Bleeding hearts by Alyxandra Harvey

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Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 9781408814970.
(Age: 14+) The fourth in the Drake Chronicles, Bleeding hearts continues the story of the Drake family's fight against the Hel-Blar. A new character, Christabel, is introduced. She is Lucy's cousin and has come from the city to live with her relations when her mother is taken into rehab. She has to adjust to living in Violet Hill, a small country town, after big city living. She is amazed that Lucy's parents are so strict about curfews and going out at night and knows that there is something mysterious going on that Lucy and the Drake brothers know about. She is also fascinated by Connor Drake, who is unlike her usual attraction to bad boys. He is a clever nerd with computers and very sweet as well! Unbeknown to Christabel, there is a deadly infestation of vampires threatening everyone in Violet Hill and when she is kidnapped, the Drakes are forced into action.
Once again Harvey has created characters who come alive on the pages. This book combines two stories in one. Not only does the story of Christabel and Connor unfold, but Lucy's feisty character comes to the fore as does her romance with Nicholas.
There is plenty of action for the Drakes when fighting and tracking Christabel's kidnappers; a new type of vampire is introduced and the vampire hunters from the Helios-Ra school actively pursue the Hel-Blar. The excitement continues throughout the book, with lots of dangerous fights and thrilling times. This was certainly a book that I held my attention throughout and that I finished in a couple of sessions.
Bleeding hearts is not as easily read as a stand alone as the second and third in the series, but the characters and action are enough to ensure that readers new to the series will seek out all the books. A desperate cliff hanger as a conclusion will also ensure that they eagerly await the next in the series.
Pat Pledger