Expected Release Date: October 17, 2011 (Available Now!)
Publisher: Self Published
Author’s Website: http://mercyloomis.com/
My Source for This Book: Gift
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Official Blurb:

Madison, WI. 1999. When vampire Gabriel Chapel decides to take on a fledgling, he knows not just anyone will do. Newly-turned vampires kill at least one person a night for the first decade or so—a fate most humans could never adjust to. 

For college student Amanda Bairns, nothing is more important than finally taking control of her life. But when Gabriel forces her to drink his blood, Amanda is pulled deeper and deeper into a supernatural underworld she never knew existed, where mages have their fingers in local government, shapeshifting faeries control infrastructure, and aether-rich ley lines attract a host of creatures welcome and unwelcome. 

With the vampire’s blood coaxing her to become a murderer, Amanda has four weeks to discover which means more: her freedom and humanity, or the power Gabriel offers. But neither Gabriel nor Amanda realize Amanda is a pawn in a much bigger contest—one which could have lethal consequences not only for the two of them, but for the entire city. Contains explicit sex.

Madison, WI, 1999.

College student Amanda Bairns is finally about to take control of her own life. Getting her degree and finally getting out from under her mother’s thumb should mean this is one of the happiest times in her life. But when Gabriel, a friend from school, turns out to be a psychotic vampire intent on making her his newest fledgling, her dreams of the future turn into a nightmare filled with blood, mind control, violent sex, and murder.    With the transformation incomplete, Gabriel promises Amanda one month to choose between the seductive power of vampirism or the frail weakness of being human prey.  Four weeks seems like a small enough time to hold onto her humanity, but with each passing day, the new seductive powers she’s discovering, the physical changes, and the blood lust thrumming in her veins all become harder to ignore.

Amanda’s transformation is not their only concern, however, when it becomes apparent that there are outside forces whose interest in Gabriel’s newest fledgling could mean a major shift in power not only in the city of Madison, but in the supernatural community as a whole.

What Worked For Me:

  • This book is not what I would call a “traditional” paranormal romance. Instead, it was very dark, and while there were certainly romantic themes on occasion, it also toed the line of a horror story quite well.  There was just something about Amanda’s reluctant attraction to Gabriel, her horror and disgust at what he was and what she was becoming, and her struggle against the very real feelings of power and superiority that she was beginning to feel towards other humans, that just made this book impossible for me to put down.
  • Gabriel was awesome. A true sociopath, he was incapable of feeling emotions the way humans do, and with the blood lust on top of that, he thrived on the fear and pain of his victims, and enjoyed toying with them — keeping some as “pets” before killing them. Really,  I shouldn’t have liked him as a protagonist, because frankly, the guy is scary as hell, but I couldn’t help but enjoy his character.
  • I really liked Amanda as well, and the journey her character took was incredible.  As Gabriel said, the change to vampirism doesn’t change your personality, and Amanda soon learned some unpleasant truths about herself, such as how addictive it can be to control other people, and how easy it is to think of others as chattel instead of individuals.  I think what I liked the most about that was the fact that most people who get their first taste of real power would have the very strong potential to feel the same way, and how frighteningly easy it could truly be to let your humanity go in that sort of situation.
  • I. Loved. The ending. Loved it. It was quite unexpected in some ways, but in others, it just fit so perfectly with all of the changes that Amanda had gone through over the course of her time with Gabriel.   While certainly not a traditional “Happily Ever After” by any means, it was… right, for this story and really and truly couldn’t have ended any other way.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • BIG, BIG issue for me here — it’s a spoiler, so be sure you want to know before you click
    SPOILER ALERT SelectShow Spoiler
  • The shifting POV’s could get a little disorienting at times. While they certainly added depth to the story, at times I felt myself a little overwhelmed by the number of main characters. I think I just wanted to focus on Gabriel and Amanda so much that seeing what other characters were up to just wasn’t a high priority for me.
  • Not really a “negative” for me, but I was never quite certain why the book was set in 1999 instead of just not specifying a year. There were only two references in the entire story that “dated” the story, and that was a reference to Star Wars: Episode One in the theaters, and a small reference to the whole computers/Y2K thing. It’s possible that the reasoning was mentioned or explained, but if so, it truly didn’t stick with me.

This book was a bit of an adventure for me.  You see, it’s not what I would call a “traditional” romance. Instead, it’s more of a horror novel with romantic elements, which I admit threw me off a bit.  However, if you approach this story as less of a romance and more of a sexy horror story, I think that you will get the full effect of the novel.

Even though I do tend to prefer traditional romances, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  Gabriel was sexy and terrifying, and Amanda was so incredibly real that I couldn’t help but love her. She, as like most people, preferred to think of herself as someone who would never even be tempted to abuse or harm another human being, but as her transformation progressed, she quickly realized the intoxicating abilities of pure, unadulterated power. This, more than the blood and gore, was probably one of the scariest things about this novel — the idea that it doesn’t require a sociopath to start thinking of other humans as beneath you once you get a taste of real power.

While there was one scene that troubled me greatly, the overall story captivated me from the very beginning and wouldn’t let me go.  The ending was absolutely fantastic despite being perhaps a bit unexpected, and I would recommend it for any fan vampires who are actually scary rather than sparkly*.

A very solid 4/5 Stars

*For the record, I am a Twihard, so that was not a bashing of Twilight fans lol


Check back Friday for an exciting Giveaway featuring this title for the Blog Tour De Troops hosted by The Indie Collective! Comments on this review during the tour will receive a FREE copy of the Scent and Shadow ebook!