go into that at a later date). A couple people I know had said they really liked the book, so what the hell?

Lord. and. Lady. on. a. fucking. pogo. stick.

The premise is interesting enough. Kieran McIntyre is a Guardian; the full details of such is not explained within the book, but, basically, he’s an immortal demon-hunter. Hot on a demon’s trail, he crashes a party at Julie Carpenter’s apartment. He warns her of imminent danger, but she writes him off as a crazy man and doesn’t believe him.

The next morning, she wakes up to find one roommate dead and the other in critical condition.

Like I said, interesting enough premise. By this point, I wanted to find out what happened next. πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, the story only went downhill from there. It turns out that there’s a legend of “Destined Mates” for the Guardians… and Kieran feels that Julie is his. Oh, and he can telepathically communicate with her–and apparently, only a Mate could hear his projected telepathic thoughts.

Kieran’s not happy with the idea of having a Mate. After all, he’s done well enough for ages without one. But the more he thinks about it, the more it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. After all, if he has sex with Julie, thereby realising the bond, they will be both be able to telepathically communicate with each other. And the bond that they have will allow him to telepathically connect to the demons to better track them.

… Yeah. You heard me right. A bond between the hero and the heroine will allow him to connect to the demons just by virtue of them having it. Even though neither of them have no connection with said demon!

Logic? What the fuck do we need that for?

I have to say, this is probably my hugest beef with paranormal romances. The authors don’t bother to make the worldbuilding make any damn sense! (If they have worldbuilding at all. I’ve seen books where the author stuck a pair of fangs on Ye Olde Harlequin Alpha and called him a vampire… but that’s another tangent.)

Right, so now Kieran’s still opposed to the idea… but if he has sex with her, he gets all these powers to help fight the Evil Demons! Yes, that’s his primary motivation for pursuing the bond at all instead of sticking his head in the sand like a demented ostrich.

At this point, the book nearly hit the wall. But I kept reading, even though the supposed “hero” seems to be nothing more than your average arrogant asshole.

Add to that, he constantly refers to Julie as “woman.” Like, constantly. You know how in some books, the characters always refer to each other by name in dialogue (even though I don’t know anyone who talks like that in real life)? Yeah. Think that kind of frequency, only “Woman,” this. “Woman” that.

I mean, really. What would you say to a guy who said shit like, “Woman, you try my patience”? ALL. THE. FUCKING. TIME.

(Me? The dude would be having a date with my fist. In the sensitive regions. But I’m a bitch. :twisted:)

But I was hormonal, tired, doped on way too much pain medication, and figured I’d keep trying anyway. Kinda like when you’re having sex, you know it isn’t working, isn’t likely to, and you should just give up and try later… but you’re stubborn and keep at it anyway. Yeah, that.

Cut about a hundred pages in which Kieran convinces Julie to come to his place for his protection, various incidents of mindless lust occur, Julie decides she’s not “safe” at his place and escapes (usually this falls into TSTL territory, but I can’t blame her; I’d have done the same thing), etcetera.

And then we get to the Big Fight. You know the one, about 3/4 of the way through most any romance novel.

In which Kieran tells Julie they’re Mates and that the only reason he wants her is so he can increase his power for the hunt.

Um. WTF?

I think it was supposed to be a confession, fight, and makeup scene, but I must, er, confess that I didn’t get that far. If the hero at this point is telling the heroine that all he wants is to fucking use her, then he’s not a hero. He’s just a fucking asshole.

I could not believe that Kieran loved Julie or wanted anything to do with her except use her. And, frankly, I don’t enjoy case studies of domestic abuse.

The book went flying.

The sad thing is, this could have been a really good story. The heroine is sassy and sensible, and there’s certainly enough conflict. Problem was the hero. If he actually had a heart, or had been portrayed in a more three dimensional fashion, this could’ve been awesome. Except the hero wasn’t much better than some villains I’ve read. That doesn’t make for a romance, sorry.

I want my $5.25 and three hours back.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

(This is an example of the “long” review. ;))