Tag Archives: vampires

Waiting on Wednesday (100!) THE LESSER DEAD by Christopher Buehlman

WOW new copy

Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we get to share the books we’re pining for! It just happens to be my 100th WoW post today! That’s about two years worth of WoWs. I’ve been on a horror kick lately, so this week I have another horror pick that sounds really good:

The Lesser Dead

The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman. Release date: October 7 2014 (Berkley Hardcover). This isn’t Buehlman’s first book by a long shot, although I’m sorry to say I haven’t read his previous books. But this is definitely going on my list. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

The secret is, vampires are real and I am one.
The secret is, I’m stealing from you what is most truly yours and I’m not sorry… 


New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live. And die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody—he has spent the last forty years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city’s sidewalks.

The subways are his playground and his highway, shuttling him throughout Manhattan to bleed the unsuspecting in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park or in the backseats of Checker cabs, or even those in their own apartments who are too hypnotized by sitcoms to notice him opening their windows. It’s almost too easy.

Until one night he sees them hunting on his beloved subway. The children with the merry eyes. Vampires, like him…or not like him. Whatever they are, whatever their appearance means, the undead in the tunnels of Manhattan are not as safe as they once were.

And neither are the rest of us.

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Doesn’t this sound like fun? I love the idea of vampires in New York City in the 70s…I can’t help but think of punk rock Spike on Buffy. Anyone? Let me know what you’re waiting on!

 

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Waiting on Wednesday (89) MOTHERLESS CHILD by Glen Hirshberg

WOW banner 2014 copyWaiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a fun way to check out the upcoming books we’re excited for! Click on over to Breaking the Spine to link up your own WOW post, or check out other bloggers’ picks. My pick this week is a vampire story that sounds extremely creepy:

Motherless ChildMotherless Child by Glen Hirshberg. Release date: May 13 2014 (Tor). You can’t tell from the cover that this is about vampires. Or single mothers. Or Southern horror. And I love that! This book was originally published by Earthling Publications in a limited edition, and now it will be available to a wider audience. Here’s what the story’s about (from Goodreads):

In his powerful novel, Motherless Child, Bram Stoker Award–nominee Glen Hirshberg, author of the International Horror Guild Award–winning American Morons, exposes the fallacy of the Twilight-style romantic vampire while capturing the heart of every reader.

It’s the thrill of a lifetime when Sophie and Natalie, single mothers living in a trailer park in North Carolina, meet their idol, the mysterious musician known only as “the Whistler.” Morning finds them covered with dried blood, their clothing shredded and their memories hazy. Things soon become horrifyingly clear: the Whistler is a vampire and Natalie and Sophie are his latest victims. The young women leave their babies with Natalie’s mother and hit the road, determined not to give in to their unnatural desires.

Hunger and desire make a powerful couple. So do the Whistler and his Mother, who are searching for Sophie and Natalie with the help of Twitter and the musician’s many fans. The violent, emotionally moving showdown between two who should be victims and two who should be monsters will leave readers gasping in fear and delight.

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What do you think? Sounds good, right? What are you waiting on this week?

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THE LAST VAMPIRE by J.T. Geissinger – Review

The Last Vampire 3-d

The Last Vampire by J.T. Geissinger
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance Novella
Publisher: StoryFront
Release date: December 4 2013
Source: Amazon Kindle purchase
Pages: 62
Goodreads Link

five stars

In a word: an all-too-brief story that made me want more, an original take on the vampire legend, with intriguing characters and sharp, emotional impact.

You were free with your body, but your heart you guarded like pirate’s treasure, locked tight behind a thousand closed doors.

I’m a huge fan of J.T. Geissinger, as you might know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. And I was surprised to learn that she had released a novella that has nothing to do with her Night Prowler series of which I’m so fond. Luckily, I subscribe to her newsletter, and I was thrilled to learn about her new novella, The Last Vampire, which I quickly purchased from Amazon and immediately sat down to read.  Although it’s short, this story has the lovely writing and perfectly paced story arc of her novels. And, I was so pleased to discover this on the first page:

review Geissinger

*huge smile* Thanks, J.T.!

The format of the story is unusual but works perfectly to capture the romantic feelings of a vampire for the human woman he’s fallen in love with. Roman tells his story in a letter to Maiko, a letter he writes from dusk to dawn one evening, as he is faced with a very serious and terrible decision. Roman Ilyich Ivanescu is a 122-year-old vampire who works in a blood bank and gets his fix from bags of donated blood. One day Roman drinks the most exquisite-tasting blood he’s ever had, and he decides to track down the woman whose blood has transported him. She turns out to be a prima ballerina named Maiko, and as they embark on a brief but intense relationship, Roman’s sad history and his transformation from human to vampire are described in his eloquent and heartfelt letter.

Geissinger adds her own spin to the oft-told vampire tale, giving her vampires some new rules that surprised and delighted me. You may think that there’s nothing new to be learned about vampires, but The Last Vampire contains a twist that I hadn’t read before. As she does in her novels, Geissinger knows how to pace a story and draw the reader in. Before you know it, you’re so immersed in the lives of her characters, that you’re blindsided by the unfolding events.

I loved the fierce and independent Maiko, a young and brilliant ballerina who faces some hard challenges in her life. Her relationship with Roman is intense, and even though their story is short and there isn’t much time to develop this relationship, Geissinger manages to convey a realistic romance between the two in a very brief period of time.

Vampire lovers will adore this story, and if you haven’t read anything by J.T. Geissinger before, you may become a fan of hers when you’re finished. Set aside an hour to read The Last Vampire, a lovely but brutal tale that showcases a talented author. I promise you won’t have any regrets.

Available exclusively from Amazon, you can purchase The Last Vampire for only $1.99 here.

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THE OUTSIDE by Laura Bickle – Blog Tour + Review

The Outside Banner 450 x 169

I’m so excited that I’m participating in Laura Bickle’s Blog Tour for The Outside! I’ve had a copy of the first book in the series, The Hallowed Ones, sitting in a pile to read for ages, and joining the tour gave me an excuse to read both books back to back. If you think the words “Amish” and “vampires” don’t belong together in the same story, then you would be wrong. Bickle has created a truly unique world that explores some pretty heavy themes, but also delivers big time scares.

The Outside2

The Outside (The Hallowed Ones Book Two) by Laura Bickle

Genre: paranormal YA
Publisher: Harcourt
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013
ISBN: 978-0544000131
ASIN: B00AUZS6PQ
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 85000 words
Cover Artist: Shane Rebenschied

Book Description:

One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

BN   Amazon Print   Amazon Kindle   IndieBound

Powells    BooksaMillion   Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

My Review:

four and a half

In a word: Dark and atmospheric, and full of magical moments, a terrifying conclusion to a completely unique story, with two animal travelling companions, a horse and a wolf, that I fell in love with. And let’s just say it: Amish + Vampires = Awesome Story!

I could feel a sense of calmness pervading me. It felt like love. Pure. Clear. Cleansing. Like fire. I took a deep breath. When I exhaled, the ghost of my breath glowed green in my reflected light. I glanced behind me. Alex was at my back. Where he always was. Part of me and part of that light.

*Spoiler warning: Mild spoilers ahead if you haven’t read The Hallowed Ones, but I’ll try to keep them to a minimum.

I was able to read The Hallowed Ones and The Outside back to back, which I highly recommend if you haven’t read this series yet. Bickle has taken a little-explored (in young adult fiction, that is) group of people, the Amish, and placed them in a harrowing situation: an unexplained virus has taken hold of most of the population and turned them into vampires. Only land that has been blessed seems to keep the vampires out and the people within safe. The Outside picks up only a few weeks after the end of The Hallowed Ones. Katie, an Amish teen, and Alex, a boy from the Outside that Katie secretly rescued and nursed back to health, have been cast out of Katie’s Amish community and must now fend for themselves with little or no hope of surviving vampire attacks when the sun goes down. With them is Ginger, a woman from Outside who was visiting Katie when the virus took hold. The three are on their way to Canada to see if Alex’s family has survived the attacks. But their journey is fraught with danger at every turn. Unless they can find hallowed ground to hole up in during the night when the vampires are out, they won’t survive.

The story immediately throws the reader into the unknown of the Outside (what the Amish call the world beyond their community), where Katie and her friends must deal with not only the terror of the bloodthirsty monsters that appear as soon as the sun sets, but a serious lack of food, since most of the stores have already been looted. Bickle’s vampires are neither sparkly nor sexy. They are simply monsters who were once human and now use their powers of persuasion to lure the remaining humans out of the few safe areas left. The cover of this book perfectly captures the tone of the story: a dark and moody landscape with lots of open space and very few places to hide.

But while their situation seems dire, the story is peppered with magical moments when Katie, Alex and Ginger find unexpected safe havens and life feels almost normal, for a while. I loved these moments, and each one gives the reader a sense of hope that our band of travelers might survive the vampires.

Although all the characters are constantly in danger, it’s Katie’s journey that is the most poignant. Her life-long faith in the Amish religion is suddenly being tested and everything she has ever believed in—the concept of Gelassenheit, which means that you must surrender yourself to God’s will—is now in question.  Katie discovers that she wants to fight and survive, no matter how much it goes against her Amish upbringing. I loved the struggle that she goes through. As a character, Katie is one of my favorites in recent young adult reads. The fact that she can see beyond her belief system and grow because her situation demands it makes her a true hero, at least in my eyes.

I loved Alex as well. He’s an intelligent young man who is well-read and has lots of philosophical ideas, all of which he shares with Katie. Because of her sheltered upbringing, Katie has never heard fairy tales or read Shakespeare, and she and Alex have many lively discussions about them, while Katie hangs on every word, even as she recognizes that according to her faith, she shouldn’t even be listening to Alex.

One of my favorite characters from The Hallowed Ones makes an appearance: the Hexenmeister, an old Amish man who is in charge of painting hex symbols over house and barn doors, in order to ward off evil. He has also given Katie a letter called a Himmelsbrief that protects her from the vampires. I loved the twist at the end involving Katie and the Hexenmeister, which makes the story come full circle.

But of all the challenges Katie faces, the biggest one is being separated from her family: her mother, father and young sister. Being banned from her community is hard for her, but it doesn’t change the love she has for her family.

The Outside is not a book about religion, even though religious themes are explored throughout the story. These themes work well to show Katie’s transition from a sheltered girl to one who knows firsthand that things aren’t always as they seem. At the end of the book I actually got chills—the good kind you get when you realize a book has just exceeded your expectations.

Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

Advance Praise for The Outside:

 “Top-notch. . . . A horror story with heart and soul.”

—Kirkus, starred review

“At once horrifying, hopeful, and hauntingly beautiful, this gorgeous read with its rich textures and spine-tingling suspense kept me glued to the pages in utter fascination. Laura Bickle is a master storyteller.”

-Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling author of The Darklight Series

Praise for The Hallowed Ones:

“This is a book to make you fear the shadows–a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul.”

—Lauren DeStefano, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy

“What an eerily believable, unique story! I can’t stop thinking about it–or shivering.”

—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely Books

“Tight pacing, suspenseful scenes, Wow! moments of tension, and exposure into a world I knew little about, The Hallowed Ones is an exciting, terse read. . . . Laura Bickle’s debut novel for young adults has quickly become my favorite dystopian novel of 2012. . . . It left me wanting more, so much more.”

—readergirlsblog.com

“Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Katie’s an original character, and her thoughtful rebellion makes her an interesting addition to supernatural fictions’s gallery of strong heroines.”

—Bulletin

About the Author:

LauraBickleLaura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams).

Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats.

Find Laura:  * Website * Twitter *

Big thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for hosting this tour!

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Vamps vs. Zombies Blog Hop! Win a Vampire or Zombie Book

Vamps vs. Zombies Hop

Thank you to everyone who entered! Rafflecopter has selected Aleksandra Nakova as the winner! Congratulations:)

I’m super excited to be part of the Vamps vs. Zombies Blog Hop, hosted by My Shelf Confessions! You can hop to each blog that is participating and enter to win a different vamp or zombie item at each one. For my stop, I’m giving you a choice. I have an adult and a young adult vampire book, and an adult and a young adult zombie book. So no matter who you are, if you love either vamps or zombies (or both!) you won’t be disappointed. Here’s what one international winner will win (choice of one of the following):

Vamps

Young Adult: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle. I’m going to be reading this soon, in preparation for the blog tour for the second book in the series. I can hardly wait, I hear it’s very scary…

Adult (18+): Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Oh you guys, if you love horror and you haven’t heard me gush about this before, you must read this book. Two awesome movie versions have also been released, a U.S. version and a Swedish version, and they are both soooo good. This book is terrifying! Technically, the name of the book should be Let Me In. The title was changed for the movie.

Zombies

Young Adult: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. This is a fun zombie love story, and the movie was really good too!

Adult (18+): Monster Island by David Wellington.  This is actually the first in a series. Wellington has written both vampire and werewolf stories. This is his take on zombies.

Please note: final covers may differ from the above photos! I’m telling you, The Book Depository is driving me crazy with all their variations of covers! I wish they’d just pick one and stick with it. So depending on what’s actually available when the hop is over, that’s what you’ll get:)

Ready to enter? Please check here first to see if The Book Depository ships to your country, then you’re ready to enter! Simply click the Rafflecopter button below!

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Follow the rest of the blog hop by clicking on the frog:

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STOKER’S MANUSCRIPT by Royce Prouty – Review

Stoker's Manuscript 3d

Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty
Genre: Adult Horror/Thriller/Historical
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Release date: June 13 2013
Source: Digital ARC from publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 352

four and a half

In a word: A taut horror/mystery/thriller mash-up, filled with fascinating historical details, well-drawn characters with emotional family ties, and some grisly horror thrown in for good measure.

Days passed back in internment in the confines of my room in Castel Bran, silent room service my only interruptions. Now I knew what acceptance meant and needed no imagination to know how this would all end. What was it that swung this normally God-fearing man to one who plots the demise and destruction of another? When Dalca announced that both I and my brother owed him, I knew he meant to splatter the blood of one of us so the other would see.

I thoroughly enjoyed Stoker’s Manuscript, although it was not what I was expecting.  In fact, the story is much more deeply layered and the characters are in much graver danger than the description suggests. I was charmed from the beginning by the main character of Joseph, a rare book collector and seller who is well-known for his skills at authenticating original manuscripts. Fancying myself a book collector as well (although not anywhere close to Joseph’s league!), I love reading anything to do with rare books. But although Joseph’s skills as a rare book dealer are a big part of the story, it’s only one facet of a multi-layered tale. Prouty adds lots of carefully researched historical details that make this story so interesting, and he connects his characters to each other in intricate ways and puts just about everyone in danger.

Joseph Barkeley is a rare book dealer who has just received a mysterious phone call from a gentleman who is representing a client who wishes to purchase Bram Stoker’s original manuscript of Dracula. The buyer is willing to pay big money for this item, provided Joseph can procure not only the manuscript, but Stoker’s original notes, and a prologue and epilogue that were not part of the published book.  After authenticating the document, Joseph is asked to fly to Transylvania to meet the buyer and discuss the details of the purchase, and that’s when his troubles begin. Once there he meets a mysterious man who reeks of carrion and hovers in the shadows of a dusty basement in Castel Bran, a man with red eyes who will pay anything, and do anything, to get his hands on the manuscript.

But he’s not the only one who’s interested in purchasing this rare document, for terrible secrets are hidden within, secrets that put Joseph, as well as his friends and family, in grave danger. In order to survive, Joseph is going to have to try to stay out of the middle of a family feud that goes back hundreds of years, complete the job he was hired to do, and uncover his own family’s secrets. And hopefully make it back home in one piece.

I think my favorite parts of Stoker’s Manuscript were the many fascinating historical details about Bram Stoker and the publication of Dracula. The author has obviously done quite a bit of research, because all these details felt authentic. This book is chock full of history, and while I normally cringe at stories that bombard me with history lessons, I loved every detail in this book. (And I learned a lot, too!) Prouty manages to combine the stories of Nikola Tesla, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and George Westinghouse, as well as facts about the inspiration for Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. One of Joseph’s special talents is being able date and uncover the origin of paper, simply by looking closely at the fibers of a document. It was one of the little details that I loved about the story, and even better, we learn later on just why Joseph has this unique ability.

All of Prouty’s characters have intricate back-stories and complicated relationships. Joseph is a man who has carved out a niche for himself with his rare book business, but one phone call disrupts this peaceful life and he is thrown into a situation that seems almost impossible to get out of.  I loved the interaction between Joseph and his brother, Bernhardt, whose early years as Romanian orphans shaped their adult lives and gave them a wonderful tenderness for the nuns of the convent they grew up in. I also liked Sonia, a woman of indeterminate age with a connection to Bram Stoker, who is able to give Joseph insights into the mystery he’s trying to unravel.

And let’s not forget the bad guys! Dalca is the dangerous vampire who imprisons Joseph in Castel Bran until he figures out the clues in Stoker’s manuscript, and we get to see just how evil he can be. Several unexpectedly gruesome scenes shocked me at first, but ended up fitting perfectly with the eerie and terrifying events that Joseph finds himself in the middle of.

The pace of the story lagged a bit in places, mostly when Joseph is trying to find the grave of Dalca’s wife. It wasn’t always easy to tell how much time was passing, and because the action takes place both in Chicago and Transylvania, I sometimes felt lost as Joseph made several trips back and forth. Another grave-digging scene late in the story seemed to go on forever, and I would have liked them to dig faster, especially at the end when you really don’t want things to slow down.

I also felt I was missing something by reading a digital ARC.  I could tell there were graphic images in the book, but I wasn’t able to see them. Apologies to the author for not getting myself to a book store to research this first! I’m sure the finished book is lovely, and I look forward to seeing the images I’ve missed.

But overall this is a pretty minor complaint. Stoker’s Manuscript is so atmospheric, so chillingly creepy and so brilliantly researched that you will marvel at all the connections you discover within its pages. The combination of horror and history, told in a present-day setting, was irresistible. Prouty is a writer to watch.

Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. The above quote was taken from an uncorrected proof and may differ in the finished version of the book.

Find Royce Prouty and Stoker’s Manuscript here:

* Author’s Website * Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * The Book Depository * IndieBound *

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VIOLET DAWN by Lynn Rush – Blog Blitz!

I’m so excited to be participating in Lynn Rush’s Blog Blitz for her newest release, Violet Dawn! I’ll be posting my review soon, but until then, here’s everything you need to know about Violet Dawn:

Violet Dawn

In the darkest place, the Light shines brightest.

Emma’s love saved Jake from life as a vampire. But their happily ever after is threatened by a savage Vamp seeking retribution for destroying the Avenos Trinity of Evil.

A mysterious stranger enters the mix, coinciding with the first Vamp attack in months. Emma’s new friendship, and the suspicion and deceit surrounding it, further drives a wedge between her and Jake.

To complicate things, Emma is bitten by a Vamp with abilities no one has ever seen before, and that bite has left its mark.

A mark that might tear Jake and Emma apart forever…

Title: Violet Dawn (Violet Night #2)

Author: Lynn Rush

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Crescent Moon Press

Release Date: April 1  2013

Amazon * Goodreads * Lynn’s Website * Lynn’s Amazon Page * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

Lynn is giving away a Kindle e-reader! Simply click the Rafflecopter button below to enter. Contest ends on April 23 2013 at Midnight (EST).

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Watch the Violet Dawn book trailer here!

About the Author:

Lynn Rush

Driven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake, and a portion of the proceeds benefits cancer research and awareness.

What others are already saying about Violet Dawn:

Violet Dawn is powerful, enthralling, and refreshingly complex.” ~Carrie Butler, author of Strength



“I’ve fallen head over boots for Emma and Jake as a couple—and as an elite vampire-hunting team…” ~Kristie Cook, author of the best-selling Soul Savers Series

“Fast-paced, action-packed, Violet Dawn is basically everything you’d want from a vampire hunter novel and then some. Emma has kick-ass written all over her.” ~Kate Evangelista, author of Taste

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Cover Reveal! VIOLET DAWN by Lynn Rush

I’m so excited to be participating in Lynn’s cover reveal for the next book in her Violet Night Trilogy. I loved the Buffy-esque, kick-ass heroine Emma in the first book, Violet Midnight, and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures! Violet Dawn will be released on April 1st.  Without further ado, here is the lovely cover:

Violet Dawn

Violet Dawn (Violet Night Trilogy, #2)—Release Date April 1st, 2013 from Crescent Moon Press

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In the darkest place, the Light shines brightest.

Emma’s love saved Jake from life as a vampire. But their happily ever after is threatened by a savage Vamp seeking retribution for destroying the Avenos Trinity of Evil.

A mysterious stranger enters the mix, coinciding with the first Vamp attack in months. Emma’s new friendship, and the suspicion and deceit surrounding it, further drives a wedge between her and Jake.

To complicate things, Emma is bitten by a Vamp with abilities no one has ever seen before, and that bite has left its mark.

A mark that might tear Jake and Emma apart forever…

What people are already saying about Violet Dawn:

“Fast-paced, action-packed, Violet Dawn is basically everything you’d want from a vampire hunter novel and then some. Emma has kick-ass written all over her.” ~Kate Evangelista, author of Taste

“Rush knocked this sequel out of the park.” ~Carrie Butler, author of Strength

Author Bio:

Lynn RushDriven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake, and a portion of the proceeds benefits cancer research and awareness.

Connect With Lynn: Catch the Rush™ | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Facebook | Newsletter | Amazon

I’m thrilled to be participating in Lynn’s Blog Tour for Violet Dawn, so check back here on April 2nd for my stop on the tour!

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Waiting on Wednesday (40) THE OUTSIDE by Laura Bickle

Waiting on WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a fun way for bloggers to share the books they’re excited about. I believe the cover for this book was just revealed, which is why I chose this book:

The Outside2

The Outside by Laura Bickle (The Hallowed Ones #2). Release date: September 3 2013 (Harcourt Children’s Books). Talk about atmospheric! Doesn’t this book look creepy? I have to admit, I still have not read The Hallowed Ones, but it’s sitting on a pile of books, ready to jump to the top! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it, and I’m so looking forward to reading it soon. Here’s the description of Book #2 in the series:

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

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I’m dying to see how the author combines the Amish and vampires! Wow, don’t you want to the read these books? Has anyone read The Hallowed Ones yet?

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VIOLET MIDNIGHT by Lynn Rush – Review

It’s not hard to imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer while reading this inventive vampire tale. The girl on the cover even sort of looks like Buffy. But Emma, the vampire slayer in Violet Midnight, has skills that would put Buffy to shame. Known as a Hunter, Emma has been hunting and killing “Vamps” (as she refers to them) for the past two years, since she woke up from an accident with a tattoo on her wrist that glows whenever the creatures are near. Her most impressive talent is being able to “call” her weapons to her and have them magically appear in her hand at exactly the right moment, and then send them home when she’s finished slaying. But she’s also burdened with some physical characteristics that are a bit unusual. She never eats or sleeps, and her body temperature is a constantly chilly 74.7 degrees. Oh, and did I mention that she has violet eyes? For the past two years she’s been trying to keep her extra-curricular activities a secret from her best friend Ava, but is forced to perform “mind wipes” on occasion when Ava gets in the way of her hunting activities.

Jake is a college student working on his master’s degree when he meets Emma at a party, and the attraction between them is immediate. When Emma is forced outside to hunt down some Vamps, Jake follows her, and inadvertently gets caught up in the action. After the Vamps are dead, Jake asks Emma about her tattoo, then shows her his ink, an intricate design that covers his shoulder, a tattoo he also woke up with two years earlier. This shared history fuels their attraction, and before you know it, the two are locking lips and working to solve the mystery of Jake’s tattoo and the strange physical changes that he is experiencing. When Emma uncovers a prophecy that says a powerful family of vampires is about to threaten the existence of humans everywhere, the two must make some hard choices in order to keep the evil at bay.

I had a blast reading Violet Midnight! Rush’s variations on vampire mythology were original and entertaining. Her Vamps are not of the sparkly and hunky variety. They are more like animals than humans, and Emma often describes them as “chomping” on their victims.  Rush’s Vamps, like Joss Whedon’s, explode in a shower of dust when staked, but in this book, humans who have been bitten and drained also turn to dust when they die – white dust. And I have to admit I’m a sucker (no pun intended!) for stories with magical tattoos. Rush gives some intriguing back story to the tattoos that Emma and Jake sport, and she does a great job describing their intricate designs and meanings.

The characters were well-drawn, especially the females. Emma is indeed a kick-ass Hunter with enough determination to take down every Vamp in town and then some. I loved the dialog between Emma and Jake. They fall for each other pretty quickly, but the road to happiness is still rocky, and their banter was refreshingly funny but tender-hearted. One of my favorite characters, I have to admit, is unfortunately dead. We get to know Emma’s previous love, Gabriel, who was killed by a Vamp, when he appears in ghostly form whenever Emma needs advice. I’m hoping maybe the author will consider writing a prequel someday so we can get to know Gabriel better (hint hint!)

The only story element that didn’t sit quite right with me was the “insta-love” between Emma and Jake. There was very little simmer and burn up to the moment when they feel compelled to kiss for the first time, and I think the romance would have been more believable if their relationship had progressed more slowly. But since this is the first book in a trilogy, you know there is much more in store for these characters, and I look forward to seeing the direction they take in future stories. If you’re looking for a romantic and action-packed story with more bad guys than you can hit with a crossbow, Violet Midnight will keep you up all night.

Many thanks to Lynn Rush for providing a review copy. You can visit Lynn’s website here and purchase Violet Midnight here. A portion of all proceeds will go to cancer research and awareness.

But wait! There’s more! I’m so excited to be involved in the Release Day Event for Violet Midnight on October 16! Come back for a giveaway of Violet Midnight and lots of other goodies!

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