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Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom (Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 31, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews

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Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep
"The Elemental Assassins Series"
Book fourteen in the New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series RT Book Reviews calls unbeatable entertainment!. Learn more | See series page

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer got married, moved to the suburbs and became a stay-at-home mom? She'd be a lot like Kate Connor, once a demon/vampire/zombie killer and now "a glorified chauffeur for drill-team practice and Gymboree play dates" in San Diablo, Calif., that's what. But in Kenner's sprightly, fast-paced ode to kick-ass housewives, Kate finds herself battling evil once again. First a demon tries to kill Kate while she's making rigatoni for an important dinner party that her sweet second husband, Stuart, has scheduled—at the last possible minute—to butter up potential allies in his run for county attorney. Kate dispatches the demon handily enough, but she learns that Goramesh, one of the terrible High Demons, has come to town looking for something. Where's he hiding and what does he want? Can she defeat him without exposing her past to Stuart—and without putting two-year-old Timmy in day care? Though Kenner starts off her story by dropping so many brand names the book reads like a how-to manual for product placement, she settles down to the action soon enough, and readers will find spunky Kate hard not to root for in spheres both domestic and demonic. Film rights sold to 1942 Pictures and Warner Brothers. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"I loved Carpe Demon! Ninety-nine percent of the wives and moms in the country will identify with this heroine. I mean, like who hasn't had to battle demons between car-pools and playdates?" - Jayne Ann Krentz
"A blend of sophistication and wit that has you laughing out loud!" - Charlaine Harris

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jove (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515142212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515142211
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,163,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When Julie was knee-high to a grasshopper (an expression that she would like it known she has never, ever used in real life) she informed her parents that she was going to be a novelist, and proceeded to write Kitty Claws, a bestselling book about a cat as Santa. (The book sold out its entire print-run of one, so lets not split hairs about that "best-selling" thing, okay?)

After that stellar start, Julie continued to dabble in the literary arts, writing short stories on yellow pads that she forced her mother to type, scribbling poems on ruled notebook paper that she forced her mother to type, making up skits and songs that she forced her mother to watch and listen to, and diving head-first into high school journalism, at which point, mom finally got a break.

In college, she continued with the journalism thing, picking that as her major and working at The Daily Texan, the student newspaper for the University of Texas. The idea that she could actually write novels and, oh, buy food too, completely eluded her.

The journalism thing cranked along nicely for about one semester. Then Julie got a job as a production assistant on a movie originally called Splatter, but which was released as Future Kill (and can still be found in Blockbuster and through Netflix), with really great Giger poster art. Julie worked her tail off, appeared as an extra, had a great time, and promptly switched her major to film.

Graduating at the ripe old age of 19, Julie chickened out and didn't move to Los Angeles to become the next Steven Spielberg. Instead, she stayed in Austin and worked as a media assistant until she decided that perhaps law school was the better way to go because, hey, a degree in film slides so seamlessly into law. (Or, more likely, grad school was inevitable and the LSAT seemed doable.) Not one to waste time, Julie took the LSAT in December, and was admitted to Baylor Law School on a full scholarship the following February. Law school and Julie got along great, and after graduation, Julie went to work as a law clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where she had a fabulous time drafting legal opinions, preparing the judge for court, and taking regular trips to New Orleans on a government per diem. During her two year stint as a clerk, the writing bug bit again, and Julie wrote a stage play that will never, ever see the light of day. Really. So don't even ask.

After her clerkship, Julie decided she could handle moving to the Big City, and she took a job with Skadden, Arps in L.A., where she worked on a variety of cases with some very smart lawyers. After a year, she moved on to smaller and smaller firms (and had a short stint as a production exec at a small film company, thus justifying all those credit hours in college). She continued to work with very smart lawyers, one of whom introduced Julie to Julie Garwood (her books, not the woman herself), and the writing bug bit again.

Though Julie had been dabbling with writing in her limited spare time, she'd lacked focus. Now, she'd found it, and she was determined to write an historical romance. You may, after reviewing Julie's book list, note that there are no historical romances on there. Let's just say that she didn't succeed at that task. Julie did, however, discover that while she has a head for contemporary nuances, the ins-and-outs of historical detail are enough to make her head explode.

The in-progress historical was promptly shelved, and Julie turned her attention to fleshing out a contemporary romance, having decided that category romance was the way to go, since with the demands of a legal job, she'd be much more likely to finish 240 manuscript pages than 400.

Finish them she did, and though she got nice feedback on the voice, the novel didn't sell. One editor, Harlequin's Brenda Chin, returned a rejection letter with a note that the hook wasn't enough of a "sexy premise."

Always up for a challenge, Julie came up with the opening line, "You need a man," which she thought had oodles of sexy premise potential. She just had to find a story to go with the line. Eventually, she did, and Nobody Does It Better, Julie's first published novel, was born. She entered the first few chapters in contests, finaled, and was ultimately judged by that same Brenda Chin, who ended up buying the manuscript. (Which is not the reason Julie thinks Brenda is a really cool person. Truly.)

By that time, Julie had realized that 400 pages were manageable after all, and she'd almost completed a paranormal romance along the lines of The Little Mermaid about a cat who is in love with her master. The Cat's Fancy sold just a few months after the original sale. Both books came out in 2000, along with a second Temptation, and Julie has had at least 3 books hit the shelves annually every since, and now has well over twenty books to her credit, crossing over a multitude of genres, most of which are represented in some way by the clever pictures in the collage at the top of this page.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a "flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations," Julie's books have hit lists as varied as USA Today, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and Locus Magazine, all of which has made Julie a happy camper. Julie is also a two-time RITA finalist, both times for books about strong women (a superhero and a demon-hunter). There's probably some deep meaning there, and if you know what it is, feel free to drop Julie a line.

Julie was also the winner of Romantic Times' Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the Reviewers International Organization's award for best romantic suspense of 2004 and best paranormal of 2005, and the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005. Not that she's keeping track or anything.

Julie writes a range of stories including erotic romance, sexy contemporaries, young adult novels, suspense, paranormal mommy lit, and urban fantasy.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By GCD on January 17, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When the 5-star reviews on Amazon are far better written than the book itself, you've got to wonder what publishers are thinking when they green-light a book project. I was excited to find this book and expected a quick, light read. I did actually struggle all the way to the end, interested enough in the outcome to complete the slog.

As noted by many others, the characters are very shallow, but that's perhaps a subjective judgment. More irritating is the continuous repetition of plot elements--which I presume is why others note that the plot develops too slowly. I lost count of how many times this trained "demon Hunter" was surprised by someone walking up on her quietly. 10 times? 20? 30? Over and over and over. An author might be well advised to use a plot tool like this once or twice per novel; it wears out quickly and leads the reader to wish that at least one of the protagonist's children, her husband, her neighbor, demons, or whomever would scuff a shoe or make enough ruckus to at least once give the Hunter a little warning. But no, in this book, every human, every demon, and one supposes even every pet sneaks around like a moccasined Indian stalking deer. Perhaps Kate should consider hearing augmentation if she plans to survive another book.

When the author tires of having various character silently catching Kate in compromising situations--and I promise you that the author does not tire of this easily, she substitutes the fascinating surprise of Kate forgetting an obligation. Although Kate reminds us repeatedly that she "always checks the calendar", the reader is treated again and again to forehead-smacking moments as the Hunter remembers a forgotten promise: playdates, parties, research, you name it, she forgets it.
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2 Comments 94 of 105 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Carpe Demon is an enjoyable read. The setting is modern suburbia, but demons exist and can possess the recently deceased or those willing to ally with them. Our heroine is a retired demon hunter, pulled out of her suburban life to fight a powerful foe.

The _Buffy_ influences are evident, but well handled. It is "horror", in the sense of including demons, but there are no graphic descriptions of death, injuries, or foul evil. There is some mention of sex between the married protagonist and her husband, which is discretely handled). The fight scenes are brief. The book is suitable for, tho perhaps not interesting to, a teenage reader.

For the experienced mystery reader, the puzzle, clues, and red-herrings will be obvious too soon. This reader found herself impatiently waiting for Kate to figure out the problem at several points.

I found the the setting and the situations a bit too akin to Buffy and the underlying puzzle weak. I'd recommend it as beach reading from the library or used book bin, but not at full price.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was really excited about this book when I found it at the used bookstore. It looked right up my alley; I love fast-paced books about the paranormal and the everyday people who might end up interacting with them.

But this book was unfortunately kind of a dozer. The storyline was pretty light and didn't capture my imagination, the character development was weak and I didn't feel at all connected to the characters, and the pacing of it all was just too slow. I got through it, but felt like I'd just spent an inordinate amount of time for very little return.

Don't get me wrong, it was pleasant enough, but usually during and after reading a book of this sort, I think about the characters and the story occasionally and wonder what will happen and imagine things on my own in that world, and the world created here was just too boring to hold my interest. The book could have fit all of the plot and character development into a book a third of the size.

I have the second book here and after finishing the first one, I am not sure I will bother reading the second. I just don't care enough.
Comment 26 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Kate Connor thought she'd put her demon hunting days behind her. She'd lost a husband and had a teenage daughter from her first marriage. Now happily remarried with a young child, she was focused on getting her daughter through high school, her son potty trained and helping her husband get elected county attorney. What could possibly go wrong?

A senior citizen demon crashing through your kitchen window just before a party is not the way Kate expected to find out that demons are invading her town. Then she finds that budget cuts have severely reduced the demon hunting group and she's basically on her own -- though the church will send someone to do research. So now Kate has to hone her rusty demon hunting skills and pick up some of the dutes the support teams used to do without her daughter or husband find out. But it seems a demon might be after her family and she's going to have to take charge and that might mean bring in some untrained help -- her friends.

This books was in turns funny, hilarious, frustrating, and sad. There is so much of a the daily life of a stay at home mom and the problems of everyone thinking your day is your own. Stir in demon hunting/killing, a drugged out senior demon hunter, a husband who is acting weird and things take off.

This is not a serious book but it is fun.
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