Bitten and Smitten
Michelle Rowen
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Buy *Bitten and Smitten*

Bitten and Smitten
Michelle Rowen
Warner Forever
400 pages
January 2006
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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In recent times, paranormal themes have become the rage, especially with those age-old baddies, the vampires, getting a fresh breath of life (pun intended) in television, movies and the pages of the modern romance novel as lead characters. However, society at large still hasn’t given up thinking of these immortal creatures as outright evil villains, as the intrepid heroine of this novel Sarah Dearly finds to her bitten..that is, bitter, cost.

Bitten on a blind date, Sarah has vampire hunters out to stake her a la Buffy before she can even say “ouch”, let alone understand that shehas become the stuff of nightmares. Only Sarah isn't the slightest bit scary or ugly. She thinks bloodsucking is gross and wants nothing more than to go on vacation to Mexico and spend all her money on shoes – just like any other normal young woman. Her only weapon is her unbridled sarcastic tongue, and she just wants to be left alone to lead her usual humdrum life. Now, if only the zealous, drooling-at-the-thought-of-staking-their-kill vampire hunters realized that.

To further complicate things, suddenly Sarah's hitherto boyfriend-free life is overladen with the attentions of two very handsome and passionate men poles apart in their disposition. One lusts after her and wants to kill her (a.k.a. a Vampire hunter) while the other lusts after her and wants to kill himself (a.k.a. the Vampire King). Trying to escape the zealous human hunters, adjust to her new immortal life and sort her zany love life in the bargain, all the while getting into one predicament after another, is one humongous task. How Sarah Dearly handles it all makes this story well worth reading.

Apart from the witty title, what’s sure to intrigue readers from the very first page of Bitten and Smitten is this cleverly twisted concept of vampires being the hunted and maniacal humans their hunters. With a premise like this and with the plot containing aptly balanced amounts of laughter and kick-ass action scenes (and even a quirky romantic triangle in the making), author Michelle Rowen seems all set to make an undeniable impression and garner countless fans with her debut novel.

Sarah Dearly pretty much carries the whole show, although romantic interests Quinn and Thierry provide plenty of support. Her droll comments, observant quips and side-splitting wisecracks together with her dazedness at the speed with which she’s become both the hunter and the hunted makes Sarah one of the most quixotic and entertaining female leads in recent times.

The love triangle adds to the general suspense, and the pace of the novel never slows down, what with Sarah’s penchant for always attracting vampire hunters and getting into trouble. Both the male leads, although utter contrasts in looks, temperament and occupation, are deeply conflicted characters with some serious personal baggage. Alternately dark and humorous while utterly entertaining, this is one novel no bookshelf should be without.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2006

Also by Michelle Rowen:

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