Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica's Guide Series #1)

( 1257 )

Overview

The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic ...

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Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica's Guide Series #1)

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Overview

The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jessica evolves nicely with each new shocking revelation, becoming, over the course of the novel, an intriguing and strong protagonist . . . romance buffs will find the ultimate pairing of Lucius and Jessica absolutely irresistible, and it's downright swoonworthy once their elaborate courting ritual begins in earnest." The Bulletin

* "A romance involving a high school girl and a handsome vampire may sound a little too familiar, yet this first novel quickly bursts ahead of the pack of Twilight-wannabes . . . The romance sizzles, the plot develops ingeniously and suspensefully, and the satire sings." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Fantaskey sustains a wholly believable contemporary teen world against a backdrop of vampire romance—Jessica and her friends look and talk like real teens, and her wry sense of humor is delightful, especially when describing an archrival who has her eye on Lucius. Girls obsessed with vampires and romance will welcome this clever, amusing take on teen vamps in love."— Booklist

"Fantaskey’s fast-paced story is full of plot twists and turns that keep readers guessing until the very end. The story is highly entertaining with plenty of action, drama, romance, as well as self-discovery." — School Library Journal

"Fantaskey's novel is far more than a romantic fantasy . . . Jessica is a witty, spunky protagonist with authentic insecurities and inner conflicts."—VOYA, 5Q, 4P, (highest rating)

From the Publisher
"Jessica evolves nicely with each new shocking revelation, becoming, over the course of the novel, an intriguing and strong protagonist . . . romance buffs will find the ultimate pairing of Lucius and Jessica absolutely irresistible, and it's downright swoonworthy once their elaborate courting ritual begins in earnest." The Bulletin

"A romance involving a high school girl and a handsome vampire may sound a little too familiar, yet this first novel quickly bursts ahead of the pack of Twilight-wannabes . . . The romance sizzles, the plot develops ingeniously and suspensefully, and the satire sings." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Fantaskey sustains a wholly believable contemporary teen world against a backdrop of vampire romance—Jessica and her friends look and talk like real teens, and her wry sense of humor is delightful, especially when describing an archrival who has her eye on Lucius. Girls obsessed with vampires and romance will welcome this clever, amusing take on teen vamps in love."— Booklist
 
"Fantaskey’s fast-paced story is full of plot twists and turns that keep readers guessing until the very end. The story is highly entertaining with plenty of action, drama, romance, as well as self-discovery."
— School Library Journal
 

"Fantaskey's novel is far more than a romantic fantasy . . . Jessica is a witty, spunky protagonist with authentic insecurities and inner conflicts."—VOYA, 5Q, 4P, (highest rating)

Publishers Weekly

A romance involving a high school girl and a handsome vampire may sound a little too familiar, yet this first novel quickly bursts ahead of the pack of Twilight-wannabes. Down-to-earth mathlete Jessica Packwood is completely horrified when, a few months shy of her 18th birthday, a Romanian named Lucius Vladescu shows up on her doorstep, claiming that he and she are vampire royalty betrothed to each other since infancy-what's worse, her adoptive parents verify the betrothal story and explain that her birth parents identified themselves as vampires, too. Fantaskey makes this premise work by playing up its absurdities without laughing at them, endowing Jessica with a coolly ironic sensibility and Lucius with old-world snobberies that Jessica's girlfriends find irresistible. Jessica's laidback parents serve as foils for imperious Lucius ("Can I ever again be happy in our soaring Gothic castle after walking the halls of Woodrow Wilson High School, a literal ode to linoleum?" he asks sarcastically); a scene at a steakhouse where the vegan Packwoods meet the carnivorous Vladescus is first-rate comedy. The romance sizzles, the plot develops ingeniously and suspensefully, and the satire sings. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Meredith Strmac
The protagonist of this teenage novel is Jessica, a typical high school senior with researchers as parents, a best friend to confide in, and a crush on her cute neighbor. She narrates readers through her daily life and all the qualms that come along with it. On her first day of school, a tall, dark, and handsome stranger seems to be following Jessica around. This would not typically bother a teenage girl, but readers soon learn that Jessica is not, in fact, normal. The stranger, Lucius, has a secret for Jessica, one that her parents kept from her when they adopted her as a baby. Her identity crisis comes full circle when Lucius reveals himself as her betrothed, an act that her birth parents committed before their deaths. Jessica must make a drastic decision; does she continue her normal way of life in rural Pennsylvania, or follow this mysterious stranger back to Romania, her rightful home? Although the book seems to drag on until the last 25 pages or so, the sci-fi elements with a twist of romance will help capture and keep the reader's attention as Jessica continues on her journey. Reviewer: Meredith Strmac
VOYA - Courtney Huse Wika
When Lucius Vladescu arrives to collect his long-lost, betrothed Romanian vampire princess, Anastasia Dragomir, he finds in her place American teen Jessica Packwood. Jessica is a mathlete and member of 4-H, raised by vegan, anthropologist parents who brought her to America. She knows very little about her birth parents and her brief life as Anastasia, and she likes it that way. What she does know is that she is certainly not an undead vampire princess, especially if it means being betrothed to the arrogant, overbearing, and dangerous Lucius. But Jessica finds that there is much at stake should the pact between the Vladescus and Dragomirs be broken; there is a vampire war brewing in Romania, and Lucius's very life may depend on Jessica's decision. Will she leave her "nice," rational life with her best friend Mindy and boyfriend Jake, or will she accept her destiny and ascend to the throne as Anastasia Dragomir? Fantaskey's novel is far more than a romantic fantasy. As Jessica wrestles with issues of identity, she must also grapple with her body's physical changes and her newfound sexuality. For answers, she turns to Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire's Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, a title that reveals vampirism as the novel's metaphor for coming-of-age. Jessica is a witty, spunky protagonist with authentic insecurities and inner conflicts. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

Jessica Packwood is a normal teen attending Woodrow Wilson High School. Her mathematical nature has even given her a slightly geeky reputation, which is about to change with the arrival of Lucius Vladescu, who seems to be stalking her. She tells her mother about him and learns that she is really a Romanian vampire princess who has been betrothed to Lucius at birth. She knew she was adopted, but this revelation comes as a shock. It is this agreement that has kept rival vampire clans, the Dragomirs and the Vladescus, at an uneasy peace. If the marriage does not take place, war will ensue and threaten the ultimate destruction of Jessica's vampire family. To say that this is a lot for the teen to take in is an understatement. Lucius is gorgeous, old world, tender as well as arrogant, and very overprotective of her. However, she chooses to date Jake, a handsome but rather dull boy. But not all is as it seems in the vampire world, and as the story progresses, circumstances force Jessica and Lucius to take matters into their own hands; in doing so, they examine their true feelings about themselves, family, and duty. Fantaskey's fast-paced story is full of plot twists and turns that keep readers guessing until the very end. The story is highly entertaining with plenty of action, drama, romance, as well as self-discovery.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Populated with thoroughly flat characters, this vampire romance, despite charming moments, makes Twilight look like a feminist handbook. Mathlete Jess doesn't like the creepy new student who calls her by her pre-adoptive name, Antanasia. Velvet-clad Lucien insists that he's a vampire prince, she's a vampire princess and they've been betrothed since birth. Jess's vegan anthropologist parents not only agree with Lucien, but invite him to move in. Though resistant at first, Jess becomes more reconciled to being nobility, especially as Lucien shows interest in local girls and starts avoiding Jess. She'll need Lucien to become a vampire, however; a female vampire can't come into her powers until she is bitten by a male vampire at puberty (the reverse, maddeningly enough, is not true). The more she thinks about vampirism, the less analytical Jess becomes, incredibly losing both the desire and the capacity to do math, skipping calculus and walking out of a Mathlete competition she's been training for years to win. It's OK, though, because she's wicked cute in her vampire mother's dress! For vampire-romance completists only. (Fantasy. 12-14)
Kirstin Slitt
Lucius Vladescu is a vampire. Jessica Packwood is his vampire princess. But to this small-town Pennsylvania teen, getting through the school day is hard enough without a tall, dark, handsome vampire stalking her and calling her by her long forgotten Romanian name. It's no secret that 17-year-old Jessica was adopted by free-spirited, vegan parents. But what they've hidden from her, an immortal destiny, will change her life forever. Without warning, Jessica is plunged into a world of rumors, lies, and a fate she isn't sure she wants to fulfill. As responsibility to her heritage overpowers her and Lucius's kisses weaken her resolve, Jessica is faced with a choice between normalcy and unbelievable power. If only she has the courage to choose. Beth Fantaskey's first novel continuously grapples with the social ramifications of male and female power colliding, all wrapped up in the delicious vampire genre that has captured the nation. Reviewer: Kirstin Slitt
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547259406
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/18/2010
  • Series: Jessica's Guide Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 354
  • Sales rank: 221,007
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

BETH FANTASKEY lives in Pennslyvania with her husband and two daughters. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is her first book.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

THE FIRST TIME I saw him, a heavy, gray fog clung to the cornfields, tails of mist slithering between the dying stalks. It was a dreary early morning right after Labor Day, and I was waiting for the school bus, just minding my own business, standing at the end of the dirt lane that connected my family’s farmhouse to the main road into town.

I was thinking about how many times I’d probably waited for that bus over the course of a dozen years, killing time like any mathlete would, by doing calculations in my head, when I noticed him.

And suddenly that familiar stretch of blacktop seemed awfully desolate.

He was standing under a massive beech tree across the road from me, his arms crossed over his chest. The tree’s low, gnarled branches twisted down around him, nearly concealing him in limbs and leaves and shadows. But it was obvious that he was tall and wearing a long, dark coat, almost like a cloak.

My chest clenched, and I swallowed hard. Who stands under a tree at the crack of dawn, in the middle of nowhere, wearing a black cloak?

He must have realized I’d spotted him, because he shifted a little, like he was deciding whether to leave. Or maybe cross the road.

It had never struck me how vulnerable I’d been all those mornings I’d waited out there alone, but the realization hit me hard then.

I glanced down the road, heart thudding. Where is the stupid bus? And why did my dad have to be so big on mass transit, anyhow? Why couldn’t I own a car, like practically every other senior? But no, I had to "share the ride" to save the environment. When I’m abducted by the menacing guy under the tree, Dad will probably insist my face only appear on recycled milk cartons. . . .

In the precious split second I wasted being angry at my father, the stranger really did move in my direction, stepping out from under the tree, and I could have sworn—just as the bus, thank god, crested the rise about fifty yards down the road—I could have sworn I heard him say, "Antanasia."

My old name . . . The name I’d been given at birth, in Eastern Europe, before I’d been adopted and brought to America, rechristened Jessica Packwood. . . .

Or maybe I was hearing things, because the word was drowned out by the sound of tires hissing on wet pavement, grinding gears, and the whoosh of the doors as the driver, old Mr. Dilly, swung them open for me. Wonderful, wonderful bus number 23. I’d never been so happy to climb on board.

With his usual grunted "Mornin’, Jess," Mr. Dilly put the bus in gear, and I stumbled down the aisle, searching for an empty seat or a friendly face among the half-groggy riders. It sucked sometimes, living in rural Pennsylvania. The town kids were probably still sleeping, safe and sound in their beds.

Locating a spot at the very back of the bus, I plopped down with a rush of relief. Maybe I’d overreacted. Maybe my imagination had run wild, or too many episodes of America’s Most Wanted had messed with my head. Or maybe the stranger really had meant me harm. . . . Twisting around, I peered out the rear window, and my heart sank.

He was still there, but in the road now, booted feet planted on either side of the double yellow line, arms still crossed, watching the bus drive away. Watching me.

"Antanasia . . ."

Had I really heard him call me by that long-forgotten name?

And if he knew that obscure fact, what else did the dark stranger, receding in the mist, know about my past?

More to the point, what did he want with me in the present?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 1257 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(863)

4 Star

(246)

3 Star

(105)

2 Star

(28)

1 Star

(15)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1259 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    tvandbookaddict.blogspot.com

    Now this story is original! It is NOT your typical love/vampire story. I really recommend this one it's a nice, short read :) you will be rooting for this cute couple as you're reading the book. Doesn't the beautiful cover alone compel you to just go out and buy the book when it comes out? I'm sure the answer to that is yes hehe<BR/>I loved the story! It really got me hooked from the start and would not let go. Oh and I certainly got attached to the main hot vampire, Lucius.

    56 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2009

    Way way way better than Twilight

    Jessica (Antanasia) is truly an awesome heroine. She's smart, strong, and quite witty. Not to mention she is betrothed to a very hot vampire, Lucius Valdescu. At first, Jessica isn't too happy that her life is now invaded by a rude, arrogant, and surprisingly charming vampire, but as the story unfolds, we find out that Lucius has an abusive past and finds comfort and love along side Jessica.<BR/><BR/>I absolutely love love loved this book! After reading the Twilight series, I was seeking something similar. This book totally fit the bill and went far beyond. The romance I think is more intense and the male lead is also much hotter than Edward. <BR/><BR/>If your looking for a darker twist (and a more seductive take) on vampires then the usually Young Adult/Teen genre vampire, you'll love this book! Hopefully, the author will make a sequel and we¿ll see more of this love story.

    25 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dont let the cheesy title fool you...

    I was reluctant to read this book because the title sounded kind of cheesy but I was wrong. Once you get into the second or third chapter you are hooked. I simply could not put it down. I also found out that the author has provided a follow-up on her website so that you can find out what happens next. Jessica is a character that is easy to relate to and despite your initial annoyance with Lucius you will grow to love him. Defiantly worth a read!

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    I think this might have been the best book I've ever read!

    I haven't read any good vampire books in awhile, but when I picked up this book I knew it was going to be great, and, of course, I was right!It just kept me hanging through the whole thing!I mean when the main character made choices, I was thinking what I would do!I was just bawling through the whole thing!I hope this author writes more books, because I will be looking forward to them!

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wicked!

    I love this book and couldn't get enough of it while reading. I didn't expect to like the book this much and I certainly didn't expect it to have as much depth as it did. This is a great read and if you're looking for a book that will suck you in from the first pages, have you sitting on the edge of your seat, and drive into fits of screaming, laughter, and tears... then this is a book for you. Honestly, it's amazing. Read it.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Just okay.

    I wasn't impressed with the female lead character Jessica at all. She doesn't want anything to do with the male lead character and makes that very clear to him. Yet when he turns his attention elsewhere, she gets annoyed and jealous and possessive. She seemed very shallowand silly. Also she tries to claim some sort of previously unknown/unused inner strength of character at the end, which is unsupported by any of her actions. The end seemed rushed.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2009

    Disappointing

    I picked up this book expecting a light-hearted satire of the paranormal romance genre. What I got was a story that tried to be a comedy but backed the genre's conventional chauvinism with a none-too-subtle mallet. This includes such gems from the male lead as "...you are bound by gender. You can swat at the fly, but I can crush him" and a condescending dismissal of "women's lib," not to mention his fixation on getting Jessica to wear a dress. In this world, female vampires only get their powers through a bite from a male vampire--without a bite from a man, they neither grow fangs nor drink blood. Through her male lead and the very construction of her world, the author effectively teaches her readers that hyperprotective stalkers make for healthy life mates, that girls can only have power when men give it to them, and that when a girl habitually wears t-shirts, it's because she thinks she's ugly. Between this and the lack of finesse in the storytelling itself, you would be better off spending your money on a cup of hot chocolate and a paperback version of a vampire book you already know you like.

    6 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bite This Twilight

    Twilight has been getting a lot of press. Making a movie out of it and having loads of teens reading it. I believe that Jessica's Guide is better. Having read both I would say that this novel appeals more to an older age. The writing is less sophomoric and the implications of sexual acts are much better.

    The story is about Jessica, a small town girl who lives in farm country Pennsylvania. Near her 18th birthday a Romanian exchange student shows up. Through conversations with her adoptive parents she finds out that she is a vampire princess that is betrothed to this prince. Jessica (or as she is known in Romania, Anastasia) just wants a normal life. She tries to hide from bullies and keep her self as inconspicuous as possible. Luc, pulls her out of her shell and makes her a strong impressive girl who can rule high school and a vampire nation.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Above and Beyond...

    Honestly, when I got this book, I was a little doubtful about how good this book would be. I mean, come on! Vampires, teen/high school girl and romance?! Sounds like Twilight, right? But I was pleasntly surprised to find that with all of these elements included, it was orignal and wonderfully amazing. I was sucked in from the first mysterious page, through the deep suspense to down to the last page (where I will admit, I was sad to see it end...). It's been awhile since I have cryed, laughed and been completely raped up in one book. Generally before I buy a book, I read reviews, try to read into the the story to see if it's really that great, and I am sooo glad I bought it! I would recomend this to everyone and anyone, ecspeacialy if you are even remotely interested in the supernateral or a good romance novel. I appericated that this book was a bit thicker then most normal book, lastly to like 350 pages, and I can tell you that it has a satisfiing, terrific ending.

    In the begininning. Jessica/Antanasia meets a baffelingly arragont Romanian Royal named Luucius. She is drawn to him even from the begginning, not yet knowing what she should be afriad of. Once he reveales his true purposes to her, they start a awkward, passionate, mostly complicated relationship. On top of finding out that her parents knew, Lucius moving in with them, finding out his "ture nature" that goes agianst all logic, he tops it off with trying to court her into marrying him!

    In this twistinyly dark romance/suspense story, you will fall in love with a little danger, get sucked into Wooddrow Wilson High's new dramas' and step into a world of mythical creatures. Even more suprisingly, this is the author's first book, and I hope that the second one will be a sequel to this AMAZING book! I bought it and totally don't regret it, I think you would be the same! Read it!! :)

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    OK

    This book is OK if you are between 12 & 15. Very easy read. I finished it in 3 hours. Not very complex. The characters are kind of week and the story is an interesting spin on the vampire tale. I will not read this book again but will keep for my daughter to read when she is old enough.

    5 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great!

    I was actually really surprised at how good this book was. I was expecting some water-downed vampire novel but there were twists and turns that kept me going turning pages like it was going out of style. It was a great book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2010

    my review

    I love this book. it is a keeper for me. it made me cry in the middle and put my emotions.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    you can never put it down and when you do your still thinking about it!!!

    i loved this book!!!it makes you mad sad and happy at the same time! i loved the characters (except for faith hated her!)you deffinitly not expect what happens in this wonderful book. as i said in the heading when i put it down i was so mad at myself for doing it!i could not stop thinking about whats happing in it until i finished and still i kept thinking aboit it!and when you start reading you will hate to stop because every second of this book is exciting!!!!!MUST READ!!!!!!!!
    P.S. I DONT SAY THIS ABOUT ALOT OF BOOKS AND TRUST ME I'VE READ ALOT!(and not only the ones down there)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Good teenage+ read.

    This is geared for teenagers yet it does have depth and a very decent plot that can entertain even a adult.

    I am 28 and found it alot better then most. Keeps you wondering.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    Anonymous

    Amazing! I finishedthis in less than aa day and only tearing away (with considerable groaning) when i had to. I got in troublw alot with my mom! It wasnt some sappy romance novel but slightly predictable. Iread for literally hours nonstop. Dont hesitate!!! Buy it, u wont regret it!! A amust read!!!!! Well byeim gonna go buy the sequel!!!!!! ;)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Love It!!

    I absolutely loved the book!! It is interesting, funny, and romantic. It gives the reader new and refreshing ideas about vampirism. Plus, the characters ( in particular Jess and Lucious) are really interesting, they leave you wanting to know more about their lives and family history. I can't wait for the sequel!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2009

    DONT LOOK BELOW MY COMMENT!!SPOLIER!!

    OKay, if you were planning on reading this book like i was..Dont read the "i want luke" or something comment! it spoiled some of the book....im not sayong i dont agree with that chick but really????

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    GREAT BOOK!!!

    I loved this book! I thought it was going to be like twilight but i was wrong. Its about a vampire prince that claims the Jessica is his bride, Anatasia Dragminar. It goes into Jessica not liking this vampire, Lucius. It was really exciting when Jessica went to Lucius's homeland. This book is for romantic or drama people that love to hear crazy lovesick things. Jessica's life changes when Faith trying to steal Lucius from her! She tries to win Lucius back...it was really surprising. This book proves that Twilight is not the only great book about vampires and love.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    I was lucky to get an Advance Reading Copy

    This story line is right on time with the popularity of Vampire stories. It has a unique twist to the Vampire guy human girl storyline. You get a feel for the characters highs and lows. I hope Beth writes many more stories. This one appears to be a stand alone story and not a series.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    This book is amazing!!!!!!!!!!

    I hate it when i yell at the characters to not do it and than i turn the page and they do it anyway.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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