Sunday, March 10, 2013

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: "Undead Sublet" by Molly Harper

Undead Sublet (Half Moon Hollow #2.5)
Undead Sublet by Molly Harper; Narrated by Sophie Eastlake
(Half-Moon Hollow #1.5)

For Ages 18+
Paranormal Romance
Tantor Audio -- February 13, 2013
Audiobook, 4 hours and 29 minutes
Downloaded for free from Audible as a Valentine's Day promotion.

Executive chef Tess Maitland is banned from her five-star kitchen in Chicago to recover from "exhaustion". Choosing a random rental house in Half-Moon Hollow to spend time in, she's unaware that the house comes with a strange man.

Even though Sam Clemson's ex-wife has rented the house out from under him, the divorce settlement allows him access to it for another ninety days. With Tess unable to go anywhere else, and Sam unwilling, a war of epic proportions is declared - and romantic sparks and heavy pots fly.

In retrospect, I should have known something was wrong when the arugula started telling knock-knock jokes.

As always, I feel like I need to start this review by warning readers that I am a certified Molly Harper fangirl!  I have loved or, at least, really liked every single one of her books that I've read.  So it should be pretty obvious that I adored Undead Sublet though I will try to explain my reasoning for all of you Harper newbies. This is a hilarious paranormal romance that takes place in a world where vampires "came out of the coffin" in the 1990s and become a part of regular society.  There are some definite parallels between the vampire experience and the experience of other minorities which I think is a really smart writing choice.

The heroine of this novella is Tess Maitland, a talented chef who works in a swanky Chicago restaurant until she suffers a mental breakdown (that involved talking veggies) and is forced to take a rest.  Fortunately, she chooses to "rest" in the hometown of her mentor, Half-Moon Hollow. Tess is a pretty typical Harper heroine.  She is intelligent, funny, snarky, and a bit on the dramatic side.  While she follows the author's normal character profile, I still found myself adoring Tess and her witty commentary on life in Half-Moon Hollow.  She is someone I would love to hang out with in real life which is a good compliment for a fictional character.

Sam Clemson is the hero of Undead Sublet and is a vampire who was forcibly turned two years prior (a big no-no in the vampire community).  Because of that and the reaction of his ex-wife, he has had a difficult time adjusting to his new "undead" lifestyle.  I really liked Sam and his sweet, but sexy personality.  There were some definite issues that he needed to get over, but he was never overly brooding or unreasonable.  I did find myself wondering what he ever saw in his ex-wife though I think that was part of his journey in the story.  

The romance between Sam and Tess was full of everything that I love about Harper's love stories.  It was full of laughs especially when these two were trying to one up each other with pranks. There were the requisite stupid moments on both Sam and Tess's sides that added drama.  But, overall, everything was sweet and spicy without seeming unrealistic.

With Undead Sublet, Harper returns to the wonderfully quirky town of Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky where her Jane Jameson series took place.  This allows her to have cameos with some of my favorites from her earlier books like Jane, Gabriel, Dick, Andrea, Zeb, and Jolene.  I love all these characters and I really enjoyed seeing how their lives have changed since the end of the Jane Jameson series.

As a narrator, I was really impressed by Sophie Eastlake.  I had never listened to any of her narrations, but I will definitely check her out in the future.  I did have some hesitations about her since I love the way that Amanda Ronconi does the rest of Harper's books, but they were for naught.  She had appropriately timed accents that never went overboard and she handle the comedy aspect really well.  I also have to give her props for pronouncing the name of my hometown, Louisville, correctly (which is hard for many Kentuckians to do).

***4 Stars***

Half-Moon Hollow series
Driving Mr. Dead
The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
"Undead Sublet" from The Undead in My Bed anthology
The Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses (Coming May 2013)

Jane Jameson series
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs
Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men
Nice Girls Don't Live Forever
Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors


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