This is not a book I would have ever picked up on my own. First of all, the cover just was not appealing to me. It’s a chick’s face. There is wind coming from somewhere, blowing said chick’s hair across her face. She would probably benefit from a hair tie or a headband. And that’s all there is to the cover. Bland, right? Also, it sounded like a really weird blend of commonly used tropes, such as the combination of vampire hunters and inter-dimensional travel. Furthermore, it involves one of my least favorite tropes: the dreaded love triangle, or in this case, a love square.
So, if I was so opposed to various aspects of this book, why on earth did I pick it up? Because my mom told me to.
My mom doesn’t normally do urban fantasy or paranormal romance, so the fact that she decided to even try this series says something. The fact that she’s read the first six installments of the series back to back speaks volumes. Since she kept telling me about what she was reading and talking about the characters as if they were her friends, I finally gave in and downloaded the first book on my Kindle. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. The story was addictive, the characters were fun, and I flew through it.
Imagine that your elite team of vampire hunters had just lost one of its members in battle. In the midst of your mourning, a vaguely humanoid blog of moving meat materializes at your feet. Do you kill it with fire or race it to the infirmary? Thankfully for Elora Laiken, the Order of the Black Swan’s famous B Team chose to try to save the mass that fell into their lives. Because Elora was that mass, thrown through a portal to another dimension by her teacher during the slaughter of her family. Her life was saved, but at a high cost. After months of recovery, Elora finds that the slight differences between her home dimension and this other Earth have left her with superhuman strength and speed, making her invaluable to the Order that saved her.
“She was a stranger in a strangish land.”
Three men have fallen in love with this beautiful transplant from a parallel world: Storm, the man who saved Elora’s life and nursed her back to health; Ram, an elf who believes Elora is his true mate, and who also happens to be Storm’s teammate; and Istvan Baka, a centuries old vampire who has regained his conscience and is struggling to make amends for the havoc he wrought for so many years after succumbing to the vampire virus. Elora must navigate this new world so similar to her own but still so different. And while she’s at it, she has to decide which of these suitors, if any, is the man of her dreams.
“Sometimes hope and denial go hand in hand.”
While this book was a compilation of common tropes that often don’t work for me, the combination of said tropes felt unique. I haven’t come across any other vampire stories that involve multiple dimensions. And even though I generally despise love triangles, the reasoning behind each of the men’s feelings were valid, and Elora faces a difficult decision. Also, My Familiar Stranger was so darn funny. There were multiple scenarios that had me laughing out loud. For instance, who knew that you could kill a vampire with a toothpick if you put enough force behind it? And any author who quotes a Weird Al Yankovic song has won me over for life. I was really satisfied with the action, the romance, the plot, the character development, and the overall outcome. It was fun, pure and simple, and sometimes you need a book that just entertains and pulls you in. I’m glad I gave in and read this when I did, because it was just exactly what I needed.
I heartily recommend My Familiar Stranger to any fan of paranormal romance, especially if you have Kindle Unlimited as the entire series is available through KU. I also recommend it to urban fantasy fans who have plumbed the depths of well-known UF series, but with a caveat: steer clear if you’re not a fan of very descriptive sex scenes. Seriously, there was a scene involving peanut butter that would have had Nora Roberts blushing. But if you don’t have a problem with racy, My Familiar Stranger is a super fun breath of fresh air that will have you reading compulsively until the last page, at which point you’ll be immediately downloading the next installment if you’re anything like me.
You can check the book out on Amazon here, where you can purchase or borrow the book through Kindle Unlimited.