Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lynsay Sands - Under a Vampire Moon

Escaping a horrible marriage, Carolyn Connor has no desire to think about men — a vow she's determined to keep while on vacation in St. Lucia. She'll take the Caribbean sun and sea and plenty of tropical drinks with those cute umbrellas poolside, thank you. She absolutely does not need male company, no matter how tan and rock-hard his body may be.
Easy enough, but then Carolyn meets the charming Marguerite Argeneau, who is infamous among her family for her matchmaking prowess...
Christian Notte has well known the power of finding a life mate. He's seen enough of his Argeneau relatives taken down for the count, but he never imagined he'd let himself fall in love — until he meets the enthralling, charmingly skittish, and oh-so-mortal Carolyn. But how will he reveal what he is and still convince this once-bitten mortal to trust him with her heart...and her forever?

Comment: The last story in the Argeneau series I've read by this author was in 2011, when a short story was released along one by author Jeaniene Frost. Since then, I have been "collecting" the books but not reading them. This year I've decided to give them one more advance and this month I picked the one next in line, #16 in this long series... this year of 2018, apparently, there will be released books #27 and #28.

In this installment, we have the story of Christian Notte. For those a fan, perhaps this is clear enough to give you an idea. For those not a fan but curious here's a link with an information page on the author's website where we can also try to see family trees.
Christian Notte is a beloved member of the Argeneau family now his parents are together as lifemates again. His mother, Marguerite, has found his lifemate and the story begins in the Caribbean where Christian and his cousins travel to with the disguise to act as a band in the resort where everyone is staying in.
Carolyn is a 42 year old woman just out of a divorce deal still trying to get happiness back. She didn't count on being attracted to Christian, who looks to be half her age, but it seems there's something about him which is irresistible. But can Carolyn's fears be dealt with in time before something goes wrong between them?

It's been quite a while since I spent time with these characters. I've read the first 15 stories up to 2011 but not all in a row. There is a lot I forgot and now most books remind me of little scenes rather than complete plots. A re-read would need to be in order for me to remember, to probably check if my grading remains the same and to be updated to all the events but I just don't have the time nowadays.
However, I remember the feeling of cuteness and fun and interest I used to have about the characters, different "vampires" from the norm, and all their huge family links and connections.
In fact, it's this total mix of charactes, events, relationships, connections that make the stories vibrant and exciting.
There isn't much change from the usual plot: the characters finding their lifemates, trying to make them love them and eventually accepting a bond. In some stories these "adventures" are funnier, in others more complex, in others more romantic... there are obstacles to overcome of course but how they get to the HEA is what matters, as an HEA is always to expect.

Of course I was expecting this aspect to happen here but I must say this 16th installment wasn't one of my favorites.
Christian has been quite a famous character in the series and I wanted him to be happy but I didn't think his story was that well executed, especially in the way he wooed his lifemate-to-be.
I can understand the purpose was for this plot to be fun but honestly I wasn't that amused because Carolyn is a character whose life hasn't been easy and it felt to me that most things happening in order to make Christian being close to her were over the top silly and seemed necessarily "staged" to me. Yes, one must suspend belief in these fantasy/paranormal stories but...

Carolyn is a woman who, comparing, looks older than Christian. Of course some of the situations that provoked more doubts would be this for her. We know this aspect can be overcome later on but Carolyn doesn't. I expected a bit more refinement in dealing with her (unaware) position in all this. But it looked like her feelings weren't that important as long as they could spend time together.
I also didn't really enjoy how she, as a person, was treated by some characters. Perhaps it was only m, but it felt like she was constantly put in situations she wouldn't have control of or she wouldn't be comfortable in. I can understand why and better done, seem could have been fun scenes but I didn't get that vibe.
At the end, when everything is finally solved and dealt with, with having at last some explanations (not totally convincing), it no longer seems to be important but I couldn't help thinking the relationship wasn't as smooth nor balanced as I recall some other previous ones to be.

As for the vampire angle, I must say I was slightly disappointed so much focus was given to how easy it was for vampires to read minds. Yes, this has always been a detail int his stories, usually well done but in this case I couldn't help noticing the lack of privacy, even when such was mentioned.
Also the secret of vampires existing and all the things related to that were fine until the end when Carolyn had a sudden change in thought and almost seemed to accept things too easily and showed a change in her behavior that looked like too quick and unlikely.

Despite my issues with some details, this was mostly a positive story. It's always nice to get to see characters that we are used to, to see the validation of HEAs on going...
I just don't know if too long has passed since I was committed to this series and this "new" one didn't get me in the right vibe or if I simply can't like this as I used to... let's see, I do plan on reading a few more as the months go by.
Grade: 5/10

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