Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Review: Lynsay Sands Charms Under a Vampire Moon


[I’m giving away my review copy for today’s blog. Please comment for a chance to win.]

I admit it: I had some doubts.

I opened the Avon review book package and went: “Really? A vampire hero?” and wondered if I should email the Headmistress and say, “I’m slightly prejudiced against vampires. I’m Team Jacob.” But I thought, “No, be mature. This is Avon. They’re not going to send you a bad book.” I mean, that’s like their code or something. Besides I think I told her about my un-love of dukes, so if I kept issuing complaints about heroes, they might start issuing me books with CEOs or Republicans, and then my soul would die a little and I might have to give up reading. Yes, best I never mention the problem with vampires. Keep sending the dukes and vampires, Avon!

On top of that, I had just finished reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight, and no offense to my Deerhunter, but I really wanted to read something good. I mean, DAT was good, of course, obviously, it just took so looonnnnng to read and I wanted something fun and fluffy and sexy and funny in a girl way. Girl humorous. Not boy “hit someone with a stick during an important battle” humorous. The real deal. And while I knew Lynsay Sands was well known for being funny and fun, I just didn’t believe it. Because I believe all vampires are inherently humorless and androgynous, like Edward Cullen.

Boy, was I wrong.

I started UNDER A VAMPIRE MOON on Sunday morning and ended up reading the whole thing practically in one sitting. Much to the determent of my apartment that looked like a bomb exploded in it. But I didn’t care. I only cared what happened next with Carolyn, our intrepid heroine. She’s forty, bouncing hard out of a bad marriage, and skeptical and wary to say the least. This trip to the tropics isn’t exactly her idea, but we all have friends that drag us to places that are good for us whether we’re willing to admit it or not.

Then we meet Christian, a twenty-something looking vampire, who meets Carolyn and realizes he’s met his Life Mate. Only Carolyn thinks he’s a fetus because he’s young enough to be her son. She guesses he’s about 24 or 26. (In the technical sense, if she’d wanted to be a teenage mom. Who does?) But of course, he keeps hitting on her, and she keeps trying to keep him away. Christian, meanwhile, is here in the tropics with his entire family—so there is nothing like trying to do Extreme Courtship: Vampire Life Mate edition with everyone watching. “Fortunately” his cousins agree to pitch in and help him woo said girl.

Gia contributes by telling Carolyn that she has nothing to worry about with Christian because he’s gay. Things tend to explode in a literary conflagration from there on out—if it can go wrong, of course it does. As good fiction is supposed to. Ms. Sands certainly had me flipping pages at light speed to see how Christian was going to win over his fair bride—especially the part of “Oh, by the way, I’m a vampire. I hope this is not a problem. And I’m not gay and I know you preferred me when I was.”

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is the world building of this particular group of vampires. They don’t turn into crispy critters in the sun (though it wears them out and they need to drink blood); they have a blood bank and don’t usually take from others unless it’s an emergency; the blood works with the nanos in their body to keep them youthful and well, not dead. It was more of an evolution quirk than rising from the dead sort of thing. They can also eat food…and drink. They have to have blood to rebuild, but eating food is normal for them too. I liked this world. This was a world of vampires I wouldn’t mind living in. Food, hot sex, and a gorgeous husband? Oh, yes!

I finished the book that night. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that fast. It held my attention and was the perfect combination of well-paced action, sexy humorous characters, fun but not intrusive secondary characters (Captain Jack was my personal favorite), and sexual tension. My one quibble was a subplot that seemed introduced in the final third of the book and didn’t feel like it had been hinted at properly—so it felt rather thrown in rather than organic to the story. However, that one quibble did not take away from the story; and I was interested by some of the other characters and wanted to look up their books since I know Ms. Sands has a whole series with this family.

 So read UNDER A VAMPIRE MOON if you love vampires…or even if you don’t. It’s just that fun and readable and will put you in a good mood. And then go after her backlist. I know I’m going to!

So…question to answer to qualify for prize consideration: What book have you read that you normally wouldn’t have that surprised you in a good way?

Winner will be announced next Monday, April 30, 2012.

30 comments:

Maureen said...

Huh. I don't know! I tend to be pretty open to just about anything. I was unpleasantly surprised with that 'started as a historical and ended up as an inspirational' book I was bitching about a few weeks ago...

Pleasantly surprised...gah! Too many unpleasant... My friend, Bob, sends me his stuff now and then and I think...nah...then I can't put the bloody thing down. The man does the most awful things to his characters. I mean, guys...you think I'm bad!?

He winds so much mythology in that I get lost, but I still can't put the books down.

MsHellion said...

*LOL* That would be a cold slap in the face, Mo. I don't blame you. Though I maintain not all inspirational is bad.

I like Bob...you'll have to bring him by. :)

MsHellion said...

Um, just remembered I have an appointment in 15 minutes and won't be back until after 10 am. I will return.

TerriOsburn said...

The only vampire book I've ever read is Barbara Monajem's Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil. I read the excerpt in a guest blog and adored her voice. Then I won the book on that same blog. She also turned the vampire world on its ear. They weren't undead. They didn't go around killing innocent people. They could go out in the sun. I loved that book. The next one, Tastes of Love & Evil is out and I need to get it.

I have read Lyndsay Sands before. She is hysterical! And so good. I remember blowing through that book. Good to know I have yet another series to find once I get back to a regular reading schedule. LOL!

MsHellion said...

Terri, you praise that book frequently. I should really give it a whirl. But yes, I much prefer the vampire life that doesn't require no sun whatsoever, killing innocent people, and thirsting for blood.

This book was pure Sands hysterical! I kept bursting out in laughter and Dad would ask me, "What are you laughing at?" "Nothing."

Janga said...

I enjoyed reading your review, Hellie, but still no vampires for me. If Syrie James, Nora Roberts, and Teresa Medeiros couldn't change my mind, I doubt that anyone else can.

I'm reading a chick lit book today, More Like Her by Liza Palmer, which I (big yawn) expected to be typical of the genre. It turned my expectations on their heads from the beginning--a 911 call reporting a shooting in the teachers' lounge.

Haleigh said...

Great review, Hellie. I don't feel I have a strong preference one way or the other on vampires, which may put me in the minority :) I haven't read Sands before, but if she's that funny, I'll read anything!

TerriOsburn said...

Hal - She's that funny AND she puts her characters through hell. While keeping you laughing all the while. The one I read was medieval and the heroine pretty much set their bed on fire on the wedding night (by accident) which led to the hero's hands being badly burnt while putting it out.

They were traveling so Sands actually including the fact the man could not take a piss by himself. She pulls no punches.

Maureen said...

A woman who speaks bluntly about a man needing help to piss... I really should read her!

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

You might be surprised to know one of my all-time favorite books is The Alienist by Caleb Carr - historical crime fiction. I ADORE THIS BOOK. It's a dark book and not my typical "I want laughs and comedy and romance" sort of book.

I'm also insanely fascinated by the history of Istanbul and ancient fiction, so I highly enjoyed The Buried Book: The Loss & Rediscovery of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Totally not normally my thing but I really enjoyed reading it.

quantum said...

I'm afraid that I find the idea of biting to taste another's blood aesthetically abhorrent, to be indulged only in extreme emergency (like sucking out snake venom) so I'm not a vampire fan! Sands does sound to be a very good writer though, if perhaps misguided in her current genre. LOL

I believe she has written historicals among others so perhaps I will try her in that area.

Great review Hellie. I'm convinced that you could sell fridges to Eskimos if you wanted to. But alas this is a lost cause with me. I would need some very powerful incentives to dip into a vampire world. LOL

What book have you read that you normally wouldn’t have that surprised you in a good way?

Hummmm. I think that would have to be the first romance book that I ever read. It's ancient history now, lost in the mists of time. If William Morris's novels count then it would be 'The Well at the World's End'. Otherwise Georgette Heyer's 'Those Old Shades'. Some modern romance books are another matter though. More akin to losing my innocence! LOL

Anonymous said...

I haven't ever read Lynsay Sands, but it sounds like an author I'd enjoy.

I read The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, it was a deal of the day on my nook. I had it for several weeks before I opened it. It's not my usual reading choice, but I LOVED it! I finished it and immediatly started it over.

Di R

MsHellion said...

Janga, you know of course you're in the drawing. You might end up with it just the same! But it is funny. Just ignore the part about elongated teeth.

That chick lit sounds delightful! I love and miss great chick lit, so it's nice to have someone to add to the TBR pile!

MsHellion said...

Hal, isn't it a good thing that Pirates qualify for the drawing? *LOL* You'd love her. If you don't happen to win the drawing, I think you should definitely check her out from the library. :) (Or buy it, of course, if Avon publishers are reading this.)

MsHellion said...

Terri, clearly I need to read THE DEED. *LOL* That one is one of her famous--infamous--books for her humor and no shirking of the "dirty details". I don't think I've read it. Where the heck have I been? Must go find!

MsHellion said...

Mo--yes, you SHOULD! Go, go now! *LOL*

MsHellion said...

*googles THE ALIENIST* Oh, Scape, that looks like a fascinating book! I'm going to have to give that one a try! I love historical novels!

*sings Istanbul is now Constantinople...* Or something like that...I loved that song. And yes, the history of that part of the world is incredible!

TerriOsburn said...

The one I read is called The Perfect Wife and there's a bonus. The heroine is....plump. Though I'm guessing just not really skinny. And the hero loves this about her.

http://www.lynsaysands.net/books/historical/perfectwife.html

MsHellion said...

Q, see, I have the same problem with the blood! But they don't even taste the blood. It's sucked up into the teeth; and they don't usually bite anyone. They use blood bank blood.

Still, I think I would start with a historical. More likely to get a hit with you! :)

Do you know I've never read a Georgette Heyer? It's like I haven't really read a Regency novel, isn't it?

MsHellion said...

Hi Di!! I love the book you recommended! (I googled it and have immediately put it on my next-to-check-out list!) I'm loving this blog! I'm getting such great recommendations!

Janga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janga said...

You've never read Heyer? Not one? You should remedy this gap in your romance education ASAP. Venetia or The Grand Sophy might be a good start. Or check out Anna Campbell's post at The Romance Dish today. She's blogging about two of her faves, Faro's Daughter and Sylvester, both terrific books. She may sell you on one of them.

MsHellion said...

Janga, it's an appalling and shocking lack to my romance education, but yes, I haven't yet. I've been tempted to buy the audio version of Venetia because a hot British actor reads it. *LOL* I figure even if my brain glazes out at some of the writing, I can still focus on the beautiful voice! (And my brain even glazes out at Jane Austen. And nevermind how my brain glazes just reading a title or foreword to a Dickens novel. My brain does like Gaskell okay, though but not finished one yet.)

I want to read The Grand Sophy because she sounds like a Emma character, but with a gun. *LOL* Who couldn't love that?

P. Kirby said...

I'm trying to remember if I've ever read a Lynsey Sands or not. I know I've tried a couple of "funny" vampire romance writers, one of which immediately went into the Never Ever Again category. I know it wasn't Sands, though.

Anyway, I liked Stacia Kane's Unholy Ghosts even though I'm kind of disenchanted with most urban fantasy. Similarly, Hellbent, by Cherie Priest, also UF, which I'm reading now, is turning out to be fun. (<--What a god-awful sentence.)

Maureen said...

;-) Stop editing your comments, Pat. It's a pirate ship, we all blather on and on with runone this and that, comma splices and etc...

Okay, at least I do!

MsHellion said...

Yeah, Pat, relax. I misspelled the author's name wrong TWICE in the post because a kind elf edited it correctly for me so I wouldn't look like a complete fool...and added a picture of the book so I don't look completely technology deficient, though I am. COMPLETELY.

I like the title HELLBENT. That sounds like something I would read. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Don't worry, Mo, I'm keeping a list of your typos. That's the kind of Grammar Pirate I am.

TerriOsburn said...

*straightens elf hat*

Maureen said...

I want a drink in honor of that. Captain's Grammar Shots...

Marnee Bailey said...

Oh this looks great! I haven't read a new vampire story that I've loved in a while. So this might just be it.

I've heard great things about Lyndsay Sands so maybe I should pick her up. She's writing historicals too. :)