Sunday Reading - Lost Angeles
Every Sunday I'm going to highlight a book that I'm currently reading, or one that I've particularly enjoyed. Writers are readers, and our reading list
will say a lot about what we write.
I am currently reading book three in a guilty pleasure series, so I'm going to start us off with the first book in the series, Lost Angeles by Lisa Mantchev and A. L. Purol. When it came out in 2015 I gave this book a five-star review on Amazon, and I still stand by it. It's NOT great, world-altering literature of the highest order. It's just not. What it is, is well written, well plotted, wish-fulfilling vampire smut wrapped around a hard-hitting apocalyptic setting of epic proportions.
It's also not Twilight.
(Disclaimer - I did not hate Twilight. I enjoyed a great deal of it, but found much of it problematic. I also mock the sparkles. Vampires should not glitter in the sun. I'm a traditionalist.)
The book is written in first person, and switches between our two main characters, Lourdes and Xaine. We start out following Lourdes as she wakes up, confused and with many gaps in her memory. She's late for an audition, and is picked up by two mysterious strangers, Jax and Tam, who mysteriously want to help her out. (I'll admit, as soon as I saw that there was a character named Tam I was drawn in.)
I was sorely disappointed that we didn't see more of Jax and Tam in this book. I liked them instantly and craved more. Thankfully, there are more books in the series.
So, my personal hook drifts off, but by that point I was drawn in by wanting to know what the hell was going on with Lourdes! What was up with her swiss-cheese memory? Why was Xaine so drawn to her? What about her did he find so haunting?
By starting with a character who was not in the know, and a character who could have been but was too busy being a playboy rock star, we get introduced to this world abruptly but in a way that makes sense. As they learn things, we learn about how the world is set up (vampires are out in the open and running the world, there's some vast and scary conspiracy going on, there's end of the world shit building up, and vampires aren't the worst monsters lurking in the shadows) in a way that is organic, makes sense, and is never info-dumpy.
This is a smutty romance in a complex world, and I enjoyed every minute. The characters feel genuine and realistic. THERE IS NO VIRGIN FETISH GOING ON! I appreciate that after getting sick and tired of all the formulaic romance novels my mother used to buy. There's a solid framework to the story, but not a formula. The romance takes the main stage, but it's not the most interesting thing going on.
Best of all, it re-reads fairly well. When you learn more about the world, you want to go back and see the hints and interactions from a new angle. It's well crafted and a fun ride. This book is a guilty pleasure that I don't mind sharing with the world. If you want a great escape from reality with sexy sex, sexy vampires, sexy backdrops, and a sexy story that will keep you guessing as to what's REALLY going on, I'd recommend Lost Angeles. Action, "action", humor, and great characters kept me going through all 450 pages with only the occasional "Okay, I can put this down now...wait, what was that?"
Next week, Loose Canon, the second book in the series.