The Bite of Winter, by Lauren Smith
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Rating: 2 out of 5
Buy Link: Samhain Publishing
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
She is theirs to claim. They are hers to save.
Zoey Blake is about as far down on her luck as she can get. A car crash took her parents, leaving her destitute and on the street. When she’s attacked by another homeless person, her lifeblood drains away as her fading vision is filled with the face of a handsome stranger.
Ian Kennedy, a century old Irish vampire, never could resist rescuing a stray. As a few drops of his blood heals Zoey’s wounds, he realizes she’s a sweet, tempting, flesh-and-blood woman. But there’s one problem. Connor, who made Ian promise decades ago: no more mortal lovers.
After another vampire murdered his soulmate, Connor O’Shea swore never to let a mortal woman pay the price for loving him. Until he feels Zoey’s skin and tastes her lips. She makes him want to break that vow.
Zoey finds herself caught in their web of seduction. But as Christmas draws near and her grief deepens, happiness seems far out of reach. And Ian and Connor join forces to prove their love is sacred, special…and forever.
My Review: I love paranormal/vampire novels, and I love erotica, and normally the two combined make for a great, sexy read. And while this novel definitely had a lot of ‘sexy’, it didn’t have much of the ‘great’. Honestly, it was ridiculous and the entire novel was set up for sex without regards to characters or plot.
I think the novel lost me when Zoey, after being rescued from near-death, healed by a vampire, and saved from another night on the streets, is taking a shower and decides that she has to shave her legs and underarms to “look her best for Ian”, a man she’s literally only just met.
The plot is further complicated by Ian’s best friend, roommate, and fellow-vampire, Connor. He’s dark and sexy and instantly dislikes Zoey just as much as he’s instantly attracted to her.
It turns out that Ian and Connor used to have a human woman that they were in love with, but she was killed. There’s a great background plot about their former lover, and some dark foreshadowing… which actually comes to nothing?
Finally, Zoey’s back and forth emotions were exhausting. She goes from wanton and sexually aroused by Ian and Connor, to freaking out and panicking, over and over. She feels guilt, she’s afraid, she’s desperate to get into their pants, etc. I could have handled her instant attraction and her confusion, but this was wildly exaggerated.
I really did not enjoy this novel. Even Zoey, at multiple times in the story, pointed out how illogical her attraction is. I don’t mind erotica, and passion without plot, but this story tries to establish characters and history, then completely disregards them in favor of more sex. Totally WTF-worthy in my book!
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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bite of Winter, by Lauren Smith”
I’m surprised the editors at Samhain let this slide. They are usually really good about making sure the erotica isn’t completely gratuitous and doesn’t come at the expense of the characters and plot.
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This is honestly EXACTLY what I was thinking while reading it. I don’t think I have particularly high standards for erotica or erotic romance… and the sex scenes weren’t actually poorly written. It was just, like you said, completely gratuitous. I highlighted so many lines while reading this where the sex made no sense, and where previously-established characterizations were ignored in favor of an erotic scene. And Samhain is usually a great source of high-quality romances, so this was extremely unexpected.