Review: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

Format: Mass market paperback
Pub Date: August 2012
Publisher: Pocket
Length: 356 pages
POV: 1st person, past
FTC: Received for free at RT Booklovers Convention (provided by the publisher/author)

Having finished a meh book by Molly Harper, it makes perfect sense to immediately pick up another one, right? It does if you're me.

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires is only peripherally related to the Half Moon Hollow series of the previous book I reviewed. It's also 80 pages longer, which I really think might be my issue with the last book. It was too shallow. The extra page count for this one allows for explanation. I did NOT get the same sense of backstory-itis I did with the last one. Everything felt fully explained.

 I really enjoyed this one. I enjoyed the byplay between Iris and Cal, but I also enjoyed the larger cast of characters, particularly Iris's younger sister Gigi. I think these types of humor-filled books work best when characters can play off each other. What was such a relief was the our main character is independent, smart, a businesswoman, and entirely capable of taking care of herself. Even in dangerous situations. In fact, she saves herself AND Cal on multiple occasions. So refreshing to have competence really highlighted and valued. We get a lot of that for heroes, but not for heroines.

The entire idea of a full service vampire concierge business makes me smile. It's hilarious without any slapstick needed. But I adore the fact that the businesswoman in charge is so resourceful and clever, and greedy (well, practical). It's the offer of a massive amount of cash that causes Iris to overcome her reservations and help Cal, a client she finds poisoned and sprawled in his kitchen on the floor. She distrusts vampires on principle, knows they're dangerous, and decides to help him anyway because he offers to pay her. Fair enough. I bought that motivation more so than if she had just decided to trust this guy for no reason.

Iris is also in charge of her teenage sister's upbringing, and it's super fun to watch Cal and Iris try to act on their attraction when a teenager is in the house. It puts some brakes on what would otherwise be a quick story of lust and allows them to develop some much needed trust.

THIS book is well crafted, fun, funny, and very charming. It's not silly in the way some of the paranormal romances can be, and not completely forgettable either.  Proof that sometimes, an author just has an off book, and you can give them another shot at your time and attention.

My Grade: B+

The Blurb:
Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow's only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she'd like. Running all their daylight errands--from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled O neg--gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vampire life. Her rules are strict; relationships with vamps are strictly business, not friendship--and certainly not anything else. But then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and only Iris can help.
Cal - who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris allowed herself to think that way - offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place until he figures out who wants him permanently dead. Even though he's imperious, unfriendly and doesn't seem to understand the difference between "employee" and "servant," Iris agrees, and finds herself breaking more and more of her own rules to help him - particularly those concerning nudity. Turns out what her quiet little life needed was some intrigue & romance--in the form of her very own stray vampire.

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