Thursday, May 19, 2011

Adult book review: A Girl's Guide to Vampires (Dark Ones #1) by Katie MacAlister

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (December 28, 2010)

Summary: Joy Randall's Top 5 Tips for Vampire Hunters:

1) Location, location, location. Vampires won't be caught dead (ha!) in places like discos, ten-minute lube shops, or Switzerland. Remember, if you wouldn't be there, neither would a bloodsucker.
2) Trust your eyes. You know the handsome, annoyingly arrogant, self-assured man in the shadows with long hair and a cleft in his chin? He's your vampire.
3) No matter how tempting it might be, do not "accidentally" acquire a paper cut on your finger and suggest your vampire kiss it to make it better.
4) Play it cool. Don't offer to accompany your prince of the night on the talk-show circuit, and whatever you do, don't offer him your heart!
5) Most of all, remember: being a vampire is nothing to laugh about.

My review: When I need a break from the deeper and darker vampires created by some of my favorite adult authors (Feehan, Kenyon, Adrian, Ward, Frank, and Cole to name some), I look for something lighter with offbeat humor and quirky characters. Lately, I've been reaching for titles by Katie MacAlister. MacAlister has a wonderfully witty sense of humor and it always comes across in her books. A Girl's Guide to Vampires is the first book in her vampire series, The Dark Ones, and since I have already read some of the newer titles, I wanted to see how this supernatural world began.

First off, I wasn't let down. Main character Joy is a typical MacAlister heroine--tall, stubborn, strong willed, and loyal to a fault. She doesn't fit the mold of the typical main female characters we often see in today's paranormal books. Joy accompanies her best friend, Roxy, to the Czech Republic where Roxy has to see her favorite vampire novelist, Dante, in the flesh. Joy has also read some of Dante's books, but she is not a believer of blood sucking creatures, not like her obsessed best bud. Little does Joy know that the old adage of seeing is believing--or in her case, feeling--will soon convert her to the undead side.

While having drinks one evening Joy literally falls for the hunk who has entered their hotel bar. Raphael has those smoldering dark looks so many paranormal fans love and it's lust at first sight for Joy. Besides her silly antics and usual running of the mouth, she begins to experience strange things that evening: dark visions, a strong sense of smell (blood?) and foreboding of something bad. Mixed together with an adverse reaction to a locally brewed strong beer, could she somehow be sharing some psychic connection with the man who helps up to her room, with Raphael?

Much of the story takes place at a local Goth Faire (reminiscent of the author's Got Fangs YA novels), Roxy informs her of a broodmate from Dante's Dark Ones books. A broodmate is a human female who shares a psychic connection to the vampire she is destined to spend the rest of her life with. Is Raphael her forever one or could it be someone else? With help from Roxy and a cast of zany bordering on silly secondary characters, Joy will discover all of the answers she needs by the end.

This first title has everything I expect to find from a Katie MacAlister book: quick, hilarious one-liners, an engaging heroine, a sexy leading man, an interesting spin on vampires, zany action and sizzling love scenes. Joy sounds like a goofball mix of Lucille Ball with a twist of the Sex in the City ladies. Told in first person, you really get a thorough sense of who she is and why she acts the way she does. 

My favorite character though was Raphael St. John and I thought the chemistry between him and Joy was very good. I liked Joy a lot but her actions in parts made me wonder why she would do such a thing. I also felt some sections went on longer than they should have. Despite these minor glitches, I enjoyed the beginning title to the series. A Girl's Guide to Vampires is a quirky, fun read for fans who like a hefty side dish of comical in their paranormal romances. On to book two of The Dark Ones, Sex and the Single Vampire.

Rating: Good. I really liked it.

Favorite excerpt: "He had me there. 
"But Raphael's a nice name. It's exotic. It's unusual. It--"

"Sounds like it belongs to a male prostitute," he interrupted.

"Well, I think it suits you," I said as he walked down the short hallway.

He looked at me out of the corner of one of those delicious eyes. "You think I look like a man who takes money to pleasure women?"

"I think a lot of women would pay you money to give them pleasure," I said. "I know I certainly would if I had some spare cash lying around."

He stopped before my door, giving me a curious look. "I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted. Are you saying you'd like to have sex with me?"

"Well, it's not written in stone, but I have to admit that right now, with you holding me and all, it's on my list, although I should warn you that I just discovered my mind is pretty much shot, so perhaps I'm not the best judge."

He carefully set me on my feet, holding on to my waist while I waited to see if the room would stop spinning. It did.

"I believe the best course will be for me to take that statement as a compliment." His hands were warm on my waist, his fingers doing a little caressing thing that had my knees melting."

Cover comment: This book has been reissued and the copy I have is the latest edition. I really like the male model's face positioned on the left, mischievously looking at the reader.

Book source: Owned.

No comments:

Post a Comment