Thursday, January 21, 2016

Between a Vamp and a Hard Place by Jessica Sims

Lindsey Hughes loves antiques and couldn’t be happier to make a living in the estate sale business. But when her assistant accidentally buys an entire estate without her approval, Lindsey is forced to clean up the mess herself.

Lindsey travels to the newly purchased, age-old house in Venice, Italy, and soon discovers more than she (never) bargained for. While digging through the hoarder’s trove that fills every floor, she finds a secret staircase behind a wall that leads to a strange coffin…with an even stranger inhabitant.

Vampire Rand FitzWulf has been in his coffin for 600 years. But now that he’s awake, he’s ravenous, and there’s a delicious-smelling woman with a rare blood type in his basement. Luckily, Lindsey has more to offer than blood: she agrees to travel throughout Europe with Rand to help him get revenge on the one who turned him. But as the unlikely pair grows closer, will the billionaire vampire be overtaken by his thirst for blood—or his thirst for love?

Title: | Series: | Author: | Publisher: Pocket Books |  Genre: Paranormal Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5

Okay, so there’s a few things that need to be cleared up first. Between A Vamp And A Hard Place is not part of the Midnight Liaisons series, this is a standalone book that has completely different characters and world building. If you’re a fan of the Midnight Liaisons series, try to go into this book with an open mind because, while it’s PNR, it’s very different. Also, it should be noted that Rand is not a billionaire like it says in the blurb.
What’s an antiques dealer to do when she inadvertently releases a vampire from his coffin? 
Here’s what’s going on: When Lindsey’s business partner and best friend throws caution to the wind and purchases an estate in Venice, Lindsey never expected to find a secret room containing a coffin with a vampire inside of it. Rand has been a vampire since the crusades, now he’s awoke in a new time and place to find himself drawn to the woman who freed him. As they travel throughout Europe searching for his vampire brothers, they find themselves forming an unexpected bond. Although when Rand’s sire, the Dragon, decides he’s had enough of Rand playing the part of a good vampire, he takes action. Now Rand must decide if he wants to stay with Lindsey or free himself—and the world—from the Dragon.
So, I’m a bit on the fence about this one. I enjoyed it, but parts of the plot and the actions of the characters, especially Lindsey and her friend Gemma, had me scratching my head.
I had a bit of trouble with Lindsey. I liked her but there was also part of her that just bothered the hob nobs out of me. I liked the fact that she deals with antiques. I liked her willingness to help Rand. Although she was kind of a control freak and there were times, especially towards the end, that Lindsey suddenly became this character that was too stupid to live. She thought she and Gemma could vanquish a highly power vampire on their own. I mean, seriously?!?!? When that happens, you can’t help but to root for the evil vampire.
Rand was very likable. He was a crusader-turned-vampire-warlord yet he had a conscience, which became a problem with his sire. He was very much a fish-out-of-water and it was interesting watching him try to figure out the present day. He was also willing to die to rid the world of the Dragon.  As this book was told from Lindsey’s POV, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see what was going on in Rand’s head.
The chemistry between Rand and Lindsey wasn’t entirely believable and I had to wonder if Rand would have become attached to anybody that had released him from his coffin. And while there was attraction, the chemistry was lacking.
The plot started a bit slow and seemed a little off kilter at times. I think it had to do with the scene changes not going smoothly. One minute it felt like I was reading a paranormal suspense, the next it was like the book suddenly turned into erotica before switching back over to a paranormal read. This book almost felt like she was combining her writing style as Jessica Clare with her writing style as Jessica Sims. It was a little clumsy—and I would have liked to have seen it smoothed out a bit—but in the end it worked.
There is a mystery woven in the book that deals with the identity of the ‘Dragon’ and, honestly, I had it figured out from the moment the ‘Dragon’ was mentioned on page 36 yet I continued to read to see the outcome—even if it did fall a bit flat for me.
The world building in this one was great. Sims takes well-known vampire lore, adds to it, and makes it her own. And she makes it believable. The only thing that I questioned was Rand’s reaction.
Overall, this one wasn’t a bad read. It was occasionally slow in spots, a tad bit off kilter, slightly predictable, and Lindsey could have made smarter decisions but I continued to read it.

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