Review: Between a Vamp and a Hard Place by Jessica Sims

January 9, 2016 Reviews 0 Comments

Review: Between a Vamp and a Hard Place by Jessica SimsBetween a Vamp and a Hard Place by Jessica Sims
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Pocket Books on 29 December 2015
Pages: 384
Reading Challenges: 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
One Star


Lindsay and her BFF Gemma are small time estate dealers who hope to make a killing on an estate in Venice (Italy, not Florida). They get more than they bargain for when Lindsay discovers a staked vampire, Rand, inside a secret room. She accidentally removes his stake and he comes to life or rather death. He wants to use her as his personal chew toy and find out why his friends failed to rescue him hundreds of years ago. Lindsay agrees because he’s hot and completely incapable of coping with the modern world.

The not so good bits

Sims repeatedly broke verisimilitude to the point that I couldn’t get lost in the tale. For example, we are told that Lindsay and her pal Gemma are broke because they spent all their savings on an estate yet Gemma hands Lindsay a wad of cash. They don’t have enough money for a hotel room but Lindsay somehow has enough for a hotel room with Rand, train tickets, car hire etc. Rand is unable to cross water without an invitation yet he roams around Venice hunting down victims without any dramas. Gemma and Lindsay accept the existence of vampires way too quickly and are then so comfortable with a random stranger (who could drain them) sitting in their bedroom that they go to sleep. There are lots more of these kinds of things but I think you get the idea.

It is jolly hard to write a historical character effectively and even harder to them in a contemporary setting as you have to know exactly what they would or wouldn’t see as odd. I don’t think Sims nailed this, but, to be fair, this isn’t the kind of book where historical accuracy is paramount. She had characters from three different ethnic backgrounds and three different time periods in six different locations which made things challenging enough. I wanted to know a little more about Rand’s life as a vampire before being staked and how Lindsay, a small estate sale dealer with a rough childhood, managed to become an expert on rare Chinese Anhua pottery. It would have even been nice to know why Rand was staked rather than being decapitated and how he ended up in the secret room.

If the romance had been more satisfying then these things wouldn’t have been so irritating but I had some issues there too. Rand makes it clear at the beginning of the novel that the lust Lindsay feels for him is purely her body reacting to his vampiric nature – apparently he becomes more attractive to potential prey when he is hungry. As he was nearly always hungry, I didn’t know whether Lindsay had any genuine feelings for the guy or if she was a victim. She definitely changed her mind about letting Rand feed off her and even got jealous of him using others. He seemed more fixated on the quality of Lindsay’s blood than any of her other qualities and I got the sense that he was just protecting his gourmet food source.

Reminded me of…

Love at Stake series by Kerrelyn Sparks – both were often pavlova light but I preferred Sparks’ characterisation.

Accidentally Yours series by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff – same breezy style with unbelievable coincidence after coincidence but Pamfiloff’s humour hit the mark more consistently.


I really wanted to like this novel because I enjoyed Sims’ other work but it just didn’t work for me. If the stuff I have mentioned doesn’t bother you then it is worthwhile giving it a shot, otherwise, stick with her Midnight Liaisons series which is much more polished.


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