Title: A Girl’s Guide to Vampires by Katie MacAlister (Book #1 in the Dark Ones series)
First Published: 2003
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary
Synopsis (from Goodreads): All Joy Randall wants is a little old-fashioned romance, but when she participates in a “Goddess evoking” ceremony with her friend, Roxy, Joy finds out her future true love is a man with the potential to put her immortal soul in danger. At first the ever-practical Joy is ready to dismiss her vision as a product of too much gin and too many vampire romances, but while traveling through the Czech Republic with Roxy, Joy begins to have some second thoughts about her mystery lover because she is suddenly plagued by visions of a lethally handsome stranger. Then, when she and Roxy attend a local GothFaire, Joy meets Raphael Griffin St. John, head of security, and she becomes even more bewildered because the dark and dangerous Raphael seems too close to her dreams for comfort
Review: A Girl’s Guide to Vampires is the first book in the Dark Ones series – a series about Moravian vampires who believe their “beloved” is all that can save their soul from eternal damnation.
Joy Randall is tall, beautiful, confident, intelligent, sarcastic, sassy and in my opinion, a little too perfect. With men practically tripping over themselves to be with her, I found myself at times annoyed at just how easily Joy handled all situations thrown at her. For me, her charming nature and spunk was at times tempting the lines of insensitive, pushy and stupid.
Being set in Eastern Europe and most of the action occurring after dark, this book had a spooky, vacation, magical feeling to it. I enjoyed the detour into the world of rune stone reading as Joy, despite being told her reading runes was cataclysmic, took a stint as Faire-worker.
MacAlister’s breed of Vampires (or Dark Ones) was an interesting take on the lore but the broody night-dwellers took a back seat to Joy’s romance with Raphael. The paranormal/supernatural aspect of the novel was very much secondary to the romance plot.
The sex in the novel felt a little off for me. The Elvis song, A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please, comes to mind. The conversations during the steamy scenes seemed to be the same ones over and over.
The plot was a little thin for my liking but was made up for with the strength of the characters. The workers at the GothFaire, Christian and Roxy were entertaining supporting characters although at times all the characters (especially Joy) were given to acting melodramatic.
Whilst I’m not a huge fan of whirlwind romances, and with Joy’s journey from arriving in Moravia to Happily-Ever-After occurred in less than a week, I enjoyed reading this book and living in the world MacAlister created. I will be looking forward to reading more of her work.
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