I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Velvet by Temple West
Published by Macmillan on May 12th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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After losing both her parents before age 17, 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?
I unabashedly enjoy romance books and books with kissing and such, so of course I am 100% on board for the books published by Macmillan’s new imprint Swoon Reads. This imprint basically guarantees there’s going to be kissing or else. Velvet by debut author Temple West is a paranormal offering from this imprint featuring a vampire romance. Thankfully it’s been like 7 years since Twilight so I am over my vampire fatigue and totally up for books about swoonworthy vampires and making out.
Velvet is about Caitlin Holte, a 17 year old girl who is an aspiring fashion designer. Recently orphaned — her dad died when she was a kid and her mom recently died of cancer, Caitlin is shipped from her home in Mystic, Connecticut to live with an aunt she’s never met in upstate New York. Caitlin is angry about the move and is feeling the teenage angst and grief. One day, she’s out during a storm and passes out. She comes to and finds that she has been rescued by Adrian, the local good looking, untouchable boy. Caitlin discovers that she’s being pursued by a demon and Adrian, a vampire, is to be her bodyguard. Unfortunately for Caitlin she begins to fall for Adrian against her better judgment.
Caitlin’s your typical teen and I love it. She absolutely does not hold back. She experiences her emotions so strongly that it might come across as annoying to some. To me though, she is authentic. What’s great is that she fully experiences her grief. She doesn’t just get over it because she begins to date a boy. I like that she had her weak moments. I also liked that she was so reluctant at first about making friends in upstate New York but then she comes around and allows herself to have a solid group of girl friends — who are each wonderful — especially Trish. Another thing about Caitlin? The fashion designer attribute is not just a throw away characteristic. It is important to the plot and storyline several times over. She’s actually a pretty great character.
As this is marketed as a vampire romance, you can pretty much predict that there’s going to be kissing. However, there’s some frustrating moments when it comes to the romance in Velvet. Caitlin and Adrian have to fake a relationship to make his presence as her bodyguard seem plausible. Adrian has never dated girls before and this is something the town remarks on when he dates Caitlin. Actually, it’s kind of funny because when the book opens up and we are just getting to know the two, Caitlin assumes he bats for the other team. Anyways. Caitlin begins to actually fall for him and she finds herself questioning if what is between them is real or fake for the sake of being her bodyguard. This does feel like it goes on for an over long amount of pages, but still it is compelling.
To be quite honest, Temple West’s Velvet is not the greatest vampire romance book I’ve ever read (that honor goes to Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead) but it’s a mostly decent read. There’s a lot of attributes of this book that surprised me in a positive way — the dialogue is funny, the development of family relationships is solid, and Caitlin is so strongly characterized. Yet, I felt like the ending was unsatisfactory and leaves the door open for a sequel without really resolving a few issues. I also was not entirely in love with the writing. I would recommend this book with some hesitations.