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Monday, April 18, 2011

'Blood of the Maple' by Dana Marie Bell

Received from NetGalley

From the BLURB:

A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie’s Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn’t experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn’t long before craving gives in to need.

In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She’s scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She’s convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she’s not one of the O-positive set, and can’t believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.

When the witch who’s been plaguing Parker’s life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie’s Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

Parker Hollis has made plenty of mistakes in his undead life . . . the worst of which was getting caught with his fangs down. Parker cheated on his one-night-stand, which is never a good idea when the woman happens to be a neurotic, jealous and utterly bonkers witch called Terri. Terri cursed vampiric Parker to become vegetarian – not only was Parker put-off by all blood (except Terri’s) but he could only eat green, leafy juices. Literally, a vampire who can only eat green.

It has been a few years since Parker’s god-awful curse, and since then he has controlled his hunger with the help of his best friend and witch, Greg. Apart from an unfortunate incident with a cactus, Parker has his hunger under control and even become a botanist.

But when Greg dies Parker needs a change of scenery, and so he heads to Maggie’s Grove. It’s a beautiful little town with friendly neighbours and white picket fences. The town is so accommodating, in fact, that the Mayor supplies Parker with his very own Renfield . . . because Maggie’s Grove is no ordinary town. It’s a safe-haven for supernaturals, a place where Parker and the recently ghostly Greg can feel right at home.

And Parker’s neighbour is a nice little perk. Parker finds himself living next door to a mysterious and gorgeous dryad, called Amara Schwedler. She has cascading red hair, smells like a green dream and Parker is thrilled to have found his vampire wife and single sotiei in Amara.

Now it’s just a matter of keeping crazy Terri away from his wife and convincing the townsfolk that Amara isn’t the one behind a recent slew of greenery-related deaths.

‘Blood of the Maple’ is a new stand-alone paranormal erotica novel from Dana Marie Bell.

I really enjoyed the start of this book. Bell has written an utterly invigorating spin on the old vampire love story. Vegetarian vampires have been explored before (with the help of synthetic blood, True Blood) – but Bell has made Parker literally green. Only able to drink green, leafy fluids – it’s a hilarious concept, made all the funnier by the promiscuous circumstances that landed Parker with the curse.

Amara is an equally refreshing and interesting paranormal character. Dryads are a pretty under-explored mythological character. Bell has written quite a back-story for Amara, starting with her ‘birth’ into the world via a maple tree. From that moment on Amara is ostracized by the other dryads, for choosing humanity, while also sneered at by Maggie’s Grove locals for her strange dryad ways.

Both Parker and Amara are unusual and titillating paranormal characters.
She swallowed hard. “I should warn you. I'm slightly more than a dryad.”
He nodded. “And I'm a freak among monsters.”
And obviously there is a real connection between these two – what with Parker only being able to drink green, and Amara being the embodiment of greenery. My problem with the coupling was that it came too quickly and too easily. Parker lays eyes on Amara and only a few chapters later he’s declaring her his single sotiei (after the story about how his promiscuity landed him with a vegetarian curse). True, the psychotic Terri poses a threat to their romance, but for the most part their coupling is smooth sailing. I would have liked a little more friction to keep things heated and simmering.

Regardless of the overly-easy romance, Parker and Amara have some great exchanges that had me chuckling plenty;
“I want you to know something first.”
“When I told you I'm not a normal dryad, I meant it.”
“You’re a Republican?” he gasped.
She rolled her eyes and bopped him on the head.
“No. I'm rarer than a dryad Republican.”
Even if I wasn’t overly thrilled by the main romance, I loved the secondary story of Greg and Brian. Greg is Parker’s best friend and witch, recently dead and turned haunting ghost. Brian is Parker’s Maggie’s Grove provided Renfield, a sort of all-purpose servant. Even though Greg is dead and a ghostly apparition, he and Brian embark on a screwy/sweet M/M romance. It’s just lucky that Brian is a physical medium – able to feel ghosts as well as see and hear them. These two were so adorable; I loved them even more than Parker/Amara!

‘Blood of the Maple’ is an interesting new paranormal erotic novel from Dana Marie Bell. The main romance between a dryad and a vegetarian vamp was a little rushed and convenient. But Bell saves the steamy by including a fantastic spinning romance between a ghost and a physical medium. I didn’t love this novel, but I liked it enough to pick through Bell’s back-list.



  1. Sounds original. I'm not sure though how one cheats on a one night stand.

  2. I'm a big fan of Dana's. I've read most of her other books. She uses the "fated mate" trope in pretty much all of them, but her writing is just so darned sassy and her love scenes are so hot that it doesn't usually bother me. If you want to try another of hers, I'd recommend The Wallflower, which is the first in her Halle Pumas series. She reminds me of Shelly Laurenston (whom I also love), although not quite as over the top as Shelly.

  3. Cool review Danielle,
    The story sounds really interesting and I love the mish mash of mythological creatures with vampires. I'm not sure you've sold me on the book though. I'll check out some other reviews and see if your reservations are shared before purchasing.


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