Monday, March 26, 2012

Wanted Dead or Alive – Kerrelyn Sparks

Tomorrow is the much-anticipated release of the latest in her Love at Stake Series. If you have not had the pleasure of reading this series kiss the gloomy winter blues away and give blissful thanks to the genius that is Kerrelyn Sparks. Her wonderful world is simply a joy. The series begins with Roman, a monk who is turned into a vampire after being attacked by an evil vampire named Casmir several hundred years ago. Set in modern day, Roman has developed a formula for synthetic blood – helping vampires to no longer have to feed from humans. Since Roman was turned Casmir has been building an army of evil vampires, the Malcontents, to help him take over the world and Roman has sought out other people that are good at heart to help him fight to protect the world against evil. Angus McKay, one of Roman’s children, creates a Security Company that helps to provide protection for the vampire population and basically leads the resistance movement. Each primary character in the series is somehow related back to Roman either having been sired by him, or sired by someone he created or works for the resistance that he started. Sounds simple enough but Ms. Sparks does an amazing job making each story in this series truly unique. As the conflict with the Malcontents grows the characters begin to spread out to fight evil on all fronts taking the stories all over the globe. The villain is ever changing and evolving keeping the reader constantly excited to see what is next. What is truly fun about these stories is that each has a strong plot and gripping story line but with a laugh out loud punch of humor. Each character has their own unique quirks that make them memorable and a joy to read. The diversity of the characters pulls all of our favorites in to one series – from vampires, highlanders, humans, shifters, demons and angels – this series has them all. But first and foremost these are beautifully written love stories with the characters perfectly matched and each couple coming together in a way that grabs the reader from the first page.
So on to our featured book – #13, Wanted Dead or Alive. For you series follower’s….Surprise, surprise, surprise – Phineas’s love is not LaToya. Big Bad Wolfie Girl, Brynley is the winner of his charming heart.

Phineas has long been one of the comic relief class clowns of the series – first appearing in book #4, Be Still My Vampire Heart. Phineas was raised by three strong women who taught him right from wrong but when their family came on hard times he secretly became a drug dealer to try to keep his family afloat. The leader at that time of the local Malcontent coven, caught him and turned him into a Vampire in the hopes that he would be a resource for the ingredients to make a powerful drug that immobilizes vampires. Soon after his turning he found Angus and was offered a chance to join the good side, he took it and has never looked back. Trying to appear strong, macho and charming he labeled himself the Love Doctor and has been charming readers and the ladies ever since with his own brand of humor. Unfortunately, the women found him only charming for one night and think he is a too much of a player to take seriously beyond that. Now he has grown weary of the game and is looking to settle down. Only he can’t stop thinking about Brynley who is the daughter of the most powerful Werewolf Pack Master in the country, a princess. He can’t believe that he would have any chance with her given his poor up bringing and sorted past. Not to mention her big bad scary brother, Phil, who regardless of their friendship, would surely tear him limb from limb if he knew what he wanted to do with his babysister.

Picking up where the previous story leaves off, Phineas enlists the help of his brother, Freemont, to go undercover and try to capture the new Malcontent leader and talk show Queen Diva Corky. When her capture goes horribly wrong Phineas’s brother goes to work for Angus to help with the search. Given that vampires can teleport anywhere that the sun is up Corky could be anywhere so the group splits up all over the globe to try to find her before she does something crazy in her quest for fame and power. Phineas receives a tip that she might be in the Wyoming area, smack dab in Brynley father’s backyard and where no body is looking. He is the closest person available to check out the lead but he needs someone familiar with the area to take him there. He is left with no choice but to ask Brynley for her help. Ms. Sparks does a wonderful job in this book making a return trip to Phil’s cabin in Wyoming an entirely new exciting adventure with the beautiful scenery of the area providing a magical backdrop for their budding romance.

Brynley is a feisty strong character. She has lived her life under the ruthless stern hand of her father’s rule. Following the example of her brother and trying to do right by her mother’s dying wish she fled the pack lands after her father unsuccessfully tried to force her to marry. She has been living with her brother and his wife, Vanda, at the Dragon Nest Academy that Roman founded. Secretly she finds Phineas to be gorgeous and the commercials that he stars in advertising Roman’s newest creation Blardonnay, synthetic blood and chardonnay, drool worthy. However, she resents vampires feeling that her brother initially chose living with them over being with her and because at their base level they are parasites – users. Or so she thought until Phineas.

Now their adventure begins. Phineas is forced to trust that Brynley won’t stake him in his death sleep or worse given her tendency for mischief, paint his toes pink like she did Connor….and of course try to hide his feelings for her. And Brynley is forced to admit that there is a charming, caring man behind the joking façade. In their quest to find Corky they must learn to trust each other. Brynley is taking a great risk at being captured again in her father’s backyard but is determined to help Phineas regardless. Their wounded souls recognize each other and are pulled together by a magnetic force neither can control. Regardless of how mismatched they might appear on the outside inside it’s a perfect match and the heat between them can’t help but win out in the end.

The secondary characters that they meet along the way are hysterical and hopefully we will get to see them again in books to come. They are forced to battle not only Corky but Brynley’s father and her past. Some of the series best loved characters play a crucial role and the ending is one that will have you cheering and crying all that the same time. This story is a keeper and will leave you making room in your bookshelf to keep it to read over and over again! If you are not a follower of this series this book is so well written that it could be read alone however I encourage you to read the entire series as it is well worth it!

RATING: I give this book 5 chocolate dipped strawberries and big slice of Brynley’s favorite 5 layer chocolate cake.

Special thanks to Ms. Sparks for sending us this great ARCcopy, for guest blogging with us and for offering readers this great contest. Please be sure to comment below to enter to win your very own copy of one of her fabulous books! Many Thanks!

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