Archive for March, 2008

Vertigo by Lauren Baratz-Logstead

March 15, 2008

A seemingly harmless New Year’s Resolution “to be a better person” takes Emma Smith down a path she could have never anticipated. It’s the turn of the century, 1898, and with her husband’s encouragement; she begins a correspondence with a prisoner to satisfy her resolution. This communication with the stranger stirs up feelings in her she never knew she had and creates desire she never knew possible. Then her prisoner receives a pardon. Emma begins living a dangerous double life, dark and erotic, full of tantalizing suspense and ultimately, murder.
I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction, but VERTIGO takes it to new and surprising heights spreading itself across several genres beautifully. Not just a work of historical fiction, VERTIGO is also a psychological thriller, a drama, erotica and a lovely piece of literature. As I read, the words elegant and poetic came to mind throughout.
What struck me was how timeless the story was. Although set in the turn of the Victorian age, Emma had so many of the same feelings modern women have today. The pressures of being a wife and mother, friend and daughter, satisfying expectations while keeping her own identity caused an inner turmoil that was easy to relate to and easily exploitable.
There was a deep intimacy as we read letters with Emma to her prisoner, Chance, and hers from him. The eventual sexual relationship between them was stirring and almost ingenuous in its eroticism. Their affair was far from innocent, but Emma’s modesty and unexplored feelings give it that sense of self discovery to Chance’s virility.
The suspense was classic and reminiscent of Hitchcock. Pondering and contemplating was part of the thrill as I read on, hoping for a satisfying conclusion. Nothing is as it would seem. The twists and turns were cultivated and refined but with a dark and psychological subtext that was just delicious.
I’m happy to highly recommend VERTIGO.

Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett

March 15, 2008

Gloriana St. Clair just happened to be a bit puffy the night her Scottish vampire lover, Angus Jeremiah Campbell III, or Jerry when she wants to annoy him, turned her into one of the undead presumably so they could spent eternity together. Eternity is a long time with a controlling clansman and an independent gal. Centuries spent vacillating and Jerry can’t get Glory out of his mind and Glory can’t keep him out of hers.
Her independent nature can’t be contained, and Glory goes off again to pursue her dream of opening Vintage Vamp’s Emporium in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately for Glory and all the other vampires and shape shifters in the area, there’s a vampire hunter bent on destruction. Jerry is determined to protect Glory at all costs, but at what cost to their still too hot to be denied relationship?
About time a vampire character arrived on the scene that has back bone and some big bones! Glory is fabulous, and no matter what your size, it’s easy to relate to the occasional bouts of insecurity about ones thighs. A new character quirk for a vampire that was extremely entertaining!
A community of lovingly brassy and bold vampires and shape shifters attempting to “blend” and enjoy their long lives provide an amusing and expressive atmosphere with endless possibilities. It made me wonder about the guy at the all night Quickie Mart where I live, actually.
The on again off again relationship between Jerry and Glory was a delicious ride. Glory’s road to self discovery is a long one and it sure was a treat to join her as she learns that Jerry’s over-protectiveness sometimes has its advantages. Not only does he appreciate her full figure, but there’s nothing like centuries between the sheets to learn all the best places to kiss and nuzzle. A little competition from a handsome vamp Casanova can’t hurt her morale.
While the vampire hunter offered a little tension and anchor point to the story, the real suspense and speculation is drawn from the characters themselves and their relationships. A little more background would have been beneficial for the motivation behind the vampire killings.
I was impressed by the unique ideas brought forth from this book. A Kevlar bra to protect against staking? Why hasn’t anyone come up with that before? A heat seeking device to detect vampires? Genius. Bartlett really raised the bar in paranormal chick lit!
REAL VAMPIRES HAVE CURVES is a fantastic debut and has me ready for REAL VAMPIRES LIVE LARGE.