When done well, a tongue-in-cheek paranormal romance can be both laugh out loud funny and über sexy in the same instance. Kensington put together four great examples of this type of writing in 'The Real Werewives of Vampire County.' With heavy hitters like Alexandra Ivy's 'Where Darkness Lives' you won't be disappointed with this anthology. The only author I had read before was Ivy and now I have three new authors to "catch up with."
'Where Darkness Lives' by Alexandra Ivy
A tiny addition to her 'Guardians of Eternity' series, Ivy introduces us to Sophia, pure blood were and known as the 'bitch of all bitches', mother of the four were sisters in her series. Attempts on her life have forced her to hire a bodyguard, she goes outside of her family because she wants to have control. Like most PNRs, she doesn't plan on going gaga over her über hot new bodyguard and especially not having him force his way into her life and take control, but it happens. Sophia is constantly being referred to as the 'bitch of all bitches', so there is a lot of prickliness in the book and drool worthy scenes between her and were-stud Luc, who is your typical alpha. I thought for a short story, Ivy did a wonderful job of flushing out plot, backstory, characters depth and transition along with romance. It was really well done. You find out Sophia's history and it explains her present behavior. There is even a lot of drama between the two characters. I've only read one of Ivy's 'Guardians of Eternity' books, but I think I might have to visit with this series from the beginning.
"Murder on Mysteria Lane" by Angie Fox
This one was probably my favorite of the four. Heather McPhee is a freak "lie detector" werewolf who has gained the distinction of the pack pariah. She is called in to investigate a werewolf's murder in an exclusive community because of her ability. She is forced to partner up with Lucien Mead, whose vampire contacts will get them into the community with little suspicion. Heather is immediately distrustful of the vampire, but cannot deny his hotness. The reason why I found this one the most entertaining was because of the comedy of the whole thing. Heather's interaction with the other trophy wives of the community was hysterical. It was just one big hot mess of a neighborhood. Not to mention Heather herself was a great character. The fact that she had to get one of the neighbors to put stickers on her clothes so she would know what to wear was hysterical and also the fact that she would strip down to her panties to get out of the restricting clothes the moment she got in her house was also funny. It was just an enjoyable read. Just don't delve too deep, entertaining yes, mystery make much sense? Not really. But, you'll get that from the beginning - if you wanted to kill someone why would you drop a chandelier on their head?
"Werewolves in Chic Clothing" by Tami Dane
Where the first two novellas knocked my socks off, the second two were just so-so for me. Tami Dane takes us to "Stepford" in this tale of a New Yorker that meets a man on the internet, doesn't really know him, but decides to get engaged with him and move in. On her first day she meets the perfect women that live around him and learn that Jonathan's first wife might not have committed suicide -- her husband or someone close might have killed her. This one just didn't go over well with me, because for one, Christine had an established "internet" relationship with Jonathan, so the romance just wasn't there. Next, on the first day the neighborhood women immediately warn her that her fiancé might have killed his former wife. Ok ladies, if you were so close to said dead wife, why did you wait for Christine to move in to start investigating? Next, Christine, really if you saw a picture of the former wife and she could have been your doppelgänger, doesn't that throw up red flags?? And then finally in the reveal it was just one of those "oh ok" moments. Fell flat. Cute idea, entertaining read, lack-luster implementation.
"What's Yours is Mine" by Jess Haines
Jess Haines addition to the pack was of a bunch of very unpleasant werewolf women. Tiffany Winters has moved to an exclusive gated community not for the ambiance, but for the wildlife. But, to become part of the pack she has to get in good with the other women which she finds a little problematic. I like the back story of this one but the ending kind of left me feeling silly. I think it should have ended differently. I think it was mainly because the characters were not likable and I felt no affinity with Tiffany. Again entertaining story but when I got to the end it was just so-so for me.
Overall the the four books were a welcome distraction from my usual reads. I got through the book quickly and felt for each new novella I got into I had to hurry up and finish because all were compelling. Yes, I did like the first two much better than the last, but I did enjoy all of them and look forward to reading more from all of the authors.
Recommended for paranormal romance and urban fantasy fans. There is sexual interactions in most of the novellas so for adults only.
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