As much as I dislike the cold of winter, I am very happy that so many great paranormal authors had new releases in late-December and January – a great way to encourage folks to spend book store gift certificates quickly! The plus side to winter is that you can curl up under the covers with a book and pretend you’re hibernating. So go find a blanket and ignore the world while you read Any Way You Want It and Sucker Bet!
I have loved escaping to the worlds created by both of these authors. I am focusing on the new releases, but I highly recommend you check out the other books by Erin McCarthy and Kathy Love – they are all fun, engaging novels that will help you forget your problems (or pain) for a little while. Winter is a wonderful time to escape into a romance (especially great vampire romances!) enjoying the heat from the book! Sucker Bet and Any Way You Want It have been connected by a New Orleans group named The Impalers – what a great name for a vampire band!
Any Way You Want It is the newest novel by Kathy Love. Kathy has written two wonderful series, but this is an unrelated new book (and maybe a new series?) about a recently jilted woman from Washington DC and a lampir from New Orleans. Maggie works researching and authenticating pieces of classical music, and has pushed fun aside after her recent breakup. Her friends bring her to New Orleans, where an old composition fosters a link between her and Ren, a singer in a Bourbon St. band called The Impalers. Ren had been a court musician and composer in the 1700s, and now he’s a lampir – a vampire who feeds off energy rather than blood. He has been cursed by his mother, and exists in a world of singing cover songs and having one-night stands, afraid of love.
Kathy switches perspective frequently between Maggie and Ren, which fleshes out both characters, and leaves us with a little smile that we know more than they do. While we know that this novel is a romance, Kathy seems to take her cue from the characters, and lets them move slowly in the beginning. As they alternate between pushing away and pulling towards each other, you learn what is in their hearts and heads, and can feel the build up of emotions.
One of the things I liked best about her Young Brothers series was how truly unique each character was – no stereotype vampires, and the secondary characters aren’t cardboard cutouts, either. The characters in Any Way You Want It continue in that vein, and right now I could easily imagine walking into a club on Bourbon Street and watching The Impalers play, complete with Ren singing the wrong line because Maggie distracted him. Maggie and Ren develop as interesting people, and the unexpected similarities in their lives draws them together.
Kathy’s abilities to write steamy love scenes are very impressive – these words will absolutely keep you warm this winter! However, these are more than just sex, there’s the sensual and truly romantic involved, too. Kathy has also done a beautiful job of writing how sensual and loving little gestures can be, and explores how you can make someone feel safe after they’ve been hurt. I hadn’t read anything previously about the lampir, so I hope she will write further novels exploring them. I also want to learn more about the rest of the band…
Sucker Bet, by Erin McCarthy is the newest release in her Vegas Vampires series. Glenna is the sister of the Vampire Nation’s president, and ex-wife to the Vice President. She has appeared as a secondary character in the earlier novels, and I came into the story thinking of her as a gentle, protected woman who at the same time seemed older than the other vampires. This mix of naïvité and maturity fascinated me, and I’m so glad to see her as the heroine of her own novel.
Gwenna is trying to learn more about the people on a Vampire Slayers email list, and as a result ends up at a crime scene where police detective Nick is working. They both feel a connection, but deaths and exes keep them apart at first. As their lives move closer and closer to each other, Erin gives us glimpses into both of their heads, smoothly switching perspectives. Nick’s personality pops from the page, and his first impressions of Gwenna are very funny. In fact, I am happy to pick up one of Erin’s books, because I know that in addition to the romance there will be plenty of laughs!
The other characters from the Vegas Vampires series are also involved in the storyline, and well-written supportive characters helps the novel keep you engrossed. The Impalers that also appear in Any Way You Want It show up for a few concerts, and through a friend of Gwenna’s we meet the bassist, Dave. Gwenna’s mix of boldness and shyness make for a really interesting combination when she gets drunk at an Impalers concert with her sister-in-law and a friend – especially since she’s supposed to be gathering information for an investigation with Nick!
Erin McCarthy brings us through a developing romance, a jealous ex-husband, a murder investigation, and the world of vampires, and does it with fabulous characters who catch your interest from the beginning. This book kept me up well past my bedtime – I couldn’t put it down! While I think that the Sucker Bet is a great read on its own, it will be an even better if you read the first three books of the Vegas Vampires series.
If you like romances or vampires, or if you just want a few hours to escape the mundane world into a fun read with great characters, go pick up Sucker Bet and Any Way You Want It. Grab a fleece blanket and a cozy spot and enjoy the winter the right way – inside with books! You should also visit The Impalers‘ website, and read the free serial about lead guitarist Drake!