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Jaz Parks #1

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

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I'm Jaz Parks. My boss is Vayl, born in Romania in 1744. Died there too, at the hand of his vampire wife, Liliana. But that's ancient history. For the moment Vayl works for the C.I.A. doing what he does best -- assassination. And I help. You could say I'm an Assistant Assassin. But then I'd have to kick your ass.

Our current assignment seemed easy. Get close to a Miami plastic surgeon named Assan, a charmer with ties to terrorism that run deeper than a buried body. Find out what he's meeting with that can help him and his comrades bring America to her knees. And then close his beady little eyes forever. Why is it that nothing's ever as easy as it seems?

308 pages, Paperback

First published October 8, 2007

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About the author

Jennifer Rardin

19 books896 followers
I’ve spent all my life in the Midwest, which has certainly shaped my perspective on all kinds of issues, from the question of whether or not we really have an accent, to the many and varied uses of corn.

I was born in Evansville, Indiana on April 28, 1965. Mom tells me almost every year what crappy weather it was that day. However I like to think of my birthday as the first frost-free date for my planting area. See what happens when you grow up around farmers? Scary, huh?

After a youth spent up to my eyeballs in fairy tales, nordic myths and supernatural legends I made the solid and practical decision to go to college and major in English. After which I never really held a well paying job until this gig came along! Which is why my kids love to sing that song to me from the musical “Avenue Q.” The one that begins with the line, “What do you do with a B.A. in English?”

Once I figured out the answer to that question, I wrote Once Bitten, Twice Shy. Now my laptop is my constant companion. We reside in an old farmhouse along with my husband and our two teenagers. No pets since the cat died last winter, but the birds seem to appreciate his absence. They come to feast at the feeders while I write on the back porch in the cool of the morning. Lovely.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 675 reviews
Profile Image for Seth.
122 reviews180 followers
February 26, 2011
I read a lot of this subgenre (light, modern fantasy with a horror twist and usually a female protag). This book and series is getting a lot of press and a heavy and fast push to get more out, putting it in the more-mainstream and lighter-weight end of the spectrum. Combined with the garish cover, the horrible "Meet Jaz Parks in..." cover copy and the cover quotes clearly intended for non-genre readers, I expected a guilty pleasure at best.

It's better than that, fortunately, but not as much better as it could be. I'm going to give a moderate spoiler to the book (and a non-spoiler to the series) to explain.

The setup is a common one for the subgenre, simplified for the Grisham/Clancy crowd who isn't prepared for the supernatural element. Our protag--Jasmine "Jaz" Parks--works for the CIA as an assassin (working in the US against US law and apparently having enough assassination work to keep her super busy, all of which requires disbelief be not only suspended but hanged until dead). Vampires/werewolves/magicians/etc. are out in the public in a way never explained, and vampire abilities are conveniently idiosyncratic, removing the need for consistency or explanation.

In the forward, Jaz is taken off individual missions and re-assigned as the assistant to the CIA's vampire uber-assassin, Vayle (first sign of an author who doesn't respect the genre reader: stupid names for the vampires but not for the humans). She doesn't know why she is re-assigned.

So she and Vayle go to Miami, hotbed of international terrorism, for some mild racism (the brown-skinned taxi driver is referred to as fresh off "el rafto Cubano," the non-Muslim religious-fanatic terrorists are led by people with stereotypical Muslim names, etc.)

Once there, they discover the expected:
1) The cult is going to release a virus that kills 90% of humans and vampires (not terrorists at all, technically)
2) Someone from Vayle's or Jaz' past is involved in the cult
3) Their CIA handlers include a mole working for the cult
4) There is a hunky P.I. investigating the same people and willing to give up his investigation, his job, and ultimately his home because Jaz is such a great kisser
5) Jaz kissing P.I. Hunk makes Vayle insanely jealous

So they call in their non-CIA Q for some new über-gadgets and proceed to introduce the term "collateral damage" to the book. Oh, and they meet a convenient 1,000-year old psychic with a magic stack of marbles that contains all the mystic knowledge they might ever need.

A passable, super-light plot that might pull in the airport reading crowd.

The major problems:
1) The Vayle/Jaz relationship is horribly drawn-out, 100% predictable, and boring

2) Jaz' reaction to the Something Horrible In Her Past(TM) is so-so and the mystery around it is complicated by unnecessary obfuscation.

3) The villainous evil cult is not only overdone, it's boring. Only the mole in their organization has any personality and he's straight out of X-Men 3.

4) The action scenes are so-so. Not horrible, but not amazing.

The good:
1) They get new gear from their Q that they don't wind up needing.
The experimental gear doesn't always work, but the failures aren't plot devices.
The Q character (her paranoid friend Bergman, who seems to have some time now that he's not an extra on the X-Files) is a fun character who isn't just "the guy in the lab."
They also get new gadgets from the agency, not just Bergman.

2-the biggee) The Horrible Thing In Her Past turns out a really, really nice and unexpected element: Jaz is a revenant. In the event that killed her whole team, she didn't actually survive, but she was sent back with some souped-up powers to fight and kill... something. The rules are unclear to her.

So I enjoyed it enough to make it to the big surprise. The big surprise made some of the goofy stuff before reasonable and interesting. And I'll give the next a try.
February 25, 2011
Once Bitten, Twice Shy was a fun read. I thought the storyline was interesting, and I liked the characters. Jaz is a tough heroine, but she’s also got the gooey, humane center that makes a heroine more realistic and likable to me. I am a sucker for a smart-aleck, wisecracking lead character, and Jaz can definitely hold her own. I identified with her in her complicated family dynamics. I liked that family was important to her, even though she was also in a very involving career. She’s a good person, and very strong to have made it through the trauma she suffered in her past.

I liked the dynamics of her relationship with Vayl, a vampire who is hundreds of years old, and who carries his own set of emotional scars. They had very good chemistry, even from the beginning. The tension between them heightened my enjoyment of the book, as it was clear that they both had feelings for each other, but weren’t sure what they were going to do about them just yet. Vayl is sexy and dangerous, but quite sweet, in his ancient, aristocratic way. I liked the allure of his power, and how he uses it, but his inherent sense of honor and right and wrong. I could tell he cares very deeply for Jaz, and would just about anything for her, although she’d never ask him to do so. I like the vampire elements—distinct enough to give this story its own feel, but with all the elements that I like to see in a vampire story.

At times, the writing seemed a little disorganized, like Ms. Rardin had a lot to accomplish, but wasn’t quite sure how to get from point A to point Z. I felt like I was only just getting the tip of the iceberg of this world, but since this is only the first book, I wasn’t too hung up on that. Some scenes moved a little too fast, and I felt like I was missing something from the narrative, making me feel I had to reread some parts. Also, the villains weren’t highly developed, just evil and obnoxious, but lacking any depths that would make them intriguing. The major plotline for this story was interesting, but it could have used a little more enhancement to give this story its maximum life. However, I really did enjoy this book.

The mix of humor with the angsty elements was well done, and I liked Jaz and Vayl’s various sidekicks and assets they encountered as they accomplished their covert supernatural spy work. The best part of this story was the chemistry and the symbiotic relationship between Jaz and Vayl, and that’s what will have me coming back for more in this series. As I read, I felt sad that Ms. Rardin is no longer with us. She clearly had talent, and I am glad she was able to bring her vampire story to life before she passed from this world.

Although there were some technical issues with this book, I found it enjoyable, and deserving of the four star rating I gave it. I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy a female lead urban fantasy with a nice mix of action, angst, romantic tension, and supernatural elements. I’ve already added the forthcoming books to my 'to be read’ list.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
September 1, 2010
3.5 stars

As I started reading this book, I felt a tinge of déjà vu. The main character is a kick-ass girl, and assassin. The main male character was a vampire. I then thought of the Night Huntress series and began comparing the two. Well that’s not very fair of me. The two series are very different, and I like each series on their own. So here begins my review.

Jasmine Parks or Jaz is an assassin for the CIA. Her claim to fame seems to be the amount of car wreckage she seems to leave behind in each job. I liked Jaz – she is a character that seems to grow on you. I liked her much better halfway through the book when we got more info on her background experiences and a certain event in the middle of the book. Jaz is assigned to be Vayl’s partner and body guard. Vayl is a vampire and a wraith. The two seem to hit it off very well, but we are not told why Vayl requested Jaz. Vayl makes an interesting mentor and it seems like he is really her bodyguard. You can sense an attraction between the two characters, but there really isn’t a sexual tension. It’s more like a genuine affection between two people. I didn't understand how the wraith thing worked - his touch freezes, but why didn't he freeze Jaz - or is it something he turns on and off. I hope to learn more about his character in subsequent books.

I enjoyed Jaz’s internal and external dialogue. One of my favorite lines in the book was "I'd like a title. Maybe Idiot of the Year. Is that one taken?" Jaz also seems to develop a special power where she is able to leave her body and travel in spirit.

Bergman, the gadget guru was one of my favorite characters. I pictured a young and way more paranoid Q from the James Bond movies as my Bergman. Bergman’s gadgets were really cool.

The last third of the book was exciting and made up for any slowness in the plot. I’ll be picking up the next book in the series. Hopefully, it will answer some of my outstanding questions.
Profile Image for Tamora Pierce.
Author 151 books83.2k followers
December 4, 2013
Woot! Another vampire hunter, female, kicks major @ss, makes almost enough smart remarks to annoy (but not quite), now teamed up with a very hot vampire who came across in the 1700s. They are government operatives, he legendary, she big tough, who are partnered because he asked for her, which leaves her much confused. They hunt bad guys of all stripes for the CIA: evil vampires, terrorists, big nasty transdimensional things, and magic critters. She is the lone survivor of a strike team that was obliterated over a year ago, and since then weird things have been happening to her--like smelling demons. She is Becoming, and he knows it. This time they are looking to bust an international terrorist crew with ties to our government, a crew that is planning a massacre far greater than anything that's been done before.

The sequel's coming out any minute now. For those who think I haven't hinted at enough treats, the CIA has a seemingly limitless budget for apartments and clothes for the hunts-weird-things department, a paranoid gadgets geek having verbal fights with the hot seer they just teamed up with, a pregnant younger sister about to deliver, an ex-Marine dad who's a pain, and a vile, gorgeous, murderous ex-wife with claws. What's not to love?
Profile Image for Catherine.
523 reviews539 followers
August 13, 2010
I'm really starting to feel like there are no good first books in a UF series. This one certainly doesn't buck that trend. It seems like there were interesting ideas, but everything felt so underdeveloped that I didn't care.

Jaz's personality was extremely irritating in the first part of the book. She seemed determined to out bitch the bitchiest heroines in UF that came before her. I don't mind a tough personality and a little snark, I actually enjoy those things. But moderation is key. If you run your mouth every two seconds you don't look cool, you look foolish. She came off as very confrontational and unpleasant. I really didn't understand why anyone wanted to hang around her when she was like that.

Then Jaz suffered a complete personality change. Now, I liked that I didn't want to kill her as much, but I really don't understand the reason for it. It all stemmed from something that Vayl had to do to her. I get that, but why did that change her? It was very frustrating. Luckily it seemed to baffle Vayl too, so I didn't feel like the odd man out.

I didn't understand Jaz's attraction to Vayl. He didn't seem like a bad guy, but he didn't seem very interesting either. I think the author shot herself in the foot by having Jaz and Vayl be partners for six months before we were even introduced to them. It made Jaz's attraction already established, and we never got to see it develop. I don't see why she cares for him and I didn't feel any seething undercurrents to their attraction. The author really failed at making me care. This was never more pronounced than when Jaz gave Vayl a speech about how honored she was about her new role with him. I just didn't feel any connection so her feelings about it seemed really off and forced.

Vayl was pretty bland all around. I think he has the potential to be interesting, but he needs to loosen up. He comes off as really stiff and he feels really old. Obviously he's a vampire, but the success of a relationship between an old vampire with a relatively younger human hinges on both of their maturity levels and the vampire's ability to mesh with the expectations of someone his age, or the age his appearance suggests. So, Jaz needs to grow up and Vayl needs to become a little more young at heart.

I was very confused by Vayl's insistence on her as a partner. We later see the role he wants her to play, but how did he know that before they were partners? I found it frustrating that Jaz didn't question these things like I wanted her to. How can I get answers if she doesn't care enough to inquire?

There were too many players running around this book. I kept confusing the players in the different groups and having to go back to figure out who they were talking about. The "bad guys" also felt kind of over the top.

Jaz's revelations about her past were pretty interesting, although all I have now are more questions. I'm intrigued to see who this mysterious man is and what exactly she now is. The out of body experiences were pretty interesting too. I hope we get more information on that in the next book.

I plan to read the next book and hopeful my gripes about this book are smoothed out in the next one.
Author 11 books49 followers
November 14, 2007
Before I started reading 'Once Bitten, Twice Shy' I had read several reviews that claimed that this was a good book, a great book even. But in no way was I prepared for how truly wonderful Once Bitten, Twice Shy turned out to be. I loved it, plain and simple as that.

The story kicks off with Jaz and Vayl working together in Miami. Vayl is a vampire assassin, one of the CIA’s best, and Jaz is his bodyguard/assistant assassin. Six months previously Vayl had requested that she be assigned to him, since then the two have been dancing a fine line between working partners and something more.

When a routine assassination in Miami turns into a plot to infect the planet with a deadly virus, Vayl and Jaz find themselves in the middle of it. With a dirty senator on one side and a crazed fanatic on the other they must discover what links all the players together. Unsure of who they can trust or where they can turn Jaz and Vayl turn to each other.

Along the way we met a cast of supporting characters that are perfect; private investigator Cole, who just happens to find Jaz irresistible, to the irradiation of Vayl. Liliana, Vayl’s vampire ex-wife, who we love to hate; Cassandra, a psychic who helps Jaz tap into some of her extra ordinary gifts and Bergman, a freelance tech guy for the CIA, and one of Jaz’s oldest friends.

Jaz’s inner dialogue was fun, she’s a smart-ass and has a bit of temper but you just love her all the more for it. She does have an edge most of the time but underneath all that is a woman who has been to hell and back. Jaz loves her family, even if they get on her nerves; she loves her country, her job and will do whatever it takes to keep Vayl safe. This is a character that you fall in love with from the start. Who wouldn’t like a smart-mouth assassin with a penchant for nice cars?

Something else I loved about 'Once Bitten, Twice Shy' is that it starts out so simple. You think that you already know how the story will go and as you read on you realize that this is something completely new. Jennifer Rardin is a name to watch and if you haven’t yet picked up her debut then you should. I already can’t wait to read the second, 'Another One Bites the Dust.'
Profile Image for Amanda.
707 reviews96 followers
July 16, 2010
In a genre that contains such heavy-hitters as Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison, Jennifer Rardin's debut novel is heralded as a fresh new take on the 'paranormal fantasy' (or whatever tag it is going by these days!) spectrum.

Indeed, the idea that the main character is a CIA operative is intriguing, and the vamp/supernatural elements of the story are dropped in without any painful info-dumps or unnecessary explanations.

In fact, the whole story invites you to cling onto a *very* bumpy ride and either hold on or slide off. Unfortunately for Rardin, I've decided to quit this ride on the first book and here are my reasons.

The pace is frenetic - in fact, too much so. There is no breathing space, no time to effectively build the characters, no pause from the constant action to really get a feel for the world we're supposed to believe in here.

Supernatural elements are thrown in without a full consideration of world-building, and characters suddenly develop new tricks without any true reasons being given.
The book tries far too hard to be funny and misses on most occasions: "Oh boy. I'm in smart-ass mode and Vayl wants to break his ex's neck. If we don't play this right, they'll be scraping parts of us off the bumpers of these cars for days."

Jaz is heralded as a sassy, spunky CIA operative. However, she is also held up to be a delicate-looking, beautiful redhead who, it seems, would be incapable of extricating herself out of the many, many dangerous situations her smart mouth seems determined to place her in. She is a loose cannon, and it becomes tiring to see that her only answer to everything is a wiseass comment and the threat of violence. I was also disconcerted by the fact she kisses a person she has only just met - there was no reason for this given.

I struggled with the, at times, distinctly odd prose and similies. For instance: "In the silence, the banging of our bumper took centre stage like an American Idol loser" - this just makes very little sense. Add to that: "Vayl made a sound in the back of his throat, a primal distress signal, the kind you might hear from elephants as they mourn over the bones of lost brothers." This is a vampire we're talking about - a sleek, killing machine and the animal Rardin associates with him is an elephant? And which elephants actually do mourn over the bones of lost brothers? The writing stank, to be perfectly honest.

Altogether a hugely disappointing read.
181 reviews
July 25, 2010
I honestly don't know how this book got so many 5 stars. I had passed this book by so many times, and never picked it up because the title just didn't do it for me.

I read the reviews and I thought to myself, "okay, I'll give it a shot." It was a waste of time, really. I skipped a lot of it because it was just plain boring and rushed.

The character development sucked butt. I wanted to like Vayl, and I believe that I would have, if his character was more developed. I didn't want his whole 300 years of life, but it would have been a great thing to add some details to his background, before dumping his 'late wife' into the story. His attraction to Jaz was out of the blue. Jasmines attraction to Cole, was weird and again, out of the blue (he kisses her while hiding in the ladies room because he wants to be like Bond, and she kisses him back for...hell I dont know why).

Jaz and Vayl's 'relationship' is never actually announced. How she became a 'Sensitive' was kind of described but not really well. The 'magic' or whatever that she received after Vayl feed from her wasn't really explained to the reader. It gave no description of why she was getting magic, what actually passed between them during that time (cause she blacks out). The black outs themselves I don't understand. She constantly repeats hereself. "the job, the job, the job..." annoying really. There were so many analogies in the book, that I started skipping a lot. The plot was rushed and none too exciting, in my opinion. Her relationship with her brother in pretty much described as non-existent, but he all of a sudden forgives her and understands how hard she had it in the past, when she warns him about a bomb. I honestly have so many complaints.

I quit reading read this book at page 134. It was just too annoying and rushed to me. I was tired of the lame bad guys 'taking over the world' bit, the late wife wanting some ring from Jaz, Jaz smart mouth (which is not really a bad thing but it gets old pretty fast).

I believe it could have been a good book, if it wasn't so rushed and gave a little more background info on the characters.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carien.
1,271 reviews29 followers
November 24, 2018
2018 review:

I've read this book before in 2011, but couldn't remember a thing! Usually this is a bad sign. My brain has the habit of blocking books and movies I hated. Still, my review from back then didn't sound ranty, and I even stated being willing to try a second book in the series. As I could get the first 5 book in this series for a steal at the charity shop I decided to give this series another chance and reread this book.

And this is an enjoyable read. My brain must have decided to also forget reasonably nice reads.

The book starts with Jaz being told she's going to work with Vayl, and then immediately switches to six month later. I will confess I wish I got the story of their first six month working together as well. Still I really like Jaz and Vayl. The tension between them is interesting and promising.

The story itself is suspenseful, but at times a bit chaotic. I'm not sure if it's the writing or that the plot might be too convoluted. A small annoyance was the fact that Jaz as narrator didn't reveal information she had, but kept eluding to it: "I haven't been the same since.... THE THING!!!" Ok, I'm paraphrasing here, but mention like that were many before we finally were informed about what happened in the past.

That aside the story was entertaining enough that I'm curious about the next book, and want to see how the relationship between Jaz and Vayl will develop. I'll be picking up book two one of these days.


Below is my review from 2011:
I reread it in 2018 and I will confess I remembered nothing of the story.
Rating from 2011 was 2 stars, new rating 3 stars.

I heard many good things about this series before starting this book and was thinking I would certainly like it.

I really liked Jaz and Vayl and the chemistry between them, I'll give the book that. Otherwise it felt very chaotic, both storywise and how it was written. I had difficulty keeping my attention on the story because of that. I'm still not quite sure what the bad guys wanted and why, I will confess.

Chances of me continuing this series are slim, but I will be fair enough to say I would give book two a try if I came across it in a sale to see if the chaos in this book is because of inexperience or if it's just Rardin's style.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 46 books128k followers
April 24, 2008
This book is not great. I say that off the top to anyone who picks it up after reading what I have to say, because I don't want any nagging or resentment. The characters are pretty cliche'd, they don't even act sensically from chapter to chapter. What this book does provide (along with the other 4 I've read in the series) is just a fun popcorn snack of cliches that I gobbled up and had a ton of fun reading. If you're into mindless action-adventure vampire stuff (think Anita blake meets James Bond) then pick these up!
Profile Image for Shaitarn.
497 reviews35 followers
May 4, 2021
Books like this are the reason why I don’t like urban fantasy as much as I want to.

Vayl is the CIA’s top assassin. He’s a 291 year old vampire who is assigned a new partner. Jasmine Parkes (AKA ‘Jaz’) is officially his bodyguard but in reality is working as his partner/assistant /apprentice after Bad Things Happened in Her Past.

The plot summary may make it sound as though Vayl (I never did decide how to pronounce his name – I settled for ‘Veil’ in the end) is the main character, but that spot actually goes to Jaz, our narrator and female lead. Okay, now I’m going to start ranting…

Jaz and Vayl are characters that have appeared many, many times in UF – Jasmine is a smart-mouthed, sassy, tough-as-nails heroine with the intelligence of a fruit fly. She’s also a Sensitive – this means she can sense vampires, but it becomes a more important ability because of reasons during this book and her feet are set on the Special Snowflake path – I wouldn’t be surprised if later on she becomes a super special snowflake with awesome powers. Oh, and

Vayl, meanwhile is the usual stoic-to-the-point-of-having-virtually-no-personality-whatsoever brooding vampire. He shows virtually no expression – the slightest hint of a smile is the equivalent of a full belly laugh from anyone else, so obviously he must be a real fun guy to hang around with. His job seems to be to turn up and provide any muscle needed on the job as he contributes little else.

Other problems I have with this book: at the start Jaz and Vayl have been working together for six months, presumably on a perfectly normal working relationship, but now Jaz suddenly find him attractive? WTH? I’m sorry, does anyone’s sexuality actually work that way?! To clarify, there’s no ‘oh, I couldn’t stand you, but now I love you’ enemies-to-friends-to-lovers growth here (because who doesn’t love that if it’s done right?), just suddenly her hormones kick in and she wants him. Vayl seems fine with that; has anyone ever read a book where the main character really wants the hot dead guy, but he doesn’t find her attractive? I’d like to see that.

The plot is absurd: Jaz spends about five minutes on her laptop and deduces who the main villain in the organisation is. It makes you wonder why no one else figured out who it was months ago. Perhaps they weren’t special enough to work it all out, but it honestly makes the CIA look like a bunch of cretins. The author also shows a poor understanding of geography and history as well: the Pakistani villain has a very Middle Eastern sounding name, and a vampire that was turned in the 1700s would not have ‘palled around’ with Julius Caesar, unless he was a 1,800 year old man when he was turned. I know these things are nit-picking, but when I’m annoyed I can (and frequently will) be that picky.

I only finished this book because I was travelling for five hours and my other books were shut in my case in the luggage rack and hence unreachable.

There are some diamonds in the UF genre, but this isn’t one of them. Hell, it isn’t even cubic zirconia. I’ll be dumping this on the shelves of my local charity shop very, very soon. Not recommended.
Profile Image for Sayuri_x.
74 reviews73 followers
March 26, 2008
Once Bitten, Twice Shy revolves around a smart, sassy, paranoid, crazy and dangerous to know in a ‘Lethal Weapon’ kind of way, female character Jasmine ‘Jaz’ Parks. She works for the CIA with her boss, Vayl, who is a 291 year old vampire. (played in this reader’s imagination by Gerard Bulter…gulp.) Vayl is one of the good guys. He has chosen to live in peaceful co-existence with humans. Working for the CIA as an assassin helps him channel his ‘agression’. In this first installment Jaz and Vayl are dispatched to Miami to do a little recon. But it’s never that simple is it?

With a blend of action, angst, humour and a wee smidgen of romance (to keep the guys happy) and a spattering of gore (to keep the girls happy) Jennifer Rardin has hit the jackpot. Her characters are complex and colourful while still remaining ‘real’ enough in the context of her universe. There is character growth with relationships changing and evolving around the five main players and also the major ‘minor’ characters. Mysterious back-stories are interwoven deftly and plots are played out to a gratifying conclusion.

The overall tone is light, written in the first person (Jaz) and it is action packed. In fact, that would be my only complaint about this book. It reads at a breakneck speed and it is over far too quickly. It would have been nice to linger at certain points and have a little more exploration of certain issues.

Jaz is a great protagonist and her voice is quite distinctive throughout the book. As with any vampire book Jennifer Rardin has blended together the usual vampire lore and given it her own spin.

I loved it and will certainly be back for more.
Profile Image for Colliding Worlds.
353 reviews27 followers
February 7, 2017
Gelesen: 2010 / Reread: 2016
Immer noch so genial, wie ich es in Erinnerung hatte. Jaz ist wirklich eine einzigartige Figur, selbst unter den UF-Heldinnen und ich liebe sie und ihr Team abgöttisch. Da es inzwischen sechs Jahre her ist, dass ich das Buch zum ersten Mal gelesen habe, war es fast, als würde ich es noch einmal neu lesen. Grob wusste ich zwar noch, worauf es hinausläuft, aber da ich bis auf den Abschlussband die Geschichte nun kenne, hatte ich eine ganz andere Perspektive auf einige Details der Handlung, ganz besonders im Bezug auf Jaz und Vayl.
Ich tendiere zwar inzwischen für diesen Band eher zu 4 statt 5 Sternen, aber ich belasse es bei der Originalbewertung von 2010.
Profile Image for fleurette.
1,354 reviews113 followers
September 14, 2017
I think I had too high expectations about this book. I still liked it but it isn't as good as I was hoping.

Jaz is working for CIA and is paired with a very old vampire. They are a team of killers. While on the mission they come into a bigger scheme than they thought. The case of a plastic surgeon supporting terrorists turns out to be a plan to spread a virus between the vampires around the world. Jaz and Vayl have to stop it before it is too late.

I generally liked the plot and the characters. Although, I'm not sure about all those deep feelings between Jaz and Vayl, I just couldn't really find them.

Someday, I will probably read another book in this series but not just now.
365 reviews37 followers
June 15, 2018
I enjoyed this book, so three stars, but it's a hard one for me to review. That's because important new characters are introduced partway through the novel, and both the plot and the main character develop dimensions that aren't foreseeable during the first half, so a great deal of what we want to talk about in a review would have to go in the spoiler tags that I try to avoid as much as I can. With that in mind I'll try to give you an idea of why this was fun for me to read in spite of a few problems.

Here's the set-up: the main character, Jasmine (Jaz) Parks, age 25, ex-military, survived a terrible event a year previously that's only hinted at until page 120--. Now she has anger issues and blackouts that get in the way of doing her job as the official assistant and actual bodyguard of Vayl, a vampire born in Romania in 1744 who now works as an assassin for the CIA. Vayl's attractive, but as she tells herself on page 16
...don't you dare go there. For damn sure not with your badass vampire bossman. He could never replace Matt anyway. No one could.
Vayl wants a special traditional bond with her that has more to do with trust than romance, of which there is very little in this novel (sequels may be another story).

Their mission (the one that expands unexpectedly after a while) is to extract, interrogate, and terminate a plastic surgeon in Miami who has been aiding a terrorist cult that worships a chaos beast called the Tor-al-Degan; the surgeon and the Deganites are allied to the evil and powerful number-one target of Jaz and Vayl's department, nicknamed the Raptor. If you imagine that this mission, as in so many other urban fantasy novels, is probably going to escalate into saving the world, well .

The lively first-person narrative tells an action-filled story strictly from the point of view of Jaz, whose mind is filled with snarky thoughts even when a fight is on, let alone during descriptions and dialogue; her wry little fantasies are entertaining for the most part, but there are times when I want to say enough is enough, get on with it. In the widely accepted tradition of adventure stories, she lets fly smart remarks during action scenes that in real life would be conducted in silence and maybe a little grunting.

Jaz is already an experienced vampire killer, and she has a valuable talent--she can smell them and vampires can't. As she puts it,
I tugged on [Vayl's] sleeve so he'd lean down, bringing his ear within an inch of my lips. "There's another vampire in the room." It seemed weird to be the one--of the two of us--who could sense this. But vamps are completely closed to one another. I imagine it makes for horrible relationships.
Regrettably, the smell of vampires tends to make Jaz vomit on the spot, rather publicly.

Jaz's view of her job is that she saves innocent lives by taking out bad guys, but her anger can lead her to overstep that code; she's definitely a "kick-ass heroine" but not one that's easy to warm up to. She's loyal to her brother (off on secret missions) and her pregnant sister and does her duty to her institutionalized father , and she's very protective to her newfound & endangered buddy Cole, a P.I.; she brings her old college roommate Bergman into the mission for his technical expertise (and paranoia), and a psychic with interesting powers gets involved too. I liked all these secondary characters and thoroughly despised the villains, and I thought Vayl was a strong leader who sincerely cared for Jaz.
Profile Image for Susan (susayq ~).
2,109 reviews121 followers
April 6, 2013
3.5 stars

While I liked the overall premise of the book (it reminded me of Cat and Bones a bit), Jaz confused me often. I'm not quite sure if she thinks is what makes her think she's crazy and makes her sort of talk to herself. Vayl has huge potential and I think he really likes her, could possibly even love her. I'll have to read more and find out ;)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,202 reviews24 followers
March 6, 2021
I DEVOURED this book ya'll.

It was so good. I am going to have to order book two asap. It was such a page turner with so many fun bits.

I really love the main characters and their dynamic. It is well paced and a very easy read.

Soooo good. I can't believe I waited this long to read this one! Pretty sure this one has been on my to be read shelf since I joined goodreads back in 2013.
Profile Image for Cheryl La Pa.
393 reviews64 followers
July 3, 2016
Thoroughly enjoyable read. Loved the writing style, the characters and the paranormal world. I was intrigued with Vahl and Jazz, and loved how they worked so well together, complementing each other. I want to know more about them - their pasts, their secrets and what will happen next. I'll definitely be reading the next book in this series.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,918 reviews69.3k followers
January 4, 2010
I hadn't heard much about the Jaz Parks series, so I guess I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I loved the action/spy stuff! There were also enough James Bond-like gadgets to made me clap my hands and squeal!
Profile Image for Nicole P.
784 reviews
May 25, 2019
This was a funny and enjoyable read. I liked the heroine and found her to be spunky and hilarious and her family were one of a kind. I look forward to reading the next book.
Profile Image for Amyiw.
2,254 reviews63 followers
March 21, 2017
4 1/2 stars
Jaz is a great take no prisoners character. She feels that she has to make up for her past so she fights the good fight and doesn't question herself in angsty details. She has snark continually playing in her mind if not outright in her responses. I would love to see this as an audiobook and the way a good narrator could bring alive the supporting characters. Yaz-mee-na as Vayl calls her, Vayl would have a way cool accent, at least he does in my head. Still figuring out when she is talking to herself or talking outloud would be difficult.

So Jaz and her 6 month together partner are on an assignment and things start to go wrong. It seems they are being attacked and set up and it must be someone higher up. Well, while this whole UF plot goes on, we learn about Jaz through her actions, reactions, conversations and thoughts, this is the true show me, don't tell me, learning the characters. The main side kicks are Cole, Cassandra, & Bergman, there are other smaller parts who will probably factor more in future books but here these are the ones we start to get to know. This is both character driven and plot driven which I believe is the best of both worlds though I am a character driven reader myself.

If I had any complaints, it would be with the plot. They are small and truly did not take much away from my enjoyment of the book and characters. Vayl's wife just didn't make sense to me, why was she even part of the book? She could have been in another just as easily. And the big one, the ending scene was a bit all over the place, yes it works out in the end, but it is falling all over one another. I liked how it turned out in the end but during the read, it was just a little over the top and too much. Luckily it was one scene and short and the ending was pretty good.

This has humor, some great characters, and a pretty good plot all mix into one. One of my favorite starts to a series this year. Amazing as I've had the first 4 books on my shelf for years! Definitely will be reading on. Bump up for the great start.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,112 reviews564 followers
March 27, 2015
Originally posted at The Book Nympho

Jaz is a tough heroine with a smart mouth. Got to love those kick-ass chicks with attitude. She is a totally believable character with her family problems with her stubborn dad, little sister, and twin brother. And since this book is about a tough heroine that works for the C.I.A. that is partnered with a Vamp you know there will be action in the book.

There was a good mix of humor with action and I liked the side characters and hope they continue to show up in future books.

The relationship that Jaz and Vayl have starts out as a great working partnership and then by the end of the book it turns into something more. But there is not much romance in this opening book of the series which makes me wonder if we will get more in the following books. They have good chemistry and could really heat up in the future.

I enjoyed the plot and characters but felt like Rardin used too many pop culture references that I just didn't get. But with any book series there are growing pains and hopefully the writing will work itself out in the following installments.

I highly recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy books that feature a strong female lead.

If you like this book you might also like:

Riley Jenson Guardian Series by Keri Arthur

Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost

Profile Image for Stephanie  G.
1,122 reviews302 followers
November 27, 2010
First off there is so much action and stuff going on in this I am not ever sure were to begin.

Jazz or Jasmine Parks is a bad ass assassin, who works for an even more bad ass vampire named Vayl. Jazz has been working for him for a while she given to him to be his assistant at his request. Jazz has some hidden secretes that affects her daily routine. She suffers from periodic black-outs. If that is not bad enough, the current job they are on has proved to be more challenging than expected.

Jazz and Vayl were set to take out a big dirty player named Assin but what they found instead was a plot to infect millions so they die and they can weed out the unworthy . This plot has. Throw a monkey wrench in the works and if that is not bad enough Vayl’s ex-wife has now shown up and she wants jazz's head.

I enjoyed this book it was nonstop action. Vayl is very charismatic he radiates power. I can tell that vayl cares for jazz they have a strong sexual tension that most drives you crazy just wanting them to get together ready.

I liked that there is not one boring spot in this book it keeps you engaged the entire book and then leaves you wanting more without a cliffhanger. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Profile Image for Sandra.
1,292 reviews85 followers
February 14, 2011
I don't understand why it took me so long to read this book. I got about half way and put it down and then kept picking up other books. It's not a bad book, hence the 4 stars, but maybe I was expecting more after reading too much hype.

So the story goes - Jaz Parks is an assassin for the CIA, mainly killing paranormal creatures. Vayl is her boss & partner, he is a vamp, a good vamp born in 1744 Romania.

Their latest mission is to stop a deadly plague being released by bad vamps & a mysterious creature from another dimension. Along the way we meet Cassandra, a psychic and Bergmann the paranoid electronics wizz, together with Cole a PI. They all join our merry little band of assassins and have their roles to play.

Along the way we have Jaz leaving her body and astral travelling, which comes in handy for surveillance and totally freaks out Vayl.

Will certainly be continuing reading the series.
Profile Image for Courtney.
6 reviews4 followers
April 29, 2008
This book revolves around Jaz, a woman tortured by a horrible past who's currently working for the CIA as an assassin. She's partnered with the CIA's best agent, a vampire named Vayl.

The book has some good elements, but the execution could have used some work. The world is barely described, and though the author mentions other supernatural creepies, she really only delves into the vampiric ones. Likewise, the characters are flat and rushed. The plot is also rushed, jumping in leaps and bounds at places. The inevitable romance is at least tasteful, but again, it comes out of nowhere.

All in all, the book is good for a quick skim and not much more. There are a few questions left at the end that might merit jumping to the next book in the series, but if it's as rushed and nondescript as this one, it'd be better to pass.
Profile Image for Robin.
104 reviews
May 16, 2009
Basic story line - Jaz Parks is a gov. agent. She is paired up with a 300 year old vampire by the name of Vayl. They are after a immortal named Assan who is about to set loose a deadly virus. I was excited to finally get this book albiet in Kindle edition, but after reading it, I wonder what all the fuss was about. I didn't find the characters all that interesting. I tired easily of Jaz talking or thinking comments to herself. I didn't really feel Vayl was given any real characteristics that stood out. The story was pretty basic, nothing really new there. All in all this book just didn't do anything for me. It was tiresome to just read it. When I finally finished I felt so much more could have been done to make this a bettter read.
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,989 reviews194 followers
June 18, 2010
The action was first rate, I got tired of the "my poor past routine". I really wanted her to connect with her vamp more, ah well lack of romance. Perhaps that lowered it a star for me. This book really called for a little love, she and he have been so wounded. I thought the distraction from the human, Cole was a wasted write in, I could not find a reason for him to be there. I really wanted to dive more into the past of these characters, perhaps she will lead us their in future books ? The way she was brought back, was fascinating, top rate !
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