RSS

Tag Archives: Jo Fletcher Books

Review: Blood Therapy, Lynda Hilburn

10181768“Kismet Knight knows exactly how to handle her clients, but when it comes to her love-life, she’s on less steady ground. That was until she met master vampire Devereux, an 800-year-old hunk, who not only managed to convince the entirely rational shrink that vampires really do exist – he also persuaded her to start dating him.

Kismet’s still having nightmares after being kidnapped by Lucifer, a psychotic vampire. From a therapeutic perspective she finds his split personalities fascinating – but she’s constantly terrified. And Dev’s become obsessed with finding Lucifer – before he comes after Kismet again.

So much for her nice, ordinary life…”

The second book in The Vampire Psychologist series is a fast, entertaining read. Hilburn’s writing is engaging, and once you pick this one up it’s hard to put down. The fact that this is true even of a reader like me, who doesn’t normally go near PNR with a bargepole, speaks volumes.

I wanted to make that clear from the start, because I’m about to gripe about this title, and I don’t want you to think I hated it. I really didn’t, I was just sorry that it didn’t have the same impact as the first book for me.

The action in Blood Therapy picks up just a few weeks after The Vampire Shrink left off, and right from the outset it’s way too heavy on the Lusting-After-Sexy-Vampire angle for me. It’s all platinum hair and toned chests. My professional career woman has morphed into an oversexed, indecisive, helpless female. I tried to write this off later, when some reasoning behind it became clear, but truth be told Kismet retained the essence of this persona for me throughout the novel, much to my disappointment. She makes some bizarre decisions, repeatedly hollers for help from her two gorgeous suitors (three, at one point!) and her ‘daftness’ here even goes as far as undermining the intelligence I loved her for in the first novel.

I feel a bit like my Mum here..I’m not angry Kismet, I’m just disappointed..

Hilburn brings the concept of celebrity Vamps into this one, and historical figures as Vamps too, which in this case really didn’t work for me. I didn’t buy into the idea of the actor and his ‘clones’, and whilst the historical figure was fun as a strong female character (hurrah!) her backstory didn’t do anything for me. As an issue, this gets a lot worse later in the novel as Hillburn commits a cardinal sin, but here at least it can be shrugged off as an issue of personal taste. I think when it comes to celebrities and Vamps it works best if you’re subtle, and bring it in under the radar. Like Charlaine Harris with Bubba in her first book. I think that’s the only time I’ve been impressed. There was too much of a song and dance here for my liking.

Things picked up for me when Kismet’s ‘Vampire Goggles’ were removed, and when her fragrant, fangy nemesis reappeared. This was a real ‘sigh of relief’ moment, and the point at which I knew I wouldn’t be giving up. Alan is back with us not long after, which was all good for me, as I do believe I’m “Team Alan” (Much, much closer to a Twilight feel this one, which will lose some fans, but no doubt bring in gazillions more).

There’s no doubt that Hilburn has created an interesting and enjoyable situation with her cast of characters, and I do like how that cast widens here, but at the same time I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that the plot gets ever more unbelievable as events unfold. Again I had problems buying into the ‘elite, super vamp’ notion, both in terms of Zephyr and the library. Most damaging of all though was the inclusion of an absolute legend of the genre. It’s hard to criticise here without including spoilers, which I’m loathe to do, but if you’re going to include a character like the one responsible for Kismet’s nemesis’ condition, you really need to do an outstanding job or you’re going to fall flat. I personally didn’t like the way this figure was handled at all, and as a lifelong fan I wasn’t impressed. I think a lot of old school vampire fans are going to bail at this point. I can’t think why he was included..I don’t know what the justification was, but for me it was a definite Fail.

On the flipside, I should also mention that I really enjoyed Alan’s sub-plot it was unexpected, and nicely tied in to everything else that was going on. Bonus points there.

On the whole, although I did enjoy Blood Therapy, and wouldn’t have put it down without finding out what happened at the end, it didn’t stand out for me anywhere near as much as The Vampire Shrink did. The most interesting and unique element here is the psychology, and I don’t feel it was explored anywhere near as much as I would have liked. The wrap up of Kismet’s various patient’s issues right at the end of the novel was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, only I could have used a lot more of that and a lot of less mention of nice hair and magnificent erections. It felt far too brief, and seemed to just be tagged on as an afterthought. A shame really.

Will I read the third novel when it comes out? Hmmm. Honestly? Yes, I will, but I’ll be hoping for a lot more intelligence and a bit less snogging and showers (I forgot to say, I kept a shower tally this time. Six).

A good, fast, fluffy read. Recommended for Twilight fans, romance lovers and those in favour of platinum hair.

3A PhoenixFantasy Three Star Read

[Blood Therapy is published by Jo Fletcher Books and is available in Paperback and Electronic format]

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Books Received

A small, but perfectly formed little bundle of bookness has arrived this week:

10181768 15802873Many thanks to the ever lovely Quercus Books, and the I’m sure equally lovely Pocket Books for the review copies. You’ve brightened what has been a really quite horrible week for me.

My migraines have returned so I’ve not been able to read half as much as I would’ve liked lately, but I’m hoping they’ll crawl off back to whatever level of Hell they originate from soon and I can get back to business.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Review: The Vampire Shrink, Lynda Hilburn

44652_Vampire_Shrink_B_CVR.indd“Kismet Knight, PhD, doesn’t believe in the paranormal. She especially doesn’t believe in vampires, but she begins to wise up when she is introduced to a handsome man named Devereux who claims to be 800 years old. Kismet doesn’t buy his vampire story, but she also can’t explain why she has such odd reactions and feelings when he is near. Then a client almost completely drained of blood staggers into her waiting room and two angry men force their way into her office, causing her to consider the possibility that she has run afoul of a vampire underworld. Enter FBI profiler Alan Stevens, who warns her that vampires are very real, and one is a murderer—a murderer who is after her.”

I seem to have been prefacing a few reviews with this lately, much more of this and it’ll no longer hold true, but Hilburn’s The Vampire Shrink really isn’t the usual kind of title I would go for. I love vampires, but in a true Horror sense of the word and I’m not big on romance in my Fantasy fiction. Which makes it all the more impressive that Hilburn had me glued to this all the way through. Well played!

I think, in general, my problem with vampy romance stuff is that 99 times out of a hundred the female protagonist is just…vacuous. I can’t read that sort of nonsense, as a female reader I find it insulting. Kismet though, she’s smart, and logical, but flawed enough to feel ‘real’. One of my favourite aspects of The Vampire Shrink was how Kismet herself goes to therapy, I thought it demonstrated nicely the complexity of her character, and it gave me an unexpected insight into what it must really be like for shrinks, having to deal with other people’s issues and emotions day in, day out. I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a novel in this sub genre that features an academic professional, but I do know that I like it. She still goes all daft over the sexy vamp, bless her, not to mention the sexy FBI agent, but because there’s that whole other side to her personality, it worked for me. I have no idea if that will make sense to anyone else, I know an awful lot of other readers who won’t touch PNR with a bargepole, and normally I’m right there with them, but The Vampire Shrink is a little bit different. Intelligent PNR? PNR for career women? or just..PNR for grown-ups. Whatever it is, I like it.

The concept behind this one is unique; shrink wanting to help deluded vamp wannabes finds herself landed with a ton of genuine bloodsuckers. I love it. The ensuing struggle in Kismet’s head, trying to rationalise every bit of paranormal proof shoved under her nose is entertaining, although those rationalisations can get a little repetitive and frustrating as the novel progresses. Initially though, it’s really refreshing to see someone go on a much more realistic journey of “wtf, that’s mental, there has to be a logical explanation”, instead of the usual “Ooo a vampire, lush” nonsense. And while I’m on the topic of repetition, there’s a fair amount of it in this one in general. I was trying to keep count of how many times Kismet had a hot shower and a coffee after a crisis, or forgot to lock a door and vowed to lock it next time. It’s one of those situations where you can’t help but wonder what difference a seriously ruthless editor could have made. Losing some of the extraneous day-to-day routine would ramp up the pace a fair bit, and a lessening of nice shower gels and fluffy robes would allow more of the Dark side to this novel to come through and sit at the forefront. Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable as is, I just did a bit of eye-rolling at shower times.

..and while my eyes are already rolling..I’ve got to mention, there are a few pages of vampire porn here. Enough for me to almost halt my “you gotta read this” email to my Mum. I guess it’s par for the course in these books and again I need to point out that this is a long way from my comfort zone within the genre, but there were times when I winced. I think hearing about Kismet’s “vaginal muscles contracting” a couple of times was the worst. These parts are towards the end of the book, and by that point I had to know what happened, so I sniggered, scoffed, and bravely ploughed on. Even though the word “thatch” was used.

For all my griping here, it really was a fun read. Hilburn did ridiculously well to see me through to the end of a novel so far out of my epic/horror preference. She has a witty and intelligent writing style which is so engaging that I couldn’t put the book down. Kismet is beautifully written, as is Devereux, although I have to confess that Alan was my favourite. The villain of the piece is original and exquisitely portrayed, and the plot is well rounded and dotted with enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes. There really were some great touches, and a couple of genuine “No! wow!” moments for me. I’m not going to go anywhere near spoiling them for you.

Essentially, I really liked this. And I’ll be continuing on with the series. If you’re looking for a vampire read that stands out from the crowd, look no further.

 

4A PhoenixFantasy 4 Star Read

 

[The Vampire Shrink is published by Jo Fletcher Books and is available in paperback and electronic format]

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,