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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sunshine Bites

from Goodreads:
Sunshine's mundane existence as the head baker at Charlie's Coffeehouse takes an unexpected turn when she drives to her grandmother's secluded summer camp. While she is taking in the scenic view of the starlit sky reflecting off the lake's calm surface, she is attacked by a gang of vampires and brought to an abandoned mansion on the far side of the lake. They strip her of her shoes, dress her in a blood-red gown, and shackle her to a wall. In the semi-darkness of the moonlit room, she realizes that a vampire is shackled next to her. After some tense moments, the two begin to talk and quickly conclude that if they don't help each other escape, they're both as good as dead

I have no hesitation in listing this as one of my all-time favorite books.  And yet I always recommend it hesitantly, or with a lot of caveats.  Robin McKinley can be a sort of acquired taste, and if I were to just list some of the traits of Sunshine, I would think even I wouldn't want to read it.  It can be so very slow, and terribly frustrating, and Sunshine has a lot of inner monologue going on.  But the thing is, I loved it for each of those reasons.  The slow pace worked and made me feel the world and buy in so much more than I ever thought to.  Sometimes books feel like movies -- everything is pared down to fit and keep you on the edge of your seat, and a sense of reality is forfeit for action.  Sunshine, by contrast, starts to feel like real life.  Things happen sometimes with frustrating slowness, and then BAM! just catch up and hit you.  I felt the book as much as read it.  I don't know how to make the idea of the slow pace sound appealing, I can just tell you that it was.  It worked.  Not everyone agrees, but for me, it gave the book time to work its way into my skin, and I have yet to get it out.

Some of you may be wondering, too, why a book that has very little real "romance" in it is part of Love Bites; it's really more an urban fantasy than anything (and excellent, on that score).  And it's true, it's a weird choice, but then not weird at all.  It feels almost wrong to call Sunshine a romance, and trust me when I say you will get no...gratification out of it.  Someone I know called the book a cockblocker.  And yet Sunshine and Constantine stand out in my mind as one of my favorite relationships, and the book itself as one of the best, most memorable romances.

I don't know what to say, other than read it if you haven't.  It's a book that needs to be experienced.

(In fact, I like this book enough that I have 2 copies (1 each of the pretty); here's the other:

*Make sure you check out my CSN stores $65 GC giveaway and my part of the Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway!


  1. I absolutely understand where you're coming from with this one. Sunshine is sat on my 'never ever to be lost, removed or loaned' shelf. I really enjoyed it and the Sunshine-Constantine relationship stands out for me as one of the most memorable I've read. But the thing that's stopping me from picking it back up and re-reading it is that I know I'll just end up annoyed with it again for days - it is one hell of a 'cockblocker', and those loose running-away-in-my-head ends just add insult to injury. I too want to recommend it, but I just can't quite manage to when I recall stomping irritatedly around the house for a while wondering why on earth all that story that's just screaming to be developed, wasn't. Glad to know I'm not alone with that!

  2. I completely agree. I read it and loved it, but I had a hard time articulating my feelings about it. I never reviewed it, but it's among the ranks of my most loved books. Maybe I'll reread it soon and try again. :)

  3. I just couldn't love this one. I read it shortly after discovering McKinley, (jr. high) so it's possible I was a little on the 'young' side to really love this, but I read it expecting it to give me the same feeling that Hero and the Crown, and Blue Sword and Beauty left me, but alas... Not even close. :(

  4. Rusted: that wasn't my experience at all, but I am hesitant because I know it WILL be the experience for others. Personally, I LOVED not getting the ends tied up. I LOVED that I was always left wanting more.

    Titania: Every time I reread it I say, This will be the time I review it. This is as close as I've come, and a 'bite' doesn't do it justice. Maybe next time...

    Ashley: It is a WHOLLY different book from the others you mentioned. That's part of why I love it: I didn't expect it. And I think junior high (and even HS) is too young to appreciate just what McKinley created here.

  5. I have this sitting in my TBR pile. I'm glad to read that you enjoyed it. :)

  6. I read Sunshine last year (I think) and it was way different then anything I ahd ever read by Robin McKinley before, but I still enjoyed it. ^_^

  7. Aahhhh I LOVE this book so much! But I completely agree that it's not for everyone. It is super confusing with the world building and the inner monologues and everything, but I loved it. Plus it made me want to bake stuff.


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