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Review: Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

>>Monday, February 14, 2011

Title: Happy Hour at Casa Dracula
Author: Marta Acosta
Series: Casa Dracula #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 311
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Comedy
Publication Date: July 4, 2006
Publisher: Pocket
Rating: B-

From Goodreads: Latina Ivy League grad Milagros de Los Santos can't find her place in the world or a man to go with it. Then one night, at a book party for her pretentious ex-boyfriend, she meets an oddly attractive man. After she is bitten while kissing him, she falls ill and is squirreled away to his family's estate to recover. Vampires don't exist in this day and age — or do they? As Milagro falls for a fabulously inappropriate man, she finds herself caught between a family who has accepted her as one of their own and a shady organization that refuses to let the undead live and love in peace.

For Valentine's Day I thought it would be appropriate to read and review a romance book, and after seeing the good reviews Happy Hour at Casa Dracula has gotten from places like Dreams and Speculation and Dirty Sexy Books, I thought it would be a perfect pick.

There are many things I appreciate about this novel. Normally I don't like these flirty, light romantic reads because the contents usually don't appeal to me (characters, plots). However, I really enjoyed reading Happy Hour. We experience the story through the protagonist, Milago, and boy, is she ever a character! She's funny, smart and even has some flaws. Milagro was a believable and well drawn character I was able to connect to throughout the story. She falls for the engaged Oswald and spends most of the book reasoning with her feelings while also being pursued by a secret organization. I wish there was more action from her instead of being largely passive but I was dazzled enough by her clever narration that this was a minor issue.

Of course, this is all due to Acosta's clever and fun writing. I was able to zip through this in two days (which is fast for me) and I had a smile on my face pretty much the whole time. I would call this book largely a comedy and it had me laughing out loud many times. I also enjoyed Acosta's take on vampires which is unique yet still yields the same effect vampires have in romance novels.

My issues with the book lay with certain character and plot elements that remained a minor annoyance throughout my time reading. For example, I was a bit frustrated about how rudely Edna would treat Milagro for seemingly no good reason. It felt very unrealistic and over dramatic. Sometimes it was how some plot points were skipped over, like what happened between Winnie and Sam. I just wanted more out of it.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a highly fun, energetic paranormal romance, especially if they want a different take on vampires. The series continues with Midnight Brunch, which I already have and look forward to reading. B-

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