Disclaimer: While I’m an avid reader, ingesting everything from forensic text books to chick-lit romps and beyond, there is one genre I haven’t yet experienced – vampire books. That’s right, folks. I have never read any of the Twilight series, much less the tales of classic Dracula. This is a newbie’s attempt at a paranormal review, and I’m far from hip to the lingo or traditions.
It’s not that I have a vampire prejudice, although I must admit to a personal aversion to blood and guts. My excuse for not dabbling is one of time or lack thereof. My to-read pile is ever growing and threatens to take over my house.
However, when a galley of Haunted Honeymoon (expected release October 2010) by Marta Acosta crossed my desk, I decided to give this chick-lit slash paranormal-vampire romance a quick spin around the block.
Fourth in Acosta’s series (the other books include Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, Midnight Brunch, The Bride of Casa Dracula), Haunted Honeymoon features the adventures of Milagro de los Santos, a one-time Bay Area party girl now infected by a vampire’s bite. (Don’t worry if you haven’t read the other three books; if I can keep up, you can, too.) Despite her appetite for blood cocktails and raw meat, her superhuman strength, and her ability to heal in rapid time, Milagro hasn’t turned into a real vampire. She dwells in the land of in-between, somehow able to enjoy sunshine and gardening – my kinda gal.
Recently un-engaged from safe and steady vampire plastic surgeon, Oswald Grant, Milagro has a new vampy suitor. By comparison, her new beau, Ian Ducharme is the consummate bad boy with whom she enjoys a very passionate sex and blood sucking relationship. Unfortunately, Ian enjoys the blood of other hot, sexy women. Not good. He hosts a blood-sucking cocktail party without telling Milagro, and she stumbles in. Double not good.
Hurt and confused by the betrayal and suffering some financial shortfalls, Milagro decides to take a ghost-writing job (vampire, of course) and goes to London for a working holiday. There she meets fun-loving nighttime surfing vampire, Wilcox Spiggott, the perfect distraction for her broken heart. They party; they shag. She returns to San Francisco. Wilcox arrives for a visit, but before they can reunite, Milagro finds him trussed up and stabbed in the middle of her bed.
After this discovery, there is intrigue, there are more gruesome deaths, there’s torture and escape. There is even amnesia, as our girl, Milagro hits her head and loses her short-term memory. There are explosions, computer viruses and revival of the dead, vampire psychiatric counseling and eventual return of memory and lost love.
An action-packed novel I found hard to put down, Haunted Honeymoon is sassy and fun. Milagro de los Santos is the poster girl for every woman in her late 20s, lost amid a sea of choices, still wanting to have a good time yet yearning for love and stability. Toss in the blood lust and you have an undeniably entertaining twist. Acosta’s tale of the vampires living among us is told so seamlessly, I find myself looking at strangers and wondering, “What if?”
And yes, I’m throwing the other three books on that to-read pile.