2015 Book #1 – Undead and Unwary by MaryJanice Davidson

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Title: Undead and Unwary
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Genre: Fiction – Paranormal comedy (with a very small amount of romance)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group / Penguin Group
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Pages in book: 303
Stand alone or series: Series – Undead/Betsy Taylor #13

Blurb from the cover: First: kill Satan. Second: reorganize Hell. Sounded simple enough back then, but for Betsy Taylor, managing “down below” isn’t as easy as she’d hoped – even if she is doing it with her sister, Laura, a bona-fide Antichrist. So yes, Betsy has been shirking her hellish responsibilities, but she’s been just so darn busy these days. And she’s not just yanking Laura’s chain. There’s a brand-new baby drama involving a pair of uncanny (okay, terrifying) toddler twins, an upcoming birthday party that has to be planned, and, are you ready for it? Betsy’s dad – once so very dead – has been spotted in downtown St. Paul.
It’s enough to send Betsy fleeing to Hell, if only for some quiet time with Laura. But while there, in addition to meeting old acquaintances, Betsy discovers that death can be just as complicated as life.
Now, despite all the chaos, Betsy’s friends rally around, helping her handle all this fire and brimstone jazz. As for Betsy’s sister and dad – they have their own surprises in store for the vampire queen. And jolt by jolt, Betsy will discover that there’s nothing as heartwarming as family. Yeah, like Hell.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “book with nonhuman characters” check box. This book picks up a few weeks after where the last book in the series left off. I’ve been a fan of this series from the beginning, but to be honest this book was not my favorite in the series. There was just too much reviewing of previous books, and not just references but like in depth explanations of relevant things that had happened in previous books. There was even a whole chapter that was an excerpt from a previous book. And while this is probably ideal for people who are picking up this series for the first time with this book (though I don’t know why any sane person would start a series with the thirteenth book) it ends up being pretty dry and somewhat tedious for someone who has already read the whole series and knows all the background information. I also had an issue with Betsy’s big revelation concerning Laura at the end. It never really says how she figured it out, all of a sudden a light-bulb turns on and she realizes her sister sucks. I just feel like that isn’t very realistic. I went with it though. Other than those two things, I really did enjoy the book. Betsy finally takes responsibility for Hell in an interesting way, and there are a lot of interesting developments concerning Betsy’s asshat father, Jessica’s great but weird kids, and Betsy’s abilities as the vampire Queen.

The bottom line:
  I would still recommend the series overall (and obviously this book as a piece of the series) but I wouldn’t recommend this book as a standalone.

Author website
: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unwary-Queen-Betsy/dp/0425263444/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1420461969&sr=8-1
Memorable quotes from the book:

2014 – Book #106

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The hundred and sixth book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unsure by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the twelfth book in the Undead/Betsy Taylor series by this author. I finished this book on 12/28/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up a few days (I think) after the last book leaves off. Betsy has just killed the devil in front of her half-sister (the devil’s daughter). This causes a bit of family tension at the Thanksgiving 2.0 holiday that Betsy has planned. The Antichrist is pretty upset that Betsy got her into this situation, where she’s stuck being the devil’s replacement.

Sinclair is ecstatic that he can now go outside in the sunlight with his two puppies, Furr and Burr. Betsy is ashamed that he is acting so “cute” and not at all like the bad-ass vampire king that she has come to know and love. Betsy is trying so very hard to recover her fragmented relationship with her sister and thinks that Thanksgiving dinner will do the trick. However, Laura has other ideas and drags Betsy to hell and then ditches her there. Also this whole time Dr. Taylor (Betsy’s mom) is very worried about the fact that no one knows when Jessica got pregnant, no one knows when Jessica is due, and no one seems to be worried about these facts.

Overall I really liked the story line in this book. The Antichrist acts like a scared little girl in this book, which was a tad different from how we’ve seen her in the past. And I loved that we got to hear pieces of the story from Eric’s point of view in this book. I loved that Jess’s babies turned out to be weird and I think its hilarious that Marc ended up having to deliver them. (Oh yea, SPOLIER ALERT 🙂 )I can’t wait to read the next book in the series (the new one)!!!

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unsure-MaryJanice-Davidson/dp/0425263436/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1419907889&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #104

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The hundred and fourth book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unstable by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the eleventh book in the Undead/Betsy Taylor series by this author. I finished this book on 11/26/14. I rated this book 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up about a week after where the last book left off. Marc has just died and everyone is trying to deal with the repercussions of that. Betsy seems to be taking it less well than the others. Betsy is determined to save Marc and bring him back from the dead. Jess and Nick (those darned humans) are opposed to this idea but Betsy is going to do it anyways.

Fortunately for Betsy, she doesn’t need to do a thing. She goes into the attic to put something away and discovers zombie Marc just shambling around up there. And then we find out from Laura that the Book of the Dead is actually made out of Sinclair. Like from his skin. Because the devil skins him alive in the future and Betsy uses his skin to make the Book of the Dead. So then Sinclair goes off for awhile and Betsy thinks it’s because he is scared but I guess he was researching.

And then Ancient Betsy pops up and says that she’s waiting for something to happen but she won’t say what. So Betsy decides on a spur of the moment decision to do something a little unexpected and kill the devil. And then Laura will have to take her place. But hopefully because she doesn’t end up working with the Lena Olin devil, hopefully Betsy doesn’t do a bunch of bad shit and the world as they know it won’t come to an end.

Overall I did really like this book, as I liked all the books in this series. This book specifically I liked the plot twists and turns and I like that Betsy took some kind of action to try and save her and Sinclair. And since the Book of the Dead was gone in the end of this book, I’m hoping she succeeded. Good read and good addition to the series.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unstable-Queen-Betsy/dp/B00B1LDDRE/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1417029191&sr=8-2

2014 – Book #103

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The hundred and third book I read in 2014 was Wolf at the Door by Mary Janice Davidson. This book is technically part of the Wyndham Werewolves series but Betsy Taylor from the Undead series plays her own part in this book so I am reading it in my Undead series re-reading. It says in the preface to this book that it takes place after Undead and Undermined (the tenth book in the Undead series) but I’m pretty sure that’s not true. In this book Marc is already up and walking around and everyone knows about him. At the end of Undead and Undermined, Marc had just died. I think this book really takes place after the end of the next book or maybe even the one after that. Anyways, I finished this book on 11/22/14. I rated this book 3.0 stars out of a scale of 5. This book was about Rachael Velvela, a werewolf accountant, and Edward, a Bostonian who lives with a vampire and vampire hunter.

Rachael is asked by her cousin Michael (leader of the Wyndham werewolf Pack) to go St. Paul and keep an eye on the vampire queen (Betsy Taylor). Meanwhile Edward in Boston gets a copy of the vampire newsletter and decides to go check things out. The two meet by chance in a Barnes and Noble and boink their brains out. And eventually solve the mystery of some murders.

This book was ok. My main problem with it is that the timeline doesn’t really work. There is a lot of mention of Antonia dying, but she came back to life at the end of Undead and Undermined. And Marc had just died and was not yet a zombie (spoiler alert). I’m glad I had already read the next book in the series or else I would be pissed and confused about that point. Other than those issues, the book was cute and slightly entertaining. Overall definitely not one of my favorites but was an ok read.

Link to author webiste: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-at-Door-MaryJanice-Davidson/dp/0425243117/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1416666186&sr=8-4

2014 – Book #101

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The hundred and first book I read in 2014 was Undead and Undermined by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the tenth book in her Undead/Betsy Taylor series. I finished this book on 11/9/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up almost immediately after where the last book left off. Betsy and Laura have returned from hell unscathed and Betsy is determined not to let the future she saw become the future that actually happens. She will forewarn her friends and family and she will prevent disaster. Of course first she and Sinclair must have lots of sex before she can tell everyone what’s up and what she learned on her travels.

First thing Betsy notices (it’s hard to miss) is that she’s currently in an alternate timeline. Garrett is still alive, and not only are Jess and Nick (who goes by Dick now I guess) still together, Jess is pregnant! Fortunately that’s just about the biggest differences between this timeline and the last one Betsy was in so she is still the vampire queen, and Sinclair is still madly in love with her. Oh and I forgot one of the other biggest differences is that Christian Louboutin (famous shoe designer, Betsy has about a dozen pairs of shoes by him) no longer makes shoes in this timeline, and instead Betsy has about a dozen pairs of velvet clogs (barf).

Unfortunately, someone seems to have tagged along on Betsy and Laura’s travel back to their own time. The Marc Thing from the future pops up in Betsy’s kitchen while she is debriefing her fellow house-dwellers.They manage to tape The Marc Thing up to a fridge with about eight rolls of duct tape. Unfortunately, while they’re still trying to figure out what to do with The Marc Thing, Betsy and Laura end up in a pretty nasty fight and they tumble on back to hell. Betsy ends up tumbling through and ends up in Chicago and gets hit by a car.

Overall I very much liked this book, as I do all the books in this series. I especially liked the idea of alternate timelines and how Betsy affected her own past and future when she messed with the past in the last book.

Wkipedia page about Christian Louboutin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Louboutin

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Undermined-Queen-Betsy/dp/B007F7R9G4/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1415662918&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #98

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Unfortunately I was not able to read the whole Undead series during the month of October for my Spooky Series Reading Challenge. That may have been over-ambitious on my part considering the amount of work that has been piling up this month (this is my second-busiest season of the year) but I tried and I will continue to finish the series over the next month. You can never really fail at reading, so I consider my first reading challenge to be a great accomplishment overall and it was fun! And so, the ninty-eighth book I finished in 2014 was Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the ninth book in her Undead/Betsy Taylor series. I finished this book on 11/2/14. I rated this book 4.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up about two months after where the last book left off. The dreaded month of November is upon Betsy’s household and as usual she is avoiding anything and everything to do with the horrid month (Betsy has some intense opinions about November).

Betsy decides to teach her sister a thing or two about Hollywood’s version of the Antichrist, and together they watch many of the cinematic versions of Laura. Laura admits to being curious about her biological mother but its only after Laura wakes up naked in a public area that Betsy decides she’s going ot have to hike up her big girl panties and take Laura down into hell. And since Sinclair is being such a distant, cold jerk, there couldn’t be a better time for Betsy’s little field trip to hell.

When they arrive they learn that the lesson for the day for Laura is going to be time travel. And off Laura and Betsy trot to travel through time and space. Apparently since Laura is half human she needs physical contact with a blood relative (Betsy) until she gets the hang of doing the traveling on her own. And since Betsy is the one she’s punching in the face, they end up following a path of times in the past that end up being meaningful to Betsy’s life. Like seeing Sinclair when he was a little kid, and making sure that Tina turned Eric after Eric’s family died. Apparently Betsy’s interference was necessary in many ways to keep the time stream operating as she knew it, and one bonus thrown in that she was able to fix something she wished she could undo.

Overall, the idea behind this book can be a little unbelievable if you think too hard about it. Why did Betsy have to go back in time to fix it so that things happened that should have already happened? And why was that one bonus thrown in that she made it so she never bit Nick? And why did she only get to go to the future for one stop, and why was it so unbelievably sucky? I personally loved the story line to this book, it was different, it kept me interested, and it had plenty of twists and turns along the way. I saw on Amazon that a lot of people were upset about the direction of this book but I thought that it was a great addition to the series.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unfinished-Mary-Janice-Davidson/dp/B004R07A1G/ref=tmm_hrd_title_2

Spooky Series Reading Challenge – Wrap-up

So! As you guys can see, I wasn’t able to read all of the books in the Undead series like I had planned. I did get through a good chunk though, I read 8 in the series and 2 connected novellas. I just finished the ninth yesterday and I plan to finish the rest of the series this month even though my spooky series reading challenge has ended. So if you were just dying to see what happens, stay tuned! We will get to the end. And even though I’m pretty sure no one else participated in my Spooky Series Reading Challenge (besides my mom :-)) I still had fun doing it! And maybe someday I’ll have reading challenges with lots of other people involved! Thanks everyone for reading! Hope you all enjoyed Halloween!

2014 – Book #93

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As part of my October spooky series reading challenge, the ninty-third book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the fifth book in her Undead series about vampire queen Betsy Taylor. This is the series I will be focusing on this month for my Spooky Series reading challenge for the month of October. I finished this book on 10/18/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up about 4 months after where the fourth book left off (not sure of the exact timing of the short story stuck in between the two books).

This book opens with Betsy planning the guest list for her unwanted surprise party. Even though she has told her friends repeatedly not to throw her a party, she expects that they will not be listening to her anytime soon and therefore decides she might as well help them plan correctly. During the course of the planning, she finds out her best friend Jessica is sick. Jess has myeloma, blood cancer. This news is devastating to Betsy, and she thinks about possibly turning Jess into a vampire so that she won’t lose her forever.

This book was all about vamp politics. Some big-wig vampires from Europe arrive to pay homage to the new King and Queen (a little late, but whatevs) and madness ensues when one of Betsy’s vampire friends (Sophie) turns out to be the murder victim of one of the big-wig European vampires (Alonzo). Sophie goes a little crazy and demands that Betsy kill Alonzo. And while Betsy agrees that what Alonzo did is pretty awful, she can’t exactly kill an important vampire for something that happened over a hundred years ago, can she?

I’ll say pretty much the same thing I said for the first book here, overall obviously I love this book or else I wouldn’t be re-reading the whole series. I can’t say enough good things about this book and this series. I always end up laughing out loud. I would definitely recommend this series to other readers! This book wasn’t the most exciting in the series but it was interesting and touching in its own way. I like Betsy’s point that the friendships in this series make her stronger rather than weaken her, even though she knows she will outlive her friends by hundreds of years. I think that was an interesting point, definitely different than other vampires in the series but I guess that’s what makes her the queen.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unpopular-Queen-Betsy-Book/dp/0425210294/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1413805719&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #92

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As part of my October spooky series reading challenge, the ninty-second book I read in 2014 was Dead and Loving It by MaryJanice Davidson. This is a collection of 4 short stories, all 4 involving werewolves. The last short story, A Fiend in Need, is set between the fourth and fiftth book in her Undead series about vampire queen Betsy Taylor. This is the series I will be focusing on this month for my Spooky Series reading challenge for the month of October. I finished this book on 10/12/14. I rated this book overall at 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5.

Santa Claws tells the story of werewolf Laird Alec Kilcurt and human Giselle Smith. When Alec first meets Giselle in a Santa suit standing on a street corner ringing a bell for donations, he knows immediately that she is the one for him. Apparently he knows that because she smells like ripe peaches, but hey to each his own. I thought this story was ok but it was pretty steamy, more so than I am used to. Honestly was kind-of borderline erotica considering its a short story and the bulk of the story seemed to be about sex.

Monster Love actually starts off at the wedding of Alec and Giselle from the last story, which I thought was nifty. Werewolf Janet Lupo leaves Giselle and Alec’s wedding in a huff and runs into vampire Richard Will. They make a date for the next night but due to a significant misunderstanding, Richard ends up kidnapping Janet and holding her hostage for like 2 weeks. Richard doesn’t believe that Janet is a werewolf so when she Changes during the full moon and runs off, he is just bereft. Honestly, this story got a little weird to me. I mean if you like rough sex that’s fine, whatever floats your boat. But Richard basically rapes Jane in this story and I didn’t really think that was cool. Other than that and the fact that Janet swore in every sentence, the story was ok.

There’s No Such Thing As A Werewolf tells the story of blind werewolf Doctor Drake Dragon who falls in love with a girl named Crescent Muhn. Crescent has this fascination with trying to fly. She’s also apparently 24 to Drake’s 40 and is homeless so Drake takes her home, like a lost puppy he’s decided to adopt. Long story short, they do it, and through a series of events (including running into Janet and Richard from the previous story) we find out that Crescent is actually a fairy! Pretty cool. I liked this story, only thing I didn’t like was the age difference between the two main characters. Was a little weird but other than that the story was good.

A Fiend in Need is the novella between the fourth and fifth books in the Undead series. Antonia the future-seeing werewolf. Antonia has a vision that she can get something she wants by traveling to Minnesota and helping “the queen.” And so she travels, and meets fiend George, who she knows to be someone named Garrett Shea. Garrett falls in love with Antonia instantly and they do it and stuff. That’s pretty much it. The thing I liked best about this story is that we got to see Betsy’s household from an outsider’s point of view, I found that interesting.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Loving-Undead-MaryJanice-Davidson-ebook/dp/B000PDYVUC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413148507&sr=8-2&keywords=dead+and+loving+it

2014 – Book #88

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As part of my October spooky series reading challenge, the eighty-eighth book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the first book in her Undead series about vampire queen Betsy Taylor. This is the series I will be focusing on this month for my Spooky Series reading challenge for the month of October. I finished this book on 10/4/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This series is about Betsy Taylor, who wakes up one day to find herself naked on a slab in the morgue. She had been hit by a car and when she wakes up she is, surprise!, a vampire.

Since she doesn’t recall being bitten by a vampire, though she does recall being hit by a Pontiac, why she is waking up as a vampire is a mystery to her. She decides not to think about it too much at first though and lets her friends and family know that she is alive (well, sort of). She is met with mixed reactions, from relief and elation to denial and fear. After letting her family know she is ok, she meets up with a bunch of other vampires, and the leader guy tells her that she must pledge her allegiance to him. Betsy finds this amusing, she just wants to continue her life as she knows it, she definitely does not want to get involved in vamp politics.

Unfortunately this is something she can’t seem to avoid, since yummy Sinclair seems to think she’s some foretold Queen from the Book of the Dead. Sinclair and the current leader Nostro don’t get along. Betsy agrees that Nostro seems like a complete jerk, though she doesn’t find the arrogant Sinclair to be much of an improvement, but she doesn’t understand why we can’t all just get along.

Overall, obviously I love this book or else I wouldn’t be re-reading the whole series. I can’t say enough good things about this book and this series. I always end up laughing out loud. Betsy is such an unlikely heroine. She is vain, sarcastic, and childish but she somehow seems to figure thing out as she goes and blunders her way through. And despite all her screw-ups she still maintains her circle of close friends and family, who all love her even though she is completely self-absorbed. Awesome books, fun and interesting plots, and I love re-reading the earlier books and picking up on different nuances that stand out based on my knowledge from the later books.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unwed-MaryJanice-Davidson-ebook/dp/B002YKOXGG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412546723&sr=8-1&keywords=undead+and+unwed