All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire
Kerrelyn Sparks
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Buy *All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire (Love at Stake, Book 5)* by Kerrelyn Sparks online

All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire (Love at Stake, Book 5)
Kerrelyn Sparks
384 pages
October 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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With Kerrelyn Sparks' vampire stories, you know what you get: a group of nice and honorable vampires, many of whom are Scottish, working against the 'Malcontents', a rival group of killer vampires. You also tend to get a heroine (or, in one case, hero) who is human and who isn't turned into a vampire by the end of the book because they don't want to (rather awkward when each book sets out the advantages of vampirism). As this is the fifth book in the "Love at Stake" series, the cast of characters has widened. We meet most of those from previous books, catching up a little with their lives, but All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire is written in such a way that a reader could start with this book and still follow what's going on.

Ian MacPhie had a problem in the previous books: he was turned into a vampire at the age of 15, and so has permanently youthful looks. However, as briefly mentioned in a previous book, he has realized that Roman Draganesti's "Stay-Awake Potion" (which enables a vampire to stay awake during the daytime but has the side effect of aging them a year per day) might help him to look older, so he's been taking it. In this story, we learn that Ian has had 12 days with the Stay-Awake potion and now looks like a 27-year-old. This causes some confusion as many people don't recognize him, but it also has another unexpected benefit - women start chasing him around.

Ian's not looking for a short-term relationship, though; he wants what some of his friends have got, a long-term permanent relationship. He knows that a relationship with a mortal won't be satisfactory, so he joins an online dating site to try to reach vampires. Since most of the calls he gets are from humans and come in during his daytime sleep, one of the daytime guards - newly-appointed Toni Davis - ends up having to deal with telephone calls and women camping outside to get a glimpse of him.

Toni's motives for becoming a daytime guard are somewhat suspect, and Ian begins to wonder if there's more to it than she explains. As Ian and Toni spend time together, he realizes that she has secrets, ones she isn't willing to share with a vampire. Toni's friend Carlos is also rather unusual. Can Toni rescue her friend Sabrina with Ian's help? Can Ian find the perfect Vampire consort? Can Toni's lifelong dreams be accommodated to her new reality?

As with the other books, All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire is a light but pleasant read. The fairly understated Christmas theme could have been dispensed with altogether without anyone noticing. The actual plot drags at times, and the bad guys are forever teleporting away when things get interesting, but overall it's a good enough read for a relaxing afternoon.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2008

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