Jun 29, 2010

The Girls with Games of Blood - Vampire Book Review

The Girls with Games of Blood
by Alex Bledsoe
TOR, July 2010

The vampire Baron Rudolf Zbinski walks the streets of 1975 Memphis, TN. He awoke there a short time ago and has had time to find others of his kind. Two of them still follow him. There had ben no one to teach them the powers of being a vampire nor how to exist as one of the undead. No need to stay away from the sun. It doesn't kill only diminishes powers; no need to kill victim, better to nurture a long term commitment.

Not that Rudy is a creature with a finely honed conscience. In fact he coldly calculates all his actions, doing whatever necessary to what he needs or wants.

He has an agreement with the two other vampires. They teach him about life in the modern world and he will show them how to more easily survive as a vampire. He had been unavoidably absent from the world for the last 60 years after being staked - but not destroyed - by a vampire hunter.

It turns out that the Memphis area has new blood, so to speak. Sisters Patience and Prudence make their appearance. No love lost here. They have been involved in a bitter feud for more than a century. Unfortunately Fauvete, a follower and favorite of Rudy's, becomes friendly with Patience which catches the eye and the fury of Prudence. This along with other complications threaten to destroy Rudy's carefully constructed world.

Written with a wild concoction of dark humor and horror, Bledsoe has come up with a fabulous sequel to the equally compelling prequel Blood Groove. The ending of Games of Blood leaves no doubt there will be another book. I look forward to it!

Review of Blood Groove.

Jun 28, 2010

Vampire Bit(e)s

Terrific news from Marta Acosta who has unveiled the beautiful cover of Haunted Honeymoon due out in October. This is the final book in the fabulous Casa Dracula series. I will miss Milagro de Los Santos!

Spike and Buffy - "Behind Blue Eyes"

My niece Rachel vacationed in California earlier this year and dined at a restaurant called The Stinky Rose. Believe it or not there was a vampire theme, sort of.

I understand the food is good, if you like garlic!

Jun 27, 2010

This Week on PVN June 27, 2010

The contest sponsored by Master Vampire Esteban has ended.

* The rules: Create a persona and ask the question as if they were a vampire, werewolf or other supernatural creature living in Esteban's territory.

*Ask Lyla or Esteban for advice.

*The person with the most original question will have a story made about them.
                            The winner is Hunter Thompson!  Congratulations!

Below is the winning entry:

Hunter: I am a shapeshifter/vampire hybrid. I was created to be able to infiltrate both the were and vampire communities. I am a supernatural but not naturally created.

How do I choose which part of my heritage I should belong with? The shifters do not trust a vampire and of course the vampire really do not trust shifters. I have broken free of my creators and have been on my own for two years now. However, I feel the need to belong and don't know which group might best accept me or which group I should strive to emulate.

Can you help me?

Esteban: My Dear Hunter

Ah... my Mighty Misfit! No problemo. Created by the hand of evil? No doubt. Most preternatural creatures have been created that same way. Created by our masters, our biters or our curses. Your nature may have been produced in a test tube, but your creators were no less monstrous.
I understand. I have been gathering hybrids, mutations and other oddities for centuries. You are welcome to join us. However, it sounds to me like you are searching for something more than a place to live. You are trying to make yourself fit into one of two camps -- Team Were or Team Vamp.

Ask yourself this: What good has come from trying to fit in? Is it not like bashing your head against an artificially made wall?

My suggestion: kill them all. It will make you feel better.

After that, take ownership of your misfit nature. You are faster than the shapeshifters. You are stronger than the vamps. Find pleasure in it. Most of all, find others who are misfits. Rise up together like a misfit army.
... and don't forget to get your vampwere groove on! Perhaps create an evil race of vampwere babies?
I hope my suggestions helped you. I am off.

It is time for my bubble bath.

Adrian Phoenix

There is still time to enter the contes for a signed copy of Adrian Phoenix's Black Dust MamboBlack Dust Mambo  along with a mojo bag and bottle of attraction oil.

Contest is international and ends June 29.

Alayna Williams

Alayna is offering two lucky readers a signed copy of Dark Oracle

Fun contest rules:

*Ask Alayna a question - whatever is on your mind. She will do a quick one card tarot draw to answer. [This is for fun and entertainment only]

Each person asking a question gets a chance towards a signed copy of Dark Oracle. [Only one question per person.]

This contest is international and ends July 5.

Also expect reviews of new books this week

Jun 24, 2010

New Vampire Releases for June 2010

Get ready for some great vampire reads coming out this month. Books by Cat Adams, Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Angela Knight, etc. There is also an excellent anthology - Dracula's Guest edited by Michael Sims. Enjoy!

Blood Oath
by Keta Diablo

ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-704-5 (Electronic) 
Amber Heat, June 20,2010

From the publisher: When Kale MacDonald’s beloved grandmother dies, she leaves him a letter urging him to travel to Savannah, Georgia, to find his destiny.

First, Kale is confronted by a strange, decadent man named Sevastian who appears to be stalking him. Then, he also faces a trio of rogue vampires intent on killing him. Sevastian, however, seems intent on helping Kale stay alive.

Mystery and danger collide in the City of Secrets, and no one is who they appear to be. Will Kale ever discover the truth regarding his destiny and the clan of homicidal vampires targeting him? And will he also learn more about the handsome protector who seems to shadow him at every turn?

Blood Song
by Cat Adams
[pen name of C T Adams and Cathy Clamp]

Tor Books (June 8, 2010)

From the publisher:  Bodyguard Celia Graves has definitely accepted her share of weird assignments, both human and supernatural. But her newest job takes the cake. Guarding a Prince from terrorists and religious fundamentalists is hard enough, but it seems like the entire supernatural world is after this guy too. When she is betrayed by those she is employed to help, and everything goes horribly wrong, Celia wakes to find herself transformed.

Neither human nor vampire, Celia has become an Abomination—something that should not exist—and now both human and supernatural alike want her dead. With the help of a few loyal friends—a sexy mage, a powerful werewolf, and a psychic cop—Celia does her best to stay alive. On the run from her enemies, Celia must try to discover who is behind her transformation…before it’s too late.

Bullet (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley Hardcover (June 1, 2010)

From the publisher: The music came back up and the next group of little girls, slightly older, came out. There was a lot of that in the next hour and change. I liked dance, and it was no reflection on the kids, but my will to live began to seep away on about the fifth group of sequined children...

Anita Blake is back in St. Louis and trying to live a normal life-as normal as possible for someone who is a legal vampire executioner and a U. S. Marshal. There are lovers, friends and their children, school programs to attend. In the midst of all the ordinary happiness a vampire from Anita's past reaches out.

She was supposed to be dead, killed in an explosion, but the Mother of All Darkness is the first vampire, their dark creator. It's hard to kill a god. This dark goddess has reached out to her here-in St. Louis, home of everyone Anita loves most. The Mother of All Darkness has decided she has to act now or never, to control Anita, and all the vampires in America.

The Mother of All Darkness believes that the triumvirate created by master vampire Jean-Claude with Anita and the werewolf Richard Zeeman has enough power for her to regain a body and to immigrate to the New World. But the body she wants to possess is already taken. Anita is about to learn a whole new meaning to sharing her body, one that has nothing to do with the bedroom. And if the Mother of All Darkness can't succeed in taking over Anita's body for herself, she means to see that no one else has the use of it, ever again. Even Belle Morte, not always a friend to Anita, has sent word: "Run if you can..."

Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories

Michael Sims, editor
Walker and Company (June 22, 2010)

From the publisher:
Before Twilight and True Blood, even before Buffy and Anne Rice and Bela Lugosi, vampires haunted the nineteenth century, when brilliant writers everywhere indulged their bloodthirsty imaginations, culminating in Bram Stoker's legendary 1897 novel, Dracula.
Michael Sims brings together the very best vampire stories of the Victorian era—from England, America, France, Germany, Transylvania, and even Japan—into a unique collection that highlights their cultural variety. Beginning with the supposedly true accounts that captivated Byron and Shelley, the stories range from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Oval Portrait" and Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" to Guy de Maupassant's "The Horla" and Mary Elizabeth Braddon's "Good Lady Ducayne." Sims also includes a nineteenth-century travel tour of Transylvanian superstitions, and rounds out the collection with Stoker's own "Dracula's Guest"—a chapter omitted from his landmark novel.
Vampires captivated the Victorians, as Sims reveals in his insightful introduction: In 1867, Karl Marx described capitalism as "dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor"; while in 1888 a London newspaper invoked vampires in trying to explain Jack the Ripper's predations. At a time when vampires have been re-created in a modern context, Dracula's Guest will remind readers young, old, and in between of why the undead won't let go of our imagination.

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Seance for a Vampire
by Fred Saberhagen
Titan Books (June 22, 2010)
[This is a reprint. Originally published in 1994]

From the publisher: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless creation returns in a new series of handsomely designed, long out-of-print detective stories. From the earliest days of Holmes’ career to his astonishing encounters with Martian invaders, the Further Adventures series encapsulates the most varied and thrilling cases of the worlds’ greatest detective.

When two suspect psychics offer Ambrose Altamont and his wife the opportunity to contact their recently deceased daughter, the wealthy British aristocrat wastes no time in hiring Sherlock Holmes to expose their hoax. He arranges for the celebrated detective and Dr. Watson to attend the family's next seance, confident in Holmes' rationalist outlook on the situation. But what starts as cruel mockery becomes deadly reality when young, beautiful Louisa Altamont appears to her parents in the flesh as one of the nosferatu--a vampire! The resulting chaos leaves one of the fraudulent spiritualists dead, Sherlock Holmes missing, and Dr. Watson alone and mystified.

With time running out, Watson has no choice but to summon the only one who might be able to help--Holmes' vampire cousin, Prince Dracula. Alternately narrated by Watson and the charismatic Dracula himself, Seance for a Vampire demonstrates that heroes are sometimes found in the most unlikely places. Saberhagen has recast Bram Stoker's paragon of evil into a noble, witty and chillingly powerful character.

FVZA: The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency (Volume 1 TPB) by David Hine, Roy Allan Martinez, and Wayne Nichols
Radical Publishing (June 29, 2010)

From the publisher:  In a world where a deadly disease transforms innocent victims into Zombies, a long dormant government task force is called into action: The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency. Throughout history, from the Civil War to World War II, the FVZA protected humanity from the blood-sucking and flesh-eating hordes - until a cure was discovered that sent the undead to their graves.

When a new, incurable strain of the virus ravages a small town in America, Agent Landra Pecos must call upon her lethal skills to eradicate the threat. But as Landra delves deeper into her investigation of the undead menace, she uncovers shocking secrets that will change her life forever. Based on the popular website www.FVZA.org and written by comics superstar David Hine (Civil War: X-Men, Spider-Man Noir, Arkham Asylum).

Grave New Day
by Lina Gardiner
ImaJinn Books (June 15, 2010)

From the publisher: Book three in this award-winning series. Vampire and New York City Police Black Ops Captain Jess Vandermire is faced with the hardest Decision of her life-become human again and regain her soul or remain a vampire forever and fight an ancient evil that is a threat to every human on the planet. Ensnared in a plan that might go terribly wrong, she has little choice.

As a human she can't fight the ancient enemy. Then a mysterious stranger shows up and offers to help, and she's not sure if he's really on her side. She discovers her entire existence has been leading up to the challenge ahead. A challenge that has insurmountable odds, and if she doesn't win, every human on the planet loses.

Hell's Warrior
by Jaye Roycraft
ImaJinn Books (May 1, 2010)

From the publisher: Sequel to Half Past Hell. It's been twenty years since the vampire-mortal war known to the undead as "Hell" ended, but peace has been hard for Chicago's doyen, vampire Che Kincade. Beauty and power ensure that blood, sex and money come easily, but compromises and concessions are hard for a half-breed undead warrior whose roots run centuries-deep in violence. Still, he's managed at last to make peace bearable. A secret affair with his mortal counterpart, Chicago Mayor Deborah Dayton, ensures that their weekly meetings at city hall to discuss the vampire problems in the city are accompanied by wonderfully delicious clandestine sex.

Cade's house-of-cards peace tumbles when, just hours after their usual tryst, news comes that a high-profile murder has taken place in the city. Soon Cade's very private and ordered world unravels when he's wanted first for rape, then murder. He goes on the run with no help but that given by Red, a blood whore whose bed he's in when the call comes that Chicago PD has a warrant for his arrest. The frame puts a whole new light on the assassination, and Cade tries to make sense of it as he dodges the police, mob assassins, and the vampire hunters known as the Brothers of the Sun.

Was the murder politically motivated--a way to return the city to the old days of persecution and hatred, or was it a personal attack on him? There have always been those who would dispose Cade as doyen and force him out of power. Cade suspects that even Thor, his tyro and master-in-training, is among those who would see him destroyed. When the people Cade cares about keep dying, he sheds his peace chief mien to return to that which he knows best--killing...

by Meg Cabot
William Morrow; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)

From the publisher: 
Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.
But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them.

Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die. (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.)
But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It's a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able look into her own.
And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future. . . .
If she even has one.

Night Myst (Indigo Court, Book 1)
by Yasmine Galenorn
Berkley (June 29, 2010)

From the publisher:  Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the Dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they imagined. Now Myst, the Vampiric Fae Queen of the Indigo Court, has enough power to begin a long prophesied supernatural war. And Cicely Waters, a witch who can control the wind, may be the only one who can stop her-and save her beloved Fae prince from the Queen's enslavement.
[Night Myst is Bite Club's next read!]

The Passage
by Justin Cronin
Ballantine Books (June 8, 2010)

From the publisher:  “It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

Monthly vampire releases compiled by Patricia of Patricia's Vampire Notes

Jun 21, 2010

Alayna Williams - Guest Blog and Contest

Today PVN welcomes Alayna Williams author of urban fantasy Dark Oracle. Alayna discusses the use of tarot cards in understanding her characters and their relationships. For 2 lucky readers she is offering a signed copy of Dark Oracle. See details of the contest (which includes a quick tarot reading) at the end of the post.

    By Alayna Williams

In DARK ORACLE, Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling after narrowly escaping a serial killer who left her scarred for life. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, she must help an intense federal agent find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy. The agent, Harry Li, draws her out of her self-imposed exile and back into the world.

These two are opposites, in every sense of the word. Tara is a closeted mystic, and Harry is a man of pragmatism of science. But they find a way to work together and develop a relationship as the story progressed. As I was writing DARK ORACLE, I wanted to learn more about the characters and their interactions with each other. Throughout the story, I wrote with a deck of Tarot cards in hand as story prompts and for help in characterization. I decided to do a Tarot spread to show me the details of Tara and Harry’s relationship.

I drew five cards: one card for Tara, the second for Harry, the third to illuminate the relationship between them, the fourth to show what brings them together, and the fifth to tell me what pulls them apart. The cards I drew are shown below.

1. The card that came up most often in my random drawings to represent Tara was the Queen of Swords. The Queen of Swords depicts a woman staring pensively into a stormy sky. She’s lifting sword as if it’s quite sharp, and extends her hand as if she’s cut herself with it. The swords, in general, represent intellect. The Queen of swords traditionally represents sadness and mourning or a particularly clever woman. I always associated her with the Snow Queen from fairy tales – cold, isolated, withdrawn.

2. Harry is symbolized by the Knight of Pentacles. The Knight of Pentacles gazes pensively at a golden pentacle in his hands. He’s analytical, methodical, and persistent. He’s reliable and a good person to have in one’s corner – also excellent qualities for a federal agent.

3. I drew the Two of Cups to describe the relationship between them. The Two of Cups is the card of partnership. It’s a blessed partnership or one driven by fate, as symbolized by the winged lion hovering over the couple. A caduceus arises between them, showing the healing nature of the relationship. This partnership has the potential to heal Tara’s old wounds, if she’ll allow it.

4. The Two of Swords brings them together. This card shows a blindfolded woman balancing two swords on her shoulders. The Two of Swords is about balanced force. These two are opposites, but they bring unique insights to the case that make them a force to be reckoned with.

5. The Moon works against them, however, pulling them apart. The Moon is the card of mysticism, intuition, deception, and disillusionment. Tara knows that she’s deceiving Harry by not telling him that her insights on the case come from the Tarot. He has no idea that she’s an oracle, and she fears he’d react badly to that knowledge. And when he finds out (and he will), he’ll likely react negatively. The Knight of Pentacles doesn’t brook misplaced loyalty lightly.

I enjoyed putting these two together to see what they’d do, professionally as well as romantically. Will they move forward with their relationship, or is Tara’s break in trust enough to drive Harry away? Will they be able to track down the missing scientist and keep the power of dark energy out of the wrong hands?

Only the cards can say.

Alayna Williams has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she's never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses. More info is at www.alaynawilliams.com

"Alayna" is also known as Laura Bickle, the author of Embers from Pocket Juno.


Alayna is offering two lucky readers a signed copy of Dark Oracle

Fun contest rules:

*Ask Alayna a question - whatever is on your mind. She will do a quick one card tarot draw to answer. [This is for fun and entertainment only]

Each person asking a question gets a chance towards a signed copy of Dark Oracle. [Only one question per person.]

This contest is international and ends July 5.

This contest has ended. My thanks to Alayna and all who participated!

Jun 20, 2010

This Week on PVN (June 20, 2010)

On Monday June 21 Alayna Williams, author of Dark Oracle, will be at PVN to discuss how she used tarot cards to develop characters like protagonist Tara Sheridan. It's a fascinating post you won't want to miss. Alayna is also offering a signed copy of Dark Oracle to two lucky readers.


As a criminal profiler, Tara used science and her intuitive skill at Tarot card divination to track down the dangerous and depraved, including the serial killer who left her scarred from head to toe. Since that savage attack, Tara has been a recluse. But now an ancient secret society known as Delphi’s Daughters has asked for her help in locating missing scientist Lowell Magnusson. And Tara, armed with her Tarot deck, her .38, and a stack of misgivings, agrees to try.

Tara immediately senses there is far more at stake than one man’s life. At his government lab in the New Mexico desert, Magnusson had developed groundbreaking technology with terrifying potential. Working alongside the brusque but charismatic agent Harry Li, Tara discovers that Magnusson’s daughter, Cassie, has knowledge that makes her a target too. The more Tara sees into the future, the more there is to fear. She knows she has to protect Cassie. But there may be no way to protect herself—from the enemies circling around her, or from the long-buried powers stirring to life within.

The contest for a signed copy of Adrian Phoenix's Black Dust Mambo, along with a mojo bag and bottle of attraction oil, continues. The contest is international and ends June 29. Go HERE

Win a copy of Nancy Gideon's Masked By Moonlight. The contest is open to US Residents only and ends July 1. Go HERE to enter.