Just One Sip
I love vampires. I will jump at any chance to read a good vampire-centric story or watch a vampire movie. From Bram Stoker to Dracula 2000; From Christine Feehan to MaryJanice Davidson. I’ll read anything about our favorite bloodsucking friends. So I jumped at Just One Sip, three humorous takes on the fanged ones, as I would any other single title. While there were some problems, I wouldn’t take back choosing this one. It might have averaged slightly above mediocre, but each author has a good voice and a novel take on the myth.
Viva Las Vampires
- by Jennifer Ashley
Grade : B Sensuality : Hot
Viva Las Vampires by Jennifer Ashley
The appropriately named Meredith Black just wants to visit Vegas to do some research for her second non-fiction book on the history and myth of vampires. She is staying at the ultra popular hotel Transylvania Castle to hopefully get an interview with the owner, Stefan Erickson. Little does she know that she will be getting more than an interview from Stefan, a master vampire who has found his chosen blood slave in Meredith. An enemy vampire who also owns another vampire style hotel and casino, though, is out to put a snag in Stefan's plans for Meredith. If Meredith doesn’t choose to stay with Stefan and be his primary source of blood, he will die.
This story is the best of the bunch. Jennifer Ashley captures Las Vegas while giving a new twist to the much played out vampire myth - they eat, drink, and tan! Stefan and Meredith are a great couple and Mario, the Italian Renaissance man turned high-class stripper, is delightful. I was slightly bothered by the master/slave innuendo, but the author saved face by making Meredith less susceptible to Stefan's "charms".
Bring Out Your Dead
- by Katie Macalister
Grade : C- Sensuality : Warm
Bring Out Your Dead by Katie Macalister
Ysabelle is a Zombie counselor by day and an English history tutor by night. This sarcastic woman, who has a very very long and mysterious background, sets out on a dark London evening to find the home of her new pupil. She is saved from a stampede of imps when she runs into a handsome man who helps her get away. After a run in with a demon, she makes it to her pupil's house where everything continues to go down hill. She finds herself the temporary guardian of her devilish pupil, while her mysterious man, Sebastian, reappears at the door with a vendetta against her pupil's parents. A group of radical, hippie-like Zombies come by for some added counseling, and her demon friend from earlier in the night decides to blow up the house. Her saving grace is Sebastian: a Dark One (pseudo vampire) who convinces her that she is his Beloved, a soul mate type who can restore his soul while he protects her. Through the slapstick humor and sarcasm, the motley group takes on demons and demon lords in order to protect Ysabelle.
I’ve always been a big fan of Katie Macalister. She has a brand of humor that is at times absurd and in your face but can be rather appealing. That humor is evident in Bring Out Your Dead. Sadly, this plot would have been better suited for a full-length novel instead of a short story. It was way too much action resulting in a bit of sensory overload. The characters here were strong enough to make a full-length work, especially Ysabelle - love her! Readers of her previous Dark Ones novels, Sex, Lies, and Single Vampires in particular, will enjoy revisiting some previous characters and Sebastian who has played small roles in the previous books. Anyone new to Macalister’s Dark Ones world will likely suffer some confusion regarding the rules and laws that govern this world.
Lucy and the Crypt Casanova
- by Minda Webber
Grade : C+ Sensuality : Warm
Lucy and the Crypt Casanova by Minda Webber
In a world where monsters have come out of the closet and into the main stream world, Lucy Campbell hosts a Jerry Springer-esque talk show with the trashiest of monsters. She's small town Texas girl who took the one shot given to her to gain a name in television. After being cheated on by her vampire boyfriend four years ago, she has struggled to find her niche in life. Val, said cheating vampire ex, is a top detective in New Orleans where Lucy also resides. The two are thrown together a few times when both are hunting an evil incubus who is turning young women into old ladies by draining their life force. Lucy wants the cred it would bring her in the journalism world and Val is the detective on the case. Lucy, who is more than a little clumsy, saves Val's partner from the incubus. Val is not appreciative. He’s still hurt because Lucy couldn’t trust him enough four years ago to hear his explanation of the compromising position in which she found him.
The idea behind Lucy and the Crypt Casanova is novel. Lucy is what made this story, though. Her paragraph-long tirades about Val and others are hilarious. She is a very endearing character but I wasn’t really enthused over her choice of mate - who was a world class jerk. After you read the love scene let me know if you don’t want to crawl through the pages and slap that boy silly. Val and his shortcomings are not my main disappointment, however. He is a vampire, but that fact is sort of a side note. Kind of like knowing he was black hair. He could have been a mortal man for all the weight his being a vampire was given. If I’m reading an anthology on vampires, I want a little more blood sucking, you know?