Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Date with a Vampire by Raine English

The Basics:
Date with a Vampire by Raine English
Book One in The Tempted Series

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

She gave him her heart, but he wanted her soul…

Melody Johnson dreams of meeting a man as dashing and wonderful as the heroes in the books she reads. Being a realist, she knows that’s highly unlikely. Besides, men always leave her for someone more exciting—until she wins the lottery, that is. Pursued by scores of men happy to help spend her fortune, Melody longs to have her quiet life back. When a network executive offers a reality show, she seizes the opportunity to show the world she’s off the single’s market. Melody leaves her quaint hometown in New York for a sunny island in the Pacific where twenty gorgeous bachelors will vie for her heart and where she can stage a phony engagement. What she never expects, though, is to fall in love with a vampire. 

Guystof LeBreque is a four-hundred-year-old Romanian vampire who hates the taste of blood. He’s roamed the earth for centuries, loathing the monster trapped inside him. After his mother’s death at the hands of vampire-hunting assassins, Guystof vows never to turn a woman into a vampire. But when his father gives him an ultimatum to marry a rich woman in sixty days or lose his legacy to his bloodthirsty brother, Guystof battles his conscience. Does he keep the promise he made to himself, or does he keep his brother from power? Guystof resorts to drastic measures. He becomes a bachelor on a hit reality show. What he doesn’t anticipate is losing his heart to the woman whose mortal life he must end.

What worked for me:

There are so many good ideas in this book:

  • Small town girl wins a huge lottery and has to cope with the ensuing attention, romantic and otherwise.
  • Small town millionaire winner goes on dating-style reality show to find true love and/or escape unwanted romantic attention.
  • Small town girl falls in love with Romanian Count who happens to be a vampire, whose brother tries to sabotage relationship.
  • Romanian Count/Vampire needs to woe wealthy woman, who fears being wanted/used only for her money, to become his bride to save his kingdom from his evil brother.
  • Romanian Count/Vampire struggles to present himself as human while wooing wealthy woman to be his bride, while trying to cope with all the modern trappings of a reality tv show....

Lots of story to work here, many different angles to work with, lots of room for romance!

That Guy was a hot Romanian vampire who didn't want to drink blood was a nice touch. I also appreciated that his family's castle is in some disrepair due to their financial straits. Exploring that poverty alongside Melody's sudden financial windfall was another potential avenue for this book to explore.

What didn't work for me:

There's so much stuffed into this book that there's no time to explore any of it in any depth. Each new threat is introduced only long enough to propel the characters running head along into the next one. 

While this might have increased the tension, the writing isn't strong enough to support it. 

That's the part that really drags the book down for me - the writing just isn't very strong. Some of the things that are thrown out there - particularly the cannibals, their existence suspected because of some dead livestock - result in reactions so farfetched that I would have thrown the book at the wall if I wasn't reading it on my laptop. The romance happens so quickly - there's an initial attraction quickly followed by strong chemistry, but the encounters that follow don't always improve Melody's opinion of Guy and vice-versa. That they bond so quickly and so thoroughly was a bit baffling. 

Theo, Guy's brother, is also a bit of a letdown. His meddling starts by enlisting one of the other bachelors on the show to woe Melody away from Guy. However the bachelor he chooses is fairly incompetent at this, and Theo has to step in and literally take control of him. This is another wasted opportunity as he's quickly revealed to Guy, and any headway he potentially could have made with Melody is wasted. If the bachelor he magicked to his side had been a little suaver or if Theo had himself (or while in control of the bachelor) been able to woe Melody without revealing himself to Guy, there was opportunity for some really interesting conflict. Instead Theo drinks blood from, and kills, some livestock, inciting cannibal theories, shutting down production of the reality show early, and so on....

There's no subtle touch here, everything is big ideas that immediately fizzle under the speed at which they are played out. It was frustrating, because I really liked the concept presented in the blurb, and there *was* so much that could have been really, really good.

Bottom Line:

Date with a Vampire has lots of good ideas that fizzle out under the weight of so much *stuff*. This book had great potential, it needed to have a narrower focus to make it really shine. There were too many details that missed the mark for the book to be a hit. I was disappointed because there was so much promise in the basic concepts. 

2 stars
For only the most dedicated of vampire romance fans.

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