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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tastes of Love & Evil by Barbara Monajem

Tastes of Love and Evil by Barbara Monajem
Publisher: Love Spell/Dorchester Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (336 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Orchid

Rose Fairburn is on the run. Her vampire nature can’t protect her from everything, especially not herself. Now, when she should be worried about escaping her past, she can only think about one thing. Her kind can’t live without blood or sex. Love they must forego.

Jack Tallis can slake her thirst. Tall. Handsome. Trustworthy. And not a man alive can resist a vamp’s allure. But…Jack can. And he has other secrets, like why underworld hit men are on his trail. Why love suddenly seems possible. How he can vanish into thin air. The shadows hide mysteries darker than Rose can even dream, and all will be revealed in the fetish clubs of one strange Louisiana town…

You know all about vampires, right? Wrong! Ms. Monajem has approached vampires from a totally new direction. A direction you are going to be captivated by.

Rose is a vampire who has only recently got in touch with others of her kind. Endowed with the vampire allure she entices men of all ages, even when she doesn’t want to. Her only means of releasing tension is sex. She meets Jack, a man who has the powers of a chameleon. He saves beaten and battered women to give them a new start in life.

They meet when Jack is shot and Rose uses her vampire saliva to heal him. He regains consciousness and immediately pushes her away. Circumstances force them to travel together in her beat up old van. Juma, a teenage runaway, joins them.

The vampires in this book are totally unlike any I’ve ever read about. They have healing properties and the bite of the female vampire takes their sexual partner to untold heights. Rose is a nice vampire. She doesn’t try to force others under her control; instead she tries to help people. Jack is fighting his own demons. He has escaped the coils of one vampire and has no intention of being caught by another.

Juma is the comic relief. She is an unusual teenager who loves books. She’s also frightened and behaves like a brat, scared of betrayal by all around her. Mixed with this is a longing to be loved.

In the background, but extremely important to the book, are several minor characters. Violet, a vampire who terrorizes all around her. Titania, an unscrupulous vampire who uses her allure to enslave all men to do her bidding. Constantine, a childhood friend of Jack, who can bend the minds of those who anger him. And the underworld of Bayou Gavotte, the leaders of the criminal element who are determined to have some form of discipline in the town.

I read this book from beginning to end without wanting to ever set it down. I needed to know what happened next and picked up my Ereader at every available opportunity. The characters were so real. Despite the fact I didn’t believe in vampires, by the end of the book I wondered if I’d got it wrong. These vampires were not a pack. They didn’t act like Count Dracula. They were individuals with their own personalities, the type of people you might find walking through the local mall.

Whether you like or dislike the paranormal, this is a marvelous book to read. Thank you Ms. Monajem for providing me with such an enjoyable few hours.