Bittersweet Blood (The Order #1)
By Nina Croft
Published February 17th, 2013
Entangled Publishing: Edge Imprint
Source: Received ARC from Entangled Publishing in return for an unbiased review (Thank You!)
About the Book:
Tara Collins just wants to be normal. Everyone else wants her dead.
Tara’s eccentric aunt raised her to be fearful of the world and follow the rules. But after her aunt’s death, Tara is ready to take control and experience life for the first time. But she quickly discovers that everything she’s been told is a web of lies. Determined to solve the mystery of who she is truly, she hires private investigator to help her uncover the truth.
Christian Roth is more than your average PI. A vampire and ex-demon hunter, Christian lives among the humans, trying to be “normal.” But recently, things seem to be falling apart. There’s a crazed demon hell-bent on revenge hunting him down and a fae assassin on the loose with an unknown target. Plus, the Order he abandoned desperately needs his help.
As the secrets of Tara’s past collide with the problems in Christian’s present, she finds herself fighting her attraction to the dark and mysterious investigator. Falling in love does not fit into her plans at all, but Tara soon learns that some rules are meant to be broken.
As soon as I was done reading this book I was commenting with my long-lost book signing buddy, Nan, that I haven’t been reading any true, straight-up paranormal romances lately and I really missed them. I’m behind on all my Black Dagger Brotherhood, Lords of the Underworld, and Dark Hunter series. But Bittersweet Blood was exactly what the doctored ordered to cure me of the “young adult” stupor I had been wallowing in at the time. It wasn’t the shock to my system that a BDB book would have been. But oh, was there a whole bunch of smexy going on.
Story / Tempo / World Building
First off, I’m one of those readers that LOVES two-person POV stories. I absolutely sink my teeth into books written where you have ONE story told from TWO different sides so you can see all the angst, sacrifices, and turmoil that go into every decision a character makes. Granted, not all books should be written this way but I personally believe PNR lends itself extremely well to this modus operandi. Especially this story.
I really enjoyed the way the story starts out (you can find the first chapter on Entangled’s website HERE). Tara has recently moved to London from the Yorkshire Moors where she had spent her entire life sheltered from the world until 6 months ago when her Aunt Kathy passed away. She’s come to London to start a normal life but to also find out who she is after discovering files that lead her to believe her aunt Kathy isn’t really her aunt after all. She’s standing outside a bunch of office buildings trying to decide whether to go through with hiring a private investigator or to just let it all be. She’s also trying to find the building itself when she stumbles into a stranger who points her in the right direction. Ahhh, talk, dark stranger… yep, sounds totally cheesy but actually it’s not!!! Ms. Croft did a fabulous job flirting with the dark, brooding hero type and the Christian Grey stereotype. Yeah, yeah, I saw the similarities but they went “bye-bye” in two seconds flat. The two person POV helped. And it’s not like Tara fell for this Christian right away. She later finds out he’s a vampire and all she wants is to be is a normal. Yep, that’s a struggle… normal or hot vamp in bed? Hmmmm….
Ms. Croft also did a fabulous job introducing her world and keeping it secondary to the story. By the end of the story, she manages to introduce not only vampires and demons but she included weres, fae, and shapeshifters. It never got in the way of the plot and I simply want more of this world.
I tend to read two person POVs quickly (sorry, but I just can’t seem to get enough of these!) so this turned out to be a super quick read for me, like a two-evening read. The story did move quickly, there wasn’t a lull in site, and Ms. Croft actually surprised me a couple of times with story directions I didn’t see coming. You just don’t see that very often anymore. I loved it!!!
I didn’t think I was going to like Tara as much as I ended up liking her. From the start, I was leery that because Tara left the country-side only 6 months prior that she was going to be this shy, mousy, weakling in the city trying to make it on her own. Turns out that she’s always longed to get off her estate in the Moors and had been sneaking out to watch people in the small village nearby. She’s actually pretty smart and brave with a whole mess of naive mixed in. Plus there’s that whole “mystery” part to her that comes out and, well… I actually liked her character a ton!
Our hero, Christian Roth, is your typical bored 500 year old vampire who used to hunt demons but is now content with just living amongst the humans. He would have been the same ‘ole, same ‘ole uber vampire except for his interactions with the supporting characters. My faves were Graham, his human servant and Carl, Christian’s head of security. And then there’s Piers but my mind isn’t entirely made up about him. He’s a little rough around the edges for me. I’d like to see his edges smoothed out by a lady friend in the future 😉
Speaking of which, looking at Ms. Croft’s website, she has listed that the next book in the series will be Bittersweet Magic (The Order #2) and it’s tentatively set to release June 2013. I can’t find anything on Goodreads, Amazon, or Entangled about it so lets just hope it’s on its way and soon!
About the Author:
I grew up in the north of England, and after training as an accountant, I spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left me with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. I then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but have now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds.
I share the farm with my husband, four dogs, three cats, a horse, two goats, a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, and a handful of chickens. It’s a perfect place to indulge my two great passions, reading and writing.
I write lots of different things, but mainly paranormal and science-fiction, usually with a strong element of romance.