Tag Archives: vampires

Guest post: My top 10 witches and vampires in literature by Marie Anne Cope

6 May

Today I’m delighted to welcome Marie Anne Cope to One More Page to share with us her favourite witches and vampires in literature. Marie lives in Wrexham and is also a yoga teacher. She will be appearing at Wrexham Carnival of Words tomorrow, 7th May. Bonds is Marie Anne Cope’s debut novel, the first of four novels centered around the powerful relationship between Becca Martin and Anthony Cardover. She has also written a short story collection, Tales from a Scarygirl. Welcome Marie Anne!

Marie Anne Cope AuthorWitches and vampires, the subject of my debut novel Bonds, are a constant source of fear, fascination and wonder.

They are elusive, endearing, engaging and enigmatic. But, at the same time, they are also dangerous, destructive, deadly and devious. They seduce you, they draw you in, they overpower you, they take over your mind, they take away your willpower, and you let them.

So, with this in mind, here are a few of my favourite witches and vampires in literature, starting with the spell-casters themselves.

Circe the Greek goddess of magic from the Odyssey by Homer

Some say Circe is the ultimate witch and certainly a sorceress to be reckoned with. She is self-sufficient, sexually alluring and expert in the areas of potions and herbs.

She also wields a wooden staff, which she famously uses to transform whomever she wishes into an animal, usually a pig. This emasculating tendency is rumoured to be payback for a broken heart.

The Weird Sisters from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

‘Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble’

The eerie repetition of this line, in the opening scene of the Scottish Play, sends a shiver down your spine and is, arguably, the first thing that pops into your head when you think about witches.

Fear them, because if they can convince battle-hardened and ambitious Macbeth to do what they want, think what they could do to you!

The Witches of Oz from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum

Although there are four witches in Baum’s classic story, it is Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, whom everyone remembers.

In contrast to her green skinned, broomstick riding silver screen persona, Baum’s Elphaba (pictured) has a single all-seeing eye, carries an umbrella and makes it her mission to avoid water.

Despite her weakness, she still manages to inspire fear and wreak havoc before her watery demise.

The White Witch, Jadis from The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

With Jadis, C.S. Lewis takes witches back to their position of villainy.

With her disarming beauty, charm and sorcerous power, she epitomises the terrifying evil witch. Match this with her tendency to turn those who displease her to stone and Jadis stands out in the literary world of witches.

Beware – do not be fooled by a person’s beauty, as it may only be skin deep.

Hermione Grainger from the Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

Last, but by no means least, we come to Hermione Granger, ‘the brightest witch of her time’. With Hermione, Rowling redeemed the witch and erased the negative historical implications and gender bias.

Nothing phases Hermione, except the possibility of getting expelled for breaking the rules. She is courageous, gifted, kind, witty and always prepared.

Now, it is the turn of the enigma that is the vampire.

Lord Ruthven from The Vampyre by John Polidori

The first and, arguably, most influential of modern vampires is Lord Ruthven, the archetype of the ruthless, charismatic and sophisticated vampire. Polidori is said to have based Ruthven on his pale, languid and over-sexed patient, Lord Byron.

Polidori’s creation remains timeless and has spawned countless more, all sired in Ruthven’s image, as is the vampire way.

Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer

Originally a penny dreadful, totalling over 1,000 pages, Varney the Vampire was the first vampire novel published in the UK.

It is based on the adventures of aristocrat, Sir Frederick Varney, a hapless vampire who is usually exposed as such before he has chance to make his kill.

The tales are cheap, lurid and melodramatic, but the Victorians loved them.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla is said to be the most interesting of all vampires, possessing the ability to shape shift and feed on her victims in her black cat persona.

Although known for the savageness of her attacks, her technique changes when she finds Laura, to one of seduction, as the first ever female vampire falls hopelessly in love.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

With Dracula, Stoker took a ruthless and bloodthirsty historic persona – Vlad the Impaler (pictured) – and incorporated him into a character and a novel whose themes of demonic possession combined, with undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord with the Victorians and defined the most influential vampire in popular fiction.

For me though, Dracula is, without compare, THE best love story ever written.

Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Lestat is a complex character. Whilst endearing and charming, he is selfish and quickly bored. If you spark his interest, you will be spoiled. If you don’t…..

In Interview with a Vampire, he is shown in all his selfish and monstrous glory, yet in The Vampire Lestat, we see a fun loving, altruistic and, in the end, heroic side to him.

Lestat epitomises the alluring yet dangerous dual nature of the vampire.

Thank you Marie Anne – what a fab list!

bondsBonds is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Half the village of Breccan lies dead – slaughtered. All that stands between Antony Cardover and his freedom is his wife, Isabella, or so he believes. In his wrath at his wife’s adultery, Antony trades his soul for the chance of vengeance. His price? An eternity as a monster – a man bearing a vampire curse. To stop him, the curse must be broken. To break the curse, Isabella and all her descendants must be destroyed. The catch? Only Antony can break the curse.

With Breccan in mourning and Antony on the rampage, only one person can help. Anna Martindale, a witch shunned by the villagers, entombs Antony within a stone sarcophagus, bound by spells and buried in hallowed ground for the rest of time. Breccan breathes again. Time heals. That was four hundred years ago. Seventeenth century spells, however, are no match for twenty first century living. As Ramply Homes moves in, the secret of St Martin’s churchyard prepares to move out.

As the church is desecrated, the spells that hold Antony break. Soon, Becca Martin, a descendant of Isabella, is plagued by dreams of a time and a man she cannot possibly have known. As her nightmares become real, Becca has no choice but to contact the one person who will be able to help; someone she has not spoken to in a decade – her mother. Here, Becca discovers the truth about her ancestry and is forced to face up to whom and what she is. Only a wooden box and her gift hold the key to her survival. Four hundred years ago Antony failed. He will not fail again.

April 2016 new releases – hot picks!

3 Apr

So, March was the month where we all took it in turns to be ill in our little family so I didn’t get as much reading or blogging done as I’d hoped. But with a sunny new month comes a fresh start and I’m very excited about the April new releases. Here are the ten books I’m hoping to read this month.

head over heelsHead Over Heels (Geek Girl Book 5) by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books) April 7th

I’m such a big fan of Holly Smale’s Geek Girl Series I’m currently halfway through this book and think it’s the best yet!

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”

The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows that both chess and snakes and ladders were invented in the same country.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So her friends seem less than happy, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

But is following the rules going to break hearts for GEEK GIRL?

Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane (HarperCollins) 7th Aprilwho's that girl

Another fab read from the author of the bestselling You Had Me At Hello. The hardback has a beautiful pearly cover and this is a story that will make you giggle!

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

passengerPassenger by Alexandra Bracken (Quercus Children’s Books) 7th April. 

I’m so excited about getting my hands on this book having seen the great reviews from the US release. I love books with a travel theme and this one has the added bonus of another favourite theme of mine – time travel!

New York City, present day

In one night, Etta Spencer is wrenched from everything she knows and loves. Thrown into an unfamiliar world, she can be certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles, but years from home.

The Atlantic, 1776

Captain Nicholas Carter is tasked with delivering Etta to the dangerous Ironwood family. They are searching for something – a stolen object they believe only she can reclaim. But Nicholas is drawn to his mysterious passenger, and the closer he gets to her, the further he is from freedom.

The Edges of the World

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey
across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by a desperate thief. But as Etta plays deeper into the Ironwoods’ game, treacherous forces threaten to separate her not only from Nicholas, but from her path home – for ever.

The Map of Bones (Fire Sermon Book 2) by Francesca Haig (Harper Voyager) April 7thmap of bones

Having loved The Fire Sermon, I’ve been eagerly anticipating book two in the series! Do check out the blog tour and look out for my stop on 9th April!

The second book in Francesca Haig’s critically acclaimed debut fantasy series.

The ashes of the past cannot hide the truth forever.

The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding.

The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.

these days of oursThese Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton (Simon and Schuster) April 7th

I heard Juliet read from this novel at the recent Simon and Schuster Spring Blogger event and I can’t wait to hear more!

A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours… Perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman, Jane Green and David Nicholls.
 
Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.
 
Kate has always loved Charlie – they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn’t always follow the journey it should.
 
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won’t it…?

The Keepers: Ethan by Rae Rivers (HarperImpulse) April 7thEthan Cover

Rae was one of the very first authors I read from HarperImpulse and I’ve been hooked on her Keepers Series ever since. It’s finally Ethan’s turn in the spotlight and it’s a sizzling read!

“Going to Ameera to find Hazel. Stealing the spell … You think you can pull it off?” he asked.
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.
Just as she thought he’d kiss her, he reached for her jacket and said, “Then let’s go.”

A portal to another world has opened, unleashing dangerous creatures on earth. A dark witch is out for revenge. The stakes are high, a war inevitable.

One person can stop the madness. Jenna. She’s a Keeper to a powerful hybrid witch but she harbours a secret and if Jenna steps through the portal – seduced by the whispers of her hidden past – she may never return.

Fortunately, she has company… infamous Bennett brother and fiercely protective Keeper, Ethan. Their whip-cracking banter makes them perfect sparring partners in training, but how will they manage when their lives and everything they were born to defend are on the line?

When the battle lines are drawn, will Jenna and Ethan stand side by side – as friends, protectors, lovers … or as traitors?

the obsessionThe Obsession by Nora Roberts (Piatkus) April 14th

I do love Nora Roberts! I actually squealed when the proof of this book was delivered!

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton – gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret – and won’t let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor’s identity, before it’s too late.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Borough Press) April 21st eligible

A favourite author taking on one of my favourite books – I can’t wait to see how the two come together!

From the bestselling author of Prep, American Wife and Sisterland comes this brilliant retelling of Austen’s classic set in modern day Cincinnati.

The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.

Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.

Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .

Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip’s friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.

But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

steeple streetThe Nurses of Steeple Street by Donna Douglas (Arrow) April 21st

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Donna’s previous Nightingales nursing series so I’m really looking forward to this book which starts a completely new series. And it’s set in Yorkshire – yay!

Welcome to the district nurses’ home on Steeple Street, where everyone has a secret…

Ambitious young nurse Agnes Sheridan had a promising future ahead of her until a tragic mistake brought all her dreams crashing down and cost her the love and respect of everyone around her. Now she has come to Leeds for a fresh start as a trainee district nurse. But Agnes finds herself facing unexpected challenges as she is assigned to Quarry Hill, one of the city’s most notorious slums. Before she can redeem herself in the eyes of her family, she must first win the trust and respect of her patients and fellow nurses.

Does Agnes have what it takes to stay the distance? Or will the tragedy of her past catch up with her?

The Assistants by Camille Perri (Corgi) April 21stthe assistants

I’m looking forward to discovering a new author with this debut. There’s a fab quote from  Paige Toon on the front cover –  an excellent endorsement!

Behind every successful man is a busy assistant and Tina’s boss is very successful.

But Tina is tired of being overworked and underpaid.
She’s bored of her damp flat and her mounting debts.
Then a blip in the expenses system sends Tina a cheque.
She’s a good person.
But she’s desperate.
This isn’t stealing.
It’s an administrative error.
Right?

What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?

 


What are you looking forward to reading this month?

Book review: Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert

26 Jan

11194843_10153039642218369_2107229321_oCarlie McEwan loves many things. She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it. When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost to forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years. Come find me. Danger, like the shadowed pools of the forest, can run deep. The danger is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.

One of the best things about blogging is discovering so many books that you probably wouldn’t have found just browsing a book store. I love opening my inbox to see what newsletters and emails I’ve received to tempt me! I recently received an email from author Terry Maggert telling me about his new book, Halfway Bitten which is out on the 9th February. I read the blurb and thought the books sounded fun – I love books with witches in them but it was when I clicked through and saw Terry’s fab covers that I knew these were books I should read. Cover appeal is very hard to explain but something about this one called to me and I’m so glad they did#!

Halfway Dead is the first book in the Halfway Witchy series. So what has me so hooked? Firstly, I loved leading lady Carlie McEwan and her home town of Halfway. The cosy setting is fab and I loved the community feel to the story with Carlie’s neighbors pitching in and looking out for each other. In contrast, the action scenes where Carlie kicks some serious paranormal entities into touch had me on the edge of my seat. If you think of this story as Buffy meets Charmed meets The Gilmore Girls  you’ll get the idea!

Carlie’s connection with her Grandmother is just lovely. Carlie’s gran is a very powerful witch and together the two make a formidable team. My favourite parts of the book were the ones that explored Carlie’s magic in more depth and I loved the back story that Terry created and the legends and philosophies behind the magic that Carlie and her gran use.

As a mystery hidden in the local forest comes to the fore, Carlie is drawn into an ancient secret and as she heads to confront the dark force hidden there the story really picks up pace and Terry throws in a nice array of surprises along the way. With all manner of paranormal beasts and beings appearing, there’s huge potential for the story to carry on and I’m already looking forward to reading Halfway Bitten. Since reading Halfway Dead I messaged Terry to tell him how much I enjoyed the book and he tells me there are several more books planned in the series and a spin-off for a key character too!

With action, romance and humour, the Halfway Witchy series is one to watch!

4/5

Halfway Dead is out now in ebook and paperback formats.

Halfway Bitten will be released on 9th February.

To find out more about Terry Maggert and his writing visit: http://www.terrymaggert.com/

I’d like to thank Terry for sending me a review copy of this book.

 

Giveaway and author interview: Jane Lovering

13 Jun

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Jane Lovering to One More Page to celebrate the paperback release of her latest novel Falling Apart, the second book in The Otherworlders series. Jane lives in North Yorkshire with her family and pets. Jane’s likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers, words beginning with B, the smell of the understairs cupboard, and Doctor Who. You can find out more about Jane from her blog and website at http://www.janelovering.co.uk Welcome Jane!

Jane with award copyThe second book in The Otherworlders series has just been released. Please could you tell us a little about it.

Falling Apart revolves around the same central cast of characters as Vampire State of Mind, but now with added Zombie!  We’re following Sil and Jess’s relationship as they try to work out how the hell a vampire and a human(ish) woman can ever really be together, especially as, in the course of the book, Sil does something very, very bad.  There’s a lot of biscuits consumed, a lot of filing is done, and Jess and Liam are still very badly underpaid – oh, and the zombies are under attack; it’s Jess’s job to try to keep them safe from the Britain for Humans party that keeps trying to set fire to them.

Did I mention that there are also biscuits?

What drew you to writing paranormal romance and what are your inspirations for The Otherworlders series?

I thought it might be fun to play with some of the stereotypes in vampire fiction – after all, no-one ever asks the question ‘how the hell can a vampire and a human ever be together, when he’s going to live for hundreds of years and she’s going to get older and more wrinkly and irrascible’, do they?  I wanted to take the whole ‘vampires are amazing’ thing and dirty it up a bit – one of my vampires is very OCD, and they’re all a bit sarcastic.  Although they look fantastic, they’re just humans at heart, with all the flaws and tics that humans have.  They just look better when they’re being obsessive, that’s all.  And you can forgive a lot from a man in Armani…

I’m not sure where the inspirations came from.  My characters use ‘Buffy’ as a bit of a yardstick, so I think I may have watched a little bit more than is good for me.  Plus The Count from the Muppets.  These two are pretty much the only vampires I’ve ever watched, so they must have been my inspirations, surely?

I love that this series is set in one of my favourite UK cities, York. Why did you choose York as the setting?

I live about 30 miles north of York, so it’s my nearest shopping town, which makes research very easy.  Whilst wandering the lanes looking for shoe-related bargains, or hanging round outside Hotel Chocolat with a longing expression on my face, I’m really doing research.  Plus, if you ask me, London gets far too much of the literary action, sometimes it’s nice to read about places north of Watford, and York is such an iconic city, it’s wonderful to drop vampires on it sometimes.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, which of the Otherworlders would you choose and what would you do with your new powers?

My vampires don’t really have much in the way of powers. I mean, they can glamour people, but that’s only glorified hypnosis, they can hear and see better and move faster than humans, but then, so can dogs.  Anyway, I think I’d be Zan.  He’s tremendously cool and very in control, plus he knows everything about computers, so I’d be able to use his abilities to see if I can get Facebook to stop switching between Most Recent and Top Stories. I bet Zan could sort that out.

Vampires! They’re everywhere. Aside from your own lovely creations, who are your favourite literary vamps? 

I’d have to say, Terry Pratchett’s vampires.  They’re very cool and vampiric, but still a bit rubbish at times.

Finally, what can we expect next from Jane Lovering?

Well, I might get up, go for a bit of a walk, maybe have a cup of tea…oh. I see what you mean.  Well, I’ve got another book out with Choc Lit in December, it’s a contemporary romantic comedy called How I Wonder What You Are, and stars an astrophysicist, the North York Moors and a horse called Stan.

Thanks Jane – I’m already looking forward to How I Wonder What You Are and any book that features lovely Yorkshire is a sure fire hit for me!Falling Apart is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

You can follow Jane on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janelovering
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1tqEnow
Her Blog: 
http://www.janelovering.co.uk/ 

9781781891131Giveaway!

Jane’s lovely publisher ChocLit has kindly given me a shiny new copy of Falling Apart to give to one lucky reader.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment in the box below.  I’ll draw a winner using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Tuesday 17th June.

Good luck!

Guest post: Romance for the Vampire by Berni Stevens

15 Apr

Please welcome Berni Stevens to One More Page today with a guest post about her love of Vampires in celebration of her Choc Lit UK debut, Dance Until Dawn. Berni lives in a 400-year-old cottage with her husband, black cat, two goldfish who think they’re piranha, and occasionally her son when he comes back for some TLC. She trained in graphic design, and has worked as a book cover designer for over twenty years.

Her love of paranormal fiction began at school when she first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and she’s been a fan of the fanged ever since. She is on the committee and the book panel of The Dracula Society – a literary society for fans of gothic literature and film. Welcome Berni!

When I first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it fired my imagination more than any other book ever had before. I was only fourteen and I truly, had never read anything like it. I’d read Wuthering Heights at school of course, loved Heathcliff – hated Cathy – but Dracula really was something else. From that moment on, I read anything I could find with vampires in. From Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and Polidori’s The Vampyre, I then graduated to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and I loved Lestat of course. (Not Tom Cruise’s version!)

But Stoker’s infamous Count has always held me in his thrall. There really is no other vampire quite like him. He’s cold, ruthless, and incredibly intelligent, yet he manages to convey a certain melancholy sadness. Eternity is a long time to be around without the right company. The three vampire sisters in Dracula accuse him of being unable to love, to which he replies that they themselves are actually the proof that he could, and did, love. In a way, this was the starting point for my own vampire novel. I thought about the decades stretching ahead – the centuries of utter loneliness. At some point it would surely become unbearable?

I thought of someone existing for more than three hundred years, a lot of that time alone, without love or affection. The desire to find the perfect companion would turn to obsession, but would he ever find true love? Of course, I was writing a romance, so the chances are he would! Then I started to imagine the difficulties in such a relationship. When I wrote down the initial plot, I envisaged the story to be a vampire chick lit romance. Then the heroine annoyed me. She needed to be more 21st Century and a lot more feisty, and gradually everything became darker and a little bit scarier.

Over the last fifteen years or so, there have been a lot of vampire romances where  one of the couple is still human. I really wanted to avoid that. There is always the old cliché about whether the vampire will turn the human before the end of the book. A fair point, because if the human remains human, they will age, and then eventually die. So I decided my heroine should start off dead – well – undead. There were also a lot of ‘what if’s’ – what if Ellie, the heroine was scared of the dark? Why would that be? Supposing she refused to drink blood? How would she survive?

I think the vampire should always be a bit of a tortured soul. Shunning direct sunlight (for obvious reasons), keeping to the shadows, and forced  to prey on humans for sustenance. Yes, I know Louis from Interview With the Vampire and Angel from Buffy both survived for a while by feeding on rats’ blood, and the Cullens hunted deer, but I have always preferred my vampires to ‘play’ it by the book. Mitchell from Being Human was more resourceful and got a job in a hospital! Plenty of blood there.

So my hero, appears to have it all. He’s drop-dead gorgeous, more than used to women falling over themselves to get noticed by him, and he’s a billionaire to boot. I have always felt that an immortal being, if they had any intelligence whatsoever, should be able to make money in the modern world. Some contemporary vampire books have had the vampire still living in a dark crypt somewhere like a giant leech, as the modern world carries on above. Whilst I can see the point of maintaining the Gothic feel of the legend, I wanted my own vampire to have a better life, albeit a  secret life.

 

Money can buy most things, as Will tells Ellie quite early on in the book, but it can’t buy happiness – or love. He has watched her from afar for a long time and fallen deeply in love with a young modern woman he has never properly met. The women from his own era were groomed for marriage and not much else, and he has no idea how to relate to Ellie at first. She, of course, gives him a few pointers.

Do they make it? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Thanks Berni – I can’t wait to read it!

Dance Until Dawnis out now in ebook and paperback formats.

Find out more about Berni and her writing at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berni.stevens.5

Twitter: @circleoflebanon

Blog: http://bernistevens.blogspot.co.uk

Follow Will on Twitter: @austen_will

Book news: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

19 Jan

Having declared The Book of Life as one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 last week, I was very excited to see the exclusive cover reveal and extract over at Glamour UK. I love the cover and cannot wait to read the book! The Book of Life is out in hardback and ebook formats on July 15th.

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to their epic tale, following A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

After traveling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant?ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home in France they reunite with their families – with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowl?edge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Find out more about Deborah Harkness and her writing at: http://deborahharkness.com/

Read my review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Read my review of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Spooky recent releases – my Halloween hot picks

30 Oct

Today I thought I’d highlight some suitably spooky new reads to get you in the mood for Halloween!

Omens (Book 1 in The Cainsville Trilogy) by Kelly Armstrong ( Sphere – out now in hardback and ebook)

Olivia Jones has lived a life of privilege and good fortune. But on the eve of her wedding she discovers two shocking facts. One – she was adopted. Two – her biological parents are notorious serial killers. And now the secret’s out, she’s in immediate danger.

Running for her life, Liv must face reality in the most brutal and terrifying way. But then she is confronted with a tantalising hope – is it possible that her parents weren’t guilty of the murders after all? And if so, who did commit them?

Arriving at the remote town of Cainsville, Liv believes she has found the perfect place to hide while she uncovers the truth. But Cainsville is no ordinary town – and Liv’s arrival was no accident.

Afterworld by Lois Walden (Arcadia – Out now in paperback and ebook)

Meet four generations of the Duvalier family, for whom sugar cane is both their blessing and their curse. From patriarch Carter, who perishes before the novel begins after being hit in the head by an exploding manhole cover, and his indomitable holy-roller wife Lily, to their dysfunctional sons Winston and Steven, and their equally screwed-up grandchildren, the Duvaliers both dead and alive would do anything to keep their secrets hidden. With their world blown apart by the winds of Katrina, the gotterdammerung of their greed and lust, and the unearthly Afterworld, who plays with their fate, the tangled lives of these unforgettable characters create a novel of unimaginable beauty, dark humour and terrible tragedy.

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Orion – out now in paperback and ebook)

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. It’s an eternal party, shown on TV 24 hours a day – gorgeous, glamorous, deadly! Because, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave…

 

 

The Dark Possession (Fairwick Chronicles 3) by Carol Goodman (Ebury – out now in paperback and ebook)

How far would you go for love?

Callie McFay is about to cross worlds and time…

Fairwick used to be populated by all manner of magical creatures but when a cabal of witches forced the closure of the last door to Fairie, the townsfolk had to choose sides. Now it is up to Callie to find a way back.

Her quest will take her far from home – to a 17th Century Scotland where the demon she once fell in love with is still very much a man…

The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine (Ebury – out now in paperback and ebook)

Fate has brought them together. But will it also keep them apart?

Having moved to a strange town, seventeen-year-old Joey Gray is feeling a little lost, until she meets a cute, mysterious boy near her new home.

But there’s a very good reason why Tristan Halloway is always to be found roaming in the local graveyard…

 

The Medici Mirror by Melissa Bailey (Arrow – out now in ebook and paperback)

‘I have heard, but not believed, the spirits of the dead may walk again.’

A hidden room

When architect Johnny Carter is asked to redesign a long-abandoned Victorian shoe factory, he discovers a hidden room deep in the basement. A dark, sinister room, which contains a sixteenth-century Venetian mirror.

A love in danger

Johnny has a new love, Ophelia, in his life. But as the pair’s relationship develops and they begin to explore the mystery surrounding the mirror, its malign influence threatens to envelop and destroy them.

A secret history

The mirror’s heritage dates back to the sixteenth century, and the figure of Catherine de Medici – betrayed wife, practitioner of the occult, and known as the Black Queen.

Dark Witch (Book 1 in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts (Piatkus, 31st October)

Three cousins inherit a gift that will transform their lives . . .

Iona Sheehan has just taken the biggest gamble of her life. Leaving her job, her home and her family in Baltimore, she has come to Ireland in search of adventure – and answers. 

Iona has always felt a powerful connection to the home of her ancestors. So when her beloved grandmother confesses an extraordinary family secret, she can’t resist visiting County Mayo to discover the truth for herself. Arriving at the beautiful and atmospheric Castle Ashford, Iona is excited to meet her cousins, Connor and Branna O’Dwyer, for the first time. And when she lands a job at the local riding school she finds herself drawn against her will to its owner – the hot-tempered but charismatic Boyle McGrath. Perhaps in County Mayo she has found her true home at last. 

What Iona doesn’t realise is that her cousins have been expecting her for a long time. Connor, Branna and Iona have all inherited a powerful but dangerous gift from an ancestor known as the Dark Witch. And they are about to discover that some old legends can return to haunt the present . . . 

What are your Halloween reads?

Book review: A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

2 Apr

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake. A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains. Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince. Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night. Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

When I went away for a long weekend recently I was determined to catch up on some reading and having read quite a lot of chick lit lately I was craving some paranormal romance and turned to this book. Within pages I was hooked – A Shade of Vampire has amazing pace and I just didn’t want to put it down!

A Shade of Vampire is quite a short novel at just over 150 pages and I sped through it in two sittings but boy does it pack a punch. If you liked Twilight and Dinner with a Vampire then I urge you to read this book soon! I’ve been sat here trying to put into words what I liked about it so much and what makes it stand out from the other vampire books around and I’m finding it really difficult. The novel has a gripping storyline and some great characters. There is excellent chemistry between Sofia and Derek and the world that Bella Forrest has created is interesting, original and has huge potential.

There are elements of the story that are familiar; Sofia is in (unrequited) love with her best friend, there’s a good and a bad Novak brother, the Novaks are leaders of a powerful coven but that power is under threat. You might be thinking you’ve heard it all before but Bella Forrest puts her own unique spin on Vampire lore and A Shade of Vampire has an ‘x’ factor that just pulled me in and wouldn’t let go!

Sofia is pretty feisty character and puts up a convincing fight throughout the book but it was Derek Novak that intrigued me the most. As he wakes from a self-inflicted 400 year ‘sleep’ he is instantly attracted to Sofia. I had a small niggle that Derek picks up modern language and technology remarkably quickly for someone who has been absent from society for such a long period but the chemistry and excitement of the story more than make up for it.

Bella is planning to release a sequel: A Shade of Blood, soon and I can’t wait. She is definitely one to watch and this is the best self published work that I’ve read in a long time. If you don’t believe me, check out the 87 5* reviews on Amazon ;-)

4/5

Find out more about Bella Forrest and A Shade of Vampire at: https://www.facebook.com/AShadeOfVampire

Book review: Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods 7) by Melissa de la Cruz

28 Jan

Schuyler Van Alen is running out of time. The Dark Prince of Hell is storming the Gates of Paradise, intent on winning the heavenly throne for good. This time he has his greatest angels by his side, Abbadon and Azrael, or as they are known in this world, Jack and Mimi Force.

Will Bliss and the wolves she has recruited to join her win the battle for the vampires? Is Schuyler prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Love and vengeance, duty and and loyalty, life and death, are all at odds in the gripping, heartbreaking finale of the Blue Bloods series.

Gates of Paradise is the final novel in Melissa de la Cruz’s original Blue Bloods series. There have been so many twists and turns, crosses and double crosses in the series so far that I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book to finally find out what would happen in the end.

Gates of Paradise felt like a finale right from the start. It’s told in the usual Blue Bloods style with chapters narrated and focussing on different key characters (in this case, Schuyler, Mimi, Bliss and Tomasia in the main). I loved that Melissa de la Cruz had the girls in the lead and generally responsible for saving the world!

Cruz does a brilliant job of recapping key details and bringing the threads of the whole Blue Bloods story so far, together including the events of spin-off novels Wolf Pact and The Witches of the East. I enjoyed reminiscing with the characters as they remembered the events of previous books and by the final pages I felt that everything had been tied up quite neatly.

As with all of the Blue Bloods novels, the story has great pace and maintains the mystery right to the end. There are some excellent twists and surprises in Gates of Paradise as Schuyler finds out the truth about her family at last and Bliss fulfils the destiny that’s been hinted at for a long time. I’m not one for big battle scenes so I’m glad the scenes at the end were short and snappy and moved quickly on to what happened next to the key characters.

With a massive final twist that I would never have predicted, I was pleased to see my own favourite character getting the ending they deserved! Melissa has now said that this is the final novel in the first cycle of the Blue Bloods series which suggests we’ll see more from the Blue Bloods in future – yay!

This is the first time in a long while that I’ve actually read and finished a whole series so I couldn’t resist ending my review with a little picture of the whole series lined up together. I’m so pleased that Atom kept the covers in the same style throughout – don’t they look pretty together?!

4/5

Find out more about Melissa de la Cruz and her novels at: http://www. melissa-delacruz.com

 

Book review: No Such Thing as Immortality by Sarah Tranter

7 Jan

I will protect you until the day I die … forever!

A vampire does not have to feel any emotion not of his choosing. And Nathaniel Gray has spent two hundred years choosing not to feel. But when he accidentally runs Rowan Locke off the road, he is inexplicably flooded with everything she’s feeling, and that’s rage, and lots of it.

He is consumed with the need to protect Rowan at all costs including from himself. To Nate, what is happening is unthinkable and is pretty much as unbelievable as the existence of faeries. 

But you see, ‘There is no such thing as …immortality.’

No Such Thing as Immortality is an original take on the vampire trend; a romance written from the point of view of the male protagonist – the vampire Nathaniel. I enjoyed the twist in perception that reading from a male and vampire point of view gave and I loved that for the majority of the book it is the female lead, Rowan who makes Nate suffer!

There’s a lot of humour in the story and I enjoyed the way that Nate and his best friend James and sister Elizabeth bantered between themselves. As two hundred year old vampires they certainly have a lot of experience of vampire trends and myths and I liked that Tranter gave her own British twist to the folklore.

Nate is an interesting character and certainly ticks the boxes for a brooding, dark and handsome lead – having last being human in the Regency period and given his decision to keep himself to himself for the duration of his vampire existence, he seems quaintly unaware of current trends. With his country manor, Ridings and brooding demeanour there is certainly an air of Mr Darcy about him.

Rowan is a much harder character to pin down. As we encounter her, she is very angry and not just with Nate for running her off the road! As the accident forces a connection between them, Nate begins to experience Rowan’s feelings directly and his friends get on the case to investigate! It soon becomes clear that there is more to her and her past than even she knows. As the vampires reveal more about the mystery surrounding Rowan the book really took off for me. I found the first half a little slow but the second half of the novel is dramatic and action packed, really beginning to explore the fantasy word that Tranter has created.

The chemistry between Nate and Rowan is sparky and although I felt Nate had a tendency to be a little overbearing at times, because the story is told from his perspective, I found myself accepting the reasons for his actions.  Rowan’s reactions to his need to protect her made me smile – she certainly doesn’t make things easy for Nate or herself!

No Such Thing As Immortality is the first in a series that I think has huge potential. As the novel comes to a dramatic conclusion there are hints that the vampires might not be the only non-humans in existence and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the paranormal world that Sarah Tranter has created and seeing where the story and Rowan and Nate’s relationship goes next.  An exciting debut!

3/5

No Such Thing as Immortality is released in paperback today and is also available in ebook formats. I’d like to thank publisher Choc Lit for sending me a review copy of this novel.

Find out more about Sarah Tranter and her writing at: http://www.sarahtranter.com/