Pros: Hysterically funny and surprisingly moving
Cons: Character chemistry is weak at first; one or two weak plot devices; doesn’t stand alone well
Rating: 4 out of 5
Michelle Bardsley’s Because Your Vampire Said So is the third book in a series about Broken Heart, Oklahoma: new center of paranormal activity and home to a ton of vampires and lycanthropes. While it sort of stands alone (I haven’t read the first two, unfortunately), all of the background about the town and the mysterious supernatural ‘Consortium’ running it would have been awfully handy to have. I don’t particularly recommend starting with this book; you’ll definitely be better off going in order.
Patsy, forty-year-old single mom and hair stylist, is a vampire now. She has her hands full figuring out how to deal with her new lack of clients now that there are so few humans in Broken Heart, and with her rebellious sixteen-year-old son, Wilson. Wilson’s an emotional mess with a drug problem, not unlike his alcoholic father, and Patsy has no idea how to handle him.
Suddenly all of that seems so simple by comparison when she finds herself targeted by demons and ancient vampires, all of whom seem determined to kill her at any cost. But she has new allies on her side: gorgeous rogue werewolf Gabriel, who seems to believe she’s his destined mate, and his friend Terran, who kneels to her and calls her ‘my queen.’ But even that takes a back seat when Wilson runs away, Patsy’s best friend Jessica goes missing, and Patsy’s powers go wild. Soon the entire town is literally exploding with all the power of a war between ancient supernaturals.
Patsy is all that’s best about white trash. She lives in a double-wide trailer behind her salon. She’s haunted by the ghosts of chain-smoking Dottie and her own grandma (who died with one hand clutching the arm of a slot machine). When scared she’s more likely to sass back than whimper in fear. And when it comes to her son Wilson, she’s a mama bear ready to rip the head off of anyone who hurts him—sometimes even including him.
I won’t say this book is perfect. When Gabriel and Patsy first met, and for a while thereafter, I had trouble feeling the chemistry between them; as time went on, however, that improved by leaps and bounds. Ultimately they made a very hot couple, definitely by the time it mattered for the sex scenes (standard adults-only explicit material warning). Also, in series books like this where each book is a separate couple’s story, usually the books stand alone better. In this case, since I hadn’t read the first two books, I definitely felt rather lost when it came to understanding what was going on with Broken Heart and the Consortium.
Finally, there’s one other thing that just kind of made me blink a bit. There’s a spot somewhat early on in the book where a man arrives to teach Patsy what her Family powers are and how to use them. However, he just kind of appears conveniently out of nowhere, quickly teaches her everything, and then disappears conveniently out of the story again. He all but screams ‘overly-convenient plot device.’
That might seem like too many flaws for a four-out-of-five rating, and to tell the truth I debated giving it lower. But the truth is, this book easily deserves a four, and I’m sure for many readers it’ll be a five. It’s witty and hilarious, and Patsy is one of the best paranormal romance heroines ever. It also shocked the hell out of me by moving me to tears at the end, which is something I most definitely did not expect from this irreverent, cackle-inducing romp. Besides, nothing can compare to the hilarity of a real zombie army raised from the dead. (As much as I desperately want to quote bits to you, I can’t possibly spoil any of that hysterical scene.)
So if you need a good laugh and want some feel-good fun, or if you’re a forty-something single mom looking for a romance you can relate to, grab this series up and enjoy the hell out of it!