Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: The Vampire and the Virgin, by Kerrelyn Sparks (sixth review for The 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge)

Here's my sixth review for this
wonderful challenge!!

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just click on the challenge button in my sidebar.

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Title: The Vampire and the Virgin (Love At Stake #8)
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Format: Hardcover, 345 pages
Publisher: Avon
Published: March 9, 2010
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Reviewer's Note:  I decided I wanted to own the hardcover edition of this book.  However, I have included links to the mass-market paperback edition, for those who prefer that format.

The paranormal world created by Sparks contains a great combination of elements that guarantees a very entertaining, addictive read.  I certainly enjoyed this novel!  Her characters are not only believable, but very realistic, and funny, to boot!  I'm so glad, too, because I don't like the more traditional, horror-style vampire.  The vampires in Sparks' Love At Stake series are anything but! 

This is the eighth book in the series.  I've read three so far, and not in order, either, which is not good, although the books are also enjoyable as stand-alone novels. 

Robert McKay (known as 'Robby') is the wonderful hero of this installment.   Of course he's noble and brave.  Of course he carries hidden wounds from his past.  And of course he's devastatingly handsome.... While these might sound like the typical romance novel cliches, I don't mind them at all! 

The heroine, Olivia Sotiris, is just as wonderful, and she's the perfect match for Robby, for she, too, has a painful past.  Furthermore, they find each other on Patmos, a Greek island, on a moonlit night, near the beach...

Robby has traveled to the island on orders from his supervisor at McKay S & I, a security company dedicated to the fight against the Malcontents, who are the evil vampires in Sparks's world.  Robby is one of the good Vamps, but he wants revenge for his torture at the hands of Casimir, the leader of the Malcontents.  He's so obsessed with this that he's even endangering covert operations.   He's sent to Patmos so he can at least calm down, since he flatly refuses to see a therapist. 

Enter Olivia, FBI psychologist, who's been trying to escape the harassment of one Otis Crump, a dangerous serial killer responsible for the rape and deaths of thirteen women.  Although he's serving three life terms, he still manages to terrorize her, and she fears it's because he has an accomplice...

Olivia has also been sent to the island on orders from her FBI supervisor, who is worried for her safety.  She goes to stay at the home of her Greek grandmother, Eleni Sotiris, who is affectionately known as "Yia Yia" to her friends and family.  Olivia and her supervisor hope that Crump will not be able to trace her there.  The problem is, that's exactly what Crump does.  Frightened not only for herself but for her grandmother as well, Olivia packs them both up and hastily catches a flight back to the States.  Robby initially believes that she has abandoned him, but then decides to pursue her.

The love story is very well woven into the novel's action-filled plot.  As Robby and Olivia struggle to have a viable relationship, one filled with danger and a very important secret, events escalate; Casimir, who had been in hiding, makes his move at last...and innocent people start dying.  The good vampire and the FBI psychologist must work together to stop the killing, and Olivia must come to terms with what Robby is, when she does at last find out. 

Have I already mentioned how much I enjoyed this novel?  This is the type of fun read that keeps one glued to the pages, frantically turning them until one gets to the end. 

The secondary characters are just as memorable and fleshed-out as the principal ones.  I especially like J.L. Wang, Olivia's best friend and co-worker at the FBI.   I also like Carlos Panterra, the shape-shifter who's an equally good friend to Robby.  And how could I forget Phineas?  He's one of the Vamps, a self-styled "Love Doctor", who gives Robby the most hilarious love 'advice', while he himself must try to deal with a mortal woman who keeps rejecting his advances.  I also loved Eleni Sotiris.  (Here's another literary grandmother to love, right along with Gran in Cambria Hebert's YA novel, Masquerade!)   She cares deeply for Olivia, and is intent on introducing her to every eligible bachelor on the island of Patmos.  Although very sweet and loving toward her granddaughter, she's also stern at times, especially when Olivia first starts getting to know Robby.

The sinister Crump is also unforgettable as the evil, totally delusional serial killer, who insists that he and Olivia are destined to be together for eternity. 

To sum up, I would highly recommend this book as a very entertaining, totally addictive read!   I'ts definitely going on my favorite romances shelf.  If it were ever made into a movie, I'd be the first one lining up at the movie theater door!! 


Where To Buy:   Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Kerrelyn Sparks

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