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Tuesday, May 11, 2010:
Dead, Undead, or Somewhere In Between by J.A. Saare

One bad corpse can ruin your whole day. No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy. She’s left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she’s managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her – until now.

The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no.

But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.

First off, can I say how much I love this cover? It rocks, and I would kill for hair like this.

I'd seen my girls Bells & Mandi chatting about this book numerous times on Twitter, and Bells was crazy in love with this vamp named Disco, so of course my eyes perked up and I knew I had to get myself a copy. I'd also started folloing J.A. Saare on Twitter so her comments had me even more intrigued by this dude. Disco was on my radar.

Thing is, the book was published through Eternal Press, and not all the big name online bookstores carry some of the smaller epress books unless it's in ebook format. Knowing me, I had to have it in print (sorry, Mother Earth!), and was glad to find that I could purchase it through Amazon. I couldn't wait to start it! I put aside another book I was reading just so I could dive into D,U or SIB. And hey, what a ride it was. Let's get this party started.


Rhiannon Murphy is a kick-ass bartender at the Black Panther who multi-tasked as keeper of the peace, whether it came to dealing with diva exotic dancers or rich frat boys with a sense of entitlement and a major case of stupid. She knew how to take care of herself, and didn't put up with other people's crap. If only she didn't see all these dead people...

Observing the pretty, no-nonsense redhead at BP, Disco knows what Rhiannon is capable of, what abilities she has, and he needs her help. She's not someone who takes well to being ordered around, but Disco has his methods of persuasion, and he's not going to back down if it means protecting his people from being brutally murdered. He needs Rhiannon to talk to the vampires who've already died to find out who is behind the killings, and why. Her unique skill set would allow her to communicate with those who were no longer among the living...undead, and find the answers Disco needed. He wasn't about to pass this opportunity by.

Rhiannon is reluctant to get involved in the vampire world, and isn't certain she wants to find out more about this freaky ability she's been gifted with. But she finds herself drawn to Disco and his genuine concern for the vampires he protects. And due to her stubborn nature, she almost falls prey to some unscrupulous and dangerous creatures who'd do anything to possess her abilities, so despite her misgivings, she comes to a decision and figures siding with Disco is the lesser of various evils. After all, there are always worse things than getting up close and personal to the sexiest undead creature she's ever met...

My thoughts:

You know, deep down I had to wonder if this was just another story about vamps. And in some ways it is, because a lot of the similar, well-known history is there. But when you flesh it out with outrageously fresh characters and a unique premise, it got my reader juices flowing line good wine. This was one fun ride.

First off, I cannot fail to mention the heroine of our story: Rhiannon Murphy. Shown from her perspective, the comings and goings of the vampires and seedy creatures that now occupy Rhiannon's world could give the toughest gal nightmares, and Rhiannon is no sissy girl. She not only talks a tough game, she can - and will - beat the shit out of you. She's cranky, outspoken, and just wants to be left alone to tend bar. Yet deep down you can sense there's way more to Rhiannon than she's willing to share. She's prone to keeping to herself, and while she's loyal to the one or two friends she actually has, she's not one for girls' night out with the chick flick set. And with these strange abilities she's discovering about herself, she can't exactly share with her BFFs. Revelations like that make it a given that Rhiannon has a lot of secrets she has to keep to herself.

But don't let that fool you. Despite the rough spots, Rhiannon is not prone to crying in her beer. She's funny, sometimes afraid, and tends to not always know what she's doing when it comes to vampires. But she's got a good heart, and she finds herself drawn the the big, bad vampire who wants her for his very own, at least on some level. And it's not just the glamour of a vampire that makes her all weak in the knees.

Disco. What can I say about the guy other than I felt "shades of Bones" when I first met him. Meaning that I didn't care much for Bones (thought he was an a-hole) the first time we appears, and the same was true the first time Disco appears, but with his undeniable charisma and hottie appeal, he soon broke down my defenses - as well as Rhiannon's - and wormed his way into my lust-filled heart. It's a complex thing for a creature of prey - oh, say a vampire - to feel more tender feelings, and yet it's one of the reasons that make vampires so compelling. Disco is no different. Underneath the blood and the fighting and the power, he has an emotional connection to Rhiannon that he can't ignore, and even when they are both acting tough and nonchalant, it's evident that he cares deeply for her. And she senses it, and responds to it, opening up and sharing the secrets she's never shared with anyone else before.

I'm not going to ruin the story for you, but I am going to tell you to be prepared for big surprises in this book. BIG. This is not your typical story, and things happen here that are totally unexpected. But that's not a bad thing at all. Not in the grand scheme of things. In fact, I was rather excited about the biggest surprise, and curious to know how it will all play out in the next book. Because really? That's the sign of a successful reading experience: wanting to return to that world and interact with those characters again and again. And J.A. Saare has me dying to return to this world and explore all the possibilities. To get Goose'd. To Feel Payne. And to find out what happens now that--. Nah, you're just gonna have to find out for yourself ;)

Rating: ***** out of *****



  1. Stacy ~

    Wow...what can I say?

    I'm so glad you liked the story and got Rhiannon. She's a character people either love or hate, so I'm glad she rubbed you the right way. As for Disco, I got him wrong at the start too (I didn't like him either), but he eventually proved me wrong, got under my skin, and now I can't shake him.

    Again, I can't thank you and everyone else for all of the support. Dead is published with a smaller, lesser known e-press and without all of the word of mouth, fantastic people, and continuing show of love, it wouldn't have been as successful as it is today.


  2. Great review Stacy my dear. I'm so happy you enjoyed the book as much as I did. It really is a one of a kind book and I hope that everyone reads it. :D

  3. Nice review Stacy. I want to read this book but like you want a paper copy. I see where the author is supposed to be at the June get together in Ohio so hopefully Linda will have some paper copies of this title.

  4. Stacy, you have made me add yet another book to my TBB list. You know once I start buying books again(holding off to see if I can do RWA). Great review!

  5. Wow! sounds like one I'd love to read so off to add it to my wishlist.

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