Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Hour at Casa Dracula (Casa Dracula Series #1) by Marta Acosta

Back of the Book Blurb:  Latina Ivy League grad Milagro de Los Santos can't find her place in the world or a man to go with it. Then one night, at a book party for her pretentious ex-boyfriend, she meets an oddly attractive man. After she is bitten while kissing him, she falls ill and is squirreled away to his family's estate to recover. Vampires don't exist in this day and age — or do they? As Milagro falls for a fabulously inappropriate man, she finds herself caught between a family who has accepted her as one of their own and a shady organization that refuses to let the undead live and love in peace.

Review: This was a fast and funny read.  Published in 2006, it's the first in a series, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to read my first Marta Acosta book.  Written in a chatty, witty, first-person narrative, Happy Hour at Casa Dracula is a refreshingly different take on vampires.  In this book the main vampire characters consider themselves to be afflicted with a rare genetic disorder, and while they do not consider themselves to be vampires, they do enjoy drinking carefully harvested animal blood.  After Milagro is bitten by hunky Oswald during some hotel room nookie, she seems to have contracted the disorder (wait, isn't it genetic, not viral? this is one of those moments the reader just has to ignore).  Milagro is an interesting character.  She is smart, verbose, well-read, sexy and somewhat lazy.  She makes regular references to classic authors and uses some really fun, multi-syllabic vocabulary (which I love, dork that I am).  But for all her talk, she remained a pretty paper-thin character.  She relates many stories that should create a deeper sense of character - her mother Regina's coldness, her own hand-to-mouth existence, being a Latina graduate of a WASPy elite univeristy, her spotty employment, her eclectic circle of friends.  But while these are interesting and colorful, they remain largely anecdotal, failing to create a more complex picture of Milagro.  Consequently, I am already forgetting details about the story.  I finished reading it a couple of hours ago and the details are fading fast - it's not one of those books that create a strong impression and stays with you for days afterward.  But that's not necessarily a negative.  I like books that are a fun break from my reality, and this book gave me that escape.  The pace is fast, the humor is steady and there's enough going on in the story that I zipped through the book quickly and enjoyed it while reading.  I would like to read the rest of the series.

*As a side note, this is one of those rare romance novels that has no explicit sex.  The author neatly avoids the details, while still writing a couple of steamy scenes.

For more information visit the author's website at