by Sophie Renwick, fantasy (2010)
Berkley, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-451-22918-2
Sophie Renwick's Velvet Haven is the first book in a series called The Annwyn Chronicles. I personally would have given this book the more appropriate title of Purple Heaves. It tries so hard to conform to the formula of a bestselling erotic paranormal romance (alpha slut, pathetic heroine, angst shags) that the whole thing takes on a purple tint as a result of the author's ersatz efforts.
Bran is an alpha male hero. That means he's the best (he's a sidhe king), he's dangerous (he spends time chasing an immortal killer while brooding), he's virile (he's cursed to pump, pump, pump a million women a month because their sexual pleasure keeps him in tip top shape), and he's... you know, the Hero in a Sexy Paranormal Romance. Oh, he wants to die, he hates to be such a gigolo, and I have no idea how he finds time to even do anything else, much less walk straight, from his constant boinking sessions, but does it matter? He's the Hero in a Sexy Paranormal Romance, made exactly like the mold in the Mattel Alpha Male Factory, so I'm supposed to pant heavily over him already.
Mairi MacAuley, our heroine, is a distressed damsel. A former abuse victim, she now spends her time selflessly working as a nurse and crisis worker. In her free time, she reads musty tomes. Really!
There is a bad immortal on the loose, and this fellow has killed a young girl that Mairi knew. Meanwhile, we can't really have a genuine romantic development, since that will intrude on necessary elements like endless brooding, constant angst, and alpha males putting that overused pee-pee to good use on our wet rag heroines. So we need things like her having sexy dreams about him and how destiny and the word of Sophie Renwick have declared that Mairi and Bran will be conjoined at the genitalia for all eternity. There is also a club where immortals wait to boink human women, although Bran naturally doesn't want to boink Mairi then because she's so pure and innocent like the bliss ninny she is. So he boinks her in her dreams instead.
I can go on and on and on, but really, there is nothing here that hasn't been done to death already in any random sexy paranormal romance out there in the market at the moment. The only thing missing here is the kitchen sink that is stained purple from Ms Renwick's enthusiastically convoluted and overly ripe prose. The only reason I can recommend this utterly boring and unimaginative tripe is if you are thinking of saving money and investing $15.00 on this book because it has enough clichés to fill up at least six books by Sherrilyn Kenyon with enough leftover for the Christmas novella. Hey, better spend $15.00 on one book instead of buying a whole new series, right?
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