June 2, 2009

The damned will be sucking snow cones in hell before Gregor Faustin succumbs to love and marriage. Or so he thinks. Until he ploughs his BMW straight into destiny. Madelena, with her smart mouth and her luscious ass, her old-man wardrobe and pointed questions, affects him like no woman he's ever met. Gregor can't decide if he'd rather throttle her, suck every sweet drop of blood from her body, or lock her in a room and make love to her until they both die of exhaustion.

Maddy begs the man who ran her over to keep her out of the hospital. In answer, he heals her with a kiss that leaves her haunted by erotic, soul-stealing dreams. But she's got too many problems to risk what's left of her heart on any man.

Gregor would like nothing better than to pull his usual disappearing act, but he finds himself entangled with Maddy in a way that goes beyond obsession. By tasting a few precious drops of her blood, he's bound his life to hers. Now both their days are numbered.

I won’t do a summary of the story in this review because the cover blurb actually says it all and I don't want to spoil.

Maddy is a librarian with a secret that I will leave undisclosed due to spoilers. She is mouthy, reclusive, self-sufficient, stubborn and hotheaded. She is the perfect match for Gregor who is a nightclub owner on the verge of opening a second nightclub. He is a grumpy workaholic, sexy as hell and tough but brought to his knees by the power of love and a mouthy woman.

Gregor and Maddy are great together and their chemistry is extremely powerful, despite (or maybe because of) their constant bickering. Their interactions feel like sparkling verbal sparring. Gregor is sexy and Maddy is fierce but they both have a touch of vulnerability that makes them easy to relate to and sympathize with. Maddy's despair about not being able to have a future with Gregor, once she accepts that she does want that future, is heartbreaking and palpable. It gave the story a deeper dimension that was much to my liking.

Maddy is perfect for Gregor. She offers resistance where needed but at the same time she makes him feel wanted once she accepts their mutual feelings and despite the difficulties surrounding their future. Gregor, to my relief, is not the overbearing, dominant vampire and yet still very much in control and alpha. But he is also aware of his own flaws and weaknesses and although ultimately and deep down he feels that Maddy belongs to him and he belongs to her, he still respects her choices and boundaries. Next to Maddy and Gregor's story, this book also does a lot in setting up an extended world around them. Prominent places are reserved for Gregor’s brothers Alex and Mikhail and in a slightly lesser extend for their parents.

The Faustin brothers are three brothers with totally different personalities. Gregor is the serious, workaholic and practical middle child. Alex is the romantic, playful and charming youngest brother. And Mikhail is the brooding, responsible and old-fashioned oldest son. From the opening scene of the book you just know they are all going to meet their match and fall hard, no matter how much they fight it or don’t believe in their mother’s antics.

Sometimes true treasures are stumbled upon via the most unexpected places. When I clicked on a link via Twitter to a blog-post at Samhain Publishing by Evie Byrne and immediately after clicked on the "buy-button" at MBSAM, I couldn't have guessed how impressed and overwhelmed I would be by an erotic vampire romance novella. What this book evoked is that gushy feeling over a book that I hadn't felt in quite some time. Heck, I'd never felt it over a novella before!

I was glad I had prior knowledge to the fact that even though this is book 2 in the series, chronologically the events in it precede those in book 1 (CALLED BY BLOOD). Being a bit obsessed with the chronological order of books I wouldn't have wanted to read it out of that order and I was relieved I knew the deal upfront.

When I started reading this story I was forewarned that it was a different approach to vampires and I must say I was a little skeptical at first. There are so many vampire-based stories, especially in the paranormal and erotic romance genres. What could this author and story bring to the table that could be new and/or refreshing? Well, my skepticism was totally unfounded. With BOUND BY BLOOD Evie Byrne has indeed delivered and original and different take on vampires, vampire mating and vampire romance and I loved it, she has shot straight to my favorites list by giving me a distinctive concept of vampires combined with a beautifully written tale of love, destiny and fate.

The dialogues and characters were outstanding. The plot was original and refreshingly unique. The sex scenes made me go tingly all over. They are explicit but very complementing to the story and writing style. Had these scenes been less explicit, it wouldn't have worked so well for me. I couldn't stop reading as Byrne's writing pulled me deep into the story and it was hard to let go. Maddy and Gregor's journey from dislike and bickering to fascination and attraction to ultimately love was done exquisitely, gradually and believably. I was sorry when the journey ended and I had arrived at the end of the book. 108 pages weren't nearly enough; I could have gone on reading about Gregor and Maddy endlessly.

This for me was truly a perfect read; containing all the elements I love in my romance reads. It was intense, fast-paced, witty, endearing, high on family dynamics and arousing. The ending with the ingenious solution to Maddy's problem (involving Gregor's whole family), Gregor's declaration of love to Maddy, Maddy's acceptance of the solution and Gregor's love, it was all prove of Evie Byrne's amazing talent and imagination and it was the ending that truly sealed the deal for me! With BOUND BY BLOOD premise and promise were met beyond my expectations!

There were so many quotes in this book I would have liked to share but they'd give away too much of the story, so I limited myself to the ones below and one on the RealmsOnOurBookshelves message board. I was enthralled and mesmerized by Evie Byrne's writing and I fell hard for Gregor Faustin. The way his story unfolded is a tough act to follow but I'm ready to see where Alex' destiny and story will bring me in CALLED BY BLOOD.

All I can say is: read this book and experience it for yourself. If you like vampire romances and you like ‘em hot and intense, Evie Byrne and her Faustin brothers are what you seek.

No one—no one—tasted like that. He could eat her down to the bone. He could roll in her scent like a dog. Like a sophisticated drug, those few blood cells on the tip of his tongue were rushing through his bloodstream and altering his chemistry.

She begged in a raspy whisper, completely lost, unaware of anything but the solid feel of this man beneath her hands, the need in her beyond anything she’d known. (...) Mr. Patel’s voice sliced through her dream. “Get out! Get out, you filthy perverts, before you ruin my cab with your love juice and beef franks.”

At the threshold of his hearing he picked up a little noise from the back of her throat. A choked cry. Pure desire. In that moment he knew he was enslaved. He may as well be in cuffs and leg irons.

I never include more than 2 or 3 quotes max in my reviews, but couldn’t leave this review without a little taste of Alex (youngest Faustin brother) which sums up the brothers’ personalities perfectly:

“You know, you and Mikhail make fun of me for watching Oprah, but Misha is a monk, and you’re a Neanderthal.” Alex folded his arms and leaned against the railing. “You make me proud to be a metrosexual.”

Rating: 10 out of 10


Leontine said...

Hot damn, this is some serious kudos for a novella Pearl! I am definitely more than a little intrigued. The ones I have read up till now vary from nice to entertaining diversions from my full length reads. This seems very well fleshed out and one scorching read! Great review ;-)

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39, married to my real life romance hero, addicted to TV shows, reading romance novels and Twitter. I'm a chronic (e)book hoarder and my absolute favorite genres within romance fiction are contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but I don't shy away from historical, paranormal or erotic romance either. Even the occasional (urban) fantasy romance, futuristic and sci fi romance may make it to my Mount TBR. This is my corner of the world wide web where I let you know what books I'm hoarding, reading and reviewing.
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Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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