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Book Review: Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson (Series, #1)

July 28, 2010 1 comment

Blonde woman sitting on top of a tomb stone.Summary:
Betsy was a 30 year old secretary (previously a model, previously a college drop-out) living in Minneapolis, and she was quite content with her life.  Oh, a good date would have been nice, but at least she got to drool over the hot detective assigned to figure out who assaulted her a few weeks ago outside an Italian restaurant.  Everything was fine.  Until she got hit by a car one slippery night in front of her house and woke up undead in the morgue the next day.  Even that would have been fine, but the local vampires keep insisting she get involved in vampire politics.  True, a lot of the vampire rules don’t seem to apply to her.  For instance, holy water only makes her sneeze, but why should she bother with vampire politics when she could be doing more important things like getting her designer shoes back from her stepmother?

Review:
This is not paranormal romance.  I repeat. This is not paranormal romance! It is, however, what I have chosen to dub paranormal chick lit.  Undead and Unwed reads like a Sophie Kinsella novel if it was set in the frigid midwest and had a pleasant back-drop of vampires.

Betsy is one of those main characters who you really think you would hate in real life.  In fact, I hated her so much in the first bit of the book that I almost stopped reading it.  Statuesque blonde who used to be a model who was too good for college and is illogically obsessed with designer shoes?  Blergh.  The thing is, though, when she gets turned into a vampire we see the happy-go-lucky, humorous, good souled person underneath.  What a flip from typical vampire books, eh?  But it works.  Betsy is a flawed main character.  What a nice change of pace!  But she isn’t so flawed that we can’t sympathize with her and enjoy her presence.

Choosing to make Betsy a prophesied mighty vampire puts an interesting twist on the typical paranormal trope.  She’s not a non-vampire with interesting powers who shakes up the vampire community, and she’s also not some regular newbie vamp learning the ropes.  She’s a vampire who the typical rules don’t apply to, but on top of that, she calls it like she sees it.  She laughs at the ridiculous names, pomp, and circumstance the vampires in the area have chosen to burden themselves with.  She’s a breath of fresh air, if you will.  These combine to make a truly amusing read.

Of course, there is sex, and it’s not badly written at all.  The vampire elements are played up more here than they are in series like the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Additionally, some readers might be turned off by the revelation that when a vampire feeds on a human, they must also have sex with them so the human gets a similar release.  I found this to be a call-back to the grittier vampires such as the type Anne Rice wrote, but I get it that some readers might be a bit skeeved out by that.

Overall, Undead and Unwed is a delightful northern piece of paranormal chick lit that will have you laughing or at least smiling in a wittily bemused fashion.  I recommend it to lovers of paranormal and chick lit alike, and I plan on reading the rest of the series.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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Imminent Arrivals and TBR

Since I didn’t quite manage to finish my current read on the bus this morning (I literally had to stop in the middle of the climax.  I HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS), I thought I’d do something a little bit different today.  As you all know, I use PaperBackSwap for acquiring a lot of my books.  It lets you sort your wishlist by estimated time to fulfillment, so I thought I’d share with you guys the books that are estimated to be mine shortly.

Woman in the woods.First up, I’ve been waiting for this book forever: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.  All I really know about it is it’s a post-apocalyptic zombie story with a girl/woman/female-okay! at the center of the plot.  I love all things zombie.  Love.  They’re grotesque and fabulous and really fit my dark sense of humor to a T.  This is one of those books that will jump to the top of the TBR pile when it arrives.

Black and white image of women.Next is The Groupby Mary McCarthy.  This got added to my wishlist after reading Nymeth‘s review of it.  It’s about eight female Vassar graduates in the 1930s and the struggles they faced as women at that time.  I’m a sucker for stories about the struggles women face due simply to the fact that we’re women, and the early 1900s are a favorite time period of historical fiction for me.

Giant moon over snowy earth.Third is yet another post-apocalyptic book: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  I can only explain my post-apocalypse obsession by pointing at my fundamentalist Christian upbringing.  Or maybe I just enjoyed the apocalypse sermons because I secretly love tales of suffering.  Take your pick.  Anywho, this one is in journal form, a format I came to love through those Dear America books back when I was in middle school.  This particular apocalypse takes the form of an asteroid hitting the moon, moving it closer to the Earth and giving us some fun Arctic weather.  I’ve heard good titterings from my fellow librarians on this one.

Ok, so I also have books in my TBR pile, so I’m going to show you guys 3 random books from there.  If there’s one you sorely want reviewed soon, tell me now!

Person in a tree.I stumbled upon The Integral Trees by Larry Niven on PaperBackSwap’s customized homepage (it shows me recently added scifi, horror, and memoirs).  The cover caught my attention, so I checked out the description.  It’s supposed to be about a planet where humans evolved to live without gravity and live among the trees.  All other life forms also live among the trees, including the fish.  Honestly, it reminded me a lot of Wii Mario Galaxy, so there you have it.

Torn page in a notebook.A pretty recent arrival, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells features an untrustworthy narrator with sociopathic tendencies who spends the book trying to convince us and himself that he’s not a serial killer.  Kind of reminds me of Dexter-lite.  I was really stoked for this the whole time it was on my wishlist, but I haven’t touched it since it arrived.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I’d enjoy it more if it was called, Yeah, I’m a Serial Killer, Deal With It, Bitch.  As is, it just seems like the author was afraid to take it to the edge that Dexter is at.  Prove me wrong, people!

Cartoon of a woman sitting on a tombstone.Finally, there’s Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson.  Yes, it’s yet another paranormal romance series, and I have yet to finish the two that I’m on (Demon Slayer and Sookie), but well this one seems a lot more like Shopaholic, plus it’s not in the south, which is a huge plus.  I mean, really, why must all tongue-in-cheek paranormal romance take place in the south, whereas the dull I’m-a-huge-bitch-because-I-was-wounded-as-a-child-LOOK-AT-MY-TATTOOS paranormal romance take place in the north?  Sooo dull.  So, yeah, I have high hopes for this series.

That’s it!  Please tell me what you think, my lovely readers!