Archive for Best Vampire Books
Vampires Gone Wild is a fun collection of short stories from well known fantasy authors Kerryln Sparks (Vampire Mine and Wild About You) and Pamela Palmer (The Feral Warriors Series). For fun, they decided to ask along two newcomers to the paranormal field. So we have two additional vampire romances from Amanda Arista (Nine Lives of an Urban Panther) and Kim Falconer (The Quantum Encryption Series). It all adds up to four great paranormal romances pulled from the minds of some of the best fantasy romance writers of the genre.
Big Stories in Short Bites
In V for Vampwoman Sparks tells the tale of the confirmed bachelor who meets his match. If you know Sparks books, you know to be ready for some great humour amongst the paranormal romance. Great fun and of course a great HEA ending that suits it perfectly.
Palmer’s A Forever Love is a very different story. It was bittersweet and yet somehow still with a happy ending of a sort. When the Lady Elizabeth finds out her one and only true love is not what he seems, it feels as if her world is shattered. It is how she comes to navigate the reality of just what and who he is that make this an outstanding, but fast-paced paranormal romance.
First Dates Are Hell is a short page ripped from Amanda’s The Wanderers series. Here we meet up with Valiance on a very decidedly domestic day. Even the most dedicated swordsman needs to take care of basic needs sometimes. And sometimes, the most ordinary of errands leads to the most romantic of discoveries.
In Kim’s story Blood and Water, the depths a love will take when two very different species fall in love was fascinating. Can an ordinary human learn to adapt to a mer-person’s world? A really well thought out mythology in a short amount of space.
A Short but Sweet Visit
Obviously, these are short stories telling romance tales from longer on-going series. But the little venture into these worlds are a great way to introduce yourself to new authors, visit familiar ones and even get a chance to spend some time with favorite characters from authors we have come to enjoy.
Vampire books should be sexy, and Lynsay Sands has proven she can deliver some of the sexiest vampire books yet. She developed the Argenau series to showcase her family of sensual vampires in some of the hottest romance adventures to have hit the genre in years. The latest entry to this series is Immortal Ever After.
Anders is one of The Immortals. They are vampires who police their own kind to protect humans. When he rescues Valerie after she has been kidnapped and held by a crazed “vampire” after days of torture, he is in awe of her headstrong ways. But the fact he cannot reach into her mind is what really concerns him. For that can mean only one thing – that she is his Life Mate. Unfortunately, being kidnapped and drugged by a vampire doesn’t exactly make Valerie all that happy to see or know any kind of vampire, even the strong handsome Anders. How can he convince her that they have a love that is destined for eternity?
Immortal Ever After is the kind of vampire book that you just want to jump into and never return to the real world. Full of sassy smart women and cool sexy vampires, it is a delicious romp that is the perfect relief from the troubles of the world!
Here are some of the offerings in the vampire genre for the month of January 2013. Enjoy!
Contingency by Peggy Martinez
Eighteen-year-old Sage Hannigan wants to get back to her own time, preferably one that hasn’t been destroyed by an underworld plot brewing in Edwardian-era South Carolina. How hard can it be? All she has to do to accomplish this; learn to use newly acquired warping skills to bend time to her will, take out a few rogue vampires, join an ancient secret society, figure out who is putting the time stream in jeopardy, and find and maim whoever invented the corset. Sage never asked to be chosen by the Druid Priestess, Amerach, to become a Warper. She also never asked to have the future hanging on her shoulders or to warp a hundred years into the past. She certainly never asked to meet Dr. Aldwin Blake, who would make her question her desire to get back to her own time. But if she fails her mission, people will die, history will change, and the present she wishes to return to will be no more.
Blood and Light by Rue Volley
Enter into the world of 16 year-old Rue Volley…who, up until one fateful night, thought she was “normal” or as “normal” as she could be.
But “normal” does not include being a vampire…a truth about herself that she will soon discover.
Rue Volley lives in the quiet little town of Calvary, Minnesota…nestled in the thick woods lining the Great Lakes. Rue, along with her
brother Kai, have lived an otherwise calm life up until their Mother was committed into Rolling River Asylum after she mysteriously stopped
speaking to anyone. Rue is convinced by her brother to attend a party on her birthday, and after she experiences something that she cannot
explain, she and everyone in her world is thrown into madness. Join Rue on this epic journey, 6 books in all, as she struggles with grief,
love, humor, old crushes, newfound infatuations, hot boys, AND vampires, lots and lots of them.
Love Calling by Joshua Grover-David Patterson
Lucy Leary’s eighteen year old life is a wreck. Her parents divorced, she’s earned a DUI, and her grandfather has died. He left her a single possession: A vampire slaying kit with a note that says, “They’re real. Fight them.”
Lucy finds answers in a place she never expected–the homeless shelter where she has to perform her community service. The Sundown Shelter is only open at night, and the man who runs it disappears during the day. But digging into the truth is dangerous. What Lucy learns will force her to abandon her life and confront an ancient vampire out to get her family.
The Vampire Within – New Blood by Drew Silver
Welcome to Triton City, California, world-renowned for its quality of life, growing economy, and prestigious university. Here one can find an easygoing commute to work, parents can feel secure with their children playing outside during the day, and there are no beggars on the street corners harassing hardworking citizens to spare a dollar or two. In fact, there aren’t any homeless to be seen for miles…any homeless who are alive anyway.
Now the city that prided itself on beauty, strength, and power is at the epicenter of a twisted genetics game between two doctors battling to play God, and a group of college students has discovered they are the game’s unwilling pawns. They must learn to rely on each other to defeat not only the evil hunting them, but also the vampire within, always itching to reveal itself and test the boundaries of their souls.
Piece of Me by Lexi Monroe
As if making her laptop sales quota for the month wasn’t a pain in the ass all by itself, now twenty-six year old Wynter McBride suddenly finds a whole host of problems from out of a bad b-movie fantasy flick.
Vampires running fortune 500 companies, Werewolves with a biting wit, and well dressed Witches with an attitude are now part of Wynter’s everyday life.
Wynter must figure out why the pesky and somewhat perverted little Will O Wisps somehow hold the key to saving the planet.
Snow Bound by Elizabeth Kirk
After learning how to use magic and fighting vampires, anyone would be bored going back to normal college life. As if that wasn’t enough, Jen didn’t realize how hard it would be to tiptoe around her non-magic family and friends. She can’t even talk to her familiar, Rak, without making sure no one else is around! Worst of all, Jen misses the friends she made over the summer. Aside from Rak, they’re the only other magics she knows and she hasn’t seen them in almost five months!
Jen is all too happy to accept an invitation to go skiing with the gang. She gears up for two weeks of snow, magic, and fun. Just when everything seems to be going great, an uninvited guest turns up. Soon the skiers aren’t the only things going downhill. Jen thought that vampires were just about the most dangerous thing the magical world could throw at her. Unfortunately, she’s about to learn that people with no magic at all can be just as deadly …
Finally! After all the waiting for the Viking to finally admit his feelings – I thought it would never happen. Okay, plenty of other things happened in this latest installment of the adventures of our favorite telepathic waitress, but to me that was the important one. Because if ever a vampire needed to admit his need for Sookie, it is Erik. Heck, even Pam admits to Sookie that she has never seen him so gone on someone the way he is for Sookie. This time, we actually get to read the words – to hear Erik finally admit he needs her.
But on to the rest of the story.
A New Sookie
Sookie has been through a lot the last few books, and it is beginning to have an effect on her. Having survived the kidnapping and torture in Dead and Gone, she is left to wondering just how comfortable she is with her satisfaction over the deaths of her captors. We have watched Sookie get more and more hardened as her interactions with the supes leave her battle-scarred and a much darker person than she was when we first met her in Dead After Dark. And we aren’t referring to her famous tan!
All through this book she finds herself questioning her own feelings. She knows that what has happened since she met Bill has changed her. The real question is, is it for the better? There are dead bodies where there shouldn’t be dead bodies, a mysterious member of the Fae Folk wondering the woods behind her house and all she can think about is that there is someone she wants dead. What is worrying her is that she would be willing to bargain just about anything to find someone who will do it for her.
Jason goes through his paces here too. It feels like we have watched him grow up in the books, now he is married and with a kid on the way. The brother who couldn’t seem to control any of his urges is now the responsible one in the family. In a way I miss the old Jason, but it seems right to see him grow up finally.
Then there is “cousin” Claude. If ever there was a fairy that I really disliked, it was always Claude. He came across as self-absorbed and more than a little dangerous. The fact he ends up moving in with Sookie because he needs “family” around was just the beginning of another side to him. I love when Charlaine does these little “reveals” of the secondary characters. Everyone gets their turn and Claude has quite a bit of the action in this one. We really come to understand a bit better that dangerous land that the Fae come from and the price he pays to remain with Sookie.
A Fitting Chapter in Sookie’s Life
All in all, there is plenty of action this book. The thing that threw most people was that most of the action was internal. Decisions needed to be made, feelings weighed and loyalties questioned. Yes, there is a murder mystery in there – but it is almost a back-note here. The important stuff is all happening inside. Even the Viking gets no release from that here; he too must face some inner demons from a most unexpected source.
That doesn’t mean the body count doesn’t pile up and Sookie doesn’t more than once face imminent death. I imagine the blood splatter is still pretty heavy; no wonder Sookie is always thinking about laundry! But the high octane action that we saw in the earlier books is on hold for this turn around the block. It is the lull before the storm, the breather between the Fae Wars and Eric’s gearing up to do battle. For those who miss the war zone, I think you will see it soon enough in the next book. For now, settle in for a walk on the wild side as Sookie makes some choices about her life.
Charlaine Harris would be the first to admit that she has made a stack of money from the idea of vampires in the modern world. The books, films and for all I know coffee mugs still pretty much fly out the door. But for those of us who love to have endless discussions of Bill or Erik (sorry – have you checked out those almost naked pics of Alex on the net?) the lure has always been the vamps. That is why I really love that Charlaine has a short essay in this companion book about her particular world-view of the vamps, told by Sookie.
Although it does talk about several of the creatures we meet in the Southern Vampire Mysteries, it is the vamps that she really gets into. She talks about vampire politics and history, even chats about the two extreme reactions by humans to vampires. You know – the Drainers who just see the vampires as a commodity they can sell, and the “Fangbangers” who are into vamps like an exotic drug. The overview makes me want to go back and re-read the series again from the beginning. Reading those first encounters with the back story I now have in my head would be enlightening, let alone all the info I get from this book.
But there is so much more to this companion book than just the vampires. In fact, one of the real treats of the book is the short story “Small Town Wedding”. The story happens between Dead in the Family and Dead Reckoning. Sam’s younger brother is getting married, and he needs to bring someone a bit more civilized than his current girlfriend, Jannalynn. That explains the invitation to Sookie to join him for the wedding. But the story takes a dark turn when it becomes obvious someone has a big exception to a local son of a werewolf marrying a human. Tensions build; Sookie and Sam have to get creative if the wedding is to happen at all. It is a great story to show off Sam, and what a good guy he is. Just a small town Texas boy who happens to be able to turn into just about any animal you can name.
Life in Bon Temps
The timeline for the books was a surprise to me. It runs from Dead Until Dark right through to Dead Reckoning and does a great job of surmising the books while giving us a timeline to play everything against. Charlaine explains that her desire to put Hurricane Katrina into the storyline meant now everything needed a timeline to sit against. Reading it through reminded me (again!) just how much I have enjoyed this series. It’s also a great resource when you are trying to remember just when that certain event happened (shower scene – anyone?)
All of this leads us into the trivia contest section of the Sookie Stackhouse Companion. I have to admit I have no problem imagining a grand True Blood Season Opener Party where these questions are a great way to earn party favors with all our favorite vampires on them. The first section is probably easy enough for any tru-blu vamp-and-Sookie lover to answer. The second set just might stump more than a few of you. Here’s a good example:
Easy question: What are the names of the couple who attempt to drain Bill in Dead Until Dark?
Hard question: Who gives Sookie a manicure and pedicure at Janice’s salon in Club Dead?
Okay- we will see if any of you out there know the answers. No fair looking it up in the book, by the way. There might even be a prize for the first correct answer. We will see what we have in the back closet for you guys.
More Bang for Your Buck Here
Of course, there is so much more than what I just wrote about here. Charlaine does a great piece where she talks about all the short stories and ties them into the books. She even tells you where they appeared so the completists can get their fix. Oh- and the recipes! Don’t forget them because there are some yummy things to try in there, including both Adele Stackhouse’s Chocolate Cake and Caroline Bellefleur’s famous chocolate cake that she willed to the town. I just may have to find an excuse to make both and have a taste test!
Beyond this there is a great little interview with Alan Ball, a bit of background on Charlaine’s fan club, which you just may want to join, and at the end the ultimate guide to all the Sookie Stackhouse books. It lists every character and location that has ever shown up in the books (even if only for a very short time) and gives the lowdown on the character, what books it is in and if and when it dies. Since so many characters do die in the series, this is an important feature!
So – there is easily enough vampire trivia in this book to satisfy the most exacting thirst for Bon Temps vampire minutiae. A short note: the map of Bon Temps is a cool extra, but if you get the book as a Kindle download you can’t really see it. As a book to read through and maybe bookmark a few things, the ebook format is fine. But if you want to be able to look stuff up, such as when someone dies in the guide in the back or maybe use one of the recipes, you might want to get the paperback version. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
You can find your own copy of the Sookie Stackhouse Companion in either downloadable Kindle or ask them to mail you a copy of the paperback. Heck – true fans might want one of both, download and read today, and get that paperback copy to use for research later!
Man, well you know I had to say this was an enticing vampire series because, seriously, if you love vampire romance how could you miss out on this one? Apparently I did, the series started in July 2008 as a paperback, and was filled with the coolest of vampire authors. It is an anthology, as far as I can see they are all new stories and the authors are a great list of some of my favorite fantasy writers. Folks like Lilith Saintcrow and Jenna Black are here. Trisha Telup, who edited this series is the genius behind the project, I am sure. As the book buyer for the crime and romance books for one of the premier independent bookstores in England, she probably saw a lot of title pass through over the last few years.
She picked some great writers for this series and some great tales. There are about a dozen stories here, all by top-notch writers. I will confess I haven’t yet dived in, just saw it and had to have it. But as always, I am overwhelmed with reading material I have requested and need to put this treasure aside for a few weeks.
But I couldn’t resist sharing this one with everyone because it is such a great collection. It’s a, if you will pardon the express, truly enticing vampire series not for the faint of heart. I think picking up the book alone would be considered my exercise for the day! At 512 pages for the first volume, I think anyone who signs up is getting their money’s worth!
But not only is there the original book that the series takes its name from, they released it again a year later, in Kindle. So now I don’t have to lug that big old book up the stairs, I can just download it (and you can too, I guess is the point) straight to the Kindle. I love anthologies of short stories like this that follow one theme because you can pull that taste of “jungle vampire love” out, a story at a time. Kinda like eating your chocolate one square at a time to savor it!
But the first volume must have done well, because the second one came out in 2009 with the Kindle version even getting the subtitle, Love Bites! More of the same kinds of goodies, great vampire romance stories from the likes of Jenifer Ashley, Kim Harrison (writing as Dawn Cook), Caitlin Kitterage and Diane Whiteside. Talent coming out of its ears! And if you pop by Amazon you will be able to read a bit of the first story and see what I mean.
Both of these volumes are just the thing to fill in that short train ride home or hour to kill at the doctor’s office. Maybe waiting at the DMV? I mean, one of the best things about my kindle is it comes everywhere, and so do my stories. So here is a great way to have just a snack of vampire romance on your plate no matter where you go. Hey, they released a Kindle version of the second book as well, so you have no excuse. Great authors, unpublished short stories (some with the author’s most well-known characters having little in-between adventures) and all at your fingertips! What could be better?
Melissa de la Cruz is the author of some very tasty vampire paranormal romance books in a series she calls The Blue Bloods. These are not your ordinary vampires, oh no, these are rich, powerful and beautiful vampires who take on otherworldly odds to succeed. With the kind of money that I always thought vampires would possess (they do live a pretty long time to accumulate it, don’t they?) this is an interesting take on the type of world that vampires would succeed in.
The series is now getting ready to roll out its eighth book and the next, Gate of Paradise will be coming out in January. This is the last book in the series, so if you haven’t gotten into it yet, you just might want to check out Blue Bloods, the first volume of the series. It introduces you to the main characters and sets you up for the ultimate battle that ensues.
For those who have been following the series and can’t wait until January, author de la Cruz is releasing the first chapter to her fans from her authors page. You can download that first chapter and then read the second chapter online. To get access to do that, all she asks is that you tweet #growthepact for her new series, Wolf Pack.
Not a big request, if you ask me, especially if you are already a big fan of her work. The new series Wolf Pack is a companion series to Blue Bloods and should give those who are already mourning the end of the series something new to enjoy.
Once you have let your Twitter followers know about this great new series, you get to download the first chapter to the Gates of Paradise vampire paranormal romance. That should probably hold you until January, but if you aren’t the patient type, you can pre-order Gates of Paradise today and be ready to download and read it as soon as it is released on January 15th. In the meantime, get ready to howl with Wolf Pack.
Brigid is just a young girl when she is rescued from an abusive stepfather. She is rescued by a family of vampires that she soon comes to think of as her own family. If you have never read Elizabeth Hunters world of elemental vampires, you are in for a treat with Building from Ashes. Her latest book is the beginning of a new vampire paranormal romance series that takes the vampire legend and turns it sideways. Instead of the monsters we have come to know, they are an ancient clan of beings who treasure family, help one another and have a Catholic priest as their clan leader. Yes, you heard that one right and believe it or not it makes total sense.
Carwyn has seen a thousand years pass since he was turned. Shipwrecked on the coast of what was to become Wales, lost in the mountains for days, he was taken in. His rescuer is a reclusive woman who turns out to be a 300 year old vampire, and she turns him as we soon come to see in the tale. His story is told in pieces as a backdrop to introduce his family or clan. We follow the young life of Brigid, the latest human foundling to be rescued and adopted. These vampires receive their gifts from the elements, and the family we follow are earth vampires. The very ground they walk on is a part of them, and they connect with it the way human beings connect with the air we breathe.
The Dovetailing of Two Mysteries
We quickly follow Brigid as she grows up and moves to Dublin, and a life in the shadow of the vampires who rescued her while she studies in college. It does not take long for it to become obvious that the fates have meant for Carwyn and Brigid to meet, to know each other. But how does a priest, even one who has been faithful to the rules of The Church for a thousand years, reconcile his growing feelings for the young girl? To find the answers they both have some changes to make. It is one of the joys of this book to watch Brigid turn from a frightened child to a thoughtful young woman. A woman who understands the price she may ultimately need to pay.
While these questions are asked, there is another that must be answered. This one centers on a mystery that is all too familiar in modern times. There is a drug named Elixir that has started to make the rounds, and it is killing vampires and humans alike. Soon that death toll comes to include those close to Brigid and she takes her position as head of vampire security to learn more. Can Carwyn and Brigid together find the answer to who is making this drug and why before it is too late?
An Addition to Elemental Mysteries
I never read Elemental Mysteries, the series that precedes this book. It introduces the idea of the elemental vampires and sets up the world that Carwyn and Brigid live in here. But even with that being so, I had no problem following this book. True, I think that anyone who read the Elemental Mysteries series would get the added joy of recognizing familiar characters.
I know I will want to look up this earlier series now simply because of how much I enjoyed this book and its writing. The language never feels forced, the characters have a wonderful simplicity to them that makes me want to know them more. If you are tired of the same old vampire paranormal romance plots, you might want to check this one out. These vampires may not sparkle, but they are not the old killers of Dracula days either. Elemental Vampires are something refreshingly new for the vampire world.