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Bled & Breakfast by Michelle Rowen
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A fast, light read if you're looking for entertainment but not much depth.

The characters, Sarah and Thierry, started out life in a 5 book series of chick-lit PNR, I think - I never read any of them - before the author switched over to a more cozy mystery format with Blood Bath & Beyond. Which means, of course, that if you didn't read the first 5 books, you're sort of starting in the middle in terms of character development. The cozies pick up the characters after their engagement, and I suppose reading how the two met, how they came to be together, etc. might make a difference, but I'm thinking not.

Both the main characters are likeable, but all you get from Thierry is stiff, dour, formality and not much else. Sarah is the opposite; sarcastic, cheery, likeable, but immature. She tries, but ultimately her depth is still pretty shallow. There's a bit of a paternalistic vibe here that sort of skeeves me out.

Thierry works for the vampire organisation called The Ring, which the author tries very hard to make dark, sinister and scary. Which makes this reader feel like she's trying to mashup two very different kinds of books, meaning I just can't take "The Ring" seriously at all. The Ring sends Thierry and Sarah all over the place to investigate any manner of occurrences. In this book they're in Salem, which, for me is what made the book all the more interesting. Lots of witches and magic of all kinds: white, dark, blood, death. Ghosts play a huge part in this book too. In fact, the ghosts and the witches are what kept my attention throughout this book; I'm not sure I'd have kept reading if the storyline was different.

All I'm going to say about the plot is it's not at all what is written on the back of the book. Saying anything else sort of gives it away. As to it's complexity - well, it's complex, or the author gives it the ol' college try, but I knew who the big bad was long before I was supposed to. Ms. Rowen does do a good job of steering the reader all over the place though - a couple of times I was almost ready to concede I must be wrong (I wasn't), and I was surprised by revelations once or twice.

This is another Penguin book with some pretty bad editing (grammar, not story). It's at it's worst in the beginning of the book. For example this sentence:

"They must have had some serious duress involved to get you back into the fold."

Duress is a noun, and I'm pretty sure that sentence does not work. I might be wrong, but even if I am that sentence is awful. Most of the other errors are more of the wrong, transposed or missing words type. I must ask, does Penguin have any copyeditors left?

Since I haven't been with these characters since the beginning I don't feel invested; this isn't a series I'm going to follow and pre-order as they come out. I'll check out new ones and see if they appeal to me on an individual basis, but the dichotomy between Thierry's and Sarah's maturity levels makes it unlikely I'll ever be a 'fan'. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
Read from August 07 to 09, 2013

Read for Fun (Paperback)
Overall Rating: 4.50
Story Rating: 4.50
Character Rater: 4.50

First Thought when Finished: I just adore Sarah Dearly and her escapades!

Story Thoughts: Salem is the perfect setting for Bled & Breakfast! I pretty much giggled, gasped, and cheered through out the whole book. Who would have thought that in Salem you would have witches, ghosts, and vampires who refuse to die (even when made into sand). What can I say? I was sucker for all the paranormal elements that gone thrown into the mix and all the new characters. The more I learn about Sarah, the more I think I need to read the original series this is a spin-off from!

Character Thoughts: Sarah and Thierry are probably my favorite cozy mystery couple. They are so different and yet so perfect for each other. Let's talk about my favorite character(s) in this book: Owen. He was just a male-slut to the max and yes he is absolutely deplorable but oh so fun! I also liked the witches and shifters introduced. Dare I say that I hope we get more of the owner of the Bed and Breakfast! She was delightful!

Final Thoughts: Can't wait for the next one! ( )
  thehistorychic | Sep 2, 2013 |
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Right after their wedding in Las Vegas, Sarah and Thierry get their next assignment. Three vampires have gone missing in Salem , Massachusetts, and they need to find out why.

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