Monday, September 15, 2008

Marta Acosta – The Bride of Casa Dracula

The Bride of Casa DraculaMarta Acosta - Casa Dracula (Milagro De Los Santos) series

Be sure to check out Marta's not be missed VampireWire.

1. Happy Hour at Casa Dracula (see previous) Watch the trailor.
2. Midnight Brunch (see previous)
3. The Bride of Casa Dracula Sept. 16, 2008 release date

Watch the book trailor. No, really, watch the book trailor then finish reading. Hell, watch it twice, it's THAT good-- and note the use of the Jonesian Effect®.

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 4.5" out of 9"

Milagro de los Santos is having serious problems planning her wedding to fabulous Oswald Grant, M.D. Her future in-laws loathe her, her dog just died, and Oswald’s family has a genetic anomaly that makes them crave blood. Then her extravagant best friend hijacks the role of wedding coordinator, and the secretive Vampire Council assigns conniving Cornelia Ducharme to guide the couple through the ancient vampire marriage rituals.

To top it all off, Milagro’s career is on the skids. She’s reduced to ghostwriting the memoirs of a loony little man who claims to be a shapeshifter. And why does Cornelia’s decadent, way too attractive brother, Ian, always show up whenever Milagro is away from Oswald?

When a series of accidents interferes with wedding plans, Oswald worries that Milagro is cracking under the pressure. Is she just paranoid, or is a hidden enemy trying to make sure Milagro doesn't wed the undead?

The pressure’s on for Milagro in this third book of the highly entertaining and engrossing Casa Dracula series. The story opens with a different Casa Dracula... er, Grant household than we’ve seen before— the family she’s come to love is no longer around. Edna, Oswald’s grandmother, is off with her new boy-toy, Thomas Cook (from book 2), cousin Sam and his wife Winnie are living in their own home with their baby, cousin Gabriel is off doing whatever his security work requires, and her plastic surgeon fiance, Oswald, is working long hours with little time or patience for Milagro.

So that leaves Milagro pretty much on her own to begin planning her upcoming nuptials to not-a-vampire Oswald and meeting with the Vampire Council’s Rules Committee to get their approval for the wedding.

Milagro’s friend, Nancy, sabotages Milagro’s attempts to hire a wedding planner so that she (Nancy) can get the gig instead. And after Milagro refuses some of the Councils demands, they send Cornelia, dangerous sister of debauched cousin Ian, to guide Milagro through the traditions and requirements of the marriage rites. Add in frequent run-ins with the seductive Ian (her ex-lover), the eccentrics she seems to collect, and odd incidents that endanger her life and sanity, and Milagro has her hands full in this book.

This was my favorite book of the series, but I don’t know if I could say that if I hadn’t read the previous books. (Duh!) I THINK it could be read as a standalone, however emotional investment in the characters might be considerably less by doing so. I don’t know if Acosta plans more Milagro stories, but this book was an enjoyable and often emotional continuation of and conclusion to the journey started in the previous two books.

Not too long ago, in a Yahoo Group that I occasionally visit (I think it was PNR), a librarian needed recommendations for paranormals that she could put on the shelves for her patrons; specifically, she was having trouble finding paranormals that were not full of graphic sex. Well, the Casa Dracula series immediately came to mind (it's sexy, but not sex filled; trust me, you won't miss it), and after I posted about this witty and warm series, it turns out I was not alone.

As in the previous books, Bride is multi-layered— there’s witty dialogue, eccentric characters and often oddball situations. Acosta’s crazy whodunits are not to be missed because even though you might guess the WHO, the REAL fun is trying to figure out WHICH Who done WHICH What! And let me be clear that even if you think you’ve figured it all out—you haven’t.

But underlying all is Milagro’s (often subconscious) quest for belonging and finding her place in this world. In Bride, she thinks she’s found it, but then starts to question what’s right... and what’s wrong; who she is... and who she isn’t; what love is... and what it isn’t; what she wants... and what she doesn’t.

Several times while reading Bride, I wanted to put my arm around her and say “Girlfriend, we need to talk.”, but you know what? Milagro figures out a lot of the answers to those questions all on her own. And even though she draws the right conclusions, it doesn’t make it any less emotional for her AND the Reader. [Note: I reviewed an ARC and Marta told me that some minor changes were made to the ending of Bride after the ARC was printed.]

I’m going to do something virtually unheard of in the world of reviews. I’m going to quote the ending of Bride. But don’t worry, there’s no spoilers, it's just that Milagro summarizes this entire series beautifully.

“I’m going to tell you a story about an ordinary human chica who wanted to be a sincere and serious person and how she met a truly fabulous man and a nest of vampires who became her dear friends. This story has villains and heroes, madmen and con men, schemers and dreamers, urbanites and socialites. There is a beautiful and loyal dog named Daisy. There’s adventure and passion and danger and love and laughter, too. She made mistakes, some foolish and some terrible, but she always tried to make amends.”
“The story may be a transformation.”
“No, it’s not tragedy. For though the girl wanted to be sincere and serious, she adored silliness, and luckily for her, tragedy has no interest in the silly.”

Piquant Opines: RT, Love Vampires, Darque Reviews, Bitten by Books, The Fab & the Furious, SciFiGuy, Crystal, PNR

Have you read this book or series? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree!

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