The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

Bam! 5 stars! I’ve been waiting for you, wonderful book! So often, I am disappointed by vampire romances. This one was perfect. Everything I love. I’m going to cast my favorite book boyfriend actor as Marius, the vampire prince.

For Arabelle, something like this:

She is no damsel in distress. She dresses in “man pants” in a time when women only wore dresses and gowns. She is the leader of a resistance against the vampire monarchy.

She sets out to kill Marius and of course ends up falling in love with him.

I thought this book was written well. The romance happened fast and there was insta-lust, but it was very believable, and besides, I don’t like romances that drag out forever. It’s a hate-to-love romance.

I loved the encounters these two had. I thought they had fantastic chemistry and the plot was quite substantial for a romance. I really hope there are more!!! I would like to see more of Nikolai. And Sienna. She was awesome. I loved the hart wolves and want to find out more about the magic of Silvane Forest.

The female is not a virgin and even though Marius is almost one hundred years old, it wasn’t quite as extreme as some paranormal romances are. She was experienced in her own way and independent.

I DEVOURED this in one day. It is one of my favorite vampire romances now. I want to go and binge everything this author has written now, even though I think this is her only vampire book. She did it all SO WELL. (I think she has a dragon series and a demon one?) More vampires please!

I have nothing but good things to say about this. I don’t think it is released yet, but I highly recommend. So so good.

I love my vampires and there are a lot of crappy vampire books out there. THIS is a great one, in my view. I would view it more as fantasy, since it takes place in a time of castles, swords, and balls, etc. PNR is generally more often set in “modern” time.

“Night Shift” (Midnight, Texas #3) by Charlaine Harris

Four Stars – The best one and apparently the last one.

The ending left it open to continue, but as of now Midnight, Texas is a trilogy. Figures it would finally start getting good and then end.

The plot: An ancient evil is rising underneath the crossroads of the tiny mysterious town where only secretive, strange people seem to live. Lemuel the vampire has to translate an ancient text that will explain how to stop the evil before it rises to cause unstoppable destruction.

I felt like I had finally started to “get” the people of Midnight and understand them. Before, they seemed kind of grumpy and as if none of them liked each other, but now I understand, they are all just introverts.

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They DO like each other, they just don’t like to hang out – unless someone is getting killed or an unspeakable evil is rising…

What I liked is that we learned a LOT more about Manfred and Lemuel, Quinn was back, and Fiji’s character had a lot of development and was great in this. Lemuel had a bigger part and we get to see interaction with other vampires. We find out more about his and Olivia’s relationship. It was good!

What I didn’t like. There was a flimsy love triangle involving Fiji and Bobo and Quinn. Yes, Quinn. Again. SPOILER ALERT! And poor Quinn lost again! WTH. #foreveralone – I’ll take Quinn! Bobo wasn’t in it much until the end and it was totally predictable. Harris should really stay away from romance.

We meet Fiji’s sister, who is a total bitch. Mr. Snuggly is awesome, as usual. Overall, this was well-paced and quite enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised.

Apparently, NBC is making a TV show about it, which, hmmm, not sure about that. The first two were okay, but not that exciting. And with only three books, I am guessing they are going to have to expand a lot of the characters and it will have to be more complex?

My reviews are the books are also at Goodreads.

Midnight Crossroad

Day Shift

Night Shift

Pre-review:

Marking this as currently-reading for vampire month since Lemuel is supposedly a main character in this one. He’s one of my favorites in this world. Because vampires. Duh. I read the first two and they were solid three star reads. I’m glad Charlaine Harris has stayed away from romance, though, because, well, we know how horrible well she does that. #sookieflashbackhelpme

Queen of Blood by Jill Myles

3.75 stars – This is a book I was set to five star and put on my favorites shelf until the drama-llama reared its ugly head towards the end. However, I did enjoy this and devoured it in less than 24 hours, so I will be generous.

The Athonites conquered the Vidari a hundred years ago and now they live in squalor, denied education, medicine, and forced to work all day in fields or tending to animals to meke out an existence filled with hunger, sickness, and filth.

Seri is set to wed a young man in her village, but reluctantly accepts an offer to serve as a handmaid to one of the elite Athonite women to get medicine for her father. Seri finds herself at the betrothal ball for Prince Graeme and that is when her life is turned upside down.

Prince Graeme is “of the Blood,” a line born only of men who survive on blood and live for hundreds of years, hoping to one day be blessed with an Eterna: a woman the goddess chooses to be his mate and is the only one who can provide him with daughters. Guess who the Eterna is?

The premise seems a little silly when described like that, but it worked pretty well in execution. There were a few tropes like the virginal heroine and the experienced older male… miracle babies, which is common in PNR… It was a hate-to-love romance.

(I don’t think this is really PNR though, as the vampires were never called vampires and it was more of a curse thing than them being supernatural beings. They had no powers – they just lived long, had to drink blood, and couldn’t go in the sun.)

Seri was annoying and I wanted to slap her several times. She was kind of stupid, actually. She wasn’t <i>as</i> annoying as a lot of female protagonists in books like this, though. Still, I found myself rolling my eyes at several things she did, especially towards the end. She had a few instances of being TSTL.

Graeme was AWESOME. It didn’t hurt that I was picturing him as Aidan Turner either.

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He was strong and commanding but not an alpha asshole. It was refreshing. He’s going in my man dungeon.

This was almost more historical romance than anything paranormal. There is court intrigue and a lot of it also revolved around Seri’s people trying to rebel and fight against the Athonites. The Athonites were pretty shitty, but a lot of the Vidari were no better.

Anyway, this was a quick enjoyable read that had a bit too much drama for my personal tastes, but I still enjoyed it.

This was free with Kindle Unlimited.

“Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror” by Christopher Golden

Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric TerrorSeize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror by Christopher Golden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you Netgalley for a digital copy of this to read and review. I do love me some vampire stories, both the romantic ones and the creepy, horror ones. This is an anthology of the horror-type variety.

Overall, this was solid collection of horror stories. I admit with the cover of the shirt-less male on the front, I was expecting something a little more along the lines of this:

Or at least this:

Some of it was very vampy, of course, but mainly it was stories about flesh-eating monsters. Still good for horror fans.

I knew this wasn’t about emo sparkly vampires or sexy muscular ones who were great in bed, etc. But I was expecting less monsters and more old-school vampires. However, this is was still pretty good. I’m glad I read it.

Now for my long-ass breakdown of the stories and how I rated them.

1)Up in Old Vermont – 3 stars (a nice and creepy story involving vampire creatures called the skad)

2)Something Lost, Something Gained by Seanan McGuire – 3 stars (an interesting take on vampires involving fireflies?)

3)On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin – 2 stars (meh, this one didn’t do much for me)

4)The Neighbors by Sherrilyn Kenyon – 2 stars (This was incredibly short and just when it got good, it ended. The only reason I can think to include this is because of the author’s popularity.)

5)Paper Cuts – 4 stars (A wonderful story, longer than most of the others… it was creepy and had a very unique take on vampires. One of my favorites in the anthology.)

6)Miss Fondevant by Charlaine Harris – 2.5 stars (This had the potential of being interesting, but ended up just being okay. Harris is into “energy vampires” these days. She’s got one in her current Midnight series and it’s a similiar premise here. It just didn’t do much for me.)

7)In a Cavern, in a Canyon – 1.5 stars – MEH. (I’m starting to wonder where the real vampires are in this freaking book.

8)Whiskey and Light – 2 stars – MEH. (This one was boring although (view spoiler) I just didn’t care for the story that came before the ending.

9)We Are All Monsters Here by Kelley Armstrong – 4 stars (This was really good. A dystopian, apocalyptic take on vampires as a contagion-type disaster scenario. I really enjoyed it!)

10)May the End Be Good – 3 stars (This was decent, creepy, and had the horror and gore aspect you’d expect in a book like this.)

OMG I’m only halfway done. This book is too frigging long. I think some of these stories could have easily been left out, to be honest, and it would have make it stronger overall.

11)Mrs. Popkin – 5 stars! (Hahaha, this one was awesome. I am not even sure what exactly happened or what was really going on, but it was creepy and twisted and fun. What a freaky family!)

12)Direct Report – 4 stars (This was really good. More of what I was hoping for with this collection: real vampires. A female accepts a job with a man who ends up being much more than he appears. She gets her revenge after going through some crazy shit. I don’t want to say any more because of spoilers. I enjoyed this one a lot, though.)

13)Shadow and Thirst – 2 stars (I couldn’t get into this one. It had a cool sci-fi twist to it, but I was bored with the back story and it just wasn’t my thing, I guess.)

14)Mother – 3 stars (This was written well and a nicely fleshed-out story about two rivals seeking information about the chupacabra who end up finding another type of monster altogether. Creepy and a good horror tale.)

15)Blood – 1 star (I think this was my least favorite out of the anthology. It was some weird Lolita thing and I had no idea what the ending meant.)

16)The Yellow Death – 4 stars (I enjoyed this. It was an apocalyptic deal with vampire-type creatures. It was a decent story with a nice creep factor. Much more along the lines of what I wanted with this.)

17)The Last Supper – 3 stars (This one had an end-of-the-world setting also. A lonely vampire wanders, looking for food and company.)

18)Separator – 3.5 stars (This was a nice horror story set in the Philippines about a creature called a manananggal which is a type of monster vampire that can detach the upper part of its body and fly around with wings looking for victims to eat. Prefers organs to “just” blood-drinking. Unlikable MC who sort of gets what he deserves, but it’s also creepy and gross. A good story.)

19)What Kept You So Long? – 3 stars (An entertaining story about a trucker who was infected with vampirism and the hitchhiker he picks up.)

20)Blue Hell – 3 stars (A weird one about an ancient tribe offering sacrifices to a flesh-eating water monster called Chaac.)

Review also found at:

https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres…

Goodreads

“Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined” by Stephenie Meyer

No no no no no.

Okay, I admit I had my doubts at first, but then because I love Twilight so much, I decided I had no choice but to read this and ended up looking forward to this “reimagined” version. Only, aside from the alternate ending and a couple other scenes, there wasn’t much reimagining going on. The alternate ending, I admit, was kind of cool, but then most of it ended up being a recapping of the rest of the series and a huge unnecessary info dump.

I guess I can’t help it. I can’t picture any of the characters except as they were. I LIKED Edward and Bella. I missed Alice and Jasper and Carlisle and the other characters. They didn’t need changing.

It is apparent that Meyer “cleaned up” the writing and that part of it was better, but who cares??? That was for her, not the readers/fans. It seems like this whole endeavor was for her… to settle a curiosity, to fix errors, and other items she had OCD about.

It just didn’t work for me AT ALL. If anything, she should have released a short story with just the alternate ending. This was just a way for them to ramp the price up and to satisfy some ego thing with Meyer. The characters weren’t different enough to make this seem like a true “reimagining” – or worth making an entire new book about. If she had “reimagined” their personalities, it would have been much better. I didn’t like Beau or Edythe that much. Switching the names completely changed the dynamic and atmosphere of the story. I know that if this had been the original story, I would not have liked the series as much. I suppose it satisfies a curiosity for those so inclined.

I would wait until it gets to your library or you can get it for free, though. I would have much preferred a short story about another character. Whatever, I’m moving on. Still love me some original Twilight, though. #guiltypleasure

Buddy read with Anne and Kat.