Temper Sanguine - Lou Harper
Lou Harper gives us a second amazing installment in her Sanquine series, Temper Sanguine. For those unfamiliar with the first novel, Spirit Sanguine, the story revolves around the unusual pairing of Gabe Vadas, vampire slayer, and his lover, Harvey Feng, vampire. This delicious duo, whose tastes run from frisky and impossibly sexy role-playing to hunting down rogue or feral vamps, returns with yet more incredible chemistry that just lights up the page. For those unfamiliar with the first in this series, I would recommend reading these books in order to get the most out of your reading experience. Rather than rehash the blurb above, I would like to take a slightly different tone with this review and list for you the “three things I love about author Lou Harper.”

1. Impeccable comedic timing, highlighting a witty yet dry sense of humor! There is no doubt that the tongue-in-cheek humor beginning with Harvey’s last name of Feng to the delightfully funny role playing these two men get into just leaves you laughing and craving more. Gabe’s dry and almost deadpanned rejoinders to Harvey’s flighty and dramatic tendencies just leave a huge smile on our face as you read interaction after interaction between these two. Throw in side characters like their friend Dill, who is the pet of two older vamps, and Tibi, their human guide in Hungary, and you have additional moments of pure fun. This is subtle humor at its best. It creeps up on you and before you know it, despite the serious nature of the overall plot, you are smiling like a fool and yearning for each and every moment author Lou Harper unleashes.

2. Characters, character, characters! When an author is able to write compelling characters that draw you in and make you quietly root for them to succeed, then you know you have stumbled upon a writer that bears watching. So often, dialogue in this genre comes off stilted or simply unbelievable, but that is not the case here. While you are definitely aware you are dealing with supernatural creatures, the beauty of a Lou Harper character is that you so quickly forget this is not a real human being walking around allowing you to see their thoughts and emotions. In this novel, we are really privy to the fears that hold both Harvey and Gabe back from giving their all, unconditional love to each other. Gabe’s heart is so fiercely exposed to us through the inner dialogue the author creates for him. At times, it was so very poignant and real I just wanted to stop the action and reassure Gabe he could admit his love aloud. By the same token, Harvey’s real fear is revealed. He worries that he will become just like those he and Gabe hunt down: feral, without restraint, mindlessly bloodthirsty. The author allows her mythical characters to experiences relational roadblocks that ring so true to us because we can see just a bit of ourselves in these two amazing men. Consequently, we hold our breath as these two grapple with their demons and fears, and hope against all hope that they will make it out intact and still in love, together.

3. Fast paced action and a really good story! Here is what really separates Lou Harper from the pack when it comes to paranormal novels. The thrilling, heart-stopping plot that never relents but carries you on a wild ride of a journey right up to the end. Mystery combined with action gives us a story line that has just enough twists and turns to keep us on the edge of our seats. What’s amazing to me about this author is her ability to run several plot points simultaneously and never confuse us or leave us lost somewhere in the middle. Rather, she painstakingly ties up each loose end and even manages to give just an inkling that there could be another novel in this series in the future. Skillful and interesting, dramatic and funny, tender and poignant, the story unfolds on the page and draws you in, thrilling you to the very end.

In a literary genre where sequels are often rougher fare and sometimes disappointing, Lou Harper gives us Temper Sanguine, a gorgeous follow up in her Sanguine series. I highly recommend it to you!

Reviewed by Sammy at The Novel Approach