I liked Iris in Driving Mr. Dead and, while I didn't find myself loving her a quickly as I did Miranda from that novella, I came to completely adore hI liked Iris in Driving Mr. Dead and, while I didn't find myself loving her a quickly as I did Miranda from that novella, I came to completely adore her in The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. Iris was good, humorous, a hard worker and wary of vampires. Her healthy uncertainty and fear of vampires was actually what drew me to her. So often in UF/PNR the heroines are so brave and fearless from the get go that they act stupidly. They insist on being part of fights where they stand no chance, ignore warnings from their paranormal hero etc. Iris wasn't shaking-in-her-boots afraid, she was just cautious, smart, and knew when to run or when she was making a dumb choice. She also knew when risking her own life was worth it though. I loved the relationship between Iris and her sister, Gigi.
“Why would I take an unstable, hungry vampire home with me? Do I look particularly stupid to you?” He snorted. “No, which is why you should take me home with you. I already know where you live. While you were running to your car, I looked in your purse and memorized your driver’s license. Imagine how irritated I would be, how motivated I would be to find you and repay your kindness, after I am well again.”
The storyline for The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires was a great one. I've always been curious regarding the contents of human blood in relation to vampires in fiction and why it isn't used more often. After all, most things end up there in some capacity (alcohol, drugs, sugars etc). I think it's a perfect way to attack vampires and would be interesting to see more of. Of course if I saw it all the time I wouldn't have been as excited to see it here... Anyway I was glad to see Harper's spin on it.
“As best we can tell, the vampires in question all suffered a form of poisoning. The compound is like steroids for vampires, on an exponential level. It brings out the worst of our aggressive, territorial behaviors while enhancing our strength and lowering our inhibitions.”
Cal was a difficult character for me to decide what I thought about. At first I found him to be too similar to Collin from Driving Mr. Dead. They were both haughty, stand-offish, only put up with the heroine because it was their only option etc. To be honest I was really disappointed by this. I absolutely loved how funny Driving Mr. Dead was and I didn't want it to be just a formula for this book too. As the novel progressed Cal started showing his differences though and became his own vampire. He loved to start fights with Iris because he found it amusing, he was calculating, he was a lot more vampire-y to me. Cal had been poisoned by bad blood that made him sick and was unhappily relying on Iris. The vomitous shower scene... loved it! I really enjoyed reading about a sick vampire, enough so that I might need to go hunting down similar books. A sick werewolf or zombie would be great.
“Besides, what happened to ‘no emotional attachments’?” I asked him pointedly, though I didn’t pull away. “I’m just a human, after all.” “I shouldn’t have said that.” He hesitated. “I find myself … more attached to you than I previously believed. It’s particularly strange considering I’ve only known you a few days. Perhaps it’s like Stockholm syndrome.”
“Hey, what’s this?” I asked, pulling a copy from the pile. “The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. A comprehensive guide to safe, loving treatment of the injured undead.” I flipped through the book and found nutrition guides, feeding schedules, an appendix on skin care after minor sunburns. “This would have been useful a week ago,” I muttered. “Wait, he’s injured? Your vampire is injured? Iris, you didn’t pick this guy up while he was hitchhiking or something, did you?”
I loved how this book was wrapped up especially the glimpse of the future between Iris and Cal. Overall The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires was an immensely satisfying, fun read.
The beginning of Moon Spell was without a doubt incredibly intriguing and mysterious. I wanted more and more of the storyline and the secrets revealedThe beginning of Moon Spell was without a doubt incredibly intriguing and mysterious. I wanted more and more of the storyline and the secrets revealed. You can tell that there are so many secrets that will keep you guessing even after only reading a few pages. I felt bad that Caia knew so little, especially when it came to things that pertained to her. Usually this would bother me since those with the knowledge are keeping it hidden for the character's 'own good' and this drives me batty. Moon Spell was just so densely completely woven with secrets that I never minded, I only wanted to know more as soon as possible!
“Yvana,” Lucien’s voice rumbled darkly in warning. Caia had never heard him use that tone before, but she was still too shocked by Yvana’s reaction to look at him. She was caught in this woman’s bleak gaze. What had she done to her? “Griffin died because of your parents... because of you.” Yvana was standing up now, trembling with anger and grief.
I loved Moon Spell's lore and how it incorporated the Greek gods into the supernatural. It was such an interesting idea and I love stories that involve mythology in any way. Young didn't just adopt them into the lore and then drop them either. Caia regularly used them in her language like how normal teens would use 'oh my god'. I found that to be extremely clever and well done.
No. Uh-uh, Haaades no.
Caia is really hard to describe personality-wise. As far as paranormal goes, she's the first character I've read about that isn't hotheaded, brave, dangerous... some mix of typical werewolf, vampire etc traits. Caia is quiet, unassuming, a loner (but not in an 'I hate everything' kind of way, more of a peace seeking type). To be honest I thought she was completely without personality at first. She goes along with everything, she doesn't make waves, she wasn't expected. I was wrong though, she doesn't need to be loud and constantly in the midst of the action to be her own person. As Irini said, Caia is gentle.
“According to our spy everything’s going perfectly well. She’ll be sending the information we need over the next few weeks.” “And Caia?” “Integrating into the pack. By the time we get the little bitch, the pack may actually mourn her.”
The multiple points of view (Caia's, Lucien's and the villain's) were a welcome surprise. I really liked getting into Lucien's head since Caia knew so little about what was going on. I also liked the quick glimpses into what was going on on the 'other side' too. I enjoy knowing what villains are up to and thinking but it's always ridiculous when they have a long monologue explaining everything at the end. Doing brief section in their POV was a great idea.
Something inside Lucien split open. With a shock of awareness that set him back on his heels, Lucien realised that all he wanted in this life … was to melt into the darkness with her.
Lucien was completely adorable, delicious, swoon worthy... I was so excited when Moon Spell even started hinting at a romance between him and Caia. It was a relief that his point of view was included because Caia is so unsure of how the pack operated and where she stood with Lucien that I would have worried for her otherwise. Instead I could just bask in all the sweet moments.
I loved, absolutely positively loved Moon Spell until the ending. I really don't want to give anything away but at the same time I could write out a page long rant. Why, Young?! Why would you do this to me!!?
I was so glad that Olivia from Sprinkle with Murder, the previous novel, continued on in Buttercream Bump Off as Mel and Angie's humorous rival bakeryI was so glad that Olivia from Sprinkle with Murder, the previous novel, continued on in Buttercream Bump Off as Mel and Angie's humorous rival bakery owner. I hadn't expected her to return after how the last book turned out so it was a pleasant surprise when this book opened with her shenanigans. I love it when there's a 'nemesis' that continues on throughout a series; they're like beloved superhero villains to me and few things are more fun than seeing them come back for more comeuppances.
"Oh, thank God, you answered,” Joyce said breathlessly. “My dress did it again.” “What? What do you mean?” “My dress,” Joyce said. “It caused another heart attack, and this time I think I killed him.”
Mel's mom annoyed me a little bit in Sprinkle with Murder with her insistence that Mel was in love with Tate. She was pretty amusing in this book though now that she was in Mel's shoes as a suspect. Thankfully she couldn't go on about Tate anymore since Joe, one of Angie's many brothers, was in the picture.
She gave him a pained look. “Apparently Detective Martinez asked my mother if Baxter was into eroto-asphyxiation, and Uncle Stan almost punched him in the face.” Both Tate and Angie cringed. “Then, of course, Uncle Stan had to explain what that is to Mom, which gave her a fit of hysterics.”
If you've ever watched CSI or a similar crime show with an 'older' person you'll enjoy laughing at Uncle Stan's expense. I also enjoyed all of the poking fun at Mel's mom McKinlay included in Buttercream Bump Off. 'Playing shoe salesman', the killer dress, etc. Joyce's naivety wasn't overplayed and their teasing came off exactly the way loving families manage it. I was pleased that this was believable and not overdone.
"I'm not giving up on us, Cupcake, and neither should you. I'll call you tomorrow.”
Where have I heard something similar to the above quote before... Oh, I know! Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has has a Joe that calls her cupcake too. Joe Morelli works in law enforcement and this Joe is a DA. They're both Italian... and the similarities don't stop there. But this was too many things in common for me with both being from cozy mysteries. It felt uncomfortable to read and made me dislike Buttercream Bump Off's Joe.
"Well, that stinks." "Agreed," Mel said. She didn't like the idea of Marty and Tate going off on their own. What if they blew it? This was her idea after all. She should be in charge. "Come on," she said to Angie. "I'm sure we can blend in with the furniture, and they'll never know we're there."
Over the course of two books, I've come to find Mel charming and amusing but she's a touch more harebrained than I'd like. Tate is taking Marty (an elderly gentleman who is trying to win a contest that their bakery is holding by doing favors for entries) to meet a possible suspect where he is going to pose as a wealthy businessman. Tate specifically tells Mel and Angie that they'll stand out and ruin everything. Mel ignores him and does whatever she wants. She does this time and time again and occasionally it's funny (when it's something involving Olivia) but most of the time I want to wring her neck.