The wonderful novel Happy Hour at Casa Dracula has been re-released as a mass market paperback after its original release in trade paperback. I mentioned this book in a previous post about great vampire romances, and relished the idea of the story being available to a larger audience. Of course, I also relished the idea of re-reading Marta Acosta’s bon mots within Happy Hour at Casa Dracula! If you know how Happy Hour ends, you will spot Marta’s clues throughout the book – it qualifies as a top re-read – definitely a novel to be read more than once.
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula could be put into many categories – Latina literature, vampire novel, vampire romance, paranormal mystery, and so many others. Marta Acosta does a wonderful job of introducing her audience to a new type of vampire and a new heroine – one with natural curves and a cooking style that includes “putting things in tortillas”. the vampire fantasy genre tends to be overrun with very Caucasian individuals, with very few “people of hue”. It’s wonderful to see Happy Hour at Casa Dracula and the rest of the series bucking that trend.
Milagro de los Santos, Mil to her friends, is a graduate of Fancy University, but hasn’t quite found her niche. She lives in a basement apartment, has a small gardening business, a “reading consultant” business for wealthy women who want to look well read, and writes novels and short stories she hasn’t been able to get published. When Mil attends a party held by one of her reading consultant clients, her ex-boyfriend from F.U. is there as the fêted author. As she leaves the party, she meets a handsome man and ends up kissing him, and falling down, so they exchange blood.
After the kiss, Mil’s world whirls out of control – she becomes very ill, and then she is hunted by one group of rabid extremists, and saved by another group. The kidnappers have money and political power behind them, the other group has money but is trying to remain secluded. Mil is thrown into a world of “genetically different” individuals who eat a lot of red foods and may drink blood – but they claim not to be vampires! Who should she trust? What about the handsome young men of the family – including the one with whom she shared a kiss? Happy Hour at Casa Dracula is a story of love, political machinations, and a woman’s search for her place in the world.
Marta Acosta has create wonderful characters who are a lot of fun, characters with quirks and secrets that are exposed over time. No one is quite who they first appear, and as Mil finds herself, she is also discovering the true selves of those around her. It’s fabulous to read a book that takes on diversity in vampires, political machinations, and romance all at once. If you have never had the opportunity to check out a great vampire novel, Happy Hour is a good book to get you started – it isn’t cheesy, it is incredibly far from clichéd, and it has a great mix of suspense and fun.
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula is a truly unique book that I highly recommend. This is a book that you will devour, needing to see what happens next. But when you finish, you’ll re-read it, savoring the moments that have extra meaning after you’ve discovered the ending. When you’ve finished Happy Hour, you can pre-order the mass-market paperback of the sequel (Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula), or if you’re impatient, pick up the trade paperback of Midnight Brunch. Then you just have to wait for the end of summer to read book 3 – The Bride of Casa Dracula!
While you’re waiting, be sure to check out Marta Acosta’s web site, as well as her Vampire Wire blog, which is filled with news and links to reviews of great paranormal/urban fantasy/vampire romance books.
This book was received from the publisher for review