Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Mira on February 22, 2011
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Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years…and he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all.
Jessa's the only one to even remotely trust him, and she's desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there's a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa's only hope for salvation. Even if she has to die first…
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Not what I expected…in a good way!
I was quite surprised when I started reading this book and found myself transported into a world similar to the great eerie tales of the master of horror, Stephen King. This is definitely not your typical vampire story. It’s dark and full of mystery and suspense until the very end.
When Graf makes a pit stop in the town of Penance, Ohio, he’s hoping to get a quick bite from one of the locals before continuing on his journey to a Fourth of July celebration hosted by his sire Sophia. What he doesn’t expect is to get trapped there with his intended meal Jenna, with no way out and having to run from a monster fiercer than him! Graf soon learns that those who are unfortunate to step foot into Penance never leave. The town and it’s townspeople have been trapped for five years without word of the outside world and a plagued by a monster with a thirst for blood they’ve nicknamed It.
Jenna feels just as an outsider as Graf in town, being branded the town slut by the locals she lives an isolated life in her family’s house. To figure out a way to stay alive and get out of Penance, Graf must temporarily stay at Jenna’s and rely on her insight on the town while he comes up with a plan to “get out of Dodge” or in this case Penance! Not an easy feat when you have a town full of people who are ready to “grab their pitchforks and torches” and burn you at the stake for being different!
What surprised me about Graf was his true bad boy nature. We sometimes read about the tortured hero turned bad boy who’s tough exterior is eventually broken when opening his heart up when he falls in love. You won’t find that in Graf. He’s not tortured in any way or hiding a hideous past, he loves being a vampire, loves his immortality and his lavish lifestyle. He’s arrogant, snarky and rude. Normally these would be qualities I despise in my main character but somehow I couldn’t hate Graf! Jenna was also like-able, she’s tough and independent with a sarcastic mouth that had me laughing out loud at times. I especially enjoyed her realness, she wasn’t the usual protagonist that is super hot and sexy while kicking-ass…she’s just a normal woman with a very realistic life (well, outside of being stuck in a town for five years!).
I always know the romance is going to be hot when the two main characters in the book despise each other in the beginning. There isn’t much chemistry between these two to start but being stuck together ultimately changes Graf and Jenna and shows a softer side to each character without losing themselves completely. I couldn’t stop reading to see if these two would finally get together and they didn’t let me down! My only regret is that there weren’t more steamy scenes between Graf and Jenna.
This is a fresh concept in the overwhelming world of vampire books out there. I really enjoyed American Vampire but my four star rating quickly turned into a 3 stars when I realized I had reached the end of the book. The ending felt too rushed and focused more on the ongoing story of It rather than on the protagonists…I was left with some questions that I hope are answered in a sequel. The romantic in me wanted more passion but the story was good enough to look past that. A great read for anyone looking for a new kind of vampire!