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!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Review: The Secret Guide To Dating Monsters (Secret McQueen #0.5)

Title: Something Secret This Way Comes 
        (Secret McQueen, Book 0.5)
Author: Sierra Dean
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Category: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Type: Kindle


Book Blurb:

Are blind dates supposed to be this bloody?

A Secret McQueen Story

They say it's impossible to find a man in New York City. Secret McQueen needs to find two in one night. Of course, it’ll mean pulling off the impossible—find and kill a displaced rogue vampire without disrupting the first promising date she’s had in ages. As a werewolf hybrid used to walking a fine line of survival in the vampire world, though, Secret eats impossible for breakfast.

Somewhere between hello and the first round of drinks, Secret makes her move. Her target, Hollywood’s biggest star, shouldn’t be hard to spot. Just look for swarms of fans. Except every time her vampire liaison, Holden, helps keep her mission on track, her date runs further off the rails.

Either Holden has a hidden agenda, or he knows more than he’s letting on about her quarry. One way or another, Secret is determined to get her man, and meet Mr. Right. Or die trying.

Warning: This book contains a sword-wielding assassin whose barbs are sharper than her blade, a vampire with serious brooding issues but a skilled tongue, and an A-lister with a bad habit of eating his fans. This novella takes place approximately one year prior to the events of Something Secret This Way Comes.

Book Excerpt:

Holden’s hair was cut a shade too long but was perfectly groomed. He tossed it out of his eyes and fixed me with a miffed stare only a vampire could manage. His eyes were a rich chocolate brown tonight, so I knew he’d fed. All the same, his gaze traveled from mine down to my throat. I may have been half vampire, but I still had a pulse, and it made me incredibly interesting to the full-bloods I worked with.

“You said I could use the key if there was business,” he said, only half listening.

“Business?” My interest perked up. Perhaps there would be a valid excuse to get out of my date with Detective Tyler after all. I clapped my hands together twice to get his attention off my neck and back to my face.

Girls who think boobs are their most distracting assets haven’t been watched by a vampire.

Holden shook out of his trance and refocused on me.

“Am I interrupting something?” he asked with a smirk, which was unusual for him. He often appeared quietly content, like a fat cat after a visit from the milkman, but never looked outright happy. Vamps have a bad habit of only showing in-between emotions—pensive, annoyed, thoughtful, wistful and, of course, brooding. You’d be more likely to provoke the undead to anger than make them bust a gut laughing.

Of course this vampire had heard the entire latter half of my conversation with Mercedes.

“Tell me about the business.” I grabbed a plain black V-neck T-shirt off the floor and pulled it on over my head. It was rumpled but still smelled clean. I didn’t wear perfume because my nose was sensitive at the best of times, so the shirt held only the faint scent of laundry detergent. I liked it.

“Are you going to wear that on your date?” He sounded offended.

I looked down at the shirt. It fit, it didn’t stink and the wrinkling was minimal. What was his problem? “Well, better this than no shirt at all, right?”

He made a noise of disgust, and before I’d seen him move, he was in my closet.

Hey.” I was up and off the bed, following him to my disorganized mess of clothes.

There was a stream of grumbles and sighs from inside the closet as he shoved back hanger after hanger, shaking his head each time. “What exactly do you do with the money we give you?”

“Rent and shoes?”

Holden took a blue, flowing, peasant-style top off the rack, held it up to me and grimaced, then released it into my arms.

“This?” I inspected it, questioning his judgment.

That is getting thrown out.”

Dialogue Highlights:

For the briefest second it didn’t look like I’d done anything to the guard. He blinked and his lip curled in disgust. Charlie watched with detached amusement, and I knew he thought I’d missed until he saw the blood on the sword.

We both watched the guard as his eyes widened and his eyes went dull. He fell to his knees, and with the force of his big body hitting the ground, his head lolled to the side, then toppled off his neck where it had been severed with surgical precision. It landed at his knees, his unseeing eyes staring at my feet.

What are you?” Charlie roared.

“My name is Secret McQueen.” My broken arm was held against my stomach. I rested one of my Jimmy Choo heels on the severed head of the vampire guard and pointed my sword at Charlie. “I’m here to kill you.”

He hadn’t recognized my face, but he knew my name. Most vampires did because it had become vampire legend. This time I didn’t think he’d forget it so easily.

“I didn’t leave L.A. just to get killed by some council lackey.”

It never ceased to amaze me that no matter how familiar rogues were with my name, they always believed they’d be the one exception to the rule. No rogue got away from me, but I guess I shouldn’t expect them to roll over and let me kill them. It would be nice if someone died quietly one of these times.


So technically speaking this novella is number two in the Secret McQueen series when searching by publication date. However, I have dubbed this novella 0.5. *loud applause and cheers* I know, I know. The brilliance is awesomesauce! *takes a bow*  The reason for such brilliance is that The Secret Guide to Dating Monsters is more of a prequel to book 1, Something Secret This Way Comes.

Secret McQueen is a vampire/werewolf hybrid by birth. She is barely tolerated by the Vampire Council and would be rejected by wolves if they knew her true internal makings, so she guards her “secret” carefully. But she is useful to the council as an assassin. Yep, assassin. Not only is she a hybrid, she kills her own kind when told to. Hey, a girl has to do what she must to pay the bills and buy shoes, right? No judgment. As you probably assumed, her love life is pretty much non-existent with such a family tree and profession.

This story follows Secret and her warden, Holden both on a job and through Secret’s blind date set up by her friend, Mercedes. All familiar players for those of you who have read book 1 already. And while we, who have previously read about Secret, know that she has a tough time creating a life outside of her work, we now see first hand just how difficult things can get for her. How’s a girl supposed to get any action when she’s constantly fending off attacks and hunting down threats to the vampire community? Well, she gets action alright … just not the pleasurable kind. *snickers* Terrible play on words, I know, but you loved it anyway.

I enjoyed reading about characters that I had been introduced to in book 1. And while I generally insist on reading books in order, I did not feel in any way cheated by reading this book second. Not sure if that makes sense to you all or not. Maybe this says it better. Rather than irritating me by reading out of order, I felt I had a benefit in being introduced to these characters previously. I would go so far as to say that the prior knowledge actually enhanced the novella. So my personal advice is to read the prequel after book 1. But for those of you who share my normal obsession of reading chronologically, go ahead. Ms. Dean provides adequate detail within the story that allows the reader to understand the main issues in Secret’s life even in the absence of introductions from the first book. And while novellas tend to let me down, this one did not. Snarky and action-packed from start to finish, Ms. Dean has successfully created another fantabulous addition to the Secret McQueen series.

(Digital book won from blog contest via 24 Hour Books Blog)


  1. Nice review! I'm intrigued... a vampire / werewolf hybrid... *ponders this* That sounds wicked cool! I haven't heard of this author before, but you have piqued my interest, so I will have to add her to the scary tall, never ending TBR pile. *laughs*

    1. Hey Lou! Sierra Dean is totally worth the read. I am sure she is the kind of author you would enjoy. You don't know what is going to happen next, there are vampires and werewolves, I mean what more could you want? Let me know what you think when you check her out.


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