Author – Cheyenne Meadows
Star rating - ★★★☆☆
No. of Pages – 266
Cover – Gorgeous
POV – 3rd person, multi-POV
Would I read it again – No
Genre – LGBT, Vampire, Contemporary
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine
While this one had a lot of potential, I found that it wasn't exactly what it said it would be. The blurb promised a romance novel, which focused completely on Andrew's struggle to find a date and find love in the modern age. However, what I read was a mishmash of genres, with little romance in the first half and almost too much in the second, as well as mystery, adventure and chaos.
For me, I hated Cassidy right from the start. She wasn't a very nice person – superficial, over-powering, demanding and simpering, while managing to be prissy and all the things I hate about the “best friend” characters in books. She thinks only of herself, all throughout the book.
Andrew himself is a bit of a pushover for most of the book, but he has some shining moments. There are some really great parts, where he has a real back bone and some gumption, but those happen mostly after Spencer's arrival in the story and when they're together. When he's around Cassidy, he becomes a little pathetic, again, which is a shame, because he had great scope as a main character. He just became so much of a mother-hen and over-protector to her that he never got to be anything else whenever she was in the picture.
Spencer is my favourite character, along with the boys, Clarence and Rodney. However, his POV is always brief and not often enough, for my taste. He doesn't get to shine as much as he should.
The story itself is less a romance than I'd wanted or expected. The first 20% nearly had me DNF'ing, because it was all about how happy and perfect Andrew and Cassidy's home life was; it was basically praising their love shack friendship, gushing over each other so much that there was no sign of anything else, plot wise. This was a real shame, because it almost made me wonder why Andrew was bothering to try to find a romance of his own, when he seemed so perfectly happy and content with the life he had. As an asexual/aromantic person, this felt a little strange, almost like Andrew couldn't have a whole or complete life without a romantic partner, but maybe that was just how it came across.
While there were a few mentions of Andrew having gone to meet potential matches through the ad, you never got to see more than him talking about it with Cassidy or showing up only to walk away within minutes. This was a shame, too, because there was so much potential for bad dates, for great moments of us seeing Andrew in a more relaxed setting and learning what he wanted in a partner, instead of being told all those things during his conversations with Cassidy. In the entire book, he only ever went on one date that lasted a total of one paragraph, before being dissected by Andrew and Cassidy in conversation, later.
If it wasn't for Spencer entering the story around the 25-30% time, I wouldn't have finished this book at all, mostly because it wasn't what I'd signed up for until he came into the story. He was the bright spark and lifted up the story without effort. His chemistry with Andrew was done well and their scenes together were much better written than the rest of the book. The only problem was that most of their interactions circled around either them thinking about or actually having sex. There was a little romance, but not a lot of it. I loved the flirtations and the teasing between them, but it only lasted until they knew each other's names and then it all fell away into a kind of “we've always been together” kind of relationship where no effort was required. I wanted dates, getting to know each other, talking and more, but there was little of that here, because the romance quickly became a side story to the real plot – the rogue vampire.
When it comes to the writing style, this author and I aren't a match. The first 20% was basically dialogue and not much more, with the occasional mass info dump dropped in to explain things that could have been more naturally eased into the story; Andrew's history, the cats, how he met Cassidy. None of it flowed into the storyline well. It felt that, as soon as Andrew and Cassidy stopped talking, there was a mass of three or four info dumps about various things we “needed” to know to understand the characters and their relationship, but I would have liked to have been shown it, instead. There was just so little description and characterisation that it really did the story a disservice. Most of the time, Andrew stopping to think was used as an excuse to lay at least a page of background info on us, without even pretending to slip it in naturally.
I found the paranormal aspect to be really unnatural to the story for about 80% of it. It didn't fit into the world that had been created nor did it try to be original. In fact, the whole vampire/paranormal aspect was about as cheesy as it could get – vampires, werewolves, Hades' daughter. The story could easily have been about a lonely older man looking for a new lover after having grieved long enough for his old lost love. Other than the drinking blood (from a bag, supplied by a restaurant), disappearing into smoke, having abilities (which most of them don't use) and not going out in full sunlight, there was nothing to say these couldn't have been ordinary human people. Some were rich, poor, homeless, lonely, looking for a date; they were all normal and it felt like the vampire/paranormal element was a late addition to the story.
The POV confused me a bit, because I expected it to be either dual POV or entirely Andrew's, but Cassidy gets an entirely unnecessary POV at 8%, which could easily have been shown in Andrew's POV instead, to keep it consistently dual POV. However, we don't get Spencer's POV until 26%, after Andrew has already been chasing after him for a few chapters.
Lastly, there were too many sub-plots for me. The romance promised in the blurb was short and barely lasted beyond the 30% mark, where Andrew and Spencer started dating and it was already clear they would be a solid couple. Then there was the sub-plot of trying to find a boyfriend for Cassidy; the evil professor experimenting on kids; Spencer trying to improve things at his parents company; young kids being turned to vampires. It was just too much packed into a story that was already too long and drifted too far from the original concept.
Overall, I have to say that it didn't work for me, but I really feel like it could have been fantastic with a bit more work. Sadly, in parts, the writing was sloppy in places – some instances of bullet point action, info dumps, and mislabeled characters in places – and it just didn't flow well. By 8% I was already skimming whole passages of text and only reading dialogue, because it was obvious the entire scene/chapter revolved around Cassidy or her “close friendship” with Andrew. When it didn't, it was so that it could provide more info dumps that, half the time, weren't necessary.
While the writing style let it down, it didn't stick to what was promised, either, which was a real disappointment. I had such high hopes of a romantic storyline that revolved around this love-starved vampire, trying to date all these people and not being successful. What I got was a mystery, with a little romance thrown in and quickly resolved.
I would have liked to have seen less of Cassidy (maybe even none of her) and more of Andrew's unsuccessful attempts at dating, without the complicated back-story of the evil vampire experimenting on people, which wasn't really resolved to my taste. The story just spent too much time on that sub-plot and that of Cassidy and Andrew's non-romance, without really focusing on what it promised us – a relationship with Spencer that took time and had to be fought for.
Being too slow and too long for the story I was promised, I can only give it 3 stars. It had great potential, but it failed to impress.