by Temple West
Read: April 27 - May 4, 2015
Published: May 12, 2015 by Swoon Reads
Source: Macmillan (THANK YOU!)
Category: YA, PNR, Vampires
Series: Velvet #1
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
First rule of dealing with hot vampire bodyguards? Don't fall in love.
After losing both her parents before age seventeen, aspiring designer Caitlin Holte feels like her whole world has been turned upside down, and that was before the terrifying encounter with a supernatural force. Then, she learns that her hot bad-boy neighbor, Adrian—who might have just saved her life—is actually a half-demon vampire.
Suddenly Caitlin is stuck with a vampire bodyguard who feels that the best way to protect her is to become her pretend boyfriend. Trouble is, Caitlin is starting to fall in love for real, while Adrian can never love a human. Caitlin trusts Adrian to keep her safe from his demon father, but will he be able to protect her heart?
For some reason I'm still attempting to read vampire based paranormal romance, which I think was my first problem going into this book. Whether intentional or not, if a story is set in high school and involves vampires, I'm going to compare it Twilight. In fact, the first half of Velvet read like a direct comparison or commentary on Twilight - girl moves to a rural town with a relative, falls for the loner uber rich boy/vampire with an eccentric family. Boy is constantly referred to as being model hot. However, girl is not clumsy, and she doesn't spend time lamenting how much he's out of her league! Plus lots of other little things that seemed similar or purposefully different. The second half picked up for me, and I was into the plot…until Adrian takes Caitlin to a school dance in an Aston Martin. After that, I struggled to take the book seriously anymore.
Speaking of things that pulled me out of the story, this book takes place in rural New York, and yet the characters have lunch outside at picnic tables all winter long. Snow is talked about several times, but no one mentions being cold once! I know high schoolers don't like to wear proper coats, but they would be shivering out there! It made no sense to me at all.
I will say that it was Caitlin that kept me reading this book. I liked her a lot, and was able to connect in well to her emotions. She is suffering from intense grief from the recent death of her mother, and I felt all of her anger and sadness along with her. She's also direct, asks questions and has ambition to be a designer. I never felt like she was slow to figure things out (well except for in that one time…), and I was on the edge of my seat with her, nervous about what was going to happen. I also love that she's not afraid to speak her mind to Adrian when he he's being an idiot - I got fired up too when she blew up at him.
Although contrived for maximum interaction, I like the "bodyguard" set-up of the story, because we get to see these two get close to each there without professing their love in the first few pages. And they don't fall for each other immediately. Although there is immediate attraction, it takes Caitlin time to realize how much she really cares for Adrian. However, I wish we'd gotten some perspective from Adrian. The book is all in Caitlin's POV and it was difficult to tell what he was thinking. He also plays the typical "I'm going to be an asshole for your own good" angle, which I despise, though I could understand his reasons.
I liked several of the secondary characters, especially Adrian's brother Lucian, with whom I wish we'd spent more time. Julian also ended up being more complex than at first. I really liked Caitlin's friend Trish, though all the others ran together, and I couldn't understand why Jenny seemed so important. I kept thinking there would be more of a revelation around her.
I struggled with a few elements of the drama at the end of this book, but some of that is my own personal issues. However, how it all played out kept me engaged through the conclusion. The book is clearly part of a series, as the end wraps up some elements, but also leaves readers with lots of questions as well as bit of a cliffhanger. I'm curious about where the author takes her story next, but I'm not sure it's enough to keep me reading. I just hope the next installment doesn't try to go the New Moon route…
Love Triangle Factor: NONE and there doesn't appear to be any other prospects either, thank goodness!
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium (Highlight) Caitlin and Adrian's relationship is fairly settled (for now), and the cliffhanger mostly involves a side character, whom I fell in love with and am worried about!