This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on March 4, 2014
A series comes to an end with this third book in the trilogy and as always I am bittersweet about it. This set of light paranormal romances kept me entertained from the slew of vampires, witches, shifters, and even gods and goddesses to the flirty dialogues to the fun lightly dangerous adventures. I confess that it isn’t the most impactive series I’ve read, but it wasn’t meant to be. The aim based on what I could tell was to offer enough conflict to keep things interesting both with the romance and the action side of the plot without crossing over too far into the ‘keeping it real’ end of the spectrum.
This was Anthony’s story. He’s a very old vampire, but he is one of the good guys. He has been a regular character since the beginning and he owned the establishment where everyone meets, Boston Uncommon, and he was also the guy that many people relied on when they got into a pinch. Poor Anthony had a secret crush on Claudia, the human day manager for his business, but he always had to hide his feelings because he has an over the top, wildly stalkerish and lethally jealous ex-girlfriend, Ruxandra.
With the burning down of Boston Uncommon in the last book, Anthony and everyone else who worked and came to the bar are slightly at loose ends. Anthony has lost touch with Claudia, but it is a strong hint from his psychic Aunt Sadie that he goes to check on her. Anthony finds Claudia one big hot mess and her secret is out. Claudia is a functioning alcoholic and has been for years. The loss of her steady employment at the bar was the thing that pushed her over into binging. But with Anthony’s visit and a surprise visit from her concerned parents, it is enough to snap her out of it and push her to join AA and work hard to get sober.
Anthony is right there for Claudia and even changes his plans to re-open the bar to opening a tea house just so he can keep Claudia with him and keep providing a place for paranormals to meet. He also takes this opportunity to finally come out in the open with his interest in having a relationship with Claudia. Now he just has to find a way to tell her what he is without freaking her out.
Meanwhile, Nick, Kurt and Toby are investigating the disappearance of several paranormals. They learn from one who barely escaped that there is a lab where humans are experimenting on paranormals that they have somehow found a way to capture.
Claudia is happier than she has ever been now that Anthony is her boyfriend. She has loved him for five years and it amazes her that he was interested in her too. She has a sponsor now who guides her as she works through the Twelve Steps and getting sober. Part of what she is learning is that she needs to keep things stress-free and she’s not supposed to be in a relationship during the early days. Claudia insists that Anthony is a support and bright spot and she’s not cutting him loose. Then doubt sets in… Unfortunately, Anthony’s Ex coming around and threatening all the time leaving her wondering if Anthony is still secretly with her because where does he disappear to each day? And at the very least she wonders if it’s beyond anyone including Anthony’s ability to get rid of Ruxandra short of murder. Maybe she should just give him up? How many chances should she give him?
I’ve been anticipating Anthony’s story since I heard about who was getting the third book. He was a favorite supporting character all the way through the series. He always kept his cool and he selflessly helped everyone else while he pined away after Claudia. I felt his frustration- even as I laughed through some scenes- each time the crazed Ruxandra made an appearance like a spoiled child which she sort of is because Anthony made her vampire. A romantic relationship didn’t work and he has no spark of interest in her, but can’t seem to get her to see that. I laughed when he and Kurt started plotting to get Ruxandra’s fixation off him and protect Claudia.
Claudia wasn’t as developed of a character in the previous books so it was only in this book that I got to know her. I liked what I saw of her in this one. I’m always appreciative of a character who has something big to overcome and they do it. Claudia was also stable and strong when it comes to supporting Boston Uncommon and her friends. When it came to Anthony, she was more than patient and understanding considering his Ex seemed homicidal and he couldn’t seem to get rid of her. Her concerns are valid there. She had some weak moments, but she had a lot thrown at her too. I was glad that she loved Anthony and was good for him too.
I was only moderately impressed with the broader plot. I liked it, I liked Anthony and Claudia together- quite the passionate yummy pair actually, but it didn’t really grab me from cover to cover.
I felt there were pacing issues where things where strongly engaging and clipping along, but then would slow down for a side trail. Much of it was just because this book was tackling all the wrap-up threads with all the characters and their stories since this is the finale. For instance, there are two secondary romances going on besides the experimentation plot, Claudia’s character growth with the alcoholism plot and Anthony and Claudia’s relationship. One romance only gets minor representation, but the other is pretty significant. A lot going on. Not a bad thing per se, but it kept things from being tight and sharp with the focus. I honestly would have loved seeing some of it maybe touched on here and then given its own book or novella so it didn’t detract from Anthony and Claudia.
Normally, I love it when author’s tie up loose ends and I wanted that here. That being said, I found the extended Gaia (Mother Nature) scenes where she literally is just going over rules for the paranormals in her mother to children stricturing tone not very attention grabbing. It is probably meant to be funny, but I was just ‘meh’ watching her lecture grown capable people for the last few pages. Fortunately it wrapped up with a final absolutely adorable scene with Anthony and Claudia to leave me smiling.
All in all, it’s an amusing series that lovers of light paranormal romance that gets just a tad spicy will get a kick out of.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.