I read this back in 2012 or so because I d started following the author s blog she now goes by Jenny Trout to avoid confusion with Jennifer L Armentrout It was enjoyable nice and short, the story moved quickly, the characters were interesting enough if not particularly anything than that, the story was tight, with no plot holes, and the writing was good And yet it lacked that something that would have made it than a 3 star read I d look for of Jenny s books, except most of them are erotic romances and aren t really my thing. Our vampire hero, Graf, is on his way to Washington, D.C for a party with his sire, Sophia, when he pauses for a late night snack at an abandoned gas station in a small town The only problem is his snack , a Penance, Ohio resident named Jessa, is also being chased by a giant monster possum Or something Graf isn t sure exactly what It is, but he knows it s bigger, stronger, and much, much smellier than he is, and proceeds to high tail it out of Penance At least, that was the plan.Unfortunately for Graf, all of the residents of Penance have been trapped for five years with no contact to the outside world Travelers can pass right through, but they never stop, and only a few whispered rumors indicate that anyone from Penance has ever been able to leave And now, they can add a vampire to their numbers.What worked for me This book was hysterical Graf wasn t a nice guy when he first arrived into town, and as such initially viewed Jessa and everyone else of Penance as a simple food supply It wasn t until later when he began to see her as a woman rather than cattle, and during the transition there was quite a bit of hilarity to his thoughts He once mentioned how awkward it was to offer her solace while she was upset because it was rather like comforting an ice cream cone I like that the vampire s bite wasn t all sexy It was gruesome and painful and there was nothing attractive about it This is a nice change from a lot of paranormal romance novels which indicate a type of euphoria that the victim receives from the bite I really liked the small town mentality Having grown up in a small town, I recognized a lot of the attitudes that would only have been amplified by forced isolation Bullies, mob mentalities, and prejudices abounded, which made things feel much real I really liked that Graf wasn t preternaturally cunning or intelligent, nor did he instantly have all the answers Numerous paranormal romances honestly, romances in general have the hero always know exactly what needs to be done and rarely making mistakes Graf doesn t have any big plan he s totally winging it through the whole situation and really shouldn t be depended upon to fix things or to get himself and Jessa out of any sticky situations What din t work for me I didn t care for the fact that Jessa was an adulteress Somehow I just don t find it endearing to have a heroine knowingly sleeping with a married man, no matter what their history together I wish they d had a better name for the creature other than It I kept getting Tim Curry flashbacks every time I read the name, which took away from the story quite a bit Overall, I really liked this book Watching Graf go from top of the food chain, arrogant and cold to a man in love was gradual enough to be gratifying without making the reader feel as though things were dragging While I didn t care for the main conflict between Jessa and her redneck mostly ex boyfriend, I did like the way the story played out in the end, and would love to read about these characters in the future.A very solid 4 5 stars. Opening LineIf there was one power a vampire could really use, Graf McDonald figured it would have to be internal GPS Graf McDonald is just your average American vampire, and that s part of why I liked this book so much Well that and the cover, which for some reason kept catching my eye Anyways, he doesn t ooze raw sexuality or have any OTT cool vampire skills other than the obvious , he isn t self loathing or sparkly or even particularly sexy In fact he s pretty useless, just a vampire with a bad sense of direction and a wickedly sarcastic sense of humour who happens to find himself trapped in the small inert town of Penance Ohio running from a monster named It and trying to either bed or drain the girl he hasn t decided which yet This really was LOL funny in places Graf s running internal dialogue and snarky observations of small town life had me marking and reading passages out loud I also appreciated the uniqueness of this story in a market saturated with vampire romances it s rare to find something new I couldn t classify this as a paranormal romance while there is romance it plays to Urban fantasy with a slight Stephen Kingish feel especially when it comes to the monster Which Armintrout leaves purposely vague so we can draw our own conclusions.Graf is on his way to his Maker Sophia s legendary July 4th party in DC when he takes a wrong turn and finds himself in small town Ohio For some reason all roads seem to lead back to the town of Penance which is getting really frustrating Plus he s on a time constraint what with the rising sun and all Stopping at an abandoned gas station with the hopes of finding a map Graf instead finds Jessa hiding and on the run from It Now if scary monsters weren t enough it turns out that no one has been able to get in or out of this town since It showed up five years ago Why Good question Completely cut off from the outside world the residents have all gone a bit nuts in their isolation With limited supplies, short tempers and an overabundance of suspicion and fear they have resorting to burning suspected witches at the stake and other forms of corrupt justice They definitely do not trust strangers much less a vampire Jessa meanwhile has been branded the town tramp due to her continued relationship with a possessive but now married x boyfriend She knows what it feels like to be an outsider and the two enter into an odd sort of alliance Graf of course just wants outOh for Christ s sake, I had to get trapped in a lifetime original movie didn t I He made a list of all the problems facing him, and it looked something like this in his head.Trapped in Deliverance.Missing Sophia s birthday party possible sex with Sophia.It.Need blood.Obnoxious baggage 296jb3.5 Quick Take Indeed, I enjoyed this book overall The premise was fun and not the typical vampire tale It had plenty of tense action packed moments it played somewhat like a movie, come to think of it It s gruesome, chilling, witty, exciting and not without a bit of the sweet romance that I so love When it comes to scary stuff, there s nothing quite like the unknown, don t you think I started reading this book without any knowledge of story particulars plot, characters, genre themes , and am glad I did While I wasn t scared into going to bed with the lights on, I was certainly deliciously creeped out with some of the mysterious aspects of this stand alone novel from Jennifer Armintrout.This book seems to fall into a couple of genres The book is undoubtedly spooky Especially in the beginning of the story, there was a feeling of desolation and the sense of an insurmountable threat that was chilling I also felt like the ultimate focus of the book was about how a community will regress brutally, fanatically, incomprehensibly when isolated and abandoned Hence, Horror But the book eventually fosters a romantic element that takes up much of the plot additionally, the narration bounces between the hero and heroine So, Paranormal Romance.or Urban Fantasy with romantic elements.The hero of this story, Graf the vampire, is a bit of a cad He can be smarmy, snobby and selfish But I liked his character And come to think of it, both the hero and heroine of this book have some questionable morals they aren t quite the kind of people you d look up to There s certainly some great character growth, but the protagonists are no heroes It s a testament to the author s writing that you root for and care about them despite or because of their shortcomings.Some other great elements included the whole appearances deceive theme in which the supposed good guys were often just as freaky as the obvious baddies the subtle, dry humor of the narrative and the tempered approach to the romance Regarding the latter, I appreciated that it built slowly and without grand overtures anything might have felt incongruous with the ruthlessness of characters overall situation.If you love urban fantasy with romantic elements and want to try something with a little bit of a spookiness factor, this is a good story to crack into. Reviewed by Mona at RexRobotReviews.comAmerican Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout is a twisted tale of romance and horror It pulled me in with the GPS dysfunctional vampire that I actually found very likeable, with his penchant for leather and great taste in vintage cars But the interaction between the main characters left me dragging I loved the snarky comments and dialogue between them at times, but the overall connection was very slow in the making.At first I felt sorry for the town being trapped by an unknown It that harassed them Then I got to know the towns people and I really felt sorry for Graf the unwittingly trapped vampire By the time romance came into play, I was actually prompting Graf in my head to run away The horror element was possibly a tie between the It monster and the townspeople themselves As a reader of Jennifer Armintrout s previous books, this one left me feeling quite flat I would recommend other Armintrout fans give this book a try to see if it works for you But if you re looking to get into her books, don t start with this one I love some of her other books like the Blood Ties series. On his way to have a good time, the vampire Graf gets stuck in his worst nightmare He stumbles into a town that has had no one enter nor leave for five years If that wasn t creepy enough, then add in a terrible monster that preys on the townspeople He winds up having to rely on the first person he meets in town, Jessa, a gruff and angry woman Even though she hates his guts, she knows his stuff will help her if she can trade it for supplies so she can survive It becomes an uneasy alliance as they both need each other if they hope to survive not only the monster, but the mob mentality of the townspeople as well.In the beginning of this book Graf was a really pompous character, and I didn t really care for him at all Come to think of it, Jessa didn t show the best impression either She was dishing out just as much snark and nastiness as he was It took me a long time to warm up to both of them because of this, but as time went on I realized that their behavior was just a front for inner turmoil, especially for Tessa She s had an extremely hard time of it and it s a wonder she really is able to cope at all As both of them showed of their real selves, I started to really care for them There is a lot of sexual tension between them and the progression is very realistic It doesn t feel forced even though they started out basically hating each other.This is a fast paced unique romance I enjoyed the non typical setting of it, as well as the unusual circumstances the two meet upon Unlike many romance novels that feel incomplete at the end, this one is very satisfying I recommend this to any paranormal romance fans that enjoy a quick read that leaves a sense of fulfillment at the end. originally posted at Favorite Quote I m not going to let anyone hurt you You threatened to kill me before Yeahthat was before It seems like there s competition for the job now and I m not one to follow a trend Graf just wanted to get to his sire s annual 4th of July party but a wrong turn brings him to Penance, Ohio A town literally stuck in time Jessa, a town resident, knows something is wrong with Graf but he s the only one she can trust right now A monster is loose in Penance and Jessa knows that Graf is the only one who can save her even if it means dying.I found myself liking this book much then I thought I would An interesting premise of a very modern vampire stuck in a small minded town with no way to leave The beginning starts out slow as we follow modern vampire Graf McDonald through the actions that lead him to Penance, Ohio He stops at a gas station to get a map snack and there he finds Jessa hiding in fear She claims, It is coming and they must hide Graf and Jessa get off on a bad start when Graf grabs Jessa, hightails it out of gas station, then abandons her on the side of the road He s ready to get away from this crazy woman but soon finds out he can t leave Nobody has left Penance in five years As he backtracks to Jessa, we get his POV which provides a somewhat jarring but funny commentary on his feelings towards Jessa she s human which means she food He cons and threatens Jessa into letting him stay at her house and again we are treated to antagonistic funny inner monologues from both of them as they each consider how they will get what they want from the other.I had to grow into liking Graf and Jessa This isn t a romantic vampire story Graf doesn t come across as the heart throb hero who will solve the towns problems and carry Jessa off on his white stallion Nope Graf is snarky, devious, petulant, and wholly unconcerned with Jessa or the town s plight He just wants out and doesn t care how it happens It was interesting to watch his dealings with Jessa change from adversarial to ally as he begins to think like a human again.Jessa comes off at first as a paranoid, judgmental pain in the arse She instinctively knows there is something wrong with Graf but has no idea the extent of it At first I was annoyed by her attitude and the way the town treats her As we get her back story though, you realize that you can t out run your past and that s doubly hard when you can t even out run the town.The romance between Graf and Jessa builds very slowly These are two very different people even excluding the whole human not human issue Jessa doesn t see anything sexy or attractive about vampires She sees Graf as a blood sucking monster Graf sees Jessa as a pain in the butt nag who he wants to either shag or eat Their dealings with each other become humorous as Graf begins to see Jessa less like a nagging happy meal and Jessa sees that maybe Graf isn t as evil as she believed him to be In one scene Graf is comforting Jessa while she cries and he feels very awkward He compares the situation to hugging an ice cream cone.The secondary characters are ambiguous Neither good nor bad they were just there They are the perfect example of small town redneck mentality and I can t help but wonder if Ms Armintrout wasn t poking a little fun here herself From the high school football star that everyone idolizes to his daisy duke chain smoking wearing pregnant wife everyone is too perfect.The world building is pretty simple atypical of the normal paranormal vampire stories out there now The vampire isn t the main theme and the plot is pretty straight forward I knew about halfway through who did it and why but it s still engaging as Ms Armintrout leads you to the finale I did feel there were some scenes that fell flat while others resolved themselves abruptly without rhyme or reason.I did enjoy her descriptions of the town and the way their lives had been changed by their circumstances Since they have no contact with the outside, we are given indepth explanations to what the town has done to survive.I enjoyed the ending if only for the running dialogue between Jessa And GrafGraf no You stick to helping the wounded you fucking moron It ends quick and without much fanfare I would liked it to have divulged a little into the whole scheme and the villain s mindset concerning the whole event All in all an interesting story that is shaped and molded by it s unusual characters.Rating C Buried In The Heartland Is A Town That No One Enters Or Leaves Graf McDonald Somehow Becomes Its First Visitor In Than Five Years And He Was Only Looking For A Good Party Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, Is Not That Place And After Having Been Isolated For So Long, They Do Not Like Strangers At AllJessa S The Only One To Even Remotely Trust Him, And She S Desperate For The Kind Of Protection That Only A Vampire Like Graf Can Provide Supplies Are Low, The Locals Are Ornery For A Sacrifice And There S A Monster Powerful Than Graf Lurking In The Woods New Men Are Hard To Come By In This Lonesome Town, And This Handsome Stranger Might Be Jessa S Only Hope For SalvationEven If She Has To Die First Oh my, how to put this nicely Ok, here, I m not a fan of this book.Our main character is a jerk, to put it midly I usually don t like male leads in urban fantasy, but this is romance or something , so that s not a problem The problem is, he comes off as immediately unlikable Unlikable as in he wants to screw every hot lookin babe that doesn t have an attitude problem on the planet He likes to get freaky with his sire and can t wait to see her again He drives a nice car, of course, and treats the first person he comes across in this book like crap So there s that.In case you didn t know, which is understandable since I had no idea coming into this, this novel takes place in an supernatural town that once you enter you can t leave The entire novel is about that, and involves 300 or so pages of sorting through the inhabitants of the town to finally figure out why no one can leave Please, spare yourself the time and don t read this If you are in it for the romance, well I didn t find anything there of interest or note, and I certainly didn t like any of the characters, but hey, maybe you will.