Very Belated TBR Challenge Review: Roaring Midnight by Colleen Gleason

Roaring Midnight by Colleen Gleason
Paranormal romance released by Avid Press on June 18, 2013

Roaring Midnight by Colleen Gleason Book CoverAmid the glitzy age of Jazz, when gangsters and bootleggers control the cities, there lies another, more insidious threat….the undead.
Macey Gardella is a typical young woman of the Roaring Twenties: she works a job, has her own flat, and loves to dance the Charleston. But when a mysterious man named Sebastian Vioget informs her she belongs to a family of vampire hunters, Macey is stunned and disbelieving.

Yet, strange and frightening things begin to happen, and when Macey comes face-to-face with one of the fanged creatures, she has no choice but to believe Sebastian. And when she learns his own soul depends on her willingness to carry forth the family legacy and hunt the undead, Macey capitulates and joins the fight.

As she begins to learn about her new calling, Macey encounters a handsome newspaper reporter known as Grady–who seems to know more about vampires than he should. And when he begins to ask too many questions, she has to juggle her strong attraction to him with the need for secrecy.

Slipping into speakeasies and sampling bootlegged whiskeys, dodging gangster gunfire and trying to keep her nosy landlady from finding the stakes in her flat, Macey Gardella must navigate through a world of stunning violence, passionate romance, and dark betrayal…

I have been reading Colleen Gleason’s books ever since I was lucky enough to hear her speak at the 2007 RWA Nationals conference. I snapped up her first two Gardella Vampire Hunters novels and became an immediate fan, following her writing into every genre she has written. She’s one of the few authors I’ll purchase even if I don’t have time to read her new releases right away. Which is how I found myself pulling out Roaring Midnight from my TBR pile for the September TBR Challenge.

(Side note: Lime has been very patient with me as I’ve managed some health issues that kept me both incommunicado and unable to get her my review on time. Thank you, Lime, for your patience and understanding!)

To say I loved Colleen’s original five book Gardella Vampire Hunters series is like saying the sun is merely a shiny dot in the sky. The original series takes place in the Regency era, and combined everything I love about Regency romance with one of the most kick -ass heroine’s I’ve had the pleasure of reading. When she announced she was going to do a series about another Gardella, only this time set in 1920s Chicago, I rubbed my hands together with glee and practically danced around my living room. Flappers, speakeasies, gangsters, vampires, and a brand new Gardella vampires hunter? Yes, please! Why I didn’t read it when it was first released I can only blame on the heavy work schedule I had at the time.

Roaring Midnight is about Macey Denton, a fiesty, kind-hearted, and adventurous young woman who has moved from small town life to the bustling and gritty world of Chicago, working as a librarian at the University of Chicago, a rather great job considering her other option would likely be to work in a typing pool. Basically an orphan, Macey shows a fierce loyalty to the friends she does have, creating her own found family. Her sense of loyalty can blind her to the truth about those closest to her, just as her sense of fairplay blinds her to the fact that people, and vampires, don’t play by the same rules she does. Like a coming of age story, Macey’s world is turned upside down as she learns vampires are real and that she’s part of a vampire hunting legacy. It’s her loyalty that ultimately allows her to enter into this nightmare world.

I have to give Colleen props here, because Macey could have come off as a total TSTL character, but instead she comes off as genuine and young. When you’re young, you think you’re invincible, and you haven’t developed the full capacity to understand how your choices and actions make ripples out in the world. Macey is young and makes mistakes, but she learns and tries to do better. That’s really all I ask of the heroines I read, that they are able to acknowledge when they’ve screwed up and try to do better.

Not a traditional romance, there isn’t a clear hero in this first book. Rather, there are two men who may or may not become Macey’s love interest. I choose to believe that Grady, a tenacious newspaper reporter, is going to be the main love interest. Grady isn’t perfect, and sometimes his role as reporter causes him to look at the world through the lens of cynicism. But, he genuinely cares about Macey, and even more, believes her when she starts talking about what happens in the shadows. He’s a keen observer, which works both for and against him as his relationship with Macey progresses. I really want to learn more about Grady’s backstory, and as I said, I firmly believe that he is the best partner for Macey. *fingers crossed*

There’s a good blend of historical flavor (flappers, speakeasies, and mobsters, oh my!), along with the dark and gritty otherworldliness of paranormal, with just the right dash of romance to keep a die hard romantic like me happy. More urban fantasy than paranormal romance, I enjoyed every twist and turn this novel took as it carried me along. Take note that this is the first book in a trilogy (or quintet if you count the two Max Denton novellas about Macey’s dad), so it ends on a cliffhanger.

All the books in this series are already published, so you can be like me and binge read them, pretending they are just one large book. Also, you don’t need to read the original Gardella series first, even though there is are a couple of characters from Victoria Gardella’s books who play a large role in Macey’s story. There is also Chaz, a venator (vampire hunter) who has somehow frog leaped through time from what I think is the Regency Era to the 1920s. His backstory is in Gleason’s The Vampire Narcise: Dark VixenI do love how all of her vampire novels are interconnected, as is her steampunk YA series.

Grade B+

You can buy a copy here.

*EN: This was originally submitted October 19th so … :X the delay is on me. Also the “Very Belated” is a poke at me, because I hope to soon put up a “Belated” TBR review for November. Or … :X whatever month(s) missing.

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