PRAISE

Blue Bloods

Booklist (starred):

Like the power brokers that are their parents and ancestors, members of the popular clique at New York’s Duchesne School are Blue Bloods, continually reincarnated vampires endowed with preternatural beauty, charisma, and strength. The plot revolves around several teens, unaware of their heritage, who begin to manifest their true natures during a terrifying spate of vampire-to-vampire violence. At book’s end, nonconformist Schuyler has emerged as heroine, having discovered a rift in Blue Blood history that lays the groundwork for forthcoming books. Grafting the chick-lit sensibility of her Au Pairs books onto horror themes, de la Cruz introduces a conception of vampires far different from traditional stake-fleeing demons, coupling sly humor (“What, the Committee was just a front for a bunch of blood-sucking B-movie monsters?”) with the gauzier trappings of being fanged and fabulous—as well as abundant references to the taboo-laden “taking” of human familiars, a procedure with overtly sexual overtones. Although the novel isn’t sure quite what it wants to be (satire? beach read? gothic saga?), many teens will savor the thrilling sense of being initiated into an exclusive secret society, and will doubtless want to drink deeply from the vampire-themed offerings suggested in “Read-alikes: After the First Bite.”

- Jennifer Mattson


Publisher’s Weekly:

De la Cruz combines American history, vampires and a crew of rich New York City kids, delivering a page-turning debut to her new series, sure to appeal to fans of her Au Pairs titles. When 15-year-olds Schuyler and Bliss find out that they are vampires, as are many of the city’s elite, they learn what’s behind some of their weird symptoms (such as Schuyler’s blue veins, which form "an intricate pattern, visible under the skin’s surface," or Bliss’s cravings for raw meat), and that "nothing could kill vampires." But something is hunting them, even killing some, and Schuyler grows more determined to stop it, even as the Conclave, the vampire leaders, attempts to cover it up. Readers will recognize the character types here: Schuyler the outcast, Bliss the pretty new girl and Mimi the popular queen bee (who nurses a somewhat incestuous relationship with her equally gorgeous brother). Not many question are answered along the way, even for the start of a series. Still, it’s hard to resist a book that combines expensive clothes, modeling jobs, blood-sucking and even diary entries from a Mayflower vampire. De la Cruz plants enough seeds (e.g., What does it mean that Schuyler’s father is human? Will her mother come out of her coma? Who are the Silver Bloods, and is one of them hiding amongst the vampires?) to give readers a stake in what happens next. Ages 12-up. (May)


Kirkus:

A juicy, voyeuristic peek into the lives of rich Manhattanites—who happen to be vampires. As shown by a diary in a handwritten font, vampires came to this country on the Mayflower. In contemporary Manhattan, the ensemble of protagonists attends an elite prep school. They’re old souls, because vampires return in new shells (bodies) indefinitely; however, until mid-adolescence, they don’t know it. Fifteen-year-old Schuyler, intelligent and vaguely Goth, has no idea she’s a vampire. Neither does Bliss, newly arrived from Texas. Mimi and Jack, glamorously haughty twins with a suspicious bond, already know the scoop; the adults know too. The others are meant to learn slowly and keep strictly to the Code (for example, never suck so much blood that a human dies). Name-brand clothing and luxuries abound, but a mysterious danger lurks: Someone is killing the supposedly immortal. Schuyler’s destiny is to bring the vampires—cast out of heaven with Lucifer—back into a state of grace, but her immediate goal for the next installment is to find the murderer. Delightfully trashy. (Fantasy. YA)


Masquerade

Kirkus:

Sexy vampires in Coco Chanel glam up Manhattan in the continuing web of intrigue. These wealthy teens and parents are Blue Bloods, immortal vampires who’ve been reincarnated continually since the fall of Lucifer. Accustomed to running society in the guise of upper-crust humans, Blue Bloods now fear Silver Bloods, who have returned to threaten soul-sucking corruption and murder. Themes range from good vs. evil, to skinny models and haute couture, to eternal bonds of love and dizzying teenage lust (conflated with the urge to suck blood, natch, which is necessary for survival). Which powerful Blue Blood family is harboring a Silver Blood? Who’s corrupt, and who’s lying? Several unknown motivations are reserved for the next installment, and de la Cruz sometimes strains the plot, leaning soapwards near the end; but overall, a tasty and alluring sequel for the vampire-sex-and-fashion set. (Fantasy. YA)


Witches of East End

Kirkus:

First in de la Cruz’s debut adult series about the adventures of a family of Long Island witches. The author, known for her Blue Bloods YA series featuring undead Manhattan debutantes, again does not have to stretch for likely settings—the Hamptons are the ideal home base for the Beauchamps, a mother and two daughters, longtime residents. Quite a longtime in fact—ever since Salem witch hunters hanged the two daughters, Ingrid and Freya, who were later reborn to their mother, Joanna. After Salem, witchly higher-ups restricted the open deployment of magical powers. The Beauchamps are so deep undercover that the community they inhabit, “North Hampton,” does not appear on any map. This Hampton is refreshingly devoid of rich people until two brothers, Bran and Killian, arrive to restore Fair Haven, their ancestral mansion. Freya, a bartender, recognizes an ancient soul mate in Bran, and they announce their engagement at a lavish Fair Haven party. Nevertheless, she can’t resist shagging preternaturally handsome Killian in the bathroom during the party. Public librarian Ingrid is chafing at the magic ban—with a simple incantation, she could easily cure a distraught co-worker’s infertility. Soon Ingrid is exchanging salutary spells for contributions to the library fund. When she’s not torn between two lovers, Freya lapses back into her own peculiar brand of magic—her aphrodisiac cocktails perform as advertised. Most daringly of all, Joanna raises a local artist from the dead. But once unleashed, the white magic provokes dark retribution: An undersea miasma is killing off fish and wild life, children are contracting a deadly influenza, vampires (vacationing Blue Bloods?) are infiltrating and the police are “liking” the witches for homicide. But this is secular 21st-century New York, not puritan colonial Massachusetts. Things have changed—haven’t they? A decidedly weird mishmash of mythologies, a serpentine plot and a thicket of back stories intertwine as de la Cruz sets up the continuing saga, but it all gels magnificently. Fantasy for well-read adults.


Publisher’s Weekly:

De la Cruz leaves Manhattan and her popular YA Blue Bloods series to start fresh on Long Island. Freya Beauchamp, a 19-year-old bartender engaged to a Hamptons society beau but in love with his brother; her sister, Ingrid, a single librarian; and their mother, Joanna Beauchamp, are all witches living together in relative harmony, as they have for several centuries. They have significant powers--raising the dead, flying--all of which they have been forbidden to use by the White Council after a debacle in 17th-century Massachusetts. As compensation they have gained immortality, but as the story opens, the restrictions placed on them have begun to fray, and they are all “leaking” magic, prompting them to rebel and live true to their natures. The citizens of East End find themselves cured of writer’s block, infertility, and skin infections, and generally profiting from the benevolent attentions of the Beauchamps. Then small disturbances become large ones, otherworldly creatures show up, and humans disappear. De la Cruz is a formidable storyteller with a narrative voice strong enough to handle the fruits of her imagination. Even readers who generally avoid witches and whatnot stand to be won over by the time the cliffhanger-with-a-twist-ending hits. (June)


Booklist:

In YA novelist de la Cruz’s adult debut, the Beauchamp family witches—mother Joanna and daughters Freya and Ingrid—have lived in the coastal North Hampton, Long Island, for centuries, forbidden to practice magic. Tired of hiding their true natures, all three eventually slip. Freya magically spikes a cocktail to save a marriage, Ingrid does a spell to help a friend conceive, and Joanna makes toys come alive to entertain her housekeeper’s child. Soon they’re practicing magic as in the old days. When dead animals, missing people, unexplained sickness, and toxic ocean sludge beset their town, however, they face judgment as in the old days, too, unless they discover how the evil is linked to the Gardiner brothers, Bran and Killian. De la Cruz combines witches, vampires, zombies, and Norse mythology in a twisting, fast-paced urban fantasy. Necessary parts of the Beauchamp family’s backstory come too late, making some elements of the timeline confusing, but de la Cruz knots the myriad elements together in time to successfully set up what should be a popular series. — Krista Hutley


Library Journal:

Fans of de la Cruz’s YA "Blue Bloods" series about a group of Manhattan vampires will be enchanted with the author’s move into the adult market with this series launch that promises delight and surprise and some appearances by familiar faces. Settled in the quiet town of North Hampton, NY, three outcast witches gently begin working magic again for the first time in centuries: a little something extra in a cocktail, a small knot to carry in a pocket. Joanna Beauchamp and her daughters, Freya and Ingrid, begin taking small steps to help their neighbors and friends. Suffering from the restrictions that had banned them from their craft for so long, the women revel in the return of their powers. But when a strange evil comes in with the tide, they will have to combine their most powerful magic to keep their world from being torn apart. Verdict: Rich with archetypes, powerful gods, and strong women, this great summer read will leave you eager for the next installment! - Jennifer Anderson, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Corpus Christi