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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2012
Long ago God created "good" vampires to fight the dark ones that roamed the earth. Vikar Sigurdsson and his six brothers are all Vikings who have disappointed God with their many sins. Ready to banish the race from the Earth altogether, Archangel Michael stepped in and came up with a plan for "good" vampires to be created. And so the "Viking vampire angel" was born. They are actually more angels in training. For seven hundred years, Vikar and his brothers have to do penance, doing Mike's (yes, they call Archangel Michael just Mike) bidding against the evil Jasper and his bad demons. Of course, over these 700 years, Vikar and company haven't lived saintly lives (although they try) so years and years have been added to their sentence. While Vikar was suppose to be free in the 1500's, it is now current day and he still has a few hundred years to work off. Vikar's sin is his vanity.

He finds himself in Transylvania, Pennsylvania. In another month, The Reckoning will occur, a central meeting for hundreds of "vangels." In order to prepare, Vikar has been instructed to turn a ruined castle into a working mansion in order to house all those that are coming into town.

Alexandra Kelly works for the World Gazette magazine in Washington, DC. Two years ago her husband (they were legally separated) and her young daughter were murdered by a drug cartel. (hello - this isn't lighthearted and fun) Two of the cartel members were headed for trial soon, but rumor has it they might get off on a technicality. So Alex has been thinking in her mind of murdering them herself. (Yes, I was eye rolling at this point) Her boss sends her to Transylvania to cover the story of weird vampire sightings up there, which is how she ends up on Vikar's doorstep. Once inside, he can smell the sin or the future sin upon her, and he knows she must be cleansed or more demons will start hunting her. He wants to save her. Alex wants to stay to get the story, although she soon realizes the truth of the situation she is in.

I am not super familiar with Sandra Hill's work, so when I heard about this new series, and read the crazy blurb and saw the interesting cover, I had to try this one. While I tried to read it and go with the silly, campy feel of the book, by the end I just didn't enjoy it. I'll try to explain why.

First of all, Alex lost her husband and five-year old daughter only two years ago. And while we are told she wallows in self pity and fury, I never saw that. Apparently she is also set on revenge if the killers walk free. Her sin is that eventually she wants to murder these men - again, her character never came across that way. To me, she was this happy go-lucky, laid back woman who pretty easily believed in vampires and angels and felt safe living with all these huge, strong men. All of that just didn't sit well with me.

Next up is Vikar. I never once thought - damn, Vikar is sexy. He came across to me more as a goofy oaf, than sexy. I get that this book is lighthearted (even though that clashes with the heroine's backstory) but even in the more funny books I read, I still want to have a romantic feeling while reading. And I never did in this one. It's all so cutesy. Vikar is a lovable dude, as is all his brothers. They are all friendly and warm. There were a few times I smiled, but it was all just too much. Even the demon was cracking jokes, and making pop culture references and it just didn't appeal to me.

There was also a young vampire named Armod, who before he was turned, was used as a prostitute, spreading AIDS and other diseases to all his bed partners (Gross). There is a moment in this book where he asks Vikar what it is like to lose your virginity - and Vikar questions him because Armod is no virgin. But Armod meant his "heterosexual virginity." (as he was forced to have unwanted sex with men). Which was really sad if you think about it. That combined with the murder of Alex's daughter only two years ago - is an odd pairing with the very lighthearted tone of this book.

At the end, I wasn't convinced of their love. Why did Vikar really fall for Alex? I wanted to see more emotion from Alex concerning her lost daughter too. This book and I'm guessing this series is not for me.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2012
Ms. Hill has been my favorite author for over ten years. I have devoured her books, especially the Viking books. I went into this book excited, but a little worried about all of the different labels on the hero. Viking, ok, Angel (sort of) sure, Its not like I don't like Vampires. I'm a huge fan of Trueblood, but all 3 together had me kind of on the fence. I decided to sit back and just try and enjoy it. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever read, but I had a hard time with some of it. I didn't completely connect with the main characters, but I did feel their love for each other. I think that Alex just acted a little off, because she was supposed to be tortured and devestated by the loss of her child, but she doesn't exactly act like the tortured type. I did feel some pain coming from her when her daughter was brought up, and I felt for her, but it seemed like she tried to bury those feelings. I know that Ms. Hill can write a tortured character ie: Selik from the Outlaw Viking, and that is more of what I would have liked to see in Alex. I'm not sure if the shared crudity between Alex and Vikar were intriguing and funny, or if I desired a more tender relationship. I liked that Alex completely understood the dirty Viking man side to him and that made her perfect for him. I wouldn't mind seeing a more feminine woman for one of the other brothers, like maybe Ivak? The scenes in "Horror" were a little more disturbing than I would have liked, but I do appreciate her eye for detail. It made me feel a little yucky though. SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read the ending, please stop now. I cried when Vikar gave himself up for Armod, but had this really upset feeling like, this wasn't what I went into reading this book for. I didn't hate this book by any means. There were very good parts to it. Sandra does a very good job of introducing and adding supporting characters into a book to make the series funner to read. I anticipate reading about the other 6 brothers. I know this will sound weird, but I really really liked Michael the Archangel. He might have been my favorite part of the book. I guess to sum up the biggest problem that I had is that a lot of it was hard to swallow, like the blood sucking and the wing bumps and Lizzy Borden. Will I read the next book in the series, yes of course, will I enjoy her next regular Viking book more, most likely.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2012
I wanted to like this book, I really did. Sandra Hill is one of my favorite funny (slightly) paranormal writers, kind of in line with Lynsay Sands. I loved her time traveling Vikings and odd-ball Cajuns. There were a couple of awkward books that I didn't enjoy as much as her others, and after you read so many you noticed repeated catch phrases and situations. So when I saw that Kiss of Pride: A Deadly Angels Book was to be the first book of a series about Viking Vampire Angels, well!, that could either break new ground or resurrect the tired Viking premises of her old series. To my dismay, it did both-and more!

The clueless, sexist, horny Viking characters are back! "Oh, my aching ale-head! All I want is to guide my long boat into her fjord!" Now throw in the Angel angle- "But it's a sin! Mayhap if I engage in near-sex (yes, a running theme throughout the book) I won't have to pay a 500 year penance!" Stir in the Vampire: "But you smell like lemons, so you're a sinner or are contemplating a deadly sin, so I must needs to force many blood exchanges upon you, mayhap even with my brother, while you scream and cry and we fall in love together!" Wow!

If you are a Christian fiction fan, you will cringe at the foul language and steamy "near-sex" and "almost-sex" scenes. If you're not religious, you'll cringe at the preachy, self-righteous tone the VIK (not sure why, but this is what the main 7 characters are referred to as) take with a definite Catholic bent. There are seven Viking brothers, each being punished for a separate deadly sin they personally committed and for being Vikings in general.This first book focuses on Vikar, the oldest, whose sin was pride. The archangel, St. Michael (who they call Mike) has painfully commissioned Vikings because of their lives lived in violence and idol worshiping to fight demon vampires made by Lucifer called "Lucipires" or "Lucies". These 7 have been fighting for close to a thousand years now, because every 100 years "Mike" does a Reckoning and tacks on centuries to their penance. Now they have been charged with staying in the 21st century to fight the "Lucies", renovating an old castle in a town in Pennsylvania residents have renamed Transylvania and turned into a pseudo-vampire tourist trap.They need to get the renovations done in a few weeks, because then a couple of hundred "vangels" will gather for St. Michael and the Reckoning.

Alexandra Kelly is a reporter, sent to do a story on the town and renovation of the castle by her boss who also just wants her out of town for her own safety. Her husband and daughter were killed by unsavory men, who will soon be going to trial with Alex slated to be a witness. It's also no secret to those that know her that she has had thoughts of either ending her own life or taking justice in her own hands and ending theirs. It also becomes known that a Mike Archer (read St. Michael) set up the story and interview. When she reaches Transylvania, PA, she is further contaminated by sin by being bitten by a Lucie in her sleep. So when she shows up at the castle, Vikar is forced to take her in because of her "sin-scent" even though that will attract more Lucies and give away their new hideout. To remove the "taint" of the Lucies he must do several cleansings-blood exchanges- and also find out what her sin or planned sin is. Or just kill her. Whatever. He becomes attracted to her so votes for the cleansings. His brothers-not so much, so they opt for the killing. Huh? Don't they go around trying to save the likes of Lizzie Borden, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Napoleon in the book? But back to the story. Vikar is the oldest, and says that Mike sent her, so he gets to do what he wants. And what he wants includes not explaining anything to Alex, forcing everything on her, and having "near-sex" which so close to Reckoning he really hopes isn't a deadly sin for him and Alex. Alex, in turn, cries, fights, complains, cooks for everyone, decorates the castle, and does everything but try to escape. Oh, and falls in lurrve. So does Vikar.

In the meantime, we get inside looks at Christian rituals, instruction on which bad words are better in God's eye's than others, a VIK that is engaging in oral and digital sex outside of marriage counseling another angel that masturbation is a sin, and other pearls of angel's and God's love and mercy. Throw in some torture, male rape, and crucifixion and, I dunno, it just all left a bad taste in my mouth. Funny passages aside, I still haven't stopped cringing.

Sandra's supposed to incorporate characters from other series in the next couple of installments-Cage from the Viking SEALs in the next one, Tante Lulu in the third- but I'll never know for sure. I'm half afraid to pick up another of her new books again! But just as I powered through this one, I'll probably put on my big girl panties for a time traveling Viking or Cajun hunk. But first flash of fang, wing, or holy water and I'm done.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
I am being really hard on this new series because if it is to go anywhere Sandra Hill has change her approach. The idea of Viking Vampire Angels is a good premise to base a funny paranormal romance on, if it is funny and romantic, which this story was not. The characters came across stupid and silly, the action was barely there and the love story was almost non-existent. It was also so preachy with its religion, which is an approach that adds absolutely nothing to a paranormal romance. There was no depth to the story, no character buildup, no real emotion and the ending fell flat. I found Vikar's unwillingness to have sex with Alex for fear of Michael's punishment, absolutely ridiculous. Vikar has had 300 years of punishment tacked on to his original penance, does anyone really think another hundred or so would have meant very much at this point? The ending fell completely flat. After all the trouble to get Alex what she wanted and what Vikar could not give her, she did not even seem happy just resigned. What was that all about?

I doubt very much that I will read any more books in this series if the humor continues to make the characters completely unbelievable and comical and if Hill continues making religion as a primary focus of this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2012
This was a new topic for her and it was too much. Vikings,Vampires, angels =Vangels. Satan etc.
to much all at once and it was all confusing and no story to it. To bunched up and to many things happening into a jumble. I loved her other books on Vikings and Navy Seals Time travel. Wonderful funny sexy reads. Have read them all. This new one I do not like at all. I tried.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2012
This could have been at least an interesting book but it seems like the first draft was published. This poor thing needs an editor and several more rewrites. This book needed a lot more character development. The characters did not "sell" themselves. The female character was obnoxious and never gave any reason why she was "so attractive" for example. I simply found this book to be very poorly written and boring.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2012
Sandra Hill has been my favorite author for many years. I have read her Cajun series & all her Viking books many, many times. I'm going to throw this in the garbage & I will not be buying any of the other books in this series. I was totally unable to suspend my disbelief & did not enjoy it at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2012
Over a thousand years ago when Vikings were at their most powerful, God could no longer ignore their many sins. One family in particular, the Sigurdssons, caught his attention when they raided Lindisfarne, a Saxon monastery. Each of the seven sons in the family had "offended God by committing one of the Seven deadly sins in a most heinous manner." Just as God was handing down a judgement that would condemn the men to an eternity in Hell the archangel Michael intervened to his everlasting regret.

"I agree that these Sigurdsson men have gone too far, but maybe they would change if given a second chance..."

And so a different judgement was handed down...

"This I say unto you, the Viking race will dwindle off into nonexistence, but not by death. No, they will blend into other cultures, losing their identity. Their pride is too great to stand alone. Hereafter, no one will worship Norse gods ever again."
"As you say, Lord, "Michael paused before asking, "And the seven Sigurdsson sons?"
"These seven sinners must prove themselves sevenfold. By sins they were judged, by grace they will be saved. For seven hundred years, they must roam the earth doing good works. If they fail, Satan may have them for his unholy domain."

And so Michael's and the Sigurdsson's fates were sealed. To make sure their penance was a little more difficult, the seven brothers were turned into Vampires, and so the first Viking Vampire Angels (aka Vangels) were created. Their mission to thwart the plans of Lucifer's Vampires (aka Lucipires) whose goal was to collect the souls of sinners before they had a change to repent. Because Michael was the one who suggested they be given another chance, they were put under his guidance.

As the years passed more and more years were added on to the Vangels original sentences because boys will be boys and Vikings will be Vikings. Perhaps by the grace of God, however, they lived in virtual obscurity until the Vangels masquerading as pretend vampires in the small town of Transyvania, Pensylvania caught the eye of a reporter from the World Gazette. Alexander Kelly who had once been nominated for a Pulitzer was being assigned a puff piece in an attempt to gently ease her out of her grief. Two years prior her husband and child had been murdered. She was still grieving, and this was her boss' way of trying to ease her out of her misery and get her back to writing. Little did she know this assignment would change her life.

This book made me think Ms. Hill was trying to capitalize a bit on the current popularity of angels and vampires. The series had a hint of Nalini Singh's Guildhunter series because of the Angel and vampire connection, but whereas Singh's series is a fairly serious paranormal romance series, Ms. Hill decided to slant her series toward humor. To tell you the truth, the humor just wasn't my cup of tea, but even so I still had to laugh despite myself. Nothing against the author, it was just a tad bit too silly for my taste. I just kept shaking my head and thinking, "Oh, no she di'int.", but oh yes she did. It was an okay read for me, I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it. Now, I know there will probably be some who will absolutely adore this series, so I'll try to give you a taste so as not to discourage anyone whose sense of humor may be in sync with this series. First off, the Vikings are supposed to refrain from sin which they are finding very difficult (hence the added years to the original sentence). So you have a bunch of horny Viking males doing their best to abstain from sex and many other sinful indulgences. Secondly, they are living in a town dedicated to monopolizing on the recent Vampire craze. It is the perfect place for Vangels to blend into the background.

The two main characters are Vikar and Alex. Vikar's sin is Pride and he struggles with it daily. Described by Alex, Vikar was "the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen" with "dirty blond hair down to his shoulder blades, with pencil thin braids framing each side of his face...He had the most beautiful eyes and almost perfect facial features." Even though Alex's initial thoughts are that Vikar is a couple of fries short of a happy meal, she slowly starts to believe his crazy story and starts falling for him.

Here are some of my favorite Quotes/ Lines/ Moments that give you a taste of the book:
- 'Now she'd met all seven brothers. Vikar. Trond. Cnut. Harek. Ivak. Sigurd. Mordr.
"And she is...?" one of the brothers demanded to know, and not politely.
"Mine," Vikar said.'

- "I saw what you were doing in the storeroom, Vikar. That was Sex. Believe you me, if anyone knows sex, 'tis me," Ivak persisted.
Vikar's face was probably turning as red as a sunexposed Lucipire. "Near-sex," he repeated.
His brothers burst out laughing including Cnut, who felt the need to share, "He told me and Harek that selfsame story. 'Twould seem Trond gave him the idea that near-sex was not real sex."

- "Vikar?" Mordr prodded, "Where is the wench?"
"Taking a bubble bath."
Silence reigned then as five male minds went haywire imagining the frothy scene.

- 'In the window were displayed the covers of several pornographic videos...
"Ah, but I'm in the mood for good literature," Ivak said with a grin, "How about these? A Tale of Two Vampyres. The stakes of Wrath. Or that one. " He pointed to the left. "Great Neckspectations."...
Vikar worried that they were embarrassing Alex, but then she said, "My favorite is Vlad Really Did Impale Her."
His brothers glanced at him, then Alex, and burst out laughing.' (And no I didn't list all the titles.)

Overall, I gave this one 2 out of 5 roses. There were parts I liked and I did laugh, but it was just an okay read for me. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scored a FAN rating - the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
When the Sigurdsson Viking family viciously raid the Lindisfarne Saxon Monastery, God had enough with the race. He condemned the Vikings to cultural assimilation extinction and the seven Sigurdsson sons who committed the seven deadly sins at Lindisfarne to roam the earth for seven hundred years performing good deeds; failure means their souls belong to Lucifer. Archangel Michael suggests they fight the Lucipre vampires. God assigns a chagrined Michael to lead his angelic vampire soldiers.

In Transylvania, Pennsylvania, Count Vikar Sigurdsson purchases a twelve decade old dilapidated castle with plans to convert it into a five star hotel in thirty days. With the centennial Reckoning coming soon for all vangals like him, Vikar is in a sour mood as he has no had sex in a century and the last time was not only crappy, Mike (as the VIKs call Michael) it added two hundred years to his penitence.

World Gazette Managing Editor Ben Claussen sends reporter Alexandra Kelly to Transylvania to interview Vidor. He wants her out of DC as the Mercado brothers go on trial for killing her husband and daughter. Alex and Vikar are attracted to one another while she stays at his dumpy hotel helping him renovate it. When he realizes her obsession with killing those who murdered her family will condemn her to hell, he intercedes. However, the celestial hierarchy gives him a choice if he can control his pride.

This Deadly Angels urban fantasy is an action-packed satirical good and evil thriller that contains the usual suspense and jocularity expected from Sandra Hill. Fast-paced from the moment Vikor and his brother Trond exchange sins and never slowing down, fans who enjoy an irreverent look at angels will want to read this entertaining thriller.

Harriet Klausner
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2012
I have read Hill's books before, and enjoyed her humor even though it borders on hokey sometimes. (I admit to being a fan of Tante Lulu) With this, she went so far into the ridiculous that I never cracked a single smile. As she herself points out in the book, vampires are wildly popular, and angels are the next big thing in paranormal romance. The only possible reaon to combine those genres with her usual vikings is to try to cash in on the trends. The terminology she comes up with (lucies, VIK, vangels) is cumbersome and ludicrous. I forced myself to finish it, but this was time and money completely wasted. TERRIBLE!!!
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