Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Review: When Life Gives You Vampires by Gloria Duke

When Life Gives You Vampires by Gloria Duke
Series: Slaying It, Book 1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Paranormal Romance 
When Life Gives You Vampires cover
ISBN: 9781728257440
Release Date: October 4, 2022
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Single (plus size) vampire, desperately in search of a life.

Twenty-five year old Lily Baines is used to waking up hungover, overweight, and underemployed. Waking up with fangs? Not so much. But when a little light necking has more serious consequences than she ever imagined, Lily's determined to get to the bottom of it, or die (again) trying.

Tristan hadn't meant to turn Lily―it's against vampire law―but now that she's here, they need to team up to save both their hides. They strike an uneasy truce, fending off other vampires, Lily's work-rival-turned-slayer, and her mother's tone-deaf romance and fitness advice...all while Lily faces down her insecurities about the fact that she lives in a diet-obsessed world with a body that will never age, never die, and never change.

Falling for her maddeningly gorgeous sire? Easy. Surviving an ancient vampire Master determined to see her twice-dead? Piece of cake. But can Lily ever truly learn to love the woman she'll be forever more?

When Life Gives You Vampires is a paranormal romcom that has all the elements of a good read. Lily is a plus-size journalist who unexpectedly finds herself undead, Tristan is a centuries-old vampire who writes romance novels, dangers and sass abound. But though the elements were there, the execution left me with mixed feelings.

Lily is twenty-five and has some serious body image issues (to anyone who may be triggered by talk of extreme diets and/or negative body image talk: this may not be the book for you). Lily’s struggle with body acceptance is hard, often damaging, and author Gloria Duke doesn’t shy away from the fact that Lily hurts more than herself. It’s more serious and given more page time than you might expect of a romcom, but for me this was the part of the book that had the most depth and consideration. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, but it’s relatable and realistic in a lot of ways and I was all in on Lily’s personal journey.

Unfortunately, the rest of the story is where I had issues with When Life Gives You Vampires. Tristan is an uninspiring hero. He has issues with being stuck in the past and he’s overprotective because of it, but it all falls flat. I wanted to dig deeper into his character, to see him come (un)alive on the page. And the romance…just isn’t there. Attraction? Absolutely. But the love story wasn’t believable and needed more time and attention to feel organic to the characters. As for the threats to Lily that come from her being turned into a vampire without approval, those didn’t wholly work for me. The villain of the story was a bit cartoonish and the resolution was so quick that it made me wonder what all the threats and buildup were about. I wanted more from the worldbuilding and more from the characters. There were many missed opportunities in this book but the way Gloria Duke wrote Lily’s personal journey had enough promise that I’d try her work again in the future.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.