The Edge of Hope is the debut novel of writer Alina Popescu, the first book in the Bad Blood Trilogy, a story of vampires, love, struggles, and a constant fight for survival.
Edge of Hope (Bad Blood I)
When tall, dark, and gorgeous shows up on your self-prescribed emotional recovery vacation, some would call it fate smiling down on you. If he also happens to be interested in your work and ready to make all the room you need in his life, it starts to sound too good to be true. Alexa skips the doubts and jumps right in, only to be thrown into the mysterious world of vampires.
The secrets of their origin and their very existence are far more important than her life to some of her new acquaintances. They are ancient, they are powerful, they have unlimited resources, and they are keen on controlling what the world knows of their kind. As Alexa discovers their complicated, blood feud bound world, she tries to better understand herself, heal old wounds and give love chance after chance. Will she survive the journey?
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Vampires and I, a Love Story
by Alina Popescu
I was sitting on a branch in the biggest, tallest tree in our neighborhood with two guy friends of mine, talking about books and movies. That’s exactly when I fell in love with vampires. I was eleven, one of the guys was my class mate, the other one was a little older than me and I happened to have a huge crush on him. What does that have to do with vampires? Well, see, my crush had just seen Interview with the Vampire because his sister was older and took him to the movie with her. I wasn’t yet allowed to go to the cinema on my own and my parents would have never chosen that particular movie for me.
My crush recounted the movie for us young ones, and we turned it into a nice way to play – shouting at people passing under the tree that we were vampires and wanted to suck their blood. It lasted for a whole week and we refused to cut our nails to fit the vampy look. It was amazing and fun and they may or may not have been some neck biting, but there was definitely a lot of cursing and threatening from the people we chose as our victims from afar.
Years later I finally saw the movie and fell in love with it. Then I read the books and fell in love again. Since then there have been plenty of books, movies, TV series, cartoons, comic books, all depicting vampires of all kinds. I even broke my no-horror rules for the fangers! The subject was always fascinating to me, especially since I am Romanian and if there is one thing that’s not sports related that people know about Romania… well, that’s Dracula 🙂
Oddly enough, vampires are not that big in our culture. Strigoi (zombies) are more prominent. Vampires are far more enticing though and I fell prey to their charm, hence my choice to write a vampire trilogy. It took a while till I got to the vampire story I wanted to tell. Alexa needed to find herself and stumble across Anthony and Louis for her story to unfold. The one good thing about being a total fangirl when it comes to everything vampires? Less research time! Well, that, and a very good idea of what I’m competing against.
If you’re into vampires as much as I am, then you should pick up my book and see how you like my vamps. If you don’t like them, well, just go to the beginning of this post, you know who to blame!
I felt I should cry, but I just couldn’t. I was too angry…with him, with her, with everyone who liked the status, with Anthony and how he had changed my world. I couldn’t even see straight for a few minutes. When my vision cleared, I noticed a few messages in my inbox. The newest one was from him, apologizing for the public message and saying he never thought our common friends would be that stupid. It was so his style, minimizing what had happened and trying to find new targets for me to blame. There were other messages from some of the people who had liked their new relationship status saying they did not realize what they were doing at first, then they could not unlike it without hurting them. Bullshit. They were all assholes. The two of them for publicly posting the update. My so-called friends for not thinking carefully about it. Me for having believed whatever he had said in the car, even if hope had been buried somewhere deep down.
I took my car keys from the counter. The key card from his building was still there. He had made that especially for me a few weeks before the conversation in the car. He said it was over with her and had given it to me one morning, after a passionate night together, telling me he expected me to come over and spend the night a lot more often. It had meant the world to me and he had never asked me to give it back. I removed it from its ring and broke the plastic bar with my bare hands. I did not think I actually had the strength, but I did and it cut my hand a little. I kept looking at my blood as it dripped on the counter and hoped the pain I could no longer cry out would pour through that fresh wound.
That was when Louis walked in with a big, toothy grin on his face. “Hey, I am back and I bring delicious treats,” he beamed. He noticed my hand and the look on my face, and quickly dropped everything next to my computer.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, worry in his voice.
I opened my mouth to say something, but I just couldn’t.
“Alexa, was Anthony here? You have to tell me!” He grabbed my shoulders and shook me a little. I pushed him away and walked to the other side of the counter to lean against it. He came closer and took my hand.
“You cut yourself.” It was not a question. He could tell what kind of wound it was.
I really wanted to say it was nothing. Instead, I put my other hand around his neck, pulled him close, and kissed him. I expected nothing, in all honesty, other than cold rejection. I wasn’t really thinking, just acting on an impulse. But, for some reason, he kissed me back. When our tongues met, my knees gave out so I grabbed his shoulders with both my hands, bloodying his shirt.
He caught me in his arms and pulled me close, pressing me tightly against him. I was used to powerful reactions to kisses, but this was still off the charts. Vampire thing, I told myself. First line of baseborns. The one thought that was clear in my head was that I did not want that kiss to ever end. All the anger, hurt, and pain were gone, and this new situation with Louis seemed so raw, so pure. I felt his hand gliding down my thigh, then his fingers on the back of my knee. He hardly needed to do something for me to respond as he wanted me to so I put my leg around his hip. He never stopped kissing me, but somehow put my hands around his neck, took me in his arms and sat me on the kitchen counter, pushing his body closer to me.
I felt dizzy and mesmerized, and all I wanted was to keep feeling him. His tongue, his lips, his hands, his entire body. The moment I just left all thought behind and let my instinct take over, he brutally moved away.
“What the hell are you doing?!” he yelled, pacing around the kitchen and rubbing his forehead.
It took me a little while to try and gather my thoughts. But before I could say anything, a sudden rage got the better of me. What the hell did he mean by asking me what I had done? Wasn’t he doing it with me?
“Holding a vampire down and forcing my tongue down his throat!” I heard myself yelling back. “Oh, wait, that’s impossible!”
I could see the anger oozing through all his pores. His eyes were glassy and fear-inducing, his fangs were out and his body language spoke of a predator ready to jump on their pray. He started to say something, but I was faster. “Whatever it is, keep it to yourself, asshole!”
I jumped from the counter, pushed him away, and stormed out of the kitchen. I ran up the stairs, grabbed my gym bag, then got out of the house as fast as I could. I threw my bag in the car and started driving, fast and reckless, as if my life depended on getting to that gym. I got there in no time, changed in an instant, and started running on the treadmill. When it did not tire me enough, I moved to the elliptical bike and finally decided throwing punches at a big round bag filled with sand was way more refreshing.
I really have mixed emotions about this book. There were things I really enjoyed, and things I didn’t. I can definitely see the potential in this series and the author and look forward to reading the next book in the series when it becomes available.
Let’s start with what I didn’t like. There were times when the story felt like it was dragging on and on. I wanted the author to get to the point quicker than she was. There were also times, where I couldn’t read fast enough to see hwat was going to happen next. Some of those times I was happy with what I read, and some of those times, I was left wanting more. There were times where I didn’t feel like anything that was going on was really relevant to what the point of the story was, and I felt like the author could have been giving the reader more of the actual story.
There are several main characters in this book. Alexa, Louis, Anthony, and Hesrah are the main ones that the story focuses on. Alexa is an author, very strong at times, but very conflicted. It’s hard for me to describe her really because some of what she does, I understand, but at other times, I wish she would just do something else. She’s reckless at times, and seems to enjoy denying herself the things in life she really wants. I did enjoy her sense of humor and ability to stick her foot in her mouth like I, myself, am such a pro at!
I hated Anthony. From the beginning he seemed like a shady kind of guy and I really wasn’t expecting him to be anything other than a massive jerk. Louis, on the other hand, I loved from the minute he came into the picture. Hesrah is a bad ass. I really liked her character and want to know more about her.
I really liked the different sort of spin that Popescu put into the vampire myth. That’s one of the reasons I will be checking out the next book in the series. I want to see where else she is going to go with it. It wasn’t something I think I have heard before, and it’s very difficult for an author in this day and age to come up with such a different concept for the vampire story. All of her vampires were different in some way or another, and I appreciate that. It didn’t feel like your typical vampire story. From start to finish, I really had no idea how things would end, and that is something that I really liked. I hate it when I can tell what is going to happen at the end of the book before I finish the first half.
So I gave this 3.5 stars because I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it. I didn’t want anyone to think I hated it by giving it 3 stars, but I didn’t want them to think I loved it with 4 so I picked in between. I did LIKE this book.
I would recommend The Edge of Hope to anyone looking for a different type of vampire story that is willing to overlook some minor flaws for a good story that has potential to grow in the future.
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