Sunday, January 10, 2016

Yes, I Read a Romance: Between a Vamp and a Hard Place by Jessica Sims

When I was much younger, I read a lot of romances.  This was before vampires, combat warriors, and every paranormal creature around filled the shelves of romance sections in stores and libraries.  My romance reads consisted of cowboys, corporate millionaires, titled gentlemen, and Scottish hotties.  

I received a request to read and review this novel from Simon and Schuster and I thought, why not?  I could do with a fun, otherworldly romance.  I finished it in a few days (a nap and housework kept me from finishing it in one day), and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  

I don't read many romances nowadays, and I don't have an answer as to why. There are romances for every taste, and I certainly could hand-sell them to customers without much effort.  Ask a few questions, know a few authors, and you can match people with the right romance.  Between a Vamp and a Hard Place is definitely for those who like contemporary, funny, hot romances with a vampire tossed in to make it that much better.  I've talked about my pet peeve of a bad cover, and I have to say this one shows Rand with a clean cut look.  Rand is a 600 year old vampire, and his hair is repeatedly described in the novel as "shaggy".  Let it be shaggy on the cover!!

Anyway.  To the story.  Lindsey and her friend Gemma live in Nebraska and are struggling to build an antique business.  They are super close friends who grew up together in a foster home and only have each other.  Gemma takes a chance and spends all their savings on an opportunity to clear out an old apartment in Venice.  They get first dibs on all the potential antiques.  It could be a disaster, or a money-maker.  They travel to Venice, and begin working through the apartment.  It's a mess.  Filled with boxes and boxes of stuff.  Lindsey spots a picture above a piece of furniture, tries to grab it, and ends up losing it behind the furniture.  Her fumbling around leads to the discovery of a hidden passage behind the wall.  Lindsey and Gemma follow the stairs down a damp passageway, and into a room that is filled with a whole lot of antiques that could potentially save their business.  

And guess what else?  Yep.  A coffin.  Lindsey creeps down at night to see the coffin, and bravely pries open the lid, thinking for sure it's either empty or full of more antiques.  What she finds is Sir Rand FitzWulf.  And of course he's a hottie.  Rand has no idea he's been sleeping for hundreds of years, and has no idea why anyone would stake him. Yes, he was staked.  It doesn't kill a vampire, but puts them into a sleep from which they can't awaken.  Lop off their head, and they're dust.  Remove the stake, and they wake up.  

Lindsey is pretty calm about all of this.  Gemma thinks it's pretty cool.  Rand only knows that he's got the hots for Lindsey, and he must find whomever tried to end his life centuries before.  The Dragon is Rand's mysterious leader, and one evil dude.  Can Rand find him and end it all before The Dragon ends Rand?  

This was a fun, fun, book.  Gemma swears like a sailor, and Lindsey alternates between tough girl and a woman with a serious case of lust.  I've read a few reviews that say Rand is so controlling and manipulative.  Seriously people.  He's a 600 year old vampire, with vampiric powers, and was a warlord living during the crusades. Heck yes he is controlling.  You can't make a 600 year old man act like a modern man.  I found him charming, myself.  There are quite a few sex scenes that use pretty specific language, so you are warned.  If you like your romances with lots of fade-outs, be forewarned this one has none of that.  I had to laugh out loud at the line uttered by Lindsey: "He's a shower, not a grower."  First time I've ever read that in a romance. 

So yes, sometime this year, grab a romance and read it.  Pure utter fun.  I liked the story line, the characters, and the conclusion.  The cover, however, could use a bit of tweaking.  

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the ARC.  

Rating:  7/10 for a romance full of hotness, a tough yet vulnerable hero, and a feisty heroine.  The cover art, however, doesn't fit the characters.  But don't let that stop you from enjoying the story.

Available in paperback and e-book.


  1. Great review! I left my romance reading days far behind me, but you may have changed my mind. I found out last night at a reading group that the leader, a smart modern woman, has read all 3 Fifty Shades books twice! Actually, the book we discussed was a 1920s lesbian romance among other things. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. AND, the one woman pulled an imaginary stake out of the other's heart! Reading. What an adventure!

    1. Judy many brilliant, sassy, funny ladies read romances. They always have a happy ending and heck we need happy endings in this world. There's such a variety of romances you're sure to find one that suits you.