Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adult book review: The Vampire and the Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon; First Edition edition (March 9, 2010)

Book summary: 
Olivia's packing list:
1. Sunscreen
2. Bathing suit
3. Flip-flops

FBI psychologist Olivia Sotiris was looking for a cool ocean breeze, sand between her toes, and a break from her crazy, chaotic, and sometimes all-too-dangerous life. But when she escaped to the small Greek island of Patmos, all she got were meddling grandmothers trying to marry her off. Can't they see that none of the men around interests her—except Robby MacKay?

Robby's packing list:
1. Synthetic blood
2. More synthetic blood
3. Jogging clothes
(even vamps have to stay in shape!)

Robby needs to cool off, too, since all he can think about is revenge on the Malcontent bloodsuckers who once held him captive—but then he meets Olivia, the beauty with wild curls and a tempting smile. When a deadly criminal from a case back home tracks her down, Robby will have to save her life—along with giving her a first time she'll never forget . . .

My review: Cute and fun are the first two words that come to mind to describe book number eight in the Love at Stake series. This adult vampire series by Sparks falls closer to the comical vamp stories penned by Katie MacAlistair than the serious tomes of Sherrilyn Kenyon. Of course, there is always a time and place for each type of novel. Olivia is a psychologist working for the FBI and an empath, a talent she relies on to help her get a read on clients. She decides to vacation with her strict grandmother in Greece as a way to take a break from her stressful job. Scottish vampire Robby is also on a vacation of sorts close by to Olivia. He is recuperating after being tortured while held hostage by the warring vampiric clan, the evil Malcontents.

Olivia spots him one evening walking on the beach and is immediately smitten. When he feels her telescopic eyes on him, he also does his own checking out and definitely likes what he sees.  I don't need to tell you these two fall for each other, he doesn't tell her the truth about himself, she doesn't reveal a nut-job from a case is terrorizing her so when said nut job sends her a package on vacation, she freaks, leaving a clueless Robby behind while she flees back home to America.

Does Robby remain behind to soak up the moonlight on the beach? Nope, he goes after Olivia. The story is formulaic but with Sparks' wit and creativeness, it is enjoyable. I did find the characters themselves a bit lifeless and kept waiting for something deeper to happen between them. The buildup between the tortured vampire who feels as though he'll never find true love and the empath who already knows a person's intentions, with the exception of the undead Scotsman, never came to fruition. Robby was annoying in parts and I wasn't convinced of Olivia as a high profile shrink for the FBI. She came across as too young, inexperienced, and complained of not trusting people. As a love story, I did have a problem believing Olivia, a virgin at 24, would fall so easily for Robby only after a day or two of meeting him. They were more of a 'in lust' couple than an 'in love' couple. I did like two secondary characters--the animal shifter Carlos and Olivia's humorous partner, J.L. interesting, so I wonder if these two will get their own stories in the future.

If contemporary lightweight vampire novels are your thing, The Vampire and the Virgin may suit you. While I wanted to like this more than I did, I enjoyed the book for what it was, but it was not my favorite in this series.

Rating: OK. I liked it.

Favorite excerpt: "He curled his hands into fists. He needed revenge. It gave him purpose. It had incited him to recover physically. With every step he jogged, every weight he lifted, he envisioned himself getting revenge. Killing Casimir. Killing all the Malcontents who had tortured him, who had watched his pain and humiliation. They all had to die.

Would it make him a better person? With a groan, he relaxed his hands. No, it wouldn't.

"Robby?" She touched his arm. "Are you all right?"

He turned to look at her, examine her, memorize every inch of her face. How could she reach so deep inside him? She made him see things he didn't want to see. She made him want to be worthy of her. "Olivia."


He could hear her heart pounding, her pulse racing, and he ached to touch her. "How can ye be so young and so wise?"

"I don't feel wise." Her face flushed with rushing blood. "I--I can hardly think at all."

He lay his fingers on her neck and felt the throbbing artery. "I shouldna do this."

"You mean . . . touch me?" She sounded breathless. "It's okay.""

Cover comment: Olivia was always described as having a head of wild and crazy curls so here we have a model with. . . straight hair. As for the Robby model, if someone came at me with those marble statue-like colored hands, I'd be out the door in an instant. Robby also is a redhead, not dark haired. Why is he dishwater grey? Hm, not liking this cover at all.

Book source: Swapped.

1 comment:

  1. The Vampire and the Virgin was the first book I read of the "Love at Stake" series and introduced me to the works of Kerrelyn Sparks. It was an ok read. After that I read 5 books more of the series but I think the best one still remains the first book, "How to marry a millionaire vampire"... I think the title is very bad but the story is really nice! I liked very much the vampire Master Roman Draganesti and his romance with the dentist Shanna... Roman remains my favorite character in all the books of the series.