Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin Review

Jasmine Parks is one the best vampire hunters in the CIA, but after the death of her entire team she is surprised when the best hunter in the agency requests her to be his partner, the legendary vampire Vayl.  Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin follows Jaz and Vayl as they undertake what should have been a routine capture of a rogue vampire.  As the two go undercover to stop the leader of the terrorists group ‘Sons of Paradise’ they discover a much more menacing threat to humanity and vampire kind alike.

Jasmine is a believable character, struggling to balance her job in the CIA which requires her to travel all the time, a non-existent love life and a diabetic father who continually ignores his doctor’s advice and routinely scares off nurses. Jasmine’s belief in doing what was right for her family, even when she admits that her family relationships are strained at best, is admirable but her approach to tackling them, both with anger and humor made me like her.

Vayl, the mysterious vampire, by the end of the novel you understand more of who he is and some of the things he has gone through but there is still alot that needs to be figured out, including his reasons for doing some of the things he did. There a few supporting characters that really contributed to the story, including Bergman a neurotic, paranoid computer genius. I loved his quirks and super cool techie toys.

This is the first book in a serious of seven (as of November 2010), the story line was left wide open with a lot more back story with each of the characters.  I really liked it, there was no sex which seems so prevalent in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre, which is not to say there wasn’t sexual tension in the novel.  I enjoyed Rardin’s fine line between the world as we know it with just a little of the paranormal thrown in. Rardin’s ability to introduce a slightly humorous quirk of a character and then incorporate it into a bigger issue later in the novel was incredibly well done and had me second guessing what I had thought earlier in the novel.

Book Order:

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Another One Bites the Dust

Biting the Bullet

Bitten to Death

One More Bite

Bite Marks

Bitten in Two (Available November 2010)

Rating:

Title: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Author: Jennifer Rardin

Format: Paperback and ebook

Page Nos.: 335

ISBN:  978-0316043540

Publisher: Orbit

Release Date: July 2009

Reviewer: Jessica

Author Visit: Kiki Howell

I am pleased to welcome author Kiki Howell to NovelReaction.com.

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Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots,and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She then followed in a Master’s program in Creative Writing.

“After a long break having my boys, I finally just had to write again. And, as soon as I gave the stories the space, they entered it. It’s both awesome and humbling to find the words in my mind become characters on a page and create their lives.”

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The Angel and Devil of Creating a Paranormal World

World building is one of my favorite activities as an author, as well as one that causes some stress for me.  Inspiration comes to me from different places.  Sometimes I am reading a research book on something like Wicca and a spell starts my imagination.  I let my mind spin the spell into one where a witch with could do the unimaginable.  Or, I watch a movie or read a book, and in my mind I see the paranormal creature differently.  And thus, a story comes to me like a whirlwind, one with how I see such a creature.  I have even had the occurrence walking somewhere where I just see something that could have happened there. In that case, I have a wonderful setting right in front of me to describe. So, where does the anxiety and stress of it all come in?

Well, I seem to also have this voice inside my head, like the proverbial angel and demon on my shoulders, that whispers to me that no one will ever believe or buy into my story.  Seems crazy when I am writing about the unbelievable, a world where maybe vampires kill humans to live and witches can produce an energy ball of light for protection.  My angel, I guess, then fights back making that very point.  Still, that little devil continues on that no one will want to read it. You know, I write fantasy to get away from the insanity of real life sometimes only to be met with my own craziness. LOL

Never fear, the angel wins though.  I begin to let go and create.  You would think that devil would just give up.

When I create my world, I always start with the characters. I have to not only decide what they are going to be, like a witch (my favorite) or a vampire (love to mix these two) or a shifter, etc. But, it doesn’t stop there. There are a lot of decisions in what abilities the characters have. How far I let my brain go here depends upon that evil red dude with horns on my shoulder again.  Once I silence him again, I have to decide what other characters they will be assisted by or have to battle against and what their powers will be. The trick here is always to create a villain who seem like he or she is more powerful, and then find a fantasy loophole in which the main hero or heroine can defeat them.

Of course, being I write paranormal romance, I have to decide who that main character is going to fall in love with, and what complications their powers may be to their union.  One may think that with supernatural powers life would be easier, but I like to complicate life with them.  Of course, in the physical relations, there are always perks found their special abilities, if you know what I mean! LOL I get a bit devilish here on my own, and silence completely the devil on my shoulder that questions my abilities. I suppose at this point which voice in my head was the devil and which was the angel could be debated. All in the perspective J

Once the characters are established, I create finally the actual physical world with the setting, the time, etc and how all of these things impact the characters.  Sometimes my family asks me what I am doing sitting in front of my computer staring off into space, but I am either taking a break or creating my next story.  Important work is accomplished staring at nothing.

Angel and Devil aside, I have tried to write stories that are not paranormal, but I find it creeping back in.  In fact, I recently finished a non-paranormal story, and had to laugh when my character ended up an avid reader of paranormal erotic romance, and many references were made to it.  When I got the inspiration for my latest novel, The Sorcerer’s Songs, in a very unique place, a song my husband wrote, I literally sat back and first thought of what type of magic would go along with being a singer/songwriter.  I didn’t think it was a stretch to make the hero a sorcerer because often listening to my husband sing the songs he writes, something rather surreal surrounds me.  I started research in the psychology and music, and found that I was right.  Often ‘magical’ things happen to a person while they are listening to a song. Most of what I wrote that was paranormal in that story as far as the songs were concerned were not much of a stretch. I actually was so inspired with this story that the Angel and Devil didn’t even show up. I ended up taking my husband’s CD, called Weathervanes, and played with the songs until I had a plot where my Sorcerer was writing the songs based on what was happening to him in the story. I truly grateful to my husband in allowing me the freedom to create with his creations.

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Thank you so much for stopping byKiki!  Kiki offers several free reads located here and her novels are available for purchase here.  You can read my review of her book The Sorcerer’s Song here.