Book Review: Release by Nicole Hadaway

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Release by Nicole Hadaway
Publication date: January 4th, 2013
by Visionary Press Cooperative
Genre: Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Purchase Links:
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Tales From the Dandridge Estate Book 1
Nicole Hadaway
Visionary Press Cooperative, January 2013
Also available in Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1482525946

From the publisher—

“The ends justify the means”…

For vampire Miranda Dandridge, using her supernatural abilities to rescue children from impossible circumstances is her means to be a part of the human world that she loves so much, despite the atrocities of WWII.

For doctor Ben Gongliewski, saving his fellow Jews from the horrific death camps is an end for which he risks his own life every day, hiding his Jewish heritage while feigning loyalty the SS.

Neither Miranda nor Ben expects to find love in World War II Europe, but that is exactly what happens as they work for the Resistance. When the war draws to a close, it seems like the vampire and the doctor are free to start a future together. But just how far the Nazis will go to further their own evil ends?

Desperate times make for ruthless men as loves and lives are threatened, but, Miranda and Ben know that their world cannot go to hell, not by any means…

Wanted: a vampire, a demon and a werewolf willing to become heroes. Sparklies need not apply.

Whoa. Release is not like any other supernatural story I’ve ever read. How is it possible to reconcile the vicious behavior of these creatures with their desire to help save one human at a time from an evil that’s worse than their own? And yet, there it is, and I applaud this author for taking a brilliant idea and bringing it to life.

Miranda Dandridge is the most empathetic vampire I can recall, especially one that is every bit as bloodthirsty as a vampire can be. (Take special note of her origins—that’s a fascinating history in itself.) It’s really intriguing to see how Mirrie is able to reconcile her essence with the compassion she has towards humans and the love that develops between her and Ben Gongliewski, the Jewish doctor she works with in the Polish Resistance. Even the joy she takes in the seemingly simple act of shapeshifting and then taking wing has a poetry of its own.

Miranda’s friends, the demon named Vanessa and young Rose, cursed with being a werewolf, are sympathetic characters whose natures are at odds with their behavior and I found them to be just as appealing as Miranda and Ben, Vanessa in particular. That in itself is a wondrous thing, that Nicole Hadaway could imbue them with so much heart. There are a lot of other characters including Miranda’s brother, Cray, and a variety of supernaturals and humans, and many of them have just as much presence as Miranda and Ben. If I have any quibble with the author’s character development, it’s that there really are too many of them and it was not always immediately apparent whose voice I was hearing. Despite that, I appreciated the use of third person as it made for a much fuller understanding of the story.

As for plot development, this is probably Ms. Hadaway’s strength. Most people who know a little or a lot about the European theater of World War II and the Holocaust are very familiar with the French Resistance but here we learn about the Polish Resistance along with the horrors suffered by the Jews as well as homosexuals and other disfavored segments of society. While I’m sure the author has taken some historical liberties, following this particular path brought a fresh aspect to a story that must never be forgotten.

It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that a book involving supernatural beings with the Holocaust is at best disrespectful and perhaps even taking unjust advantage of a terrible time in history for entertainment purposes but that’s really not the case with Release. Are there flaws? Of course there are and most important in my opinion is overuse of dialogue so that the pace was slowed and the reader is told too much rather than experiencing along with the players. All in all, though, Nicole Hadaway is to be commended for a job most definitely well done.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2013.



There was no way Neil was going to get messed with tonight.  He hadn’t made it through this war, with its air raids, rations, and the threat of Nazi invasions only to meet his end by some crazy on a back street of London.  No sir, not tonight.  Especially not on New Year’s Eve.

Neil made two moves at the same time.  He turned to run – he was a pretty fast runner, and had kept in shape.  He also pulled out his pocketknife, and opened up the blade.  He didn’t want to get into a fight; it had been ages since he’d been in one, and with his right hand, he was well aware of his handicap.  But just in case…

Neil’s foot had barely touched the pavement when he was stopped dead in his tracks again, as there was now another man, who must have been standing behind him this whole time.  A blonde man this time, with pale skin, yet very dark, almost black eyes.  A Nazi – oh my God, they’ve made it here! He thought in a panic.  Before he could think of his next move, the man opened his mouth and, speaking English without any accent asked, “Hey Cray – how much longer?  Daylight’s not too far away,” he called out.

“Awww, Denny, relax! They’re on double daylight savings time here,” an amused voice called out from behind Neil.

Neil heard a whoosh of air and before he could turn around, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

He followed the hand on his shoulder, and found himself staring into pale blue eyes.  Eyes that seemed to bore into Neil, forcing him to drop the knife, which he’d been holding out poised to strike.  The man reached over with his other hand and took the knife, tossing it to the side, saying, “You won’t be needing this, friend.  We’ve our own ways of getting your flesh and blood.”

Neil knew he should have been afraid – he was afraid – but he couldn’t move; for some reason, he was rooted to his spot.  One side of his brain screamed fight, fight, fight! But another part of him just wouldn’t allow it.  Maybe it was because he knew the man was strong and he could feel that his shoulder might break from the crazy man’s grip.

It did break.  Neil heard a loud snap! and felt the pain shoot forth from his shoulder down his arm and across his chest.  Through the pain, he thought he heard someone say, “Sorry chum, but I like it when the marrow gets into the blood, with the adrenaline.  Makes it tastier.”

Neil tried to scream, but something was at his throat, almost strangling him.  He felt the fire of his shoulder meld with the burning at his throat.  All he could do was look up, into the street lamp, and into the white light that quickly engulfed his entire body.



Nicole Hadaway

As a lawyer, Nicole Hadaway knows all about bloodsuckers and deals with the devil.

She currently lives in Texas where she pens such tales involving the supernatural,

featuring her heroine, the vampire Miranda Dandridge.

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