Authors: Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall, & Hannah Jayne
Plot Type: Soul-Mate Romance (SMR)
Publisher: Zebra (5/2013)
Each novella is part on an ongoing series. In each review below, I have included a pink-link to my review of that series.
First Paragraph: "Valhalla was the stuff of myths. Named for the home of the Norse gods, the sprawling compound was a safe house for those people too 'special' to be mainstreamed into society (a nice way of saying an orphanage for the children and adults unwanted by their families). Everyone knew that it was a home for freaks."
|Munch's The Scream|
This mythology is extremely complex, and I have to believe that Bangs will be developing a series around it. Each vampire in Ethan's bloodline has two "selves," the First One—the human self, and the Second One—a deadly monster. If a person even glances at the Second One's face, he or she will immediately drop dead. In this case, looks really do kill. Ethan explains the situation to Cassie: "The First One is our humanity. Even as vampire it's dominant unless we kill. The act of killing wakens the Second One....The Second One is an elemental consciousness passed on in the blood my maker used to create me. It lies dormant until it senses a kill. It doesn't care about conscience or human emotions. Its primal drive is to destroy....The beauty of the Second One's face attracts its victims, its eyes hold them captive while it kills...you won't be able to look at me. If you try, the Second One will kill you." (pp. 149-150)
This novella is part of Duvall's IMMORTAL GUARDIAN series. Click HERE to read my overview of the series mythology and my reviews of the books. Richart, this story's hero, is one of the Guardians. In the opening scene, he rescues Jenna McBride from a vampire attack, killing all but one of her attackers. Jenna isn't the usual 20-something, sassy chick one frequently finds in paranormal romances. She is a single mother in her late thirties with a college-age son, and she manages a 24-hour superstore. When Jenna wakes up the morning after the attack, she doesn't remember anything about it because these vampires secrete a memory-wiping drug when they bite their prey. Richart sticks around to guard Jenna because he fears that the vamp who escaped will be back to finish what he started. Soon, he realizes that he can't stay away from Jenna because of the physical attraction between them.
This novella is part of Jayne's paranormal chick lit series, UNDERWORLD DETECTION AGENCY CHRONICLES (UDA). Click HERE to read my overview of the series mythology and my reviews of the books.
The heroine of this novella is Nina, roommate of the heroine of the UDA series. Nina is a fashionista vampire who is one of three finalists in a fashion design competition. (Her clothing label is Drop Dead Clothing.) When Nina's competitors are murdered, one by one, she is the prime suspect. But there's another possible suspect: Pike, a sexy photographer who keeps hanging around. The plot follows Nina and Pike as they try to solve the murders and keep themselves out of jail. Of course, they are attracted to one another, but Nina tries to keep her emotions under control because there is no way that she is going to fall for a human—if he really is a human.
This is the weakest of the four novellas. It's also the only one with humor, but that humor is of the never-ending, snarky, chick-lit variety—my least favorite kind. The character development is nearly non-existent, and the "humorous" dialogue is frequently not very funny. You'll know almost from the beginning who the real killer is, so there's no real suspense. It's just one scene after another of sarcastic dialogue and TSTL moments for Nina.