never trust a guy with fangs coverRating: 3.5 stars
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Length: Novel


When Leonardo wakes up in a vampire’s bed, he knows he is in trouble. Not only is he lying next to Augustus Ranier, Eaton Falls’ head vampire, but the vampires and witches are mortal enemies. Leo has no idea how he got there, until Augustus explains that someone dumped a drugged Leo on his doorstep last night. Leo remembers being in a club, and he knows his Aunt Sylvia told him she thought trouble was brewing for their coven, but he has no memory of who he was with last night or how he got to Augustus’ home.

The first thing Leo does is return to his coven house, but they have all gone into hiding and it is clear something dangerous is going on. But Leo can’t reach his aunt and the only safe place he can go is back to Augustus’ home. Leo can’t believe he is relying on a vampire for safety, however. Vampires and witches were at war for years and only co-exist now due to a truce that basically keeps the groups totally separate. Augustus readily admits that he is drawn to Leo — for sex, for blood, even for death. And Leo finds Augustus incredibly sexy and alluring. But to give in to their feelings could mean inciting new conflicts between the witches and vampires, assuming Leo would even survive a night with Augustus. At the same time, Augustus feels an incredible need to protect and take care of Leo, so much so that he doesn’t want Leo out of his sight.

As they begin to dig more into what may be going on, it becomes clear that there is someone looking to start a war with the various supernatural factions in Eaton Falls. It also becomes clear that Leo is somehow in the middle of it all, for reasons neither he nor Augustus quite understand. After so much time at war, it may be time for the vampires and witches to finally align together to fight their common enemy. And this may mean that there is also a chance for Augustus and Leo to explore their own connection and find their happiness together.

Never Trust a Guy with Fangs is the first book in Mia Monroe’s new Covens of Eaton Falls series. I really loved the set up here and the story drew me in at the start. We have this mystery of just how Leo ended up drugged on Augustus’ doorstep, combined with an enemies to lovers vibe. While Leo and Augustus don’t have any conflicts personally, there is a very clear line drawn between the vampires and the witches. After so long killing one another, they only co-exist by essentially staying completely apart. So this idea of Augustus sheltering Leo in his home (and his bed) is completely unheard of, especially when adding in the attraction they both feel and Augustus’ extreme need to protect Leo. I was eager to follow along to unravel the mystery of what happened to Leo, as well as what enemy they are all facing and why, and to see how things would develop between the men.

I think Monroe has put together an interesting world here that features more than just witches and vampires, but a whole host of supernaturals. We learn a lot about the war between the groups, the backstory of what incited it all, and then see the struggle as everyone tries to overcome these long ingrained feelings to actually work together. Some of the history does get confusing, however, as we learn multiple versions of what the war was about, how it started and ended, etc. What Leo originally believes is not true, but what he then learns also turns out to be not the full story either. So I did have some trouble really piecing it all together at the end as it never felt fully clear what actually happened. I was also hoping for a little more of an investigation here as they explored what happened to Leo and how he ended up dumped at Augustus’ house, as it is such an interesting set up, but we see very little of that on page. Most of what they learn comes word of mouth from others, so we don’t see Leo or Augustus really actively doing anything and most of what happened is just told to us and them. The tone here is also a little confusing, as at some points it is sort of quirky, lighthearted, and irreverent (for example the title, or Leo’s quips) and other times the story seems to want to lean more toward a more serious urban fantasy. But I do think the story resolves the immediate conflict in a way that works, as well as setting up the larger conflict leading into the rest of the series.

Romantically, things feel both all in immediately with Leo and Augustus, while at the same time seeming repetitive. The men are crazy attracted to each other right away, and Augustus is immediately protective over Leo and quite possessive of him. They want each other fiercely, but feel like they can’t act on it, both due to the fear of breaking the separation required by the truce, as well as because Augustus is worried he will kill Leo if he tries to have sex with him or feed from him. But almost right away, Leo feels safe enough with Augustus to be pushing for sex/feeding, as he is sure that Augustus would never hurt him. Every once in a while, Leo seems to stop and realize he is risking his life based on trusting a man he barely knows, but then goes right back to the thrall. But while these men are both immediately wanting each other despite the dangers, they also seem to circle the same ground over and over. There is a lot of a “I want you, but it is too dangerous to have you” type things from Augustus, combined with a lot of “I trust you, you would never hurt me” from Leo. I think this repetition, combined with the fact that we don’t see much on-page action on the external threats for a lot of the book, just made this one feel very slow for me. The book is fairly long (over 300 pages) and the actual action and plot movement seems like it ends up being a small piece compared to all the talking.

The language between these guys is also quite flowery, often purple in the way they talk to one another. Some of it fits in with the fact that Augustus is a centuries-old vampire, but Leo is a regular, fairly young human. I think some people will enjoy that sort of “burning for you” type vibe, but I found it a lot, particularly due to the fact that they spend so much time talking about their feelings. For example:

“Because, darling, my soul cries out for you. What is left of it is yours. It is not much of a prize, but it is all I have. My heart, barely beating for centuries, is alive again.” His fingers slide down my neck. “I fear you, sweet witch. You may be the end of me, but somehow, I no longer care. If I were to die in your arms, if you plunged a sliver dagger in my heart, I would smile. I accept my fate.”

Like I said, I think some readers will enjoy the drama of the language, but for me, it felt too over the top.

I think there is a lot interesting here, particularly if you like urban fantasy and the enemies to lovers element. Monroe creates a clever set up, both for this individual book and the series overall, and I think there is some nice potential for how it could all develop. I found that the story was just a little too slow for me, with not enough happening for such a long book, and it felt like things kind of got too mired down in repetitive conversation. But those who enjoy a dashing vampire and lots of lust between the characters may find this one works well for them.
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