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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
Insatiable - Meg Cabot My first reaction to this book: “No. We’re not doing the vampire thing, are we? We are? *defeated sigh*” (This was announced at the height of the vampire craze). And yet, my feelings of foreboding were proven wrong.I like this book—for starters, Meena’s an enjoyable protagonist. She’s well-meaning, but because of her precognition, you can really tell how reserved she is. Sure, she obsesses over handbags and men, but she doesn’t really get hung up over it, aside from an increasingly frustrating morning. Which I can relate to; I’ve had those days when a little thing like someone getting something that I want drives me over the edge. I like that she’s genuinely torn about her feelings for Lucien, and she actually makes a fantastic argument for not wanting to be with him. Meena feels more natural and realistic, even with her powers and the vampires. Also, I like Lucien and Alaric as love interests, despite the LOVE TRIANGLE aspect. They both have a good, natural chemistry and dialogue with Meena, and I can reasonably see her with either one. If I had to nitpick, I really didn’t like knowing a thousand tiny details about Alaric. There’s an annoying tendency to make main characters quirky, which is okay; but when there’s quirk after quirk, it feels less like characterization and more like a gimmick. I’m kinda waiting on the second book to pass judgment on Alaric’s characterization.The supporting cast is good, but I wouldn’t say that they’re particularly memorable. I liked Meena’s brother, Jon, if only because his incompetence leads to some pretty good “Nice Job Breaking It” moments. I wasn’t a huge fan of Leisha, if only because all she seemed to do was fulfill the Pregnant/Married/Fat Best Friend role. The only real standout side character was Mary Lou Antonescu, while despite being comic relief (and a very obvious Real Housewives jab), was a fresh breath in the book.My biggest problem with the plot is that the revelation that the bad vampires are behind everything: the vampire plot line on the soap Meena writes for, the murders, and are basically preparing to take over the world. It feels too coincidental and just seems to act as a way to wrap up the plot for a first book in a neat little bow. It also reeks of comic book villainy, I expected the vamps to start twirling mustaches as they evil laughed. At the same time, though, I read it as a jab toward how prevalent vampires are in the media at the moment (or when it was written—2009). There are two major nitpicks I’d like to point out—Meena continuously references Stoker’s Dracula (makes sense, as Lucien is supposed to be Vlad Tepes’s son) but she and other characters ultimately fail these references. For example, the vampires bursting into flame in sunlight is brought up as being a staple in any vampire lore across the cultures…except that idea was introduced in 1922. The second is that when Meena recounts the book’s plot to herself, she mentions that Mina Murray falls in love with Dracula. FAIL—Mina was forcibly bitten by Dracula and is actually disgusted by him. (Rape implications!) If Meena had referenced a film version rather than the book, I would have been okay with this comparison, but since it is specifically the Stoker novel, my inner English major is just screaming “Wrong! Do not pass Go! Do not collect $200!” I think the major reason why I really enjoy this book is that it’s one of the few recent chick lit paranormal novels to point out that there’s a downside to the whole vampire schtick, as well as pointing out how messed up romanticizing death and vampirism is. Meena even says “How is knowing a guy wants to kill you is hot?”—it’s so dead perfect when you look at a lot of the big paranormal series. (And yes, someone does accuse Lucien of sparkling at least once.) I like that Meena doesn’t like the idea of vampires, mostly for that reason. On the other hand, we have Mary Lou, who does like being a vampire and the “life” that comes with it. (In other words, “Vampirism: It’s not for everyone.”) Meena’s argument is that she doesn’t want to die, because it’s not a real life, a point which really comes across when you find out what the bad vampires are actually doing. Plus, it’s an argument that make sense.Again, there are many things that I do like about this book, but it does have its faults like the majority of novels out there. The dialogue is snappy, I enjoyed the characters; however, there were a few things weighing down in the back of my mind. I’m really interested in reading the sequel and see what improves.