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Happy Hour at Casa Dracula    by Marta Acosta order for
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula
by Marta Acosta
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Milagro de Los Santos is attending an LA book party for her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian Beckett-Witherspoon. Much to her disgust, he is basking in what she feels is undeserved literary adulation. Equally disgusting is the fact that Milagro can't seem to shake her attraction to the self-centered cad. But their past history is happily forgotten when she's approached by an extremely handsome man who identifies himself as Oswald Krakatoa, saying 'This joint is a bust. Let's scram'. Their chemistry is immediate, and before Milagro can utter New York Times bestseller list, she finds herself in Oswald's penthouse suite. One thing leads to another and they accidentally exchange blood during a passionate kiss. Within seconds, Milagro feels sick and disorientated, and when she finally surfaces from what she figures was a killer bout of the flu, she has an overwhelming urge to eat raw meat. Worse, Sebastian is sniffing around, exceptionally interested in rekindling their romance.

Before Milagro has a chance to send her former squeeze packing she's whisked off to Oswald's secluded California ranch. His Grandmama Edna takes Milagro under her wing and points out a few things: a) Edna and family are not vampires - they suffer from a rare condition that's been in the family for centuries and b) Milagro has miraculously survived an accidental blood exchange with her grandson. They request she stay on as their guest for further observation. Days turn into weeks and Milagro realizes she could get used to the laid-back country lifestyle, not to mention Oswald's colorfully eccentric family. And then there's Oswald himself - he might be engaged to another woman, but that doesn't stop Milagro from falling for yet another 'fabulously inappropriate man'. She knows she should head back to LA and move on, but for the first time in her life she's part of a real family, albeit an eccentric one. But her warm fuzzy feelings come to an abrupt halt when Sebastian tracks her down and reveals his true intentions - as Milagro predicted all along, they have nothing to do with rekindling their college romance.

Happy Hour at Casa Dracula has it all: dark satire, secretive organizations, fashion sense, fabulous parties, pet chickens and of course sexy vampires. Best of all, it has Milagro de Los Santos, a smart, sassy and style conscious Latina heroine whose singular view of the world alternates between laugh out loud hilarious and poignant. Rich passages of introspection have Milagro trying to figure out her various unrealized goals as well as her true place in life - whether it's beside the love of her life - or not. Don't get her wrong. She heartily approves of sexy men but just can't seem to find the soul mate she's looking for - until she becomes involved with Oswald and his clan. Is he the man of her dreams or are he and his family just a bit too sophisticated and secretive for a freewheeling Latina girl? Pick up a copy of Happy Hour at Casa Dracula and find out - it'll leave you in stitches and eager to read the sequel.

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