Blood of the Maple – Dana Marie Bell (4 Stars)

Posted April 20, 2011 by Nix in review / 0 Comments

Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell
Series: Maggie's Grove #1
Published by Carina Press on 2011-04-11
Pages: 265
Format: eBook

A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie’s Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn’t experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn’t long before craving gives in to need.

In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She’s scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She’s convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she’s not one of the O-positive set, and can’t believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.

When the witch who’s been plaguing Parker’s life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie’s Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

Parker Hollis is a big slut. A smooth, good-looking Vampire, he thinks nothing of loving, feeding and then leaving, females across the world. As with most slutty men in Romance novels, karma does, eventually, turn around and bite him on the ass. In this case Karma comes in the form of a very powerful witch. Terri is a dark witch who adores Parker. When she catches him “with his fangs down” feeding from another woman, she takes great exception to the fact that she isn’t his only food source. She puts him under a curse, which means that she will be the only person he can drink blood from, and that the rest of the food should come only from plants. Flash forward to years later and Parker is living with as a full Vegetarian Vampire, with an unwanted Masters in Botany, and a ghostly companion. Before his premature death, his ghostly companion, Greg, had made him promise that he would move to the little town of Maggie’s Grove and “have little Vampires”.

Maggie’s Grove is a weird little place that is built for Supernatural beings. They have Vampires, Witches, werewolves and Dryads amongst other things. Parker is even assigned his own Renfield (I loved this Dracula reference….:D). Maggie’s Grove also comes with Amara, his fascinating neighbour. Amara is a Dryad, which means that she is a nymph that has an affinity for plants. The rest of the town shun her because she is weird even by their standards, but she has nowhere else to go. Parker and Amara find themselves drawn towards each other and find that she is his “blood wife” (the one woman that can sustain Parker forever) However, what about the pesky little curse? Moreover, what will psycho witch Terry do to them once she finds out?

This book was funny. It isn’t clever funny, or sarcastically funny but very silly. To be honest that’s one of the reasons that I kept reading. It reminded me of a PNR crossed with early Janet Evanovich and, I’m hoping, that this isn’t just a standalone book! The concept of a Vegetarian vampire isn’t new, but the concept of a vampire that can only eat plant blood is fantastically crazy. I howled with laughter at an account of a time where Parker tried to eat the “blood” of a cactus …the science teacher in me could have told him that wasn’t a great plan! The relationship he has with Greg, his witch, is lovely to read and I’m so glad that it continued after his death as I always enjoy a good Bromance.

As much as I enjoyed reading about Parker, It took me a while to get into the character of Amara. It was absolutely atrocious how the how the towns peopletreated her and I enjoyed Miss Bells attempts to prove that, even in a community of “freaks”, it is human nature to pick on the freak of the bunch! What annoyed me slightly about Amara were the contradictions within her character. She was isolated for all her life and the story kept mentioning how she had problems with men and had very little romanctic/sexual experience. Then about half way through the book, when she and Parker finally started to have sex, she turned into a connoisseur of Kink. She knew all the tricks, knew what she liked and, even stranger, she constantly wanted anal sex because she loved it so much. It just didn’t sit well with her character I had pictured in my head and it made me a little less invested in their story. When Parker and Amara finally get it together (which they obviously do…she is part plant!) it is smoking. They pretty much have sex everywhere, every which way and often! There were bits that made my palms a little sweaty and bits that made me blush….definitely five stars for the smut 😀

The side characters were fun. I really enjoyed the burgeoning relationship with Greg the Ghost and Brian, the Renfield. Brain is not only Parkers Renfield (which is basically a Vampire’s fetcher/carrier during the daylight hours) but also a physical psychic. This means he can feel/touch ghosts….this led to some INTERESTING love scenes between the two and some stupid questions on my part (can a ghost orgasm?) To be honest one of the reasons I hope this isn’t a standalone book is because I would like to see how they work out their relationships with its obvious limitations! I also liked the Mayors character and felt his HEA was completely rushed and unsatisfying…there were too many loves stories going in one book to make me happy with every romances progression and conclusion!

Overall, a very funny, light read with some amazing characters that deserves to have their own stories written. I haven’t gone into the whole twist at the end, with some interesting developments in Amara’s true heritage, and the final battle between Parker and Terri because it’s too damn fun to give you any hints! A surprising find with an awesome cover…well worth a read!

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