Ghosts of Memories by Barb Hendee
With her vampire protector Philip Branté and their human companion Wade Sheffield, a former police psychologist, Eleisha Clevon searches the world for isolated vampires—and offers them sanctuary. She wants to provide a home where she can teach them to follow the Four Laws that will protect them and their kind.
But not all vampires want to live by anyone’s rules but their own. Christian Lefevre has been posing a psychic, catering to the upper crust of Seattle society by making contact with their dead loved ones—and leaving his clients faint and weak after each encounter. Now Eleisha must confront the most deadly predator she has ever faced—or lose everything she has fought to protect…
Eleisha, Philip, and Wade have had some success with collecting like-minded vampires in their sanctuary. But with Christian Lefevre, they’re about to meet the most manipulative person yet. Meanwhile, Julian has followed them yet again and is determined to take out any vampires Eleisha finds.
This is the final installment in this fantastic series. It’s bittersweet. I love these characters, and this latest story is one of the most exciting and suspenseful yet. But it’s also nice to see resolution to the overlying story arc. With a climactic ending full of surprises, I was pleased with the finale and found myself smiling through the epilogue. Don’t miss this gothic, urban fantasy series. Dark, dramatic, and exciting – it’s one of my favorites.
The Slayer Chronicles: Second Chance by Heather Brewer
The summer after Joss failed to kill the vampire Vladimir Tod, he gets a second chance to prove himself as a Slayer. He is sent to New York City to hunt down a serial killer that the Slayer Society believes is a vampire. It is up to Joss to lead his Slayer team, and through their detective work, they discover that there are actually four vampire brothers who are on the killing rampage. Joss must use all his skill to save the innocent people of New York City from the murderers. Joss’s status as a Slayer depends on it.
Joss is back with his second family, the Slayer Society. His friends now treat him better than his real family does. And despite his past failings and mishaps, Joss really comes to his own in this second series installment. He has grown a lot and made several enemies.
This latest story follows Joss as he tracks a vampire serial killer. It’s incredibly dramatic, intense, and suspenseful. The only place I found myself skimming where his repetitive nightmares of his deceased sister that don’t add anything to the story. I know it’s supposed to convey that Joss is still tortured about losing her, but it just seemed to make the story drag. Otherwise, it was a thrilling, fast-paced adventure that I enjoyed even more than the first. I’m excited to see where Brewer takes Joss and the Slayers next.
Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill
Jamie Carpenter and his Department 19 teammates Larissa and Kate are still dealing with the events at Lindisfarne. Jamie destroyed a powerful vampire, and rescued his mother. But his mother is now a vampire. And Jamie has been trying to keep his relationship with Larissa a secret, along with knowledge about the Lazarus Project. And so many secrets begin to break down Jamie’s team from within. Meanwhile, Dracula’s ashes have been stolen, and he’s getting resurrected. And Department 19 only has a few months to find and destroy Dracula at his weakest before he is at full strength and becomes unstoppable.
This is a direct sequel to last year’s Department 19, and jumped right into the story. Unfortunately, there was no recap, and it was difficult to catch up since I couldn’t recall all of the previous events. Once I got a ways into the book, I was able to pick up enough of what happened to appreciate current events. I remember enjoying the first novel, and thankfully I was soon devouring this installment with gusto as well.
Fast-paced and action-packed, this violent adventure series is riveting and thrilling. As before, the story jumps around various characters and timelines, but was fairly easy to follow as the complexity of the stories merged together towards the end. With several surprising twists throughout, the action was rivaled by the exciting story and colorful characters. Full of adventure, suspense, carnage, intrigue, drama, and a bit of romance – The Rising is a powerful sequel. The novel ends without much resolution to a couple of the main plots, leaving readers eagerly awaiting the upcoming sequel.
Vampire Empire: The Kingmakers by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
Empress Adele has launched a grand crusade against the vampire clans of the north. Prince Gareth, the vampire lord of Scotland, serves the Equatorian cause, fighting in the bloody trenches of France in his guise as the dashing Greyfriar. But the human armies are pinned down, battered by harsh weather and merciless attacks from vampire packs.
To even the odds, Adele unleashes the power of her geomancy, a fear- some weapon capable of slaughtering vampires in vast numbers. However, the power she expends threatens her own life even as she questions the morality of such a weapon.
As the war turns ever bloodier and Adele is threatened by betrayal, Gareth faces a terrible choice. Their only hope is a desperate strike against the lord of the vampire clans—Gareth’s brother, Cesare. It is a gamble that could win the war or signal the final days of the Greyfriar.
This is the third and final installment in the Vampire Empire trilogy. Adele is now the Empress, and humanity has declared all-out war against the vampires. Empress Adele can now use her geomancy against every vampire on earth, but that would mean the death of her beloved Gareth as well as genocide. Meanwhile, Gareth has decided he needs to assassinate his brother and claim the throne in order to save humanity and vampires from more destruction. But the deadly Flay still stands in their way. And traitors in Adele’s midst may mean the death of both Gareth and Adele.
Treason, betrayal, romance, revenge, war, and military strategy – this is a fantastic conclusion to an epic fantasy trilogy. Cleverly combining vampire horror with steampunk, alternative history Vampire Empire is a trilogy fans of fantasy or vampire fiction should not miss. With strong characters, forbidden romance, action, suspense, and intrigue – I can’t recommend this one enough. The Kingmakers is a solid, riveting and extremely satisfying finale that had me on the edge of my seat till the very end.
Courtesy of Pocket Books, I have a copy of The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper (on sale July 31st) for one (1) lucky winner!
Set in the world of Half Moon Hollow, made famous in Molly’s Nice Girls Don’t… series, this stand-alone comedic novel features a daytime vampire concierge who helps the undead take care of errands and appointments during sunlight hours. Iris Scanlon’s only rule: relationships are for business, not pleasure. But when she finds newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, her quiet life gets turned upside down. Could it be that what she really needs is some intrigue and romance—and her very own stray vampire?
Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 27. I’ll draw a name on July 28, and notify winner via email.
Continue reading Book Giveaway and Spotlight: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
New Whitby is a safe haven for vampires, as well as a residence for a human population. Mel has never had a problem with living in the same town with so many vampires, since she has never had to deal with them before. But when one joins her school, her best friend Cathy quickly falls for the uptight, undead in a seventeen-year-old body. Mel will do anything she can to keep Cathy from a decision she may regret. Meanwhile, Mel is asked by another friend to look into her father’s uncharacteristic behavior and disappearance.
Mel is a smart and strong character. She has a good heart, especially when it comes to her friends. She puts her friends’ problems before her own, even when she meets an odd human boy raised by vampires. They have a particular chemistry, but she focuses more of her attention on Cathy’s vampire romance and the missing father mystery than their budding romance.
Larbalestier and Brennan have teamed up to create a familiar vampire YA fantasy with a unique twist. I’m a fan of vampire stories, so I loved the idea and wasn’t disappointed with the wit or suspense. Though a bit predictable, the story is fast-paced, engaging, and suspenseful. With plenty of humor, teen angst, family drama, and even zombies – Team Human is a fun and exciting story that both Team Edward and non-Twilight fans will enjoy.
Team Human releases from Harper Teen on July 3, 2012.
Alex Van Helsing: The Triumph of Death by Jason Henderson
Alex Van Helsing teams up with a new classmate (who happens to be a witch) after discovering that a vampire queen is planning an apocalypse that will turn the world dark. Then vampires would have free reign of the world. And only an old painting holds a clue to her upcoming plans.
Alex is still struggling with a bit of teen angst and relationship problems, while dealing with school, his strange powers that he still doesn’t fully understand, and working and training as a vampire hunter. Henderson’s imaginative characters and historic literary foundation are a springboard for a wild ride of action-packed adventure, mystery, and fast-paced thrills. The creative twist on classic gothic novels are not only a fascinating center point for the story, but make me want to re-read the classics such as Dracula and Frankenstein again.
I read that this exciting third installment in the Alex Van Helsing series is supposedly the last. The Triumph of Death is certainly my favorite of the series. And the main story arc begun in the first book does have a huge twist that resolves in this climactic ending. But there is quite a bit that is left open and unanswered. I would love to see the more in the series simply because I love the characters, and I’m a sucker for a creative take on the vampire/Van Helsing story.
Alex Van Helsing: The Triumph of Death releases from HarperTeen on July 24, 2012.
Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Jessica Packwood spots a mysterious stranger on the way to school one morning. Lucius Vladescu has arrived from Romania claiming Jessica is his betrothed. And a vampire princess. Jessica thinks he’s crazy, until he makes a miraculous recovery after getting kicked by a horse. But by the time Jessica realizes her feelings for Lucius, it might be too late. As a malicious classmate has already claimed Lucius for her own. Jessica must get Lucius back on track and marry him in order to stop a vampire war and save her people.
Jess and Lucius have a fun chemistry. Jess is attracted to him, but his bizarre behavior and talk of vampires make him seem a bit too insane. Then there’s the part of being betrothed that Jess rebels against immediately as well. Jess is likeable and relatable. I liked that she doesn’t fall head over heels with Lucius immediately. And the book Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions that he gives her is just too funny. In fact, I would have loved to see more excerpts from the guide come into play. The humor really sets this vampire romance apart from other YA fantasies. Fantaskey blends vampire romance with a fairy tale-like reluctant princess that I thoroughly enjoyed. Full of drama, laughs, romance, and suspense – I flew through this surprising and entertaining read.