Sunday, April 1, 2012

Book Review: A Girl’s Guide to Vampires

A Girl’s Guide to Vampires (Dark Ones #1)

Author :  KatieMacAlister
Publication:  Love Spell
Publication Date: 29th October 2003
Source: E-book owned by reviewer
Buy it at Barnes and Noble and Amazon
Audience: Adult; Paranormal Romance


All Joy Randall wants is a little old-fashioned romance, but when she participates in a "Goddess evoking" ceremony with her friend, Roxy, Joy finds out her future true love is a man with the potential to put her immortal soul in danger. At first the ever-practical Joy is ready to dismiss her vision as a product of too much gin and too many vampire romances, but while traveling through the Czech Republic with Roxy, Joy begins to have some second thoughts about her mystery lover because she is suddenly plagued by visions of a lethally handsome stranger. Then, when she and Roxy attend a local GothFaire, Joy meets Raphael Griffin St. John, head of security, and she becomes even more bewildered because the dark and dangerous Raphael seems too close to her dreams for comfort.

From Author’s Site (because I love her sense of humour):
Joy Randall’s Top 5 Tips for Vampire Hunters:

  1. Location, location, location. 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 and suggest YOUR VAMPIRE kiss your finger to make it better.
  4. From here on out, 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. And most of all, remembering a vampire is nothing to laugh about.

My Review

Reading other people’s reviews of this book, it seems that a reader can fall into one of two camps. You either get the snark and the humour or you find it puerile. That makes a difference as to how you enjoy this book. It is supposed to be written as a light-hearted take on Christine Feehan’s Carpathians series, which I have never read so my view is quite virginal.
Let’s get the gripes out of the way: Despite the title, there are very few actual vampires in this. There is, in fact, only one and he’s a bit of a surprise entrant late in the day. The humourous repartee between the two female protagonists can sometimes come off as a bit juvenile. The plot development as far as the romance between the extremely pounceable Raphael St John and Joy Randall is a little shaky. These two are committing to forevermore within days of meeting each other, with no pause for any ‘Is this real? Am I crazy?’ introspection.

Despite all that, I actually quite enjoyed this book.

Raphael St John, he of the endless amber eyes, is intriguing, breathtakingly handsome and *coughs* huge. He is no slouch in the sack either. I found the overall story arc about Joy and Roxy’s trip to the Czech Republic to hunt down the Dark Ones written about in Roxy’s favourite vampire series engaging enough. At times the book felt like more of a whodunnit than a romance book, but was none the worse for it. The girls get embroiled in a murder plot while flirting with the seedy underbelly of the GothFaire which has set up camp on the edge of town, celebrating all things Goth and vampire.
I am probably in the minority here but I liked the banter between Roxy and Joy - I think it probably helps that I have a British sense of humour where insults, and sarcasm, bordering on the inappropriate occasionally, are semaphore for longstanding genuine friendship.

This is the first book of a series. As a stand alone read, this would have been a light bit of fluff were it not for the introduction of the fascinating and immortally lonely Christian, whose story arc has hopefully been set up for the next book. My experience of reading (far too many) paranormal romance series is that first books are generally not all that great compared to later books in the series. I enjoyed this book enough to certainly be sampling the next book, Sex and the Single Vampire.

The sheer chutzpah of these fabulous titles compels me!

Blysse’s Hot:Plot Ratio

Given the occasional plot development weaknesses (see above), the limited amount of hot fits in well. The sex is reasonably well written apart from the jarringly clanky proclamations of love.

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