Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper


The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
(Half Moon Hollow #1)
Molly Harper
Release: July 31, 2012
Goodreads Amazon
Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow’s only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she’d like. Running all their daylight errands—from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled O neg—gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vampire life. Her rules are strict; relationships with vamps are strictly business, not friendship—and certainly not anything else. But then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and only Iris can help.

Cal - who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris allowed herself to think that way - offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place until he figures out who wants him permanently dead. Even though he’s imperious, unfriendly and doesn't seem to understand the difference between "employee" and "servant," Iris agrees, and finds herself breaking more and more of her own rules to help him - particularly those concerning nudity.

Turns out what her quiet little life needed was some intrigue & romance—in the form of her very own stray vampire.
Review: Iris Scanlon, the vampire concierge, was introduced in the last Jane Jameson book Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors when she planned a vampire wedding. Her business has grown in the year or so since, so she has plenty of vampire clients. But other than Jane she doesn't have any vampire friends. So when Cal (whose real name is Cletus Calix but Iris, having grown up with the Simpsons, can't bring herself to call him that) wants to stay with her, she has some major reservations. But the extra money will really help her fledgling business so she agrees to protect him.

Cal is an investigator for the Vampire Council looking into cases of poisoned synthetic blood. Once he's nearly killed by his welcome basket, he suspects someone on the Council is involved and has to keep his investigation off their radar. Iris is a perfect accomplice since she regularly goes to Council HQ and other vampire centered locations. She also has some special skills that Cal doesn't realize can help him break the case.
The phrase "sex with the guy who sleeps in our basement" is not used by most responsible parental figures.
I liked Iris. Her practical, organized, list-making personality is very different from Jane. She makes most of her decisions based on what's best for her seventeen year old sister Gigi, who she's been taking care of for the five years since their parents died. Gigi is fun and sassy and very much a teenager. She's also much more accepting of the supernatural than Iris, which is ironic given Iris's job.

Cal is the first truly ancient vampire in this world. He manages to be both modern and old-fashioned, embracing technology but acting a little chauvinistic and overprotective. So he and Iris take a little while to open up and get on the same page in their relationship. And I'm a little disappointed Cal didn't meet Jane's father the historian yet. He would probably appreciate Cal's stories about the Trojan war more than Iris and Gigi.

I was also impressed with the twistiness of the plot. The Vampire Council members are a little bit mysterious and very intimidating. I liked learning a little more about them and getting Iris's perspective. The villain actually was who I thought it would be at the very beginning, but Harper had me convinced it was someone else for most of the book. And the motives behind the plot came as a surprise.

One of the things I was hoping to get from this series is a more in-depth look at Half Moon Hollow. I loved the quirky small town in the Jane Jameson series and I want to see it all. I did get to see the Vampire Council offices, but I was disappointed that Iris didn't go to any other new places. Though, she did also go back to Jane's book shop and I always enjoy those moments of checking in with the characters from the earlier books. Because, unlike the previous one, this is a PNR series with a new couple in each book I'm still hoping to get a little bit more of the Hollow each time.

Recommended for fans of: The Jane Jameson series, lighter PNR like Dakota Cassidy's Accidentals


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