Recap of My Blood Approves
It’s only a few more days until the final book in the My Blood Approves series is released! Since there was a gap between the release dates of the fourth book Wisdom and this book Swear, I thought it would be fun to do a quick recap to work as a refresher before you dive into the final book. This post will be covering the first four books in the series, so obviously it will be a giant SPOILER for the entire My Blood Approves series if you have not read it yet.
It’s not going to go into enough detail, however, to substitute reading the books if you have never read them, and I would not recommend reading Swear if you haven’t read any of the previous books – otherwise it will most likely be very confusing. This post is more intended for people who don’t have time to do a re-read or simply don’t want to – and also to highlight important parts for people that are doing a re-read. It’s basically like an extended written version of the “Previously On” recap they do at the beginning of TV shows.
I didn’t include the novella Letters to Elise because the recap/summaries are already super long, and it’s not strictly necessary to read the novella (although it does shed some light on a few things).
So with that, let’s begin at the beginning:
My Blood Approves
The first book takes places in the spring of 2008.
It begins with seventeen-year-old Alice Bonham and her best friend Jane Kress trying to get into a club in downtown Minneapolis, but their fake IDs aren’t working. They decide to head back home, when they’re chased by a group of guys, but then Jack Townsend arrives to save the day and he chases off danger.
Despite his goofy new wave style, Jane is instantly enamored with him – along with every other person who sees him – and Alice feels an attraction to him, but it’s different for her than it appears to be for everyone else.
Over the next few weeks, Alice begins spending more time with Jack, going to concerts and midnight showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show. She divides her time between hanging out with Jack, going to high school, and spending time with her younger brother, Milo. Her dad is absent, and her mother is an alcoholic/workaholic who is rarely home.
Alice gets home late one night, and her mother Anna demands to meet the boy that Alice is spending so much time with. Jack comes over for dinner, and when both Anna and Milo appear totally infatuated with him, Jack realizes that Milo is gay.
After Alice and Jack get into a brief fight about the secrets he’s keeping from her, he invites her to meet his family. She meets Jack’s sister-in-law Mae first, and that goes well. But when Alice meets Jack’s brother Peter, it’s much more intense – she is instantly lusting after him, but he’s cold and dismissive to her.
Over the next few days, Alice continues growing closer to Jack and noticing odd things about him – his temperate skin, his overt attractiveness, the fact that he only comes out at night.
Alice tries to get Jack to explain what is going on, but instead he brings her over to spend more time with his family – including his older brother Ezra, who seems wise and comforting to Alice. Milo comes along with, and he spends time with Jack and his family while Alice has a moment alone with Peter.
Alice can’t deny how intensely she feels for Peter, but he seems to hate her. He finally tells her to leave before something bad happens.
A few days later, when Jack goes to pick her up, Alice demands to know what’s happening. Jack gets distracted by her heartbeat and crashes the jeep. He confesses that he and his family are vampires.
Jack and Mae tell Alice everything there is no to know about vampires (basically). They survive only on human blood, but they do eat blood from blood donations a lot. Biting a human doesn’t instantly turn them into a vampire, and the act of biting is very pleasurable for both humans and vampires. They don’t have fangs, exactly, but they do have sharper teeth. They can go in the sun, but it saps their energy and makes them sleepy. They prefer the cold. They are immortal, but staking them through the heart or severing their spine will kill them, as well as extreme blood loss and extended starvation.
Vampires also age differently. Peter was 19 when he turned, so he appears younger than Jack (who appears 24), but since he was turned over a hundred before Jack, he acts older and more mature. Though being a vampire does leave them in a state of arrested development, with both Peter and Jack behaving more like teenagers than their true “age.”
Alice also learns that the Townsends aren’t really brothers. Ezra is the oldest, and he turned Peter into a vampire. Then, many years later, Peter turned Jack into a vampire. The act of turning each other makes them bonded closer together than most “real” siblings.
The story Jack knows about how became a vampire is that he followed two hot vampires into a club in 1994 – which is the last thing he remembers. Peter and Mae told him the other vampires had left him for dead in the alleyway when Peter found him and turned him to save him.
After all that is explained to her, Alice asks Jack to bite her. He wants to, but then gets upset and explains that she belongs to Peter and that Peter would kill him and her if Jack were to bite her or anything. He demands Mae take Alice home because he doesn’t trust himself to be around her.
The next day, Ezra picks up Alice and explains a bit more about blood bonds. Ezra and Mae feel connected on an intense biological level, like soul mates united forever by their blood. Because Ezra is bonded to Mae, both Peter and Jack have an affinity for her because of their blood.
Ezra goes onto explain that they all believed that Peter had already found his soulmate – a vampire named Elise. Peter and Elise were madly in love with each other, but they were only together a short while before Elise was killed, leaving Peter devastated. He hasn’t been the same since then, and he keeps everyone shut out as much as he can.
Ezra explains that things have gotten very complicated by the fact that Jack has fallen in love with Alice. Alice feels strongly for Jack, but she can’t deny the intense physical pull she feels toward Peter. When they get to the Townsend house, Peter shows up. Alice says she wants to be with him, and Peter becomes angry and slams her against a wall.
Jack rushes in and fights Peter off. He’s angry with Peter for hurting her, and Peter is angry with Jack for caring so much. Jack is confused and frustrated, so he leaves. Alice and Peter talk, and Peter tries to scare her off by warning her that he’s killed people before. Then he kisses her and pushes her away.
A few days later, Alice entices Jack to kiss her by biting her lip. They make out briefly before Mae interrupts them and warns them that Peter will kill them both. She makes Alice shower and use lots of mouth wash.
Later, Alice asks if she’ll ever be a vampire. Mae takes Alice to see her family, who still live in Minnesota. Mae explains her past and that it’s much too hard watching your family die. She warns Alice that she won’t be able to have a relationship with Milo any longer and that she’ll be giving up a lot to be immortal, like the ability to have children.
After a lot of consideration, Alice has decided that she wants to wait until her younger brother Milo graduates from high school in a couple years. Then she can turn into a vampire.
Then Peter shows up. He takes her to his family home, and there he tells her that she can’t come around anymore. Devastated and controlled by the urges in her blood, she asks Peter to bite her and kill her because she doesn’t want to live without them. Peter complies, then Jack rushes in and fights him, saving Alice.
Ezra gives Alice a blood transfusion to save her life. She wakes up with Jack, and he tells her that Peter is gone for now, and that he wants her to be a part of his life for as long as she’s willing.
The second book takes place in August-September of 2008.
The book opens with Milo having just turned 16, and Jack is teaching Milo how to drive, which makes Alice nervous. She still doesn’t have her license, despite being older than Milo. Jack also mentions that he’s working more in the family business and that he’s growing impatient for Alice to turn into a vampire. Meanwhile, Peter is still gone.
Later, Alice and Milo are hanging out at Jack’s house, the way they have been all summer. It’s three weeks until school starts, when Alice will be starting her senior year. They’re swimming in the lake, and Jack won’t kiss Alice. She gets frustrated that he keeps her at arm’s length, so she goes into the house. While inside, Milo has an accident.
Milo has cracked his head and severed his spine. Ezra thinks the only way to save him is by turning him. Alice relents and asks Jack to turn him. He opens his wrist and Milo drinks his blood.
Alice interrogates Jack about the turning process, and he admits that he doesn’t actually know much about it. He doesn’t really remember turning himself, though he thinks that Mae and Peter remember their own turning more vividly.
Three days later – Alice has been staying at the Townsend household (having left a note for their mother that she and Milo are vacationing with the Townsends). She is still waiting to see Milo and growing restless. She finds a book in Peter’s room about the history of vampires and starts reading it. She asks Ezra about vampire biology, and he says that science hasn’t found a way to explain them yet. Jack tells Alice that Peter actually wrote that book.
Alice is sleeping in Jack’s room alone, and Milo sneaks in to visit her. He looks dramatically different and more handsome. They talk about vampires and things, but then he gets hungry, and Jack intervenes before something bad happens.
The next day, Mae wakes up Jack and Alice, and they have a family meeting. Ezra tells Alice she needs to go home while Milo adjusts and that they have a cover story that Milo will be attending a prep school, as Milo will be living with the Townsends now. Alice is upset, but complies.
Three days later – Alice is still moping about her apartment, bored and lonely. She reads Peter’s book some and learns more about the transition. Jack is busy with Milo, so Mae comes over and hangs out with her. She speculates about Milo and Alice’s father because they are so bonded to vampires.
Later, Ezra talks to Alice and informs her that it will be best to wait until later, when Milo is older, for her to turn into a vampire. She is upset but understands.
To make up for avoiding Alice lately, Jack picks her up for a night of fun. Jack, Milo, and Alice head to V – a vampire club that’s hidden in downtown Minneapolis. The vampires there seem really drawn to Alice – particularly Violet and Lucian – and Jack regrets bringing her there.
Alice meets Olivia, an older vampire drunk on blood, and they become cautious friends. While Jack is looking for Milo, he leaves Olivia guarding Alice, but Lucian moves quickly and grabs Alice. Jack saves Alice, and Olivia aides in the rescue and chases off Lucian and Violet.
Jack drinks Alice’s blood to get a wound to heal, and when they get home, Jack and Alice make out.
Ezra interrupts the make out session to explain his abusive past with Willem and the inhuman vampires he saw, which is why he’s so hesitant to turn Alice. He thinks that Milo needs them to devote their time to him. Jack is annoyed, but Alice agrees, and she goes home to read more of Peter’s book.
While Jack is gone on a business trip, Milo picks up Alice to take her out to a regular gay club, which is only a few blocks from V. They are joined by Jane. They all go in and dance. It starts out fun, until Lucian and Violet spot Alice.
Lucian and Violet chase Alice, Milo, and Jane out of the club. Milo fights of Lucian and Violet, and Milo, Alice, and Jane gets in the car. He speeds off. Milo was injured in the fight and he lost a lot of blood. He pulls over and feeds on Jane, but the sight of it scares the hell out of Alice. Both Milo and Jane pass out, leaving Alice terrified and crying.
Jack calls Alice, and she tells him what happened. He rushes home from his business trip to see Alice. Things get hot and heavy between the two of them, and he ends up biting her.
When she wakes up, everyone is freaking out about what will happen if Peter finds out that Jack bit her. Alice tells Ezra to tell Peter not to come back, but it’s not that simple.
Jack is giving her plenty of space because he feels guilty about what happened. Alice goes home to recuperate and start school again. Jane confronts Alice at school. Alice explains everything about vampires the best she can, and Jane accepts it.
Peter returns, but Alice can’t tell if it’s a dream or not. He bites her and complains that her blood is bitter. He asks what she did and gets very upset. Alice passes out. When she wakes up, she tells Milo about it, but he confirms that it’s most likely a dream.
Milo asks Alice to deal with Jane, because Jane keeps calling him. Alice gets ahold of Jane and tracks her down at a party. Jane is distraught and obsessed with Milo and already growing addicted to vampire bites, but Alice manages to get her to calm down. Jane goes back to the party, while Alice walks home alone.
On the walk back home, Lucian and Violet are trailing her. They have a confrontation, and Alice tries to fight them off. Then Peter appears and rescues her. He kills Lucian, but he lets Violet run off.
Peter drives Alice back to the house. It’s an uncomfortable situation, and Peter admits that he loves her, but he thinks its too late. He kisses Alice, then Jack shows up and fights with Peter. Ezra takes Peter outside to talk to him, and Jack takes Alice into Ezra’s den. He tells her that he loves her and he’ll do anything to protect her. He gets Alice to drink his blood, and Alice tells him that he is the one she always loved.
Alice’s painful transition into a vampire with Jack by her side. She awakes to see the world as a vampire for the very first time.
The third book takes place in October-November 2008.
It has been three weeks since Alice has turned, and she is adjusting to being a vampire and even more bonded to Jack.
Flashback to right after Alice turned. When she drank Jack’s blood, the bond broke with Peter. He flipped out and ran off, and nobody’s had any contact with him since. Alice gives her mother a story, drops out of high school, and moves in with the Townsends to get control of herself.
Now in the present, Ezra says that Peter is in trouble. Alice volunteers to go with Ezra to rescue him. Jack tries to talk to her out of it, but eventually relents.
Ezra and Alice fly to Finland, and he explains to her about the lycans. It’s short for lycanthrope, which just means werewolf. (It’s a little inside joke for vampires, Ezra says). The lycans are pack of wild vampires that live in Finland, and they’re known for their brutality, and they killed people and vampires indiscriminately. Peter was staying with them, but he recently killed a member of the pack, and now the rest of the pack is out to get him.
In Finland, Alice and Ezra begin searching the wilderness for Peter. They have a brief – but frightening – run-in with a few lycans – Leif, Dodge, and Stellan. For three days, Ezra and Alice continue their search.
Finally, they run into Leif on his own – who seems kinder than the others, at least to Alice – and he says the other lycans when to Sweden to hunt. He tells them where they can find Peter. Ezra and Alice race to Peter and convince him to come back to the hotel with them.
At the hotel, they all rest up. The next evening, Ezra goes out to make a deal with the lycans. Alice and Peter talk, and things are tense. Peter finally explains to Alice that he did/does love her, and he never tried to kill her. When he bit her before, it was really a suicide attempt – he thought Jack would kill him.
Ezra returns covered in bites. He’s in every bad shape from the lycans. They exchanged Ezra’s blood for Peter’s blood, so they are supposed to be free now. Alice comforts Ezra while Peter makes the arrangements to get out of there.
Alice, Peter, and Ezra arrived back home in Minneapolis. Jack is jealous of Peter, but he’s mostly excited to see Alice. She meets Bobby, Milo’s new boyfriend – a human art student Milo began dating while Alice was gone – and she takes an instant dislike to him.
A few days later, Jack and Alice are making out when Milo interrupts to tell them that he saw Jane and she’s a bloodwhore. Jack, Alice, Milo, and Bobby all head out to V to find Jane. Alice sees Violet and talks to her, and Violet is afraid of her. Then she runs into Olivia and talks to her.
Alice discovers Jane in a backroom with a vampire, Jonathan. She tries to rescue Jane, but Jane refuses to go, so Alice has no choice but to leave her.
Back at the house, Mae and Ezra get into a huge fight. Mae has discovered that her great-granddaughter Daisy is terminally ill and wants to turn her to save her, but Ezra refuses to have any part of it.
Jack’s gone on a business trip, so Alice slowly warms to Bobby. She realizes that since she disliked him at first, he’s not bonded to Milo the way that Peter was with Elise or Ezra and Mae are. But she begins to like him anyway.
Alice talks to Peter, but she’s having issues with bloodlust. She’s trying to gain self-control, but ends up losing it and kissing Peter. She runs out and eats from a blood bag before doing any more damage.
Later, Milo nearly kills Bobby feeding on him during sexy time. Alice comforts Milo, while Ezra and Peter work on trying to save Bobby. It seems like he’ll recover, but Milo is struggling with guilt.
To ease Bobby’s guilt, Mae confesses that she bit Jack and killed him, and that’s why Peter turned him. Jack has no memory of this and no one ever told him, and he’s hurt that it was kept from him. He is angry and Peter tries to calm him down, but the fight gets out of control, and Peter admits to kissing Alice. Jack storms off.
Alice spends the next few days moping without Jack, who still hasn’t come home. Halloween comes, and Milo tries to get Alice to go out with him, but she refuses. Milo calls Alice from V and says that Jane is in really bad shape.
Ezra takes Alice to V to help with Jane. There, the run into Olivia, who turns out to be an old friend of Ezra’s, as well as the owner of the vampire club and a retired vampire hunter.
Alice goes looking for Jane. The finally find Jane, and she is half-dead with Jonathan. Alice and Milo fight off Jonathan to rescue Jane, but Ezra and Olivia join forces to chase Jonathan out.
Back at the house, Ezra and Mae tend to Jane. She finally wakes up and Alice to talks to her. It’s nice having her friend around, even if Jane is selfish and a junkie.
Later, Alice overhears Jane fawning over Peter, who responds by being nasty to Jane, and Alice argues with him. He admits to still loving her, but she reaffirms that she loves Jack. He leaves.
Jane sneaks out in the day, and Mae is freaking out. Alice calls her, and Jane says likes being addicted to vampire bites and wants to get bitten again. Alice has no choice but to let her go.
A few days later, Alice and Jack finally have sex, and he bites her. It’s romantic and wonderful.
Then she gets a phone call. Jane is in trouble. Alice, Jack, Milo, and Bobby rush to Loring Park. They’re ambushed by the lycans, though Leif does protect Bobby from being killed.
Intense fighting with the lycans, and Stellan injures Alice, so she loses a lot of blood. Jack drags her out of the park as the police are coming, and she bites Bobby, then passes out. When she wakes up, she’s in the Basilica with Jack, Peter, Ezra, Olivia, Milo, and Bobby. Leif comes in and offers to help them, just as the other lycan break in.
They all fight the lycan. Eventually, all the lycan are killed, except for Leif, who worked with them. They find Jane outside, and call an ambulance for her. Then they head back home.
Once there, they discover that Mae has turned Daisy. Ezra tells her that she has three days to get out. The book ends with Alice in Jack’s arms.
The fourth book takes place in January-February 2009.
The book opens with Alice visiting Australia for her eighteenth birthday. Mae, Peter, and the child vampire Daisy are hiding out in the outback. Alice, Milo, and Bobby came to visit them, while Ezra and Jack stayed behind in the US because of their tension with Mae and Peter.
Alice and Peter have a heart to heart about things, where he admits that Daisy isn’t doing well and that she’s killing animals.
While still in Australia, Jack calls Alice to let her know that Jane has been murdered. The last time Alice saw Jane, she was still addicted to vampire bites, but she was planning to get into a rehab program.
Alice, Milo, and Bobby take the first flight back to Minnesota. Jack comforts Alice over the loss of her friend, and they go to the funeral. There Milo and Alice see their mom for the first time in months, and she clearly misses them.
Back at home after the funeral, Leif comes around. He’s been living off-grid in Minnesota, but he comes over clothing and showers, from time to time.
Alice realized that she was helpless after the lycan attack in the previous book, so she decided to start to training with Olivia, who is very skilled because of her experience as a former vampire hunter. Bobby joins Alice on these trainings, because they’ve been close ever since she fed him in the last book.
Back at home, Milo is enrolled in high school again, while Bobby is back in art school. Alice doesn’t know what she wants to do with forever, so she’s been training with Olivia and trying to keep the household running without Mae. Ezra decides to tutor her, so Alice has some type of education.
With her newfound skills and plenty of free time, Alice decides to start looking into Jane’s murder, with the help of Bobby. The discover that Jane was one of three bodies left out in the open, all of them marked with a brand, and Alice suspects a vampire is involved.
Peter calls Alice from Australia and says that Daisy went berserk, attacking lots of innocent people, and they need to get out of their fast. Ezra relents to letting them come back to the house for a while, until they gets things sorted out, and Alice goes to Olivia to look for help in dealing with child vampires.
Jack and Milo find out that Alice and Bobby have been investigating Jane’s murder, and they get upset because it’s dangerous. But Alice insists that she can handle it and that she can help people. Jack is also upset because Alice lied to him.
Mae, Daisy, and Peter return to the house, bringing tension with them. Mae talks about how easily Alice adapted to being a vampire, that she’s special and different. She plans to only stay for a few days before moving on some place safer for Daisy.
Peter and Jack start making up and being friendly now – both seem to have accepted that Alice chose Jack. They discuss needing a place to hide out for Mae and Daisy, and Leif offers to show them where he’s staying. He takes them to underground tunnels, beneath the city, and he thinks it would be the perfect place for him, Mae, and Daisy to stay until Daisy can get herself under control better.
Alice and Bobby train more, then head to the vampire blood bank to pick up more bags of blood. There they run into three strange stoic vampires who start asking them questions about Alice’s involvement with Jane’s murder and the serial killer that killed her. She denies knowing anything, and they tell her to leave it alone.
Back home, Ezra has been looking into Jane’s murder as well. He shows Alice a few images of the branding from the serial killer – it’s a dragon symbol of Dracul, one of the most powerful vampires.
Alice spends time in the tunnels with Peter and Daisy, finding out about their life, and that Peter is sorta of happy. He’s not sure what to do about Daisy, but he cares for her a great deal.
Back at home, the trio of stoic vampire bounty hunters are holding Jack and Milo hostage, demanding to know more about the serial killer and the child vampire. They want to know if the family is part of a movement to expose vampires to humans. Alice finally manages to convince the trio vampires to leave.
Jack and Alice get into a huge argument about how she’s lying and keeping things from him. He breaks up with her because he can’t trust her and he think that’s what she really wants.
Leif interrupts, which only makes things worse, until Leif finally confesses that he’s Alice and Milo’s father.
Ezra explains what a dhampyr is – the offspring of a vampire father and a human mother. That explains why Alice is so drawn to vampires (and vice versa) and how she transitioned so well. She was born with vampire blood in her veins.
Olivia invites Alice to the club, to help with Daisy, and Bobby, Milo, and Alice go over to meet Rebekah, a child vampire. Rebekah appear eight or nine, but she is supremely disturbing in her stillness and coldness. She agrees to help Daisy.
While leaving out through the club, Alice sees Jonathan and realizes that he has the ring with the symbol of Dracul on it. He killed Jane and those other girls. Alice confronts Jonathan and kills him – he is the first human or vampire she’s ever killed.
Back home, Jack and Alice make up. He loves her more than anything, and he admits to just worrying about her and he only asks that she be honest with him from now on. They’re reconciliation is interrupted by problems downstairs.
Daisy is in agony from her constant hunger. Her life is pain and torment and bloodlust. Mae finally does the only humane thing she can think of – she breaks Daisy’s neck, decapitating her, and Daisy dies.
Alice comforts Peter, who is upset about the loss of Daisy. He’d grown to care for her despite all her problems. Alice and Peter admit that they do love each other – she just loves Jack more.
Alice and Peter go to Bobby’s art show, to get out of the house for a while. Alice starts feeling sick, and she realizes that something is wrong with Jack. They race home and find him missing, but his dog is injured.
Eventually, Peter and Alice are able to find the trio of stoic vampires has taken Jack hostage in the tunnels. They’re convinced that he’s hiding the child vampire and the serial killer.
Peter and Alice kill the three vampires and at the very last moment, they both work together to rescue Jack.
The book ends with Alice happily reunited with Jack, and with his blessing, she asks Olivia to train her to become a vampire hunter. She wants to protect her friends and family and innocent humans for the same kind of vampires that killed Jane and nearly killed Jack.
Swear – Coming November 9, 2016
The final book in the My Blood Approves series takes place in June-July of 2014.
You can read the first three chapters now: here.
For more info, you can check out my announcement post about Swear: here.