Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell

81261gCHq6L._SL1350_Title: Shades of Sepia

Series: The Sleepless City #1

Author: Anne Barwell

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal / Mystery/Suspense / Vamps/Weres

ISBN: 978-1-62798-542-0

Length: Novel (210 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 30th, 2014)

Heat Level: Low~Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥2 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human, and one vampire.

Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.

One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Flint, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.

After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.

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Review: The first thought I had about this book once I started reading was “oh my, another Twilight wannabe”. I haven’t been disabused of that notion. The characters might as well been named Edward-wannabe and Bella-wannabe. Harsh? Don’t think so.

So you might have gathered that I didn’t like this book. That’d be right, but not because it tried so hard to resemble another book, it was also the fact that for me, this was badly written.

He met Stephen in France and Albert in Europe…

This is an example of things that made me roll my eyes. FYI: France is in Europe, so that leads to the question: where on heck did he meet Albert?

“I want our relationship to be equal, and I’d like to be able to take you out to dinner somewhere nice too.”

This came after the fact that Simon is rich and Ben isn’t. It made me think how is it Simon’s fault that he’s rich..? Especially as Ben was trying to pick up a fight for that. In general, little things like this had me disliking the characters because there was no showing of growth in them at all.

No structure…

Ben’s POV, Simon’s POV, and an omniscient narrator? The heck? Yes, there were all kind of styles implored here. Didn’t give the book any points though. The thoughts and the dialogue were all over the place and I don’t even want to start on the soul bonding. Though the text drone on and on about the soul bond it failed to convey the emotional enormity of it, the scene when it happened was inadequate and hastily written making it yet another scene without much importance drowned in mindless cheesy dialogue. The show, don’t tell warning feels proper here and the telling literally killed all intentions. For a scene that meant a forever, bonding is was a huge failure.
As for the suspense/mystery part, well I pretty much figured who the badie was from the very beginning (it was not a hardship either) the mystery failing tragically there, and suspense was suspiciously lacking. What made it a weird read though was the fact that by the end of the book nothing was explained besides the why the bad guy did what he did. The how’s and the why’s of the other guys involved where left floating in the ether and I never got the deal with the council there and how come with a huge case such as the one they were dealing, our guys never visited it at all.

Anyway, all in all, this book failed to draw me in, the romance was bad, too bad for my liking, the mystery not a mystery at all, and the writing style a turn off. Now, perhaps I’m harsh, perhaps I’m not, but I can’t in good consciousness recommend this one.