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Kissed by a Vampire by Caridad Pineiro

7 Nov

 

As a two thousand year old vampire elder, Stacia is haunted by her mortal past.

Though Stacia finds pleasure and arousal in the taking of blood, she also knows that she can’t let herself love again. Betrayed by the only man she ever loved, she has carried the hurt of the betrayal for two thousand years and won’t open her heart to anyone.

That all changes when she meets the mortal DEA Agent Alex Garcia.

For years now, Alex has been plagued with nightmares of a demon. She comes to him in his dreams as she came to him years ago, while he was on the brink of death. While working on another case, he is stunned to come face to face with the demon from his dreams.

Alex spots Stacia in a local club, The Widget, while working on a case to find five missing women. He is shocked to see his demon in the flesh. For her part, Stacia can’t place Alex but cannot deny that the connection between them is incredibly strong.

As the connection and attraction grows between them, Alex and Stacia each deal with their own demons: Stacia believes that she is not worthy of love, that no one could love a vampire. For his part, Alex believes that vampires can’t possibly exist.

However, when Stacia reveals her vampire side to Alex, both of them must deal with their demons if either of them will have a chance at love.

I love everything that Caridad Pineiro writes, but I especially love her vampire Calling Series. It’s been a long time since the last book in the series, Fury Calls, was published in 2009. There have, of course, been vampire novels aplenty since then but few reach the caliber and beauty that Pineiro gives her vampires.

Kissed by a Vampire is absolutely flat out incredible. I have always loved Stacia ever since she showed up in the Calling Series and have always wanted her to find a true love to melt her cold heart. I wondered what it would be like to have her as a heroine when she’s been a supporting character throughout the series. I’m so thrilled that Stacia got her own book and it was well worth the wait to see her in the spotlight.

Stacia is a very unconventional heroine and meets her match in Alex Garcia. Both characters meshed really well for me and the romance between them moved naturally with no forced moments. Instead, the love affair between them is genuinely touching and wonderful to watch as it unfolds.

Not only is Kissed by a Vampire incredibly well written, it flows so smoothly that you’ll be done the book before you realize it. It’s filled with characters that live beyond the printed page as you’ll carry them with you long after you turn the last page.

The plot was thrilling, the romance hot and spicy, the action fantastic. Kissed by a Vampire has everything you could want and then some. I loved Kissed by a Vampire so much that I hope Stacia and Alex get another book to themselves so that we can see how their relationship develops over time.

Caridad Pineiro has written an incredible tale of betrayal, love and redemption. It hooked me from the first page and held me spellbound until the last page. In fact, I’d say that it’s her best book in the series so far and I loved every gorgeous moment.

If you read one romance this winter, read Kissed by a Vampire. It’ll heat up your night and warm your heart.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

5 Jul

 

Bree Tanner is living on borrowed time.

 

As a fledgling vampire, she knows that her old life is lost to her. Unfortunately, her new life isn’t what she thought it would be. She was promised eternal life, for a price. Now she feels that she’s paid that price many times over.

 

Keeping to herself is the only way to survive. Newborn vampires are an unstable lot; there are constant battles for supremacy and domination. The only way to keep on living is to stay hidden, stay unnoticed and to stay quiet.

 

That all changes when Bree meets Diego.

 

Diego is a newly turned vampire, just like her. And like Bree, he knows that there has to be more to their new life than constant fighting and bickering and bloodshed. He also knows a few things that Bree doesn’t.

 

For instance: why were they created? And who is their creator, this mysterious woman they only know as her? Diego confirms Bree’s fears: that they have been created for a dark purpose.

 

Bree and Diego plan to leave their conclave together, but it is too late. They are pushed into battle, a battle that they can’t win, and neither of them will survive…

 

For those of you familiar with the incredible Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, you might remember Bree Tanner. She made an altogether brief appearance in Eclipse, the third novel in the series. Introduced and killed off in about a page and a half, Bree had a very short life.

 

But, as Stephenie Meyer explains in her wonderful introduction to this book, the voice of Bree wouldn’t let go. So, while editing Eclipse, she began to write what she thought of as a short story about Bree Tanner and what her life would have been like as a newborn vampire.

 

The result is The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and it’s a stellar piece of writing. It’s refreshing to see the Twilight Saga from another point of view. It was a very satisfying experience to live the Twilight Saga through someone else’s eyes and I hope this means that Meyer will work on Midnight Sun and release that sooner rather than later.

 

There are a few things that make The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner unique from the other novels in The Twilight Saga. First and foremost, the novella gives us a different view from a world we already knew.

 

As well, it touches on a theme in The Twilight Saga that was never fully explored; that of being a newborn vampire. Though one of the characters does in fact become a newborn vampire (I won’t tell you which one in case there is one person left on the planet who hasn’t read Breaking Dawn) but they are unlike most newborns.

 

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a little darker fare than we’re used to with The Twilight Saga. There is no each shattering love here; only a girl trying to survive until the next day.

 

The only things that left me wanting were the fact that The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was so short. Stephenie Meyer could have easily added another hundred pages to this story to turn it from a novella into a novel. I think it would have benefited from a little more room to manoeuvre. Just as the story got pulse pounding exciting, it ended.

 

As well, it lacked something. I think that The Twilight Saga had something that Bree Tanner didn’t. There wasn’t the same spark, the same intensity to the writing that The Twilight Saga had. That might have a lot to do with Bella and Edward, or with Meyer finding her footing with another character in a smaller space to play. Either way, the novella left me wanting.

 

That’s not to say that The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a bad book. Far from it in fact. It’s fast, frantic and fantastic.

 

And leaves you wanting more.

Bite Me by Christopher Moore

26 Apr

 

When we last left our vampire lovers in You Suck, Jody and Tommy had been turned into bronze statues by their minion, Countess Abby Von Normal, Back Up Queen of the Night. Jody wanted to remain a vampire. Tommy didn’t.

Rather then let the two lovebirds part ways, Abby had them bronzed. A love like their should stay together forever. But even the best laid plans have a way of unravelling themselves. As this is a Christopher Moore novel, unravelling is rather par for the course.

Abby and her love slave, the righteous Foo Dog, are enjoying their love nest, protecting the bronzed statues of Jody and Tommy. But when Abby’s BFF, an emo Goth by the name of Jared, accidentally frees Jody from her bronze prison while re-enacting a fight scene from his as of yet unwritten novel while wearing Abby’s high heeled Skankenstein boots, things go from weird to worse.

Jody and Tommy have been encased in bronze for five weeks. Able to turn herself into mist, Jody doesn’t mind the confinement so much. But Tommy, who had yet to learn that handy vampire trick before being bronzed, spends every night of his waking hours going slowly and quietly insane.

So when Jody tries to free Tommy, he goes stark raving mad. Jody goes out into the world of San Francisco to track Tommy down, but ends up having to find shelter before the sun comes up. She’s taken in by a warrior by the name of Otakka. He knows that he must keep the red haired woman safe.

Abby, meanwhile, continues on her quest to become a vampire while the notorious Foo Dog tries to find out if there is a way to turn someone from a vampire back into a human. As if that weren’t bad enough, Cavuto and Rivera, two cops who have become personally involved with saving the city a few times, have a new vampire plague on their hands: Vampre Cats.

It seems that Chet, the huge shaved cat we last saw in You Suck, has been ravaging the city of San Francisco and turning all the stray cats into vampires. A cat has to have a hobby, after all.

In order to fight this new threat and save the city, Jody must find Tommy and join forces with Abby, Food Dog, Jared, the Emperor of San Francisco, his dogs Bummer and Lazarus and the frozen turkey bowling Safeway crew.

Because the final battle is coming. And nothing can prepare them for what is about to happen when a horde of vampire hairballs descends upon the city….

Confused yet? Oh boy howdy! But remember, this isn’t a normal novel. This is a novel by genius comedic writer Christopher Moore.

Oh, Christopher Moore, how I love you. How I love your books. Moore’s books are really studies of the theatre of the absurd mixed with some Dave Berry, and perhaps some Anne Rice for good measure. In short, they are absolutely freaking brilliant.

Nothing goes as you expect it in a Christopher Moore novel, and Bite Me is no exception. However, one note of caution: If you are not familiar with the two novels that precede Bite Me, do not start here. The fun begins in Bloodsucking Fiends and continues in You Suck.

You could probably read Bite Me without reading the fist two books (Abby Von Normal does give us a confusing recap of the last two books in the first chapter) but why would you want to? Read the first two books if you want to get to know these characters.

Personally, I think Bite Me is one of Moore’s best novels. My top favourites are Bloodsucking Fiends and then Fool, but Bite Me comes a close third. In the third book in his vampire trilogy, Moore has pulled out all the stops and is going for broke. Thankfully it works.

The book is a laugh a minute, frenzied race to the finish. Not only does it have the same Christopher Moore humour, but it’s also a great look into what makes people human, what drives the human heart. Though it was funny, I was surprised by how dark the book was, how insightful and thought provoking it was. More than just another funny read, Bit Me is a dark look at what love can bring you and what it can take away.

No matter how you look at it, Bite Me is a winner in every way and one of the best books of 2010 so far. If you haven’t read it, or Bloodsucking Fiends or You Suck, read them now.

I’ll have some blood waiting for you…

Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze

7 Jan

What do you do when what you have written gets you into more trouble than you could imagine?

Beth Rider is a writer who has finally hit the big time. Her new novel about vampires seeking redemption is selling like hot cakes and has become a best seller. Everyone is reading it, including some very unsavoury characters.

On a book tour to promote the novel, Beth is approached by a dark and menacing man who gives her a warning: Watch your back!

But the thing of it is, no one else saw the mysterious stranger. Beth tries to chalk it up to nerves, but something about the man frightens her and strikes a deep fear into her. Her worst fears come to life when the man attacks her in her hotel room.

That man is Jack Dawn, one of the Rakum, a race of darkness that has spread evil and then thrive on it. Jack knows that Beth Rider’s book is dangerous, that it provokes the wrong kinds of questions. Questions that could mean the end of his powerful race.

Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he marks Beth as a Rabbit. Forcing Beth to swallow some of his blood, she is now a marked woman. Unable to die, she can also be tracked by other Rakum who will find her and torture her.

But one Rakum stands for hope in the darkness.

Michael Stone smells Beth Rider before he sees her. He knows that scent; it belongs to one that is marked as a Rabbit, a plaything for his kind. He knows that Rabbits are usually those who are crooks or thieves, those that would deserve a slow and painful death.

However, when he realizes the scent of the Rabbit is coming from Beth, Michael knows something is wrong. More than that, he feels a connection to her that he has never felt with any other being, Rakum or human.  Smitten, and knowing that something is decidedly wrong, Michael decides to go against everything he has been taught as a Rakum and protect Beth from a world of darkness she knows nothing about.

As Beth and Michael try to hide from an entire race that means them harm, they are faced with a choice. But the wrong choice could cost them more than their lives; it could cost them their souls as well…

I had no idea what to expect when I began to read Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze. None whatsoever. However, I love books that take a myth that has been written to death, vampires, and turn it on its head to make it into something new. I love it when an author is courageous enough to go against the grain and give readers something new that grew from something old.

However, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the book falls flat or what begins as a great premise isn’t carried off very well. Thankfully, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze suffers from none of these problems. In fact, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is perhaps one of the best novels I have read. Ever.

Instead of relying on tired old cliché’s, Maze takes the old vampire myth and throws it out the window. Instead, she essentially creates an entire mythology and an entire race from the ground up. This is no easy feat for an author and many others have tried and failed. But Maze pulls it off with grace, skill and aplomb.

In fact, I find it difficult to believe that Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is Maze’s first published novel. The book is so good, so incredible, that it reads like the work of a seasoned pro.

Beth Rider is an immediately likeable character that I came to identify with and actually care for as the book hurtled towards its incredible and explosive climax. Michael Stone is wonderfully sympathetic and is the perfect white knight. Maze is able to write characters that simply leap off the page and you can’t help reading more to find out what happens to them.

Even better than that, Maze has given us a novel with a lightning paced plot that rivals the works of Dan Brown or Stephen King. Part love story, part mythology, part vampire tale and all heat, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is the very definition of page turner. The book hooked me from the very first page and I could not stop reading, could not put the book down, until I found out what happened.

This isn’t your average page turner either. Surprisingly, Maze fills the book with some pretty heavy food for thought. The story deals with issues like faith, redemption, salvation, right and wrong, ones moral compass, light and darkness but Maze covers the heavier subject matter with a deft hand. She doesn’t beat you over the head with anything except a great story that won’t let you go.

If you’re looking for a book that has thrills, chills, a great plot, mythology and incredible characters, look no further than Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze. Not only will the story hook you from page one, it will haunt you and stay with you well after you’ve turned the last page.

Fury Calls by Caridad Pineiro

25 Mar

 

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Blake Richards is a vampire haunted by the past.

Four years ago, he was forced to either sire Meghan Thomas, making her a vampire, or risk having her die. So he did the only thing he could do and turned her…and lost the only woman he had ever loved.

Though he is still tortured by his love for her, Blake knows that he will have to make it up to her, somehow. And maybe then, she can forgive him…

Angry at having her life taken away from her, Meghan doesn´t want anything to do with Blake. She misses her former life, misses what she once was. She is fueled by anger at having her life taken from her, at having the decision made for her.

Meghan is also haunted by the past and can´t forget the attraction she felt for Blake, the attraction she still feels for him. Fury fills her every time she thinks of him and yet, she can´t stop herself thinking of Blake and the passion they shared.

Both of them must put aside their fury and anger when something threatens the vampire community. Bodies of vampires are found, ravaged beyond recognition.

Blake and Meghan come together to try and find out what is killing others of their kind. During the investigation, the attraction that they feel for each other starts to grow stronger until neither of them can ignore it.

But they are in a race against time. Though no one knows who has been killing the vampires, there are suspicions. And those suspicions begin to fall on Blake.

Meghan must put aside her fury and make a choice: Is Blake the man she could love? Or is he a killer?

If you haven´t read the other novels, there is no need to. Pineiro manages to make each novel stand alone as a complete and wonderful story.

The newest book in Caridad Pineiro´s amazing The Calling series is the best yet and is one of the best romances I have ever read. It has everything you could possibly want in a romance novel: a thrilling plot, amazing characters, and an incredible dark storyline.

But Fury Calls is so much more than that.

In Fury Calls, Piniero has given us a story of true, bittersweet emotion. She has given us a novel where the characters on the page are so alive, they seem to live and breathe off of the pages. She has given us the ultimate love story that pulls at your heart and your emotions. Not an easy feat to manage, but Pineiro pulls this off with style and grace.

Though this is the seventh full novel in The Calling Series, Pineiro manages to keep things fresh by giving us a hero and a heroine that we care about, that we become emotionally involved with. She also manages to keep the mythology of the vampire new and fresh by introducing different elements never before seen.

Fury Calls is also her darkest offering yet in The Calling series. There were several uncomfortable moments in Fury Calls, but Pineiro handled them with ease. Unafraid of taking the series to new, darker places, she forces the reader to confront the darkness within themselves and the world around them.

The Calling Series, though about vampires, is really the ultimate study in human nature. What drives someone to love, to hate, to kill? And though the characters that populate the series are vampires, Pineiro still manages to make them incredibly vulnerable, incredibly human. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Fury Calls.

Fury Calls is a dark, incredible ride and I didn´t want it to end. It´s a wonderful story of love, lust, murder and redemption that leaves the reader wanting more. It´s one of the most amazing romances that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Do yourself a favor and read Fury Calls and experience true, exquisite passion.

Honor Calls by Caridad Pineiro

25 Mar

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Michaela Ramirez has always fought what she was. Literally.

A half vampire, she is a huntress in the night as she finds and then kills vampires who have no regard or respect for humanity. She is called by honor to defend others, driven by her past and by what she is to do the right thing.

Even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.

FBI Assistant Director, Jesus Hernandez, has always believed in what he can see and touch. He has seen a fair share of crime in his lifetime. He knows that evil lurks on the streets of Manhattan and that it is his job to protect its citizens.

Despite the darkness that Jesus has seen, his current case worries him. It feels different. Bodies left out in the open, their throats ravaged to a bloody mess.

Knowing that the killer may have left a trail, Jesus decides to stop by The Blood Bank, a popular Goth hang out, for clues. He knows that The Blood Bank caters to those who favor the darkness, who like the darker things in life.

Though he knows there are those who whisper of things going bump in the night, the rumors hold no credence for him. He is a man who needs truth, who is called by honor to uphold the truth and the law.

All that is challenged when he arrives at The Blood Bank. In an alleyway, he spies Michaela attacking what he thinks is a man. Then Jesus sees the glowing eyes of the beast and knows that the attacker is something different. Something not human.

Though his honor demands he uphold the law, he is drawn to Michaela by an incredible attraction. And though her honor is put to the test, something in Jesus pulls at Michaela´s heart, something dangerous.

As the attraction between them grows, both of them know that, in the end, they must heed the call of their honor; despite what it may cost them…

Honor Calls is one of the best romances I have ever read. Caridad Pineiro is well known for creating a thrilling story with great characters and a moving plot but she has outdone herself this time. Not only do we get thrilling danger and searing love, but her characters are beautifully flawed.

Jesus is so bound by what he can see and touch that, when he is confronted with something other than the ordinary, he struggles inwardly. Michaela is so bound by revenge that, when she has to stop and contemplate the attraction she feels for Jesus, the fear she feels if he should run for her, the worry is palpable.

Though a short read, what Pineiro has given us is really a study in human, and un-human nature. She has taken something that all of us deal with and given it a supernatural twist.

How many times have all of us struggled with something we wanted, though we knew that it might be bad for us? How many times has we denied ourselves pleasure, though our hearts and minds have called out for it?

Honor Calls is an incredible, wonderful read that will help you chase away an afternoon and leaving you craving more. Do yourself a favor and read Honor Calls.

Heed the Call and fall prey to passion…you won’t regret it.

Night Road by A.M. Jenkins

20 Jun

 

Cole is a hemovore.

 

A blood drinker, he must avoid the sunlight and feed off the blood of omnivores. Unable to die, they lead a meager existence, going from one meal to the next.

 

That changes for Cole when he is called back home. Home is really a safe house, a house where the hemovores can live and feed in relative safety. There, he finds Gordon. Newly created by Sandor, Gordon is young and unable to accept his condition, unable to accept the “disease” that runs through his veins.

 

Sandor and Johnny ask Cole to help Gordon, to help him acclimate to his new lifestyle. Cole agrees, taking him on a road trip so that he can learn how to fit in, how to feed, how to live as a blood drinker. 

 

On the road, Gordon eases into his new lifestyle but things go wrong when they meet a hemovore who likes to murder omnivores for fun. Gordon balks and goes on a hunger strike, trying to ignore a Thirst that may eventually kill him.

 

And Cole? Cole is forced to examine everything he is, everything he does. He is forced to examine what is good and what is evil. But then something happens that changes his life forever…

 

Night Road by A. M. Jenkins is a thrilling read and a welcome retelling of vampire mythology. It breathes new life in to a tired genre and manages to create it’s own mythos, it’s own rules.

 

Instead of super human vampires, we are given a portrayal of those who are merely succumbing to necessity, who bleed and hope and dream like us. Gone is the ideal of the all powerful vampire. Instead, A. M. Jenkins gives us something a lot more human.

 

Night Road is not only thrilling, it’s an emotional and super charged race to the finish. Even though the book is about vampires, it really is a study in human nature, a study in what makes a human whole.

 

It’s a beautiful, gritty book that take a look at the dark side of human life, from a totally different point of view. Cole is the perfect protagonist to take us through a journey that even had this reader looking at himself differently at the end.

 

Night Road is a quick, dark read that is the perfect bloody treat for summer. Why not start your summer off right by taking a walk down Night Road?

 

You won’t be sorry.