Love Bites by Jo Cotterill

This is my kind of Dark Romance – short but sweet and blissfully to the point!

Publisher: Barrington Stoke
ISBN: 9781781120019
Published: 17/5/2012
RA 6.5, IA 10-14
Picture sourced from the Barrington Stoke website

Grace loves James, and James loves Grace back. There’s just one problem – Grace isn’t exactly human and now she has to decide whether she loves James enough to come clean, or whether she loves him too much to ever risk him leaving.

I’m not a fan of dark romance as a genre – I tend to get frustrated by the amount of navelgazing that always seems to go on in the ones I’ve picked up, or the sheer amounts of unnecessary teenage ANGST that seems to tint most dark romance pages. Perhaps that’s why I get on so well with this one, it’s so short and to the point.

In fact, it was almost too short – there’s only 15 pages between Grace biting her lip over whether to confess her secret to James and the consequences of the decision she makes – but then, that’s the beauty of Barrington Stoke; they manage to squeeze a whole story into a few pages without sacrificing good storytelling. And that’s just what Jo Cotterill has accomplished – a good story. No fuss, no complications, just a really quite enjoyable read from start to finish. I liked Grace and I really did want to find out how she solves her romantic dilemma and whether James would stick with her or turn away (I’m really trying not to give away her secret – can you tell?). I love how it’s more than just a boy-loves-girl, girl-loves-boy story, that there’s a couple of wild cards thrown in that still somehow don’t muddle the story too much. Best of all though, I liked the ending, because it wasn’t what I was expecting froma  romance. Really, it did surprise me!

As an added bonus, this particular edition also has some rather lovely illustrations by Astrid Jaekel. The oornt cover doesn’t show them off quite as well as it should do, being silver on a white background on a white blog page, but if you take a look at some of the inner illustrations, I think you’ll agree they’re really quite striking.


See? Very striking in plain black and white.
Page 9

So, if you want a bit of a romanctic read I can certainly recommend this. If nothing else, it’s one of the few romantic books I’ve read which has not ended up being thrown against the wall in frustration, as romance books that’ve crossed my path usually do. Instead it’s been carefully kept and neatly put back on the bookshelf – now that has to say something for it!

Find Love Bites here.



  • Oh! What a lovely surprise to come across this today! Thank you very much; I hugely enjoyed writing Love Bites (like you, I’m not a big fan of dark romance, for precisely the same reasons!). I wasn’t sure it was a genre I could do ‘properly’, but it was really good fun to write. And YES the illustrations are gorgeous, aren’t they? I was so delighted to see them.
    Anyway, I’m really glad it didn’t end up being thrown against the wall 😉
    Jo Cotterill

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