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Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Author: Michele Bardsley

Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V3, S4, H4
Publisher and Titles: Signet Eclipse
    I'm the Vampire, That's Why (2006)
    Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire (2007)
    Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home (2008)
    Because Your Vampire Said So (2008)
    Over My Dead Body (2009)
    Come Hell or High Water (2010)
    Cross Your Heart (2010)
    "The Early Girl Gets the Blood Wolf" (e-story, 5/2011)
    Must Love Lycans (2011)
    Broken-Heart Tales (collection of e-stories, 3/2013)
    Only Lycans Need Apply (4/2013)    

     This post was revised and updated on 5/18/13 to include a review of the ninth book in the series: Only Lycans Need Apply. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and reviews of books 7 and 8:    

          BOOK 9:  Only Lycans Need Apply              

     This book begins with three prologue-type chapters (although just the third one is actually entitled "Prologue"). That's a lot of expositional information to plow through before you get to the actual story. Reading the book as a stand-alone would be a challenge. I recommend that you at least read Must Love Lycans in order to get a handle on the huge cast of characters. 

     Moira Jameson is a rich and grouchy archaeologist who has searched for many years for a special Egyptian pyramid. When she and her goth-girl intern, Dove, discover that the pyramid houses two powerful, long-dormant vampires, their lives—and Moria's heart—are put in jeopardy. When the soulless vampire, Karn, sends his minions to invade Moira's camp, she is rescued by Drake, one of the three royal lycan brothers we met in earlier books. From the beginning, Drake and Moira are attracted to one another, so we know that they will eventually get their HEA—and they do (no big surprise there). 

     The action part of the plot centers around Karn's efforts to capture Moira. He knows something about her genetic history that has been kept secret from her all her life, and that secret is very valuable to him. Moira has been treated for mental illness even since she witnessed her mother's murder (when Moira was just 5 years old). She has frequent nightmares and attacks of unexplained aggression and must be under constant medication. The primary story line follows Moira and Drake as they enter the mysterious pyramid (which appears suddenly in the middle of Broken Heart) to awaken the vampire pair who have been secluded there for centuries. Drake doesn't do much more than hover lovingly around Moira, offering sex and support—whichever she happens to need at the time. This is really Moira's story, as she learns the facts about her parents and comes into her heritage (which, as you probably suspect) isn't entirely human.

    This isn't my favorite BROKEN HEART book, although once the story gets going, the action is compelling. This book makes its appearance so long after the previous one that it's hard to reach back in memory to make sense of many of the scenes, which include flashbacks to scenes from much earlier books. The love story is O.K., but the strongest element in the story is Moira, with her irascible personality that she uses to hide her fears for her own sanity. 

     Set in the tiny town of Broken Heart (the town with the highest rate of divorce and the highest percentage of single parents in Oklahoma), the action begins in I'm the Vampire, That's Why when a diseased vampire-lycan hybrid escapes from custody and bites and kills eleven of the human townspeople. To save their lives, members of the Consortium (a vampiric organization that facilitates relations between humans and supernaturals) bring the eleven back as vampires, each with his or her own special talent. Eventually, Broken Heart becomes a kind of paranormal sanctuary, promising safety for all types of supernaturals

     Each book tells one newbie's story, focusing on the soul-mate experience, but including the townspeoples' battles with a variety of human and supernatural villains: evil vamps, fierce lycans, scary dragons, dangerous demons, and military para-terrorists who are members of the Ethics and Technology Assessment Commission (ETAC). ETAC tries to capture supernaturals for purposes of experimentation. If they can't capture, though, they go for the killa really evil group

     Bardsley knows how to tell a romantic story. Her BROKEN HEART world is well thought out, with multiple glossaries and a brief genealogy section included in many of the later books. The dialogue is very humorous, with lots of sarcastic sniping among the characters. I recommend that you begin reading at the beginning of the series in order to keep up with the characters and events

Here is a list of the happy couples who star in each book:    
   > I'm the Vampire, That's Why: single soccer mom-turned-vampire Jessica Matthews & vampire Patrick O'Halloran
   > Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire: librarian-turned-vampire Evangeline LeRoy & vampire Lorcan O'Halloran
   > Because Your Vampire Said Sohair-stylist-turned-vampire Patricia (Patsy) Donahue & rogue werewolf Gabriel
   > Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home: paranormal investigator and half-dragon Libby Monroe & newbie vampire Ralph Genessa
   > Over My Dead Body: ex-abused wife, mechanic, and newbie vampire Simone Sweet & Braddock (Brady) Hayes, agent for the Paranormal Research & Investigation Services (PRIS)
   > Come Hell or High Water: single mom-turned-vampire Phoebe Allen & Scottish half-demon Connor Ballard
   > Cross Your Heartheiress-turned-vampire Elizabeth Bretten & were-jaguar Tezozomoc (Tez) Jones
   > Must Love Lycans: empathic psychotherapist Kelsey Morningstar & German lycan prince Damian 

     Because Your Vampire Said So won the 2008 RT Book Reviews Award for Vampire Romance. Over My Dead Body won Honorable Mention in the 2009 P.E.A.R.L. Awards for Vampire Romance (Paranormal Excellence Award for Romantic Literature). 

     Bardsley also writes the paranormal romance series, WIZARDS OF NEVERMORE, which is set in the dragon-protected town of Nevermore, Texas. Click HERE to read my review of that series

          BOOK 7:  Cross Your Heart          
    In most of the BROKEN HEART books, villains are usually outsiders who attack the town for various reasons (i.e., power, vengeance, greed), but in Cross Your Heart, danger comes from evil forces that have developed within the town itself, dating back to horrible murders involving the the town's founding fathers. In this book, which takes place about five years after book 1, the protagonists are Elizabeth Bretton (wealthy vampire heiress) and Tezozomoc ("Tez") Jones (sexy were-jaguar), who meet when he rescues her from an attack in the woods. We learn more about the history of the town of Broken Heart in this book, and not much of it is good. Just to complicate things, the plot includes a jealous were female who wants Tez for herself and a ghost that wants Elizabeth dead

          BOOK 8:  Must Love Lycans          
     Book 8 takes place about eight years after book 1. The heroine is Kelsey Morningstone, an empathic psychotherapist with a tragic past that involves her evil mommy-dearest and a psychotic killer. Kelsey's hero is Damian, the self-banished royal prince of the lycans. As the story opens, Damian has just been rescued from an ETAC laboratory by Jarred Dante, the head of the Dante Clinic, where Kelsey works as a therapist. Even though he has temporary amnesia, Damian immediately recognizes Kelsey as his one true mate, and he marks her in that inevitable werewolf way early on in the story. 

     The plot involves the unanticipated side effects of Damian's marking on Kelsey, the revision and fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, and Kelsey's hallucinatory dreams about a goddess and her lycan god. Along the way, we get a large dose of lycan mythology. Kelsey uses her smart and sassy approach to life as a means of pulling Damian out of his dark, guilt-ridden, hermitic life. The couple has lots of chemistry, both in and out of the bedroom, and their romance is fun to follow. Each one is dealing with two separate issues with roots in the past. Kelsey is still recovering emotionally from her horrific kidnapping by one of her patients, a serial killer. 

     In the meantime, Kelsey's mother has written a best-selling book full of lies about Kelsey. Damian is overcome with guilt because he believes that he failed to protect his wife and other family members, who were attacked and killed decades ago. In addition, his deep hatred for his goddess mother (who apparently abandoned him and his brothers 100 years ago) is eating him alive. So...we have lots of angst, plenty of sex, and a mystical prophecy plot. What more can you ask for in a paranormal romance? Click HERE to read an excerpt.

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