Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: A Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts

A Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts

Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Heat Rating: 3



In Heidi Betts’s collection of holiday novellas, vampires turn to Angelina Bertolli—vampire matchmaker extraordinaire—to help them find that special someone to curl up with under the mistletoe…

“All I Vant For Christmas”

Connor loves trimming the Christmas tree, baking gingerbread cookies, and hanging the mistletoe. But his vampire siblings won’t help. His friend Angelina sends party planner Jillian to the rescue. But when Jillian, who’s mortal, discovers she’s decking the halls for a family of vampires, will she run—or will Connor have a beautiful woman to share the holidays with?

“A Vampire in Her Stocking”

When Vivian learns that her secret crush Nick is terminally ill, she’s heartbroken. Confiding in Angelina, Vivian refuses to turn Nick into a vampire. Deciding to play Santa, Angelina changes Nick and leaves him wrapped in a red bow on Vivian’s doorstep…

“It’s A Wonderful Bite”

Although Angelina is happy with her boyfriend Sergio, she’s ready for a commitment. After drinking eggnog and watching It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, Angelina falls into a dream where she is mortal and Sergio isn’t interested in her. Talk about the nightmare before Christmas! But Santa must have checked his list twice because this Christmas Angelina’s wishes are coming true…

Hunter’s Review

This a wonderful book filled with three short stories that follow the matchmaking of a vampire named Angelina, whose clientele are the rich and famous vampires in her area. In this book, the idea is that vampires have come out to humans as existing and are not productive members of society although humans are still wary of them and prejudice does exist.

The first story, “All I Vant for Christmas,” is about Connor and Jillian. Connor is a very rich vampire who wants to celebrate the Christmas season. His teenage brother and sister (apparently whatever age you are turned into a vampire is the one you stay at emotionally and mentally too.) are too cool to care about the holiday season. Angelina sends the very human party planner to Connor to help with his planning. He is immediately taken with her but she is nervous about vampires.

Connor is a wonderful hero and reminds me of some of the old-fashioned heroes often found in romance novels of the past—only he’s a vampire. Its really a wonderful story about family coming together as much as anything else.

The next story “A Vampire in Her Stocking” is about Vivian who is a friend of Angelina. Vivian has been in love with her boss Nick for some time. Nick has no idea she’s a vampire and she’s never told him because she knows he is prejudiced against them. When she finds out he is dying, she is so distraught that Angelina turns him into a vampire and leaves him wrapped in a bow on Vivian’s couch.

Nick is a harder hero to like because he is so prejudiced against characters you have already grown to love. But Ms. Betts does a great job with this story and I think it feels very real.

“It’s a Wonderful Bite” is the most heart wrenching of all the stories. It is about Angelina herself. She wants to marry her boyfriend of a hundred years, Ian. She loves him and one night wishes they were both human instead of vampires so she could know what that would be like. In a ‘Christmas Story’ tribute, she gets a glimpse of that life.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed the heck out of this book but it doesn’t feel paranormal, not really, the vampires are all nice people. They can drop fang occasionally but not to hurt anybody and they basically want to be accepted and loved. Their fun, wonderful Christmas stories but I think she could have told them in a purely contemporary way. The vampirism felt more like an afterthought that a real plot point. Having said that, I read this very fast and I enjoyed it. I think it’s a fun read.

4 1/2 Tea Cups!

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