A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding


Rating 3.5 stars out of 5

In the mid eighteen forties, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. His maker was good to him but tended to let him run wild, so he killed humans as he drank their blood and one time, as he looked into the eyes of a young man dying from TB, he decided to turn him and create his own vampire. But his vampire, Lee, didn’t turn out to be quite what Ante hoped for, and Ante himself finally realized the error of his destructive ways so he fled to the United States. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing a little blood here and there from humans who don’t even realize he’s had them. It helps him live in the Las Vegas area when he also helps himself to some of their money and it helps him stay away from working for the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows, which now happens to be run by Lee. They don’t have the “ethics” Ante has developed and kill indiscriminately when they take blood. Ante prefers his way and his luck is high when he meets beautiful and charming Peter Gehrardi, who seems to be able to influence others with his thoughts.

Intrigued, Ante eventually finds out that Peter is half-elf—no wonder his blood is so sweet and sparkly! But the Shadows want Peter captured so they can use his mind-influencing powers to their own gain and they try to enlist Ante to help them. Mistake! That’s the signal for Ante and Peter to run and they lead the Shadows on a merry adventure across the dessert and into a non-human sanctuary community in Northern California. Along the way there’s further (mis)adventures and lots of lovin’ as Peter and Ante come to mean much more to each other than a zero-hearted vampire could ever expect. There is, of course, a fight to the finish when Lee and the vampires from the Shadows track them to the sanctuary. Who will come out of the battle intact? And will Ante be able to find a happy ever after with someone who does not have the lifespan of a vampire?

This is an enjoyable story, but though I usually absolutely love Kim Fielding’s stories, this one fell just a little short for me. I couldn’t quite appreciate the characters—neither Peter with his love of sweets and charming personality, nor Ante with his “vampireness” and “cold” personality. I know this is a pun, but he was just too cold for me to warm up to. And Peter was just too over the top in cuteness. I must admit, however, there were a few times when I laughed out loud and there were a few times when teardrops rolled down my cheeks, but overall, I simply enjoyed this tale without finding it outstanding.

Would I recommend it? By all means, especially to those who enjoy these Dreamspun tales and to those who enjoy vampires with a soft side and all manner of other supernatural creatures.


The cover by Aaron Anderson features a cute guy with the expected vampire fangs—looking quite attractive—against a casino background and done in the purple tones of the branding of other Dreamspun Beyond stories.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: November 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
Las Vegas, Nevada (United States)
Nevada (United States)

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