Friday, August 2, 2013

Book Review: How to Discipline Your Vampire by Mina Vaughn

Title: How to Discipline Your Vampire
Author: Mina Vaughn
Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster)
Release Date: August 19, 2013
Where to Buy: Amazon Apple's iBookstore | Nook | Kobo |
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From the book:

Cerise Norrell, Type A substitute teacher by day, is ready to quit being a domme. Despite her best intentions, none of her partners can keep up with her scene fetish and attention to detail—let alone her demand that they have a costume and set waiting every afternoon by the time she’s home from school. 

Over a dozen potential subs have left her in the past year, but just when Cerise thinks it’s impossible—that she’ll have to go back to vanilla relationships, or be alone forever—she meets William, who wants to make all her fantasies come true. He turns her home into a geisha’s dream apartment, a concert hall with a grand piano (which he uses to play an original composition while wearing a tuxedo), and even rents an abandoned loft for a zombie apocalypse scene—complete with canned goods.

But there’s something strange about William. Well, a lot of strange things. He must be absurdly rich, since he can afford to provide extravagant costumes and props on a daily basis without having to leave work early. He must be insane, since he puts up with Cerise’s over-the-top demands. And most importantly, he doesn’t redden when he’s spanked, and his skin is as cool as satin sheets. When Cerise discovers she’s become dome to the infamous “Chilly Willy,” as he’s known throughout the BDSM urban lore, she begins to find out there’s a whole lot more to her handsome submissive than a creative mind and a hard body.

And when it’s William, ironically, who starts pressing Cerise to give him the kind of commitment she’s never given anyone, it’ll take everything she has to work through her issues, confront her past, and learn to be vulnerable.
This book surprised me. I'm not one for vampire romances - or much in that vein of paranormal at all - but I put my preconceived notions aside.

My review:
When I started the book on a Thursday night, I figured I'd read some, put it down, and pick it up over the weekend. But, once I started, I couldn't put it down. The story itself is darkly humorous - Cerise is not a likeable character (at first). She's got some major hangups that immediately had me questioning what her issue was - every sub she gained was lost due to insanely ridiculous, picky reasons (or hilarious ones - taco/salsa breath would be a deal-breaker for most anyone!). She had a pseudo-friend who was just as unlikeable...but something drew me in. I wanted to know why this woman was this way. I admit, my first thought was, If this chick is this angry at the world for no reason, I'm going to be really upset that I wasted my time.

Oh, am I glad I kept reading.

Cerise's reason was BEYOND what I expected. Her event was so traumatic, so life-altering that I lost my breath. Actually couldn't breathe for a moment as I read the scene, which was written so beautifully that I could see and feel what she experienced.

From that second on, I wasn't letting go. I read the entire book in one sitting (I was tired the next day at work, but so worth it) and began to really root for her to realize William was the perfect guy for her.

William was a different kind of character, too - he wasn't an in-your-face vampire. I had a hard time thinking of him as a vampire until it was fully presented to Cerise (I enjoyed the way in which William's past was given to the reader - not drip-fed, and not all-at-once, but captivating in its entirety).

The only vampire-y part came at the end of the book, and by that point I was comfortable enough with the two characters that it didn't bother me in the way I thought it would (being, you know, not a fan of vampire stuff).

I would recommend this story to folks looking for a good read. Be warned, though: It is dark, it is humorous, and it has some moments where you'll want to slap/kick/hug/cry with the characters. All in all, worthwhile for a bit of your time.

And - if you're like me in that vampires aren't your thing - I still recommend you check it out. The story can stand even if you change William from a vampire to an (even wealthier) human, which is not something I can say about other novels in this genre. And for all us language freaks out there, the writing (grammar, sentence structure, plot arc, etc) is flawless and a true joy to read.

(Disclaimer: I was provided an ARC from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)


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