Friday, September 8, 2017

4 Wine Glass #Review of Stake That by Mari Mancusi

39346Title:  Stake That
Series: Blood Coven Vampire #2
Author: Mari Mancusi
Format: Kindle, 292 pages
Published: January 27, 2017 (Amazon Digital Services, LLC)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Reviewer: Linda
Source: Author
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses

Two sisters—as different as the sun and the rain. For one, getting into the Blood Cover is to die for, but it seems destiny has something else in mind...

Rayne McDonald had it all figured out. Get turned into a vampire, become the mate of the Blood Coven leader, and live the high-life for all eternity. Too bad the head vamp took a bite out of her twin sister by mistake. Now, not only is Rayne still not a vampire, but she learns she's a slayer instead—destined to destroy vamps gone bad.

After being recruited by a secret organization, Rayne is given her first mission: infiltrate a seedy bar downtown and expose its vampire owner, Maverick, for purposely spreading a nasty blood virus. Luckily the Blood Coven sends some help—in the form of sexy vampire Jareth. Will vampire and slayer be able to settle their differences and work together to bring down the evil Maverick? Or will they find their own hearts on the line? 

Linda's Thoughts:
“I never said becoming the slayer would be a field trip to a Justin Bieber concert.”

Stake That! by Mari Mancusi is a saucy teenage romance sautéed with  blood, vampires, and humor. It is the second installment in Mari’s Blood Coven Vampire series, but can be enjoyed as a standalone if that is your preference. Just know that the first book, Boys that Bite, set up the author’s Blood Coven world and there are interconnected characters. The previous book focused on the story of human Sunny and vampire Magnus in which Sunny was accidentally bitten by Magnus, who’d been slated to bite Sunny’s twin, Rayne. Stake That! takes up right where Boys that Bite left off with Rayne’s story. Sunny and Magnus do make several appearances within this second book and it was great catching up with them.

As this story opens, Rayne learns that she’s actually the chosen one, Slayer Inc’s newest vampire slayer. There’s several downsides to this destiny, most notably that Rayne aspires to be a vampire herself (conflict of interest?) and that her twin sister is in love with Magnus, the vampiric head of the Blood Coven.

Rayne’s first assignment as the slayer is to investigate Maverick, an evil vampire who is plotting to take out Magnus. While checking out Maverick’s seedy vampire club, Rayne is stunned to meet Magnus’ second in command, General Jareth of the Blood Coven Army, there. After some initial confusion, she discovers that Jareth is also on assignment working undercover at Magnus’ behest. Even though they both aspire to the same goal, there’s no love lost between Rayne and Jareth. Forced to partner up, will the two be able to work together to bring down Maverick before they become targets themselves?

In the first book, Rayne was trouble and not a favorite character of mine. This story is told from Rayne’s POV, and in a surprising turnaround, I found her to be the more exciting storyteller. While Sunny is Ms. Goody Two-Shoes, Rayne’s mojo is rules are made to be broken. As a character, she’s funny, snarky and kick-ass. She grows up quickly in this book and I look forward to seeing her mature into her character even more in the next book, Girls that Growl. Then, there’s Jareth. He sports a deep, sexy, English accent and is the most gorgeous Goth guy Rayne has ever seen, short-circuiting her brain and taking her breath away. However, Jareth has long-standing relationship issues and, to say that he is averse to ever having a blood mate, is describing his avoidance mildly. This tale chronicles their enemies to more-than-friends story.

Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Stake That!:

  Mr. Teifert’s practically ancient – at least forty, I’d say – and so not sexy or cute or Australian.


Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice in Wonderland would say…

And then he kisses me. Yes, the beautiful vampire, the dark general, the one who never gets close to anyone, leans in and presses his lips against mine. This kiss is soft. Gentle. Light. Like a butterfly’s wing whisking my lips. 

This tale is exciting with a simple plot and works perfectly as an easy escape read. I confess to laughing out loud multiple times at the author’s inherent sarcastic wit while reading it. The story has Buffy overtones – but, despite some similarities, it’s far from a Buffy retelling. There’s also plenty of enjoyable fan references to the Lost Boys and even a few to Alice in Wonderland. Mari’s writing is engaging and easy to follow. The romance is YA . The ending is sweet and quite satisfying. Now, I can’t wait to dive into Girls that Growl next for more Rayne and Jareth! I would recommend this series to all ages who relish entertaining YA paranormal fantasies.

Suggested Reading Order: 
Boys that Bite (Book #1)
Stake That (Book #2)
Girls that Growl (Book #3)
Bad Blood (Book #4)
Night School (Book #5)
Blood Ties (Book #6)
Soul Bound (Book #7)
Blood Forever (Book *8)

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