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Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

Undead and Unwed (2004)

by MaryJanice Davidson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Undead Series (1)

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Undead and Unwed is the first in a series of humorous paranormal romances about a secretary who becomes a vampire and doesn't want her meteoric rise in vampire society.

Elizabeth Anne Taylor (Call me 'Betsy,' please) would have died when she was hit by a car if not for a certain incident when she was leaving Khan's Mongolian Barbecue a couple of months earlier. She's alive -- sort of -- and mighty angry over a rotten stunt her rotten stepmother pulled on her. The tall, beautiful blonde may not be a brainiac, but Betsy isn't going to take any guff from 'the Ant,' as she calls Antonia O'Neill Taylor, the bimbo her dad ditched her mom to marry.

Betsy isn't willing to take any guff from older, more experienced vampires, either. I loved her reaction to boss vamp Nostro, not to mention the rude nicknames she calls him. Eric Sinclair, a tall, dark, and drop-dead sexy vampire also gets on her nerves, in some ways more annoying than others.

There's action and narrow escapes along with the humor. While I share Betsy's upset over something she hadn't intended to do, I'm not at all sorry about what happened to two would-be rapists. Ms. Davidson introduces an unusual form of vampire known as a 'Fiend.' The means used to create them is cruel (see chapter 25).

Not every human Betsy encounters who finds out what she's become gets upset. I like the characters who don't. I like Betsy even if she is [mostly] self-centered and would annoy me tremendously if I met her in real life. She makes me laugh.


Chapter 1: introductory description of Detective Nick Berry.

See chapter 2 for Betsy's take on what it's like to be a model.

According to chapter 5, the Ant's perfume is 'Dune,' and she uses too much of it. Also, Betsy has been an Easter & Christmas churchgoer since she left her father's house.

Chapter 6:

a. There's more about the Ant, not to mention a question she asked that even Betsy knew was stupid.

b. The Ant is 15 years older than Betsy.

c. The Taylors' house is 3500 square feet (325.160 64 square meters).

d. In this chapter Betsy's dad addresses the Ant as 'Toni' and the Ant calls him 'Arnie'. Mr. Taylor will have a different first name in Undead and Unemployed before Ms. Davidson settled on 'John Peter Taylor' in Undead and Unreturnable. Of course, given that he's being addressed by his second wife in this book and by his first wife in book 2, both instances could be passed off as nicknames.

e.Jessica Watkins isn't wearing makeup. Betsy tells us it's the first time she's seen Jessica without mascara since the seventh grade.

f. Jessica addresses Betsy as 'Liz' and is reminded that Betsy hates that.

Chapter 7:

a. Betsy claims the Taylors' fear smells like burning plastic.

b. We learn about when she and Jessica first met.

c. Find out what Betsy's ex-boss had the nerve to ask Jessica at the aborted funeral.

d. There's an explanation about The [Right] Foot, where Jessica helps out, and what it tries to do.

Chapter 8:

a. Betsy's mom, who has a small, two-story house in Hastings, got pregnant with her one month out of high school.

b. Mrs. Taylor's parents gave her pearls for a wedding present.

c. Betsy smells her mother's relief and joy as tea roses.

d. Betsy's favorite meal in life was pork loin with risotto.

Chapter 9: Nick Berry's light blue eyes have gold flecks. He is Betsy's 4th sex partner.

See chapter 10 for the story about Jessica's unspeakable parents, Betsy's reaction to blood bank blood, and her home address.

Chapter 11:

a. Betsy says she loves her cat and ignored dogs. She can't do the latter anymore.

b. Jessica being impressed and pissed is the first time Betsy smelled a mixture of emotions -- like chocolate pudding on fire.

c. The Rock to whom Betsy compares her kidnappers is Dwayne Johnson, wrestler and actor.

d. Introductory description of Eric Sinclair

e. Introductory description of Nostro

Chapter 12:

a. Betsy couldn't climb any of the ropes in gym class, not even the one with rubber grips.

b. Look here for Marc's list of reasons he wants to kill himself.

c. 'The Cisco Kid' was a 1950s TV show. I watched reruns when I was a kid in the sixties. I recall each episode ending in the Kid and his sidekick, Pancho, laughing, but it's been decades...

Chapter 13:

a. 'Nostro' is short for 'Nostradamus'

b. Sinclair's untruthful remark about not drinking coffee -- with the significant pause before 'coffee' is a play on the Bela Lugosi Dracula's line about not drinking wine.

c. Sinclair says he was born the year World War II started (1939).

d. Betsy complains that Sinclair doesn't use contractions.

Chapter 14:

a. Jessica feels threatened when Betsy makes a new friend, although Betsy assures her she's her absolute favorite.

b. Betsy adopted Giselle because she doesn't like to live alone.

c. Betsy watches lots of scary movies. Zombie movies terrify her the most.

e. Marc gives Betsy a medical exam.

f. Betsy uses a four-letter word she claims she'd never used before.

Chapter 15:

a. Shanara became a vampire in 1972.

b. Betsy learns that taking the Lord's name in vain -- and the opening to the Lord's Prayer -- can make other vampires flinch.

c. Betsy went on ONE cross-country trip with her dad and the Ant when she was a teen.

Chapter 16:

a. Introductory description of Tina

b. Betsy piles on L'Oreal Luscious Lash to prove she has eyelashes

c. Betsy is given a cross on a chain

d. Introductory description of the Fiends

f. First mention and quotation from the vampire Book of the Dead, here called the Tabla Morto. Tina says the vampires knew the queen was coming a thousand years ago.

g. Tina's story about how and she made Sinclair is not the same as we learn in Undead and Unfinished, but there's a good reason for that.

h. Tina was born the month and year the [American] Civil War began (April, 1861)

i. First mention that Betsy's mom is interested in the Civil War.

j. Sinclair's house is a gorgeous red Victorian.

k. Betsy read Gone With the Wind about 10 times the year she discovered it in high school, and twice a year since then.

l. Sinclair loves plum wine.

m. Dennis tells Betsy you can't have a civilized conversation with a vampire for at least 5 years after they've been turned.

Chapter 17:

a. Betsy mentions looking back '...like Lot's wife'.

b. A girl named Cheryl Cooper once dared Betsy to French kiss her during a game of 'Truth or Dare' at summer camp.

Chapter 18:

a. Betsy describes the distance between Sinclair's mansion and her home as 40 miles.

b. Betsy learns the cross she was given belonged to Sinclair's sister

c. Sinclair could never set foot in Nostro's territory as one of the conditions for Tina being released from Nostro's service.

d.The Carlson Mausoleum is neutral ground. There are other such neutral territories around the world.

e. Sinclair's middle name is 'Astor'.

Chapter 19:

a. Betsy implies that Jessica has a 142 I.Q. [but not on which I.Q. test, which means Jessica may or may not be a genius].

b. The 'Opie' Betsy says Sinclair is not after hearing about how he helped feed his family before he'd learned the alphabet is Opie Taylor, son of Sheriff Andy Taylor of the fictional town of Mayberry on the classic 1960-1968 'The Andy Griffith Show'.

c. The WHO Betsy won't ask Sinclair about is The World Health Organization.

Chapter 20:

a. Because Betsy mentions the 1960s rather than the 1970s, she probably means the hair style actress Mary Tyler Moore wore as Laura Petrie on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show,' not 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'. Yes, this is the chapter where Betsy mentions her [hair] roots don't seem to be getting darker.

b. Look here for Karen quoting Tina's description of what the Lord's name sounds like to a vampire. They hear it in their minds, by the way.

c. Betsy's comment about herself as an enigma, etc. is a play on a Winston Churchill quotation: 'Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.'

Chapter 21: Given Nostro's real name, could he be a distant relation to the Ant? His history is certainly unpleasant reading. (Speaking of unpleasant, I don't care if Betsy hates Sinclair's taste in music, she shouldn't have done what she did to his CDs.)

Chapter 22: The movie Betsy and Jessica go to see may not be real, but the title is a cute play on some sequel titles. Heh!

Chapter 24:

a. Betsy tells her father off. Good for her!

b. Mr. Taylor set it up so that Betsy spent New Year's and Memorial Day with her mom and Easter and the Fourth of July with her Dad & the Ant.

c. Betsy describes her eyes as blue-green the page after that.

d. The Book of the Dead is called that in this chapter. Betsy says that Tina has been reading from it to her all night, which is either a major continuity error, Betsy wildly exaggerating, or Tina was looking at the pages without really reading them and actually quoting from memory.

e. Betsy claims that she was still installing Netscape Navigator the previous week. I remember when that was the main internet browser.

f. Considering that this book is set in 2004, it's not surprising that Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein came to Betsy's mind when she was thinking about big bullies.

Chapter 25:

a. Betsy would recognize 'fripperies' if she read Regency Romances.

b. Betsy is using a variant of the Thing from the Fantastic Four's battle cry, It's Clobbering Time!

c. Betsy had a Snoopy [from the 'Peanuts' comic strip] nightlight when she was a kid.

Chapter 26:

a. Betsy addresses Sinclair by his first name.

b. First example of a power that will mean more in later books.

c. 'VD' is the initialism for 'venereal disease,' an old name for 'sexually transmitted disease,' or STD (which is another initialism instead of an acronym -- same thing except each letter is pronounced separately instead of like a word).

d. Note that the Book of the Dead bit Tina is quoting mentions ruling for only a thousand years. ( )
  JalenV | Oct 25, 2015 |
Actual rating 2.5/5. This book wasn't that bad but it just wasn't my cup of tea either. While some parts of it were mildly entertaining, most of it almost made me feel embarrassed to read it. Actually I should just flat out say I was. This was a book I didn't bring out in public with me. After I finished the Twilight series, one of my sister-in-laws gave this to me as a hand-me-down recommendation. From her mom, to her, to me. And that's where I stop this train. It's kind of like a Sex in the City meets vampires minus the clever writing. ( )
  kay_reads | Sep 22, 2015 |
When some people have a bad week, they really have a bad week. In the case of former model and now executive secretary Betsy Taylor, being laid off is actually the bottom of her list of concerns. When Betsy is run over by a car and wakes up in a morgue, she immediately believes that she somehow missed the bright light. After trying to kill herself in several different ways and talking to clergy about the state of her soul, Betsy decides to try and pick up the pieces of her life. Unfortunately for Betsy, this means getting involved in vampire politics and dealing with telling her family that she's actually not dead. What's a girl to do when she finds herself jobless, dead and without her precious designer shoes? Luckily for Betsy, it turns out she a vampire queen and so perhaps her death might be more interesting than the life she left behind.

Betsy Taylor is easily one of the most unlikable protagonists that I have discovered recently. Betsy is shallow, with no impulse control, collects marginalized people as BFF's and has a little problem with Kellie Independence. Originally, Betsy wants to stay far away from vampire politics, convinced that she has to worry about getting a job and finding regular people to feed from. Even when she learns that Nostradamus, the ancient vampire who has been responsible for several massacres might possibly be gearing up for yet another power grab, thus endangering vulnerable humans, Betsy simply wants no part of it. What finally pushes her over the edge is a bribe of designer shoes. Really? I'm supposed to root for this person?

Even if I could get over that, the fact that Betsy's favorite movie is Gone With the freaking Wind, her justification for the book and film are something I simply could not embrace. Betsy absolutely refuses to acknowledge that this nasty plantation story is not some wonderful antebellum romance but actually a glorification of White supremacy and slavery, even when told so directly by a character of colour. That little factoid almost made me slam the book closed.
"It's a book that glorifies white people at the expense of blacks."

"The vain white people who ended up alone and unhappy, or the white people who got the shit kicked out of them by the Union Army? Or the white people who starved to death during Reconstruction? Or-"

"All right."

"You know, for somebody who could buy London. you're awfully touchy about slavery. I mean, no one in your family was ever a slave."

She sniffed. "You can never know my pain."

"The pain of being the first kid on the block to have her own Patek Philippe watch? You poor oppressed creature."

She giggled. "Thank God you understand. This is of course, why I tolerate your bigotry and snobbishness." (pg 178-179)
Seriously WTF? Who argues that a black person who has never been enslaved is overly touchy about slavery? This is supposed to be funny but instead I found it to be horribly racist. Defending the racist Gone With The Wind, is one thing but absolutely ignoring the connection between slaves and the lives of modern African-American is simply beyond the pale.

I suppose this moves us onto marginalized characters. Jessica is an extremely wealthy Black woman who has been BFF's with Betsy since they were children. Yes, this puts her straight into the sidekick category, a label which Jessica actively identifies as. Jessica buys Betsy's home, thus providing Betsy with a place to live after her untimely death and is more than willing to support Betsy for the rest of her life. Jessica's characterisation is so absolutely problematic that it makes me wonder if Davidson has interacted with a WOC at anytime or just believes that she can write our experiences from watching some crappy television portrayals. Davidson actually has Jessica call Betsy's father, "honky". It's clear that Davison simply planned on making Jessica a female George Jefferson with her her own Moving on Up theme song except in this version, Jessica is there to see to every conceivable need that Betsy has.

If only Betsy's interactions with Jessica were the sum total of Betsy's interactions with women of colour but I suppose, in for a penny, in for a pound. The first time Betsy sees Mitzi, Mitzi is having sex with Sinclair ( Betsy's love interest) and allowing him to feed off of her. Betsy asks Mitizi where the bathroom is and Mitzi lets her have it.
Her nostrils flared, Since she had a - shall we say - heroic nose, the effect was startling. I nearly took a step back. When she spoke, her voice was surprisingly deep and throaty. "Oh so because I'm a sister I know where the kitchen is?"

"I thought - "

"You thought because I'm a black woman in my bathroom at eight o'clock at night, I must be kitchen help? Because you've got that all wrong. For your information, I don't know a frying pan from my own ass."

"Er - I'm sorry to hear that?"

"I'm not the help, I'm the boss's right-hand lady, and I know you know that shit because I know you watched us and got your jollies."

I was flabbergasted. I don't think I'd ever been accused of prejudice before. I mean everybody who knows me knows Jessica's my best friend. And anybody who knows Jessica knows she's smarter, prettier, thinner, and richer than I am. There's just no comparison. If anything, I tended to assume blacks ("Never African Americans," Jessica had schooled me. "Shit my grandparents were from Jamaica.") were smarter and more successful than I was because the ones I knew were. (163-163)
Do you see what happened there? First, Mitzi the Black woman has a big nose - so large that it is shocking when she flares her nostrils. If that isn't a racialized description of Black features, I don't know what is. Naturally, Jessica cannot be racist because she has a black best friend. Everyone knows that having one black friend gives you a lifetime pass on all racist actions. Then there's the characterization of Mitzi being a sapphire juxtaposed to Betsy's situational calm politeness. Here's the thing, being thought of as the "help," regardless of what one is wearing, is a normal commonplace occurrence for a WOC. Mitzi, despite her abruptness, is not outline though she is very much portrayed as the uppity Black lady who needs to be taken down a peg. Thanks for that Davidson. Finally, what makes a white lady think that she gets to announce whether we are called Blacks or African-Americans? Just the absolute never of this author is galling.

If you're going to have a Black BFF, why not pair it with another popular token like the Gay BFF? Betsy first meet Marc when she finds him standing on top of a roof considering suicide. Betsy comes racing to the rescue and manages to talk him out of killing himself. Marc is a doctor who is sick of kids dying, is in debt from med school, dealing with a father who has cancer, has General Anxiety Disorder, hasn't had sex in two months and is gay. The aforementioned, pretty much sums up the characterisation of Marc, excluding however the over excited utterances whenever Sinclair is around. After allowing Betsy to feed off him once, Marc quickly moves into Betsy's home and it becomes apparent that he is more than willing to sacrifice himself on her behalf. This is weird because Betsy's vampire mojo apparently shouldn't have worked on Marc because he is not attracted to women.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Aug 17, 2015 |
Vampire chick-lit at its very, very best. Outrageous story, eccentric characters, a cuddly kooky heroine, and a constant stream of sparkling verbal and visual humour.

Betsy Taylor is mugged by a bunch of hairy critters outside a Mongolian restaurant and sustains some scratches. Two months and one job later, she’s hit by a garbage truck and hurled against a tree. Crushed skull — R.I.P. Betsy. Sometime later she wakes up inside a casket, mysteriously undead. And undead she remains even though she tries to finish off what the garbage truck started by jumping off buildings and bridges, impaling herself on knives, drinking bleach and electrocuting herself.

The pompous boss of the local vampire clan wants to welcome her into his fold, but Betsy tells him to get lost, and in her anger demonstrates some surprising talents such as immunity to crosses, holy water, and sunshine. Oh, and the strength to hurl macho vampires across mausoleum floors.

A cute lesbian vampire reveals that Betsy seems to be fulfilling an ancient prophesy about an ass-kicking vampire queen who will appear and rule the world of the undead with her drop-dead handsome consort.

The publisher’s blurb and trade reviews go on to summarise far more of the story, but I enjoyed this book so much that I’ll leave the rest for readers with tastes similar to mine.

Yet again, I find myself discovering a writer who’s already earned the NYT Bestselling Author cachet. Shame on me, but better late than never. There are more volumes in the Undead series, of which this is the first, and apparently Ms Davidson does other genres as well.

Lots of great reading to look forward to. ( )
  skirret | Jan 2, 2015 |
silly and didnt require much attention ( )
  sraedi | Aug 24, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
MaryJanice Davidsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
del Rosario, KristinDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaber, PamelaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Long,ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spier, NanaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wu, NancyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeller, StefanieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Anthony Alongi, my editor, my partner, my bearded nemesis, and my friend. All praise to my darling husband.
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The day I died started out bad and got worse in a hurry.
Hampton & Son, realizing about a year too late that they had to slash costs, decided administrative layoffs were the way to go as opposed to, say, cutting the six figure salaries of senior management. The clerks and secretaries had been deemed expendable. But vengeance would be ours. Without us, those twits couldn't even send a fax, much less run the company. (chapter 1)
I love my cat. She's a pain in the ass, but she's dependable, and has never once told me to change my shirt because I look like a crack whore in periwinkle blue. Heck, the whole reason I was in this fix was, in part, because of Giselle, but I hadn't gotten rid of her, or even snacked on her. I was definitely a cat person.

Which is why it was unbelievably annoying that dogs now found me irresistible. Before I woke up in the funeral home, I had ignored dogs, and they had ignored me, and we'd gone about our separate business. No longer. (chapter 11)
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042519485X, Mass Market Paperback)

First Betsy Taylor loses her job, then she's killed in a car accident.  But what really bites is that she can't seem to stay dead.  And now her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious power-hungry vampire in five centuries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:06 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After being killed in a car accident, fashion savvy Betsy Taylor becomes one of the undead and, with the help of her newfound friends, the lure of designer shoes, and a sexy vampire, must destroy a dark enemy and fulfill her destiny as the prophesied vampire queen.… (more)

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