WITH THIS RING, I THEE DEAD. Just as Jane Jameson’s unlife seems to be stabilizing, fate sinks its fangs firmly into her butt. Despite her near-phobia of wedding planning, her no-frills nighttime nuptials to her sexy boyfriend, Gabriel, are coming along smoothly. That is, until she turns a fatally wounded teenage acquaintance, and the Council pronounces her responsible for the newborn vamp until he can control his thirst. Jane’s kitchen barely holds enough Faux Type O to satiate the cute teen’s appetite and maintain Gabriel’s jealous streak at a slow simmer. As if keeping her hyperactive childe from sucking the blood out of the entire neighborhood isn’t enough to deal with, the persnickety ghost of Jane’s newly deceased grandma Ruthie has declared war on the fanged residents of River Oaks. Suddenly, choosing monogrammed cocktail napkins and a cake she can’t even eat seem downright relaxing in comparison. Tensions inside the house are growing… and outside, a sinister force is aiming a stake straight for the center of Gabriel’s heart. Most brides just have to worry about choosing the right dress, but Jane fears that, at this rate, she’ll never make it down the aisle for the wedding all nice girls dream of.
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Ever since I finished "Nice Girls Don't Live Forever" I've been waiting patiently for this book to come out. I got it the day it was released. And once again Ms. Harper did not disappoint me. I've said it in every review of one of her books and I'll say it again, "I love Molly Harper's books!". She is so clever and witty and her character development from book to book is fantastic. I've come to view these characters as almost family and hate it when I hear that music at the end......
Harper starts each book and chapter with a piece of advice from a fictitious paranormal "guide book". In this book it is "Siring for the Stupid: A Beginner's Guide To Raising Newborn Vampires". It sets the tone for the book as well as each chapter, depending on the advice given in each blurb. From book to book, it still hasn't gotten old; it still "works"'. This story goes along pretty much the same way as the other books in the series, with Jane and her friends trying to solve a mystery or sometimes several mysteries; all the while trying to avoid being killed in some gruesome manner and/or avoid entanglements with Jane's Grandma Ruthie, a fate almost worse than death.
In this latest installment of the "Nice Girls" vamp series, Jane is now the "sire", having turned an old family friend into a vampire after he's accidentally hit by a car. It is now Jane's responsibility to see that Jamie, a gorgeous teenager whom she babysat as a child, learns how to be a decent vampire and doesn't go on a random killing spree through Half Moon Hollow. Added to this, someone is trying to kill her fiance, Gabriel. And if all of that weren't enough, horror of horrors, they're also trying to plan a wedding.
Jane Jameson is such a great character. I love her snarky, sarcastic attitude and the way she seems to attract trouble. I've always enjoyed watching the underdog get ahead and, for a heroine (and a vampire, no less), she surely is an underdog from the word go. And boy is she accident-prone! In spite of her super-fast reflexes and super-human strength, bad things still just seem to happen to her. Once again, as in previous books, there are laugh-out-loud moments, like the "Wives Need To Learn Special tricks" lecture given by her Mama on Jane's wedding night (and Jane's reaction to it). Then there is the description of the gowns Jane makes her gorgeous bridesmaids wear, out of pseudo-revenge. There are also some touching moments like, near the end, when Jane "loses" some very important "people" to whom she is very close......Sorry Molly, I totally saw it coming.
Amanda Ronconi is the perfect narrator for Molly Harper's books. I wrote this in a previous review: "Amanda Ronconi's voice is perfect for Harper's stories and I'm glad she is the narrator for all of them so far. She differentiates between characters well so I was never confused about who was speaking. I greatly enjoy Ms. Ronconi's style of 'performing the books', not just reading them". I would also say that, since Ms. Ronconi is a talented actress, it's no surprise that I have gotten sucked into these books like I have, no pun intended. She's quickly becoming my favorite narrator and I find myself comparing every other female narrator in this genre to her - unfavorably, I might add. In fact, I've purchased other books simply because she narrates them (even though it is a YA series, "Soul Screamers", though very different, is quite good).
All-in-all I highly recommend this book and the entire series to anyone who enjoys the paranormal genre. Even if you don't normally appreciate paranormal lit, I think you should give it a try. It's completely different from another, very popular, series in which vampires "sparkle". It has lots of humor, a little bit of romance, action, and mystery. I certainly hope this is not the last we'll hear of Ms. Jameson (aka Mrs. Nightingale).
I'm writing this review with a goofy grin on my face, because what can one say about an author who uses "vampire" and "chrysalis" in a sentence, and it makes perfect sense. Molly Harper is sublime.
This isn't my favorite Jane book, but that just brings it down to a solid 5-star, instead of the 5-star+ (in my head) for the previous three books. This book stands on its own: Ms. Harper does an excellent job weaving in past histories without it being jarring or disruptive: seamless. One will, of course, enjoy it even more if one has read the previous books, but that's because the characters are all so decidedly like-able (Grandma Ruthy, aside) and their inidividual stories in Jane's past are hilarious. I hope the wrap-up in this book doesn't signify the (final) end to Jane's series. If so, I have deep hope for more from the "Driving Mr. Dead" spin-off.
Amanda Ronconi, again, does a terrific job with narration, Her intonation is spot on, and her voices are specific and character-identifiable. She truly brings to life Ms. Harper's clever, funny, pleasant, witty, and entertaining writing. (Gush much?)