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Monday, May 9, 2011

'Undead: Queen Betsy' SERIES by MaryJanice Davidson

‘Undead & Unwed’ From the BLURB:

Betsy Taylor turns 30, gets laid off, is killed by an SUV and wakes up dead all in the same week. The vampire community is convinced she's their prophesied Queen. But she's not having any of it—she's got shoes to buy! And now the undead world is being turned upside-down by a Bela Lugosi throwback and her subjects expect her to take care of it! Why didn't she read the handbook? But her would-be consort, Eric Sinclair, is (annoyingly) ever-present. If only he wasn't so tall, dark, gorgeous...and undead.

Betsy Taylor had it all, once. She cashed in on her blonde-haired long-legged good looks and was a model. But at the age of 30 she’s decidedly over the hill, and with no ring (or sugar daddy) to show for it. Her home life is fairly disastrous – with her parents divorced and her father married to a liposuctioned creature of horror, Antonia ‘the Ant’ who hates Betsy and steals her shoes.

So when Betsy finds herself on a morgue slab she isn’t all that surprised . . . really, it’s just another thing in a long line of personal disasters.

What Betsy isn’t prepared for is to wake up – undead! Undead and with awful pasty skin that clashes with every colour palette in her wardrobe! Even worse than that though, Betsy is hungry . . . starving. But a little neck-nip of a cute detective and cuter (but gay) doctor has them turning into lust-ridden puppies.

And the hits keep on coming when Betsy is approached by a drop-dead-gorgeous (literally) guy called Eric Sinclair and his minion-buddy, Tina. They claim that something called ‘The Book of the Dead’ foretells of a vampire queen rising to take control of the vamp population . . . and that Betsy is just that queen.

The ‘Undead: Queen Betsy’ series by MaryJanice Davidson began in 2004 and is now ten books deep (with at least two more to come). This is one of my all-time favourite paranormal series, and I feel the need to share the love.

Davidson’s series is hilariously similar to Molly Harper’s ‘Jane Jameson’ – told in first-person narrative by a newly-awakened vampire as she navigates the perks and upheavals of her newly undead life . . . but that’s where the similarities end.

Betsy is a divinely ludicrous and self-involved protagonist. She’s hot, and she knows it. She has a one-track-mind that is often narcissistic and she speaks like a Gilmore girl on crack. When she awakens as a vampire one of her first thoughts is how to adjust her makeup to her new ghostly pallor – that’s just the kind of heroine she is. Betsy’s narcissism is never so awful that you can’t laugh at her; her big head makes her oddly endearing and always funny. Even when Betsy is in the middle of a werewolf smack-down her outfit is never far from her mind;

Unlike what happens in a karate movie, these guys didn’t take turns. Nope, it was dog-pile time, with me on the bottom. (Did that make me the dog? Oh, never mind).
I jerked my face to the side, just as a fist slammed through the floorboards where my head had been.
“Wait. Wait!” I screamed.
Three fists (from two different people!) paused in midair, as I pulled my legs up, yanked off my saddle shoes (vintage, 1956, eBay, $296.26), and threw them into a corner.
“Okay,” I said. “Go.”
I blocked (barely) another fist, catching it on my crossed forearms à la Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (either one). I had zero martial arts training, but by God, I'd remember anything Uma did.

- ‘Undead and Uneasy’ book #6

The ‘Undead’ series is all about how Betsy not only copes with her new undead status, but the realization that she is undead royalty. Betsy hasn’t been dead for a week when the local vampire population start approaching her and asking for her royal advice and guidance. Someone so self-involved and designer-obsessed is certainly not prepared for the divine responsibilities of the crown. Reading Betsy’s reaction to her queenly status is bellyaching hilarious – especially when the vampire Eric ‘Sink Lair’ Sinclair informs her that she has duties to fulfil.

Yes, Betsy has a romantic love-interest and his name is Eric (note: Sinclair, not Northman). These two have a very unconventional romance . . . it goes from hatred of volcanic proportions to resentful attraction and then landing right on lustful love and begrudging acceptance. Eric Sinclair is a smoulderingly handsome bad-ass – he is the quintessential vampire, and Betsy is all too happy to call him out on his tall, dark mysterious vampire-clichés.

I opened my mouth to yell – or bite – which proved to be a tactical error, as he used it as an excuse to shove his tongue into my mouth. I made fists and hammered at his chest as hard as I could, and I actually heard something snap. He shrugged off the blows and deepened the kiss. My knees went weak, which was annoying beyond belief. I'd never been so attracted to someone I absolutely despised, and it was infuriating.
I could feel his hand on the small of my back, pressing me close to him, could feel his hard length against my stomach – how could he want anyone after what just went on upstairs? Didn’t he need a nap? Or a shower?
He pulled back, so abruptly, I staggered. “There,” he said, sounding indecently satisfied. “Now you’ll stay, and we’ll chat.”
The crack of my slap was very loud, and I was savagely thrilled to see him rock back on his heels.
“If you touch me again, I’ll kill you.”

- ‘Undead and Unwed’ book #1

The good news is that Eric and Betsy hook-up early on in the series (so lots and lots of sexy-time ensues). The real focus of their continued romance is how they cope with happily-ever-after when they have a resentful attraction.

One of the best things about the ‘Undead’ series is the cast of kooky-cool secondary characters who surround Betsy. There’s her rich best friend, Jessica. Gay doctor buddy, Marc. Suspicious but cute detective, Nick Berry. Sinclair’s right-hand-woman, Tina and a cache of sister spawn, evil stepmothers, ghostly roommates and psychic werewolves. Some of Davidson’s best laugh-out-loud moments come from Betsy’s repartee with these zany individuals.

MaryJanice Davidson’s ‘Undead: Queen Betsy’ series is a perfect comedic paranormal romance. This is the series to read if you don’t like how dark Charlaine Harris’s ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ books have become. Or if you wish that Molly Harper would release another twenty ‘Jane Jameson’ books. Read Betsy for a hilariously-sexy good time with a sweetly self-involved heroine as she reluctantly takes the crown.



  1. I so thought you had already read this series! I SO LOVE all MJD's books! she is amazing! you gotta read her Alaskan Royal family, her werewolf series and her Cyborg series... sooo awesome! =D

    Love Betsy!

  2. @ Larissa - I read the first 3 books AGES ago (before I even started blogging), but recently decided to knuckle down and read through (I'm currently up to book #7). I have read her 'Mermaid' and 'Werewolf' series, and I will get around to her 'Alaskan Royal Family' series too (strange as those books sound!)


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