March 14, 2012

Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey

Author: Beth Fantaskey
Title: Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Series: Jessica (#1)
ISBN: 9780152063849
Publisher: Harcourt (February 1st 2009)

Buy your copy: Paperback | Hardcover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.”
GoodReads’ blurb

I read this book recommended by Dani, over at Refracted Light Reviews, and I’m so glad I did! Can you say fun?

First off, I have to admit that this is not one of those serious read that you expect to dump some life-changing, difficult revelations on you along the plot. It reminded me a lot of The Ghost and the Goth, in the way the characters were quirky and interesting and had this strange chemistry that leapt out the page to put a smile in your face.

I really liked both Anastasia and Lucius. Okay, specially Lucius. He was so sweetly petulant! Oh my, the letters he’d write home to his uncle during the first two-thirds of the book... Those were priceless, and I’d recommend this novel just to read how this noble vampire pokes fun at the ways of his very peasant, very American fiancée.

There were also moments when my heart went out to him. I’m thinking about this particular scene, involving him and Hell’s Belle, a horse he feels an affinity with. It was sad, and touching. And very symbolic – you’ll see the weight this scene carries through in Luciu’s later decisions, in what he believes, in the way he think og himself.

About this point, Anastasia really rises up to the challenge too. Before, she was great to play off Lucius’ character, but as the whole thing unfolds and she begins to realize her feelings, she will find an iron core that will turn her into someone who can stand on her own besides the vampire prince.

Her evolution –well, their evolution I guess- is complete by the end of the book, when you can see they’re so different from who they were while still being themselves. I loved it.

If you like funny, sweet paranormal romances, I think you’d like this one too. I know I’m desperately awaiting my chance to grab book 2!


  1. Hah, this is another book everyone seems to be reading! I sometimes really just want a light but compelling read that will keep me entertained, especially when I'm very tired. And I enjoyed Gost and the Goth so much, so that's enough for me.
    Besides, we've already established that our tastes are similar. :)
    Thank you for the review!

    1. I think I perhaps liked Ghost and Goth better - but it's a terribly close call! In those moments you just want something fun and light to get you in the groove again, this is perfect, I think. I did read it after a while of reading books that didn't grab my attention; I was tired, and frankly not in the mood to read... and then I found Jessica and Lucius' letters and I was back in full reading swing. :) Let me know if you do get this one!

  2. This one has been on my shelf for a while. Now I really want to pick it up, it sounds like it is going to be so much fun to read. I love what you had to say about Lucius, it sounds like he is a character I will really like.

    1. It's super fun! Lucius is the perfect mix between amusing, strong, and angsty too. The good kind of angsty, not the whinny type lol I think you'd like it! Specially for a quick fix in between those longer, deeper novels...

  3. Lucius... oh Lucius. He's one of my all-time favorite book boys. His character development in this book is phenomenal and so is Jessica's. I like how you put it: "they’re so different from who they were while still being themselves." The relationship development rocked too. I have a thing for tortured romances. lol Fantastic review :)

    And you should read the free novella that goes between books one and two. It's on Beth's website :)

    1. Definitely grabbing that novella now! And I agree with you on Lucius... he's yum! Besides, I liked him (well, them, actually) at all points in their development. It wasn't that suddenly they were unlikable and then changed enough for me to like them, or the other way around. That's something that doesn't happen all that often!

      I hope I'll be able to squeeze the sequels in soon...

  4. funny that I have the second book but the not the first one! and this series looks so awesome!!! you made me so excited. cant wait to get on to it! great review Ron! xox


    1. Hahaha! Well, I really think you should get the first one too. While I love how the characters develop, the process is hilarious. You shouldn't miss pompous Lucius for the world!

  5. So here's the thing.... I read your review and thought this sounded like such a fun book. So I follow the link to Amazon, and it tells me that already purchased it back in December! I think this proves that I need to get things under control and organize better, because I obviously don't even know what the heck I have. *sigh*

    1. Well, there goes a purchase that won't pay for my giveaways :P (kidding, kidding!)

      I do understand where you're coming from, though. I have this excell file where I keep track of my books - bought, submitted for review, from NG, audio.... And even then, some title always gets misplaced (and thoroughly forgotten until I find it while looking for something else entirely, of course!)

      In any case, the important thing is that you do have the book! I'm sure you'll like it, really. It's plenty fun!