Julia Leijon's vampire romance begins with what looks like a fairly standard vampire-stalking-a-human-lover premise, and turns into something deeper.Julia Leijon's vampire romance begins with what looks like a fairly standard vampire-stalking-a-human-lover premise, and turns into something deeper. Martin - the human in question who runs a coffee shop called The Warm Taste - sees more in Robin the vampire than a predator. In fact, Robin is so busy making a fuss about what a monster he is that he seems to miss that mostly he's sad, lonely and occasionally a bit ridiculous.
As their relationship builds, Robin learns to confront his disassocation and to reconnect with the living through Martin and the people who work or are regulars at The Warm Taste. The story isn't just sweet, and sexy, and sometimes very funny - it's also dark and filled with a real existential sorrow.
But the most important thing is that out of sorrow and darkness comes hope and light again. This is a brief love story, but it's not just the love story between two men. It's a story about falling in love with life....more
Picking up amost immediately after the last page of Blood and Dust, we find Kevin heading towards Brisbane and the reckoning he intends to have with tPicking up amost immediately after the last page of Blood and Dust, we find Kevin heading towards Brisbane and the reckoning he intends to have with those who have torn apart his life. Naturally, the course of true revenge never runs smooth. He and Reece are both dancing dangerously around enemies new and old, trying to find a way to win.
Just as Blood and Dust evokes the raw and violent Aussie films of the 70s, The Big Smoke, set in Brisbane and on the coast, has a feel of the more recent run of Australian films exploring urban violence, though with that air of organised crime rather than mere bogan thuggery. There are still gunfights aplenty, and the grittier battle for power between the rival city gangs. The politics are complicated and nobody can be trusted. Kevin’s put the wind up them all, with his recent successes despite his recent arrival, combined with his blood determination to make someone pay for all that he’s lost.
The story takes a couple of unexpected turns, and the ending is both unexpected and satisfying....more
Nahrung, who wrote the excellent Salvage, sets the first of his ‘Vampires in the Sunburnt Country’ series in outback Queensland, the last place you’dNahrung, who wrote the excellent Salvage, sets the first of his ‘Vampires in the Sunburnt Country’ series in outback Queensland, the last place you’d ever expect to find rival gangs of vampires who are traditionally fatally sensitive to sunlight.
Kevin Matheson, a mechanic who works at his parents service station in the tiny and slowly wilting country town of Barlow’s Siding. But then a car pulls in, containing a policeman who isn’t, his dying partner and a body in the boot that, despite the steel sticking out of his chest, isn’t quite dead.
Things go from bad to personal apocalypse pretty quickly after that, with rival gangs having bloody shootout, and Kevin’s family caught in the middle. Kevin’s not the only one to die that day, but he’s the only one who crawls out of the earth, transformed.
Blood and Dust provides plenty of both as Kevin struggles to adjust to his new state, and to understand the deadly rivalry between the nomadic vampire bikers he’s fallen in with, and their rather more organised-crime-type vampire enemies from Brisbane. Kevin’s desperate to save the family he has left, and to survive in a world he doesn’t understand. He’s also determined to balance the books with Mira, the vampire who is trying to use him to trap the Night Riders and is a threat to his own family.
Nahrung brings his own touches to the ever-changing milieu of the vampire story. Here, blood is more than nourishment for vampires. It carries memories, and ways of linking the vampire to those from whom they drink; and especially those they drink dry. It’s a fabulous new take on both the addiction and the dangers of blood-sucking. The way that blood sharing can communicate not only memories but particular skills also leads to some very cool passages. Kevin might be the new vampire on the block, but he’s picking up some mad skills along the way.
The characters are complex and often surprising, both the vampires and their human ‘red-eyes’ who have extended life from blood sharing, but aren’t yet turned. Taipan, the first indigenous vampire character I’ve ever read, and Kevin’s maker, is fascinatingly complex and contradictory, as is Reece, the not-policeman and Mira’s favourite red-eye, who brought all this disaster down on Kevin’s head with his appearance at the servo.
Elements of Blood and Dust reminded me of Australian films of the 70s, depicting oppressive heat and simmering violence in the outback, though with a much broader (and very welcome) diversity. There’s a dash of Mad Max, a soucon of Wake in Fright, and maybe even a tiny taste of Thirst, though all transformed and written with Nahrung’s deft hand with dialogue and character.
The whole story barrels down its hot Queensland highway, full throttle, guns blazing, until its grim and bittersweet ending....more
Cedar Grove Books is a new US press producing children’s and Young Adult books, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mysteries and even some graphic novels. They’ve got soCedar Grove Books is a new US press producing children’s and Young Adult books, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mysteries and even some graphic novels. They’ve got some cool looking stuff out already, and more on the way – including this entertaining little gem, Draculiza.
For starters, I loved the idea of a little vampire who wants to be a princess, and then is told she can’t be one because she doesn’t look right for the part. She determines to apply to the Fairy Tale Association anyway, puts on a disguise and sets about doing what she can to become a princess. (“This is not right. Everybody has a little princess inside them, and mine wants to come out now.”)
Draculiza bedtimeThe most fun is had with Draculiza in her disguises getting into all the fairytales and making a mess of them – I admit I wish there was more of that – but of course, fairy tales have strict rules and things really aren’t working out. After spreading havoc far and wide – and being cheered up by her faithful little bat Spike – she has an epiphany of sorts. (At least for now.)
It’s a simple idea and a sweet story, with charming art, about knowing who you are and being really good at that....more
A terrific selection of vampire short stories inspired by Australia. From urban to rural settings, using mythologies from Aboriginal legend to Chines
A terrific selection of vampire short stories inspired by Australia. From urban to rural settings, using mythologies from Aboriginal legend to Chinese vampires in the 1850s goldfields, the stories have breadth and depth of imagination. If you're looking for something a bit different in the vampire genre, you're bound to find it here. ...more
While I don't read erotic fiction on a regular basis, I do enjoy the occasional dip into those torrid waters. I have some strong opinions, however, onWhile I don't read erotic fiction on a regular basis, I do enjoy the occasional dip into those torrid waters. I have some strong opinions, however, on what I call the plot-to-porn ratio. I like a lot more plot than porn.
Vampire Vacation, luckily, has a good, fast-paced plot in between its detailed and sensual erotic interludes. Dria, more commonly known as Vivian to her clientele, runs a vacation spot for vampires in Alaska, where it's dark half the year. She has a staff of trusted humans who volunteer as room service for the visiting vampires, and a human husband, Rafe.
On this particular occasion, however, a mangled human body is found in one of the guest rooms before the guests arrive. It soon becomes clear that an old enemy has shown up to get his revenge. Vivian has to protect her guests, her staff, her husband and her own old secrets while trying to get to the enemy first.
One of the things that's special about the VV Inn is the illusions that Vivian can weave around everyone. She has a reputation for running an establishment that helps people (and vampires) ditch their inhibitions and have really, really good sex. Story-wise, this means a lot of voyeurism and Vivian's fairly frequent need to burn off that sexual tension with her hunky husband. In that sense, the story is almost a little coy, with the most explicit scenes happening between a loving couple.
Elements of the story I found a little difficult. Some of the ethics over the illusions that Vivian casts are problematic, though perhaps, since she's a vampire with a dark and rather ruthless past,this shouldn't be surprising. One scene at the end, venting sexual jealousy between Rafe and the werewolf Jon, who has the hots for Vivian, I found fairly unpleasant. Yet, on the whole, it's a good read. Dramatic tension, adventure, conflict and, as you'd expect, hot sex scenes abound. It's a rollicking read and leaves the stage set for a plot-driven sequel....more
A great, fun read with a smart and engaging protagonist and a mystery to solve. Pandora English comes from a small town, where she went to live with aA great, fun read with a smart and engaging protagonist and a mystery to solve. Pandora English comes from a small town, where she went to live with a strict aunt after her parents died in Egypt. It's been drilled into her that she has strange fancies that her just her imagination, but the reader can see long before Pandora accepts it that she can see ghosts and has premonitions.
Pandora arrives in New York at the start of the book to stay with her elderly Great Aunt Celia, hoping to break into journalism at a fashion magazine. But there are many mysteries, starting with her great aunt's strange youthfulness and the peculiar suburb of Spektor, which doesn't seem to be on any maps, and proceeding to the disappearance of her predecessor at Pandora Magazine, the creepiness of a new skin creme called BloodofYouth and the secrets of a nasty supermodel.
I'm not really that interested in fashion, so I was pleased that Moss hit just the right note for me in the fashion-related sections of the text. Pandora wants to be a journalist, so her interests go beyond clothes and shoes, but she has a healthy respect for style and elegance. :)
Her encounters with the Civil War ghost Luke are sweet, and it turns out that she can fend for herself fairly well with both the New York fashion magazine scene and the paranormal creatures she increasingly encounters throughout the story.
The basics of the story wrap up but there are loose ends, and I'm looking forward to reading the next instalment to find out what's going to happen with the human, handsome Jay, the spectral Luke and the attitudes of Pandora's editors at the magazine....more
Feisty, funny, clever, powerful and full of awesome historical Julias. And vampires. A magnificent kickoff to Twelfth Planet Press's 12 Planets seriesFeisty, funny, clever, powerful and full of awesome historical Julias. And vampires. A magnificent kickoff to Twelfth Planet Press's 12 Planets series, and a brilliant introduction to Roberts' work. If you love the idea of powerful women in Ancient Rome, Roman theme parks in the Aussie outback and fighting to save the world on an airship full of monsters, this is so the book for you....more
It was only when I finished reading The Last Days that I realized it was the second book in Westerfeld’s Peeps series. It didn’t matter, because The LIt was only when I finished reading The Last Days that I realized it was the second book in Westerfeld’s Peeps series. It didn’t matter, because The Last Days stands on its own.
Something sinister from deep underground is corrupting New York (and by implication, the world). The rats are coming up, and seem to be in league with the cats. A disease is spreading among the humans, leaving them repelled by their former lives, by their own reflections – leaving them with very sharp teeth and a worrying hunger. In the midst of all this, Moz, Pearl, Minerva and Zahler just want to be rock stars. This would be easier to achieve if Minerva wasn’t infected, and the world wasn’t ending.
Scott Westerfeld’s YA novel zips along at a bracing speed, avoiding predictability and taking some surprising turns. Language is used playfully, often as a result of the way it’s used and reinvented by the band members. The chapter titles are taken from real life band names too, which is fun whether or not you recognize them.
Any book that combines rock music, vampire myths, playful language and saving the world is on my must-read list. I was delighted to find The Last Days was as good as I hoped it would be, and I’ll be backtracking now to find the first book set in this universe, which apparently deals with another band, Morgan’s Army....more
I read the first three books of the Wolf House series some time ago, and finally had the opportunity to reread those and go on to the final two booksI read the first three books of the Wolf House series some time ago, and finally had the opportunity to reread those and go on to the final two books of the series.
The promise of the first three books is equalled in the last two, and brought to an intense and satisfying finale at the end of book five. Borsellino's vivid, evocative style remains sharp as a razor. Amidst the horror and grief, there is love and hope, even though it seems there shouldn't be any.
The Wolf House, set in Chicago, on its simplest level tells the story of a group of teenagers whose lives have become intertwined with those of a family of vampires. The interactions are not always friendly or kind, and by book three, some of the kids are dead or undead. Others have become friends or lovers with vampires, but the relationships remain dangerous. Vampires are, after all, predators.
But they also have hearts, however slowly they beat. Like the humans in their lives, they love, they grieve.
Characters change and grow, and their significance in the story shifts and moves with them. Characters we first met in the first book suddenly become more than they have been as we finally learn their background and how they think. The lurking threat of the vampire Cora remains an undercurrent until it suddenly and horribly bursts into the foreground, and not for the reasons you think.
I love how an overlooked character from the past becomes suddenly pivotal. I love how, too influenced by a vampire's opinion of one character, I underestimated that character. I loved how the fates of vampires and humans alike had me fearful for them, mad at them, despairing for them and more than half in love with half of them.
Within its themes of finding reasons to live despite the way life hurts, there is plenty of humour and verve as well as darkness in The Wolf House series. It's a rich, rewarding reading experience for those looking for something fresh, challenging and amazing.
Vampires, dhampirs, the Fey and a host of other human and supernatural characters. The parts about the history of the Dracula clan seem to be based onVampires, dhampirs, the Fey and a host of other human and supernatural characters. The parts about the history of the Dracula clan seem to be based on the same sources as Vlad The Last Confession by CC Humphries, with the rest pure crazy imagination. Fast-spaced, spirited, rollicking good fun....more
This offers a great overview to the history of the vampire, from folklore and the novels of the 19th century, through the films of each decade leadingThis offers a great overview to the history of the vampire, from folklore and the novels of the 19th century, through the films of each decade leading to television and the 21st Century.
The writer, Barb Karg, occasionally hints at the way the vampire is used as a metaphor for social and political issues in each era, but rarely does more than touch lightly on these. I would have loved to have read more about how the vampire's role in stories reflects changing social attitudes as well. I also found the schtick of writing about vampires as 'the sexy bad boys' a bit overdone and seemed more a function of writing for the target audience than really necessary to the content. Still, the powerful female vampires, from Camilla to Selina, get good coverage as well.
Having said thst - this would be a terrific book to get for anyone who has only recently started reading vampire fiction and would like a guide to the genre's history, and some suggestions of what other books to read/films to see to get a broader knowledge....more