Friday, October 27, 2017

Book Review: Runaway Vampire, by Lynsay Sands

Runaway Vampire
(Argeneau, Book 23)
Lynsay Sands
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Gollancz, February 25, 2016
Humor, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Source: Book Depository

Synopsis: The latest entry in the sizzling paranormal vampire series featuring the Argeneau family - no one does wickedly funny and irresistibly steamy like Lynsay Sands!

Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn't expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he's near the vehicle's driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate.

The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn't feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn't believe it. But now that the men who took Dante's twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who's the very definition of a perfect stranger.

I have long been a fan of the Argeneau series, as it has a very unusual take on vampires -- a funny one. In case anyone does a double take on reading these words, believe me, they're true. Sands actually writes humorous vampire romance novels that also contain some mystery and suspense. But the humor is her trademark. I detest Dracula-type vampires, so I much prefer these!

Another writer who specializes in funny vampire romance novels is Kerrelyn Sparks, whose books I have also enjoyed. So both Sands and Sparks are my go-to authors when the Halloween season rolls around! Bring on the paranormal laughs!

Unfortunately, I can't say that Runaway Vampire is one of my favorites in this great series. It just didn't live up to the usual Argeneau standards, to coin a phrase.

For starters, there wasn't much action in this book. Usually the plots in these novels are full of fast and furious action. Not the case here at all. Instead, there were quite a few flashbacks to the female MC's troubled marriage. Although some of these were interesting, as they involved some psychological analysis, I did think they were too detailed, and detracted from the overall story. They made the pacing too slow.

Mary Wilson is the female protagonist. Now a widow, she's taking her first lone RV trip, and happens to have the rather unsettling experience of unintentionally running over a man with her RV. That man is vampire Dante Notte, and yes, he is buck naked when she discovers him, weak and bleeding, in her vehicle's bedroom....

There are indeed some funny moments when Dante, having recovered through vampire means, insists on trying to drive the RV. And oh, yes, some bad guys are pursuing them. And yes, he's still not wearing any clothes..... This part of the novel had me in stitches (pun intended), as the dialogue between Mary and Dante was hilarious.

It wasn't all fun and laughs, of course. There were some dark secrets in Mary's past, which were part of the flashbacks mentioned above. The bad thing is that some of these reflect pretty poorly on Mary's character, and, from then on, I just couldn't relate to her anymore. 

Dante was as sweet as could be, as well as everything that Mary's deceased husband wasn't, at the beginning of their marriage. Still, I do think his personality was a bit too good to be true. I mean, the guy was just too naive and gullible at times. And he frequently acted more like a randy teenage boy than a grown man, although he was supposedly centuries old (although, being a vampire, he appeared to be about 25).

I did like the romance between Dante and Mary in spite of the fact that I couldn't quite like her, after the revelations about her past. But I could have done without so many graphically detailed love scenes. I feel they took away from the overall plot, which included a kidnapping and sinister scientific experiments. And Dante's brother, Tomasso, was still in the hands of the bad guys when Dante met and began courting Mary.

Another pretty big turnoff was the fact that there were some rather detailed bathroom scenes. Yes, that's right -- bathroom scenes. I don't like to read books in which characters "need to pee", and then proceed to go to the bathroom, reach for the toilet paper, etc. UGH. I don't recall ever seeing anything like this in other books in this series. Well, I haven't read that many, to be quite honest -- maybe two or three. 

Other reviewers have complained about Mary's age at the beginning of the story. She's 62. It looks like she's cradle-robbing. Lol. However, I never saw this as a problem, because of course Dante was going to turn her. She was his life mate, after all. And when that happened, she was then transformed into a twenty-something. Besides, paradoxically, Dante was MUCH older than her, although he looked so young.

There were two secondary characters who were actually a male gay couple.  I did like them, but felt that they were just there for political correctness, and not much else. They didn't contribute that much to the plot.

The end did not result in a resolution to this story. Instead, the book left me with a mild cliffhanger feeling, and it's obvious that there will be more to come in a future installment. At least, I certainly hope so! This seems to be something new for Sands; she usually ties up all plot threads nicely by the end of each book. 

In short, I was somewhat disappointed with this novel. There were some aspects of it that I really enjoyed, but overall, I was left wanting more.

One of the things I didn't get, and would have LOVED to have gotten: I would have appreciated witnessing Mary and Dante's wedding. Oh, well....perhaps that will also be part of the sequel to this book. My fingers are crossed!

This rather lackluster reading experience won't stop me from continuing to read the Argeneau series, though. I love the whole concept, the characters, the humor, too much to ever stop. I just hope I'll find some better installments in the series! I do need to read the older books. I also think that Sands has by no means burned out. She's a bestselling author. Things like this just happen at times. I will give her the benefit of the doubt, since she has made me laugh my head off on many occasions! Besides, I have seen reviews by other readers that praise this book. It's probably simply a matter of taste.

Sands has also led me on these wonderful, mad, wacky chases with her characters. So I will never stop reading about the Argeneaus!


Lynsay Sands is the nationally bestselling author who is known for her hysterical historicals as well as the popular Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series. With her witty and charming personality, Sands describes books as, “Waking dreams or stories, tales to amuse, entertain and distract us from everyday life.” She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there are occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. 


  1. Even though you were lukewarm about the book, your review is insightful and interesting Maria.

    The series sounds like it is fun. Too bad that this one was uneven. I do not know if it is the case here, but sometimes I think that series go on for too long and writers run out of ideas. I agree with your sentiments on the bathroom passages. It is hard to imagine why a writer would put that into a book.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks so much for the good word!! :) :)

      Oh, it certainly is!! I've read a couple of these novels, and have had a GREAT time! The dialogues are usually HILARIOUS.

      The concept for the existence of these vampires is a fascinating and very original one. They're actually Atlanteans! Yes, they're from that mythical island that Plato himself mentioned, back in ancient Greece, and which was supposedly destroyed, along with its highly advanced civilization. Atlantean science had advanced to the point that they actually injected "nanos" into their people. These were tiny powerhouse machines that kept their hosts in peak physical condition, which means that they will forever look like they're in their twenties. And, of course, they are immortal, although they can be killed.

      What kind of "fuel" do these nanos need in order to do their work? Blood. But these Atlanteans don't go around biting humans, except in dire emergencies, and then, they only take a little. They never kill the humans. Usually, however, they get synthetic blood, which was invented by one of their own. They just slap a plastic bag full of this synthetic blood onto their fangs, and the fangs just suck it all up. No humans are hurt.

      As you say, sometimes authors who write series that seem to go on forever do burn out. I hope that's not happening here. I really don't think so. Writers do have less successful books from time to time. Besides, other reviewers seem to have liked this novel a lot. It's just a matter of reading taste, I guess! Lol.

      Yeah, that whole bathroom thing was just gross. I can't imagine why any writer would, as you've stated, "put that into a book". Right!!

      Hope you have a great weekend, too!! Thanks for another TERRIFIC comment!! <3 :)

  2. I have read two of Lynsay Sands' books in the past (a different series) and didn't much care for them. While I like humor in books on occasion, I wasn't taken with the humor in the books I read. Maybe I would like this series better. I don't know that I will be finding out anytime soon though.

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      I've only read books from her Argeneau series, and have LOVED them! They were SO funny! I don't know what happened with this one. Yes, there were some funny moments in it, but it didn't make me laugh as much as the others I've read.

      This series has been going on for quite some time. I don't think she's burning out, though. At least, I sure hope not! These things happen from time to time with authors. I'm giving her benefit of the doubt.

      Thanks for the interesting comment!! Hope your week is starting out GREAT!! HUGS TO YOU & MOUSE!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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