Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ARC Review: A Vampire for Christmas (Anthology) by London, Hauf, Pineiro, Morgan

Title: A Vampire for Christmas (Anthology)
Author: Laurie London, Michele Hauf, Caridad
            Pineiro, and Alexis Morgan
Release Date: October 18, 2011     COMING SOON!
Publisher: HQN Books
Category: Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Type: Paperback/Kindle
Click Here To Buy Now!  PRE-ORDER NOW!

Bare with me y’all! This beauty has four stories by four talented authors about four vampires! Seriously? … For serious! How about a little vampire love for the holidays? Yes, please! Not to mention there is mirror action, mention of Angry Birds, Michael Buble, serious sway, Angels, and pie! Who wouldn’t want to read this anthology?

I have not had the opportunity to read any of these authors before. While some balk at the idea of anthologies, I embrace them. Anthologies are a great way to get a taste of multiple authors in one place. Buy one book, sample various authors, and then buy the books from the authors you enjoyed. Genius! Win! If you are looking for mushy romantic stories to accompany the holiday season, keep searching. While revolving primarily around Christmas, these stories also embrace evil, mystery, longing, passion, and sex.

Book 1:
Enchanted By Blood by Laurie London

Trace is a man haunted by his own death-bed promise to continue in the family tradition as a member of the Governing Council. He has forsaken plenty and reaped nothing, continually put off by the Council to accept him as a member. Charlotte finds herself nearly attacked after being ditched by a friend at a bar when Trace mysteriously appears to fend off her would-be attackers. She is drawn to Trace on an indescribable level. All she knows is that she can trust him on instinct alone; entertaining plenty of lustful thoughts of what they could do to each other along the way. But Trace has a secret or two. Not only is he a vampire, he’s well acquainted with Charlotte, of which she has no memory. When the two meet a second time Trace had a choice to make. Act upon his strong connection to Charlotte, or let his responsibility to his family interfere with his happiness, again.

Dialogue Highlight:

He chuckled, the sound rumbling against her lips. “My God, Char, what are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?” She pushed him to the bed, where he fell back onto the mattress, pulling her with him.
“You are my responsibility now,” he said. “And I’m not one to take responsibilities lightly.”
“I’m glad. Neither am I. Now, take off your clothes.”


My favorite book in this anthology was Laurie London’s Enchanted by Blood, a Sweetblood Novel (more specifically 2.5). I tend to always want more in the stories I read and London delivers; no easy feat for a novella. I get it, short story, word count, but you can still have a very entertaining read in a novella if played right. Enchanted by Blood is indeed well played: brooding vamp, supportive heroine, self-inflicted misery, and hot ‘n steamy sex. Another treat within the story was the depth of character that sometimes is lacking in novellas. Trace’s internal struggle between rekindling a relationship with Charlotte and walking away from her a second time was convincing. Did I mention Angry Birds and mirrors? Needless to say, I will be obtaining copies of the rest of the Sweetblood series for my own reading pleasure.

Book 2:
Monsters Don’t Do Christmas by Michele Hauf

Daniel is a vampire, turned within the past year. He is struggling to understand a world that allows monsters such as himself to roam through the population; some killing for pleasure, others attacking to survive. Christmas is just days away and Daniel is having trouble finding anything to celebrate over. Olivia “rescues” Daniel from a fight with werewolves outside her apartment and gets a bit more than she expects with his vampire confession. Craving a healthy dose of excitement in her life, Olivia has her own ideas of just how she can get to know Daniel. But Olivia has a secret of her own – also described as a monster that rules her life. The catalyst to this relationship focuses on whether the monster is allowed free roam and control of their lives, or if Olivia and Daniel can tame the beasts in an effort to explore the possibility of entwining each other’s lives.

Dialogue Highlight:

“Come here.” She held out her arms. “You need a hug.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “It’s going to take more than a hug to get over what I’ve become.”
“I know that, but I want to help.”
“Don’t worry about me, Olivia. I’ll get this figured out.”
“I know you will. But I still want to hug you.”
Standing but an inch from his body, her eyes traced his, and he allowed the long stare, the intimate look into his soul. And what she found there was no monster, but a kind, smart and determined man who had been wronged.
“You know if I hug you,” he said, “I’ll want to touch your skin. And if I touch your skin, I’ll want to kiss it. And if I kiss it … you’ll never get your cookies delivered.”
“The cookies can wait.”


Monsters Don’t Do Christmas, was another quick and fun read. I liked that Olivia believed herself to be a monster in her own right. Consequently, both Olivia and Daniel had their own daemons to fight and come to terms with before there could be the slightest glimmer of hope for a future with the other. Personally, I had a little trouble believing that a vampire and famous pop star could have a lasting relationship; especially a vamp with zero tolerance for paparazzi – although Daniel does redeem his actions with a rather useful trick. Regardless, the story was still fun in its out-of-the-box approach to a vampire/human relationship.

Book 3:
When Herald Angels Sing by Caridad Pineiro

Damien is a vampire in the throes of self-loathing. He has been gifted with an angel in his life – twice, but both times he has lost her in death while fighting the ruthless vampire Ramirez. Damien wants only one thing, one more chance to save Angelina; one more opportunity to protect her and keep her safe at his side. Little does he know that Angelina is truly an Angel. She has been charged with saving Damien’s soul from the clutches of the devil and his lackey Ramirez. But Angelina has broken the rules of the angels; she has fallen in love with Damien. Finally granted one last chance to save Damien, Angelina swears she will not fail in her mission again. Unfortunately Ramirez is waiting for her when she returns, bent on pushing Damien into violence that will secure his place in Hell. Damien and Angelina both must learn from past mistakes if they are to have any hope of conquering evil. But will their history of failures drive them to repeat the mistakes of the past, or will they be able to trust in their love to vanquish the clutches of Hell?

Dialogue Highlight:

With a playful shake of her hand, he said, “Let us share our love this day.”
“And night,” she said with a sexy grin while a fresh blush of color swept over her cheeks.
“Still my naughty Angle, I see.”
“Forever and always,” she replied and tugged on his hand to lead him back to his bedroom.


When Fallen Angels Sing has a bit of a message to it. Well, two actually: to learn from your mistakes and trust in love to conquer all. Sounds sappy, I know. But this story is far removed from sappiness. At first I was a bit annoyed that the Angel was all perfect and glowing: in love with Damien and making a final appearance to teach him the error of his ways. My attitude changed when Angelina ended up having a bit to learn about her misplayed hands as well. Tarnished Angels are much more intriguing to read about. Well played by Pineiro who drew me back in with that interesting sequence of events. Yes, love may ultimately have the upper hand in a lot of instances, but in Damien and Angelina’s case, their actions are the final factors that decide if that love is allowed a chance to flourish. Based on the past transgressions of the hero/heroine, the story could easily have gone in either direction. Damien’s selfless response in the final pages may have been just a bit over the top, but also necessary if Angelina had any hope of completing her mission.

Book 4:
All I Want For Christmas by Alexis Morgan

Eagan is much more than he seems. A vampire/undercover cop investigating multiple disappearances of teenage boys, Eagan has taken it upon himself to haunt the suspected areas of town where the disappearances have occurred. His route through town continually passes a diner that screams warm and fuzzy. Although Eagan is somewhat repulsed by this atmosphere, he is also drawn to it, and its owner. Using the vantage point the location of the diner affords as an excuse, Eagan enters. Della has known loss, so consequently creates a surrogate family through her diner and its patrons. She glimpses Eagan before he enters from across the street and cannot get him out of her mind. Alone for a long time, the lusty stranger elicits quite a few fantastical Christmas wishes within Della’s mind. Despite Eagan’s resolve to never return to the diner, he frequently finds himself within. But for all Della considers her patrons her family, there is much she does not know about them. When she discovers the truth about Eagan and the others, will she be able to accept them, or turn her back on the “family” she has come to care for?

Dialogue Highlight:

That same feeling of being watched was back.
She closed here eyes, afraid to look, and even more afraid that she was imagining things. “Eagan, tell me that it’s you.”
His voice came from right behind her shoulder. “Are you sure you want it to be?”
Two steps backward was all if took to bump into his solid strength. “Very sure.”
He didn’t back away, but neither did he embrace her. “I can’t change what I am, Della.”
“I don’t remember asking you to.”


All I Want For Christmas, I did not care for as much. Eagan is an undercover detective, but comes off a bit stalkerish in his bid to catch glimpses of Della. Likewise, Della seems a bit nutty to be staring out in the darkness hoping to see this guy she knows next to nothing about. The one time she does, she encourages his kooky behavior by sending out hot chocolate. Really? I would have called the cops – oh wait, he is the cops. Yikes! But my real issue with this story is a personal belief: novellas do not have to end with those three little words for the reader to be happy. Simply hinting toward an HEA can be enough for the reader to feel satisfied without forcing such a confession. I felt like Eagan was left completely unpunished for his action with Della just because he says he loves her. I get it, wrap it up all quick and pretty, but if I was Della I would be wondering just exactly why I could suddenly “hear” Eagan in my thoughts and you can be sure I would have demanded answers. But these are personal preferences and readers who like to see those three little words for the HEA will likely love the story and be completely happy with it. In any case, I did really like that Della’s “family” was not what she thought. The idea that we have “others” around us at all times is a whimsical fantasy of mine. Despite my “win” attitude towards anthologies, there are a few instances when the author is not showcased with her best work. And in all fairness, I would give Morgan another shot to see what her novels are like.

(Paperback received from author Laurie London for review)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I lurve comments! Say whatever is on your mind; just keep it respectful. I am always game for a conversation. :)