vampires

Into the Darkness – K.F. Breene

19162511Title: Into the Darkness
 
Author: K.F. Breene
 
Genre: Paranormal
 
Series: Darkness #1
 
Goodreads Rating: 3.76/5
 
 
Synopsis: Sasha has grown up with one surety: she’s not normal.

She sees things in the darkness that no one else can see. Mysterious men cloaked in shadow, moving through the night. The problem is, pointing out invisible people is a fast track to a padded cell. Orphaned at age five, Sasha quickly learns an important survival tip: keep her mouth shut and stay out of the spotlight.

Until one night, everything changes. She and her boyfriend, Jared, find themselves stranded on the wrong side of town. Suddenly, the men she was convinced were hallucinations, are very real. And very dangerous.

As a new world opens up around her, she meets him. The Boss. An alpha leader who entrances her mind and tugs on her body. Primal and sexual, his people have a different set of rules. And they don’t always play nice.

As danger rises up around her, her differences may be the only thing that saves her life. She must embrace what she’s tried so hard to hide while resisting the person her body craves most. Sasha has finally found her shadow men, and they will change her life forever.

 
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What I thought about the book: I was scrolling through books on my kindle and opened this one by accident. I decided it was a sign from Seshat and read it. I read about 5/6 pages before I decided to check out the synopsis and then expected the book to be filled with sex but it surprised me. Ok, there was a lot of sexual situations but I really thought it was going to be worse (I’ve certainly read worse) and the story and characters were strong enough to make me want to keep reading. I like Breene’s take on vampires as well. They seem like a mix of traditional vamps and fae.
 
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My Rating: 
4 paws
Into the Darkness

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Anita Blake: The First Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

https://static3.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_large/10/108980/2321112-anita_blake_vampire_hunter__the_first_death__2__2007_.jpgTitle: Anita Blake: The First Death
 
Author: Laurel K. Hamilton, Jonathon Green, Brett Booth, Wellington Alves
 
Genre: Graphic Novel/ Urban Fantasy
 
Series: Anita Blake #0.5
 
Goodreads Rating: 4.07/5
 
 
Synopsis: Her fans have been asking for it – now, Laurell K. Hamilton delivers a look into Anita Blake’s past! Written by Laurell K. Hamilton herself, along with Jonathon Green, The First Death takes place almost a year before the events being chronicled in Guilty Pleasures. Witness the first meeting of Anita and Jean-Claude, Anita’s first time inside Guilty Pleasures, her first serial-killer case, and an early encounter with Edward. Prepare to be thrilled by this original story produced especially for comics! Collects Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death #1-2 and Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures Handbook.
 
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What I thought about the book: Set before the novels, we see when Anita meets Jean-Claude for the first time and how she gets the cross scar on her arm. She tells this story in one of the books as well (might have been Guilty Pleasures, not sure), so this fan-requested look into Anita’s past that we’re getting is one we’re familiar with. I got excited when I saw Edward on the cover, I think he’s one the most interesting and underused characters in the series. I thought this would be a story of Anita’s early days on a job with him but he’s barely in it!!
I got excited when I saw Edward on the cover, I think he’s one of the most interesting and underused characters in the series. I thought this would be a story of Anita’s early days as a hunter with him but he’s barely in it!!
Bit of a waste of time to be honest. The artwork is great though.
 
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My Rating: 
2 paws
anita blake vampire hunter sigmund world penguin day

The Life of a Necromancer’s Toy Penguin

Since it’s World Penguin Day today I decided to honour Anita Blake’s toy penguin, Sigmund. Poor guy has been through a lot (FYI I’m only part way through this series so if something has happened to this little guy, don’t tell me!!!).

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We first meet Sigmund in Guilty Pleasures, the first Anita Blake book by Laurell K. Hamilton. Anita cuddles up with him in bed after a rough day on the job (which is pretty much every day for Anita). 

“I locked the door, for what good it would do me, and went to bed. The Browning Hi-Power was in its second home, a modified holster strapped to the headboard of my bed. The crucifix was cool metal around my neck. I was as safe as I was going to be and almost too tired to care.

I took one more thing to bed with me, a stuffed toy penguin named Sigmund. I don’t sleep with him often, just every once in a while after someone tries to kill me. Everyone has their weaknesses. Some people smoke. I collect stuffed penguins. If you won’t tell, I won’t.”
Laurell K. Hamilton, Guilty Pleasures

Sigmund isn’t Anita’s only penguin but he is her favourite. He’s the one that keeps her safe at night. She’s even tempted to take him on a ‘sleepover’ to Jean Claudes. Unfortunately, he and his buddies tend to get a little bloody when the bad guys dare to break into Anita’s home (and make it all the way to her room….the jerks!).

anita blake vampire hunter sigmund

He has had made such an impression with fans, he’s got some awesome fanart now!

sigmund by DayanElohim on DeviantArt

https://i2.wp.com/pre09.deviantart.net/97e8/th/pre/i/2015/121/a/0/waiting_for_anita_by_darkness4lucy-d2zsuiv.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/img00.deviantart.net/fa33/i/2009/234/d/d/anita_blake_and_sigmund_by_rakkaus_kuolema.jpg

He doesn’t appear as much anymore sadly. I’m pretty sure he only existed to show that Anita was a complex individual with many facets. She’s a merciless vampire hunter but she’s soft and squishy too…. by now her character is very well established and we don’t see things like this so much.

You can get your very own Sigmund from Hamilton’s website store.

As far as the Anita Blake series goes, I’ve almost given up on it. I finished The Harlequin (book #15) this year and I just don’t know how I feel. You can read my review for the book here. The series becomes less about story and more about sex with a lot of men in later books. Book #26 is expected to be released this year, for the series to get that far something must happen right?…. Right?? I just don’t want to give up on the series! Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment.

Top 5 Vampire Characters

Man, this was one hard list to write!

While I was thinking about who to include I realised I have a variety of favourite vampire fiction from several genres. I enjoy horror, gothic classics, paranormal romance and urban fantasy and the vampires in each of these tend to be quite different. A PNR vampire has very different goals to a horror vampire! I also noticed I’ve read very few books with female lead vampires. Terrible stuff!

I thought about including the vampires from The Dresden Files but no single member really stands out to me. They are more interesting as a whole (to me anyway). Carmilla and Eli also didn’t make the cut because I found the story they’re in more interesting than them as individuals.

So here’s my list of Top 5 Vampire Characters.

1. Kit Marlowe
Kit Marlowe

Kit Marlowe is one of the main characters in Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer and Dorina Basarab series. He tends to be more active in the Dorina books. Based on the Elizabethan playwright, poet and apparent spy for queen Elizabeth, Chance’s Marlowe is one shady character. He runs the Vampire Senate’s spy network getting up to god only knows what! He is cunning, mysterious, charming, and often quite funny. Marlowe has his own short stories which are available for free on Chance’s website.

2. Mircea Basarab

MirceaI know I know I’m terrible choosing two characters from the same series (although technically it’s two series). Mircea is an integral character in both the Cassie and Dorina series and one of the most intriguing vampires out there. It’s very hard to know what’s going on behind those seductive eyes but you know he’s got a plan. Mircea, a former prince and current vampire senator, could sell salt to a slug! He is persuasive, suave, seductive, ambitious, and maybe…just maybe…. a little bit manipulative. But there is a lot more to Mircea than it seems. He doesn’t reveal everything up front (if at all). You have to peel back the layers of this Wallachian to get to the squishy centre. Mircea has a novel all to himself as well which really helps  you understand his motives.

3. Gallowglass de Clermont

Gallowglass first appears in the second book of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy. He is a big burly part Scot part Norse vampire. Full of honour and very protective of his family (*swoon*). He has a bit of a tough time during the trilogy but you can’t keep this guy down! I really really wish Harkness would write a book all about Gallowglass. I WANT MORE!!

4. Claudia

Claudia is one of the main characters in Interview with the Vampire from Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. Turned as a child by Lestat (another awesome vampire) as a manipulation over Louise, she fully embraces life as a vampire. Fiendishly playing with victims and manipulating those around to her own selfish gains. She’s one of the most interesting characters I’ve read.

5. Merit

Merit is a newly minted vamp introduced in Some Girls Bite book 1 of  Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neil. (I’m only up to book 4 in this series so I’m not sure how I will feel about her come book 13 but as of now I am a fan.) She is the protagonist of the series, turned against her will to save her life. Merit is a rare combination of the warrior woman and every woman archetypes. She came from a relatively normal background to the often violent world of vampires. Despite this drastic change she manages to stay true to who she is while embracing her new life.

Honourable Mention

How could I write a list of vampire characters without mentioning the main man himself Dracula! I’ve read so many versions of this guy it’s hard to keep his character straight in my mind. But it’s great his legend is so powerful people just can’t get enough of him. That is a strong character!

Agree or disagree with any of my choices? Think I’m an absolute nutjob for including Claudia instead of Lestat? Come on like, she was a little brat, right?… Who would you put on your Top 5?

 

Embrace the Night – Karen Chance

1233478Title: Embrace the Night
 
Author: Karen Chance
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
 
Series: Cassie Palmer #3
 
Goodreads Rating: 4.9/5
 
 
Synopsis:
Recently named the world’s chief clairvoyant, Cassandra Palmer still has a thorn in her side. As long as Cassie and a certain master vampire—the sizzling-hot Mircea—are magically bound to each other, her life will never be her own…

The spell that binds them can only be broken with an incantation found in the Codex Merlini, an ancient grimoire. The Codex’s location has been lost in the present day, so Cassie will have to seek it out in the only place it can still be found—the past.

But Cassie soon realizes the Codex has been lost for a reason. The book is rumored to contain some seriously dangerous spells, and retrieving it may help Cassie to deal with Mircea, but it could also endanger the world…

 
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What I thought about the book:
I am a total fangirl for this series. I don’t care what anyone says about it. You could walk up to me and tell me you think this series is a steaming piece of hairy poop and I would not care. I love it that much!
I’m rereading the series at the moment in anticipation of Ride the Storm’s release in August. And it was just as awesome the second time around! I’m picking up on little hints to future events much better this time.
What I love about this series is how fast paced it is. There is never a dull moment for Cassie. Non-stop action and adventure.
 
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My Rating:
5 paws

The Harlequin – Laurell K. Hamilton

30225Title: The Harlequin
 
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
 
Series: Anita Blake #15
 
Goodreads Rating: 3.9/5
 
 
Synopsis:
‘They will play with us, then destroy us… They are what we fear in the dark.’

The first warning is unexpected, calculated. The second warning is a gift: a plain white mask, carefully wrapped. But white is good – white means we are only being watched.

It seems the power that connects me, Anita Blake, with Jean-Claude Vampire Master of the City and Richard, leader of the werewolves, is attracting very unwelcome attention – from creatures so feared no vampire will willingly speak their name. They are known as the Harlequin, and they have the authority to pass judgement upon me. It is forbidden to speak of the Harlequin unless you’ve been contacted. And to be contacted is to face a sentence of death.

 
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What I thought about the book: So this chicks vagina is quickly becoming the centre of the universe.
The really annoying thing about where this series has gone is that she still writes a good suspense plot it just gets completely hidden behind all the pointless meandering sex scenes. There are too many men as well. I can’t seem to care about any of them. She could kill off half the characters at this stage and I’d think ‘meh’.
BUT I still don’t want to stop reading this series!! I’ve made it to book 15 and I really really loved it at the beginning. I binged the first 10 books. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.
As far as this book is concerned, I really liked the idea of the harlequin and the ending was good. There needs to be more actually fighting and less metaphysical fighting, though. It’s weird to picture everyone just standing around in a room making weird faces because they’re all feeling stuff instead of doing stuff.
 
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My Rating:
2 paws

Jabril – D.B. Reynolds

6753250Title: Jabril
 
Author: D.B. Reynolds
 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
 
Series: Vampires in America #2
 
Goodreads Rating: 4.07/5
 
 
Synopsis: Houston, Texas–Cowboy boots, baseball and journeys to the stars . . . right?

Wrong. Because Houston is also home to Jabril Karim, one of the eight powerful Vampire Lords who control all of North America. And as Private Investigator Cynthia Leighton will soon discover, not all Vampire Lords are created equal.

Jabril is the face of evil in the new world, a vampire who values no life but his own, who enslaves those he desires, steals whatever he covets, and destroys anyone who stands in his way.

Running from L.A. and its seductive Vampire Lord, Raphael, Cyn sees the Houston job as a welcome refuge, a place to get away and heal her broken heart. But Texas will be no vacation. Cyn will confront a true enemy in Jabril, one who will go to any lengths to satisfy his lusts, enrich his coffers, and expand his power.

Fighting for the lives of two young sisters, Cyn’s journey will take her through the streets of Houston and back to L.A., where the human police are determined to bring Raphael down for the murder of one of their own. But the danger doesn’t end there.

Jabril has set his sights on Cyn, and he will stop at nothing to have her.

 
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What I thought about the book: Enjoyed this one more than the first book in the series. Cyn is still kick ass and Raphael is a bit more likeable in this book. I couldn’t understand the appeal in book 1 but I get it now. Jabril himself is a good bad guy….as in he’s a really bad bad guy… He’s a really creepy jerk!
Great action scenes, it didn’t get boring to read about people punching and kicking. The romance kind of took a back seat but it was established in the first book. This one kind of built the world a bit more. The only snag was the epilogue. Who the heck was that chick?!
 
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My Rating:
4 paws