Mithrendiel's Reviews > The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper
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Aug 03, 12

bookshelves: urban-fantasy, vampires
Read from July 17 to 19, 2012

Molly Harper has the distinction of being one of the only authors on my instant buy list. I’ve read every book she’s written and loved 99% of them. The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires is no exception. It’s light hearted, fun, and engaging, very similar in tone and spirit to the Jane Jameson Nice Girls series, which, of course, makes perfect sense since it’s set in the same world.

This story focuses on Iris Scanlon, owner Beeline, a vampire concierge service. Iris has shown up in numerous other Harper novels as a side character. She’s had cameos in Jane’s series, and played a rather large role in Driving Mr. Dead (a great little book that contains one of my favorite Molly Harper romances).

In previous novels, Iris always seemed so put together. She was 100% poised, completely confident, and able to deal with absolutely any situation, no matter how messy, with grace. Care and Feeding reveals a more human side of Iris. We learn her perfectly coifed appearance is hard won as it requires hours spent taming wildly curly hair. We discover her candy addition, and observe her struggles with her weight. We see she suffers from her own insecurities and fears. We learn she’s a worrier, constantly concerned about her younger sister. These little touches make her feel completely human, the type of girl you could see yourself having coffee with, or calling up when you need a sounding board for the latest drama with you boyfriend. For me, this depiction of Iris was a both a good and bad thing. Having seen her in so many other books, I already had this larger than life picture of who she was. I guess this is always the danger when you write spinoff series with characters your readers have seen in other books. I’d already formed my own opinions of who Iris was. I expected someone as put together on the inside as she was on the outside. But Molly’s version of Iris is a hot mess. She’s scattered, stressed, and insecure. I struggled with this at first. I felt like Iris was more of a carbon copy of Jane – like Jane 2.0 – instead of her own, unique character. By the end of the book though, I came to the conclusion that Iris is like most girls in real life. She presents a certain image of herself to the outside world that bears very little resemblance to how she feels inside. Even the most confident, put together girls look in the mirror and don’t always like what they see. We all have insecurities and fears. People may never see the weakness in us, but it’s there. After thinking about this, I decided Molly Harper was a genius for giving us such a loveable, realistic, human version of Iris.

Cal is an interesting character. He’s one of the oldest vampires Molly has written (well over 1000 years), and as such he’s also the least human. He’s cold, distant, imperious, and often rude. He’s a difficult character for you like in the beginning, and, believe me, Iris shares those feelings. Iris and Cal are thrown together by circumstances, unhappy house mates and allies against a vampire conspiracy. There is definitely no Insta-love here. They constantly get on each other’s nerves, and drive each other up the wall. But let’s face it the best romances are always the ones with the most friction, and challenges. And once Iris starts breaking through Cal’s icy demeanor, and he starts earning her trust, things get pretty delicious. This wasn’t one of my favorite Molly Harper romance (mostly due to Cal being such a jerk in the beginning), but it’s a lot of fun and definitely had some swoon-worthy moments.

Plot wise, I was pleasantly surprised. If creating loveable characters is one of Molly’s strengths, I’d have to say that writing surprising and believable villains with realistic motivations is often one of her weaknesses. But that is a weakness this book does not suffer from. I didn’t actually figure out the mystery in the story nor was I completely sure who was responsible until the end. I felt the villain’s motivations were well fleshed out and realistic. The mystery elements of this novel were exciting and well done.

If you loved Jane’s story and appreciate and are a fan of Molly Harper’s work, then Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires should be considered a must read. If you are someone that has never cracked open a book by this author, you shouldn’t have any issues reading this book. There isn’t a ton of confusing world building, and the cameo appearances by character’s from other series aren’t numerous enough to cause you issues. Just go in expecting a light romantic comedy with fantastic characters, and a dash of mystery and you will not be disappointed.
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Reading Progress

07/17/2012 page 42
13.0% "I was THRILLED to actually get an early release copy of this book. For one thing, I LOVE Molly Harper. For another, it’s an early release! I know reading books before they are published is old hat to most of you seasoned reviewers, but this is only the second book I've ever picked up before the release date, and having this opportunity feels like such a treat. I'm all kinds of giddy. :)"

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