|Blood Vine by Amber Belldene|
(Blood Vine #1)
January 8, 2013
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
(contains sexual scenes, violence, language)
Source: eCopy for honest review
In Blood Vine, bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign.
When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can’t forget. After her husband’s suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again. But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?
Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine to cure his fellow refugees. Now he needs Zoey’s PR expertise to reach them. After his wife’s death, Andre has a vow of his own—never to risk another painful blood bond. And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally.
His secrets stall her PR plans. Her jealousy is stoked by the blissed-out beauties leaving his bedroom. At every turn, he utterly fails to resist her. When she discovers he is a vampire, will she be lost to the golden-eyed Hunters, or lose herself to the emptiness in her heart, before she can help him save his kind?
What really worked for me in this novel was the cast of characters. I love well-developed characters as well as characters that I honestly like. I got both in Blood Vine. I really and truly like this bunch of vampires and their "assistants" (for lack of a better word). Even with Andre's rough nature at times, I instantly liked him and wanted to know everything about him. Not only is he intriguing on his own, but I loved his relationship with his sons. This family drew me right in. Plus the other "housemate" secondary characters bring their own personalities and intrigue to the story. Amber really did an amazing job making these characters multi-dimensional, intriguing, empathy-inducing, and real, despite the fact that they are paranormal "people." Even the "bad guys" have dimension and depth and I want to know more about them. These characters scored big with me and make me want to read whatever other stories about them that are planned.
What also worked for me was the whole storyline. Even with great characters, if the story is lame then the characters are a waste. That was not a problem here. I have read several vampire books and I imagine as a writer it is difficult to come up with a new or creative plot. Amber's story of exiled vampires being bound to their homeland and the potential of this special wine to save them was really interesting. I loved the interweaving of winemaking and "chemistry" throughout the story. I also appreciated the community aspect of how much these vampires loved their fellow vampires and wanted to help them. This was also a great way to get to know the Hunters and their link to the vampires. The Hunter aspect was really intriguing, and I loved reading their history with the vampires but also knowing there is so much more we don't know about them but will find out in later books. I will remain spoiler-free, but I will say that I had a difficult time putting this book down and was immediately engulfed in this world that Amber created. I never felt like there was a dull moment - the tension between the characters completely drew me in, the plot development was multi-layered, and the action scenes felt real and were even quite brutal at times. There were twists and turns and I loved it all.
And of course there is romance. I enjoyed watching the attraction and interest between Andre and Zoey play out. They both have personal histories that have complicated their perception of relationships and even their desire to have them. I really appreciated how the aspects of their pasts and present played out. Their inner conflict felt honest and realistic. Their chemistry was pouring off the pages. But the real beauty was how they understood each other and made each other better. But would all those good things be enough to get past the differences between them? I really loved watching how all this played out.
Bottomline: I loved the start of this series. The characters were the highlight for me, as well as an intriguing plot that drew me right in, and clean writing. I don't know how many book there will be, but I plan on starting the next one immediately.