Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Review: Holiday With a Vampire

Holiday With A Vampire: Christmas Cravings/Fate Calls
Authors: Maureen Child, Caridad Pineiro
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 1, 2007, by Silhouette/Harlequin
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampire Romance, Christmas Romance


Usually, I find novels much more appealing than short stories, since there’s ample attention devoted to character development, world-building, and so forth.  However, I also enjoy treating myself to the short literary form, especially in the case of romance, whether paranormal or not.

This book, the first in a series dealing with Christmas and vampires, contains two stories, as do the subsequent two volumes.  The idea of combining the undead with the holy, joyful season of Christmas is a fascinating one.  I prepared myself to be delighted.

The first story, “Christmas Cravings”, by Maureen Child, certainly gave me the desired effect.  The hero, Grayson Stone, craves love, and still grieves for the family, as well as the humanity, he lost one Christmas Eve, at the hands of a brutal vampire.  He meets Tessa Franklin, a human woman on the run from an abusive stalker.  

Although I did think a couple of things in this story were a bit contrived, overall, it successfully combined the poignant vampire longing for normality with the peace, love and beauty of the Christmas season.  Yes, the love story was a bit rushed, but still, quite satisfactory.  Furthermore, the ending, in which a true Christmas miracle takes place, had me in tears.  

It’s too bad this story was not published by itself.  I give it the following rating:

What followed next, titled “Fate Calls”, by Caridad Pineiro, was a terrible disappointment.   

In sharp contrast to the first story, this one had only a smidgen of the true Christmas spirit, and even that was marred by very graphic depictions of sex, which included some bondage, that totally disgusted me.  Yes, the heroine volunteers to stand at a mall corner, dressed as Santa Claus, ringing a bell to collect donations for the poor.  However, the vampire she meets, Hadrian, is a jaded, cynical creature who not only actively dislikes Christmas, but Christians, as well.  The author has vampires being persecuted by Emperor Constantine’s “sun worshippers” (in other words, Christians) in ancient Rome. 

In spite of “the happy ending”, which is very forced, this story did not give me any warm, fuzzy feelings   The Christmas spirit?  Hardly there.  Love and romance?  Very dubiously depicted. 

I give it the following rating:

Unfortunately, the editor who combined these two very different stories did not show much discernment.  The second story brings down my overall rating for the book to only two stars.

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