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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

SPOILER ALERT!

Vampire Holiday Novel Strikes Out

Christmas with a Bite (Entangled Covet) (House of Elysian) - Patricia A. Wolf

I don't read a lot of vampire fiction, but when I do, I guess I'm a purist. You can play around with the traditional mythology of vamps all you like -- I don't care about garlic, crucifixes, wooden stakes, or whether or not they can see their reflection in mirrors -- but at the very least, your vampire characters have to avoid sunlight. I don't hold truck with all these newfangled vampires who can walk around at any time, day or night, just like the rest of us. To me, that's a crucial part of the deal of becoming immortal: you can live forever, be fabulously wealthy and unearthly gorgeous, have superhuman speed and senses, and maybe even the ability to read minds or "glamour" mortals into doing your bidding... but you have to give up your summer home in the tropics. Otherwise, what's the real cost of the trade?

 

Connor is one of these New Age-y vamps who can walk around in daylight and eat human food (though it doesn't satisfy, nutritionally). Where's the drama in that? That's Strike One

 

Strike Two: This story was very predictable. If you've ever read a paranormal romance, you know exactly where this story is going from the very first chapter. Vamp meets mortal. Overwhelming sexual attraction convinces vamp that mortal is his Fated Mate. But, vamps can't be with mortals; it's too perilous! Oh, no! Yet this is TRUE LOVE, and not even mortality (or lack of it) can stop TRUE LOVE.

 

Strike Three: This book is unbelievably anticlimactic. It keeps setting up conflicts only to have them resolve with no drama at all. Examples (and here there be spoilers. Though not really, since like I said, the plot's too predictable to really "spoil"): 

 

  • In the first chapter, Mara gets in a car accident in a snowstorm in the middle of nowhere and gets chased by a pack of wolves. Just as she's about to be eaten by the wolves, Connor rescues her. (You there! I see you rolling your eyes at me!) You might think that maybe these wolves will matter to the story, like maybe they'll turn out to be shapeshifters and Connor's mortal enemies or something... but no. They're just hungry wolves. In a snowstorm. In Texas. Whatevs. 

 

  • Connor's all, "I can't possibly have sex with this woman. No mortals for me." -And then he does. Of course. -And NOTHING HAPPENS. 

 

  • Connor's vampire parents (Dad's uber-grumpy, Mom's uber-sweet; both are kind of creepy in their uber-ness) are all, "No mortals for you, Connor!" -And then they invite Mara to dinner and are perfectly nice to her. -And NOTHING HAPPENS. 

 

  • Connor's all, "But the laws of our people say my mate must be an immortal, and here I'm in love with a human, oh! Woe is me!" - And then his best friend is like, "Chill out, Dude, I happen to have this magical amulet that makes people immortal in my back pocket, and you can have it for free since we're such good buddies." -And NOTHING HAPPENS. 

 

If this were baseball, this book would already be out of strikes, but there were more. Connor reveals his Dangerous Secret to Mara, and she (reasonably) decides she needs some time to think about it. He gives her about ten minutes, and then shows up at her house on Christmas morning bearing insanely expensive gifts not only for her but also for everyone in her family -- like, jewelry for Mara's mom, and an all-expenses paid trip to Aruba without the kids for Mara's sister and husband, and rather than saying, "Buddy, you can't buy your way into this family, and by the way it's kind of stalkery to buy my family members the exact perfect gifts that you know are perfect because of vampire-y mind reading, especially since we've only been dating for a week", Mara and her folks are all, "Oooh, shiny!" 

 

Connor doesn't glitter. But this book couldn't have been any worse if he did.