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Love is Undead

Valentine's Day, 2010


Welcome to Love is Undead, our special little nod to Valentine's Day here at Monster Librarian.  Back-from-the-dead zombies, blood drinking vampires,  werewolves with all fangs and fur have gone from creatures of horror to prime dating material as authors have written warm and fuzzy tales of these creatures of the night and readers have been eating them up.  So this Valentine's Day we are offering up reviews of paranormal romance titles for your reading pleasure. 


Rhonda Wilson interviews Michelle Rowen author of the Immortality Bites series.

Tall, Dark & Fangsome by Michelle Rowen
Forever, 2009
ISBN:  978-0-446-50585-7
Available: New   

    Sarah Dearly is back for her fifth and final adventure in Tall, Dark & Fangsome.  Still battling with the nightwalker curse that was bestowed upon her in Stakes & Stilettos, Sarah is playing "servant" to one of her worst enemies, Gideon Chase.  Gideon is a vampire hunter, but for the last several years he has been under the torture of hellfire.  He thinks Sarah is his solution and that if she turns him into a vampire, he will conquer said hellfire and be immortal and whole again.  In order to get Sarah to follow through with his plan, Gideon is now blackmailing her, threatening to kill Thierry, her loving boyfriend which means saying goodbye to him.  It's a good thing the Red Devil from the previous novel is still hanging around town. It seems like he may come in handy once again... especially when Sarah realizes she may have figured out his secret identity.
        Once again, I found myself fully absorbed into the words of Michelle Rowen.  Her Immortality Bites series has been so much fun to follow from start to finish and I'm sad to see that it has come to an end.  The storyline of this particular novel had plot twists that left me guessing about what was to come next and who was up to no good, and I truly enjoyed the suspense. Since this is the final book in the series, I had to think back and wonder about whether the book had wrapped up everything I wanted to know about nicely in the end, and the answer was, yes.  I'm disappointed that there won't be more to come, as I'd like to see where all of the remaining characters go from here, but I like how Rowen tied up all of the loose ends in the final chapters of the series. I give her major kudos for that as I hate being left to guess at what might happen in the future for the characters!  Now that this series has ended I will be awaiting Rowen's new series to see what she has in store for us with a whole new cast of characters.  Highly Recommended!
Contains:  Mild Sexual Situations
Review by:  Rhonda Wilson


My Zombie Valentine by Katie MacAlister, Angie Fox, Marianne Mancusi, and Lisa Cach
Dorchester, 2010
ISBN:  978-0-8439-6360-1
Available: New   

   My Zombie Valentine is an anthology consisting of four paranormal romance novellas by four different authors.  Each story has some kind of zombie element to it, although it may or may not be the main theme of the story.  The book's title may lead some readers to believe it's actually framed around Valentine's Day, but there was only one reference in the whole book to the holiday that I can recall.
    The first story, "Bring Out Your Dead", by Katie MacAlister, was previously published in another anthology, Just One Sip, that was themed all around vampires.  So as you can guess, the novella combines both vampires and zombies.  The main character of this story, Ysabelle, helps counsel newly formed zombies to get them adjusted to their "new life".  Supporting characters include Sebastian, a vampire who claims that Ysabelle is his beloved, and Sally, Ysabelle's spirit guide who has an annoying habit of talking in Franglais, which is some horrid mix of English and French.  As a fan of MacAlister's Dark Ones series I was looking forward to this short story, but unfortunately, it fell short compared to her full-length novels.  It did have humorous moments and there was quite a bit of action, but it just didn't live up to my expectations of MacAlister's writing.  Also, the character of Sally was rather frustrating, and I'm sure it's even worse for those that know even less of the French language than myself. Readers who aren't familiar with at least a little French will miss out on complete sections of conversation with no explanation of what was just said.  I know that the character was tossed in to be funny, but if the readers don't understand what is going on, there really is no point in adding such a character.
    My favorite novella in the anthology was "Gentleman Prefer Voodoo" by Angie Fox.  In this story Amie, who runs a voodoo shop, is talked into going after love one more time.  Instead of trying to search out Mr. Right the old-fashioned way, however, Amie decides to try her hand at a love spell. Unfortunately, the spell works a little too well.  Mr. Right comes knocking at her door later that night all naked and covered in dirt after having been buried in the grave for hundreds of years.  Amie is immediately attracted to the zombie, but yet, she is having a hard time wrapping her head around the fact that her soulmate is actually a zombie and she makes every attempt to reverse her spell to send him back to the grave.  This story is absolutely hysterical!  I loved Fox's dialogue between Amie and the zombie, especially in the scenes where she was trying to kill him.  Another favorite scene was after Amie had sent him to get clothes and when he came back his clothes were so skin tight that she was still having trouble looking at him without getting so hot and bothered.  I just thought Fox's style was very quirky!  I had only had the pleasure of reading one other novel by Fox prior to this, and wasn't expecting to enjoy this story nearly as much as I did, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by Fox after this.
    "Zombiewood Confidential" by Marianne Mancusi was the third story in this anthology.  This is the story of Scarlett Patterson, who takes the job of being a makeup artist for a B-horror movie being produced by Romeo George (nice little tribute to George Romero there).  While on the set, strange things start to happen and the zombie "extras" start getting a bit more into their character than is expected... even when the film isn't rolling.  One even attempts to attack the lead of the movie, Mason Marks, who happens to be Scarlett's celebrity crush since she was a teenager.  On top of that, lots of people have started disappearing from the set.  What could possibly be causing all this chaos?  I always enjoy Mancusi's works and this was no exception.  She always tosses in little pop culture references, like the Romero thing mentioned above, which makes the story more personal to me when I catch them.  Also, the romance that built between the makeup artist and the movie star in this particular story was so unlikely from the start that it was kind of like a fairy tale romance and I always enjoy those.  They are sweet, yet while being chased by zombies... not as sweet as one would hope... damn those interruptions!  The climax of the story and how the zombies ended up being destroyed in the end was absolutely brilliant!  The thought process behind that was very creative... kudos to Mancusi for that idea.  I will definitely continue reading books by her as they are released.
    Last, but not least in this collection, was "Every Part of You" by Lisa Cach.  This story started off with our two main characters, Angelica and Tom, meeting in a plastic surgeon's office.  Angelica was having some minor surgery performed and while having it done the doctor offered to remove her worry lines for her free of charge by injecting Phi-Tox into her skin.  Shortly thereafter there began being reports on the news of outbreaks of women majorly craving sugar, stores running out of ice cream, and pretty soon candy stores being broken into.  Angelica, and new boyfriend Tom, end up investigating and determine that this "sugar-craving zombies" appear to be relating back somehow to the Phi-Tox injections and Angelica herself is in danger.  When I first started reading this story I honestly wasn't sure where it was going.  It seemed to just be going on about plastic surgery and how Angelica and Tom were getting together.  Don't get me wrong, the story was cute, but it seemed like just a sweet little contemporary romance.  I had no idea where the story was going!  Then... the story took a crazy turn when Angelica and Tom had to go to the hospital and the women there were begging for their husband to get more "skiiiiittles" out of the vending machines and another's breast implant just plopped out right there on the floor!  It went from sweet and funny to pure insanity!  I hadn't ever read anything from Lisa Cach before, but if any of her other paranormal stories are as funny as this I will definitely need to check them out.
    Overall I truly enjoyed this collection of four stories.  I think all fans of the paranormal romance genre will.  Highly Recommended!
Contains:  Adult Language, Adult Situations, Sex
Review by:  Rhonda Wilson


Loving the Undead: An Anthology of Romance... Sort Of Edited by Katherine Sanger
From the Asylum Books and Press, 2007
ISBN:  978-0-9715860-8-6
Available:  New and Used

    Loving the Undead consists of twenty-five short stories of undead "love".  The majority of the stories are about zombies, but there are also stories with vampires, ghouls, and ghosts to fulfill the desires of all paranormal enthusiasts.  It's hard to define this book as horror, paranormal romance, or urban fantasy as it has a little bit of it all, so readers of any of these genres should find something within the pages of this book to enjoy.  Some of my personal favorites were "The Sheik and I" by Leslie Brown, where an employee of the month won her own personal zombie for a year; "In the Closet" by E.C. Myers, where there was a case of mistaken identity at a Halloween party; "An Acquired Taste" by Mark Henry, the story that gives a first peek at Henry's Amanda Feral zombie series (though at the time her name was spelled Amanda Farrel); and "Wilma's Passion" by Michael A. Kechula, which shows us just how far a woman will go for zombie love.  Those are just a few of the great stories collected within Loving the Undead.  Some of the stories are definitely weaker than others and some readers may prefer other stories to the ones I liked, as humor typically appeals to me over the more serious stories.  The biggest flaw with this collection was the numerous typos.  I was able to look past this, however, to enjoy the works within, and I think this would be a good anthology for any library to have in their collection.  Recommended.

Contains:  Adult Language, Adult Situations
Review by Rhonda Wilson


Demonfire by Kate Douglas
Zebra, 2010
ISBN:  978-1-4201-0999-3
Available: New  

 Tamed down only slightly from her Wolf Tales series, Kate Douglas has created a new series almost as spicy and fun-filled.  Douglas' new DemonSlayers series has started off with a bang in Demonfire! The cast of Demonfire consists of a news reporter, a demon that has been tossed out of his previous world, a warrior from another world, a stray dog that seems to know what everyone is saying, and a small sprite that communicates with everyone through their minds individually.  News reporter Eddy Marks first stumbles upon Dax, an exiled demon, she doesn't know what to make of him or the small sprite that is with him... and of course it doesn't help that she was distracted greatly, as he wasn't wearing a stitch of clothing and is extremely hot!  She offers Dax her assistance and takes him to her home so he can explain what is going on. Dax tells Eddy that he is a fallen demon and was granted seven days to save the town of Evergreen.  She has a hard time believing him until a concrete owl attacks them within Eddy's house.  Dax and Eddy realize that they need more help, and go in search of the Lemurians, a race of mystical beings. They join forces with a warrior named Alton, and form a strong team to fight against the evil demons trying to take over Evergreen.  They have less than seven days before Dax will be gone again... will they make it?
    A superb cast... quirky dialogue... laughs at every corner... and, of course, smokin' hot sex scenes that only Douglas can write.  Dax's character was probably my favorite as he was the most interesting for a couple of reasons.  One reason was because he had a snake tattoo that ran a fairly good length of his body and seemed to come to life.  It was what fed him his powers and also drained him of powers at times as well.  Luckily, Eddy was able to help keep the snake under control to help Dax throughout his mission or he probably would've died early on.  The other thing about Dax that I thought Douglas did a wonderful job at describing was how naive he was about this "new world" he had entered.  It was like he was seeing everything for the first time.  Douglas captured this so well and the way she described it, I could almost see myself looking through Dax's eyes while reading the novel.  I was on edge throughout the entire book wondering what was going to become of Dax as he was supposed to be banished again from earth after his seven days were up.  I had hopes that something would work out to keep him on earth, but didn't see any way for this to happen.  I won't say if it worked out or not as to not spoil things for future readers, but I will say that I am really looking forward to reading the second book in this series, Hellfire, as this first one was spectacular!  Highly Recommended!
Contains:  Adult Language, Adult Situations, Graphic Sex

Review by Rhonda Wilson



Sucker for Love by Kimberly Raye
Ballantine, 2009
ISBN:  978-0-345-50366-4
Available: New and Used

    Fifth in the Dead End Dating series by Kimberly Raye, Sucker For Love starts off with Lil Marchette hosting a special meet-and-greet dinner party for her Dead End Dating clients.  The party seems to be a success, but then one of Lil's favorite clients, Esther, disappears, leaving only a bloody couch behind.  Lil takes it upon herself to hunt down Esther and rescue her despite the warnings everyone has given her.  In the meantime, Lil's mother is trying to do everything she can to prevent her brother's human wife from getting pregnant and keeps calling Lil to ask for her help.  This is just one of many distractions Lil has during her rescue mission that set her back on time and make her wonder if she will find Esther and if she will be alive once she does.
    Lil is definitely not your typical not badass vampire, but she sure tries!  She may be afraid of losing a shoe or ruining one of her favorite outfits, but she will stop at nothing to save someone in need and that's what I love about Raye's Dead End Dating series.  Despite the fashion references, her characters aren't complete idiots like in some books.  Sucker for Love has a great setup and plot line, and there is a lot of buildup to the final chapters and resolution to the book.  Lil deals with lots of challenges throughout the novel. I feel she has grown drastically in character within the last couple of books. If she hadn't, she would not have been able to handle the events of this particular book.  Raye has done a wonderful job with the character growth of this series and I'm looking forward to what she has Lil getting into next.  Highly Recommended.

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review by Rhonda Wilson 

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire by Diana Laurence
Sellers Publishing, 2009
ISBN:  978-1-4162-0552-4
Available:  New and Used

    Lots of girls, and probably some guys too, have fantasized about meeting a real-life vampire.  Heck, even I've wished vampires were real and I could one day meet my immortal lover and have him turn me so that I could truly stay at the age of 28 that I've been claiming to be for the past so many years.  The question is, if vampires did exist, how would one go about winning the heart of said vamp?  Diana Laurence attempts to answer this question as well as many others in How to Catch and Keep a Vampire, a book written in the style of a self-help book, even going as far as including "case studies".  I've never been a fan of self-help books, and on such an off-the-wall subject like this, I really had my doubts on how this book could turn out to be good, but I tried to dig in with an open mind.  Laurence threw in numerous jokes to help make the read light and fun throughout and played on many old vampire clichés throughout the book, but overall the book was still a bit dull.  I also found Laurence's idea that it was a wonderful idea for a person to be dating both a mortal guy and an immortal guy at the same time a bit strange.  If the whole point of the book was how to "keep a vampire", wouldn't said vampire be upset if he found out you were cheating on him with a mortal? Some people might find this book a bit fun if they have just barely touched on the vampire scene, such as Twilight fans, but die-hard vampire fanatics will likely be turned off.

Review by Rhonda Wilson





Wolf Tales 9 by Kate Douglas
Kensington, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7582-2695-2
Available: New and Used 

    Wolf Tales 9, the latest release in Douglas' Chanku series brings all of the Chanku together in Montana.  Tia is getting ready to give birth to the twins that she and Luc have conceived and everyone has gathered to support her.  The labor is a long process and Luc is very concerned for her.  In order to help pass the time and relax the nervous couple, the rest of the Chanku family decides to tell stories about various stories about their past lives.  When the time of birth grows closer, Logan realizes that one of the babies is under some distress and takes Tia on back to the birthing room to monitor her while the others continue their stories to keep Luc calm.
    This was probably my favorite book of Douglas' series so far.  The way the Chanku all came together as one united family to help at Tia and Luc's time of need showed just how strong the Chanku love truly is.  The stories that were told from the various members of the pack helped fill in some of the gaps that I had been wondering about through the story thus far... especially the bits about Mik and Aj... talk about hot!!!  This book did lack the mystery/adventure aspects that most of the other Wolf Tales books had in them, but this was a special book and didn't need that.  This series is like following the adventures of a family that you have watched grow together and Wolf Tales 9 really brought everyone closer together, especially at the exciting conclusion when the babies were born.  Highly Recommended!
Contains:  Adult Language, Adult Situations, Graphic Sex

Review by Rhonda Wilson


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