Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Also by this author: Magic Bites, Magic Binds
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Ilona Andrews
Purchase at: Amazon
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
I am not going to lie, I judge books by their cover. It is a weakness, 😏. If it had not been for the Wobble Challenge that I am taking part in over at Goodreads I am 100% positive I would have overlooked this gem of a book! It is a short story by the husband wife team that writes under the pen name of Ilona Andrews. I love, love, love their Kate Daniel series and for that reason I was willing to read this book, which I was so sure was going to be a let down.
Oh no, no, no! I loved this book! It was just a wonderful science-fiction sandwich, layered with fantasy, romance and lots of comedy! Also, added bonus it comes with pictures!
The Setting: This is an urban fantasy set in present day Texas. The earth part of the setting is ok but the real thrill is the world building of the other planets. That is where I start to geek out and get my sci-fi thrill. Nice! There are several fantasy and sci-fi elements that come in to play and also include some whimsical word play. It just makes it fun.
The Characters: Dina narrates this story and she is the innkeeper of the Gertrude Hunt. The inn is not just a building but also a sentient being that derives its life force from its innkeeper and guests. It needs them to stay “powered up” and serves as a bed and breakfast for inter-planetary travelers looking for a rest in a politically neutral setting for those seeking refuge, relaxation, or a place to stay while conducting business.
It was as if a medieval castle and a Southern-belle, antebellum mansion had a baby and it had been delivered into the world by a gothic wedding-cake decorator. The inn was lavished with spindle-work, didn’t make sense, and was too elaborate, but it wasn’t a monstrosity.
There is one long-term resident already living at the inn, Her Grace Caldenia Ka Ret Magren. She is a aristocrat who is not very popular among the planets as she has killed a person or two…..thousand. Lets just say that she has killed more than enough people to have many enemies. So she is trying to remain obscure by living at a small town inn.
Next up is the hunky Sean Evans, a werewolf that had just moved into town and claimed the area as his territory. Since there was something lurking in the shadows and killing the local dogs Dina instructed Sean to “deal with it” because whatever this thing was, it was “hunting” in his territory. Sean was a bit affronted by Dina due to the fact that he had no idea that she had magic and assumed she had no idea what he was. Alas, he needed to be taught a lesson.
My magic boomed through the inn like the toll of a huge bell. It had no sound, but I heard it all the same. Sean flew out of the house like a fleck of dust caught in the current of a fan and smashed into an apple tree forty feet away. I heard the crunch all the way from where I stood. “Karma,” I said, petting the doorframe. The house creaked. “You did well,” I murmured to it.
After being taught his lesson Sean slipped away to fight another day. When he returned he was able to meet another resident of the inn, Beast.
“Beast growled. The undertone of her growl changed, gaining a vicious edge. Sean squinted at her. Beast’s long fur stood up like hackles on a cat. Claws slid from her feet. Her mouth gaped, wider and wider, as if her entire head had split in half. Four rows of fangs gleamed inside. “What the hell…?” Sean backed away.”
Not your typical shi-tzu! Ha ha ha, when I read this part it just cracked me up to imagine a tiny little dog turn into a beast. Included in this photo is Dina.
After coming to an understanding and deciding to team up the romance started to sizzle between Sean and Dina while they sorted through the clues to who was causing the issues.
Enter the vampires who are unfamiliar with earth but have come to apprehend the villain of the story. This is also how we meet Vampire Lord, Arland from the House of Krahr and his uncle.
“I’m Lord Soren, son of Rok, son of Gartena, Baron of Nur Castle.” “Dina Demille, daughter of Gerald and Helen.” “My lord, why are you wearing trench coats?” “We must blend in,” he said. “This is a covert operation.” Don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh…”It’s very hot,” I said. “Trench coats are a cold-weather garment.”
Hilarious! As you can expect Arland is also taken with Dina and here starts a love triangle. Now I completely dislike love triangles but this was done in such a way that it was very funny and slightly endearing and only an itsy bitsy bit like a love triangle. Both men have distinctive flirting styles.
“Myths tend to spiral out of control. Do you howl at the full moon and steal maidens to devour?” “Depends on the maiden,” he said. Was he flirting with me? Devouring didn’t really go with flirting, but his tone of voice did. Was this how werewolves flirted? Hey, baby, if I had to kill any girl and eat her flesh, it would be you…”
“Arland smiled again, showing me his fangs. Vampires smiled for many reasons, but when a vampire male smiled at you from this distance with that kind of look in his eyes, it was done for one purpose only: to impress. Look at my big teeth. I’m an apex predator. My genetic material is awesome.”
“Mhm,” Arland said. “I have spent my spare time studying literature popular with young women of this planet. One should always study the battlefield.” Sean glanced at him. “And?” “I suggest you give up now. According to my research, in a vampire-werewolf love triangle, the vampire always gets the girl.”
The romance element is not over powering. At the heart of the book is the desire to find and eliminate the threat that is terrorizing the town’s residents. This story is a quick and nice read that kept me laughing the entire way through. I highly recommend!