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Friday, August 12, 2011

Embraced by Blood by Laurie London

Embraced by Blood by Laurie London
Book 2 in the Sweetblood Series
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (384 pages pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Iris

Alfonso Serrano is a hunted man. For months he's managed to elude the Darkbloods, vengeful foes who won't rest until he's dead. But he still craves one dangerous temptation: Lily DeGraff, the sexy Guardian agent he'll risk anything to protect.

Lily is a wanted woman. Her talent for tracking Sweet—a rare blood type that's addictive to vampires—makes her a prime target for enemy capture. Her only hope is the stealthy vampire operative who stole into her bed…then left her in despair. Danger aside, Lily won't let Alfonso near her heart again—until an irresistible hunger threatens to draw them back together… and into an assassin's snare.

This isn’t your mother’s vampire story.

First off: good news to folks who pick this story up without reading the first book in the series (like me!) – it’s good as a stand alone book. I had absolutely no problems following relationships between the characters or missing any back plot. Good news for those who have read the first book – this book leaves you wanting to continue the saga. There isn’t a “cliff-hanging” ending, so it the reader gets their “happy for now”, but the characters are complex and likeable and the prospect of reading the third book in the series is a pleasurable one.

I found it disconcerting, then refreshing, then intriguing the way Ms. London treats the “vampire heritage”, the most notable difference being the presence of “born vampires”. This is the first time I have come across a novel (romance or otherwise) that has the possibility of a child being born into a vampire family. It is also the first time I have read of vampire marriages. While changing of a mortal to vampire is still practiced in this story, the majority of this story’s characters are “born” to vampire families and experience the vampire “change”.

The complex social structure and different sects of vampires gives this story a very modern twist. In many ways, the social and governing structure described in this story resembles current American society. This is also quite clear in the dealings of sweetbloods or “sweet” as it is commonly referred to. Within the context of this story, this blood type has an addictive quality to vampires and causes behavior much the same as heroin or cocaine use might be expected to cause in a human. Therein lies the basic premise of good versus evil . . . using sweet to coerce vampires to commit acts they would not normally engage in.

However, we don’t pick up a romance novel to draw parallels between contemporary society and the fictional situations described. We also don’t find the romance enticing because of the morality of the plot. We read it for the sizzle. And sizzle this book has in abundance!

Due to the vampire characterization, most of the interactions have a touch of violence to them – the ultimate act of vampire intimacy is sharing their blood. So – in addition to the carnal acts that we are familiar with, there is the description of blood lust and fang-bearing and some blood drinking.

Having said that: I am not a fan of violent or “gory” stories, yet truly did not have a problem with any of the intimate scenes, including the ones that involved blood sharing.

There is a sexual undercurrent throughout the book, given the sensual nature of the vampire society. During their attempt to find a missing tracker, Lil and Alfonso visit a sex club and arrange to use a viewing room. Using the room will allow them to look for their colleague, but also requires them to have sex in front of an entire club of vampires and humans. While the outcome of that encounter is unexpected, it is certainly an interesting read!

Lil and Alfonso have a common novelized romance – complete with misunderstanding that drives them apart for many years and creates an atmosphere of longing and distrust. It also creates some amazing moments when they give in to their cravings. Please make sure you enjoy the hospital scene!

The plot twists and turns kept me turning the pages and the sizzle made the page turning worthwhile! Grab your copy today!