What happens when…A horror reader tackles a paranormal romance?

​I like reading about monsters. Creepy crawlies that make you wonder about that sound in your closet after you turn out the lights. I also read a fair amount of post-apocalypse fiction, usually involving zombies or some other horde of creatures who want to snack on mankind. It’s dark, scary, intense stuff and I rarely venture outside my ghoulish little literary bubble.

However, regular readers of this blog probably know that I challenged our editor Jennifer, a long-time romance reader, to take a walk on the wild side and give a book in my favorite genres a try. To my surprise, she actually agreed (check out her review of the post-apocalypse series The Purge of Babylon I dared her to read). I wish I could say I was surprised when she issued a similar challenge for me to crawl out from my horror crypt and take a ride down the gooey, happily ever after, lovey-dovey romance road. Given that she’d already stepped up, declining the dare wasn’t an option.

​The assigned read

Halfway to the Grave
Blurb from Amazon:
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father — the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner — are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

​What I liked

  • Jennifer was kind enough to select a paranormal romance, to prevent the diabetic coma I likely would have suffered with a normal romance
  • It’s a series, so if by some miracle I like it, there’s plenty more out there
  • The characters are engaging and authentic and the dialogue made me do my embarrassing snort laugh several times
  • The detailed history and culture of vampires was both unique and fascinating
  • The overall plot had numerous twists and turns that kept me glued to my iPad throughout the book
  • The pace was a nice mix of action and storytelling

What I didn’t like

  • While I loved Cat’s snarky humor and attitude, the whole “Does he really like me?” self doubt thing felt very Twilight-y. Not a good thing in my book.
  • Cat’s utter lack of communication with her mother didn’t really ring true either. For someone who claims to be super-close with her mom, she sure didn’t act like it
  • Don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I reveal that the two main characters have sex, like a lot. Besides them being three-quarters dead between the two of them, the barely touched on, super-gross fact that he ejaculates blood freaked me the fuck out.
  • The idea that a centuries-old vampire would fall instantly in love with this young, naive girl felt kinda sappy. It was by far, the most romance-y part of the whole book. Thankfully, the author wasn’t too over-the-top about it.

The Verdict
Venturing out of my musty horror crypt into the light of the romance world wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it’d be. The paranormal aspect of this particular book was like a cool comforting breeze during my journey. There were certainly romantic flavorings and general mushiness sprinkled throughout that were a bit unsettling for me, but nothing that caused me to lose my lunch. More than anything else, the writing was very good which always trumps any stylistic or subject matter issues. I’m not sure this book would be right for hard core horror fans, but I was intrigued enough to buy the next book in the series.

What about all you readers out there? Ever ventured outside of your reading comfort zone? We’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or if you’re shy, drop us a line.

Originally published on Knockin Books​ — Blog

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