Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review - A Quick Bite By Lynsay Sands

The fourth book to be published, A Quick Bite is actually the first in Lynsay Sand's Argeneau series.

From Amazon:
"Lissianna has been spending her centuries pining for Mr. Right, not just a quick snack, and this sexy guy she finds in her bed looks like he might be a candidate. But there's another, more pressing issue: her tendency to faint at the sight of blood . . . an especially annoying quirk for a vampire. Of course it doesn't hurt that this man has a delicious-looking neck. What kind of cold-blooded vampire woman could resist a bite of that?

Dr. Gregory Hewitt recovers from the shock of waking up in a stranger's bedroom pretty quickly—once he sees a gorgeous woman about to treat him to a wild night of passion. But is it possible for the good doctor to find true love with a vampire vixen, or will he be just a good meal? That's a question Dr. Greg might be willing to sink his teeth into . . . if he can just get Lissianna to bite."

A Quick Bite starts out slowly. The first half of the book is devoted to introducing what seems to be every single member of the Argeneau clan. What isn't lost to introductions is spent on long winded explanations (courtesy of Lissianna) of the vampire world and how it operates. Despite this, the setup is interesting. Lissianna is a vampire who faints at the sight of blood. This is an obvious problem, one that robs her of her independence and generally hampers her life. It is also a problem born out of a traumatic experience involving Lissianna's deceased father, Jean Claude. Though dead before the start of the series, Jean Claude is mentioned throughout the books. Notorius for his alcoholism and cruelty, his past misdeeds have a lasting effect on his children (Lissianna, Etienne, Bastien, and Lucern) and widow (Marguerite), as well as the vampire community as a whole (apparently, Bram Stoker got the idea for Dracula after a drunken Jean Claude told him a few tales).

The Argeneau clan hopes a good psychiatrist can cure Lissiana's phobia, and that's where Greg comes in. Not that he comes of his own free will. He's kidnapped by Lissianna's delightfully meddlesome mother, Marguerite, who literally ties him to Lissianna's bed as a birthday present. That's what mom's are for.
Instantly, the sexual tension flairs between Greg and Lissianna, as does the conflict. Sands raises the conflict between the two masterfully, and pays off just as well. The sex scenes in this book are H.O.T. But that's not all A Quick Bite has to offer in terms of conflict. It seems that in addition to a meddling mother, blood phobia, and bed-tied human to deal with, Lissianna has also attracted a good old fashioned vampire hunter. So curing her phobia isn't just a matter of conveinence. As the vampire hunter gets closer to her and Greg, it just may be a matter of saving their lives.

I've seen some negative reviews of this book, and I admit that there are obvious flaws. While the first half of the book is slow and tedious, the second half skims by at hyperspeed, Lissianna and Greg making snap decisions based on inaccurate information and misperceptions. Therefore the relationship between them is based on a series of misconceptions. Even so, the emotions that arise between them feel authentic and the two seem to genuinely care for one another. Additionally, the plot goes beyond a simple will-they-or-wont-they setup to bring in a villain who has plans and motivations of his own. This adds depth to the plot and works to even it out, despite the obvious pacing issues.

All problems considered, A Quick Bite is an enjoyable reading experience. The strength of this book comes from the relationship between Lissianna and Greg. Also, Sands tongue-in-cheek humor shines through. The pacing needs work and the explanation of vampire history should have been woven in rather than dumped, but the main characters are able to resonate with readers and many of the secondary characters who are introduced (some through rather ridiculous means) eventually receive books of their own.

Rating: 4/5



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