My Top 5 Vampire Novel Picks

I’m going to be so very totally honest here.

I don’t read a lot of Vampire books. I mean I’ve read more than 5, but, but less than like 15.

So, this was an interesting one to do, but I felt I ought to in light of Ghondatha, and just how much I enjoyed it!

5. Millenium Snow, Vol. 1


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GoodReads Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Chiyuki Matsuoka was born with heart problems, and her doctors say she won’t live to see the next snow. Toya is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood and refuses to make the traditional partnership with a human, whose life-giving blood would keep them both alive for a thousand years.

Chiyuki makes the most of the time she has left, even though things aren’t that exciting–until she comes across a reluctant vampire late one chilly night. Can Chiyuki teach Touya to feel a passion for life, even as her own is ending?”

So, there are originally 2 volumes but they were incomplete and I’ve only found out today that she finished the other 2 volumes, so guess what got added to my reading list lol. Anyway, I love shojo manga and I think this one was just super cute. As I only read the first volume, that’s all that goes on my list! Again, I just thought this one was cute and sweet so, here we go, it made my list.

4. Interview with the Vampire


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GoodReads Blurb: This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Originally begun as a short story, the book took off as Anne wrote it, spinning the tragic and triumphant life experiences of a soul. As well as the struggles of its characters, Interview captures the political and social changes of two continents. The novel also introduces Lestat, Anne’s most enduring character, a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion. The book, full of lush description, centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power.
[source: annerice.com]

I had to add this one to the list! Now there are definitely better-written novels out there but nothing beat the enjoyment I got out of reading this. I eventually hope to read the others in the series but I can’t say Vampire novels are my favorite so I don’t really rush them, I know I’ll get there in the end! [I’m also a sucker for this movie, and you know what, unashamedly I liked Queen of the Damned, so, you know, pfffft I’m allowed to have my questionable movie picks!]

3. Ghondatha


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GoodReads Blurb: 

The power to love.

The power to heed your own voice.

The power to hope in a world of blood and shadow.

Yesterday morning, most of Saphrona Melioska’s family was executed. Today, at dawn, she and her brother’s widow would have followed them to the block. But something changed.

Saphrona doesn’t know who paid for their sentence to be commuted, but by that act of kindness, she and her hearth sister are exiled to the remote island of Ghondatha, where Saphrona’s only relatives live.

She has nothing to take with her but the legacy of ten generations of master sculptors, a family name beloved in the world of Art, and her own credo: there is goodness and beauty in everything.

Upon their arrival at Ghondatha, however, Saphrona and Leigh find that even ageless Ghondatha is not what it once was. The island has a new liege-lord, a nobleman from the lavish Amkadan Empire, with deep pockets and extravagant ideas about progress.

All Lord Gideon Bloodstone requires is that the villagers obey three laws: no one may leave the island; all who are invited to his nightly masquerades must attend; and those who are not invited must mind the curfew and stay home.

Who is this man who has stolen the last familiar piece of life Saphrona has left in the world?

Someone who will change forever how she defines that which is good and beautiful.

Content Transparency Statement

1. This is hate-free fiction.

2. The Garden of Night Series contains:

(a) PG-13 rated sensuality

(b) R-rated violence

(c) Vampire characters. Some of them fall in love with humans. There will be talk of blood and biting one another.

I’d like to go on and on and on about this one, because if you’ve read my review you know I was so pleased with this read. I love it because it’s vampires with two different camps/mindsets. The Ferals and The Followers, and I love how unique Ayres has made her story, so, this was probably my best vampire read in a looooong time. If you haven’t read my review, click here.

2. The Den of Shadows Quartet


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GoodReads Blurb (From first book only): By day, Risika sleeps in shaded room in Concord, Massachusetts. By night, she hunts the streets of New York City. She is used to being alone.

But someone is following Risika. He has left her a black rose, the same sort of rose that sealed her fate three hundred years ago. Three hundred years ago Risika had a family- a brother and a father who loved her. Three hundred years ago she was human.
Now she is a vampire, a powerful one. But her past has come back to torment her.

I only took the GR Blurb from the first one because the Quartet blurb was like one sentence lol. Okay, so, I need peeps to hear me out on this one. This was the first vampire book I ever read and I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be impressed by it because when Atwater-Rhodes wrote this book she was… drumroll, please!

Thirteen.

That’s right, you read that right, 13. So when I read it when I was about 11/12, I was floored. Reading it now would I write it 5 cups? I’m not sure. But I probably would because I’ll never get over the fact of her age. Also for sentimental reasons I am really very fond of Atwater-Rhodes in general, what I didn’t know however is the Den of Shadows books are now beyond a quartet, looks like I’ll be adding more books to my reading list.

1. Dracula

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GoodReads Blurb: When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client’s castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: a ship runs aground on the shores of Whitby, its crew vanished; beautiful Lucy Westenra slowly succumbs to a mysterious, wasting illness, her blood drained away; and the lunatic Renfield raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘master’. In the ensuing battle of wills between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries – led by the intrepid vampire hunter Abraham van Helsing – Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing into questions of identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

Uhhhhhh how could I not??

Like

How could I not? It still has to be number one on my list it’s the real MVP of Vampire novels, even if you don’t like it, I still like to think without it, we wouldn’t have some really kick-ass vampire books/movies/tv shows that we have today. [And we wouldn’t have Van Helsing, which, uh, I love Van Helsing] It’s not a read for everyone and if you’re like ‘nah, it’s totally boring’ that’s okay, you chuck it to the side. I will probably always have a soft spot for it though and can’t wait to give it a reread when October rolls around because that’s the sort of person I am lol.

So that’s my top 5 list, but, I’d love to hear what your fave Vampire picks are, and any recs you may have! Cause who doesn’t need to add a few more books to their TBR?!

[Sidenote: I have indeed read The Twilight series but I think aside from Den of Shadows it’s the only Vampire series I’ve read.]

Anna Undreaming ARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb:Anna is a student surviving the city, and she lives by a simple credo, “Never play their game; their game is always rigged.” For every man she has ever known, it’s a saying that has served her well.

That all changes on the night of “The Big Storm,” when Anna is slipped a date rape drug. Though she saves herself and her best friend, Anna is lost to the dark heart of the city and finds herself hunted by The Night Collectors. Unsure if these monsters are real or hallucinations, Anna nonetheless fights them as best she can. The battle attracts a stranger—Teej—who saves her using powers she cannot understand. He explains that she is an Undreamer and possesses the same powers, and in the future, he will not be the one to save her. She will save him.

But Anna is not yet ready to join Teej and stand against The Dreamers. She has difficult decisions of her own to make. Decisions she has always run from. She still has her partner’s suicide letter. It remains unopened. She still wears his ring, though she can’t seem to remember his face.

Anna learns of The Dreamers – artists so preeminent in their respective fields that they can paint, dance, sew or sing new realities – and as she travels through their creations, she learns that there’s as much beauty in the world as there is horror. With a complex conspiracy at work within the community of Dreamers that threatens to undermine reality itself, Anna will have to look deep within herself, and eventually have to face the horrors of her own past, to save her old world as well as her new one.

Anna Undreaming is a dark urban fantasy, and the first book in the The Metiks Fade trilogy.

Recommended to me by Kaleena!

I was lucky enough to receive this book from Thomas Welsh and Owl Hollow Press after responding to a tweet about a review copy. My review is honest and given with no strings attached! But still, a big THANK YOU to the and Kal who strongly recommended this book!

It’s rare to get a good dark urban fantasy [It’s one of the reasons I became enamoured by Holly Black but I digress] but this one was a very good dark urban fantasy. It was creepy without being too much if you get my drift and the ‘worlds’ called ‘Hazes’ were surreal and wonderfully chilling at times. Speaking of Hazes and other things, we were lucky enough that Thomas Welsh put a glossary in the back which came in handy at the start but he also does a great job of explaining the terms during his worldbuilding. And his worldbuilding is not only introducing us to this new setting but Anna as well so it doesn’t feel out of place or redundant. [The Sump was my favorite place.]

Never play their game. Their game is always rigged.”

Anna is raw, real, she is suffering through a dark time in her life and she has learned a mantra that suits someone living in a world that’s felt so harsh to Anna. I absolutely loved that quote and each time I read it I would be nodding as if to say ‘that’s right Anna, you got this.’ Because usually, she was in the middle of dealing with everything under the sun when that quote came up. Her background isn’t thoroughly given up and neither is Teej’s, but, you don’t need their full histories for this, you’re sucked into their world and are rushing with them through everything that happens!

Teej, her mentor of sorts, tries to help Anna in this new world she’s been flung into but ultimately Anna is on her own, she is the one who is supposed to be saving him and she saves herself over and over and you have to admire that kind of strength. ❤

The pacing was on point, it never really dragged for me, I mean I got impatient but that was not on the book, that was on me, haha. And it’s divided into two parts but come on, I read right into the second part to see what was going to happen, who wouldn’t? I really enjoyed this book and it was a great read for me.

Pros:
– Anna is completely human, I mean, there are times you’re like ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING’ but, you know, people make you do that. Especially in cars.
– It’s dark goodness, creepy enough to make you go ‘oooooh’ while reading, or at least I did.
– Anna doesn’t need saving, well, she might but she doesn’t get it and has to get through everything on her own one way or another.
– There are so many good quotes in this book it could take a post on its own to get them through.
– Welsh really does a great job with world building
– The hazes are super interesting
– Great pacing
– Leaves you wanting more at the end, I can’t wait for the second

Cons:
– You may not want something dark like this, so, there, you’ve been warned
– In the second part a few chapters talk about another character, given the outcome, I feel I could have done without, BUT, BUT, I think it still served a purpose, I just enjoyed those chapters the least (though I really appreciated the creation of that one thing no spoilers damn it.
– You could do with knowing more about Anna’s motivations, it might make you want to shake her less during certain parts.
– We need to talk about Sue but we won’t because of spoilers. But I had some issues with that friendship and felt Anna’s choice at one point was totally validated and Anna is a great friend just from the first chapter alone to Sue lol.
– I can’t wait for the second book.

**This is the first book in a trilogy and the second book, Anna and the Moonlight Road will be published this year so keep an eye out!**

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In a world of dwindling light, you’re a bonfire in the night”

The Dresden Files: Storm Front


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First off, let me say that I was regarding this book with a huge amount of skepticism. Looking at the cover the man reminded me of people I knew in High School, people I did not at all like [I mean like specific people here lol not a generalization though I mean to be fair I hate everyone equally].

But it was for a book club, it was short, and it was a Wizard Private Investigator. I mean…you all know by now. MYSTERY IS MY WEAKNESS [And Sci-fi!]

So I rounded up my rating to four stars on GoodReads but it is a 3.5 in my books, a solid fun read, but had its issues.

Note: This is the first of The Dresden Files

Pros:
– Mystery and Fantasy a bit of a modern-day sprinkling of noir as far as it goes the office with the creaky fan with the mysterious woman client.
– We are getting a really awesome urban fantasy world.
– The author could really make me chuckle with some of the things he had our dear Wizard say
– It leaves you wanting to know more, what about this kind of mysterious White Council, when do we get to know more about Mac the Pub owner, how will his friendship with Murphy go after this?
– It’s fun and easy, it’s not there to make you think, but it’s not a bore either.
– Talking Skull ❤  Bob is literally the best part of this
– The reverence fairies have for pizza, I connected with them on a spiritual level
– The fact that Harry couldn’t really interact with technology, it was pretty amusing most of the time
– Deborah Chester was a Professor of his, I love her, she wrote my absolutely favorite Sci-Fi trilogy [*coughs and unashamedly links you back to the Sci-Fi picks post*]
– I want to go to Mac’s Pub, and I want a steak sandwich. Now please and thank you.
– A nice easy way of world building [gets a little too explanatory as Harry’s narrating it to you, but, overall enjoyable!]

Cons:
– I hated Harry most of the time. I hate how he saw the female characters but I could respect that this was done from his point of view so we don’t really know how the women are, only how he sees them [for the love of all that is good, please someone tell me he gets less horrible with this] I mean he basically is a chauvinist
– How are women attracted to him? I’m sorry but if my husband didn’t shower for a week, I would not be like -tosses bedroom eyes- [And I would hope he would throw my ass in the shower if the roles were reversed] But more to the point of it,
– At one point I wanted to take Murphy and shake the living crap out of her, she got so annoying and it seemed to really contradict the fact that they were supposed to have had trust in the first place, it didn’t feel like they did, to begin with in my opinion.
– So, someone brought up a good point that had been nagging me at the back of my mind in their Goodreads review; WHY DOES HE CONTINUOUSLY NOT HAVE HIS STAFF? THERE IS NOT ENOUGH WIZARDY THINGS FROM THE WIZARD
– Don’t read this for strong female characters, you’ll be filled with cliches, and, that works with some, like Mac, but not for the others
– Harry wears a duster and boots with sweatpants at one point, I was already annoyed that he wore the duster. This pushed me too far, I nearly screeched and flipped a table over
– This is no literary masterpiece, and a lot of times Butcher’s writing will get awkward and clunky but he always smooths it out at the end. But, don’t read this to be filled with meaningful insight.

A quick fun read I’ll be reading more Dresden Files, but, if the lack of depth to the female characters and Harry’s wardrobe continues, I may have to rate down more.

Bloom

This review is going to be done a bit differently!

Today, I will not be giving a rating!

Why? I’m not usually a romance reader and I don’t think this should be constricted to a 1-5 scale as I don’t want that to impact you all on reading it [or not] so today, there shall be no coffee cups or planets!

Blurb: Holly Juniper had no idea she would fall in love with a monster. 

Every winter a mysterious portal appears in her family’s barn. Nothing has ever come out of it, and she barely pays it any mind. Until a woodland nymph named Nia steps through it and into her life. 

Holly is vehemently opposed to her sticking around, not wanting her family play host to a monster, but eventually, Nia grows on her in a way she never expected. 

Over the course of three months, the two fall in love. Despite them both knowing, come spring, Nia will have to return to her world through the portal, and she can never return. 

[Book One in the Monster Love Novella series.]

As I said, I typically don’t read romances but who couldn’t resist one with a female trans protagonist who is completely relatable as a ‘youngin’ in love? Not to mention in love with a Nymph who is the coolest looking nymph I’ve ever heard described.

On a more serious note, you root for Holly the whole time, she’s insecure, she’s shy and drawn into herself from the world and you want her to know she’s worth so much more than she thinks, and Nia does just that and it’s so palpable the way Holly’s insecurities and fears are written. It’s also written in a nice easy going style, you read it as if someone is orally telling it, the dialogue that you would hear from people of that age group (there is some profanity and steamy scenes for those who would like to know this). And I love how much that Holly’s family supports her and clearly love her.

I really want to hit home that I’ve been wanting to diversify my reading, I want to grow as a reader and so I was thrilled to be offered a chance to read this novella that gives us such a great girl as Holly and as I’ve never read a book with a trans character before (don’t worry guys this won’t be my last) this just felt like such a breath of fresh air!

If you’re into romance and wanting to read some urban fantasy mixed in with some slice of life (it’s set on a farm in Pennsylvania) then this is the novella for you!

[I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest review as part of #Reviewpit]

GoodReads Link Here

 

In Search of a Witch’s Soul

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Human, private detective Anna Caill isn’t keen on the prohibition of magic enacted by the 18th Amendment, but she won’t deny it’s good for business. The coppers couldn’t care less about the witches’ problems, giving her any number of clients to choose from.

When mysterious witch Jesse Hunt saunters into her office, he and his case will test her limits. While a killer stalks the magical underworld, Anna is hired to find Jesse’s friend, the high priest of an ancient coven.

As her case unravels, Anna is forced to confront her addiction to a dark spell in this urban fantasy noir.

1920s, prohibition exists but not as we know it, it’s a prohibition on magic. Anna Caill a flapper girl and private eye who helps Witches (which are both men and women) who come to her with cases. Not to mention she goes against the 18th amendment to use the Living Memory spell whenever she can to help ease the pain she’s been in from losing a loved one.

Jesse Hunt comes in with what seems a pretty straight forward missing person’s case with a person not really missing, just run away, but why is she so drawn to Jesse Hunt? And is this case as straight forward as she thought?

[Trigger Warning: Character death(s), some steamy love scenes in general if that’s a thing that may be a no for you or a trigger]

Pros:
-Guys…GUYS. It’s prohibition era, NOIR urban fantasy! IT IS A MYSTERY WITH FANTASY [I am freaking out!]
-Quick, fast-paced read
-Such a great integration of magic into the 1920s setting
-1920s slang even used throughout the narration not just when characters talk
-Jesse Hunt is pretty cool
-Jack is very cool
-Small twist in the epilogue that I hope means we get to see more of Caill!!!
-Caill is an awesome flapper who solves freakin’ mysteries and helps out witches.

Cons:
-More erotic than I thought? Which isn’t necessarily a con but it really just goes wham bam and you’re peering around you wondering if anyone can see you blushing.
-1920s slang may seem trite to some instead of immersive
-Jesse Hunt may be eye-roll inducing for the first 60% bahaha
– You may find it too predictable [In Lieber’s defense I would imagine that she meant it to be predictable to us, it was supposed to be a surprise for Caill, not us lol]
-May have tropes you hate that I don’t want to give away too much and give out spoilers, but some usual romance tropes, a bit of a love triangle.

This isn’t my usual thing as far as reading something with steamy scenes but I loved it and just read it in like a handful of hours between two sittings last night and this morning. I think Lieber has a fantastic voice and I really hope there’s more to this! IF NOT I GOT SOME WORDS FOR HER!

[I received an eARC copy of this in exchange for my honest review via NetGalley, here is the GoodReads Link]