Sparked by Words

Happily ever after isn’t served on a silver plate. Cerissa and Henry struggle together to find theirs in Jenna Barwin’s Dark Wine at Dusk.

I was excited to read the third Hill Vampire Novel. Having devoured the first two books in the series, I couldn’t wait to open the pages of her newest story.

Stop right here if you haven’t read Dark Wine at Midnight and Dark Wine at Sunrise. Start with those – you’ll be so glad you did and well prepared to continue the story in Book 3. The sumptuous covers alone are worth drooling over – why deny yourself such pleasure as the reading will provide?

Dark Wine at Dusk picks up with the continuing mysterious murders on the residents of Sierra Escondida. This is a unique colony inhabited by vampires and their mortal mates, a place dedicated to preserving their lifestyle.

Police Chief Tig Anderson is focused on finding the mastermind attacking them, but his identity is difficult to decipher, masked as he is by subterfuge and cyber barriers.

While Tig tries to secure safety measures for her community, we enter the private domain of Henry Bautista and his new mate, Dr. Cerissa Patel.   Their passionate romance alights everywhere throughout his mansion. One of the most inventive love romps I’ve ever read is the hide-and-seek game they play in his vineyard. (Oh, to be chased. Oh, to be found!)

Henry reveals his youthful violent behavior in scenes so visceral that my skin tingled in horror as I read them. Cerissa reacts with grave distress over whether she can trust him, the molten fire of their love struggling to stay alive.

In addition, mortal mates are campaigning for equality, and everyone feels the mounting threat of death by an unknown enemy. Universal issues of morality, medical ethics, and personal relationships swirl in a complex brew, the outcomes uncertain.

The story escalates as Cerissa and Henry become dangerously involved in an attempt to identify the person who is targeting vampires for true death.

Then all hell breaks loose in a scene so unexpected I dropped my iPad.

I won’t tell more as story spoilers are not in my toolbox, but the tension and shock of the volatile climax will keep you riveted.

If you enjoyed the first two books in this series, you’re going to love this one. You’ll imagine yourself born with Lux wings.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. My review is entirely my opinion.


All images courtesy of author Jenna Barwin





Comments on: "Dark Wine at Dusk is an Intoxicating Read" (13)

  1. Jenna Barwin said:

    <<>> Thank you, Sharon, for the lovely review!

    Henry, Cerissa, Tig and Jayden really appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Must say vampire novels are not something I would naturally gravitate towards, but your review is intriguing. I didn’t even know that vampire novels were a thing. Silly me! Might make for some good airplane reading. Given our predilection for multicultural topics, it occurs to me that I have absolutely no idea if vampires are Western? European? or other? Never heard of vampires in other contexts… but then again, how often do vampires come up in the conversation? 🙂


    Liked by 2 people

    • Peta, have you ever heard of Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Or Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire? Then there’s a famous young adult Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers. All have been made into movies. I find the genre a bit strange but I like the way Jenna Barwin writes. She engages her characters in conflicts and situations that test the boundaries of religious ethics, the mystery of romantic attraction, and a complex murder plot. I think the genre is European in inception. Please let me know what you think about them, should you read Barwin’s books.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Barwin said:

      Hi Peta – A lot of cultures have vampire stories, with differing traits and weaknesses. In China, they are similar to what we call zombies, and if you drop a bowl of rice in front of one, it has to stop and count all the grains. In Africa, their version can take the form of a firefly and hunts children.

      The gothic vampire stories became popular in the 1800s. Varney the Vampire was a serialized story published beginning in 1845. Of course, the European myth predates the version popularized for mass story-telling.

      And speaking of multicultural, one of the reasons behind the town of Sierra Escondida is that I was tired of reading solely about vampires from Europe. Sierra Escondida is a multi-cultural enclave, with vampires from Mexico, Africa, and China, to name a few, although I stuck closer to the European myths as that would be more recognizable to my readers, and it would be too confusing to combine the myths.

      If you try my books, I hope you enjoy them. Thank you for stopping by!


      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the lengthy reply to Peta. I learned so much more about vampires – had no idea they crossed so many cultures. I always like to learn the background info about how a writer makes choices for their books. This was enlightening, Jenna.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done – I love anything to do with books!


  4. Such a wonderful review, Shari! I feel so bad for still not having read the first two books!! I really love vampire stories, even if they seem to have become less en vogue at the moment, but who cares about that? Not me! I’ve read Bram Stoker and all books by Anne Rice (what an awesome writer btw). And of course Twilight too. 😉


    • Sarah, I think you’d really love Ms. Barwin’s books – she’s an excellent writer, and the stories are mesmerizing. Her vampires are compelling creatures, struggling with issues of morality and power. Please let me know if you read them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a really fun series and you’ve got me curious at the comparison to Lux. Great review!


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