Published by Berkley on August 29, 2023
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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True love is at stake in this charming, debut romantic comedy.
Cassie Greenberg loves being an artist, but it’s a tough way to make a living. On the brink of eviction, she’s desperate when she finds a too-good-to-be-true apartment in a beautiful Chicago neighborhood. Cassie knows there has to be a catch—only someone with a secret to hide would rent out a room for that price.
Of course, her new roommate Frederick J. Fitzwilliam is far from normal. He sleeps all day, is out at night on business, and talks like he walked out of a regency romance novel. He also leaves Cassie heart-melting notes around the apartment, cares about her art, and asks about her day. And he doesn’t look half bad shirtless, on the rare occasions they’re both home and awake. But when Cassie finds bags of blood in the fridge that definitely weren’t there earlier, Frederick has to come clean...
Cassie’s sexy new roommate is a vampire. And he has a proposition for her.
The premise was good. It started out well but the writing just didn’t live up to the possibilities.
I will try to give a review with as little detail as possible for anyone who would like to read this story. The basic premise of the story hooked me right away. Cassie Greenberg is being evicted and in desperate need to a new place to live and she finds an ad on Craigslist (does anyone still use Craigslist?) offering a room in a luxurious apartment in a sought after neighborhood for only $200 a month? There has to be something very wrong with that. $200 doesn’t even come close to what must be half the rent, so why would someone be renting a room for so little? Maybe he’s a serial killer looking for his next victim? Beggers can’t always be choosers so Cassie takes her BFF along to meet her possible new roommate.
Frederick doesn’t seem like a serial killer and since the $200/month listing is really his fault, he won’t burden Cassie with his error and if she wants the room, it is hers for $200 a month. Beggers/choosers and Cassie agrees to move in and hopes not to end up on a milk carton.
What grabbed me would be why is this vampire renting a room for so little money. He obviously doesn’t need a roommate financially, so what’s the deal. Of course, we only know Frederick is a vampire due to the title of the story but there is no question that there is something very weird about Frederick. He is wearing a suit right out of a Jane Austin movie casting. He leaves the most formal notes for Cassie written in perfect penmanship over mundane roommate concerns instead of jotting on a post-it note. He doesn’t own any pots or pans or even has any food in the house. So I was pulled into the story right away waiting to find out just why a vampire needed a human roommate.
First, I felt rushed by the romance between Cassie and Frederick without enough interactions or even note leaving that would really foster the sudden obsession. Also, some of Frederick’s one (long) step out of modern society felt too oblivious or flip-flopped between too old world vampire and modern society. For example, Cassie and Frederick are at a party and they end up in the bathroom together. When someone knocks on the door and Cassie says “We’ll be right out.” Frederick is shocked that Cassie isn’t worried about her reputation being found alone with him. Uh, she’s been living alone with him for several weeks before this, yet he never mentions any concern for Cassie’s reputation as an unmarried woman living with a single man. Later that evening the sexy times occur, but Frederick isn’t concerned about Cassie’s virginity or saving herself for a husband. He doesn’t concern himself to even question is Cassie has had lovers before.
Yes, some of these things are intended to be funny fish-out-of-water moments but they didn’t all jive. Frederick was still wearing old fashioned clothing, but unless he just popped his head out of the coffin today after a 100 year nap, he had to know that his clothing was old fashioned and what vampire survived so long who didn’t learn to blend into his environment. He even had a vampire friend, who he didn’t fully like, but he saw the other vampire wearing modern clothing. Why was he still wearing his out of date fashion?
I had hoped that the big event at the end of the story could have been an excuse to pull out some obscure Buffy the Vampire slayer plot twist for fun so Cassie can save the day, but the solution was kind of a nonsensical attempt for human Cassie to win against the big bad vampires which left me going “Really? That’s it?” It was a lost opportunity to be campy and fun, especially when Buffy was brought up once Cassie finds out about vampires.
This appears to be a debut story for Jenna Levine and when I picked up this story it had a lot of promise for fun but the character development and the story execution fell flat which was disappointing.