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VINE VOICEon July 5, 2011
Jennifer Armintrout should be a better known author than she is. A few years back she wrote a fabulous vampire series called "Blood Ties". She shocked me by the depravity of some of the characters. Morality wasn't a black and white concept to those vampires, more like shades of grey. I didn't always like the characters or their choices but I was hooked on the storytelling. Her next effort was a fae type of trilogy that was extremely well told and also highly underrated. Of course I had to read her newest effort, "American Vampire", a single title novel.

The story is about a vampire named Graf who is minding his own buisiness, headed to a party hosted by his maker, when he finds himself stuck going in circles. Instead of hot women and some hot blood to quinch his thirst, Graf finds a town cut off from the outside world and the monster which inhabits that town. Since the monster has mysteriously shown up in Penance, Ohio no one else has been able to leave the town, nor has anyone outside the town been able to find a way in. So it is strange when Graf shows up. The town is immediately wary of the newcomer.

Jessa's been alone since her family has died. Most of the town doesn't look too fondly on Jessa either. When Graf can't find shelter and dawn in fast approaching, the two make a bargain that ensures him Jessa's roof over his head. From this point the plot is pretty simple. Graf and Jessa try to uncover the mystery of the monster and hopefully discover a way to leave town.

I liked the plot and I suspected what was behind the mystery but never knew with 100% certaintly until the end. I liked Graf because I didn't think he fell easily into either good guy or bad guy status. Jessa also is unique in that she is a heroine who is pretty but not gorgeous and she has a reputation, even somewhat deservadly, of being the town easy. I was able to root for them and I also thought the monster or "IT" as the town people referred to the monster, was quite entertaining.

Some of the story was slow moving and I wasn't thrilled with the novel's resolution. The book ended up being just so so for me and not amoung Armintrout's standouts. Still with this author's track record, I remain eager to see what she creates in the future.
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VINE VOICEon March 15, 2011
Sexy urban vampire Graf gets trapped in Penance, Ohio, a town no one has been able to enter or leave in the past five years. As if being trapped in this white-trash haven isn't bad enough, the residents are being tormented by a monster. Graf's only hope of survival comes from reluctant ally Jessa, the beautiful but misunderstood town slut. In their quest to stop the monster & escape the town, between scenes of supernatural and hillbilly violence, Graf and Jessa realize they may be falling in love.

There's nothing ground-breaking here, and it's a testament to the author's skill that she's carved out an entertaining book from some overdone cliches. Graf and Jessa are likable and have chemistry, though the supporting characters are fairly one-dimensional. The story about the town had a creepy Salem witch trials / Lord of the Flies vibe. The monster story wasn't as well done. The "who" and "why" behind the monster became pretty clear about halfway through the book, and it was annoying that Jessa and Graf didn't figure it out sooner.

Overall, a quick and fun read.
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on March 12, 2016
I love the fast pace and ease of Jennifer Armintrout's writing. She keeps you on the edge of your seat and waning more. Amazing book by an amazing author!! Thank you!! I I want more!
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on February 24, 2013
Wow this book was so good!I LOVE YOUR WORK JENNIFER! I an desperate for the sequel to OPAL A LUX NOVEL and for Apalyon! You are so creative!!
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on August 30, 2012
I'm left with mixed emotions after finishing this book. On one hand, there's a sexy vampire who gets caught in a sort of "twilight zone" with a mean beastie. Okay, cool... but then add multiple side plots to that and I was left feeling confused and like I never got to really know any of the characters. The ending was predictable and rather abrupt which left me scratching my head wondering what the hell happened.

The over all story is original with many side stories that feed into it. Graf, the book's leading vampire, finds himself trapped in a small hillbilly town that's been isolated from all outsiders for five years. No one gets in or out until the day he arrives. Not a bad story in itself. Add to that a freakish monster, an unlikely love interest, a crazy ex-boyfriend, a village of backward/religious zealots, black magic and you've got one confused reader.

Graf is a cool character. He has the typical American attitude of entitlement and apathy. He doesn't really care about anything or anyone other than himself. But after being stranded for a while in Penance, Ohio, cracks begin to show in his tough guy exterior. Jess is the first local he meets and becomes his unlikely ally. They're both cynical with sharp tongues which lead to major head butting between the two. Because Graf and Jess are always so busy biting each other's heads off I found it hard to like either one. I felt like I didn't really get to know them. The insights into these characters' inner workings were few and far between.

Jennifer Armintrout's writing style was well suited for this novel. I had a hard time picking a favorite quote because there are so many. The constant insults and sarcastic remarks flying between the two main characters definitely resulted in countless great one-liners.

The rednecks were funny at first but their close-minded, mob-like mentality eventually got on my nerves. Granted, the inhabitants of Penance are under a lot of strain given their unusual circumstances but I had a hard time believing that their society crumbled after only five years. Their idea of justice pushes them to burn people at the stake for witchcraft. I like to believe that I live a sheltered life North of the border but this just seemed far-fetched (maybe I'm wrong and need to get out more?). In fact, I think that's the main beef I have with this book; it was just so out there. A good urban fantasy novel needs to have a balance of fiction and reality in my opinion. American Vampire lacks that symmetry.

The ending was disappointing. I saw it coming long before it arrived. After reading it I was left feeling like the story was unfinished but not in a way that hints at a sequel. There was a brief sexual encounter between Graf and Jess that could have almost been skipped entirely. I love a good romp as much as the next girl but this one left me unmoved. American Vampire isn't a bad book but it's not a great one either. This book's good for a few laughs and Armintrout's talent as an author is undeniable. I'm just not sure about the rest.
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on December 22, 2013
This was such a fun book!!!! If you read my blog regularly, you will know that I’m an all inclusive vampire lover. American Vampire is an excellent addition to my vamp book collection. It will be released on February 22, 2011, but can be pre-ordered on Amazon now.

When vampire Graf McDonald gets lost driving in rural Ohio, he inadvertently finds himself literally stuck in the small town of Penance. Penance, Ohio is a town trapped—for the past five years, no one can enter and no one can leave. In addition to the freaky isolation phenomena, there is a monster on the loose, referred to as It, who is picking the town folk off one by one. Graf isn’t sure which is worse—the monster or the hillbilly citizens who would be sure to come after him with torches and pitchforks

Jessa is known as the Penance “town slut,” due to her continued affair with her married high school sweetheart, Derek. After Graf saves her life from the It, she reluctantly allows him to stay at her farm house. Theirs is a tenuous alliance at best—Graf buying time before he eats her, and Jessa hoping that his ability to enter town will lead her to the key to getting out of it.

I absolutely loved the chemistry between Graf and Jessa. Many books try to do the snarky love/hate thing, but few pull it off as well as Armintrout. Graf’s inner dialogue is hilariously funny with perfect timing. Jessa is a lovely balance between country bumpkin and intelligence. Best of all, Jessa doesn’t take Graf’s crap, and refuses to be treated like dinner.

American Vampire is a mystery, a romance, a comedy, a paranormal horror…all of the things I love in a book.

Overall, I give American Vampire…

Plot – 4 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 4 ½ bookmarks
Snark – 5 bookmarks (funny without being annoying)
Love Story – 4 ½ bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Alicia Silverstone (Jessa), Thomas Gibson (Graf), Chris Hemsworth (Derek), Jim Parrack (Chad), Jamie Pressly (Becky)
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on July 26, 2011
Graf is a young Vampire, who is on his way to visit his sire in DC for a 4th of July celebration when he gets lost in Ohio. Hungry and desperate for shelter, because of the rising sun...he pulls into a old shut down gas station. Its then that things take a twist. I thought that this story was a nice change, and I hadn't read anything like it so far, so for the idea itself its worth reading.

Jessa and the small town of Penance have been stuck in limbo for 5 years, why, they don't know. All they know is they can't get out and no one can get in. There is another problem, there is a Demon running around town wreaking havoc whenever it wishes. It's a unsettling situation, because when people start to think they are doomed they do odd things, like blame the problem on a 17 year old "witch" and burn her at a stake sort of things.

When Jessa meets Graf at the gas station she is in shock...one, because she has not seen a stranger in 5 years and two the demon is after her that night. Graf saves her life and thus a odd pairing is created as Graf and Jessa try to figure out what's going on and how to get out of town. Graf needs to escape for obvious reasons, Jessa has worn out her welcome in the spooky town as she is labeled the town tramp for her involvement with Derek her now married x-boyfriend.

The spoiler is: Jessa was Home Coming Queen, her x-boyfriend Derek was Captain of the Football team. When they graduated Jessa went off to college, but she is forced to come home when her parents and younger brother die in a car wreck, that same week she and the rest of the town become trapped. Derek, who was never able to go to college and couldn't see a life past High school football and popularity. He makes a deal with the devil or in this case a demon in order to keep the town as it was, untouched, and keep things the same. So clearly making a deal with a demon causes problems and more over things aren't exactly as Derek would hope. Things go to hell in a hand basket and Graf and Jessa fall in the love during it all. It also turns out that when the demon is hurt you can leave or get into town, this is discovered later of course.

This is not a romance novel, more of mystery or horror. The town is insane and its unsettling as you watch the turn of events; throwing a vampire into the mix makes it fun and entertaining. There are a few good twist. 4 stars for the originality.
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on April 1, 2013
3,5 stars

*SPOILER FREE

Graf is a Vampire on the way to an awesome party at his sire's house, when he gets lost in the middle of nowhere. He sees an abandoned gas station and thinks that he can find a map to help him out. However, by stopping at this run down place, he gets trapped inside Penance and finds out that the town has been magically off the map for 5 years.

He meets Jessa, when both of them are attacked by a monster. He finds her hot but is not really interested in getting in bed with a hillbilly, but he will definitely not mind having her for dinner, specially if he can't find a way out of Penance.

I have to say, that I really wanted to LOVE American Vampire, but for me it felt short. Graf is an egocentric, selfish and rude Vampire, he picked the most stupid fights with Jessa, he was obnoxious and a jerk for a good part of the novel. He did get better in my eyes and I did feel like he had grown by the end of the book, but I never got the point of really liking him, though I didn't dislike him anymore.

Jessa was a very interesting character. A real life warrior, surviving a very hard situation the best way she knew how while dealing with a town that had no problem labeling and bad-mouthing her. Yes, she has her faults and she has made tons of mistakes, but I feel like overall she was an awesome heroine!

I did enjoy the romance between Jessa and Graf by the end of the book, but it felt rushed for me. I feel like the book needed to be a bit longer so I could believe the transition between unfriendly and in love, between Graf and Jessa.

I did really enjoy the Paranormal aspect of American Vampire. The Monster, simply called It, didn't scare me much, but the small town mob mentally was truly frightening for me. Jennifer did make a great job in creating those characters and the situation that made them so so scary.

All in all, American Vampire is a good read. It just falls short of being Awesome but it has a lot of potential! I do recommend it to UF/PNR lovers =)

Originally Posted at Welcome to Larissa's Bookish Life
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on January 30, 2012
Rated 3.5/5

Summary: Graf McDonald may be a deadly vampire, but he still has the annoying human flaw of being terrible with directions. As a result, he finds himself lost while on a roadtrip from Detroit to Washington DC for a party at his sire's home. When he pulls over to acquire a map in the small town of Penance, Ohio, he quickly discovers that there are more terrifying creatures in the world than vampires. Moments after entering a deserted gas station, Graf finds himself in the company of a local woman named Jessa Gallagher, and they are running for their lives from a hideous demon-like creature.

Graf eventually discovers that Penance has been in a magical prison of some sort; no one has entered or left the country town in 5 years. Graf is the first new visitor in all that time, and now that he is within the town limits, he is stuck in limbo also. Although he originally plans to kill Jessa as food, he finds that he needs her to help him navigate through this twilight-zone experience. The townspeople don't trust him, and supplies have run dangerously low for everyone, so simply finding a place to stay safely out of sunlight is impossible without Jessa's help. To make matters worse, the creature who attacked them on his first night in town is still hunting them.

Jessa is a bit of an outcast in Penance. She had been quite popular in her younger years, but after her family was killed, her life spiraled downhill fast. She pushed away her high school boyfriend, Derek, and he eventually found comfort in the arms of Jessa's best friend Becky. Although Derek and Becky are now married and have a family, Derek continues to aggressively pursue Jessa, resulting in a messy affair and Jessa's bad reputation in the town. The last thing Jessa needs is another man complicating her life further, but Graf refuses to be turned away.

Eventually, Graf's appearance in town sets events in motion toward a conclusion to the curse. But, it isn't long before the townspeople - in desperate need to have someone to blame for their misfortune - go on a witch hunt. Graf and Jessa have to fight for their lives as they become the target of both an angry mob and the demon creature. In the midst of all the chaos, they find trust and loyalty only with each other.

Review: I always wonder what the thought process is behind giving a book a title that means absolutely nothing to the storyline. Anybody know? I have no idea where this title came from, but it gives no indication of what is inside the book. I can't decide if it was totally random or just generic...??

I thought this story was unique, and I always enjoy being surprised by something new in the vampire romance genre. I also really liked that the two primary characters were so imperfect. Jessa is an adept liar (which she admits to), and at the beginning of the book, she also "the other woman" in a completely toxic relationship. Graf is incredibly shallow, totally selfish, and he has zero regard for human life. Neither character is someone you might call "likeable", yet I found myself solidly on their side throughout the book. It helped that they seemed to bring out each other's better qualities as the story progressed. The fact that the other people in the town were severely disturbed horror-movie material also made it easier to favor Jessa and Graf. But to be honest, I mostly liked them because they were so different from the seemingly perfect characters in other vampire books/series.

A small thorn in my side was that I wasn't crazy about the evil demon being named "It". The word "it" became a little overused thanks to being both a common noun and a proper name in the book. It was also a rather generic element to an otherwise creative storyline.

At the beginning of this book, I completely bought into the back story that this community had been magically locked away from the rest of the world for five years. However, as the mysteries of the It demon began to unfold, I bought into the original premiss less and less. When we finally discover the secret to stopping "It", I could not comprehend why it took five years to end the imprisonment - or why people hadn't already figured out how to escape. I can't really explain this without giving away any spoilers, but you will definitely understand this point if you read the book. Someone could have easily put an end to this fiasco years earlier.

Overall, I did like this book and would recommend it to paranormal fans. However, it is a little difficult to say exactly which audience it will appeal to. The small-town redneck setting and characters may repel some UF fans, and the fact that the romance is mostly shelved until the very end of the book might be a disappointment to some PR fans. I also know from past experience that some of my readers will be turned off by Jessa's "other-woman" status at the start of the book. But, if you happen to be in the mood to read a vampire story that you haven't read dozens of times before, then this might be the book for you.
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on September 21, 2013
I couldn't disagree more with anyone that gives this book a hard time.

The two main characters were very real, sarcastic, funny and tough people that really fit well with what was needed for this kind of story. I laughed and "aww"ed at all the right times and didn't feel like the writing was poor in this category.

The romance was very hot, and honestly it was less cheesy than the average romance quickread paperback (which I read a lot of) so I don't know why any true romance reader would think it was lacking in comparison. It really didn't seem forced to me at all, and since the characters were likeable the romance was satisfying.

Yeah, the whole creature was cheesy, but it was shown right at the beginning so the reader was given a fair representation early on of what sort of book she'd be reading. There wasn't any sort of let down at the end. The mystery of the town's dilemma and the monster's existence was definitely an interest from beginning to end.

It was a fast read with no wasted time or extra scenes. I found myself curious every step of the way.

The change of perspective from Jessa to Graf was not jarring like one of the other reviews claims. This is a very common trick in romances to go from the female head to the male head and it was interesting to see how a vampire views the world and also how the world views the vampire. The author did not switch perspective exhaustingly, rather only switched between entire chapters or with a fair scene break. I'm an author myself and a professional writing graduate and a little surprised at the ignorance of the reviews here.

The cover of a novel is not something the author has a say in unless he/she self publishes on kindle. This is not something to criticize.

I loved the suspense, the danger of not only the other characters and the monster, but the town as a whole complete with fire and pitchforks.

This was a great, fast sexy and exciting read.

Normally I don't try to type long reviews when I don't have a real keyboard with me, but the other reviews needed to be addressed. I'm not exactly an expert in writing, even the best authors aren't, but criticizing the cover and a common perspective switch is just beyond my patience.

Readers who liked this story for the characters and the funny lines would like the Nice Girls series by Molly Harper. Those who enjoyed the darkness and the blunt, tough-love sort of vampire with a soft side fighting an evil foe might enjoy anything written by Michael Romkey.

One of the reviews said that Graf was unlikeable as a vampire since he enjoys feeding and doesn't seem to care about whether his victims survive. I disagree. There are books where the vampires feel cursed and wish they were still human and didn't have to kill. But the hard edged vampire that enjoys a good meal (don't we all?) is not uncommon, and not unlikeable by everyone. Compare the main vampire characters of the Sookie Stackhouse series and you'll see fans love the vampire that is perfectly happy the way they are. Fans of Dexter love to watch how someone with a need to kill can be interesting and deal with this need. If Dexter can be a popular protagonist, so can Graf.
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