Writing Diary, Entry #20
(With a game related to my new "I Love My Friends" Giveaway)
The problem with reviewing books fora bookstore's in-house magazine is that I can't be perfectly honest about what I think of what I've been assigned to read. I have to be fair, too--not just to the books and to my readers, but also to the bookstore paying for the reviews. They hired me to promote the books so that people buy them, not to pan them so that no one ever picks them up.
That is okay when the books are good. (I was so happy about one of them that I even reviewed it for this blog: The Last Station by Jay Parini.) But last week, I had to read a box set of six books of very mixed quality. What was my bluntly honest self to do???
To my great chagrin, it was the Blood Lust box set: six Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy novels featuring vampires. Just when I had decided I didn't care for PNR any longer! But my editor didn't know that; she only remembered the old article on PNR I had pitched to her last year. What a way to get "typecast," aye? I think I'll pitch a Beverly Cleary feature next so that I get "saddled" with Young Adult and Middle Grade novels from now on.
But taking this set on its own merits . . . There is exactly one out of the six that I would recommend to a PNR fan. Two others make decent UF, I suppose--but I was never a UF fan. One book is just average. The last two are really bad (although, yeah, they are hugely popular among the target audience). So how to "sell" them as a set???
It was the image of the cocktail glass and shaker on the box that inspired me. Books are, I told myself, like mixed drinks; there is always something to appeal to one's taste and always something that one just can't stand.
So I spent a crazy all-nighter trying to find the perfect cocktail for each book. (Read that in whatever way you wish! =P)
And this is where the game comes in! For every correct match between a book and a drink, you get one extra entry for the giveaway. And if you get all six, I'll make it ten points! =D
First, here are the books . . .
1) Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh (UF)
Hero: Archangel of New York (Please don't complain to me; I protested this years ago.)
Heroine: Vampire Hunter--and good at what she does
2) Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (PNR)
Hero: Newly crowned Vampire King and member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood of vampire warriors
Heroine: Half-vampire, half-human daughter of the former Vampire King
Additional Clue: Hummers and Hip hop music
3) Dark Possession by Christine Feehan (PNR)
Hero: Dark, brooding, overly serious member of the blood drinking Carpathian race--just like every other hero Feehan has created for this series.
Heroine: Sensitive, nurturing human with a few psychic talents--just like every other heroine Feehan has created for this series.
4) Demon Moon by Meljean Brook (UF)
Hero: Vampire who can make the humans he feeds from think he is a dream
Heroine: Human "Guardian" with Hellhound tainted blood
Additional Clue: Angels, demons and vampires! Oh, my! It's a whole
5) High Stakes by Erin McCarthy (PNR)
Hero: President of the Vampire Nation, running for reelection
Heroine: Human criminal prosecutor with a 95% conviction rate--and as aggressive, unpleasant and perpetually pissed as that makes her sound
6) Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson (PNR/ChickLit Crossover)
Hero: Leader of a vampire faction that opposes the villain's reign
Heroine: The newly sired Vampire Queen who has to be bribed into joining their epic battle with six pairs of designer shoes
Now, here are the drinks, as I wrote about them in my article . . .
a) ". . . the literary equivalent of a Bloody Mary: some people do enjoy mixing vodka with spicy condiments."
b) ". . . more of a mocktail than a cocktail--or at the very least an oversweetened Daiquiri."
c) ". . . a Manhattan on the rocks."
d) ". . . a martini: classic, elegant, straightforward."
e) ". . . all the subtlety of a Vodka RedBull."
f) ". . . an ambitious blend of wildly uncontrollable elements . . . comparable to that of the notorious Weng Weng."
Good luck matching them up! =) If you're in it for the points, you have one week until this offer closes.
And if you're actually intrigued by any of these books and would rather win two of them than two books in the "Peter Pan Package" . . . I'll be okay with that. =P
Image Sources: a) Blood Lust box set, b) Angels' Blood by Singh, c) Dark Lover by Ward, d) Dark Possession by Feehan, e) Demon Moon by Brook, f) High Stakes by McCarthy, g) Undead and Unwed by Davidson