Although Penguin has this book categorized as Paranormal Romance I feel anytime you have vampires feeding on people you have a horror story.
When I first saw I'm The Vampire, That's Why by Michele Bardsley I thought "Chick book!" and picked up a Jack Ketchum book instead. After I finished browsing the bookstore and found my wife and saw she was reading the cover and told me that I would really enjoy it. She's never done me wrong in book selection so I bought it. I am so glad she did.
Jessica Matthews is a single mother of two. Her husband left her for a younger woman and then died in a car wreck before she could finish divorcing him. Now she has to raise her young daughter and teenage son in a small town that is getting smaller every day as people move out.
Just when things seem their worst Jessica suddenly finds her life filled with vampires. First the one that bit her. Then the one that thinks he is her soul mate. Then the RVs full of vampires coming to town because they need a new place to live. If that's not enough it seems that ten other people from her small town have become vampires too. It couldn't possibly get worse. Could it?
Yes! Especially when she finds out she won't get to outlive her husband's mistress because she's now a vampire too. But that's not enough. While the vampires that have come to town seem friendly enough there is another group hunting them. These vampires, the Wraiths, want to take over the world. If having vampires move in with more vampires chasing them isn't enough, where are the werewolves that show up going to stay? Things were bad enough when Jessica was a single mother of two with PTA meetings. Now she has to deal with all of this and convince her children that she isn't a monster.
Jessica is a great leading character. I thought of her as being an example of "Girl Power" at the start of the book but by the end my thoughts had changed. She is a great example of "Mother Power." She stands up for herself and is not afraid in the least to make her opinion known. Although she quickly adapts to being a vampire with all of the benefits she never fails to put her children first in everything.
This isn't your typical vampire book. Nor is it your typical romance book. It's a wonderful combination of the two. Michele does an incredible job of mixing the horror of vampires with the challenges of motherhood and a wonderful sense of humor. The level of romance is perfect. Not too much for most men and not too little for most women.
Michele Bardsley does a great job of breathing life into the various characters and you will not find yourself confused about which character is doing what. Each is unique and important in his or her own way to the plot.
The book comes in at 321 pages. I read it in two days completing 182 pages in the first day. It's not often I find myself with a book that I literally cannot put down. The story is direct, entertaining and fast paced. How much did I enjoy this book? I loved it! It's on my re-read list. I am looking forward to reading more of Michele's work.
For all of you men out there still thinking "Yeah, but it's a chick book!" Trust me on this one. Buy this book. Read this book. Learn from this book. There are some tricks in the sex scenes that your lady wants you to learn. That's right, I said sex scenes. I can almost hear men rushing off to the bookstore now.
In discussing I'm The Vampire, That's Why how can I not help but quote another masterpiece? “It just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.”
I want to give a big "Thank You!" to Michele Bardsley for allowing me to quote the following:
"I couldn't scream. I couldn't lift my arms. I couldn't open my eyes. But I felt my body again, every aching, pain-throbbing inch of it. The heavy, smelly thing pressing my limp body into thorny branches and noisily smacking against my throat grunted and rolled off. Dry grass crunched and leaves rattled as it moved, growling and groaning like a well-fed coyote. I didn't flicker an eyelid for fear it would try for a killing blow, though if the state of my neck wound was as bad as I thought, I was dead anyway. Then I heard the sounds of bare feet slapping against pavement and realized the thing was running away. Fast.
I don't remember how I disentangled my sorry self from the bushes. I have vague memories of the roses' too sweet scent as I crawled across the street and collapsed near my knocked-over garbage cans.
For those who know me, meeting my end amid the muttered curses and spilled refuse was not a great shock. But, shock or not, it was still a crappy way to go."
Now that is a great way to get a story going.