Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Molly Harper - Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs

Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She's forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What's a nice undead girl to do?

Comment: Having loved the previous books by this author I already read, I was very hopeful about this one as well. I hoped the "feel" of this story would be along the lines of the others I've read and that I'd love it. 
This is the first installment in a vampire series featuring Jane Jameson, new turned. After this series there's a spin off, called Half Moon Hollow, which is where the action takes place both in that spin off and in this series.
I was really curious and prepared myself to be amazed.

This is the story of Jane Jameson, a librarian who loses her job as soon as the book starts and to top it off, ends up being shot to death in the same day. She is rescued by Gabriel and he turns her to save her life. sort of. 
The book is mostly about Jane dealing with her new condition, looking for a new job, dodging her mother and solving the mysterious problems that seem to follow her anywhere.
Can Jane deal with her new condition while still being who she always was and keeping the affection from her family?

Nope, I did not get to be amazed by this one after all.
I had really high expectations but I think I had a good excuse. The werewolf trilogy was really good and despite the fun vibe it had, I read it with a sense of balance, meaning the fun was good but the serious parts were well inserted too. There was balance between the two things or, maybe, I just managed to read it that way.
In this book's case I didn't feel that. Jane sees herself in funny situations, obviously the author planned on writing this with a funny/light goal in mind but for me, this seemed over the top and the fun parts seemed pushed and didn't mesh with the elements I liked most in the story.

At this point I start to think there's something wrong with me. This is another of a somewhat good number of books that are written to be funny, re meant to be funny but that I can't seem to enjoy that way. I like fun books but I need balance, I need serious stuff too. My life isn't a line of laughs, I don't think anyone, no matter what, can be in high spirits all the time. The way I see it, the fun moments/parts/things are so because we can compare them to more serious things, thus enjoy them more too. Again, balance.
I don't know if I'm being too picky with this but here it is. I enjoy the fun stuff more if I know there's something to compare it with. I don't know, I'm making a huge issue out of nothing perhaps, but it's the way I see things and that affects how I "judge" my books.

All this considered, I ended up feeling a bit annoyed. I mean, the other books by the author felt good, I found them funny too but better. Is the problem only mine?
Anyway, this story has interesting elements, the idea that new vampires have a sort of guidance in their sires and in the community that welcomes them is refreshing. I also liked that Jane keeps her personality, that she has friends and goals. I think I'd have liked to see more about the vampires as a society instead of colored scenes here and there that only existed for plot purposes. Again, another of my needs, I want a structured world to understand. I think this felt flat because of the silly parts.

I think the most serious things like Jane's thoughts about her new condition, about what it means to be a vampire, to have to look at things differently and the relationship to those she's close to, how it was affected, these serious things didn't get enough air time in my opinion. The way things are done is an obvious delay tactic - to be further developed in the next 3 books in the series certainly - and seemed there just to give the idea a thought. Not enough for me, and not well done.

There's the romance. I liked the idea of a sire looking for and trying to protect a new vampire. I liked the attraction between them. I think this is an interesting type of relationship to develop but they didn't seem to deal with it that well. Again, all the suggested funny things and the overall feel of the story kind of put this aside and I didn't really appreciate how things were done, nor did I believe much in their feelings, not the way it was shown to me at least.

All in all, not the best of reads, despite the good parts - which exist I'll confess.
This made me decide to skip the rest of the series, I'm just not fully invested in Jane and her adventures, although I'm sad because she's a librarian an I like books about/with librarians.
I'll jump to the spin off instead. I hope that, with different couples as protagonists, the focus is more intense on them and their lives because it needs a finished book to achieve a HEA more convincingly (I hope!).
As for this one, too bad. I won't give on the author no, but I'm sad about this one.
Grade: 5/10

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