BOOK REVIEW (23): Cryptic Cravings (Vampire Kisses #8)

Cryptic Cravings

And here we are with the penultimate book in the Vampire Kisses series. I started reading VK1-3 during my 2013 winter holiday break, so this was a LONG time in coming. I broke off from the series after book 6 (Royal Blood) released, but I had been following the release of the series throughout the next few years. And I’ve always been dying to find out whether Raven was turned into a vampire or not.
Sadly this book doesn’t answer that HUGE mystery/romance conflict just yet.
Still we have a lot going on in VK8, at least enough to tie up a couple points.
Cryptic Cravings picks up a year after Alexander Sterling moves into the Mansion on Benson Hill and Raven’s dull and bloodless existence in her small town, Dullsville suddenly brightens—or is that darkens?—with this fated meeting between our series’ couple.
Now that a year has passed Raven realizes that her relationship with Alexander is culminating to something…but just what, Cryptic Cravings doesn’t say. I mean, that title is a dead giveaway. There are a lot of cravings, mostly of the blood and teen sexual wangst variety, and even more secrets—some revealed at the end, some still remain hidden.
We get more teen male vampy heartthrob scenes in this one, too. I have a crush on Sebastian and Jagger, so we get to see a whole lot more of them both! –squee-
Raven’s bully-slash-secret admirer Trevor Mitchell’s kinda growing on me, too. I always liked how author Ellen Schreiber writes the witty, cute banter between Raven and her “nemesis” (btw, every time I read that name for Trevor all I think about is Resident Evil. And I srsly doubt that’s what the author was intending. Just throwing that image out there to pollute your mind, too.)
And here. Why don’t you take a picture too?
Meet Nemesis. He isn’t a “blonde jock” as you can see…
So this book didn’t fare any better than its predecessors. As far as I’m concerned the series is just a bunch of “okay, they’re fine but they ain’t gonna get better than this” reads.
My problems with Cryptic Cravings are problems I found in the other books, but some that I haven’t mentioned yet.
One: Raven isn’t a normal teen.
What 16/17-year-old uses the word “nefarious”? Hell. What grown-ass 21st century adult uses the word “nefarious”? And it isn’t even this book. I haven’t really mentioned it much, mostly cause I figure I’ve been trying to suppress it but Raven doesn’t sound like a regular, red-blooded teenager. I mean, especially since we’re supposed to believe she doesn’t care about school all that much and she’s not very book-savvy. This isn’t the first time either—just in the last book there was a scene where her best friend, Becky gets injured scrapping her knee or something and Raven asks for a tourniquet. Okay. If that doesn’t make you stop reading I salute you.
A frickin’ tourniquet.
What? When did asking for a Band-Aid or bandage go out of vogue?
And even if she was, it would still make me suspicious if anyone IRL convo used the word “nefarious” in ways like this (I only started documenting the use of Schreiber’s pet word from p. 65 onwards. Who knows how many times she used it earlier?):
“I’m sorry—I didn’t mean that about you. I meant nefarious vampires,” I said… (p.65)
“You know I mean nefarious, unknown vampires.” (p.76)
“…But if they get wind of anything nefarious, then they will want to shut down…” (p.77)
Alexander kept a watchful eye on the incoming boxes, making sure that there were no nefarious items or clues… (p.82)
Jagger sidled up to Becky. I was ready to pounce if he did anything nefarious to my best friend. (p.89)
Lol. Personally I think Becky could use something nefarious done to her… xD Dirty mind is very dirty.
At least it wouldn’t have been caused by Jagger and his nefarious plans. (p.119)
It was worse. Far worse than opening the present to find an empty box. What I saw was by far more nefarious and cunning. Trevor really got me this time. (p.161)
Got her a birthday gift! Yeah! And a really pretty one, you guys, I mean—this girl I swear, Raven needs to be killed like for good.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, or do both to save time. I was so frustrated I’m glad I got a good night’s sleep before I decided to write this review. I mean, WHAT. Anyways, after this my brain shut down.
Also, Raven is starting to piss me off. Unfortunately this story is told in first-person from her perspective so I’m forced to stick it out if I wanna see this series through to the final book—we’re one away now!
Which brings me to point two: Raven’s love triangle FAIL..
Now if you haven’t read the series, and to be honest I don’t know how clear I’ve been in these impromptu reviews of these books thus far, but the romance mostly goes like this: Alexander + Raven. And then there’s really a bunch of Raven admirers that don’t really get the full access to Raven’s midnight lip lock sessions: Trevor and Jagger, some random vamp guys from Book 5 (Coffin Club) and very briefly Sebastian.
Then in Cryptic Cravings Raven decides she’s bothered that Trevor is seeing a new girl, one of her vampire friends, so she throws down like a jealous hog. For reals.
Like she doesn’t want the so-called preppy snob, WANT want him—but she won’t let him be with someone else who does?
Forget turning into a bat, Raven, because you’re already a beyotch!
The problem is that the whole Trevor-Raven thing is SO ridiculously forced, like I can almost hear the author’s cogs working post-Twilight and jumping on the love triangle crap—sure it was pretty obvious reading it that Trevor does have a thing for Raven despite subjecting her to torture BUT Raven never fell for it before. Especially since having met Alexander and they hit it off which was a redeeming quality of hers—her devotion to Alexander and their love and her dream to be a vampire and successfully combine her aspirations for teen romance w/ immortality.
And I could go on and on about the problems with this book. I did enjoy the fast pace. Definitely something I can’t complain about with the Vampire Kisses series. I don’t ever get bogged down.
I really love that cover.
I also like the hook at the end that kinda really works in forcing me to read the final book in the series, and not only because it’s the final book and then I’m forever/eternally/immortally free from Raven and her craziness!
My verdict:


(2.5 stars)

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