Wanted Undead or Alive – Love at Stake Series – Kerrelyn Sparks


Book #12

I wasn’t too enthusiastic when I started reading this book and found out it was about Phineas. I like Phineas and all but I just thought he was superficial with all of his “Love Doctor” and “Dr. Fang” lingo. I just didn’t think he was the leading man type of character but I got over it once I found out all of that “Love Doctor” stuff was just to amuse people and he knew it was cheesy. Phineas ended up being deep and sincere leading man.

Phineas McKinney is a young vampire recently transformed by some evil vampires (Malcontents) who thought he would be a great addition to their cause but he was not evil and could not murder humans like they did. He was saved by the good vampires (Vamps) and started working for them to fight against the evil Malcontents. He is the sole provider for his two siblings and his aunt since his mother passed away. His father left years before his mother died. Now that he works for the Vamps, he is able to afford sending his brother to college. His life is pretty good but he misses blue skies and the sun.

Brynley is a 30 year old wolf shifter or werewolf. Her father is the Supreme Pack Master of Wyoming and he rules with an iron fist. When he orders Brynley to marry a shifter from Alaska, Brynley runs away to live with her brother who was banished from the pack many years ago for not bowing down to their father’s orders. Her brother, Phil, has made a new life for himself guarding the Vamps during the day and fighting against Malcontents. He is even married to a Vamp. Brynley hates vampires and blames them for keeping her brother away from her even though the Vamps have taken her in and given her a teaching job at their secret school for specially gifted children.

Now, Phineas and Brynley have to work together in order to find Corky Courrant, the vicious reporter turned Malcontent. She is reported to be in Wyoming so Phineas is sent there to investigate. He needs a daytime guard to watch over him while he sleeps and someone who knows the territory so Brynley is asked to be his guard and guide. He’s worried because he has met her a few times and she has let him know that she can’t stand him. Secretly, they both are attracted to each other. Working together will be a huge challenge for each of them. Brynley has to make sure her father doesn’t find out she is in Wyoming because he will have his minions capture her and this time she will never get away.

As always, Kerrelyn Sparks includes a lot of humor in this book which is why I enjoy this series so much. Even though the books have become more complicated and serious, there is still room for humor; otherwise, it would be too dark and gloomy like some of the other paranormal romance series. The humor is what sets this series apart from the others.

There was a new threat introduced besides Corky Courrant. Rhett Bleddyn is the Supreme Pack Master of Alaska and the man Brynley was supposed to marry before she ran away. He is power hungry and greedy. He’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. There was a part when Howard, one of the main characters who is a Kodiak bear shifter, hears Rhett Bleddyn’s name and says something like he thought he had already killed him…so there is a story there that was not elaborated on so I’m sure we will be hearing more about that.

The story and plot were great. The romance was okay except I thought both Phineas and Brynley acted really immature with each other…Brynley more than Phineas but it still felt a little middle schoolish to me.

One more thing that I have to complain about…I’m not sure if anyone else noticed but the author used the word ‘winced’ way too much. She used the word ‘winced’ 55 times. I’m sure there are other word and other ways to express ‘winced’ or maybe there is just too many people ‘wincing’ in this book. I’ve noticed it in the previous books too but I was getting irritated with it in this book.

The next book, Wild About You, is about Howard. I’ve already started reading it.


Book Cover Design – Who the heck is the white dude on the front cover? Phineas is black. Was there a shortage of black models? I really hate when the cover models don’t match the characters in the story. It makes me think that the graphic designer did a poor job of investigating what the story was about. If the model would have been the right color, the cover would have been a hit with me. The western theme is appropriate and the fiery background along with the foreground that looks like dust that has been kicked up from a rodeo works really well together. The color of the typography is okay but the ‘or’ in ‘Undead or Alive is ugly. I think this author should be asking the publisher to work a little harder on her book covers.

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