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Red Hot Books

My name is Jen. I read too much. I drive my husband crazy. I share books with my friends and we spend too much time talking about them. I enjoy Urban Fantasy & Romance (mostly PR & Historicals.) I’m also a mother of two and work full-time as a tv news Executive Producer.
Kiss of Pride - Sandra Hill I really, really wanted to love this book. Come on! Viking vampire angels?? That sounds awesome, right? Only... it really wasn't.

The basic premise is that back in the day, the Vikings pissed off God with their heathen ways and worship of other deities. He was going to smite them all, until the Archangel Michael convinced Him to give them a chance at redemption. They would live as vampires/ angels-in-training for hundreds of years. Their mission is twofold. --1-- To fight demons who wish to harvest human souls to hell. And --2-- to help those humans set on a sinful path --to change to a righteous one. Seven brothers make up the head of the vangels (yes, they are called vangels.) And Vikar is the head of the family.

It's now modern times and the vangels are gathering for a big meeting with Michael. Alex, a reporter, is sent to do a feature on the town where this is happening... a town that's developed a vampire-craze. But she quickly becomes a mission for Vikar. Alex is dealing with a devastating loss and she is contemplating some heavy-duty revenge. Vikar must help her find her way and ends up falling in love with her in the process.

There are just so many things that didn't work for me in this book. The biggest issue is the tone. There is a slightly cheesy vibe going throughout. Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse, Anne Rice and Buffy references abound. So much so, that they were completely overwhelming and redundant. Just when I thought she couldn't possibly reference Twilight another time... she would do it again.

As I mentioned, the good guys were called "vangels;" their enemies are "Lucipires." The names alone felt trite. Beyond that, their little town was called Transylvania (Pennsylvania) and it featured every conceivable vampire-fan stereotype.

The vangels call the archangels "Mike," "Gabe" and "Rafe"... which might lead you to believe that the religious elements are tongue-in-cheek, but that's not the case. The religion in the book is the real deal. They don't take the name of the Lord in vain, they pray a lot, and they try not to sin. Which means no sex. Instead they've got this running shtick about "near-sex" that follows our couple up to the very end of the book.

When our couple falls in love, it's like listening to two teenagers. "I love you the most" -- "No, I love YOU." -- "No, I love YOU." Pure saccharine. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why. Vikar is a thousand years old and I saw nothing so exceptional about Alex that she would make him fall in love so quickly and completely. And as for Alex's perspective: Vikar has basically held her prisoner and has taken over her life. But she is decorating his castle just days after he takes her captive. She forgives his bad choices at the speed of light. Why? I have no idea.

It appears that the Viking language is marked simply by putting an -ing on the end of a word. We got boyling, girling, sweetling, dearling, and heartling IN ABUNDANCE. Like just about everything else, it was too much. Everything is overdone. There is no subtlety anywhere.

The relationship resolution is predictable and the ending is a one-two punch of unbelievable convenience and sickening sweetness.

I appreciate the author attempting to give us the best of all worlds by combining Vikings, vampires and angels into one breed of uber-hero. (The next book's hero is a Viking vampire-angel Navy SEAL!) But it just didn't work for me. 2 stars.

*ARC Provided by Avon