I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vampire's Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter
Genres: Magical Realism
Published by Sugar Skull Books on June 1, 2015
Source: my own shelves
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Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, City of Eternal Night, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, All Fired Up, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Dragon Finds Forever, The Vampire's Accidental Wife, The Reaper Rescues the Genie, The Detective Wins The Witch
First in the Nocturne Falls magical realism series and revolving around a town in Georgia that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year — the easier to be yourself. The couple focus is on Delaney James and Hugh Ellingham.
Oh, man. Painter caught me with the first two paragraphs. Pomegranate. Strawberry. Thyme sugar sprinkles? Oh, yeah. And the further I read the more I was caught.
It’s a cozy story about vampires and other supernaturals with a pair of protagonists I’m enjoying. Well, Painter is using third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Delaney’s and Hugh’s perspectives, which makes it easy to “hear” their thoughts and “feel” their emotions.
“. . . based on your current amount of crazy, I’d say he dodged a bullet.”
Grandmamma is a piece of work. Blackmail appears to be one of her favorite activities. Then Delaney turns the tables on her, lol. Only…Hugh seems to be changing that game as well! Eeeek.
Oh, man…I DO love Delaney. She went to her father’s wedding in Korea and stood up at the part about anyone objecting. Oh, YEAH!
It’s so much fun to watch Delaney and Hugh work out their emotions and thoughts. Painter’s plot to get them together was certainly a fun twist. He’s so conflicted and so thoughtful. And such a self-sacrificing idiot.
I do have a niggle. If Delaney shot the video with her phone and sent it to the Brooklyn PD, how is it she doesn’t still have it on her phone??
There’s the kidnapping, baking, cooking, and wandering around Nocturne Falls meeting the characters, er, townspeople, but the action mostly seems to be Delaney and Hugh thinking through their particular issues.
Delaney’s are reasonable. Hugh’s? Not so much. He’s had way too long to get stuck in his I’m guilty loop.
That said, it’s a fun read, and I can’t wait to dive into The Werewolf Meets His Match.
Oops, Grandmamma is tired of waiting for Hugh to find a mate…so she’s arranged for a mail-order bride. One who knows all about his being a vampire.
Only. Delaney intends to swap places with the intended bride . . . oops . . .
Delaney James is a server and “part-time” pastry chef at Rastinelli’s Trattoria. When she’s nervous, she spouts facts about chocolate. Captain Underpants is her Maine Coon. The Sweet Life is the candy-making cookbook she inherited from her grandmother. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was 15. Her father, a defense contractor, couldn’t handle it and left her.
Nocturne Falls, Georgia, is. . . .
. . . a small town partly owned by the Ellinghams where supernaturals are free to be who they are. Hugh Ellingham prefers to spend time in his lab searching for the formula that will set them free of Grandmamma’s threats. His beloved Juliette died 300 years ago. Bartholomew Stanhill had been Hugh’s valet. Now he’s Hugh’s rook, man-servant companion/secretary; he’s dating Corette.
Elenora “Grandmamma” Ellingham, a.k.a. Didi, the dowager duchess of Sinclair in name only, is a vampire who turned her grandsons. Hugh, Sebastian (whose wife, Evangeline, left him) keeps the family’s finances in order, and Julian who’s a man whore. Alice Bishop is a witch who created the amulets for the Ellinghams; she’s also head of the local coven. Alard Desmaris, a strange, wealthy Frenchman, was part of Lady Elenora’s court back in 1665.
The women discarded by Hugh include Piper “Psycho Barbie” Hodge (“Prologue to The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride“, 0.5), Suzanna, Heather, Kim, and Veronica.
Hank Merrow is the werewolf sheriff. Mrs Caruthers, a.k.a. Hank’s Aunt Birdie, is the police receptionist. Deputies include Alex Cruz, a panther shifter, and Jenna Blythe, a Valkyrie. Titus Merrow is Hank and Bridget’s brother and the fire chief. Corette is a witch with three grown daughters. Skipper is a friend of Piper’s. Pandora Williams is a witch and real estate agent. Nick Hardwin, a gargoyle who works as a bouncer at Insomnia, shared a tour in Afghanistan with Hank and is his friend.
The bitchy Vicky Keller owns Keller’s Sweets-n-Treats, the town candy store. Mary, Vicky’s daughter, is one of their sales people. The Hallowed Bean is the coffee shop. The Hodges own the local paper, the Tombstone — they love to get their revenge in print. The Poisoned Apple is a pub. Insomnia is a members-only club. Howlers is a popular local dive bar run by Bridget Merrow, Hank and Titus’ sister. Yeah, she’s a werewolf. Willa Iscove is a jeweler with her own shop, Illusions. Ramona works for Willa.
Elsa and Anna have trick-or-treat bags.
Rastinelli’s Trattoria is…
. . . in Brooklyn and owned by Anthony Rastinelli. Jose is a line cook. Samantha is a server and a friend of Delaney’s.
Mrs Rastinelli is wife number two and dresses to ensure there won’t be a wife number three. The smarmy, whiffy Little Tony is Anthony’s son. Benny is a collector for Anthony. Lefty and Fat Eddie are more of his men. Dominic Ardito is with the other side.
Adelaide Poirot works at Eternamate, which specializes in unique and exceptional arrangements. Beatrice Mckenzie and Annabelle Givens are some of their clients. A rook is a half-turned vampire who serves a vampire’s needs in exchange for immortality. Russell is Delaney’s cheating ex-boyfriend.
The Cover and Title
The cover is fuchsia! Bats flying through that deep pink sky with a multistory mansion in the background. It’s a gray besuited Hugh coming through the pink wrought iron gates, a solid wall on either side. On the left is the brown-haired Delaney sitting in a bright purple sleeveless dress with purple high-heeled sandals, and the furry, black Captain Underpants in her lap. On the right is a lit-up jack-o-lantern below the gate’s handle and a brown sign with the series info in a pale yellow. The text is all white with a thick black outline with the title centered at the top, the author’s name below Delaney’s feet, and an info blurb below that.
The title is all about Delaney as The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, a faux bride at that!