Okay, I didn't want to do this, but what with my move and my reading slump, my reviewing backlog just got too big for me to handle. It usually takes me four to five hours to write a decent review for one book, and it's even harder when I've read the book a long-ass while ago - and it's even harder when that book I read a long-ass while ago wasn't amazingly mind-blowing or ridiculously terrible to begin with. So. In order to catch up to the review of the ridiculous terrible book I did just read, I'm going to clear the slate by doing mini reviews.
Bad to the Bone, by Jeri Smith Ready.
The Chick: Ciara Griffin. Con artist, identity thief, vampire radio station manager, and part-time college student. Possibly has magic vampire-healing blood - and severe commitment issues.
The Dude: Shane McAllister. '90s Grunge Vampire (nope, not kidding). Catholic. Misses his family. Likes Nirvana.
The Problem: Ciara: "I just want to run a vampire radio station without misogynist anti-Vampire Christian cults trying to shut us down! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?"
The Word: Okay, I was going through a lot of Moving Day WTFkery while I was reading this, and, despite the author's personal insistence (when I met her at RWA 2009) that this, the second book in her Vampire DJ series, could work as a stand alone - well, it couldn't. There were a lot of references to characters and plotlines and worldbuilding from the previous book, to the point where I felt left out and grasping at straws most of the time.
The general gist is this: vampires are real, and immortal, but they don't age very well. Mentally, they stay sane and stable by remaining connected in some way to the historical era in which they were turned. This is where our heroine comes in - thanks to some shenanigans in the last book that I don't totally understand, she now manages WVMP - a radio station where all the DJs are vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires, playing the music from the decades in which they were turned.
In Bad to the Bone, some fundamentalist Christian group starts hijacking the WVMP's signal whenever they use a female DJ or play songs by female artists, replacing the original broadcast with fire-and-brimstone preaching. Ciara and her friends investigate, only to discover vampire dogs, weird cults, emo college journalists, lots of angst, Daddy Issues, and other drama. Not having read the first book, I found the overarching story to be pretty hard to keep up with, nonetheless the worldbuilding was interesting enough to make me consider getting the first book out at the library. B.
The Sharing Knife, Volume One: Beguilement, by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Chick: Fawn Bluefield.
The Dude: Dag Long-Complicated-Last-Name-I-Forgot-During-The-Move-And-Am-Too-Lazy-To-Check
The Problem: "I just want to fight evil spirits and marry this girl who's less than half my age without society getting all up in my bidniss! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK???"
The Word: This was a weird book for me - I've read Bujold before (I enjoyed Paladin of Souls), and I thought I could expect a similar, interesting epic fantasy from The Sharing Knife, but what I got instead was...
...A romance with an itty bitty bit of fantasy-adventure thrown in at the beginning. I'm not kidding. Dag is a Lakewalker - a member of a nomadic race of people gifted with the ability to sense and manipulate "grounds" - a source of magic found in people and in the land. The Lakewalker's universal mission is to patrol the land and hunt down "malices," or evil spirits that devour and destroy "grounds," thereby causing the land to dry up and die.
SO YOU'D THINK THE NOVEL WOULD BE ABOUT DAG HUNTING MALICES - but you'd be wrong. While tracking a particularly nasty malice, Dag saves a pregnant runaway named Fawn from said creature, and Fawn turns around and actually kills the malice (the only malice we see in the entire book), which starts a chain of events YOU'D THINK WOULD LEAD TO ACTION AND ADVENTURE but really lead into a protracted road-trip romance between an 18-year-old girl and a 56-year-old one-armed man.
The book itself is very pleasant, with nice writing and some clever dialogue, and the romance itself is rather sweet, but there is little to no conflict - PERIOD - in this book, much less conflict of a fantasy-adventure kind. It's basically Dag and Fawn travelling together, meeting all of Dag's friends, having lots of info-dumpy conversations, and eventually meeting Fawn's family.
While not horrible, it's not very interesting either, and the marketing for this book is a little misleading. Even worse - I have the next two books in the series on my bookshelf, and I have no desire to read them. At all. C+
Something About You, by Julie James.
The Heroine: Cameron Lynde. Assistant district attorney. Does not like getting woken up by illicit, Viagra-flavoured hot politician sex. Likes possibly witnessing a murder suspect leave the scene of the crime even less.The Hero: Jack Pallas. The FBI agent newly returned from exile in Nevada who's assigned to protect the very woman who had him put in exile in the first place.
The Problem: "I just want to be able to inadvertently witness a murder without having to have the studly FBI guy I screwed over three years ago come back to reluctantly-yet-sexily protect me! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!"
The Word: Okay, I'm a fan of Julie James, in novel format and on Twitter, but I have to say I was less than impressed with Something About You. It was just - okay.
Cameron Lynde is, like Julie James' previous heroines, a workaholic lawyer who loves her job but is less enamoured with how little time it leaves for possible relationships. The closest thing she had was a few sparks with FBI agent Jack Pallas a couple of years ago, when he helped her prosecute a notorious crime boss. When her sleazy boss ordered her to drop the case, she was forced to break the news to Jack, who did not take it very professionally. Their professional and personal relationship imploded, Jack was exiled to Nevada, and Cameron kept working for her sleazy boss, because he was district attorney and it paid the bills, I guess.
Cut to the present - Cameron is pampering herself with a fancy night at a hotel, only to be kept awake by what she thinks is the sound of two sex fiends getting in on like bunnies who just escaped from prison for smuggling Viagra. She calls security just as she sees a tall, hooded figure leaving the hotel room - and when security arrives, they find a dead call girl. Suddenly, Cameron's a star witness, and the FBI agent assigned to protect her is none other than Jack Pallas. Awkward.
Don't let the set-up fool you, this isn't really a romantic suspense or a mystery - we're told who the killer is right away in a long and elaborate infodump. The novel mainly focuses on our two protagonists and while nothing about the development of their romance seemed particularly wrong or off-putting, none of it was exactly memorable either.
And there you have it! And now I'm off to hurry up and write that review of the terrible romance I just read.