Just One Sip Mass Market Paperback – Sep 5 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Quirky visions of vampire love animate this collection of three original novellas by paranormal romance authors MacAlister (author of the popular Dark Ones series), Ashley (Penelope and Prince Charming) and Webber (The Remarkable Miss Frankenstein). In Ashley's contribution, "Viva Las Vampires," journalist Meredith Black pursues an interview with sexy Vegas hotelier Stefan Erickson, owner of Transylvania Castle hotel. Little does she know he's a real vampire, with designs of his own for her. Webber's entry, "Lucy and the Crypt Casanova," cruises on the irascible charm of lead Lucy Campbell, a klutzy TV talk-show hostess who's forced to team up with her no-good ex, a sexy vampire detective, for the sake of a hot story: a murder investigation involving an incubus, a rare monster that feeds on youth like vamps feed on blood. The strongest of the three, for its over-the-top sexual antics and fully realized farcical world, is MacAlister's "Bring Out Your Dead," a story that unites an undead life coach for zombies (and part-time English tutor), Ysabelle Raleigh, with an anxious vampire who takes her for his long lost "Beloved." Despite a few missteps (MacAlister's French-mangling spirit guide, for instance, tends to irritate rather than amuse), this fast, funny and twisty collection proves good to the last drop. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Three romance novellas take a different look at vampire heroes. "Viva Las Vampires," by Jennifer Ashley, features a gorgeous, sun-bronzed Viking vampire who owns a vampire-themed hotel and casino in Las Vegas and sees his one true love striding through the lobby hot to interview him for her new book on vampire culture. In this world, there are warm vamps who are immortal and cold vamps who are undead. Katie MacAlister's "Bring Out Your Dead" is about Ysabelle, a counselor to newly made zombies, who meets Sebastian, a vampire who falls madly in love with her and must protect her from a demon. In Minda Webber's "Lucy and the Crypt Casanova," the host of a cheesy talk show who frequently gets into trouble because of her paranormal guests finds that the police detective investigating the same incubus case as she is the long-lost vampire love of her life. All three tales are entertaining and enjoyable, and it is a delight to see nongruesome takes on vampires. Diana Tixier Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first story, by Ashley, was my favorite of the three. It told the tale of an author of vampire nonfiction who was staying at a vampire-themed Vegas hotel, where she met a hot master vampire. She thinks he is finally going to give an interview for her new book, but he thinks she's the woman he needs for a "blood slave" to restore his power. I enjoyed this story because I liked the characters. I even found myself liking the main bad guy at the end. Seems like there's room for a sequel or two here. There were a few problems, though. There was a complicated dead/living vamp distinction that was never clearly explained, and I could have used more backstory.
MacAlister's story was about a revenant counselor (she counsels new zombies) with a spirit guide. Through a series of extremely confusing twists she meets Sebastian, a Dark One who is out for revenge & is convinced she's his Beloved. I normally love MacAlister, but in this story the humor seemed over-the-top and forced. Things happened with little to no explanation. I felt like I needed to go back and read all her other books because I couldn't remember all the backstory. The characters weren't all that likeable (mostly because they weren't that well developed) and I had trouble getting through this one.
The last story was by Minda Webber. I thought her historical vampire books were great, so I figured I would love this story. Not so, unfortunately. Her heroine is the hostess of a cheesy paranormal talk show. She longs to have a "real story" instead of all the fluff she does. She stumbles upon a story when she finds out about a particularly nasty form of incubus loose in the city, but she's thwarted at every turn by her ex, the sexy vampire cop she never got over. This story had potential, but it wasn't carried out. The heroine was alternately whiny, bratty, and judgemental, and she was constantly spouting horrible sayings that were supposed to be Southern. Ugh! What an insult to Southerners! The hero was barely developed, so I was never able to see why she liked him (or why he would even consider taking this whiny jerk back). The incubus angle was never really resolved, as the previous reviewer pointed out, so I was left feeling cheated out of a real ending.
Overall I felt that this book was a poor read, and one that was very unworthy of these talented authors! I hope their next efforts are a bit more developed.
I did neither with her story "Bring Out Your Dead". It had promise, and at the beginning I thought I might be able to get into it. But spirit guide just killed it for me. Nowhere on the book did it say that one needed a basic understanding of the French language to understand the dialogue in this story. Sally the spirit guide is supposedly speaking some mangled version of her own type of french, and I gather from the other characters reactions to her dialogue that it is supposed to be funny. Not that what she is saying is funny, but the act of mangling the language is supposed to be joke. But as I DON'T SPEAK FRENCH, I can't tell what she is saying, what she isn't saying, or what she is trying to say.
This same technique worked pretty well for MacAlister in a different book that featured a latin swordsman that spoke with spanish flourish, but the basic meaning of what he was trying to say came through, here it just confused the hell out me.I also think I prefer her full lenght books where she had the time to develop the history as well as the story somewhat more.
Minda Webber's story was choppy and problematic with a twist of unrealism. I know this is a paranormal book and realism shouldn't be called into question. I am referring to relationship with Lucy and Val. Their conflict goes from being monumental on both their parts, to Lucy begging for him to tell her went wrong, with no real transition in between. I just found it unrealistic that a somewhat strong character could go from one extreme to the other, with no catalyst for any kind of transition. Also, and this is when I gave up forever on this story, she ends up on her knees begging him to stay. Again, a strong proud woman on her knees begging for forgiveness when it was a mutual misunderstanding and she had some rights in being upset about what she saw. It was demeaning to women.
I don't know which more of slap in the face, Lucy as she "fell to her knees, taking his hand in hers and bathing it with her kisses and tears" all the while telling him she was stupid and sorry; OR the sheer volume of horrible hokey alliterations littered throught this short story. I mean every other paragraph, sometimes two to a single paragraph; "villianous vampiress" "viperous vampiress" and others just as painfull go on forever. One or two = cute One or two every couple paragraphs = sad and painful. I was sorely disappointed.
On the upside, the first story by Jennefer Ashley did have some redeeming qualities in that there few if any alliterations and nobody spoke a different language without interpretation.
The story was a little uneven but they finally find their way. It was readable.
The Second was the reason I bought the book, I like Katie McAlister books. I was lucky because this is the story of Sebastion and Noelle, secondary characters from one of her other novels. I enjoyed the story.
The Third was interesting but not outstanding, in fact none of them were that good. This one started out well but somehow the reason for their break-up was not really believable and the length of time they stayed apart was just wrong. Finally she had to beg a bit too much at the end.
If you don't have anything else to read it is O K.
1: Viva Las Vampires
I liked the chemistry between the characters. All the characters. The story was cute, but I still don't really know who the characters are and why they are. There was an attempt to explain, but the explanation wasn't good enough. Was the book Meredith wrote the one book she wrote and if she thought she was getting an interview why didn't she have a notebook with her when she went to the penthouse? I do hope there will be another story with Armand that gives more of this world she's created. More of his past, and brings in more of Eric and Meredith, because of his "like" for Meredith, where she can elaborate more on who they are.
2: Bring Out Your Dead
If it weren't for the tie in's to other books and a pickup of a couple of past story threads this would have been better. I was too often asking myself to remember past stories and what I remember of Sebastian, this was not the Sebastian that I remembered, so that mucked up the characterization for me. Noelle didn't get enough play so I couldn't reconcile her love lost to what Sebastian had become and how he could be so careless of Noelle's feelings.
The use of Damian, who I guess I should remember from a past book, was a waste. One minute he's in fear and when Sebastian arrives he's so calm and uncaring of his life. Very odd.
Yasbelle, I still don't understand who she is, why she is and how she rates a spirit guide.
3:Lucy and the Crypt Casanova
I liked this story the best. Perhaps I could relate better to the klutziness of Lucy and the fight scene in the ally with her falling in the food and clomping around with a box on her foot was just great.
I don't know exactly what her plan was in getting the story about the Ka incubus. It all seems so half hearted with no real purpose and when he's caught she takes no advantage to tell the story. Also, she learns from the Voodoo guy who loves his doll, about the Ka incubus, and that there is a way the victims, who aren't dead, can get some of their youth back? Did they get their youth back? Did the gris gris bag help at all?
I would like to see a more involved book with they two characters as they re-establish their relationship while both working in their respective jobs, TV Host and Detective. I think this would be fun.
All three stories would have been better with more to the. An usually the more is the character development, which, I would expect, would automatically tie up these loose threads. While I can enjoy the humor and potential of these types of stories it does take away, for me, these little things are apparently only needed to push the story but don't mean anything over all. I know these writers are better than this last sentiment, so perhaps they are too confined by short stories and should think better of doing them in the future.
Bottom-line this is a buy. I expect they will help or lead to or be a good addition to the writer's paranormal series for the worlds they have built.
Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.