Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Wild About You (11/2012)
"V Is for Vampwoman" in Vampires Gone Wild (e-anthology, 2/2013)
In the meantime, we learn Howard's back-story: He was banished from his Alaskan village 20 years ago because the evil Rhett Bleddyn (the villain from book 12) killed his girlfriend and then framed him for the murder. As the story opens, Howard is visiting his Alaskan island village for the first time since his banishment, and he is determined to get revenge against Rhett. At this point, Howard sets circumstances in motion that will have some dangerous and heart-breaking consequences later in the story. While Howard is in Alaska, his grandfather reminds him of the family curse, which involves three female Guardians who created the were-bears as berserkers centuries ago and then betrayed them.
Elsa's family also has a curse legend, but in this one it's the Guardians who are the good guys and the berserkers who are the villains. Elsa has a paw-shaped birthmark on her shoulder, and when Howard shakes her hand for the first time, the mark burns painfully and heats up. Elsa calls her superstitious, battle-ax aunts to find out what's going on, and they immediately drop everything and travel to upstate New York to protect her, packing rifles in their car trunk that they plan to use to kill the berserker—kind-hearted, huggable Howard.
For the most part, this story is all about the romance, which seesaws up and down from page to page and sometimes from paragraph to paragraph. Elsa is drawn to Howard, but her aunts keep reinforcing the image of the crazed, killer berserker from their family legend, so every time she makes up her mind to ignore the curse and go with her heart, they scare her enough to make her turn away from her obviously meant-to-be mate.
The dangerous part of the plot comes at the very end when Rhett and this thugs enter the story line. The climactic scene is quick and violent, but with few details and not much blood. It's really a fairly tame climactic scene. There's also not much sex—just a scene or two near the end. All in all, these stories are beginning to stretch very thin. In the earlier books, there was more non-romantic action, but in the later books the love stories have expanded with so much angst and agitation that the real action is cut down to a few lackluster pages.
Throughout the series, plots revolve around Roman Draganesti and his supernatural friends, mostly vampires and shape shifters. Roman, a vampire, is a former medieval monk who became a twenty-first-century millionaire when he invented synthetic blood. The good guys are the Vampires and the two bad-guy groups are the Malcontents (vamps who reject synthetic blood and keep draining humans) and the Stake-It Squad (a CIA-sponsored group dedicated to killing all vamps—both good and bad). In the early books, the head of the Stake-It Squad, Sean Whelan (who despises all supernaturals), is the father of two of the female soul mates (Shanna in How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire and Caitlyn in Eat Prey Love).
Here is a book-by-book list of the happy couples. (Note: the species listed here is the person's original species at the beginning of the book, not what he or she might eventually become):
The plot, naturally, focuses primarily on the couple's romantic relationship, but there is also an adventure that takes the two to Thailand, where they are endangered by a vampiric cult.
Unfortunately, this is probably one of my least favorite books in a series that I have really liked in the past, and here are some reasons why:
“She shifted her weight back and forth. ‘I have a strange, urgent feeling like I might…leak’....
'Well.' He felt his cheeks grow warm. "Ye sit there.' He motioned to the toilet. 'And...let it go'....
She lightly touched the lever, and the toilet flushed. She jumped back, then laughed. 'Look at that! Humans are so clever.' " (p. 104)
Of course, as soon as Gregori and Abigail lay eyes on one another, they fall immediately in lust, with love following soon after. But before the relationship can get underway, Abby must first deal with her innate shyness and her fear and distrust of Vampires, and Gregori must keep in mind that his actions will affect the future of all of the Vampires in the world. No pressure. The plot first focuses on the early, awkward stage of the romantic relationship, and then shifts to the secondary plot, which includes a group of Chinese vampires, an army of superhumans, and a demon who owns their souls. The humor comes from the boys-will-be-boys verbal sparring among the Vamps and Gregori's wisecracking dialogues with Abby. This book does have some sex scenes, but they are not nearly as frequent or as graphic as in some of the earlier books. Sean Whelan makes an appearance in this book—still as obnoxious and bullheaded as ever—but we are treated to a nice scene in which he gets his just desserts for having mind-controlled his wife for years and years. It's always a good time when Sean gets what's coming to him.
In general, this is a light, humorous series, but some books contain very violent scenes. If you're looking for an SMR series with well-developed characters and action-filled plots, you'll probably enjoy this one.