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Book Review: Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

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With a title like Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, you know a book has got to be darkly humorous. In this the first book in the Casa Dracula series, Latino author Marta Acosta introduces us to her opinionated, feisty. yet delightfully naïve heroine, Milagro de los Santos, and her new breed of friendly vampires.

Told in first person from Milagro’s point of view, our tale begins as our heroine attends a book party in honor of her arrogant, snob ex-boyfriend Sebastian. It is there that she meets a mysteriously handsome stranger by the name of Oswald. Sparks go off almost immediately. Later that night, in his hotel room, they accidentally kiss and exchange blood… an event that has serious consequences for Milagro, who soon begins feeling sick. Transformed into her new nature, she is persuaded to move into a grand estate — Casa Dracula — inhabited by a group of rich, eccentric vampires who insist they must take care of her until she is well and fully understands her new "illness".

At the same time, the estate and its vampires are in danger of annihilation by a secret group of vampire hunters who dream of destroying them. Interlaced with this are Milagro’s various relationships with the different members of Casa Dracula.

Happy Hour at Casa Dracula is an entertaining, upbeat, sassy novel driven forth by one very individualistic heroine. I’d say the strength of this novel, more than the plot and the rest of the characters, is the heroine. Yes, Milagro is sometimes witty and her sharp humor will make you laugh out, but there’s also a naïve, scatterbrained, "lost" quality about her that is quite endearing and that probably has to do with her awful relationship with her mother, who has never in her life understood her and who is mentioned offhandedly throughout the story.

In a way, she roams the world like a little waif, trying to find her true home among her various romantic relationships. No doubt Milagro will frustrate many of her female readers; I know I felt like shaking her at times, but this is part of who she is and these flaws make her more genuine as a character.

The sexy scenes are handled with taste and there’s really very little graphicness at all in the book. This is a fun book to enjoy on those long summer afternoons. If you like humor, vampires, and a sprinkle of Latino flavor, I’d recommend you give this one a try.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.