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The Undead Next DoorGwen’s review of The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake, Book 4) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Contemporary paranormal romance released 29 Jan 08 by Avon

I admit that I started reading this book expecting to hate it.  I have come to abhor cutesy romances that try too hard to be funny and clever.  And if I never read another book that has a title that is some stupid pun on the vampire ‘theme’, I’ll  be a happy camper.  Despite all that, I enjoyed this read.

The likable parts of this book are the characters.  Luckily, it’s almost 100% a character-driven story.  The dislikable parts of this book are also the characters, but more on that later.

I enjoyed the hero and heroine, Jean-Luc and Heather.  I liked the by-play between them, even if it did take them FOREVER to hook up (something like 3/4 of the way into the book).  I especially enjoyed the little glimpse Sparks gives us of Jean-Luc’s treatment of Heather’s young daughter – it was sweet and exactly how I would wish a man would handle my daughter if he were to come into our world like JL did into their’s.

What I didn’t like: The story was a little far-fetched, but, hey, it’s a VAMPIRE romance, so, duh!  And I really hated how bumpkin-ish the secondary characters were made to appear.  And Sparks could have picked a better name for the “Texas Hill Country town of Schnitzelberg” where this book’s action is based.  I happen to live in that town (not named Schnitzelberg, but if you know the THC, it’s not hard to guess what she modeled it after) and we’re not all hicks or racist bumpkins with axes to grind about “foreigners.”  And Frenchmen don’t say “Zut!” all the time – trust me.

I probably won’t be hunting down Sparks’ backlist on this series, but neither will I so quickly turn up my nose at her books next time they hit my TBR.  I haven’t read any of the previous books and found I could follow the story just fine.  I recommend this book to fans of the series and Sparks. 

faye.jpgGrade: C+

From the back cover:

Three signs that something is very different with your new man:

1. He sleeps all day . . . which would be annoying except he’s so attentive at night.

2. He’s attacked by sword-wielding assailants, yet insists he can handle it on his own.

3. He never seems to age.

Heather Westfield has always lived a quiet life, but that all changes when she helps a very handsome, very mysterious stranger. There’s something not quite right about Jean-Luc, but still, she’s never been with a man so charming, so attractive . . . so wonderful. Now if only a murderous villain wasn’t after them, they might get their happily-ever-after.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:
Book 1 Book 2 Book 3