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Bibliophile reviews Love Bites by Lynsay Sands

Genre: Paranormal romance
Year of publication: 2004
Setting & time: Toronto, Canada; present day
Some themes: Love, jealousy, madness, sex

Story: Rachel Garrett has been stuck on the night shift in the morgue for three years and thinks it sucks. A madman is stalking Etienne Argeneau and trying to kill him, 1) out of professional jealousy and, 2) because Etienne is a vampire and the stalker has watched too many episodes of Buffy. One night, after a nearly successful assassination, Etienne is brought to the morgue with a bullet in his heart and Rachel saves his life by pulling it out. The second time they meet is when he is again brought in, and this time the stalker has followed and when he tries to behead Etienne, Rachel gets in the way and is mortally wounded and Etienne turns her into a vampire to save her life. At first she is incredulous and thinks she must be comatose and dreaming, but then she begins to accept what has happened and she and Etienne enter into a sexual relationship. It takes a kidnapping by the stalker to make them realise they love each other. Happy ending and wedding bells.

Review: Have I mentioned that I have a weak spot for paranormals? Not just romances, but horror and thrillers as well, plus I like humorous novels, so this looked like an excellent choice – a light, funny paranormal – when I discovered it at the second-hand shop, so I bought it and took it home to read. I wasn't exactly disappointed, but neither was I too pleased. The story, while somewhat interesting, doesn't have much substance and could have been told in about 100 pages less, simply by cutting out some of the many sex scenes that riddle it like cancer. Don't get me wrong, they are hot sex scenes, but mostly filler material none the less, and after about the second one I found my eyes glazing over when I got to the next one, and I started skimming them.

Neither of the leading characters is very interesting, but the secondary characters make up for it up to a point. I would especially like to see more of prankish cousin Thomas, and the story of Etienne's sister and her human lover has promise, but has apparently not been written yet (this is a series novel).

There is not much of the promised humour in the story – the best scenes being the chapters where Rachel still thinks she is dreaming. The chapters where she is held captive by the stalker are darkly humorous as well, but neither sequence is laugh-out-loud funny.

The romance is not much of a romance. This is one of those stories where (increasingly better) sex is supposed to fill in for bonding, and the realisation by the lovers near the end that they love one another is not convincing.
The style is easy and readable, and the story is not bad, but needs some pruning.

Rating: Slight entertainment for lovers of romance and vampires. Plenty of out-of-this-world sex. 2 stars.


Lee said…
Hm, if you like paranormal...and romance ... we're up to Chapter 4 of MORTAL GHOST.

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