Author: Astrid Cooper
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: M/M Romance, Paranormal
Rampaging vampires, mischievous cat-shifters, frustrated spinsters, a forbidden lover and low cal. erotic desserts – just routine for a wizard…
Banned from using his magic, Severin is banished to live in the world of humans. So what’s a sixth level mystic meant to do? Simple: use his remaining skills and open up a bakery at Christmas Creek. Severin’s creations are all low cal, but it is his Decadence line—the erotic desserts—that cause a culinary stir in the normally quiet Australian town.
Severin’s plans for revenge against his enemies are put on hold the moment he meets Will Lawrence, the young Aussie whose golden hair and sexy smile bring Severin to his knees… all things considered that’s not such a bad place to be when you have a lover like Will. Except the vampires demand Sev’s blood, the shapeshifters want a piece of him, and the unmarried women of Christmas Creek want more than his chocolate éclairs… Except he isn’t a ladies’ man. Watch the fur and fangs fly.
I decided to do a review of the first 7 books of the series together. Some have longer reviews than others but this gives you a look at the books as I went through the series. Overall, it was entertaining fluff, good for afternoon readings to pass the time. If I hadn’t committed to reading book 8, I would have stopped at book 1, but I’m glad I didn’t as the others were much better. Here are my thoughts:
Christmas Creek, 2 Stars
This looked like the start to a fun new paranormal series set in Australia, complete with cat-shifters, vampires and wizards. Unfortunately, confusion, odd plot points and a strange fear of women dampened my enthusiasm. Not to mention the lack of anything to do with Monsters inK, the title of the series. That business isn’t actually introduced until book 2, Vampire for Hire, which is only loosely connected to this one. And when I say loosely, I mean they both have vampires, mention wizards and are set in Australia but that seems to be it. Vampires in book 1 are evil creatures where as they are not portrayed as such in book 2. In book 2, wizards are made out to be the viler of the two, though both see themselves as above Humans.
Now, I should not judge a book solely on its place in the series. So, putting that part aside, I found character motivations off. Severin is cast out of Wizard Sanctuary for some reason that we don’t fully know, and stripped of most of his money. So with the remaining amount he buys a bakery (practically sight unseen), a Porche, and Armani suits? Knowing he won’t have much to live off of? Then there’s his complete revulsion for women. It is stated that this is a cultural thing, but it isn’t explained at all other than women are inferior and awful and it is beat into wizards as they mature – literally. I think it was supposed to be funny and he eventually comes around to liking a few and realizing women aren’t all bad, but being repeatedly hit over the head with how much he detests them is annoying and off putting.
Then there is Will. Will is a bit of a mystery. He’s not sure what to make of Severin and tries to draw him out from Sev’s hoity-toity attitude. However, when it comes to the sex, he is a virgin with exceptional skills. We don’t really get a good sense of where he is coming from. What happened in his past that kept him closeted? He then leaves that closet very easily it seems.
Add in Tarix who also comes from the women hating world just falling for a woman at a drop of a hat.
The evil Vampires come to destroy Severin, they prevail.
Then the big bad Wizard is dealt with off page and they all live happily ever after.
Vampire For Hire is book 2 in the Monsters inK series, but it is the first one actually related to the title. Monsters inK is a Character for Hire shop, where people hire all sorts of monsters – witches, ghouls, ghosts, and now Vampires. Well one vampire at least.
Sebastian has been Banned from his home planet of Dracule. Left with crippled powers and no money, he is forced to seek out employment. This brings him to meeting the proprietor of Monsters inK, Matthew.
I enjoyed Sebastian, though the details of his background are sketchy. I liked that even though he wanted Mathew, he took things slowly. Mathew, however, is a jerk to Sebastian.
The supernatural world described in this book is different than the one in the first book. Sebastian is not an evil vampire, and women aren’t hated (maybe that is only a wizard thing). All though even in book 1, Wizards thought themselves above humans, as does Sebastian despite his attraction to Mathew.
I enjoyed the witch’s character.
Well, this was better than the first two. It jumps right into the world though, with no building, so you must read the other two books first. This one actually ties the first book in, though discounts some of what we are told in that book, which is confusing. There are also some minor plot holes/consistency issues that I think are the fault of editing.
Leydan is a sexy, if mysterious, cat-shifter and I liked the tension between him and Jaidyn. There is lots of magic and action in this book but very little sex. I would have liked a little more between the sheets from them.
This book sets up a further reaching storyline that appears to carry through the rest of the series so I am sure we will see these two again in the future. I am actually looking forward to the next book now that things seem to have a direction.
Monsters inK is also now a Cabaret show and sanctuary for misfits rather than its original purpose.
Fangs for the Memories is much more low-key than the others in the series. Only one little action scene and no real big conflict made it nice and sweet and easy. I liked Raymond and Tajan. Their difficulty in understanding each other’s use of language was humorous. Gyng the cat was an adorable presence.
There were a few editing errors, but that seems par for the series. The underlying plot setup in book 3 was not touched on in this book other than a vague reference to the draconis race. The author has stated that she wants the books to be stand-alones with the other characters popping in and the story arc, I’m not sure if that will be entirely possible. On to book 5 to see if this thread is picked up.
Book 5 focuses on Leydan’s cousin Kellyn, who is a lynx shifter, and a human named Alexander. Set closer to the town of Christmas Creek, we get to see Will and Severin again. Quite a bit of insta love in this one, but I do like both our main characters. There is a lot of humor among some sad circumstances that keeps the story light.
Here is the blurb for book 5:
Love hurts, love cures, love thrills and blood spills…
At Monsters inK there’s magic, mayhem and miracles – and fang-boys tango and tangle in the sultry dance of seduction and love.
Radan is a tarot-reading, vampire-kangaroo hybrid, who despairs of finding his true love. On the eve of his one hundredth birthday he discovers his dying soul-mate in a garbage dumpster, stinking of fish, but when the man’s blue eyes open, it’s instant Mate Recognition for Rad. The only chance to save his man is immediately change him to vampire—but a blood-transfer made without the man’s love can turn him into a vampire rogue. Has Radan found his true mate only to lose him to the blood-lust?
Andrew Smith is a street-wise cop whose life is comprised of deadly secrets—even his name is a lie. He’s been hurt in the past and he never wants to face betrayal again. So, when he awakens from his ordeal to discover he’s now a vampire, and the guy who’s responsible is a crazy dude who insists that Drew is his mate, and that it’s love at first bite, what is a cop to do, but run? Except, he can’t escape and all he can do is resist Rad’s sexy seduction—or die trying.
So, at Monsters inK there’s magic, mayhem and miracles – and fang-boys tango and tangle in the sultry dance of seduction and love…”
While entertaining, I found the characters in this installment to be a little inconsistent. Andrew’s attitude was all over the place and I didn’t believe in their love being anything other than Radan’s recognition. They didn’t have anything in common. The kangaroo shifter was interesting.
Zefran, a vampire witch, and Shandor, a leopard shifter, are the couple in book 7. Zefran has been hurt and wants nothing to do with any man. Shandor recognizes Zefran is his mate and pursues him despite Zefran’s reluctance.
Zefran has secrets but the Monster’s team rallies around him. We again see much of the gang and meet a few new players. Zefran and Shandor definitely have a slow burn and things jump from no to I love you fast, but that seems typical for this series.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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