I love fresh takes on paranormal romance. Nothing is more boring to me than same-old, same-old, so I am delighted to report that Mary Hughes’ debut from Samhain is, at least in my experience, one of the more unique eBooks I’ve read. While it’s not without its flaws, there’s a lot of potential. Fans of solid world-building will enjoy this book, and people who like books that are funny should also give it a try.
Nixie, our narrator, is five feet nothing and full of attitude. She’s a carefree punk musician living in Meier’s Corners, a small Midwestern town. She gets railroaded into helping raise funds for a major festival the town is putting on when the mayor promises that, in exchange for her organizing the event, he’ll help bring her band, Guns and Polkas, to wider exposure. The festival organizing won’t be easy, and Nixie’s life is further complicated by Julian, a staid, boring lawyer who has come to town, who is definitely much more than he seems.
When Mrs. Giggles reviewed this book, she had a problem with the voice, thinking it seemed too YA for an erotic romance. I can see where she’s coming from, and the hurricane of pop culture references got a little tired after a while. Nixie also reminds me of a hyperactive small dog, constantly running around and going off at the mouth when she didn’t need to. But at least she was capable of saying swear words more heated than “darn”, and she didn’t come across as a 50-year-old woman trapped in a much younger body. Plus, there’s quite a bit to like about her. Her struggle to figure out how she can still be herself all the while taking on that dreaded responsibility felt very true for this mid-twenties reader. And despite the attitude, she did seem to be a genuinely good person who just needed to grow up a little.
Because the story is written from Nixie’s POV, Julian was a little harder for me to connect with. I liked him well enough, but he won’t be on my list of memorable heroes. That being said, I enjoyed what backstory he got, and I like that, through him, we get a lot of the paranormal world, which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Also, the sex in this book was squirm-in-my-chair hot.
I enjoyed the secondary characters. A lot of them were caricatures–from Nixie’s overbearing German mother to the mayor to the villains, but some of them were quite fun nonetheless, particularly Dirk Ruffles, the bumbling but clueless policeman with a hidden talent. I also liked the glimpse of Nixie’s friend, police officer Elena, and I was curious about her story. In fact, there’s a lot more Ms. Hughes could do with the setting of vampires in a small Midwestern town, and I hope she will, especially since, as I mentioned earlier, the world-building is excellent. There’s a lot I’ve seen before, but it was all explained in a way that felt fresh and unique and, most of all, made sense.
This isn’t the best paranormal romance you are ever likely to read. But it is entertaining and sexy and fresh. I hope Ms. Hughes writes more, because I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the table.
Nitro? Meet glycerin…
A Biting Love Novel
Punk musician Nixie Schmeling is a hundred pounds of Attitude who spells authority a-n-c-h-o-r and thinks buying insurance is just one more step toward death. So she really feels played when she’s “volunteered” to run the town’s first annual fundraising festival. Especially when she finds out it’s to pay for a heavy-hitting, suit-wearing lawyer—who’s six-feet-plus of black-haired, blue-eyed sex on a stick.
Attorney Julian Emerson learned centuries ago that the only way to contain his dangerous nature is to stay buttoned up. He’s come from Boston to defend the town from a shady group of suits…and an even shadier gang of vampires. But his biggest problem is Nixie, who shreds his self-control.
Nixie doesn’t get why the faphead shyster doesn’t understand her. Julian wishes Nixie would speak a known language…like Sanskrit. Even if they manage to foil the bloodthirsty gang, what future is there for a tiny punk rocker and a blue-blooded skyscraper?
And that’s before Nixie finds out Julian’s a vampire…
Warning: Contains more eye-popping sex, ear-popping language and gut-popping laughs than can possibly be good for you. And vampires. Not sippy-neck wimps, but burning beacons of raw sexuality—this means passionate blood-heating, violent bloodletting, and fangy bloodsucking. Oh, and cheese balls. Those things are just scary.
Read an excerpt.