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Monday, February 22, 2016

Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors by Molly Harper


Just as Jane Jameson’s unlife seems to be stabilizing, fate sinks its fangs firmly into her butt. Despite her near-phobia of wedding planning, her no-frills nighttime nuptials to her sexy boyfriend, Gabriel, are coming along smoothly. That is, until she turns a fatally wounded teenage acquaintance, and the Council pronounces her responsible for the newborn vamp until he can control his thirst.

Jane’s kitchen barely holds enough Faux Type O to satiate the cute teen’s appetite and maintain Gabriel’s jealous streak at a slow simmer. As if keeping her hyperactive childe from sucking the blood out of the entire neighborhood isn’t enough to deal with, the persnickety ghost of Jane’s newly deceased grandma Ruthie has declared war on the fanged residents of River Oaks. Suddenly choosing monogrammed cocktail napkins and a cake she can’t even eat seem downright relaxing in comparison.

Tensions inside the house are growing…and outside, a sinister force is aiming a stake straight for the center of Gabriel’s heart. Most brides just have to worry about choosing the right dress, but Jane fears that at this rate, she’ll never make it down the aisle for the wedding all nice girls dream of…

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Jane Jameson is back once more proving that Murphy's Law is still the guiding force in her life. She has grown and learned a lot since the beginning of the series, but some behaviors and responses are so ingrained that she can't quite overcome them. At least not yet. Still, she faces the new challenges in her life with a grace and maturity that the Jane of the first book likely wouldn't have had, even if she still can't quite overcome her innate snarkiness. She wouldn't really be herself if she ever lost that though.



Snarkiness aside, Jane truly has grown up a lot. She's more inclined to turn the job of solving things over to the proper people or authorities when a situation warrants it rather than feeling as though she has to take care of everything herself. She's learning to trust that she can depend on at least some of the people around her to have her back and help her out when she finds herself in yet another predicament. She's also becoming more pro-active, seeking to meet problems head on rather than waiting for them to catch up to her and/or hope they'll just go away. This does tend to complicate things a bit a times, but overall seems to be a change for the good.

It's also interesting to see how some of the side characters have changed from how they were at the start of the series. Some in ways that aren't too surprising, and others in ways that were unexpected. Are their stories finished? It would seem so for most of them, though there is an entire spinoff series from this one so perhaps not. Certainly a few of the characters seem to have just started to come into their own and it will be interesting to see how much they figure into the other series and how much more we get to know about everyone.

The story here was had a bit of a rinse and repeat feel to it in that it seems many of the same sort of things keep happening to Jane for reasons unknown (at least at first). Even so, Jane's change in attitude helps to keep things fresh and changes things up a bit. She's not just a passive victim anymore, but her attempts to take control of the situation don't meet with much success a lot of the time either. In the expected course of things, matters seem to have been solved and settled and Jane's finally going to get her happily ever after - but then we're thrown a bit of a curve ball when a few unexpected twists toward the end keep things lively an fresh and set this one apart as being more than just a rehash.

Anyone who's been following the series will want to read this one as it ties up several storylines that have been going on. Not necessarily completely, but enough to give a reasonable sense of closure on them. If you haven't read the previous books, you'll probably be able to understand things alright, though you will definitely get more out of it if you read the others first so that you're familiar with the characters and their history together to date. A fun series overall, it's definitely one I'd recommend and I look forward to continuing on to the spinoff series to see what other residents of the Hollow get up to.

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